Category Archives: Leadership development

Attachment

The science of attachment and its effect on relationships

This month’s article is inspired by the book Attached: The new science of adult attachment and how it can help you find – and keep – love.

This topic might seem as though it’s not strictly work-related because it deals with romantic relationships. However, as well as giving you insights that might be useful for your personal life, it also covers behaviours you might recognise from the work setting.

When you have someone you attach to, they become the anchor on which you can build your life. You can be vulnerable with them. Without attachment, you only have yourself to rely on – this might seem the safer option, but it may also mean you miss out having someone to lean on and share life with – the joy, the sadness and the journey.

This analogy could also be stretched somewhat, to apply at work – relying on colleagues helps you learn, feel good and create something better than if you went alone (as an old African proverb offers: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”).

When you understand the traits you see in yourself and your colleagues, you will have more compassion for yourself and others, and can adapt the way you work so that you, and they, feel more secure and can thrive.

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Quiet leadership

Quiet leadership

When thinking of classic ‘great leaders’, many people would define them as confident extraverts who bring a lot of energy into a room, articulate their ideas, and can rapidly change tack because they generate new ideas while they’re talking. However, many successful leaders are/were introverts, such as Rosa Parks, Mahatma Gandhi and Bill Gates.

Rather than just value this one-size-fits-all style of leadership, it’s important to appreciate diversity in style, so let’s explore the qualities of a quieter, more considered approach.

Note that the traits discussed in this article are not exclusive to introverts. Extraverts can harness these qualities too, so it’s useful for all of us to be aware of them.

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Skills and mindset for the future world of work

Skills and mindset for the future world of work

What skills and mindset will you and your people need for the future world of work?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is likely to replace many basic cognitive skills, while the need for other skills will grow, such as those relating to technology, social and emotional intelligence, and higher cognitive abilities – this is what separates us from the robots.

McKinsey did a survey last year to explore this topic. They studied 18,000 people in 15 countries to help governments around the world identify what skills would ensure their citizens become employable, and remain that way.

This article covers what you can learn from their findings so you know what to focus on, both for you as an individual and as the leader of a team or organisation.

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Escaping mindtraps

This month, I share what you can learn from the book Unlocking Leadership Mindtraps: How to thrive in Complexity by Jennifer Garvey Berger, which has attracted some impressive reviews.

Jennifer points out that, whilst we’re living in a VUCA world, our instincts are wired for a time when things were more predictable.  Jennifer posits these instincts now mislead and “trap” us – her book describes each trap (mindtraps), with key questions to help you identify them and habits to develop that will help reduce the impact.

In my coaching work, I see leaders falling into these mindtraps all the time, so Jennifer’s ideas make sense to me. They help you connect with yourself at a deeper level so you can understand the effect of complexity on you, and show how you can flourish rather than just trying to survive. They apply in life as well as at work.

I’ve added my own commentary alongside the author’s ideas.

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Self limiting beliefs

Self-limiting beliefs and how to turn them off

This article builds on last month’s topic of Meaningful conversations.

When you build relationships and interact with people – whether at work or in your personal life – you will often find others react differently to you in a situation you both face.

In that case, it is likely that the other person is having an emotional trigger that may have started in childhood. When these triggers manifest in ways that appear to be unhelpful or disproportionate, it is likely you are seeing a self-limiting belief in action.

This may also apply to you. Do you ever find you react differently to others, or hold yourself back because you don’t believe something is possible?

Self-limiting beliefs are a problem because they limit our potential to flourish in life. We also risk passing our unhelpful thoughts on to others, including our children (the opposite risk is that other people recognise reject our unhelpful thought patterns but then swing too far the other way).

This month’s article explores this topic. As usual, my advice includes a blend of theory and practical.

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right.”
Henry Ford

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Meaningful conversations

Meaningful conversations

After 15 months of living with the pandemic, we’re getting tired of being in front of a computer screen all the time. We’re not working fewer hours, but we are becoming less engaged – particularly on an emotional/heart/relationship level. You may not have seen your colleagues for months – particularly if you lead or are part of a globally dispersed team or if you haven’t had any working-from-office days. It’s so long since we’ve had social interaction that conversations have typically become more transactional, just so we can get them over with.

Technology doesn’t lend itself to meaningful conversations in the way face-to-face connection does. That’s why this article focuses on how we can have conversations that deepen relationships and are more productive and fulfilling, even online.

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Enliven meetings and boost energy

How to enliven your online meetings and boost the energy on video calls

Many of us are still mostly working from home. Even when lockdown lifts, it’s likely that we’ll move to a hybrid model comprising both home working and office working. (I wrote about this last month: The new model of office working.)

Many people working remotely are getting tired of back-to-back video calls. This means it can be hard to keep their attention during your online meetings. One answer is to include audience participation activities that help to bond the team and reinforce your desired outcome.

When running face-to-face meetings, I always have a few energisers up my sleeve to use when I feel energy levels start to dip. Online, this is even more important.

For this article, I’ve teamed up with Jackie Barrie, the author of Experiential Speaking: Engaging icebreakers, energisers and games. She’s currently working on a new book explaining how to keep people engaged online, and is kindly giving us a preview of some of the content below.

I hope you’ll find at least one idea you can try with your team, and look forward to hearing how you get on.

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New model for office working

New model for office working

I don’t like the expression “new normal“ – maybe I’ve heard it so many times that I’m bored of it! But we do need to consider what the new model could look like for the way we work once all the lockdowns are lifted, worldwide.

What is clear to me from recent conversations with clients is that things won’t go back to the way they were before the pandemic. This has major implications for leaders in terms of office arrangements, use of space, and ensuring the culture enables employees to flourish and embrace innovation.

While some technology companies may claim that they are moving to a permanent working from home situation, the reality is that a hybrid model where you blend home and office working is likely to be the best way forward.

This article looks at some of the areas leaders need to focus on.

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Emotional courage

Emotional courage

The pandemic has forced many of us to slow down and take time to think. Whilst there are many benefits to this, it can also be quite scary; our usual busyness can shield us from facing important topics.

Last month’s article was about reconnecting with your purpose. This month, we talk about emotional courage – what it is, why people avoid it, and some practical guidance to help make it easier.

For example, if you have come to believe that you’re in the wrong profession, it will take emotional courage to admit that you want to change your career path and start something new. If your new plans are radically different, you could feel overwhelmed. You might face an initial drop in salary. It can also be hard to tell your family and friends, especially if they encouraged you down your original path. But – if it’s what your heart wants – it’s worth doing.

Another example could be when facing a difficult conversation. We can often feel nervous about potential conflict, or worry that the other person might become angry, or fear we’ll react in an overly defensive way.

A key mindset is to know that things are always going on which are outside anyone’s control. How do you sit with that uncertainty? What emotions does it bring?

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