Category Archives: Leadership

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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Homemade masks

How to re-boot your social skills and confidence

The lockdown period has meant we’ve had to change our routines and spend significant amounts of time at home. Without the usual interactions we have with others, many of the people I talk with tell me they are experiencing one or both of these problems:

  • Some feel they are starting to lose their social skills and confidence and are therefore finding it easier to stay at home
  • Some are prioritising connection with colleagues but de-prioritising their relationships with other stakeholders (there’s only so much Zoom time one can cope with…)

Do you recognise this?  In the long-term, these will impede your ability to deliver value, both as an individual and as part of a team. They might even reduce your overall confidence and well-being.

This article focuses on rebooting your social skills and confidence and includes a couple of self-assessment questionnaires so you can see where you are and identify where you might need to invest development time.

Remember to think of the present situation as physical distancing, not social distancing!

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clouds

Understanding and managing anxiety

I recently came across a BBC podcast on ways to stay calm, and an HBR article on a similar subject. For this month’s article, I’ve extracted the key points and added my perspective. Much of it focuses on the ancient Greek philosophy of stoicism – this seems particularly useful at a time when anxiety levels may be high due to the ongoing pandemic and surrounding uncertainty.

The article covers what you can do if you’re feeling anxious yourself, as well as how you can support your team. The core message is that we can’t control what happens, but we can control how we respond.

As the Buddhist monk Matthieu Richard wrote in his book, Happiness: “Most of the time it is not outward events but our own mind and negative emotions that make us unable to maintain our inner stability and drag us down”.

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Working from home

How to facilitate effective virtual meetings

With the pandemic ongoing around the world, your people are probably more certain by now about the technology they need to be productive at home. However, as you know, leadership is not just about tasks and processes. It’s also about relationships.

Your people need to feel cared for and supported, especially at a time like this. They need to feel connected to their team-mates. But how do you engage a large community who might be geographically dispersed?

Among other things, this article covers some of the principles you need to keep in mind when running virtual team meetings, as well as the tools, tips and techniques to use, and which mindset will be most helpful.

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Signpost

How to lead through new territory

No-one could have predicted the situation we’re currently in, and it’s probably evoking lots of uncomfortable feelings – I know it is for me. I’ve also heard some wonderful stories of how people are supporting and taking care of each other, whether that’s at work or at home.

Being a leader is complex, especially at a time like this. How can you show vulnerability and make it psychologically safe for people to speak up, yet also show confidence and strength so those same people can rely on you to provide a safe harbour?

One could argue this is simply good leadership, albeit magnified at the moment! So, this article comprises some thoughts for you to consider around how to support your team during this time.

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Playing cards

Elements of good judgement

Building on my previous two articles about what makes a great CEO (remember, the insights apply to all of us), this month’s newsletter takes a key skill – good judgement – and examines it in more detail. Some of the insights are based on interviews with CEOs in many different companies conducted by Sir Andrew Likierman, a professor at London Business School, and detailed recently in the Harvard Business Review. I’ve added my own perspective based on my experience of coaching individuals and leadership teams over the years.

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