3 Crucial Steps to Engage Your Team

I have many conversations with clients and others about how important it is to enrol your team into your leadership – and ultimately – YOU.

After all, as a leader you are engaging your team and others into you and your vision. They are looking to you for leadership albeit even at a basic level for a role, a task, a purpose. Even as a parent you lead in this respect.

Its well know these days that an empowered, connecting and common purpose is a fundamental motivator for a high performing, well engaged workforce.

I’ve heard many complaints over the last month about how teams don’t speak up, aren’t proactive or don’t think for themselves. They should know how to just get on with things right? Why do they keep taking up your time by asking questions – even worse the same questions!

Or the other popular complaint: team members not speaking up in team meetings, or indeed at other crucial times when something is going on. There is big consequences to that of course – you want better client relationships, quality of service, client satisfaction – they may be hiding poor service, mistakes or withholding potential golden information about client opportunities.

You are frequently hearing the sound of your own voice…complaining or saying the same spiel to keep things moving and it can be pretty lonely in that place.

Now, where is your part in this? Check in with yourself and ask the following:

  • Realness – now this is a biggie. How REAL are you being with your team? Yourself… truthful…open & honest about your frustrations or purpose. Its very common (some may say human nature) to put up a facade, persona at work – especially in leadership. This usually comes down to concerns about being ‘found out’ or believing we need to look ‘competent’, ‘strong’ or my personal favourite ‘all seeing, all knowing’. It’s a very different mindset to be in partnership with your team
  • Communication – have you communicated not just tasks but the bigger picture? Especially if you are noticing some dis-engagement. Its so important to communicate vision and INTENT as well as the practical stuff. How else do teams know what the purpose is or what they are going for? I hear a lot of clients assuming that their purpose or expectations are known
  • Open Your Ears and Your Heart – its all very well saying, ‘I want to hear from everyone’ in a team meeting but do you REALLY? Do you listen and seriously allow your team to speak freely, put ideas forward – even if you don’t agree with them? Do you ask questions, get curious? And are there other ways in your day to day behaviour that you dismiss comments, concerns or ideas? There is usually a much bigger cultural picture that stems from patterns of behaviour. You may be all ears in a team meeting but do you dismiss day to day comments outside of this? I’ve seen this happen many times!

This is no-ones fault of course, if your team aren’t responding or being as proactive as you would like. Its just as it is right now. That’s what I am passionate about – that leadership is always learning, growing. There’s no right or wrong to how things are – it just is what it is.

What’s more important is whether your current behaviour is working, serving you and your organisation well. Not just in terms of numbers but the quality of day to day work life. If you want something different from your team or the context has shifted – something different is required from you and them. Herein lies your golden opportunity.

How great is that! Some of our greatest challenges or changes can be a huge fertile ground for growth…

‘When you change your behaviour you can transform your experience and how people respond to you’

Learn how to transform your leadership behaviour and your team’s – for the long term. Step into the unknown and commit to finding out how those little changes can make a big difference in your leadership.

Join me in a FREE 1hr 1:1 coaching discovery session to discover how your greatest challenges can empower your greatest growth.

I can’t wait to hear from you…

Present or Panic?

Now if you are anything like one of clients, making a presentation to a fairly small group – known or unknown can be a terrifying experience.

I’ve been through this myself when I first started training and facilitating nearly 10 years ago. I remember the first time I stood in front of a group of people all looking at me to lead and guide them. I was terrified, so uptight at times that I couldn’t think clearly.

How do you truly connect with people and take them on a journey that will end up with them being engaged with you and your topic?

I’ve been to a few presentations this week that were great, informative and clear – however the presenters didn’t always connect with their audience. They didn’t check-in with them to see how they are doing or notice people yawning, shifting in their seats.

Questions during the presentation were sometimes met with dismissal – it seemed as if the presenter was more focused on ‘getting through’ the slides and finishing on time than engaging with their audience.

Well for some of my clients, even those who have jumped in through sheer determination, the experience of presenting is not always an enjoyable one.

Some of the most common fearful scenarios I have come across are:

  • Presenting to a potential client (particularly if unsure of the client or content
  • Presenting a topic that is not your area of knowledge or expertise
  • Presenting a session about something outside of work (i.e. sharing about yourself)
  • Presenting to staff (particularly to motivate, engage or share information), peers or indeed others in your profession

And some of the common concerns are…

  • I have to know my topic inside out
  • I have to know what to say and when, be prepared
  • I have to get through all the content on time
  • I’ll make a mistake, miss something, forget something
  • I’ll look silly, unprofessional, incompetent, stupid
  • I’ll be ask questions I can’t or don’t want to answer

Result = stress, tension, disconnection, panic, insomnia, time consuming checking/research to prepare

Here’s my 4 top tips for you:

  • BREATHE – take 3 conscious breaths and remember you will, most likely, do your best and that’ll be enough
  • Check-In with yourself – with those expectations you have in yourself…often we make judgements or assumptions about what’s expected of us or others. Is it true, generally speaking, that you are unprofessional or incompetent?
  • Check-in with your audience – are they yawning, shifting in their seats, distracted? Check-in with them, ask them how you are doing. Ask if they have ideas or examples to discuss – this is essential to bring the topic to life and make it real. They are there for a purpose right? Because they want to get something from your presentation – so check in with them to make sure this is happening
  • Learn to love the Don’t Know – you can say ‘I don’t know’ when asked a question. It is allowed! You don’t know what you don’t know and that’s ok. Nobody knows everything. The important thing here, as a leader and presenter, is to respond – acknowledge the question and offer a solution or follow up

And…One More Thing…

Be yourself! Speak from the heart…show your passion…enthusiasm…

Present or panic is part of a FREE audio download I have created and recorded called ‘the 3 most common challenges in leadership for legal & finance professionals’. This includes another 2 common challenges:

  • Delegating and/or Sharing Responsibility – overcoming letting go of control so teams can be freed up to be proactive and use their initiative
  • Networking Events – overcoming fears of striking up conversations and connecting with others

Download your FREE copy here: FREE Audio – 3 Most Common Challenges in Leadership

I can’t wait to hear from you…