Obligation in Leadership – Does it Serve you Well?

Obligation in Leadership – Does it Serve you Well?

There’s a motivational state that has been evident around me the last few weeks and months – and in myself sometimes – obligation.

Do you know this one? It’s the state of mind we can get into with a commitment that sounds like:

  • I have to go along, see this through, keep going…
  • I can’t say no – or what I really think…
  • I’m bored…frustrated…tired…distracted
  • This isn’t working…this isn’t what is should be…this should be…
  • So-and-so doesn’t know what they are doing…
  • I’ve tried to change it but it doesn’t work, if I say anything it won’t make any difference
  • Here we go again…
  • I have no choice…

So you show up for a meeting and this is your state of mind. ‘Going through the motions’ comes to my mind as I’m writing this. I have done this many times! Something at some point may peak my interested, but other than that I’m 50% – sometimes – 25% in.

At some point I said YES to this commitment and now I’m acting out a NO.

And then what most likely nicely piles up is resentment and/or resignation. We then go about (consciously or unconsciously) playing this out with some of the following behaviours:

  • Distracted, disengaged, not giving our full attention (playing with our phone is a popular one)
  • Withholding of information, knowledge or contribution
  • Acting bored or indifferent
  • Not really fully participating or speaking up about what one is unhappy or frustrated about
  • Moaning, complaining – we do like to do that don’t we!
  • Colluding with others outside of the meeting to diagnose ‘what’s wrong’
  • Mentally justifying one’s own disengagement, inactivity or lack of attention

We are literally rejecting or resisting the situation right now – AS IT IS. Well we have tried haven’t we?

The thing is when we show up in a state of obligation, not only are we not taking responsibility for our part – we have also already condemned the situation as ‘over’.  We have closed the door our willingness to see possibility, get creative or be open to the conversation as it is happening. There is nowhere to go after that. Obligation is the path we are on and there’s a perceived self preservation in that – and a nice familiar place to hide out – being a martyr or a victim or ‘knowing better’.

There’s a big fat NO in us and the essence of that will trickle out affecting the atmosphere.  And of course the ensuing resentment is like poison, slowing sucking the life out of everything. This may sound dramatic but it’s very real when it happens and can be extremely toxic in an organisational culture.

As Nelson Mandela said:

‘Resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die’

My question is: Would you really want to keep this going? We all play a part in the context, what’s created in any given moment. You have the absolute power – at any time – to choose something different.  To choose a different way to BE and behave.

Don’t underestimate how much one person’s willingness – yours – can affect the atmosphere and outcome. As a very wise person once said to me ‘your way of being, your behaviour are like perfume – people can smell it’.

People in high performing, empowered cultures show up much more in a motivational state of willingness. A willingness to be open, to say what is so for them – even if this is uncomfortable. There’s a willingness to be honest, fully participate, focus on the quality of their own experience and that of the team. There’s a willingness to be uncertain, creative, uncomfortable, collaborative. They take personal responsibility for the part they play and how this contributes to the bigger picture.

So here are five suggestions and insights that I’m hopeful will support you (and indeed the bigger picture in your own organisational culture):

  • Purpose – what’s your purpose for being there? For saying yes in the first place. Is your purpose still valid or true? Are you and/or the team getting what you came for? Is your purpose big enough to see you through when things don’t go how you would like? Sometimes admitting to ourselves that we don’t want something anymore or it’s not working out is tough. And letting go can take huge amounts of courage…however it can also create room for discourse, something else, other ideas, people or possibilities…
  • Choice – Is it really true that we have no choice? There may be consequences to making a different choice – however I put it to you that this is not the same as not having a choice. What we can always choose is how we are with the choices we make. There is a big psychological difference and impact between and attitude of ‘obligation’ and ‘willingness’
  • Are you IN or OUT – in light of your or the team’s purpose, do you really to keep going? Is it serving you, others or the purpose to keep going? Are you contributing in the way you want to? Are you creating the results you want? What needs to happen for you/the team to be more engaged, committed…fully IN…100%
  • Tell the TRUTH – if you are not happy or don’t what to be there. Speak up, leave, say no, let go. Tell the truth about how you are feeling and what you’d like to see change. No guarantee of course that you will get what you want! Have your voice though, even if it is not what others want to hear. You do yourself and others a disservice by not speaking up. I can’t count the times I have been fearful to say something and then when I do there are countless others who say ‘yes, I thought that’. And then we have course corrected or cleared up what was in the way. Your willingness to be open and truthful creates the space for others to do the same
  • You – by being in a state of obligation the person who loses out most is YOU. You diminish your voice, you minimise your wants and needs, you minimise that fact that YOU matter and your contribution matters. Avoiding taking responsibility for yourself in this way also diminishes the part YOU can play in creating something different – whether that’s staying where you are or not. Contexts shift constantly – you can choose to change yours proactively and consciously or ‘ride along’ in obligation.

So, as always the choice is yours…

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Leadership Development – What do YOU stand for?

Leadership Development – What do YOU stand for?

I’ve worked with many clients, particularly public sector, who want to transform their stakeholder engagement results, predominantly staff engagement. They want a higher performing culture – a culture where staff are much more empowered, forward thinking and engaged. They want this to transform their organisation, solve their retention or HR issues and lead to significant improvement of services. The ‘golden alchemy’ if you will.

What I’ve noticed is that there’s a big piece missing for me in how this goal is tackled or even debated. I see a kind of flatness, blandness, sometimes a lot of resignation and particularly individual leaders with-holding their individuality. I rarely see a leader truly engaged in their own strategy – where’s the passion, where’s the emotionally compelling vision for a transformed future? For me sometimes there’s a big disconnection in HOW the vision and strategies are put forward.  I want to see leaders take a stand.  I want to see leaders authentically sharing what they stand for and engaging me into a compelling vision for the future – because they are engaged and fired up themselves.

As with all hopes for change, this starts at home – in all of us as leaders. How are you being? What do you stand for?

In the same respect, I have huge compassion that this may not be the ‘done thing’, showing one’s self in this way. It takes courage and the willingness to stand out. It’s more common to portray a ‘persona’ or a culturally accepted norm – to maintain a conscious or unconscious consensus. Completely understandable .

My question is, how can you as a leader expect your teams to BE something which isn’t role modelled in your own behaviour?  Isn’t that confusing and incongruent? The most powerful way we can engage and transform is to role model the courage and willingness to do this ourselves.  Engage yourself first, transform your attitude first.

I hear a lot about different organisational development strategies, all brilliant initiatives that will be part of this or improvement journey.  I am a passionate believer however that creating a coaching culture is one of the most effective and sustainable ways to transform cultures, particularly for organisations that are going for higher performance, empowerment or engagement.

This is something I have a great deal of experience in. Some years ago I created a ‘coaching for culture’ programme with an awesome educational client. This was a powerful way to not only develop leadership and teams but also create a more purposeful, open, empowered culture where the emphasis shifted from ‘telling’ to ‘learning’. The starting part of course is to role model this through the executive team – through their own journey of empowerment and development. Who knows what’s possible after that!

So here’s my four key steps to creating an empowered coaching culture:

– Live it – have your own coaching, be empowered, see how this transforms your own performance or engagement. This could even be the purpose of your coaching

– Creating a Vision and Purpose – intentionally create a powerful, compelling vision and purpose that engages YOU and sets the context for coaching

– Coaching Strategy – underpinned by your vision and purpose, create a strategy or framework that is going to bring about your coaching culture

– Tipping point – be clear about the ‘how’ in your strategy, how are going to create a tipping point in coaching culture? Who are you going to enrol into your vision, how are you going to engage internal and external stakeholders, how are you going to create the context which will bring about your results (particularly how staff will keep practising and keep their learning going).

There you are. Go create!

 

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Legal Leadership – Visionary or Vacant?

Legal Leadership – Visionary or Vacant?

I was just reading a Forbes article about the top 3 burning issues in law firm’s – highlighted in 2017. I’ve worked with a number of legal professionals and this top 3 really resonated with what I’ve been experiencing and hearing. Here’s my take on the key challenges:

  • Vision and Strategy – gone are the times when being the top fee earner was all a firm is strategically focused on – or indeed extremely reactive leadership which only reacts to day to day events. MORE is required these days to engage firm staff, clients and other stakeholders in a meaningful strategic vision and aspirational brand values.  More forward thinking firms are moving into this evolving paradigm because they recognise the world has moved on. People want a more common purpose, inspiration and fulfilment. Being technically excellent is no longer enough
  • Succession Planning & Developing Talent – many firms are in a new era of leadership transition. They are looking at one or two years ahead where managing partners who have been in the firm for 10-20, sometime nearly 30 years are about to retire. Reflection on the old paradigm of this kind of term is bringing about a realisation that in order for firms to grow, their leadership needs to be more fresh, creative and forward thinking. The old paradigm of long serving partners may be consistent and solid but can also create stagnation and client silos. Firms need emerging partners, associates who have the strategic engagement skills to deliver client development AND bring about a compelling strategic vision
  • Cultural Congruency – the practise in many law firms has been to segregate departments and recruit laterally based on industry groupings or areas of law. However cross cultural alignment can be a big issue across firms. Employment law departments can foster a very different culture in comparison to say conveyancing which can be far more transactional. Firm leaders need to have the aptitude and adaptability to engage and serve clients across the firm. It’s a real challenge for firms to create a common culture when head of departments may be at odds in both their leadership style and their willingness to invest in the firm’s strategic leadership development

I’ve recently been doing some research for a leadership programme – with varied feedback from legal firms of different sizes and complexity. The themes I’ve pulled from this so far, plus feedback from clients, has reflected similar challenges. I think it’s immensely positive that some firms are aware of their barriers to growth – the next step is doing something about it! And of course engaging their firm is key – enrolling themselves, teams, clients and other stakeholders to ‘get on the train’ as it were.

Here are 3 top tips then to reflect on…

  • Leadership Capacity – invest the time to look at where the firm’s leadership is in relation to both current growth and challenges, where’s the gap? What are the challenges telling you? I’m a great believer in challenges being the biggest opportunity for growth. Is the leadership resisting challenges or getting aligned with the reality of change – and most importantly what clients needs are
  • Pro-active Leadership – engage partners and stakeholders in developing a vision for the future – one which is not just about technical or financial growth but HOW this vision is going to be lead. What is it going to take in the existing (or up and coming) leadership to build the firm’s evolving world? Making the time and investment to consciously choose how to lead is very different from batting off challenges as they arise
  • Collective Leadership Vision – invest in the development of both existing leadership and emerging talent. Review how the firm can commit to empowering and harnessing talent, those who are going to be leading the firm into the distant future. Create openness and honesty about the existing capabilities and barriers of current leadership behaviours. Develop both individual leadership visions and a collective leadership vision which inspires, creates clarity and ambition

So there you go! I’m passionate about individual and collective self awareness in firms, mostly because self awareness = choice. The choice to respond differently. The choice to be pro-active rather than reactive. How powerful would your firm be if you were consciously choosing how to behave? Wow!

Want to create that vision or proactive leadership in your firm?

Ask me about a FREE leadership group taster session to propel your greatest challenges into a powerful strategic vision.

I can’t wait to hear from you…

Book FREE Leadership Group Taster Session

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Empowering Leadership – the Three T’s

Empowering Leadership – the Three T’s

Hmmmm what a challenge eh – being an empowering leader. Many amazing leaders I know have become so because of their direct style and ability to ‘get things done’. Great! And quite often this style is perfect for an organisational context that needs a strong, clear direction.

What if the context though – and more importantly the feedback – is now saying something different?

I’ve had many conversations over the last few weeks with clients and others who have totally understandable challenges in making this transition. Especially those who work in a very politicised and/or heavily regulated industry. The reason I say this is because these environments tend to thrive in rigidity, fear and resentment – empowerment however doesn’t – and thus lies on the other side of this.  So how does one find the balance between effective corporate governance and creating a truly empowered organisation?

For me empowerment is the freeing up of myself and others to self solve, step forward, speak up, participate, create – essentially knowing we are free to BE ourselves. Thus it’s vital an organisation can create a context of openness, trust and courage. Only then will people learn to trust their capability, capacity and ability to handle whatever comes up – and get creative.

This is where high performing teams can powerfully emerge – teams knowing the importance of honesty and openness. Teams who recognise relationships are vital and make time to clear up clashes and misunderstandings so they can get back in the game – together.

FEAR is at the essence of this empowerment challenge, the basic reality of human condition that wants negate the fear of failure and protect oneself. The tragedy is that this mindset closes down openness, trust and courage and thus opportunities for higher performance, innovation and growth.

I put it to you my friends that these fears are an illusion. A lens through which we choose to see the world – and then act accordingly, reacting and behaving as if it’s true.

More often than not I see these fears played out by leaders wanting to create solutions or policies behind closed doors that create empowerment. However, isn’t this disempowering? Isn’t this another way to repeat the same fearful behaviour? How are stakeholders, teams included…engaged, PART OF the creation – rather than back to the old form of ‘consultation’ where the conversation may likely be already closed.

Of course it’s important to have clarity about the purpose, context and barriers. However for me the spirit of empowerment is much more than this. It’s an attitude of trust, openness and a willingness to be uncomfortable with one’s fears. To risk, to have the courage to role model a different way – even if it doesn’t work or create our hopes. I’ve found that being willing to trust the process and ride this rollercoaster takes courage and builds resilience! The great thing is that we will always get feedback, in one form or another, as to what’s working and what isn’t.

One of things I learnt last year about my own leadership (which quite honestly I have found extremely frightening at times) is that not I, nor anyone else, know the future. I can hope, dream, aspire, predict – give it my all – however I have no idea whether any of what I want will transpire. So I’m mostly feeling the fear and going for what I want – willing to risk never knowing the outcome. There’s a big difference between hoping and expecting. The former is open to possibility, the later a demand on the outcome.

Here’s my three T’s then, the qualities I’ve learnt and I’m continuously developing:

  • Trust – patience, patience, patience…willingness to let go and trust myself, others, the process. A willingness to risk NEVER knowing the outcome. Hoping vs. Expecting
  • Tenacity – the determination to keep going, keep the faith, trust that all is not lost if things don’t go my way. Including if there’s A LOT of course correcting, diversions, difficult choices to be made
  • Truthfulness – being honest with myself and others when we have a success (yey!!) or something isn’t working. Telling the truth is the most liberating, freeing experience I find and the one that keeps me connected with myself and others. And in terms of empowerment is key to creating openness and courage – to be with things as they ARE not as we’d like them to be.

I’m aware too that we all have a personal responsibility in how we show up, interact and engage. Through the amazing coaching tools I have, I know I have the ability to empower myself and others – I don’t need to wait or be given this by some other person or circumstance. I am also aware that sometimes for me it can take a large amount of courage to do so – to trust, be tenacious and keep telling the truth.

Want to empower yourself to tell the truth and build a high performing team?

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…

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Authentic Leadership – the Three C’s

Authentic Leadership – the Three C’s

What is authentic leadership? That sure is an interesting question isn’t it? I’ve just spent the last 30mins or so reading the definition on Wikipedia. Here’s the crux of the definition…’consensus appears to be growing that authentic leadership includes these distinct qualities:

  • Self-awareness: An ongoing process of reflection and re-examination by the leader of his or her own strengths, weaknesses, and values
  • Relational Transparency: Open sharing by the leader of his or her own thoughts and beliefs, balanced by a minimization of inappropriate emotions
  • Balanced Processing: Solicitation by the leader of opposing viewpoints and fair-minded consideration of those viewpoints
  • Internalized Moral Perspective: A positive ethical foundation adhered to by the leader in his or her relationships and decisions that is resistant to outside pressures

It strikes me that there’s a big paradox to this…if we go some way to defining a set of qualities that means one is an authentic leader, wouldn’t that be inauthentic?

For me authentic is being real, being yourself, showing one’s humanity – whatever that is – and this will be different from one leader to the next. For this is humanity, we are all different and bring our own uniqueness to the table. How can a set of pre-defined behaviours or values be authentic?

Funny things is, as I type this I’m thinking am I being authentic in writing this article? The truth is I read ‘balanced by a minimisation of inappropriate emotions’ and I thought no way!  How would that ever be authentic if one is minimising their emotions? What’s inappropriate, isn’t that subjective (especially to the context)?   I felt incredibly sad as I read this – for my hope is a world of leadership where leaders show more emotion, more humanity – not less.

I say this because my hope for leadership is a greater realness and openness – not where leaders are subscribed to a ‘model’ but where they are self-empowered to be themselves more of the time.  Each of us knows what this is, because only we can know in our hearts when we are being truly authentic.

The biggest challenge I work on with clients and in my own leadership is dropping the pretence, the personas we carry or get into that prevent us from showing who we essential are. When we do this, it’s our pretence that is in a relationship with others, our team or our stakeholders and thus in many cases to maintain the relationship means maintaining the facade. I know for myself there can be a lot of loneliness in that arena.

I say this my friends as I have learnt through many years of transformational development that when I get back to being who I am, more and more of me grows, comes forward, get released, energised, creative. It’s fucking amazing!! How’s that for authenticity?!

Here’s my three C’s then, the qualities I’ve learnt and been developing (a never ending journey):

  • Confidence – it takes esteem in one’s own skin, purpose, self value to develop the confidence to show authenticity, more of the time…especially when others are not. I can role model authenticity by being willing to be myself no matter what and forgive myself when I forget
  • Courage – oh yes, it can take uncopious amounts of courage at times for me to be authentic…show my humanity, especially vulnerability. Every time I do there’s another level to go for…
  • Commitment – it takes a solid, powerful purpose to commit to being more authentic more of the time. Especially when the going gets tough, when old thinking and behaviours are challenged.

I wondered as I’m coming to the end of sharing my thoughts – if authenticity is a bit like art (I remember reading a quote once in one of my coaching theory books)

‘Once we define art, it isn’t art anymore.’

In some ways being authentic seems to me to be how I am at any given moment, with or without a mask, just as I am right now…

 

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3 Crucial Steps to Engage Your Team

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…

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Present or Panic?

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…

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The Most Common Leadership Challenge for Legal and Finance Leaders

The Most Common Leadership Challenge for Legal and Finance Leaders

I am very experienced with personality/communication styles – and I work regularly with finance, property and legal professionals.  One of the key themes I started noticing was that there was a range of common challenges.  Essentially there seemed to be a predisposition that those in these professions were more likely to be systematic, methodical, goal orientated thinkers (a huge asset of course) and this meant that they had a preference for guidelines, rules, frameworks, planning.  Then you know where you are, right?

This preference however doesn’t always translate well when one is building genuine connecting relationship with clients, staff and peers.  And, as I am sure you know, communication and the ability to connect is vital in a leadership role.  In this context we are dealing with a completely different skill set which sometimes not only required, but hugely advantageous.  This advantage translates into the willingness and ability to be successful at (and more importantly at ease with)  wining new clients, adding value, managing conflict, motivating employees, developing innovation, taking responsibility and ownership…and much more.

Actually in the bigger picture as a director or partner: if you want teams/peers that think for themselves – those who are proactive, passionate, creative, take the initiative, highly engaged with clients  – then the attitude and behaviour more likely to create this is one of empowerment, openness, honesty and trust.   This results in significantly more productive and engaged people, mainly because they know that they and their contribution matters.

So one of the most common challenges is:  Delegating and/or Sharing Responsibility – this may be played out in one or more of the following scenarios:

  • Workload overload, too much on your plate and too little time
  • Staff/peers constantly coming to you with questions
  • People only completing what they are asked (and sometimes not even that!), lack of initiative or stepping up for teams/peers

Common concerns

  • It’ll be quicker to do it myself
  • Staff or peers don’t have the knowledge or aptitude to do it right
  • Their mistakes will reflect badly on me
  • I won’t get the credit when things are done
  • I have to get everything done or else I’ll be a failure

Result = stress, overwrought, insomnia, poor work/life balance, little time to spend strategy or business development, making mistakes.  Distracted and/or working when at home with loved ones…

Here’s my 3 Tips on practising overcoming this challenge:

  • Purpose – now this may be a humdinger, consider what your purpose may be for holding out on delegating or asking for help? Do you like to be a martyr?  Like to be useful, wanted even?  These are all perfectly understandable; however does your behaviour really serve you in your life, your team or the growth of your company?  Check-in with yourself and be honest with yourself about what is holding your resistance in place
  • You’re Human – we are all human, fallible – including you. IF you delegate there is of course the possibility that things won’t be completed as you would have done them yourself.  This may be a reality.  There is also, I suggest, the possibility that things may be done better, differently or even in a way that adds value.  There is much to be gained from an attitude of ‘we are in this together’ as opposed to ‘lone ranger’.  This encourages you to stretch and let go – and encourages your staff/peers to grow their skills.  Question is: are you willing to trust, never knowing the outcome?
  • Worst Case Scenario – consider what the worst case scenario is and identify how you would handle it (if it did). Now you have a plan!  You can of course have as many worst case scenario’s as you like – at least until you get used to letting go (and trusting that) ,whatever happens, it can and will be resolved

So there you are!

As ever I encourage you to get in touch if you have any comments or feedback – I am always glad to hear them.

One More Thing…

This most common challenge is part of a 30 minute audio class I have recorded.  This includes another 2 common challenges for legal and finance professionals:

  • Presenting to a Group – overcoming stress, tension, over-preparing
  • Networking Events – overcoming fears of striking up conversations

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

Go ahead and jump in.  I can’t wait to hear from you…

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3 Transformative Steps to Leadership Growth

I’ve been working on (for some time now) a new ‘edge’ for me – by this I mean stepping out into new ways of being and behaving that in the past have been a significant challenge for me and my leadership.

I realised a few months ago how much more determined I am and, of course, my results are remarkably different. I had a tendency to be impatient, getting agitated and/or extremely frustrated when things didn’t go my way. I’d spend copious amounts of time over thinking, generally trying to work out what had happened, moaning, ranting, getting frustrated and then ultimately blaming and beating myself up.

The last few months have been an amazing (and also challenging!) roller-coaster at times and I now am starting to see how different my world is when I trust myself and whatever is or isn’t happening. There is an ebb and flow when I trust and keep getting back to aligning myself with the reality that I do not, (nor do I want to these days), control anything. I can ask questions, reach out, be open hearted, open minded – however ultimately I don’t know what the future holds. There’s an openness, an allowing and powerful synergy in play when I surrender to what IS. So I have been learning a different level of patience, trust, openness and in some ways vulnerability.

I am truly grateful for this very forward looking perception of growth. The knowing that whatever I find challenging, even the little things, is an opportunity for me to grow. It’s never negative in the long term, even if the events or moments seem so at the time. I now see this as a spring board to access MORE of me or to take a stand on what’s important. There’s always an opportunity to develop a new or existing quality or to remind myself that my current frame…my current beliefs or state can be changed. All it takes is willingness to step into the unknown and practise.

As I type this I feel a building excitement in my chest and stomach because of the possibilities for myself and others when this part of ourselves is accessed. The part that is willing to loosen our grip, willing to risk, willing to be creative, willing to trust. I mean what’s the worst that can happen? I feel an awe and solidity in my backbone that is hard to describe but is putting a big smile on my face.

AND the other great thing is I get to work on this with clients too: how can their current challenges be an opportunity to learn, to grow rather than a fault to be fixed or to condemn themselves with. Those opportunities can be powerful stepping stones to propel them forward in their leadership. Frequently the very things that they find challenging are offering a golden opportunity to be MORE of the leader that they want to be – and that they are truly capable of. Then it’s all about practise, practise, practise – and self compassion of course when things don’t go as planned.

There is always a ‘tipping point’ – those little changes that over time will make a big difference.

Today’s big question is…where do you demand that you know how things ought to be in your leadership, your team and your life?

So next time you are challenged, reflect and focus on these 3 transformative steps to propel your growth:

  • The Demand – check-in with yourself. How are you insisting that you, others or the situation ought to be? Get off your own omnipotence and take the blinkers off
  • The Openness – open your eyes to how you, others or the situation actually IS rather than how you think it should be. Therein lies a realm of other possibilities…
  • The Offer – what is on offer to you in your leadership growth with this challenge, at this time. What quality can you develop that will propel you forward?

Learn how to release demands those on yourself and others, trust more and change your behaviour – 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 one to one coaching session to discover how your greatest challenges can be your greatest opportunity for growth.

I can’t wait to hear from you…

Book FREE 1:1 Coaching Discovery Session

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