Be freed up to be who you are in life and leadership…
I Empower Leaders to Transform their Results Through Changing Their Attitude and Behaviour
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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’
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…
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
- 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…
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.
I’ve had many conversations over the last few weeks with many people, including existing clients, who want to develop their people leadership skills. The discussions were around how to focus on the crossover from being very technically good in your field to becoming a leader – managing, motivating people and building relationships. I work with many clients who have this challenge…solicitors, accountants, finance experts, IT or digital consultants.
I have a huge empathy for this journey! I started out as an accountant years ago and the skills I developed were predominantly technical, back office, in the background completing the technical stuff or writing systems reports. And the outputs in many ways were clear cut…there were set formats, ‘right’ answers, clear frameworks, regulations to check or follow.
These days the skills and, more importantly, ways of being I lead with are completely at the opposite end of the spectrum. I have much compassion for clients who are making this transition in skills (and the accompanying confidence) to operate successfully at a higher level in their businesses. This can be immensely daunting – and terrifying.
If you are a leader or manager in a company or indeed a partner or owner…a large part of what is required now as you move to the next level is relationship building, generating connections and new business, leading and motivating people, handling staff challenges or conflicts.
What’s required is completely different, and for some, way out of their comfort zone! Now you’re no longer dealing with rules, regulations, research, data, optimisation, frameworks, plans, sets of accounts…now there’s a great deal of letting go required…less doing, less direction, more empowerment.
Now your realm is a huge set of unknowns…in the mix with all those different personalities and reactions, and of course, the unpredictability of humanity.
So as well as getting yourself out there to connect and build relationships with existing or potential clients, you now need to grow you as a leader WITH your team.
Skills and qualities you may not have exercised much before such as trust, intuition, clarity, vision, purpose, being visible, openness, having honest conversations, saying no, delegating, patience, emotional resilience, compassion…are calling you out on a daily basis.
So let’s say for instance you’re in a meeting or an event and you’re way out of your comfort zone. Here are 3 tips to support you to bridge the transition:
- Listen In – to your thoughts…how are you telling yourself you need to be? And what are you expecting the outcome to be?
- Check-In – with those expectations…and assumptions…often we make judgements or assumptions about what’s expected of us or others. Or we can hold a ideal expectation of ourselves based on what we see as the ‘perfect’ person or solution. How do you know that these assumptions or expectations are true?
- Be Yourself…Be Curious! – be courageous and be yourself, let go of expectations. Interact as you normally would, ask questions, be openly curious about others or the situation. This is especially important if you have a team. What’s their take, what do they want? What do they think the solution(s) are?
Let me know how it goes!
Learn how to transform your willingness to be courageous, get past those expectations about yourself and others. Step into the unknown and step up to the next level in your leadership. And learn how to develop skills that will transform you from uncomfortableness to curious excitement.
Join me in a FREE 1hr 1:1 coaching session to discover how to make this powerful and empowering transition.
I can’t wait to hear from you…
Bye for now…