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Personal development

How to make it safe with your boss to give feedback

In my 40 year career I have had bosses that are uncomfortable giving me feedback when asked. The reasons are varied, but its important that you make it safe and support your leader to feel comfortable.

If you have acted defensively in the past, they will be reluctant to share feedback for fear that you will react in the same way.

Here are some tips to help you make it safe for your boss:

  1. Share what you are personally working on with your boss, so they can see you are keen to improve. Share progress on what’s working not working for you and how you are changing your approach.
  2. Share feedback from others on areas you need to focus on. Share who gave you the feedback and what you are doing to address.
  3. Once you have done the above, ask do you have any feedback for me, on areas I need to work on, or anything I have shared already.
  4. When they give you feedback, play back to them what you have heard. Then reflect and say thank you this information is priceless, I will work on this. Then share all the progress, so they can see you demonstrate the self awareness to work on improvements
  5. Use self deprecating humour to show that you don’t take yourself to seriously. May make your boss laugh.
  6. When something does not go to plan, share with your boss what happened and how you plan to turn the situation around. Bad news early

Sharing progress with your boss on your self development journey is vital to your future success and it really helps your boss feel comfortable sharing feedback and observations which are essential for growth

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Book Quotes Personal development

12 Rules for life Antidote to chaos by Joran B Peterson

This book was a recommendation for all time reads. There are some absolute nougat’s, but I found parts tough going and there was one point where I was going to give up. I rarely give up reading books.

Here are the gems that resonated with me:

Rule 4: Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today.

“No matter how good you are at something, or how you rank your accomplishments, there is someone out there who makes you look incompetent”

“Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today”

Its easy to forget where you came from and what you have achieved, I take it for granted except when I am mentoring. Mentoring takes me back in time and helps me realise the skills I have learned.

Rule 8 Tell the truth or at least don’t lie

“If you say no to your boss, or your spouse, or your mother, when it needs to be said, you transform yourself into someone who can say no when it needs to be said. If you say yes when no needs to be said, however, you transform yourself into someone who can only say yes, even when it is very clearly time to say no. You have to be willing to walk away when that is the right thing to do.”

This is easier to do as you age, because your values become stronger and act as a moral compass. You also feel like you have less to lose, so you are willing to stand up for what you believe in.

“If you betray yourself, if you say untrue things, if you act out a lie, you weaken your character.”

“Sometimes someone power hungry makes a new rule at your workplace. It’s unnecessary. Its counterproductive. It’s an irritant. It removes some of the pleasure and meaning from your work, but you tell yourself it’s all right, it’s not worth complaining about. Then it happens again. But by failing to react the first time, you have trained yourself to accept such things, and shown the power-hungry types that enjoy their little displays of power, that their mind games are ok. The second time it happens, you’re a little less courageous. Your opponent, thus far unopposed, is a little bit stronger. The institution, a little more corrupt. The process of bureaucratic stagnation and oppression is underway, and you’ve unwittingly contributed, by pretending that is was OK. Why not complain? Why not take a stand? If you do, other people, equally afraid to speak up, may come to your defence.”

The other impact this has if you don’t take action, is you are perceived as a spineless leader. When you do, people are lavish with praise for taking a stance. They also reflect on their own behaviours and how they need to change. You inspire others to fight the good fight.

Rule 9 Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t

“Its amazing what people will tell you if you listen. Sometimes if you listen to people they will even tell you what’s wrong with them.”

“Each person can speak up for himself only after he has first restated the ideas and feeling of the previous speaker accurately and to the speakers satisfaction.”

“She described him as the wisest living man, because he knew that what he knew was nothing.”

The more we know, the more we need to prove what we know. When we say nothing and listen, we learn more.

Thought provoking read and the words of the Stoics: all reading is expediting the learning process. So the gems I have taken away will help me on my journey of learning. We are never too old to learn

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Personal development

Its easy to forget where you came from and what you have achieved. I take it for granted, except when I am mentoring. Mentoring takes me back in time and helps me realise the skills I have learned.

Angela Lovegrove

Categories
High Performing Teams Personal development

How to provide air cover for the team

Coaching a relatively new leader on how to build trust with a team. One of key areas to work on is always having the teams back.

What this means is that if you are representing the team you promote their work, telling the stories of success. When someone fails to meet your expectations the only conversation is with them. And they know that.

Over sharing those coaching conversations in the wrong context with certain leaders can having a lasting impact that can negatively influence the 2 up leaders perception of the individual. In the worst case this can be carried by the 2 up leader for years and regurgitated in conversations years after the incident occurred.

This can limit the career of the team member and if the individual finds out you have destroyed their trust.

The only exception is performance or conduct management.

Protect your team and have their back

Categories
Personal development

Want to call out the lack of diversity at the exec level

An ex colleague and friend called me re: lack of diversity at the exec level in the organization she recently joined. Her question was on how does she call out the lack of diversity.

The answer is, not advisable to call it out, what is advisable is how you are prepared to help the leaders and HR team to change.

What does that mean?

  1. How do ensure males become the best sponsors for women? This is the single reason for women not getting to the top, as without a sponsor its impossible. Sponsorship is promoting the success and ensuring the failures are learned from in a supportive way. The largest gap is sponsorship of women in their 40’s and 50’s. You can help here by encouraging each senior exec to sponsor a women and then give them the support and coaching. https://angelalovegrove.com/2019/10/07/the-difference-between-a-coach-mentor-and-sponsor/
  2. Most senior men are comfortable coaching younger women. They are more fearful of coaching older women, that fear is how women will react to feedback. The key is here is for women to ensure their bosses know they embrace feedback. Value the time they take to walk through examples where they can improve. Share progress and learnings, so over time your boss enjoys the conversations and enables them to become a better leader. Encourage both parties to have more open dialogue. https://angelalovegrove.com/2020/03/30/feedback-is-critical-for-growth/
  3. Where a senior male leader has not had female leaders on their exec team, broach the subject with HR about getting a coach for the exec. This is a common approach for male execs who know they have difficulty with women to work with a coach to help them overcome their bias, Often the coach needs a women to work with the exec to develop the skills and capabilities. Over a decade ago I was fortunate enough to work for a senior male exec who approached me to work with his coach to help him overcome his bias. I learnt a fortune about what causes the issues for the males and how I could help him.
  4. Ensure your emerging leaders are equipped to lead women. I talk openly about the differences and encourage my female and male leaders to discuss what causes them challenges re: female behavior v;s male behavior’s. Over time they begin to adapt and the females thrive under their leadership. This is critical if we want to change the future for women in the workplace.
  5. Call out privately with individuals bad or poor behavior towards women. I previously had a boss who constantly criticized strong female leaders in front of his leadership team. I was appalled as he did not do this in relation to male leaders. The first few times I stewed over it and then the next time, I pulled him to one side in private that I found his comments offensive and please stop. A couple of times of pulling him to one side did the trick and no more offensive comments in front of me. https://angelalovegrove.com/2020/03/04/taking-responsibility-to-how-we-get-treated/
  6. Don’t judge! None of us are perfect. It’s important to lock the judgement up, you cannot coach or support when you are judging.

All the best with changing the work place and I hope the 6 steps are helpful.

Categories
Personal development

Don’t die wondering

My Business coach favourite saying. Today I coached someone regarding an opportunity, they were unsure what to do, the words of my coach came out.

We never know unless we put ourselves out. Often fear of rejection or failure gets in the way of us approaching an opportunity or taking on a new challenge.

Always follow your hear and “never die wondering”. Words of wisdom

Categories
Personal development

Make peace with your past

I cannot help myself when it comes to things that happened in the past and letting go. I journal, meditate and tell myself let it go, it’s not serving you, but still I dwell on the events of the past.

There is an element of reflection which is always good, but when you continue to think about something you managed poorly, there is a point that it is decremental and emotionally draining.

This week I was preparing for a speech at a conference and I recalled a sales kick off with leaders from over 7 years ago where I had sat cross legged for a period of time, when I went to speak in front of 200 people I fell over as my legs gave way. As I was sat waiting to speak this week, I kept uncrossing my legs! The learnings from the past are helpful, but then I started to dwell on it, thinking of the embarrassment, that’s not helpful!

Make peace with the past. We all make mistakes, taking the learnings is good, dwelling for long periods of time and replaying the event is not good.

Categories
Collaberation High Performing Teams Personal development

What great habits have you adopted working from home?

The last few years of working from home has been the most challenging for business. However not all of it has been bad or challenging: Walking meetings, Meditation during the day, coffee catch ups on video with the team and easier collaboration across multiple states without the people in a meeting room dominating the conversation. These are a few of the activities I intend to keep into the future of work.

When on the phone in the office, I walk the floors, as I want to be focused on the call and not be distracted sat at my PC. Walking outside and making calls is so much better, mind is clear, focused on the conversation, always exceptionally productive.

Walking 1;1s with my team and peers are a real hit. But what happens back in the office when we have smart clothes v’s activeware and we are not dressed appropriately for the weather?

Between meetings and calls, my yoga mat is near by and I sit or lay with legs up the wall and put the timer on for my next meeting (5-10 mins), where I relax and breath. My mind is processing the activities of the morning, but as I move to being present, many thoughts come to me, that help me with creating clarity on complex issues, what to do next, or what do I need to know, to gain more clarity.

Collaboration of remote employees when other team members are in a room, can be challenging. Working from home has changed all that. Each person is equal in terms of everyone is in their own homes, not some in a room. Why is this important? Its changed the dynamics and it is far more equitable in terms of contribution and inclusiveness.

Getting to know your team at a whole new level. Video calls mean you get to meet their children,pets, partners in person. I have never felt more connected to my team.

What great habits have you adopted working from home?

Categories
Personal development

Inspiration

Covid has been challenging for everyone and even the most resilient have had their moments. This story is of two people in late 70s, my Mum and Dad.

In an earlier blog I wrote about the year we travelled in the motorhome around Europe with my husband Andy and our basset hound Harvey. https://angelalovegrove.com/2015/05/31/what-is-your-legacy/

When Andy and I came to Australia to live and work 12 years ago, I left the motorhome for my parents to enjoy. For months it sat on the driveway and then one day they went to stay near some friends they had not seen for over a decade. That trip 12 years ago was one of many across England, Wales and Scotland.

During Covid lockdown in the UK, my parents talked about their next trip to Scotland. For the past 6 weeks they have prepared the motorhome, including habitation checks, new tyres, clearing out the garage (under the fixed bed,) cleaned the solar panels on the roof etc etc. The list goes on.

They left on Thursday for their four week tour of Scotland. To see your parents so excited for an adventure, is inspirational. Tonight they called me on Skype in Australia from Loch Lomond on a mobile data package. They were so happy and the adventure had begun.

The fridge was not working so they had to detour from Gretna Green and Lockaby to meet someone who could fix it. With the fridge fixed they headed for their favorite place in Scotland: Loch Lomond.

On the call, they were full of the stories about their adventure and fun of being on the road. After the locksdowns, its inspiring and fills me with admiration for my parents, that they are fearless in the face of what has been a challenging time.

Mont Saint-Michel, France, 2008

So proud of my parents and their spirit of adventure in a pandemic.

Categories
Entrepreneurship Leadership Start up Strategy

In the kingdom of the blind

The favorite saying of my boss of 15 years and mentor Des Miller. I find myself quoting this saying more often these days and each time I recall the many amazing lessons I learnt from Des.

All to often business tries to many activities at once, leading to nothing succeeding. Focus and dominating a particular market, really allows excellent execution.

A few weeks ago I was speaking to someone I competed with in business nearly a decade ago and he recalled the outstanding success for the product and market, he said he would not even compete, even though he worked for a gorilla business, as the business I worked for owned the domain.

In the telco sector there are few that own a niche. Regional players, sector players ie hotels, schools and one that specialised in 1-50 employees in business and nailed the proposition. In a market where Managed service providers and Information technology providers are owning the customer, the challenge for the pure carriers is clear. Again the lesson is relevant: What piece of the kingdom are you going to own?

In the kingdom of the blind, the one eyed man is king.