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Collaberation Entrepreneurship Influence Personal development

Its above my pay grade

What does this phrase show about the person communicating?

For me it maybe a person who lacks confidence or self belief, as leadership can be demonstrated by anyone at any level. If you see an issue that needs addressing, what’s stopping you getting the right people together to discuss? Don’t be afraid to invite leaders above your grade, this applies to individual contributors and leaders at all levels. If they are interested they may attend or send a delegate.

Here is how to approach:

  1. Problem statement: Have a go at a sentence or short paragraph to frame the problem. This is the title of your invitation
  2. Also include background in the invitation: How the problem came about, what you have tried already, who have you engaged
  3. Invitation Agenda: Problem statement, background, Brainstorm of potential solutions and then pros and cons, next steps. AOB.
  4. Ensure the invite goes to all stakeholders impacted, missing someone out, may cause challenges later on, so think about all personnel impacted.
  5. On the day of the event: Ensure the attendees are comfortable that the problem statement makes sense. Tweek if needed.
  6. On the day: Brainstorming ensure that everyone contributes and that no idea is discussed or dismissed, objective is to capture all ideas.
  7. On the day: Once the brainstorm is captured, then work through pros and cons for each idea, ending with a vote on the best solution and next steps.

If you have strong views on the solution to the problem, challenge yourself to leave your attachment at the door. If you are facilitating, you need to facilitate only. If you are participating and have someone else facilitating, challenge your self to say nothing and listen. The process will take care of the outcome.

Have fun, this is how to be a leader as a individual contributor.

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Personal development

Showing anger as a leader

Once a leader shows anger or aggression, there is no psychological safety. Trust is 0.

Rebuilding trust is a long road.

There is no place in modern leadership for anger or aggression. Compassion and focus on the person needing the help is essential to building high performance.

If I have feedback, I always ask the team member to think about what they will do differently? What will be the trigger?. I ask them to spend 0 time on ruminating the event as it is emotionally draining and unhelpful. Instead focus on the long term solution.

My tone is always curious, non judgemental and supportive of the learning. I also want to understand what the trigger is for the person, so I can help them in the future.

If you are angry as a leader, reflect on your ego because anger is a reflection of you.

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Collaboration High Performing Teams Influence Leadership Personal development Strategy

6 tips for optimal collaboration

What does it mean to collaborate? Dictionary definition:  the action of working with someone to produce something.

Collaboration has become overused, poorly implemented. Leading to collaboration fatigue!

Here are my 6 tips for optimal collaboration.

  1. Define the problem statement as a group. Ensure everyone is aligned on the statement: we all love getting to the solution however, this is unhelpful and can limit creativity.
  2. Educate on the impacts of the problem and why its important. Data is key to presenting the facts of the impact. Don’t assume your audience understands the context, history or challenges the problem represents. The more time you spend here the better the creativity re the results.
  3. Black hatting is a great way to ensure all voices are heard especially people who are not convinced about the problem and reluctant to work on a solution. The purpose is take the role of all the internal and external stakeholders and role play their position on the matter, including any risks or opportunities
  4. Ensure all parties that are impacted are included in the collaboration. The last thing you want is having to bring someone on the journey when a recommendation is made.  
  5. Don’t be afraid to lead. I am often asked why are you doing this? In the absence of anyone owning, it is impacting my team and I therefore I am happy to lead to find a resolution. You can lead as an individual contributor. Regardless of where the process lands, leading change is critical and very fulfilling.
  6. Have fun. Get to know each other. Don’t launch into a session, socialise with each other for the first 5 mins.

Have fun Collaborating!

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Book Quotes Coaching Influence Leadership Personal development

You can learn from good and bad bosses.

You can learn from good and bad bosses. None of us are perfect, everyone deserves the best support, if there are behaviours you find offensive, call it out in private.  https://angelalovegrove.com/2020/03/04/taking-responsibility-to-how-we-get-treated/

You can help your boss and they in return will help you. Judgement is the worst human trait. https://angelalovegrove.com/2018/06/04/dont-speak-ill-of-others/

Stay always true to your values. You don’t have to compromise, you need to share what is important to you, so you can build rapport and trust. In return you need to take time to understand the pressure and behaviours that result in your boss’s behaviour. Always seek to understand before being understood, one of my favourite Dale Carnegie sayings. https://angelalovegrove.com/2020/11/24/why-dale-carnegies-how-to-win-friends-and-influence-people-is-my-all-time-favourite-book/

Personal growth occurs when we push ourselves outside our comfort zone. This is the opportunity to push yourself beyond where you have operated before.

With the open honest feedback about your bosses behaviour, you also get it back in return. This has been some of the most transformative coaching I have received in my career.

You can learn from good and bad bosses

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Personal development

Bullying by customers

When a customer is abusive to staff members, as a leader taking immediate action is critical to support your team.

Bullying behaviour comes in many forms, my first experience of dealing with this situation was over a decade ago where a technical team delivering a complex software project were being ridiculed on calls from a significant customer.

The team morale was very low, and a new role for me. Once I understood the language and the behaviour of the customer, armed with the evidence of the behaviour I set up a meeting with the CIO of the customer.

I explained my concerns for the mental welfare of my team and asked if he would ensure these situations did not reoccur. The conversation was a lot less challenging than I first thought it would be and the CIO was receptive and concerned.

Less than a month later I was on a escalation call on a weekend and the staff of the customer were abusive to my team on the call, I promptly said to the abuser “Please refrain from speaking to my team in this manner, we are all working together in our own time to support you and your team”. The abuser persisted and I asked my team to leave the call. A few days later the CIO called to apologise and I said its my team you need to apologise to.

The abuse stopped, but the most important lesson is the team felt supported. The team said this toxic situation had been going on for years.

Since that time I have dealt with numerous situations related to poor behaviour by customers towards staff members. I now take a harder line, I ask for the customer staff member to be removed from dealing with the team, as unfortunately some of these behaviours are entrenched.

As a leader we have a duty of care for our teams wellbeing, so if there is any poor behaviour abusive, blackmailing, and threatening behaviour no matter who it is, you need to act swiftly to protect the wellbeing of the people you work with.

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Personal development

Going Native

A term that was used to describe multi year software implementation teams who now represented their client more than the software company they worked for.

It can also mean going from contract to working for a company.

What I want to address here is the former, when an employee represents the customers interests over their own employer.

As a leader this behavior can be observed in any role which works with customers over a long period of time i.e. account manager, project manager. The challenge is how to spot, call it out and then do something about it.

When an employee spends more time with their customer than the team they work in, they lose connection to the team and business, they are at risk of representing their customers needs over what makes sense to the business.

Here are the signs:

  1. The behavior shows up when the employee is continually driving their customers agenda at a cost to your company. It may be the request does not make commercial sense, only suits them and no other customer.
  2. Poor boundaries and expectation setting with the customer, as they believe their customer is right and the business needs to change even when commercially it does not make sense.
  3. Not taking the position of the employees company, behaving like they work for their customer.
  4. Not attending company team events or team get togethers

As a leader its important to jump on early and here are some of the options you have:

  1. Call it out with the individual with specific examples. Approach with seek to understand: Why do you believe this? Is this the interest of our business? Why is it? What would you do if this business was run on your investments? How would you feel?
  2. Move projects or accounts, to another opportunity. Recognize their great work and set them the next challenge. Anyone is susceptible to “going native” if they work on a account or project to long. One better get them to take a holiday between finishing and starting on the new customer or project.
  3. Plan for a eighteen month to two year changeover, make it clear no one is on a project or account for more than 2 years. This sets a framework of expectation, so no one feels like it a reflection of their ability. It is not, its a reflection of human nature and the bonds we build with people who we work closely with over a period of time.

Never approach the individual with judgement as in my career I have experienced this situation many times, what you need is understanding and a plan! When the employee is reassigned you will see the energy and commitment to the company, its incredible how quickly you can get them back on track. Never see going native as a sign a weakness. Its a sign of someone who cares deeply about what they do.

How to manage someone who has gone native!

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Personal development

Preparing for skip reviews

This is a fabulous opportunity for employees to meet your boss, and if you are a leader with managers an opportunity to meet your managers teams. If you have a boss who makes the time for these sessions, that is a bonus. I am fortunate to work for someone who does and the benefits are phenomenal.

I always get asked, what do I need to prepare? What can I say?

As an employee here is what to prepare:

1. Introduce your role if you manage a team or customers who you manage. Don’t assume he/she knows what you do or who you manage? Include any targets and achievement to target.

2. Aspirations for your career. What you are doing to prepare for the next role.

3. Top 3 things need fixing

4. Insights: what’s happening. Remember your 2 up boss may have no idea of the situations you get exposed to.

My recommendation is not to go with a presentation/deck, just well prepared speaking points. Your 2 up boss sits in so many presentations, they just want to meet you and have a conversation.

The other challenge with presenting is then you have to ensure the technology works, then you don’t get to see their facial expressions if over video. So important not to have any barriers that way you can interact and if they look puzzled, you can ask, did I explain that ok? or do you need more context or more information?

As an employee seize the opportunity and if you are a leader carrying out skip reviews, they are priceless for employee engagement, understanding the morale and culture of the teams at the next level of the organization.

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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

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.