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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

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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

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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.

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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

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Book Quotes Career planning

Women and Leadership

Just finished reading Julia Gillard and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala book on real life and real lessons of women and leadership.

This is a must read for any man and women in business or politics as the stories and lessons are relevant across all segments. The challenges the leaders faced and their ability to drive forward for the greater good, is inspiring.

The last chapter on standout lessons is to ensure that women feel inspired to continue in spite of the challenges for women in the workplace. We need to path the way for women of the future and there is no doubt change is happening and social media has given a voice that is accessible to all.

Here are some of the exerts that resonated with me:

‘That the academic research shows such toxicity in the feelings towards women who are ambitious is concerning’

‘Think women leader – Think Bitch’

‘women adapt to sexism so profoundly throughout their lives that the line between ‘this is me’ and ‘this what I do in response to gender stereotyping’ is impossible to draw’.

For male leaders this book will really help support and challenge the issues that prevent women from reaching their potential. For the female reader, be inspired and not be put off by the challenges, the benefits to society out weight the obstacles and with every women reaching the top, each one changes the course of history.

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Personal development

FYI No action required. Escalation possible

Keeping your boss informed of potential escalations and things that he/she should know about is an important part of your role. No one likes receiving bad news without a warning.

The earlier the warning, your boss can mentally be prepared, with no surprises and feel confident you have the situation under control. There are many steps to communicating well and in a timely manner.

Here are the 5 key steps and principles to landing the message without creating unnecessary action.

1. Email is good. Ensure the title is clear. FYI NO action required. Repeat after your Hi line in your email. This is important to ensure they dont take action. Also if you believe it may get escalated to them or above then put FYI No ACTION required. Escalation Highly probable.

2. Context: what is the issue and what is it causing concern. Be explicit but do not write more than a paragrath

3. What action has been taken already and the outcomes. This is to inform of steps taken, so your boss knows what you have tried already.

4. What steps you are taking at present and possible other steps if there are any. This is important for your boss and stakeholders to know what avenues you are exploring

5. Next Update will be in 24 hours. This is critical to keep your stakeholders informed and if they are in communication externally you are on the same page.

These can be done in one email, keep it short and concise. The earlier the warning the better prepared your stakeholders and boss can be. Don’t wait to crisis point. If you suspect the situation could blow up, go early and over communicate.

No boss enjoys surprises, this is a sure way to communicate timely information which means they are never caught off guard.

FYI NO ACTION REQUIRED. ESCALATION PROBABLE