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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.

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
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.

Categories
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

Categories
Coaching Influence Intrepenuership Leadership Personal development Strategy

‘I have been asking for this change in the business for two years? ‘

What does this statement say about you?

Way more than you think! Loser not being able to influence to get an outcome. Give up to easily. Victim

Since moving to corporate getting anything done, is infinitely harder than in a small and medium business.

The reason: many more stakeholders with many different agendas. Unless you have the patience, combined with excellent influencing skills and stamina to see it through, you could be the person making the statement ‘I have been asking for this business change for two years? ‘

Is it worth driving for the change? Yes you have your values and none of us come to work to do a bad job. We all want to make difference. So how do you go about making the change?

  1. Really clearly define what you want to change. Put it in simple terms. Test the messaging with peers and team members
  2. Use examples of how it will have an impact, who it will impact
  3. Business case to demonstrate one of the following : revenue increase, cost saving or risk mitigation. If capital is required then their are extra steps re: budget etc depending on budget cycle.
  4. Finally the risks and mitigation strategies for each risk. Clearly lay out and don’t miss any. Be open to receiving more!
  5. Once you have the above nailed, then you need to go to your stakeholders and take them through steps 1-4. Solicit feedback, enhance any of the fours steps with the feedback and continue as you go stakeholder to stakeholder to gain support. Don’t miss any stakeholders. Look who is on the leadership team, do you have them covered?
  6. When someone says “No” they wont support, deep dive on the why? fully understand why they are opposed. If you uncover reasons that you should not proceed, then you are wiser, you can move on. If you don’t agree with their views then proceed to get more feedback, ensure the non supporters risks are captured and you have clear mitigation as this wont be the last time it will be raised.
  7. Once you have done the rounds and you have adequate support,( if not you need to rethink the strategy), take your boss through 1-4 with all the feedback and then all the names of people you have spoken with and who is supporting your recommended change. Agree the next step of approval and implementation.

The above could take significant time, but it is always worthwhile. Being passionate about a better future is contagious and a great leadership trait.

This lesson I am constantly relearning. My personal challenge is flawlessly executing the above every time, as once I meet the person who say No, once I hear this I stop dead in my tracks, especially from more senior leaders and start to reflect on the request, and then eventually I put it in the drawer for another day. With experience and benefit of hindsight I realise that is not what the business needs, they need the challenger mindset and finding support is not far away if you are prepared to look.

Don’t be the victim saying “been asking for this business change for 2 years”. Take action.

Categories
Personal development

Daily Stoic journal

If you enjoy journaling then this book will take you to another level. Since my 20s I have journaled to release frustration, learn from my poor experiences and practice gratitude. This book is thought provoking, combined with meditation and you will become focused on those areas of development, that you have not recognised previously or you have chosen to ignore.

If you love yoga you will know that your practice changes all the time due to different parts of the body reacting differently to the moves and stretches. With practice you are highly tuned to your body and where it does not feel normal to you. The stoic journal taps into you subconscious in the same way.

Each day it gives you a question to ponder and then note section for morning and evening reflection. The discipline is addictive, as it channels your energy into those areas that you need to focus on.

The writing creates a calmness and for me, as well as detachment, something that I am challenged by, being a passionate and driven individual. In a years time I know I will look back at my entry’s in the diary and know that I will have moved on, driven to be a better person and leader.

Learning is a life long journey, being open and challenging yourself everyday, is life. My purpose: sharing the journey with others, warts and all. I want no one to believe they have arrived, there is no such thing, until we leave this world.

Today’s question: What is the real cause of my irritations – external things or my opinions?

Categories
Personal development

Clean up your own back yard, before criticising others

It’s an easy path to take to criticise others when you are not doing well. However this always reflects poorly on you. I was reminded of this important lesson in a meeting recently where we were brainstorming and were asked to only look within the current year. I automatically only looked at the items that were within my sphere of control.

In a debrief after the session I realised I automatically look at only the things I can control, as beyond that the time and effort involved is significantly greater. My colleagues had a laundry list, very few were within the sphere of control.

Focusing on what you can control to create the right outcome is far more successful than being dependent on others. I use the analogy of a neglected back yard, the weeds are out of control and you cannot see the fence at the back of the yard. Focus on clearing up your yard, before looking over the fence at your neighbours and commenting on how neglected their garden is.

In a previous chapter of my career, I took on a underperforming sales team. I was constantly asked about what others were doing in other areas and always said, I have enough to sort out in my own backyard, that I don’t have the capacity or time to worry about everyone else’s.

That focus and strategy led to turning around an underperforming sales team. That focus has allowed my teams to flourish as we are always maximising what we have control of, instead of consuming time worrying about what everyone else is doing.

Dales Carnegie illustrates this lesson well in his How to win friends and influence people book, Chapter on don’t criticise, condemn and complain.

Categories
Personal development

To be a great leader you have to love developing others

Many people believe leadership is the way to get on in life, but unless you love people you cannot be a successful leader.

The very heart of leading any organisation is its people. Unless you genuinely care about the people and you demonstrate that care through your values and how you show up everyday, you are not a leader you are a manager.