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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.

Categories
Book Quotes Coaching Personal development Resilience

How to build resilience part 2?

The other side of fear is excitement and a sense of achievement.

Getting to the other side of fear is a real challenge. Growing up in England swimming was not something I enjoyed. The school had an outdoor pool that was not heated. The changing rooms, basic sheds. We got to swim outside approx 10 times a year, due to the weather and I hated it. I spent my life avoiding swimming, until I took up surfing in my late 40s. As I got more confident, there was a niggle that if my leg rope snapped my amateur breast stroke was just not going to cut it. So I started swimming lessons. I hate putting my face in the water and never wore goggles and dreaded the lessons. There were just three adults in the class and the instructor was very patient. I was determined to go and master swimming freestyle, as I knew without it my surfing  would suffer.

I came across a book called “move closer stay longer” By Dr Stephanie Burns, and “move closer stay longer” became a mantra for me. A year after learning to swim, I swam 2-3 days a week, I could barely do a length in a 25m pool. I persevered and a few years later I was able to swim 50m then 500m, then last year I went to a 50m pool where I did my first 1km freestyle.

I still have the fear of putting my face in the water,  but the frequency of my swimming, as meant the environment is more familiar and I feel more comfortable. I have learnt to think of other things, to distract myself. The routine is what gets you through the fear.

Before Covid19 I swam at Milson point outdoor heated saltwater pool twice a week, I not only look forward to going, but I now love swimming.

Some of the other things to consider when facing into fear:

  1. Don’t be hard on yourself.
  2. Don’t set unrealistic goals, accept each day and what it brings
  3. Celebrate every success. Yes 25m was success, as was the first 50m and 1km. Now I celebrate the times I am achieving. Share your achievements with friends and family.
  4. The fear never goes away. It fades with time, but it always there. Respect it, not give in to it.
  5. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Most of the time when I surf, if its too big out the back I go out two hours either side of low tide in the white water. I have so much fun and have met some wonderful people.
  6. This is a life skill it applies to all you do in life.

 

 

 

 

Categories
Book Quotes Mentoring

Eckhart Tolle- The power of now

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This book is life changing.  Why? We are all on a journey, to find meaning and peace, this book is thought provoking and challenges how we live. The book really helps you understand what is important.

Life’s meaning for me, is to help people. I love helping people, whether its to realise their dreams or overcome career obstacles, setting up a business or supporting them in a transition. I feel most for-filled and at peace with myself when I support others.

Eckhart talks to the Egotistical mind and it constantly wanting more. When we control the cravings we find peace and happiness. When we give into them, we find ourselves on the treadmill always looking for the next fix.

These are three of my favourite exerts from the book:

  1. Buddha taught that the root of suffering is to be found in our constant wanting and craving.
  2. Carl Jung also tells the story of the Native American chief who said The whites always want something, they are always uneasy and restless. We don’t know what they want. We think they are mad.
  3. Peace comes from controlling the egotistical mind and also mind strategies that avoid the now: when we make the present the enemy, we feel we are being taken advantage of, neglected we need to drop the negativity the mind has created around the situation or we need to stop and speak to the person concerned and express fully what you feel. One or the other, as not doing this is a huge emotional drain.

This is a book that really makes take a hard look at yourself. Life changing

https://www.amazon.com/Power-Now-Eckhart-Tolle/dp/B0095GVWMA

https://www.amazon.com/Power-Now-Eckhart-Tolle/dp/B0095GVWMA

https://www.amazon.com/Power-Now-Eckhart-Tolle/dp/B0095GVWMA

Categories
Coaching Influence Leadership Mentoring Personal development Work life balance

Taking responsibility to how we get treated

treatmentToday I was in a coaching session with a young female I have mentored for over 6 months. She has grown so much in a short amount of time, she is also happier and equipped with skills to ensure her success. Today I asked her about how she is getting on with repair bridges that have been well and truly burned. The same question I ask her each time I see her. She had made no progress.

I asked her what was getting in the way of having the conversation. She opened up and said that it would be too painful. Do you practice forgiveness? She looked alarmed. Forgiveness is the opposite to resentful, when you let you go, the emotion and time spent feeling resentful is released into positive energy that you can use far better.

Holding on to resentment is not helpful or healthy.

It’s too painful, she repeated. I asked Why is it so painful? She replied: It was bullying and it went on for months. What did you do about it? She stopped, I did nothing, I was embarrassed. Did you speak to anyone about it? No. So you suffered not knowing what to do. Yes she replied. She went on to say I want to forget it and move on. I replied, it will happen again, I can guarantee you, so what are you going to do about it when it happens? She looked surprised and taken back. It will happen, I talked through some incidents that I had personally dealt with. As a women, certain leaders(men and women) need to assert their authority and the way they do it, is not acceptable: Humiliating, raising voices, aggressive and threatening. If they do it once they keep doing it as the boundaries have not be set properly.

These are the steps to take post incidents with people who put you down or harass you or raise voices and aggressive:

1. Straight after incident document verbatim what has happened including time and date.

2. Within 24 hours and when you are calm, take the person to one side in a room and not where others can hear

3. This is what you say: The incident yesterday where you said quote un quote, you made me feel inadequate and very uncomfortable. Your actions destroyed my confidence, something that is extremely fragile in women. I dont want you to ever do that again, do you understand me?

Once the accused has acknowledged and apologies. Say this is not going to be discussed ever again, this is between you and me. Lets move on. Confidentiality is critical as it rebuilds trust.

I promise you will never have another incident, with this person.

In that moment the lights came on and she said ” I own this, I can take control”. Absolutely you do! Never let anyone make you feel bad, people who do this are fundamentally insecure. There is no excuse for the behaviour, but you are responsible for setting the boundaries.

Categories
Coaching Collaberation Influence Laughter Leadership

Laughter the best tonic for stressful situations

I published this article last year, and given the Current crisis thought it would be a great reminder of why laughing is so important.

My team are great fun and they make me laugh daily with the challenges of working from home. We have a Online coffee catch up in the morning as a social check in.

Mondays conversation was about how is the Italians ran out of coffee first and the Australians toilet paper! It seems that many in my team are stockpiling Nescafé for when the coffee pods run out.

Tuesday the conversation turned to getting comfy with a chair and desk at home, so there was trips to office works and IKEA! Apparently some love building flat packed furniture. Ummm..

Wednesday the teams attention is now on the lack of steps one reported 66 in a day. One of the team chose to post a video of mini home workout, starting with a set of 5 press ups, etc. adding one on each day. Great video! Everyone very happy with wearing activewear. Started online meetings with some yoga stretches… Fun on video!

It is important that we laugh at ourselves and with others. Laughter will ease the stress and pain of this situation.

Here is the original blog on laughter is the best tonic for stressful situations.

As a teenager I was told off when telling a funny story about my auntie at the tea celebrating her life, post funeral. Everyone was laughing, then my mum pulled me aside and I was told it was inappropriate to laugh, I needed to be solemn as a mark of respect. My Auntie would have been laughing with me if she was alive and celebrating life is very important.

This learning about being more solemn did not just play out at the funeral, but in the school and the workplace. In the UK it was often frowned upon in business meetings to be laughing and having fun.

That belief stayed with me until 6 years ago when working with my business coach, Phil recommended a class with a comedian, on how to release tension by laughter. I had feedback that I am very serious at work and quite intense. We were told on the course that in the work place when their is stress that making a self deprecating joke or having fun, will release the stress and it does. Learning to have fun and laugh at work, makes the place a great place to be for everyone.

Just completed jury duty and we were able to laugh inspite of the stress of deciding a verdict. I am not sure how we would of got through without the laughter and fun, it relieved the tension and helped people not stress about the task at hand.

If you are reading this and you cannot remember the last time you laughed, its time to take stock and ask yourself what did you last laugh at? Who makes you laugh? Watch something that makes you laugh. If your beliefs are that it is inappropriate to laugh in certain situations then rethink that belief, as the relief from those around you will lead to greater collaboration and teamwork.

Laughter is a tonic and you need it like you need food and exercise. Let go of inhibitions and have some fun.

Categories
Coaching Influence Leadership Personal development

Great Leaders ask Great questions John Maxwell

Just finished reading this amazing book. https://www.amazon.com/Good-Leaders-Ask-Great-Questions-ebook/dp/B00I829QJ8. Thought provoking and some sage advice on Leadership. John’s curiosity in others, inspires great questions. This is a must read for anyone looking to grow in their career or find telling is their default mode or fail to influence others. Great questions are the key to influence.

The highlight: the structure of each chapter, the great questions and answers were insprirational. The latter sections on succession, how much time to spend on leaders was particaully useful and validated many on my own thoughts.

Did not agree with the section on trust with a leader, that there is no going back. Great leaders forgive and hold no grudges. It’s never personal.

Forgiveness is critical to being a great leader, there are many times when I have almost given up on someone and seen them realise what they need to do to change the future. My experience is that great leaders believe in others and allow people the room to reflect and grow. Poor leaders, see this person is not performing its reflecting on the leader and take action to remove them. Self serving leaders have a short shelf life as staff turnover is inevitable. They are also seseptable to yes men that never deliver results, because their is no diversity of thought.

Categories
Career planning Coaching Mentoring Sponsor

The difference between a coach, mentor and sponsor

What I am about to discuss I wish someone would have told me when I was 21 years old!  This is definitely one of the most important drivers for an accelerating your career.

I was discussing the topic with two graduates who joined my team after completing the graduate program and they could not believe I was discussing this with them. They thought this was a Taboo topic!

I am going to discuss the following:mentoring, coachng, sponsorship

  1. Difference between Sponsors and Mentors
  2. Perception of women regarding sponsorship
  3. Role of a Sponsor: Relationship with Succession planning and sponsorship
  4. Role of a Sponsoree

Difference between Sponsors and Mentors

What is the difference is between a sponsor and a mentor?  Mentors act as a sounding board or a shoulder to cry on, offering advice as needed and support and guidance as requested; they expect very little in return. Sponsors, in contrast, are much more vested in their protégés, offering guidance and critical feedback because they believe in them.

Perception of younger women

Research from the Center for Work-Life Policy, a New York-based think tank, quantifies the power of the sponsor effect. Sponsorship provides a statistical benefit of up to 30 percent when it comes to stretch assignments, promotions, and pay raises—a boost that mentoring alone can never hope to match.

Many junior women entering the corporate workforce still underestimate the crucial push sponsorship can contribute to a high-potential but unrecognized employee. According to a study performed by the Centre for Work-Life Policy, a New York-based think tank, 77 percent of junior women believe that hard work and long hours, not connections, contribute the most to their advancement. There’s an overwhelming sense by these junior women that getting ahead by any other means is unscrupulous.

I was 22 and applied for a role head of training for the software company I worked for. I had taught more courses and could teach across the breadth of business and technical, in my view that’s why I should have the role. My new manager Andrew had the where with all to explain why I did not get the role? And more importantly what he was going to do to help me. He sponsored me and put me on a 12 week Dale Carnegie course, which taught me about the importance of making and impression, I still quote from the book today. He left a lasting impression on me as did the course.  https://www.amazon.com.au/How-Win-Friends-Influence-People/dp/146075266X

This is also true of women of all ages. If you have a boss that is not coaching you or giving frank feedback on a regular basis, allowing you to represent them when they are on leave or other occasions and you want to move up in leadership and they are not preparing you as a successor, you may need to consider looking for a new boss!

A colleague of mine at Telstra, a high achiever did not get her bosses role after years of commitment and excellent results. She was very disappointed and only learned in the interview process what she needed to get to the next stage. As a leader it is our role to coach and ensure that when the time is right our successor, whom we have sponsored, achieves their goals and secures your role.  As a sponsoree commitment in this is to be open to learning and achieving the results needed.

As the saying goes people don’t leave companies they leave bosses.

When searching for roles in corporate after 20 years in the tech start up space, my number one criteria was who I was going to be working for. I was looking for someone who could coach me to be a better leader and sponsor me to successful next career step.

The role of  Sponsor

Having a Successor is critical in business, to de risk the running of the business, but also an opportunity for you to move on.  Successors and Sponsorship are essential together to deliver leadership from within the organisation, without going outside the company.

In a previous company I had a team member that just didn’t have good connections and the only barrier to them being a successor were the detractors. When I started at Salesforce, I had an experienced ex CIO, with a consulting background who applied for the role that I was appointed to. When we met, I asked why he did not get the role and he did not know, I said I would find out and then we would start work on what he needed so when I moved on the role would be his. I remained true to my word and sponsored him as my successor. During that time, we had to deal with the detractors, this meant sharing their perception with my sponosree and then me coaching him to turn it around.  He responded well, but there were times he was close to giving up, as we overcame one hurdle to find another. The feedback can often be intense and not always that palatable.   He secured my role when I moved on.

Sponsorship within an organisation starts with Senior leaders  who are prepared to become sponsors to support and promote top talent (sponsoree). For the sponsoree, similar to selling, they need to provide a point of view and insights that are valuable to a your sponsor. Delivery of insights, consistent achievements to an agreed plan  is very important to building trust and rapport between the sponsor and the sponsoree. Women often lack the confidence to speak up and challenge the way business is operating or strategic direction in a positive way, and because of this would particularly benefit from a sponsor relationship.

As a sponsor your role is ensuring that you help your sponsoree navigate the organisation, communicating who the detractors are and assisting your sponsoree in establishing the rapport and trust needed to progress relationships and advance their career.  This includes setting up meetings with senior execs, briefing them on how to manage the situation and insights into the individuals needs and characteristics.

Inexperienced and less self aware leaders who don’t engage in sponsoring judge others when what the individual needs is coaching. Worse still, the non sponsoring leaders speak to other leaders rather than engaging sponsorees, which would give the sponsoree the opportunity to learn.

This is not easy as you need to have critical conversations, my sponsorees have been eternally grateful and recognise the act of the conversations is because you care deeply about their success. Over time the sponsoree recognises the commitment needed to create the path to success.

Role of a Sponsoree

For the sponsoree, they need to provide a point of view and insights that are valuable to a your sponsor. Delivery of insights, consistent achievements to an agreed plan  is very important to building trust and rapport between the sponsor and the sponsoree. Women often lack the confidence to speak up and challenge the way business is operating or strategic direction in a positive way, and because of this would particularly benefit from a sponsor relationship.

If you want to progress in leadership then become a great sponsoree, what are you doing to make your sponsor look good, what insights can you deliver and what is your plan, have you shared it? Are you asking for feedback?

Sponsoring is like your most challenging sales campaign… there are times when you are not sure you going to win, but you remain committed.

My business coach explained that with no sponsor at an exec level, it is hard to succeed in the corporate world. My boss at the time Janice – asked Phil my coach what does Angela need to help her be successful? That was her first question to my coach. He was blown away by her question.

You need the mentorship and support to navigate the organisation.  As a Sponsoree in I have had many people helping me, it’s overwhelming and very different to my previous experiences . Given the size of the organisations I have worked in Salesforce, Telstra and nbn Business, you cannot believe the accessibility and openness, truly refreshing and for someone who has spent most of their working life in the entrepenuarual world very surprising.

If you are leader, who are you sponsoring? Who is talent? And are you doing all you need to ensure they are successful.

If you want to progress in leadership then become a great sponsoree, what are you doing to make your sponsor look good, what insights can you deliver and what is your plan, have you shared it? Are you asking for feedback?

Categories
Career Change Career planning Coaching Collaberation Influence Intrepenuership Judgement Mentoring Personal development

How do you prepare to move from Small business to Corporate?

I thought I was alone on the need to find out how large companies work. After 20 years in tech start ups, small and medium sized business, I had a desire to understand how large business operate, how they scale, how they manage the volume of business.  I secured my first corporate gig in Salesforce.com  in my 40’s!intrepeneruship

7 years on I have no regrets, I have personally grown, I am still an entrepreneur at heart and love the opportunities that present themselves daily. The transition is the hardest personal development opportunity I have ever been through, but worthwhile.

In preparation to going into corporate from a small business here are the five skills you need to perfect:

  1. Stakeholder management:  In small business can you can afford to be dismissive and intolerant of others. In corporate you have to work at every relationship and interaction. If you don’t you can earn the reputation as “throwing others under the bus”, “difficult to deal with” .  The key to success is understanding what your stakeholders want from you, how you can help them through insights and sharing information and working as one.
  2. Judgement: Let go of it. It has no purpose and gets you into a heap of trouble.  Move from thinking about the persons annoying habits to how you can help them.  Build great relationships across the business. you cannot afford to have anyone who speaks negatively about you, as that will stop your career and find it difficult to achieve the results
  3. Job descriptions: In small business you need a versatile team that work across multiple disciplines, Job descriptions are a guide.  In corporate the need for clarity around roles and responsibilities is critical to the growing empires. In rapid growth the land grab is part of the political positioning by leaders.  Be careful when stepping over boundaries that you do it with consent.
  4. Influence: ability to change others thinking. In small business, energy and passion does the trick, in corporate asking great questions is critical to influencing.  You cannot influence by telling. You will fail fast, so learning to ask questions every day in every situation is the key to success. Collaboration is critical to working together
  5. Intreperneurship: your greatest asset to a corporate. Your ability to create and build from nothing. You are not hung up on turning the titanic, Job descriptions, perceived limitations, you bring the can do attitude, glass half full  that makes things happen.  You will inspire others by your enthusiasm and people will want to join you on your expedition. Sell this attribute as this is of great interest to corporate.

Startup opportunities in corporate is the best of both worlds. You can utilise your SMB skills whilst developing many new ones that will accelerate your development.

Today many people with startup businesses at the next stage of growth come and speak to me about how to tackle the transition from small to medium, medium to larger business. Some want to take a step up and don’t have the skills, others want to step back in the business, others want to be on the board and leave exec leadership to transition in to non exec roles. What ever the transition is you are looking to achieve, each needs a transition plan and a coach/mentor to enable the change.

I chose a business coach to prepare for corporate. Without the coaching prior and in the early years I could not have made the transition. Your new leader in corporate may have never experienced a small or medium business so the responsibilities are with you to address your gaps fast, so you can operate effectively.

As a result of developing the skills, I have definitely become a far better leader and coach.  You never stop learning, which is why career opportunities are so much fun and stimulating.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
Judgement Leadership Mentoring

How quickly can you forgive?

forgiveness-300x199How quickly can you forgive?

Many years ago, I could not forgive, I would hang onto situations emotionally where I felt that I was treated unfairly. The situation would play through my mind a million times, always the victim, never once thinking of the other person and what caused them to act in that way. Sometimes I would hear myself bemoaning the individual who had wronged me and hating myself as the words left my lips.  I would then hold that grudge, eating away at me emotionally, but not being prepared to let go.

Taking part in the seven bridges walk in Sydney  many years ago, I was walking with a friend Annet who teaches yoga and meditation. I quizzed her about meditation and how to get started, she said its simple, find somewhere quiet sit on a cushion on the floor, to begin use a wall to prop yourself up, set the timer to 5 mins on your iphone and close your eyes.  We chatted for hours about the how and benefits.

Inspired the very next day I got out of bed at 6am, found a spot on the balcony with the cushion, set the timer and I was away. My monkey mind went crazy with all the things I had to do in the day ahead, but it was ok Annet said it would be like that for a while.  Every day I practised and then one day after 6 months of persistence I found the space she had talked about. Calmness that I had not felt before, but then experienced often after that day. I went to 10 mins a day so I could enjoy that feeling of emptiness and quietness. Today I can meditate for 30-40 mins. Some days are better than others with my thoughts, but what was truly amazing is the time to reflect is the most valuable teacher. So often now in meditation I can see where I am going wrong, whereas before the emotions, inner critic and monkey mind left me with no ability to reflect.

At work in stressful situations I can find that calmness quickly, allowing to expend little emotional energy. Through meditation I was able to let go of the personal pain and really seek to understand the other person. The process of letting go takes practice, Forgiveness is easy when there is no emotional attachment to a situation.

Forgiveness is critical to being a great leader, there are many times when I have almost given up on someone and seen them realise what they need to do to change the future. My experience is that great leaders believe in others and allow people the room to reflect and grow. Poor leaders, see this person is not performing its reflecting on me, so I need to take action. Self serving leaders have a short shelf life as staff turnover is inevitable.

How quickly can you forgive?

Categories
Career Change Career planning Coaching Leadership Legacy Mentoring Networking Personal development

Help your team realise their dreams

There is a lot of discussion on finding work in what you love doing, is it a good thing or not?

I have had the privilege of working with Jane Ron and John (names changed) all had a passion and it was not what they were doing as a job.

John was a cloud specialist and well regarded by his peers and customers. Every hour outside work was spent filming and editing music videos. When I had my 1;1 s I would ask him how the videos were going and his eyes would light up. One day I said to him, I don’t want to lose you, but I sense you are not fulfilled by your role. John said I would love to make the filming and editing full time, but I am scared of giving up my job.  I said what if you could work 3-4 days a week and spend a day on your filming. John was over the moon, this would be perfect, I can see if this works out for me, whilst working in my role.  Within a month John was working 1-2 days a week on his filming business and 6 months late he was full time, doing what he loved.

As a leader there are many lessons here:

  • helping people realise their dreams is leadership
  • this is a true test of Trust between you and your team member, especially if it is not aligned to what they are doing today
  • other employees are inspired by the leadership as it is focused at the heart of any business the people
  • transitioning is easier to manage than someone resigning, you can plan and ensure the transition is seamless.

A few years later Jane worked in one of the sales teams I led and was a Environmentalist to the core. She was in a sales role and successful, but it was not wanted she really wanted to be doing.  In a mentoring session I asked her to bring some of her passions to the role IE getting everyone on board with recyclable coffee cups. She did many side projects but it was not enough to change how she felt. I encouraged to look at a number of organisations where her passion would be fulfilled and introduced her to people I knew in the field. She finally landed her dream job.  I lost a great sales person, but helped someone pursue their passion.   When I read Jane’s post on linked I am so proud of what she achieved and feel good that I was able to assist her on the journey.

Around the same time Ron one of the Sales managers told me he had been doing sales management for over a decade and was looking to the future where he wanted a operational role in the company. I connected Ron with a mentor in Operations, where I thought they would be an excellent fit in terms of personality and temperaments.  A year later Ron secured the role he wanted in  operations. During that time we worked through Ron’s replacement. A 12 month run way is plenty of time to ensure the successor is ready.

Help your team realise their dreams