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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.

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
Coaching Influence Leadership Personal development Resilience

Take the emotion out of it

As a women in Corporate and wanting to succeed in leadership, you cannot display an ounce of emotion, you are expected to be cool and calm.

I am passionate about my work and heavily invested in my team, working with colleagues and creating great outcomes. The passion drives emotion and that comes at a price in the eyes of the leaders of the business. With passion often comes outwardly expressed emotions, express at your peril! For me it can be cynicism, poor choice of words, frustration with progress and a feeling I am not being listened too.

A raft of academic research suggests that women are under pressure to maintain a cool exterior. Source:https://www.marketwatch.com/story/serena-williams-got-angry-at-the-us-open-final-and-paid-a-heavy-priceworking-women-say-this-sounds-eerily-familiar-2018-09-10

Here are some tips on taking the emotion out of your work:

  1. Exercise or meditate before work. If I have an important meeting or presentation I ensure I practice yoga, go for a walk or Surf. Surfing puts me in the best in mental state and I find I am exceptionally calm. The day ahead is always balanced and definitely makes a difference.
  2. Ask your peers to hold you to account. One of my peers gives me feedback constantly and I help him. He tells me I am far more powerful when I am calm. My messages are clear and land exceptionally well. Having an accountability partner definitely helps.
  3. Never speak to anyone when you feel frustrated or annoyed. Take time to meditate or pranayama breathing(Yoga breathing). Only speak when you have managed the emotion.
  4. Write and communicate facts only, remove anything that reads as emotional. Use read aloud to check what you have written or write save in draft and read later. Even better leave what you have written for 24 hours and return to assess facts from emotion.
  5. Listen to others who are emotional, how do you react? Looking in the mirror is powerful for me and understanding how I feel listening to someone who is emotional. Ask your self do the messages land? are they believable or do you sense attachment, that might affect their judgement?
  6. If I feel that I wont be able to control my passion/emotion, then I ask colleagues to step in and I remove myself. Don’t be afraid to explain why, as this builds trust and rapport and also helps with accountability.

One of my amazing mentors Carol use to say “take the emotion out of it”.

There are many benefits to working on controlling emotion:

  • it reduces the time spent on mulling over a situation, when you have facts you can see the wood from the trees.
  • expend less energy, more productive
  • approachable by your colleagues, bosses and peers
  • more powerful when you are presenting

There are exceptions to this rule, but use with care and check with peers who know you. The only time using emotion is successful on complex issues that stakeholders do not fully understand the impact even though the facts have been laid out. In these times, emotion can be a powerful vehicle to land the message.

I hope this helps with “Taking the emotion out of it”

Categories
Personal development

Speaking across people

What do you do when someone constantly speaks across you. This is a common question from mentees, here are the options:

1. Continue talking more loudly so the person trying to talk across you, realises that you are not going to stop.

2. Say politely I have not finished, please allow me to finish.

3. Take the person aside and let them know that the behaviour is unacceptable and let them know how it makes you feel. It’s also important to let them know the conversation is confidential and will go no further.

4. It’s a common practice for certain individuals to say sorry to cut you off and continue speaking. This is the worst behaviour as they are consciously speaking over you. Don’t let them get away with it. Use one of the methods above. Once dealt with they won’t do it again!

4 tips for managing people who speak across you. Make a move and build the respect you deserve

Categories
Personal development

Admitting mistakes

We are all wrong from time to time. We may have held incorrect opinions. There is some shame in that, but the truly shameful thing is to deny that it happened and refuse to learn from the experience.

We have to take some time to reflect on our own behaviour, and acknowledge our errors of judgement and more importantly the lessons we have learned.

Then we share with others. The more you do this the more people trust and help you. Its a critical step to move away from defensive behaviour.

Once you are open to discussing your failures or lack of judgement it becomes easier and becomes part of your everyday behaviour.

Other benefits is reduces time spent emotionally trying to process or protect the position.

When you have made a mistake, face into speaking up immediately and ensure you are clear on the implementation of the learnings .

Categories
Personal development

Cynicism is not a strength

Cynicism may seem innocent and we all have our moments, but be careful of your audience and how they interpret your comments. Recently I heard someone, who was sharing cynicism and I cringed as I realised that could be me saying those very words! Worse still may be they heard me and then copied! They sounded like a victim, that it was happening to them, rather than them taking control of the situation.

Don’t go down the cynical path, chose strength and find a way to create a different view.

Take action rather than joining in the commentary. You become part of the problem, rather than creating the solution.

Cynicism is not a strength. What are you going to differently?

Categories
Personal development

Think like a monk

The book by Jay Shetty was given to me as a gift from a mentee. I was touched by the gift as am an avid reader of self development and spiritual books and I had not read or knew anything about this book. https://www.google.com.au/books/edition/Think_Like_a_Monk/N-T7DwAAQBAJ?hl=en&gbpv=0

It was also a turning point when mentee becomes mentor, a significant moment where I felt immensely proud of the journey we had been on together and how far she had come personally. As she spoke about the book I realized that this book had had a profound impact on her, the most significant change in recent years.

Intrigued I got stuck into the book and I soon realized why it had such an impact. Jay’s journey to become a monk, is inspiring and his vulnerability about his personal challenges allows you to connect to him, as his challenges are every humans weakness, we all have them, some more controlled than others.

Some of the excerpts that resonated with me:

The more we define oursleves in relation to the people around us, the more lost we are. This is in the context of purging ourselves of envy, jealousy, greed, lust and more. This is so true. Being yourself and working on your challenges is more important than holding an opinion of others. None of us are perfect.

Transformatioal forgiveness: Revenge is the mode of ignorance. I think I practice forgiveness really well, however there is one incident related to me being made redundant due to a “mate” being given a restructured job. No matter how much I work on letting this go, I find myself repeating the story to others. Why? its not helpful and reflects poorly on me.

Job crafting, what employees do to redesign their jobs in ways that foster engagement at work, job satisfaction, resilience and thriving. Love this, as a leader I have always encouraged employees that care about sustainability or love customer facing engagements to find ways to make it part of their job. This is a must for everyone to connect to their job, company, peers and customers.

If you think you are too good for something, you succumb to the worst egotistical impulses, and you devalue anyone that does that chore. I witness this behavior in poor leaders. I roll up my sleeves at every opportunity as I feel more connected to my team and it really helps me understand the challenges they face.

To walk down the same old path and find a new stone is to open your mind. The example Jay uses to illustrate how monks are trained is well worth the read. During covid I did walking meetings everyday. Where I live we are surrounded by a very quiet international airport, industrial estates and suburbia! Never the less I walked the industrial estates and housing areas every day doing my calls. I heard others complain how boring walking around the neighbourhood is. For me it was one adventure after another, exploring areas I had never been to before, and where I had been I was on the look out for something new. Under the runway is a weir into a canal, I spotted two unusual birds, took pictures and when I got home discovered they were Spoonbills. Never ever seen this bird before. This morning I was walking back from the supermarket in the rain, when I spotted unusual mushrooms. Every day is a discovery if we open our minds.

Sustain your humility after achieving something. Remember and give thanks to the people who gave you the skills you are getting recognition for. Sharing the success with them keeps you humble. So important to share the impact others have on you. I am fortunate to have many amazing mentors.

Thanks to my amazing mentee/mentor Danielle for the gift of “Think like a monk”. It is one of my all time favorite reads and I know I will be rereading this book again and again.

Thanks to Joe Shetty for sharing your personal journey, exposing your own vulnerabilities. This is a life changing book if you practice the many lessons that are contained within the covers.

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