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Personal development

Gail Kelly Live Lead Learn

Thanks to Sue Davies for the loan of this book. Read in less than a week which is totally unusual for me! What a great read. Inspiring and humble.

She is open and honest about her challenges, but more importantly her vision and clarity of what was needed to change the banks is inspirational and exceptionally perceptive. Every CEO needs to have spent time in front line customer situations, without that experience business is too inwardly focused.

Her grasp of the challenges for bank tellers led her to restructure the banks to be centred around the customer and not the internal needs of business. Trust is king and you cannot build trust with your customers if you don’t listen.

In her book Gail quoted “I really battled to have commonsense changes imbedded. I encountered lots of ‘Yes, Minister’ behaviour with the team hoping my attention would move to other things and their lives would return to normal.

In my experience too often leaders are too busy “spraying the next initiative” to follow up and employees become fatigued and realise that they are better to lie low. Persistence in the same goal is uncommon, as when there is not gratification in an outcome, execs move on. The difference with Gail was it was imbedded in her personal values, she was never going to move on, until the customer was served in the way she needed them to be.

I loved Gails honesty about dropping the ball on a number of issues, just because she did not have the bandwidth to manage. Her openness is very refreshing and for anyone who is juggling a lot of conflicting priorities it is not surprising.

Her husband Allan was a rock, but also someone who encouraged Gail to step up with every opportunity and did his fair share around the home.

This is a book that inspires, in spite of Gail’s upbringing in South Africa during apartheid, she has tremendous humility and ability to seek out the truth. She never stops learning and that is something that is important to me today. A must read, regardless of you career, there are so many important life lessons in this brilliant read.

Categories
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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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
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

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
Coaching Influence Judgement Leadership Personal development

Three key takeaways from Interview with Jennifer Palmieri

Three key takeaways from podcast interview of Jennifer Palmieri who was Communications Director on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Presidential campaign by Julia Gillard

This podcast was more than a review of the recent US election it was all about why women don’t make it to the top.

https://podcasts.apple.com/au/podcast/a-podcast-of-ones-own-with-julia-gillard/id1466658814?i=1000494895703

There were three great takeaways from Jennifer in her interview related to commentary about women in leadership:

1. There is just something about her.

2. She’s too ambitious

3. Great Number 2

Do these words sound so familiar? The language of bias.

In the last decade the language of bias is being exposed and shamed in social media. Awareness and education is key as we all have bias.

Categories
Personal development

Attractive Challenge

Girls should be taught that sexism in the workplace is an “attractive challenge” rather than developing a “hostile attitude” towards men, the former head of one of the country’s top schools has said. The article finished by saying “concentrate on the positives” of the future rather than on “putting on your armour for a battle”. Food for thought.

http://www.landoeducation.com/blog/2019/11/20/the-telegraph-girls-should-be-taught-that-sexism-in-the-workplace-is-an-attractive-challenge-former-top-head-says

I was sent this article by an amazing mentor. I read with intrigue, as over the decades in business I reflected on my own behaviour, what it was that triggered the hostile versus the attractive challenge. Working in software and now telco sales predominantly male industries, I have developed a hostile attitude to the “boys club”.

As an example the attractive challenge approach gives support when a male is hiring, offering up a list of female candidates from your network, offering an introduction, or call them to see if they would be interested in the role. Offering to be on the interview panel. This approach is far more supporting and helpful to your unaware male colleagues, than being hostile over their behaviour.

The attractive challenge when facing a bias situation: I am often told I am passionate, a male would be called courageous. An attractive challenge is questions such as ‘what is different between me speaking up on an issue and John speaking up about this issue? Why is John courageous and I am passionate? ‘ Drawing the individual to their own realisation of bias. In contrast the hostile attitude is reacting with why do you label women as passionate and men courageous ? This is confrontational and wont achieve the same outcome.

We all have choices, the attractive challenge coming from a calm place and coaching which has a greater effect than a hostile attitude, where you can damage your brand and your relationships.

Categories
Coaching Leadership Mentoring Personal development Work life balance

Over thinking

Why do we read more into a situation than we need to? Why do we play the victim when we perceive we are being hard done by?

The emotional drain of overthinking can lead to a reduction in productivity as you become preoccupied by over thinking a situation.

In 100% cases when you ask questions, your misunderstanding of the situation becomes very apparent. Yet we ponder and posture on the unknown, only by asking questions does the situation become clear,

It is seen as a weakness, insecurity, time wasting and a loss of productivity by the leaders. So the simple answer is get over the situation and move on in seconds and not hours. The swifter you move the more resilient you are seen.

A male colleague of mine who has been a leader for many years says the difference between career women and other women is their ability to manage emotions in the work place. He sees a stark difference between the two.

As you age your ability to move on and not dwell on situations has shortened to a point and I can move on in minutes instead of days. Yes you will be much more productive.

Are you reading too much into a situation? have you asked the questions to understand the circumstance? Or are you playing the victim?

Top tips to help:

1. Finds mentor

2. Read mental resilience by Kamal Sarma https://www.amazon.com/Mental-Resilience-Clarity-Develop-Warrior/dp/1577316258 

3. Don’t die wondering, ask the question

4. Move on from overthinking to liberating your emotions.

 

 

 

Categories
Personal development

When passion is dangerous at work

I’ve had personal experience and witnessed too many highly-passionate people risk their relationships, risk their reputations, and neglect to appreciate the people around them in order to pursue a dream. I’ve seen too many fail–because their focus on the future makes them oblivious to the present. https://www.inc.com/todd-nordstrom/how-passion-can-destroy-your-potential-according-to-5-experts.html

There is so much written about pursuing your passion at work. There is a health warning that comes with it in the corporate context. In the wrong environment, over used passion is seen as emotion that represents in an imbalance in the person. In startups and entrepreneurial organisations it is celebrated and rewarded.

So why the extremes of perception. I have worked in both and seen it from different lens.

Corporates are looking for calm leaders, who never get emotional or passionate, (may be beneath the surface) just calm and considered. Gravitas. In start ups and SMB, passion is seen as essential to drive success and the team.

When passion is dangerous at work?

Categories
Career planning Mentoring Personal development

Tips for young women starting out in their career

carreer womenIf you are career minded and want to get on, there are 5 things to start doing now, don’t leave it too late to achieve the following:

1. Sales and Finance

Both skills can lead you to a CEO role. Rarely is the top role filled from other disciplines in a business. So nailing one or the other or both, is essential is you plan on getting to the top. Sales has had a bad wrap, but it is the best place to prove yourself by delivering outstanding results.

Action: Land a sales role or finance and get exposure to the other, by working with those teams, understand what they do and how you can learn from each other.

2. Public speaking

If you are not able to hold a room, then your career will come to a screeching holt. No matter how good you are, public speaking is key.

Action: Join Toastmasters and practice practice practice

3. Mentors

Find great mentors inside and outside the business. Ask your boss to help find the person in your organisation. Outside ask your family or friends. Once you have established contact, its your responsibility to schedule the catch ups ie once a month.

Always go prepared with questions for your mentor. This is a great opportunity to seek out advice on how to deal with situations, understand what they have done to get on in their career. Most important: Be vulnerable.

Ensure you thank and acknowledge feedback. Get comfortable as you cannot get to where you are going without feedback. It’s a lifetimes work.

4. Networking

Meeting new people, making new connections, helping them with their goals, is the only way to get on in life and business. It’s also gratifying helping others and they never forget your generosity. Use every opportunity to get out and network.

A great read, to help you learn and implement great connection with others is How to win friends and influencers people by Dale Carnegie

5. Develop an opinion on whats happening in the world

Not only develop an opinion, share and challenge others. This will build confidence. You dont have to agree with anyone, be seen as holding your own views. One of the criticisms of women by senior men, is that women don’t have an opinion on whats happening in the world.

Also look at your behaviour, ie giggly girls is not how you want to be remembered.

Good luck with your ambitions, ensure you get as much support as you can and remember to let others know your plans along the way otherwise they will fill the void with wild assumptions that I can guarantee are not going to help you. As my business coach says to me ” never die wondering” in other words ask the questions and speak up!