Get out of the way, Nick!

October 16, 2019

A short but important learning…

Yesterday I was leading a meeting with two members of our team via Zoom and I was having some connection issues as I was out at a client site. After a while trying to make it work I decided to bail out and leave the two others to continue the conversations themselves.

Guess what? I had messages later in the day from both about how great their conversation had been, how inspired they both were and how some great ideas had been hatched as they spoke. It was clear they had connected and opened up to each other in ways that wouldn’t have happened if I’d been leading that call.

It’s great to play a role and contribute where required…but sometimes the best thing you can do as a leader is get out of the way and let people get on with it!

I’m challenged by this. How many occasions are they where my involvement may hinder or stifle others? I’ll definitely be thinking lots about this. When is it best for me to get out of the way, trust others more, empower them fully…and be there to hear about the great results that ensue?

I think the answer might be ‘often’. How about you?


So What About Leadership? – new podcast

September 18, 2019

I have been having some really interesting conversations with my counterpart leading the LMI organisation in Ireland…so good in fact that we decided to record them and join the podcast revolution!

It’s called So What About Leadership? and we’ve done two episode so far:

  1. Personal Productivity
  2. Personal Leadership

You can listen to both here:

 


Imagine a leader…

August 13, 2019
Imagine that you had an amazing leader.
Someone who is always able to inspire you. Someone who deeply understands your own drives and desires and always knows how to motivate you to great effort and exploits.
Someone who knows just what to say when you are really going through tough times that will help you through. Someone who is able to give you just the right support to help you carry on with determination.
Someone with vision for a great future that seems to match just right with your own hopes and dreams. Someone able to give you exactly the right tasks and responsibilities to bring out your very best.
Now imagine that someone is you.
Be the leader you need you to be.
https://www.lmi-uk.com/programmes/effective-personal-leadership/
#EffectivePersonalLeadership #TheTotalLeader

 


Keeping it regular

January 25, 2019

Do you use phrases like these with the people you lead? Does your manager use these with you?

“My door’s always open”

“Come and find me anytime you need help”

These are great sentiments, genuinely appreciated and, for sure, sincerely meant…but I do regularly encounter some problems with this approach. Here are three common ones:

  • team members don’t seek out their leader as often as they should, wasting time and effort ‘working it out themselves’ when they could have really been helped (we don’t want people to become leader-dependent but regular effective guidance can help a lot).
  • when the leader has to instigate a conversation about some kind of correction / refinement / improvement, it feels like a big deal, akin to being called into the headteacher’s office!
  • opportunities to praise, encourage and recognise progress and victories are missed.

I think the last of these points is huge and is a major reason why I am a huge advocate for ‘keeping it regular’. There is so much to be gained by the simple act of setting up regular, routine communication both one-to-one and with the whole team.

And what should be first item on the agenda….every time?

  1. Progress & Victories

Both the team member and the leader can contribute to this agenda item. Team member shares what they think they’ve achieved, has gone well and moved things forward positively. The leader also shares from their perspective the progress and victories they’ve noticed, tangible results-wise as well as attitude and behaviour.

If you’re not already doing this, I’d urge you to try it and see what impact it has. I’ve seen many managers and leaders instigate this as a regular practice and report back staggering results in terms of trust, motivation, positivity and productivity.

If you’re the leader, make it happen. If you are the team member, suggest to your boss that you give it a go.

It doesn’t have to be hours out in meetings. 20 minutes once a fortnight might be enough!

 


Everyone loves Gareth!

July 5, 2018

Right now as England face a World Cup Quarter Final against Sweden in two days, the talk of the town is not the players – usually the focus of most of the hype when it comes to football (Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar etc) – but the England manager, Gareth Southgate. It seems that everyone loves him.

I am very firmly in that camp too – Gareth Southgate comes across as an absolutely top class man. He conducts himself with humility, grace and calmness. He doesn’t make it all about him (take note Jose Mourinho). He encourages his players to fulfil their potential. He speaks honestly. He obviously cares deeply and understands that so many others do too; whether that’s the fans in the stadium whom he takes time to acknowledge after a match, the press corps, the English public etc.

One extraordinary photo, published after England beat Colombia on penalties in the previous match, shows Gareth embracing the Colombian player who missed their crucial penalty. In light of the particularly spikey nature of the on-field contest, this is especially remarkable. Contrast this with the German coaches who invoked the wrath of the Swedish manager earlier in the tournament by celebrating their last minute winning goal wildly right in front of the Swedish bench in an act of gross unsportsmanship which saw then banned by the German Football Federation.

Who knows what will happen in the rest of the tournament but there’s no doubt that the England manager has shone as an outstanding leader and his players (those on the inside) and the rest of the country (those on the outside) are firmly behind him in wishing him every success.

Leadership is about having clear goals, vision, communication, strategy, KPIs, performance measures and the like, but (and it’s a really big but!) it’s at least as much (I would argue more) about character – being a leader others trust and will gladly follow.

It’s why Personal Leadership is step 1 in LMI’s Total Leader process – it comes before Productivity, Motivational Leadership & Strategic Leadership. Leadership is influence through relationships. It’s a people thing. Gareth has got this part of it spot on and, best of all, it seems entirely genuine. He is being authentic, true to himself rather than following some leadership playbook. All leaders take note – the world’s a much happier place and results are much more likely to be good when you have this level of goodwill towards you.

Best of luck Gareth and the team. YOU have won us over and we would be delighted to see you succeed (not sure I could have said this about your predecessor).

P.S. If you’ve not seen it yet, check out the Twitter feed #GarethSouthgateWould for some light entertainment!


Response-ability

May 18, 2018

“Leaders find ways to get people to believe in themselves.”

Some inspirational words on leadership. Worth 4 minutes of your day!


Personal or Professional Development?

May 17, 2018

Most are familiar with the concept of CPD – continuous professional development – the practice of continually improving your knowledge and skills in your field of work.

I was with some colleagues yesterday and one shared the thought that whilst we mostly talk about our LMI programmes as professional development tools, the greatest impact for anyone who has the privilege of going through one or more of these programmes is always personal.

Having coached many people through LMI programmes in the last decade, I absolutely agree.

It’s how people change in attitude, confidence, motivation etc that makes the biggest difference. It’s these personal growth factors which then cause someone to implement the management and leadership behaviours that are taught within the programmes with purpose and consistency. Personal growth leads to professional impact.

This is why Personal Leadership is the foundation element of LMI’s ‘Total Leader’® Concept and the starting point of all effective leadership development initiatives.

If you want to lead, begin with leading yourself.


“Personal leadership is the most important element of institutional transformation.”   Lou Gerstner, Former CEO – IBM

“If you seek to lead, invest at least 50% of your time leading yourself – your own purpose, ethics, principles, motivation, conduct.”  Dee Hock, Founder – Visa International


Download your own Personal Leadership Self-Evaluation here and do something significant about your own professional (personal!) development.