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How are you being finely-tuned?

Are you being ๐Ÿ๐ข๐ง๐ž๐ฅ๐ฒ-๐ญ๐ฎ๐ง๐ž๐ ?

Over the last 2 days, I have spent nearly 8 hours each day on a brand new managing your team virtual learning programme. It has been a stretching experience, long hours, a few headaches and a little bit of pressure thrown in for good measure too. All that said it has been extremely insightful too.

Yesterday, as each of the virtual facilitators took it in turn to deliver a 75 minute section, we carefully listened and participated throughout the learning session. As each facilitator concluded their delivery, one by one, we took it in turns to provide feedback. It was a great experience to receive an in the moment peer review. I came away feeling as if I was being ๐Ÿ๐ข๐ง๐ž๐ฅ๐ฒ-๐ญ๐ฎ๐ง๐ž๐ !

To fine-tune means: “to make small adjustments to (something) in order to achieve the best or a desired performance”

At the conclusion of the day, each of us thanked our virtual trainer for her guidance and assistance throughout. I came away feeling more prepared, more confident, more assured and primed ready to step up into action!

How are you preparing for your forthcoming assignments and how are you being ๐Ÿ๐ข๐ง๐ž๐ฅ๐ฒ-๐ญ๐ฎ๐ง๐ž๐?

Expect the unexpected!

The unprecedented, unexpected, exceptional and unimaginable are the new norm. “When you look to the future in leadership, what must change, what do you see?” asked a course participant.
This is a huge question.
The world is rapidly changing at lightning speed.
Reflecting for a moment and considering all that is going on in the world my response was a simple one… “even more disruption and expect the unexpected. I believe that the key to future success for any leader will be self-awareness, purpose, authenticity, empathy, humility and knowing exactly what they want to become.”
As the world continues to spiral from one crisis to another, the question I am often asked is “what should we be teaching leaders now?”
Considering the unfolding events on the world stage in the last few days, I was drawn to an article by Boyd Matheson who stated that “setting personal interest aside to contemplate the greater good is the essence of leadership. Far too many leaders are obsessed with a different question “What is best for me?”” Instead, the true leader faced with momentous decisions asks “What is best for the people I lead?”
Consider your families, teams, and organisations today…”What is best for the people you lead?”

Are you asking the right question?

Asked any good questions lately? As a coach, I am constantly asking questions to help clients move forward.
For example…”What do you want?” “What do you need most right now?” “So what?” “Why now?” “How can you be more true to yourself?” “Can you tell me more?” “How are you, really?”
Querying something can be extremely powerful. They help us to think, feel and do things differently. The best ones usually start with “why.”
Some professionals like doctors, lawyers and journalists are taught how to ask great questions as part of their training. In my own professional career through sales and coaching, I have found it equally important to be able to formulate and ask the right question. Questions aid performance, close sales, help provide inspiration and direction, they even help to build trust and rapport. It is a useful skill to be able to ask great questions.
Its time to be a little more curious. Asking questions is an important part of life and learning, it shows that you want to improve.
What question will you ask today?

Don’t interfere!

A recent experience reminded me that as a leadership coach, one of the greatest lessons I ever learned was that the best leaders have sense enough to pick good people to do what needs to be done. But more importantly, they also have self-restraint enough to stop themselves from meddling with them, while they do it!

My invitation today is a gentle reminder to all of us – to stop meddling! Instead, remember to trust others and simply let them get on with it!

Remember – leadership is a lifelong learning process.

What pulls you?

In my coaching conversations, regularly I find that individuals feel ๐’‘๐’–๐’”๐’‰๐’†๐’… into something rather than feeling ๐’‘๐’–๐’๐’๐’†๐’… by it.

One of the greatest lessons in life is to find something that ๐’‘๐’–๐’๐’๐’” you! If we are open and willing to learn, life has a way of teaching us by ๐’‘๐’–๐’๐’๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ us towards something.

When you keeping ๐’‘๐’–๐’”๐’‰๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ yourself to do something, oftentimes it feels like something you have to do and then it can become tiresome. You can only ๐’‘๐’–๐’”๐’‰ yourself for so long before you give up. But when youโ€™re ๐’‘๐’–๐’๐’๐’†๐’… by something, attracted by it even, it feels like something you get to do and you tend to become even more passionate about it.

I am ๐’‘๐’–๐’๐’๐’†๐’… by coaching, personal development and learning – I love it! Frequently, I’ll share my insights and discoveries about what I learn with others, to hopefully inspire and help them achieve more.

In life we learn what is most important by finding something that ๐’‘๐’–๐’๐’๐’” us towards it – this is where we should focus our energies.

Oftentimes the most profound insights are really the simplest.

๐‘ท๐’–๐’”๐’‰ ๐’— ๐‘ท๐’–๐’๐’

Consider what ๐’‘๐’–๐’๐’๐’” you. Therein your purpose awaits!

Followership

“What must I do to become a better leader” asked a coachee?

All around the world, people everywhere are looking for someone to follow, for someone to lead them. I believe that we can develop the ability to lead if we will simply work at it.

Life experience has taught me that a leader is a person who goes ahead of others to direct or guide them or to show them how to do something. Leaders help others to grow. Leaders not only inspire others as to what to do and how to do it, they also show them by example. .

“๐“๐ก๐ž ๐ฐ๐จ๐ซ๐ฅ๐ ๐ข๐ฌ ๐œ๐ก๐š๐ง๐ ๐ž๐ ๐›๐ฒ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ ๐ž๐ฑ๐š๐ฆ๐ฉ๐ฅ๐ž, ๐ง๐จ๐ญ ๐›๐ฒ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ ๐จ๐ฉ๐ข๐ง๐ข๐จ๐ง” – Paulo Coehlo

The biggest challenge for many aspiring leaders is that so many want to change their circumstances but are unwilling to change themselves. To be a great leader, firstly we need to learn how to follow. Have the courage to follow and then show others how to follow.

Great leadership demands a large quantity of hard work, industry, courage, positivity, a growth mindset, planning, preparation, gritty determination, humility and the ability to follow-through.

So, you want to be a better leader? I suggest you begin by really understanding how you can be a better follower, it is the key to leadership.

Using humour!

In a recent virtual workshop we discussed the value of ๐’‰๐’–๐’Ž๐’๐’–๐’“ in our business meetings and our presentations. We considered how to command attention, engage an audience, build rapport and even relieve tension in a room.

In my opinion, self deprecating humour, or poking fun at yourself can be quite endearing and it shows others that you don’t take yourself too seriously. Generally, you can also make fun of things that you and your audience or colleagues have in common. With that in mind, let me risk one of my favourites….

…When God created Scotland, He looked down with great satisfaction and called one of his Archangels to have a look. “Look at this” said God. “Splendid mountains, beautiful scenery, brave men, fine women, nice cool weather. And I’ve given them beautiful music and a special drink called whisky. Try some.” The archangel took a grateful sip. “Exquisite” he said. “But haven’t you perhaps been took kind to them? Won’t they be spoiled by all these things? Should there not be some drawback?” “Just wait till you see the neighbours they’re getting.” God replied…

(Especially for all my SNP friends!) I’ll remove any comments I deem inappropriate from below!

Please share any stories/gags/anecdotes/laughs below…

The parable of the bicycle, dad and leadership models

As a facilitator and a learning protagonist, over many years, I have lost count of the number of leadership models shared in workshops.ย I have probably forgotten more than I have remembered!

Which model?

There are my favourites such as situational leadership, servant leadership, values-based leadership, action centred leadership, adaptive leadership and a whole list of styles and 4 box grids that I have used and am very familiar with.ย Recently however, towards the end of a workshop a curious thoughtful participant asked, โ€œSo, which leadership model is best?โ€ย A very direct question indeed.ย My response was a simple one, โ€œwell…โ€ฆthat dependsโ€

While most of us can recognise good leadership when we experience or observe it, oftentimes it is hard for us to determine the best model to use in a difficult situation, subsequently blending leadership models as needed is a popular fix.ย But then it struck me. As I reflected upon the many leadership experiences Iโ€™ve had in life, a clear analogy came to mind.

The parable of the bicycle and toolbox

As a child, I recall one day that I wanted to go out on my bicycle for a ride.ย Forlornly, there were several issues with my bicycle, including a wobbly seat, a flat tyre, a loose wheel, poor brakes, and handle bars that were more than just a little squint.ย Iโ€™d not been out for a ride in a while and sadly my bicycle had fallen into disrepair.ย I called my dad down to the shed in the garden.ย He came and looked at the bicycle commenting upon the amount of work it needed to get it back into shape.

After a long pause, I recall that he set to work immediately and pulled out a big box of tools.ย The box was a little higgledy piggledy, and as I learned throughout his life โ€“ that that was my dad!ย No matter, one small spanner was used to tighten the wobbly seat.ย Another set of tools were used to remove the wheel, repair the puncture and blow up the tyre again and tighten it into position. Dad then got out a set of pliers to fix the brakes.ย Finally, another wrench was used to straighten the handlebars.ย All in all, using a variety of tools, after a short time, the bicycle was fixed and off I went on my ride with a gleeful smile.ย โ€œDads are greatโ€ I thought!

So, it is with leadership.ย Oftentimes, whilst managing and leading others we are faced with a vast array of different problems, challenges and issues.ย Yet, just like the multitude of tools in my dadโ€™s box, so we too have a broad range of different leadership models to help us resolve/fix/repair/manage/lead even the most mind-boggling obstacles at times.

Tools equip us with solutions. What new shiny model do you have in your leadership toolbox, or maybe that old well-worn rusty model, over there in the corner is the best solution perhaps.

โ€œIt dependsโ€ is indeed the correct answer after all.

  • Do you have a favourite leadership model?
  • How do you apply the “tools” in your day to day responsibilities?

Why would anyone want to be led by you?

Why would anyone want to be led by you?

Yesterday, I was busy redesigning a virtual workshop on leadership and management. After some initial contextual positioning on the topic, this forceful reflective question is asked to each participant. It’s posed deliberately, to literally stop participants in their tracks and give them some time to think.

The question arose from a Harvard Business Review some 20 years ago, and has been further developed in their book of a similar name by Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones.

My experience of leadership has been three fold:
– By academic study
– Through first hand experience over many years
– In my own consultancy practice.

My discovery is this simple – ultimately, leadership is all about one thing – ๐ซ๐ž๐ฌ๐ฎ๐ฅ๐ญ๐ฌ!

Today is a supremely important day in the USA, that comes around every 4 years. It is election day. For months, we have all been witness to a flood of exaggerations, claims, counter claims, fake news and hyperbole. Today is judgement day.

Both candidates have outlined their answer to the question many times over, outlining what they stand for.ย  Hopefully, we’ll know the result in the next few days.

So, how about you? Are you clear yet?
What do you stand for?
Why would anyone want to be led by you?

Developing Patience

“The best thing about the future is that it only comes one day at a time” – Abraham Lincoln.

Reflecting this morning on the last 6 months since lockdown on March 23rd, I recalled a scripture from the New Testament, from Romans 5:3, when the Apostle Paul taught “We glory in tribulations also; knowing that tribulation worketh patience.”

I find that statement both fascinating and enlightening.

Tribulations ๐’…๐’†๐’Ž๐’‚๐’๐’… patience, but at the same time they also help us to ๐’…๐’†๐’—๐’†๐’๐’๐’‘ patience.

These last 6 months have been filled with a variety of tribulations – “distress or suffering resulting from oppression or persecution. A trying experience.”

Sad to say, but the next few months will be exactly the same, if not more challenging in some ways. Yet, I believe as we patiently endure these difficulties with forbearance and fortitude, developing within each of us, if we allow it, will be the strength and resilience to face whatever comes.

The daily tests of endurance that each of us are currently facing require patience.

Our struggles will continue, one day, one step at a time. But these times for certain, will come to pass.

How can you be more patient today?