3. Sep, 2018

Make a list of the 5 leaders you most admire. They can be from business, social media, politics, technology, the sciences, any field. Now ask yourself why you admire them. The chances are high that your admiration is based on more than their accomplishments, impressive as those may be. I’ll bet that everyone on your list reaches you on an emotional level.

This ability to reach people in a way that transcends the intellectual and rational is the mark of a great leader. They all have it. They inspire us. It’s a simple as that. And when we’re inspired we tap into our best selves and deliver amazing work.

So, can this ability to touch and inspire people be learned? No and yes. The truth is that not everyone can lead, and there is no substitute for natural talent. Honestly, I'm more convinced of this now - I'm in reality about the world of work and employee engagement. But for those who fall somewhat short of being a natural born star (which is pretty much MANY of us), leadership skills can be acquired, honed and perfected. And when this happens your chances of engaging your talent increases from the time they walk into your culture.

Let’s Take A Look At Tools That Allow For Talent To Shine:

Emotional intelligence. Great leaders understand empathy, and have the ability to read people’s (sometimes unconscious, often unstated) needs and desires. This allows them to speak to these needs and, when at all possible, to fulfill them. When people feel they are understood and empathized something, they respond PERIOD and a bond is formed.

Continuous learning. Show me a know-it-all and I’ll show you someone who doesn’t have a clue about being human. Curiosity and an insatiable desire to always do better is the mark of a great leader. They are rarely satisfied with the status quo, and welcome new knowledge and fresh (even if challenging) input. It’s all about investing in yourself.

Contextualize. Great leaders respond to each challenge with a fresh eye. They know that what worked in one situation may be useless in another. Before you act, make sure you understand the specifics of the situation and tailor your actions accordingly.

Let Go. Too many people think leadership is about control. In fact, great leaders inspire and then get out of the way. They know that talented people don’t need or want hovering managers. Leadership is about influence, guidance, and support, not control. Look for ways to do your job and then get out of the way so that people can do theirs.

Honesty.  Not a week goes by that we don’t hear about a so-called leader losing credibility because he or she was dishonest. Often this is because of pressure to try and "measure up" and it's not coming from a place of being real - often this relates to fear of not being accepted for your true self. We live in age of extraordinary transparency, which is reason enough to always be true to your core – your mission will be revealed, your motivations will show by your behaviors. But it goes way beyond this. It’s an issue that sets an example and elevates an organization. If you have a reputation for honesty, it will be a lot easier to deliver bad news and face tough challenges. Are you inspiring people from your heart?

Kindness and respect. Nice leaders (people) don’t finish last. They finish first again and again. Ignorance and arrogance are leadership killers. They’re also a mark of insecurity. Treating everyone with a basic level respect is an absolute must trait of leadership. And kindness is the gift that keeps on giving back. Of course, there will be people who prove they don’t deserve respect and they must be dealt with. But that job will be made much easier, and will have far less impact on your organization, if you have a reputation for kindness, honesty and respect.

Collaboration. People’s jobs and careers are integral to their lives. The more your organization can make them a partner, the more they will deliver amazing results. This means, to the greatest extent possible, communicating your organization’s strategies, goals and challenges. This builds buy-in, and again is a mark of respect. People won’t be blindsided (which is a workplace culture killer) by setbacks if they’re in the loop.

Partner with your people. As I said above, people’s careers are a big part of their lives. That seems like a no-brainer, but leaders should have it front and center at all times. Find out what your employees’ career goals are and then do everything you can to help them reach them. Even if it means they will eventually leave your organization. You will gain happy, productive employees who will work with passion and commitment, and tout your company far and wide. This an opportunity to brand your greatness.

Leadership is both an art and a science. These tools are guidelines, not rigid rules. Everyone has to develop his or her own individual leadership style. Make these tools a part of your arsenal and use them well as you strive to reach people on an emotional level.

Be Human. This Matters.

All the best

Nieves

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29. Jul, 2018

8 Tips for Managing Your Team Effectively

The role of a manager isn’t always smooth sailing. Especially if nobody had taught you to do so.

The research shows that over 65 % of Managers they have never been trained and are left alone!

Though changing , Companies are still lacking appropriate training and coaching for new leaders, which causes conflict and talent retention issues, one of the highest costs for organisations.

September is one of the most popular months for job changes. Are you jumping into your new management role?

Whereas at the beginning of your career it’s likely that you were purely responsible for your work alone, it’s is now your duty to inspire, lead and motivate your team to accomplish a set of goals for the organization.

Easier said than done right?

Not everyone is going to be easy to work with and ensuring everything is running without a hitch can often prove a challenge.

So how can you go about being a great manager who displays authority and leadership, at the same time as maintaining respect from their peers? Here are a few of our top tips for effective management.

1) Maintain good communication

Employees want to be kept in the loop about ongoing projects, goals, and deadlines, so it’s essential that you communicate well with them and inform them about goings-on within the organization. It’s also essential that you encourage feedback and that your staff feel that they can approach you with any questions or issues they want to address, so making yourself accessible to your staff is critical.

2) Build positive working relationships

It’s important to get to know members of your team individually, not only on a professional level but on a more personal level too. When you put the effort in to get to know a bit more about how your colleagues are doing and what they are interested in, it will build a much better rapport among the team.

3) Acknowledge good work

Don’t be one of these bosses who only gives feedback when you’ve got something to criticise! By providing your staff with positive feedback it will help to build their confidence and encourage them to get more involved in the future, so it’s vital that you acknowledge their achievements and the effort that they are putting in. Encourage creativity and ensure that everyone is clear about what is expected of them.

4) Be real

Your team doesn’t expect you to be superhuman, so if you’re feeling the pressure and need a helping hand, don’t be afraid to admit it and if you make a mistake, own up! By showing the human side of yourself and allowing your staff to get to know you a bit better, your team will feel more relaxed and comfortable approaching you.

5) Be decisive

A good leader needs to be able to assert their authority and make important decisions for the team. There is no space for flakiness in a leadership role, so it’s crucial that you stick to your guns and go with what you feel is best the business.

6) Delegate jobs to the right people

Part of why it is vital that you establish a relationship with your team and get to know them individually is so you can assess what their strengths are. People perform better and are more engaged in roles where they feel they are employing their best skills, so delegating proper functions that suit each will have a significant impact on the productivity of the team.

7) Manage conflict

When there is conflict in the workplace, it should not be ignored. Turning a blind eye could lead to a negative atmosphere, which could have implications for staff productivity and communication among the team may suffer. When an issue arises, it’s crucial that it is addressed straight away before it builds.

8) Set a good example

Your staff will look to you for guidance and inspiration, so it’s essential that you set a good example to gain their respect. If you expect them to behave professionally and commit to their work, it’s vital that you do so yourself. Make sure that you are doing your job, continuing to develop your career and support your team in doing so too.

Good luck!

Nieves

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8. Jul, 2018

Can you remember a time when people looked up to doctors as if they were gods? We took everything that they said at face value, never questioning their judgment. That same kind of blind faith used to apply to leaders as well. Times have certainly changed. People now realize that leaders are not infallible. In the worst-case scenario, a leader can do a lot of damage in a short amount of time. 

Today’s business environment demands leaders who are authentic, engaged and committed to developing others. Many organizations insist that their employees are their greatest asset. But too often, they fail to back up their lofty ideals with actions. Here are 10 ways leaders can set a tone of integrity and professionalism that all employees will feel honored to emulate.

  1. Don’t fake it till you make it.  Leaders who are authentic are viewed as credible. Today’s employees want to work with someone whom they know is real. They can’t build a relationship with a leader they don’t regard as genuine. Be who you are; take the mask off. Your behavior is a mirror for your values and your character, because although authenticity happens internally, it manifests itself externally. Authentic leaders know that they have strengths and nonstrengths and they surround themselves with people who can fill in their gaps and help them lead more effectively.
  2. Put your heart into it. True leadership is about connecting with people. Employees won’t care about your vision until they know that you care about them. Without question you must possess the requisite intellectual horsepower, but the best leaders have alignment between the head and the heart. They consciously make decisions based upon input from both areas. Leaders who are willing to expose their caring side are more approachable, more collaborative and, therefore, more trusted.
  3. Integrity Counts. Leaders are under a lot of pressure to achieve short-term gains. A great leader must take risks to develop the business but not at the cost of his or her integrity. You’ve got to know where to draw the line. Integrity should be the platform upon which a leader approaches everything including, business decisions, conflicts, promoting people, customer relationship management, ambiguity, ego, hidden agendas and on and on… When you are rooted in a strong integrity-based philosophy, you will always do that what’s right—even if it means challenging the status quo.
  4. Honor your responsibility to serve others.  Leaders develop themselves so that they can develop others. It’s that simple! To develop people a leader must be willing to embrace different styles, different approaches, different genders, different everything. Today’s workforce is more than 50% women and is comprised of four different generations. Obviously, clinging to old stereotypes is no longer an option.
  5. Create a culture of inclusion. So much emphasis has been placed on diversity, yet diversity itself has gone through an evolution. It involves everything that is unique about each individual. Creating a culture where everyone is welcomed and given an equal opportunity to contribute and advance—that’s real inclusion.
  6. Get the big picture.  It’s not enough to have “silo” expertise rooted in one skill area. Today’s leaders have to understand the entire business. Stretch yourself to develop cross functional expertise. Producing shareholder value is the result of great business decisions. How can you make a good decision if you don’t understand the big picture?
  7. Become a student of the world. You are responsible for guiding the team or organization to higher levels of performance and profitability. The only way to sustain success in a market where change occurs at the speed of light is to study the trends—not just business trends, but workforce, social and global trends. You need to stay on top of what’s happening all around you. Spend time thinking about how the world around you is changing and do your best to stay ahead of the curve.
  8. Satisfy your internal customer. So many organizations talk about the importance of being “customer centric.” But the organizations that will break through to new heights of productivity are those that take the time to satisfy their internal clients—the employees—first. There was a time when a paycheck was enough to keep an employee motivated and satisfied. That’s no longer true. Today’s employers have to meet non-traditional, work/life issues like flex time, time to take care of sick parents, time off instead of bonuses, etc. Layer on top of these requirements the urgency to match an employee’s strengths with the correct job. Now you can see the importance of taking care of your internal clients so that you can have great business relationships with your external clients.
  9. Become a coach/mentor. Your job as a leader is to help people discover their strengths. Employees don’t just want to be told what to do; they want leaders who can coach them to improved performance. In essence what they need is a good teacher. Ask a lot of questions. Don’t assume anything. And give people time to process information based on their strengths, not yours.
  10. Work hard, play hard. We spend a large portion of our lives at work. So do your best to be happy in your chosen endeavor. If you’re not, do something to change it. Try a little laughter, keep your sense of humor and above all else, keep everything in perspective. 

 

Nieves

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3. Jun, 2018

Everybody is a genius.
But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree,
it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid

When is the last time you did something and completely lost track of time?

Finding our natural talents can be quite difficult to do. For me, it took me decades to find out that I wanted to help people to achieve their goals.

Much like many other people, discovering what your talents are can be extremely hard to figure out.

In a perfect world, everyone would get to use their strengths at work every day.

Unfortunately, that's not the case for most people. In fact, 63% of workers worldwide are not engaged in their work. This doesn't even include the 24% who are actively disengaged.

While there are multiple reasons for this, one of the key factors is most workers don't get to use their natural talents at work on a daily basis.

Think about it. In nature, eagles can fly between 75 and 125 miles a day. Wild elephants can roam up to 50 miles a day. If that eagle or elephant is locked-up in a cage, they're not living the way they were made to live. They've been stifled, suffocated, trapped.

Similarly, millions of workers aren't able to do what they were made to do on a daily basis.

HOW DOES ONE BECOME A HEDGEHOG?

I first learned about the hedgehog concept in Jim Collins' book, Good to Greatwhich explores how companies go from mediocrity to greatness. He found that every great company, and the great people within them, approaches life with a “hedgehog strategy.”

 “There are two types of people in this world: hedgehogs and foxes.”

The fox knows many things.He is cunning and smart.

The hedgehog uses only one strategy but executes it to perfection. Whatever the fox tries, the hedgehog defends himself with what he knows how to do best.

So when they face each other, the fox tries a new strategy, but the hedgehog always wins.

In real life, foxes are those who always try new strategies to achieve their goals.
Hedgehogs, on the other hand, are those who stick to a simple strategy. Hedgehogs are consistent. They trust the process, and they methodically work towards achieving their ”dream job.”

It is simple, it is effective, and executed to perfection.

However, these strategies did not just come out of nowhere. They were deeply rooted self-awareness and understanding of what you are deeply passionate about, what you are naturally skilled in, and what drives your economic engine. 

All of us know the importance of these factors to some degree. Almost everyone has discovered at least 1 of these circles within themselves.

Many people have even found the answer to 2 of them. However, unfortunately, that is where the vast majority end their search. There’s nothing wrong with discovering only two circles, but below we will explore why they will not lead to greatness.

Passion & Value

If you ignore your natural talent, and only focus on finding a job that you are passionate about, you won’t reach your true potential. You will not make a great contribution to society, and we will not get to see your unique masterpiece.

Value & Talent

If you only focus on what people will pay you for, and what you can become the best in the world at, then you will not be able to tap into the passion you’ll need to push your comfort zone and achieve something great.

Talent & Passion

If you focus only on what you can become the best the world at, and what you’re passionate about, then you will not learn how to create something that is truly valuable to society.

Most people stop searching after discovering 2 of these circles. There's nothing wrong with that, as it will lead to a good life. But to achieve a great life, no matter what a "great life" is to you, you must continue to search for all 3.

The brutal fact, though, is that happiness doesn't put food on the table.

DISCOVERING ALL 3 CIRCLES  

After learning about the hedgehog concept, I have been on a mission to discover all 3 of my circles.

It has not been easy. But with each step, I'm getting a little bit closer to understanding how I can leave this world a little bit better than I found it. I'm writing about this today because I have taken a big step in the last month towards discovering my 3 circles.

CONCLUSION

Good is the enemy of great. Since I first read those words, I've tried to live them every day of my life.

So I wrote this post as a challenge for you to begin searching for your 3 circles. 

Whatever your definition of greatness is, if you discover the intersection of your unique passion, talent, and value to society, you will leave this world a better place than you found it.

Self-reflection Questions

Some basic but powerful questions that help you to identify your natural talents. Spend quality time on them to find them and move from good to a great life.

Here a free online test if you want to start straight away https://high5test.com/

I look forward to seeing what you accomplish.

 

Nieves

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26. May, 2018

Change is happening all around us – as consumers we experience it every day, and as professionals in all industries it consumes our conversations.

Today,in pretty much every industry , we can talk about Gen Y and Gen Z. And they make up the majority of the workforce. Whilst these groups are too large to be put simply into brackets, certainly they hold different work values and attitudes that have significant consequences for work culture and leadership.

Gen Y and Gen Z expect to work in an environment where they can bring their whole self to work and be personally supported in a professional environment. Increasingly companies are much more focused on creating a positive work culture for employees. Initiatives and networks that focus on mental health, gender equality, sexuality, ethnicity, disability and neuro-diversity are critical enablers for our talent in providing support, helping understand issues and ensuring they can be their very best selves...

These type of initiatives plus inclusive policies for parents and carers, flatter structures and open communication and feedback channels, all require policy and structural change. But this has to come hand in hand with cultural change, and cultural change starts at the top. Without active leadership – through actions and words - policies will remain solely as pages in a company handbook.

So championing equality and a positive work culture is a key leadership requirement today. But good leadership goes beyond just creating a good culture. That old- and tough - adage that ‘you’re only a leader if someone wants to follow you’ has never been truer than for today’s workforce. Employees have super high expectations of leaders. From the outset of their tenure they expect to have ease of access to senior colleagues, to have a voice, and be involved in collaborative decision making processes. They seek immediate approval and reward for their efforts and crave personal development. They are loyal to their principles and respect leaders based on values, as much as skills.

This is a change for many leaders – the average age of a CEO is 54, male and with very different values and behaviours to Gen Y and Gen Z. Broadly, they focus on structure, hierarchy and accepting of ‘command and control’. So no wonder then that there is a disconnect between leaders and younger talent: a staggering 86% of those surveyed by the Word Economic Forum said they had no faith in their business leaders.

So what does this mean for leadership today? I believe this calls for a radically more human approach. Successful leaders create more open, collaborative, empowering working environments. And they are more human themselves – empathetic, approachable, transparent, at times even revealing vulnerabilities. Leaders must empower and inspire their employees and create an environment that compliments their values. If not, as generations hardwired to seek out change and often equipped with the entrepreneurialism and digital skills to create that change for themselves, they will vote with their feet and find somewhere or something that does satisfy them.

Unsurprisingly, there is a strong business case for creating a positive work culture. Employee dissatisfaction results in higher turnover and difficulties in attracting the best talent. No wonder then, that it impacts the bottom line. According to Gallup Organization, organizations with low employee engagement scores experienced 18% lower productivity, 16% lower profitability, 37% lower job growth and 65% lower share price over time.

So we have no choice but to start leaning in as leaders, opening up and enabling our colleagues to feel empowered from the get-go. Rather than expecting younger colleagues to learn everything from us, instead we need to adopt the values and behaviours - empathy, energy and empowerment - that today’s workforce expect. So get your reverse coaching program in place right away!

All the best

Nieves

 

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