Do you have a love/hate relationship with your job, your role, your team or your organization?
I sure did! It sucked the life and fun out of me!
Do you want to learn how to lose the loathing love the work?
On this week's FB Live show I talked about what I did and you can too - to learn to love leadership. Let me give you a bit of an overview here.
I was in a pretty toxic environment
In my book Mastering Confidence, I tell the story of a time when my team was just a wee bit toxic. Ok, honestly, very toxic. At the time I blamed everyone around me. It was her fault, his fault, and their fault. Certainly, I wasn't the one to blame. As such, I didn't want to go to work. I dreaded it each morning as I got ready and headed into the office. Whenever I could, I avoided certain people, teams, and sites. I loathed my job.
It took a shift in my mindset and some learning to turn that around.. I need to take responsibility for my self, my impact and move from victim to leader. I find that many of the women I work with also struggle in this way.
My client was in a pretty toxic environment
Take Rebecca for example.She came to me a few months into a new promotion. Initially when she took the role of a supervisor on she loved it. That quickly turned to overwhelm, extreme dislike for her boss and frustration with her team. Rebecca felt like no one listened or cared about the work or her. She found she was turning into an uncaring person, simply focused on the tasks for the day.
We both need to see things differently
When we started coaching, the first thing I began to do was help Rebecca gain an understanding of herself. She needed to get clear on what her values were. She began to get more connected to her inner guidance system which helped her recognize what triggered her, her self-talk and take back control of her emotions. It was the same place I started when I turned my team back around from toxic to strong. Once I figured out how important family was to me, honesty and my deep connection to the work we were doing, I quickly realized why I had reacted to so many things that had happened in the preceding months.
We moved from ourselves to focusing on our team
The next thing I worked with Rebecca on was helping her to see her team as individuals and realize her job was to grow them. She started to see them differently as I'd also began to see my team in a new light. It is always fascinating for me to watch my clients now take the same journey that I did so many years ago. That path is seeing individual's strengths, identifying their potential and putting a focus on growing them and helping them to realize their full potential. It's an amazing feeling to turn from seeing your staff as "problems to be fixed" to "potential to be drawn out."
We both reconnected to the love of our job
The final thing that helped Rebecca to learn to love her leadership role again was taking her newfound inner growth and her shift in her mindset about her team to the bigger purpose of their work. Why do you do what you do? What difference does your work make to the community you serve? These questions helped me years ago to really find that passion and inner spark again. Rebecca lit up to when she began to find the answers to these questions.
This is what we did in a nutshell
These three things, are the things you can also do to move from loathing your leadership role to loving your leadership role
My final thoughts for you
To move from loathing your leadership role to loving it takes some time. Let's be honest, leadership is a tough gig! However, these three things, when you put your focus on them will help you to make that shift more permanent. Grow yourself from the inside out. Focus on seeing the potential in your employees and focus on growing them. Then, take yourself and your team and remind yourselves today and every day...why you do what you do. Trust me, my dear, you will find the love for your work again...as soon as you do!
Want to learn more?
Listen to this week's Facebook Live session to help you make the shift from loathing to loving your job. Don't forget to download this week's guide sheet to help you personally make the shift. Remember, you have to do something with this information, or it won't actually make a change in your life!
If I asked you what your #1 job as a leader is, what would you say?
I reckon there are heaps of possible answers.
The 2 Biggies
Those are all important task of a leader. I believe though, with my whole heart, that to do more than just survive, that there 2 critical jobs or skills you must master. They are:
Over the last few weeks in the Excellence in Leadership series, we have been focusing improving yourself so that you can be an A+ Lady Leader. I’ve asked you to consider the skills you need to work on, to have the impact you desire. These skills hail from The Leadership Circle Profile. This is a 360 tool I use with my Lady Leaders who join the Women with Grit Program.
The Leadership Circle measures a set of well-researched competencies that gauge how leaders achieve results, bring out the best in others, lead with vision, enhance their own development, act with integrity, and encourage and improve organizational systems.
Relating well to others is critical
This week we are moving on to the set of abilities around Relating to others. Being strong in relating, is all about bringing out the best in people, groups, and organizations.
A leader who is good at relating is
They see others as
Learn to put your focus on your people
When you are good at relating you intentionally focus on people. You realize that as your people develop so does your team's capacity and thus your team success. Developing your team members goes back to what I stated at the beginning; a critical skill in leadership is the ability to grow others. However, to be good at relating you must accept both yourself and others.
You can't only focus on being liked
Some leaders find they struggle with relationships for a couple of reasons. First, they may be focused more on getting along with people, but so much so that it is at the cost of achieving results. If you find yourself here, you may tend to play it safe in relationships, sugarcoat messages and fail to speak up when necessary. You struggle to build effective relationships when it’s all about complying, pleasing and fitting in.
It's not about controlling them either
Alternately you may find yourself less of a pushover, and more controlling, Here you tell others what to do and don't ask for others opinions. You are a take-charge kind of gal who speaks directly and bluntly. You see relationships as a means to an end. You're nice, just to get the job done. If you find yourself in this situation, you might also notice that when you feel challenged and threatened by others, you become defensive. You may discount or ignore negative feedback.You aren't growing your team when you never let them do anything or make any mistakes.
Finding the balance
It is a balancing act to achieve high results and relate well others. As such, it takes practice to find that point where you can hold both a commitment to achieving high results and a focus on developing your people. Take the time to learn how to focus on your team members and you'll see them grow, so you can achieve the results.
To grow yourself in the area of relating well to others, focus on the following 5 skills :
Try this language
If you are committed to growing your ability to relate well to your team so that you bring out the best in them, here are some examples of things you may say to them.
Do more than just survive leadership
To do more than just survive leadership, remember to focus on both growing yourself and growing others. As you focus on developing strong relationships with your team and using those relationships to bring out the best in them, you'll begin to thrive as a leader. As you blossom, so will your team members and as a result, you'll find your group achieving those high results.
Want to learn more?
You can learn more here by listening to this session on how you can increase your skills for relating to others.
Then, apply the skills with your team by downloading the guide which will help to bring out the best in your team.
Let me start by asking you a question: Are you achieving...
If you are an A+ Lady Leader, you know the answers to these questions and have the skills to do just that!
You need all three parts
It's not just about the results or the just process. You all know wealthy individuals, who are complete jerks and have lost everyone they loved along the way. You know of very successful organizations with nasty work cultures. You know really good people, who never achieve anything because they are too nice. You probably also know wonderful, caring people, who work hard every day, but never get anywhere, because, they don’t have definite aspirations. I know, none of these is what you are looking for!
The point is, we need to get the right RESULTS, in the right WAY for the right REASON
Any one of the 3 points is important, but to be that A+ Lady Leader, you need to combine all 3.
Getting your WHAT right
The skill you need to develop:
Being GOAL ORIENTED:
When you hone this skill, you set goals and focus on goal achievement. That means when you establish goals, you don’t stop there. You create timelines to achieve those goals. You then break down your objective into smaller tasks, take action on some parts and delegate others. You follow up with your team and keep the process on track. The end goal is high performance and goal attainment.
How to develop this skill
Practice setting bigger goals and the get used to breaking goals down into weekly tasks. Work with your team to share the work and progress.
Getting your HOW right
The 2 skills you need to develop are:
Having a STRATEGIC FOCUS:
This means you have a good process in place for maintaining an ongoing strategic perspective within your organization. A strategic focus includes more than setting goals. It is looking at how your team’s or your organization’s work fits into the bigger picture. It starts with strategic planning, but it doesn’t end there. To truly have a strategic focus, you need to keep the process alive throughout the year. The ongoing process includes regularly reviewing goals, both for progress, but also to see if they are still priorities.
How to develop this skill
Start developing this skill by scheduling time monthly in your agenda to take a look at the bigger picture and see how it fits in with today and next week. What has happened that may have changed the original strategic plan?
This is the ability to make decisions, including tough ones, in a timely manner. You need to make decisions under pressure and be comfortable moving forward in uncertainty.
How to develop this skill
To become more adept at being decisive, you need to heighten your awareness around the decisions you are faced with.
Getting your WHY right
The skill you need to develop is:
Being PURPOSEFUL & VISIONARY:
You need to clearly communicate and role model a commitment to both your personal purpose and vision and the organization’s deeper sense of purpose
How to develop that skill
Spend time individually and with your team crafting a future vision. This vision can include things such as goals and plans. More than that though, you will need to take a look at the values you want to honour, the workplace culture you want to have an choosing the impact of your lasting legacy on the community you serve.
These skills listed above come from The Leadership Circle Profile. This is a 360 tool I use with my A+ Lady Leaders who join the Women with Grit Program.
The Leadership Circle describes them as part of the Creative competencies that are well-researched competencies that measure how leaders achieve results, bring out the best in others, lead with vision, enhance your own development, act with integrity, and encourage and improve organizational systems.
Want to learn more?
Anyone can achieve results. What they actually achieve, how they do it, and why they are even bother trying to do, makes an incredible difference. I know, if you want to be an A+ Lady Leader, that you not only care about the what, but also the how and why.
You can learn more here by listening to this session on how you can increase your skills to achieve the right results, for the right reason, in the right way.
Then, get a sense of how you are doing with the skills to achieve results with the guide below.
Are you a leader or a manager?
We use the words managing and leading interchangeably. However, these terms don’t mean the same thing. Leadership is different than management. The truth is, you likely do both, especially if you work in a smaller organization. Sometimes you are managing at one time and leading at a different time. On other occasions, you are doing both managing and leading almost simultaneously.
So why bother understanding the difference between management and leadership then?
The answer is simple. You need to develop your skills in both areas. Organizations put too much focus on developing only management skills. However, without developing your leadership skills as well, you’ll struggle to get where it is you want to be with your team. You’ll probably also feel more frustrated.
The easiest way for me to explain the difference to you is to think about a boat. A manager keeps the boat from tipping over side-to-side. A leader steers the boat forward. You need to do both if you are going to get anywhere.
Here are the differences between leadership and management in a nutshell:
Example #1 - Employee Development
MANAGING: Take for instance the development of employees. Booking regular supervision meetings with your staff members, sending employees on training, scheduling your people into the programs and ensuring annual performance reviews get completed all management tasks. These things are necessary for sure!
LEADING: In addition to those management tasks, a leader will have a conversation with the employee about their skills and talents. She will inspire them to utilize their strengths. A leader may move them into positions they are not completely ready for. The leader knows that stretching this person is a risk that will serve both the employee and program well, even though it will be a messy transition. However, the leader has a clear picture in her mind of what will be on the other side of those rapids, and they communicate that to the individual and the team.
Example #2 - Contract Changes
LEADING: When the funder announces modifications to the way contracts are being released, the leader already saw it coming. She has been actively scanning the horizon. In doing so, she knows how those changes will strategically fit that into where the program is. She is always aware how they can navigate the upcoming changes.
MANAGING: The manager in her will mitigate the risks to the existing program budgets. She will plan meetings with stakeholders. The manager role will have her prepare to communicate the changes to the team.
The differences: Management training
The training you need to be a great manager will be in learning to do things such as preparing and reading budgets and learning how to build strategic plans complete with goals and objectives and timelines. Management training will help you to write policies and follow procedures. This kind of training will ensure things get done in a way that keeps the program afloat.
The differences: Leadership Training
In contrast, the training you need as a leader will help you understand how to communicate to your team in a way that builds trust and motivates them. It will be about creating a vision and then learning to inspire people around you to come alongside you to achieve that vision, even when it seems risky, scary or impossible. Leadership training will help you steer the boat forward.
Leadership isn't about your name tag
Leadership isn’t a title or a role. Leadership is a way of being. It is the way you take action and the manner in which you communicate. When you are leading, your personality, style, vision, method, and character all serve to influence your followers. That influence sways them towards your future vision.
The mistake we often make
The mistake we often make is in thinking that we can learn management skills. This mindset error leads us to believe we either have the ability to lead or not. Certainly, our ability to lead is impacted by our genes, though our childhood experiences and as a result of our past career. There is not doubt that, that all shapes who we are. The key is in deciding what you will do with all of the cards that you have been dealt. That is where leadership training comes in.
Great leaders work on themselves
To become a great leader, you need to commit to personal development. Leadership starts with self-leadership. That means you understand what makes you tick, what is important to you and why it is central to your beliefs. Clarity on these fundamental drivers helps you craft your vision. The greatest of leaders then choose the character strengths they want to strengthen so they can inspire their followers to help them achieve that mission.
Traits of great leaders
Effective leadership is about integrity and trust. It is about the courage to take risks and the awareness to maintain your composure. When you lead most powerfully, you are serving others, with a vision, much bigger than yourself in mind. All of these are things that can be learned, honed and strengthened. You just have to do the work.
The work required to be one of the greats
Oh, and did I neglect to tell you…it takes a lot of work? Yes, leaders are in it for the long haul. That’s because, like Christopher Columbus, they know, that even though the majority may see it one way, that doesn’t make it so! The greatest of leaders push forward towards their vision, with a great team around them who trusts the leader, and believes in the same vision.
Becoming an exceptional leader doesn’t simply take time. Extraordinary leaders hone their skills, develop certain talents and craft their powerful impact with ongoing intention. Are you committed to that journey?
Mastery of leadership is a journey
Those that we Judge to be masterful leaders likely knew that for them to become an expert leader in their field, they would need to commit to a process of continuous growth and development. That commitment and the continued effort allowed them to excel. Their journey was similar to that of a master chef’s, a karate master’s experience or the process a master pianist went through. It took time, dedication and effort.
It's more than taking some training
Mastery is an ongoing journey of learning and growth. We don't typically talk about mastery in leadership. Instead, we focus on skill development, taking some training or participating in a professional development opportunity. All of those are important, but they are only pieces. Each training is a tool to use on your way to mastering leadership. You must use the tool, practice with it and excel at it.
Your title doesn't make you great
You can become a leader simply by getting a title. Add to that your job description, a group of employees and a budget to manage. All of that puts you in the position, but none of it will make you a great leader.
Applying your learning is key
Once you realized that, you may realize you need some more training and assistance to work on your leadership skills. Perhaps you read a book on leadership. Maybe you take a course or two on communication, budgeting, and strategic planning. That still will not magically make you a great leader. However, if you read a book and start to apply what you're learning, you're probably going to be a better leader. If take the courses and work on using the skills you were trained in, you are going to be an even better leader.
Critically evaluate and improve yourself
It is when you continually apply your learning that you begin to master certain skills. By evaluating how you are doing, learning from failures, trying new strategies and continually investing in bettering yourself that you will find you begin to truly excel.
The problem for many leaders is that they settle. They get to the point of being a mediocre leader or someone with average skills and they stop. They believe they are good enough to get by. They cease to take training on particular leadership skills. These “ok” leaders may focus on other team members their skill development.
Be the leader who stands out
If you are different, if you want more than that, perhaps it’s mastery you are looking for. If “good enough,” isn’t good enough, consider focusing on mastery.
Mastering leadership takes a long time
To become a masterful leader means that you're going to work on this, quite frankly, for years. Perhaps even your whole life. If you want to be a masterful leader, you know that you are going to continue to grow and develop and learn and train and apply what you've learned and learned some more and take some more. It's about a process. Mastery is a journey of continuing to develop yourself.
There is no endpoint
Know now that you will likely never actually reach the point of being the best or perfect or even a “Master.” If you ever talk to somebody who you consider to be a master at something, they will probably tell you they don't know everything thing. In fact, they've only dipped their toe it. Those that we deem as masters know that there's so much more for them to learn, so they continue to learn and grow.
Commit to a lifelong pursuit of excellence
To master leadership means that you're committing yourself to a lifelong journey. It is like pledging to yourself that you will persistently learn, grow, develop and improve yourself.
I'm going always to be working on my skills, my strengths, my areas that maybe aren't so great. I'm going to continue to explore where I can grow even more. I'm going to continue to look inside and figure out
Start with mastering your confidence
If you want to keep growing and developing yourself, it's important to realize that this isn't always going to be an easy journey. You will make mistakes. You will fumble. It will be weird, scary and downright painful at times. You are going to need to step outside of your comfort zone routinely, to get to the point of excellence. To do that, you'll have to move forward with confidence. The confidence isn't in knowing you can handle it, but the confidence that you will figure it out. If you are looking for a tool to help you master your confidence levels, you may be interested in this book.
Be the best you can be today, and work towards being even better tomorrow
Mastery is committing yourself to a lifelong journey of growing yourself. If you want to become the best leader that you can be commit today to continuing to grow. Commit today to never ending this journey of becoming that better leader. Know that you will constantly have the ability to get that much further, to learn a little bit more, to develop a little bit more, to grow a few skills. That's mastery. Continuing on and on and on.
Kathy is a leadership coach for women who want to strengthen their leadership and find balance in life. She mentors females as they rediscover their purpose, passion and persistence for life while dealing with office politics, jerk bosses and the challenges of family life. In her signature program Women with Grit: Leading with Courage & Confidence, Kathy gives her ladies the hope and inspiration they need along with a kick in the pants to make positive change in their lives.
If you are struggling to get moving on a project or finding a lack of motivation in your team, you need to figure our the “why” behind the task. You need to discover your motive.
A motive is something that causes a person to act such as:
At work, those truly aren’t the best motives. Even money doesn’t work to encourage people.
What does work to get motivation?
Getting connected to why you need to do what you need to do is the strongest motivator there is. If we can’t understand the importance of what we are doing, connected to the bigger picture, there is nothing to pull us forward.
Many of you have heard the following parable. I think it’s worth repeating here:
A man came upon a construction site where three people were working.
What is your team's cathedral vision?
We need to connect the brick we are each laying at this moment to the cathedral we are building together. You need to do this for yourself and your team. They need to understand why they are doing the task in front of them. People want to know they are part of something bigger. They want to know their part matters to that larger vision.
Dig for your "Why" by writing
The way connect everyone to that larger vision, is to spend time excavating the “why.” Set aside 5 minutes to ponder the questions listed below. Write your answers. Yes, write them down. The act of writing will completely transform this exercise from a waste of time to saving incredible amounts of time. If you don’t believe me, I dare you to try it. Then, tell me below if I was right or wrong.
The questions to ponder
When you are struggling with a lack of motivation, write down the answer the following questions:
I swear if you take 5 minutes to write down the answers to these questions you will save yourself and your team hours of frustration. If you take 15 minutes to do this exercise with your team, look out! You’ll be in for some incredible insights.
Motivate by finding your "why"
When you are struggling with motivation, connect to the reason you are trying to do the work in front of you. What is the desire, urge, or inspiration to do the task? Why bother? Take time to write down answers to questions that help you to open up your thinking. Save yourself time and frustration by investing in connecting to your motive. You’ll spark that motivation in both you and your team.
When you actually wrote down the answers, what did you discover?
Have you ever felt like an outsider?
Perhaps you were the one individual in the room that no one was talking to you.
Have you ever felt that not one cares about you?
Maybe your boss didn't have a clue what you were doing or why you are doing it?
That feeling sucks too.
I’ve felt I’m an outsider, and I bet you have too
Not all the time, but you’ve probably felt that sense that no one cares about you. You walked into a meeting, and there was a group on the side talking. They didn’t seem to notice that you had entered the room. No raised heads. No eye contact. You overheard their conversation and knew you have something to contribute, but they didn’t acknowledge you, let alone asked for your opinion. Ouch!
Most of the time you can shrug it off knowing it wasn’t that they didn’t care about you or your ideas. They were just engrossed in their conversation. Perhaps later they did look up, invite you over and away you went.
That feeling sucks
It’s that initial feeling, though, of not being noticed or not perceiving you are a valuable part of the group that, sad to say, many employees feel on an ongoing basis. They don’t get the impression they are seen, nor do they feel appreciated. Far too often, employees feel insignificant, secondary and dispensable.
These people give less than 100%
When you don’t feel respected, you don’t commit to your work. That means you are producing significantly less than 100% of what you are capable of generating.
When you don’t feel like you matter, that your work counts or that you are cared about, you put your time in and go home. Barely.
You want 100% employee buy-in
My guess is you want more of your team. I suspect you are looking for committed, dedicated and loyal staff. I bet you want people who are invested and care about the work they are doing, the quality of their work, and the impact they are making.
How do you get that?
You care. Simply put:
When you change your interactions with your staff so that they feel that you care about them, their work and their impact, you will find yourself bragging to others about your stellar team players.
Do these 3 things daily to get stellar employee performance
1) Personally, acknowledge your team members
Say hi. Use their name. Call them. Send them an email about them, not what you want them to do. Maybe you text your staff regularly.
2) Ensure they understand the meaning in their work
Everything people do is connected to a bigger project.
The job of a leader is to make the connection for their team. You need to help them to see that all of the smaller pieces all connected to a bigger project or vision.
3) Use all-inclusive language
Approach conversations as if you are all in it together, because you really are all in it together!
Use your words to communicate that everything you are doing is connected, because everything is truly connected!
You can see this in the above example about goals.
Discovering you do have a stellar team
Make these deeper connections with your staff:
Those who run companies (listen carefully, this might be you) complain about employees that don’t do what they are supposed to. Leaders grumble about a staff that doesn't care, employees that aren’t loyal and people who only see the job as a means to a pay cheque. Management gets frustrated when the team wastes time and money. These are everyday criticisms from bosses.
What if perhaps, all of that is true AND that a large part of the reason for that reality is that employees behave like that as a result of how the leaders treat them? What if one of those leaders is you? Ouch right?
You get what you expect
Have you ever heard the expression “You get what you expect?” There is a lot of truth to that in your marriage, in your friendships and as well in your employee’s commitment and effort they put towards the company.
Our expectations inform our actions
The expectations we have come out in the way we as leaders behave. Our interactions with our employees communicate the beliefs we have.
So let us just assume for a moment, that there is a different way.
We are born learners. We move what we are learning from our heads to our hearts, to our hands.
Employees hearts are impacted, positively or negatively by what their leaders expect
If we simply demand, yell, lecture, threaten and ridicule staff, they will feel deflated, defensive, angry and apathetic. You get, what you expect.
Expect engaged employees
If you are looking instead to have energized, engaged and dedicated staff who truly care about the work they are doing, you must connect what is happening for them to their heart, in a good way.
Here are 3 ways to start change your impact on your employees:
1) See your employees as individuals
They are not just an employee number, a warm body or somebody to delegate work to. They are a human being. They have feelings. They have lives. They do care. If you want them to care more, about the same things you care about, treat them with respect.
2) See their strengths and their potential
We are all gifted with qualities, skills, and traits. Each of us is unique. Even though we may have the same title and be doing the same job duties, each one will do it in their own distinctive way.
3) Invest in them
Give your employee’s your time and energy. I am not talking 2 hours of uninterrupted time. It could be 5 minutes of uninterrupted time. But that time could be invaluable to them.
Taking responsibility for your expectations
Seeing the role you play in your employee’s attitude is the first step to changing the connection your staff have to their day-to-day work. It starts with you. Recognize your expectations play a huge role in how you act and then subsequently how your team acts. Work to motivate and inspire your staff by seeing them as individuals, seeing the potential within them by drawing on their strengths and then invest in them. When you make these shifts, you and the team will experience more success and enjoyment in the work you do.
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Are you a manager or a leader? Here is the simple question to help you see: Are you trying to move things forward or are you trying to stabilize them?
We need to both manage and lead
Likely you do both, but at different times. The challenge is that we get caught in managing. We spend most of our time, heads down just trying to survive. More often and we need to manage less and lead more. Here are the differences and 3 strategies to help you lean to leading your team more often.
Manage try to steady things
If, at that moment, you are trying to stabilize things, keep them in line, and follow procedures, then you are managing.
Here is what managing looks like:
When you wear the manager’s hat, you are;
Managers get stuff done
Managers are maintaining order and consistency. They are keeping things status quo. In essence, they are getting the work done.
Leaders are moving things forward
Shifting into leadership mode means that instead maintaining status quo, you’re now looking to challenge the status quo. You are looking to get out of the steady, sure place and find more movement forward. Leaders focus on change, movement, and growth.
This is what leadership looks like
Putting on your leadership hat has you do these activities:
Leaders develop others and the company
Leaders motivate, inspire, and energized team members to grow, develop to be all they can be. In doing so, this also creates the space for the company to be all it can be. Leaders help individuals and team to reach their full potential.
We are better at one or the other role usually
Most of us find it easier to do one or the other of these roles. We need to both manage and to lead so that we can effectively run an organization. Is important to get clear on the distinction of the difference between a leader and manager and know when we need to shift between the two.
Only leading or managing gets you into trouble
When we sit on one side of the other too long, it creates a void. Yes, we need to stabilize for a moment, but we also need to keep moving. Staying still too long makes us stagnant. On the other hand always racing forward can lead to no foundation with which build on. Only focusing on the future can create chaos and essentially you spin out of control.
Leaders need to know how to shift back-and-forth
Leaders need to switch back and forth from their manager hat to their leadership hat. Your strength may be in seeing the future potential of an employee, and so you focus on that during their performance review. You talk to them about their goals and help them decide what training they need to take over the next year. To shift, you may also need to have a conversation with them about them being late with paperwork. That conversation manages the day-to-day challenges and serves to stabilize their work and how that affects the rest of the team.
Don’t gets stuck in managing
I have noticed that many of us, regardless of whether it is our strength or not, tend to focus on getting stuff done in the here and now. That work is what is in front of us. It is the squeaky wheel demanding our attention. On the surface level, it appears to be what we are supposed to be doing. But if we stay only here, we are missing a much bigger picture that also needs to attention.
Add more leading time
I challenge you to incorporate more leading if your day-to-day work. When you can set your sights farther down the road, you can look up and gain perspective.
Here are three ways you can be a leader on a day-to-day basis
Practice leading more often
When you get clearer on demonstrating leadership more often, you will develop your team to be stronger, more independent and more engaged. In doing so, you will find your organization more cohesive and will advance quicker towards the goals set out in your visioning processes. Learn to shift back and forth between managing and leading, but heighten your desire to lead more often.
What strategy will you apply in your role as leader and what do you want to achieve by doing that?
If you have been at your job for a while, let’s say about 10 years, you should be an expert. The question is what have you become an expert at?
My training changed over the years
I worked in my field for over 24 years. As a Child and Youth Care Worker, the first part of my career was doing frontline work with youth and families. It wasn’t long before I moved into introductory supervisory positions and then, following that, into managing programs and staff over a large geographical area. I certainly learned a lot over my career.
Initially, I learned a lot about discipline
As a Family Support Worker I was teaching parenting skills, so I needed to help those parents manage their kids. I studied material on I messages, reflective listening and natural and logical consequences. I added to my repertoire skills in teaching adults so that I could accelerate the learning for the distressed parents I was supporting.
Next I studied management skills
It wasn’t long however before I was experimenting with Excel, trying to grasp time sheets and acquiring skills to run staff meetings. I pursued the finer art of not only how to find things in policy manuals but how to write a new policy when needed. Later in my career, I discovered the craft of writing proposals.
I was doing a lot of practice of getting along with others
A theme through all of this was that I was learning about relationships. In my 9-5 work, but also as a wife, mother and community member, I was learning to manage relationships. Many times I certainly was not very good at handling interactions though. It was a process of self-discovery, skill attainment and patience. A number of my eventual insights about effective relationships came through trial and error.
I was becoming an expert in leading.
All of my experience, training and practice was about leading myself, leading others, leading programs and leading in a community. It is now what I know and do well, in fact very well. I have become what you might call, masterful at leading. Not only do I do it daily in all aspects of my life, I coach others to excel at leadership. I love it and continue to work hard at excelling at it.
Being an expert should matter a lot to you too
See, here is the thing; my guess is that you want to make a difference. I suspect that you’re tired of getting home at the end of the day and feeling exhausted and drained. I hear the frustration from people about looking back over their day and being sadly aware that they achieved nothing of significance. It was another day of putting out fires and dealing with office politics.
Meaning and significance comes from doing something worth doing
It you want to feel like you are doing something worthwhile each day, it’s important to get clear on what you need to do to achieve that. It’s essential then to become very skilled at it. You will want to be adept, savvy and brilliant, at what matters most, so that you can make the difference you want to. When you do, you still may come home at the end of the day tired, but it will be with a bit of a smile on your face, knowing that your energy exertion was for a good cause!
What is an expert?
Studies have been done that show was that it takes about 10,000 hours to become an expert at anything. It takes 10,000 hours to invest into learning to be an amazing concert pianist, a star athlete or a stellar computer programmer. 10,000 hours equates to about two hours and 45 minutes a day for 10 years. That’s a lot of practice.
You are already practicing every day
You put it in at least 2 to 3 hours a day of time into your craft. Yes, your job as a craft. Yes, you are becoming a master at what you do. If you keep going along this path, you’ll be really good at something, you just may not have chosen what you’re going to be really good at. As I said earlier, if you aren’t careful, you will be a master at dancing in office drama.
Be intentional about what you are becoming a master at
You must get really clear on what is you want to achieve over time. Is it to become an exceptional social worker? Is it to be the expert in a certain disability? Do you want to be a master at managing others or leading others? Do you want the expert at program growth and development? Where do you want to excel? Where do you want to be seen as a leader in your field?
Three steps to becoming an expert
1) Decide what you want to be an expert in.
Take some time to look at the aspects of your job that you really enjoy. Look back to peak moments that you have had in your career. Also look at what gives you the most fulfillment and enjoy. Imagine it’s 10 years from now, what do you want to be spending most of your time doing? By getting clear on what it is that you want to be focusing on you will find more opportunities to do that.
2) Consider what it will take to become that kind of an expert
When you look at what is it that you want to become an expert in, then take some time to consider what formal and informal training you will need to do that. Is there of course you can take, a book you can read or are there videos on the Internet that you could watch that might help you? Also, consider what practice you will need to do. Just like learning to play a sport and running drills, the skills that you’re mastering as a professional we’ll also require practice. Consider where you will need to get that practice. For example, you might want to join Toastmasters so that you can practice your public speaking skills.
3) Take the first steps to following the plan
Once you’ve determined what you want to master and what you will need to do to master that, then determine the steps that you will need to follow. It might be read a book, take a course or join a community group. Perhaps the next step might be asking your organization to fund training. The first step might also be reorganizing your day to find time to do it. Figure out the next step and don't delay in taking it!
Become the master, expert or respected leader in your field
We are all practicing every day to become something. We are all working hard to learn hone, to excel at certain skills. If we are not careful what we are honing is overwhelmed, boredom and getting caught up in office politics. Are you going to spend the next 10 years becoming more masterful have not enjoying life? Or will you spend the next 10 years following your passion, your heart and learning to do more of what you love and a really good at? If you choose the second option, I dare you to take one giant leap today towards becoming an expert at that.
What are you becoming an expert at and what do you need to do to get there?
Become the master leader you desire
If you are interested in becoming more masterful in your leadership, keep an eye open for the upcoming training Women with Grit: Leading with courage and confidence. Sign up here be the first one to get all the details.
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