Use of all available wisdom is true power!
As leaders we believe we should know the answers. People look to us to lead the way and set the pace. The truth is, we often don't actually know the answers and we don't know for sure what direction to go or how fast.
There may be help, right under your nose, to figure it out There may be wise sages around you.Yes, your staff members, your employees, those people who you are leading.
Among your team, are people who have more business experience and more life experience. There are people who have taken different training than you or worked with different customers or clients. There are people who have had the time to reflect and consider things in ways that maybe you have not. There are people who have lived through times and experiences much different than your.
These people may offer you much needed wisdom, if only you ask.
Seek these people out. Ask their advice. Have lunch with them. Offer to buy them a coffee. Then ask what they might do in your situation and why? Both their intuitive answer and their reasoning behind their pick may provide you with things you hadn't thought about.
Seek wisdom from your elders.
Today I have a fellow coach guest blogging for me. Joseph is an MCC. In coaching acronyms that means he's a Master Certified Coach. Those newer to the coaching profession like myself as an ACC (Associate Certified Coach) are often in awe of the MCC's. We admire them, look up to them and desire to follow in their footsteps.
As such I am grateful to be able to share Joseph thoughts. Find out more about Joseph here and follow his blog here.
Getting things done
According to Bossidy and Charan, authors of Execution, The Discipline of Getting Things Done, it is not lack of innovative ideas or planning or even enthusiasm, but the lack of actual execution of tasks that most undermines corporate success in North America. Is it not disturbing to find all the other components in good supply and yet the actual doing part is missing or implemented in a weak, slow and/or incomplete way? Some on the team will surely find this frustrating. The stakeholders will not accept it for long. The client base will soon erode toward those who can and do get it done.
Identify who owns the task
One of the key components of successful execution is to honestly identify who is the owner of the task. If the task owner remains the CEO trouble is likely. In smaller companies the line between the players can be a bit blurry sometimes so it is especially vital that the ‘owner’ of the task be clearly identified. And also essential that the group members put their shoulders behind the ‘owner’ since, again in a small company, that owner may not have a room full of staff to help do what needs doing. We are all Spartacus in a small company.
When it is decided, by whatever means, that a task is to be executed, a number of simple questions, answered sincerely and with commitment, can make all the difference between done and languishing. Here are some of the more basic questions.
* What are the deadlines for those absolute steps?
* Who will be the owner of each of these steps?
* What support help will be provided and by whom, to get these steps done
properly and on time?
Answering questions leads to success
When the foregoing and maybe a few more, questions are answered, the chances of success increase dramatically. How many tasks have you experienced where the above questions were clearly answered for all involved?
Honesty is non-negotiable
In order to get to the real answers and to make the task truly happen on time, honesty is non-negotiable. If something is not on track, naming it quickly, accurately and without emotion is the shortest path to solution and getting back on track. This means that some will feel uncomfortable. So be it. When trust and respect among the group members is high, the option of telling the truth promptly and fixing what needs fixing fast is strong. Being ‘nice’ just does not work. It slows things down and weakens the kind of fixes that are suggested. If the group is ‘together’ against the challenge of the task, no one will mind getting a bit of mud on them as they pull on that rope.
If we want to get to done sooner than the others, we need to be fully invested in getting it done and done on time and done well, together. Execution is a team activity.
Joseph Seiler MCC
coaching the best in business… you
A key element to leadership growth is having someone to lean on. Someone to take the heat off on those incredibly stressful days.
Yes, there are stressful days as a leader!
I remember frustrating teleconferences that I had to endure in the past. Or a conversation with a team that went all wrong. And I certainly remember days that I just wanted to cry because it felt like I would never get it all done.
It was those days that I would text a friend, call a co-worker or reach out to a peer leader. Not because they could fix it, but because they could understand where I was at and encourage me to go on.
There were other times as well. Times that I made it through everything and wanted to celebrate. Or if I had just received some good news; a contract, a good score on an accreditation process or got a good resume come across my desk. Those times I had someone there to reach out to as well and get a virtual high five!
Now, I have friends that I call, email, Skype or hangout with on Google hangouts. It's the same for us. We cheer each other on in our business development. We suggest supports and resources. And we laugh at ourselves together making YouTube videos!
Here is my latest video - Building your support network. Watch it now! And then phone a friend. Text a colleague. Email someone who might need cheering up. Or ask for cheering up yourself.
Leadership doesn't need to be lonely!
We often look only about as far as the nose on our face. The person we are with, the email in front of us, or the phone in our hand gets our immediate attention. It is extremely hard to look beyond that because in reality there are so many demands on us. It is a struggle to get through what is in front in a given day let alone anything else.
Where are you looking?
Because of that, we rarely look at that future place. That place that shows us how we impact others. We rarely consider the legacy we are leaving behind long after we are gone. More and more is being written about legacy (Kouze and Posner, Forbes and The Federation of Community Social Services British Columbia Leadership 2020) so it stands to reason, we should start paying attention.
Our legacy is our footprint
Our legacy is the print we leave behind. It is our mark on the world and on those we touch along the way. We leave a legacy whether we think about it or not. Our legacy is what people say about us after we have left the room or left the position. Robert Galford and Regina Maruca write one of my favorite definitions of legacy in the book Your Leadership Legacy
“Your legacy is defined by how others approach work and life as a result of having worked with you.”
What would be different for me?
I doubt I thought too much about the long-standing impact I had on my people when I was in a management role. Sure, I wanted them to like me. I wanted them to respect me and I certainly wanted them to do what I told them to do. But beyond the next few weeks and months I didn’t consider. It wasn’t that I didn’t care, I just never really thought about it. I wish I could go back now and consider how I wanted others to approach their work as a result of having worked with me. I suspect I would have done a few things differently.
Consider your legacy now
How about you? Have you considered your legacy? Why not consider it now? If only for a moment, consider how you want others to approach work and life as a result of working with you. Watch here to get you thinking more.
Do you want to do a legacy assessment? click here to try one.
I’ve had a number of conversations with individuals lately that either don’t get true supervision or don’t know what it is. I believe supervision is vital to growth and development of any employee and so I figured it’s time to write about it.
Supervision is one-to-one time between an employee and supervisor. It is regularly scheduled, not just in response to a crisis or problem. This time is proactive rather than reactive. Supervision provides the opportunity to talk about things that don’t often get attention during the day-to-day operations. Yes, we find time to ask questions, problem solve and put out fires. What I am talking however is conscious time to look at employee growth. The key to great supervision is that the individual receiving supervision comes out feeling lifted, inspired and engaged in their work. Hint, if they come out feeling like a kid leaving the principles office it was definitely not supervision!
Following are five things you should cover during a scheduled supervision time.
How often should you schedule supervision with your employees? It all depends on the type of work you are doing and your organization. Ultimately monthly would be lovely but we all know that in the real world that may not be able to happen for a variety of reasons. In that case, minimally every three months would be best.
Place this time as a priority. As much as it’s tempting to reschedule when a crisis comes up or to cut the meeting time a little short because there are other pressing issues, I urge you not to. One of your primary roles as a leader is to grow the talent in those that follow you. Your best way to do this, is to focus on growing them. Step by step!
Finally, make sure that you have supervision time for yourself as well. Ask your boss for scheduled time. Bring an agenda. Carve out the time you need to grow yourself!
I’ve attached a sample supervision form for you to use or be inspired by!
I am currently reading “The Pause Principle: Step Back to Lead Forward” by Kevin Cashman, who also authored “Leadership From the Inside Out”. Cashman is a brilliant man and one of our thought leaders on the topic of true leadership. In my reading last night I came across his concept of the difference between hesitation and pause. I had never considered the difference between the two words. Hesitation is a warning, almost the alarm bell that we need to pause, reflect and consider before moving on. I am intrigued by the difference.
Leaders are pushed to make decisions quickly
As leaders, there is constant pressure to make decisions quickly. Time is of the essence and people are relying on us to make good decisions, communicate them and move forward. I can think back many times and even just in this week alone where I have been hesitant to make a decision, yet feeling the pressure to do so. Cashman insists, that hesitation is a message.
Hesitation is a warning signal
Hesitation is a reaction. It is your body and mind encouraging you to think twice. Pause is the conscious decision to reflect and to be mindful of the decision we are making. Consciously rather than reactively we take the time to look at all of the information we have, the emotions surrounding the decision and the implications of the choices available.
Use hesitation as a gift
I will be using this insightful gift now. I will pause when I feel the hesitation. Welcoming that as a reminder, I am reminded that great leaders reflect, are mindful and take the time to, in Cashman’s words again, “step back to lead forward”.
Yes, it is summer and don’t forget, you (and a few others) are still working. You are still in the office. Despite that already everyone is thinking about how so much won’t get done now until fall. Meetings are being put on hiatus until September. Plans for projects are taking in consideration everyone’s holidays. It is almost like we leap forward two and half months wiping out the calendar for the summer. And really, it stretches into three months because we start writing things off in mid June and then also acknowledge, “Nothing will happen in the first week of September”! Whoa! Stop the horses! This is the perfect time to keep on track.
We talk about being mindful when in a meeting or when we are in a conversation with someone else. Mindfulness is about being in the moment and aware of what is going on. Consciously we focus on the task at hand and the person we are with. Mindfulness in June is kind of similar. What is the task at hand? Who are you working with? Put the effort in to staying present at work during the summer rather than jumping forward too fast.
It is different in summer
Yes, there tends to be a leaner staffing component over the summer months. People are at the lake, relaxing in the sun and having BBQ’s with their friends. And so they should be! It is summer! They are also working. At least most people are putting in at least a few weeks of work over the summer. Make the most of that time when people are actually at work.
Make good use of what is available to you now
If you are working on a project, I encourage you to think twice before putting it on hold over the summer. Granted although you may not have all of the participants at every planning meeting, it is a great opportunity to take advantage of the natural fun and slowed down pace of summer. Use that to your benefit. Let the mellowness flow into the project. Allow creativity in both your planning and in the project itself.
Don't throw away 3 months of the year
Rather than throwing away three months of the year (oh and another 1-2 months at Christmas) consider how you can keep on track over summer. There is a lot of work going on in organizations and there is a shortage of resources. Making best use of your time resource over summer will help keep the projects on track and provide you access to creativity, fun and an opportunity to build relationships.
Have you seen this?
It's not too late to sign up for my FREE Summer Virtual Book Club - Find out more here!
Great Leaders are readers. Great Leaders realize that leadership isn’t about a title. Leadership is the essence of who we are. To be a great leader we need to know who we are. With those concepts in mind, I am excited to be having a FREE virtual book club this summer to review Robin Sharma’s book The Leader Who Had No Title. I love Sharma’s ideas that leadership comes from who we are, what we believe in and how we show up. Sharma gives valuable and practical ways of stepping into leadership in all areas of our lives, regardless of our title. He packages the messages into a story about a guy who has returned from war in Iraq and takes on a job in a bookstore, because he not quite sure what to do with his life now. Do you want to read it with me?
Imagine a staff meeting. The boss is sharing information about budget restraints and they indicate there is no money for training in the next six months and likely the entire budget year. Person “A” leaves the meeting discouraged. There was a course they wanted to sign up for. They head out to smokers corner or the coffee room and join in the venting session with their co-workers. They lay blame (i.e. play victim) on the government for cutbacks, their agency for not advocating for them harder and the world for being in a downward spiral. They complain about the price of gas and food, potholes in the streets and of course, they grumble about the weather.
Does this sound a bit unbelievable? What if it wasn’t? In the FREE virtual book club this summer we will explore how leadership comes from all levels and how we can, as Robin Sharma says ,learn “Transformational leadership lessons to transform a company”. Click here to find out more details. or sign up below! Then join your colleagues and myself in exploring ways to bring out the leadership in everyone, including yourself.
As an upcoming leader I was sure that everyone around me, including my subordinates were smarter than me. I figured that others had more education and experience and thus had a jump on me. People at meetings seemed more worldly, savvy, funnier and connected and as such I felt, well honestly, a little bit like a hillbilly from the north! I knew I wasn’t the boss’s “favorite” and so I had to work harder to prove myself. Was there truth to any of this? Some of it yes was true. Camping in the Boreal Forest is far more my style than backpacking across Europe. A lot of it however was not true. It was made up in my head. I was, and am, well educated, smart, I have a playful side and I am very well connected. I now know my own self-assessment counts more than whether I am someone’s favorite.
At the time all of my insecurities had me doubt and question my abilities as a leader. In spite of that, I plowed ahead. I tried. I worked hard. I put myself out there. The more I did, the more successful I became, the more I accomplished and the more confident I felt. With that confidence came more. More competence, more opportunities, more successes and more acceptance of my strengths and myself. It appears, I needed to fake it til I made it. I needed to act, appear and come across as confident, to my employees, my colleagues, my world, but ultimately to myself. Faking it was really about harnessing that inner knowing. I had to connect to that part of me that knew I was smart, knowledgeable, capable and able.
Looking back, one of the turning points for me in my confidence as a leader was when I started working out. As my body became stronger, I stood taller. Gaining abdominal muscles will do that for you! I was discovering my confidence was increasing! Now as I research what makes a great leader, I discovered the science behind what was happening for me many years ago. Watching the body posture of others will tell you a lot about them, but how you hold your own body will speak volumes to you. Amy Cuddy, Social Psychologist at Harvard Business School, presented her research findings in this inspiring Ted Talk about the power of body language in our own confidence.
Cuddy suggests assuming a power position (think superman or superwoman) for two minutes in private, like your office or in the bathroom before heading into a meeting or onto a conference call will boost your self-confidence. It is similar to how animals make themselves appear larger than they are when they are confronted with danger. By making ourselves bigger and assuming a power position such as sitting up tall and taking up space or spreading your wings, has the effect of releasing a positive hormones that help with confidence.
So next time you are lacking confidence, stand up, take up some space and let those positive confidence hormones flow. The hormones that say, “I can do this”, “I am capable” and “Look out world! Here me Roar!”
Kathy Archer, 780-332-1777
Cindy Millar, 780-618-2690
International Coaching Week
Coaching Supports the Development of Great Leaders
Peace Country – Two local Coaches offer support to Leaders in the Peace Country through support, training and individual Coaching.
I know that Great Leaders are grown from the inside out. Great Leaders take time to learn about who they are, what they stand for and what they believe in. They are curious about how their leadership style impacts others and want to know how they can have the most positive effect on their teams and in their work. Coaching is a great place to start both this internal look at self and to increase a Leader’s awareness of their impact on the world around them.
Kathy Archer, Leadership Coach, Silver River Coaching
Organizations are only as strong as the people at the top. In today’s fast-paced, ever-changing world, leaders need to set the pace and direction for success. Leaders grow other leaders by investing in themselves and their staff. By becoming a leader that others want to follow, everyone wins! One way to achieve this success for the leader, the staff and the organization is through coaching. It really can make a positive difference!
Cindy Millar Chief People Officer, Caisse Horizon Credit Union
Leadership is a passion for both of us. We believe strongly that Leaders become Great Leaders by growing themselves. They never stop bringing in new information, learning, applying it to themselves and evaluating the results and then doing it all over again. Great Leaders realize that they are the ones who set the tone in an organization and as such need to be on top of their game.
There are two key ways to grow. First, learn more. Take training, read or attend sessions. With the variety of learning modes these days, where we live no longer is a valid reason to not continue with training. A second great way to grow is through Coaching. A coach helps you to look at taking in all you know and applying it or figuring out why it is that you struggle so hard to apply it. Coaching grows leader exponentially!
In honor of National Coaching Week May 20 - 26, and to assist with your learning and growing your two local ICF Certified Coaches have put together a list of 12 of our favorite Leadership books:
- Drive The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink
- Mindful Leadership: The 9 Ways to Self-Awareness, Transforming Yourself, and Inspiring Others by Maria Gonzale
- Leadership From The Inside Out by Kevin Cashman
- Primal Leadership by Daniel Goleman, Richard E. Boyatzis and Annie McKee ·
- Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting out of the Box by The Arbinger Institute
- The 360 Leader by John C. Maxwell
- Developing the Leader Within You by John C. Maxwell
- Fierce Conversations & Fierce Leadership by Susan Scott
- Have a Nice Conflict by Tim Scudder, Michael Patterson and Kent Mitchell
- The Servant as Leader by Robert K. Greenleaf
We hope you have the opportunity to pick up one or two and apply them to your own Leadership. The Peace River Municipal Library has agreed to look into purchasing some of these books so that they are available to everyone. And if you ever want to talk about what you’ve learned in them, feel free to reach out to either of us for a conversation. We love to talk more about developing leadership.
The International Coach Federation is the leading global organization for coaches, with over 20,000 members in more than 100 countries and more than 9,000 credentialed coaches worldwide. ICF is dedicated to advancing the coaching profession by setting high ethical standards, providing independent certification, and building a worldwide network of credentialed coaches. Coaching is a distinct service and differs greatly from therapy, consulting, mentoring, or training. ICF defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. For more information, please visit our website at www.coachfederation.org.
I lead a full life full of love, adventure and growth. Check out my latest thoughts here.
And if you want to know more about me check out my personal blog at www.kathyarchersblog.com
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