It was Confucius who said ‘Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life’. If you’re a leader however it maybe that there are times when life and work seems hard when directing your team or your business and it might be that you question your enjoyment.
For a business or organisation it may be that whether a person enjoys leading or not is irrelevant as long as results are achieved. For your staff (and customers/clients/stakeholders) it matters a great deal. As human beings we tend to see the world not as it is, but as we are[i], therefore when we are unhappy, out of sync with the direction we need to go in and getting our message across to others (i.e. a difficult message such as redundancies) we can see others as being obstructive, when in fact they like us are having difficulty with the message received.
Not only are those we are leading or managing affected, it can affect our family, friends and social life and our own health. We struggle to pretend to be engaged or committed when are delivering a message we don’t really believe in. We become incongruent.
When we are congruent, our response fits with the stimulus (question, event etc.) and when we are incongruent our response does not fit with stimulus (question, event etc.). Our tonality, physical responses, don’t fit with the verbal response. We leak this out to other people, we cannot not do that.
Think about a member of the family you know when you ask ‘Do you want sausages for tea?’ or ‘Can I change the TV channel?’ Although they say yes, we know from looking at them or the tonality that they mean no.
We have no control over other people’s responses, but we can manage, listen to, notice, watch out for and feel our own responses and do something with them.
So if we are incongruent towards those we lead, they will notice. It might not be immediate, but they will notice. So when we smile, it’s good to mean that smile. A smile is worth a thousand words, as are the words ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and some of those old fashioned things like opening doors for people, picking your litter up and putting it in a bin yourself, helping others with simple things like carrying and lifting. All of these are part of customer service and customer satisfaction. Oh yes and it is ‘your job’, ‘your response-ability’ because if it involves your company, your ‘face to the public’ – it speaks volumes about you and if or whether you care.
Try spending more time talking to staff and clients/customers/stakeholders to find out how change is affecting them and consider what you can do to improve both your and their situations. Learn to understand others better and how to improve getting your message across more effectively so that you and others feel better.
‘Confidence, like art, never comes from having all the answers, it is about being open to all the questions.’ Earl Gray Stevens
If you’d like to know more about career management coaching and how the LAB Profile® might help you in your choices ,contact me Rosie O’Hara the Developing Works website, or telephone +44 (0) 7796 134081, +44 (0)1224 900748, +44 (0)1309 676004.
[i] Variations of this phrase are attributed to the Talmud, Anais Nin and also Stephen Covey. Variations are also used in the personal development world and Quantum Mechanics might even play a role here.
Any company or organisation requires strong management to create direction, to engage staff in the vision and mission of the company or organisation.
Good management fosters commitment, ensures productivity is met and makes the strategic decisions around the future of the company or organisation enabling everyone to meet the joint goals effectively for the company and in a way that is workable for the individual
Large corporates have management teams, for SMEs it is just as important to have talented people who take on management duties. For business owners or entrepreneurs the danger can be to spread yourself too thinly because it’s your vision and only you know how to do ‘this’ (your vision) properly.
One choice to ameliorate this is to bring in external people who have experience as well as skills to strengthen the management team and improve the company’s competitive advantage. When making this decision experience is important. In my role I come across many graduates who tell me they are floundering due to lack of experience – coaching externally can help them with these issues, as they are more likely to admit their weakness in confidence to a person with no vested interest in the company.
Alternatively assessing the skills and competencies of existing staff and coaching or mentoring them into a new role will work towards building a robust management team.
Whatever choice a business owner or HR department makes both the candidate and existing staff will need careful mentoring or coaching. This mentoring or coaching can be carried out internally by senior management or the company owner to ensure that those who have been there since the beginning (or for a long time) and are extremely good at what they do, do not feel undermined. Should this not be possible for the owner of an SME due to time restraints or for practical reasons or in a large company where impartiality is required then working together with an external coach is probably the best option. A good coach provides a sounding board and will help the individual clarify and question their judgment, as well as guiding the to manage and work with others.
At times dependent on a person’s previous role models, perceptions, possible insecurities etc. their behaviour when brought into an existing team or promoted from within the company can lead to friction. Coaching or behavioural change work will help with this creating an environment where everyone performs at their best.
It is important to assess the time/cost factor for building your management team, in terms of do you carry out coaching or mentoring internally or do you bring in an external person. Whichever choice you make the value of retaining your internal knowledge base weighed against the potential loss of information that all good employees keep in their heads is never quantifiable until lost.
Team building is important so that they not only understand one another’s strengths and weaknesses but also so that they have the skills to cope with these too. Whether these skills are new behaviours or influencing skills.
Working on how the team works together as well as their individual wants and needs is vital for cohesive team working. Part of this is ensuring that they complement each other in respect of skills and experience and behaviour patterns. That they are capable of working together and taking and giving instructions where necessary. How they cope with stress. How they are motivated. The right mix is vital, a mix made up of individuals who understand the challenges faced by the business and who support one another honestly (instead of shrugging and say ‘oh he/she is like that, there’s nothing you can do).
I’d like to hear or read what others think of this post and whether you agree or disagree with and if you have any questions please ask.
If you’d like to know more about career management coaching and how the LAB Profile® might help you in your choices, contact me Rosie O’Hara the Developing Works website, or telephone +44 (0) 7796 134081, +44 (0)1224 900748, +44 (0)1309 676004.