Never Underestimate the Effect of Change

I recently shared a laugh with a client – we’ll call him Jon – because as he so eloquently said, “You just can’t win.” Here’s what happened.

Jon, by profession an accountant, is head of tax for a global manufacturing company. A lovely human being, he is nevertheless analytical and cerebral, and a 360-degree feedback process revealed that his people perceived him to be cold and unapproachable.

We worked together on practicing some new behaviors: making the effort to get to know folks, stopping to say hello to people in his area – all of whom report to people who report to him.

He worked on and shared his Leadership Point of View (his beliefs about leadership and his leadership values) which his people told him made him much more accessible.

Jon was really enjoying letting people see a little more of him, he was having more fun at work, he was literally wondering what took him so long to experience this very important side of himself.

You would think this could only be good right?

I certainly did.

3D Hand Giving Thumbs DownBut, you can never underestimate the power of change, even good change, to distress someone. Not everyone was thrilled with the change. One of Jon’s direct reports, Emilia, asked for a private meeting during which she reported that she was upset with this new softer, friendlier Jon.

He was shocked – of all people he had thought she would appreciate it the most.

It turns out that she was enjoying the change for herself, but she was worried that Jon’s new accessibility was “undermining” her position with her direct reports. She was concerned that people might feel comfortable going straight to Jon instead of having to get things done through her.

Of course this presented a great coaching opportunity for Jon. But we had to laugh…I had thought in 25 years of coaching that I had heard everything, but this was a first.

The Qualities of Great Leadership

As Nelson Mandela was laid to rest on Sunday, among the hills of his ancestral homeland, it made me think about what made Mandela the great leader that people spoke of.
Nelson Mandela
The people of South Africa said the following about their former leader:
“I’ve always seen Mandela as a father figure.”
“I’ve always admired his humanity, openness and forgiveness.”
“He taught us to love one another.”

I think the quotes above and my own belief is that a great leader isn’t just about what a person does, but also who they are as a person.

For me personally, some qualities of a great leader include: being of service to others, trustworthiness, dependability, compassion and love. 

I think many of these leadership qualities are also true of a great coach.

In conclusion, one of my favorite leadership quotes is by Nelson Mandela who says, “It is better to lead from behind and put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur.  You take the front line when there is danger.  Then, your people will appreciate your leadership.”

I am curious about your thoughts on Mandela or what you feel are qualities of a great coach or leader.  Please share your comments below so others may benefit from your wisdom.  Thanks!

Leadership Point of View

Since early May, I’ve had the honor and privilege of participating in an internal leadership program at Blanchard.  Working within the small cohort of some of Blanchard’s most brightest, talented and dedicated future leaders of our organization has been amazing!  Sadly, the program comes to end today, with a presentation to our leadership team about our personal highlights and learning from the program along with a report on the project we have been working on together.
Manager & Employee
The biggest highlight of participating in this program for me was the experience of creating my Leadership Point of View (LPOV).  I enjoyed the introspective exercise of looking at past events and people in my life that have helped shape my leadership style and how my personal values also play into that.  I feel that creating my LPOV is such a valuable tool when shared with those I lead, work with or report to, in order to enhance my working relationships and communication with others.

My Leadership Point of View is comprised of the following components: A key event in my life which was an experience I had during my first professional job, a key person in my life who became a role model for me as a Situational Leader, and how my personal values of Service to Others, Dependability, and Personal Growth is something that people I work with can expect of me and what I also expect of them.  Additionally, I gave examples of people or situations in which I had an experience of others demonstrating my own personal values.

Due to the experience I had crafting my own Leadership Point of View and the value in sharing it with others in order to enhance my working relationships, I highly encourage you to do the same.  You can create your LPOV by including the components of my LPOV that I shared above, using your own examples and values.  Also, for more detailed information on Blanchard’s Leadership Point of View program, please go to this link: http://www.kenblanchard.com/Solutions/Executive-Development/Leadership-Point-of-View

Together, we are making a difference

by Linda Miller, MCC

Update after Asia Pacific Summit
I’ve spent the last week in Singapore culminating in our Asia Pacific Client Summit yesterday.  What a pleasure sitting with colleagues and leaders from around the world.  Several themes emerged as various people were speaking:Teamwork - Hands photo

From Ken Blanchard on leadership:  Organizations must change in order to keep up with the many changes that continue to take place.  In order for organizations to change, leaders have to keep stepping up and leading at a higher level.

From Margie Blanchard on multi-generations at work:  One of the many changes that are taking place is the change in the demographics of people in the workplace. With 4 generations working together, each of us needs to look for the contribution that other generations are making and flex to the needs of the different generations.

From two clients (a Telecommunications Company and a Multinational Software Provider) during a panel discussion – Development of talent is a current and ongoing focus in organizations.  Aligning leadership development with corporate strategy is critical and can start anywhere in the organization. A top-down approach isn’t always possible or best. Regardless of where development is focused, alignment is critical.

From Lael Good on developing a common leadership language – Programs aren’t enough to create lasting change. Having an integrated approach to leadership development is needed, including a common system, structure, framework and language for current and future leaders.

I also had the privilege of speaking about coaching during the Summit. We were able to do a brief coaching demonstration and allow people to practice coaching during the session.

Hearing about the impact of coaching in organizations was exciting and almost brought me to tears. We heard about managers and leaders who are integrating coaching into their leadership styles, and external coaches who are partnering with internal leaders to develop talent and reach their targeted goals. It amazes me how many people around the globe know about coaching and are aware of its impact.

Together, we are making a difference.