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 and Learning

by Linda Miller, MCC

It’s hard to believe that JFK died 50 ago.  Because of the 50-year mark, there’s been lots of talk about him and his death recently.  He left quite a legacy, as we’re all aware.  Lead & Learn Pic

In preparing to lead a class on coaching around managing and leading, I found an interesting quote:

Leadership and learning are indispensible to one another. 
John F. Kennedy

How very true that is!  As leaders and managers, we need to remember that we learn, too. Learning is not just for the people we lead.  Reading the quote made me think about what I’ve learned, or re-learned, recently:

  1. We’re all leaders in one way or another – at home, in the workplace, in places of faith, in communities, with ourselves. Embracing ourselves as leaders is important.
  2. Leadership is about character and values and living out our values consistently. This builds trust and creates a safe environment for others to do and be their best.
  3. People watch everything that we do.  When our actions and words are aligned, we model congruency and inspire others to do the same.
  4. Each day is a day to be grateful – grateful for what we have, for those who around us, and for the gifts we’ve been given externally and internally.

The words of JFK have made me reflective and thankful, especially at this season, and ready for more learning….how about you?

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.

Running on Fumes

I recently spoke to a friend and colleague who needed my input on something.  This colleague has the highest IQ of anyone I know ( not exagerating), and an intimidating work ethic.  She is literally the gold standard for productivity in our companygas tank on empty.  After a string of emails, I failed to understand what was required of me so I picked up the phone to chat and found my friend literally incoherent with stress.  It took me several minutes to get her calmed down enough to explain what she needed from me.

It made me stop and think. 

We forget that we are a finite resource.

We can do so much and no more.  Even if we practice (highly recommended by coaches everywhere) extreme self care*, we can do so much and no more

My sister Mia is a lovely person, does for others all day long.  She is chatty, fun, highly engaging and extroverted until about 8 o’clock at night at which point she says “I am out of words”, and goes to bed with a book.  Such a role model.

It is critical for all of us, as  leaders, professionals, parents, and friends to know at what point we “run out”. Out of gas, as it were.  Do you know when you are at a quarter tank?  Do you have reasonable boundaries around your rest time?  I have found that it isn’t so much others we have trouble saying no to, it is ourselves.

Stop and think.  Remember, you are a finite resource.

 *Extreme Self Care: A term coined by Thomas Leonard, a pioneer of the coaching profession and popularized by Shirley Anderson, considered to be a Yoda of the coaching profession. It could be defined as: enough sleep, proper nutrition, exercise, down time, meditation and/or prayer, time to connect with others, and fun as you need to operate at 100%.  Click here for more information about the multiple aspects of well being from a Neuroscience standpoint.

5 Questions to Match Your Style to Your Job

Man Working on Personal ComputerAre you a jack of all trades or are you a subject matter expert? Review the two definitions below. Think about the type of work you do now…which term best describes you in your current role?

generalist: one who has broad general knowledge and skills in several areas.
specialist: a person devoted to one particular branch of a subject or pursuit.

Some people are very passionate about having extreme task variety. They love to do a little bit of everything and get bored when focused on one thing. Others are very passionate about having a specific area of focus and being able to dedicate the majority of their time to learning and mastering that pursuit.

Now review the two definitions again. Think about the type of work you like to do…which term best describes you when you’re happiest and at your best?

If you answered the same way both times, then you’re likely on the right path. If the type of work you perform in your current role is not in alignment with how you work when you’re at your best, then it’s time to consider some changes. Analyze your current role to see if there are adjustments that can be made to position the role to better suit your style. Or, perhaps you need to consider if the solution is to find a more suitable position within the organization or elsewhere.

Begin by asking yourself some questions…

What does my ideal job role look like?
Where are the gaps between my current role and my ideal role?
How can I begin to close those gaps?
What obstacles to change am I likely to encounter?
Who can help me facilitate the changes that need to be made?

If you’ve discovered that you’re a specialist in a generalist’s role, or vice versa, preserve your sanity and increase your happiness by making the necessary changes. Navigating this type of journey can be a difficult, overwhelming adventure and you’ll need help.

Sounds like you could use a good coach.

Follow me on Twitter: @adammorris21 | Add me on Google+: gplus.to/AdamMorris21