All posts by Julie

Diffeering Opinions - or 'conflict' -can be great for business

Why Conflict is Your Friend – or How To Stop Hating Your Team.

Why Conflict is Your Friend – or How To Stop Hating Your Team.

Do you ever find yourself incredibly annoyed or at least irritated by the characteristics of your colleagues? 

You know those things that start off as little things but because no-one talks about them, they grow in importance until someone somewhere starts shouting and blaming and losing the plot. 

You see – we are not very good at conflict. 

No-one teaches us how to handle this stuff.   Most people see, ‘I don’t agree’ or  ‘I think there is a different way of doing that’, as rude or aggressive or unkind.  And it feels very uncomfortable.  

Agreeing is much easier.  So that’s what most people do – even if they don’t agree.  And then they sort of expect the other person to know – by osmosis, or by their passive/aggressive response – that they are unhappy. 

And further to that they expect the other person to magically change their mind and not disagree with them anymore. 

Rather than understanding that people just ARE different and they, therefore, THINK differently about things, we would rather everyone agreed with us.  It’s so much easier.

Well, here’s the thing. It might be easier, but it is no-where near as productive.  Yes – you heard me right. 

Conflict is productive. 

Well, let me qualify that.  Conflict is productive when people are supported and encouraged and trained to handle conflict.  And with the right training and support, conflict can become an essential part of the team dynamic. 

There are so many benefits to “conflict”.

When you have to justify your thought process or decision because others see it differently, it makes you think through your own argument.  Which, in turn, helps you decide if it IS such a good idea after all. 

Conflict is the birthplace of most creativity.  When faced with conflict – people get very ingenious!  Think of the Trojan Horse!

Disagreements are an inevitable, normal, and healthy part of relating to other people. And when worked through – lead to better relationships and stronger teams.  When you argue with your mother you don’t stop loving her.  You argue because it is safe to do so. 

As a leader if you can switch this round – make the team safe and secure enough to bring up their ‘conflicts’ then the relationships will grow stronger.

Job satisfaction is higher when people don’t need to fear conflict.  When conflict leads to a win-win.  And it enables better diversity in the workplace.  When diversity is celebrated then people can work in their zone of genius, it benefits all – especially the leader who can also concentrate efforts into his or her own zone of genius.

How To Encourage Conflict

If you are a conflict-averse person – here are some steps to help you encourage conflict in your team.

  • Let go of the need to be liked by everybody.  Being liked is nice, but being respected and respecting others is more important.  Respect other points of view openly, and equally, show that you expect them to respect yours.
  • Take the focus off you and onto the business.  How will this conflict, this discussion, this disagreement help the business?  And what is the best outcome for the business?  This depersonalises the conflict and makes it easier for everyone. 
  • You don’t have to be a jerk or unkind when you disagree with someone.  Teach your team how to empathise, and acknowledge the other argument/s, whilst putting forward (with evidence) why they hold the point of view they do.  This is not about name-calling, it is about finding the best solution for all.
  • Fake it till you make it.  Conflict feels difficult for most people.  Find someone it doesn’t phase and copy them until their confidence and ease with conflict becomes your own.  Pretend you are cool with conflict and you soon will be. 

If you need some help with conflict situations at work, or with training our team how to deal with conflict please reach out for a no-obligation chat, anytime julie@thinkbedoleadership.com

Love Puzzle

Interview With Ellen Dorian – Bringing the Passion Back

This week I thought I would share with you an interview I did this week with the lovely Ellen Dorian. 

As you know, I talk about quiet leaders and their relationships at work.  Ellen is all about the personal relationships that help leaders to also build their companies.  Ellen specialises in helping executives who are passionate about their jobs, businesses and careers, to get things in balance and stop neglecting their relationships.

This is so important at the moment, as the line between work and home has blurred even more and puts even more pressure on already stressed relationships.  How do you draw the lines between home and work when you are at home all the time?

In the interview, Ellen remembers her Dad who used to sit in the drive every evening for 5 minutes after the drive home.  When she asked him why he did that, he said it gave him time to set aside his work and be ready to spend time with his family. 

The consequences of not paying attention to your relationship can be severe.  When you are in an intense job you are making ‘withdrawals’ from the relationship bank account.  And if you are always taking out of the account and not putting energy IN, then one day the account will run dry. 

If you don’t make the effort, then don’t be surprised if you ‘come home’ to an empty house where people start to live separate lives.  Which is tragic, when the reason you began working so hard was FOR the family, for your partner, for your future. 

If any of that resonates with you, then please watch the whole interview here. Ellen talks about the Passionate Partners Project and how she helps people get their relationships back on track with her Relationship Refuel Program.   It is really enlightening!

Confused emoji face

How Come Delegation Never Works?

Here’s a question a frustrated manager recently asked me,  “How come delegation never works?”.  It’s a question (or a variation of it) that I have heard many times over the years.  You might have even thought something similar yourself. 

Perhaps you have managed a team who never seemed to complete anything you asked them to do, or if they did it took too long, or it wasn’t to the standard you would expect.  And maybe you wonder to yourself where the person you interviewed all those weeks/months/years ago went? 

You know, the person who was all bright and sparkly at their interview.  The person you could see in the role.  The one who you believed would show the rest of the team a thing or two and shake things up a bit? 

And now you are struggling to see what you saw in them in the first place, as they seem incapable of being pro-active, of making a decision, of coming up with an idea, or even of just doing what you asked them to do!

Sound familiar?

Well, it’s only to be expected because delegation never works. 

No – I’m serious.  It never works.  And there are only 2 reasons.

First reason – you hired the wrong people.  They are completely incapable, couldn’t start a fire in a fireworks factory and really should give you their wages back at the end of the month. (Spoiler – I’m kidding). 

Second reason.  You’re doing it wrong (spoiler AGAIN – it is always this one).

It’s not really your fault.  I mean the whole word ‘delegation’ sets it off to a doomed end from the start. 

No-one likes being ‘delegated to’. 

But people DO like to be trained, encouraged, given responsibility, trusted, empowered, encouraged, given some freedom to make decisions.  Can you see the difference?

Where delegation often goes wrong is in 3 places.

Abdication.  Manipulation.  And Annihilation.

Abdication is delegation on steroids, where steroids are the wrong prescription!

As a leader, you are responsible for everything that comes out of your department or company.  What some leaders do, is throw the problem at one of their subordinates, without finding out what help or support that person may need, without checking their understanding of the issue, and without any checks and balances (support) in place. 

They literally throw you the ball and expect you to run with it, without checking that you have 2 legs, or know where you are running to, and without pit stops along the way. 

Well, this is bound to go wrong, isn’t it?  As much as the employee may want to please, if they don’t know what they are doing, or aren’t sure of the parameters, or the expected final result – then it is all on a hiding to nowhere. 

Managers who do this are either forced into doing it as they literally cannot fit the work into their own day, or they think they are doing someone a favour by giving them the ‘chance to shine’ which more often then not turns into ‘the chance to fail’.

Manipulation, is delegation on Hallucinogenics.

This type of delegation is performed by a manager using emotional blackmail, or false promises.  The opportunity is not what it seems.  There are smoke and lots of mirrors! 

This type of delegation is always done for the benefit of the delegator.  This manager wants to get rid of the ‘sh*t’ jobs on his or her To-Do list and believes that by alluding to possible beneficial outcomes, or by telling a sob story, they will be able to shift this grunt work onto a willing victim.

The problem here is – this doesn’t work long term. 

It soon becomes clear that this is not what it seems, and the delegated person starts to resent the manager.  They become demotivated and therefore (consciously or subconsciously) start to deliver poor quality work or miss deadlines. 

Annihilation – is delegation with poison.

This type of ‘delegation’ is guaranteed to prevent any future delegation even getting off the ground.  This is where a task or project is assigned to someone / a team.  Maybe there is a brief, maybe even timescales and training.  And then, when the project is delivered, the manager rips it up – physically or metaphorically.

The manager re-does the work themselves because they are not happy with what has been delivered.  Or they don’t even wait for the project to be delivered, they take it back ‘mid project’ because they aren’t happy. 

The problems start with the word ‘Delegation’.

If you ‘empowered’ your team to do something, then you would get a better result, because you have given them what they need and they feel your confidence in them, and their own confidence in themselves. 

If you trusted them (really trusted them) it would be because you knew they could do it – not because you were HOPING you could trust them.   

If you trained your team with all the job and life skills they need to be able to complete a project, then they would complete it. 

So, the next time you need to ‘delegate’ something to someone, consider whether you have empowered, trained and trusted them to do it, or whether you are just setting them up to fail. 

I Don’t Need Another Parent – Do You?

I Don’t Need Another Parent – Do You?

One of the most common complaints I hear from my clients is, “Why won’t my team step up and just do the stuff that I would do if I was that was me?”.  I was talking about this live on LinkedIn today in fact.  (Watch it here)

Often in these scenario’s I also get told that certain individuals are acting almost like children, throwing toys out of prams, refusing to do what they have been told to do, and employing playground politics at the coffee machine.

Well, there is often a very clear reason why that happens.  And it’s your fault. 

YOU are showing up as the parent in the relationship. 

Answer this honestly.  Are you checking up on their every move, or you are doing everything for your team, or perhaps you criticise everything they do wrong, while forgetting to praise the things they are doing right?

If you think that any of the above is true – then you are absolutely showing up as a parent at work, and I don’t know about you, but most people don’t need another parent.  And I’m pretty sure you don’t need a bunch of children at work, right?

So, instead of constantly telling your team what to do and how to do it, what should you do instead? 

Well, you need to establish an adult to adult relationship with your team.  When this happens, they will enjoy their job more, they will step up and make decisions, and you get more time to do YOUR job. 

And how do you do that?

Well – it’s simple.  Just do these two things. 

Number 1 – trust them to be at that level (an adult in the relationship)

Number 2 – implement a coaching style, where you are helping them to be enabled to do what it is you want them to do.

“OK Julie – sounds simple – but how exactly do I do that”,

….you may be thinking.

How do you implement a coaching style?  Well, you need to get them to start thinking for themselves.  Back in the day when I was in the police force, I had a mentor who constantly answered my questions with, “Well, what do you think the answer could be?”.

At the time I found it really annoying because I just wanted the answer.  However, long term it was the exact right strategy and without a doubt, it helped me reach Inspector level.

Now when you start to do this, I have to warn you, it might be quite painful. 

They may not have an answer, you may have to tease it out of them, and it will certainly take you longer the first time.  It definitely WOULD be quicker to do it yourself (which is what you might be thinking). 

But here’s the thing.  As long as you consistently ask them what they think every time they ask you a question – then one day they will surprise you.  Instead of saying, “We have  problem what should we do”, maybe they say, “I have this problem and I think we should do this”, and then eventually it becomes,

“I had this problem and this is what I did about it”. 

Hallelujah!

Once you are at that stage – then you are in an adult/adult relationship.  Your staff will be happier, they will more easily take responsibility for their own jobs (because you are not doing everything for them, and not shouting at them if they get something wrong).

And, you will be happier because you aren’t having to do your job AND their jobs at the same time.  Sound good?

This is one of the strategies I teach on the Leaders Launchpad.  If you’d like to know more about that ping me a message to julie@thinkbedoleadership.com

Be a Boss

I’m An Introvert – How Can I Be A Good Leader?

When you think of Business Leaders, do you think of Elon Musk, Sir Alan Sugar, and Theo Paphitis?  There is a certain stereotype which comes to mind when talking about the leadership required to run your own business.  And it is a stereotype that holds people back from starting up a business.  And it shouldn’t.

There have been studies done – one by Adam Grant at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, which showed that introverts can be MORE successful leaders than their extrovert counterparts. 

Why is that the case?

Well, extroverts tend to like to be the centre of attention and can feel threatened by other people’s ideas, whereas introverts are often better at listening and taking in information from their teams and then letting their teams take the credit.  Which leads to more of the same. 

There is a caveat to that though.  And it comes down to the makeup of the team.  Where the team was young or not proactive – they were waiting to be told what to do – the extrovert manager could inspire them into action.  And in those teams, there was a 16% uptake.

In teams where the individuals were proactive, the introverted leader got more out of them, because they were less likely to need to put ‘their own stamp on everything’ and more likely to listen and encourage ideas from their teams.

The more leaders listen to their teams and empower them to make decisions, the better decisions the individuals on those teams make, and the more time the leader has for reflection and creativity.

Talking of creativity, introverts tend to be very creative. Think Albert Einstein, JK Rowling and Steve Wozniak.  And many good things come from that.  Creativity leads to better decision making and also to being inspirational.  Who doesn’t want to be around someone inspirational?

Introverts also tend to be more thoughtful and prepared, less likely to take unconsidered risks.  Some put the financial crash of 2008 down to extroverts taking unnecessary risks.  Some of the ‘introverts’ who cautioned against certain actions were ignored because they didn’t shout loud enough.

Well, maybe that’s a lesson for introverts. 

And let’s make something clear. ‘Introvert’ doesn’t mean shy.  Shy people fear social judgement.  Introverts don’t, they just get their energy for quiet and calm environments, rather than the parties or social interactions that energise extroverts.

And talking about calmness – that is another characteristic of introverts.

Calmness is a fantastic quality to have as a Leader.

When the doodie hits the fan, extroverts may shout, lose their temper, point accusatory fingers and generally show their frustration.  Introverts remain calm.

Which helps them in several ways.  Firstly, they are able to look at the situation objectively and not make rash or emotional decisions.  Secondly, their demeanour is a massive help to the people around them.  If your boss is showing signs of stress, how much more stressful is that for an employee? 

If your boss is calm when problems arise, then you are more likely to also remain calm and to objectively search for solutions rather then waste your energy coming up with ‘your defence’ (if it is a problem that you might be blamed for) or waste your time worrying about your job or the company. 

Of course, not all introverts are great leaders and not all extroverts are bad leaders.  One thing is true though.  It is easier to climb the ladder in corporate land as an extrovert.  There are estimates that around 60% of senior management are extroverts.  Now whether that is because people like ‘people like them’ or whether it is because extroverts are generally more visible is hard to say.  Probably a combination of both.

Can introverts learn to be more extrovert and vice versa?

Yes of course, and they absolutely should.  Because no one style fits all situations.  So sometimes the introverts need to step up and take charge, and sometimes they need to step out of their comfort zones and go talk to people at the coffee machine or in the network meeting.  Equally, sometimes extroverts benefit from being quiet and listening more. 

But with 40% of current leaders in business classifying themselves as Introverts, we already have many examples of great introverted leaders. 

The ideal may be to strive to be an “ambivert”, someone who is equally introverted and extroverted (even if one of those is learned behaviour). 

So, before your inner voice tells you that you can’t be a good manager or start your own business as an introvert, remember that is just F.E.A.R. (false evidence appearing real).  The truth is you can be the leader you want to be as an introvert. 

Being a great leader has not much to do with being an extrovert or an introvert.  It comes down to some simple leadership principles, like listening, creativity, planning, risk assessment and motivating staff.  Which can all be learned.

If you need some help with that or just a place to exchange ideas – go join the Quiet Leaders With Impact Facebook Group here.

Elon_Musk_

Quiet Leadership?

“Quiet” might not be the word you would associate with a successful leader. The business world has a tonne of stories about big brash leaders – LOUD leaders – from Elon Musk to Donald Trump, running companies with an iron fist.  These leaders get results through fear in most cases.  Or at the least through having such strict structures in place that people don’t have to use their own initiative at all.  They also have (at least in the above cases) a sizeable ruthless streak.

It can be intimidating to a new leader who might be naturally more introverted – to look at these examples.  They can feel like they are ‘not leadership material’.  But the truth is that in today’s workplaces, people are much less likely to respond to being ‘told what to do’. 

There is a new and powerful leadership style emerging.  It is what I call – quiet leadership. 

What is Quiet Leadership?

Let’s clear up one misunderstanding about quiet leadership.  It doesn’t mean they are necessarily timid, just that they are more likely to take action than talk about it. 

They are quietly confident rather than having a high ego or arrogance.  They would rather solve problems through logical thought and encouraging ideas from their teams, rather than imposition or micro-management. 

Quiet leaders are open and approachable and tend to generate a lot of loyalty in their teams, as they have earned respect, not fear.

“My way or the highway” is the opposite of what quiet leaders do.  They will often take longer to make decisions than more ;authoritarian’ styles, as they ant to get all the information first in order to make a better decision.

Leading by Example

This is a characteristic of quiet leaders.  They won’t ask anyone to do something that they are not prepared to do, and they will stick to the ‘rule’ – company policies and procedures, so that they can lead by example.

These leaders have a natural empathy which cannot be manufactured.  They are genuine and they care.  People sense this from them – but the difference between an effective and an ineffective quiet leader is probably the leading by example. 

This builds the trust that leads to highly effective teams.

Examples of Quiet Leadership

Bill Gates is a good example.  He has this quiet style but its totally confident in himself – in fact he is purported to enjoy it when employees challenge him – even the most junior employee

Jacinda Arden – New Zealand’s premier – is an example of this leadership style.  She has had a very effective first term – passing more laws in New Zealand than the last 4 governments, mostly due to her ability to listen and bring people together.  She is visibly empathetic which makes her popular with the general public.  It would be difficult to imagine her losing the upcoming election (though anything is possible in politics!).

Of course – there is no single style of leadership that always works, and leader have to be able to flex, given circumstances and what the people they are managing need.  If there is a fire in the office, you won’t find a proper leader asking peoples opinions, they will be leading the way out of the building. 

However, the quiet leadership model is one that fits our times far better than autocratic leadership.  You don’t have to worry as a manager if your style is ore ‘quiet’ than loud.  In fact, it is often the case that you will be more emotionally intelligent than your louder compatriots!  Your team may perceive they are self-led, because of how your style impacts them.  As long as you always lead by example, stand up for them when it is right to do so, and are authentic, you will be seen as a great leader and not a ‘weak’ one.

There is a fine line between people thinking you listen to their feedback because you can be manipulated, and understanding that you listen to them because it makes perfect sense to do so. 

Feel free to reach out to Julie to discuss further on julie@thinkbedoleadership.com or connect with her on LinkedIn here

Feedback

Harsh But Fair?

Harsh But Fair?

With this skill, you will be able to positively affect your team’s performance and also their morale.  You will be able to speed up their development in their role or encourage them towards the next role.  Your company, turnover, and profits will all grow, and you will be able to sleep at night knowing that your company functions well, you have competent people and you don’t need to be there every second of the day 

Without this, you are likely to be pulling your hair out about your teams seeming inability to do anything without you.  Your team may think you are “too nice” or equally they might think you are a bit of a tyrant.  Mostly they won’t know what to think or expect from you, and people might be walking around on eggshells. They certainly won’t be growing and developing into their best versions of themselves.  And your company won’t be achieving all that it could. 

What am I talking about? 

I am talking about feedback. 

Feedback is the breakfast of champions, so the saying goes.  But it isn’t always easy to give, is it?

I mean, it is fine when everything is going well.  You have learned how to be specific in your feedback and NOT say things like, “Good job Jeff”, but to instead say, “I really liked the way you handled that customer query.  You made the customer feel important and he will come here again.  Keep doing that!”.

And, as I said, that’s great when you have good feedback to give.

But what happens when you need to tell someone something that they may not want to hear? 

What happens when they haven’t done a particularly good job, and it’s up to you to deliver the bad news?

What I often see, if managers and business leaders who ‘don’t want to upset the apple cart’ or would rather ‘let sleeping dogs lie’.  They hope that if they don’t ‘make a big thing of it’, whatever “it” is will just go away.  It was a one-off wasn’t it? 

Maybe they are a bit overwhelmed with work, and ‘can’t find the time’.  Perhaps they don’t think it is that big a deal, it will only take them ‘5 minutes to put it right anyway’. 

Here’s the thing.  That never works.  What generally happens is you get so sick of the poor performance (that is a secret, because you have never mentioned anything about it), that your elastic eventually snaps and you start shouting the odds.  The person you are shouting at (rightly) feels offended and confused, and probably upset.  I mean, they had NO IDEA that you felt that way – because you have ‘put up with it’ and never said a word. 

And it really isn’t helpful. 

How can anyone who works for you, learn how to be the best version of themselves if you never tell them what they could be doing better?  If you allow poor performance to go unchecked you are being unfair.  You are being unfair to the person who has made the mistake, or underperformed.  You are being unfair to the rest of their team, as people aren’t stupid.  They know what’s what, and may wonder why you are allowing this to go on. 

And you are definitely being unfair to yourself and to the company.  Poor performance that is allowed to continue sets a precedent, and you will find your team may lower their standards to the level of the underperformer.  Which means YOU have more stress, more sleepless nights and are working much longer and harder than anyone else.  Does that sound good to you? 

No?  Well alright then. 

So, what should you do instead?

Well, the other day I was online in my coaching group.  One of the women in their asked for feedback about something she had created.  And before I had a chance to respond, one of the other group members gave her the asked for feedback.  And it was HARSH.  But it was fair.  Now it made me suck my teeth in when I read it, because it was raw and gave no quarter.  I might have delivered it with a little more love. 

However, it was absolutely spot on and exactly what that person needed to know. 

I was proud of her for being brave enough to ask for feedback and I was in admiration of the boldness of the responder.  There will not be days or weeks of wasted effort, the feedback will be put into practice and serve its purpose of moving that person on in a positive way.  She was grateful for the honesty, and that honesty allowed other members of the group to also be honest (if a little less harsh!). 

It is not an easy skill to develop for most people and if you feel like you could do with some help on your feedback skills then drop me a line to julie@thinkbedoleadership.com  and let’s talk!  I am happy to give you my feedback – anytime !!

Too much of a good thing

How Much is Too Much of a Good Thing?

Well, here I am in Tunisia, and I’m not sure where the time has gone or whether I am more happy to be going home, or more sad to be leaving.  And it made me ask the question – how much is ‘too much’ of a good thing. 

I don’t know about you, but 7 days never seem long enough, and sometimes 14 days seems too much.  On the other hand, I remember a friend saying that on her honeymoon she was so pleased at the end of 2 weeks in paradise – to be waving off the other honey-mooners who were leaving.  But less than 48 hours later they started pining for home and were finger tapping (metaphorically) for the last 5 days.

We are coming home tomorrow and I’m happy with that – especially as we then have the weekend for all the washing and mail opening etc.  But it made me think – it’s a bit like managing staff (except for the sun and beach of course).

When you are trying to keep your team productive, happy and busy, it is important not to give them too much to do.  Too much work, and the inability to complete it, is vastly demotivating and will lead to LESS being achieved not more, as people are trying to deal with a feeling of ball-juggling and overwhelm.

Recognising Burnout

If you have some Type A’s in your team, they will be only too happy to take on more and more tasks, more and more responsibility.  And they will be the last to see they are in danger of or suffering from burnout.  As the leader, you need to recognise the signs and take action. 

The key 3 symptoms of physical and emotional exhaustion, cynicism and detachment and feelings of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment – can be further broken down. 

And here’s what to look for regarding burn out. 

If you have someone who is always tired – and talks about not being able to get to sleep, or waking in the night and not returning to sleep – this is a classic.  Lack of sleep exacerbates the problem (the underlying stress) and leads to other symptoms like forgetfulness and lack of attention to detail.  If someone who previously had the memory of an elephant, starts to forget things – this is a red flag. 

Under this category comes physical symptoms – dizziness, shortness of breath, headaches for example, and also real illnesses.  This is because prolonged stress weakens the immune system. 

Irritability and anger outbursts are another common sign of burn out. 

Under ‘cynicism and detachment’, you’ll find signs of pessimism in a previous optimist, and signs that they are not enjoying their work anymore including ‘Thank God it’s Friday’ syndrome, and dreading Mondays.

Feelings of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment are signaled by poor productivity and performance, and again, signs of irritability or picking arguments. 

Burnout is a real and present danger in every workforce, especially in our “ever on, 24-hour” world.

Recognising Disengagement

However, not giving your team enough responsibility or enough work to do, can also be demotivating.  They will potentially feel bored, undervalued and unmotivated.  And then they disengage from the job and from you.

Signs of a disengaged workforce can be similar to signs of burnout above, but there are differences. 

Here is what to look out for.

There are some obvious signs like rudeness, absenteeism, lateness, low energy, bad attitudes and lack of enthusiasm.  But people don’t suddenly one day decide to stage a coup from their desk.  There are signs that come before this, that give a clue to employee disengagement.

Firstly – don’t make the mistake of thinking because someone is hitting goals that they are engaged.  They might just have a high sense of personal responsibility and work ethic. 

When I was in the police force, I knew several people who performed their job very well, from a sense of civic duty and personal pride.  But they hated their manager who didn’t trust them to do their job and didn’t make them feel valued, or that their career ambitions mattered. 

What you will find with this kind of person though, is a lack of initiative.  They won’t suggest any improvements or innovations, they won’t take part in team days or out of work activities.  They have disengaged from the process.

The second sign to look for is an overindulgence in something.  Are they going for a fag more often, or a coffee?  Are they gaining weight?  Do they come into work looking the worse for wear?  Often people who have lost their mojo, fill the gap with something else – and not always a healthy something else!

If people are dis-engaged, you might also notice a lack of enthusiasm for things you would hope people would be enthusiastic about – company or team wins for example or lack of interest in training.  And also – watch out for people who do ‘nothing’ at the weekends or in the evenings. 

When you are demotivated at work, it can infiltrate into all parts of your life.  This is not always the case of course, but certainly, if someone is becoming depressed, these signs are far more likely to be apparent.

Getting the balance right, like everything in life, is not easy but it is possible. 

In order to get the balance between giving too much work and responsibility, and not enough, you need 3 things:-

  • Understand your staff
  • Know what they want
  • Be clear on their skill level or training needs.

If you have staff who know where they are going, and their goals are achievable and in line with company goals.  If those staff feel important, listened to and understood.  And if they also have the skills, experience and/or knowledge to complete the tasks, and understand the upside of doing so (and downside of not doing so), then you can strike that balance between ‘too much’ and ‘not enough’. 

If you need any help or inspiration with that email me at julie@thinkbedoleadership.com or visit our Facebook Page here.  

bottleneck in your business

Bottleneck to Boss. Why Are You Holding Your Business Back?

Bottleneck to Boss.  Why are you holding your business back?

Are you looking to grow your business?  If the answer to that is ‘yes’ but it isn’t happening, then the next question is – ‘are YOU holding your business back?’

What often happens in small businesses is that the owner naturally does everything – at first.  There is only you right?  Or maybe you start as a partnership, so there are 2 of you – Yippee!  And you do a great job, so your business naturally grows. 

At some point though, you have run out of hours to do any more work, and so the only solution is to outsource or hire staff.  Either way with this one, it often doesn’t work out.  And the reason is potentially, that you don’t trust anyone else to do the job right.  Or sometimes – you haven’t briefed them properly.  But mostly the first one.

The problem with this is it inhibits your growth. 

If you find that all the decisions land at YOUR feet, and that is a customer has an issue they only call YOU, then you aren’t managing a business, you are managing yourself.  And there is only one of you, and there are only 24 hours in a day.

If you try to control everything then you create a bottleneck in your business.  And no-one will help you to solve it – because you have made it very clear that you want to do everything, so why should they help?

At some point, you need to make a decision to let some stuff go.  Yes – you might be the best copywriter in your business.  But if all the publication and marketing team are sitting around twiddling their thumbs waiting for your copy, which you haven’t written yet because 3 customers have contacted you today and you had to deal with that, then nothing is getting done is it?

You might have to decide to let something go, and see what happens. 

If you take the time to hire or train someone to do some of the work you are currently doing, it may feel painful.  It may give you a sleepless night even.  But just imagine how good it will feel when you have people who can take stuff off your shoulders so that you are not working 18 hours a day 7 days a week. 

You can still work those hours if you want – but it is your choice and not because ‘no-one else can do it’.  Here’s the thing.  If there is a job that someone else in the world CAN do, it means you don’t have to do it.  You may choose to do it, but please don’t kid yourself that no-one else can, because that is just not true. 

The only reason someone else cannot do a job is that – you don’t trust them to do it, you haven’t trained them to do it, or you haven’t hired the right people yet.  Your job should be to find the right people, train them and then trust them.  Not to do everything yourself.  Or your business will never grow.

So – is it time to stop being the bottleneck and start being the boss?

If you know it is, but you are not sure how to do that – email me on julie@thinkbedoleadership.com for a no-obligation strategy call. 

Happy kids

How to Win The Three Legged Race in Business

How to Win The Three Legged Race in Business

The Three-Legged race – it’s that time of year isn’t it?  Have you been at a school sports day recently?  Or do you remember your own sports days? Well, I was at my kids sports day today, and it was good to see all the ‘old’ stuff still exists.  There is still the ‘Egg and Spoon’ race, Tug of War and of course, the good old Three-Legged race.  It’s hilarious for those watching, and sometimes for those playing. 

Yes, it’s all good fun …until….someone gets upset. 

Why would they get upset?  Well, because the other person “isn’t doing it right” or “they’re going too fast”, or too slow. Sometimes they aren’t paying attention because they suddenly see their Mum cheering them on in the crowd and they get out of step.  Sometimes one person stops and the other one doesn’t.  And the only way to get the rhythm back is by completely stopping and restarting. 

You see the three-legged race depends on co-operation and communication.  It also involves agreeing a strategy.  And watching the participants today, it is clear that those who collaborate well, go faster. 

And it made me think.  It’s a bit like business really, isn’t it?  And teamwork in particular. 

Teams who collaborate well, generally ‘go faster’.  Everything seems to be so easy and just flows.  It’s the difference between a great experience in a restaurant and a poor one, for example.  9 times out of 10, when people aren’t happy in a restaurant, it isn’t about the food (the product) it is about the service – the EXPERIENCE.

And that applies to the team themselves.  9 times out of 10 when someone leaves a team or a business, it isn’t because there is anything wrong with the product the business produces or the ‘company’ itself, it is about the lack of teamwork and leadership.  Because the leader is, of course, an integral part of the team.

If the leader explains the vision (to get to the finish line without falling over), and the rules (how to move with ‘3’ legs), and why we are doing it (to have fun), then the outcome is more likely to happen. 

If the team then collaborates (one person ties the knot), communicates (if we get out of step we stop and start again) and co-operates (I wanted to tie the knot but I am happy for you to do it, if I can go on the right hand side), then it is much more likely that the goal will be achieved.

If, on the other hand, the team are not clear on what they are supposed to do (one little boy running on his own to the line) then it becomes more difficult to achieve a result.  And if the team start to blame each other for ‘failures’ (knots that come undone, falling over etc), then that really prevents focus on the solution. 

And we all know where that is going to end.  With one party stomping off crying and the other calling names.  And I wasn’t referring to the kids!! 

Teams can be a tricky dynamic, or they can be the biggest asset the business has.  Teams are so crucial to business success (and to winning three-legged races), and that’s why I created the Team Performance Engine ™.  Teams that laugh and collaborate, under focused leadership, make a massive difference to your business.  If you’d like to know more about the Team Performance Engine and how it can impact on your bottom line get in touch on julie@thinkbedoleadership.com