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Learn to say no

What is THE Most Important Leadership Skill?

What is THE Most Important Leadership Skill?

I was asked this question the other day by one of my clients on the Leaders Launchpad program (coaching and training for quiet leaders).  And it’s a really good question. 

You see, there are a number of critical skills for a leader to have to be successful in their role.  And all of them are important, but there is one that is arguably the most important.  Certainly, without this skill, you will never be successful as a leader, and will likely end up overwhelmed, burnt out and frustrated. 

It isn’t Vision.  Though of course without a clear vision, it is hard to lead people towards the goal.  But you can still lead them.  And it isn’t empathy.  Without empathy, it is difficult to create lasting relationships of trust with the team.  But it isn’t impossible to lead (short term) without this critical skill. 

Communication skills, decisiveness, problem-solving – they are all critical for a leader. 

You might think integrity is the one key skill you must have as a leader.  And whilst I might agree with you, I think you would accept that there have been successful (at least in the short term) leaders in the past who have led massive amounts of people, with little or no integrity (or at least what you and I would deem integrity to be). 

So What Is This Key Skill?

No, the one key skill without which you cannot succeed as a leader – is the ability to say NO.

Now I’m not talking about being a ‘hard arse’, aggressive or scary leader.  But that’s the problem I see with many quiet leaders.  They think that saying NO will mean they have to BE that scary person.  That people won’t like them if they say no, or they will lose relationships. 

I would argue there are many ‘graceful’ ways of saying NO that can save face for you, and the person you are saying NO to.  But it is critical that you learn that even if you are saying YES all the time, you are also and already, saying NO.

When you say YES to working late, covering your boss’s back by doing extra work, or taking back a project from one of your team, to help them out – you are saying NO to something.  Maybe it is time with your family.  Perhaps it is time for you.  Possibly you are putting back your own project that you planned to have finished.

It’s important to realise you are already saying NO.  But are you saying NO to the right things?

What Can You Say No To?

As a Leader, you must focus your energy on the things that only you can do.  These are the key tasks.  Strategic thinking and decision making, relationship building, coaching, creating the vision, the values and the standards in the team.

When you don’t have the right boundaries, or any boundaries, and say yes to everything everyone asks of you, things will only go one way.  Downhill.  People may like you, but they may not respect you – and if they don’t then you can’t lead them.

So, here’s an idea.

Make a list of everything you said yes to in the last week and everything you said no to.  And that includes things you said NO to by default because you didn’t have time – all the things you said yes to had to be finished first.  Things like watching the latest episode of (fill in the black) with your children or your partner.  Eating dinner together.  Going for a walk. 

Now look at the list and decide – are you saying YES to the right things, and to the right AMOUNT of things?  If you are – that’s great.  As long as it is on purpose and FOR a purpose. 

But the chances are there are things on that list that should be delegated, outsourced, put in the bin, or pushed back to whoever tried to dump them on you.

If you have difficulty saying NO – I totally get it.  It can be scary, or at least uncomfortable. But long term, the effect of not saying NO when you should, will only get worse.  If people know you as someone who generally says yes, you will find more and more landing on your plate. 

The respect from others for your time, and the importance of your role, will diminish.  Your time to do the important stuff in your own job will be less or will be pushed back into your personal time.  You will feel frustrated, overwhelmed and resentful and never have the time to be the amazing leader that you were born to be!

It is the most critical skill you can learn as a leader, and the quicker you develop it, the better, more productive and more enjoyable being a leader will be for you – and for everyone around you!

If you need any help with identifying whether you are saying yes to the right things, or in helping develop Win:Win strategies for saying NO, then I have just opened up spaces on my next Leaders Launchpad cohort.  Please email me on julie@thinkbedoleadership.com or connect with me / message me on LinkedIn.

For now – just try it this week.  Say NO to something you shouldn’t be doing.  And see how amazing it feels. 

How To Have A High Performing Team - it's not magic!

How To Have A High Performing Team 🎯

How To Have A High Performing Team – Step One

I don’t know if you are currently a leader – in your own business or someone else’s, or whether you are hoping to step into that position in 2021. 

Either way, one of the key things that is going to make you stand out from the crowd, and at the same time have a happier and more successful working life as a manager / leader, is to have a high performing team.

Many of my clients have said to me that this is a critical part of their 2021 planning and have asked me to help them to develop their teams from ‘underperforming’, ‘OK’ or even ‘good’ – into a high performing team.

Well, here’s the thing.  The first part of having a high performing team, is for them to know what that looks like.

When is the last time you sat down and wrote down what YOU stand for and what YOUR vision is?

Because if you don’t know, then the sad news is you will never have a high performing team.

OK – so perhaps you DO know.  Perhaps you even have it written down somewhere.  But if I asked your team what that actually was – asked THEM to tell me what your vision, values and goals were, would they know? 

You can be honest, because no-one else is in your head when you are reading this.  So – honestly now – do you know, and does your team know what you stand for and what the bigger picture is?  Or are you expecting them to be telepathic?

Do Your Team Know What Is In Your Head?

I have had all sorts of answers to that question (does your team know…) over the years.  Everything from, “Well isn’t it obvious” (no it isn’t), to “I only employ people with gumption” (great – but still, they are not telepathic, unless you hire for that too?).

So, as a result of all the requests, this week I have been running a KickStart Challenge.  Unleash Your Quiet Leader Brilliance.  The content of this has been designed to help you to understand and get very clear on what you stand for and what YOUR bigger picture is, so that you can then clearly communicate that to your team. 

You see, once a team knows precisely what is important to you, and where you (as the leader) want things to go, it is SOOO much easier for them to get there.    It’s the difference between saying to an Olympic runner that you want him to win, or saying ‘we need to take 0.4 seconds off your time in the next 6 months, and these are the tools we are going to provide you with’ (a training schedule, this equipment, this trainer). 

In this example – the former is a dream, and the latter is a vision and a plan.

Here’s the thing that most leaders forget.

Your team are not you.  Yes, I know – sounds obvious, doesn’t it?  But think about it for a minute.  Your team are not you, and they don’t know what you know.  They don’t have the experience you have (they have different and sometimes even better experiences – but not the exact same). 

So, they do not know everything that you may think they know.  And they certainly will not make the same decisions you would.

And that is fine.  Because sometimes they have a better or different experience and may have ideas you haven’t thought of, or be better at a certain skill than you are.

But Watch Out…..

If your team do not know what YOUR vision and goals are as a leader, they will fill in the gaps, and come to their own conclusions.  They might prioritise the wrong things, or not realise the importance of a particular deadline.  They are basically flying partially sighted.  And that’s really not fair to anyone, is it?

The only way to start to have a high performing team is for everyone to be working from the same map.  Otherwise, would you agree, you might all end up at different destinations?

UnLeash Your Quiet Leader Brilliance – What’s It About?

So – on the challenge – which you will find in the Quiet Leaders With Impact Facebook group, there has been some great work going on all week.  You can go back through the challenge and all the resources by joining the group (if you are not already in it) and looking for Unit X

Please note – the Challenge and all the resources will be coming down next week – so go look at it pronto if you want to see what it has all been about.

The challenge finishes tomorrow and tonight I am doing an extra bonus session for those who want to get that content and who might be interested in working with me further. 

You see, all the content we have been going through this week is just one part, of one module of the Quiet Leaders Launchpad Program.  I developed this program to help quiet leaders (you’ll know if that is you, or one of your managers) to develop their voice, speak up, speak out and be the Leader that they know they can be. 

On the call this evening I am offering a free strategy session, to those who might be interested in getting in on the Quiet Leaders Launchpad which is opening soon to just 12 participants.  Why only 12?  Because this is an intensive coaching program which delivers massive results for the individuals in the group.  I have found 12 to be the optimum number, any more than that and there is a danger that some people don’t get all the attention they deserve and need. 

So, 12 it is, and there are 7 currently booked for a strategy session.

How Can You Be Part Of It?

As you are part of my Inner Circle, I am opening the offer up to you too.  Book a strategy session and we can both see if it is a fit.  If we don’t think the program is for you, you will still get value from the session in the form of clarity around what you want to achieve in 2021. 

Here is the link to book on a call with me.  During our 30-min. call, we’ll uncover your super strengths & biggest barriers and determine whether we’re a good fit to work together.

And if you want to catch up on the Challenge – go join the group here, or if you are already in – click on Units here.  If you don’t have time to do the whole Challenge before the content comes down – go look at Day 1 – that will give you the overview.

Lead like a Lion

Talk Like A Leader – Think Like A Leader

Talk Like a Leader – Think Like a Leader

Which comes first the chicken or the egg?  In terms of the age-old context of evolution, I’m not sure anyone can say for sure. 

But in terms of leadership – the answer is sometimes the chicken and sometimes the egg. 

What do I mean by that?

Well – in the context of thinking like a leader and talking (or behaving) like a leader – there is no one answer.  Of course, if you can think differently (and you need to as a leader), then that will lead you to do things differently – and then you will end up be-ing different as a leader.

Here’s the thing.  You can start this cycle anywhere.  If you start to do different things, then you will become more skilled or behave differently which will affect your thoughts.  It works both ways.  And sometimes the ‘thinking’ bit is the most difficult aspect to change by just…well….thinking about it.

If the problem with your leadership skills or styles is in some part down to how you think, then it isn’t easy to think your way out of that.

Think back to the first time you were given a  bit of responsibility you didn’t think you were ready for.  It could have been your first team leader or management role.  It could have been stepping in for your boss at short notice due to sickness or emergency.  It could just have been the first time your Mum left you in charge of your siblings.

The point is you survived that – even though you didn’t think you were ready. 

Sometimes in order to believe you can do something – you just have to DO it.  Getting on with stuff, talking like a leader, for example, builds in you the confidence that you can do it.  And trying different things can be the quickest way to learn what works and what doesn’t. 

Specifically, when we are considering how to talk as a leader, you won’t know what works until you do it.  However, there are some general considerations.  Language is very important. 

Some key points about talking like a leader.

Great leaders do not use ‘superlatives’ frequently. 

Unless you are American, “awesome” is something that leaves you in awe.  Like seeing the first moon landing.  Most things just are NOT awesome.  And your team knows that.  So they would rather hear you say they had put in extra effort, or the data on the project was very accurate, than have you say it was ‘awesome’, ‘great’ or any of the other meaningless through overuse, words.

Sound like you mean it. 

If you are empathising – you need to SOUND like it.  Otherwise, it is a platitude.  If you are enthusiastic – SHOW that you are enthusiastic in your voice, otherwise it sounds fake. 

Many leaders worry too much about the content they are delivering and not the delivery.  Public speaking skills are very helpful here and well worth investing in.

Authenticity is important. 

If you say X one day and Y the next you better be prepared to explain your reasoning.  It is fine to change your mind based on data, or circumstance.  But explaining and communicating that are critical.

Having the tough discussions and calling a spade a spade.

I am not talking about being unkind here.  I am talking about being clear.  If you are not happy with a teams performance, you need to explain why, what specifically needs to be improved, by when and how you will support the team to make the changes.   Bosses who expect their teams to infer what you mean by how you behave, are often disappointed, and then blame the team or individual for poor performance, instead of themselves for poor communication.

When you talk like a leader (even if you don’t yet feel like one) people listen to you.  When you convey your values, and vision clearly, then people start to see you are a leader.  And when other people start seeing you as a leader it increases your confidence and belief in yourself as the leader you want to be.

When you haven’t experienced something before it can be really hard to think about it logically, influenced as we are by our entrenched beliefs. Talking like a leader will help you think like a leader and vice versa. 

If you want this year to be your best year yet as a leader in your business or organisation, then come along to our free Kickstarter event and Unleash Your Quiet Leader Brilliance. 

Register Here – the date is Monday 18th January.  See you there!

Covid Virus

You Can’t Blame It All On A Virus…

How has your 2020 gone? 

I know – it’s probably not the year you (or anyone) had planned.  Who knew that we would face the situation we have, with a global pandemic and the on again off again tier levels and associated restrictions. 

In the early days of March and April, the world was almost on hold, holding its breath to see what was going to happen.  But very soon after that, businesses realised that life had to go on, and businesses had to keep operating, albeit in perhaps a very different way.

No-one would blame you for failing to make the impact you wanted to in 2020 or failing to move forward in the way you had planned to. 

However, not everything can be blamed on a virus. 

Many businesses have thrived in these challenging times.  And some of that is luck – they were in industries that weren’t as challenged as some others.  But not ALL businesses in a hard-hit industry have struggled and not ALL businesses in unchallenged industries have done well. 

You can’t blame it all on a virus.

There will always be challenges in business.  Some small.  Some – like the 2008 crash or the pandemic of 2020 – BIG.  But there will always be challenges.

Successful Leaders Do This

The leaders who are able to quickly grasp what is happening, who have the ability to quickly see what is needed and then take their people along with them as they rapidly change their business model, offering or processes to fit the new circumstances – they are the ones who thrive in any situation. 

And it takes guts, and leadership to do that. 

The relationship of trust that takes you and your team through a pandemic is the same as the relationship that helps you shine in the good times. 

It is always the time to be a great leader.  It is always the time to make an impact.  And it is always the time to lead by design. 

As we come to the end of another calendar year and get ready to make the best of this weirdest of Christmas times, it is also a time for reflection.

If you haven’t achieved what you wanted this year, if you haven’t made the impact you wanted or gained the ground that you had planned, then it is time to set out your stall for 2021 and make it happen. 

Don’t let your results next year be a surprise, even if they were this year.  Come and join our Facebook Community – Quiet Leaders With Impact – and make 2021 your best year yet, whatever is happening out there!

Merry Christmas and see you on the other side!

Huskies

Delegation’s What You Need!

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – Delegation’s What You Need!

I was speaking to a group yesterday – and what one of the group came up with was this question.  ‘If I am a precisionist, why do I find delegation so hard to do?’

Well, it’s obvious really.

But before we get to that – let’s look at the 5 main reasons quiet leaders don’t delegate.

  1. Fear that something will go wrong
  2. Believing it is quicker to do it themselves
  3. They don’t leave enough time to explain or train others before the deadline
  4. The fear others judging them as inadequate or dispensable
  5. They don’t build capability and capacity into their teams

And here are the 3 biggest reasons that you SHOULD delegate

  1. You are leaving your organisation open to the “bus risk”.  What I mean by that is – what happens if you get hit by a bus?  Not necessarily literally.  But what if you get sick, or someone you care for gets sick, or you break a leg, or just need a holiday.  Does everything pause while you are away, or are the team having to check in with you on the phone even though you are off?  Your team/organisation will be the loser if no-one can operate without you.
  2. You are risking staff turnover if you don’t give people opportunities to grow.  People need to learn new skills and take on more responsibility to feel challenged and needed in their role.  If you don’t give them that, they will eventually either walk away – or you wish they would.  By that I mean, someone who is not moving forward in their career is probably moving backwards and may end up being an underperforming problem for you to solve.
  3. You are holding yourself and your organisation back by distracting yourself or keeping yourself overly busy with stuff that someone else could do.  If you are not focused on the strategic – at least some of the time – then the chances are your organisation is surviving and not thriving.

Anyway, back to the story.  And you may be asking yourself – ‘what’s a precisionist?’

Well, as a ‘precisionist’ you want everything to be right, you are risk-averse and you are also probably a perfectionist.  And if you are a ‘precisionist’ then your natural inclination is NOT to give stuff away. 

The question came up – ‘how do I change that about myself’ and here’s the thing, you can’t really change how you are.

You can change your behaviour, of course, you can learn to accept some imperfection, for example, thought it will still get under your skin in all likelihood. But here is what you CAN do, in fact, what you MUST do.   

More important than your ability to change, is your ability to communicate with the person you want to start delegating to. 

If you don’t feel good about delegating, you will be unhappy and the person you have delegated it to probably will also not be happy.  They will pick up on your unhappiness, and if you haven’t communicated with them how you feel, then they may well assume that you don’t trust them, or you don’t think they are good enough. 

So – not only are you not comfortable with delegating, but the person ‘mind reads’ and fills in their own gaps.  And I guarantee they won’t think – ‘actually the problem is my boss is not comfortable with delegating.  They will think they are the problem.’ So, now you also have a staff morale and confidence problem.  Which probably mean they won’t be able to complete the task you have delegated.  And – CONGRATULATIONS – you have just become a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

However, it doesn’t need to be like that.

If you can communicate that you find delegating difficult, they will understand. Shock horror!  They won’t think you’re a loser and in fact, they will probably be relieved that the problem ISN’T them.  They will feel more comfortable, the relationship is improved, and the person involved will try and make things easier for you. 

You will then be able to express that you are stressed because you would usually do this task.  The other person will understand it is not about them and be able to reassure you that it is OK to feel like that, and they may even do stuff which means you feel more comfortable delegating.  They might check in with you about what they are doing along the way, for example.

This then gives you more confidence to delegate more.  And voila!  You have a virtuous circle and the luxury of being able to work ON your business and not in it.

If you’d like more leadership tips and strategies aimed at the Quiet leader – please go and join our Facebook Group Quiet Leaders With Impact

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.