Leadership

juggling skateboarder

Are you Getting In Your Own Way?

Being a Manager is hard! You are always getting in your own way. You see, being a business owner who wants to grow means being not only a manager but also a leader (as well as many other hats).  And that is like juggling jelly, whilst on a skateboard rolling downhill, and hosting a talk show at the same time.  Trust me – I know. 

But unlike the jelly juggling skateboarder – it IS actually possible. Unless you are getting in your own way, of course.

Let’s look at how you might be getting in your own way

Leadership is about setting the vision. It’s about you – or the vision – or both, being so inspiring that people believe they can achieve whatever goals are set and come out as winners.  They mirror your behaviour.  Here’s where you can clearly see the first hurdle.

If, as a Leader, you say one thing but do another – then people will follow what you do not what you say.  And here’s the irony.  Because – as the Leader, you might work late into the evening which nobody sees – because they have all gone home, or they are working from home.  But if you are 5 minutes “late” in the morning, that sets the wrong tone.  Especially if you are also ‘the manager’.

The Manager is the one that sets the standards, monitors the activity, and passes down the goals and practical steps that are needed to achieve the vision.  They may or may not be inspiring, but they are there to make sure that things get done.

It is hard to be both a manager and a leader. 

The skill sets required of those two roles are quite disparate, and you may find yourself more naturally in one role than another.  Which role are you not as strong in? That will be where you are getting in your own way.

The Good Leader

If you are a good leader but a poor manager then you will find that your team loves being around you, they find you motivating and empathic.  You have time for them, and you make them feel invincible. 

But if you are not managing them correctly you will find them going down the wrong path. They don’t have the skills they need, or they don’t understand the ‘rules’ or where their authority starts or stops.  They don’t meet deadlines but they are full of great ideas.

The Good Manager

If you are a good manager, then things will be done as you direct.  You are in charge of the ship.  But if you are not a good leader, you will find yourself working harder and harder, having to think of all the ideas yourself, having no one that steps up to take some of the load.

If you are a good leader and notice that your team is not doing as well as they should, you will probably feel guilty – you have asked them to do stuff but haven’t trained them or shown them how to.  Maybe they are capable you think, and you shouldn’t have asked them.  So you start taking things back from them and doing more yourself.

If you are a good manager,  but not a great leader, you might find yourself wanting to control everything (after all that is a manager’s job) but taking it too far.  You may feel let down by the team’s lack of initiative and therefore take on more and more of the hands-on job yourself.

In both these scenarios, the end is the same.  You are working too hard.  You are doing stuff you shouldn’t be doing as the manager and/or leader of your business.  And you are NOT doing your job.  You are not being strategic, thinking about the future, the solutions that you need to find because you are too blooming busy doing the do.

Your business can’t grow until you grow.

As a result, the business can’t move forward.  It can’t grow, and not only that, you cant even take a day off because everything would fall apart if you weren’t there.  Well, maybe you CAN take a single day off, but a holiday?  Without constantly being on your phone or laptop?  Not a chance. 

Henry Ford, amongst others, has been attributed as saying

“If You Always Do What You’ve Always Done, You’ll Always Get What You’ve Always Got.”

Henry Ford and others

And what does that actually mean?

Well, it means – if you want things to be different you have to change them.  And that means changing you first.  You can’t just dictate that your team must do things differently from now on if you manage or lead in exactly the same way.  If you do, then in a week, or a month or 6 months time, nothing will have changed. 

Don’t be like a 1960’s parent saying

“Don’t’ do what I do, do what I tell you”. 

Your Grandparents, possibly…

It didn’t work then and it doesn’t work now. 

If you’d like to know how to (metaphorically) juggle jelly whilst skateboarding downhill hosting a talk show – drop me an email at julie@thinkbedoleadership.com.  It’s a great subject for a virtual coffee! 

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Team Hands

Why Your Business Can’t Grow!

I work with a lot of businesses turning over £1 – £5 million pounds who are trying to grow and finding it a struggle.  Maybe you might also be experiencing the same – your business can’t grow! The reasons why are all too often the same one!  It isn’t their product or service.  If they have got to 1 million + turnover then clearly the core offering is fine. 

Often it isn’t their marketing.  They have grown to this size through whatever sales and marketing strategy they have been using, and that has worked so far. 

And it isn’t the staffing levels – most of these companies have adequate or slightly surplus staffing, and their recruitment processes work.

No – the reason most of these businesses just can’t move above this ‘glass ceiling’ is that their teams aren’t ready.

You might be wondering what on earth I mean by this.  Maybe you haven’t considered the link between the company growth and the readiness of the team, but I assure you, it’s very real.

What are the Signs That The Team Isn’t Ready?

There are a number of signs you might have noticed in your business.  Perhaps you are doing too much or getting dragged into the technical work of the business, with no time to think strategically or put in place new operating practices.

Maybe you know your team needs to be doing more.  You wish they would step up and make more decisions instead of referring everything back to you.  They need to step up as leaders and make things happen.  They need to be able to influence, create performance and set direction. 

Moreover – YOU need help with getting them there because what you have been doing up till now hasn’t worked.  Of course, your development is critical because everything comes from the top, but as a business reaches a certain size, every single detail, every decision, and every interaction cannot originate from you. 

Your Business Won’t Grow Until Your Team Grows.

As a solopreneur, you can get your business to a certain size.  But it will never grow as big or as fast as if you have a top-performing management team in place. 

That’s a tough one to crack but it can be done.  And once your management team is performing as it should the business can easily grow to 10 x the turnover (and profits) it currently has. 

So, how do you do that?

Well, it is what I help businesses to do every day of the week, for many years.  Often it takes an outsider to be able to look objectively into what is currently happening, spot the gaps and have the arsenal of training and coaching skills to be able to make the difference, that makes the difference!

Email me on julie@thinkbedoleadership.com to organise a free no-obligation virtual coffee, to see if working with us could make a 10x growth impact on your business. 

Woman looking bored at work

Boring, Uninteresting & Demotivating?

Have you ever sat there, at a family Christmas, birthday, or some other gathering, where everyone’s chatting, getting along, and then that one uncle commandeers the floor?  

We all know what happens next – some questionable monologue with the apparent pretense of being comedic or something that just turns into an outdated (often mildly offensive), irrelevant or just downright dull diatribe, to a backing track of familiar familial groans.  

As he ignores these and continues on with his disasterclass of audience retention, you drift off and suddenly it’s ten minutes later and you have no idea what just happened.  

I mean, you can’t fault his confidence but that is the limit of the props you can give him. That feeling of dread as soon as he stood up to speak is testament to the effect that lack of connection or relevance can have when addressing people. 

And here’s the thing… 

It isn’t just with your family that this happens.   

It happens at work too! 

But, how do you avoid the dreaded uncle status when working with your team? 

Well, you can start by focusing on just three key points… 

Relevant and Interesting, Confident & Connected, & Positively Impactful 

Relevant 

Unlike the 3 minutes that you just sat through on the 1690 Battle of the Boyne, that he somehow thought bore some connection to the conversation about what A Levels your cousin is going to take, relevance is a key part of your success as a leader of your team. 

If your team isn’t focused on the tasks and projects you are currently undertaking, there is little chance you are going to have any real success and that direction comes form you as the leader. 

It’s easy to go off on tangents in conversation and, whilst having personality and connection with those you’re talking to is important (as we will come onto later), you can’t let it override the main objectives you have as a business. 

It is fine to add in your own stories and experiences, but the buzzwords for this are WHERE RELEVANT. If you are talking about a project you’ve run, by all means talk about a particular client experience where certain issues cropped up, but don’t then go on to talk about where you met them, what coffee you had, how you got to the meeting – that’s uncle territory right there.  

Ask yourself – Do I keep it to the point, to make my point. 

Interesting 

Hand in hand with relevance is interest. 

Just as the 1690 Battle of the Boyne interlude was off topic, it sent grandma to sleep, and you into some sort of dream state. If it isn’t interesting, people won’t listen.  

Simple as that really! 

You have to engage the people in your team, pique their interest and retain it.  

For example, if you are bringing back the coffees for the team, your customer experience in Starbucks (or your fave coffee shop), might be interesting to you, BUT you choosing whether to get a latte with Soy, Almond or Oat milk, however, does not leave anyone wanting to know more (even if the decision weighed heavy on you at the time!). 

However, if you were addressing the same thing to a room full of vegans, you would probably have grabbed their interest and ended up with a huge debate on what’s best for what.  

So, my point is that you need to think about who is in the room and what they are motivated and interested in.  Understanding who is in the room and knowing what will get their attention will be invaluable in them engaging.  

So, don’t feel the need to go on big, long stories with no ties to their topic as then you will see people start to drift off.  Find out what floats their boat and bring it in to grip their interest and have them begging for more. 

Connected and Confident 

Man and woman hi-five at work

Connected 

As I touched on before, it is important to build up a good connection with your team. Beyond motivating them, they should feel comfortable enough to come to you with issues and ideas. 

This is a benefit not only to them, but to you, and can move your business forward leaps and bounds.  

When you stand up to talk, you don’t want to be greeted with that same groan that met the uncle’s impromptu lecture. You want to be able to open up a conversation and invite your team to be part of what you are trying to achieve.  

You don’t want them to feel like you are talking at them, or you may as well be talking about how important some historical conflict was in “ensuring the continued Protestant ascendancy in Ireland.”  

Even writing that I can feel myself switching off! Just imagine how your team would feel if they had that sort of lack of connection every single week.  

You wouldn’t want to hang out with people you don’t feel like you can talk to, and who do you hang out with more than you colleagues? 

Confident 

This may be the only redeemable feature of the that speech you had to sit through last Christmas.  

Say what you want about it, there’s nothing quite like an uncle’s confidence in such situations, and if there is one thing of value, they offer it is this; confidence is key.  

The more confident you are in what you’re saying, the more likely people are to take note of it. Confidence conveys understanding, it shows you have something worth sharing and it helps with the previous point – it creates connection.  

Interestingly, it is not the “inner confidence” that you need to be “confident”, but when you have a belief in what you are saying, a desire to spread the truth, then you can be confident if you focus on this and not you! 

It is often said that confidence breeds success, and whilst this cliché may have been somewhat overused, that does not make the general sentiment any less true.  

Confidence is infectious, so if you stand up in front of your team and show confidence in your direction and leadership, there is little they won’t do. 

Just believe in what you say, and others will believe in you. Don’t be like your uncle, be more Think Be Do. 

Positively Impactful 

OK, so we have all been there – the mood hoover in the room that has sucked the energy away with the negativity of their soul. 

Not you, of course? 

But here’s the problem… 

So often we are not aware of our impact.  We don’t think about it whilst we are going about our business.  We don’t stop and ask ourselves often enough.   

We’re oblivious to the carnage we may have left behind us when we say or do things around others.  

But as they say in forensics – “Every contact leaves a trace”.  And it works for this too.  Every contact you have with anyone, will leave either a positive or negative trace.  And the more aware you are of it, the more you will be able to make sure that the trace you leave is one you really want.  

So, it pays (both literally and metaphorically) to be Relevant and Interesting, Connected and Confident, and Positively Impactful, and whilst the concepts may seem simple, many people still struggle to use them effectively.  

If you want to find out HOW to implement these features in your business – message me on julie@thinkbedoleadership.com or message me at www.linkedin.com/in/leadership-expert-executive-coach-training  

Black and white instruments held up

You can’t harmonise with yourself!

More or less, everyone has a favourite band, a group of people who just come together and make music that instantly makes you happy.

As kids we often idolise that group, but more often we love that lead singer (or is that just me? 😉).

Many of us look to the lead vocalist as the leader, but the reality is, that they would be nothing or a lot less, without the rest of the band.

A lead vocalist, a front man or frontwoman, without the band is just a person singing on their own.

For the band to work you need the bassists, the guitarists, the drummers, and the backing vocalists.  All these people need to come together to create the songs, the music, that you know and love.

And in business, your team is just like a band.

Unless everyone comes together, works together, then you will always struggle to produce anything of value. The talent of one individual cannot be brought forward to its full effect without the support of those around them.

You cannot harmonise with yourself!

Conflict

Without wishing to state the obvious, teams that do not work well together will not stay together. Sure, they may achieve some success, but in the end it is unsustainable.

Just take Oasis.

Disputes between brothers Noel and Liam Gallagher were regularly documented in the press throughout their time together, Noel even quitting temporarily as early as 1994.

Working together in such close quarters for many years had soured their relationship and they now have little to no contact with each other even twelve years after the bands break up.

Now, drawing parallels between rockstars and business teams may seem a stretch too far, but again, the basic principles are the same.

Not everyone is always going to be best friends but that does not mean they cannot be successful provided they learn how to work with each other.  We just need to understand how to walk in each other’s shoes, appreciate the genius and accept the differences.

Teamwork

Everyone in a band has a particular skill or talent, be it for keys or strings, vocals or percussion, each member has different strengths.

So, we can look at our team in the same way, you may be the lead guitarist, someone else may be on keyboard, and so on. We need to celebrate those differences as well as wanting to get along.

Good bands have also identifiable sounds, or could we say “culture”, and these may evolve over time as members develop their talents.

The Cure went from eccentric, post punk sounds to more gothic stylings. Fleetwood Mac started as a blues band before moving more and more into pop-rock. Radiohead started with a distinctive guitar rock sound and diversified into more experimental music.

Good bands will make good music, no matter the sound or the members, there will be no reliance on one individual to pull it all together.

A good team will work effectively towards whatever that big goal is, and when each member is playing their instrument, the leader can be replaced, if they are just wailing into the mic randomly.

Often the leader can think that they are irreplaceable and feel that they are more important than the rest. They can forget that they are there to enable the whole team to achieve their best.  But that is dangerous, and mistaken.

For example: Genesis went from strength to strength with Phil Collins at the vocal helm, but before him the band was fronted by Peter Gabriel. Gabriel left amid an accumulation of tension within the band.  They didn’t need him to succeed.

No one person is bigger than the group and when someone is raised to this position, tension is inevitable. Keyboardist Tony Banks surmised it by saying:

“Pete was also getting too big for the group. He was being portrayed as if he was ‘the man’ and it really wasn’t like that. It was a very difficult thing to accommodate. So, it was actually a bit of a relief.”

This new form Genesis continued to perform until 2000, 25 years after Gabriel’s departure.

If a leader is not working but the team is still functioning, then just take a leaf out of Iron Maiden’s book. Over their duration they have has a number of front men and still remained highly successful.

At the band’s conception, Paul Day took the position of lead vocalist but was shortly dismissed as he did not have the desired charisma and, most importantly, enthusiasm for the project.

He was replaced by Dennis Wilcock who looked to put his stamp on the group, he convinced them to hire and fire members and the conflicts in the band grew, until he left to form his own group.

Then came Paul Di’Anno, and whilst they initially worked well together, addiction troubles made his position unsustainable.

In came Bruce Dickinson for his turn at the head of the band, and even he was in and out of this role due to wanting to go solo.

The job of these men was to help their group and when they were no longer were doing so, moving on was the best thing for both parties.

Dynamics

So, how then was the band “Iron Maiden” able to stay together through the countless member changes over the years?

That comes down to the true dynamics of the group. Bassist Steve Harris was the one who formed the band and, ultimately it was his group. The lead singer is not always the leader. Just because someone is the most vocal, does not mean they are in charge. Leadership is about a strong voice with something to say, not just whoever can shout over the rest.

A successful team is about good dynamics and doing what is best for the project, not just one person’s interests. It is about bringing together all those voices to create harmonies that is the recipe for an efficient project.

Everyone must be singing from the same song sheet and a successful leader will be the one handing out those sheets.

So, if you are the leader of your “band”, ask yourself the question….

  • What do I bring to the party?
  • How to I enable the team to perform?
  • Do I help or hinder the success of the team as a whole?
  • Do they need me?

And if the answer is not what you were expecting, then let’s talk…

Book in for Your Impact Accelerator Session to brainstorm how we can help you be the best front person in your business band.  https://calendly.com/thinkbedoleadership/quiet-leaders-impact-accelerator-session

Email julie@thinkbedoleadership.com

The Rythym of Business

And The Rhythm Of Life Is a Powerful Beat…

And The Rhythm Of Life Is a Powerful Beat…

I’ve always loved that Sammy Davis Jr song.  The rhythm of life.  It is powerful isn’t it when you get in a rhythm?

For me being in a rhythm means life is easier.  Things happen when they are supposed to.  And they happen how they are supposed to.  Life can move forward in a purposeful direction.

Rythym in Business?

The same can be said about business.  When you have a rhythm to the business, things happen in the way they should, in a pro-active and not re-active way.  You don’t have to recreate the wheel, you have the recipe, and more importantly – so does your team.

There is a difference between knowing the cake you want to make and actually having the recipe.  If you ask 5 people to make a chocolate cake, you will probably end up with 5 different chocolate cakes (yum!).  And though they may all be delicious; they may not all be what you had in mind.  In fact, none of them may turn out the way you wanted.

Perhaps you are vegan, so you need to use specific ingredients.  Or you are lactose intolerant so need to avoid cow’s milk.  If you are diabetic you might need to use a sugar substitute, and if you just hate dark chocolate then you need the cake to be milk chocolate.  Then there is how many people is it for?  No point making a beautiful but tiny cake for a party for 20 people. 

Unfortunately, this is all too often what happens in business.

The team are told what the end result should be (a cake – or more probably – a report, a product, a service!!).  But they are not told how to get there – they aren’t given the recipe.

What happens then is that there is no rhythm.  People will do whatever they think.  Or maybe they won’t do it at all because they are fearful of getting it wrong. 

Confidence is created when people have the recipe. 

When you are a very experienced cook, and you have been taught the recipe(s) – then sometimes you can go off piste and just make it up as you go along, and mostly that might be OK. 

But we are actually not talking about cakes here.  We are talking business outcomes.  And as the leader of the pack – your job is to create those business rythyms, which mean that people have clarity on the procedures, the processes and the expected outcomes. 

When they have this clarity, it builds confidence.  And when they are confident – then they can produce the results that you want without you having to be there every second of every day.

Now doesn’t that sound nice?  Puts a tingle in your fingers and a tingle in your feet……

Get in touch if you want any help putting the rythym into your results! julie@thinkbedoleadership.com

Lots of clocks representing being too busy

Are You Too Busy – For Your Own Good?

Are You Too Busy – For Your Own Good?

I had a bit of a rant this week about the irony of a situation that happened.  I organised a webinar aimed at business owners who are doing too much, working too hard and have too much to do.  The reason they generally have too much to do, is that they still have a worked mindset.

What do I mean by that? 

Well, let me give you an example.  It’s nearing the end of the day – you’re planning to knock off in half an hour or so, and a client request comes in. 

Of course, it is mega urgent (when is a client request not mega urgent) and it is a client where you want everything to go smoothly.  Perhaps it is a new client.  Or maybe one where things have gone wrong in the past. 

You know that you have people on your team that you could ask to do this.  BUT.  It would take you longer to explain the situation to them than it would for you to do the blooming thing yourself.  And so you do it. 

This means that your half an hour knocking off work time now becomes an hour and a half later. 

And that is not the first time it happened today, let alone this week. 

You are working TOO hard because you are still in a technician mindset.  You are not operating as the leader of the business or the team, but as its star performer.  The problem with that is – whilst you may get the job done, everyone else is not having to pick up the load. 

In fact, they KNOW that you will do it, and they don’t have to, so why should they?  Or perhaps they know you will refuse their help if offered, so they don’t offer.

Meanwhile, you are there getting more tired and fed up by the day, with no time to do your real job of leading the team and sticking your head above the parapets to oversee the bigger picture. 

This is what I am passionate about – this is what I work with business leaders on every day of my working life.  I work with leaders on staying focused on being the leader and not doing the do.

So, imagine the irony.

I organised a webinar – free I might add – to help leaders who are too busy to get less busy but more productive.  It was called – “From frustrated, overworked and under-valued to productive, profitable freedom”.

51 people registered for the webinar.  They all got a confirmation email and a reminder.  And then at the appointed time……….2 people turned up. 

I get it.  They were all MD’s and CEO’s.  I expected a fallout.  There is always a drop off when I run a webinar – not everyone who signs up can make it on the day.  But 2 PEOPLE????

It’s hilarious.  They were too busy to come to the webinar which would show them how to be less busy.  It’s a bit sad really, that the thing we need most – to invest time and knowledge and skills into our own self-development – is often the last thing on the list.

If you didn’t see the notifications for the webinar and would like the slides or the recording – please message me and I will get a copy to you. 

And if there is one thing you take from this as a leader, let it be this.

If you don’t look after your own development, how can you look after anyone else’s?  And that’s your job as a leader.  Lead by example, therefore, and put your own oxygen mask on first. 

Turn that Yes into a No

I Just Can’t Say No!

I Just Can’t Say No!

I was listening to the radio today and the presenter played a snapshot of Seth Godin’s comment on ‘saying no’.  It totally stopped me in my tracks!

He said that when you don’t say NO, but you should, then you are acting as a “cost-free unprioritised contribution to other people’s work.” 

OMG!!!  He is so right!

So many people I work with are suffering from one of the following because they can’t ‘Say No’. Do any apply to you too? 

  • Too much to do.
  • Feel guilty.
  • Don’t want to let people down.
  • Think I “should” or “must”.
  • Know it “won’t get done if I don’t do it”

However, Seth is right. We have it wrong if we think we are doing anyone a good turn by always saying yes.  And the person we are doing the most harm to is our self.

It could be you are ‘over parenting’.  You know you do it, right?  At work AND at home. Perhaps you are short of time, and so you do whatever needs to be done because you “don’t have time” to show someone how.  Perhaps you do it because you equate doing everything for them to showing them you care. 

But here’s the thing.  If you are doing everything for them you are not enabling them, you are Dis-Abling them.  You are preventing people (including your actual kids) from growing up in the role and in life. 

You think you are doing a good thing, being kind, not putting too much on anyone.  But actually, you are just treating like kids (yes I know your actual kids ARE actually kids, but they will stay kids forever this way!).  

This behaviour just teaches them to keep asking you.

Some might think they are getting a good deal because they can push stuff onto you instead of taking responsibility for it.  But they need to either do it themselves and grow or find the right person to delegate that too.  But that should not be YOU!  

There will be others, who might not say anything, but who are probably frustrated that they are not trusted and they are not growing.  They might end up leaving.  They will certainly end up unmotivated and therefore less productive.  You also are probably frustrated as your own stuff needs doing and what you want to do as a leader doesn’t get done.

So, saying no is a good thing.

You don’t need to be “ranty” about it.  Saying no in the right way helps people to understand why and what the benefit is to them. Pre-framing will help.  Telling them why before it happens. And getting agreement on their understanding before you do it.

This approach quickly retrains their thinking and will help them enjoy taking responsibility.

And that is what is real leadership is. 

That is something we talk about a lot in the Quiet Leaders Launchpad, as it is a part of the role that those who consider themselves “Quiet Leaders” often struggle with.  And once they have this skill under their belt – boy does it make them feel good! 

But more importantly than that, it makes them a more effective leader, and their teams more productive and happier. 

Lots of good reasons to master the ability to ‘Say No’. Drop me an email if you need any help with this crucial skill! julie@thinkbedoleadership.com

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. 

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!

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