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Born Leader

Born Leadership

Some people seem to be born to be a Leader, don’t they? 

I’m thinking of John F Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Alex Ferguson. All great examples of a born leader.

For these people, leadership seems to come naturally, it seems like they were always destined for that role and when they get it, it just all fits together, they’re like a swan in the water, majestically floating around.

For others, the ‘born to be a leader’ thing just doesn’t fit.

Maybe you started a business which became successful, and you’ve had to take people on.

Perhaps you worked for someone else and were so good at your job you were promoted to be a leader in their company.

Maybe, for whatever reason, the role of the leader does not come easily to you. 

And that’s a big problem because if there is one thing that all great leaders have in common it is their ability to BE the leader.

What Does It Mean to Be a Leader?

Well, they do NOT spend their time, being the manager, the salesperson, the customer service rep, the accountant and the receptionist.

Do you?

Being a Leader means knowing what it is that other people do well and letting them get on and do it.

It means:

  • Knowing when people don’t have the right skills ad organising training or moving them to another role. 
  • Trusting people.
  • Knowing when and what to delegate.

But above all, it means spending your precious time BEING the leader (not just DOING things).

How well would it work if Richard Branson drove his own trains, or Alex Ferguson had a go in goals, or JFK made lunch for his important guests?

That doesn’t happen, right? 

And it’s because those people know their role is not any of those things.

Now I am not saying there aren’t ANY occasions where you wouldn’t do something that one of your team could do. 

Sometimes it is ‘all hands-on-deck’ and it can be motivating to see the leader joining in with the fun run, or speaking to a customer, or answering an email when everyone else has gone home for the night. 

However, your main job as the leader is to BE the leader – be the inspiration, the motivation, the direction of the company and leave the operational and tactical tasks to people better suited to doing them.

Your job is to translate that strategy, into tactics that they can turn into actions to fulfil the task.

And here’s the thing, they might actually be BETTER at that than you.

And even if they aren’t (yet) they might be good enough, and unless it is something that you LOVE to do and want to do – why would YOU do it, if someone else can? 

We worked with one client who’s challenging and – to some – argumentative style, was not helped by her micromanagement and general interference in unnecessary things. She was feared and disliked in equal proportion. 

Micromanagement brings fear, stress and a lack of risk taking or stepping up to a team.  They don’t want to be seen to do something wrong, so they do nothing, or wait for your call.   This means you will have to get involved when you really don’t want to. It’s a vicious cycle as they do less, and you have to do more. 

Here’s the 10 minute live I did on the subject of why you might end up in the micromanaging trap: https://www.linkedin.com/video/event/urn:li:ugcPost:6930483184308502528/

What we need to do is to create three things in our teams:

  • Engagement
  • Enablement
  • Excitement

We want them to be able to do something, to want to do it, and to know why they are doing it.  

When this happens, we trust them to perform, and they trust us to have their backs. 

This creates Confidence, Collaboration and Commitment and means that your team is going to deliver an excellent product, with certainty and clarity.  You can step back and get on with your strategy and they can help you fulfil it. 

And if you would like some help in developing that Confidence, Collaboration and Commitment in your team, then get in touch and we can show you how we can help. 

Julie. 

Julie “Chief Impact Engineer” Hutchison

Julie@thinkbedoleadership.com

Click here for last week’s blog: Tech leaders aren’t people, people, are they?

P.S. Whenever you are ready…here are 4 ways I can help you increase your impact as a leader:

1. Join The “Quiet Leaders Lab™ Facebook Group and connect with other leaders who want to grow

It’s our Facebook community where those that are The Quiet Leaders can learn and share how to increase their impact, influence and outcomes — Click here

2. Grab a free copy of my leadership impact report: The Team Performance Engine™

It’s the Road Map to your journey to increasing your impact as a leader –Click here

3. Join our Leaders Launchpad™ Mastermind Group Programme

This Mastermind is a selected group of like-minded leaders, in an online community, focused on growing your results.  With training, group coaching calls, guest speakers and more, supporting and challenging you to design and implement real team performance in your business.

Send me a message or email julie@thinkbedoleadership.com with “IMPLEMENT” in the subject line and we can discuss how you can join us

4. Work with me and my team privately

If you or your team just need a little more one to one attention to make change happen in your business… just message and put “PRIVATE” in the subject line… tell me a little about your business and what you’d like to work on together, and I’ll get you all the details!

Tech leaders aren't people people, are they?

Tech Leaders aren’t people people, are they?

This week we have been looking at the subject that many technical leaders don’t feel like people people.  

We did a live 10-minute training on it, which you can watch here.

That good old phrase – “I’m not a people person” is banded around so often that I am almost believing it myself. 

But it’s just not true

Yes, ok, some people don’t find it naturally easy to understand others, to get in touch with their emotional side or to inspire and engage. 

Some people feel more comfortable with their device than talking to a human.

But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.

And it’s all the more important if you are stepping up into a tech leader role because, whereas before, you might have been forgiven for not having a firm grip of the nuances of communication and engaging people, now it is more important. 

Now you need to inspire the board, get investment, motivate your team and take your ideas forward through influence and impact as a leader. 

The problem is that, if you don’t master these skills you end up:

  • Unknown
  • Uninteresting and 
  • Unremarkable

Where no one’s listening, no one notices, and no one responds.   And you are left frustrated and feeling like you can’t succeed in the role you have always wanted. 

But people skills can be learned – even for non-people people

What we need is to do just three things. 

We need to be: 

  • Relevant & Interesting
  • Confident & Connected
  • Positively Impactful

It’s exactly what I teach on our Communication Champions Impact Accelerator™, honing the way you show up as a leader, top communicator with influence and impact. 

But let’s dig in to the three pillars below:

Relevant & Interesting

When people don’t see you as relevant and interesting, there is nothing in it for them (WIIFM) to listen.  They have to have a reason to listen.  And the problem for many tech leaders is that although they are full of great information, they don’t always manage to articulate their value and get buy-in for their ideas.  So, no one notices or can digest what you are saying.  Sometimes it is too detailed or “in-the-weeds” for people to take on board and this prevents others from hearing what you have to say.  

You need to create a clear WIIFM and meet them at the level they are at.  When you do this, you can create buy-in for your ideas.  

Confident & Connected

Relationships and trust are massive when it comes to influence.  We have to build connections and trust and be happy to collaborate with different types of people.  But we can learn how to create the trust through an understanding of who the person really is.  If we are not a natural people person, we have to follow a system to understand what motivates a person and what other people need.  We can then adapt our style to create comfort and trust in the relationship.  Once we do this, we also have to develop the confidence to say what needs to be said. Avoiding difficult conversations will never get to the issue and you won’t be able to influence.  Learning how to articulate your needs and challenge poor behaviour will be an important part of your success so making conflict with your friend is super important. 

Positively Impactful

It is so much easier to look at other’s behaviour than our own and to point the finger elsewhere. But, in fact, since behaviour breeds behaviour, we should look a little close to home.  As a leader, being conscious of our behaviour will mean that you can take time to think about how you want to show up, and design your impact.  Being more aware means you will approach situations from a different, more calm perspective and be less emotionally charged by situations.  You can step back and make better decisions and your team will feel that they want to work with you and be part of your cause. 

So, when you work on these three areas, you will be able to communicate at multiple levels, impact others in a positive way and create great relationships that bring people with you on your journey. 

Remember, if you want to watch the short live training I did on this, then you can catch it here.

And, if you would like some help in implementing these techniques then message me for details of how you can join the Impact Accelerator™.

Julie “Chief Impact Engineer” Hutchison

Julie@thinkbedoleadership.com

Click here to read last week’s blog: ‘Why You Need to Be Interested, Not Interesting’

P.S. Whenever you are ready…here are 4 ways I can help you increase your impact as a leader:

1. Join The “Quiet Leaders Lab™ Facebook Group and connect with other leaders who want to grow

It’s our Facebook community where those that are The Quiet Leaders can learn and share how to increase their impact, influence and outcomes — Click here

2. Grab a free copy of my leadership impact report: The Team Performance Engine™

It’s the Road Map to your journey to increasing your impact as a leader –Click here

3. Join our Leaders Launchpad™ Mastermind Group Programme

This Mastermind is a selected group of like-minded leaders, in an online community, focused on growing your results.  With training, group coaching calls, guest speakers and more, supporting and challenging you to design and implement real team performance in your business.

Send me a message or email julie@thinkbedoleadership.com with “IMPLEMENT” in the subject line and we can discuss how you can join us

4. Work with me and my team privately

If you or your team just need a little more one to one attention to make change happen in your business… just message and put “PRIVATE” in the subject line… tell me a little about your business and what you’d like to work on together, and I’ll get you all the details!

Leadership Tips – Want People To Listen To You? Read On…

If you are in business – whether you are a Manager or a Business Leader (or want to be one day), you are going to be doing a lot of speaking.

You might have to speak at board meetings or team meetings. Perhaps you have to speak to the media. You almost certainly have to speak to clients and suppliers. Or maybe you just have to speak to your team, or your boss. But whoever you are speaking to you, need to try and motivate them to do, understand or believe the things you want them to.

So why is that sooo difficult to get your boss to listen to you and understand they need to allocate proper budget for the things you believe are important – maybe staff development or marketing? Or why is it so hard to get some staff members to understand the need to make changes within your business – whether that is implementing new systems which will make it easier for everyone to work effectively, or whether it is new software to speed up processes.

It seems that being heard is quite difficult in business. And it is certainly true that most problems and bones of contention within a business can be traced back to lack of communication – lack of understanding or lack of motivation (which are all inexorably linked).

So what is the answer?

Well – it is a big issue, and too big really for this blog. So instead here is what I am going to do.

Would you like to know the ONE thing you could do tomorrow to immediately have an impact on these problems – to immediately know how to get people to actually listen, understand and buy into what you are saying?

If the answer is yes – then this is for you.

I am putting on a FREE Solutions Masterclass next Weds 9th March at 8pm. It will be just 20 minutes long and you will come away from that session with something you can IMMEDIATELY go and implement the next day. Does that sound good?

I am keeping it brief as I don’t want to overwhelm you with lots of strategies, I am just going to share this ONE thing – which you can do straight away.

Oh – and I will leave 10 minutes at the end for any questions you might have.

Just click this link to register for the free Masterclass, that will give you an immediate Solution to not being listened to.

Click here to register

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Grow too fast

What Happens If You Grow Too Fast?

So, your company is growing – which is exciting and it is what you always planned – all your dreams are coming true right?

Well, maybe. Here’s the thing. Growing a company quickly can cause it’s own challenges. Let’s take the people first of all.

It is usually the case that the first few people into a company are the owner / owners and then friends or people known to the owner / owners. And then the business begins, and at first you have no or very few customers and the priority is to make enough money to cover the bills.

Then you get to a level where you are busy – but not busy enough to justify another salary. Slowly the balance changes and you employ your first ever non family / friend member of staff. And you’re off – the business is officially growing.

Now if it continues to grow like this – incrementally then that is great. This is the thing though – often there comes a tipping point in business growth where things move from growing slowly to growing at a much faster pace. This is where things often get challenging and it can start to go wrong.

Often people are “promoted” to jobs they are not qualified to do and maybe don’t really want to do. In the spirit of most small business cultures of ‘mucking in’ this short term solution becomes a long term problem – for the employee and for the business.

This leads to a number of very clear outcomes – firstly the frustration of the staff – who never wanted this job anyway and can see new people coming in and not making the situation any better (because no-one has any time to train them). Managers get frustrated because staff they used to rely on aren’t performing (because they have not been given the skills and tools they need to cope, or they didn’t want the extra ‘responsibility’ in the first place which now feels just like ‘pressure’).

Very often in these circumstances – standards slip and customer service goes right out the window! This leads to more complaints, more issues to solve and therefore more pressure. The owner ends up feeling totally overwhelmed.

So what do you do?

For example, just because your staff were good at sales doesn’t mean they suddenly and magically have all the skills to manage salespeople when your business develops.

Would you expect a brand new fireman to know the safest and quickest way out of a burning building? If you did, do you think the mortality rate might go up?

You wouldn’t just expect them to know, you would train them how to do it. I mean, lives are at stake here people!

So, being serious for a minute, it’s reasonable to believe that technical experts who have turned leader might need a bit of support in this area.

Click here to find out more about how to access this support and come along to the one day event I am running on the 9th December – which I told you about yesterday – People Power for Profits in Salisbury. If you click on the link and answer 4 simple questions – you will find them under “event description” – I will send you a 50% discount code.

The Challenges of Family Run Businesses

Are you a family owned and run business? There are many family owned businesses in the UK and as a sector, family run businesses are growing and are successful – look at Laing O’Rourke. However it is not always plain sailing.

Family run business can have issues with non family staff turnover, with succession planning and with blurring of the lines between home and business. These challenges are present across all sectors but it could be argued that they are even more apparent in the manufacturing sector – which has traditionally seen a high percentage of family run businesses, in what is traditionally a male dominated environment.

The problems created in family run businesses can stop the growth of the company – so how can you prevent these things from becoming big issues?

1. Have clear and agreed roles and responsibilities, so everyone knows who is in charge of what and where joint decisions are required. As with any board, it is a good idea to have a level at which consensus is required (often defined by spend). Having this clarity not only means the family members can work together more harmoniously for the good of the business but also means there is no confusion in the staff or with customers – lowering staff turnover and increasing customer retention.

2. Keep business and family separate. Do not discuss the workings of the next board meeting over the kitchen table. Work is work and home is home – should be strictly adhered to in family businesses to keep things objective.

3. Create opportunities for non family members – nepotism will not help your business growth.

4. Consider hiring a non exec Director to keep things real and challenge the board. It is sometimes difficult to see the wood for the trees when it is your business, and whilst every family member will no doubt believe they have the best interests if the company at heart, it is almost impossible to completely keep emotions out of decisions in a family business. An NED can help that process.

5. Put in place management training. Management training is not just for corporates, and is probably even more important in a family environment. If you have a structure at home, that is invariably not the best structure for work. At home the Dad might be the head of the family – or the eldest sibling – but that does not mean that they should automatically be in charge at work. You still need to identify the best person for each role. Using a model like the Team Performance Engine™, can help you to assess the strengths and weaknesses in each family member from a business perspective and therefore create the best model for the growth of the business.

Lastly – you should have a succession plan that is fair and is known by everyone. In any other business you would have an ‘exit’ strategy, the same applies to family run businesses. Maybe the next generation are not the right people to take the business forward, maybe they don’t want to. Either way – plan it and then there are no nasty surprises later!

If you want more information about how the Team Performance Engine™ can benefit family run manufacturing businesses you can access some free information here

One Bad Apple… Time To Take Control Over Your Team

All companies face differing challenges dependent on their industries, the economy etc, but one thing remains true for all companies and that is that one bad apple in your workforce can have a massive impact. It is also true that most managers leave dealing with difficult employees way too long.

Of course, if it was easy – no-one would leave it, every bad employee would be tackled as soon as their behavior was identified as non productive. And the good news is – that if you do that – at the FIRST signs, then bad performers can become good performers.

Identifying the bad apple

Here’s the thing. Most bad employees are ‘not that bad’. He or she is a good guy, but sometimes gets grumpy/is late for work/moans. They do just enough to get by. They don’t have a terrible attitude. But they don’t have a great one either.

And here’s the litmus test. Would you recommend them or want to hire more like them. If the answer is NO – then this is your bad apple.

The importance of dealing with bad performers

If you don’t do this – things gets incrementally worse until you have a major issue and an unhappy employee who cannot be turned around.

If you don’t address the problem you are making a statement to everyone else that this level of performance is acceptable and therefore other people may well go down to the lowest common denominator.

As a leader – when you don’t address bad performance you are therefore killing the potential performance of your team – it will NEVER be as good as it could be. How will you motivate the rest of your team?

So what do you do about bad performers?

1. Identify the bad performance

2. Show the team what bad and good performance, and the effects of both, so everyone is clear what they both look and feel like. It is important that the team understands the issues that bad performance creates, and why it is imperative for the leader to remove those issues. This will make is clear why bad performances will no longer be acceptable.

3. You can then address the bad performance on an individual basis – how to do this is the subject of another blog.

Wouldn’t you agree that if you ignore a small problem it only gets bigger?

The same holds true when managing poor performers – things will only get worse.

In some companies the policy is to lose the bottom 10% of performers every year and replace with new blood. This may not be appropriate for your business however, you should never stop looking for new talent (and make that known) and continue to challenge current employees to reach new heights!