CoachStation: Employees, Strengths, Diversity and Relationships

Your Employees, Leadership, Strengths and Diversity

Understanding what your employees want, who they are and what they are naturally good at provides a solid platform for success: personally, professionally and organisationally. Helping your employees by taking the time to find out these things is good leadership.   A gap exists between what employees want and what leaders deliver. So, what is this difference, between what has proven to work, what should leaders be doing and what actually happens in most organisations? Well, there are books and books covering this topic, but my experiences highlight two points: The need for focus on strengths Diversity and differences that naturally exist between people. Most staff want to have an inclusive culture in the workplace where differences are valued and people can share their opinions. Hay’s Staff Engagement: Ideas for Action report finds 93% pf workers want to be a part of a workplace in which there is diversity in thought. Employers agree, with 87% saying it is important to them to ensure staff feel like they have a voice and can share their opinions at work, although 43% of them Read more about Your Employees, Leadership, Strengths and Diversity[…]

CoachStation: Purpose, Personal Values and Leadership Development

What Are Personal Values and Do They Matter?

Values continue to be an important part of our lives. But do you know what your core personal values are and understand how they impact you and those closest to you? Personal values continue to be important for many reasons, both at work and at home. It is more relevant than ever to continue to elaborate on this core aspect of your motivations, decision-making process and behaviours. I have written about values before. Understanding your own set of personal values can be a powerful tool. Increased self-awareness and knowledge of what is most important to you can help to identify how you act. They also help you to discover what motivations drive you and why you react to particular events or situations more than others.   Situations, leaders and cultures sometimes challenge your values. Often in the workplace and in relationships we are asked to compromise on those things that matter most to us. Too much compromise however, can make you feel as though something fundamental is amiss. Your personal values are a central part of who you are – and who Read more about What Are Personal Values and Do They Matter?[…]

CoachStation: Reflection on Purpose

Know Your History, Purpose and Direction

Why do you do what you do? Understanding your purpose, what motivates you and most importantly using this knowledge to advantage is key to your success, both professionally and personally.   My eldest daughter, Maddy, is currently in year 9. One of her elective subjects this year is Business and as part of the curriculum Maddy was asked to interview a business owner to better understand why, how and what was required to set up the business. I am proud that she chose our business for many reasons. Firstly, it is an opportunity for Maddy to fully understand what I do and why I do it. This is important for any parent and child but possibly even more so as I work from home and I do sometimes wonder if our daughters find what I do a bit of a mystery! This has provided an opportunity for us to spend time together with purpose, but with a different context than much of the rest of our relationship, which has been fun. Finally, it has forced me to think about and clearly Read more about Know Your History, Purpose and Direction[…]

CoachStation: Leadership Development, Coaching, Consulting and Mentoring

The Leader / Employee Divide: Who’s Managing Who?

One of the biggest challenges for any manager or leader is the relationship they have with their team members. We often read about the need for leaders to be open, self-aware, honest and possess similar traits. But what about the employee? What is their responsibility? Managing people and teams is challenging, there is no doubt. Understanding why people do what they do and behave in certain ways can reduce the challenge and assist in managing situations as they arise. The responsibility to influence outputs amongst different roles may vary, however the level of responsibility and commitment required from a manager or employee remains the same. It is the context of the role and associated tasks that differ, not the degree of ownership that is required. I remain certain that this is not how accountability and ownership is presented and reinforced in most organisations. I sometimes see employees manipulating, displaying passive-aggressive behaviours and generally playing games to get what they want or influence their peers. Passive-aggressive behaviour is the indirect expression of hostility, such as through procrastination, stubbornness, sullen behaviour, or deliberate or repeated failure to accomplish Read more about The Leader / Employee Divide: Who’s Managing Who?[…]

CoachStation: Setting Leaders Up For Success

Are We Setting Our Leaders Up For Success?

People get hired or promoted into leadership roles every day. Sadly, when they get the job they may get little or no training on how to lead a team. (1) The opportunity to develop our future leaders before placing them into leadership roles is an obvious one. Building employee skills, capability and awareness to be ready for leadership is ideal, yet is rarely applied well in practice. The first blog I wrote many years ago was titled, Falling Into Leadership. It highlighted the common practice of people being ‘thrust into’ leadership roles without development and support both prior to and during the opportunity. I have written about this topic again since as it is something that continues to challenge many organisations. In fact, the low frequency of leadership support and meaningful development was a core reason why I created my business, CoachStation, in the first place. Too often I saw people being held accountable for our own failures to set them up for leadership success and support our team members to achieve. Based on recent coaching conversations and discussions with clients, it would appear little has Read more about Are We Setting Our Leaders Up For Success?[…]

Motivation and Drive

Drive and Motivation: 360 View Leadership

I recently viewed a clip that peaked my interest regarding what motivates us as individuals. On a side note, being quite visual I genuinely enjoy the RSA animate drawings aligned to the content and topic.The author and speaker, Dan Pink, discusses the science of predictability, human nature and motivation. People are not as predictable as is commonly thought. For those of us who have been in leadership roles, this probably resonates strongly, however I challenge each of us to understand how much we have influenced this through our inability or sometimes, unwillingness to truly understand what motivates our team members. Dan refers to two separate studies, one of which has a fascinating finding. It questions the premise that, if we reward something you get more of the behaviour we want and if we punish something or someone, we get less. The relationship of what is commonly understood between reward and behaviour may well be a series of misconceptions. Challenging! Our understanding of motivation and how this drives people is misunderstood, according to the theory, with other factors such as rudimentary Read more about Drive and Motivation: 360 View Leadership[…]

CoachStation: HR and Administration

Where is My Team? Remote Management and Teleworking

Teleworking, Remote Management, Virtual Leadership – no matter how it is described, the need to provide leadership outside of the traditional work environment is becoming more prevalent each year. Teleworking and the associated challenges and benefits of leading a team who may not be located in the same site, is becoming more prominent in business as a result of technology, recognised cost-savings and employee attitudes. There are many potential benefits, however it adds significantly to the requirement for leaders to be even more effective in how they operate and to continue to develop new skills within the modern work environment. Leading remotely can add to the challenge of building a team with the structural reality of many modern businesses and organisations requiring distributed or virtual teams. Technology, globalisation, organisational expectations and culture, management and leadership styles, along with many other factors must be taken into account. The leader in today’s environment should be able to strategise and connect, developing and connecting with their team in a meaningful, engaged and results-oriented manner. In a recent article titled Out Of Office, the Read more about Where is My Team? Remote Management and Teleworking[…]

Leading Customer Experience Management

Providing a level of customer experience that ensures your customers ‘feel’ the difference between your business and competitors is crucial to success. A key element to be able to make this a reality rather than a pipe-dream is how many of your employees and particularly leaders ‘live the reality’. Discussing customer experience (CE) as a core part of business culture genuinely reinforces the messages – but not if this is felt by a few, not the many. Effective business leaders should always know that they are building a culture and understanding with all employees that the customer matters. This cannot be achieved through empty words, sound bites or a shallow attempt at driving a customer-centric organisation. CE can be incredibly complex and very simple at the same time. I wonder whether the proliferation of data and new technology is being used to best advantage. Whether we accept the implications of technology and the modern version of customer experience goes a long way to building a customer-centric culture. Taking meaningful steps based on a company-wide strategy that is reinforced through leadership, Read more about Leading Customer Experience Management[…]

CoachStation: Leadership

Roles, Structure and Instinct…Be Like a Bee

In my front garden is a small bush. As we enter the early stages of Spring, it has come into full bloom. The plant is covered in bunches of small, white, delicate flowers. I can see the bush from my office and often enjoy the view of our garden. Under my office window is a bench seat that I made last year using the original wood from a patio that we pulled down in our backyard. It is one of my favourite places to sit. One beautiful Spring day last week I was sitting on the bench watching the bees, literally hundreds of them, flitting from flower to flower. I watched them for 20 minutes or so working very studiously collecting nectar and doing what bees do….and it got me thinking. How different are our businesses and organisations, the expectations of tasks and designated roles to that required of bees? I imagine if I followed the bees back to their hives and was able to peer into the inner workings that I would not see: Ineffective meetings being held with Read more about Roles, Structure and Instinct…Be Like a Bee[…]

CoachStation: Learning, Education and Ken Robinson

Sir Ken Robinson: Education, Our Kids and the Future

My wife sent me an email with a link to the Top 20 TedTalks since 2006, ranked by ‘views’. I watched the number 1 on the list by Sir Ken Robinson (>13m) and was so impressed and inspired I felt compelled to share with the remaining 6 billion people who are yet to watch his presentation (well, those who read my blogs may be a little lower in numbers, but it’s a start!). I must confess I had never heard of Sir Ken previously, however, quite simply, his TedTalk is a must see! His views regarding learning, children and where we are getting it wrong are unique and thought-provoking. There are many outcomes that we are seeing as adults that link back to our childhoods and early education. There are also many key statements made that we can take away and apply to our own learning and application. Effective leaders will relate to many of these points. I have also highlighted a few of the key quotes, for those who may wish to recap after viewing the talk – I Read more about Sir Ken Robinson: Education, Our Kids and the Future[…]

360 View in 360 Words: Leaders Are Born AND Made

Some months ago I read a post written by Colleen Sharen titled, Leaders Are Born, Not Made. I have continued to think through this question, particularly as I have changed my views somewhat over the years. I felt it appropriate to provide further insight into this question of leadership, based on my response to the original blog. It appears Colleen hit the right note to stimulate thought and some controversy based on the various responses from other readers that were posted in response. My belief is that leaders can be taught and developed, however there is a ‘minimum’ requirement that must exist to start with i.e. emotional intelligence, intelligence, physical, personality along with other skills, traits, behaviours and attributes. What I am interested to discover (and I continue to look for this when developing and working with newer and more experienced leaders) is to what degree is the nature versus nurture argument a reality. The follow up comments in the blog generally agreed that leaders are made and born. This is consistent with my view, however I wonder why we Read more about 360 View in 360 Words: Leaders Are Born AND Made[…]

360 View in 360 Words: Leadership and Influence

To be able to effectively influence others is a key leadership skill. However, like many skills, particularly those involving the art of working with people, influencing can be a challenge. Situations, relationships, cultures and other variables impact your ability to influence. You do not have control over every one of these variables – but you do have control over developing a deeper set of skills in influencing others. Improve yourself through self-development and learn to influence others more effectively in practice. Be aware of your own body language and that of others. The ability to ‘read’ others through what is unsaid can be a powerful input into influencing. Take into account the other person’s perspective. The ultimate empathy position can be found when you step into the other person’s shoes – standing where they stand, seeing what they see and hearing what they hear. Understanding other people’s perspectives and points of view helps you to gain the support of them and reach mutually desirable outcomes. Trust: being trusted and trusting others is a great base to work from. Those who Read more about 360 View in 360 Words: Leadership and Influence[…]

Leadership, Employee Engagement and Customer Service

I attended last years IQPC Customer Experience Management Conference in Sydney and thoroughly enjoyed the content. I learned a lot. There were many great speakers. Many of them focused on the what – meaning that I learned about tools, measurements, successes through data collection and customer platforms, amongst other aspects. I was invited to this year’s conference, including the opportunity to be a guest speaker during the opening day. I wanted to set a challenge to myself and the attendees with a pitch more aligned to the ‘how’: • How do we achieve improved customer service results? • How do we establish the right culture to balance employee, customer and business needs? • How do we use the extensive quantities of data available to real advantage? • How do we create employee engagement, empowerment and buy-in that means our customers feel the benefit? ============ My presentation was titled ‘Customer Experience Management from the Inside-Out‘ The core theme implies that if we want to genuinely positively impact customer experience and service standards, we must build a culture and understanding that the customer Read more about Leadership, Employee Engagement and Customer Service[…]

Leadership @Customer Experience Management Conference

This week I attended the IQPC Customer Experience Management Conference in Sydney. I was fortunate enough to be invited to be a guest speaker during the Focus Day on Monday and many other speakers have shared their thoughts and presentations over the three days. Although the conference theme was based around Customer Experience, there have been many great quotes and comments regarding leadership, business and culture that are worth sharing. This blog highlights a few of the key points that I felt were most relevant and resonated with my own values and passions. Thank you to all the speakers for sharing! How are you choosing to challenge what has been done previously? Don’t accept the reasonable reasons from the past. Our employees want to know their leaders and what they care about. Gordon Ballantyne, Telstra ============= Leadership cannot be outsourced to HR. Be disciplined: celebrate short-term but don’t forget your ultimate goal. Dirk Hofman, Nokia ============= The empowered customer is now in control of the business relationship. 90% of effort is used collecting and collating data and 10% actually using it – it should Read more about Leadership @Customer Experience Management Conference[…]

11 Key Leadership and Customer Experience Mantras

This week I am attending the IQPC Customer Experience Management Conference in Sydney. I was fortunate enough to be invited to be a guest speaker during the Focus Day on Monday and presented on the subject of ‘Building Customer Experience Frameworks From The Inside Out’. The comments and quotes highlight some of my key themes and concepts that I feel are most important when developing a Customer Experience philosophy and strategy: Unless your business sees Customer Experience as a culture, not a tool, then your customers will feel the pain of what is not being provided by your customer-facing employees. Leaders should create a culture of employee engagement, empowerment and buy-in that ensures your customers benefit. When we get our leadership mantra right…our employees care about their roles and our customers ‘feel’ the difference. The so-called soft-skills that differentiate management from leadership are most commonly the key to driving the change in our employees that we are looking for. Leadership is not a tick-the-box exercise. Effective leadership, relationship-building, coaching, connecting, understanding employee motivations, empowerment are all possible – but they take considerable strategy, Read more about 11 Key Leadership and Customer Experience Mantras[…]

Developing and Empowering Leaders – Richard Branson (Part 2)

Richard Branson recently stated that coaching senior managers can be difficult for various reasons, not the least of which is the difficulty in finding an uninterrupted period of time to conduct and review. In Part 1 I noted the first three guidelines Richard Branson highlighted in a recent article in the Business Review Weekly magazine titled, 7 Rules For Managers, focusing on effective leadership, coaching and empowering leaders.This post concludes the guidelines, consisting of the final four points. Who’s In Charge? It’s Up To You? A good manager provides clear roles for members of his team, which enables everyone to get on with the job of running the business. Once you’ve made these choices, do not micromanage. If you make a habit of diving in and changing a major project’s direction or otherwise intervening, your employees will learn to be dependent on you, and they will not reach their full potential. CoachStation Thoughts: Setting key objectives for yourself, your team and business is important to ensure a focus on the aims and strategy is maintained. Providing context and standards allows Read more about Developing and Empowering Leaders – Richard Branson (Part 2)[…]

Developing and Empowering Leaders – Richard Branson (Part 1)

Richard Branson recently stated that coaching senior managers can be difficult for various reasons, not the least of which is the difficulty in finding an uninterrupted period of time to conduct and review. Branson and his senior leaders spend time together each year at his home on Necker Island to discuss the opportunities and challenges the Virgin business group and leaders currently face. I am certain this is a great opportunity to solve the business issues, share and learn from each other, however equally sure this is only part of the development story for individuals and future of the Virgin group and other companies in general. Sharing and learning from others is one aspect of coaching and leadership development, however knowing something or having additional information about a situation or about oneself does not equate to a change in behaviour or enhanced skill in application. The purpose of this blog is to draw upon and respond to a set of guidelines Richard Branson highlighted in a recent article in the Business Review Weekly magazine titled, 7 Rules For Managers, focusing Read more about Developing and Empowering Leaders – Richard Branson (Part 1)[…]

The Positive Impact Of Connecting

I recently read an outstanding article titled ‘The Why (and How) of Employee Engagement‘. It incorporates an interview with Kevin Kruse, entrepreneur and CEO of Kru Research and co-author, along with Rudy Karsan, of We: How to Increase Performance and Profits Through Full Engagement. I am particularly interested in this topic as it is often one of the key differences between those in charge who are managing and those who are leading. Employee engagement is a large topic with many inputs. On a one-to-one level or team level the connections made form part of the engagement story. There are many interesting points made in the article, notably the need to apply the same rigor and analysis to engagement as we would any other area of management by measuring its success, holding leaders accountable and examining employees’ motivation at work. (1) The leader who is effective in their role recognises that connection between people occurs through more than just the words used. A bond is formed that can be difficult to explain, but has many benefits, both for the people involved Read more about The Positive Impact Of Connecting[…]

Leadership Starts Early…Real Early

I love my family. I am very proud of my three daughters. I am also pleased that my wife, Julie, and I (almost always!!!) share a similar view on raising our girls. Like any parents, we want our girls to be healthy, happy and able to cope with the many challenges life offers, whilst maximise the joy in their lives, now and in the future. Julie and I set high standards. We are consistent. We love our girls. We lead…and we are developing our daughter’s accordingly. Leadership is not a title…it is a series of attitudes, developed skills and related actions. Julie and I discuss values with our daughter’s, particularly as our eldest, Maddy, is about to turn 10 – I do wonder where that decade has gone? We do not take this all for granted, regularly assessing and re-assessing where we are at in our relationships and development of our girls. But we cannot do it ourselves. We are so very fortunate to have a great family support network who are always there for us and share our pains Read more about Leadership Starts Early…Real Early[…]

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