Like many of you, I have spent some time over the past weeks reflecting on 2012 and planning for next year. As cliche’d as it may be, the years do seem to be passing more and more quickly, although I feel this is a reflection of our lifestyles and a symptom of the modern world. It has been a year of significant change for me, as I took the step to leave full-time employment and work full time in and on my consulting and leadership development businesses, CoachStation and Telework Management. Pleasingly, I have never been so comfortable and content with my current and future work situation.
Beyond my family, one of my great joys is writing and I have taken much pleasure from the blogs constructed in 2012. It dawned on me today that if our favourite music artists can take their best songs and make a compilation then there is nothing stopping me from doing the same…any excuse will do! This blog highlights some of the best ‘bits’ as highlighted by my readers and my personal favourite statements and points gleaned from this years CoachStation blogs. My first job out of school was in a radio station in Adelaide and like other stations, our catch-cry at the time was ‘Greatest Hits and Latest Memories’…a theme I will borrow for the moment as you read through my Greatest Hits. Enjoy!
Effective leadership is neither easy nor a given – it takes effort, practice, ongoing learning & persistence. The rewards that stem from being an effective leader are difficult to articulate or describe to someone who has never felt them. Read More: Leadership: It’s About You
Every individual has different expectations of themselves, their leader and the employer. Each team member brings different skills, values, biases, desires and other personal traits to their role. It is the leaders job to understand the employee well enough to blend business needs with personal needs. Read More: Expectation Setting – Who Cares?
I see managers rewarding and recognising employees based on the end result, with no regard as to how it was achieved…the ‘right’ journey will more often than not provide the ‘right’ result and the team culture, ethic and standard will be reinforced even further as a result. This point focuses on the ‘how’. Ultimately, the long-term culture and level of understanding benefits from this mindset. Read More: Leadership, The Coach and Coaching
Effective leaders ensure that they seek to understand both the planned outcomes and how their people are going to influence and drive all of the elements within the process to achieve that outcome. I often wonder what it is about processes that many managers have a need to see as entirely separate from their people…If we are not clear about what role our team member’s play in the overall project then the entire process change will likely fail. Read More: People and Process: Aligned or Loggerheads?
Many a plan or process has failed due to a lack of clear direction and early identification of the problem to be solved, leading to a poor concept of the strategies required. Read More: Strategic Thinking and Leadership
The very essential elements of leadership – the measure of effectiveness, credibility and judgment that provides an answer to leadership effectiveness actually comes from those you lead! Read More: Leadership Credibility: The Right To Lead?
The leader who is effective in their role recognises that connection between people occurs through more than just the words used. An effective leader knows this intuitively and works hard to make sure relationships exist with meaning, even when there may not be an initial strong affiliation. Read More: The Positive Impact Of Connecting
Values are critical for both individuals and businesses. Values provide a base for alignment between yourself and the business that employs you. They allow an individual to feel connected and maintain a clear view of the reasons for doing what they do. Understanding what is important to you personally and at work also assists to motivate or re-clarify, providing direction. Read More: Developing and Empowering Leaders – Richard Branson (Pt 1)
Employ the right people, support and develop them and give them the freedom to make their own mistakes and revel in successes. Read More: Developing and Empowering Leaders – Richard Branson (Pt 2)
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. So often we think business is all about making money and that customers are the most important thing. But if you don’t treat your employees well and give them a reason to come to work, they aren’t going to be motivated to give excellent service to your customers, and customers who aren’t treated well have lots of other places they can go.Read More: 11 Key Leadership and Customer Experience Mantras
How are you choosing to challenge what has been done previously? Don’t accept the reasonable reasons from the past. Read More: Leadership @ Customer Experience Management Conference
Effective leadership and employee engagement are critical factors in providing a culture where people want to work…and to provide more of what our customers want. Building a culture that is actively and meaningfully engaging both internal customers (your employees) and external customers is more easily said than done. A genuinely effective customer experience approach requires a top-down strategy based on broad and extensive cultural change. Read More: Leadership, Employee Engagement and Customer Service
Trust: being trusted and trusting others is a great base to work from. Those who influence most recognise the need for trust and understand the nuances that enable trust to be built. In a real relationship trust cannot be faked. Read More: 360 View in 360 Words: Leadership and Influence
If you do not understand what each of your team member’s core values are, you could be potentially missing the ultimate success of growing and developing your team to be the best they can be. This could be impacting the business bottom line, morale, relationships and other key elements. Read More: Personal Values – One View
The argument of nature versus nurture to me is not the key question. The bigger question, no matter where or how you obtained your role, is: how effective are you as a leader? What I do know is that not all leaders by name are leaders in practice – a title does not make you a leader. Read More: 360 View in 360 Words: Leaders Are Born AND Made
When I reflect on my development, reading has been critical in providing avenues to challenge my thinking. It is my time. A safe and rewarding opportunity. I get to challenge myself with absolute frankness and honesty. My thoughts are between the words on the page and myself. Read More: How Important is Reading to Leadership and Development?
Having worked with many varied people and business cultures and recognising the similarities and differences, it is clear to me that many managers think training and development are the same thing…Having knowledge is one thing, applying this knowledge in a practical and discernible way that makes a difference, is quite another. Read More: Development and Training – Same, Same: Maybe Not?
Self-reflection, taking into account the many factors that influence us all is important for growth. Taking time to reflect provides a platform for improvement and awareness about what is going well and what you would like to change about who you are and what you do. Read More: Efficiency and Effectiveness – Leadership Impact
An organization’s senior leadership team has a significant impact on its employees‘ overall opinions of the company and engagement levels, which have been linked to both earnings per share and total shareholder return…An employee who is fully engaged today will not necessarily be in a year‘s time, or in a month for that matter. Read More: At Last We’re Engaged – Leading Your Team (Part 1)
A leader‘s ability to consistently demonstrate and apply relational skills has a direct correlation to the level of engagement an individual may feel. Providing genuine leadership is key. There appears to be a gap between what employees state is occurring and what leaders feel they are applying in reality. Data and surveys continually reflect the discrepancy between what leaders believe is occurring and what their team members state. Read More: At Last We’re Engaged – Leading Your Team (Part 2)
Developing soft-skills (or ‘hard skills’) requires effort, focus and self-awareness amongst other elements. Is this why the leadership skills that fall under this category are often the ones that are least practiced and improved. Is it fear? If a leader asks the question of his or her team, they may not like nor be willing to acknowledge the answer. So is there a view for some leaders, based on fear, that it is best to not ask in the first place? Read More: The Current Challenge Of Leadership
My contention is, all kids have tremendous talents…and we squander them, pretty ruthlessly. So, I want to talk about education and I want to talk about creativity. My contention is that creativity is now as important in education as literacy and we should treat it with the same status…In the next 30 years, according to UNESCO, more people worldwide will be graduating through education than since the beginning of history. Read More: Sir Ken Robinson – Education, Our Kids and the Future
People are stretched in their roles, covering more work that previously may have been completed by others who have been made redundant and/or have never been replaced. Read More: Roles, Structure and Instinct
Middle managers are the ones that keep the cogs turning and ensure the job gets done, not the chief executive. They are often not getting the support or training required so that they can maximise operations, as more senior managers tend to get the company-sponsored education opportunities…more businesses need to look at how their middle managers can be supported if they are to effectively lead people and manage the success of operations. Read More: Leadership Training of Middle Managers
…and 2 Bonus quotes from my blogs written for and appearing on the Linked2Leadership site:
This is made even more complex by the fact that human beings are quite unpredictable and are certainly not static like most business data. We have emotional and psychological needs, wants, highs, lows and complexity. There are various aspects of our world today that seemingly conspire against consistency and predictability, but that is what makes leadership so exciting. Read More: On Leadership, Management and Effectively Using Data
Your employees will not necessarily ‘buy- into’ the values and philosophies of your company just because they are presented. In fact, if your team member’s see these values, How Leadership and Culture Impact Business Profitand similar as being incongruent with what they see and feel every day, these tools can prove more damaging than not creating them at all. You are setting up false standards and expectations. Effective leaders, displaying the company values, primarily aligned to their own, provide significant power to your business. Unfortunately knowing this and taking appropriate action are not the same thing. Read More:
I hope that these blog segments provide opportunity for you to delve deeper into thinking about your own situation and challenge your thinking, especially as we move into a new year – that is the core reason why I write. Similarly, I welcome your comments and feedback. I recently moved all of my blogs onto my company website and as a consequence lost all of the Tweets, LinkedIn referrals and other Social Media references, so please feel free to forward or share with others as you see fit.
I also hope you had a wonderful year and trust that 2013 will bring just as many ‘smash hits’ for you as this year has for me.