Leadership: Setting Standards and Expectations

One of the biggest challenges for managers who are learning to lead is developing the ability to set expectations and standards and then hold people accountable to these expectations. Understanding the benefits and why to apply a model such as the one highlighted in this blog is relatively simple, however application, consistency and follow-through can be a challenge for many. Many years ago I was introduced to a model titled SOI assisting to set expectations and assess performance. The model title is an acronym which stands for Standards – Observations – Impact and has been a simple, yet vital tool in my development and that of others in my coaching and leadership development roles. The SOI model has become inherently part of how I think and work with others. Through practice and application it has become an unconscious process focused on ensuring people are clear on what is required; measurement against those objectives; and discussions as to why they are important. Throughout this time and as my exposure and experience increased, I recognised that there were a couple of elements missing in the model that when Read more about Leadership: Setting Standards and Expectations[…]

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 Blog: Leadership, Coaching, Mentoring & Consulting

Leadership Reflection – What I Learned This Year

Many of us are reflectors. We take time to think about what is happening in our worlds and understand that self-awareness and development matter. Reflection: to think through the implications of action, or non-action; what went well; and the things we might have changed or may alter in the future provides opportunity for growth and change. Developing as a person and leader requires this type of reflection and consideration. Taking the time to reflect is an important step in development. If we continue to ‘just do’ and get caught up in the routines and day-to-day details it is easy for time to pass us by and miss the chance for growth. Making the time to reflect matters! During the coaching relationships developed with many of my clients I have learned how important it is to allow people the time to think through the implications of our discussions; the challenges presented; and potential actions or solutions. Many people are unwilling or unable to commit to the initial thought and require time away from the moment to ponder the opportunities and options that exist. Working within your preferred Read more about Leadership Reflection – What I Learned This Year[…]

CoachStation: Coaching and Mentoring Pathway

Coaching and Mentoring – The Need For Accountability

To genuinely succeed in business, leaders must know their role, continuously develop their skills and be constantly supported to achieve the best they can as a leader and employee. Finding your own development pathway takes ownership, effort and clarity. However, it is not something you need to do on your own. Whether it is developing yourself or your team, coaching and mentoring can be a powerful tool to enable change and growth, both personally and professionally. When it comes to leadership development, however, one of the keys to success is to start developing deliberately and early. It is problematic to concern yourself with focusing on developing leadership skills after they are needed. Setting up leaders to thrive through a development program both prior to and during their tenure is key to the success of your leadership team and business. Training in itself is one source of development, however this learning must be supported and reinforced in practice based on individual situations, needs, understanding and capability. Ongoing support ‘makes the learning real’ within the work environment, reinforcing the content and context provided during Read more about Coaching and Mentoring – The Need For Accountability[…]

Gabrielle Dolan - Leadership

The Complexity of Business Communication

We may well be over-complicating the language of leadership and business. Poor communication leads to confusion, mixed-messages and a lack of buy-in from our employees. After attending the Future of Leadership – Workplace Culture conference in Brisbane last week I have been reflecting on the content from some of the speakers. Gabrielle Dolan, in particular, caught my imagination. Not only because she is a very compelling and funny speaker but also because her key points seem so intuitively right. Reduce complex language and jargon. Communicate messages that people understand – tailor to you audience. Be comfortable and confident in your own style. Use stories to embed the key messages. They are all very useful tips that can make a sustained difference to how your teams perform. One of the ways we can step into real leadership is to move away from corporate jargon and be prepared to share personal stories. Every time we use corporate jargon we disconnect and isolate people as opposed to personal stories that connect and engage people. (1) Many of us are guilty of over-using words, especially in Read more about The Complexity of Business Communication[…]

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?[…]

13 Challenges to the Current State of Leadership

It’s hard to identify why but there are currently major gaps in leadership, in Australia at least. Actually, it’s not that difficult to understand really. The things we want from work are not that different to what we are looking for from life in general. The difficulty is not in the knowing, it is in the application and doing. It seems that employees in the modern workplace are screaming for a certain style and capability of leadership, but current cultures are challenged in delivering it. The current state of leadership is not what is wanted nor required.   This is hard to write and I am sure is difficult to read for some. We wish it wasn’t the case however, no matter who I speak to either on a personal level or within my professional contacts, there is great frustration and disappointment with the current provision of leadership in business. In fact, there is considerable angst about leadership being portrayed in most areas including government at all levels. Statements and feelings referring to disengagement; indifference; self-interest; ego; fear; incompetence; and Read more about 13 Challenges to the Current State of Leadership[…]

CoachStation: Leadership, People and Business Development

Does Leadership Intent Equal Business Success?

 Not really! The consistently large gap between behaviours, intent, desired culture and reality remains an issue. I was flying home to Brisbane last week and had the opportunity to read the latest ‘Inside HR’ magazine from cover to cover. It is always an interesting read with much that grabs my attention. However on this occasion, by the time I was towards the end of the magazine a theme had started to form in my mind. There were various articles and highlights within the content that rang alarm bells for me. Or maybe it was more that the messages were articulating many of my own recent thoughts more clearly. Let me show you what I mean through various excerpts taken from the magazine: Engaged employees are at least three and a half times more likely than disengaged employees to say their organisation is committed to bringing innovative products and services to the marketplace. Highly engaged employees are nearly six times more likely than disengaged employees to use challenging goals to improve performance, and more than seven times more likely to agree Read more about Does Leadership Intent Equal Business Success?[…]

CoachStation: Contact Centre Case Study

Steve Riddle was engaged in early 2013 to provide consulting, leadership and people development services and produce a report summarising the strengths and areas for improvement that existed at that time. The approach to undertake this review, prepare the report and provide recommendations was to engage stakeholders at all levels of the business including the contact centre, hardship, complaints teams and relevant people external to the centre. The original consultation period and subsequent review occurred between April and June 2013. A highly consultative and holistic approach was taken to review and examine various areas of the business, as highlighted in this document. Background The contact centre industry has been a key focus and part of business structure for many medium and large organisations for over 30 years. When designed and functioning correctly the centre acts as a hub for existing customers and potential clients to seek additional information; purchase or apply for new business; seek clarification regarding existing products; and often most importantly, act as a single point of customer contact, in an efficient and cost-effective manner. In recent years Read more about CoachStation: Contact Centre Case Study[…]

CoachStation: Customer 360 Symposium

Customer 360 Symposium: Leadership and Your Customers

Under the remit of my current contracted role as Head of Customer Service for Toyota Finance Australia, I recently attended an event in the Hunter Valley in Australia organised by Ashton Media titled Customer 360 Symposium. The opportunity to mingle and share ideas with like-minded professionals and customer focussed providers was genuinely excellent. There were many takeaways, some of which I felt it relevant to share via my blog as there are key points that relate to culture, leadership and creating an environment that encourages outstanding customer service. I will present much of this as a series of questions, in some cases adding my own thoughts and comments indented in blue font in reply, as applicable. A core benefit of this type of event and my notes below, is the opportunity to be challenged and force reflection regarding our existing processes, practices and beliefs. Hopefully you will also be similarly stimulated. Dr Melis Senova – Huddle Design Has our leadership evolved as fast as our thinking? I am not sure that the issue is how quickly our leadership has evolved Read more about Customer 360 Symposium: Leadership and Your Customers[…]

Personality and Character: CoachStation

Character and Personality Contribute to Leadership

Is a strong personality an asset or a hindrance in leadership and how does it compare to character? As is the case when dealing with people, there is no clear-cut right or wrong ‘type’ of personality. The ability to flex styles and meet the needs of various situations is an asset however we all have ingrained preferences, beliefs, characteristics and personalities. A ‘strong’ personality in itself is also neither good nor bad. However when an individual possesses too dominant or overbearing a personality it can certainly challenge relationships in and out of the workplace. I like to think of personality and character as related, yet with significant differences. An online definition of personality references character as if they are the same, or at least heavily influenced by the other. per-son-al-i-ty: noun 1. the visible aspect of one’s character as it impresses others: He has a pleasing personality. 2. a person as an embodiment of a collection of qualities: He is a curious personality. 3. Psychology: a. the sum total of the physical, mental, emotional, and social characteristics of an individual; Read more about Character and Personality Contribute to Leadership[…]

CoachStation: Leadership In 2014

Leadership This Year…and Next

This time of year is often associated with resolutions or the idea that changes to what has been the past are required. For me, the idea that a nominal date such as January 1st should be the trigger for self-review and improvement is somewhat skewed. The concept of self-awareness and subsequent desire to be as capable and self-aware as possible is an ongoing effort, or at least, it should be. When it comes to leadership, this ideal is as relevant as ever. As individuals and employees we should feel comfortable with this concept, although I recognise the reality is often somewhat different. Now is a good time to have a look at leadership in general and specifically review how you as a leader are performing against current benchmarks and needs, not those rooted in the past.  What has altered in leadership for 2014? The point that culture and society is evolving means that we as leaders need to keep abreast of cultural, societal, organisational behaviour and workplace adjustments. We are judged on many things including our ability to relate to Read more about Leadership This Year…and Next[…]

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: Questions and Leadership

Questions and Leadership – How They Influence Decisions and Actions

  The ability to ask the right questions using an approach that is trusted and accepted is one of the great leadership skills. It can lead to greater clarity, direction, understanding and comfort. I was in a Skype meeting with a colleague of mine based in Ontario earlier in the week and we were discussing many things. One of the key themes that we deliberated over was the need to ask and answer ‘the right’ questions, that leads to a result that has clarity and can direct to effective and meaningful action. Let me delve a little further to explain what I mean. As a coach and consultant I am required to help change or improve something, either for an individual client, team or organisation. This is what I do and seems quite clear. However, one of the key challenges that arise is when I am engaged for a purpose that is poorly understood and is not clearly articulated with any depth. This can sound like, “We know something needs to change, but we have not thought through how you Read more about Questions and Leadership – How They Influence Decisions and Actions[…]

Leadership Greatest Hits: 2012 CoachStation Highlights

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 Read more about Leadership Greatest Hits: 2012 CoachStation Highlights[…]

Leadership Training of Middle Managers

Do we forget how important leadership is in business?     Over the weekend I read an article in our local paper titled, Investing in the Forgotten Heroes, by Carla Jenkin. The premise for the article is the importance of the role of ‘middle-managers’ and the level of support and training they receive. Carla wrote: 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. U.S. research reveals that only 15 percent of an organisation’s performance is because of the influence of its chief executive. Middle managers often feel the squeeze to lead and support their employees while implementing and overseeing directives from those above them in the hierarchy. They are less likely to be given training unless Read more about Leadership Training of Middle Managers[…]

CoachStation: Employees, Strengths, Diversity and Relationships

Self-Awareness, Mindfulness and Decision-Making

Ask yourself: “am I particularly efficient…or am I effective in what I do and the decisions that I make?” Self-reflection, taking into account many factors is important to continue to produce improvement and awareness about what is going well and what you would like to change about who you are and what you do. In my most recent role as a national leader within a global organisation I had many responsibilities and tasks assigned to my role. I was also in the fortunate position to have a degree of flexibility and freedom in my direction and subsequently, that of my team. Last year there was a leadership change within my team, which had its pros and cons. However, I did find that I had less opportunity to genuinely contribute my ideas and felt significantly less valued and comfortable in my role as a result. My point is not to judge the leadership decisions, more of how this made me react internally and the choices I made during this period. I found great value in self-reflection (in some cases my unconscious Read more about Self-Awareness, Mindfulness and Decision-Making[…]

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[…]

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