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?[…]

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 Read more about Coaching and Mentoring – The Need For Accountability[…]

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 application 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 no 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: Self-awareness and Leadership Development

Leadership Benefits: Self-Awareness and ROI

Does self-awareness and an understanding of leadership impact really matter to organisations? Nearly all managers and people in leadership roles believe they make a difference. In some cases, this is true. In reality however, the evidence continues to demonstrate that leaders overstate their value and influence. One of the core traits observed in the best leaders I have worked with is self-awareness. This is tightly linked to a willingness to be honest with themselves as well as others. There are also points such as decision making beliefs and biases that influence our position on many topics. Our actions are also reinforced by these biases. All the more reason to take a strong position that as a leader it is important to regularly review your own performance as well as that of your team members. We overstate our performance across many fields, so anything that provides a more frank and balanced sense of self is valuable. In a survey of college professors, 94% said they did above average work. In a survey of corporate CEO’s, a whopping 92% said they were Read more about Leadership Benefits: Self-Awareness and ROI[…]

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 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[…]

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: Building Leadership

The Current Challenge Of Leadership

  People-oriented issues are the biggest factors impacting business success in 2012. A recent report by the business group, SixSeconds, titled The 2012 Workplace Issues Report: Insights On The People Side of Performance seeks to identify the key challenges in the workplace today. The report details the results of a global survey which explores top issues as well as employee attitudes and the role of emotional intelligence in solving those key issues. The findings collate 775 responses from leaders and employees worldwide, representing various levels of employment, industries and sectors. There are many interesting results and data-sets stemming from the survey, all providing depth to the importance of people-related leadership activities. 58% of survey respondents list ‘Leadership’ as the biggest ‘people-side’ issue in their organisation. Additionally, the survey highlights key words that identify fundamental areas of concern for business. The views of the respondents were summarised in the most frequently used words collated from the verbatim comments. In order, they were: Retention Talent Leadership Communication Fascinating results, with these trends and themes entrenched even more soundly in a few of Read more about The Current Challenge Of Leadership[…]

Falling Into Leadership

An individual taking on a leadership role is often something that has ‘just happened’. Being a genuine leader does not come from the role and title designated to you but rather from your decision-making, inclusiveness, delegation skills, ability to communicate and other, well-recognised and documented traits. Many of these traits can be learned and enhanced through proper coaching. Does this story mean anything to you? You started in a company at a lower level. Opportunity presented itself in the form of a chance to step-up temporarily or permanently into a role providing more money, esteem, credibility or some other perceived benefit. You jumped at it! Of course, along with all of the benefits the role also came with much higher expectation…that of others and your self. You worked hard…things went fairly well but you didn’t really feel supported to truly excel. You wanted to be the best operator so didn’t ask many questions  – after all, asking questions shows that you were not ready for the promotion in the first place, doesn’t it? “Better to bite your tongue and work your Read more about Falling Into Leadership[…]

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