• Are You Brave Enough to Develop your Leadership Skills?

    Facing the challengeAs a business leader you will have spent time learning some hard skills to be effective at managing your business. For instance: technical skills to deliver your product or service, managing the supply chain, basic accounting skills, budgeting, ensuring compliance in your industry, marketing and sales skills and many similar functions.

    What you may not have done whilst running and growing your business is spend time mastering soft skills that support your ability to communicate effectively, prioritise tasks and create aligned high performance teams. Unfortunately, the perception is often that “soft skills” are, well…soft and fluffy, however they are just as crucial to business success as the more recognized “hard skills”.

    Make no mistake learning and developing these so called soft skills is anything but soft. Learning these leadership skills is extremely challenging as it requires you to step out of your comfort zone and change your thinking, beliefs and behaviours to get the results that you want.

    So I always ask leaders before they embark upon a leadership skills programme with me:“How brave are you?”

    • Are you brave to take the right decisions as a leader, even if they are not the easiest?

    • Are you brave enough to let go of the levers of power to allow your staff to take on greater responsibility?

    • Are you brave enough to listen, consider and accept someone else’s opinion?

    • Are you brave enough to be responsible and put your hand up when things don’t go as planned?

    • Are you brave enough to be accountable and do whatever it takes to get the task done – no excuses?

    • Are you brave enough to have a meaningful conversation and ask your employees what they really think?

    If you want to be a great leader these are just some of the questions that you will need to ask yourself every day to lead you people and business to success.

    “Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” Churchill

    So what are the key soft leadership skills that you will need to master to become a great leader?

    1) Promote change – Want to, be willing to and believe that change is possible. Change starts from within changing your mind set and then changing the mind set within the organisation. Be the change you want to see.

    2) Inspire and motivate otherscreate a vision that is compelling so that employees have a purpose and know that what they do has an impact on customers and communities.

    3) Be authentic – tell the truth to your staff and always walk your talk.

    4) Manage yourselfself-awareness brings its own rewards and the more that you can manage yourself and the better you will be able to manage and lead others.

    5) Drive for results and be accountable – always do what you say that you are going to do and be accountable to your staff and customers. Focus on getting results not giving or accepting reasons. Make things happen!

    6) Be responsible – be willing to own up to mistakes if you make them. Take responsibility for your actions.

    7) Communicate powerfully and prolifically – whatever the method: 1:1 conversation, team meetings, email messages, phone or Skype calls, or anything else, just communicate regularly with your staff.

    8) Build relationships – we live in the era of connectivity and collaboration. The stronger your relationships with the members of your team, your customers and suppliers, others in your industry, and your community the better a leader you will be.

    9) Empower others – listen, support and encourage your team to step out of their comfort zone. Look for talented employees and give them the chance to learn and develop new skills. You are training them to become your company’s next generation of great leaders.

    10) Be focused and committed – learn to prioritise the important but not urgent tasks and commit to getting them done.

    11) Innovate – continually look for how you can improve and do things better, in your company, in your community, in the world.

    12) Look for solutions – don’t accept problems or moaners in your company– always focus on supporting your staff to find the solutions.

    So how brave are you? Are you willing to step up and work on developing your soft leadership skills and being the best leader you can be?

    Contact me via email or phone to have a free 30-minute consultation to find out how you can develop your leadership skills to help you accelerate the growth of your business.

  • Engage, Enthuse and Empower your Employees

    Engage, Enthuse and Empower your Employees

    It is fair to say that the new modern age of social connectivity is changing how we do business.   It is also having a profound effect on how businesses are managed.  Old structures and ways of thinking and behaving are changing.  The typical hierarchical model where employees are viewed as simply cogs in a machine is having to change to adapt to a new paradigm that emphasises connection, collaboration and innovation.

    Companies have to take a serious look at the current culture within their organisation and examine whether it supports an environment of employee engagement.  Employee engagement has become a buzz word but it has very real consequences for the organisation.

    A study by Towers Watson, a professional services firm, interviewed 90,000 employees in 18 countries, and identified that companies with high employee engagement had a 19% increase in operating income compared to a 32% drop in operating income for companies with low levels of engagement.

    How do you create higher employee engagement?  Two simple steps to implement are to clearly define and articulate your organisation vision and your core values.  An inspiring business vision creates purpose for employees beyond their current day to day activities. Defining your core values signals to your current and future employees what is important to your company.  The core values of your business determine your expectations about behaviour in your staff and your partners.  Knowing your core values helps to identify the type of people you want to work in or with the company, and vice versa.

    Longer term employee engagement comes from changing the top down culture of being told what to do to one that encourages personal responsibility and accountability.  Supporting staff to be accountable encourages people to behave outside their current comfort zone and explore their inherent potential.  This allows for personal growth and ultimately generates higher levels of performance. Studies have shown that employees who are offered the opportunity for self direction, the chance to better themselves, and given a greater sense of purpose are much more highly motivated. 

    One of the keys to changing the existing culture, thinking and behaviour in an organisation  is to examine the underlying operating paradigm within it. Uncovering the unspoken beliefs about how the team operates  is not an easy thing to do as they run unconsciously in the background. 

    In the team leadership sessions that I run with clients when we get to the point of identifying the underlying limiting beliefs or paradigm we call this the “moment of Change”.  It is really an “ahhh” moment for the team when they can see the thoughts that have been running them in the background and what has been holding them back.  It is called the moment of change since at this point teams can choose a new paradigm that is more effective and empowering. It is akin to upgrading the operating system of a computer to make it work more effectively.

    Creating a culture of accountability and responsibility takes time to develop.  It is not something that will change overnight but once done the impact is enormous.  Individuals are happier, teams perform better and ultimately the results in the organisation are significantly improved. 

    If you would like to find out more about how one of our team programmes could impact the culture and performance in your organisation please click this link so that we can plan a time to talk together.