Changing Workplaces Call For A New Type of Leader

Developing effective and empowered leaders is one of the most important things an organization can do to ensure the successful accomplishment of its goals, whatever they may be.

That’s because leadership influences nearly all aspects of a business, such as the selection, engagement, and retention of talent, customer loyalty, and overall brand perception and influence. Yet despite its importance, many companies seem to struggle with leadership development.

Perhaps the biggest reason for that struggle is the new and varied set of behaviours and
skills today’s leaders need to be effective. One of the worst mistakes any organisation can make is to base its promotions or leadership decisions on tenure. Simply being a long-serving veteran of the organization or a star individual performer does not automatically make someone a candidate for leadership or demonstrate they have the necessary commitment to the role, the team or the company.

In today’s ever-evolving and increasingly complex environment, effective leaders must be able to guide staff through moments of uncertainty, be a trusted source for honest and open communication, and encourage and inspire their teams to take risks without fear of failure. As Deloitte notes in its Global Human Capital Trends report, leadership is increasingly about the challenges leaders face rather than the “art” of leadership. And those challenges are many.

Today’s workplace can have up to four generations of workers, all of whom have different expectations about what it takes to keep them truly engaged. Millennial workers, for example, expect an environment of constant development, mentoring and stretch assignments. If your organization doesn’t offer that, another will, and much of your younger generation of workers will be enticed to leave. And as organizations replace their old hierarchical structures with a more linear and inclusive management model, leaders can no longer simply issue instructions and expect them to be followed. Leaders must now be able to inspire a diverse set of employees, often located in multiple locations, with networks of teams made up of a mix of full-time, temporary and “gig” workers.Continue reading

The Secret To Dealing With Difficult People: It’s About You

Do you have someone at work who consistently triggers you? Doesn't listen? Takes credit for work you've done? Wastes your time with trivial issues? Acts like a know-it-all? Can only talk about himself? Constantly criticises?

Our core emotional need is to feel valued and valuable. When we don't, it's deeply unsettling, a challenge to our sense of equilibrium, security, and well-being. At the most primal level, it can feel like a threat to our very survival.

This is especially true when the person you're struggling with is your boss. The problem is that being in charge of other people rarely brings out the best in us.

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” Lord Acton said way back in 1887. “There is no worse heresy than the office that sanctifies the holder of it.”

The easy default when we feel devalued is to the role of victim, and it's a seductive pull. Blaming others for how we're feeling is a form of self-protection. Whatever is going wrong isn't our fault. By off loading responsibility, we feel better in the short-term.

The problem with being a victim is that you cede the power to influence your circumstances. The painful truth when it comes to the people who trigger you is this: You're not going to change them. The only person you have the possibility of changing is yourself.

Each of us has a default lens through which we see the world. We call it reality, but in fact it's a selective filter. We have the power, to view the world through other lenses. There are three worth trying on when you find yourself defaulting to negative emotions.

The Lens of Realistic Optimism: Using this lens requires asking yourself two simple questions when you feel you're being treated badly or unfairly. The first one is "What are the facts in this situation?" The second is, "What's the story I'm telling myself about those facts?"Continue reading

Top Five Communication Skills For Project Managers

Research among project managers globally identifies top communication skills for leading teams.

Leading people - the experiential side of project management - is as important as task-based skills according to project managers in Europe, the Middle East, India, America and Australasia.

In recent research, they said that communication is a critical skill for project success, both for keeping team members up-to-date and for winning the support of key stakeholders.

But which skills make all the difference? Here is what the top five respondents say have made all the difference in their careers.

Active Listening: In first place is your ability to listen to and understand others. Listening to the words and the meaning behind their words, not interrupting or letting your minds wander, asking questions to check understanding and observing non-verbal signals.

According to Indian project manager Nirav Patel, CAPM, “The benefits include getting people to open up, and due to that lots of misunderstandings and conflicts can be resolved.”Continue reading

The Toxic Relationships to Avoid in the Workplace

Most everyone has experienced a relationship that turned toxic.

If you have, you know they’re a major drain on your energy, productivity, and happiness.

In a study from Georgetown University, 98% of people reported experiencing toxic behaviour at work.

The study found that toxic relationships negatively influence employees and their organizations in nine notable ways:

  1. 80% lost work time worrying about the incidents.
  2. 78% said that their commitment to the organization declined.
  3. 66% said that their performance declined.
  4. 63% lost work time avoiding the offender.
  5. 47% intentionally decreased the time spent at work.
  6. 38% intentionally decreased the quality of their work.
  7. 25% admitted to taking their frustration out on customers.
  8. 12% said that they left their job because of it.
  9. 48% intentionally decreased their work effort.

While the turnover from toxic relationships is costly, the real cost is the lost productivity and emotional distress experienced by people who are stuck in these relationships.

We may not be able to control the toxicity of other people, but we can control how we respond to them, and this has the power to alter the course of a relationship. Before a toxic relationship can be neutralized, you must intimately understand what’s making it toxic in the first place. Toxic relationships develop when one person’s needs are no longer met or someone or something is interfering with the ability to maintain a healthy and productive relationship.

Continue reading

Being a Better Leader – What Research Can Teach Us

Leadership has been in the spotlight as never before, as people around the world look to their leaders in all spheres of social, political and organisational life. Rather than help, though, leaders often seem to be part of the problem.

When it comes to politicians, fingers are often pointed at the leaders of political parties for failing to provide a clear vision, for their personal moral failings, or for their inability to deliver on their promises.

Theresa May, the UK prime minister, was widely blamed for the Conservative party’s poor performance in the country’s 2017 general election. Her robotic mantra of “strong and stable” leadership was much-criticised.

Meanwhile, a seemingly never-ending flow of news reports catalogue US President Donald Trump’s alleged lies and question his fitness for office. Conversely, there has been a growing trend for politicians around the world to back or block policies for moral, as opposed to economic reasons.

In organisational settings, we often hear that levels of trust in leaders are at an all-time low in the wake of the financial crisis, a series of corporate scandals, and the ongoing challenges faced by employees in securing “good work”.

Continue reading

Did You Send Work Emails Over The Holidays?

Companies expend untold energy building culture-defining their values, revamping their office space, organising holiday parties and volunteer outings.

And yet many leaders and managers don’t seem to realise that while company culture can be really hard to build, it’s incredibly easy to destroy. And you may unknowingly ruin it in just two steps.

 

 

Step 1: Go on holiday.

Step 2: Continue working like you never left.

It is common practice for American managers and a growing practice amongst UK leaders and managers too.

Latest research at Project: Time Off shows that just 14% of managers unplug when they’re on holiday. At the most senior levels of leadership, a mere 7% do.

The majority check in with work at least once a day.

If you’re in this camp, there is a good chance you are thinking about maintaining your own peace of mind either while you’re away (what if something crucial happens?) or when you get back (if you truly unplugged, how would you ever catch up?).

But before you hit “send,” think. All emails are not created equal, and when you’re on holiday, you’re sending more messages than can be contained in the contents of your note.

Continue reading

Leaders: You Can’t (and Shouldn’t Have to) Lead Alone

Traditional leadership has been hierarchical, but this one-size-fits-all method isn’t always the best solution. That’s where tag-team leadership comes in. 

At Micron, an international memory and storage solutions company, leadership in the systems solution department is fluid. When a project is identified, one person takes the lead, organizes timelines and meetings, and drives the cross-functional teams’ tasks and deliverables—based on the system issue and the area of focus. The department uses an ARCI model (determining who should be Accountable, Responsible, Consulted and Informed), and the team comes together based on the answers.

The same fluid leadership concept is at play at Indianapolis-based public relations agency Borshoff. Depending on the client, the initiative and the tasks, one member of the account executive team is in charge and the rest of the team falls in line to support where needed.

You might wonder, Who’s in charge? Well, no one person, exactly. That’s because the leadership of these teams changes based on the project and the talent of its members, much like “tagging” the next leader into the game when it’s time. In these situations, leadership is more fluid, less rigid and certainly less conforming.

This type of situational leadership gives new life to teamwork in virtually every industry. Progressive companies are increasingly realizing that the benefits of leadership flexibility outweigh traditional models in certain situations. Even if you don’t think your company is set up for this type of leadership, you can still reap the benefits by making a few leadership shifts in this direction.

Work Is Changing

Continue reading