Effectively communicating with your boss is an essential skill to have in the workplace, especially when you’re in a leadership role. There are a right way and a wrong way to talk to your boss; it’s not like talking to a regular colleague and you must keep that in mind with every interaction you have with your higher-ups.
Here are some examples of what to avoid when you’re speaking with your boss:
Telling them “I can’t”
If you’re saying this, you will come off as unwilling and lacking confidence. Your management won’t appreciate this lack of flexibility or your negative attitude.
Don’t put down your colleagues
While we want to let our bosses know that we’re valuable to the company so that they consider us for opportunities in the future, but don’t minimize what your team did to make yourself look better, or even worse, take credit for what they did. This shows your boss that you’re not a team player and makes you look very unprofessional.
If you’re wanting to talk about issues with a colleague, that’s a different story, but still requires the utmost professionalism in your approach.
Saying that something isn’t in your job description
Now, this doesn’t mean that you should use a piece of machinery when you’re actually in accounting, just because your boss tells you to, but use common sense.
Bosses appreciate flexibility in their team, and getting more skills and experience in different roles will make you even more valuable to the company.
Don’t be too humble
Learning how to accept praise from management (or anyone!) is hard to do, and a lot of us try and deflect the compliments onto others, minimizing our own achievements for fear of coming off as arrogant. But you also don’t want to appear to be taking all the credit either. So what’s the middle ground?
Acknowledge what you accomplished, give credit where it’s due and doesn’t brush off the praise you receive. This way you show that you work well in a team, and are professional.
While saying ‘no’ can be needed at times, you need to be polite and professional and remember that you’re expected to be as cooperative as possible when your boss asks you to do something. If you need to say no to something, try and phrase it in a way that explains your refusal, like mentioning another deadline you have and asking if your focus should change from that.
Being mindful of how you talk to and interact with your boss will help you greatly in your career. It’s important to have a positive relationship with all co-workers, including those higher up than you.
LeadershipHQ have launched some incredible public programs and events suited to all levels such as our Transitioning to Leadership program, brave Women Leading, HR Leadership and Leadership Masterclasses. Book here!
Check out our amazing Online Leadership Academy too and start 2019 as a Great Leader and Manager!
Each workplace has a culture unique to it. A culture is, essentially, the shared perceptions, values, group norms and objectives/goals within a social unit, and includes how the unit solves problems, justifies themselves and interacts with each other. It can also include physical aspects such as the way an office is laid out or the type of furniture that’s used.
Basically, culture is “the way things work here”.
It’s not enough to say that your culture is a certain way; imposing rules that people may or may not follow doesn’t make a culture, it’s in the way a team behaves.
Many managers do understand how important of a factor culture is in the performance of a company, but a lot believe that they can just ‘say’ they have a good culture, and it will be so. Culture is not something that can be implemented; it is the product of experience and learning over the years. Culture must also be adaptable, as it can become a liability and hinder a company’s success as changes arise in the market and in technology.
Leadership and culture are intertwined fundamentally in many important ways. A company that is not run by founders or entrepreneurs but rather by general managers that have been promoted, leadership is limited due to the reflection of the history of the leaders and founders on the culture.
Introducing a new leader to a company with a strong culture and long history will cause some conflict with what the culture allows as the new leader imposes their ideas, and the new leader can only win by letting go a large amount of the old culture’s carriers – something that turnaround managers often do.
However, though the new leader is then starting fresh, and implementing the behaviour patterns and values they wish to see, it cannot be called a new culture until the employees internalise it and it has been successful for many years.
A new leader who imposes new values and behaviours has to do more than just hope that these new ideas result in improved performance. New leaders need to be clear about their expectations and goals, and how they will be implemented. They can also begin the work to dismantle the harmful attributes of the current culture while reinforcing the positive aspects, leading (hopefully) to increased performance.
Teams that are working under great leaders and within a culture that resonates with them are much more likely to be satisfied with their workplace, leading to a high retention rate and improved performance thanks to feeling motivated, respected and valued.
As mentioned above, you cannot just decide that you will have a new culture – culture is something that grows over many years and is successful, as well as being internalised by the employees. Leaders have a huge influence on the culture of a company, and so have a direct correlation with the performance of themselves and those they manage. Invest in great leaders who embody your culture (or the culture you wish to have) and you should see your organisation’s performance improving in no time.
Find out more about LeadershipHQ’s strategies and programs today for Corporates and SME’s today at www.leadershiphq.com.au
The standard you walk past, is the standard you accept.
I am incredibly passionate about anti-bullying and stopping poor leadership. Imagine if it was your son, daughter or someone you loved that was being bullied at work. It is unacceptable and it is up to us to combat it.
You’ve probably heard on the news that Westmead Hospital in Sydney’s ICU had their training accreditation revoked, once bullying allegations came to light. The culprits? Senior medical staff who should definitely know better! As Brad Hazzard, NSW’s Health Minister put it: “There is absolutely not one millimetre of room for a culture of bullying or failure to provide respect to every staff member.”
Then, after the ball-tampering scandal that rocked Cricket Australia just a few days later, an independent review noted that employees were using bullying tactics and ostracising other team members in efforts to get their own way.
Safe Work Australia and the Fair Work Commission have been working hard for over 10 years to raise awareness of (and try to eliminate) workplace bullying, but it is still rife in workplaces all over the country – and the world! So why is bullying in the workplace still common?
Let’s take a step back and look at just what workplace bullying is defined as by Safe Work Australia:
● Victimising, humiliating, intimidating or threatening behaviour
● Repeated over time
● Excludes reasonable management action like speaking to someone about poor performance
● Can dovetail with sexual harassment or racism
The impact on the victims of this bullying (and any form of bullying) is huge. Victims can suffer often debilitating distress, take more days off ‘sick’, avoid the workplace as much as possible, and can’t complete their duties as effectively. In dollar form, lost productivity as a result of bullying costs up to $36 billion each year.
It also damages a business’s reputation, which can make or break an organisation. If the media gets wind of a bullying story that will sell, then the incident is broadcast to a large audience and makes it hard for the business to recover from – who would want to buy from or work for an organisation that is so publically plagued by accusations of bullying?
A study completed this year said that one in five workers have been bullied in the past twelve months, which is completely unacceptable.
There are some shocking statistics from a 2016 study of 34 European countries and their workplace environments, and Australia was found to have had the sixth highest rate of workplace bullying compared to the rest of the countries studied.
Within the previous six month period, 37% of respondents said they had been sworn or yelled at, 23% had been humiliated in front of others and 22% had been threatened or physically assaulted by clients/patients.
Workplace bullying is rife in health care, defence, electricity supply and government administration, but places that should be more progressive, like universities, are not exempt from bullying in the workplace.
Australian managers have unfortunately been taught that tough leadership is the best form of management and that the US culture of ‘management by fear’ is a legitimate way to motivate a team. It’s a quick slide from this type of management to straight up bullying behaviour.
It’s not just managers and bosses that are bullies, peers are also engaging in workplace bullying at an alarming rate. Whether they just don’t like a person or are acting out of jealousy when someone achieves more than they do, especially when managers use extremely competitive reward and incentive systems, bullying often becomes their way of expressing their jealousy and/or dislike.
You may be wondering what you can do to help stop this, and we have three suggestions for you and your company:
● Lead by example – have a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to bullying. Those at the top set the example for those below.
● Regularly communicate, review and enforce complaints procedures and anti-bullying policies.
● Empower your employees to speak out – let them know they shouldn’t fear retribution, and that all concerns will be taken seriously.
In turn, we have found that organisations and businesses who invest in leadership coaching and training with a focus on personal leadership and social intelligence have had great results and performance with an increase in retention, engagement and productivity. Also they have been able to overcome bullying and poor leadership within their cultures.
It’s not always easy, but change never is. We all need to be more active in stamping out bullying in the workplace, so we can turn around the startling statistics and make every workplace a welcoming and comfortable environment, increasing employee satisfaction, retention, and productivity.
If you are interested in finding out how we can partner with you and build great leaders, leadership and cultures where your leaders are leading by example; contact LeadershipHQ for our cutting edge and high impact programs and strategies.
To speak with someone about any workplace bullying you’ve seen or experienced, you can contact:
Lifeline – 13 11 14
Beyond Blue – 1300 22 46 36
Safe Work Australia – they’ll direct you to the relevant body in your state
The leaders who get the best results and achieve their goals are brave, even when times are tough. But bravery isn’t just about doing heroic things all the time; being vulnerable and other behaviours and attitudes are just as brave, so here are five signs that you’ve been a brave leader all along!
1. You take responsibility & don’t blame others
Brave leaders are those who put their hand up and take responsibility for things, good or bad. They don’t throw anyone under the bus or try to shift blame; that’s what cowards do! Upper management will also appreciate this quality, so you’re showing your bravery by doing this.
2. You always act with integrity – no matter what
Leaders who act with integrity are especially great leaders because they do the right thing even when there is no one watching. People will see your reliability and trustworthiness when they know you’ll do what you say you will, and when you said you’d do it. Holding yourself accountable and sticking to commitments is one of the marks of an effective and brave leader.
3. You recognise loyalty & are loyal yourself
Being loyal to your team and your organisation as a whole may seem like an obvious sign, but if you’re loyal even when times are tough, that’s when you’re the bravest.
Recognising and appreciating loyalty is also brave; it takes courage to stand up for those who have stood by you, and showing appreciation in this way makes your relationship stronger as well.
4. You lead by example
Following on from having integrity (like we mentioned in point two) is leading by example and taking charge. Of course, leaders should delegate and instruct their team, but unless you’re doing as you say, you’re being hypocritical and that can lose you a lot of respect. Leading by example might not be noticed as quickly as other traits or behaviours, but you’ll continue being a brave leader if you keep doing what you know needs to be done, and doing it the same way you asked your team to do it.
5. You never give up, thanks to your sense of duty
Taking the easy way out by giving up and quitting is a sign of weakness, especially in leaders, because brave leaders feel a sense of duty to get the task done no matter what. Even if the job has a big chance of not being successful, or not being up to a high standard, your sense of duty means you’ll still do your very best. Brave leaders must have this quality, and it motivates your team when they look to you for guidance and see that you’re still forging ahead, despite reservations.
Hopefully, you see a few, if not all, of these signs in yourself as a leader. Either way, it gives you something to strive for and reflect on, which great leaders are always doing. Bravery isn’t always heroics, sometimes just being loyal and working hard makes you brave. Brave leaders are the ones that go on to achieve great things, so start practising being brave now!
If you truly want to be brave in 2019 – join The Leadership Collective or brave Summit today
What’s the secret to improving your teams’ motivation and performance? You’ve probably asked yourself this plenty of times when measures that you’ve put in place haven’t been as effective as you’d hoped. You have great incentives in place for your team, you’ve streamlined your processes and procedures to make things as efficient as possible, but you’re still not getting their best.
Gallup conducted a 142 country study on the State of the Global Workplace, and found the following shocking statistics:
- 60% of Australian employees are “not engaged” – meaning they lack motivation and are less likely to invest discretionary effort in organisational goals or outcomes.
- 16% are “actively disengaged”, indicating they are unhappy and unproductive at work and liable to spread negativity to co-workers.
- Only 24% are “engaged”.
So how do you get your employees engaged, motivated and working hard? Something that you have to earn – trust.
Without trust, your team won’t be working to the best of their ability. If they can’t trust in their leaders, why should they put in more than the minimum amount of effort?
Author and professor of economic sciences, psychology, and management at Claremont Graduate University, Paul J. Zak, measured oxytocin levels and brain activity as people worked, over eight years. Oxytocin is the hormone that affects parts of our interaction and behaviours including trust. His research showed that trust within an organisation is absolutely vital to performance, and also that there are eight ways to quantify and boost trust within a workplace. Luckily for us, Zak made these into an acronym – OXYTOCIN – so it’s easy to remember.
Let’s take a look at what OXYTOCIN stands for
Positive reinforcement (like rewards and recognition) has been shown to trigger the release of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is linked to motivation and effort, so it’s important to recognise and reward your team for great performance because then they’ll want to continue working to that high standard. Nobody likes working hard without that effort being acknowledged.
Expectations need to be set and made clear, so employees know what they’re working towards. Make sure that your team knows they’re part of the big picture, and explain just how they are. When you get your team involved in the mission, knowing that they are directly influencing the success of that mission and your organisation boosts their motivation and commitment to meeting and excelling at their goals and your expectations.
Micromanaging gets you nowhere; as a leader you must be able to effectively make decisions and delegate tasks. Foster a safe environment of learning – mistakes aren’t the end of the world, just make sure to learn from them – and your team members will thrive when given more responsibility, and work more autonomously knowing they won’t be punished for mistakes. They will feel motivated and empowered from being trusted to do important tasks.
Transfer refers to enabling your team to ‘job-craft’ – make their job their own, and make their own decisions about how they define success.
Research undertaken by the University of Michigan showed that allowing employees to job-craft resulted in higher levels of job fulfilment and engagement. This means less staff turnover as well.
Being transparent and open with information relating to your organisation builds trust with your team because it shows that you’re being honest with them. You’d be surprised how much time and effort is taken up when your team is wondering what’s going on, so be sure to practice openness when communicating with your team.
Team members appreciate being told what’s going on, even if it’s not always good news since it gives them a chance to voice their opinions and give their input. When employees feel heard, they also feel valued and so want to return the favour and work harder.
We have launched our NEW Performance Team Coaching Program – find out more HERE!
During his research, Zak saw a variety of studies that showed how important relationships (including friendships) are on retention, productivity, health and overall job satisfaction. Encourage relationship building amongst your team by providing plenty of team-building opportunities such as collaboration between departments, and making sure to reward great teamwork.
If your organisation isn’t getting across how important workplace relationships can be, then your team won’t be trying too hard to build their networks.
Invest in your team; provide them with training and opportunities for reward and advancement, and you’ll see a big improvement in their engagement. Your team will also trust you more, as they see how much you value them by choosing to invest in them. Feeling valued like this is a great motivator for employees to do their best.
The best leaders aren’t afraid to be vulnerable; being authentic and natural shows your employees that you’re human too and that they don’t have to be perfect because you aren’t either. When your team can relate to you, they’re inspired to be more open and honest as well. This allows them to ask for help sooner, instead of fearing being reprimanded, which means time isn’t wasted and work can be carried out more competently and efficiently.
Trust isn’t exactly something you can measure, but it’s a huge part of getting your team to consistently perform at their best. What Zak found from his research is that when you have people working for organisations that have an emphasis on trust, they are 76% more engaged, 50% more productive, and 50% more likely to stay in that organisation. You can’t argue with those results!
If you’re a leader who wants to step up your game and start encouraging a culture of trust in your workplace using resources backed by extensive research and with proven results, check out our Leadership Attitude Academy here, or book a coaching session here.