What would I tell my younger self?
Don’t you think this is a great question? Maybe Party Less? Learn more?
Why is it when we leave school or university, we spend so much time and energy trying to be successful? Making our way up the career ladder?
I am not painting everyone with the same brush here, however we do spend our early careers trying to be successful. And there is nothing wrong with that.
However, if I could go back in time I would say to my younger self; yes if success is important to you, go for it. But why it is? What does it mean to you?
I would tell her to focus your energy and attention on getting to know who you truly are – as a leader and as an individual.
Yes life and leadership is a journey. However today when we work emerging leaders, their focus is the next big role, gaining more and more technical ability and the next big pay rise or even getting that fancy new car. I get it. Of course it is great to climb the career ladder, get that new car or a pay rise. In turn, learning more skills and tools are a must as well as having a career plan and strategy.
I think we need to spend more time early in our careers on self-awareness. It is the KEY. Knowing your strengths, values, triggers, passions, motivators, purpose, talents, styles – and building true awareness of who you are as a leader and person. What makes you different, what is important to you, what trips you up, your story, your preferences and vision.
“Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” C.G. Jung
The more you know about yourself (and believe me this changes over time too), the more you will understand others, what success means to you, what matters to you and why, what you really want, who you want on your tribe, how you can effectively interact and communicate with others and how you self regulate.
Yes we need skills and tools. We do; doctors, dentists, mechanics, engineers, retail attendants and cleaners etc.; however a leader’s greatness tool is knowing themselves. This is success to me. Success in how my talents and abilities as a leader can make a difference and how I can be significance to others. Cool hey?
I get it; and I know that all the leaders we have worked with; who have gone through the self-awareness journey with us either through our diagnostics, coaching, books or programs find the path confronting and enlightening.
I know this one thing for a fact; this self-awareness has changed their world, life and leadership. They have been truly successful because they opened themselves up to who they are as leaders, authentically who they are, owned it, worked on it, changed it and grown from it. This takes true vulnerability.
In turn, they have been the best they can be for those around them.
Whether it is success or self-awareness; the key to either is knowing what they mean to you and why? And enjoying the journey.
What are your thoughts?
Leadership is a journey.
If you would love to know more about self-awareness, success and leadership – order my new book Leadership Attitude TODAY!
As leaders, most of us have a natural desire and tendency to push for excellence in many areas of our lives. We have skills where we naturally excel, and, if we are smart, we focus on our strengths and really work on developing them so that we can improve our performance. Playing to our strengths, and developing our natural abilities, can really help us to stand out and can create greater opportunities for us to lead.
Excellence is Easy to Obtain When It’s Easy to Measure Performance
Pushing for excellence, however, is often easier in areas where performance can be easily measured. We often find it tempting to focus on the output, or financial performance. This is because it’s relatively easy to see if we are reaching tangible and easily measured targets, such as sales goals.
Why Your EQ is Important and Why You Must Pursue Excellence
As a leader, however, the bottom line on the balance sheet is not all that matters. Even though it’s more difficult to measure our performance in this area, leaders also need to strive for excellence in relationships and partnerships and to focus on improving the personal and social skills that make up their emotional intelligence (EQ).
Some leaders mistakenly believe that their EQ is unimportant, and they tend to focus instead on performance areas that are easily measured. These same leaders oftentimes think that based on their job title, they are naturally the person that is in charge, and so everyone should just fall in line and obey, without question.
This sort of authoritarian approach really doesn’t work very well in today’s world. You won’t build the relationships that you need to create a team that collaborates, cooperates and gives you their best effort. Your team’s performance might meet the minimal requirements, but it won’t be exceptional. Together you won’t produce anything that stands out because of its excellence.
Improve Your Leadership by Improving Skills that Make Up Your Emotional Intelligence
While our basic level of general intelligence, or our ability to learn, analyse and reason, is largely determined at birth, we can improve the personal and social skills that make up our emotional intelligence. Our EQ is made up of many skills that work together to determine how easy it is for us to manage our emotions, relate to others, and form bonds and relationships with one another.
Our EQ skills include personal ones such as our attitude and level of motivation, as well as our ability to be self-aware and responsible. Your EQ also includes “softer” people skills such as your ability to care for others and empathise, as well as your ability to communicate and influence others.
Strategies That Help You Lead With Emotional Intelligence
Often leaders have a high EQ, but still have difficulty using their emotional intelligence to its best effect. You may be very good at communicating with others, and may be highly competent in areas that should make it easy to build relationships and form partnerships with others, but still have difficulty putting your skills into practice. If this is an area that you’ve struggled with, don’t panic!
Whether or not you are a self-described “people person,” or if you’ve taken a more control-centered approach in the past, the following tips can help you to improve your EQ and use it to increase your effectiveness as a leader.
Are You Aware and In Control?
Many times, as leaders, our attention becomes so outwardly focused on others that we forget to stop and focus on ourselves.
Are you aware of your attitude and your emotions? Do you have an understanding of your personal triggers and sensitive areas? Do you practice good self-care and are you in control? Are you taking action and leading, or do you allow yourself to get caught up, reacting to your feelings about people, situations or events?
So many leaders are good at building relationships, but then they sabotage themselves and their team, and destroy any chance of a collaborative partnership by failing to be self-aware and to maintain their self-control. As leaders, we set the tone, pace and example, for our team. Being able to understand others begins with understanding ourselves.
Your team will model the example you provide them. If you want a positive, open, inclusive and energised team, you should lead by example. Be accountable for your actions, and attitudes! Practice and model the attitudes and behaviour that you want to see in your team.
Genuinely Care for Others and Meet Their Needs
Most of us can spot authenticity a mile away. No one likes a fake. If you want to create bonds of trust and camaraderie, so that your team will give you their best, you need to invest the time it takes to get to know the members of your team.
Your team members are not cattle or children; they are people, with unique personalities, traits and abilities. Look for ways to celebrate each team member for who they are as individuals. Look for ways to provide the members of your team with meaningful work that spotlights their special attributes.
As you get to know your people, find out what it is that makes them “tick,” and learn their needs, and then meet them. Don’t solely focus on what your people can do for you, but rather look at the bigger picture of how you can meet one another’s needs and the great things that you can create by cooperating with one another.
Express Your Respect and Appreciation
As you and your team work together to create something exceptional and great, don’t forget to show your respect and appreciation. Offer sincere compliments and praise for their hard work and efforts and look for ways to reward your team and offer recognition to those whose excellence truly stands out.
Need More Help With Your EQ?
Do you need some help polishing your people skills, or, would you just like to learn more about how to put your emotional intelligence to its best use? Get in touch today to learn more about how we can help you develop your leadership skills so that you can change yourself, your team and the world!
With each passing year it seems that our lives become busier, and more stressful. The Internet has helped all of us to reach out into the world and become more connected with one another, as well as more informed.
This increase in knowledge and constant connection, however, makes it difficult to unplug and take a break. Now more than ever before, it really is too easy for our work duties to bleed over into our personal lives. Each of us is constantly “plugged in” and “on,” and multi-tasking as we’re on the go checking our emails, and returning phone calls, nearly around the clock. Add additional pressures to this scenario, such as the constant push to get more done at work with fewer resources, and you have the perfect recipe for stress related illnesses.
With this constant immersion in activity, it really should not come as a surprise to anyone that stress from our personal and professional lives is taking a toll. We see the results in the form of an increase in the number of sick days taken at work. More subtly, we see the results of stress taking a toll on the mental health of those that we work with, as well as ourselves.
“It is estimated that 45 per cent of Australians will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime. These conditions tend to affect individuals during their prime working years.”
Why the Mental Health of Your Team Matters
According to data reported by Heads Up and The Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance (https://www.headsup.org.au/creating-a-mentally-healthy-workplace/the-business-case), depression and other forms of mental illness are costing Australian businesses nearly 11 billion dollars each year. In addition to an increase in the number of sick days taken by employees, mental illness affects the morale and engagement of all employees and results in a decrease in productivity and efficiency.
Not only does turnover increase, but untreated mental health issues among associates can lead to an increased risk of loss, and a potential negative impact on the reputation of your business. Finding ways to manage, and improve, the mental health of your employees by creating a healthy workplace is fast becoming one of the most important challenges that leaders at all levels face.
Signs Your Team’s Mental Health May be at Risk
An important first step in managing the mental health of your team is to look for signs that may point to an increased risk of mental illness. Depression and anxiety are the two most common forms of mental illness.
Understanding their symptoms can help you to identify associates who are at risk so that you can take proactive steps to reduce their level of stress at work as well as potentially make referrals for employee assistance so that workers can get help coping with symptoms associated with illness.
“1 in 5 Australian adults will experience a mental illness in any given year”
Common Signs of Depression
It’s normal for all of us to feel a bit down at times. After all, each of us faces obstacles and disappointments that can be quite challenging to cope with and overcome. Depression, however, is more than feeling a little out of sorts.
Most healthcare professionals advise that symptoms of true depression last two weeks or longer, and can include an increase in feelings of anger, unhappiness and disappointment. Someone suffering from depression may also feel overwhelmed, and feel unconfident, sad, and be indecisive.
They may withdraw from their peers and normal circle of friends and other contacts. It becomes hard for them to concentrate and they may miss even the simplest of deadlines. Often they will call in sick to work, and may turn to alcohol or other chemicals in an effort to cope with their symptoms.
“Untreated depression results in 6 million working days lost each year in Australia”
Common Signs of Anxiety
Anxiety often develops over a period of time, and while there are different types of anxiety, symptoms are often more subtle and harder to spot than the symptoms commonly associated with other types of mental illness. Most people who experience anxiety feel that they are always on edge and can’t relax. They may feel a sensation of panic or hysteria and constantly worry and be unable to relax and “let down” their guard against a real or perceived threat. Feelings of anxiety can produce physical symptoms as well, such as an increased heart rate and elevated blood pressure as well as difficulty sleeping.
Your team member may suffer from anxiety if you notice that they are easily startled, or appear to be under constant tension. They may start to avoid meetings, or specific people or locations within your facility. They may adopt obsessive behaviors or rituals in an attempt to find relief and relax. They may become less assertive and avoid making decisions as well as avoid eye contact with others.
It’s important to remember that just because a member of your team seems to exhibit these symptoms; it doesn’t mean that they have an actual mental illness. Whether or not a member of your team exhibits these symptoms, there are a number of steps that leaders can take to reduce the amount of stress which may contribute to the development of these and similar symptoms.
Don’t forget to check back for a follow up post where you can learn more about the proactive steps that you can take to create a healthier workplace that reduces the stress that your team faces.
Stay tuned for the Mental Matters Leadership Summit in Brisbane!
To be able to plan for the unexpected, we need to peer past the limits of what we can physically see and try to glimpse what lies just beyond the horizon. At first, this seems to be an impossible task. How can we glimpse a future event before it happens?
Yet, being able to see what might happen in the future, imagine what lies just around the bend, and prepare for the change that the future brings, is a critical skill for all leaders. Future vision requires insight. To stay ahead of the curve, you need to gather as much information, as well as critical analysis about this data, as is possible.
Gathering and Interpreting Useful Information is the Key to Staying Ahead of Disruptive Change
Our ability to see and prepare for the future comes down to our ability to gather and interpret useful intelligence.
Intelligence gathering, however, is about more than just collecting random information. To be useful, the intelligence that you gather should be targeted to your industry. Leaders want and need information that helps them to stay on top of breaking news and emerging trends as well as provides insider details and tips.
Ideally, your intelligence operations will help you to stay abreast of current news, historical progressions and also provide analysis that helps you to be able to foresee new movements, course changes and shifts before they happen. Your intelligence gathering should also give you the capability to keep an eye on your competition, as well as connect you with groups of like-minded individuals that can help you expand your existing networks and position you to see and seize new opportunities for growth. It should also enable you to keep informed and up-to- date with all of your contacts in all of your networks.
LinkedIn is a one stop portal that simplifies intelligence gathering and analysis!
LinkedIn isn’t Just for Networking – it’s a Portal for Intelligence Gathering and Analysis!
LinkedIn is probably best known as a professional networking tool. As a leader, you are probably already well aware that LinkedIn is where most professionals around the world come together and connect, learn and share.
In addition to being a place where you can post your resume and connect with others, LinkedIn has several features that make it easy to gather and analyse useful information.
Through LinkedIn Pulse, you can stay atop of the latest news in your industry. In addition to news on a large, even global, scale, LinkedIn also allows you to stay current with the latest promotions, work anniversaries, career changes and other important events in your network of connections.
LinkedIn Groups allows you to follow companies and brands and contribute to discussions. You can also use this feature to connect with others who share your interests so that you can expand your network. Finding people that share your goals, and locating promising new talent to recruit and inspire to join your team has never been easier!
The platform even helps you to establish your authority, shape public opinion, become recognised as an expert, and initiate new trends and disruptive changes of your own! By allowing you to write and publish your own thought provoking pieces on LinkedIn Pulse, it provides a platform for you to share your vision with other key influencers and leaders who are truly interested in your analysis and insight.
LinkedIn helps you stay ahead of the curve, while allowing you to guide and engineer the very future that you are trying to glimpse and prepare for!
Are you ready to shake up the status quo and change the world? Great! Get in touch today and learn how we can help you to lead transformational change within yourself and within your organisation!
When most of us think about meeting the needs of our fellow colleagues and peers however, we tend to think mainly about what physical resources they need to achieve their goals.
For example, if we offer someone more training and education and more opportunities to take on challenges, will they grow and develop both personally and professionally and achieve more success for themselves and for the company?
If we allow someone greater flexibility in their scheduling, or perhaps grant a department more payroll dollars, will they actually achieve more and do better work than just leaving things the way that they are now?
Why Happiness and Emotional Health isn’t Even on the Radar for Many Leaders
Few leaders, even really great ones, ever stop to think about the mental and emotional health and well-being of their team members. For most, this is not an issue where leaders don’t care how their team members feel so much as some leaders fear that they might be prying. Other leaders worry that they might offend a team member if they ask how they are doing and if there is something that we can do to make their work and their lives easier for them.
Some falsely believe that there is nothing that can be done to increase happiness and satisfaction in their workplace so they simply leave any concerns unacknowledged.
Probably the most popular myth that holds leaders back from being concerned about happiness on their team is the false belief that happiness in the workplace can be increased simply by offering someone a greater salary or other material reward.
Putting the Team’s Emotional Health and Happiness First is the Key to Leadership Success
The results of several studies reported in an infographic earlier this year at Hubspot clearly indicate that leaders and companies that put their team’s happiness at work reap a number of benefits. Teams with greater emotional stability and levels of happiness have members with greater engagement, creativity and problem solving abilities.
Teams with happy members also help companies operate more smoothly and efficiently and even increased the bottom line at many Fortune 100 companies by an average of 22% in one year alone! Unhappy teams are also quite costly, as unhappiness can increase indirectly increase company healthcare costs to treat addiction and mental illness in their workforce.
Based on this research, leaders can increase the performance of their teams, and experience more success, by making the effort to increase the happiness and emotional health of their teams!
Steps to Take to Increase the Emotional Health of Your Team
As reported in the same infographic at Hubspot (http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/happiness-matters-at-work) , happiness in the workplace really isn’t an accident. There are a number of steps that leaders can take to lighten the level of stress that their teams experience and increase their happiness and productivity.
Break for It! Encourage your team to take breaks about every hour and a half or so, and lead by example and take breaks yourself! Teams that take breaks come back to their work with greater focus and the ability to think more creatively, which will boost their ability to come up with new ideas, improvements and solutions!
Make it Meaningful. Give your team members work that has meaning, so that they feel that their efforts matter and will be more willing to put forth their best efforts.
Help Your Team Define their Personal “Why.” Why do your work?” “Why are you here?” “Who benefits when you do your best?” Knowing why you are at work, and reminding yourself who benefits from your effort,” can increase team’s feelings of responsibility and pride. Encourage your team to figure out their own personal “why,” and also encourage them to remember their “why” throughout their day.
Variety adds Energy. Doing the same thing, day in, day out, is monotonous and boring, so cross train your team and rotate assignments, as well as shake things up with completely new twists to the work day, to keep your team from becoming bored and burning out. A popular belief is that having a routine provides a sense of security, when in reality it can feel very dull and stressful. So offer your team a variety of tasks as often as possible.
Boost Esteem and Well-Being with Empowerment. Reduce the stress levels of your team by ditching your micro-managing ways and grant them autonomy to make decisions. Giving your team more control will increase their sense of fulfillment and help them to grow.
Share, Consult, And Create. Show your team just how important, and trusted that they are by sharing your insider knowledge with them. Open the lines of communication and increase cooperation by allowing them to offer feedback and to help design projects, set benchmarks and measure their own success.
Rather than leading through direction, lead through partnership and collaboration. When success is achieved, don’t hog the spotlight! Share the credit, recognition and rewards from your mutual creations!
As you place a greater focus on creating an emotionally healthy workplace and increasing the happiness levels of every member of your team, you will see an increase in productivity and efficiency and reap the rewards in the form of greater leadership success!
If you need some further guidance on how to get started transforming your workplace and your team, get in touch today we’re here to help!
Thought leadership is a definite buzzword in today’s business world, but that does not make it any less relevant. However, what does it mean and how can you use it to your advantage in a competitive market?
A breakdown of thought leadership
Thought leadership is essentially a component of content marketing and is all about tapping into the talent and experience of your team or business and presenting it in a useful and digestible manner. Used by B2Bs and consumer-oriented companies, it is all about answering those questions asked by your peers and customers consistently and in an authentic manner.
While there may be a lot of noise in your industry, it is important that you raise your voice to be heard. Your viewpoint does not necessarily have to be different to others in your field every time but differentiate when it suits to help you stand out from others.
What can you share?
To enable your audience to see your point of view you can share best practices, strategies, how-tos and information that is relevant to your field. You want to inspire others to buy your product or partner with your organisation. The platforms for doing this are made more voluminous with online technology, corporate websites and social media networks – think multiple channels. Be as engaging as possible through videos and articles.
Take advantage of every opportunity that arises and add value to the conversation rather than just additional noise. The information you present has to be in-depth and well-researched to meet any challenges surrounding the topic.
Tap into the corporate talent
Being seen as an authority comes with much responsibility and can pay off in many areas of a business, particularly when presented in an inspirational manner. It can come from your executives, leaders, product managers, designers – all have information worth sharing and a unique point of view to offer.
Why go to the effort?
With a strong focus on branding, it is all about communicating from the start of the consumer journey right through to the end. Throw open those doors and allow them to see the full picture. By turning your leaders into thought leaders then you become a real business with real people and real faces rather than just a logo. This is your opportunity to be more innovative than your competitors and come at it from a different perspective.
Having leaders with informed opinions can raise the profile of your organisation ten-fold. They show how to inspire and demonstrate to others how to replicate their success. And these ideas can ultimately cross industries, niches and even continents. Seeking such a meaningful engagement will ensure that others tag along for the ride especially when tied to current business approaches, strategies and trends.
Having a great product or a successful business is a great base for a thought leader but with careful work and consideration, a thought leader can emerge from within your own corporate ranks. Not only does it help with corporate goals but it also enables professional accomplishments at a whole new level.
Getting our team the resources that they need to meet their goals and objectives and perform at a high level is a key focus of many leaders. Looking out for our team members, and their well-being isn’t just good for them, it’s good for us, and our companies. However, being a leader isn’t just about high performance and chasing success so that we can receive more recognition or make more money and earn more rewards.
In order to be a great leader, we must have a servant’s heart and help others. By placing the needs of others above our own, we build incredibly powerful bonds of trust, respect and cooperation. These bonds make everyone open to sharing and collaboration.
Everyone becomes more willing to work together. By working together and helping one another, we achieve more than any of us would by working alone and doing all of the tasks ourselves.
LinkedIn is one of the more efficient social networking websites when it comes to leaders, executives and those interested in connecting with others to further their career. Think of it as a virtual business card. If your executive profile is not laid out in an orderly manner, it will be glanced at and suitably put aside, failing to receive even a second glance. The alternative promises a brighter future for those who take their careers seriously. So let’s take some time to get noticed for all the right reasons.
Everyone comes from a different background and therefore an executive profile is going to be as unique as your career and your goals. Personalise it with a quality, professional photograph and a distinctive header image to represent your brand and vision. While marketing is often left to corporations, professional branding for individuals is just as important to show your connection and recruiters what you represent. Make sure your heading stands out and include any necessary keywords to contribute to making your profile more searchable for those seeking individuals in your field.
Fill in the Gaps
It is important to take your time to go through each section and fill it out as accurately as you can. List any previous key positions, your educational background and accompany with relevant photographs and videos. Summarise your aspirations and your goals to let others know the direction in which you wish to head. Write for your readers. What information do they want to see? What might be relevant or interesting from their perspective? Feel free to add links to your other social media pages and websites which may be of use to others.
Keep it Updated
It is important that you keep updating your LinkedIn profile with regular blog posts or sharing of entertaining, yet relevant information. It keeps your followers interested and is an excellent way to start a dialogue or two on a given subject. You just never know where a thought provoking topic may lead. Consider them as icebreakers to get the conversation started.
Maintain your Privacy
LinkedIn allows you to maintain as much control and confidentiality as possible. You can choose to share as much or as little of the information either publically or privately within your network. It is important that you always maintain professionalism with all of your posts and updates.
Grow Those Connections
Once you have taken the time to create an executive profile that meets your needs, it is important to start working on those connections. Research individuals and invite them to connect with your profile. Ideally, you want an active profile with new connections being added on a regular basis to keep it fresh.
All of these things may only take a short period of time to optimise, but the result is one very elegant looking LinkedIn profile; one which will garner not just a second glance, but an in-depth read. You never know who may be reading your profile so it is important that your executive profile is visitor-ready to increase those connections.