In the past few years, we have been delivering more and more Team Alignment and Leadership Workshops. I am hearing the same stories and experiences across all these teams – the need to align, collaborate, lead, innovate and keep moving forward in being a stronger and resilient team. As technology and the world advance, workplaces find themselves up against an almost constant stream of challenges, whether in the form of workplace bullying, the restructuring of organisations, micro-managing, ridiculously large workloads and having no support from leaders or the rest of the team. Workplaces also liaise and work more with companies in other countries, which means different time zones have put an end to the ‘traditional’ working hours of 9-5 (or similar), leaving less downtime. Technological advancements can also be overwhelming, trying to keep up with the expertise and skills needed to take advantage of it. So what is the answer to dealing with these issues, and just how do they affect your company’s bottom line?
When your team is feeling overwhelmed, stressed or upset when facing the challenges of the modern workplace, you’ll see a decline in productivity and employee morale, and a sharp increase in staff turnover. You might think some people just handle stress better than others, but there are things you can do to help your staff improve their handling of these challenges – to help build their resilience.
Resilience is, essentially, the handling of stressors and problems without folding under the pressure. You’ll find some people do their best work when faced with being stressed, but you can still teach others in the workplace how to build up their resilience, to produce better results and better handle all that their work throws at them.
Here are some tips to help your team manage (and/or build) their resilience:
Improve social interactions at work
When employees have a reliable social network in a workplace that promotes open communication, you’ll see them thrive in no time. When they love coming to work, they’ll be more productive too. Being sympathetic as a leader, providing opportunities for teamwork and holding social events for the workplace will help boost your team’s relationships.
Promote a happy and healthy environment
Along with helping your team build beneficial relationships at work, there are many other ways you can improve your workplace’s psychological environment:
- Be an approachable and open leader
- Don’t regularly restructure or change the roles, procedures, and expectations of the environment, in turn providing a feeling of job security
- Watch that workloads don’t get excessive, and provide variety in tasks to keep your team interested
- Have other leaders or managers trained to be more aware of the team’s wellbeing
- Show that you trust your team by letting them have a degree of autonomy
- Be flexible with how your team can work; offer differing hours or to work from home if needed
- Be sure to recognise and reward great work
- Invest in training your staff in new skills
- Be fair
People who feel valued, trusted and supported by their leaders will be empowered to handle the challenges that come their way without crumbling, improving their resilience.
Take challenges as an opportunity for teaching
When you treat problems or failures as learning opportunities, you’ll be demonstrating resilience to your team, and showing them ways to look at challenges in a different light, helping them build their own resilience as well. Be sure to explain how not everything will work, but that’s okay as it’s still an important part of ultimately succeeding. Workplaces face challenges often, and modeling resilience for your team will be a great influence when a problem arises.
At the end of each working day (or week), tell your team what you believe was a success that day (or week), and ask them what they believe went well too. Focusing on the positives is a great exercise to help your team realise that there’s always something to be grateful for, which is essential when building resilience.
These tips will help you empower your team and manage their resilience in the workplace, leading to less staff turnover, and an increase in morale and productivity. Take the time to work on your own resilience as well, so that you can effectively model it for your team. Don’t forget that your team looks to you as an example; how you handle workplace challenges directly influences your staff and provides them with ideas on how to react.
Reach out to LeadershipHQ about our Team Alignment and Development Workshops and Programs at https://leadershiphq.com.au/
Sonia McDonald is one of Globe’s leading leadership executive coaches and keynote speakers, as well as an advisor, thought leader, and author. She’s also CEO and founder of LeadershipHQ and has been named as one of the Top 100 Australian Entrepreneurs and Top 250 Influential Women in the world. LeadershipHQ is leading the way in leadership and partner with Organisations and Businesses such as Qantas, Thiess, Super Retail Group, Brickworks, Kane Constructions, Bartons, EY, Maurice Blackburn, Grant Thorton, and Minter Ellison. LeadershipHQ partner with businesses in building great leadership and people development through their cutting edge and high impact leadership programs, coaching, workshops, resources, and events.
Sonia has worked, coached and spoken in front of people around the world, encouraging them to succeed by reaching their full potential and inspiring leadership greatness. Sonia has written several books on leadership: Leadership Attitude, Just Rock It! and Neuroscience of Leadership, and she writes regularly for publications such as The Australian, HRD Magazine, Smart Healthy Women and Women’s Business Media. She has been published in BBC Capital, The Australian, HRD Magazine, Business Insider and Richtopia. She has spoken at numerous leading conferences, companies, and events across the world with her vision to create authentic, kind and courageous leaders and organisations.
My wish for 2019 for the leaders (remember leadership is an Attitude, Mindset, and Action) of the world – let’s be Human. I think this is what the world is craving for – Connection and Compassion as human beings.
At this time of year, I watch all those cheesy and wonderful Christmas Movies. One of my favourites is Love Actually. I love the scene at the airport where all the people are arriving at Heathrow and they are so excited and happy. They are hugging and embracing their loved ones. It occurred to me that this is a place where you can say that is love all around – and connection is all around. Don’t you agree? We might say we are all different however we are all the same – we need connection. Did you know we are social beings and this is important in leadership?
The business of business is relationships; the business of life is human connection. Robin S. Sharma
I always find the week before Xmas is interesting. There always seems to be this mad panic to get everything done before the holidays. Everyone was racing around, walking faster along the streets, checking their phones was more evident and in a rush to have meetings and conversations. In turn, so many of my clients were canceling meetings and coaching as they got just too busy. I was really conscious of not being caught up in the busyness and crazy rush of closing the year off for the upcoming Christmas break. So I don’t buy into it – ever.
Why? It stops me from being in the moment and connecting with those around me and being compassionate to them and myself. It is this time of year we need to take care of ourselves and others.
And are we really that busy? Are we? What happened to being in the moment and being human?
Thing is regardless of what time of year or where we are at (we don’t need an airport to feel connection) – we need to start being human.
So imagine the simplicity of just saying hello and asking a stranger at a coffee shop how they are, calling someone to say hello instead of an SMS or being truly present when we are with our loved ones or with the people around us. Saying thank you for making my coffee, being there for me and asking if someone needs help.
No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. Aesop
Imagine the power of letting go of judging ourselves or others, being kind to ourselves when we fail or letting go of any expectations of the world and being grateful for what we have and where you are at. Imagine talking to ourselves like we would to someone we love. Imagine if we embraced this connection, compassion, and kindness as leaders in 2019. Where busyness or being on 24/7 is just a fad.
This is something I am truly committed to and passionate about. Compassion, kindness, and connection. You can read more about this in my latest book JUST ROCK IT!
In turn, I highly recommend you watch Brene Brown’s TED Talk called Power of Vulnerability too. Brene studies human connection — our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity.
If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. Dalai Lama
Imagine a world where we truly appreciate and love the element of being human and we can create moments where we can make a difference to humanity by connecting and being compassionate. Where time and love are our most precious resources, not money, power, titles or things. Imagine leaders of the world being human. This is leadership.
It starts with us.
Below are My Top My Top Twenty 2019 Affirmations for being Compassionate to YOU.
1. I am worthy.
2. I can do anything I set my mind to.
3. I am stronger than I think.
4. I am the master of my own life.
5. I cannot control others’ actions, only my reaction to them.
6. I am me. I am unique. There is nobody else like me.
7. Nothing has beaten me yet; I can overcome any obstacle.
8. Who I was in the past does not reflect on who I am today.
9. I take each day as a new chance to do and be better.
10. I will always make the best of a situation.
11. I will look for the positives in everything, even if I can’t immediately see any.
12. I am grateful.
13. I am proud of myself and all I have achieved.
14. I have many talents and skills.
15. I can and will harness my power to make the life I want.
16. I know my worth, even if others don’t see it.
17. I deserve happiness.
18. There’s no limit to what I can achieve.
19. It will all turn out alright in the end.
20. I can do IT.
Author – Sonia McDonald, Keynote Speaker, Executive Coach and CEO of LeadershipHQ
Sonia McDonald is one of Globe’s leading leadership executive coaches and keynote speakers, as well as an advisor, thought leader, and author. She’s also CEO and founder of LeadershipHQ, and through this, she empowers people to discover their own innate talent and strengths.
Named as one of the Top 100 Australian Entrepreneurs and Top 250 Influential Women in the world, Sonia is shaking up the traditional view of leadership, and along the way she has uncovered some outstanding leadership talent which had previously gone unnoticed.
Sonia is internationally recognised as an expert in leadership and strategy, organisational development, workplace diversity and the neuroscience of leadership.
Sonia has also coached people around the world, encouraging them to succeed by reaching their full potential. She has helped hundreds of people build their brands, grow their leadership and business strategies, increase their confidence, build awareness, increase their business revenue, connect to the right people, build exceptional skills and achieve brilliant businesses and careers.
Sonia has written several books on leadership: Leadership Attitude, Just Rock IT! and Neuroscience of Leadership, and she writes regularly for publications such as The Australian, HRD Magazine, Smart Healthy Women and Women’s Business Media. She has been published in BBC Capital, The Australian, HRD Magazine, Business Insider and Richtopia.
Yesterday literally three people whom I had coffee with said to me; “Sonia please make sure you take time off this Xmas.” I know I work hard however it is obvious I need to take time off I thought to myself. Yes, it is for all of us during this time. You might think it seems crazy to even be writing about this topic – after all, aren’t holidays about forgetting about work and relaxing? But the truth is that great leaders never truly stop reflecting, seeking feedback and improving and sharpening the saw on their leadership. In fact, when you’re away from your work environment you might even be able to step back enough to gain a new perspective on things and get yourself ready to improve after your time off.
Here are six tips on how to use your time wisely when reflecting on your leadership over Christmas.
1. Don’t let it consume your whole holiday
This is the most important thing to remember! While effective leaders are always reflecting on their leadership, you do need to make sure you take time out for yourself to unwind and de-stress, and to spend time with your family as well over the holiday period.
2. Be honest with yourself
If you aren’t completely honest about your successes and failures, strengths and weaknesses, you’ll never grow. Identifying these areas of improvement are what will help you become a better leader, as long as you follow through on them! It’s not fun to think about things we can’t do well, or what we can do better, but you need to have these tough conversations with yourself to grow as a person and a leader.
3. Look at your leadership as a whole
It’s not just about reflecting on your results (KPIs etc.), your wins and your losses, but how you interacted with your team and those above you, what you did to improve your leadership over the past year, whether you sought feedback or not; everything that makes up your leadership self.
4. Celebrate the wins
Make sure you take the time to acknowledge what you’ve done well, and really celebrate any wins you’ve had with your leadership – whether that’s leading your team to an incredible result, or receiving an award recognising your efforts. These are especially handy to reflect on when you’re feeling down on yourself; they boost your spirits and remind you that you CAN do this!
5. Plan for changes and action in the new year
Once you’ve assessed your strengths and what you could improve upon, it’s time to plan out what you’re going to do in the upcoming year to make these changes happen. Examples include: planning to ask for feedback on a more regular basis, making a conscious effort to change the way you communicate, and signing up for workshops or seminars.
6. Make a list of books, blogs, podcasts etc. that will help you improve
Great leaders never stop learning! Once you’ve reflected on your leadership, you can then start researching and asking friends, colleagues, even your mentor if you have one, for recommendations for books, podcasts, TED Talks, etc. that will help you improve. You must be hungry for knowledge, never complacent and thinking you know it all or your leadership will suffer. I love Leadership Attitude and Just Rock It! (had to do a plug!). Listen to Just Rock IT! Podcast too as it will truly motivate you over Xmas…
Strike the right balance these Christmas holidays, by making the most of your time away from work to both spend quality time with your loved ones, and reflect on your leadership during the past year. While reflection isn’t always pleasant, especially when you’re looking back on things that didn’t go well, it’s vital to being a truly great and authentic leader.
This is a daily conversation when I meet with people. You are a superhero and I don’t know how you do it and how you juggle everything. Do you feel like this?
I don’t know why I look away when someone says I don’t know how you do it. I don’t know what to say. I just do it. However, there are days when I think the same thing. There are days where I feel I need to get my cape out of my draws and be that Super Hero. My daughter even bought me a Wonder Women cape from Movie World; it made me smile.
“There is a superhero in all of us, we just need the courage to put on the cape.” Superman
The last few years have been the toughest I have ever encountered. I am a full-time single mum who is working incredibly hard to build, run and grow a company with a teenage daughter with deliberating mental health issues. For those parents who say it gets easier, I say when? I truly love what I do however my greatest learning is that I am not a superhero. Even though it is so important to believe you can achieve and do anything you put your mind to, it is important that we also need to understand we are human.
Thing is I keep hearing stories from so many people who feel overwhelmed and are working in full on executive jobs, juggling kids and family, fitting in life, meetings, racing around dropping off kids at school, managing staff and just peddling…and so forth.
Even at times, I feel the constant pressure too. I need to be a great leader, a great coach, be a great mum, achieve as an entrepreneur, a great friend, daughter, peer…be all these hats when I just want to be me and breath. I have all these expectations of myself – and those around me at the time do as well. The overwhelm and pressure to be a Superhero or Super Human…
How do we do it all? We can’t. This is why I love coaching in this space because I get it and keep it real.
“You don’t need to be a superhero. You just need to be better than you were yesterday.”
Then a few weeks ago I came back from Melbourne after being a Keynote Speaker and I crashed. My body shut down and I was in bed incredibly sick for a week. I didn’t listen to my body. I thought I could handle the 60 hour week and be that Super Hero. I was wrong.
However, I do manage and this is what I focus on for my clients and myself.
Here are my top tips for being YOU (Not Super Hero YOU – even though we can still put on the cape!) –
- Great Awareness and Mindset – focus on being you and knowing who you are. Don’t be someone else and own and accept you. Focus on your strengths and the difference you bring to the world by being YOU. Even the super hero’s focus on their strengths and mindset. They also know their areas of weaknesses and don’t let it stop them.
- Stop thinking you need it all or can do it all at once. We can have it all but not at the same time. Stop being on all the time. Take time off and just be. Meditate and practice mindfulness.
- Compassion and self-belief – the greatest gift you can give yourself is to love yourself (truly and utterly) and have belief and faith in yourself. Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love. Confidence is also the best outfit you can wear. Remember to practice affirmations regularly. Every week I get my clients to send me their goals and affirmations and it really makes a difference.
- Laugh – have fun and laugh, laugh, laugh. Remember life is too short to take things so seriously, let it go. Please do things that you love to do like singing, painting, walking, seeing a movie…anything that brings you joy.
- Tribe – focus on asking on surrounding yourself with people who truly love and support you. Remember to take care of them and also ask for help if you feel like your superhero powers need some strength.
- Practice kindness – Practice kindness to yourself and to others. Make a difference to someone else each and every day no matter how small. Make sure you have amazing and kind thoughts each day. Leadership is about practicing kindness to those around you – that’s being a SUPERHERO!
As Superman said it does take courage to put on the cape and it takes more courage to take it off and just – BE YOU. Be your OWN Super Hero!
By the way my cape in now in the wash!
if you would love to know more about being the best version of you – find out more about our Programs today and join The Leadership Collective.
Contact me today for my favourite Rock It Manifesto at [email protected] and find out more about our amazing blogs at LeadershipHQ (Named in TOP 10 Australian Leadership Blogs).
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