How Well Do I Lead My Team?

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For some companies the end of the calendar year also coincided with the annual appraisal process in which, if done well, each person comes out the other end of the process having had a really good discussion with their line manager on areas in which they are doing well, some areas where improvements need to be made and with a new set of very focussed goals that are both meaningful and motivational for the individual and to support business strategy.

Conducting a meaningful appraisal is just one of the skills any leader needs to learn. A leader should also have as part of their appraisal a discussion about how they are performing in the leadership role and ask the question of themselves throughout the year “how well do I lead my team?”

In some of the companies I work with we go out and collect feedback for leaders prior to the annual appraisal process and ask both direct reports, peers, customers, senior managers and other key stakeholders. This feedback is summarised and then discussed with the individual leader to ratify things that are working well and areas of development.

If you can get this type of feedback either via a systematic online generated questionnaire and report (360 degree feedback) or a more informal process it is hugely valuable. I have seen leaders transform their leadership ability based on such feedback as they didn’t realise how important their behaviour was on a day to day basis and what their team expected of them.

The type of actions that can result from a critical review of your leadership style on a regular basis can range from instigating  or reinvigorating regular team meetings, scheduling meaningful 1-1’s on a monthly basis with each member of your team to redefining entire team structure and clarifying roles and responsibilities.

The important thing to realise that it doesn’t matter if you are a leader with years and years of experience or if this is your first leadership role there are always areas where improvements can be made and also its nice to know what you are doing well!

 

Sandra works with numerous businesses across the UK and runs workshops on Leading and Developing High Performing Teams. Find our more information from either http://www.thekudosgroup.com or http://www.sandrawebbercoaching.com 

 

 

 

Career Health Check

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As we are still at the start of the year it’s a good time to take some time out to review career health alongside any lifestyle or well being audit you may have already done.

In my work as a career and performance coach my discussions with clients often centre around how they can either

  1. Change careers
  2. Get more enjoyment out of their work
  3. Get better at their work
  4. Minimise the amount of stress they are experiencing at work
  5. Hand some difficult characters at work
  6. Raise their profile at work
  7. Progress to the next level in their company, industry etc
  8. Be brave and make some drastic changes e.g. like number 1 above or setting up their own business

The people who I love to meet are those people who really love what they do in both life and work. As most people spend a large percentage of the week at work its important that if there is something not quite working right in this aspect of our life that you first identify it and then put in place some actions to make improvements

So, in this first month of the year ask yourself the following questions?

  • Looking back at 2017 how happy am I with my work out of 10 (1- not happy at all, hate it to 10 – happy and enjoy it a lot)
  • Which bits of your working life do you love? Make sure you keep doing this.
  • Which bits are you unhappy with – what action can you take?
  • Do you feel you are using your full potential at work? If not, which skills are you not using? How can you plan to utilise these more?
  • Did you undertake any training or development work for yourself in 2017? Have you got anything else planned for this year? Often leaders spend so much time developing their team they forget about themselves.
  • Do you have clear goals or areas of focus for 2018? If not identify at least one
  • How is your work/life balance and stress levels – any work needed here in 2018 – what small habits can you change.

Take an hour out this month and conduct a mini career health check on yourself, pick a couple of actions and then repeat the process half way through the year.

 

Sandra works as a coach for Businesses and Private Clients. More information can be found at http://www.sandrawebbercoaching.com. She is also author of the self development book Own It available from Amazon http://amzn.to/2m3l8Vl

 

 

 

New Challenges Mean New Frustrations

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Anyone who knows me or has read my book Own It will know that I always like to be working on a new challenge however sometimes I do wonder why I do this as it is not always easy.

 I love the initial phase when a new idea bubbles up or just comes completely out of the blue in what I call a moment of clarity! It’s happened to me many a time e.g. Deciding to qualify as an accountant in the 1980’s, setting up the business in 2000, doing my first triathlon and then an Ironman! Well the challenge that came up from nowhere this April while on holiday in Lanzarote was I want to learn Spanish and be above average.

 So, the familiar pattern starts, and I secured a Spanish teacher before the return flight landed at Bristol airport and I was telling everyone this was my new “non-work” project. I discovered a brilliant app Duolingo thanks to a client who recommended it and initially everything was great.

 Now nearly eight months later reality has hit learning Spanish is hard and requires a lot of time and effort. I keep meeting an amazing amount of people who I didn’t realise can speak Spanish well some who did A levels or degrees in it. I have also met a lot more people who have embarked on a similar project, maybe with a different language, who have given up when they got to the stage I am currently at. It’s not as easy as I thought it was going to be. I am myself at that decision point, how much do I want this? Is my reason for doing this strong enough?

 Well at the time of writing yes, I am still fully committed to learning this language even though it’s not going to be as easy as I originally thought. I am going to have to put more effort and time into this if I want to achieve my goal however you will notice I didn’t put a timeline on this challenge and this was for a reason I wanted it to be a fun, non-work-related pastime. I certainly know an awful lot more Spanish than I did in April of this year and I need to remember this. My understanding and recognition of words is much better however there is still a lot more work to be done in pronunciation and understanding what is been said by the natives rather than a slower paced Spanish lesson.

 So, it’s a challenge you bet it is and it’s tougher than I thought but that is ok it just might take a bit longer than I originally thought and I have now got great respect for those people who can fluently speak a second language.

 

 

 Sandra works as a coach or Businesses and Private Clients. She is also author of the book Own It regain control and live life on your terms available from Amazon http://amzn.to/2m3l8Vl

 

 

Celebrate Success

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As we are about to enter the season of festivity and celebration it reminded me of the need to ensure we celebrate success, achievements or just continuous hard work throughout the year rather than just at set times.

In the work I do coaching leaders at all levels of the organisation I encourage them to routinely catch people when they do the right things and behave in the right way as this has a dual benefit. Firstly, everyone feels good when they get some positive feedback and recognition plus when we acknowledge that we have noticed someone getting good results, behaving in line with company values or in a professional way it reinforces the message that we want to see more or similar in the future. Most of us have experienced the way that if you laugh or acknowledge a small child behaving in a certain way they keep doing it to get a similar response. As adults it is no different we still like to please those around us.

The way in which you choose to celebrate success however must be individual and meaningful to the recipient and this is where the skill lies. It takes time for leader to get to know each member of the team especially if they have a wide span of control. In my experience this is time well spent understanding each person’s individual personality, building a picture of what is important to that person’s life inside and outside of work plus also identifying their motivational mix; what makes them tick. Once you have built a pen picture of each person it is much easier to work out what type of reward or recognition would likely work for that person when it comes to celebrating success or a period of hard work and dedication. Some people will like to be publicly recognized in front of their peers or senior management while others would like a simple thankyou behind closed doors.

This type of tailored approach is equally important regardless of the size of the team or business. In my work across all sectors and size of company it is most often the individual leader that makes this happen and it becomes part of their leadership toolkit they can take with them throughout their careers.

So, I challenge you how good are you at recognising the efforts of others? is this something you are naturally good at and just need to continue in the way you are or is this something you could do a better job of in 2018. We need to look after our high performers and encourage the growth of future high performers

 

Sandra is a professional coach who works with both organisations and private client. More info can be found at www.sandrawebbercoaching.com

Bite Sized Chunks

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One of the many training courses I went on during my corporate career was Time Management. We all got sent away after two days with a black Filofax and a binder of course notes. I must admit I still use the Filofax system to this day having had various attempts at putting it all on an electronic device it still works best for me. On this course however I remember hearing about ‘eating elephants’ as a way of tackling very big and complicated tasks. Again, although I don’t use the phrase eating elephants the concept of breaking projects down into bite sized chunks is still part of my everyday life and a technique that is recommended for any type of goal or project that initially seems scarily unachievable at the onset.

Many years later during my NLP training the concept of chunking came up as a technique like on the time management course but this training coincided with a major challenge I had set myself an Ironman Triathlon. The bit that scared me the most was the open water 3.8k swim for many reasons, I couldn’t swim front crawl proficiently and the whole exposure of open water with no safe pool sides to escape too sent me into a cold sweat. The way I got through that swim in August 2006 was breaking that massive scary swim down into bite sized chunks I literally swam from buoy to buoy only looking at the orange plastic thing in front of me in the dark water and then on the next one and the next one. It worked and amazingly I reached the end of the swim to face the 112-mile bike ride. Again, chunking worked it was a three-lap course and I broke each lap down into half so I had 6 bite sized chunks. Same with the marathon run, we had to run out of the town onto a dual carriage way and then out and back twice along the long hilly route before returning through the town back to the finish line, another 6 bite sized pieces. The whole 15-hour event I broke down in my head to manageable achievable elements.

The same approach can be applied to anything e.g. Decide what type of job you want, who advertises these jobs, who do you know who has access to these jobs, what type of CV is needed, interview practice, apply, get feedback, repeat etc.

 

Sandra Webber is author of Own It Book – regain control and live life on your terms. If you are interested in more information on action planning grab a copy on Amazon  http://amzn.to/2m3l8Vl and work though some of the exercises at the end of each chapter.

 

Peel Back The Layers

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If you are serious about your own personal development and continual growth an area of work that is never complete is building self-awareness. The majority of inspiring people that I have met in my life have had incredible self -awareness and saw this as an ongoing project and an area of their life that they were always willing to do more work on.

When I initially meet prospective coaching clients one of my first jobs is to ascertain how much work they have already done in this area. Some people have been lucky enough to have worked for organisations that have invested in people development and therefore these clients have attended training courses, developmental activities,360 degree feedback and even sometimes had psychometric assessments. Each one of these experiences has enabled the person to understand more about themselves, the good bits and the bad bits.

I was certainly privileged to have had such opportunities during my corporate career and learnt a lot however the learning hasn’t stopped since leaving and it is this ongoing commitment to personal development and self-awareness that is critical in achieving high performance either as an individual ,a leader of a team, in employment or self employed.

My advice would be to take every opportunity you can to learn more about yourself. What are your natural strengths? What are you passionate about? What interests you to the point that you choose to do it in your own time? What do you want to learn more about? What do others say that you are good at. What feedback have you had either formally or informally? What do you find easy to do? What are you motivated by?

On the other side of the coin what don’t you enjoy? What do you find difficult no matter how you try and apply yourself. What subject matter or tasks do you avoid as they don’t interest you? What feedback have you had from others regarding skills and behaviours you need to improve. What are you quite happy to pay others to do as you know this is more effective in terms of both money and time.

When looking at ourselves consider the following layers

  •  Personality … what do you naturally like doing and what are you naturally good at
  • Motivation…. what interests and inspires you, what makes you feel good
  • Confidence … what are you naturally confident doing
  • What are your values and beliefs… what is really important in your life, what do you stand for? What do you firmly believe in?
  • Attitude… day by day how would describe your attitude to daily life? How do you show up in the world? How would others describe you? A Ray of Sunshine always positive and inspiring , Cloudy – sometimes positive, sometimes negative or a Dark Storm – one of lifes victims.
  • Behaviour… what do you do and how do you behave day in day out.
  • Image … what image do you present to the world, how would others describe you?

These are just some of the things to consider as you become self aware.Learn more and how to apply this to audit and build your life plan in Own It available from Amazon http://amzn.to/2phNU6t

The Feel Good Factor Of Quality

Dormy HouseFor 24 hours last week I was reminded of how good it feels to experience quality service. Quality experiences along with quality products and the positive impression this creates is so important. It also makes me realise how rare these experiences are and that is why they do stand out head and shoulders above the average which is sometimes what we settle for or indeed accept as the norm.

From the first enquiry to the venue, through the confirmation process, to the initial personal welcome to departure; the whole environment and service throughout the stay was first class with attention to detail, unique finishing touches plus added extra surprises. In some of the training workshops Kudos have delivered over the years we have often encouraged organisations to ensure all the touch points with prospective or existing customers are positive and memorable. These touch points are often called “Moments of Truth” and can leave either positive or negative impressions. This venue did any outstanding job from start to finish, from the personal welcome on the steps through to the goodbye goodie bag issued at checkout. It appeared as if a lot of thought had gone into the entire customer experience with some surprises thrown in at various stages to solidify the exceptional experience.

This feel-good factor of quality can impact us as individuals on multiple levels. Here are two impacts just 24 hours had on me.

It got me thinking how often do we audit our own work to ensure our customers are experiencing excellent levels of service at each stage, is this consistent and does it cross across both the service and product part of our offering. When was the last time you walked through the entire customer experience and critically asked is this exceptional? What could we do to make it more outstanding so customers leave us and go and tell others how wonderful it was as this is what happens. When each of us have an exceptional experience, we tell others (it also works the other day when things are a disaster we also tell others probably even more so!) Another question to ask in the mini audit of our customer journey is what could be added in that is a little bit different to make this experience unique and memorable for the right reasons? What little twists could you offer that is over and above the norm?

The second thing I came away thinking was how good it feels to be surrounded by wall to wall natural rather than forced quality. Why should we settle for anything less? How can you get more of this in your life so that it becomes the norm and the standard you therefore set for yourself? A lot of the service I experienced over the last 24 hours was down to the attitude of all the people we met, they were attentive, professional, friendly, natural and delivered the element of the service they were responsible for to an extremely high standard. None of these things cost money so really, we can all do this and, we should all strive to surround ourselves by this especially if we are going through a challenging time, maybe having doubts or just not operating at our best.

In Own IT- regain control and live life on your terms: http://amzn.to/2nzRFne as part of the momentum chapter 6 I encourage people to have a ” what makes me feel good list ” I am just going to add “immersing myself in quality experiences” onto my own list as it feels good and it inspires as well. Also, when you audit who you are spending time with chapter 8 are you surrounding yourself with others that expect and deliver this level of service?

Thank you Dormy House http://bit.ly/T6XRnn  for inspiring this blog post and the recent experience … we will be back.