So how are you doing with all those good intentions, resolutions, goals or new habits that you decided to commit to at the beginning of the year?
If I look at myself then I would say I am doing better with some than others, there are certain actions that are proving more difficult to embed as habits than others. When I work with both business and private clients keeping the momentum going over a long period of time and working out how to embed certain behaviours or habits that the individual wants to work on is by far the hardest part of the change process.
So let’s take a work example to illustrate a couple of things that can help embed new ways of improving or creating new actions moving forwards:
A leader I have been working with for several months was struggling to commit her time to holding regular Team Meetings and hold monthly 1-1,s with her direct reports. She had had various attempts at putting the meetings in the diary and had also managed to keep the momentum going with a few meetings but it never lasted more than a couple of months. She began to think it didn’t matter as she sat quite close to the people they all chatted every day and they were having the occasional meeting. Deep down however she knew that the regular pattern she had originally set out to achieve hadn’t been embedded to become routine practice plus the fact that these two activities in my view (as her coach) were key to maintaining individuals motivation, aiding consistent communication and managing performance issues. It took a couple of events to refocus the leaders attention back to the important “why” did she want to work on improving this area in the first place. The two events were a high performing member of the team handed in her notice as she felt she wasn’t been challenged or developed enough in the role plus in the end of year appraisal feedback the Team commented that they often didn’t know what was going on in other areas of the business. When we discussed both of theses events at a coaching discussion it was clear that if the regular 1-1’s had been happening with everyone and team meetings were a given part of daily operations then these two events might not have occurred.
So this illustration shows there has to be a solid reason behind why you want to embed new behaviours or change the way you do things.
Ask yourself the question for anything you intended to do at the beginning of 2018 what was your “why” was it strong enough? Is it still there?
Also who are you accountable ? It really helps if you share what you would like to work on with someone else and ask them to be your accountability buddy until the new habit or action becomes embedded in your routine.
Sandra works as a coach to both businesses and private clients – more information can be found at http://www.sandrawebbercoaching.com. She has also written a book called Own It which can be found on Amazon at http://amzn.to/2m3l8Vl
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
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
The 12 Emotional Steps
I am a planner by nature and whenever I embark on a project the first thing I do is draw up a master plan. This normally works in my favour enabling me to manage workload, meet deadlines, engage other involved parties and set up contingencies in case things go wrong. So when I think I have planned for every eventuality and something happens that blows the plan completely out of the water it is quite a shock and an experience that isn’t that familiar.
- The first emotion is shock – wow I wasn’t expecting that!
- The second emotion is disbelief – how did that happen, events that were completely unpredictable with the knowledge at that given time.
- The third is anger – how can this be happening to me?
- The fourth is disappointment – the master plan didn’t work and I thought it would
- The fifth is uncertainty – now what do I do, I thought this was going to happen and now it isn’t
- The sixth emotion is annoyance as others try and rationalise and suggest alternative courses of action to the one you wanted.
- The seventh – bouncing between acceptance and disappointment gradually more days of acceptance rather than any other emotion
- The eighth – learning and questions, so what did I learn about the plan, the process and myself and what do I want to do now
- The ninth – possible alternatives come into mind and get serious consideration
- The tenth – acceptance of situation, acceptance of any personal learnings and the acceptance of an alternative way forwards
- The eleventh – uncertainty again during the evaluation of all alternatives and decision on one way forwards – will it be as good as the one I originally planned for
- The twelfth – enthusiasm around the new alternative chosen
Now the big question – how much planning do I do for my new option? – should I be less attached to the outcome and more fluid with my planning. Should I trust in what will be will be rather than planning things with military precision and going through the twelve emotional steps above or is that just life?
Make space to enjoy your surroundings
Someone asked me this question earlier in the year regarding my diary management, however as the months have gone on I have used this question for both my own time management but also in some of the coaching conversations that I am having with our clients.
How often do we look at how we are using our time and assess are we spending the time on the right things. In our Time Management Programmes we state that one resource that we all have equally unlike money, talent, skills etc is time. We all have 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week and 12 months in a year. How we use it, however is our choice.
- When it comes to Job Hunting , are you making enough space in the diary for networking, putting your face in front of the agencies? So that people see your personality rather than just a curriculum vitae on their desk.
- When it comes to Leading People are you making time for quality 1-1’s with your direct reports? To understand their individual personality and motivation.
- When you are Running a Business are you making time to put together a solid strategic plan? Schedule some time away from the office to simply think where do you want to take the business.
No matter what role you have, and why this question was originally asked of me was, are you making enough space in your diary for “unstructured time” so that you are not running from one meeting or appointment to another?
Enjoy the space.