Trust, Responsibility and Accountability

I find I’m a little annoyed at the state of top public leadership here in the UK currently. Recently a senior politician has resigned, but only very reluctantly and not for the incompetence that they should actually have been sacked for long ago. It is so frustrating.

But the people I know in leadership positions in the workplace, aren’t like those politicians. Whether they’re in the public or the private sectors, the real leaders I know are Trustworthy, Responsible and Accountable.

Some questions for you:

  • Are you feeling the same about things at the moment – because maybe it’s just me?
  • What are your thoughts on what those qualities in the title of this post actually mean?
  • Are those qualities so difficult to grasp that it’s not possible to live up to them?

Maybe I’m too simplistic. But I do like things to be plain and understandable. If I was to define those qualities in the form of an easy to answer question, here’s what I think they mean:

Trustworthy – to me this means asking ourselves, “Did I actually do what I said I would do?”

Over time, you can build up a picture of who someone is on the basis of what they actually do. We are after all defined by our actions  – and they speak so much louder than words!

Responsible – to me this means asking ourselves, “Did I do the right thing?”

There’s an element of moral obligation for me in being responsible. It’s not just about being the person in charge – anybody can and should choose to take action and not ignore what needs to be done. And in so choosing, to choose to do the right thing.

Accountable – to me this means asking ourselves, “Am I willing to openly justify what I did?”

Accountable is often used as a synonym for responsible, but they’re not the same, as the definition above shows.

So leaders should:

  1. Do what they said they would
  2. Do the right things
  3. Be willing to openly justify what they did.

Measured against those definitions, how well do the leaders you know, at work and elsewhere measure up?

And how does your own leadership do against those?

Either leave a comment below if they’re still open at the time of reading, or tweet me @nickrobcoach.

Leaders should: • Do what they said they would; • Do the right things; • Be willing to openly justify what they did. Do you agree? Click To Tweet

 

 

 

 

Checklist for leading one on one meetings

This is the second in a series for people who want to use one-on-one meetings as a great tool for leading the efforts of their team members

A structured but flexible one-to-one meetings approach is probably the best way you’ll find for managing and motivating the work of your individual team members. But sometimes it isn’t easy to know how to go about doing that effectively, or to make sure that it will get the results you’d want – such as switched-on and fulfilled team members and tasks that get done well and on time.

If you right-click the image above and then select “Save as…” you can download your own copy of the checklist.

Life as a manager can often be very busy and quite complicated, so if that’s the case for you – use this checklist as a way of getting started, in this order:

  1. Take stock of which items on the checklist you already have in place or already know the answers to?
  2. Once you’ve done that, which is the most straightforward item on the checklist for you to work on next?

If you need more information, you can read the rest of the tips when published here. They’re essentially a summary of my short ebooklet.

Or go ahead and grab your copy from Amazon here – free to Kindle Unlimited members or otherwise £1.99

I wrote that short ebooklet when, in the space of a fortnight, three separate coaching clients mentioned that they were struggling a little with running their one-to-one meetings with their individual team members. It’s easy to cover those kinds of issues in a coaching session, but it seemed to me that it would make better use of my clients’ time in our sessions if I could also just give them some simple guidance to take away and use as and when they wanted. I hope that the booklet has been useful – it’s been slowly working its way up the independent management books charts anyway. The next in the series will cover Delegation.


What’s essential for you, when running your own one-on-one sessions with your team members? Either leave a comment below if they’re still open at the time of reading, or tweet me @nickrobcoach.

Download a free copy of this useful checklist for running great one-on-one meetings with your team members. No sign-ups etc required #leadership #management. Click To Tweet

 

 

 

How to get your mindset right for leading one on one meetings

This is the first in a series for people who want to use one-on-one meetings as a good tool for leading the efforts of their team members

It’s based on my short ebooklet available from Amazon here – free to Kindle Unlimited members or otherwise £1.99

You can read the rest of the tips when published here. They’re essentially a summary of the booklet.

By way of introduction, I wrote that short ebooklet when, in the space of a fortnight, three separate coaching clients mentioned that they were struggling a little with running their one-to-one meetings with their individual team members. It’s easy to cover those kinds of issues in a coaching session, but it seemed to me that it would make better use of my clients’ time in our sessions if I could also just give them some simple guidance to take away and use as and when they wanted. I hope that the booklet has been useful – it’s been slowly working its way up the independent management books charts anyway. The next in the series will cover Delegation.

All great management starts with the manager’s own mindset. To make a good management process work well, it isn’t enough to know what to do and how to do it, you also need to know what attitudes of mind are likely to get the best results for you. Here are the most important ones for running great one-on-one meetings:

  1. Empowerment as an outcome of your managementyou’ve got to want to inspire people to get more done under their own motivation and responsibility.

It’s a bit like having teenagers, they need to learn how to do stuff for themselves. Until you’re prepared to adopt this as part of your mindset, you’re likely to be spoon-feeding people and picking-up after them long after they could have learned to do it for themselves. I think the trick here is to actually include empowerment as one of the outcomes you’re after. Put it up there alongside the tasks that you want this person to achieve and give it as much, if not more, weight as all the other important stuff you need to ensure gets done.

  1. Coaching as a leadership stylewhere you put a big chunk of your leadership energies into the longer-term development of others.

It’s not the only leadership style you’ll need to use, but it is very effective and very rewarding for you. It’s also a good partner to empowerment. You could think of a coaching leadership style as being NOT about you as leader having the answers, but about guiding people to find their own answers to things.

If I had to encapsulate it in a single phrase for leaders to use, it’d be something like:
“How about trying this…?”

  1. The transition from doing to leadingthe more your responsibilities increase, the more you need to shift from actually doing stuff yourself, to getting stuff done by acting through others – by leading.

If you’re like most people, you’ll have got to your position at least partly because you’re good at what you do. And so this can sometimes be a tricky transition to make, or even to be aware of its significance. It’s also quite scary because of course it takes you outside of what you know you’re good at doing, into possibly new territory – and people are often much more complex to understand and influence than the tasks themselves.

But this is a really important place to get your head into. Take a deep breath, stop doing stuff yourself, and start making sure that you act through others.


Let me know what kind of mindset works well for you, when running your own one-on-one sessions with your team members please? Either leave a comment below if they’re still open at the time of reading, or tweet me @nickrobcoach.

To make a good management process work well, it isn’t enough to know what to do and how to do it, you also need to know what attitudes of mind are likely to get the best results for you. Click To Tweet

 

 

 

Influence – or Crash and Burn

The Marketing Director stared at me, hard.
He wasn’t buying the perfect logic of my first-ever corporate strategy board presentation. In fact, he looked positively hostile.

I could see my boss nodding encouragingly. And the Finance and Personnel Directors looked convinced. But the Marketing Director always sat next to the CEO, with the Ops Director on the other side. Without positive signs from those three I knew this was crash and burn.

As a recently-minted Accountant, plucked-out of Finance for a Strategy job half-way through my qualifying studies, I was so surprised by that boardroom reception!

Why hadn’t my logical arguments won the case?

My analysis was deep and thorough. My slide deck was good. The conclusions were inescapable – and expensive for us if we didn’t act as recommended.

I knew as I was watching the Marketing Director’s face that I’d missed some crucial way of getting my point across. Something maybe less about logic and more creative than usual. Click To Tweet

The board sent me back to “do more work on the analysis”. My ego took a real battering, but it was such a useful lesson for a keen young manager.

The next week I found an old copy of “How to Win Friends and Influence People” on a stall in Borough Market and that opened the door to a whole new world for me.


What’s your view – how crucial (or not) is it for managers and leaders to be good influencers too?

Please leave a comment below if they’re still open at the time of reading, or send me a tweet @nickrobcoach

Six warning signs that your leadership is dangerously boring!

What if the pressure to deliver has crept up on you and instead of being a terrible leader, you’ve become a boring one!?

The life is slowly draining out of things and people at work are becoming more and more zombie-like. Sooner or later, the life may drain out of your customers and clients too!

Watch the video above to discover the six warning signs you should look out for – and what to do about them.

Please leave a comment below if they’re still open at the time of reading, or tweet me @nickrobcoach

Six warning signs that you've become a dangerously boring leader!! And what to do about it. Click To Tweet

Which Team are YOU on?

Managers and Leaders should make sure they’re being a teammate at work on the RIGHT team – and not confusing Leadership with Team Membership

At first sight, that might seem like a dumb thing to say. Surely everyone knows which is their team? But I’m seeing more and more people who fall into difficulty at work because they don’t quite get this distinction right.

Perhaps it’s an easy mistake to make, especially if you’re a loyal, principled leader.

I’m constantly talking about how leaders should role model the kind of behaviours they want to see. This is particularly important if you want your teams to behave more like a team. And one of the behaviours to get really clear about role-modelling is which team you’re actually on.


Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you’re ON the team that you lead. I’m not a big fan of sporting metaphors, but that would be like saying that Eddie Jones plays rugby for England – he doesn’t, he’s (currently) the team’s Head Coach. Or that Jose Mourinho plays football for Spurs – again, he doesn’t, he’s (currently) the Head Coach.

 

If you want the teams that you lead to be more team-like, then show them how you are a great member of the team to which you belong.


What do you notice about your own attitude towards teams, colleagues and those who work for you?
Please leave a comment below if they’re still open at the time of reading, or tweet me @nickrobcoach

Make sure you're being a teammate at work on the RIGHT team - and don't confuse leadership with team membership. Click To Tweet

 

Asking in the Right Way

Creative step-by-step ways for Leaders to successfully ask people to do stuff without hitting a problem

Leaders spend a lot of time asking people to get stuff done.

But how much time do you put into targeting the way you ask somebody to do something?

And particularly, how much time and attention do you pay to which is the right way to ask that specific person?


Asking someone to get something done in a way that avoids their unconscious barriers and makes the most of their natural predilections is incredibly helpful in maximising opportunities at work and in not discovering when its too late that there’s actually been no progress!

One approach that can easily help is to think about two of the dimensions that have a big impact on people’s behavioural and thinking styles at work:

  1. their preferred Motivational Direction; and
  2. their preferred Operational Mode.

For 1, their preferred Motivational Direction, that simply means do they prefer to:

  • look for goals and opportunities to achieve things (“Towards“); or
  • look for problems to solve or avoid (“Away From“).

For 2, their preferred Operational Mode, that means do they prefer to:

  • develop and create new ways of doing things (“Sponanteous“); or
  • follow established procedures (“Procedural“).

Put these two dimensions together and you’ve already got four possible combinations of how people respond to and think about the world around them. You can see this in the matrix at the top of this post.

The very best leaders already know which preferences their team members have in the way they think about and respond to the world about them. They can then adapt their approach so that when they ask somebody to get something done, HOW they ask also supports them and doesn’t actively get in the way.


Try it yourself.

Think of anything that you need to ask somebody to get done, and see if you can ask it in each of the four ways I’ve outlined in my matrix above.

  • Who do you know at work who would respond well to one of these approaches?
  • Who do you know who would be overwhelmed or annoyed at being asked in the wrong way?

What is your OWN preferred way of being asked – which of those approaches in the matrix would be most persuasive with you?


“Understanding people is much deeper than knowledge. There are many people who know us, but very few who understand us.”
Unknown


Please leave a comment below if they’re still open at the time of reading, or tweet me @nickrobcoach

Leaders should pay more time and attention to the WAY that they ask people to get stuff done. Click To Tweet

 

 

The Intersecting Tracks

To make progress, great coaching runs on two intersecting tracks: Understanding – expanding what’s possible; and Doing – creating practical results

First, there’s a Doing track.

The Doing track is important because great coaching has to be a practical, tangible thing – to result in something useful that you can see or touch or hear. It’s not possible for clients to arrive at that destination without actually Doing something.

Second, there’s an Understanding track.

The Understanding track is important because great coaching should take people beyond what’s currently possible. And that requires new ways of looking at ourselves, more understanding about how best to relate to the world around us, and a deeper sense of what’s possible for us, both as individuals and in concert with others.


Clients often have an expectation that the coaching work will only focus on one or other track – sometimes they’re unaware that there even is a second track.

They might be struggling to get something done or to make a significant change, without realising that the reason they’re struggling is that they first need some new or deeper understanding. At other times, they can be flailing around, looking for the magic bullet to make things easier, when they simply might not have tried enough different ways, or even have tried hard enough.

The trouble is, of course, that it’s not easy to tell if something we’re attempting is difficult because (a) we lack some crucial insight; or (b) we should just be trying more things, or just trying harder. This is where our tracks need to intersect and why the feedback trenbolon hexa coaching space, somewhere to reflect on those points, is such a powerful one.


So, intersecting tracks:

  • Track 1: discover some new Understanding because that then makes possible a different type of Doing; and/or
  • Track 2: try more or different ways of Doing, because the results from that doing will lead to new Understanding.

Once you become conscious of the intersecting tracks and the need to be both Doing and Understanding in a way that’s pretty close to simultaneous, all kinds of fantastic breakthroughs start to appear.

“Action without knowledge is useless and knowledge without action is futile.” Abu Bakr


What’s been your experience of this – can you understand without doing? Or push what you’re capable of doing without also getting new understanding?

Please leave a comment below if they’re still open at the time of reading, or tweet me @nickrobcoach

Great coaching has to run on two intersecting tracks – Understanding and Doing – more or less simultaneously. Here’s why: Click To Tweet

How’s Your Crisis?

By now, we should all know something about how we’d do in a crisis. How’s yours going?


What’s been your experience of this crisis – and what are you learning about yourself as a result – good and bad?

Please leave a comment below if they’re still open at the time of reading, or tweet me @nickrobcoach

Ever wondered if you're a good person to have around in a crisis? Now you should know! Click To Tweet

The “What if … ” Game

Plan for unknown, risky or even magnificent situations using the “What if … ” game. A tool for helping people venture into the unknown with their eyes open

I like my coaching with my clients to be rooted in real, tangible results, and to relate to actual experience.

So at first sight, the “What if … ” game might seem very different to that – abstract and make-believe. But here’s why it’s such a useful tool both for getting real results and for helping people to properly ‘live’ their day-to-day life and work.


First, people sometimes fail to take action, or fail to really be ‘present’ to their actual experiences, out of fear, embarrassment and shame around what could go wrong, or where they don’t feel good enough, or out of self-criticism about how things ‘should’ be.

At those times, the “What if …” game can be a great way of safely looking at and planning for the scary stuff together.

Leaders and coaches can ask:

What if your situation IS as bad as you think – what would you do about it?

What if you DID actually need to get better at doing X; how would you go about that?

What is actually the worst that could happen – and what’s the first thing you’d do if it did?

Nine times out ten, asking these kind of “What if … ” questions results in somebody really quickly reconnecting with their choice and personal agency (ability to get into action). You’ll get answers like, “Actually, if that did really happen, I’d just do X;” or, “The worst isn’t really as bad as I imagined, the really bad stuff is way, way beyond where I am!” On the tenth time, you might find someone who isn’t ready to re-empower themselves just yet, and the “What if … ” game will just get vague, non-concrete answers. Best strategy then is to simply explore more about what’s currently going on: “Tell me some more about how things are for you right now?” Give it time and space.

The 'What if ...' game can be a great way of safely looking at and planning for the scary stuff together. Click To Tweet

Second (and just as often), we can fail to take action, or forget to be in the moment, because our big, audacious goals, if achieved, would result in radical changes to our situations. This is true even though it seems really counter-intuitive – why would we not take action to make a radical change, or fail to fully experience the process of doing it, when it’s something that we wanted all along!?

But any kind of change, even positive change or growth is by definition scary – it lies deep into the unknown territory.

At those times, leaders and coaches can use the “What if … ” game as a way of safely exploring that unknown territory together. We can ask:

“What if this actually works – then what happens?”

“What if you find yourself changed in some way – how would that be?”

“What if you can’t tell how it will be until you get there?”

Any kind of change, even positive change or growth is by definition scary - it lies deep into the unknown territory. Click To Tweet

It’s human nature to either see only the outcomes we want or, more often, to not look at outcomes at all, because there’s a chance they’ll be unpleasant, scary or beyond our capabilities.

The “What if … ” game is a great tool for exploring what we might find and how we might feel when we do choose to venture into the unknown. And to go there with our eyes open to the risks and the benefits and our ability to deal with them.

Let me know if you’ve used the “What if … ” game, or something like it yourself please? What did you find?

Please leave a comment below if they’re still open at the time of reading, or tweet me @nickrobcoach

Leaders and coaches can help people to reconnect with their choice and personal agency using the 'What if ...' game Click To Tweet