Don’t talk about Doom and Gloom – Act!

Why it’s so tricky to talk about problems and risks in a way that people will listen to. And how it might actually be better to just take guerrilla leadership actions instead!

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

What’s been your experience of trying to talk to people about risks and problems and things that could go wrong?

Don't talk about doom and Gloom - take guerrilla leadership actions instead! Click To Tweet

 

When Asking, Telling and Suggesting Still Don’t Get Results

Deciding what to do when someone persistently doesn’t deliver at work can actually be really difficult!

That’s because:

  • We start wondering if it’s something wrong with our own management or leadership style;
  • It’s hard to tell if we’re being too soft and laid-back, or the opposite – if our annoyance and frustration is leaking out too strongly;
  • It’s exhausting!
  • And if you ask Human Resources about the company’s “Performance Management Process”, it begins to feel like you’ve already failed somewhere (and you worry that HR might think so too).

A short programme of one-to-one or team coaching can help get over that by:

  • Creating a safe space for individuals to express, and then start moving beyond, any frustrations;
  • Discovering whether the problem is:
    1. An interpersonal one – some people are simply not getting on;
    2. Structural – there kamagra 24 are processes that don’t function properly, or conflicting requirements that block progress;
    3. Competence-based – there are skills, abilities or techniques that need to be acquired; or
    4. Confidence-based – self-belief, motivation or self-limiting habits might be getting in the way.
  • Developing more effective (and fulfilling) ways of approaching things all round.

If you’d like to know more about this approach, have someone else who is (or are yourself) in this kind of situation at work, please click here to get in touch.

 

The Hierarchy of Soft-Skills

It used to be “technical” skills that were most important. Now though, according to Forbes, soft skills, such as empathy, adaptability, integrity and resilience, have become crucial success factors at work. But did you know that there’s also a hierarchy to soft-skills?

In my view, it goes something like this, starting with self-awareness and self-management:

  1. Understanding about what makes us fulfilled is the gateway skill.
  2. Then comes knowing and influencing the conditions that help us to be motivated.
  3. Followed by managing the fears, doubts and other emotions that can get in the way of being at our best.
  4. Then, because we can never control all of the conditions around us, come soft-skills around being adaptable and responding to change – and being authentic at the same time.

After that, the soft-skills focus shifts to other people:

  1. How well do we understand what makes others tick?
  2. How skilled are we at being authentic and adaptable as we communicate with others?
  3. How good are we at balancing out the needs of the job and the needs of other people to be fulfilled and motivated?
  4. Beyond that, comes inspirational leadership, which I’ll cover in a future post.

What’s your view of the most important soft-skills; and which needs to come first?

 

A coaching question

What kind of person are you – at your absolute best?

I’ve written before about what I believe to be one of the most powerful questions you can ask, as a leader or a coach – or anybody really. And here’s another.

If anything, this one is actually even more of a favourite of mine because I just love the impact it has. It also sits really well with one of my core coaching principles – that you coach the person, not the issue they are dealing with.

I use this question sparingly, because it is so powerful. I particularly like it when somebody says something like:

I just don’t know where to start!

“Well,” I’ll say, “What kind of person are you, at your absolute best?” – and that almost always opens up several avenues of approach.

Or a client will say:

Which is the right choice for me?

And I’ll ask it then, “What kind of person are you, at your absolute best?” The choices we make should always be informed by who we are – and I don’t mean the person we are when we ‘re doubting ourselves or holding back or angry with the world, I mean the real person in our core – the absolute best version.

Or somebody will say:

I can’t seem to get on with this colleague no matter what!

And I’ll use that same question then, “Hmm, interesting – what kind of person are you – at your absolute best?” That’s always the version of ourselves to bring forwards when we want to connect well with others. Even or perhaps especially if that version of ourselves is vulnerable or unsure (as the best people often are).

How about you? What are you like at your absolute best?

And as a leader – how would you feel using this type of question? What kind of impact would it have on you, if somebody asked you?

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

A coach's favourite question - what kind of person are you - at your *absolute* best? Click To Tweet

Slower, Lower, Weaker

8 ways to deal with managers who aren’t top performers

[to download a copy, click and select the image above and then right-click and select  ‘Save image as … ‘]

The Olympic motto is “Citius – Altius – Fortius”, better-known as ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger’. But what about the opposite – what about those of us who might be Slower, Lower or Weaker in our potential?

How organisations regard the people in their teams and leadership positions who would never make it to the management Olympics says a lot. I believe it actually speaks volumes about the attitudes of those who shape an organisation’s culture. In particular, how they regard others (and perhaps therefore how they also regard themselves) along two key dimensions:

  • Whether the fact that not everyone will make it to the management Olympics is a Risk or an Opportunity; and
  • Whether people’s innate capacities are either Fixed or Flexible.

I’m not entirely convinced that it’s best to think of there being a right or a wrong way to regard this issue, more that senior leaders and organisations should be aware of the choices they’re making and do so consciously and strategically.


Which is your organisation’s typical response when managers might not be candidates for the Olympics?

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

Slower, Lower, Weaker - what should you do if people in your organisation aren't going to make it to the management Olympics? Click To Tweet

What we *DO* will be consistent with our beliefs about *who we are*

The single biggest predictor of people’s action and behaviour – what they will say and do – is their internal view of who they are

Think you’re a good leader? Then that will shape how you behave towards the people in your teams.

Feel like you’re organised and capable? Then that will influence how much work you take on and what you can cope with.

Do you regard yourself as someone who gets up early and pushes themselves? Then that’s way more likely to shape your motivation than ability, experience and resources.

And the converse is true as well:

  • If you feel that you’re not good leader or that you’ve let people down in the past – and you don’t take steps to focus away from that belief – then your leadership will fall short in future;
  • If you think you’re a disorganised, haphazard person – and you don’t acknowledge where your strengths really are – then your effectiveness at work will suffer;
  • If you tell yourself you’re a lazy person who doesn’t try hard enough – and that’s all you do, without properly examining what you want to achieve and why – then it’ll be doubly-hard for you to create momentum.

Rigorously examine your dbol o dianabol beliefs about who you are.

What kind of person are you – really?

Strip out all of the negative judgements. Nobody is perfect. We all fall short of the highest standards in some areas, some of the time.

It’s so important to guard against self-beliefs that limit us. Be careful about who you think you are. For example:

“I am a failure”

is 100% NOT the same as: “I am someone who has tried and failed.” Someone who has repeatedly tried and failed is a “Tryer”, not a “Failure”!

Someone who has repeatedly tried and failed is a 'Tryer', not a 'Failure'! Click To Tweet

Whenever you can, sculpt your self-identity to be totally honest and true and all-inclusive. Not rose-tinted, but not judgemental either.

Above all, our beliefs about who we are should support our higher purpose.

What are you here to achieve?
Who will benefit from you being at your best?
What are your efforts in service of?
And in the context of those answers – who do you choose to be?


What do you notice about your own self-beliefs about the kind of person you are? And how do they influence what you say and do, day-to-day?

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


Thinking is more painful than electric shocks!

Why people often don’t get clear about their desired outcome or choose the best approach to take, before they act

It’s helpful for people to think about stuff more – particularly on why  they’re about to do something and on how  they’re about to do it. This is because:

1. Knowing why  we’re about to do something – the outcome we want to achieve – is much more important than the first few steps, the tactics, that we might take to get to it.

It’s easy to grasp this. If your desired outcome is clear but the first few steps you take towards it don’t work, you can simply try some other tactics. But if you start from the tactics themselves without really being clear about where you’re trying to get to, then early failures tend to derail all your efforts.

(There are exceptions to this rule: notably if you’re stuck and don’t know what you want to achieve then just trying something – anything – can be sometimes be more empowering than staying stuck);

2. Actively choosing how  we’re going to do something – the strategy, route or approach we might take – is a key determiner of success.

Far too many people simply do everything the same way, or the same way that they did it before, regardless of whether or not this gets results. It’s where that old saying comes from, “If you’ve only got a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail.” Actively choosing the way to go about doing things, dependent on the circumstances and the people involved, creates flexibility of approach. And flexibility of approach in our behaviour is what leads to win-win.

Why don’t people do this kind of thinking more?
Get clear about their desired outcome and choose the best approach to take, before they act?

One part of the answer is in an article I was delighted to discover recently, headlined “People Would Rather Experience An Electric Shock Than Be Alone With Their Thoughts”!

A team of researchers have discovered that:

  • Left alone in a room with just their thoughts, more than half the participants described the experience as ‘not enjoyable’, most found it difficult to concentrate and reported their minds wandering. The negative aspects went up further in another group who were asked to repeat the task at home;
  • In one experiment people had the option of giving themselves an electric shock rather than complete the full thinking time. Even though they’d had that level of shock before and had said they’d pay $5 not to be shocked again, 67% of the men and 25% of the women involved chose to shock themselves rather than just sit and think!

You can see there article here: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2014/07/people-would-rather-be-electrically-shocked-left-alone-their-thoughts

My take on this is that human minds are evolved to deal with the real, physical world and with the web of social relationships that it takes to thrive. Disengaging from actual, concrete tasks and from real interactions with others long enough to do this kind of outcome/approach thinking is not something we’re naturally evolved to do. We have to learn it. And sticking with it long enough to get results ‘hurts’ and takes a lot of energy. Similarly, if you’re anything like me, there’s a whole load of failed adventures, thwarted ambitions and personal shortcomings that I’d really rather not think about at all, if only if wasn’t for the chance to improve things in future.

As my coaching practice evolves, I find that more and more people are saying things like: “I just need to hear myself think out loud”, or “I need some space to reflect on things and work them out, a kind of sounding board.” The hardest thing to do when I’m coaching in that kind of situation, is to do nothing but listen – but at least I don’t feel the need to give myself electric shocks!


Let me know if you’ve noticed any of this too please – or what you’re discovering about thinking, outcome-focus and behavioural choices yourself.

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

Does it really hurt to think a bit more? Click To Tweet

Six Things that Great Time-Management is about NOT doing

“#1 Will Surprise You!”
(It won’t – that’s just my silly way of highlighting that #1 is about NOT getting distracted.)

I’m writing this as the world re-opens, in stops and starts, post-covid lockdown.

And I notice that a lot of people are struggling with their Time Management. That’s understandable. So much of how we’re doing things now has had to change, that it can be difficult to find our old patterns of effectiveness. Worse, nearly everyone else is in the same situation, so that when my time-management misses a beat, it can affect several other people’s timing too.

In case it helps, here’s my six things to NOT do, if you want to have great time-management. None of these are necessarily easy by themselves, but if you or the people in your teams are finding it tricky to manage their time just now, these are the things to focus on first:

  1. Not getting Distracted
    A lot of great time-management is actually about Attention-management. Give some attention to how you can block, control, ignore or manage those things that might otherwise steal your attention – and therefore your time.
  2. Not feeling Overwhelmed
    One of the key reasons why people aren’t effective and don’t work at their best is the sense of feeling overwhelmed by all that’s required; to the point where it’s either difficult to see where to start, or hard to believe it’ll ever be finished. Start anywhere and go step-by-step if that happens.
  3. Not being Bored
    Human beings are generally hard-wired to go off and look for interesting stuff. I think it helps to not fight this. A meditation teacher once described the mind-sharpening part of meditation to me as being like training a puppy to sit still. When it wanders off, you can just gently bring it back again.
  4. Not forcing Creativity
    For most people, creativity is a process that requires inputs and some system of stirring around, before it can produce an output. Nothing wastes time quite like trying to force a high-quality decision to come or to force a deep insight into a knotty problem to arise without that process happening first.
  5. Not confusing Immediate with Important
    This is often the starting point for a lot of writing about time management. And with good reason, as it’s so easy to get into fire-fighting and so much harder to justify fire-prevention. But once you’ve dealt with the immediate priorities, don’t just focus on preventing bad stuff in the longer-term. What are the long-term benefits that you could be working towards too?
  6. Not overlooking Sequence and Task-Dependency
    Some things need to be done in a certain order to be successful. Or are dependent on other things happening first, before they can take effect. If you can avoid the paralysis sometimes caused by over-planning, then a project-management approach is often also a brilliant way to have great time-management.

Let me know if you’ve noticed any of this too please – or what you’re finding out about time-management in the “new normal”?

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

What is your Time-Management NOT about? Click To Tweet

Rules of Behaviour and Social Distancing

Why some people won’t social distance, why some people won’t tell them to, and why others are outraged

Improvise, Adapt, Overcome

Useful motivation or unhelpful bullshit – how do you know?

Readers will recognise this as the unofficial motto of the US Marine Corps (and also the humorous Bear Grylls meme of a few years ago).

It was in my mind for no real reason as I woke today, feeling more than usually get-up-and-go-ish.

I often treat this kind of Improvise, Adapt, Overcome stuff with a bit of caution. In particular, how do you know when:

Arnold classic 2007 – bodybuilding homepage: bodybuilding and fitness photography gallery max drol for sale the risks of bodybuilding told by a professional bodybuilder.
  • It’s a genuine sense of resourcefulness, that you really mean it and are ready to deal with whatever life and works throws your way; or
  • You’re just bullshitting yourself and don’t really feel ready to overcome anything – but desperately think you should be?

Some people would say that it’s an important distinction to make.

Because if you’re not feeling especially resourceful, but are unconsciously telling yourself that you should be able to deal with whatever comes your way, then you’re actually just setting yourself up to fail.

The more I do this coaching work, the less sure I am about the usefulness of this kind of distinction.

I’ve seen lots of people move mountains by telling themselves they should be able to Improvise, Adapt and Overcome, even when it really ups the stakes of failure for them. Equally, I’ve seen people frozen into inaction by trying to live up to some impossible standard.

Perhaps the following is the best way to test the usefulness of these kind of mottos and slogans. My definition of empowerment is this:

Empowerment is the power to make decisions and take actions that affect our circumstances Click To Tweet

So does this kind of thing help you to make decisions and take actions that affect your circumstance?

If yes, go for it, maybe even get the tattoo!
If not, drop it, this one’s not for us; instead, work on what you want to have happen until you’re really clear about that.

As usual, please leave me a comment if they’re still open below, or tweet me @NickRobCoach.

Tell me about your own favourite motto and whether or not this kind of thing helps you to be empowered? Click To Tweet