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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

 

 

 

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

 

The Antidote for too much Snippiness at Work is more Self-Compassion

I’ve noticed there’s a lot more snippiness at work at the moment than is good. People losing their temper and sounding-off; others fault-finding and blaming when there really isn’t any need. I’ve seen it in a couple of board-meetings and in some team-working just over the last few weeks.

Given the circumstances right now, it’s understandable that people might be more stressed than usual and end-up taking it out on others. The answer is to take better care of ourselves first.

Fortunately, I’ve also noticed that there’s much more awareness of how this kind of behaviour in a group or team setting is ‘sub-optimal’ than there was, say ten years ago.

Lots of really useful concepts have made their way into our everyday language:

Things like “Hangry” – a portmanteau of hungry and angry, where someone’s hunger is making them increasingly upset, irritable or even angry.

I’ve even heard people use the HALT acronym – derived from addiction recovery, it reminds people to take a moment (HALT) and ask if they are feeling Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. It seems simple enough, but when those basic needs are not met, people can be susceptible to destructive behaviours.

The importance of this kind of stuff, in terms of doing well at work, can’t be overstated. Years of co-operation can be written-off with a badly-timed and unfair outburst. Credibility as a competent manager can be lost by a poorly-judged public criticism. Trying to get stuff done when you don’t have a good relationship with the people you depend on is non-starter.

I use my own modified (and backwards) version of the Emotional Intelligence model to help unpick and re-wire how we behave at work. In simple terms, it looks like this:

Leading < Relating < Self-Management < Self-Awareness

If you want to lead well (which is basically, getting stuff done with the co-operation of others), then you need to be aware of how other people are feeling and doing, and manage your relationship with them. And you can’t do that without being aware of how you yourself are doing and then effectively managing your own behaviours.

Start with that Self-Awareness step:

  • Are you Hangry?
  • Do you need to HALT?
  • Are your anxieties taking over?
  • If you were able to be more compassionate with yourself, what would you do?

Let me know what you’re noticing about our self-management these days please?

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

We're more stressed-out than usual now and might take it out on others at work. The answer is to take better care of ourselves first. 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

 

 

 

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

 

 

Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way!

Your only 3 choices for when something important needs doing

I used to be a compulsive leader – couldn’t stop myself from jumping in – and it took quite a bit of development (and some tough-love from a couple of really good bosses) before I properly learnt how to be a good follower too.

But that quote in the image above sets out the only three choices anyway, doesn’t it?

1. If something important needs doing and you look around and no-one else has stepped-up, that’s your signal to lead.

2. If someone has taken the lead and is doing something that matters to you, get on board and follow their lead. You can discuss exact compass headings once you’re under way.

3. In all other circumstances, make sure you’re not in the way of what needs to happen, regardless of who is leading.


BTW the quote in that image is often attributed to Thomas Paine, but there’s no evidence of that and the language doesn’t seem quite right to me for an English-born, 18th Century philosopher and Founding-father. So I don’t really know who said it first, I just like it.


What about you:

Do you know when to lead?

Do you know how to follow?

Do you know how to tell if you’re actually in the way; part of the problem and not part of the solution?

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

Lead, follow, or get out of the way - your only 3 choices for when something important needs doing 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 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


You’ll Be Fine

If there was one thing that I most want people to understand, right down in their bones, it’s that they will get through tough, difficult and challenging situations.

Sometimes, the noise of self-doubt in people’s heads is so loud that it can drown out everything else; including their sense of perspective (how difficult, really, is this thing?), and their memory of just how resourceful they’ve been in the past, and can be again now.

At those times I can see the noise of self-doubt as a little flicker behind their eyes, or a sag of their shoulders, a drop in their chin, or a reduction in their spirit.

At other times, people don’t realise how loud the self-doubt noise is. Instead of hearing it for what it is, they’re compelled by it to fight their way out or to sprint away. For those people, it’s not a loss of spirit, but a loss of reasoning and balance that the noise of self-doubt can lead to. I notice this if I find myself asking why they approached something in a strange, irrational or sub-optimal way.


As a leader or a coach, it can sometimes take you a while to grasp just how important it is to tell people really, really simple things like:

“You’ll be fine,” “I know you’ve got this,” “You’ve come through before, you can do it now.”

Saying this in the right way literally can make all the difference to someone.

It has to be said in a way that has significance:

  • First, you have to mean it; you have to ‘see’ just how resourceful and capable people are. And if you can’t see how amazing any one person is, then you’re not looking (or leading or coaching) properly.
  • Second, you have to believe it about yourself too. Perhaps this is the hardest part, because the right to tell others that they’ll be fine has to be earned by doing your own development work; properly hearing your own self-doubts for what they are and not being ruled or directed by them.
The right to tell others that 'they’ll be fine' has to be earned by doing your own development work Click To Tweet

If you can do that, if you can say to others in their difficult moments, “You’ll be fine,” and say it with significance and meaning and self-belief, it’s a fantastic gift to both of you. You can help silence the noise of the self-doubt and help return someone to their full power. That’s proper leadership.

Let me know if you’ve noticed any of this too please – or what you’re discovering about how important it is to remind others of their brilliance?.

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

The importance of telling people they'll be fine - and saying it with significance, meaning and real self-belief! Click To Tweet