Posts

Mindset Tips for Great One-on-One Meetings

This is the first in a series of top tips for people who want to use one-on-one meetings as a 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. Which leads us on to…
  2. 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. To do it right, you’ll also need to be thinking about…
  3. 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.

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

You Cannot Pour From an Empty Cup

As we go into the Covid19 bounce-back phase, how Bruce Lee can help us to top-up our Resilience, Willpower and Empathy

More from my series of short videos about things that have inspired me, helped me overcome challenges or just helped me to get through difficult times.

Lots of the personal qualities that are so important in leading and managing others are like a cup – their contents get depleted over time and need to be topped-up. After all, As Bruce Lee famously said,

You cannot pour from an empty cup.

As usual, please leave me a comment if they’re still open below, or tweet me @NickRobCoach. Tell me about what inspires you, or gets you through challenging or uncertain times? Click To Tweet


Three Bullet Leadership

How leaders can set the agenda, focus attention and create momentum – in three easy bullet-points

This is such a favourite leadership technique of mine and something that I work on with lots of clients. Rather than write a long version, I’ve practised what I preach and written the short, bullet-point version here too.

This is one of the best tips you’ll read, for any leader who wants to really set the agenda or has big changes to implement. It’s great way to focus people’s attention and help them to establish priorities. Use it at the start of something important or if you want to give it more momentum or if you need to get something unstuck.

This is also a good way of not getting too involved in the hands-on doing yourself. It’s a straightforward way of setting out your stall, of influencing what happens by being absolutely clear what the priorities are and conveying that with unwavering precision.

Here’s the technique in three easy to remember bullet-points of its own:

  • Write down your top three priorities on a wide Post-it note, in succinct and plain language, not jargon or shorthand;
  • They can be actions that need achieving, culture that needs adopting, changes that need making, or a mix of the three;
  • Say them out loud, and keep on saying them, in that same succinct and plain language whenever and wherever you can, as often as possible.

That’s it – go out and make stuff happen!


As usual, please leave me a comment if they’re still open below, or tweet me @NickRobCoach. How do you set out your leadership priorities?





Too much to do?

Slow is Smooth; Smooth is Fast. The 3S’s of making hard work easy.

This is a saying that I like to remember whenever I find myself frantically trying to catch-up on too much at once. Slow is smooth; smooth is fast.

I couldn’t find any definitive reference for where it originally comes from, although it often gets attributed to US Special Forces and even Napoleon is credited with saying something alone the lines of “Dress me slowly; I’m in a hurry.”

I first heard it listening to a talk from Formula racing drivers – it’s apparently a good mindset for winning races and not spilling off the track in a corner!


The principle is easy to understand.

Rushing into things gives you less chance to assess the ultra-important 3S’s:

  • Sequence (what’s the best order in which to do things);
  • Strategy (what’s the best way to do them); and
  • Simultaneity (what’s the best number of things to be doing at once).

Over the years I’ve tried to figure out if Slow is Smooth; Smooth is Fast is best applied to either standard or non-standard tasks, but I think it works equally well both with things you’re familiar with doing (but have a lot of) and tasks that are unfamiliar.

Getting into the mindset of doing this well is similar to a flow-state (the subject of a future article on this website), in that it’s not something you push or try hard at. Instead, it’s about relaxing into things. As Yoda might have said: “Don’t try too hard; just do.”

Similarly, instead of trying to catch the racing car in front of you, it’s about making sure that you take the best line through the next corner, and the next corner and the one after that. That is fast.

“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water into a cup, it becomes the cup. Become like water.”

Bruce Lee

As usual, please leave me a comment if they’re still open below, or tweet me @NickRobCoach. What’s your approach when you’ve got way too much to do and not enough time to do it?





Leading from the Light Side

One change that makes all the difference to your leadership, management and personal fulfilment

Please click the image above and then right-click to download or save your copy.

One great way to really up your game, as a leader, a manager or personally, is to regularly check-out which side you’re coming from. Is your motivation coming from the Dark Side, or the Light Side? The Dark Side isn’t bad – it can be useful in the short-term and in some circumstances. But it rarely gets people what they really want. The trick is to become conscious of our Dark Side motivations and use them to initiate a change of approach. Then we can actively choose a Light Side motivation for something that we really want to achieve.


As usual, please add a comment below if they’re still open, or tweet me @nickrobcoach – how do you make sure you’re not leading from the Dark Side?


Seven Essential Leadership Tools

If you’re a visual person, you’ll love this. My seven most essential leadership tools – but can you name all seven?

Each of the images in the set above represents one of my most essential leadership tools. But I haven’t named them. The challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to correctly identify each of the seven leadership tools using only the image and your own brilliant perception.


As usual, please add a comment below if they’re still open, or tweet me @nickrobcoach – how many of the seven essential leadership tools could you name; what would you add or change?


More on Outcome Focus

Is this the most powerful question you can ever ask?

One of the best things a leader or a coach can do for somebody is to ask them:

“What do you want to have happen?”

This simple outcome-focussed question can do so much:

  • It can raise someone’s head up and out of whatever problems they’re stuck in
  • It can focus effort and attention in a really personal and energising way
  • It can create unique moments of clarity and even stimulate big changes in direction.

You can use this when you want to address conditions in someone’s personal or professional life; when they’re working on a project and need to plan and progress it; and you can use it when you want to motivate and build on success, or even when things aren’t going well.


Sometimes you need to ask the same question, maybe in a slightly different way, several times in a row.

People can avoid answering it, they can be stuck in the problem, they can even be wedded to a possible solution (rather than being clear about what they actually want).

Keep asking until you get a clear outcome statement of some desired future state that doesn’t reference the problem itself or a solution. Then you know you’ve got to the heart of what they want.


And how about you?

Thinking about what you’re working on now, or about where you find yourself, what do you want to have happen?

And who around you needs you to ask them this kind of question? Who needs that clarity and powerful attention from you just now?


As usual, please leave me a comment if they’re still open below, or tweet me @NickRobCoach to let me know what you want to have happen or how you’re getting on at asking other people the same.


Can’t Keep Up?

Feel like you can’t keep up?
12 ways to simplify your leadership

Do you want to work as quickly and efficiently as possible, so you can finish early and still have time and energy to do other stuff? You’re not alone. More and more I’m seeing people who say they want to do more at work, enjoy more time with their family, and have more time to relax, but that their actual focus is on “keeping up.”

It may be that you’re temporarily in a really tricky situation and you just need to get out the other side of it. But if not; if that sense of not being able to keep up at work is persisting longer than it should, take a look at these short tips for breaking the pattern.

1. Identify your Top 1 – 3 priorities for the day

And once you’ve identified them, do these first thing in your day, or do them in your quality time, or scrub-out something else. Remember, you’ve either chosen to work on your own priorities, or you’ve chosen to forward somebody else’s agenda.

2. 80% is More Than Good Enough

Identify what level of %age completion/quality is right for the task you’re involved with and don’t go 1% over. Perfect is the enemy of good.

3. Delegate the ‘What’ not the ‘How’

Make sure you’re only delegating ‘outcomes’ and not telling people how to achieve those outcomes. Be prepared to live with people taking a different approach to the way you might have done it. This is the ONLY option if you don’t want to, or can’t, do everything yourself – which you don’t and cant’!

4. Don’t use your Email In-tray as a To-Do app

It doesn’t work. It DOESN’T work. Email is for communication, not task-management. Get a simple to-do app and use that instead. If your email in-tray is overflowing, make a separate folder, dump everything into there and start again with a blank in-tray, this time using a separate app to record to-do’s.

5. Manage all your Emails (and other In-boxes) using the 5-Minute RAFT Formula

Everything that arrives in your various inboxes should be dealt with using the 5-minute RAFT approach, as follows:

  • R is for Reading – can you read an item in 5 minutes or less – and do you really, really need to read it? If so, read it when it arrives, otherwise, bung it into a Reading File and wait ‘til it’s a priority. Or Trash it.
  • A is for Action – can you action item in 5 minutes or less – and do you really, really need to do it? If so, action it when it arrives, otherwise, bung it into your To-Do app and do it when it’s a priority. Or Trash it.
  • F is for File – can you file an item in 5 minutes or less? If so, file it now. If not, wtf is it!?
  • T is for Trash – this is my favourite. Trash it. Hit delete. Gone and forgotten. Should be your default setting – can I legitimately just hit delete or chuck this in the bin and not get emotionally-hooked.

6. Under-schedule and Over-deliver

Rather then over-schedule and under-deliver! This is strongly linked with Items 1 and 12. The best way to do more is to try and do less. Focus, focus, focus. How jammed is your calendar, how hectic is your travel schedule? “Less is more” people.

7. Ask people for their ideas

Not only is this a good way to get and stay engaged with people, you’ll end up with new and different solutions that you wouldn’t have thought. Takes a bit longer in the short-term, delivers better quality and takes the load off of you in the medium-term.

8. Know and Say your Leadership Mantra

All leaders should be able to say what the strategic aim for their organisation or department is. “What we need to do is X, Y and Z.” Repeat this whenever and wherever until you’re sick of hearing it. And then repeat it some more. This way of simplifying really helps others to get behind the programme and take-up more of the effort themselves. You’ll be more than pleasantly surprised when you hear people repeating your mantra unprompted.

9. Work through People and on Tasks

And the more senior you become, the less you should be working on tasks and the more you should be working through people. Check how your current balance is on this and see if you need to spend more time leading and less time doing. See also 10 below.

10. One-to-one Meetings are your Main Tool for Working through People

There isn’t a better way to get things done than to sit down with your people individually and coach them through their own priorities. I’d give at least one day a week to doing this for every four team members I have. Use this Coaching formula:

  • What Outcomes are they working towards?
  • What’s in the Current Situation that you and they need to be aware of?
  • What Approaches have they tried or do they want to take?
  • What Support do they need?
  • How will you know when it’s Worked?

11. Build Relationships

I bang on about this all the time. Relationships are the key to getting stuff one in organisations.

“It’s not what you know.

It’s not even who you know.

It’s how well do you know the right people?”

Nick Robinson

When was the last time you prioritised coffee with a colleague just for the sake getting to know each other better?

12. Leaders think Short, Medium AND Long-term

So often we under-estimate what can be done in the long-term and over-estimate what can be done in the short-term. The key is to plan on all three time-horizons. What’s my priority for this year, for this month, for today – and how do they link together?


I hope those help a little? Give me a shout – add a comment below if they’re still open, contact me here, or tweet me @NickRobCoach if there’s something not covered or if you’d like to add one of your own tips.