If you Google the term ‘leadership’, you get 2.2 Billion results! And, the definition doesn’t help much:
“Leadership is the action of leading”
– well that’s deep! And the synonyms include; authority, control, and management - all of which are at odds with many modern descriptions of effective leadership.
“There are almost as many different definitions of leadership as there are people who have tried to describe the concept” (Bass, 1990)
I love this quote, partly because I myself am an author on leadership, and because it highlights that to understand leadership, you have to consider the context.
Wait a moment. Before we decide on a definition of leadership, let us first ask, “Why Leadership?”
We need Leadership because the World is Complex and Changing Fast. You’ve probably heard the term VUCA. VUCA is an acronym coined by the US army and stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, ...
Career conversations are not performance reviews, and they are not necessarily about a pay rise. They are about utilizing talents, developing skills, and sustaining motivation.
The strength and sustainability of a company depend on attracting, retaining, and developing good talent, and career conversations are a vital part of this. Considering the importance of these conversations, many managers feel at a loss on how to have them, and employees don't know how to prepare for them.
Karin was frustrated. She felt taken for granted and knew she was being under-compensated. What added insult to injury was that her manager made no attempt to engage her about what she wanted, despite her driving one of the biggest and most complicated technology projects in the company's history.
Karin confided in me, during our coaching together, that she had started to look outside her firm because she didn’t feel recognized and was not being recompensed for the impact she was making.
Imagine you are traveling on a plane, there's a loud bang, and the oxygen masks fall from the ceiling.
The pilot comes out of the cockpit and says either:
a) “Obviously there's a bit of a problem, can you get into small groups and discuss options, as I would like full buy-in before I make a decision.”
b) “Ladies and gentlemen, put on your oxygen masks and remain calm; we are experiencing some difficulties but I will get us out of this”?
You chose b) right?
Clearly, in this situation, a crisis, a directive, or autocratic leadership style is appropriate and even appreciated.
At the start of the pandemic, I was coaching senior leaders to be more directive to give clear leadership and a sense that someone was in control - even if they were making adjustments on a daily basis.
Now, that we are used to living with Covid, and have adapted to a high level of autonomy with work-from-home, is a directive leadership style desirable or...
Many companies are, through policies, forcing a return to the workplace for full or part-time.
The often-stated rationale for mandatory attendance is the importance of in-person collaboration. Sounds logical - But not to a Wells Fargo IT executive who told me that he has been forced to return to work full-time in a cubical, on a floor with no other IT personnel, whilst his entire team is situated in different cities.
Apple employees are up-in-arms over a hybrid model of mandatory attendance on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. Employees have written an open letter to the executive leadership team challenging the need for, and the possibility of, in-person collaboration within Apple’s siloed structure. This excerpt from the letter calls out the hypocrisy of the mandate from Tim Cook and his team.
“We tell all of our customers how great our products are for remote work, yet, we ourselves, cannot use them to work remotely? How can we expect our customers to take that...
Being an effective leader or manager in a post-pandemic world goes beyond being good at what you do; it requires balancing empathy with accountability.
The New Leadership Playbook provides a practical guide to being human and understanding people whilst simultaneously driving for, and delivering accelerated results.
It does this by sharing principles that work and plays to achieve success.
This is a book that you will not only read more than once, you will want each of your team to read and apply the tools within it.
In sports such as American football, set moves are often called a play. The aim is to move the ball down the field, but there are various plays to achieve this. Coaches and players keep a record of these plays in a playbook, so that they can be learned, rehearsed and executed.
When you lead people, you need to understand the principles of leadership and have plays for your team to effectively execute and achieve objectives. The New...
In nearly twenty-five years of writing about, speaking about, coaching and facilitating leadership, clients often ask me, ‘What is the best leadership book?’ or ‘If I was to read one leadership book, what would it be?’
Best is subjective and depends on where a leader is on their journey. For me, leadership always starts with self-leadership or personal mastery. After all, how can you lead others if you can’t lead yourself?
Prior to writing, ‘Self Leadership – How to be a more successful, efficient, and effective leader from the inside out (McGraw Hill 2012’, I would have said the best self-leadership book would have been ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. 7 Habits is still a must-read for self and time management.
But what about the best leadership book? There are so many, and each covers different definitions of leadership; some are more strategic focus, whereas others are strictly about management. I would...
Anthony or Tony Robbins is one of the most recognized personalities in the personal growth and personal power space, but do his methods work?
And, is he priming you for success or his own profit?
Books by Tony Robbins include Unleash the Power Within, Unlimited Power and, Awaken the Giant Within. Standing at 2.1 meters, with a large jaw and hands, he is quite literally a giant himself.
If you have not seen this, larger-than-life, life strategist, at one of his rock concert-like events, then you can watch his Netflix documentary - I’m not your guru.
I’m not your guru is about what happens behind the scenes at one of his six-day Date With Destiny seminars.
I’m not your guru, an interesting title, because Robbins studied Neuro-Linguistic Programming, NLP, from its founders Richard Bandler and John Grinder.
NLP owes a lot to the hypnotic techniques of Dr. Milton Erikson,...
How do you read the room on Zoom?
I was asked this question by one of my coaching clients who wanted to transform her influence, to get the promotion she sought.
I’d previously shared with her that in addition to projecting gravitas and confidence, executive presence means, reading the room.
The Greek Philosopher, Aristotle wrote, that in order to influence, we need pathos. Pathos gives us the English word, empathy, meaning the ability to understand the feelings and motivations of your audience. This is what I mean by reading the room.
Pitching your idea, or presenting information without knowing what state the audience is in or what’s important to them, is like driving on a freeway blindfolded.
So, how do you read the room, and how do you do that in a Zoom, or Teams environment when many participants have their cameras off?
Well, if you are still listening to me, then I already know something about you.
You are curious and open to learning. You are ambitious and want to...
I was playing chess with my son, Nathan and he had me cornered, it looked like I had no options. I stayed with the problem, I zoomed out my perspective and considered every angle, and then I saw it, an opportunity to not only get unstuck but to change the game.
An option is the power or liberty to choose. Often, we don’t see our choices because of our framing or conditioning. Certainly, circumstances can restrict our liberty to choose, and yet we always have a choice.
Viktor Frankl, the author of the book, Man's Search for Meaning, a Jewish prisoner of the Nazi death camps destined for the gas chamber, realized…
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.”
This power to choose one’s own intentions and actions are at the core of self-leadership. It is summed up in the poem Invictus that inspired another...
Do you want a million dollars?
Sure, but what’s the catch?
The catch is you must work for 90-hours a week for 10-years, and pay for; petrol to get to work, clothes to wear at work, and taxes for the privilege of working.
This deal doesn’t sound so good now, does it?
Gross income is not really a measure of wealth, just as health is not a measure of wellness.
Health is the absence of disease, whereas wellness can be described as an abundance of energy and purpose. Likewise, income might be the absence of poverty, but not the abundance of choices.
Counterintuitive as it might be, research clearly shows that money beyond a certain threshold does not make you any happier. Let me illustrate; imagine you were lost alone in the woods, cold, wet, and hungry. You stumble across a cottage with an open door and the glow of a warm fire and the smell of stew and fresh bread. A friendly person welcomes you in, wraps you in a blanket, sits you by the fire, and feeds you. Your happiness...