Glenn's Articles

Understanding Emotional Intelligence for Leadership:

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) refers to the ability to recognize, understand, and manage one's own emotions and those of others. It encompasses a range of skills, including self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, and social kills. In the context of leadership, EQ plays a pivotal role in shaping effective communication, decision-making, and overall team dynamics. For leaders, this skill set is invaluable, as it directly influences work environments, approaches to projects and how the workplace culture is either encouraged or discouraged. Leaders with a high level of emotional intelligence can accurately perceive emotions, regulate their responses, and empathize with others, fostering a positive and productive work environment.

 

Growing Importance in the Business World:

In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the significance of emotional intelligence in the business world. As organizations strive to foster collaborative and inclusive workplaces, leaders with high emotional intelligence are increasingly valued. Beyond technical expertise, employers seek leaders who can navigate complex interpersonal relationships, inspire teams, and adapt to changing environments.

 

Therefore it should be unsurprising that emotional intelligence is closely tied to the success of high performance leaders. Leaders with a high level of EQ demonstrate resilience in the face of challenges, excel in communication, and cultivate positive relationships within their teams. These leaders are adept at managing their emotions, making informed decisions, and understanding the needs and motivations of those they lead.

 

 

Okay, So What?

This is all the soft stuff. Why should leaders care about having emotional intelligence? Maybe it's difficult to spot when emotional intelligence is both present and working happily in the background because as a soft skill, it's easy to ignore when everything is going right. However, when there is a lack of emotional intelligence within organizations and leaders it becomes very pronounced. Poor emotional intelligence can have detrimental effects on both individuals and organizations. Here are several reasons why inadequate emotional intelligence can be harmful:

 

Ineffective Communication:
Leaders with poor emotional intelligence may struggle to express themselves clearly and empathetically. Communication breakdowns can lead to misunderstandings, conflicts, and a lack of alignment within the organization. Clear and emotionally intelligent communication is essential for conveying expectations, goals, and fostering a positive work environment.


Poor Decision-Making:
Leaders with low emotional intelligence may make impulsive, irrational, or overly reactive decisions, which can have negative consequences for the organization. The ability to consider and manage one's emotions is vital for making well-informed and strategic choices that align with organizational goals.


Lack of Employee Engagement and Morale:
Leaders who lack emotional intelligence may struggle to connect with their team members on a personal level. This can result in low employee morale and engagement. When employees feel undervalued or misunderstood, they are less likely to be motivated, committed, or contribute positively to the organization.


Difficulty in Building and Maintaining Relationships:
Emotional intelligence is foundational for building strong interpersonal relationships. Leaders who struggle in this area may find it challenging to connect with colleagues, superiors, or subordinates. This can hinder collaboration, teamwork, and the overall sense of cohesion within the organization.


Increased Workplace Conflicts:
Poor emotional intelligence often leads to a lack of awareness about others' perspectives and feelings. This can contribute to misunderstandings and conflicts within the workplace. Leaders who are unable to navigate and constructively resolve conflicts may create a tense and unproductive work environment.


Higher Turnover Rates:
Employees are more likely to leave an organization with leaders who exhibit poor emotional intelligence. A lack of empathy, understanding, and support from leadership can result in dissatisfaction among team members, leading to increased turnover rates. High turnover not only disrupts continuity but also incurs costs associated with recruitment and training.


Resistance to Change:
Leaders need to guide their teams through periods of change and uncertainty. Poor emotional intelligence can make it difficult for leaders to manage and alleviate concerns, leading to increased resistance to change. Successful organizational change requires leaders who can empathize with their teams and lead (guide) them through transitions effectively.


Negative Organizational Culture:
Emotional intelligence significantly influences organizational culture. Leaders who lack emotional intelligence may inadvertently contribute to a toxic or unhealthy work culture. This can hinder collaboration, innovation, and overall employee well-being, creating an environment that is not conducive to long-term success.

 

 

Elon Musk, the visionary CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, has been criticized for exhibiting poor emotional intelligence. Musk's impulsive and unfiltered communication style on social media has led to controversies and, at times, negatively impacted the perception of his companies. His public disputes with regulators and dismissive remarks have highlighted a lack of empathy and self-regulation, which can create a challenging work environment.

 

On the other hand, Disney stands out as an example of a company that incorporates emotional intelligence into its leadership approach. Disney's commitment to diversity and inclusion, particularly in its support of the LGBTQ community, demonstrates a high level of empathy and social awareness. The company actively promotes a culture of acceptance and belonging, recognizing the importance of emotional intelligence in fostering a positive and inclusive workplace, even at the cost of political and potential economic pushback.

 

Leaders who prioritize emotional intelligence are more likely to inspire trust and loyalty among their teams. They can navigate conflicts with empathy, address challenges with a collaborative mindset, and create a culture that encourages innovation and resilience. In the dynamic and interconnected business world, leaders with high emotional intelligence are better equipped to adapt to change, build strong relationships, and ultimately drive success.

 

You Never Know What Others Are Going Through: Case Study

Empathy, a core component of emotional intelligence, is particularly crucial in leadership roles. Leaders who can put themselves in the shoes of their team members can better understand their perspectives, concerns, and motivations. This empathetic approach builds trust and strengthens interpersonal connections, laying the foundation for effective communication and collaboration.

 

One compelling example of the importance of empathy unfolds in the context of a leader encountering an employee who seems consistently upset, snappy, and difficult to work with.

 

Imagine a scenario where an employee, typically known for their initiative and dedication, displays sudden changes in behaviour – constantly on their phone, irritable, and distant. Instead of jumping to conclusions or taking disciplinary action, a compassionate leader with emotional intelligence decides to confront the issue with empathy. Approaching the employee with genuine concern, the leader inquires about their well-being, acknowledging that these traits seem out of character.

 

The revelation is striking: the employee is the sole caregiver for an elderly parent currently hospitalized. Overwhelmed by grief and responsibility, the employee is grappling with the emotional toll of their situation. To compound matters, they have exhausted their company-provided personal days off from caring for this parent and are uncertain about how to cope with the ongoing challenges.

 

Herein lies the true test of leadership. Instead of reprimanding the employee for their recent performance or adding to their stress, the leader chooses a different path. They listen attentively, offering a compassionate ear for the employee to share their struggles. The leader recognizes the significance of the employee's role as a caregiver and understands the toll it has taken on their well-being.

 

Empathy transforms the situation. The leader, rather than imposing further stress, collaborates with the employee to explore solutions. Together, they identify ways to temporarily alleviate the workload, allowing the employee the space they need to cope with their grief. The leader goes a step further, helping the employee navigate options for extended time off or additional personal days, ensuring they can balance their professional commitments with the pressing demands of their personal life.

 

This story underscores the profound

 impact that empathy can have on leadership. By taking the time to understand the underlying issues affecting team members, leaders can foster a workplace culture that prioritizes well-being and supports individuals facing challenges. In this instance, empathy not only strengthened the leader-employee relationship but also contributed to the employee's ability to navigate a difficult personal situation, ultimately fostering a more compassionate and resilient workplace.

 

Importance of Emotional Intelligence in Conflict Resolution:

Emotional intelligence (EQ) serves as a linchpin in the intricate process of conflict resolution. This set of skills, encompassing self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, and interpersonal skills, is instrumental in navigating the complexities of human emotions and dynamics. Let's delve into why emotional intelligence is essential for effective conflict resolution and explore another case study.

 

Consider a workplace scenario where two team members, Adam and Jordan, conflict with differing approaches to a project. Adam, with high emotional intelligence, recognizes the signs of tension and decides to address the issue proactively.

 

1. Self-Awareness:
Adam reflects on personal biases and realizes that frustration with the project's direction may be clouding their judgment. This self-awareness prompts Adam to approach the conflict with an open mind.


2. Self-Regulation:
Instead of reacting impulsively to Jordan's critique during a team meeting, Adam takes a moment to breathe and compose themselves. This self-regulation prevents an immediate escalation of the conflict.


3. Empathy:
Adam understands that Jordan's concerns may stem from a desire for project success rather than personal animosity. In a private conversation, Adam expresses empathy, acknowledging Jordan's perspective and validating their feelings.


4. Interpersonal Skills:
Adam employs strong interpersonal skills during the conversation, actively listening to Jordan's concerns and expressing their thoughts without aggression. This fosters a constructive dialogue that leads to a compromise, integrating both perspectives for a more well-rounded project approach.

 

In this example, Adam's emotional intelligence plays a pivotal role in resolving the conflict. By leveraging self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, and interpersonal skills, Adam transforms a potential source of tension into an opportunity for collaboration, illustrating how emotional intelligence is indispensable in navigating and resolving conflicts effectively.

 

In the ever-evolving landscape of leadership, emotional intelligence stands out as a critical factor for success. Leaders who prioritize emotional intelligence in their approach to conflict resolution can create a more harmonious and productive work environment. By embracing empathy, refining interpersonal skills, and aligning leadership styles with emotional intelligence, leaders can navigate conflicts with finesse, fostering a culture of collaboration, understanding, and ultimately, success.

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The holiday season is a time of joy, celebration, and family gatherings. However, for leaders in leadership roles at Amazon, the busiest time of the work year can make balancing professional responsibilities with personal commitments a daunting task. I was the director of Amazon Canada operations for six years, meaning the holidays brought many complications.

 

While Santa works steadily to meet his commitments all year round, at Amazon, we experienced a massive influx in orders between Black Friday and Christmas Eve. All of these gifts had to get to their homes before the big day! Who would get them there? I can tell you it was through blood, sweat and tears that the entire Amazon team did! There are many incredible stories of the dedication and length to which Amazon associates would go to deliver packages on time. Stories like these highlight the amount of dedication and team mindset that was encouraged by Amazon associates. It’s a fantastic example of a company's mission being fully understood and carried out by its employees.  

 

While these stories are inspirational, they are by no means the norm. Something very important in the Amazon culture is that you must meet your delivery commitments at all costs. At the end of the day, the customer must always come first (second only to associate safety!). In my leadership position, It was my job to be as proactive as possible to get through Peak as smoothly as possible. This was a huge feat, but there were many other obligations and commitments to be met! You name it: Christmas parties, family gatherings, dance recitals, choir concerts, hockey games! It seems someone looked at December and tried to fill every single second full of holiday commitments that, if missed, make you look like a bad parent/spouse and a Scrooge!  

 

All this being said, I am still in my holiday recovery period, even though I have been away from Amazon for 4 holiday seasons. While this time was unbelievably stressful, it taught me many valuable lessons in leadership and balancing work and personal life. Today, I hear many people complaining about the season and how stressed out, burnt out, and overworked they are. I hope to pass on some of my learning to you, and these tips will help make your holiday season easier and brighter! 

 

Plan and Prioritize:

Effective planning and prioritization serve as the cornerstone for navigating the chaos of the holiday season. Beyond merely acknowledging the busyness of the period, it involves creating a meticulously detailed schedule that encompasses work commitments and personal events. This proactive approach allows leaders to gain a comprehensive overview of their responsibilities, making allocating time and resources more easily.

 

In the realm of prioritization, leaders must discern between tasks based on urgency and importance. Critical work responsibilities should take precedence, ensuring that essential obligations are met without compromising quality. Simultaneously, recognizing the significance of personal engagements, leaders can strike a balance that accommodates both professional and personal spheres. This delicate equilibrium requires a keen understanding of the broader context, allowing for a nuanced approach to task management.

 

By adopting a strategic mindset in planning and prioritization, leaders set the stage for a more organized and efficient holiday season, minimizing stress and maximizing productivity.

 

Delegate Effectively:

Leadership during the holiday rush entails recognizing the power of effective delegation. It goes beyond distributing tasks to alleviate personal burdens; it involves entrusting team members with specific responsibilities that contribute to their professional growth. Delegation becomes an opportunity for team members to take ownership and make decisions, fostering a sense of empowerment and accountability.

 

Leaders must have confidence in their team's capabilities to delegate effectively and provide clear guidelines. Doing so creates an environment where individuals feel valued and trusted, motivating them to perform at their best. Delegation, when approached as a developmental tool, not only lightens the leader's load but also cultivates a team adept at handling challenges collaboratively.

 

In essence, effective delegation elevates the entire team, transforming tasks into opportunities for skill development and collective success.

 

Communicate Clearly:

Clear and transparent communication forms the bedrock of successful leadership, especially amid the hectic holiday season. Leaders must articulate their team's expectations, deadlines, and priorities, ensuring a shared understanding of collective goals. This open communication fosters a sense of unity and clarity, preventing misunderstandings that can arise during busy times.  Moreover, proactive communication extends beyond the professional realm. Leaders should transparently inform their partners and families about work commitments and manage expectations to avoid disappointments and surprises. This approach allows leaders to balance professional responsibilities and personal relationships, fostering understanding and support from those closest to them.

 

By prioritizing clear communication, leaders create a cohesive and informed team, enhancing efficiency and reducing unnecessary stress.

 

Embrace Flexibility:

The holiday season, notorious for its unpredictability, demands leaders to embrace flexibility and adaptability. Unforeseen challenges may arise, requiring leaders to adjust schedules, reassign tasks, and accommodate unexpected circumstances. A flexible approach demonstrates resilience, showcasing a leader's ability to navigate turbulent times while maintaining a positive work culture.

Flexibility doesn't imply a lack of structure but rather an openness to reassess and recalibrate plans. Leaders who can pivot gracefully in response to challenges inspire confidence and foster a culture of adaptability within their teams. This approach ensures that, despite the uncertainties of the season, the team remains agile and responsive to evolving demands.

 

Encourage Well-being:

A healthy and motivated team is a linchpin for success during the holiday season. Leaders play a pivotal role in encouraging their teams to prioritize well-being. This involves promoting breaks, sufficient rest, and self-care practices contribute to overall mental and physical health.

 

Leading by example, leaders showcase the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance. By fostering an environment that values well-being, leaders contribute to a positive workplace culture where team members feel supported and appreciated. A team that prioritizes well-being is more resilient in the face of challenges and is likely to perform at its best, even under high-pressure situations.

 

Foster a Positive Work Environment:

Despite the stress of the holiday season, fostering a positive work environment becomes a strategic imperative for leaders. Acknowledging hard work, expressing gratitude, and celebrating big and small achievements contribute to a positive workplace culture. Initiatives like the "Associate Shout-out" at Amazon create a platform for team members to recognize and appreciate each other, fostering a sense of camaraderie and mutual respect.

 

In addition to recognition, organizing team-building activities or small festive events can significantly boost morale. These initiatives provide moments of respite and contribute to a sense of shared purpose and enjoyment during a demanding season.

 

By actively fostering positivity, leaders contribute to a workplace where team members feel valued and motivated, enhancing overall team performance.

 

Set Realistic Expectations:

Setting realistic expectations is an essential leadership skill, particularly during the holiday season. Leaders must understand the limitations of time and resources and communicate what can be realistically achieved. Managing expectations within the team and with external stakeholders helps alleviate unnecessary stress and creates a more focused and productive work environment.

 

Realistic expectations also involve acknowledging the potential challenges and limitations of the season. By doing so, leaders can strategize effectively, making informed decisions about task prioritization and resource allocation. Transparent communication about these expectations ensures that everyone is on the same page, reducing the likelihood of misunderstandings and fostering a culture of accountability.

 

Utilize Technology Wisely:

In the fast-paced world of e-commerce, leveraging technology is not just advantageous; it's imperative. Leaders should utilize technology to streamline processes, improve efficiency, and facilitate communication. Embracing innovative solutions that automate repetitive tasks frees up time for leaders and their teams to focus on strategic priorities and enjoy the holiday season.

 

Technological tools can range from project management software that enhances collaboration to automation tools that streamline routine tasks. By staying abreast of technological advancements, leaders ensure that their teams are equipped with the tools necessary to navigate the complexities of the holiday season effectively.

 

Establish Boundaries:

As leaders navigate the demands of the holiday season, it's crucial to establish clear boundaries between work and personal life. Setting specific times for work-related tasks and consciously disconnecting during personal moments contribute to a healthier work-life balance.

 

Establishing boundaries is beneficial for personal well-being and essential for sustained leadership success. It prevents burnout, maintains a leader's focus, and allows for dedicated time with family and friends. Leaders who can delineate between work and personal life effectively set an example for their teams, fostering a culture that values professional excellence and personal fulfillment.

 

Reflect and Learn:

Post-holiday season, leaders should take the opportunity to reflect on the experience. Evaluating what worked well and identifying areas for improvement contribute to continuous growth and refinement in leadership approaches. Gathering feedback from the team provides valuable insights into their experiences and perceptions, enabling leaders to make informed adjustments for future busy periods.

 

Reflection involves a thoughtful analysis of challenges faced, successes achieved, and lessons learned. This process of introspection contributes to a leader's ongoing development, enhancing their ability to navigate complexities and lead their teams effectively. Learning from both positive and challenging experiences ensures that leaders are better equipped to face similar situations in the future.

 

Leading a team during the holiday season presents unique challenges, but with effective planning, clear communication, and a focus on well-being, it is possible to navigate this busy time successfully. By embracing a leadership style that combines strategic thinking with empathy, leaders can create a positive work environment that fosters professional success and personal fulfillment during the festive season. As we move forward, let these leadership tips guide you in ensuring a harmonious and joyful holiday season for yourself and your team. 

 

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In the fast-paced business world, leadership has transformed from mere management to visionary guidance. Effective leadership isn't just about steering the ship; it's about inspiring and leading teams towards excellence. Leadership, the timeless cornerstone of progress, has witnessed a seismic shift over the past five years. The evolving landscape of business, technology, and society has ushered in a leadership crisis that demands a radical rethink of traditional models. 

 

Global uncertainties, from geopolitical tensions to economic upheavals, have constantly placed leaders in flux. The COVID-19 pandemic, in particular, acted as a crucible, testing leaders' coping abilities as they navigated uncharted waters. Remote work, health concerns, and rapid market fluctuations challenged leaders to demonstrate genuine adaptability, empathy, and resilience like never before. 

 

Additionally, a flurry of baby boomer retirements, which will continue to increase over the next few years, presented an additional problem. 

Many organizations are reporting that they are experiencing a leadership crisis.  Younger leaders are accelerating through the levels of leadership with

less experience and less opportunity for growth or mentorship than their predecessors.  Many of these leaders find themselves in direr sink or

 swim situations, unprepared with the skills and tools they need to navigate this ever-changing business landscape.  

 

Personal development and leadership development have never been as important as it is today. To achieve excellence and stand out during this leadership crisis, here are a few ways to break down the essence of what it means to be a high performing leader and create a curated roadmap to leadership development. 

 

 

Understanding the Essence of High-Performance Leadership 

 

Leadership emerges as the driving force in the DNA of a successful organization.  Leaders are not just decision-makers but architects of the workplace culture, shaping employee morale, engagement, and productivity. Establishing a high performance workplace culture isn't a trivial task—it's a deliberate endeavour that hinges on strategic leadership development. By aligning with essential development goals, leaders can unlock their potential to create a conducive environment where teams flourish, setting the team on the path to high performance culture

 

Being a high performance leader involves embodying a set of qualities and behaviours that inspire exceptional results, which in turn fosters a high performance culture. Such leaders are visionaries who provide a clear direction and motivate their teams toward common goals. They possess strategic thinking abilities, making informed decisions and adapting strategies to changing circumstances. Effective communication is a cornerstone of their leadership style, fostering open dialogue and active listening. 

 

High performance leaders empower their teams by delegating responsibilities, fostering autonomy, and valuing diverse perspectives. They demonstrate adaptability and resilience, turning challenges into growth opportunities. Inclusivity is paramount to their approach, recognizing and appreciating each team member's contributions. Collaboration is central to how they lead; they seek input, encourage innovation, and work alongside their teams to achieve results. 

 

These leaders prioritize results, setting high standards while providing support and resources. Continuous learning drives their personal growth, enabling them to stay updated and integrate new knowledge. Empathy and integrity define their interactions, as they understand team members' needs and lead by example with honesty and transparency. High performance leaders create a culture of excellence, adaptability, and innovation, steering their teams and organizations toward enduring success. 

 

 

Development Goals: The Path to High-Performance Leadership 

 

During a leadership development journey, breaking down goals into fundamental properties is akin to constructing a strong foundation for a towering structure. This entails deliberate introspection, self-awareness, and a commitment to continuous improvement. By dissecting leadership goals into smaller, achievable components, you pave the way for focused growth and measurable progress. 

 

At the heart of this process lies self-reflection—a vital tool for understanding strengths, weaknesses, and aspirations. Take time to assess current leadership skills, areas for improvement, and the direction you envision for growth. This introspective practice informs your goal-setting and fosters a deeper understanding of the kind of leader you aim to become. 

 

Embracing mentorship opportunities is an important strategy for accelerated development. The mentor-mentee dynamic offers a wealth of insights and guidance. As a mentee, you can tap into the knowledge and experiences of seasoned leaders, gleaning wisdom that might take years to acquire independently. On the flip side, becoming a mentor reinforces your leadership insights and nurtures your ability to guide and inspire others. 

 

The significance of leadership development goals cannot be overstated. Just as a compass points a ship in the right direction, these goals provide a roadmap for your growth as a leader. They crystallize your ambitions, set clear benchmarks, and help track progress. You nurture holistic development by focusing on personal growth goals alongside leadership objectives. Personal growth encompasses qualities like emotional intelligence, adaptability, and resilience—traits that fortify your leadership capabilities. 

 

​At HPL, high performance leadership development is what we do and what we pride ourselves on. The following are 4 aspects that are vital to any leader who is ready to start their journey to becoming a high performing leader

 

 

 

1. Visionary Leadership: Casting the Future 

Visionary leadership transcends mere goal-setting; it's about crafting a compelling vision that harmonizes with the company's culture. A leader's ability to articulate a clear and inspiring vision offers teams a purpose beyond tasks. This vision becomes a guiding light, channeling collective efforts toward a shared aspiration. High performance leaders share this vision and ignite a sense of ownership among employees, fostering motivation and dedication. 

 

2. Effective Communication: The Foundation of Trust 

Effective leadership begins with open communication. Transparency in communication nurtures trust, aligns expectations, and minimizes ambiguity. When leaders actively listen to their team members and cultivate an atmosphere that values diverse viewpoints, they lay the groundwork for collaboration and innovation. Leaders who communicate with clarity and empathy build rapport and encourage teams to thrive. 

 

3. Building High-Performance Teams: A Collaborative Endeavor 

Behind a high-performance workplace culture stand high-performance teams. Effective leaders identify their teams' strengths and weaknesses, optimizing resource allocation. Nurturing talent involves recognizing individual potential, offering avenues for growth, and fostering collaboration where team members complement one another. Leaders who prioritize team empowerment and value their contributions cultivate an environment where excellence naturally flourishes. 

 

4. Adaptability and Resilience: Thriving Amidst Change 

Change is constant, and high performance leaders are prepared to embrace it. The ability to adapt in the face of change demonstrates agility and forward-thinking. Adaptable leaders view challenges as opportunities for growth rather than obstacles. Equally vital is resilience—a trait that allows leaders to rebound from failures. By demonstrating resilience, leaders set an example for their teams, motivating them to persist in the face of adversity. 

 

 

Incorporating High-Performance Leadership Development 

 

The journey toward high-performance leadership is perpetual, requiring commitment, introspection, and a hunger for growth. High performance leadership goes beyond daily tasks; it shapes an organization's destiny and the trajectory of its members. Leaders create a workplace culture where excellence becomes second nature by embracing visionary leadership, fostering effective communication, nurturing team development, adapting to change, and showcasing resilience. 

 

In an era characterized by volatility and competitiveness, high performance leadership is no longer a luxury—it's a prerequisite for success. Organizations prioritizing leadership development gain an edge, demonstrating adaptability, innovation, and an unswerving pursuit of goals. Aspiring leaders must understand that their developmental voyage catalyzes organizational triumph. By nurturing these crucial skills, they unlock their true potential, propelling their teams toward remarkable achievements. 

 

Likewise, individual leaders who take it upon themselves to invest in their own leadership development will see their careers take incredible leaps. In a competitive hiring market, it's important to find ways to stand out and demonstrate high performance leadership skills and attributes. By investing in leadership and personal development, leaders take the opportunity to stand out, fostering a community of high performance leadership within their team and organization. That’s part of the beauty of a high performance leader; their unique leadership style and high performance skills positively affect those around them within their team and even across their organization. One small step for a leader can have an impressive ripple effect across organizations leading to new heights of leadership excellence. 

 

 

Unlocking Potential with High Performance Leaders' (HPL) Programs 

 

Organizations and leaders can leverage HPLs' leadership development programs to fully realize the concepts discussed here. These comprehensive programs are meticulously designed to hone visionary leadership, effective communication, team development, adaptability, and resilience skills. With a proven track record of transforming leaders into catalysts of excellence, HPL programs offer a blend of just enough concept knowledge to understand their importance and how they work and heavy on hands-on practice and real-world application, empowering participants to effectively navigate today's leadership challenges. 

 

The programs are specifically designed and tailored to leaders at all levels in any organization, ensuring that there is always the right program available for every leader.  

 

 

Advanced Leadership Transformation: For High potentials, Experienced and Senior Leaders 

 

In our Advanced Leadership Transformation Program, we go beyond the basics, delving deep into the intricacies of leadership, honing your abilities, and empowering you to make a lasting impact. Whether you're an experienced executive aiming to enhance your leadership prowess or an aspiring manager seeking to accelerate your growth, this program is tailor-made to elevate your career trajectory and allow you to lead at scale. 

 

What sets our program apart is our unwavering commitment to fostering transformational leadership. Our facilitators are industry experts, leadership coaches, and accomplished mentors who will guide leaders through a comprehensive curriculum encompassing cutting-edge theories, real-world case studies, and hands-on exercises. Gain invaluable insights into effective leadership through immersive workshops, interactive discussions, and practical applications. 

Our program covers various essential leadership competencies, from organizational culture to cultivating high-performing teams and implementing organizational change. Develop a profound understanding of leadership styles, learn to adapt to diverse situations and expand emotional intelligence to inspire and motivate others.

 

Moreover, our program is designed to create a strong network of like-minded leaders, facilitating meaningful connections and opportunities for collaboration. Being surrounded by a diverse community of professionals from various industries and backgrounds allows for cross-pollination of ideas and a broader perspective on leadership challenges. 

 

 

Lead From the Middle: For Mid-level Managers, Project Managers,  High Potential Leaders 

 

Are you in a middle management role, eager to elevate your leadership skills and significantly impact your organization? Look no further than our transformative program, Lead from the Middle. Designed specifically for leaders like you, this program empowers you to unlock your full leadership potential and drive meaningful change. 

 

In today's dynamic business environment, leading from the middle requires unique skills and abilities. Our Lead from the Middle program equips you with the essential tools, knowledge, and strategies to navigate the complexities of your role and become a catalyst for success. 

 

Through immersive workshops, insightful discussions, and practical exercises, our program provides a comprehensive learning experience tailored to your challenges and opportunities as a middle manager. Led by industry experts and seasoned leadership coaches, you'll gain invaluable insights into the key principles of effective middle management. 

 

From mastering talent development, effective communication and building influential relationships to driving collaboration and managing change, our program covers many critical leadership competencies. You'll develop the skills to motivate and inspire your team, foster engagement, and confidently navigate cross-functionally through and around organizational complexities.   

 

One of the key features of our program is its emphasis on practical application. We provide you with actionable strategies and tools to implement immediately in your daily work, enabling you to drive impactful change and achieve tangible results. You'll receive personalized guidance and support, helping you overcome common challenges and seize opportunities for growth. 

 

Our Lead from the Middle program also fosters a vibrant community of leaders with similar experiences and aspirations. Connect with diverse peers, exchange ideas, and learn from each other's successes and challenges. Expand your professional network and gain valuable insights to enhance your leadership journey. 

 

 

Front Line Leaders: For Leaders Who Understand the Hard Work of Leading from the Front Line 

 

Are you a front-line leader looking to enhance your leadership skills and make a lasting impact on your team? Look no further than our transformative Front-Line Leadership Program, designed specifically for aspiring and current supervisors, team leads, and managers who drive organizational success. 

 

In today's rapidly evolving business landscape, front-line leaders are crucial in translating strategy into action and inspiring their teams to achieve exceptional results. Our program is carefully crafted to equip you with the essential tools, knowledge, and mindset needed to excel in this dynamic and challenging role. 

 

Through a blend of interactive workshops, practical exercises, and real-world case studies, our Front-Line Leadership Program provides a comprehensive and immersive learning experience. Led by industry experts and seasoned leadership coaches, you'll gain invaluable insights into the key principles of effective front-line leadership. 

 

Our program covers various vital leadership competencies, from mastering communication and conflict resolution to motivating and empowering your team. You'll learn proven techniques for setting clear expectations, providing constructive feedback, and fostering a positive and inclusive work environment that drives engagement and productivity. 

 

One of the unique aspects of our program is its emphasis on practical application. We understand that front-line leaders face unique challenges and time constraints, so we provide you with actionable strategies that can be implemented immediately in your day-to-day work. You'll receive personalized guidance and support, enabling you to confidently navigate complex situations and make informed decisions that align with your organization's goals. 

 

Moreover, our program creates a vibrant community of front-line leaders, offering opportunities for networking, peer learning, and collaboration. Connect with like-minded professionals from various industries, exchange best practices, and gain fresh perspectives on common leadership challenges. Expand your network and forge relationships that will continue to support your growth long after the program ends. 

 

 

4 Steps to TIME Shifting: For all Leaders   <--- Best Value 

 

Become the Master of Your Time with 4-steps to TIME Shifting and make time for the things that really matter! 

 

Are you a leader who constantly finds yourself struggling to balance work, personal life, and everything in between? Do you wish you had more control over your schedule and could find the perfect harmony between productivity and personal well-being? Look no further because (HPL proudly presents 4-Steps to TIME Shifting, the ultimate self-paced course designed exclusively for leaders like you. 

 

TIME Shifting is offered in two formats, virtual self-paced or virtual synchronized, allowing leaders to learn as needed and find an option that fits their schedule. This program empowers you to take charge of your life and become a true master of your time. Developed based on years of leadership experience, Glenn Sommerville provides you with invaluable scheduling tips and techniques, teaches you how to effectively block time for yourself, conquer email overload, and discover your personal and business rhythms. 

 

By enrolling in TIME Shifting, you begin to take back control of your life. This program equips you with the essential skills to optimize your time, boost your productivity, and confidently lead. Imagine easily managing your responsibilities, creating a healthy work-life balance, and achieving unprecedented results in all aspects of your life! 

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Leadership self-confidence is a vital attribute that empowers leaders to guide and inspire their teams effectively.  However, it's not uncommon for leaders to struggle with moments of self-doubt and insecurity.   Everyone, at some point in their leadership career, experiences some self-doubt.  If we don’t, we’re not being challenged, or our egos might be inflated!

 

The pressure to exude confidence can overwhelm today's fast-paced and competitive business landscape.  Building self-confidence as a leader is essential for your personal well-being and effectively leading and inspiring your team.  Team members can smell a lack of confidence a mile away!

Many want a quick fix or think there is a "silver bullet" to be self-confident suddenly. Unfortunately, leadership isn't like that!  Fortunately, there are concrete steps you can take to boost your leadership self-confidence and start building it today.  This article will explore three practical strategies to help you develop and maintain the self-assurance necessary for effective leadership.

 

1. Self-Awareness and Reflection

 

Understanding oneself is the foundation of building leadership self-confidence.  Self-awareness is the ability to recognize your strengths, weaknesses, and areas for growth.  It involves honest introspection and an acknowledgment of your accomplishments and the challenges you've overcome.  Here's how self-awareness and reflection can contribute to your confidence as a leader:

 

a. Acknowledging Achievements: Reflect on your past achievements, both big and small.  Often, we underestimate the significance of our accomplishments.  Think about what specific actions or attributes led to the accomplishments so that you may repeat or double down on them going forward.  Recognizing your successes can remind you of your capabilities and instill a sense of pride and self-worth.

 

b. Seeking Feedback:  Don't hesitate to seek feedback from peers, mentors, or team members.  Constructive feedback can provide valuable insights into how others perceive your leadership style.  This external perspective can help you identify areas for improvement and validate your strengths.   A simple but very effective way to obtain useful feedback is to ask them to answer these three questions:

 

  1. What should I start doing?
  2. What should I stop doing?
  3. What should I continue doing?

 

c. Focusing on Growth: Embrace the idea that leadership is a journey of continuous improvement.  While celebrating your accomplishments, also acknowledge that there's always room for growth.  This balanced approach to self-awareness allows you to appreciate your existing skills while remaining open to development.

 

Frequent reflection is the key to developing higher levels of self-awareness.  It doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming.  One way I reflect is each day I set an “intention.”  A few words that describe an intentional and specific learning, personal focus, or growth action I will take.  Then I “reflect” on the previous day by writing a few words to describe my most impactful reflection.  It can be something positive or constructive.  It might be based on interactions with people, things I learned, frustrations I experienced, or challenges I faced.  These help me understand what I want to do more that works for me or what I need to do differently.

 

2. Continuous Learning

 

Leadership is not static; it evolves with time and changing circumstances.  I often use the professional athlete analogy for leadership.  Becoming a professional athlete takes some basic skills and abilities that are developed and honed to high performance levels over time and with lots of early training.  Once they achieve professional levels, athletes train even harder, develop new skills, stay current, and continually improve themselves and their techniques to continue succeeding and performing at those levels.  It is the same for leadership as with professional sports!  Leaders must continue to learn and develop new skills to be prepared and capable of handling their challenges, most of which they have yet to experience.

 

Investing in personal and professional development is a powerful way to enhance your leadership self-confidence. Here's how continuous learning contributes to your confidence:

 

a. Expanding Knowledge:  Attend workshops, seminars, and training sessions that are relevant to leadership and related skills. Often in training and development sessions, there is more material than you can retain long term.  You may hear or read some concepts that you’ve heard before; however, a periodic refresher reminds us of concepts and techniques we may not have had an opportunity until now to utilize fully.  Acquiring new knowledge and expertise both motivates and equips you with the tools to confidently navigate complex challenges.  Networking opportunities at these types of sessions also can be a source of a confidence booster as you quickly learn that you are not alone with your challenges, have much to offer and coach others on, and can equally learn from others' experiences.

 

b. Skill Development:  Learning new skills, such as effective communication, conflict resolution, or strategic planning, can significantly boost your self-assurance.  As you apply these skills in real-world scenarios, you'll gain confidence in handling various leadership situations.  Look and seek out opportunities within your current team or organization that will provide you with new opportunities to develop new skills.  Assignments, projects, or just supporting and helping out others are great ways to develop new skills.

 

c. Staying Informed:  In a rapidly changing world, staying informed about industry trends, technological advancements, and market dynamics is crucial. Being well-informed bolsters your confidence and enables you to make informed decisions as a leader.   A great way of staying informed is to get out of your company a few times a year to benchmark other businesses.  These businesses don’t necessarily have to be in the same market as you.  Look for consortiums, organized benchmarking events, or utilize your professional network to request visits to other organizations.  Leverage your professional network to schedule periodic coffee or lunch meetings with other leaders to see what they are working on and their challenges or seek their advice or opinion.   Benchmarking and networking are awesome ways to stay informed about what is happening outside your immediate company's four walls.

 

3. Celebrate Small Wins

 

Leaders are often focused on motivating their teams and celebrating collective successes.  However, it's equally important to celebrate your personal achievements as a leader, no matter how minor they may seem.  Celebrating small wins forces you to occasionally step off that hamster wheel and realize what you have accomplished and where you have succeeded.  Otherwise, it’s too easy just to keep running to the next challenge or getting whacked by one without appreciating what we have achieved.  I am one who has always been so focused on the goal that I too often miss the smaller achievements on the journey to the ultimate goal.  When we do this, we may have a tendency to see the obstacles and challenges being faced, set-backs experienced, and future risks without recognizing just how far we have come, what we have learned and where we have developed, the problems we have solved, new skills picked up, and not appreciating that we are ready for what lays ahead and face them with renewed confidence.

 

Here's why celebrating small wins is essential for leadership self-confidence:

 

a. Reinforcing Competence:  Acknowledging your individual successes reinforces the belief that you are competent and effective as a leader. It serves as a reminder of your ability to make a positive impact and what you do well. 

 

b. Setting Personal Goals:  Establish personal leadership goals and milestones. When you achieve these goals, celebrate them. This practice boosts your self-confidence and provides a sense of purpose and direction in your leadership journey.  It’s amazing the difference setting goals can make.  Not only are you more likely to achieve more, it gives you concrete achievements to celebrate!

 

c. Creating a Positive Feedback Loop:  Celebrating small wins creates a positive feedback loop. The more you recognize your achievements, the more motivated and confident you become. This positivity can radiate to your team, creating a more inspiring leadership presence.

 

Conclusion

 

Leadership self-confidence is not about being flawless or never making mistakes.  It's about knowing your strengths, recognizing areas for growth, and continuously developing your skills.  You can steadily enhance your leadership self-confidence by practicing self-awareness and reflection, investing in continuous learning, and celebrating small wins.

 

In addition to the three strategies mentioned above, there are several other techniques and practices that should also be considered in support of leadership self-confidence.  Leadership often comes with its share of challenges and setbacks.  Developing resilience in the face of adversity can help you bounce back stronger and more confident.  View obstacles as opportunities for growth and learning.  Surround yourself with mentors and coaches who can provide guidance, perspective, and support.   Having a trusted advisor can help you navigate difficult situations and provide valuable insights to boost your confidence.  Taking care of your physical and mental well-being is crucial for maintaining confidence.  Engage in mindfulness practices, exercise regularly, get enough sleep, and make time for activities that bring you joy and relaxation.

 

Remember that building self-confidence is a journey that takes time and effort. Embrace the growth process, and don't be discouraged by occasional setbacks.  As you consistently apply these strategies, you'll become a more self-assured and effective leader who can inspire and lead confidently.  So, start today on the path to becoming the confident leader you aspire to be.  Your team and your organization will benefit from your newfound self-assured leadership style.

 

 

 

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Leadership is a transformative force that has the potential to create a positive impact and drive exceptional results. Effective leaders possess a unique set of skills, qualities, and strategies that enable them to navigate challenges, inspire their teams, and foster an environment of growth and high performance leadership. In this article, we will delve into the core aspects of effective leadership and provide valuable insights on how to develop as a leader, empowering you to unleash your full potential and make a lasting difference in others throughout your leadership journey. 

 

Click For Quick Read Version

 

Develop Self-Awareness 

Barack Obama giving a speech

 

Self-awareness is the foundation of effective leadership

To lead authentically, it is essential to understand your strengths, weaknesses, values, and beliefs. Reflecting on your leadership style and seeking feedback from others will provide valuable insights into your effectiveness as a leader. This introspection will help you identify personal growth and improvement areas, enabling you to align your actions with your core principles. 

Self-awareness also involves understanding your impact on others and how you are perceived as a leader. By cultivating self-awareness, you can build stronger relationships, foster trust, and adapt your leadership approach to meet the needs of your team and a situation. 

 

Cultivate Key Leadership Skills 

Effective communication is paramount for leadership success. Enhancing your ability to actively listen, articulate ideas clearly, and provide constructive feedback fosters trust and understanding within your team. Communication is a two-way street, and effective leaders prioritize engaging in open and transparent dialogue with their team members. 

 

1. Inspiring Vision and Direction: An effective leader must articulate a compelling vision that inspires and motivates the team. Clear communication helps paint a vivid picture of the future and enables team members to understand their roles in achieving that vision. When the leader communicates their passion and commitment to a Common Shared Purpose, it fosters a sense of unified direction and focus among the team. 

 

2. Building Trust and Relationships: Trust is the cornerstone of any successful team. Effective leaders create an environment of openness and transparency where team members feel comfortable expressing their ideas, concerns, and feedback. When leaders actively listen and respond empathetically, trust is nurtured, and a positive rapport is established between the leader and their team. 

 

3. Conflict Resolution: Conflicts are inevitable in any team, but how they are addressed determines the team's cohesiveness. Effective leaders communicate diplomatically and empathetically when resolving conflicts, ensuring that all perspectives are heard and considered. This fosters a culture of respect and cooperation, leading to more effective problem-solving and better outcomes. 

 

4. Supporting Innovation and Creativity: An effective leader encourages a culture of innovation and creativity within the team. By promoting open communication and welcoming diverse ideas, leaders can create an atmosphere where team members feel safe to take risks and share their innovative thoughts without fear of judgment. This paves the way for groundbreaking solutions and continuous improvement. 

 

5. Effective Decision-Making: An effective leader's ability to communicate decisively and efficiently is critical during decision-making. Gathering relevant information, consulting with team members, and conveying the final decisions are essential to effective leadership. When team members understand the rationale behind decisions, they are more likely to support and implement them wholeheartedly.  Explain the "why." 

 
Women sitting with arms folded and looking proud

6. Adapting to Change: Change is constant in today's fast-paced business landscape. Leaders must communicate changes effectively to avoid confusion and resistance. Whether it's organizational restructuring, new strategies, or policy updates, clear communication helps ease the transition and encourages buy-in from the team. 

 

7. Representing the Organization: Leaders often act as the face of the organization to stakeholders, clients, and the public. Effective communication skills are vital when presenting the organization's values, mission, and achievements. A leader's ability to convey the organization's message convincingly can impact its reputation and success. 

 

Emotional intelligence is another crucial skill to develop as a leader. It involves understanding and managing your own emotions while being empathetic and attuned to the emotions of others. Emotional intelligence allows you to build strong relationships, resolve conflicts, and motivate your team members effectively. 

Decision-making skills are vital in navigating complex challenges. Effective leaders must learn techniques for making informed and timely decisions, considering various perspectives, and weighing the potential outcomes. Effective decision-making inspires confidence and provides clear direction to the team. 

 

1. Navigating Complexity: Leaders regularly encounter multifaceted challenges in today's rapidly evolving business landscape. Strong decision-making skills enable them to analyze intricate situations, weigh various factors, and arrive at the most appropriate course of action. (see also communication skills) 

 

2. Calculated Risks: Effective leaders must be open to innovative ideas and have the capacity to make bold decisions that promote creativity and progress. Embracing innovation often involves taking calculated risks and departing from conventional approaches, which requires confidence and astute judgment. 

 

3. Crisis Management: During times of crisis, leaders must make critical decisions swiftly and decisively. The ability to remain calm under pressure and make well-considered choices is essential for guiding their teams through challenging situations and minimizing the impact of adverse events. 

 

4. Setting Priorities: Leaders must continually set priorities for their teams and organizations. Decision-making skills help them identify and focus on the most critical tasks and objectives, ensuring that resources are allocated wisely and efforts are channeled toward achieving strategic goals. 

 

5. Encouraging Accountability: Effective decision-making is also about taking responsibility for the outcomes, whether they are positive or negative. Leaders who own their decisions and learn from both successes and failures foster a culture of accountability within their teams. 

 

6. Maximizing Efficiency: Indecisiveness can lead to delays and missed opportunities. Effective leaders streamline decision-making processes, ensuring that the right people are involved, information is readily available, and choices are made on time. This may mean making decisions with enough information, not necessarily all the information you would like.  This helps maintain momentum and efficiency within the organization. 

 

7. Empowering Team Members: Decision-making isn't solely the responsibility of the leader; they must empower their team members to make decisions within their areas of expertise.  Effective leaders who delegate decision-making authority demonstrate trust in their team and enable the organization to capitalize on its members' collective knowledge and skills. 

 

8. Alignment with Core Values: An effective leader's decisions should be aligned with the organization's core values and long-term vision. Consistency in decision-making reinforces the organization's identity and ensures that actions are congruent with its mission and principles. 

 

9. Enhancing Organizational Performance: An effective leader's decision-making quality profoundly impacts organizational performance. Well-considered and strategically aligned decisions lead to improved efficiency, higher employee morale, increased innovation, and overall success. 

 

Adaptability is also essential in today's rapidly changing world. Leaders must be open to new ideas and approaches, embracing change and guiding their team through uncertainty. Flexibility and a growth mindset allow leaders to navigate challenges with agility and inspire their teams to embrace change as well. 

 

Someone holding a a) The leadership crisis, characterized by a shortage of competent leaders, highlights the need for leaders who can quickly adapt to new roles and responsibilities. Organizations are in need to rely on emerging leaders to step up and fill higher-level leadership gaps. An effective leader can swiftly adjust to the demands of their new position, taking on leadership roles effectively and learning while leading. 

 

b) Lack of Mentorship for New Leaders: As experienced leaders retire or move on to other opportunities, there can be a lack of mentorship for new leaders stepping into their shoes. In the absence of direct guidance, adaptable leaders can take the initiative to seek out resources, self-learn, and adapt their leadership styles based on the organization's needs and the challenges they encounter. They can embrace continuous learning and personal growth to become effective leaders despite the lack of traditional mentorship. 

 

c) Fast-Paced Business World and AI Innovations: The business landscape is evolving rapidly due to technological innovations like artificial intelligence and automation. Leaders must adapt to leverage these advancements to their organization's advantage. Effective leaders embrace change, explore innovative solutions, and proactively integrate new technologies into their strategies. They lead their teams in embracing these changes and use them to enhance productivity and competitiveness. 

 

d) Dealing with Uncertainty: Today's business environment's uncertain and unpredictable nature demands leaders who can handle ambiguity and pivot their strategies as needed. Effective leaders don't shy away from uncertainty; they remain open-minded, flexible, and responsive to changing circumstances, allowing them to make more informed decisions and chart the course through uncertainty.  Look for ways to lean into uncertainty versus fight or resist it; by doing so, come out stronger! 

 

e) Talent Retention and Engagement: In a dynamic job market where talent is in high demand, organizations need leaders who can adapt their leadership styles to retain and engage top performers. Effective leaders are attuned to the needs and aspirations of their team members, and they adjust their management approach to create an inclusive and supportive environment that fosters loyalty and commitment. 

 

 

Build and Empower Your Team 

The success of a leader lies in the success of their team. To build a high-performing team, focus on recruiting individuals who complement your skills and contribute to the team's overall success. Recognize and leverage your team's diverse strengths and talents to achieve collective goals. 

 

Delegating tasks and responsibilities is essential for empowering your team members to grow and take ownership. By assigning meaningful tasks, you demonstrate trust in their abilities and provide opportunities for skill development. Effective delegation fosters a sense of ownership and accountability among team members, leading to increased engagement and productivity.  However, delegate to elevate.  Meaning delegating tasks that provide growth and development for the delegate. 

 

Creating a supportive and inclusive work environment is crucial for team success. Encourage collaboration and innovation by fostering a culture that values diverse perspectives and ideas. Establish open lines of communication where team members feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and concerns. Provide coaching and mentorship opportunities to help your team members develop their skills and reach their full potential. 

 

Lead by Example 

two people climbing a mountain helping each other up

Leading by example is a cornerstone of effective leadership. As a leader, it is vital to set high professionalism, integrity, and ethical behavior standards. Demonstrate a strong work ethic and a commitment to continuous learning and improvement. You inspire your team members to do the same by showing dedication and a thirst for knowledge.

 

Be accessible and approachable as a leader, encouraging open communication and trust among your team members. Actively listen to their ideas, concerns, and feedback, and respond with empathy and respect. Building a culture of trust and open communication enables your team to feel valued and supported, fostering collaboration and innovation. 

 

1. Establishing Trust and Credibility: When leaders model the behaviours they expect from their team, they build trust and credibility. Team members are more likely to trust a leader who practices what they preach, making it easier to rally the team behind a  Common Shared Purpose and initiatives. 

 

2. Fostering a Positive Culture: Effective Leaders set the tone for the organizational culture. By embodying the values and principles they wish to instill, they encourage a positive and productive work environment. When employees witness their leaders acting ethically, respectfully, and with integrity, they are more likely to follow suit. 

 

3. Enhancing Accountability: Leading by example reinforces the importance of accountability. When a leader takes responsibility for their actions and decisions, it encourages team members to do the same. This accountability creates a culture of ownership where everyone is committed to achieving a Common Shared Purpose

 

4. Building Stronger Relationships: Leading by example fosters stronger relationships between leaders and their team members. When leaders actively participate in team activities, collaborate with the team, and support their development, it creates a sense of camaraderie and mutual respect. 

 

Inspire and Motivate 

Great leaders have the power to inspire and motivate their teams to achieve extraordinary results. Clearly communicate the vision and goals of the organization, ensuring that each team member understands their role in the bigger picture. Paint a compelling picture of the future and inspire your team members to share in your vision. 

 

Recognize and appreciate the contributions of your team members. Celebrate milestones, achievements, and individual successes to create a culture of appreciation and encouragement. Show genuine interest in their personal and professional development and provide opportunities for growth, learning, and advancement. Investing in your team's growth demonstrates your commitment to their success. 

 

Cultivate a positive and motivating work culture. Encourage a sense of camaraderie and teamwork, where individuals feel supported and motivated to excel. Foster an environment that encourages innovation, creativity, and calculated risk-taking. Creating an atmosphere of trust and psychological safety inspires your team members to bring their best selves to work. 

 

Continuously Learn and Evolve 

 

Leadership is a lifelong journey of learning and growth. Stay updated on the latest trends and developments in your industry, as this knowledge will enable you to make informed decisions and guide your team effectively. Seek out learning opportunities through books, courses, seminars, and networking events. Embrace feedback and learn from both successes and failures, using each experience as a stepping stone for improvement. 

 

Encourage a culture of continuous learning within your team as well. Provide resources and opportunities for professional development, enabling your team members to enhance their skills and stay relevant in their respective fields. By fostering a learning mindset, you create an environment where everyone is encouraged to grow and evolve. 

 

Conclusion/Quick Read 

 

Effective leadership is a transformative force that has the power to create a positive impact and drive exceptional results within an organization. It is not just about occupying a position of authority; it involves possessing a unique set of skills, qualities, and strategies that empower leaders to navigate challenges, inspire their teams, and foster an environment of growth and high performance leadership

 

Self-awareness encompasses understanding the impact one has on others and how you are perceived as a leader. By being mindful of behaviours and communication styles, effective leaders can build stronger relationships and foster trust within their teams. This awareness allows them to adapt their leadership approach to effectively meet their team members' needs. 

 

Effective communication is paramount for effective leaders. It is about conveying information and actively listening to team members, articulating ideas clearly, and providing constructive feedback. Communication is a two-way street, and effective leaders prioritize engaging in open and transparent dialogues with their team members. This open communication fosters trust, understanding, and a sense of unity within the team. 

 

Another crucial aspect of effective leadership is inspiring vision and direction through a Common Shared Purpose. An effective leader must articulate a compelling vision that inspires and motivates the team. Clear communication helps paint a vivid picture of the future and enables team members to understand their roles in achieving that vision. When the leader communicates their passion and commitment to the shared goals, it fosters a sense of purpose and dedication among the team. 

 

Building trust and relationships is the cornerstone of any successful team. Effective leaders create an environment of openness and transparency where team members feel comfortable expressing their ideas, concerns, and feedback. When leaders actively listen and respond empathetically, trust is nurtured, and a positive rapport is established between the leader and their team. This trust and psychological safety environment encourages collaboration, creativity, and risk-taking, leading to more effective problem-solving and better outcomes. 

 

Conflict resolution is another essential skill for effective leaders. Conflicts are inevitable in any team, but how they are addressed determines the team's cohesiveness. Effective leaders communicate diplomatically and empathetically when resolving conflicts, ensuring that all perspectives are heard and considered. This fosters a culture of respect and cooperation, where differences are seen as opportunities for growth and learning. 

 

Leading by example is a cornerstone of effective leadership. As leaders, it is vital to set high standards of professionalism, integrity, and ethical behaviour. By demonstrating a strong work ethic and a commitment to continuous learning and improvement, leaders inspire their team members to do the same. Effective leaders must be accessible and approachable, encouraging open communication and trust among their team members. Actively listening to their ideas, concerns, and feedback and responding with empathy and respect builds a culture of trust and open communication, enabling the team to feel valued and supported. 

 

Empowering teams through delegation and recognizing diverse strengths leads to high performance leaders. Effective leaders understand that they cannot do everything themselves and that they must trust their team members to take ownership of tasks and responsibilities. Delegate to elevate by assigning meaningful tasks; leaders demonstrate trust in their team's abilities and provide opportunities for skill development. This effective delegation fosters a sense of ownership and accountability among team members, leading to increased engagement and productivity. 

 

Inspiring and motivating teams is an essential aspect of effective leadership. Great leaders have the power to inspire and motivate their teams to achieve extraordinary results. By clearly communicating the organization's vision and goals and ensuring that each team member understands their role in the bigger picture, leaders can paint a compelling picture of the future and inspire their team members to share in their vision. Recognizing and appreciating the contributions of team members and celebrating milestones and achievements create a culture of appreciation and encouragement. 

 

Continuous learning and evolution are critical for ongoing growth and success in leadership. Leadership is a lifelong journey of learning and development. Effective leaders stay updated on the latest trends and developments in their industry, as this knowledge enables them to make informed decisions and guide their teams effectively. Seeking learning opportunities through books, courses, seminars, and networking events, leaders embrace feedback and learn from successes and failures, using each experience as a stepping stone for improvement. By fostering a learning mindset within their teams, leaders also create an environment where everyone is encouraged to grow and evolve, driving the organization toward sustained success.

 

Effective leadership is a multi-faceted journey that requires self-awareness, strong communication skills, inspiring vision, trust-building, adaptability, and leading by example. By cultivating these aspects of leadership, individuals can unleash their full potential as effective leaders, making a lasting difference in their organizations and inspiring growth and high performance leaders within their teams, leading the next generation of effective leaders. 

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Working with various clients and in a number of coaching calls, we've found that many High Performing Leaders struggle holding their team accountable.  

 

While accountability is an uncomfortable topic for many leaders, it is essential in any organization. It is the foundation of trust and integrity, which are crucial in building a successful team and high performance cultures.  

 

When it comes to leadership accountability, it is even more important as leaders set the tone for the organization's culture and its performance. Leaders who hold their team members accountable not only drive their organizations towards success but also create a culture of excellence and mutual trust.  

 

Here we will discuss the importance of leadership accountability, the consequences of poor accountability, the reasons for leaders' fear of accountability, why team members are afraid of accountability, and how leaders can hold their team members accountable

 

 

The Importance of Team Member Accountability 

 

Leaders who hold their team members accountable set the standard for the organization. They demonstrate the importance of deadlines, quality, and expectations. When team members are held accountable, they are more likely to take their work seriously, leading to better performance and productivity. In addition, accountability creates a culture of responsibility and ownership. Team members are more likely to take ownership of their work and the success of the organization. 

 

Holding team members accountable helps leaders identify areas where improvements are needed. Leaders can identify gaps in skills, training, and communication, which can then be addressed. This leads to a continuous improvement cycle, which can result in higher quality work and better outcomes. 

 

Leaders Accountability to Their Team Members 

Group of leaders with there hands together to say

 

Leaders must lead by example. This means that they must be accountable to their team members, just as they expect their team members to be accountable to them. When leaders are accountable to their team members, they demonstrate the importance of honesty, integrity, and transparency. This creates a culture of mutual trust, where team members feel safe to share their opinions and ideas.  

 

 When leaders hold themselves accountable for their actions and decisions, they demonstrate to their team members the importance of taking ownership and responsibility for their work. This, in turn, leads to team members feeling empowered and motivated to perform their best. 

 

Empowered leaders who lead by example create a sense of integrity and credibility within the organization. When team members see their leaders walking the talk and taking responsibility for their actions, they are more likely to trust them and follow their lead. This trust and respect create a positive work environment where team members feel valued and respected. This further encourages team members to  hold themselves to higher levels of accountability. They can see the benefits through their leader's example.  

 

When no individual is exempted from this loop of accountability, no one will feel as if they are personally being "picked on" or singled out among their peers negatively. When everyone is accountable, the only ones who stand out are those who are not meeting their commitments. 

 

Consequences of Poor Accountability 

 

Poor accountability can have significant consequences for an organization. When team members are not held accountable, they may not take their work seriously, leading to low-quality work and missing or even dismissing deadlines. This can damage the reputation of the organization and lead to lost business opportunities. In addition, poor accountability can result in a toxic work environment, where team members blame each other for mistakes and avoid taking ownership of their work. This can lead to low morale, high turnover, and a negative culture. 

 

Woman sitting on the couch staring at her phone in shock. Furthermore, poor accountability can have legal and financial consequences. For example, if an organization fails to comply with regulations or laws, it can face legal action and financial penalties. Similarly, if an organization fails to meet its contractual obligations, it can lose business and face financial penalties. 

 

As you can see, poor accountability can very quickly spill over and spread like a horrible fungus through the work environment, making work toxic and dangerous for everyone, including customers! 

 

Consequences, by definition, are the results or effects that follow from a particular action or decision. They can be positive or negative, and they are essential to creating a sense of accountability in the workplace. When consequences are clear and consistent, they help team members understand the importance of their actions and their impact on the business's success. 

 

One of the most critical aspects of consequences is that they must be communicated clearly and in advance. When team members understand the potential outcomes of their actions, they are more likely to take their responsibilities seriously and work to meet their commitments. Additionally, clear communication ensures that everyone is on the same page and understands the expectations. 

 

Positive consequences can be used to reinforce good behaviour and motivate team members to continue performing at a high level. For example, an employee who consistently exceeds expectations could be given a promotion or a bonus as a reward for their hard work. Positive consequences recognize good performance and create a positive and productive workplace high performance culture that encourages team members to strive for excellence. 

 

On the other hand, negative consequences must be used sparingly and only as a last resort. When team members fail to meet their commitments or exhibit problematic behaviour, negative consequences are necessary to ensure accountability. However, it's important to note that negative consequences should be fair, consistent, and proportional to the offence. 

 

For example, a team member who consistently misses deadlines despite repeated warnings may need to face consequences such as a no, or low pay increase, demotion, or even termination. However, these consequences should be used as a last resort and only after other measures have been exhausted. Negative consequences should also be communicated clearly in advance so that team members understand the seriousness of their actions and the potential outcomes.  It's important to note that consequences should be applied equally and fairly to all team members. Inconsistent or unfair consequences can quickly erode trust and undermine accountability. Leaders must be consistent in their application of consequences and ensure that they are aligned with the values and goals of the business. 

 

Ultimately, consequences are essential in maintaining accountability in business. They provide a clear incentive for team members to meet their commitments and perform at a high level. By communicating consequences clearly and fairly, leaders can create a culture of accountability that fosters a sense of ownership and responsibility among team members. 

 

 

Leaders' Fear & Hesitation to Holding Team Members Accountable 

 

Despite the importance of holding team members accountable, many leaders hesitate or fear doing so. This can be due to several reasons, including: A man in a business suit looks up at the sky asking

 

Fear of Conflict: Many leaders avoid holding team members accountable because they want to avoid conflict. They may worry that holding team members accountable will damage relationships or cause further interpersonal damage.  

 

Lack of Communication Skills: Some leaders lack the communication skills to hold team members accountable. They may struggle to provide feedback or address issues in a constructive and respectful manner. 

 

Fear of Losing Talent: Some leaders may hesitate to hold team members accountable because they fear losing talent. They may worry that holding team members accountable will lead to high turnover or that team members will become resentful and disengaged. 

 

Fear of Offending: Most commonly, leaders fear they will offend or hurt team members' feelings when trying to create accountability. This fear is a combination of all the above.  

 

 

How to Move Past These Fears 

 

Fear of Conflict: 

1) Develop Conflict Resolution Skills: Leaders can learn conflict resolution skills, such as active listening, empathy, and problem-solving, to handle conflict effectively. 

 

2) Establish Clear Expectations: Leaders can establish clear expectations with team members, including performance standards, goals, and deadlines. This helps avoid misunderstandings and conflict in the future. 

 

3) Provide Constructive Feedback: Leaders can provide constructive feedback, focusing on specific behaviours and actions rather than personality or character.  (Future post?) 

 

 

Lack of Communication Skills: 

 1) Invest in Communication Training: Leaders can invest in communication training to improve their communication skills, including active listening, effective feedback, and non-verbal communication. Try looking at LinkedIn and Teachable for these types of programs if they are not offered internally at your company. 

 

2) Practice Open Communication: Leaders can practice open communication, including regular check-ins, team meetings, and one-on-one discussions. This helps create a culture of open communication and feedback. 

 

3) Seek Feedback: Leaders can seek feedback from team members on their communication style, including areas for improvement and strengths. Learn how your team best responds to feedback and try to work accordingly when giving difficult feedback.  

 

Fear of Losing Talent: 

 1) Focus on Development: Leaders can focus on developing team members, including coaching, mentoring, and training. This helps improve performance and increase retention.  In fact, providing higher levels of accountability can be an integral part of a retention strategy. 

 

2) Provide Opportunities for Growth: Leaders can provide opportunities for growth, including challenging assignments, cross-functional projects, and skill-building activities. This helps keep team members engaged and motivated. Be sure to only offer such opportunities to deserving team members. If one team member is particularly struggling to meet commitments, adding to their workload with high profile tasks/opportunities will cause more harm than good.  

 

3) Set Clear Expectations: Leaders can set clear expectations with team members, including performance standards, goals, and career paths. This helps team members understand what is expected of them and how they can progress in their careers. In some cases, locating or creating job descriptions outlining such expectations and requirements for the position in question might be helpful.  

 

Fear of Offending: 

1) Focus on Behaviours, Not People: Leaders can focus on specific behaviours and actions rather than personality or character. This helps keep the conversation constructive and avoids personal attacks. 

 

2) Emphasize the Positive: Leaders can emphasize the positive, including team members' strengths and contributions. This helps balance constructive feedback with positive reinforcement. Try the two positives and one opportunity approach: Start the meeting with two positives and pointing out where the team member has recently been successful and what specifically did they do that contributed to the successes. Next identify one opportunity for improvement, giving detailed specific examples and being careful to remove any personality or character accusations. Stick to the facts. "Project x was delayed by 3 days with no communication or explanation. Is there something that I don’t know about that caused this to take place?" End the conversation by coming up with a plan of action that meets both parties' expectations and prevents the incident from reoccurring.  

 

3) Create a Safe Space: Leaders can create a safe space for feedback and communication where team members feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and opinions. This helps build trust and fosters a culture of open communication.  You can do this by providing support, and asking the team member what kind of assistance or help they may need to meet their commitments.  

 

 

Ways to Enforce Accountability  

 

Understanding the importance of accountability and the different strategies for overcoming anxieties of approaching accountability with your teamit's time to

Young woman with arms crossed smiling.talk about concrete ways to enforce it. After all, accountability cannot happen if there is no consequence for unaccountability or inactive behaviour.  While not all transgressions warrant such drastic results as termination or formal warnings, several proactive approaches remain to "turning up the heat" and holding team members accountable.  

 

1) More Frequent Status Reviews and Check-Ins: Regular status reviews and check-ins provide valuable opportunities for team members to share progress updates and discuss any challenges they are facing. By increasing the frequency of these interactions, leaders can foster accountability and keep a close eye on project advancement. Frequent check-ins also enable timely feedback and corrective actions, allowing the team to address issues before they escalate. 

 

2) Breaking Down Larger Deliverables: Sometimes, complex or lengthy deliverables can lack transparency and accountability. Breaking them down into smaller, more manageable tasks allows for better tracking of progress and provides more frequent opportunities to assess performance. Regularly reviewing these smaller milestones helps identify potential bottlenecks or areas where additional support may be required. This is a great way to provide support while maintaining accountability

 

 

3) Scheduling Reviews at Less "Popular" Times: Leaders can ensure that team members remain attentive and engaged by scheduling status reviews and meetings at less convenient times, such as early mornings or late afternoons. This approach prompts individuals to take accountability for their time management, encouraging punctuality and focused participation. It also demonstrates the team leader's commitment to fostering accountability throughout the organization. 

 

 

4) Temporarily Reassigning "Liked" Responsibilities: To address accountability issues, team leaders may consider temporarily reassigning tasks or responsibilities that struggling team members particularly enjoy. This approach can be a powerful motivator for improved performance as individuals realize the consequences of their actions and strive to regain the projects they had previously enjoyed. It also encourages a more balanced distribution of workload and prevents complacency. 

 

 

 

5) Removing Perceived Perks until Performance Improves: If team members are consistently underperforming, leaders might temporarily withdraw certain perceived perks, such as the option to work remotely or flexible scheduling. Leaders encourage accountability and a strong work ethic by aligning these privileges with consistent, high-quality performance. However, it is important to communicate clearly the conditions for reinstating these benefits, ensuring that team members understand the expectations and goals they need to meet. 

 

 

Holding team members accountable is crucial for achieving project success and maintaining a high-performance culture. By implementing strategies such as more frequent status reviews, breaking down deliverables, scheduling reviews at less convenient times, temporarily reassigning responsibilities, and adjusting perceived perks, leaders can effectively turn up the heat and foster a culture of accountability within their teams. These approaches promote individual responsibility and contribute to overall team productivity and success. 

 

 

Summary/Quick Read  

 

Accountability is crucial for effective leadership and business success, but many leaders face various reservations and challenges that hinder them from maintaining it. These include conflict avoidance, communication skills, fear of losing talent, and anxiety about offending team members. Overcoming these concerns requires leaders to approach accountability with empathy, active listening, and a focus on problem-solving rather than blame. Leaders can also invest in communication training and coaching to improve their communication skills, provide regular feedback and coaching to their team members, and create a culture of accountability that promotes individual and organizational growth. Ultimately, having consequences in business is essential to maintain accountability and promote a high performance culture of responsibility and ownership. Leaders must take action when team members fail to meet expectations or violate policies to maintain accountability and ensure the success of the business. 

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What is high performance leadership?

 

High performance leadership is a leadership style that is characterized by a focus on achieving exceptional results through effective team building, strategic planning, and strong communication skills. It is a type of leadership that inspires and motivates individuals and teams to work towards common goals and achieve excellence.

 

High performance leadership is not just about managing a team or getting tasks done. It’s about inspiring people to work together towards a common shared purpose. To create and achieve a high performance team, it’s important to create a common shared purpose for the team that is aligned with the overall organization’s vision and strategy. This common shared purpose should be specific enough that each team member knows how their team contributes to the organization’s vision and their explicit role within the team. When teams understand their purpose and see how their contributions are important, they are more motivated and engaged, resulting in better outcomes and overall success for the organization. 

 

The three high performance leadership essentials for high performance teams

 

  1. Common Shared Purpose
  2. Proven Competency
  3. Accountability

 

Why is a common shared purpose important?

 

A common shared purpose is crucial for any high performance team, as it helps align everyone toward the same goal. A team without a common shared purpose is like a ship without a destination. It may have a crew, but without a clear direction, it will drift aimlessly. When everyone understands the purpose and direction of the team, they can work together more efficiently and effectively. A common shared purpose brings the team together, and each member feels part of something bigger than themselves.

 

Feels part of something bigger than themselves”

 

A common shared purpose creates a sense of belonging and commitment to the team. When people feel like they are part of a team working towards a common shared purpose and goal, they are more likely to be engaged and committed to their work. It also helps team members see how their contributions are valuable, and this leads to a greater sense of accomplishment and satisfaction in their work. When individuals see how their work contributes to the greater good, they are more motivated to do their best.

 

Creating a common shared purpose aligned with the organization’s vision

 

A common shared purpose must be aligned with the organization’s vision and strategy. The vision is the long-term goal or destination that the organization aims to achieve, while the strategy outlines the approach and actions required to reach that goal. The common shared purpose of the team must fit into this broader vision and strategy, and each team member should understand how their team’s work contributes to achieving this vision.

 

A common shared purpose should also be specific and measurable. Vague goals such as “improve customer satisfaction” or “increase revenue” are not enough. Instead, the team’s common shared purpose should be more specific, such as “reduce customer complaints by 50%” or “increase revenue by 10% in the next quarter”. Specific goals give the team a clear target to aim for, and it’s easier to measure progress and success.

 

When creating a common shared purpose, involving the team in the process is important. By involving team members, you can gain their input and feedback, and this creates a greater sense of ownership and commitment to the purpose. When people feel like they have contributed to creating a common shared purpose, they are more likely to be invested in it and work towards achieving it.

 

How a common shared purpose leads to success and accountability

 

A common shared purpose provides focus and direction for a high performance team. When everyone knows what they are working towards, it’s easier to prioritize tasks and make decisions that align with the purpose. This helps the team avoid distractions and focus on the important work contributing to the organization’s vision and strategy.

 

In high performance teams, a common shared purpose creates a sense of accountability. When everyone understands the purpose and their role in achieving it, they are more likely to take ownership of their work and be accountable for their actions. This creates a culture of responsibility and accountability, where everyone is committed to doing their best to achieve the common shared purpose.

 

A common shared purpose also promotes collaboration and teamwork. When everyone understands their role and how it contributes to the greater goal, there will be more collaboration to achieve success. This creates a culture of teamwork and cooperation, where everyone is working towards the same goal rather than focusing solely on their individual tasks.

 

How a common shared purpose creates proven competency

 

A common shared purpose is a powerful driver of proven competency among team members. When everyone on the team is aligned around a common shared purpose, they understand what competencies are necessary to accomplish that goal. This shared understanding and proven competency with each other create a sense of accountability and responsibility among team members, motivating them to develop and improve the skills required to achieve their objectives.

 

Collaboration is essential in ensuring the team has the proven competencies to become a high performance team. Cross-training is an effective way to develop and improve the proven competencies of team members. When team members work together to share knowledge and skills, they learn from each other's experiences and become more capable of working towards a common shared purpose. Additionally, cross-training helps to build trust among team members, which is essential for effective collaboration. By sharing expertise and supporting each other, team members can work together more efficiently and effectively, creating a positive feedback loop that leads to higher performance and greater success. Ultimately, a common shared purpose and a collaborative approach to building proven competencies are critical components of a high performance team.

 

A common shared purpose helps create a positive work culture when people feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves.

 

Formula One example of common shared purpose, proven competency, and accountability

 

 

An example of high performance leadership and the resulting high performance team that we often reference in our leadership development programs is that of a Formula One racing team.  In Formula One racing, every member of the team plays a vital role in achieving the ultimate goal of winning the race or achieving a points goal for the season. One of the most critical teams is the pit crew, who provide the necessary services to the car during pit stops in the fastest time possible.

 

The pit crew's common shared purpose is to work together seamlessly and efficiently to service the car and get it back on the track as quickly as possible. The pit crew comprises several highly skilled individuals, each with a specific role to play. Some team members are responsible for changing the tires, while others refuel the car, and some adjust the aerodynamics of the car.

 

In a race where every second counts, the pit crew's ability to provide fast and efficient services is crucial. The time spent in the pits can make the difference between winning and losing the race. As a result, the pit crew must have the proven competency to work with precision and focus on ensuring that the car is serviced correctly and efficiently.

 

The pit crew's contribution to the team's vision of winning the race cannot be overstated. By providing the necessary services in the shortest time possible, they help minimize the time the car spends in the pits, allowing the driver to get back on the track quickly and maintain a competitive position.

 

The pit crew's efforts and accountability to each other and the greater team also help improve the driver's confidence and motivation, knowing they have a reliable and efficient team behind them. This can be critical in a race where the slightest mistake can result in a significant setback. 

 

The pit crew plays a vital role in Formula One racing, and their common shared purpose is to provide the necessary services to the car in the fastest time possible. Achieving the overall team’s goal of winning the race or finishing the season with a targeted number of points isn’t entirely within their control or responsibility. However, by clearly understanding their common shared purpose, demonstrating proven competency, and having high accountability to each other and the entire racing team, they are able to expertly do their part in performing the most effective and efficient pit stops that will certainly make a difference in achieving the overall team’s goals.

 

High performance leadership steps for High performance teams

 

1. Define a clear mission: In high performance leadership requires leaders to establish a clear and concise mission statement that outlines the team's common shared purpose and objectives. This statement should be communicated effectively to every member of the team and serve as a guiding principle for all decisions and actions.

 

2. Foster a sense of accountability: In high performance leadership, leaders should encourage team members to take ownership of their roles and responsibilities and to be accountable to each other. They should empower them to make decisions and take actions that align with the team’s mission and common shared purpose.

 

3. Build a culture of collaboration: In high performance leadership, leaders should foster a culture of collaboration and teamwork. They should encourage open communication, trust, and respect among team members and create a safe no blame environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing their ideas and opinions and learning from mistakes.

 

4. Provide opportunities for growth: In high performance leadership, leaders should provide opportunities for team members to learn and grow. This can be achieved through training programs, mentoring, or coaching. By investing in their development, leaders show that they value their team members and are committed to their success.

 

5. Celebrate success: In high performance leadership, leaders should recognize and celebrate team successes. This can be done through public or private recognition, rewards, or incentives. Celebrating success reinforces the importance of the common shared purpose and motivates team members to continue working towards the organization's objectives.

 

6. Lead by example: High performance leaders must lead by example. They need to consistently demonstrate the behaviours and actions that they expect from their team members. By modelling the values and principles of the organization, leaders can create a culture that reinforces the shared common purpose and inspires everyone to work towards achieving it.

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Does the thought of 'spring break' or vacation cause you grief?  Taking a vacation is a great way to relax, recharge and rejuvenate, but it can also be a source of stress for some people. Whether it's the preparation for leaving work or the stress of catching up when you return, the whole experience can be overwhelming.  It doesn't have to be this way.  That's why taking steps to reduce stress before you go on vacation and after you return is important. Here are some things you can do to help!  If you've seen them before, it might still be worth a skim through as a reminder.

 

Just recently, having the opportunity to take a vacation with my family reminded me how stressful a vacation can be, unfortunately.  With the official “spring break” quickly approaching, I thought some might find a refresh of a previous article helpful and timely.  In today's world of always being connected and the ongoing expectations and demands placed on us in our work lives, it can be difficult for many to get away on vacation easily.   Then there is the mess when we return!  The result too often is that the week before we leave is high stress, and the week we return is brutal!  Then there is the time we are actually off on vacation.  Regardless of whether we can disconnect while away, the first few days can be tough as we de-stress from the week before, and then a few days before the end of the vacation, we begin to think of what awaits our return, and the stress and anxiety ramps up.

 

To help a little, I've refreshed and re-posted some information from previous posts that may help.

 

Before you go:

 

  • NEW:  "Upcoming vacation alert.  Approximately a week in advance of your vacation, add a line to your email signature that says "Upcoming vacation alert:  <start date> to <end date>."  It's a good practice to use a red coloured font so it is highly noticeable.  Adding this to your signature will help reduce your colleagues' surprise to learn on your last day that you'll be away, which will reduce last minute requests, and reduce disappointments and even frustrations when they contact you to learn for the first time that you're already gone.
  • PRO TIP:  Block off your last & first day.  When in your calendar to schedule your vacation, block off the last day (at least half the day, if not the full day) before you go and the first day you return.  Leading up to your vacation, be very selective about what meetings you book on those last and first days if any.  This allows you time to clear your inbox, ensure delegation is set up, take care of any priorities that need to be looked after when you are gone, and gives you time to deal with the inevitable last-minute pre-vacation “crisis” that surely will pop up.
  • Assign a delegate.  Of course, you will appoint a delegate to look after your most important responsibilities. However, read through this for some subtle tips.  Advise your team who the delegate is and how to contact them.  Turn on your out-of-office notification and put this contact information in the notification so that when others beyond your team try to contact you, they will realize you are out of the office and will know whom to contact should they need to do so, rather than wait for your return.  The less you have to deal with when you return, the better!  It’s also a good opportunity to develop your delegate.  Be sure to provide clear instructions and expectations for your delegate. 
  • With enough advanced planning for your vacation, you can have the delegate shadow you to certain meetings or even take on some of the more critical or complex responsibilities.  This reduces their stress and gives them the support they need before going solo.
  • Be selective about emergency contact information.  It's important to disconnect from work while on vacation, but there may be some situations where you need to be contacted.  Determine if and to whom you want to provide your contact information should an urgent or emergency occur.  Be certain to select someone you trust with your contact information that will really scrutinize contacting you.   Leave your cell phone number or contact information regarding where you will be staying.  This may or may not be your assigned delegate.  Let your team know you are not checking or responding to emails or texts while you are gone.  Be sure to provide clear instructions on what constitutes an urgent matter or emergency.
  • PRO TIP:  Top issues summary.   Leave instructions with your team to summarize key issues or problems you need to know about or where they need your help immediately upon your return.  If you have an assistant they can consolidate all these items in one email and send it to you just before you return.  You can assign this to your delegate if you don’t have an assistant.  The intent here is that this shortlist will allow you to quickly focus on the most important items immediately upon your return rather than trying to sort through all your emails or reacting as things are brought to your attention somewhat randomly throughout the first day back at work.
  • Take care of yourself.  In the days leading up to your vacation, prioritize self-care activities like exercise, meditation, or spending time with loved ones. This will help you manage stress and anxiety and enjoy your vacation fully.
  • Set boundaries.  Setting personal boundaries while on vacation is essential to ensure that you can disconnect and recharge. It's important to communicate your vacation plans and expectations with colleagues and clients beforehand, such as letting them know that you'll be out of the office and not responding to work-related messages or calls during this time. If you need to check in occasionally, schedule a specific time slot and limit your availability outside of it. Additionally, it's helpful to disconnect from technology and avoid checking work emails or messages during non-work hours. By setting personal boundaries, you can ensure a well-deserved break and return to work re-energized and focused.

 

While away:

 

Many of us never really leave work while on vacation.  Or, don’t leave it long enough to disengage to maximize the many benefits of our vacations and enjoy it!

Here are a few reminders of why it's a good idea to disengage while on vacation:

 

  • Revitalization - When we clear our minds of work, we can gain a different and often better perspective. Our brains will continue working on problems and challenges in the background and developing new ideas or solutions. Relaxing revitalizes us, allowing our subconscious to be creative.
  • Development opportunities - Delegating and/or empowering your team members with your responsibilities is a great development opportunity for them. This also allows you to assess better and evaluate their readiness and capabilities for future progressive roles. In addition to the growth opportunities, your delegate evaluates aspects of your role. This can be a good thing or a bad thing for you, but always good for them!
  • Respect - This is multi-directional. By your team not contacting you and allowing you to disengage, not only are they respecting your time, but you are respecting them by showing your confidence and trust in them. It also sets the example for when they go on vacation; they are not expected to check in or be reachable when away because they realize you will respect their time off and need to disengage.
  • A better time - If you can disengage, you and your family will have a better time. Also, those back at work will as well.  No one likes to contact someone while on vacation!
  • Family - Your family deserves an uninterrupted vacation as much as you, sometimes more! They also want and deserve your full attention. They will know when you're thinking of work, and you won't be able to give them your full attention.
  • Health - Everyone needs some downtime. No one is superhuman and can go full steam ahead indefinitely. To live a longer, healthier life, you must take some downtime and disengage.

 

To sum it up with the adage,

 

"No one on their deathbed ever said, 'I wish I'd spent more time at the office."

 

Don't wait until then to figure this out!

 

Upon Return:

 

  • PRO TIP: Prioritize based on the summary of issues.  Review the consolidated list from your team of the urgent matters they need your immediate assistance with. Use this list to set your priorities for your first day back.  Schedule urgent meetings or phone calls as necessary to address these issues.  You blocked out your first day…this is one of the reasons why.  Use some of this blocked time to address these urgent matters.

 

  • Delegate Check-in.  Check-in with your delegate to see how things went and if there is anything you need to know about or follow up on.  It is important to find out what actions you need to make, what commitments they made on your behalf, or what’s outstanding that needs your attention.  It’s also a respectful thing to do.  Ask your delegate what they learned from the experience, what they liked and didn’t like, and what they would do differently next time.  It’s also an opportunity for you to give them feedback on how they did with the delegation.  Delegation should provide a development opportunity for the delegate, so having this reflection conversation is critical to maximizing their development and learning opportunities. 

 

  • PRO TIP:  Email vacation holding file.  Instead of trying to catch up on all your emails while you were off, create a “Vacation holding” file within your email and move all the emails received while you were gone, other than the last 1-2 days, to this file.  Then sort through and process the remaining emails from the last 1-2 days.  This will help you avoid feeling overwhelmed and allow you to focus on the most important emails first. If something comes up that you need to search through the emails in the vacation holding file, you have them available.  After a week or so, if you haven’t found you need any emails from this folder you can go ahead and delete them.

 

  • Reflection.  Reflect on what worked well and what didn’t before, during, and after your vacation so you can tweak your vacation routine accordingly.

 

  • PRO TIP: Book your next vacation NOW!

If this was helpful...why not give us a like!

Please share your vacation stress reducing tips in the comments!

 

 

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Summary

 

In today's fast-paced world, it's easy to feel overwhelmed and burnt out. Interruptions can be a significant cause of burnout for team members, leading to decreased productivity and morale. However, in leadership, one of the leader’s primary roles is to “Protect the Core,” or in other words, protect your team from interruptions and burnout.  Protect the Core is about shielding your team from interruptions that distract them from focusing on their core priorities or responsibilities.  It's about watching out for their well-being.  It's a double edged sword actually.  An effective leader, protects their core team, and by doing so, protects the core responsibilities of the team at the same time.

 

Here are ten steps a leader can take to “Protect the Core”: 

 

Click on any of the ten steps to learn more information about it.

  1. Set clear goals and expectations
  2. Use project management tools
  3. Establish a communication plan
  4. Encourage breaks
  5. Provide resources for stress management
  6. Encourage open communication
  7. Provide alternative work arrangements, not necessarily working from home
  8. Minimize meetings
  9. Celebrate successes
  10. Monitor for signs of burnout


 

Ten Steps to protect your team from interruptions and burnout

 

1.  Set clear goals and expectations:
One of the best ways leaders can protect their team from interruptions is to set clear goals and expectations for everyone. When team members know what they need to accomplish and when they need to do it, they can work more efficiently and stay focused on their tasks. Leaders can also set expectations for how team members should communicate with one another, such as what times of day are best for meetings, collective focus times, or when it's appropriate to interrupt someone's work.

 

A common mistake a leader can make is to assume that all their team members understand their goals and the expectations of them. Instead, when the team is under pressure or the leader suspects that team members are feeling overwhelmed, they should start by reviewing individual team members’ goals to ensure they are, in fact, the current priority.  Often the need to change priorities can go undetected as the team member may be unaware of the priority change.  In addition, a review of expectations helps ensure everyone is aligned on what needs to be done and when and what doesn’t. Things can get lost in the shuffle, and tasks that were once important may no longer be necessary and can be stopped, or at the very least, can be paused for some time.

 

Return to Summary


2.  Use project management tools
Project management tools can be beneficial for reducing interruptions and keeping everyone on track. These tools allow team members to communicate about projects, assign tasks, and track progress without constantly interrupting one another. Using these tools enables team members to stay focused on their work and reduce interruptions from others.

 

A daily huddle board is a visual management tool used by teams to quickly and easily communicate updates, progress, and issues related to a specific project or process. The board is typically displayed in a common area where all team members can easily access it at any time.

 

The huddle board usually consists of several sections or columns, each representing a different aspect of the project or process being tracked. These sections may include:
 

  • To-Do: This section lists the tasks that need to be completed during the day and who is responsible for each job.
  • In Progress: This section lists the tasks currently being worked on, along with any notes or comments about the status of each job.
  • Completed: This section lists the tasks completed during the day.
  • Issues/Blockers: This section lists any problems or issues preventing progress and includes information about who is responsible for addressing each issue.
  • Metrics: This section may include charts, graphs, or other data visualizations that track key performance indicators (KPIs) related to the project or process.

During the daily huddle, team members gather around the board to review progress, identify any issues or blockers, and discuss necessary adjustments or next steps. This brief daily meeting helps ensure everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals.  The leader needs to tackle any barriers beyond the team member's control that prevent them from accomplishing their priorities.

 

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3.  Establish a communication plan
Communication is essential for any team, but it's crucial to establish a plan for how and when team members should communicate with one another. For example, the leader might set specific times of day for team meetings or establish a protocol for how team members should communicate urgent issues. Establishing a communication plan can help reduce interruptions and ensure everyone is on the same page.

 

Part of a team communication plan should include establishing some guidelines or team code of conduct around when people can be interrupted.  Simple visual cues as simple as coloured paper or sticky notes to indicate when someone can be interrupted work very effectively.  For example, green paper means ‘come on in’ or open for interruptions; yellow may mean focused work, only interrupt if it cannot wait, and red meaning do not interrupt unless it is an absolute emergency.  It is also essential to clearly define what cannot wait and what is an absolute emergency.  Another simple example is if someone has their headset on, they should not be interrupted.

 

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4.  Encourage breaks
Taking breaks throughout the day is essential for preventing burnout and increasing productivity. Leaders should encourage team members to take breaks and step away from work when needed. This could mean taking a short walk, grabbing coffee, or simply stretching. By taking breaks, team members can recharge their batteries and return to work more focused and energized.

 

Research indicates that humans need a mental break every 90 to 120 minutes.  Setting a timer on a cell phone or another electronic prompt effectively reminds you that you need to step away for a few minutes, re-energize, and regroup.

 

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5.  Provide resources for stress management
Stress is a significant contributor to burnout, so it's essential to provide resources for stress management. This could mean offering meditation or yoga classes, providing access to mental health services, or simply encouraging team members to care for themselves. A simple team stretch throughout the day or a group walk at lunch is very easy to do.  By supporting team members' mental health and wellbeing, leaders can help prevent burnout and keep everyone on track.

 

Rather than asking team members if they are keeping busy or even the general how they are doing, ask them if they have adequate time to think and plan.  Unfortunately, poor cultural norms sometimes prevent team members from admitting they are overworked or overwhelmed.  By asking them if they have adequate time to think and plan, a leader is likely to get a more accurate response to the team members' current workload and state of mind.  A leader needs to create a culture and environment where not only will their team tell them they have too much work, but the leader rewards them for doing so.  This means the leader has to be intentional about their questions and responses.

 

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6.  Encourage open communication
Encouraging open communication among team members can help prevent interruptions and reduce stress. When team members feel comfortable talking to one another, they're less likely to interrupt one another or feel like they're working in isolation. So leaders need to encourage their team members to share their thoughts and feelings and provide a safe and supportive environment for open communication.

 

A leader should model open communication by being transparent and honest with their team. Share information openly and quickly, and encourage others to do the same.  Ensure that all team members are respectful of each other and that everyone's ideas and opinions are valued.  When conflicts arise, and they will occur during challenging times, address them quickly and fairly. Encourage team members to work through conflicts together and find solutions.

 

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7.  Provide alternative work arrangements, not necessarily working from home
A potentially touchy subject these days, however, flexible work arrangements, such as remote work or flexible schedules, can be beneficial for preventing interruptions and reducing stress. By offering team members more flexibility in their work arrangements, a leader can help them better manage their time and reduce interruptions from outside sources. This can also help prevent burnout by giving team members more control over their work-life balance.

 

If remote work is not an option, create a quiet space for team members to work in. This could be a private office or a designated quiet area where team members can focus on their work without distractions.  The cafeteria outside break times can often be an ideal place to escape interruptions!  Sometimes a change of location can be as good as a rest. 

 

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8.  Minimize meetings

Meetings can be a significant source of interruptions and distractions, leading to burnout. Minimize the number of meetings, and keep them short and focused. Encourage team members to attend only the meetings that are essential for their work.  Let them know it’s ok to decline a meeting if it is not essential to their priorities.  It is also important to establish what is and is not deemed essential while maintaining respect and professionalism when declining meeting requests. 

 

Implementing a meeting standard duration of 20 or 50 minutes is a great way to improve meeting efficiency and reduce the burden on your team members.  Learn more about this in our article Time Saving Tip!

 

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9.  Celebrate successes
Finally, it's important to celebrate the team's successes and recognize their hard work. When team members feel appreciated and valued, they're more likely to stay motivated and focused. Celebrating successes can also help prevent burnout by reminding team members of their impact and why their work is important.
 

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10.  Monitor for signs of burnout

Regularly check in with team members to assess their workload and stress levels. Look for signs of burnout, such as decreased motivation, productivity, and absenteeism. Take action to address burnout when it is identified, such as reducing workload or providing additional support.
 

Protecting the Core from interruptions and preventing burnout requires a multifaceted approach. However, by following and implementing these ten steps, leaders can create a supportive and productive environment for their team members, significantly reducing the risk of burnout.

 

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Summary

 

You're not alone if you lack even a little leadership confidence.  A lack of leadership confidence is very common and is nothing to worry about or be concerned with. However, you do need to develop higher confidence to become a high performing leader. 

 

There are steps you can take to increase your confidence quickly.  A lack of leadership confidence shouldn’t be a surprise either, as few leaders receive leadership development before taking on new leadership roles, and their senior level leaders often do not have the bandwidth or don’t make the time to coach and mentor them to the required level. 

 

Here are 10 ways to develop your leadership confidence (click on any method to get more information about it):

 

  1. Active & Healthy Professional Network
  2. Get a leadership coach
  3. Accept ambiguity in decision making
  4. Open vs closed door decisions
  5. Make values based decisions
  6. Ask for forgiveness, not permission
  7. Failure is an option
  8. Be the leader you wish you had
  9. Project confidence
  10. Celebrate wins

Prioritize based on your biggest opportunities and take on only one or two at a time.  Add new ones as you become proficient in the prioritized areas.  You are likely to notice a change in your confidence very quickly.

 

 

Is leadership confidence a concern?

 

In our article “Concerned?  Is there a leadership development crisis?”, we discussed how 77%* of organizations report that leadership within their teams is lacking and that only 5%* of companies have implemented leadership development at all levels!  Understanding this, maybe it shouldn’t be surprising that many new or less experienced leaders lack leadership confidence. 

 

“77% of organizations report that leadership within their teams is lacking and that only 5% of companies have implemented leadership development at all levels!

 

From our direct engagement with leaders through our leadership development programs, coaching, and on-site client projects, we have seen an increasing trend of leaders lacking confidence in their approach, response to team member issues, or their own decision making.  These leaders exhibit high concern levels of making mistakes and seek assurance that they have done the right thing.  The biggest risks we see are in matters that touch upon legal, legislation, and precedence setting.

 

There is good news here, too, though.  We also see that, for the most part, these leaders are definitely on the right track.  Rarely do we hear of situations or examples where they have made a mistake and never where they have made irreversible ones.   Their asking for feedback also shows their maturity and desire to be the best leaders they can be.  Although there is a reason for some concern, we can work with this!

 

It's not you; it’s us

 

So what might be driving this?  Have new, less experienced leaders always lacked confidence?

 

Yes, I believe so!  Making the jump from an individual contributor to leading others has always been a challenge when leading for the first time.  However, I think it is more difficult for leaders today to get the help and support they need.  I propose that the leadership development gap that exists in most organizations today may be driving this increasing trend we are seeing.  Many leaders receive virtually no leadership development prior to taking on a leadership role but also have less exposure in the form of coaching, observation, and feedback from experienced leaders.  Working remotely through COVID also didn’t help in these areas!  There is also a lower tolerance in the leaders themselves for making mistakes.  They hold themselves to a very high bar.

 

If you are a leader that lacks leadership confidence, be assured that it’s not you; it’s us!  Us in the sense of your organization and experienced leaders who, for various reasons, do not provide the coaching and mentoring you need.  Several things distract and detract experienced leaders from providing access and time for new leaders, some legitimate challenges, others not so much.  However, we won’t get into those here.  Also, know that although you may think only you feel this way, you are not alone. 

 

10 Ways to develop your leadership confidence

 

1  Active & Healthy Professional Network

 

Often people consider a professional network as a way to find their next job opportunity.  If this is you, you are missing so much!  Having an active and healthy network is a must for any leader at all levels.  This network and the resulting relationships can be used to share best practices, obtain input and feedback, bounce ideas off, and learn from each other.  An active professional network takes time and energy.  It should be built before ever seeking new opportunities.

 

Active means that you spend some time growing and nurturing your network.  This does not include accepting any and all requests to connect on LinkedIn.  It means maintaining and developing new professional contacts via LinkedIn, periodic 1:1s within your organization, lunches or dinners with past colleagues, and socializing at community or external business functions. 

 

A healthy network flows both to and away from you, where you regularly support others, and they support you.   You need to make the effort to respond and spend time with those in your network to help and support them when they need it.  As well as not hesitate to reach out and ask them for support or assistance you could use.  This is a form of mutual respect and is very rewarding.  Your experience potential is greatly magnified as you have much more experience at your fingertips.  Not only will you benefit from this experience, but your confidence will go up once you see that you have great experiences and that others have similar challenges.

 

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2  Get a Leadership Coach

 

When taking up a new sport, we wouldn’t think of not getting some form of coaching.  So why do we think we can get a leadership position and not benefit from having a coach?

Good coaching helps us learn quicker, determine the best ways of doing things, and challenge us to do more than we think we are capable of achieving.  A coach does not tell us what we should do or how to do it but rather helps us solve our own challenges by asking probing questions and supporting us along the way.  Coaches provide a safe environment to share your insecurities and admit your challenges and self-doubt.  Having a coach can be a great confidence booster as they help you figure things out yourself.

 

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3  Accept ambiguity in decision making

 

Typically, there is no right or wrong answer when making decisions.  There are bad, better, and good decisions, but not right or wrong.  A leader needs to gather the data or facts, solicit input and opinions, and make informed decisions in real time.  Not making, excessive debate, or extended delays in making decisions are usually regrettable.  We need to make informed decisions with the best information we have at the time and accept that there is always ambiguity in decision making. 

 

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4  Open vs closed door decisions

 

At Amazon, we were taught that there are open and closed door decisions.  This was a concept to help leaders make faster decisions and to differentiate that all decisions are not the same and therefore require different levels of consideration in the decision making process.

 

Open door decisions are those that, once made (you walk through the decision door) can be reversed or changed without any significant difficulty or long term impact.  In other words, the door remains open, and you can walk back through it again. 

Closed door decisions are those that, once made, cannot be reversed or changed without significant difficulty or long lasting impact.

 

So then with open door decisions, you can make faster decisions and take more risks with ambiguity.  For closed door decisions, you want to be more thorough, involve more stakeholders, conduct trials/pilots, check data/fact, gather more input, and conduct risk assessments, to mention a few.  At the same time, recognize there remains some ambiguity.   

 

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5  Make values based decisions

 

Decisions that align or are based on your and your organization’s values are generally good decisions.  This is not to say they are easy.  Quite the opposite, actually.  Often in these types of situations, there are equal but opposite forces at work that can make the decision process very painful.  Staying true to values usually proves beneficial when considering and thinking long term.  Decisions that go against your values often consider the immediate or short term and can lead to ethical, legal, and cultural impacts on you as the leader and the organization, not to mention a loss of trust and respect.

 

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6  Ask for forgiveness, not permission

 

It may not be at a conscious level, but when we ask for permission, it lowers our confidence.  What if the person doesn’t agree?  What will they think of me?  What will I do if they don’t agree? 

 

Sure, a little bit of security comes with asking permission as you relieve yourself of some of the accountability.  However, long term and continual seeking of permission reduces your ability to make your own decisions and, frankly, does not reflect well on you as a leader.  Senior leaders want and expect the leaders below them to make their own decisions.

 

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7  Failure is an option

 

Yes, failure is an option.  Don’t be so afraid of making a mistake that you don’t make a decision or get into the habit of second guessing yourself. 

 

We must accept that we won’t get it right or perfect every time.  That’s what we mean here by failure.  However, we seldom really fail, either.   As long as we make the best decisions with the information available and learn from any mistakes, it’s not a failure!  So, get over yourself and your fear of failure!  Very few “mistakes” are really failures.  Learn and move on.

 

The only critical failure is if someone gets hurt (or worse) or it’s a closed door decision that goes badly.  There are not that many closed door decisions to be made for most leaders, and you’ll handle them a little differently when you do have to make them, as described in point number 4 above.

 

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8  Be the leader you wish you had

 

This is a great Simon Sinek quote.  If you’re struggling with a decision or situation involving your team or a team member, think of this quote, "Be the leader you wish you had."  How would you wish or expect your leader to handle it if you weren’t the leader and were on the other side of a situation?  That’s probably the best option!  This is applicable to how you may handle situations, decisions to make, or actions to take or not take.  It’s a simple but effective way to help you think through different situations.

 

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9  Project confidence

 

First, we’re not advocating becoming arrogant and strutting around as though you know everything.  What this means is don’t be a self-doubter.  People can sense it, which can impact your reputation, but more so, it again lowers your self-esteem over time.  

 

When I was leading a large and company wide project of significance, I had developed a habit of openly sharing all the problems we were facing in the project at the expense of not mentioning what was going well.  I intended to be transparent and expected everything to go as planned, which clearly wasn’t.  One day a senior leader asked me how things were going.  I quickly rhymed off multiple problems I was dealing with.  She then asked me if any of the issues were beyond my ability to resolve.  I assured her that I was very capable of taking care of them.  At that point, she gave me some advice I have practiced ever since.  She told me that it was my job to resolve any issues that arose and that I was expected to do so.  I should, without hesitation, escalate if there were any I needed help with.  However, telling everyone about every problem that was being experienced would erode the confidence in the project and in me as the leader of it.  What I should do was celebrate the wins and manage the misses unless I needed help.  Just by doing this, my confidence increased dramatically, as I’m sure the confidence others had in me did as well.

 

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10  Celebrate wins

 

Make the effort to recognize and celebrate YOUR wins.  I’m not necessarily referring to your team’s wins, although I’m not excluding them.  It’s important to frequently reflect on your personal wins and determine what you did that led to a successful outcome.  These are the things you want to repeat or perhaps double down on the next time.  Also, reflecting on the wins may highlight that you have done some good things you may otherwise have overlooked, building your leadership confidence.

 

Return to Summary

 

 

Don’t start working on all 10 of these confidence boosters simultaneously.  Review them and prioritize based on where you have the biggest opportunities.  Tackle one or two at a time.  Review your progress at least weekly for what’s working or not working, adjust your actions accordingly, and recognize your progress.  As you become proficient in one of the boosters, take on another.  You’ll be surprised at how quickly your confidence increases.  Don’t forget to enjoy and have fun along the way!

 

Leave a comment on what ways you use or have used to develop your leadership confidence!

 

* 25 Surprising Leadership Statistics (2022)

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