Strength Based Development for Managers

Strengths based development is nothing new in sports coaching and development; you don’t train someone with a talent for sprinting, how to be a marathon runner. You identify what someone is good at then in the case of a sprinter you develop and coach them to get better in order to get quicker.

Yet as leaders in business, we have possibly all been managed by someone who will look at a development plan as an instrument to develop weaknesses! This flies in the face of research that shows that when you manage people who are using their strengths they will be up to 23% more productive, they are more likely to stay with the company and be true advocates for that company. If they are more productive and engaged they are less likely to be absent from work. All of these things have the potential to add to your bottom line.

If you don’t believe me, simply reflect on what percentage of your strengths you use at your work then think about what you could do at work if you used more of your strengths.

Ok, you say thats great in theory, but how do you do it?

Get to know your team

1. Use a Type indicator e.g. MBTI, DISC etc. They give an indication of how people like to communicate with the world, what energises them. They aren’t about skills you say, and you would be right, however, it will help you and your team enhance how you understand and communicate with each other, but also what gives them energy and energy at work is golddust!

2. Find out what their values are, not the companies. People are more and more looking at the purpose of their / their companies role over and above the ‘widgets’ they produce. This is especially true of Gen Y and they are if they are not already the future of your company. Help them link their values to working in your team.

3. Get everyone to do a SWOT analysis and do one for the team. Strengths, Weaknesses (what they are not good at but can do) Opportunities (strengths they haven’t as yet been able to utlise in the team) Threats (things they don’t like doing, arent that great at doing and developing these skills will be a waste of everybodies time)

4. Development plans – Concentrate on developing Strengths and Opportunities. Only develop anything under the other two headings if they are crucial to the role.

5. If you can allocate work according to strengths then do so in a fair way.

6. Review, reflect,give and receive feedback on a regular basis about how it is working.

It would be great to hear your thoughts on Strength based development, so feel free to comment.

Hope you have a fantastic weekend

Finally, as a tradition on my site I like to add a TED video.

Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership all starting with a golden circle and the question “Why?”  His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers

If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money. But if you hire people who believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood and sweat and tears.” (Simon Sinek)

The 3 R’s to stop you being overwhelmed

Everyone at times can feel as if we have the weight of the world on your shoulders. Many people will grin and bare it, work extra hours and hope that things will get better.

We start saying things like ‘ I wish I had more time in the day’

Sometimes we get through this and sometimes it can have an effect on our home life and health.

The 3R’s is a technique to help.

Relax – Easier said than done, however, putting more and more pressure on yourself is not going to solve anything. Someone once said to me when I was stressing about getting everything done before going on holiday ‘Is anybody going to be physically hurt? Will the department grind to a halt? Is a week away from your desk going to matter?Who can support you when you are away?’. They got me to be more rational about the situation and for me to start seeing who could help.

Ultimately, if you don’t relax and look for support you will burn out and who does that help?

Taking emoition out the equation helps with the next stage.

Review – Take time to review what you have to do

What can you control? Break down everything that you think you have to do using the matrix below. In order to feel more in control and more calm, break down that weight from your shoulders into smaller chunks. What is urgent and what is important. NB. if home life is important to you it should be in the High Importance and Urgent box!

What can you influence? – This is about getting support. We cannot be all things to all people, think about

  • Can I get extensions on timescales?
  • Am I the right person for this task?
  • Am I taking on things because I want to please people around me?
  • Can I delegate some of this work?
  • Is my ego and preference for being in control stopping me from asking for support?

What is outside my control? – Sometimes we put ourselves under pressure by worrying about stuff that is outside our control and influence. It’s a waste of your energy and time. Accept that it is outside your control and concentrate on what you can change.

Re-boot

Just as wehave to re-boot computers when they have taken on new updates or are working inefficiently we should re-boot ourselves after the above.

Think about your

Focus – Stick to what you have planned. Don’t fall back into dealing with box 4

Openness – Be open to other peoples offers of support and advice. Be flexible, tasks will move around the box

Energy – take breaks even if it is just for a few minutes to get your energy back up. Imagine what it will feel like to tackle what you have prioritised.

I haven’t had a TED video on my posts for a wee while so enjoy this one. Funny and helps to look at our perception

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Determination, Inspiration and hard work

 

Martine Wright celebrates a point with Victoria Widdup in their Paralympics match against Ukraine

I watched an interview with Martine Wright the paralympian who lost both her legs in the 7/7 bombings and I have to say it brought a lump to my throat and really inspired me.

After the tragic incident Martine had to re-evaluated her life “I keep asking myself, when does it become normal? Is this normal now?”.

Wright “fell in love” with the sport after turning up late for a “search for a sitting volleyball star” day at Tottenham’s football ground that was attended by just five hopefuls.

Six years on, the 39-year-old former marketing executive was diving and blocking at the net, in front of a noisy crowd which included the London mayor, Boris Johnson, actor Barbara Windsor and Wright’s three-year-old son, Oscar, clutching a banner saying “Go, mummy, go”.

“My motivation, one of my motivations, is I truly believe I was meant to do this journey,”

“I want to do my nation and my family proud.”

This is only one story in so many with the competitors and I wanted to blog about it because it truly inspired me and the paralympics is a shining beacon of what can be done with determination, inspiration and a massive amount of hardwork.

I truly hope that the legacy of the paralympics is inspiring people of all abilities and ages (the oldest competitor is 71)  that they can achieve their dreams and that it breaks down the prejudices between people.

Hope you have a great weekend

 

 

Photograph: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images

 

 

 

 

 

The Positive Functions of a Team

My last post was about high performing teams, however I wanted to talk about teams that aren’t at that stage or are having challenges.

Patrick Lencioni’s Book the 5 Dysfunctions of a Team is an extremely useful reference, however, one slight issue is with its termanology when used with in a session. As soon as the word ‘dysfunctional’ is used with a team you can almost see the barriers coming up.

So flip it around and talk about the Positive Functions of a team

  • Building trust— how to be vulnerable and offer support within the group
  • The impact of constructive conflict—seeking constructive passionate debate
  • Personal commitment— Exhibiting true buy-in for group decisions with action and advocacy
  • Transparent accountability— Agreeing team behavioral values and robust roles and responsibilities
  • Celebrating / Enhancing results—focusing on personal success and team success / As a group indentifying what needs to be better and how to take action as a team

Some businesses will build in Key Performance Indicators etc to try and remedy this and some success can be gained from this, however, it can be seen as a tick box exercise at reviews or traded against other performance results e.g. I am the top salesperson…

In order to see a profound effect actions and agreements need to come from the team also:

  • Any discussions / exercises need to be explicit that this is not about blame it is about taking the team to the next level
  • A skilled impartial facilitator will help discussions; where possible it shouldn’t be the boss facilitating
  • Confidentiality within the team must be explicit
  • Make it interactive with short sessions
  • Give yourself more time than you need and ensure that each area gets the time it needs, however ensure that discussion doesn’t go round in circles
  • Agree rules of feedback and format e.g. has to Balanced, objective and specific, (hotseat feedback on the day or confidential questionaires before event)
  • Ensure clear and measurable actions are captured
  • Review impact regularly

Tips - Just a few free ideas to get you started on addressing the different elements.Full explanations of how to run these would take a few pages!

Building trust— how to be vulnerable and offer support within the group

Get team to do personal SWOT analysis (anomously, number each one) and ask the team to match up their perceived weakness and threats with strengths and opportunites on other SWOT sheets

The impact of constructive conflict—seeking constructive passionate debate

I really like Thomas Klinman Conflict styles as it raises awareness of personal conflict styles

Personal commitment— Exhibiting true buy-in for group decisions with action and advocacy

Ask team to write suggestions on post its of how remove ambiguity and make better decisions that gain commitment

Transparent accountability— Agreeing team behavioral values and robust roles and responsibilities

Get the team to write down their top 5 personal values at work e.g. honesty, trust etc

Then get them ‘grafitti’ style to write them on a flipchart then task them to List the group top 7 or 10 values in the team. Then discuss how they can bring this to life in the team

Celebrating / Enhancing results—focusing on personal success and team success / As a group indentifying what needs to be better and how to take action as a team

Ask the team to come up with 5 commitments that will help them focus on personal and team results

Always happy to hear comments around your own experiences or thoughts on the post.

Hope you have a great weekend

Some helpful links for 5 Dysfunctions of a Team

http://www.tablegroup.com/

https://www.cpp.com/pdfs/mbti-lencioni-guide.pdf

www.tablegroup.com/dysfunctions/the_five_dysfunctions.pdf

High Performing Teams – My Top 12 Characteristics

 

 

 

There are many versions of what makes a high performing team and I thought I would write down my top 12. I plan to expand on the characteristics in another post

If you want to use this at a team meeting, let me know and I will also explain how to do an exercise in a future post.

Let me know what you think – what you would add or subtract from the list?

  1. Shared Goals, Vision & Rewards
  2. Open communication
  3. Detailed Responsibilities
  4. Feedback given and accepted as the intent is to make things better
  5. Awareness of individual values and respect shown for these
  6. Awareness of each individuals skills and how they can be utilised within the team
  7. Sharing of business network and knowledge base
  8. Individual autonomy to make decisions
  9. Innovation, creativity given equality with process and detail
  10. Agreed methods for conflict resolution
  11. Positive outlook
  12. Participative Leadership Styles

You know I love TED videos so I have attached:

At TEDxUSC, David Logan talks about the five kinds of tribes that humans naturally form — in schools, workplaces, even the driver’s license bureau. By understanding our shared tribal tendencies, we can help lead each other to become better individuals

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s not about the coach

 

When running and observing coaching sessions I am asked ‘what would make me a better coach?’. In the majority of the situations I give the feedback… listen more, use silence more and stop asking leading questions which lead to the coach giving advice.

This usually happens as the coach is a leader or manager and they have an agenda, genuinely want to help or dare I say it… let their ego get in the way

Direct or Push style coaching can be useful if the coachee is inexperienced, however too much use of this style can result in:

  • Coach becoming a ‘knowledge crutch’ for the coachee; with the coach / manager being continually asked for advice when the coachee encounters challenges
  • If the advice doesn’t work out the coachee can blame the advice rather than the way it was put into practice
  • As coaches we cannot know all the answers so it puts pressure on us to be the expert

So to increase the effectiveness of your coaching try a few things

 

  • 70 / 30 or 80 /20 percentage of the coachee talking
  • Hold back on suggestions unless the coachee asks you directly for them
  • The coachee tends to have lots of ideas on how to improve, take time to explore these so they have a plan b or c if the plan a doesn’t work out
  • The coachee may have a reflective personality so let them think in silence, dont assume that you need to ask another question or offer an answer
  • Let them take responsibility, replace ‘we’ with ‘you’ e.g. what can you do to….?
  • If asked for feedback, reverse the question and ask them what they thought of their performance
  • At suitable stages in the session get the coachee to summarise the points coverred rather than you do it.

 

To identify what your style of coaching is, have a look at the coaching spectrum below and note down the techniques you currently use. Try using some of techniques you dont use when applicable.

 

 

If you have any questions or want to share your thoughts on coaching, feel free to use the comment box below.

 

 

15 Tips for building better resilience

Everbody encounters times in their lives when stress starts having a strain on our health (mental & physical). I have noted 15 tips to help you get through the feeling of striving to thriving.

1. Recognise when you are starting to feeling the strain in your life and identify what are the route causes of this strain.

2. After identifying the causes list the ones that you can influence and change and accept what you can’t at this time, change.

3. Re-evaluate your values and purpose in life, we can all lose sight of these due to the pressures of life. Be yourself everyone else is taken.

4. Re- train your brain to step back and look for the positives in situations. I remember someone drawing a black dot on a flipchart and putting their head up to the dot then stepping back. They went on to say that the flipchart was life and when we are under lots of pressure, all we can see is the black hole or all the things that are wrong, we need to step back to see that there are lots of things that are good in our lifes.

5. If you are finding that you can’t cope then you owe it to yourself to ask for help; there are professionals and charities that are confidential and are there to help people.

6. Learn to laugh again, many people with serious illnesses regularly talk about the release that having a laugh has, sometimes about the darker side of their situation

7. Once you have analysed the root cause of the strain make a plan and take small steps to changing things. Lots of small changes are easier and add up to larger change in the long run.

8. Start to look at mistakes or preceived failures as learning opportunities. Nobody is perfect, in fact many successful business people have had ‘failures’, however, they have gone on to be successful again. WD40 was named because there was 39 versions before that weren’t right.

9. Start looking after yourself. Our bodies are like machines and if you don’t get enough of the right food,exercise and rest the body and mind will start to breakdown. Start slowly with things like having a healthy breakfast, go for a walk at lunchtime, make time for just you even if its half an hour to read a book, get some sleep.

10. Accept that things in life will change, most people don’t like change, however if you look back on your life you will see that you survived an enormous amount of change.

11. Learn to say no sometimes. Trying to please everyone is a sure way to take on too much.

12. Look at challenging situations with the problem solving part of your mind; using logic can decrease the emotional / irrational aspects of stress. Rarely does anyone make a 100% perfect decision or plan, so don’t put off decisions until something is perfect, many leaders report making decisions on 70 – 80% probability of success.

13. Keep a journal – writing down or typing your thoughts can help you stop continually mulling over them, especially when you are trying to sleep

14. Build or re-build your support network e.g. friends, family and trusted colleagues. It is easily to lose contact if we are extremely busy,however, this speeds up the process of losing objectivity in our situation and being able to release some of the pressure by talking about it, no matter how hard. The old saying a problem shared is a problem halved still stands.

15. Do something everyday that moves yourself forward no matter how small you regard it to be or when going home reflect on 3 things that went well in your day, you will be amazed at what has.

If you have any techniques or experiences you would like to share please leave a comment I would love to hear from you.

http://www.samaritans.org/?gclid=CJunzey14a8CFaYJtAod5nWbDQ