This week I was reminded of one of the more challenging roles I have held and some of you will be about to face.
I call it The Rebuilder.
The rebuilder is a manager who is taking over an existing team or department and their job to truly complete is: To rebuild the team, rebuild the foundations, rebuild the confidence of the team or department and bring back performance throughout the team.
Today I want to introduce you to a concept that many people have not really considered.
I call it the unfollowaction.
We are used to having to actively ‘follow’ colleagues, from a small number of colleagues to hundreds of colleagues in larger businesses.
You follow their work, you receive their emails, their reply all’s, you are pinged on internal chat tools, in countless work meetings with them, notified of their updates on your project management tool and in some cases, you follow their career and help to mentor and coach them
The unfollow action or in many cases, an unfollow/mute button is where colleagues actively choose to:
unfollow the mission they are set
and unfollow business leaders
This action goes unspoken but happens daily.
In 2020 into 2021 we saw a huge unfollow materialise, this as much by the situation and environment as much not being in proximity of people in the office, you had fewer interactions with acquaintances and fewer interactions with colleagues.
This all led to passive unfollows, this is not always a negative series of events, it does mean there is a conscious unfollow and unconscious unfollow.
In the coming months, we will likely see an increase (due to offices being reopened safely) in connections, this does not mean there will be more follows, it could mean there are more unfollows as the less relevant or the more frustrating colleagues become it can all lead to more unfollows.
Not being as close to the outer circle, the ‘People in the office’ will lead to fewer follows, it is up to you to ensure ‘people in the office’ are kept in the loop for important updates, important insights are shared and when required aware of their interaction levels with you.
The question for you to answer in the coming weeks is the unfollow a positive or a negative for your team, department or company? How do you keep buy-in into your leadership, into goals and into your colleagues and team?
Have a great week and consider how the unfollow might happen within your business.
I have had a number of conversations with business owners, founders and leaders about how they gain more cut through with their teams and how to be more open, more transparent, help everyone understand what they are trying to achieve.
There are a number of businesses that offer AMA’s, I am a huge advocate of AMA’s and opening up, there are many ways you can gain more feedback and answer questions, but enabling open conversations and allowing people to relax podcasts are often the way many professionals open up. So much so, there are specific media training courses covering podcasts alongside TV interviews.
Over the past couple of months, I have been working with a number of businesses that are in a good position to grow and invest in their staff and ramp up hiring again.
I have been lucky to interview a number of great candidates virtually, it was something I experienced before I created Focus, as a c-suite candidate you have a large number of rounds of interviews, with numerous committees, the experience was long, complicated and challenging for both parties, especially with time zones.
Although I have not perfected the art yet, here are a few ways you can improve virtual interviews and hybrid hiring to improve the experience for both you and your candidates.
As I have mentioned before, I love coaching and mentoring. I currently have two great coaching clients and it is the highlight of my week whenever we sit down, zoom and run through coaching sessions.
Something that came up in a recent mentoring session was being conditioned by a previous experience and it having a lasting impact on their career.
I for one know I have many battle wounds and mental scars from previous workplaces and I am open to telling many of these to help to share and show we all have them and let them know being vulnerable is part of the process with us.
Something many managers forget is the professional injuries our team members suffer or have suffered at previous companies or under previous management. Truth be told some might be impacted by our management styles today.
Yes, being busy is a part of it, an (important) however, not being close enough to the team and choosing to be a coach or mentor vs not having to be specific people’s manager is not taught and rarely discussed in management books or courses.
Like athletes, injuries take a tremendous toll on us, physically and mentally and are often triggered by repeat events or similar results from a similar approach.
This is one of the reasons why I recommend more coaches and mentors than managers. Coaches improve performance and recognise weakness that needs more personalised coaching. Managers rarely have the skillset for this.
We need rehab, we need to retrain and strengthen, what is different in the workplace especially large corporations, this is often left to the individual to work through, professional assistance and training is not promoted or recommended by managers or management teams.
It is the time to balance this, help your team or department members seek professional help or self start and find a coach or mentor to help work on their injuries and improve our reliance and our strength. Training budgets should be used to train and retrain.
I highly recommend updating your leadership principles to include developing your colleagues with coaching and rehab.
This week consider how you can take forward your colleague’s professional injuries or scars and look to offer a chance for them to rehabilitate. It doesn’t have to cost a huge amount of money or time but the benefit for you, your colleague and the business in a short period of time will be huge.
Have a great week and take the time to list of a couple of your own injuries and how you might rehab them. Professional 1-2-1 coaching is only an email away.
For the past few months, I have been working more regularly with more founder-led businesses.
Founder led businesses are notoriously more difficult if you do not know how to ask the right questions and you answer their questions quickly and concisely with a focus on delivery.
One question that has bubbled up with each founder
Have you been the boss for so long you try and boss everything and every situation?
The answer is 90% of the time, no, the 10% are the more open and transparent and typically say yes.
The yes answer is good, they are aware of where they are and know they will be pushed to step back and challenged to understand where to let go.
The 90% have a few more sessions to go, they are unaware of having to control not boss each situation.
The 90% then split into two camps, those who want to change and those who want to control. The controlling group are those who need more coaching and guidance, you need to show where they are being too hands-on, too overbearing, too much talking nowhere near enough listening.
So the question for you to ask is have you been the boss for so long, you attempt to boss everything?
If yes, step back, challenge yourself to listen more and understand where you need to take a leap back or leap into action and where possible bring in external help or hire more people to remove some friction.
Have a good week and remember being the boss doesn’t mean making every decision and kicking every ball it means knowing when to bring others to the table, bringing support in for you and the team and then being clear and concise when delegating.
Over the last few weeks, I have been talking to c-suites, agency leads and departments heads about recording micro-moments.
A micro-moment to me is when you feel a spark, you feel a move or a moment that is breaking through something, a moment you feel has pushed you, a colleague, a conversation or a project forward.
Micro-moments to me are positive, especially at the time you don’t know how positive it is.
As previously suggested I truly believe that notes taking, having knowledge centres and personal wiki’s help you run effective project, campaign or product launches.
Taking notes, sharing these notes and actions and being deliberate with reviewing micro-moments allows you to see signals, understand patterns and build out more micro-moments.
I like to hand sketch these moments out in a diagram, follow the chain and review very briefly. Seeing the chain reactions as a timeline or as ripples is a great way to demonstrate to those around you. Across my career, 95% of the time, scribbles or sketches beats 500 words or spreadsheets.
One micro-moment I had this week was rolling out brand new software to a client who struggled to connect people with software, I knew it was a micro-moment as the team were surprised how quickly we got through the meeting, how many actions we had completed, how the small number of follow-ups could be completed asynchronously and how we all called out how it felt like real progress was made and the reduction of discord messages.
The important part of reviewing micro-moments or micro-events is being able to teach these signals and patterns and then celebrate your micro wins (small wins).
I know the phrase celebrate the small wins is a little overused but micro-moments need calling out and celebrating.
In the coming weeks, try to make notes of the micro-moments, the processes you followed and the feeling it gave to the team around you.
Celebrate this micro moment with me!
Cheers to this week and have a great week,
Become A Better Leader
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