Expectations: Are they constraining how you lead?

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Expectations, we all have them. They can both constrain and inspire us. Problems arise when they define how we think and narrow our field of view. Expectations work both ways. Just as parents, peers, work colleagues, friends and family place expectations on us, we too place expectations on the people around us. Interestingly others can easily influence […]

Why uncomfortable conversations are good for you

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Uncomfortable conversations aren’t fun. They’re the conversations you often put off until the last minute, and anticipate with dread. And yet, being able to have them is an essential part of effective leadership and a hallmark of a successful career. Shying away from these conversations may appear on the surface to be the easy option, […]

Fairness – it matters more than you may think

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When you think of the traits of great leaders, being fair isn’t usually one of the traits that springs to mind. As humans we are acutely attuned to the concept of fairness. Children from a very early age notice when things don’t seem fair, with the inevitable wail of “That’s not fair!” This carries into […]

What’s on your summer reading list?

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The summer holidays are a great time to catch up on the reading you wanted to do during the year, but never found the time for. I hoard books so there’s always a stack to read – both on my kindle and in the traditional paperback format. The books range from those that are designed to […]

It’s time for your annual stocktake

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If, like me, you are wondering where the year went and how it’s possible that it’s only a week until Christmas, now’s a great time to stop and reflect on 2016. At this point in the year it can be easy to wish the days away as you are on countdown to completing everything that […]

Friendships are important at work and here’s why

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Organisations often talk about culture, but rarely consider the role that having friends at work plays in creating a healthy, dynamic and productive environment. There’s no doubt that workplaces are complex environments – bringing together a melting pot of people with varying ideas, assumptions, experiences, expectations and ambitions. They can also be highly destructive. The […]

How to know if you are drunk on power

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There’s an old saying: Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. It’s attributed to Lord Acton, a nineteenth century historian and moralist. Power is a word that invokes a range of images and ideas. Some people see it as bad, while other people see it as magnetic and empowering. I prefer an optimistic approach and view […]

Why the question is one of your most powerful tools

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According to reports we are now living in a post-fact world.  A world where experts are devalued and comments and opinions can be positioned without question, even if they have no substance or evidence to back them up. This is most commonly playing out in the political arena where politicians make sweeping generalisations, bend the […]

What are your crunch points for pressure?

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Pressure! Some people hate it. Other people thrive on it. We all react to pressure differently and have different levels of pressure we can cope with. Research shows that a certain amount of pressure is good for us as it helps motivate us to take action and keep focused. This is because when we experience the right […]

5 warning signs you need to find a new job

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Working is a part of life.  But what should you do when you are working in a role or an organisation that isn’t good for you? If your work is making you so unhappy it’s impacting your well-being and the well-being of those around you it’s usually time to consider ‘voting yourself off the island’.  And by that I mean taking […]

Why friendship is important in the workplace

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Organisations often talk about culture, but rarely consider the role that having friendships at work plays in creating a healthy, dynamic and productive work environment. There’s no doubt that workplaces are complex environments – bringing together a melting pot of people with varying ideas, assumptions, experiences, expectations and ambitions. They can also be highly destructive. The damage that unhealthy […]

Worried about asking for what you need? Six tips to make it easier

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Have you ever walked out of a meeting or away from a conversation and felt like kicking yourself because you didn’t get what you needed? Chances are the reason you didn’t get what you needed is because you didn’t actually ask for it. There are numerous reasons why we hold back from asking for what […]

Do you own your mistakes?

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Everybody makes mistakes.  We are all human and making mistakes and occasionally ‘stuffing up’ is part of the human condition. There’s no doubt a lot of learning can be derived from understanding why an error has occurred.  Consequently, there’s accepted wisdom that making mistakes is good for us. However, this notion can create a false […]

Is short-termism destroying your stakeholder relationships?

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People often assume that good relationships should be easy. In reality all great relationships require effort. Establishing and maintaining great relationships with stakeholders requires consistent energy and focus. But are you driving the right amount of energy and deploying the right type of focus? It’s hard to know the answer to that question if you don’t […]

Influence – it’s not a solo pursuit

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The respected former CEO of Intel, Andy Grove, once said: “Just as you would not permit a fellow employee to steal a piece of office equipment, you shouldn’t let anyone walk away with the time of his fellow managers.” In organisations this happens every day, and it’s made worse for a leader if their team […]

Do you know what you stand for?

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It was the brilliant Oscar Wilde who said: “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” And yet in many quarters of society we see people who lose their voice and authenticity in an attempt to be liked by everyone or to appease both sides of an ideological divide. The same thing happens to people working […]

It’s time to go off script

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Comedians will tell you that some of their best comedic moments happen when they go off script. Robin Williams, for example, was well known for being able to improvise – adding enormous value to the movie’s production. And yet in our work and personal lives we are often told to follow script. The question is, […]

Feel the fear…and do it anyway

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  More than 25 years ago a book with this title was written by Susan Jeffers.  It became a best seller and the phrase entered the everyday vernacular. It’s a powerful phrase, and the need for these words of encouragement hasn’t changed. In fact, they are more relevant than ever as we enter an era […]

Want to be heard? Hear others first

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Ever wondered how many words the average person speaks a day?  Turns out it’s around 16000 for women, and 15500 for men. Curiously, there’s no research on how much of what we say is listened to or heard by the person or people it’s intended for. Research on this topic would be interesting because as […]