If you’re like me you get your energy as the deadline approaches. Creativity kicks in and you do your best work under pressure. Every leadership programme or workshop I facilitate has people just like me in this respect. They are quite proud of what they can do in a short time frame and how much spare time they have for other things.
Dig a little deeper and most late starters have a level of stress that they know they could do without. Meeting work and other’s deadlines, finding no contingency time.
I (and others) try and trick me into leaving with enough time for appointments by putting in fake early starting times. It seldom works as I know. The other day I had a medical appointment. I arrived 15 minutes early thinking good, the fake entry worked. Turned out I was 45 minutes early as I’d faked my own fake time! So I settled into do some work and ten minutes later was called and was all done and out in another 10 minutes.
It was a surprisingly refreshing experience for me. There’s a good chance you’ll be thinking that this is normal. True for many people, but not for everyone.
You see them running into meetings late, functions at the last moment, joking at personal appointments about the traffic and so on.
If you get your energy and creativity from the deadline, I reckon hold on to that but look over the fence and for everything else find some calm and order in early arriving and getting started when you, deep down, know you should!
For an entertaining but ultimately very serious version of my epiphany try this Ted Talk. Even if you don’t think this is you, watch right to the end – it might be!
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about micro-moments. Those moments in leadership when we have to make a call or react to circumstances. When our EQ is truly put to test. And our leadership defined by others. Harsh, but true.
But there are other micro moments too. Those moments when to do nothing might not be noticed, but to do something could make a big difference to others and our leadership. When we need to grab the moment. I’ll call this the Leadership Grab (kind of grabs me!).
We had some of these moments on the Authentic Leadership Programme today when the participants sat with senior leaders in a series of leadership conversations. Rich and empowering stuff for all concerned. There were Leadership Grabs up on offer.
I’m pretty sure I’ll have one or two on offer later this week when I facilitate an internal session on leadership and culture. Even so, I’m doing some planning.
But what to do to prepare for the unexpected Leadership Grab? I’ll be trying as best I can to use some wise leadership and tools that go with it – my ethical compass, appreciative inquiry, stories, coaching and vision – and ignoring the ordinary voice in the head that tries to tell me to not step forward.
It needn’t and shouldn’t be loud or confronting. Just an authentic act of leadership delivered calmly and firmly to empower others and grow yourself.
Will you be ready for your next Leadership Grab?
noun a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.
It’s a word that’s been top of mind lately. As authentic leaders we strive to provide an environment where those we lead can perform, grow and reach their purpose, or meaning.
I have had an internal debate about whether I look for purpose or meaning. Whichever one it is I strive for, lately I’ve noticed that unless something brings joy, I’m hesitating.
A colleague and I engaged in a coaching conversation today. We challenged each other on blocks that people have to finding joy. It is the nature of the work? Is it too much work? Or is it just a mindset.
Work won’t always bring us joy. Sometimes it’s just hard. Our personal objectives won’t always bring us joy. Getting there can be hard.
But on the way through I reckon we should be finding some joy. Not just from reaching a purpose, finding a meaning, or even reaching a goal. But on the way through.
Reminding ourselves “these are the good old days“. Making it a daily challenge to find the mindset that brings joy to us is not easy, but worth a try for our own sense of purpose or meaning, and our teams.
We visited the Erebus memorial at Waikumete Cemetery yesterday on the Authentic Leadership Programme. Then we travelled back to Waitakere Estate through the beautiful Scenic Drive and watched a powerful movie of corporate greed and fraud.
Our natural instincts are that we wouldn’t get involved in that sort of activity – we wouldn’t cover up the mishandling of the flight path that might have caused a plane crash – we wouldn’t sacrifice our values and integrity for money, would we?
We’d hope not. But circumstances can make people do things that they wouldn’t think they are capable of. I know, I’ve seen it in multiple fraud cases over the years. When I was at the Serious Fraud Office, most of the people we prosecuted didn’t start out as crooks. But a combinations of circumstances (pressure or greed), opportunity (no one can see) and justification (I deserve it or it’s mine) can turn ordinary, honest men and women into criminals.
So what to do about it? I think of my values as my valuables – I try not to leave them lying around, I protect them and I know where they are at all times. Of course there’s a lot more to it but that’s a good start.
We should also pay attention to our lies. Sound confronting? Wise leaders are intentionally clear about their communication and don’t use weasel words that allow for mis-interpretation.
As I write this the leaders on the Programme are recording those five ethical considerations that they won’t allow to be compromised. Then they’re drafting a legacy.
One goes with the other.
There’s a lot going on at work right now. Probably too much and I’m sure the team agrees.
So when I booked an afternoon in another city to work and connect with others it seemed a good idea, but not so good this morning.
Nowadays a lot of work can be done anywhere – have laptop and phone – location matters less and less (more on this another day).
After a conference call which sounded like an echo chamber in the airport lounge, I was off. The man next to me was reading the flight manual for the Boeing 777. Maybe he should have had the aisle seat.
The air was crisp and the sky blue on arrival. Bluer (is that a word?) than home. It felt quite productive for me although I may have fired off one or two many emails with ideas, thoughts and instructions.
Then some conversations. Different conversations giving me a different lens on issues and challenges.
When I boarded I realised I had just slightly more perspective than yesterday. A different place, different views on a vexing issue, and some introverted thinking time. I needed that. You might too.
I thought it was the overworked muscles from the gym workout. On Tuesday I hobbled a bit, Wednesday was much better and by the time we started Module two of the Authentic Leadership Programme on Thursday the pain had gone from the legs. But it had moved. Something didn’t feel right though. But I had to keep going – stepping in, in fact – as my co-facilitator was rapidly going downhill with a virus!
By the time I got to the Doctor after the first day it was obvious that neither of us were going to make day 2.
So what to do? What will the participants think about this? And the client? What about all the plans and bookings for the next day?
Doing experiential leadership development requires context. We use locations, draw on our and the participants’ experiences, and let it flow.
As in all leadership, sometimes it doesn’t go to plan and you need to be ready to move on. Fast. And make the most of what follows.
We’ll find out in a week whether a new location and different exercises will work.
I’m pretty sure it will, especially if we don’t try too hard and be open to what flows.
My team decided last week that we needed some time together to have some fun, Something away from work that we could all enjoy. A pub quiz.
I was a little late getting there and the quiz was in full throttle. I had declared that as long as the answer was “Dominique Prieur and Alain Mafart” then I could help the team get a least one answer that others might not. After all it was July.
As it turned out there were some Seinfeld (NOT Senfield for goodness sakes!) related answers that I could help out on.
We know that trust is built by being vulnerable. But it’s also built through shared connections – doing something together – not that complicated.
So when I left a bit later after the Quiz had finished and we’d scooped up second prize it was a real gift to turn around and see the whole table, smiling, waving and enjoying each other’s company. I felt pretty lucky.
Oh, yes, and who’s butler is this was the question. As an aside the butler Nestor in Tintin was the butler for the Bird Brothers before he was Captain Haddock’s. Blistering Barnacles!
ps Dominique Prieur and Alain Mafart were French Secret Service Agents convicted of the manslaughter of Greenpeace photographer Fernando Pereira during the bombing of the Greenpeace vessel Rainbow Warrior 33 years ago this month in Auckland.