Posts in Leadership

Is your voice being heard?

March 6, 2017 Posted by Leadership, Uncategorized 1 thought on “Is your voice being heard?”

As I ventured into the world of leadership coaching, it wasn’t hard to determine my target audience – and which group of leaders I wanted to work with in my practice. I relate strongly to this group, as this was me at one point. Is this you? Is this someone you know or work with in your organization?

Here is my story.

I spent many years of my career as the head of Human Resources for divisions or a country in multi-national companies. When I became a member of an executive team within a business, I must say that I was a little intimidated by the great minds in the room. I had a place at the table as the HR leader…and this was extremely important to my role. In one organization, that executive team was made up of individuals in the Investment business, and the functional leads (IT and Finance) working with them.

For a long time I stayed quiet. I listened carefully and absorbed a lot of information. I picked up a lot about the business and had ideas to contribute, and questions to ask. I still stayed quiet. Why? Well, I felt that these great minds in the room knew more than I did, and what would I be able to say that these individuals didn’t already know.

After participating in a 360-degree feedback assessment, one of the raters made the comment that he knew I had ideas in my head, but I wasn’t actively contributing. I was too quiet. As this rater was one of my bosses, I had a discussion with him about this. He asked me if I ever thought of the things just before someone else voiced it at the meeting. Yes…of course I did. “Well”, he said, “why not give it a shot and speak up about what is on your mind?”

After giving this some thought, I took small steps to start contributing more, and not just about my particular function. I didn’t get strange stares, nobody laughed, and it felt great. Still, it took me quite a while before I had the confidence to contribute on a more regular basis. Looking back, I wish I had spent time with a coach to help me through this!

Can you guess what group of leaders I enjoy working with? While I know men have the same challenges at times, my passion is working with women leaders who want to find their voice at the executive table. Whether you’re newly promoted, or you’ve been in your role for some time, if this is you, let’s chat about how I can help you find your voice!

Are you connecting with your employees?

October 11, 2016 Posted by Leadership 1 thought on “Are you connecting with your employees?”

Colleagues Connection Business Teamwork ConceptIf you’re a leader in a smaller organization, chances are you know most of your employees, or at least a good number of them. If you’re a senior leader in a larger organization, you probably know most of your peers, but what about the employees who work for the company? So, you may be asking yourself, does it matter?

Absolutely it matters! Your employees have a wealth of knowledge. They are likely the front line to the customer. They have ideas about how to save money for your organization. They would love the opportunity to speak to leadership.

I have known several senior leaders (including CEOs) who have taken the time to meet with employees to get to know them and mine their thoughts and views on the company. This is often done as a small group (one-on-one meetings are usually a little intimidating for employees), and over coffee, lunch or breakfast.

These types of meetings are a win for both the executive and the employee. The employee has the opportunity for face-time with a leader in the organization, and someone who they likely don’t interact with on a regular basis. For the executive, they can learn a lot if they are asking the right questions, are willing to listen, and provide an open environment for two-way communication.

Some leaders are so passionate about hearing from their employees that they schedule these meetings at least monthly, and they continue year over year. They become part of the culture of the organization.

Here are some ideas to get started:

• Think about meetings over coffee, breakfast, lunch, or an afternoon fireside chat.
• You may want to solicit a few questions in advance so you have something to start the conversation.
• Keep the discussions as informal as possible…you want employees to feel relaxed and see you as approachable.
• Let this be a two-way exchange of information. Many leaders like to talk…it is important to listen.

Connecting with your employees is a sign that you care. Communication is often one of the key issues coming out of engagement surveys. By taking the time to meet with employees and ask about their views, you can increase engagement in the company.

Have fun with this. This is your chance to understand your company from the view of your employees. Show your human side and help to put everyone at ease.

Are you taking the time to recharge?

December 8, 2015 Posted by Leadership 0 thoughts on “Are you taking the time to recharge?”

It’s that time of year when the days are shorter and many of us go to work and come home from work in the dark. There are year-end events to attend, work that needs to get done by December 31st, and don’t forget the holiday shopping.   This is a really busy time of year! This is also the time of year that you may be told that you have vacation days that you need to use or you will lose them (in some organizations).

Vacation days are meant to be times to recharge our batteries, yet it’s amazing to me how many people end the year without taking very many days off. There are always reasons why we can’t take time off…. busy time at work, nobody else can do my job while I am away, and a critical project needs to get done. I also hear people saying that they don’t have anywhere special to go or can’t afford a special vacation, so they might as well work.IMG_3149 (1)

We all need time to recharge. We spend a lot of time charging our phones, tablets, computers, chargers for the charger…but do we spend that same time being concerned for our own internal batteries? Just like all of our electronic devices, without proper rest we will drain our batteries and be less effective at home and at work.

Many years ago I decided that I needed to take some form of time off (even if it was a good long weekend) at least once each quarter.   I didn’t necessarily go away on a fancy vacation each time, but I did take the time to do something that was not work related. I must admit, my technology was not hidden away, but I did make a point of not spending every waking moment looking at it. My staff knew that I would look at their emails if the subject line said urgent, please read, and if it didn’t say that line, I would not look at it.

Consider the following recharge tips as you look to 2016:

  • Plan to take time off to recharge each quarter…. even if it’s a long weekend.
  • Consider a staycation – there are a lot of great things going on in your own home location.
  • Limit the amount of time you spend on your electronic work devices when you’re taking time off…you need time to disconnect.
  • Do something that works for you to recharge.

If you want to explore how to recharge your batteries and work at your full potential, please consider booking a complimentary 30-minute consultation with me. My scheduler link is: https://bluewaterschedule.acuityscheduling.com/

Your colleague got the promotion instead of you!

October 29, 2015 Posted by Leadership 0 thoughts on “Your colleague got the promotion instead of you!”

Have you ever had this experience?

You’ve worked so hard and you know you can do the job.

People see you as the next leader, and in fact, you’re already doing most of the job. What happens next shocks you…your colleague gets the promotion!

How did this happen?

How are you going to react to this situation?

Your first thought might be to quit…if you’re not going to be appreciated…why continue?

How often do these leadership roles come up anyway?

Maybe you’ll be appreciated somewhere else.

After some thought though…you really want to know what happened?

You like the company and don’t want to leave.

You have invested a lot of time and energy in this company and perhaps you do have great a future here.

Are you ready to take a big step…and ask the tough questions?

Or more importantly…are you really ready to hear the answers?

This can be a turning point in your life. Asking for honest feedback, the kind that you take to heart can be hard.

On the other hand, waiting and guessing can be harder. This is your career after all…you need to know what held you back from this particular promotion.

When asking questions about why you did not get this promotion, it is important to remember that this is feedback for you.

It’s not the time to compare you to the individual who got the role.

This is also not the time to be defensive…the decision has been made.

You can’t change it now, but you can take the feedback and decide whether or not you can do what it takes to get the next promotion.

Don’t forget, feedback is a gift!

If you are ready to learn more, Let’s chat! Sign up for a complimentary leadership consultation session with me here http://bit.ly/Consultationsession or email me at Kathy@bluewaterleadershipcoaching.com.

 

I’m being promoted….HELP

October 19, 2015 Posted by Leadership 0 thoughts on “I’m being promoted….HELP”

Imagine for a moment that you’re a great individual contributor…you do a fantastic job.  You’ve been praised throughout your career for your performance, and you’ve moved up in the organization based on your technical skills.  Now you’re told you are going to be promoted to a leadership position.  It’s possible that some people on your team were your peers.  It’s also possible that you will now work for a new leader or in a new department.  The good news…. you get a raise and a bigger title.  The bad news… You’re on your own!

Now imagine, that during that promotion conversation you were provided with a leadership coach for one year…someone who would be with you for each and every part of the business cycle.  This would be someone who you would meet with on a confidential basis, and who would help you to develop or improve your leadership skills.  The coach would understand the pressures that you face, but would not be someone you report to, or even an employee of the organization.  This would be your own coach.  Do I hear a sigh of relief?

Not everyone who is promoted into a leadership position has the natural skills to be a leader.  That’s ok, but if you’re not provided with the support and tools to develop these skills, this can be a very frustrating time in your career.  It’s important to determine early in your leadership journey if you have the natural ability or if you need some guidance.  Asking for help is the sign of a good leader!

Let’s chat!  Sign up for a complimentary leadership consultation session with me here http://bit.ly/Consultationsession or email me at Kathy@bluewaterleadershipcoaching.com.