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5 Steps To Powerful Team Planning

How we plan, lay out the process to make things happen, is different for everyone. Trish Everett shares five ways to improve your team planning.

How we plan, lay out the process to make things happen, is different for everyone. For some, jotting down a few ideas on the back of a napkin with your morning coffee spurs you into motivation and action. For others, a nicely organised to-do list or spreadsheet calms and soothes you as you know that you won’t forget anything along the way. For others, you get creative with your Tombow makers and washi tape in your bujo and buzz with happiness, and the list goes on of all the ways that creating a plan works. 

The thing is, there is no ‘right’ way to plan. There are only ways that work for you. We all think differently, have different learning styles and have different biology and epigenetics. Plus, we all have varying needs when it comes to planning, which is pretty exciting. Everyone is walking the quest to match our planning style to our way of thinking and being. 

So here comes the spanner. When you are planning as a team, how do you find a way to plan together? 

We are all well versed in the need for ownership of ideas and vision to keep your teams’ motivation up. So planning together, including your whole team in planning, is a great way to make sure that everyone feels ownership, feels belonging, feels motivated…yes?

Well, not always. Years ago, when the new curriculum came out in WA, I was working as a school principal of a remote school. I set up planning meetings together so my team could plan together to bring the new curriculum into our lesson plan. I should mention here that I love planning. I love looking at the big picture, breaking it down into details, and expanding it out again. It turns out that not everyone is up for that. By the end of our first planning session, my team was less motivated and totally frustrated with me, and our team’s rapport took a hit. Where did I go wrong? Thinking that everyone planned the same way as me. 

So if that is what not to do, what is the way to do this successfully? Here is a 5-step starting point. Test it, try it out and see what works for your team. 

1 – Recon 

How does each person on your team plan? There are so many ways to do this. A survey, going round and seeing each person’s, even having it as an info sharing meeting where everyone has a turn to talk about what works for them. 

And get a feel for your team’s styles and strengths. Who loves planning, and who hates it? Who is good with details, and who are your broad stroke people? Who are your action takers, and who are great at accountability? Who needs a plan’s structure, and who works best with more space and freedom?

2 – Vision 

This is the dream part of the process. Including your whole time to build a shared vision is an impactful way to get everyone on board. And of course, they are many ways to build this shared vision. A values-based approach, a big dream brainstorm, a group visioning exercise or a collective vision board. There are many ways to ensure everyone’s ideas of the future, purpose and direction are heard. 

The trick here is to keep this in the land of inspiration, not pushing it into the land of expanding to-do lists and broken dreams.

The thing is, there is no ‘right’ way to plan. There are only ways that work for you.

3 – Direction 

A group process of discerning is the tipping point. If you can collectively choose priorities, set boundaries around time, choose focuses and gauge interest levels and buy-in for each aspect. When you do this, it is important to keep coming back to the available time. If teams miss this stage, it can lead to overplanning, unrealistic goals, and setting themselves up for team burnout. 

4 – Assign 

This is where all those insights you got from the recon part can come into play. You can share out the planning process based on interest. Those who think in processes can map it out, those who operate from action can get balls rolling, those that are good with connection and communication can make sure everyone is on board and so on. 

5 – Share  

Some plans are simple, and everyone just needs to know what is happening, while others are more complex and need more consultation. Being clear on who needs to contribute, who needs to be included and who just needs to be informed is helpful. It is also really helpful to look at when and how you will share progress, challenges and feedback as you move through the plan. How are you best going to keep the plan alive and on track?

This is a working list. Play with what works for you and your team, what order, what approaches, and what ways bring this together for your team. Getting this part of your teamwork to be more aligned with both your mission and direction, along with your team’s strengths and motivations, can make a big difference. A difference is not only in your team’s output but in how your team builds their sense of belonging. And that, that is the foundation of a strong team. 

Next steps

Would you like to get better at team planning? Book in for a free 30-minute chat and we can see what is happening and what else you can do to bring your own team into the planning process. Book a time here to find a time to talk about your team.

Trish Everett

Trish Everett is a leadership coach and communication geek with a passion for creating workplaces that people love to work at. She is passionate about conversations that bring positive change. 

Four Steps to Make Your Meetings More Engaging and Enjoyable

The email comes in, meeting next Tuesday, 2 pm, Agenda attached. What happens for you?

A, your heart lift with joy and excitement at the magic that you are going to create in that meeting?

B, does it plummet with the thought of sitting through yet another painful meeting where you don’t feel like you have a say and nothing ever seems to come of the hours you spend in never-ending discussion. 

Photo by MapBox on Unsplash

I would love to think that it was option A, your heart soaring at the idea of what you can create, but I know that unfortunately, the option B is a lot more common. Today I would like to share with you four steps to get more heart soaring and less heart plummeting. 

Catching the plummet

So why do you go to the meetings in the first place? Maybe you have to for your job; maybe you have to to get something to happen, perhaps you have to because ‘stupidly’ you signed up to do it. 

First thing I will ask you to do is to go on a mind hunt for all the ‘have to’s that you are thinking. Notice when you say ‘have to’ regarding the meeting when you think have to. Whenever it has that energy, you are going to walk into it feeling like you have to drag yourself. Let’s catch those moments of ‘have to’.

Find the why

Next, I want you to zoom out to the bigger why. What excites you about the potential of the committee/team? What are you collectively trying to get done? What have you got to offer the group? And, what has the group got to provide you with? Now the trickiest part of this is to stay in the positive and the possibility with this. If you feel yourself heading off into the negative/problem, side of things, stop, breathe and got back to the bigger why, bigger possibilities. If you can, come up with a little statement about your why for these meetings like “I really want to see the local business community thrive.”

What excites you about the potential of the committee/team?

Switch the vibe

Now here comes the on-going part, and the part that makes a huge difference. Each time that you have a case of the ‘have to’s, the ‘what is the point’s or the heart plummets, when it comes to thinking about the meeting, switch it with your why statement. It would go something like this. “oh no I have to go to another meeting… YES AND I want to see the local business community thrive” and see how that changes your outlook for the meeting. 

Photo by Aziz Acharki on Unsplash

Share the vision

This one will supercharge the vibe of your meeting. Set an agenda item that explores ‘the why’ of your whole group. Why is each person in the room part of it? Here are the questions to look at again as a group

  • What excites you about the potential of this committee/team? 
  • What are you collectively trying to get done? 
  • What have you got to offer the group? 
  • And, what has the group got to offer you?

In a group, you can have a ‘downer police’. Have a couple of people who call it out when the vision starts to be dragged down by all the things that aren’t working. You can always look at these later. However, we all do love to talk about problems and your why session will quickly regress into a ‘why not’ meeting if you don’t take extra care. 

At the end of the session, summaries everyone’s whys into what will become a vision statement. This summary can be a powerful way to start each meeting and keep you working towards where you want to go.

Next steps

There is a lot more that you can do to improve the effectiveness of your meetings. If you would like to talk to me about what is happening in your meetings specifically, book in for a free 30-minute chat and we can see what is happening and what else you can do to have the hearts of your team or committee’s heart soar. Book a time here to find a time to talk about your meetings.

Trish Everett is a mindset coach and communication geek with a passion for creating workplaces that people love to work at. She is also a lecturer of Wellness Coaching at RMIT uni and is passionate about conversations that bring positive change. 

Six Things You Should Know About Leadership Coaching

I am enamoured by the process of coaching. It is a powerful process that can unlock hidden self-truths, let authentic passion rise up and create the stepping stones to make dreams come alive. Sounds pretty amazing, doesn’t it? If you are thinking of engaging a coach, but not sure if coaching is for you, I would like to offer these six things to consider so you can find the right person, coach or not, that can support you in the positive shifts that you are looking for. 

Megaphone free zone

Sports coaching is where for most of us we first heard the word ‘coaching’. My rowing coach at uni was an excellent example of a sports coach. He would call out to us through a megaphone as we rowed down the Yarra, pointing out all the things each of us was doing wrong and giving us tips to improve. 

But what we are talking about here is the psychology of coaching, and it is a very different approach. It is still about support growth, but it is based on the idea of having a conversation that promotes positive change. It is connected, and it is a judgement free space. 

Help you find your own answers

Leadership Coaching
Photo by averie woodard on Unsplash

One of the premises of coaching psychology is that a coach will help you to find your own answers. This is a very different approach to advisors and mentor that give advice and tell you what to do. If you want someone to tell you what to do, then an advisor or a mentor is probably a better fit for you. If you would like to work with someone who can help you to shine the light on the answers within you, then a coach will be more your speed. 

Now you may be thinking, ‘If I have the answers in me, why do I need a coach?’ And I would say, “great question’.

What I find is that we all do have the answers in us, but they are often a bit like that odd sock, or your keys when you are late. They are there, and a bit hidden. Usually under a pile of other thoughts and concerns. Or in a dark corner or pushed to the back. A coach is like having a finding flashlight at your disposal that will help you to access these answers. 

And why not just get advice? If we are constantly following the advice of others, then we are not only dependant on others for our answers, but we are also not letting our truth and direction come out. I know that for me, when I follow others advice and not listen to my own answers, then I can get utterly off-course from my own vision. 

Respect your readiness to change

Change is a funny old thing. Sometimes it is the most natural thing in the world. You just think ‘I want to make that change’, and Shazam… you do it. At other times you think about it for a while and then work up to it. Some changes you aren’t even thinking about yet. Now a thing that I think is cool about coaching is that it works with where someone is at regarding their readiness to change and see that where they are at right now is just perfect. And working through the layers of readiness is so crucial in bringing about change that will last the distance beyond the pure drive of willpower. 

Leadership coaching - readiness to change
Photo by Alexey Sukhariev on Unsplash

Think about times in your life where you have tried to make changes, but your heart wasn’t really in it. Quite often, they are shoulds, and usually, they are a need to give something up. 

And how did it go? Did you find that you made a change for a little while but couldn’t sustain it? 

If this is your experience, working with a coach to turn your should into an affirmative action that you are excited about could make all the difference. 

Collaborate on solution

Coaches come with a wealth of knowledge and don’t give advice. It sounds a bit silly, doesn’t it? In fact, I think it is pretty brilliant. Skilled coaches can share this know-how without messing up your self-efficacy by telling you what to do. And this is done through collaborating.

One way that I love seeing this playing out in a good brainstorm. Your brilliance, your idea and answers can bounce off your coach’s ideas and suggestions. At the end of the brainstorm, you have a list of co-created ideas that you can see what ones ring true to you. I am always blown away by the creative and aligned ideas that come out of these conversations. 

Believe in you

One thing that coaches to really well is to believe in you. They will listen to you, not judge you, see that you are exactly where you need to be right now and believe in you and the change that you want for yourself. Having someone on your ‘team’ who is always there and will see you with unwavering positive regard is invaluable. There are times when your internal frenemies (doubt, worry, negative self-talk, etc..) will try to rock your own self-belief. Having a coach in your corner whose belief in you is unwavering can get your own self-believe back on track quicker.

Personalised approach

We are all different and have different ways that we interact with goals, change growth and well life in general. The beauty of a coach is that it is not a one size fits all approach. It is highly personalised, and what you come out with at the end of each session is built for you. 

Skilled coaches will also help to highlight your own personal styles for how you interact with the world. Whether it is how you learn, make decisions, interact with others, like to work, plan and make things happen and so on. Knowing more about your style will help you to move smarter, and in a way that is more aligned with your personality. 

As you can see, I am all gushy about leadership coaching. I believe in the power of these conversations to help you move out of any stuckness that is happening in your professional life. 

Leadership Coaching
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

What do you think? Which ideas light you up about having a coaching conversation? What doesn’t light you up? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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Three Surprising Ways To Work With A Bullying Boss

Dealing with aBullying Boss
Photo by Desola Lanre-Ologun on Unsplash

Dealing with bullying bosses, narcissists or bosses who pick on their team members can be really rough. If you are dealing with this you may feel disempowered, like there is no way forward. At the same time as experiencing high levels of stress from keeping afloat in a workplace that is like being in an emotional war zone. The default position here is to blame the boss for their behaviour and look to change them so that this doesn’t continue to happen. While there are steps that you can take to help them to see how their actions affect others, we are going to look at it from a different approach.

I would like to offer you three other ways to work with this kind of situation. 

Empowered ownership

You and your boss have created this situation together. I know that those words may be already sparking resistance, I ask you to bear with me. Each interaction that you have with your boss sparks an emotional response in you. And it is often a heavier one, sadness, anger, fear-based emotions, all rise up from your dealings with them. By putting empowered ownership into play here, you take full responsibility for that feeling. You boss hasn’t caused that emotion, they have simply been the stimulus for it. Let’s put it this way, your emotional reaction to your boss is your internal road map letting you know how, what they have done, sits with you. 

Look at your emotional reaction like you look at a road map.

At the point that you have an emotional reaction to something your boss (or anyone in your life for that matter) does, you have a couple of ways that you could go. The first option is to blame your boss for your reaction. If you go this way, you will find yourself saying things like, ‘he makes me so angry’ or ‘she is so annoying’ or you may find that you start using victim language like ‘he belittles me’ or ‘she attacks me’. While these may seem like very normal things to say, they are giving you a hint that you are in fact putting yourself in a powerless position.

The other option is to own your emotion response fully. Going down this track, you will look at your emotional reaction like you look at a road map. You will use your emotions to figure out how their behaviour sits with you and then use that information to move forward. For example, if your reaction is anger, that may mean that you need better boundaries, or that you have a need to protect something or someone. Owning that you have these requirements and acting from that place is a more powerful approach. 

Powerful and powerless

Photo by Thomas Willmott on Unsplash

So what do I mean by each of these approaches being powerless and powerful? In the first approach, the one of blaming them for how you feel. The moment that you believe that someone else is responsible for how you feel, the moment you do that, you have given away the power to change it. You then walk into the murky water of needing to change them. It is giving them the power of dictate how you are going to feel. That is not an empowered place. 

On the other hand. If you take full responsibility for how you feel, then you have full power to make changes. So instead just needing your boss to change, you look at how your emotions are guiding you. Then you start to ask more questions like what would make this ok with me, what do I need to do to improve this situation. It may mean looking for changes with your boss, but they come into a big picture and blame-free approach. 

Everyone is a Leader

Leadership isn’t a position; it is a mindset and a way of being. If your manager isn’t displaying the leadership qualities that you would hope for, then a powerful approach not to let that stop you from showing and modelling them. So, if you want acknowledgement and appreciation, then show those same qualities to your boss and your peers, if you want communication to improve, make an effort to listen to others and also speak up when you have something to say. And if you don’t want to be criticised, don’t criticise others.  You know the expression, kill them with kindness. Well filling your actions and thoughts with positivity and good deeds have enormous power. 

Leadership isn’t a position; it is a mindset and a way of being.

Now if that just sounds like sugar coating mouldy behaviours, let’s look a little deeper. If your boss is throwing around blame, that means that they are not coming from an empowered place. If they see fault in you, they probably see fault in themselves. The cycle of blame and blah needs to stop somewhere. And why not with you. And whether things change with your boss your not, if you can make your thoughts and actions more empowered, more positive and more aligned with who you want to be, well that sounds better than any change you could make happen in someone else. 

The best thing that you can do for yourself, your team and your future is not to frame yourself in the mindset of the victim. No one can make you feel like a victim except you, and on the other side of that coin, no-one can empower you except you. 

This article was originally publish on Smallville

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