I read an interesting piece this week that said that as humans we have lots of protective mechanisms.
They are the ways that we look at the world around us to make us feel safe, to protect us from harm.
One of them is called Self Serving Bias.
This is when we attribute success to our efforts & our failures to other things.
Imagine an athlete being interviewed after their team has won.
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The ancient Greeks used to define courage in a certain way. It was not based on war or endeavour, but on daily life.
They believed courage was needed in greater quantities for each day, even just to get through one.
They thought that courage was needed when your resolve & hopes of sharing new ideas were challenged. When someone disagreed with you, then courage was needed to enter into a battle of ideas.
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I’ve been a facilitator 18 years now & at times I’ve been asked by clients, “Why aren’t we seeing changes? Why are they still getting it wrong? Why isn’t the development working?”
For a second there’s a little bit of internal defensiveness which kicks in, followed by a bit of self-doubt, but I quickly remember something;
Development is a journey & patience is a virtue.
Whenever people go on their developmental journey,
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We all know that our morals enrich our lives. They are the things that guide us, set our standards & are how we hold ourselves accountable to others.
But have you ever met a Moraliser?
A person who seeks to impose their views on others, telling them how to live & behave. They want you to conform & comply with their preferences. They defend their actions by saying they are trying to defend you from harm.
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What do Simone Biles, Adam Peaty, Tom Dumoulin & Ben Stokes have in common?
Many will think sport & you’re right. Gold medal gymnast & swimmer, Grand Tour winning cyclist & World Cup winning cricketer.
They also have in common that they recently took time from their profession to recharge & protect their mental health.
I spent many years in professional & top end amateur sports &
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One of the many things that all of the leaders I am fortunate to work with have in common, is that they are really good at their job.
Or so they think.
Now, hold on. You may have just read that and thought, “Ouch, that’s a bit harsh.” But hear me out.
Lots of leaders have done the job of the people they lead. They know what to do in any situation their team finds themselves in,
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Lots of companies that I work with know they don’t recognise people often enough.
It’s not because they don’t want to, it’s because they are busy being busy. They achieve & then move onto the next thing.
They realise though that there’s value in pausing, reflecting & recognising the efforts people have put in to go the extra mile, overcoming obstacles. Now it’s more conscious, it happens more often. Yay!
But I’ll often follow this up with reminding them that people doing their job is also worthy of recognition.
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It’s not uncommon for me to be asked to coach someone who’s finding it hard to lead a team, whether due to being a new leader, a team that’s not performing or something in between.
The business really wants to help them, give them the tools and techniques to lead so that the results are great.
Often though it’s not tools and techniques they need.
It’s not a skills challenge.
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What makes a great leader? Presence? Credibility? Probably all of these things & more. But what are they?
If you read enough books, you’d think being outgoing & openly confident.
But what if this just isn’t you? Does this mean you’ll never get to where you want to be?
Not. At. All.
Presence, Credibility; compared to who?
If you’re a keen cook but compare yourself to a Michelin starred chef,
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My kids don’t believe me that there used to be a phone number that you would ring to find out the time.
That’s not the only thing. You could add to that vinyl records, cassette players, pay phones in big box on every street, I could go on.
The pace in which things change is mind blowing. For example, the year 2000 was 21 years ago. Yes, you read that right.
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My Dad’s a straight talking, no nonsense engineer. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out his parenting style.
When I got my first car, a bit of advice, well not so much advice, more instruction, was never let the fuel light come on. If it’s on, means crap in the tank is now being pumped around the system, impacting performance.
That ‘advice’ makes me think about how many times we let our light come on.
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I’ve noticed friends on social media who seem to justify what they’re doing at the moment. ‘Met a friend, I was socially distanced!’ ‘Went to see my Mum, I stayed outside!’ It’s got me wondering why & I think I know.
Fear of criticism & a lack of trust.
What’s happened to some of us this past year? Some take great delight in commenting negatively about others. Why?
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When things are uncertain, how do you react, what do you do?
You may just accept that it’s unpredictable, need to deal with what’s in front of you. Or you may have a well thought out plan, exactly for this occasion, indeed all occasions.
These tend to be the norm. Well, there’s another way & if you recognise it, you’re known as a Probabilist.
Imagine you’re stood in a square,
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I read a research paper recently that aimed to look at the relationship between happiness & resilience.
It set out to test the theory that the happier you are, the more resilient you are & the more resilient you are, the happier you are.
Made sense to me, sounds absolutely common sense. But I was a bit surprised to find out the results & I think they will be a great help to you,
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We’ve probably all done it. Set of dominos, lined them up and pushed the first one, watching them all topple over. Slightly mesmerising, always impressive. Especially when you get creative, loops, bridges, twin tracks.
Oooo, get me!
Anyway, you’ve probably also heard of the domino effect too; a cumulative effect produced when one event initiates a succession of similar events.
So, here’s a thought. Instead of using dominoes, let’s use behaviours and people.
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The film director Richard Curtis once said, “If you make a film about a man kidnapping a women & chaining her to a radiator for 5 years – something that’s happened probably once in history – it’s called searingly realistic analysis of society. If I make a film like Love Actually, which is about people falling in love & there about a million people falling in love in Britain today, it’s called sentimental presentation of an unrealistic world.”
Global society at the moment is pretty restricted.
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My Grandad would always say that a bacon sandwich without brown sauce isn’t a bacon sandwich. “Brown sauce boy,” he would say, “is essential.”
I love that. The thought that something can make another even better. That it’s essential to bringing out the very best.
Well for me, Trust, is one of those essential ingredients.
Think of relationships, jobs, decisions, ideas. Now imagine them without Trust.
Trust is an essential ingredient to most things,
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Have you noticed recently, that when you ask how someone is, you tend to get the same response. No matter who you ask.
It’s a kind of, slight shoulder shrug, nose scrunching, eyebrow raising thing. Every day’s the same, all rolling into one, doing exactly the same as I was yesterday and the day before and the day before type of response.
It’s all a bit Groundhog Day. (For those less than 25 years old,
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Imagine working in a place where you feel recognised & valued, you feel part of something & you feel you can be yourself, no pretending, no facade, just be you. What would it be like working in a place like that?
As a leader you can enable this to happen.
So how can you? Try these;
1. Show Appreciation – find out what it is that makes those around you feel appreciated.
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We all know that relationships are key. We feel connected & appreciated. We can be open, vulnerable, not have to pretend.
But it’s hard at the moment. Lot’s are remote, interactions are virtual. In a recent survey, 71% of managers are finding it hard to build relationships.
So what can we do? Try Showing Care.
Look at a relationship you have. Score 1-10.
1 there is no relationship,
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