Don’t Jump to Conclusions (WT564)

Don’t Jump to Conclusions (WT564)


WT 564 Don't jump to conclusions

This week we’re in Canberra, running my signature Leadership Experience and the Canberra weather turned cold on the weekend and we are back in our winter woollies.

Speaking of cold, I want to share Larry’s story with you this week.

“He won’t do what I ask him to do”, cried Larry.

“Who are you talking about?” I asked.

Larry had two boys so I assumed he was talking about one of his sons.

“My manager”, he said.

“Your manager? What do you mean?” I asked.

“I told him I wanted a stocktake done before the end of the first quarter.”

“Larry, that was a week ago.”

“Yes, but I told him to do it in January.”

“What do you mean you told him to do it in January? Do you mean you told him in January to do it in March, or you told him to do it in January?”

“I told him to do it in January”, he said with frustration.

“Oh Larry, I’m still confused. You wanted him to do the stocktake in March before the end of the quarter. You’re telling me that you told him to do it in January. To me that sounds like you told him in January and you wanted it done in January.”

“Well that’s not what I wanted”, he snapped.

“I understand that, however if you gave your manager the same instructions that you are giving me, I can understand why he didn’t do it now. Did he do it in January?”

“Yes and I was annoyed then because he didn’t do what I asked. He did it early.”

“Larry, is it possible that you are jumping to conclusions here?”

“What do you mean?”

“You said he won’t do what you ask. From what I’m hearing, he did exactly as you asked. He did it in January. It doesn’t sound to me like he isn’t doing what you told him to.”

Larry wouldn’t have it. He had decided that the manager was deliberately disobeying him. In my opinion, Larry had jumped to conclusions.

“Do you mind if I talk to him Larry”, I asked.

“Be my guest”, he huffed.

It turns out that the manager thought he was obeying Larry. He was doing his best to impress Larry. He jumped straight on to any request. He hadn’t understood that Larry was asking in January, even though he wanted the actual work carried out in March.

With a little coaxing Larry finally accepted that his manager was doing his best to please him.

This is a fabulous wake up call for us to be mindful about jumping to conclusions.

Before you decide, please take a moment to check your facts or as Steven Covey teaches us in Habit #5; “Seek first to understand then to be understood”.

It’s simple really, don’t jump to conclusions.

Regards Shirley

P.S. Our next free monthly webinar will be held on Friday 14th May at 11:00am Sydney (AEST) time. This month we’re focusing on improving team productivity through a secret system. Save the date and we’ll share more over the coming weeks.

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How Good is Your Culture? (WT563)

How Good is Your Culture? (WT563)


WT 563 How good is your culture

You’ve heard me mention the REACH profile before. It’s a psychometric tool we use to understand people’s personalities as well as their REACH – their agility to adapt to the other profiles or as a leader, their ability to use all of the 16 leadership competencies.

This week I did some peer reviews for one of my clients and we used the REACH Ecosystem Culture Survey.

The results we received were outstanding.

Both sets of results showed the current engagement scores for both leaders were in the top 10% of all culture surveys globally.

So what do the Culture Survey or engagement scores show us?

The scores are a reflection of how people feel about their workplace, which is commonly directly related to how the leaders execute the 4 key characteristics of a REACH Culture – the Who, Why, What and the How.

The report shows the percentage of participants who:

  1. Would recommend the organisation
  2. Enjoy their work
  3. Respect their team leaders
  4. Perceive that the team has a measurable impact on the organisation
  5. Believe that the organisation offers value
  6. Intend to remain in the organisation.

Obviously the higher the scores the better the team and organisation perform.

My question to you is, “How good is your culture?”

Do you know?

As a first step, why not ask your team to rate the above statements on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 lowest and 5 highest).

Calculate the percentages to see what your team really thinks.

Let me know how you go.

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What is the Right Age for a Leader? (WT560)

What is the Right Age for a Leader? (WT560)


What is the Right Age for a Leader

Do you know the answer to this question: “What is the right age for a leader?”

If your answer is, “There is no right age”, you are correct.

How do I know that?

Because I have worked with and been led by leaders of all ages.

Just because you might be older, doesn’t automatically make you a leader and vice versa, just because you might be younger, doesn’t mean you can’t lead.

Let’s think about this for a moment.

Let’s take sporting teams for example, the Captains of which, are the leaders. There is a huge age range here from very young children to very old men and women.

Why then, does there seem to be, what we call “Age Discrimination” in the workplace?

I have young clients who have completed my Leading Yourself and Leading Others Experience who are extremely switched on, knowledgeable and self-aware.

In fact, Robert I. Sutton, states “Of all the skills and aspirations good bosses must have, self-awareness is probably the most important.” (McKinsey Quarterly_Why Good Bosses Tune Into Their People, August 2010.)

Being self-aware means you know your strengths and weaknesses. It means you know the impact you have on people. It means you are able to identify your flaws and compensate for them.

Just because someone is young, doesn’t mean they can’t lead.

Afterall, the definition of leadership, according to John Maxwell, is “Becoming the type of person, others trust to take them where they want to go.”

Being a good leader is not about ego. Simon Sinek says, “Leadership is not a rank, it is a responsibility. Leadership is not about being in charge, it is about taking care of those in your charge. And when we take care of our people, our people will take care of us.”

This week I ask you to take notice; become aware of whether you’re guilty of a limiting belief around the right age for a leader.

Observe the people around you. Look for leadership qualities and then look to see if their age matches up with your belief system or perhaps, even challenges it.

There is no right age for a leader, because being a good leader is not age dependent. It’s also not dependent on experience. I know many people who have 40 years x 1 of experience, meaning they have done the same thing over and over for 40 years, so they really only have one year of experience, 40 times over.

What do you think?

Has your answer changed? What is the right age for a leader?

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Should I Say Something? (WT556)

Should I Say Something? (WT556)



Should I Say Something? WT556

Sean had a dilemma. His teammates had confided in him.

They shared information with him that affected the business.

He didn’t know what to do.

“Shirl, I am in a real pickle here. I want to maintain confidentiality, but I feel really strongly about what they told me. I don’t know what to do. What would you do?”

Now anyone who has worked with me knows that it’s not for me to answer that question.

We know that the person with the problem is the best person to solve the problem.

The best way to help is to listen (actively) and to ask the questions that they need to hear, not questions to satisfy our curiosity.

“Why do you think they confided in you?” I asked.

“Well, they know I can keep stuff to myself.”

“Yes, why else did they tell you and not someone else?”

“Well, I don’t know that they haven’t told someone else.”

“Ok. Let’s look at it another way. Do you think they were venting, or do you think they told you because they wanted you to do something about it?”

“I think a bit of both. I think they needed to download and share and I also think they were wondering what they should do with the information.”

“So what they shared wasn’t necessarily about them, rather it was what someone else had shared with them?” I continued to clarify.

“Yes, I think so.”

“In essence, they were having the same conversation with you that we are having now?” I reflected back.

“Yes, I suppose they were. You know, I really don’t have to do anything with that information, other than have listened to them. They are the ones who need to take action to change it, if they want to.”

“That sounds like you’ve worked out what you want to do?” I reflected.

“Yes. Thanks so much for the advice. It was really helpful.”

That comment always intrigues me because I didn’t give any advice. I merely asked questions to help Sean clarify for himself what was going on. At the end of the conversation he decided what he wanted to do and in this case, he decided he didn’t need to do anything.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, where you’re not sure if you should speak up, you can coach yourself, by asking yourself some simple questions:

  1. What was the motivation for them sharing the information with me?
  2. Is this something that has the potential to harm others?
  3. Is this a legal issue, such as child protection information or a non-compliance behaviour etc.?
  4. What is to be gained by me breaking the confidentiality and sharing the information or what are the likely consequences?
  5. If I was to break confidentiality, who would need to know and what would their likely reaction be?
  6. And finally, what are my real reasons for wanting to say something?

It’s a tricky situation to be in and every situation is different. At the end of the day, only you can really decide whether you should say something.

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She Covered It Up (WT553)

She Covered It Up (WT553)


WT 553 She Covered It Up

It was a beautiful sunny morning with a gentle breeze blowing as Ross and I walked along the beach, simply enjoying each other’s company and the coolness of the water as it teased us washing over our toes.

I was in absolute heaven.

As we walked, we came towards a woman with a dog.

“Oh God!” I nudged Ross.

There, right next to the lifesaver’s flag pole, a large dog squatted and hunched its back.

“It’s doing a pooh”, I explained.

I looked at the woman.

She was looking around to see if anyone saw it.

Yes, we saw it.

And then ….

She covered it up with sand.

She kicked sand over it.

I was incredulous.

She walked off, leaving a big dog turd covered up with sand right where kids would be expected to play.

“Yuk, yuk and yuk”.

And then I started to think about what she did in terms of “how we do anything is how we do everything”.

Covering things up is not helpful.

It’s not helpful if you don’t take responsibility and it’s certainly not helpful for other people.

Don’t kick sand over it. Don’t cover it up.

Take responsibility and clean up your mess.

We continued walking and upon our return, the tide had come in and the water now reached the pooh and it was exposed. At least it could be seen and avoided.

And just like the water exposing the pooh, the problem with covering things up, is that eventually someone uncovers them and we get found out.

It’s far better to take responsibility, own up to it and clean up your mess.

Is there anything you’ve been covering up lately that you need to address?

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Developing Your Team’s Potential (WT552)

Developing Your Team’s Potential (WT552)


WT 552 Developing Your Team's Potential

Let me ask you a question.

Do you know what people think of you and how highly they regard you?

This week I was talking with one of my legends; we’ll call her Vanessa, about an Introduction to Management workshop that I’ll be presenting on Tuesday 2nd February in Gosford, NSW.

I was explaining why I was invited to run the workshop at Realtair Academy by Lee Woodward, Creative Director for Realtair.

Lee has trained thousands of real estate agents over the past 20 years and has been instrumental in the growth and development of some of the most successful real estate businesses. He mentioned to me that he sees great potential in many of the employees he works with throughout the real estate industry and the sad fact is that many of those he sees potential in, especially women, sadly do not see how talented they are nor what’s possible for them.

As I was telling Vanessa, she shared her story which is exactly what we’re talking about.

“I think back to as a journalist, and I had one particular editor who clearly saw me as a leader and pushed me because he saw the previous editor hadn’t or didn’t develop people particularly well. But this guy really pinpointed particular people and we all had to go through this big leadership program through Fairfax.”

“I was petrified to start with, absolutely petrified. I went through it and kept thinking, I don’t know this stuff. Who am I to be doing this sort of stuff? And in the end, as an example, the guy who is currently very high up and working for one of the country’s leaders, is a guy that I trained as a journalist in our newsroom and who was petrified as a journalist and now look where he is.”

She continued, “You never know where somebody is going to end up. I ended up thriving on that whole nurturing the next generation of journalists that come through, I loved it. My boss made me the chief copy editor so that I could sit down with a cadet journalist and work through the copy and share because he was a highly Directive personality. He couldn’t teach the young journalists who were petrified of him because he was so scary.”

“He saw that I was very nurturing and that I would guide people through and be patient with their learning and so I ended up becoming the only copy editor and no one else could touch copy except for me or him. In fact, he would often say, Vanessa is not editor material, she will become a general manager, that’s where she’s destined to go.”

If you’re a team leader or manager, are you resonating with this? Is there someone on your team that doesn’t see their potential? As their leader or manager, like Vanessa, you don’t know what impact you could have on someone or where they could end up.

So if you have a team member that can’t see the potential you see for them, consider sending them to the workshop. It’ll be a unique experience designed to increase confidence and help your team members see what you see in them. It’s not only an investment in them, it’s an investment in the future success of your business.

The same goes for you, if you ARE THAT TEAM MEMBER who doesn’t see in yourself what others see in you. If you are petrified and don’t see that you could be the manager or leader making a difference to the people you’ll be managing or maybe you’re just curious to discover the difference between leadership and management. I invite you to attend the workshop. We’ll be discussing the Top 10 Skills you need as a leader and you might be surprised to see that you already have some, if not, most of them.

If you’re reading this and you are a manager/leader, I invite you to do a quick self-assessment and ask yourself, what are you currently doing to ensure that the people in your team grow and develop. In other words, what is your succession plan? Do you have one? If not, maybe now would be a good time to do something about that.

Click here to hear my interview with Lee Woodward about what it takes to be a successful manager and to find out more about the workshop. It’s not just for people in the real estate industry, anyone is welcome.

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