Posts

The Right Foundation for Your Career Advancement Strategy

StrategyDriven The Advisor’s Corner Article |Career Advancement|The Right Foundation for Your Career Advancement StrategySeveral years ago I was invited to coach a competitive healthcare executive who wanted to be the best healthcare CEO in the region. I’ll refer to him as Bob. Confident he was already a great leader, Bob basked in the “celebrity” status he enjoyed as a business influencer in the community. However, Bob’s career advancement strategy had not panned out as he had hoped. For example, although he’d achieved the CEO role, his compensation was less than he believed he deserved. This was due, at least in part, to the underperformance of members of his leadership team. Despite the external image Bob projected, he still struggled privately with feelings of inadequacy.

From the beginning, Bob had taken a thoughtful approach to his career advancement, but the design of his strategy overlooked a key element: character development. In my experience, character, defined as one’s mental and moral qualities, is the foundation for effective professional development and career advancement. Lacking the foundational development of one’s character, career progress may be halting, hollow (e.g., gaining the CEO title and position without the corresponding compensation), or otherwise unsatisfying.

To incorporate Bob’s character into our coaching work, I needed to evaluate the stage of character development he was in — and perhaps stuck in. Using six of the seven stages I’ve identified and work with, Bob was in one of these stages: Beginning, Yuckiness, Fear, Authenticity, Boundaries, or Love. (The seventh stage is Exit, but Bob was not looking ahead to retirement.)

Assessing Bob’s place within the six stages wasn’t a simple process. Bob believed he was in the Boundaries stage and, to him, this stage included learning how to “make” his direct reports more responsible for their unsatisfactory performance. In Bob’s mind, he wasn’t advancing because of their deficiencies.

As it turned out, Bob’s self-assessment didn’t match my evaluation, which was decidedly more objective. From what I saw, it was evident Bob was still in the Fear stage of character development. How did I come to that conclusion? Well, for one thing, Bob was quick to react (versus respond) to issues that came up. And, he deflected blame. In fact, Bob habitually blamed his staff for anything that might reflect poorly on him; he used several fear-based behaviors to protect himself from his feelings of inadequacy. Furthermore, based on my work with other key leaders in the organization, Bob was blissfully unaware that his inconsistent and sometimes disingenuous leadership style caused any of the confusion and chaos throughout the organization.

I spent a considerable amount of time introducing insights, resources, and ideas Bob could connect with from his self-protective mindset, which is a characteristic of the Fear stage. I was ever so careful not to inadvertently reinforce his self-protective stance by overwhelming him or causing panic. In my work with Bob, my goal was to guide him to methodically evolve from the Fear stage to the next stage, Authenticity, where he could finally shed his fear-based behaviors. That milestone would represent a significant and positive leap in Bob’s professional growth, and it would open our development work to a whole new level of leadership behaviors that were inaccessible to Bob from the Fear stage.

In short, using character development as the foundation for professional development is, in my opinion, the most clear, caring, and powerful way to move individuals forward in their careers — and personal lives. This is why I encourage you to evaluate your stage of character development using the seven stages of the BY FABLE model: Beginning, Yuckiness, Fear, Authenticity, Boundaries, Love, and Exit.

The stages of the BY FABLE model will help you put your development in a context that allows you to be more objective and self-observant. Once you evaluate which stage you’re in, you can use that information to determine which resources, experiences, or insights will help you grow your character at work.

The BY FABLE model will work at any point in your career. Stage by stage, this framework for character development helps you find the clarity necessary to achieve greater fulfillment and success from your work, plus the career advancement you desire.


About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor |Terri JackeTerri Jacke is author of IS THIS A LOUSY JOB OR IS IT ME? A Real-Life Guide For Achieving Success At Work, a seasoned organizational development consultant, and founder of Inspired Training Institute, Inc. She holds an MS in Applied Leadership For Teaching and Learning from The University of Wisconsin. For more information please visit www.inspiredtraining.net.

8 Ways You Can Improve Your Leadership Skills

StrategyDriven Professional Development Article |Leadership Skills|8 Ways You Can Improve Your Leadership SkillsAre you considering starting your own business, or wondering how you could get better results from the current business or businesses that you run? If you always seem to get held back and are struggling to get your teams to work exactly how you would want them to, your leadership skills could do with some improvement. Studies show that teams who work under good leaders tend to be more eager to go above and beyond the call of duty when needed, have better relationships with their work and their colleagues, and tend to be more loyal to the companies that they work for. So, there’s every reason to consider improving your leadership skills for the good of your business. Here are just a few ways that you can do just that.

Consider a Coaching Course:

Some people are just naturally good at coaching and guiding others, while others miss the mark completely. If your efforts to train your employees in something new or coach them through tasks are not getting you the results that you want, a course like the BCF Group executive coaching course could be the ideal choice for you. With a BCF Group executive coaching course, you will learn the leadership skills needed to coach your employees in anything and get the reception that you want, with one to one sessions provided either at your workplace or over the phone.

Become a Better Listener:

One of the main differences between someone who is a boss and somebody who is a leader is that a leader knows how to listen to their team. Reflect on your practices so far. If you have been simply telling people what to do and not giving them much of a chance to be heard, then it could be that you’re acting more like a boss than a leader. Active listening skills are absolutely essential to anybody in a leadership position, as they allow you to truly hear what your teams have to say and take it on board.

Act on Feedback:

Simply listening isn’t always enough – being able to act on feedback or give team members concise reasons as to why a suggestion might not be possible right now, is a crucial skill for any good leader. A good leader knows that his or her team is extremely important to the organisation and, as a result, will listen to and try to act on any feedback that is given by them. Whether it’s about small changes to the layout of the office, or suggestions about remote working, leaders never just dismiss their teams’ concerns and suggestions as they know that these are the people they are relying on for success.

Give Autonomy:

A good leader trusts his or her employees to get the job done and makes sure that they are around to offer support and guidance when needed. If you want to become a better leader then the first thing that you will need to do is let go of the idea of micromanaging people or constantly checking up on them to make sure that they are getting the work done. While it might be tempting to do so, this will only create a sense of mistrust in your team and could even lead to individuals resenting you. As a result, you’re less likely to cultivate a sense of loyalty among your team, and could even see a bigger rate of turnover among employees.

Inspire By Action:

A boss will stay in their office all day and tell others what to do; on the contrary, a good leader inspires their team to do their best through their own actions. Whatever you want your team to do, make sure that you are demonstrating this to them in the best way. Even in the workplace, people are inspired by the actions of those who are in authority to them and a leader who demonstrates a genuine passion and verve for their work is always going to get this kind of response from the people that they are in charge of. Show your team exactly how it’s done.

Be Honest and Humble:

Nobody likes having a boss who struggles to admit when they made a mistake. The truth is that we do all make mistakes from time to time and nobody on your team expects you to be perfect. If you mess up, the best thing that you can do is admit it to your team with honesty and integrity, take responsibility, and work together to figure out how you can avoid the same situation happening again. Nobody is going to respect an authority figure who tries to cover up their mistakes or blames others for them.

Communicate:

The best leaders have a thorough understanding of good communication skills and just how important they are to the workplace. Not only do they clearly communicate tasks and instructions to their teams, but they also encourage their teams to improve communication between themselves and provide them with the tools to do so. This could mean giving teams more time to get up to speed at the beginning of each day or providing remote teams with the best communications tools to get the job done while working from home.

Keep Learning:

A good leader knows that there’s never going to be a point where they know everything. No matter how experienced or successful you become, there’s always going to be something that you don’t know and somebody that you can learn something new from. In fact, you may find yourself learning new things from people who are further down the chain of command from yourself. Good leaders never feel embarrassed that they didn’t know something or resent others for knowing more than them; they appreciate the opportunity to learn more and have the utmost respect for the knowledge of others.

Whether you want better results for your existing business or want to get your new business started out on the right foot, the best place to start is by improving your own leadership skills.

How to Transform Your Management Style

StrategyDriven Management and Leadership Article |Management Style|How to Transform Your Management StyleIn terms of business management, there are so many different types of management style to choose from, and the type of business you run, what motivates your workers, and what you want to achieve as a business can dictate the best approach. Some management styles are inherently less productive than others, and the trick is to adopt a leadership strategy that promotes productivity and wellbeing within your organization. If your current style isn’t working then there are a variety of strategies that can help you to transition from one management style to another; in this article we’ll take a look at how to go about transforming your own management style without disrupting your everyday business or affecting your staff.

Establishing your style

Leaderships styles can vary from the dictatorial to a more hands-off approach. Each style can affect the wellbeing of your staff, and will hopefully increase productivity. However, productivity can also decrease if the right style isn’t adopted for a particular environment. Let’s take a look at a few well-recognized management styles and see how they can affect the workplace. You may recognize your own style, or perhaps draw inspiration to move to a type of management that might boost your team and increase profitability.

Autocratic

Amongst the more Dickensian management styles, the autocratic leader tends to lack empathy for his team, communicates poorly, and isn’t good at collaborative working. An autocrat (also referred to as an authoritarian) can leave their staff feeling undervalued and you can expect to be organizing leaving parties with increasing frequency.

Paternalistic

Just like working for your dad (this is not always bad, of course), being under the control of a paternalistic manager can have a similar effect to that of an autocratic boss; although, like parents, they tend to have a more empathetic approach when demanding that tasks are done their way.

Democratic

Like the name suggests, under the rule of a democratic boss, you can expect the whole team to get a say in the decision-making process, which is, of course, great, as people tend to feel more included, valued, and engaged when their voice counts. This can lead to better overall communication and a happier workforce. In a democratic office it’s good to have a wise chairperson, however, as a lack of experience can mitigate this extra level of responsibility for outcomes.

Laissez-Faire

You need to be careful with this one, as it can be seen as a little lazy to let the team take over all the decision-making, and without a strong captain at the helm to imbue a little experience into proceedings, problems can easily occur. If you go down this route it may be worth investing in some corporate training courses to up-skill your key team members.

Servant Leadership

Google are known for being good at this style of leadership; removing the focus on the needs of the business and reassigning it to the needs of the workforce. The idea is that a happy team will naturally be more productive. This style of leadership requires a hiring process that can find the kind of staff that are likely to respond best to this sort of working environment.

Changing it up

Moving from one style of management to another needs a stoic attitude, a determined and brave approach, and preferably a collaborative strategy. It might be a change in leadership style but the consequences affect the entire organization and the employees, so they should be kept in the loop and consulted throughout the process in order to get useful feedback and check that they are adapting to the plan.

Think hard about making a change for the better as it can be disruptive, but make sure it’s an egoless process, and everything should go to plan.