Coaching Your Team 101

Coaching Your Team 101
Coaching has not only become a sought after skill among individuals but has grown rapidly as a career for many in the recent years. “In simple terms, coaching is an interaction between two people…and is aimed at developing the performance of the coachee in some aspect of their life.” (Stewart and Rogers, 2017 pg. 202) 

Coaching in the workplace is most likely to take place between a manager and their direct report, but can take place in any capacity such as between coworkers, or between an HR team member and an employee. 

Myles downey developed the scale of directiveness which shows us how our actions as the coach can show up on the ends of two different styles – non-directive and directive. 

Non-directive coaching actions can look like listening (to understand), reflecting, paraphrasing, summarising, asking questions (that raise awareness). However, the more you start to put your own view, expertise and advice into the process, it will start to look like more directive style coaching. These actions include, making suggestions, giving feedback, offering guidance, giving advice, instructing and telling. 

If a key purpose of coaching is to develop a coachees ability to take responsibility for their own decisions and selection of activities, then you would expect the coach to take a more non-directive approach.  

If you’re a line manager wanting to implement coaching into your 121s with your team members, it’s important to ensure there are clear boundaries with the feedback given. Coaching is not a substitute for performance management. When giving feedback, be clear on whether it’s being given in order to correct a performance issue or for performance development. 

The GROW Model was founded by Graham Alexander and gives the coach a useful process to keep the conversation flowing with the coachee in a way that is productive and useful.

Goals – what does the coachee want to achieve and why? Be specific and agree on how success will be measured. Know when the goal wants to be completed by, who else might have influence in this, and what are the consequences of not completing the goal.

Reality – what is happening now? Understand the issues that may need to be factored in, the helpful and unhelp factors, what has been tried previously and what have been the results previously. 

Options – what are the possibilities for moving forward? To stimulate new ideas, think about what the options would be if time, money, resources, energy was unlimited. Try viewing the problem as if it belonged to another person and then ask what their options are. What is possible? 

Wrap Up or Will – what are the best options and what specific action will be taken? Think about the obstacles that may be encountered and how they will be addressed. What support is going to be needed in order to stay on track?

Using the GROW model as a framework with your coachee will help you to guide the conversation, and agree on actions that will get results. 

More tips on how to be an effective coach include:

Get better at active listening. You can do this by eliminating distractions, showing your concentration physically (with your body language), avoiding interrupting, summarising and reflecting to ensure you’re understanding your coachee correctly. 

Start asking questions. Draw out the information by asking open questions. Questions like “How are things going?” or “Tell me about X.” are examples of open questions.

Ask questions to Inspire deeper thinking:

“Why did you choose that particularly?”

“Can you tell me a bit more about what X involves”.

Ask questions to clarify thinking:

“Where would that be on a scale of 1 – 10?”

Ask questions to consider different viewpoints:

“Why do you think they have responded that way?”

Ask questions to reflect back thinking:

“So, you feel they did that intentionally?”

Ask questions to challenge assumptions:

“How can you know for sure X feels that way?”

Get creative with your questions:

“Has this situation occurred before? How was it resolved then?”

“If you could do anything you wanted to do in this situation, what would you do?”

“How would (mentee, hero, person admired) deal with this?”

Ask questions to extend thinking (especially when stuck):

“Can you think of one more option?”

“If there were any other possibilities, what would they be?”

“If this didn’t work, what would be your Plan B?”

When coaching, it may be useful or necessary to provide feedback. The BOOST model will help give you the appropriate framework:

Balanced, include both strengths and development points in your feedback. 

Observe, base the feedback on what you have observed.

Objective, check for and avoid any biased, or personal agenda.

Specific, give specific examples.

Timely, give the feedback as soon as possible and is beneficial after the event has occurred. 

The coach, coachee and the organisation are all likely to benefit from an effective coaching relationship, with the benefits including an increased connection with team members, to increased confidence, motivation, engagement, and enhanced staff competence. Like any skill, it requires practice to develop, but will be well worth it. 

References

Stewart, J., and Rogers, P., (2017) Studying Learning and Development Context, Practice and Measurement. London: Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development

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Thank you for taking the time to read this page.

I’m Courtney, and I write about leadership. I love connecting with like minded people, so please reach out and let me know what you’re working on or how I might be able to help. You can also say hi in the comments below.

Why self-awareness will make you a better leader.

Why self-awareness will make you a better leader.

Why is self-awareness important in leadership?

To understand this, let’s first understand leadership – what is it and what is its purpose? This could vary in complexity depending on who you ask, but the answer should always come down to getting results. A leader’s job is to guide a group of people to a final destination – or to achieve a final goal.

The Results / Final Destination / Goal

This part is really important, because if you’re a leader, you should know where it is you’re leading your team. If you work in the private sector, then the final destination would probably look like making sure your team or department is contributing to the bottom line of the business, however, in a non-profit sector, your final destination might look like a more service based goal. 

Example: The final destination (goal or results) of someone who runs a kitchen in a restaurant might look like a safe kitchen that turns out delicious food in a reasonable amount of time, which also makes a profit for the restaurant. 

Regardless of what the final destination is, there is always going to be a leader who is helping those around them to get there. 

But Then There’s Bad Leadership

Have you ever had a boss that you couldn’t stand? You probably know what Bad Leadership looks like then. It may look like someone who does get the results – they will get their team to the final destination – but what did they exchange for it on the way? What have they lost as the result of their expedition? It’s usually either one of two things. 

The first would be the respect of the people they are leading. A leader must ask themselves this question – are people following you because they want to or because they have to? If it’s the ladder, there is some work that needs to be done to improve your relationships with the people you are leading. It’s also important to recognise that once you reach your final destination, you then have to stay there. If you’re using bad leadership, you won’t be there for long. There’s now multiple studies proving a healthy working environment (aka how happy and safe do your teams feel) is conducive to production. 

The second thing that could have been sacrificed to get to the final destination using bad leadership was their own sanity, and health. If you play the martyr role and are constantly sacrificing in order to get your team to where they need to be, you’re running the risk of burnout and exhaustion. You shouldn’t have to forgo your own happiness in order to get the results, and if you do, there’s work that should be done around pleasing people and boundaries with work. This will ultimately pay off for you and your team in the long run.

So, how do you create a positive, safe environment for you and the people you’re leading? This is where self-awareness comes in. 

Once upon a time, there was a woman who was leading her team to their final destination. The journey was long, and the path was narrow, but she was certain she could get her team to where they needed to be. She was motivated, confident, and had walked this path before with a different team, so she had no doubts in her mind about where she was going. There was a problem, however, because this leader had really poor eyesight, and as a result, she would misstep and run into her team a lot. She would step on their toes, run into them, or stop along the way and trip on things on the path, holding everyone up even if it was very cold. 

After a while, her team started to get frustrated with her. They begged and pleaded with their leader, “We want to follow you, but you keep stepping on us, and it’s starting to hurt. You keep tripping and holding us up in the cold, and we don’t think we can keep walking with you if you’re going to keep stepping on us like this.” 

The woman listened to her team’s pleas with empathy, and she promised she would watch out for these things. Very quickly, she realised, though, how difficult it was to watch out for her team’s feet. It wasn’t that she wanted to step on their toes, it was that she couldn’t see in order to not. The longer they walked, the more she stepped on them, and eventually she resigned to the fact that this is just what it would have to be. The woman decided that it was the team who would have to watch out for her. This added extra pressure on her team. Not only were they trying to get to their destination, but now they now had to watch out for their leader so they wouldn’t get stepped on and held up. 

It was a stressful journey, and many people decided it wasn’t worth the trek any longer. 

Hopefully you can see where I’m going with this – all our leader needed was glasses to see, and all of this would have been avoided. Because she couldn’t see what was in front of her, her and her team suffered.

Self-awareness is your glasses, and developing self-awareness is not only important for your own confidence and resilience, but is vital to understanding how you are contributing to the world around you in order to build stronger, healthier relationships. 

Self-awareness is our ability to notice and monitor our inner-world – our thoughts, feelings, emotions – but also how others are receiving us. Both parts are critical for effective leadership. 

If you’re aware of the negative emotions you may have in regards to a task you have to complete, but aren’t aware of how this affects those around you, that’s a blindspot. You may be stepping on someone’s toes, making it difficult for them to journey with you, and not even know it. On the other hand, if you’re overly sensitive to how you are affecting those around you, you may be tuning out your own feelings and emotions. It’s been said that only 10 – 15 % of people are actually self-aware, which leads us to believe that it’s a lot harder than it seems to strike the balance. 

Luckily, like any skill, it’s something that can be practiced and improved on. If you’re reading this, it’s like because you’ve taken an interest in developing self-awareness. Being honest with yourself about what you need to improve on is always the first step towards change. 

Two things you can do to start improving your self-awareness today:

  1. Seek feedback about what your blindspots are from those who would have your best interest at heart. Be mindful of those you chose to get your feedback from. Ensure they are people you can trust, but also that they themselves have good values which are aligned with yours. 
  2. Start reflecting. If you notice you’re having an off day – ask yourself what happened. (avoid asking yourself “why”, as research shows that too much introspection, and this question specifically, can actually be counterproductive, instead ask yourself “what”). Be specific, and be honest. You will start to notice patterns in your emotions in correlation to circumstances and incidents happening in your life and throughout your day. You can then dive deeper into how to manage these triggers, and your emotions which follow. 

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This is why you’re afraid to lead.

This is why you’re afraid to lead.

You love leadership because you love the combination of helping others and managing yourself in a way that inspires results.

You love the giddy feeling you get when an idea you’ve been expressing finally lands with someone else, or vice versa. Or that moment when you realise a team’s impact has become greater than their individual strengths, and together, they reach a goal. You love that sweet combination of feeling of accomplishment and belonging.

But you’re afraid to lead because you’re unsure of how to do it.

You’re afraid to lead because you don’t trust your abilities to build relationships or to produce results.

You’re afraid because you don’t think you’re good enough. You’re afraid because you think you’re too good. You’re afraid because you won’t be able to control anything. You’re afraid of other people’s expectations. You’re afraid you’re unlikable. You’re afraid you’re too shy. You’re afraid the industry isn’t right for your style. You’re afraid there already is a leader.

You’re afraid of being misunderstood. You’re afraid you won’t be able to relate to others. You’re afraid to put in the work. You’re afraid to show people who you are. You’re afraid of being rejected. You’re afraid of not getting results. You’re afraid of change. You’re afraid of what will happen to your relationships. You’re afraid you will be judged. You’re afraid if you do. You’re afraid if you don’t.

But what if your fear is wrong?

What if it all works out?

What if a year from now, you look at this list of fears and smile, grateful you did not let it hold you back?

What if the small voice inside of you and the feeling deep in your tummy is right?

What if you do know exactly what you should be doing and you for once decided to go for it?

What if those scary thoughts, screaming of fear, eventually became quieter, and visions or joy and transformation became louder?

What if, because you decided to do it, you made a difference in one person’s life?

What if, because you decided to do it, you made a difference in ten people’s lives?

What if the impact you make because you chose to step up reaches farther and wider than you even could have hoped for?

What if you listened to the voice that said “You Can, and You Should”?

What if you started today?

And what if today, you focused on what you can control?

What if today, you took the first step?

What if you were so much more powerful, loving, creative, productive, and enchanting than you realised?

Read More On The Live Well, Lead Well Blog

4 Questions That Will Get You Closer To Your Team

4 Questions That Will Get You Closer To Your Team

Building relationships is one of the most important parts of leadership. It may seem obvious, but your team needs to trust you in order for you to lead them. Trust can be such a broad term, so let’s break it down. What is it that they need to trust? Is it in your character, your decisions, your abilities, or your motives? Yes, yes, yes, and yes. All of these things are vital for your team to respect you. But, let’s not start with you. Let’s start with them. They need to trust that you know and care about them. 

Your team is made up of individuals. Each individual has their own set of personal goals, their own perspective, their own strengths, weaknesses, and fears. In order to influence your team, you need to know what drives them individually. There also needs to be room for compassion and empathy. Your team members want to be understood. They want to know that you, their boss, has their back, and not because you have to, but because you believe in them and you can empathise with them. You cannot empathise with what you aren’t sure of. 

How do you get started? 

Use the questions below to start learning about your team. They were taken from Jack Canfield’s 2005 book, The Success Principles. Jack describes attending Dan Sullivan’s “Strategic Coach Program” where he was taught to use these questions as a way to establish rapport and connection with another person. (Canfield, 2005, Pg 327)

1. If we were meeting three years from today, what has to have happened during that three-year period for you to feel happy about your progress?

2. What are the biggest dangers you’ll have to face and deal with in order to achieve that progress?

3. What are the biggest opportunities that you have that you would need to focus on and capture to achieve those things?

4. What strengths will you need to reinforce and maximize, and what skills and resources will you need to develop that you don’t currently have in order to capture those opportunities?

These questions are powerful tools you can use to build better relationships with the people you are leading. 

Prepare for your meeting with your team member by carving out some time in your schedule, and invite them to sit down with you. This can be done over coffee, a meal, or can be somewhere quiet, but make sure you will be able to give your full attention. Make the intention to understand them, not to be understood. 

We forget how powerful giving someone our attention can be. Show you’re fully present by turning off your phone, or putting it away. Make eye contact, and listen, not just to the answers they give, but try to gain a sense of what is behind the answers.

The best kinds of questions are those that naturally emerge from being unattached to a specific outcome.

(Hall, 2019, Pg 67)

Disingenuous attempts at building trust will be caught. If your motivation is a selfish one, your team will pick up on that, and it will move you further from building a trusting relationship with them. 

See where the conversation takes you and see where you can identify with your team member. You’re likely to find common ground, and you’ll definitely uncover some truths about what motivates them. Not only will this help you, but when they see that you’re genuine about these questions, and about your interest in them, they’ll feel closer to you and feel a sense of trust that may have been lacking before.

References:

Hall, L. (2019). Coach Your Team. Nottingham: Penguin Random House.

Canefield, J. (2005). The Success Principles. US: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd 2005.

Getting Clear: When Purpose Gets Foggy

Getting Clear: When Purpose Gets Foggy

You’ve done it. You’ve sent in your resume, researched the company, made it through the interviews, and landed yourself the job. You feel excited but also completely terrified. Now what? I’ve been there. It’s normal to be overwhelmed during times of change. There are probably a lot of expectations involved too. Maybe you’re not starting from scratch at a new job, but you’ve been promoted, or maybe your workload is being added to. Maybe you’re finally stepping into the leadership position you’ve hoped for, but why does it feel so scary?

Don’t worry.

You’re not alone.

What you need is to give yourself the chance to reconnect with what your purpose is in this role. We can get caught up with the nitty gritty details of our day to day that we forget to zoom out. We forget to see the big picture, and we forget to recognise it’s not just the individual pieces we pick up that makes the puzzle work, but the picture itself, as a whole – that’s what we’re working towards.

This guide was designed to remind you of the big picture.

As leaders, it’s important for us to consistently reflect on our whys. Without inspiration, purpose, and motivation, our daily intent will lack authenticity, and our effectiveness in our roles (personal and professional) will suffer.

Are you ready to get clear?

All you need is 15 – 20 minutes to answer 10 simple questions. Let the clarity begin.

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Creativity at Work

Creativity at Work

Before you read through, use the questions below to gage your current relationship with Creativity. You may want to write down your answers, or just allow yourself some time to think through your answers.

When you hear the word creativity, what comes to mind?

How often do you have creative ideas?

Do you make time for creativity?

Is creativity praised in your workplace?

Who is the most creative person you know? What makes them creative? 

Creativity is the use of imagination or original ideas to create something. Why should you care about creativity? Well, studies show that people are more likely to feel happy or active if they’re doing something creative. Creativity has also been shown to reduce stress, improve problem solving skills, as well as pave the path to authenticity and self-awareness. 

Most people will tell you they either are or are not creative as if it was definitive, but creativity is actually a skill, and the wonderful thing about any skill is that it can be taught, learned, and practiced. 

Creativity was broken down into four steps by British Psychologist, Graham Wallis. 

  1. Preparation

In the first step, you will gather materials, resources or insights on what you’re trying to achieve or sources of inspiration for your upcoming project. 

  1. Incubation

Now, you will let your ideas marinate in your mind and allow yourself to brainstorm freely. 

  1. Illumination

This is when the idea you’ve been looking for presents itself to you. The “light-bulb moment”, which may come out of no-where, is what most people want to jump to without going through the first two steps.

  1. Verification 

Your idea has now come to life. You make the plan, write the story or get paint on paper. You can then hone and refine your idea as you continue to work on it. 

Looking at the creative process this way can help us see creativity more clearly, and show us that there’s more organised action required than we may have realised.

How can you bring creativity into your workplace? 

Do more writing, drawing or colouring. 

So much of our worlds are seen or processed through a screen, especially when working. When our attention is constantly pulled towards a notification, email or message on our digital devices, our brains don’t get a chance to day dream which is proven in this study to help boost creativity.

Three ways to do it:

  1. Planning out your day / week / month in a paper diary.
  2. Free writing for five minutes at the start or end of your work week.
  3. Invite your team members to present their ideas at your next meeting via markers and flip – chart rather than PowerPoint presentation.
Recognise and reward creativity in problem solving. 

To “think outside the box” when coming across a challenge in an organisation can be challenging, especially if there are no examples of it happening already. Keep creativity at the top of your team’s mind by recognising those who are utilising it to solve problems. Expect innovation and seek out cases of this in your and other companies to keep your team inspired. 

Three ways to do it:

  1. Invite your team to share examples of creativity they noticed from other team members at your next meeting. Make this a routine, and your team will be more likely to recognise creativity when it’s happening, and also try it out for themselves. 
  2. Try the “20 ideas” challenge with your team. The next time you have a problem, challenge your team to come up with 20 possible solutions. Even if 99% of these solutions aren’t realistic, allow your team to work together to brainstorm and get creative. More than likely you will find the answer you need, and at the very least will have a great bonding session using creativity as the link.
  3. Encourage your team to share their ideas. Someone in your team may already have the answer your company needs, or has the ability to create it. Encourage your team to keep talking, brainstorming, and collaborating with each other. 
Change your environment.

Getting caught up in the same conversations with the same people, and having the same thoughts can limit our perspective. Why not try to inspire something different? In order to spark new insights, sometimes we need a new surrounding. Keeping our environment “fresh” can help us to gain a new outlook. 

Three ways to do it:

  1. Rearrange your office or desk. If you can’t rearrange because of space limitations, then add more décor or do some clearing of items you no longer use. 
  2. Hold your monthly meeting in a different location, or go for a walk with your colleague instead of catching up in the office. 
  3. Take a different route to work, or try a different place for lunch. Do this with the intent to observe your surroundings, and see what comes up for you. You may be surprised.

Big Magic Author, Elizabeth Gilbert said “It’s a simple and generous rule of life that whatever you practice, you will improve at.” 

In order to challenge, engage, and improve your team or yourself, try incorporating creativity today. 

Keep It Simple. Keep It Selfless.

Keep It Simple. Keep It Selfless.

It’s Sunday night and I’ve got my eye on the clock. In ten hours, I’ll be walking back into work. Dread and anxiety used to follow a realisation like this. I love my job, but the pressure and expectations can become heavy, and the weight can feel impossible to ignore. The resentment and fear would get big, and usually there wouldn’t be a clear explanation of where it was coming from. I can recognize now that this is when I’m usually tip toeing around the “ME” trap, and the best way I’ve found to avoid this is to reframe my thoughts and zoom out. 

So, what am I going to do in ten hours when I walk into work? Instead of focusing on the meetings I have, tasks I need to get done, or problems that don’t have solutions yet, I keep it simple and break it down. Tomorrow, I’m going to go to work and help people. The complicated details about what makes the Sunday Scaries seem so real – the endless who, what, where, when, whys – all fall into place when I can focus on a bigger picture. Obviously, I’m still going to be in the meetings, get the tasks done, and try to solve the problems, but if I reframe this all in a way that’s less about me, and more about others, it feels easier. It feels simple.

However, if you’re stuck in the “ME” trap, it might not feel so simple.

The “ME” trap might sound like: “What is going to serve me?” “How does this task make me feel?” “I’m going to have so much to do tomorrow, how could I possibly have time to help anyone else.” “Why can’t everyone else think like me?” “I’m going to be so busy tomorrow.” “I don’t have time for this.” “But, who is helping me?” 

Sound familiar? The “ME” trap is deep and can leave you feeling resentful, stressed, and overwhelmed. Paradoxically, when looking from this point of view, your needs will never be met, and you will never be fulfilled. The trap is governed by your ego, and your ego can never get enough. Your ego’s job is to keep you separated, and as long as you stay in the “ME” trap, you’ll feel slighted, ungrateful, and you’ll forever be wondering when it will get better. 

To escape the “ME” trap, you need to turn your focus towards Selfless Support. That might sound like: “How can I help my team?” “What support does my coworker need right now?” “How does my colleague feel about this?” “What does my boss need from me today?” “What would make this customer’s day better?” 

Thinking of others, and acting on those thoughts, builds connection. When we are connected, we feel positive, and we feel useful, which will help to build self-esteem and improve relationships. 

It’s important to note that there’s a difference between Selfless Support and People Pleasing. There should be a solid understanding of what you’re capable of doing for others without taking on too much. Boundaries need to be in place, and it’s also important that you’re not doing work which steals an opportunity for challenge, growth, or empowerment for someone else. If a coworker asks for support, and you don’t feel like realistically you could help, be honest, and ask if there’s anything else you might be able to support with. 

Selfless support means supporting others without expecting anything in return. You are taking the self (or the ME) out of it, so keep an eye out for your ego when offering help, or looking for opportunities to support. If you notice any deeper expectations for a thank you, credit, or recognition, the act is not entirely selfless, and you may be dancing around the “ME” trap again which will leave you feeling disappointed. 

What about in your role? Are you not sure how to do that? Try to show up and see what happens. Make helping other people your main focus, and see what opportunities present themselves. 

Is it easy? No! But practicing Selfless Support daily has brought me closer to my team, my coworkers, and brought me more clarity, emotional intelligence, connection, and self esteem. I find that the less I think about myself, the better I feel. So, make it your mission to find ways that you can be useful. Look for opportunities to help others. You’ll sidestep the “ME” trap and walk straight into Selfless Support. 

Three things to try this week:

  1. Speak to others with kindness (regardless of the situation).
  2. Ask a co-worker how you can help support them this week. 
  3. Keep track of the “ME” thoughts you have. When you notice them, try to direct your thinking to supporting others and see if you notice a difference.

How It Started

How It Started

I was 19 when I took a job as a YMCA camp counsellor. I figured it would be easy, because I thought all I would have to do was play games with kids all day, and that was more or less true, but what I didn’t expect was the feeling that came over me when realised that 15 nine year olds were watching me, listening to me, and following me. For the first time in my life, I felt empowered. I felt important. I felt like I could make a difference. I’ll forever be grateful to the YMCA Camp Lakewood in Potosi, MO for giving me that feeling, and starting me on my journey to helping others through leadership and teaching. 

When I moved to London five years ago and began searching for a job, I knew that feeling was what I was missing. I wanted to help people, help people. When the management position opened up in my department, although I had only been in the company two months, I asked if I could be considered, and even though I didn’t get the job, what was put in motion was my journey to leadership and management.

So why leadership? What draws us to it? For me, it boils down to encouraging others. This is why I love teaching and it’s why I love training. It’s why I love team building, and it’s why I love being a manager. To see a team cooperate, support, and grow together is an incredible thing to witness, and to be able to encourage that process not only makes me feel better, but I can see now how much more successful a team is in reaching their goals when there is a strong leadership presence available to them.

Leadership envelops all of the qualities you could argue are vital for a better world – kindness, communication, trust, support – but with more and more research developing around effective leadership skills like mindfulness and compassion, it’s become a much deeper pool than previously realised, and one with more room for people who have different personalities, backgrounds and goals. It’s appealing for both the success hungry, goal oriented, productivity hounds and the curious, conscious, intuitive feelers of the world. 

Whether your goal is to improve your team’s communication, improve your relationship with your colleagues, or simply become more effective at your job – the foundations of leadership will help you get there. With 74% of UK professionals mirroring the leadership styles of their colleagues , it can be said that the most effective way to help lead is by learning and implementing these qualities within your team, and in your own life. 

By continuing to learn and develop leadership skills, we give permission to our team and those working with us to do the same. Being able to submit yourself to new knowledge, and being humble enough to accept the need for growth sends a powerful message to those around us. It says, I am not a finished product, and I want to be better. To have the humility to admit that to those who may look up to us or see us on a pedestal that is held up by titles, salary and invisible constructs, brings us closer to those we wish to lead. It humanises us. It shows them that the truth we all are seeking, lies within.

Leadership is necessary in the workplace because support is necessary. Commonality is necessary. Goals and direction are necessary. Without leadership, your team will feel lost. Without somewhere to walk to, the walk will be endless, and people will get tired. Without someone to walk with, the walk will be lonely, and people will get fearful. A leader not only shows everyone where they’re walking to, but a leader walks with them. 

What is a leader, if not someone who wants to support others in achieving a common goal? Can it be that simple? Whether that is a personal goal, or the goal of many, leadership requires putting the goal first, the people second, and the leader, themselves, last. If you have no goal, you have nowhere to go. If you have no people, you have no one to lead. A leader must be able to remove themselves from the situation in order to be truly effective. This can be a hard thing to internalise. Surely, my ego belongs somewhere in the equation? No. It does not. In fact, our ego can get in the way, and cause the goal to shift in our heads. What happens then is the goal is no longer common. Your goal may be something completely different from your teams, which will cause misalignment, communication barriers, and emotional breakdowns.

The lucky thing is that leadership can be taught. Like any new skill you’re trying to learn, you will struggle with trial and error. You will need courage, patience and you will need to practice. The rewards you will reap on the journey are fruitful and worth it. The ripple effect is far reaching and you may soon notice these skills helping more than just your team, but you personally, your communication with your neighbour, the way you view your reality. The road to being an effective leader doesn’t have to be scary, and it doesn’t have to be lonely. We’re here with you, holding the lantern, helping you to see where you’re going.