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Spheres of Influence Explained

Spheres of Influence Explained

A person’s ability to influence the beliefs and behaviors of others is fundamental to the success of their leadership. There are countless factors that contribute to the specific areas in which we wield any influence. We will each naturally have certain areas in which our influence will be stronger than others. The Spheres of Influence demonstrate this at three core levels – Control (at the centre), Influence, and Concern. The further from the centre we get, the less precisely we are able to affect other people and systems.

 

Sphere of Control

The Sphere of Control is the smallest of the three and contains everything that we can have a direct impact upon. Often as leaders, we are put in a position that seemingly affords us a great amount of control over the people and environment around us. This is simply untrue. Each of us can only control and be responsible for one thing –  ourselves. The Sphere of Control contains only what we think, what we say, and what we do. In training for leadership excellence, we develop the ability to recognise that which falls within our control with more certainty and greater clarity. When we learn to take control over only that which we can, we become more effective leaders.

 

Sphere of Influence

Next is the Sphere of Influence. It contains all that we are able to affect but not directly control, including the actions of some people and systems you operate with. Effective leaders are careful to build influence with trusted colleagues and direct reports in order to successfully implement their vision. Developing leadership excellence allows leaders to understand the importance of the relationships they have with their team for their collective success. It is about using your position of authority to inspire passion and drive in others to achieve shared objectives and goals.

 

Sphere of Concern

Finally, the Sphere of Concern is the largest and contains everything that you might be concerned about yet cannot control or influence. This includes individuals in other departments or teams, systems we cannot affect, or even the weather. It does little good for us to spend time and energy focusing on these things, particularly when we do not possess the ability to alter them. Effective leaders will, of course, need to be mindful of how external factors impact their performance, but their focus will be on the work they are doing and the actions they are taking. 

 

An important component of leadership excellence is our ability to identify which elements in our lives belong to each of the Spheres of Influence. The leadership excellence program discusses this framework to help participants balance their focus on each sphere and develop more effective leadership. Current and aspiring leaders who undergo this type of executive leadership training will have a stronger impact on the performance of their team. Great leaders understand the importance of focusing their efforts and resources on the things they can directly Control and Influence will lead to greater long term success.

 

About the Author: The Leadership Sphere
The Leadership Sphere helps small and medium businesses and larger organisations in Australia, in creating value through leadership. The Leadership Sphere provides a humanistic approach to the way it delivers leadership, performance and coaching services. We work with leaders and senior teams who need to gain increased clarity, build capability and ensure contribution at every level in the organisation, and enable a safe, inclusive and  high trust organisation.

 

Spheres of Influence Explained

individual values assessment

5 Benefits of Leadership Self-Assessment

Conducting a leadership assessment can give you an objective idea of your capabilities and talents as a business leader. Having a strong understanding of your competencies allows you to capitalise on your strengths and mitigate the impact of potential skills gaps. The benefits of leadership self-assessments reach far beyond the individual to improve interpersonal relationships and organisational performance. 

 

Increase Self-Awareness

Learning more about yourself and the way you lead has a direct impact on your leadership effectiveness. An honest assessment of your leadership capabilities will reveal ways you can build upon your strengths and help you to confront weaknesses. This is not only key for your personal development, it will also increase your team’s trust in you and boost your credibility. It can be difficult for direct reports to offer candid feedback to leaders, so increasing your own self-awareness will have a greater impact on developing and sustaining leadership excellence. 

 

Create Goals

No matter what stage of your career you are in, a leadership self-assessment can provide insight into your abilities as a leader. There are a variety of tools that will help you to understand your strengths and performance in different areas. In developing this understanding, you will also discover the areas in which you need to focus future learning to be able to take on new challenges. For those with aspirations of becoming senior leaders, this can provide clarity and specificity on the experience and leadership training required to reach their career goals.

 

Progress Tracking

A lifetime career in leadership means that you should regularly be reassessing your own leadership skills. As the business landscape changes, so too should our approach to leadership. It is beneficial to both you and your teams that you stay ahead of current strategies and teachings. Undertaking leadership assessments at different stages throughout your career ensures your development remains aligned with your goals, and may even open up new opportunities that weren’t previously possible.

 

Clarify Development Plans

Leadership assessment tools play a critical role in the progression of organisational success when utilised as part of a leadership development plan. Assessing leadership excellence across all levels of the organisation helps executives to identify gaps within the talent pool, as well as those with the potential for senior leadership development. Opportunities for development can be prioritised to have the greatest chance of success. Leadership assessment allows individuals to gain a better sense of the part they play in the success of the organisation, and how they might expand their scope in the future.

 

Improve Working Relationships

Gaining clarity on your own styles of leadership and performance makes it easier to recognise in others. You can meet them where they are to develop personal connections and trust. More effectively influence their behaviours by adapting your approach. Understanding your own ‘life story’ and how to use it as a touchstone for leadership allows you to form meaningful relationships with your team and improve overall performance.

 

While it is important for current and aspiring leaders to gain insights into their leadership capabilities to excel in their career, they should also be aware of their impact on team performance as well. The best tools for assessing leadership excellence will have benefits that stretch beyond the individual. Role-modelling a desire to improve both personally and professionally, leads to increased levels of trust and productivity throughout organisations.

 

For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can help you unlock performance through leadership, by supporting your leaders at every level of the organisation with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.

 

5 Benefits of Leadership Self-Assessment

GROW Model

What is the GROW Model?

The GROW coaching model was developed by coaching pioneer Sir John Whitmore and has been used for over forty years. It is a structure within which executive coaching may be conducted to aid leadership development. The coach is an objective facilitator whose role is to assist their client in identifying the best options available to them that will serve their goals, without offering specific advice or direction. It is up to the client to discern what is best for themselves. The use of the GROW model as a tool for leadership excellence within teams differs slightly from this because as leader, you will have some expertise that allows you to guide your team through options to avoid ones that could bring harm. The GROW coaching model is a four-step lens through which options are analysed and decisions can be made; Goal, Reality, Options, Will.

 

Goal 

The purpose of many coaching relationships is for the coach to help their client get clear on their goals, and identify strategies to help them reach them.  The focus of the Goal stage is on the solution and what the coachee wants to achieve, rather than the problem being addressed. Often, leaders will have a broad idea of what this looks like, though they may have difficulty articulating what needs to be done in order to succeed. An executive coaching program  provides leaders with the opportunity to explore their goals thoroughly and help them to establish specific targets they are then able to work towards.

Examples of Goal questions a coach might ask are:

  • Where are you going?
  • How long will it take to get there?
  • What are the benefits of achieving your goal?
  • How will you measure progress?

 

Reality

The Reality stage is used to frame the identified goals within the context of the coachee’s current situation. The executive coach helps their coachee to understand the problem they are trying to solve, and how doing so will impact themselves and those around them. It is an opportunity for the leader to  view the situation from alternative perspectives. The solution to certain problems can begin to emerge as a result of speaking aloud about them. Developing this style of thinking through senior leadership training will have considerable benefits for team problem solving once the new strategies are implemented.

Some useful Reality questions are:

  • What is happening now?
  • Who else is affected?
  • What steps have already been taken towards reaching your goal?
  • What may be preventing you from reaching your goal?

 

Options

Once goals have been set and the current reality has been examined, we can then begin the process of exploring what options are available. It is particularly important in this stage of the executive training  program, that the coachee leads the discussion. The coach must of course be able to provide clarity and guidance, but they can not make the final decision. The objective here is  for the coachee to come up with as many possible solutions that could help them succeed.

Questions asked during the Options stage should be open ended in order to drive discussion:

  • What are the options?
  • Who could help you with this, and how?
  • Where can you find more information?
  • What else could be done?

 

Will

By the time the Will stage is reached, the coachee should have a clearer idea how their goal can be achieved. It is here that specific actions must be committed to, that will make achievement possible.  The coach’s role now, is to help the coachee determine which of the options discussed should be taken up. Typically, the coachee will already have made the decision for themselves but will still benefit from assistance in building and committing to a measurable and actionable strategy. If the coach senses a hesitancy to commit, revisiting the Options is necessary for clearing roadblocks and finding the best way forward.

Examples of Will questions are:

  • What action are you going to take?
  • How are you going to do that?
  • What will keep you motivated?
  • What could prevent you from taking action? How will you overcome this?

 

The GROW model is an important part of building a coaching culture within teams and organisations. It helps groups and individuals to identify strategies for reaching their goals, including how to overcome obstacles they may face. A leadership excellence program that teaches the GROW model encourages meaningful conversation as a part of the problem solving process. It should also be noted that the model is not meant to be followed as a rigid structure. The GROW model is a framework that aims to prompt discussion that leads to effective solutions. While Goals and Reality will typically be explored first, coaching conversations can move between all four elements.

 

About the Author: The Leadership Sphere
The Leadership Sphere helps small and medium businesses and larger organisations in Australia, in creating value through leadership. The Leadership Sphere provides a humanistic approach to the way it delivers leadership, performance and coaching services. We work with leaders and senior teams who need to gain increased clarity, build capability and ensure contribution at every level in the organisation, and enable a safe, inclusive and  high trust organisation.

What is the GROW Model?

Building Good Habits

The Importance of Building Good Habits

We often set ourselves aspirational goals when we are feeling highly motivated and energised, only to find later on that we do not possess the tools needed to reach those targets. This can lead to feelings of self-doubt, or perceived inadequacy in our own capabilities. In turn, we lose motivation to act in pursuit of our goals and we stop making progress. Reducing the scope of our goal setting however, is not the solution. After all, developing leadership excellence requires clear and ambitious goals. To achieve those goals, we need to give ourselves the advantage of having the right tools in place that allow us to succeed.

 

Turn Goals into Habits

An issue that often arises when setting goals is that we want – or even expect – that we will be able to achieve them in a short timeframe. Even when we understand that logically, lasting change takes time and effort to accomplish. The number one way you will reach your goals is to create habits around them and build them into regular actions. It is about transforming the idea of what we want to achieve into actionable behaviours that contribute to greater, long lasting changes. 

 

The formation of entirely new habits makes them inherently difficult to stay consistent with because we are not used to performing that behaviour. In order to affect change, the best course of action is to anchor the habit you want to create to a specific time, location, or both. Using this method, the time and location become a trigger for you to implement the new habit you are forming. The Actionable Habit Builder calls this the New Habit Formula:

When (trigger) happens, instead of (current behaviour), I will (new habit).

When building new habits, specificity is important for establishing a metric by which we can measure our progress. The Actionable Habit Builder is a useful tool for senior leadership training because it encourages us to create specific habits that lead to effective behavioural changes.

 

Amplify Motivation

Our motivation to complete tasks is one of the most unpredictable factors in reaching the formation of new habits, even ones we want to initiate. When we experience high levels of motivation, it is more likely that we will enthusiastically commit to immediate action. However, if we are constantly waiting to be in the ‘right’ frame of mind before we take action, we simply don’t; and our behaviours do not change. It becomes a question of how we overcome feeling demotivated in order to make positive changes.

 

One of the benefits of executive coaching is that it is an opportunity for participants to explore their goals with someone who understands their underlying motivations. Working with an executive coach reveals the deeper thought processes that go into decision making and habit formation. In coaching leadership excellence, you are given a deeper understanding of your strengths and weaknesses. The relationship you form with your coach allows them to identify key factors that may be getting in the way of consistent habit practices. They can then assist you in creating strategies that overcome those roadblocks. Through regular coaching sessions, you and your coach work together to implement those strategies and hold you to account. Forming new habits takes time and effort to succeed. There will be times when your self-motivation depletes. When this happens you need to understand why that is happening and what you can do to overcome it so that you are still able to make progress.

 

Making lasting changes in our behaviour can be a daunting and difficult undertaking without the right support in place. Habit building tools and executive coaching programs provide support by allowing us to dig into what it is we want to change and why it is important that we do so. They hold us accountable so that we can see for ourselves the progress we are making. Forming good habits has many positive benefits on our behaviours and when tied to larger goals, helps us take regular action to achieve them sooner.

For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can help you unlock performance through leadership, by supporting your leaders at every level of the organisation with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.

 

The Importance of Building Good Habits

Dare to lead

Overcoming the 5 Dysfunctions of Teams

No matter how cohesive and successful a team may be, it is inevitable that they will face challenges that could potentially derail their productivity. When this happens in high performance teams (or indeed, any team), we need to look beyond the symptoms of low performance to find the true cause of this behavior. Based on the work of Patrick Lencioni, the 5 Dysfunctions of Teams explores the idea that to resolve surface level issues, you must first attend to lower level needs. Each dysfunction impacts on overall performance and must be overcome in order for teams to perform at their best. 

 

Dysfunction 1: Lack of Trust

The first dysfunction Lencioni identifies is a lack of trust amongst team members. When trust is minimal or absent, it is often because individually, we are afraid to appear vulnerable in front of others, and want to maintain an image of infallibility. This stops us both individually, and as a team, from asking for advice and developing collectively. We may even hesitate to provide positive feedback to others, or assist in areas outside of our own responsibilities.

Overcoming this fear of vulnerability, opens up opportunities to understand each other on a more personal level. Nobody is perfect. Being able to own up to that and admit to our weaknesses makes others around us more comfortable, and more likely to start doing the same. Learning about Rumbling with Vulnerability is a pillar of the Dare to Lead™ program, based on the work of Brene Brown. This section of the program aims to dispel many misconceptions people have about vulnerability. Typically thought of as a display of weakness, in Dare to Lead™, vulnerability becomes known as one of the fundamental tools for leaders to establish trusting relationships in their teams.

 

Dysfunction 2: Fear of Conflict

Team performance is enhanced when there are diverse voices contributing to the conversation. While this provides an incredible opportunity to achieve better results, it can also cause hesitancy to share an opposing idea for fear of creating conflict. Controversial topics are ignored even if they have the potential to create success for the team.

A great first step to take in creating constructive conflict is to be intentional about how these conversations take place. Designating even one-hour a month is an opportunity for your team to be able to voice their opinions, safe in the knowledge that they will not be negatively received. A leadership excellence program can be useful in building group dialogue skills that help teams to have conversations that matter. These are conversations that allow teams to delve deeper into topics or issues that are important to them, and they are then able to come up with resolutions as a unified group. It is important too, that these conversations be held regularly for sustaining high performance.

 

Dysfunction 3: Lack of Commitment

Perceived inaction, avoiding difficult conversations, and ambiguous goal setting are just a few reasons why there may be a lack of commitment from team members. Without clearly defined goals, teams do not know what it is they are working towards and therefore, have no real investment in the work they are doing. The same is true when there is limited communication surrounding decision making and problem-solving. 

When decisions are made that impact your team, explaining the rationale that led to that decision will help them understand and accept new changes. Inviting your team to be part of the decision making process also gives them a personal incentive to successfully implement those changes. Understanding the ‘why’ is important for building commitment to the actions being taken. Giving your team a strong reason for, and belief in, the work being done leads to increased dedication and better performance.

 

Dysfunction 4: Avoidance of Accountability

The ability to hold oneself accountable is a skill that is closely tied to our willingness (or lack thereof) to be vulnerable and admit to our mistakes. We fear failure. Sustaining high performance in teams also requires that team members hold each other accountable as well. Often we avoid doing this for fear of causing conflict even when an error would be costly. This results in team leaders becoming the sole source of accountability for the whole team. This can quickly become an overwhelming task for one person, especially in large teams.

 

Owning up to mistakes shows that you are responsible for your own actions. True self-accountability goes beyond this when you make conscious and demonstrable changes in your behaviour, or work to correct specific errors. Holding others accountable does not have to be a combative exercise. Intent is important here. Criticism for its own sake is counterproductive to team effectiveness. Blame is not the same as accountability. Feedback should aim to support the recipient and help them to constructively improve future performance.

 

 

Dysfunction 5: Inattention to Results

When the vision of team success is overlooked in favour of individual achievement, collective progress stagnates. You may even lose valuable market competition, or results-oriented team members. While leading high performance teams usually means there are high levels of self-motivation to completing tasks, it is the leader’s role to ensure a clear team focus. As with the avoidance of accountability, leaders must ensure that each member of the team has a concrete understanding of how their individual role contributes to the team purpose and achievement of results. 

Measurable metrics will be a considerable aid in maintaining team focus. A useful practice in developing leadership excellence within teams creating habits for success. By setting simple goals, and rewarding the team as a whole for their success, fosters a greater connection amongst team members and continued desire to achieve results. 

 

Understanding the 5 Dysfunctions of Teams is important for leading high performance teams. The capability to diagnose workplace challenges and overcome them is an integral part of developing leadership excellence. Dysfunction prevents effectiveness in the pursuit of team success and cohesion. Delving into how each dysfunction contributes to challenges, helps teams to form better and long lasting solutions. 

 

For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can help you unlock performance through leadership, by supporting your leaders at every level of the organisation with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.

 

Overcoming the 5 Dysfunctions of Teams

actionable conversations

Actionable Conversations™ Explained

Actionable Conversations™ are an innovative training platform that connects individuals to organisational objectives and enhances team culture. Engaging in meaningful conversations establishes better relationships and leads to lasting, measurable change. This is achieved through the powerful combination of authentic conversation, technology, and insight-driven data. It is a three stage process that happens on the job, around the real issues your people are currently working through. Investing just one hour a month develops: stronger leaders, individual skills, and enhances team culture.

 

Three Levels of Actionable Conversations™

SUSTAIN

Sustained, social learning helps to reinforce key principles in ways that contextualise them within the bounds of day-to-day responsibilities. It is supportive of real-world application that takes learning out of the ‘classroom.’ This enables participants to understand the practical effectiveness of what they are learning and how it applies to what they do. By putting lessons into immediate practice, their retention for the material is heightened and becomes ingrained in an ongoing routine.

 

SCALE

You are able to cascade key concepts by leveraging live sessions and engaging in better conversations that improve your relationship with your teams. It reinforces learning through teaching. Were it possible for every individual employee to attend development training, many of us would surely jump at the opportunity. However, this is not practical in today’s fast-paced working environment. To truly make changes sustainable throughout an organisation, it is up to those who do attend to pass on the knowledge to the entire team. Not only does this reinforce the learning for themselves, but they are able to build it into the culture and onboarding programs so that current and future employees also experience the benefits.

 

SYSTEM-WIDE

It is a cost effective way to get all stakeholders across key information while quickly and easily translating organisational objectives into relevant actions at an individual level. As we’ve already discussed, lasting change only occurs when each individual is engaged and committed to putting those changes into action. Success in this is determined by each person’s willingness to engage in discussions that lead to meaningful problem solving. These conversations must seek to provide tangible and actionable steps that can be followed, measured, and reviewed when necessary.

 

Actionable Conversations™ are a way for teams to connect with each other to address concerns and concepts that help them to engage in meaningful problem solving and create lasting change. It is a platform that improves workplace effectiveness by building better relationships and measurable behaviour change.

 

 

 

 

About the Author: The Leadership Sphere
The Leadership Sphere helps small and medium businesses and larger organisations in Australia, in creating value through leadership. The Leadership Sphere provides a humanistic approach to the way it delivers leadership, performance and coaching services. We work with leaders and senior teams who need to gain increased clarity, build capability and ensure contribution at every level in the organisation, and enable a safe, inclusive and  high trust organisation.

 

Actionable Conversations™ Explained

what is excellence in leadership

The Positive Impacts of Leadership Excellence

There are many benefits to developing leadership excellence for both individuals and teams. In building a deeper understanding of your personal leadership values, you establish stronger relationships with your team. The importance of these relationships is fundamental to creating meaningful change across all levels of your organisation. 

Coach, Grow, Develop Others

The benefits of leadership excellence extend far beyond only those in executive or management positions. Great leaders know that success comes from the combined efforts of everyone in the team. It is therefore the responsibility of leaders to facilitate the growth and development of others. In training for leadership excellence, leaders learn to take on the role of coach. As a coach, you provide support to those on their own development journey by helping them to implement their learning into their day-to-day responsibilities. By serving your team’s development, you also ensure your collective success.

 

Values Driven Leadership

There is no singular practice of leadership that applies to all situations. We often need to adapt our behaviour as the situation calls. What is important to remember when faced with a difficult decision to make, is to act in accordance with your values. Executive leadership development  helps participants to explore their values and narrow down those they feel are most important to practice in their role as a leader. Exhibiting behaviour that aligns with your identified values shows your team that you are dedicated to your commitments. You position yourself as trustworthy while establishing a culture of collaboration.

 

Create Meaningful Change

Leadership excellence is needed for creating meaningful change within your team and organisation. Through the development of leadership skills at the individual, team, and organisational level, executives can ensure their vision for success is a foundational component of daily practices. Interpersonal leadership skills are necessary for creating change. Leadership training programs teach us to communicate with clarity to inspire passion for the work. Those you share your vision with will become responsible for implementing it under your guidance. 

 

The positive impacts of training for leadership excellence flow from the individual level to ensure the growth of the team and organisation as a whole. Leadership development training provides a platform through which individuals and teams gain a greater understanding of their personal values. This contributes to the formation of deeper relationships and establishes a mutual trust. Trust is needed when creating change and coaching others. 

 

For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can help you unlock performance through leadership, by supporting your leaders at every level of the organisation with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.

 

The Positive Impacts of Leadership Excellence

leadership excellence meaning

Measuring Leadership Excellence

Understanding leadership excellence is important for leaders at every stage of their development journey. It establishes a clear measurement of where they have started, how far they have come, and where they still hope to go. Such measurements can be calculated through the implementation of leadership assessment and development tools. Receiving these assessments regularly are a valuable part of any leadership development journey.

 

When assessing leadership excellence, the two facets most often associated with strong leaders are their character and influence. In particular, it is how a person’s character contributes to their influence that indicates their level of leadership excellence. 

 

Character

A person’s character is the driving factor behind their ability to influence and lead their team or organisation. Those with a strong character tend to be viewed by others as being trustworthy, responsible, and fair in their decision making. It is these skills that make them appealing and incite positive responses from other people.

 

It can be difficult to assess for a quantifiable measurement of these aspects of character, but it is possible to gauge these characteristics by interpreting how a person’s peers and employees perceive them. The 360º Feedback Report is designed around this model of assessment. Both the individual and a select group of those they work with are asked to complete a survey that, when compared, provides a complete picture of the leader’s character. 

 

Influence

Influence is one of the biggest measurements of leadership excellence. Being able to inspire and motivate others into reaching their fullest potential is a critical aspect of your role as a leader. By making use of leadership tools for individuals as well as groups, you begin to form a clearer impression of the impact that the individual’s leadership skills have on the performance of their team.

 

An individual’s ability to influence the behaviours of those around them stems from their existing interpersonal relationships. Having good character and establishing trust between yourself and others, allows you to build effective interpersonal relationships. The benefits of leadership assessment tools like the Trust Inside Assessments include in-depth measurements of a person’s ability to build trust at both the individual and team level. 

 

Character and influence are two of the defining aspects of leadership excellence. The higher a person’s character is perceived to be, the greater the amount of influence they are able to impart onto others. To gain a full understanding of an individual’s measurement of leadership excellence, the best leadership assessment tools should be administered at both the individual and group level. 

 

What characteristics are most important for you as a leader?

 

About the Author: The Leadership Sphere
The Leadership Sphere helps small and medium businesses and larger organisations in Australia, in creating value through leadership. The Leadership Sphere provides a humanistic approach to the way it delivers leadership, performance and coaching services. We work with leaders and senior teams who need to gain increased clarity, build capability and ensure contribution at every level in the organisation, and enable a safe, inclusive and  high trust organisation.

 

Measuring Leadership Excellence

what is leadership excellence

The Advantages of Leadership Excellence

In developing leadership excellence we cultivate a workplace environment that encourages constant growth and improvement. Through leadership excellence programs, participants gain the confidence and capability to lead teams effectively. They are role models of behaviours that become standard practice and inspire others to perform beyond expectations. 

 

Leaves Room for Improvement

Often when we talk about leadership development, people confuse excellence with perfection. It is impossible to achieve perfection, attempting to do so limits creativity and results in more failures due to added pressure. Striving to achieve leadership excellence, allows space for mistakes to be made and performance to be improved with each iteration. Executive leadership training emphasises the importance of reducing workplace stress that frequently accompanies organisation with a totalitarian approach to achieving goals.

For teams to become consistently high performing, it is necessary to both develop and sustain leadership excellence. Sustainability means that there is always the goal of producing the best quality product or service, while also striving to be better in the future. Processes, technologies, and industries progress all the time. Believing that your organisation already has the ‘perfect’ version does not leave room for innovation or improvement. Ignoring the value of creativity will leave you stagnant and struggling to catch up to more open-minded companies. 

Executive coaching programs provide leaders with a means of developing innovative thinking that opens the doors for input from a diverse range of sources. Coaching for leadership excellence requires an established, trusting relationship between coach and client. The right coach will be able to challenge you to expand your capabilities and become more receptive to new ideas. 

 

Become a Role Model of Leadership Excellence

Leadership excellence programs aim to teach participants ways to coach, grow and develop the people they work with. The most effective way leaders can do this is to set the example of influence they are hoping to impart. It is the actions we perform that others will watch and critique. Your team will notice if you are not living your values. If you are expecting excellence, you must also become excellent. 

It is much easier to influence the behaviour of others and unlock their potential by being the model that you wish to see. Senior leadership training doesn’t only benefit participants, but everyone they work with from then on. What is learnt in such programs impacts the way you lead and develop others. Being the standard and role model of excellence, you not only realise your own potential but the potential of those around you as well. 

Learning how to harness and model leadership excellence can have a number of advantages on individuals at every level of the organisation. While it is important that our leaders provide a clear example of behaviours to be followed, they should also set the expectation that perfection is not the ultimate goal. Leaders who engage in executive coaching programs to develop their ability to influence their teams, will see an increase in overall performance throughout their organisation.

 

How do you demonstrate excellence in your workplace?

 

About the Author: The Leadership Sphere
The Leadership Sphere helps small and medium businesses and larger organisations in Australia, in creating value through leadership. The Leadership Sphere provides a humanistic approach to the way it delivers leadership, performance and coaching services. We work with leaders and senior teams who need to gain increased clarity, build capability and ensure contribution at every level in the organisation, and enable a safe, inclusive and  high trust organisation.

 

The Advantages of Leadership Excellence

leadership learning objectives

How Leadership Excellence Benefits Others

In developing leadership excellence we cultivate a workplace environment that encourages constant growth and improvement. Through leadership excellence programs, participants gain the confidence and capability to lead teams effectively. They are role models of behaviours that become standard practice and inspire others to perform beyond expectations. 

 

Leaves Room for Improvement

Often when we talk about leadership development, people confuse excellence with perfection. It is impossible to achieve perfection, attempting to do so limits creativity and results in more failures due to added pressure. Striving to achieve leadership excellence, allows space for mistakes to be made and performance to be improved with each iteration. Executive leadership training emphasises the importance of reducing workplace stress that frequently accompanies organisation with a totalitarian approach to achieving goals.

 

For teams to become consistently high performing, it is necessary to both develop and sustain leadership excellence. Sustainability means that there is always the goal of producing the best quality product or service, while also striving to be better in the future. Processes, technologies, and industries progress all the time. Believing that your organisation already has the ‘perfect’ version does not leave room for innovation or improvement. Ignoring the value of creativity will leave you stagnant and struggling to catch up to more open-minded companies. 

 

Executive coaching programs provide leaders with a means of developing innovative thinking that opens the doors for input from a diverse range of sources. Coaching for leadership excellence requires an established, trusting relationship between coach and client. The right coach will be able to challenge you to expand your capabilities and become more receptive to new ideas. 

 

Become a Role Model of Leadership Excellence

Leadership excellence programs aim to teach participants ways to coach, grow and develop the people they work with. The most effective way leaders can do this is to set the example of influence they are hoping to impart. It is the actions we perform that others will watch and critique. Your team will notice if you are not living your values. If you are expecting excellence, you must also become excellent. 

 

 

It is much easier to influence the behaviour of others and unlock their potential by being the model that you wish to see. Senior leadership training doesn’t only benefit participants, but everyone they work with from then on. What is learnt in such programs impacts the way you lead and develop others. Being the standard and role model of excellence, you not only realise your own potential but the potential of those around you as well. 

 

Learning how to harness and model leadership excellence can have a number of advantages on individuals at every level of the organisation. While it is important that our leaders provide a clear example of behaviours to be followed, they should also set the expectation that perfection is not the ultimate goal. Leaders who engage in executive coaching programs to develop their ability to influence their teams, will see an increase in overall performance throughout their organisation.

 

How do you demonstrate excellence in your workplace?

 

About the Author: The Leadership Sphere
The Leadership Sphere helps small and medium businesses and larger organisations in Australia, in creating value through leadership. The Leadership Sphere provides a humanistic approach to the way it delivers leadership, performance and coaching services. We work with leaders and senior teams who need to gain increased clarity, build capability and ensure contribution at every level in the organisation, and enable a safe, inclusive and  high trust organisation.

 

How Leadership Excellence Benefits Others

skills for excellence

Defining Leadership Excellence

It is easy to recognise leadership excellence when we see it, but when asked to define what that looks like many people struggle to identify specific characteristics. The truth is that leadership excellence looks different to everyone. However there are two key areas which, if intentionally cultivated, help to bring us closer to defining leadership excellence. Training programs that focus on these two aspects of excellence should form the basis of your executive leadership development.

 

Practical Excellence

There is no escaping the necessity for leaders to see to the practical day-to-day operations of running a team or organisation. Ensuring that tasks are completed on time and are of high quality is an important aspect of successful leadership. Demanding excellence from your team is not enough to guarantee that their resulting work will meet high performance standards. It is the role of a great leader to set, and then help them to achieve goals for your team that will push them beyond their perceived limitations. 

To do this, you must be clear with your team about what these goals are and why they are important. Providing them with motivation to reach their goals will result in more success and stronger performance overall. Developing leadership excellence in a practical manner does require that your team has access to the resources they need to achieve the goals you set out for them. This demonstrates to them your own dedication reaching those same goals with excellent results. 

 

Interpersonal Excellence

Establishing strong interpersonal relationships with the individuals you work with is pivotal to building a high performing team. Developing senior leaders must understand this and strive to create these connections early in the formation of their teams. 

 

Leadership development programs like Dare to Lead™, teach participants how to form these deeper connections within their workplace in order to build trusting and honest relationships. Gaining a personal understanding of the individuals on your team can have lasting mutual benefits. Learning the personal values and goals of your team allows you to offer support and opportunities for them to develop their skills while they are contributing to a greater vision.

 

Training for leadership excellence should include a focus on both practical and interpersonal excellence. Individuals who have strong personal connections with their leaders are far more likely to be motivated to perform at a higher standard and aim to reach their goals. Executive leadership programs that teach participants to establish and sustain trusting relationships are the foundation to developing leadership excellence. 

 

What is the most important aspect of leadership excellence for you?

 

About the Author: The Leadership Sphere
The Leadership Sphere helps small and medium businesses and larger organisations in Australia, in creating value through leadership. The Leadership Sphere provides a humanistic approach to the way it delivers leadership, performance and coaching services. We work with leaders and senior teams who need to gain increased clarity, build capability and ensure contribution at every level in the organisation, and enable a safe, inclusive and  high trust organisation.

 

Defining Leadership Excellence

leadership skills inventory

6 Skills Needed for Leadership Excellence

Leadership excellence is not always a measure of how successfully a manager’s directions have been followed. True leadership excellence is much more the result of their ability to inspire their teams to achieve the extraordinary. They must be effective communicators, decision makers, visionaries, students, and coaches. Undertaking senior leadership training programs can help leaders become more effective and successful.

 

Integrity

Maintaining a consistency in your beliefs and values affords you the ability to lead with integrity. Operating with a guiding set of principles will make it easier not to compromise those values when faced with challenges. To lead with integrity we must first develop an understanding of what our personal values are. A personal values assessment will help to determine how the qualities you value in leadership align with your perception of the current and desired culture of your organisation. Hold yourself accountable, and others will do the same.

 

Recognition

Everyone likes hearing that their efforts are appreciated. Great leaders know this and express their gratitude freely, no matter how small the contribution. This is not to say that they are over praising individuals when they are meeting expectations. Rather they display genuine appreciation for necessary but often overlooked efforts made that have a significant or positive impact on the project. Acknowledging your team’s ongoing hard work and celebrating their accomplishments, reinforces a strong work ethic and fosters a positive team environment. 

 

Honesty

The key component of genuine praise and criticism is that it is provided honestly. Compliments mean more to us if the person giving them, truly means what they are saying. Similarly, we are less likely to take personal offence to criticism if we can recognise the truth of it ourselves. An often cited example of this idea comes from Brene Brown. In her book Dare to Lead™, she states that “Clear is Kind, Unclear is Unkind.” This is a significant focus of the Dare to Lead™ leadership development program. It is better to be honest in your critiques to allow for  development, than it is to be vague in an attempt not to hurt someone’s feelings.

 

Delegation

If you have ever found that your team’s progress on a project has stalled because they are waiting for your approval, you may consider removing yourself from the process if possible. By delegating entire processes to your team and entrusting them with more responsibility, you empower them to make better decisions and become high performers. Engaging them in leadership training programs, and even coaching them yourself, promotes autonomy and accelerated performance amongst your team. Delegation does not mean that your role as leader transfers from you to someone else. In developing leadership excellence, you understand that mistakes will occur. You should still be following up on delegated tasks and providing support when necessary.

 

Vision

Having a clear vision or direction for your organisation is an integral trait of leadership excellence. Defining this vision and communicating it effectively with your team ensures that each individual understands the goal you are aiming to achieve. Communicating vision and inspiring others to act on it is a trait that is not always considered particularly skilful. This could not be further from the truth. Developing insightful foresight takes just as much practice and experience as any other leadership skill. Doing so can be the difference between a successful execution or an unsuccessful one. 

 

Learning

Great leaders constantly seek to improve upon their existing skills to keep up and even get ahead of industry trends. Training for leadership excellence means identifying areas that can be improved and building upon already proven strengths. For some, this may require them to identify those areas with the help of a Hogan 360º Report or assessments from an executive training program. Industry standards and processes are always evolving and leaders must evolve their expertise along with it to continue to grow their success.

 

Building leadership excellence requires dedication to both yourself and your team. Senior leadership training can be an effective tool to help leaders understand their own values and how to become better communicators. Leadership development is an ongoing process that will only result in benefits for you, your team, and your organisation as a whole. 

For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can help you unlock performance through leadership, by supporting your leaders at every level of the organisation with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.

6 Skills Needed for Leadership Excellence

effective leadership outcomes

Building Effective Leaders

The process of  identifying those capable of taking on senior leadership positions is an ever evolving challenge for most organisations. Potential candidates whether they be internal or external, must be assessed on both their existing skills as leaders, and their ability to develop the necessary competencies for more senior roles in the future

One tactic for building effective leaders has been to engage prospective candidates in simulation-based learning. It allows individuals to develop the specific skills needed while giving them practical experience in applying them. From here, the challenge becomes how do we assess the outcomes of this learning? How does this feedback contribute to the creation of a focused, development plan?

 

Assessing Potential Leaders

When developing high potential leaders, simulation-based learning can be used by senior executives to get an idea of the candidate’s strengths and provide them with opportunities to improve. The feedback that candidates receive is integral to their development as future leaders. Leadership assessment tools such as the Hogan 360º Report help in building a leadership profile for candidates that outlines the competencies in which they are skilled as well as those that they are developing. Executives who hope to support the career goals of their employees can also use these assessments to build focused development plans for those individuals. This may include leadership training programs or providing them with an executive coach who will work closely with them to achieve their goals.

 

Developing Potential Leaders

Whether one, the other, or a combination of both, the candidate should also be accessing leadership assessment and development tools regularly in order to keep track of their progress and success. By building regular assessments into their development plan, potential leaders are able monitor their growth using measurable data. When the time comes that they are being considered for an elevated position within the company, executives can look at the various assessments that have been made through their development and determine whether they have achieved the necessary competencies for the role.

 

Assessment is a vital component of leadership development, though it is not one that many individuals regularly take advantage of. Building effective leaders can only begin once a profile of the competencies has been completed. Leadership assessment tools should be prioritised as a primary resource for executives and potential talent for ensuring that individuals are receiving the training that will have the greatest benefit for them and the organisation as a whole. Leaders who develop a tangible awareness of their abilities become more effective in leading their teams because they understand their limitations. This establishes a culture where the most important thing is not to have all the answers, but to collaborate in order to find the solution.

 

About the Author: The Leadership Sphere
The Leadership Sphere helps small and medium businesses and larger organisations in Australia, in creating value through leadership. The Leadership Sphere provides a humanistic approach to the way it delivers leadership, performance and coaching services. We work with leaders and senior teams who need to gain increased clarity, build capability and ensure contribution at every level in the organisation, and enable a safe, inclusive and  high trust organisation.

Building Effective Leaders

leadership assessment tools

7 Reasons to Consider a Leadership Assessment

Leadership strategies and methodologies  get much attention particularly during times of uncertainty and change. It can be difficult to determine where individual and organisational leadership capabilities rank amongst industry peers, or what is the best method to understand this. That is why a leadership assessment tool can be a useful way to evaluate your current performance and help understand what leadership development activities will be most suitable for your organisation. The benefits of using leadership assessment tools extend far beyond the individual level. The feedback you gain from such assessments can impact on the development of high performing teams and with the culture of your organisation.

 

Establish Leadership Profiles

One of the benefits of leadership profiling is that it allows you to form a complete picture of an individual’s capabilities as well as their potential for development. Effective leaders are aware of both their strengths and actively seek to improve in areas they may not be as successful. Establishing leadership profiles allows executives access to a resource that informs them about those high potential employees who are just beginning their development.

 

Develop High Potential Employees

When we are looking to fill leadership positions internally, the most obvious choice may not be the right one. Using a data based approach, we are able to assess potential leaders in order to determine the best fit. Completing leadership assessment tools for individuals gives current leaders an unbiased look into the capabilities of high potential employees. Even those who may not be right for leadership roles just yet, may have development plans created in order to support their advancement and career goals.

 

Filling Skills Gaps

Before embarking on a development program, participants and executives should be aware of what gaps exist within their skillset or organisation. Leadership assessment tools provide insight into exactly this. An executive coaching survey will outline an individual’s particular strengths as well as areas for improvement. Completing a leadership assessment prior to any training programs allows both the individual and the organisation to reap the highest benefits.

 

Remain Competitive with Industry Standards

For those who have been in positions of executive leadership for several years, it can be easy to believe that you don’t need as much feedback as you did earlier in your career. This is simply not true in industries that are constantly innovating and expanding. The best leadership assessment tools will help you to understand how your skills match up against the current industry standards. You may be surprised to discover that there are some competencies you need to build upon so that you and your organisation can stay ahead of the competition. 

 

Track Development Progress

Many leadership assessment and development tools are used simply to track an individual’s development processes. The Hogan 360º Report can be re-done at regular intervals to get an external perspective. Actionable Habit Builder is a fantastic tool for self-reflective assessment of progress towards specific goals. No matter how it is done, individuals looking to develop their leadership skills should utilise assessment tools to track their progress in a tangible way. This demonstrates a commitment to the role and the organisation that executives will look at when considering prospective leaders.

 

Motivate Performance

Continually assessing a team or individual’s skills development allows them to not only track their progress, but the improvements in their overall performance as well. Being able to look back on past performance instils a sense of accomplishment that motivates further improvement. By assessing performance as goals are achieved, you can look for methods that worked well and identify ones that hindered success. In doing so, you have a ready made benchmark from which to set new goals and further optimise performance.

 

Improve Company Culture

Leaders who participate in assessments set an example of commitment to growth within an organisation. A willingness to have your own leadership assessed demonstrates what is expected and supported across all levels. It promotes a culture of growth, education, and development. Organisations with a culture that places value in these areas foster a positive workplace environment where morale and performance flourish. Leadership assessments encourage frequent communication that establishes deeper levels of trust between leaders and their teams. 

The development of those who participate in a leadership training program is predominantly determined by their own willingness to grow. Undertaking a leadership assessment prior to a training course helps to set the basis of their learning. The best tools for leadership development will reveal both the strengths and shortcomings of potential leaders, giving them a measurable starting point from which they can begin their leadership journey. Building an organisational culture of growth and development can have a significant and positive impact on performance both now and in the future.

 

For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can help you unlock performance through leadership, by supporting your leaders at every level of the organisation with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.

7 Reasons to Consider a Leadership Assessment

executive coaching

Developing a Coaching Culture

When it comes to coaching in support of professional development, a coaching culture is one that takes what has been taught in development programs and continues to prioritise learning outside of a formal setting.  In building a coaching culture, it is important to remember the impact that emotion and mental health play in performance. Leaders who coach, as opposed to manage, their team will see a greater improvement in performance and success. 

 

Coaching vs. Managing

Many management styles of leadership tend to focus on task delegation and optimising work practices in order to achieve as much as possible. While this is great for the bottom line, it is not always so great for our employees. The pressure to reach certain targets can often lead to poorer performance and unsatisfactory results. When individuals fail to meet expectations, a manager may reassign them to another project, leaving the cause of the issue unresolved. 

 

A coach will instead take the time to work through mistakes with individuals to give them a better understanding of what has gone wrong. This allows them the opportunity to develop the skills needed to perform their task correctly while remedying their mistake. It addresses the issue directly without punishing the individual. One of the positive effects of executive coaching on culture is that it establishes an environment that builds high performers by allowing them to gain valuable experience. 

 

Coaching to Lead

When leaders develop a coaching strategy, team performance improves due to increased engagement and personal relationships. Using leadership and coaching tools for cultural change is the most effective way to increase team performance. Leadership coaching uses a combination of formal feedback reporting and honest communication to establish trusting relationships between leaders and their teams. By developing their own coaching skills, leaders establish a precedent of continual development and education. 

 

Executive coaching helps leaders understand their strengths and work towards achieving their personal and professional goals. By employing these same techniques in their leadership practices, a culture of coaching naturally develops. To make skills development a sustainable component of an organisation, establishing leaders as coach rather than manager is necessary. When leaders become educators, the autonomy and productivity of teams improves. 

 

 

Establishing a coaching culture can have a significant impact on how your organisation approaches skills development. It shifts the role of leaders from being directive and task oriented, to being much more of a mentorship. Teaching your leaders how coach skills build teams that are more independent and collaborative. Coaching reduces the fear of failure and builds confidence in individuals that allows them to take more risks and become more innovative. 

 

What coaching strategies do you employ to promote skills development?

 

About the Author: The Leadership Sphere
The Leadership Sphere helps small and medium businesses and larger organisations in Australia, in creating value through leadership. The Leadership Sphere provides a humanistic approach to the way it delivers leadership, performance and coaching services. We work with leaders and senior teams who need to gain increased clarity, build capability and ensure contribution at every level in the organisation, and enable a safe, inclusive and  high trust organisation.

 

Developing a Coaching Culture

executive coaching services

5 Coaching Skills all Leaders Need

Many of the best leaders also act in the role of coach for their teams and company. It is a critical position that requires the implication of both assertive and passive management techniques. Leaders who have worked with executive coaches themselves, understand that individuals do not always need direct instruction in order to perform well. There are a number of coaching skills that leaders who wish to develop and inspire their teams in achieving their goals, may learn to include in their own management practices.

 

Offer Support

For leadership development programs to be successful, participants should be placed in an environment that provides support and encourages honesty and vulnerability. Being equally as vulnerable with participants, demonstrates a leader’s commitment to developing a coaching culture that reduces power imbalances which may make individuals hesitant to share their personal experiences. When adopting a coaching style of leadership, a mutual level of trust must be established to allow the person who is being coached to feel confident in making significant decisions.

 

Provide Guidance

The best leadership coaches understand that their primary role is to guide others through the decision making process without imposing their own agenda. Executive coaching programs are most effective when a collaborative relationship is established. The coached individual should be given the permission to dictate the focus of the coaching session. Let them decide which goals to work on and even methods for improving. Experienced coaches will of course be able to provide knowledgeable advice on a number of topics, but for the participant to get the most benefit, they must be afforded the opportunity to make the ultimate decision for themselves. 

 

Encourage Reflection

For most people, personal and professional growth occurs when they are able to reflect on their past experiences and are open to learning from them. By analysing what has worked well and what has not, leaders and potential leaders develop a deeper understanding of their own strengths and weaknesses. Assessment tools like the Hogan 360º Report are often used prior to beginning executive coaching programs to provide a clear indication of which areas the participant most needs to improve. Regular reflection should be a component of the ongoing coaching sessions as a means of tracking the individual’s progress. Using tools like the Actionable Habit Builder provides further support to help the person who is being coached to reflect in their own time privately, and this tool also allows the coach to post comment, challenge and encourage along the way.

 

Growth Culture

In a culmination of the above three skills, establishing a culture of growth within your organisation can result in a more open and collaborative team. What we have so far discussed can be focused on singular instances where decisions need to be made or mistakes have occurred. By coaching the individual through a mistake rather than punishing them, you provide them with an opportunity for growth. When you conduct leadership coaching for cultural change, you create an environment that reduces fear of failure and encourages experiential learning. 

 

Adaptive Communication

One important and effective coaching strategy that leaders should engage with is that of adaptive communication. This means knowing when to be active or direct in your approach, and when to back off and let the coachee take the lead. Communication is the most versatile coaching and leadership skills at your disposal. Passive communication like listening and asking questions, help coaches to understand concerns and receive information. Active communication is used to move processes forward and to deliver feedback. 

 

Incorporating coaching skills into other leadership styles can have a greatly positive impact on individuals within a company. Using coaching skills to develop high performers and potential leaders creates a workplace culture that demonstrates a value in gaining experience as a means of education. The organisation becomes an environment where learning and development is built into day-to-day practices, and mistakes are seen as opportunities for growth.

 

For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can help you unlock performance through leadership, by supporting your leaders at every level of the organisation with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.

5 Coaching Skills all Leaders Need

learning outcomes for leadership development

5 Steps to Improving Leadership Development

Traditional executive leadership training has placed a large focus on the development of the practical skills needed to manage teams. Increasingly, leadership development is shifting from this model to one that establishes soft skills that are key to decision making and performance. As the global business community continue to focus on diversity, inclusion and belonging, these secondary or softer skills are becoming primary drivers of leadership development programs. For leaders to get the most out of their development, there are several options that organisations have to ensure they are providing programs that offer a diverse approach to learning.

 

Understanding Values

When embarking leadership training for culture change, it is important to have a clear understanding of the values you wish to  instill in your employees and greater organisation. Developing this understanding of personal values and how you can build them into your day-to-day practices can play a significant role in establishing and sustaining workplace culture in the long term. This is a particular focus of the Dare to Lead™ program. Participants are encouraged to reflect on their personal beliefs and inspect the ways in which they practice their values in how they conduct their work.

 

Evaluation

It can be useful to run an assessment of a team or individual’s strengths prior to their participation in a leadership training course. Knowing what they already do well and in which areas they could improve, help to establish what kind of program they would receive the most benefit from. The 360º Feedback Report provides insight into how leaders are perceived by their teams and exposes key areas of success and growth. This can be a valuable tool for re-assessment and tracking the progress being made.

 

Be Vulnerable

Open and honest communication is key to establishing the interpersonal relationships that help sustain a positive workplace culture. It relies on leaders allowing themselves to show vulnerability to their teams as well as a willingness to listen to their feedback and concerns. Leadership development programs that teach participants how to embrace vulnerability and establish a culture of trust throughout the organization leads to improved performance and success. Vulnerability is not a skill that you download in one go, it is rather complex, but at it’s core is honesty and transparency, however, there are always elements of what to disclose and not to disclose. Transparency without thinking through what you disclose as a leader can be dangerous, as can more traditional leadership styles of armouring up and showing no signs of vulnerability in the process. It is the balance of both extremes that creates leadership that enables a high trust organisation.

 

Be Challenged

A strong measure of effective leadership comes when leaders are faced with uncertainty and challenges that push them towards innovation and creative problem solving. Leadership training programs that focus on developing creative thinking as well as practical skills, result in leaders who are better equipped to overcome unexpected challenges. As we have seen during times of challenge such as the COVID-19 global pandemic, leaders are required to respond to challenges over a longer term period of uncertainty and that requires new strengths in resilience and support and is a big part of leadership development programs to help organisations maintain organisational health through difficult times.

 

Establish Development Culture

Many leaders who profess a desire to improve their personal and professional development often put off doing so until they ‘have the time,’ without realising that the time to start is always now and that “some time” far too often becomes “no time”. Prioritising performance over development is to disregard the opportunity to get the greatest benefit out of both outlets. When learning and development are integrated into everyday practices, we establish ways of becoming better leaders in ways that enable us to improve overall performance. The evolution of leadership within an organisation is very much about a consistent loop of evaluation followed by a continued challenge of development where you need it most, and those who do it best are now building leadership development and high performance team programs with values and vulnerability at the core.

 

The development of leadership skills and practices is an integral part of both personal and organisational growth. Where performance is concerned, so too should leadership training be. The success of any organisation depends upon those who put in the effort each and every day to ensure it. Companies must provide support and opportunities for leadership and management training if they want to see performance exceeding that of their competitors.

For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can help you unlock performance through leadership, by supporting your leaders at every level of the organisation with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.

5 Steps to Improving Leadership Development

high performance culture

7 Steps to Building a High Performance Culture

When we talk about developing a high performance culture within an organisation, we do so with the aim of cultivating an environment that makes employees want to come to work. In fact, positive company culture is often cited as a significant factor for those who are applying for roles. For companies looking to expand their workforce or simply to further incentivise current employees, investment in culture should be given priority. 

 

Continuous Learning

Strong leaders must be willing to not only accept changes that occur within their business but encourage growth and innovation. The culture of the company should reflect their commitment to developing high performers by allowing them opportunities to demonstrate and expand their skills. High performance training programs help individuals by building upon their ability to engage constructive collaboration and the company then benefits from having established a culture that thrives on the passion of those individuals.

 

Empower Individuals

The best high performance teams course will teach participants to operate effectively with minimal direction from management. They have been entrusted to solve problems and make decisions that will produce high quality results. By recognising and even celebrating their success can have a lasting impact on morale. Something as simple as a thoughtful email will make a big difference. Remember this is about making your employees feel acknowledged and appreciated in ways that empower them to strive for success.

 

Collect Feedback

High performance culture thrives when feedback is regularly sought out and reciprocated. Not only does it allow teams to better understand the goals laid out for them, but by listening to the feedback of their teams, leaders learn what their teams require from them in order to continue their success. The Hogan 360º survey is designed to provide a feedback loop reinforces what is working well and what can be improved. The relationship this build between teams and management is deeply rooted in a sense of trust that allows for open and honest communication.

 

Encourage Accountability

One of the strongest assets of developing and sustaining high performance teams is their determination to achieve results. In order to do this they must hold themselves and each other to high levels of accountability to ensure that their goals are met. In building high performance teams, programs such as Dare to Lead™, can be useful in developing methods of communication that reinforce the importance of taking ownership of our actions. When the performance of the team relies so heavily on unity for success, accountability will define a large part of the culture. 

 

Select the Right People

High performance teams should consist of individuals who are not only dedicated to their role and the project, but who also understand the organisation and its values. By providing them with training and experience, you can ensure that they are helping you to create the environment that fosters high performance. Engaging in creating a high performance team workshop allows you to provide the skills and experience you desire in your team while simultaneously demonstrating your own commitment to their growth.

 

Integrate Behaviours

It is not enough to simply state your desire to build a high performance culture. You must act. This is achieved through communicating clearly with employees at all levels about what is expected of them. The behaviours and habits required to succeed should be regularly talked about and engrained in the day-to-day operations of the business.

 

Set the Example

The old adage of ‘practice what you preach’ still holds true. In business, it means more to your employees if you show that you are just as willing to put in the time and effort towards tasks that you’re asking them to perform. As a leader, you set the standard. If you want others to adhere to the values of your organisation, you must live by them yourself to be effective at driving the culture.

 

How well your teams perform is tied closely with the environment in which they work. For teams to achieve exceptional results, they require a high performance culture. Developing and sustaining high performance team programs are an invaluable resource in establishing a positive company culture. Though it is something that cannot be done through skills training alone. It is up to the individuals on the team to cultivate and engage with. 

 

For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can help you unlock performance through leadership, by supporting your leaders at every level of the organisation with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.

 

7 Steps to Building a High Performance Culture

high performance culture

Creating a High Performance Culture

Creating a high performance culture can be challenging, particularly when there is uncertainty of where to begin. An important first step is determining what changes need to be made to your current practices. Once you have reached an understanding of your organisational values, you will have a foundation on which to build in new practices that will allow you to construct a culture of high performance. Part of the assessment stage should include defining the behaviours that will contribute to developing a high performance culture. It is important that what you choose to outline as high performance behaviours are relevant to your company. No two organisations are alike, and as such, will have differing needs.

 

Understanding at All Levels

Adapting to these new behaviours is where we begin to see challenges arise. Workplace behaviour is driven by what people think they can and should do. Changing workplace behaviour will be successful when people’s mindsets change as well. You must address the underlying causes and reasoning behind those behaviours that you wish to see changed, and reframe them to align with your values. 

One way of doing this is to create an environment where employees at every level of your organisation have a clear understanding of how their role contributes to the company’s overall success. This allows individuals to see the direct impact their work makes towards achieving goals. In terms of workplace culture, this provides a sense of purpose and the acknowledgement that their work is important.

 

Expectations and Feedback

Under circumstances where specific goal setting may not be applicable, another approach will be to set clear expectations of what is to be achieved. Where goals can be measured objectively in terms of achieved or not achieved, behavioural expectations are about everyday actions. It is important that feedback be given regularly in order to monitor how successfully these kinds of expectations are being met. It is for similar reasons that typical methods of ‘performance review’ do not provide accurate accountancy of the work being done. Consistently high performers prefer to receive regular feedback from their managers and will often request feedback on the work they are doing. 

Research continues to show that regularly given feedback is effective for performance management, future performance, and people’s attitudes towards their jobs. When leading high performance teams, by providing immediate feedback – whether positive or negative – you allow the team to make adjustments to their work before it is completed. If something does need to be changed it can be, saving both their time and yours on it having to be repeated. As a result they are able to create higher quality work more effectively. This is just one of the many advantages of culture change on performance.

 

Employee Development

It can be advantageous to include focused training of these new behaviours when developing high performers. Through high performance team training, you are able to coach the behaviours you wish to shape the culture of your organisation. This also provides them with the skills they need to assist with their overall development that will lead to even greater performance later on. 

In building and leading high performing teams it is important to remember that development is a continual process. By offering leadership training opportunities to your high potential employees, you are actively investing not only in their development but in the growth tom the company as well. Leading high performance teams is an exercise in trust. Much of their productivity is self-sufficient, which is why demonstrating support in this way can have such a lasting impact. By participating in their development you encourage and incentivise their continued achievements. 

The impact that culture change has on attitudes and performance cannot be disregarded. A high performance culture is one that is driven by the desire of each member of an organisation to achieve new levels of success. By setting clear goals and expectations and providing support for employee development we start to see strong improvements in overall performance as well. 

 

What ideas do you have when it comes to creating high performance teams?

 

About the Author: The Leadership Sphere

The Leadership Sphere helps small and medium businesses and larger organisations in Australia, in creating value through leadership. The Leadership Sphere provides a humanistic approach to the way it delivers leadership, performance and coaching services. We work with leaders and senior teams who need to gain increased clarity, build capability and ensure contribution at every level in the organisation, and enable a safe, inclusive and  high trust organisation.

Creating a High Performance Culture

creating a coaching culture

Developing Leadership Capabilities

For a business to achieve successful growth, they must have passionate and innovative leaders driving their ambitions throughout the company. Where there exists a gap between performance and potential, there is also an opportunity to develop leadership capabilities. In a McKinsey study conducted in 2011, it was found that ‘good’ leadership capability demonstrated no correlation to financial performance, but companies with leaders who showed ‘excellent’ capability also reached the top quartile in financial performance. There are three key areas of leadership in which an individual must focus their development in order to achieve leadership excellence. 

 

Leading Oneself

Understanding your individual strengths and weaknesses as a leader is integral to understanding why others  should follow your guidance. The majority of this aspect of leadership is centered around psychology and mindset. What is particularly important is your personal determination to develop your skills. Executive coaching programs can be a crucial tool for those looking to develop their leadership capabilities prior to applying for higher positions or taking on more responsibility. These are highly individualised programs that aim to help you achieve your personal development goals and manage change effectively. They drive engagement and increase the overall performance within the organisation.

 

Leading Others

To be an effective leader of other people, you need to be able to provide them with inspiration and motivation. Leading high performance teams to success is challenging. Excellent leaders are uniquely skilled in this because they have dedicated their own time to learning how. Organisational performance is closely driven by the relationship between leaders and their team. Leadership development training that utilise the 360 degree feedback model provides leaders with insight into how they are perceived by their teams. In this way, leaders gain a fuller understanding of their team’s mindset and how they can build a stronger relationship with them.

 

Leading the Business

Establishing a culture of high performance is an important aspect of leading the business. To have strong commercial performance, the output of your teams must be of consistently great quality. Linked closely to leading others, building high performance teams is done by establishing strong relationships that promote constructive collaboration and engagement with the work. One of the key capabilities of high performance team leaders is their ability to encourage innovation and inspire their team to reach greater levels of success by setting stretch goals. These leaders are able to balance the goals of the business while motivating their teams to outperform expectations.

 

For growth to continue and success sustained, leadership capability development must be incorporated into the system of the organisation. Doing so creates a pipeline for high potential employees to develop their skills and move into leadership positions. Though it may take some time, the leaders you nurture will be the best equipped to move the company forward in reaching its goals and achieving commercial performance.

For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can help you unlock performance through leadership, by supporting your leaders at every level of the organisation with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.

Developing Leadership Capabilities

5 coaching skills

Leadership Skills for Dealing with Uncertainty

Dealing with crisis and uncertainty is incredibly stressful for individuals at all levels of an organisation. For leaders, this poses the added challenge of needing to assuage fears and provide a sense of stability for their teams. Navigating change can make us doubt our effectiveness as leaders, but it is important that we learn to sit with this discomfort in order to face it. There is a strong connection between each of the skills we have identified as being important for dealing with uncertainty. Each on their own can have a great impact on how teams are led, but it is how they feed into one another that makes them truly successful.

Communication

Communication is the most crucial leadership skill to use during times of crisis. When times are uncertain, people rely on their leaders to keep them informed. Even though we may not always have a perfect answer, making sure everyone is on the same page can be an invaluable relief to those who struggle with unknowns. Equally as important as conveying information with clarity, is listening to the concerns of your team. Often overlooked, listening and hearing what others are saying is key to clear communication. By ensuring that we give others our undivided attention when discussing matters of importance, we demonstrate that we value their time and opinions.

Trust

Trust is integral to clear communication. This is especially the case during times of uncertainty. Leaders must not only be in frequent communication with their teams, but that communication requires honesty in order for there to be trust in what you are saying. Great leaders will have already spent a significant amount of time building trusting relationships with the individual members of their team over the course of their working together. Trusting and high performing teams are more likely to succeed at overcoming adversity because their dynamic as a unified group has already been proven.


Vulnerability

Building trust is a large focus of the Dare to Lead™ program, based on the work and research of Brene Brown. She posits that real and lasting trust cannot exist without vulnerability. Throughout the course, participants are invited to ‘rumble with vulnerability’ so that they might gain a deeper understanding of who they are as people and leaders. ‘Rumbling with vulnerability’ is about giving yourself the opportunity to experience moments of uncertainty or perceived weakness. In short, to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Leading through times of uncertainty is uncomfortable. Learning how to manage effectively while while leaning into the discomfort is a valuable skill that leaders at all levels should develop.

When organisations face challenges that leave many people feeling worried about the uncertainty of the future, it is up to our leaders to be the driving force that guides teams through such significant change. Of course, the continuous communication between leaders and teams is vital for working through these difficulties. For this to yield successful results for the organisation as a whole, there must also be clarity, trust, and vulnerability. No team will remain productive and continue to deliver exceptional results if their leaders are not willing to be honest with them. By embracing all three of the leadership skills discussed above, the uncertainty and ‘what ifs’ will be much more readily overcome.

For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can help you unlock performance through leadership, by supporting your leaders at every level of the organisation with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.

Leadership Skills for Dealing with Uncertainty

executive coaching services

Coaching Trends to Support Your Leaders During Times of Uncertainty

When navigating uncertainty or change management, we rely heavily on our leaders to guide us through with minimal negative impact. It is important to remember that it is during such challenging times that we must also ensure that support is given to them as well. A great number of unprecedented challenges have been overcome in the past year as many industries were forced to revolutionise their operational practices. Leadership development and executive coaching has been no exception. As a result, several once emerging trends have proven their longevity. These are some of the most prevalent factors that clients are now looking for in a coach.

 

Authenticity

The added stress that individuals feel during times of crisis, means that their tolerance for platitudes and ‘corporate speak’ decreases significantly. The use of such jargon increases the level of distrust they have in management or the organisation. Leaders undergoing executive coaching while managing a crisis, want the same thing their staff want from them – clarity. The best way to provide clarity is by being authentic in your approach and delivery. How you speak matters just as much, if not more than what you are saying. Throughout her book, Dare to Lead™, Brene Brown explores how vulnerability is often a key component of brave leadership. The Dare to Lead™ program delves deeply into this idea of how vulnerability contributes to authenticity in leadership and how it is linked to bravery.

 

Not Just for C-level

As the name suggests, executive coaching has long been considered a luxury only available to senior leaders. This perception is changing as companies are recognising the need to support and develop both existing and high potential leaders across all levels. The impact of including leaders at even the directorial or managerial level in executive coaching programs is that it creates the opportunity for those who may otherwise be overlooked for promotion to stand out. It also allows for lower ranking leaders to develop the skills that will be necessary for them to have once they reach a more senior position.

 

Social Media

Circumstances being what they were in 2020 meant that we saw increased creation and interaction via social media than almost ever before. Many people turn to social media in search of inspiration and tips for finding solutions to their problems. The perceived authenticity of social media over more traditional marketing campaigns is what makes platforms like Facebook and Instagram so appealing to clients. Engaging with potential clients on these platforms provides them with insight into who you are as a person and as a coach before they even speak with you. 

 

Personalisation

With the prevalent practice of working remotely, the demand for similarly delivered executive coaching services is rising. Potential clients are becoming less interested in general or group programs and more concerned with finding a coach who can help them with their specific personal and professional goals. By choosing to work with a specialised coach, they are prioritising the needs specific to them, rather than spending time they may not have, participating in a full course that will not benefit them. For coaches, this means they will have a greater chance of working with new clients if they are able to provide services that are personalised and have a narrower focus. With so much white noise in our personal and professional lives, and the ongoing pressures of leading through change and times of uncertainty, having a coach by your side that understands you is one of the most valuable gifts we can give ourselves and others in our organisation. At The Leadership Sphere, we see organisations without coaching to support leadership development achieve a 3 x return on investment, whereas those who blend leadership development training with ongoing coaching and leadership development and support, receive 10 x return on investment. Greater spend in terms of money and time, however, the impact on the return is a continued topic of much interest!

 

Driven to Learn

With the rapid changes that are brought about by a crisis, leaders often find themselves underprepared for the new challenges they face. They can feel as though they are losing confidence in their own skills and effectiveness. Fortunately, this does allow the opportunity for leaders to reflect on their recent performance and assess where their development might be stalled. Uncertainty creates a drive to learn new skills to prepare ourselves as much as we can for any number of possible circumstances. Executive coaching programs offer this opportunity in a way that addresses the specific concerns of the individual. 

 

When faced with new and unpredictable circumstances, we expose both our strengths and our weaknesses. It is important for leaders that they can recognise each of them in order to continue in their ongoing development. We must expand our view of what executive coaching looks like, in terms of its delivery, content, and presence. As the world continues to shift further into digital spaces, the world of coaching must follow to provide value and support for those that need it. In fact, one might say that executive coaching is a critical part of uncovering where our risks and opportunities are when it comes to leadership development, and from that we can ensure learning is being directed at those areas that will maximise our results!

For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can help you unlock performance through leadership, by supporting your leaders at every level of the organisation with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.

 

Coaching Trends to Support Your Leaders During Times of Uncertainty

leadership training program

High Performance Training and Development Trends for Building Trust During Times of Uncertainty

In today’s rapidly developing business environment, the idea of what a high performance team looks like is also evolving. Increasingly, we are seeing more and more teams becoming dispersed geographically as the possibility of remote operations for organisations becomes commonplace. Building high performance teams can be difficult. For these teams it is more important to focus on how the individuals interact with one another in service of their goals, rather than the productivity of any one person. As the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us, this focus becomes especially important during times of crisis and uncertainty. 

 

Team Structure

Size is a significant factor in beginning to build your team. For high performance teams, a small number is needed to ensure focus and dedication. However, we must be careful not to make it too small, as the resulting lack of diversity can lead to poorer and slower decision making. Conversely, too large and ‘sub-groups’ form that can detract from the team’s objective by pursuing their own agenda instead. Bigger teams can also create ‘herd mentality’ amongst members, allowing the ownership of team decisions to be undermined. 

When selecting individuals to be part of your high performance team, it is also important to consider what skills, experience, backgrounds, and attitudes each person brings forward. This is what we refer to when we talk about diversity within these teams. Too many similar ideas prevent growth and innovation. By drawing team members from a variety of positions and levels in the organisation, there is a greater opportunity for new ideas to arise. 

 

Dynamics

Once the structure of your team has been determined, it is time to look at how the team performs together. Only after people begin to work together that the dynamics of the team reveal themselves. It is not enough to put the highest individual performers together and expect the team to thrive. Each person must understand how their work contributes to the greater goal or purpose, and how they both support, and are supported by the contributions of others. 

High performance teams are defined by three key dimensions of high performance teamwork. The first is coherence in direction. This is the combined effort of the team to fully understand the goals of the company and the role they play in reaching them. The second is high-quality interaction. Trust is the leading factor in this area as it drives the open communication and ability to embrace conflict that makes these teams successful. Lastly is the cultivation of an environment that encourages innovation and a willingness to take risks.

 

High Performance Teams Training to Build Trust

Trust is the very foundation of all high performance teams. The support that members provide for one another stems from the understanding that they are all working to achieve a united goal. Therefore, when conflicts do arise or suggestions are made, individuals work collaboratively to come to a solution. High performance training programs that focus on developing strong levels of trust help to establish a greater sense of team for participants. During times of uncertainty, teams that are lacking in trust are more prone to argumentative behaviour and blaming, rather than problem solving. Teams that can come together in the face of crises make better decisions and succeed far beyond the time the challenges are overcome. Even teams that are already considered high performing can benefit from additional development programs. The presence of an external observer may help to identify unknown problem areas and coach them to incorporate tools for overcoming them. 

 

By bringing together a new team of people, it will alter the structure and dynamics of their performance. To sustain a high performance team’s success during and beyond times of crisis, they must first build and develop a trusting relationship. Training programs that are specifically designed around your teams’ needs are an invaluable resource and certainly an investment worth making to ensure future success.

 

For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can help you unlock performance through leadership, by supporting your leaders at every level of the organisation with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.

High Performance Training and Development Trends for Building Trust During Times of Uncertainty

leadership development program

Leadership Training and Development Trends for High Performance During Times of Uncertainty

In the 12 months since the world was thrown into a near complete shut down due to the spread of COVID-19, the shift in how leadership training is delivered continues to evolve. As we begin the slow return to normalcy, it is worth taking the time to reflect on how the changes we have adapted to have proven successful for developing high performance teams. Though much of our activity has been uncertain for so long, there is also a lot that can be learned from how we handled such uncertainty. What worked? What did not? And what trends will continue in a post-COVID world? 

Online Leadership Training

Perhaps the most prevalent change of the past year has been the significant increase in the use of virtual meeting spaces such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams for conducting leadership development training. Though online training systems were certainly commonplace prior to the pandemic, the necessity for their exclusive use has brought to light the many benefits they provide. When The Leadership Sphere moved the delivery of the Dare to Lead™ Program to Zoom, we were able to continue to provide high quality training to participants across Australia. The ability to develop and maintain connections will continue to be integral to the success of leadership training programs in the future.

Flexible Training Programs

In addition to being able to run live training programs, one of the greatest benefits of online leadership training is the fact that many courses can be self-paced. In a rapidly developing business environment, many individuals in leadership positions are finding themselves to be time-poor. Self-led or self-paced leadership development programs offer the flexibility to engage with the learning in a way that fits in with their schedule. This means that they can continue to deliver high performance in their work without being distracted by the needs of their training. Simultaneously, they can give their full focus to their training without worrying about how they’re going to meet upcoming deadlines. 

Change Management

Effective change management has been one of the most vital factors in business endurance during these times of uncertainty. Unfortunately, many businesses have struggled to cope in the face of it. This has exposed the need for leadership training moving forward to encompass a greater focus on navigating change and succeeding while also dealing with major unexpected disruptions. Managers must now, more than ever, be prepared to lead and support their teams through time of crisis.

Leading Remote Teams

We often think of leadership in a very hands on and face-to-face capacity, however the last decade has seen a consistent shift towards more remote operations for many industries. With this shift, comes the added challenge of leaders needing to manage teams whose members may rarely get to meet in person. This requires that leadership training programs reflect this and ensure the development of skills necessary for this style of business. 

Soft Skills Development

The development of soft skills within the workplace has been a growing focus for some time, and the uncertainty and stress caused by the global pandemic has highlighted how necessary such skills are in all roles, but especially in leadership. In times of crisis, leaders must exhibit higher levels of empathy and emotional intelligence to effectively support and communicate with their teams. Soft skills are becoming more integral to organisational success as workplace culture becomes more important to potential employees.

Where we go from here with Leadership Development

The importance of leadership training and development has always been widely known. However, the disruption and uncertainty caused by the COVD-19 pandemic shone a much needed light on the role that the resilience of leaders plays in succeeding through times of crisis. It has taught us that we can adapt in any situation and that what we learn under pressure can have a lasting impact in how we grow and develop into the future.

For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can help you unlock performance through leadership, by supporting your leaders at every level of the organisation with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.

Leadership Training and Development Trends for High Performance During Times of Uncertainty

clear is kind unclear is unkind book

Great Leaders Understand – Clear is Kind and Unclear is Unkind

The adage ‘Clear is Kind, Unclear is Unkind’ is a relatively new concept in the world of leadership development, but has fast become adopted by many thanks to the work of Brene Brown, pioneer and expert in vulnerable leadership. In her book, Dare to Lead™, Brown talks a great deal about the importance of communicating with clarity at all times but most especially when those conversations are difficult to have. What she found while conducting a 7 year study on bravery in leadership is that most of us tend to avoid clarity under the illusion that being indirect is kinder when actually, we’re being unkind and unfair.

Brene Brown explores this further in the following ways:

  • ‘Hinting’ at the issue or telling half-truths to make someone else feel better is unkind
  • Talking about people instead of to them is unkind
  • Not setting clear expectations for others, but blaming them for not reaching them is unkind
  • Saying ‘Got it, on it’ instead of having tough conversations and gaining clarity is unkind

In each of the above points, we can see that what they all have in common is that while employing these strategies may seem as though we are putting the other person’s feelings before our own, we’re not. Instead, we’re trying to minimise our own discomfort with confrontation. In business, this has the tendency to be extremely detrimental because rather than resolving an issue directly, it is being talked ‘around’ and may become exacerbated. By prioritising our own emotional distress, we’re being unkind to the other person – who isn’t being given the opportunity to grow or change their behaviour – or ourselves – who will continue to endure the ramifications.

 

Clear is Kind

To explore this idea further, let’s break down what each statement looks like in practice. Clear is Kind. What Brown is referring to in the first half of her thesis is the idea that clarity in how we communicate is the most effective means of delivering information. There is a significant amount of focus given to this idea throughout the Dare to Lead™ program that encourages us recognise the importance of honesty when it comes to discussing difficult topics or issues. When it comes to delegating projects or tasks, the best thing you can do as a leader is to do what Brene Brown refers to as ‘painting done.’ This is simple yet effective strategy for setting up expectations that only needs to take up a few minutes during your first briefing on the task. To paint done, is to be explicit in what you’re asking someone to accomplish. You’re providing them with an exact idea of what the final result of the project will look like. This not only saves you both time in the long run, but you’ve given a clear expectation of what needs to be done. 

 

Unclear is Unkind

The second piece of this statement, Unclear is Unkind, is the antithesis of Clear is Kind. Being unclear or indirect about expectations and information can have detrimental implications in the long run. In situations where we can see that a teammate has missed the mark or hasn’t performed their role to their best standard, it can be difficult to engage in a conversation about it. What tends to happen instead, is we speak ‘around’ the core of the issue or we ‘hint’ at the problem and hope that they will pick up on our disappointment. We think of ourselves as being kind in this moment because we’re trying to avoid hurting their feelings. But that isn’t necessarily the case. All we’ve really done is protect ourselves from feeling uncomfortable and it doesn’t help to resolve the situation. It’s unkind to them – they don’t know that there is an issue at all, or they don’t know the extent of it. It’s unkind to you – you will continue to be disappointed and frustrated. In the Dare to Lead™ Program, participants develop the ability to lean into what makes them uncomfortable in order to get to the heart of daring leadership.

 

Clarity in leadership is an integral piece of the Clarity + Capability + Contribution model that is central to The Leadership Sphere’s leadership development programs. Clarity comes first as it is foundational to both Capability and Contribution. We aim to help leaders create clarity for themselves and the people they support. It drives certainty of purpose and increases productivity. From there it is possible to develop leadership capability that enables a high trust organisation where leaders can contribute in ways that help others be the best they can be. But it starts with being clear and being kind. 

For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can help you unlock performance through leadership, by supporting your leaders at every level of the organisation with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.

Great Leaders Understand – Clear is Kind and Unclear is Unkind

team alignment questionnaire

Why High Performance Teams Perform Well During Crises

When faced with a crisis, there are risks that need to be mitigated and opportunities that we can exploit. Whilst most teams spend adequate time and attention to managing risks, the stand out factor for high performance teams is that they also give attention to the opportunities for growth and in conducting post-crisis evaluations of how effectively things were handled. This leads to improvement in the way we lead through a crisis, any skill gaps within the team, and the creation of new systems, policies and procedures whose purpose is to provide guidance on how to deal with similar challenges that may occur in the future. This is not a blame game but rather a constructive practice that allows businesses to benefit from past experiences. The best teams are able to rise above a purely administrative exercise of identifying new processes and instead spend a good amount of attention on navigating the interpersonal elements that are most important for problem solving. 

This can be a result of the leadership style posing a challenge to the effectiveness of high performance teams performing at their best. High performance team programs focus on building trusting interpersonal relationships that support open communication. By embracing the unique, community environment that defines such teams, we will be more capable of meeting the external challenges that we face during times of crisis.

 

‘Take Charge’ Leadership 

In certain cases it can appear comforting to have leaders who possess a commanding presence. During times of crisis, having a solitary figure ‘take charge’ of the decision making process may appear to be a positive asset as a solution can be reached much more quickly. Where this approach to crisis management falters is in the lack of clear communication and cohesion.

Crisis resolution is rarely the result of a single executive’s orders being followed. It is instead often due to collaborative efforts and team performance. Not only does collaborative problem solving encourage active engagement from all team members, it significantly reduces the risk of knowledge gaps or biases affecting decisions. Well balanced high performance teams should contain those with a diverse range of skills and experience. Leaders who draw from the expertise of others during a crisis are ensuring that they can make decisions based on the most amount of relevant and available information. This will of course vary depending on the intensity of a crisis, because often leaders are required to make decisions based on the limited information that is available to them. High performance teams tend to trust each other at a higher level going into a crisis, and this creates more resilience and gives such groups the flexibility to navigate through complexity in the heat of a crisis. 

 

Workplace Politics

Crises create environments that often amplify existing stressors and divisions within even the most successful teams. While it is idealistic to assume that unification will occur under high pressure situations, some socio-political or even competitive splits may begin to prevail. Even when individuals have been placed in the same ‘team’, it does not mean that their personalities or priorities will be perfectly compatible. This can shift focus away from problem solving and towards interpersonal conflict.

That is not to say that those with differing ideas should not be placed on teams together; growth occurs when we are challenged in our ideals. Instead, high performing team members recognise that our voices are not the only voices, and during a  crisis ‘getting louder’ or ‘repeating’ our views over and over again is not always the best way to influence the situation. There are times to call things out and there are times to let others explain their thinking, and that balance is what makes high performing teams rich in diversity and high in confidence. High performance team programs aim to reduce these micro political issues by employing a 360-Degree feedback survey that helps to identify and resolve them before they become hindrances to productivity. Members of successful high performance teams develop the ability to manage group conversations more effectively. In other words, the crisis is often solved before the crisis occurs, because teams have been equipped with the mindset and understanding of each other to navigate through uncertainty. At The Leadership Sphere, we see that one off high performance team workshops will deliver a 3 x return on investment, however, when longer term programs run over 12 months through to a few years, there is a 10 x return on investment. Much research has been put into what creates the 10 x effect on return on investment and it is because teams learn about each other, not just skills and knowledge, but about emotional intelligence, resilience, preferences in response, communication styles, and the softer parts of what makes up a high performing team member. Of course, in such programs there are core skills that need to be developed, however, where The Leadership Sphere are different is that we work with core values first and what makes up a high performing team, and take time to understand this dynamic before pushing volume through high performance skill development.

 

Burn Out

The stress and adrenaline levels of high pressure situations can invigorate us to perform at our best, but eventually even those who often say they ‘work best under pressure’ will reach a breaking point. Though dedication to the task at hand is admirable, and can sometimes demand sacrifices, it should not come at the expense of mental fatigue that results in lower quality work. 

High performance teams are well equipped at making efficient use of their time. It is especially important during times of crisis that they do not hyper-focus on any singular task for an extended period. Intentional periods of reflection are built into the workday to maintain a sense of clarity on their purpose. 

One of the challenges that small and medium businesses face is that they are often running fast and growth is rapid, and that leaves very little time for this ‘time out’ activities and mentoring. There is a certain discipline and rigour that is required to make time for such activities, and interestingly you save time when you get back on the court! Large organisations on the other hand, are often stripped of human resources in the attempt to reduce cost and increase profitability, for many and varied reasons, and this in turn reduces the time that can be spent in such coaching and mentoring, evaluating situations, and development activities. Either scenario is our reality, and instead of worrying about what is happening, and the cards that we are handled, we instead need to consider smarter ways to get the most out of the time and resources that we have into high performance team building.

 

Why do High Performance Teams Succeed?

By their nature, high performance teams maintain their productivity in times of crisis because they prioritise a collaborative working environment. They have strong communication and feedback systems in place that allow them to work through issues both personally and professionally. Development programs work to establish the core values that build stronger relationships and drive the team to achieve success. That all sounds like common sense, but then why are only 20% of team high performing? That is a question to answer in another articles, so to will the fact that those 20% of teams who are high performing generally deliver 80% of the results, because the Pareto principle stands true when it comes to high performing teams too!


For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can help you unlock performance through leadership, by supporting your leaders at every level of the organisation with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.

Why High Performance Teams Perform Well During Crises

benefits of executive coaching

Why Empathy is the Most Important Executive Coaching Skill

In the past 12 months since COVID-19 has forced many businesses and industries to completely revolutionise their practices, and as a result of such change, there has been a significant increase in the demand for executive coaching. Such a crisis has highlighted for many, the need for leaders to have access to someone who will act as an objective sounding board for ideas and concerns, as well as someone who can offer unbiased perspectives. It’s become a case of supporting the leaders who are supporting others. It may seem as though a crisis of this magnitude would offer little time for leaders to focus on their personal development, there is reason to suggest that by taking the opportunity to freely discuss their thoughts and concerns with an executive coach, leaders can gain energy, productivity, and are able to lead their teams more effectively.

So much of how society has had to adapt to this ‘new normal’ has been completely unknown. The same is true of business and leadership. This has left many executives with little idea of how they could possibly manage their own overwhelm while giving reassurance to their teams, developing new business practices, and attempting to plan for unforeseen challenges. Leaders who find themselves burdened in such ways may benefit greatly from engaging in an executive coaching program that allows them to express their concerns and come up with a plan for how to cope with them. Executive coaches offer much needed relief to these (and many other) concerns that leaders are still facing by relying on the most important coaching skill – empathy. 

Simply by allowing the client to guide conversation through listening and empathising, coaches can assist leaders in gaining clarity on where to prioritise their attention. Interestingly, the best coaches also help leaders to understand what ‘not to do’ as well as actions that can be taken to improve situations. This reduces stress for the client so that they are then able to generate their own new ideas and perspectives. With personalised one-on-one coaching, the specific needs of the client can be met. Successful executive coaching programs are made so by engaging with the client in ways that make them feel as though their concerns are being heard. When we find ourselves in a state of overwhelm, all we really need is for someone to listen to what we have to say without judgment. The best executive coaches know this. They also know that once the client has had the chance to express their concerns, they are often then able to find their own solutions with minimal guidance. At The Leadership Sphere, we have also come to realise that embedding coaching into our core programs, for senior leaders, also helps those senior leaders to deliver more effective coaching and mentoring to their teams, and this has a significant impact on the overall return on investment of leadership development and high performance team programs.

Executive coaching allows leaders to deepen their learning and improve the performance of both themselves, and their team. The personal relationship formed between coach and client is one based on empathy and trust. This means that there is not a one size fits all program. Effective coaching programs are ongoing and encourage the client to drive their own success. This will look different to every leader in a variety of situations. During times of crisis, it is important that the coach can support this growth by knowing the right questions to ask. The ‘right questions’ should be open-ended enough to allow the client to come to their own answer yet remain focused on the issue being addressed. Interestingly, the best coaches ask questions, even when they may feel they have come to the conclusion already, having seen such behaviours before. But it is never about the answer, but about the thinking process to get to the answer, and by role modelling patience and good questioning and listening skills the coach is doing the client a massive service, to their own mindset, but also the way it can change the way they approach other staff in their teams.

 

– ‘What is within your control that will make a difference?’

– ‘What is especially concerning to you in this moment?’

– ‘Which of your strengths can help in this situation?’

– ‘Tell me more’ (sometimes it’s not a question!)

 

Executive coaching programs are designed to help individuals focus on reaching their personal goals and become effective leaders. Empathy is in integral skill needed for coaches and leaders to develop the trusting relationship that makes such a program successful. When faced with new and unforeseen challenges, it is especially important that leaders have the emotional support they need to overcome them. By undertaking executive coaching, individuals can better manage their personal concerns and return to their teams much calmer and more focused. We all  know that a calmer and more focused version of ourselves is the best version of ourselves!

 

For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can help you unlock performance through leadership, by supporting your leaders at every level of the organisation with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.

Why Empathy is the Most Important Executive Coaching Skill

leadership in 2021

What Does Leadership Look Like In 2021?

Businesses across every industry were forced to make dramatic changes to the ways in which they operate over the past year. Business leaders, managers and their teams have had to adapt rapidly to (in many cases) entirely new procedures. Our senior managers and HR leaders have been at the forefront of implementing these changes to ensure success at every level. How has this last 12 months changed our perception of leadership? How have our expectations of those in leadership changed as a result? The challenges that we faced and will continue to be around as a result of COVID-19 have forced us to take a closer look at what it means to be a great leader, especially during times of crisis, and its recovery. What lessons were learned? And of course, the big question on everyone’s list is what does leadership look like in 2021?

Trust

Leadership is about more than simply being given the role of ‘leader.’ It is an important quality within a person that inspires others to be at their best. Great leaders are able to do this by creating trusting and supportive environments wherein their team are empowered to develop skills and build confidence in themselves. With many businesses still restricting some of their in-person operations, it is even more important that managers are able to trust their employees to continue to perform their role to the same standards expected of them in the office or workplace. Likewise, those same employees must also be able to trust their leaders to provide the same level of support they would receive were they not working remotely. Trust is a big part of organisational performance and evidence suggests that during COVID-19 those high performance teams who already have well established trust, performed equal to pre-COVID-19 if not higher. Yet, those teams with lower trust experienced a decline in performance.

Communication

As with trust, remote operating procedures have highlighted the importance of having excellent communication within a team. It is a skill that we can not afford to overlook. For leaders this means being able to deliver ideas and feedback by being authentic. Authentic in the sense that the language used isn’t comprised of, nor do we hide behind a lot of complicated jargon; rather, it is your own authentic voice. This lets your team know that you are being yourself and not keeping information from them. In turn, this can help to build trust between you and your team. Interestingly at The Leadership Sphere we have seen an increase in businesses looking for high performance teams training, support with development around performance management, and coaching to help senior managers and leaders with giving and receiving feedback.

 

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is an important skill for leaders. Just like trust and communication,it becomes even more important during times of crisis. By developing this skillset through leadership development programs, leaders are able to gain a deeper understanding of the concerns of their team. The key word here being leadership development programs, rather than one off courses, that is a program of ongoing workshops, coaching and reviews that enable self awareness, self reflection and 360 degree feedback along the way. In doing this, they are also better equipped to guide their teams through the challenges they face both day-to-day, as well as on the global scale experienced recently. We can look at the extreme challenges brought on by the pandemic as an opportunity to reflect on our understanding of our emotional intelligence and how this affects the ways we behave during difficult situations.

 

Flexibility

Change is an ever present part of any industry and must be met with flexibility. Great leaders not only must respond to change, but often be the driving force behind it. Having the ability to adapt quickly to unexpected or unfamiliar situations is a skill that allows for productivity to continue, even in times of transition or uncertainty. Leadership development programs can help leaders learn how to navigate change by giving them the tools needed to become more receptive of innovation. Being a flexible leader means you are able to embrace change and are open to new ideas. There have been increasing requests for support with performance management as part of The Leadership Sphere leadership development programs and high performance culture workshops, and these have been invested by organisations who are looking at change across their business and building more flexibility and resilience into their leaders and senior managers.

 

What does this mean for the future of leadership?

For leaders moving forward, it is imperative that we continue to embrace each new challenge that awaits us. Not to do so would be detrimental to the success and growth of any business. It is only by reflecting on the successful ways business and leadership styles have been forced to adapt, that we can recognise the path we must follow into the future. By engaging expertise from The Leadership Sphere and building out a leadership development framework and supporting leadership development and high performance development program, managers are able to strengthen their ability to lead with trust and the support of their team.

For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can help you unlock performance through leadership, by supporting your leaders at every level of the organisation with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.

What Does Leadership Look Like In 2021?

how culture influence communication

5 Benefits of Executive Coaching

Executive coaching is an important tool of leadership development because it allows those in positions of leadership the opportunity to become responsible for their own learning and development. It differs from other leadership development programs in that it can be a much more collaborative experience between participant and coach. Executive coaching provides an individually tailored approach to helping leaders understand their strengths, how they are perceived by others, as well as creating a safe space for them to grow and work through new ideas. All of this is crucial for leaders who may benefit from the presence of a trustworthy environment in which they can be supported. It also provides a safe place for leaders to take time out and reflect on past, present and future events and that helps minimise risk and maximise opportunities for the leader and the teams they are responsible for.

 

Navigate Change

Change is constant in all areas of life, but particularly in business. Organisational change can be difficult to implement without the skills to do so. Executive coaching can be a beneficial resource during times of change or transition to aid managers in leading their teams through it. 

 

Objective Support and Feedback

Executive positions come with the expectation that they will hold the answers to questions posed by their teams. What tends to happen far too often is that the higher a position a leader holds within an organisation, the more difficult it is to receive support. This support can be given by executive coaches who take on a mentor role for leaders. They provide a confidential space that allows leaders to work through issues, new ideas, and make decisions. The objectivity of executive coaching means they can provide constructive feedback free from any potential agenda. Their feedback may stem from their own observations of the organisation or executive coaching programs like the Hogan 360 Report.

 

Customised Leadership Development

The benefits of coaching encompass the development of critical leadership skills and qualities with time and space dedicated to providing leaders with the opportunity. While there are countless leadership development options available, not all of them will be beneficial to all organisations or indeed, all leaders. Executive coaching programs focus on providing tailored solutions that meet the specific needs of the individual and their position. By customising the executive coaching program to the individual, leaders can achieve their goals and have an easier time incorporating their learning into the workplace. 

 

Improved Productivity to Achieve Results

A main objective of leadership is to ensure that you and your team achieve results. Coaching programs help to enhance goal management and achievement by strengthening skills in performance, support and productivity. Productivity is particularly important for achieving results. There has been a prevalent culture in business of working later and longer in order to ‘prove’ our dedication and commitment; when often all this does is overwork us, create stress, lead to poorer quality work, and in fact, decrease productivity. Executive coaching provides refreshed solutions to bettering work-life balance and productivity that directly leads to achieving results. 

 


Builds Confidence

No matter who we are, or what position we hold within our organisation, we are all prone to self-doubt every now and then. As leaders, we often feel as though we aren’t ‘allowed’ to be anything less than completely confident at all times. When we don’t, we may begin to overthink or second guess our skills as a leader. Executive coaching provides the opportunity for you to strengthen your existing skills in a way that encourages you to take ownership of your development and become confident in utilising your abilities in the workplace. Coaches can also help leaders to remain balanced over time and deal with the ups and downs that are all part of being a leader!

 

The benefits of coaching are far reaching not only for the participants, but the teams they lead. Great leaders can not begin or continue to serve their teams without also attaining support themselves. When leaders have the confidence to realise their full potential, they can better navigate challenges and assist their team in reaching goals. For this reason, The Leadership Sphere understands the importance of creating customised programs that are based on leveraging strengths and addressing capability gaps identified using the assessment tool that best suits your situation. 

For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can help you unlock performance through leadership, by supporting your leaders at every level of the organisation with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.

5 Benefits of Executive Coaching

create vulnerability in leadership

Trust is the Key to Healthy and High Performing Teams

A lack of trust in a relationship can be distressing – in teams it can be devastating. It can take a huge personal toll and in teams it can light the fuse of self-destruction. Relationships fracture, shaming and blaming are prevalent, productivity goes out the window, reputations are soiled, and people leave. While not all teams suffer from these extremes of course, the consequences of low or patchy trust severely reduce the work a team should produce and also impacts our own sense of engagement and energy.

Conversely, high trust organisations experience 32x greater risk-taking, 11x more innovation, and 6x higher performance (Edelman Trust Barometer). And at a human level, treating each other with respect and forming good relationships feels like the right thing to do. 

In this article we’ll discuss why trust may be the most important element that needs to be present in a team. In Parts 1 and 2 of this series, we laid the foundation about why braver leadership and fostering more courageous cultures in our organisations matters. In Part 3, we explored vulnerability and in Part 4 we identified that values form the touchstone of who we are and how we show up. And sometimes, our values are all we have as we enter the arena. According to Brené Brown, brave leadership and courageous cultures require four kill sets: (1) Rumbling with Vulnerability; (2) Living into Our Values; (3) BRAVING Trust and (4) Learning to Rise. 

Why Saying ‘People Have to Earn My Trust’ is a Cop Out

Over the years I have heard repeatedly from leaders that people ‘have to earn my trust.’ The problem with this management credo is that it requires others to do the heavy lifting while the person who holds this belief sits back to assess whether they’re up to it. This isn’t how trust works except if we view trust in a transactional sense – you have a job to do or task to complete. Did you complete it successfully? If yes, transactional trust increases. If not, transactional trust goes down. If transactional trust is all you want, then go for it. But transactional trust is just that – it revolves around a task. Real trust, the type that propels a team’s performance, is much broader and deeper. Real trust requires vulnerability and vulnerability requires trust in a dynamic interplay. 

In this article, we will further explore trust – a topic that has been written about extensively, indicating its importance – and challenges. Trust is a big topic. Given that this series revolves around the work of Brené Brown and in particular her book Dare to Lead, we will focus on her framing of trust through the mnemonic BRAVING.

BRAVING Trust

BRAVING Trust is a mnemonic formulated by Brené Brown (Dare to Lead) and it stands for:

Boundaries: You respect my boundaries, and when you’re not clear about what’s okay and not okay, you ask. You’re willing to say no. Boundary management, as I like to call it, means that we establish our boundaries, communicate them, and then provide feedback if they’re not respected. An example for me is being clear about timeliness around meetings whether in a professional or personal context. For example, if I anticipate being any more than 1-2 minutes late for a dentist or hairdresser appointment, I will phone ahead to let them know. Sometimes they are surprised, but mostly they are grateful for the courtesy.

Reliability: You do what you say you’ll do. At work, this means staying aware of your competencies and limitations so you don’t overpromise and are able to deliver on commitments and balance competing priorities. This can sometimes be a challenge, but the question is ‘Do you deliver what you say you will deliver?’. Again, I see this as related to timeliness and keeping our promises and commitments. If you say the report will be done by Wednesday, to build your reliability muscle, it should be there on Wednesday before close of business.

Accountability: You own your mistakes, apologise, and make amends. In Part 4 (Values), several examples of value-destroying leadership were outlined or what I termed ‘Breakers’ (value-destruction) as opposed to ‘Builders’ (value-creation). All too often we hear and see ‘everyone was accountable and no-one was accountable’. We must strive for single points of accountability. This is different to responsibility, which is about who is actually performing the work. 

Vault: You don’t share information or experiences that are not yours to share. We need to know that my confidences are kept, and that you’re not sharing with me any information about other people that should be confidential. Brené Brown describes people who share information inappropriately as those who try to ‘hotwire connection’. It doesn’t work because people start to wonder what they might share about their conversations with you.

Integrity: You choose courage over comfort. You choose what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy. And you choose to practice your values rather than simply professing them. This is similar to ethical leadership in that we need to determine what is right. Brave leadership is actually doing it, even if its hard. So we can be either ‘in integrity’ with a stated value or ‘out of integrity’. It’s about our behaviours, not our intentions. Someone once said that we judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their actions.

Nonjudgment: I can ask for what I need, and you can ask for what you need. We can talk about how we feel without judgment. We can ask each other for help without judgment. Judgment is very easy and seductive. Our primitive brains, built to help us survive, are prone to judging others. We stereotype, put people in a box, or dismiss them based on our judgement. At the very least, it is likely our approach and behaviour will change around that person as result of our biases and judgment. usually in a negative way.

Generosity: You extend the most generous interpretation possible to the intentions, words, and actions of others. Generosity is closely related to judgment and is in fact the opposite. If we are able to hold a positive interpretation of other’s behaviour, we will open our minds to other alternate explanations to why someone did what they did. Being generous with others allows them to grow, flourish and perform better. It is important to note that being generous in this way doesn’t mean that we don’t hold people accountable. On the contrary, the research suggests that the people who are the most generous are also the clearest about their boundaries – in other words what is okay and not okay. When boundaries are loose or non-existent, then the interplay or dance between two people can become muddied. When boundaries are clear, it is immediately apparent if someone has acted within our boundaries or not.

I recommend that you focus on one element of BRAVING Trust for others and for yourself for 21 days, then shift the focus. In terms of others, you could practice Reliability by being exactly on time for everything (and if you’re not going to be let people know well ahead of time). We incorporate the building of habits such as these via our online Habit Builder application, which helps people track their progress as well as make journal entries to help their learning. In terms of Reliability for yourself, you might set one personal goal around exercise or something else that is just about you – and then stick to it. 

Phil is the Managing Director of The Leadership Sphere, a firm that focusses exclusively on strategy, leadership and performance. He is a Certified Dare to Lead Facilitator, conducting public and in-house Dare to Lead programs for teams and organisations.

Trust is the Key to Healthy and High Performing Teams