Changing things to make things better…

…is a pretty good definition of the leadership task. 

In this post I provided the following picture of how leadership and management work together. 


Leadership is about identifying “opportunities to add value” and taking action to move things forward. Which inevitably means… Changing things. To make things better. 

So how do you find the opportunities to add value?

Ask some questions. Ask yourself. Ask your colleagues. Ask your customers*.

(*Customers might be people who actually buy things from you. And they might be the groups of people you serve elsewhere in your organisation.)

Where are your frustrations? What is the stuff that keeps getting in the way? Or the process that just doesn’t quite work right?

Where are your best customers? What are they valuing? What’s the most important thing you do for them and how well are you doing it right now?

Where are your competitors? What’s all the rage right now? Are you in on it? Should you get in on it? Or do something different to set yourself apart?

Somewhere in-amongst the answer to these questions are several things that would add value. 

Pick one. Move it forward. Repeat. 

Where are you?

You might be in your first or second leadership role. 

You might be thinking about applying for a position with more responsibility than you’ve had before.

You might have been doing leadership for ages but just started thinking about it as a topic in itself. 

The word “leadership” is in your job description but no-one has really explained what it means or offered you any training or guidance on it.

You want to make an impact. 

You want to get things done that make a difference. 

You want to bring people with you. Not leave them confused on the sidelines or broken in your wake. 

You’d like some ideas about leadership to think about and work on. 

What it is. What it looks and feels like.  

How to make positive changes while looking after your people. 

If some or all of that is true… 

Welcome. Lead From Where You Are is for you. 

It doesn’t matter if you have a handful of people reporting to you, or a hundred, or none at all. You can lead from where you are. I’d like to help. 

As well as posting here and at leadfromwhereyouare.co.uk  I’m building some resources and hoping to start running some in-person workshops this autumn. 

So tell me… Why are you here? What are your frustrations and challenges? What has worked for you?

Leave me a comment. Let me know how I can help. 

Thanks

#biglove

Building resilience 6: Comments round up

Having finished what I wanted to say about Resilience, I thought it worth picking up on some of the great comments on the posts. 

The second post in the series was about setting your mindset away from “why is this happening?” and towards “what are we going to do?”. 

Steve commented along the lines that in high pressured environments, places in which safety and security, or millions of pounds, are genuinely on the line, the need to set your mindset this way is obvious. And so not that helpful really. 

Which is fair enough. But in some ways, it is where the lesson comes from. Emergency services in the middle of a multiple location incident don’t waste time wishing that the second fire hadn’t started. They prioritise, work out what they’re going to do and then get on and do it as best they can. 

Now. If this keeps happening over and over, something has to give. Emergency services, air traffic control, other critical systems units, set themselves up with shift patterns and rules that limit individual exposure to relentless pressures. 

Some of us have to do that ourselves though. 

Lyndsey commented that she often sees people who think they’re being resilient but are really just in “endurance” mode. Ploughing on, despite signs that a break is what is needed above all else. 

She’s so right when she says: Resilience is NOT endurance. 

Sometimes the answer to: What am I going to DO about it? is just… Stop. Breathe. Go home. Rest. Come back to it tomorrow. 

And as I said in Part 4 of the series on working your priorities, the stuff that makes you you, the stuff that recharges your batteries and resets your mindset is always important. And very rarely urgent. 

Whether it’s time with your kids, knitting, exercise, your special show you share with a friend or spouse… Make being you-you (not just work-you) a priority. 

The last comment I’ll reference was from Ellie on the important-urgent matrix mentioned in the post on priorities. She noted that sometimes everything is sitting in the “important and urgent” corner and mapping this out makes things feel more overwhelming. 

This is worth a post in itself. There are several things to do here. But for now I’ll offer one thought. 

You can only ever do one complicated thing at a time. So faced with a long list of “important and urgent” things, go through again and try to pick out the three MOST important and urgent things. Then go through THAT list and pick ONE to work on. Set yourself a short achievable goal, and work it. Then do the same with number two. Then again with number three. 

You’ll have identified a set of priorities and made progress. 

If you have trouble determining the most important, because they’re all important, just pick. You have to work on something. So choose and move it forward. 

You may not be able to change the tide of events that buffet you as you try to lead. But…

Set your mindset towards positive next-steps. 

Proactively manage your mental wellbeing. 

Make sure you’re working your priorities. 

And help your team do these things too. 

Work in this way and you’ll be building a firm foundation of resilience that will help you take things in stride and keep moving forwards. 

Thanks for reading this series and for the brilliant comments that have really made me think.