Event Date: 11/04/2019 (2:00 pm EST - 3:00 pm EST)
Ask any leader about effective leadership they’ve witnessed, and they can probably name a favorite teacher they would choose to emulate. That’s because great leaders are born through experience and mentoring. But to become great, leaders need more than a positive role model. They need training. And with all of the complex leadership theories, models, and trends swirling around today, sometimes we forget to start at square one.
Join us for Leading is a State of Being: Effective Leadership Skills, the back-to-basics webinar that focuses on the what—and the how—of effective leadership. You’ll understand how to recognize the characteristics of effective leadership, spot behaviors that undermine performance and discover how to lead with impact. As a result, you’ll leave with a solid understanding of how to develop aspiring leaders.
Want to learn more? Read: Do You Have What It Takes To Be A Leader.
Participants Will Learn:
- The key characteristics of effective leadership
- How leaders can build trust and confidence with their employees
- The behaviors that undermine leadership performance
- How to act decisively and demonstrate leadership during crisis
Who Should Attend:
- Training and HR professionals who deliver training
- Independent consultants
- Managers delivering training
Presented by: Katy Tynan
Sara Lindmont: Hi everyone and welcome to today’s webinar, Leading is a State of Being: Effective Leadership Skills. Hosted by HRDQ-U, and presented by Katy Tynan. My name is Sarah, and I will moderate today’s webinar. The webinar will last about an hour. If you do have any questions, go ahead and type them into the chat area on your GoToWebinar control panel, and then, we’ll either answer them as we can, or after the session by email. Today’s webinar content is from our reproducible training library title, Leadership 1O1. If you are interested in delivering this training at your organization, please contact HRDQ.
Sara Lindmont: Our presenter today is Katy Tynan. Katy is an expert in leadership and organizational development. She’s the author of Survive Your Promotion, and her most recent book is, How Did I Not See This Coming?: The New Manager’s Guide to Avoiding Total Disaster. She is the founder of Liteskip Consulting Group. Welcome, Katy, and thank you so much for joining us today.
Katy Tynan: Thank you so much, Sara, and thanks everyone for joining and being a part of this webinar today, on a topic that I’m just really personally passionate about. It’s where I do a lot of my work, is developing these effective leadership skills to help all of us become better leaders and become better at getting our teams to work together and to focus on their goals. I’m excited to talk about this topic today. We are going to move through the slides relatively quickly, but certainly, as Sara mentioned, if you have questions, pop them in the chat, we will try and leave some time for Q and A at the end. And we’ll also have my contact information available. And as Sarah mentioned, there are other resources and tools around this topic, and there will be the ability for you to get a copy of the slides as well afterwards, so you can review the information that’s here.
Katy Tynan: Hopefully you’re comfortable and ready to go, let’s get started. As Sarah mentioned, my name is Katy Tynan, and I am a leadership development and organizational effectiveness consultant. And I spend a lot of time working with people, specifically, at this leadership level. Because, you cannot implement your organizational strategy, if you don’t have effective leadership within your organization. So, leaders are really the people in the organization who drive the bus in terms of getting your organizational strategy delivered. Here’s what we’re going to talk about specifically today. Our agenda is to talk about those characteristics of leaders, what the leaders do that help organize and operationalize the things that an organization is trying to do?
Katy Tynan: And then, how do we build trust? And trust is an essential element of leadership. How does trust develop? What are some of the things that erode trust? And how can we really be more mindful and thoughtful about how our communication skills are helping us build that trust with employees? How do we avoid some of these behaviors that undermine our leadership? We’ll talk a little bit about some of the don’ts on the leadership side. And then, we’re going to talk about promoting teamwork, helping people work together, how to be decisive and what to do if you’re leading through a crisis? It’s a lot of great stuff, there’s a lot of content here. And as I said, we are going to go through it relatively quickly, but I think, these are some really important high level skills and thought processes, that you need to have as you think about your own leadership skills, or, if you’re responsible within your organization for developing the leaders in your organization. These are great places to focus your time and attention.
Katy Tynan: Let’s start with, what the purpose is of leadership? Why is it important? Why does it matter? And we have up here, this definition of leadership. The idea of positively influencing others to accomplish a specific goal. And one of the things I like to talk about here is, if you guys have ever been to one of those dolphin shows, or one of those aquarium shows, where they have these animals performing. And they’ll tell you, the trainers will tell you that every single thing that those dolphins learn, is taught to them through positive reinforcement. So if I could just start off with one idea and one message about what leadership is all about, it’s about focusing on the positive, on developing the skills, the strength, the capabilities, and creating an environment, a culture of enthusiasm, a culture of excitement around accomplishing a specific goal.
Katy Tynan: That’s what leadership is. Now, why it’s important is because, at the end of the day, that’s what we do in organizations. We’re trying to accomplish goals together and we’re trying to help people get better at what they do, so all of those things are what wrap around what leadership is, and why it’s important in an organization. This quote, just sort of encapsulates all of that. This idea that, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, to learn more, to do more and to become more, that’s what makes you a leader.” We hear a lot of people asking about whether their managers or whether their leaders, what the difference between management and leadership is? I just want to take a second here to talk a little bit about that, and say that management and a manager, is typically a role within an organization. Someone has a title of manager.
Katy Tynan: And a manager is someone who organizes work, who sets goals, who gets things done. A leader on the other hand, it can be any one of us. And in fact, many of us leaders, even if all we’re doing is leading ourselves. Remember that, regardless of your role within an organization, leadership skills are something that every single person should have and develop and think about. And then, management skills overlay that a little bit, in terms of your role and your function within an organization. But at the core, leadership is about inspiring others. And so, I want you to keep that in the front of your mind as we go through and talk about some of the more tactical things that are involved in leadership.
Katy Tynan: I just want to do a quick poll if we can. And Sarah, if you can pop this poll up. I just want to ask the question, do you consider yourself a leader? And I’ll give you a few minutes to answer. The poll is over on the right hand side of your webinar control panel, and just pop it open and share with us in an anonymous way. Really, do you consider yourself a leader? Is that how you think about yourself when you wake up in the morning? We’ll just give people a couple more seconds to answer that question. And really, more than anything else, the purpose of asking this question is just for you to think for yourself, where you are in your leadership journey? And whether or not you embrace that role?
Katy Tynan: Okay, and Sarah, I don’t know if you can show the results of that poll. If we can, that’s great. And if not for right now, it’s just to think about yourself and your leadership skills. Okay. When we think about leadership, I now know that you’ve identified whether or not you feel like you personally are a leader. I want you to think about someone in your life that you think of as a teacher. Whether it was someone who taught you when you were actually in some sort of formal school setting, or whether it’s somebody who you relate to that shares their skills, their knowledge, their experience with you. Think of someone who’s a great teacher. And then, write down a couple of things about that person. A couple of ideas about, why you felt like they were a great teacher? Why you felt like this was someone who had a big impact in your life?
Katy Tynan: I’ll just give you a second or two to do that. And just again, write down a few words, a few phrases to describe someone in your life that you feel like is a great teacher. Why did I just ask you to do that? Why are we talking about teachers in the middle of a webinar about management and leadership? Well, teaching and coaching are fundamental skills of management. When we think about somebody who is a teacher, that’s somebody who has a vested interest in helping other people develop, helping other people get to and achieve their goals. And we think about this a lot when we talk about servant leadership. Servant leadership is a whole idea of how leaders work to improve the lives and serve others in their work. And then, that approach is a really effective leadership approach.
Katy Tynan: In the working world, when we think about how to become a better teacher, a better coach, a better servant, what does that look like? Well, here’s a few elements of what we see in the working world, when leaders really come together and think of themselves as teachers and coaches. A great leader has a vision, an idea of where we’re going. And they share that vision, and that picture of a better future, a better place that we could be. They pursue excellence and communicate effectively. They’re trustworthy, you believe that they have your best interest at heart. They build confidence, they’re enthusiastic, they’re excited about that vision, and they work to serve others in the work that they do. We’re going to dig into each one of these seven elements and talk about them, because they are the fundamentals of management.
Katy Tynan: But again, as I talked earlier, the idea of helping to have others develop and grow is fundamental. Thinking of yourself as a teacher and a coach, as opposed to someone who bosses other people around, those are the ways that we think about management and leadership today.
Katy Tynan: Let’s dig into the first one, having and sharing a vision, and what’s that all about. Think for a minute about somebody that you’ve worked for, or with, at some point in your career, or maybe an organization that you’ve been a part of, that was really clear about what they wanted to achieve and do. Think about that idea for a minute. And that’s the idea that we’re trying to wrap our heads around with this having and sharing a vision concept. A vision is this idea of having the ability to imagine the future. And then, inspire others to get on the bus and work together towards that future. A fundamental task of a leader is to create that vision.
Katy Tynan: Now, sometimes you do that independently, where you as the leader, come with that vision, and you share it with others and inspire them to get on board. But in other cases, that visioning process is something you do with your team, you do with the people in your organization to help define what that future looks like. And then, to have buy-in that everyone agrees that, that symbolize we all want to go together. Either way is fine, but that function of having a vision, sharing that vision and focusing on those outcomes. We’re all working hard because we want to get to this place, which is great and which is where we want to be, is what drives outcomes and drives success.
Katy Tynan: Let’s look at a couple of examples of organizations that have vision statements that help inspire the people that work there. The Girl Scouts, and I want you to take a quick look at this. Even if you’ve never been a Girl Scout, you’ve probably interacted with the scouting organization, or at least, you bought their cookies, like I have. What’s the purpose behind that? Are they in business to sell cookies? Absolutely not. They’re in business to help girls build their courage, their confidence and their character, so they can make the world a better place. That’s inspiring. And that’s the sort of statement that you want to think about when you’re developing a vision. Cirque du Soleil is about invoking imagination, provoking the senses and evoking emotions. That statement encapsulates everything that they do in that organization.
Katy Tynan: And finally, this last one is just a local grocery store. And it’s really simple, but it gets right to the heart of it. “We help families live happier, healthier lives. We provide the freshest, tastiest, most nutritious local produce. And here’s a really specific element, from local farms to your table in under 24 hours.” You can really see how those kind of vision statements can help a team set priorities and goals. And it can really encapsulate when you’re making decisions day today, what you should do. If you’re struggling or your team is struggling with a challenge, you can step back and look at that vision and say, “Which choice? Which solution? Which decision will help us get closer to delivering on our vision as an organization?”
Katy Tynan: That’s a big part of the purpose of a vision, is it does help you make decisions. A vision then gets translated into your everyday activities. It tells you where you should be, it tells you when you should be there and how to get there. And it helps you decide how to allocate resources, how to concentrate effort, and how to make sure that you’re all on the same page. Even if you’re not all in the same room at any given time, you still have the ability to work together and to have the same outcomes and goals, which is what helps a team really operate in a smooth and seamless way, even if they’re not sitting right together all the time, which some of us are not. That’s vision, that’s the first big one of these seven chunks that we’ve been talking about.
Katy Tynan: The next one is pursuing excellence. Why does excellence matter? I mean, at some level, I think we all want, when we take a new job, or when we think about our careers, we want to pursue excellence. But what does that mean? Well, let’s dig into it a little bit. Leaders pursue excellence, both for themselves and for their students. And this is the key, they set expectations. I’ll just take a little different tack on this and say, have you ever worked in an organization where nobody cared? Or where your boss didn’t care? Where there was no expectation? It’s very demoralizing to go in and try and do work, when it doesn’t matter what the outcome is. This idea of pursuing excellence, is the opposite of that. It’s assuming that we want to do the best we can do, that we want to have great outcomes. We want to set the bar high, and then, we want to be really excited when we achieve it.
Katy Tynan: And a big part of that is communication. How do we communicate and give feedback, so that we can all get better all the time? Pursuing excellence is internal in yourself, but also, external that you’re setting and holding the line on those high expectations. And not just saying, “Man, I guess it’s good enough.” But really saying, “No, it’s not good enough.” We should do our best and we should be proud when we put out a work product, when we help someone, when we do those things that we’re here to do. That’s what pursuing excellence is about at a high level. Here’s what it’s about, really, at a tactical level. It’s about thinking about doing things right in the first time. It’s about being really open to improvement and to change, it’s having that continuous improvement idea. And if any of you have ever worked in either a lean or a six sigma organization, they are relentless about this idea of pursuing opportunities for improvement.
Katy Tynan: But even if you’re not in that kind of environment, you still want to be stepping back and looking at your work, and thinking about how you can get better every day. It’s about this thing called growth mindset. Growth mindset is the idea that we can always get better, we can improve, we’re not fixed and stuck the way we are, but that we are continuously growing and learning all the time. Pursuing excellence is about that idea of growth and of getting better, and always thinking about how we make the most of new opportunities, being willing to take some risks and asking for feedback. Thinking about pursuing excellence as a leader, is just an important element of how you approach and how you have the right mindset, both in terms of yourself, and in terms of your team. And I will say, as a leader, you’re going to be a role model, you’re going to be the one that has to sometimes take the first step and say, “Gosh, I didn’t do this very well. I’d love to hear your feedback, help me get better.”
Katy Tynan: And by modeling that, you’re going to help the people on your team also feel comfortable and safe saying those things. Saying, “I didn’t do it quite right this time, I’d love to get better, I’d love to hear your feedback.” That’s just another important element here, is the idea of modeling that pursuit of excellence, rather than just trying to force it down on the people that you work with.
Katy Tynan: I want to move now to the third piece of the seven core things, which is this idea of setting expectations. And these elements tied together, right? What we’ve talked about is pursuing excellence, setting a vision. And then, now, we’re moving on to clarifying these expectations. There’s a flow here, right? First you have the vision, then you set the bar high. And now, what we’re doing, is really setting these abundantly clear expectations, so people know how to be successful. How do we set expectations? And what does it mean to set expectations? Well, have you ever had a goal that somebody set for you that you knew you couldn’t possibly achieve? Maybe it was a sales target and your average number of new clients in a month was typically five, and then, the next month, the sales target was 100, right? Those are unrealistic expectations. But people are motivated when they see the opportunity and believe they can be successful.
Katy Tynan: When you’re thinking about setting expectations, those goals need to be a little bit of a stretch, but not so much of a stretch, that they feel impossible. And that’s why, when you think about, first of all, the clarity of your expectations, that they’re specific, that they’re understood, that they directly relate to people’s daily tasks and activities, and that they are achievable. We’re not going to specifically talk about smart goals in this session, but you could look up and it’s available, I’m sure on HRDQ’s library, but also in other places, this idea of setting goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound. When you’re setting expectations, that’s a good place to start and to think about making sure that those expectations are something that people can actually achieve.
Katy Tynan: Let’s dig into some of the details of those expectations. When we talk about the specifics, we’re talking about things like time, how long is this going to take? Cost, resources, what do we need in order to produce this? How are we going to measure it? Is it satisfaction? Is it financial? What’s that bottom line benefit? When we’re setting an expectation about a goal or an outcome, we want to go through these parameters of time, cost, satisfaction and financial metrics, so that we can set that expectation in a very clear, specific way, and say how we’re going to measure it. How are we going to know when we achieve that goal? How are we going to know that we got to the finish line? And I think that’s another important element when you’re thinking about making sure people feel like they’re set up for success, is that they know and you know, when the finish line has been reached. And that way, you can celebrate that success.
Katy Tynan: Okay, we’ve talked about having a vision, right? We’ve talked about setting people up for success and focusing on excellence. We’ve talked about setting expectations. Now we’re going to talk about communication, which is one of the most fundamental elements of what managers do, right? At your job, when you’re thinking about what a manager does, as opposed to what an individual contributor does, almost all of that work can be encapsulated under the heading of communicating. Whether you’re one on one with individual members of your team talking about their goals and challenges, whether you’re presenting to a group of stakeholders to talk about your vision and where you’re trying to go, whether you’re working with someone to give them feedback, all of those things are wrapped up in communication.
Katy Tynan: Communication is just this fundamental skill that all managers are always working again to improve and to get better at. There isn’t an end state where you’re going to be a perfect communicator and you can put a check mark next to that, but there are some things that you can do to work on your effective communication. Here are just a few quick bullets to think about how you communicate effectively. The first one is passion, show that you care. And again, just calling back to that idea of pursuing excellence. Part of how you pursue excellence, is how you show up every day. And when you’re communicating and showing that things matter and that you care, you’re passionate about this work, that’s a great way to set the stage with the people on your team, that what we’re all doing is important.
Katy Tynan: You also want to be clear, logical and convincing, when you’re putting ideas and opinions together. If you’re just tossing off the cuff ideas and there’s no data to support those ideas or they don’t tie into some larger mission or vision, you’re not going to be very effective. But when you’re communicating, it’s important to think about your audience, who are you talking to? What do they need to hear? What’s the message that you want them to take away? And make that as clear as plain as it possibly can be. And we all know that as human beings, we’re inclined to this idea of storytelling. And so, a lot of times when you’re communicating, it can be very helpful, if you incorporate what you’re trying to communicate into a story, an anecdote, something that resonates with people and help them have that aha moment of, “I get it, I understand.”
Katy Tynan: And then, checking, checking for understanding. Once you’ve presented a piece of information, pause, ask people to repeat back to you, what did they think they heard. What do they think that takeaways are? How are they going to use this information? Check that your message really got through clearly. And the only way you can do that, is asking and finding out whether people really understood, whether they have questions, whether they need clarification on any points before you move forward. I also think it’s very important to note here, this idea of multiple vectors of communication. Some pieces of information are best delivered in person, others can just be a quick email. Sometimes you need to have a meeting, sometimes you need to post things on collaboration sites. We have so many ways that technology allows us to communicate these days, so it’s important to think about what the correct vehicle is for delivering your message.
Katy Tynan: And this is particularly important when you’re thinking about meetings, because you’re pulling together people and you’re spending that precious, precious time in the room together, you need to make sure that you’re using that time as wisely as possible. And same with emails, we all get deluged in emails all day long, where our email boxes are just getting fuller and fuller and it can be overwhelming. What do you need to send an email? Versus, what can you just post on Slack or on a collaboration site, like a SharePoint or a Basecamp or something like that? How can we make the very best use of the tools that we have, in order to be efficient, but also, in order to make sure that the message gets through. We could do a whole hour or more on effective communication, but for now, just focusing on these key points and remembering that communication is the tool in the toolbox for managers. That’s the thing that managers need in order to get things done. It’s a great place to focus on for your own development.
Katy Tynan: Now let’s talk about the next element in our list, which is trust. And when we talk about trust, when we think about trust, here, we’re framing it as being trustworthy. And I want to hit a little bit on that trust worthy element, that trust isn’t something people just hand you, because you have a title or because you’re in this role of manager. Being trustworthy means you’ve done something to earn that trust. And here are the three elements that are the most important to developing that trust. The first is consistency. If you behave in a consistent way, then people know what to expect of you, and then, you start to develop trust. If every day you come in, and you’re like a completely different person, it’s very hard to develop trust. So consistency of behavior, consistency of your demeanor, not flying off the handle one day and then being buddy, buddy the next day. But really having a consistent, calm, positive demeanor, really helps build that trust.
Katy Tynan: The second is competence, right? We all have more trust in somebody who seems like they know what they’re doing. It is totally fine to say and to admit that you don’t know something. But at a basic level, you need to be competent at your role and at your job, and understanding of your organization as a whole, in order for someone to put their trust in you. And finally, it’s about compassion and empathy. Understanding the person who’s sitting on the other side of the table from you, understanding that you were all going through the same thing, and being able to show that you understand, that you care, that their development and their well being matters to you. Those are the three core elements of how to be a trustworthy person to begin with.
Katy Tynan: Then, when we think about the tactics of that, how do we build that trust? Some of these, I think, are really obvious, right? If you say you’re going to do something, do it. You don’t want to say, “Oh, yeah, I’ll get to that on Tuesday.” And then, Wednesday rolls around, and people have to come ask you about it. You need to be clear about what commitments you’re making, and then, you need to make absolutely sure that you deliver on those commitments. And you need to communicate very clearly and openly. These next two, honesty and not circulating rumors, these are really big. We all typically work, if we work within an organization, in a somewhat political landscape, where people are trying to achieve their own agendas and to get to their own goals.
Katy Tynan: In an ideal organization, the vision and the alignment of goals is very transparent, and people are working together and everything is very aboveboard and honest. But you need to be a big part of that, you need to be a transparent person that makes sure that you’re staying out of those political behind closed doors conversations. You’re not circulating rumors, that you’re delivering factual information to the right people at the right time, as opposed to having cliques of people who know things. Building trust is very much about transparency. It’s also about praising people more than you criticize. And you might say to me, “Katy, that’s not a trust thing,” but it is a trust. It’s an element of building trust, is, again, creating that positive environment, where people aren’t afraid to tell you something, because they think that you’re going to come down really hard on them. Making sure that you’re a positive influence as opposed to somebody who’s more negative, who’s going ahead and criticizing and dumping down on people, and making people feel worried or anxious or bad.
Katy Tynan: And then finally, practicing what you preach. When you are asking people to be honest, you need to be honest, and the same, when we talked about pursuing excellence. You need to be the model, the person that comes out and shows how to do some of these things, like admitting when you’re wrong or communicating difficult information in a transparent and clear and honest way. The more that you practice and model those elements, the more your team and your stakeholders and other people in the organization are going to become confident in you. We just have a couple of quick questions and ideas here for you to think about. Let’s say, you are in a situation where you had to implement a policy, or an action that you know is going to be unpopular. You have to cut budget, or maybe you have to cut a specific project that people have been working on and feel really invested in. How could you do that? What are some of the elements and practices that you could do to minimize trust?
Katy Tynan: And I’m going to let you think about this a little bit, and then, we’ll come back to it a little bit later and talk about what some of those ideas are that you might do. But again, just putting yourself in that situation of thinking about how to build trust, even in difficult situations where you’re being asked to do something, that maybe has a negative perception, which is something that managers have to do all the time. Okay, we’ve talked about setting the bar high, we’ve talked about communication, we’ve talked about trust, we’ve talked about being effective and setting a vision and all of those things. Now, we’re going to move on to talking about confidence. And part of this, is your own confidence. We talked about that as the one of the elements of being trustworthy, the idea of being consistent and competent. But, now I want to talk about building confidence in other people.
Katy Tynan: Part of your role, again, going back to the manager, as teacher, as coach, as somebody who builds people up, it’s your job to take the people on your team and the people you’re interacting with, and help encourage them to grow. And help them find new skills, try new things and experiment a little bit, take some risks. What does that look like in practice? In practice, it looks like paying close attention to how people are feeling about their work. Asking some of those questions when you’re in one on ones with people, to really understand where somebody’s at with their confidence level. Do they feel like they’ve got it all under control? Or do they feel like they’re not quite there yet? Paying attention, asking those questions and really getting a deep understanding of where people are, and then, building on successes.
Katy Tynan: Setting that goal, setting the bar high, and then, when somebody succeeds, celebrating that, because that’s very important. But then, being able to build on that. Okay, we’ve had a great success, we’ve achieved a goal, that’s good. Now, what’s the next level? Where could we go from here? And there is a balance here, right? Which is that, we want to take the time to celebrate, we also want to show progress, but we also want to make sure that people who are mastering some of these skills, are then able to use them and leverage them as strengths. Being able to celebrate those successes, and then, being able to have someone maybe become the go to person for that, is a great way to build confidence, and to build confidence within your team as well.
Katy Tynan: Making it safe to fail. This is a little bit of a nuanced topic, and I have a couple of clients in the financial services’ industry, and we talk a lot about this idea of failure. On the one hand, it’s easy to say, oh, you learn from failure, that’s true. But there are some situations where it’s okay to fail, and other situations where it’s really not. I think what you really want to do here as a manager is create some safe zones, some sand boxes. Let’s say, somebody is trying to develop their skills as a presenter. Well, you don’t want to put that person in front of the board, in a really high impact scenario as their first time presenting, just because that’s a challenge. You want to be able to have that person build up to that moment in time, and maybe they have some failures that are internal to the team, where they got nervous and they forgot what they were going to say.
Katy Tynan: Making it safe to fail means creating environments where people can fail, without there being a big negative impact, and then, being able to learn from those failures in a safe way. And then finally, not comparing employees one to the other, we all have different strengths. And one of the key things that managers do, is bring together a team of people with different skills and different capabilities, who can then help each other progress to the next level. Building confidence is a key element … too far.
Katy Tynan: Another key element, and there’s just two more that we’re going to talk about here, being enthusiastic, being excited, being passionate about your work. We talked about this a little bit before, the idea that you as a manager should be the most enthusiastic person in the room most of the time. Now, that doesn’t mean you should be wildly and unrealistically optimistic, but it does mean that you should be thinking about and focusing on the positives, and focusing on solving problems together. Just a quick example of that, when there is a problem or a challenge, instead of framing it as, you did this wrong. You can frame it as, here’s a challenge that we have, we need to do this better. How can we find a better way to get this thing done? And maybe that’s you, and maybe that’s someone else on the team, but how do we do that together? Enthusiasm shows up as that positive approach, always coming to the table with a positive mental attitude about the work you’re doing, and how you can progress.
Katy Tynan: When you’re enthusiastic, other people naturally want to follow you. And people are more excited, they have more energy, you have this contagious idea of success that surrounds you. There are a lot of great outcomes of being enthusiastic and positive.
Katy Tynan: And then, the very last element of the seven things that we talked about, is just the idea of serving others. Servant leadership is the idea of having a sense of responsibility for the outcomes that you and your team create, committing to meeting those needs, and really willingness, having that willingness to make sacrifices to help employees achieve their goals. Again, servant leadership is a huge topic that we don’t have time to cover here today, but it is certainly something you might want to take a look at, as you think about your leadership development style. Here are just a few quick things that tell you that you’re in a servant leadership mode. Listening, responding, engaging with people, and really at the end of the day, caring about those outcomes, caring about how people do and what people are doing with themselves and with their lives.
Katy Tynan: Okay, now we’re going to hop over to a little bit of a negative topic, this idea of behaviors that undermine leadership, so these are the don’ts. And the first big don’t, is having a hidden agenda, lack of transparency. This really erodes that confidence, it really erodes that idea of people being able to trust you. So, you don’t want to be unpredictable, you don’t want to have double hand standards, and you certainly don’t want to have a hidden agenda. The second piece here is just under the heading of communication. You can talk a lot, [inaudible 00:37:59] not be communicating. As a leader, you also want to think about talking less, listening more and really focusing on making every piece of communication that you deliver, more effective. Instead of having more quantity communication, you want to focus on quality communication. Things that impact people, like changes that are coming in the organization, or projected productivity service levels, the business plan, client information.
Katy Tynan: These are the kinds of things that you want to focus on, making sure that people are in the loop, that they’re aware, that they are able to connect and understand what’s happening. Because, that’s really what allows them to focus on their work. When you’re thinking about communicating as a leader, you want to think about what you’re communicating? And then, how you’re communicating it? And then, what the impact of that communication is on people? Here’s a little bit of the meat, right? Do you ever feel like your employees only hear from you when there’s a problem? These are behaviors that really undermine your ability to be seen as a leader. If you only show up when things go wrong, that’s a big problem. Or if you spend all your time managing up, and not enough time focusing on the individuals on your team, that’s not going to help people feel engaged with their work. And especially, if they’re hearing things from other parts of the organization, and they’re not hearing them from you.
Katy Tynan: We’ve talked a lot today about communication, but this is just a great point to hit on, that it’s about proactive communication, about being the first person to share information, as opposed to waiting until people are hearing things through the grapevine. And then, finally, having no real interest or idea of what the people on your team are capable of, what their goals are. A big part of your job as a leader, is really to have one on one conversations with your team on, at least, a couple times a month basis, ideally, a weekly basis, and to ask these questions. Where do you want to go? What are some of the things you want to do to develop in your career? What are some challenges that I can help you with? Those are the ways that you engage people on your team. These are the things that undermine leadership and will make you less effective.
Katy Tynan: Here are some things that help you be more effective. Actively engaging your employees, making sure that you are proactively going out, not hiding in your office, helping people understand what’s happening in the organization, understanding each of those individuals, career goals, how they’re aligned with the organization’s goals. And developing a relationship, so that you know, and other people know, what the next steps are? How things are going to develop? And what they need to do to be successful? If you just ask this one question to your direct reports on a regular basis, or even yourself, “Do I know what I need to do to be successful? Am I 100% confident every day, that I know how to succeed? Do I know what I’m being measured on? Do I know that I have the tools and the resources to be successful?” Those are some of the things that great managers do to engage their employees.
Katy Tynan: This is another negative one, right? Unwillingness to change, focus on the past. “We’ve always done it this way, so we should always do it this way. We don’t want to do anything new because that’s scary.” As a manager, again, you need to model this idea of taking risks, the idea that other people might have ideas you haven’t thought of. And allow people to present those ideas, and to try them, to pilot them, and not just a shut everything down, because you’ve never done it that way before. Now, there are going to be times when you do know that a certain new approach isn’t going to work for one reason or another. Maybe it has been tried before, but you still want to approach how you respond to that, in a way that helps that person who’s bringing that idea to the table, understand why you might be saying no. Being really open and willing to innovate, to change, to try new things, is, again, that growth mindset that we talked about before. Being in that constant idea of, how do we get better?
Katy Tynan: Just sort of wrapping up on this whole topic, and I know we’ve talked a lot today about these ideas of, how to become a better leader? How to do some of these hard things that leaders are asked to do? I want to talk about the impact, why do we do all of these things? Why do we want to work so hard to be great leaders? And what are some of the ways that we’re doing that? As a leader, you have the most impact, when you’re influencing other people. I think a lot of people think of leadership and of management as telling people what to do, right? That’s the common misconception. That managers are the boss, and they boss people around. But the truth is, very few good managers, actually, are out issuing orders on any given day. What they’re doing is, communicating that vision, being flexible and patient, understanding motivation, understanding why people want to be part of these conversations. Looking at your own motivation, are you frustrated? Are you happy in your job?
Katy Tynan: And then, using a variety of approaches to help get different types of people, on the bus, at the table, and willing to collaborate with you. And finally, one of the biggest keys here is promoting teamwork. As you’re facilitating a team to do great things, to do interesting things, what you need to do is create an environment where people are working together. Here are some tactical ways that you can do that. First of all, be accessible, be part of the team. Don’t separate yourself from your team and say, “I’m the boss, I’m over here, and you guys are the worker bees and you’re over there.” Be part of that team. Set those expectations and observe what’s happening before you jump in and criticize. Make sure that you understand before you speak and before you start to critique. Make sure that you understand all of the elements.
Katy Tynan: And then, create teams that maximize trust, that help people cooperate and collaborate. Help people work together and really encourage that idea of going out, and talking to and building relationships with other parts of the organization. To get rid of those silo mentalities of, “This is my team, this is your team. We are in the same company but we don’t talk to each other.” Really encourage it, and by that, I mean, model it. Go out and develop relationships. Encourage the people on your team to develop those relationships. Pitch in, be part of the work, be part of the work product. And get people together when you’re not necessarily all about work all the time. Make sure that people are having a little bit of time to be social, to remember that we’re all human beings. Because in a lot of ways, that helps us work better together.
Katy Tynan: Thinking about leadership in a crisis, which is our last element here, I want to talk about being decisive. And a lot of times, and we talked way back and I asked you to think a little bit about this question that I posed earlier, the idea of if you had to communicate a piece of information about something negative. A lot of times as leaders, we are asked to lead through challenge. How do you do that? And here are some of the ways that good leaders act decisively, even when they don’t have all the information. You do need to ask a lot of questions, but understand that you won’t necessarily know everything there is to know. How do you gather that information? And how do you turn that information into a solid decision?
Katy Tynan: This is where good leaders separate themselves from mediocre leaders. Because at some point, you’ve got to make the choice, and then, live with the consequences. And know that that choice is not going to be perfect, but that you made the best decision with the data that you had at the time, and that you were thoughtful about what data you chose to consider when you had to make that decision. Let’s say we’re talking about that scenario where you have to cut a project that people were really passionate about. First, you want to understand and ask the questions of the leadership. “Why are we cutting this project? Is it because it doesn’t have a good revenue stream associated with it? Is it because we checked with our customers and they don’t really want it, even though we think it’s a great idea?” Being able to gather that data, so that then you can go back to your team, and say, “Hey, here’s where we are. Here’s some of the reasoning behind this. Here’s what’s going to happen and here’s what we’re going to do.”
Katy Tynan: Again, getting that right amount of data, communicating it in a meaningful, powerful, clear way. And then, providing clear directions for what’s next, “What are we going to stop doing? What are we going to start doing? And how are we going to move forward?” When we think about some of these things, just as we wrap up this idea of showing confidence, that the solution is going to be positive. That ultimately, we’re getting to a better place. Coming up with options for how we’re going to move to that place, spending time with some of the people who are frustrated or challenged. Maybe if we’re talking about that canceling project example, that you’re going and bringing together the people who were working on the project with the people who decided to cancel the project, and helping them share that information. Both, why you canceled it? And what the impact was on those people? So that, everybody feels like they’re heard.
Katy Tynan: And then, letting go, moving on and moving forward to the next level. I know we’ve covered a lot today, and a lot in this 45 to 50 minute session. We have talked about the many things and qualities and capabilities that leaders possess. How to lead through a crisis? How to avoid some of these behaviors that undermine leadership? And I think it’s a lot to absorb in one session, but certainly, at a fundamental level, if you want to take anything away from this session, the things you should take away are, that your communication skills are the key. That caring about and being in that teacher coach mindset is the right way to think about developing people. And to remember that trust is at the core, it’s the foundation of any kind of leadership relationship. You want to do things that make you trustworthy, and avoid behaviors that might potentially make you untrustworthy.
Katy Tynan: I appreciate you all being part of this call and part of this conversation today, and I think we have a few minutes now to answer a couple of questions, if you guys have specific questions. And then, I’m also happy if we’ve run out of time, to write up some answers to questions that you’ve sent into the chat box, and we’ll post those as blog posts. Sara, I’ll just throw it back to you. Do we have any questions from the people on the line?
Sara Lindmont: Sure. Thank you so much, Katy. It does look like we’ve got some typing happening, so I’m going to give that a second for people to send in their questions. Send those in now, use that chat box to send those in. While those do come in, I do just want to mention HRDQ, we’re here for your training needs. HRDQ publishes research based experiential learning products, that you can deliver in your organization. Definitely, check out online, our print assessments that we have. We also have up out of your seat games, our reproducible workshops that you can customize, and a lot more product at our website, or you can call our customer service team. And if you find you need help, either learning a training program that you want to deliver internally, or if you want one of our expert trainers to come out and deliver the session for you, we also provide those services to.
Sara Lindmont: Katy, our first question that has come in is asking about, what happens if someone on your team isn’t really responding to your leadership approach?
Katy Tynan: Yeah, that’s a great question. Because I think a lot of times, we come into a leadership position, and we have a great plan for how we’re going to relate to people. And then we discover that, some people really respond to our style, and other people don’t. One of the things that’s key for managers is this ability to flex and to adapt your leadership style. And one of the ways that you can do that is if you do understand, and HRDQ has some assessments and ways to help you do this, and there are some others out there as well. Whether it’s in MBTI or DISC, or an Insights Discovery profile, these different kinds of ways to understand that people’s communication styles are different, and that there are ways you will need to adapt your communication style, in order to be effective in working with those people. The better you know yourself, and the better you know the people on your team, the more you will have the ability to help those people be successful, because you can adapt and flex your communication style.
Sara Lindmont: Good, good. We have, as you know, our audience today is a lot of trainers on the line, and I’m getting a lot of questions you mentioned, that concept of a leader as a teacher. And we have some questions here around your insight, how you view the difference between a coach, a leader, a manager, somebody here has even mentioned front line. Do you have a way where you look at those as either different or even the same?
Katy Tynan: I think the fundamental skills of being a good leader are about caring about people and caring about their development. That’s really a lot of what the teacher idea is about. Is getting yourself or getting new managers into that mode of being developers of people. What does that mean? It means working with people to understand where they feel like they need to grow their skills, and then, trying to find those opportunities to develop those skills. I think the teacher idea is a mindset, it’s a mentality, and same with the coach. A lot of times we have had a coach in our lives, who’s really helped us get better at something. And then, we also know that in a lot of cases to develop and grow, we need a mentor. We need somebody that we look up to, that we can say, “Oh, here’s someone whose management style I really aspire to. Here’s somebody that I would like to get better and be more like.”
Katy Tynan: I think it’s Important for everyone’s professional development, that they have someone in those roles. And if your manager is not the person, and isn’t able to give you those things, then you may need to go out and seek out a coach or a mentor or somebody to help you grow. I think, when you think about the different layers of competency, you might have technical competency, you might have leadership skill competency, you might have soft skill’s competency. And having somebody to help you figure out where to focus your attention on those things, can be very important. As a manager, if you’re trying to think about how to approach people, you want to think about putting yourself in that role of teacher and coach, as opposed to putting yourself in that role of boss or a person who is very judgmental about things.
Katy Tynan: There’s really a lot to this idea of, which role you’re playing at any given time and how you’re helping the people on your team grow and develop through some of those roles.
Sara Lindmont: Perfect. Thank you so much, Katy. That’s all the time we have today and we do appreciate your wonderful insight and your enthusiasm for this topic.
Katy Tynan: Well, thank you so much, it’s been great to be here.
Sara Lindmont: Wonderful. Thanks everyone for participating and happy training.
How do you transmit calm to your people in situations that your high management is requesting you things that are really difficult to obtain due to system limitations or uncontrollable situations?
We live in a highly stressful era in organizations today. There is a lot of pressure to produce as much as possible with as few resources as possible. That’s why leadership is so crucial. The best leaders have and share a vision, build trust and confidence, promote teamwork and esprit de corps act decisively, and demonstrate leadership in a crisis.
As John Quincy Adams said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” Most employees respond to the challenge of reaching targets. If leaders can make the targets clear and understood by all while being calm themselves, most people can positively take the pressure.
For those employees that do respond positively, additional coaching might be needed or extreme measures like outplacement might help. The role of manager or supervisor is not easy.
If I don’t feel particularly passionate or don’t have a grand vision for my organization, does that mean I’m not a great fit for a leadership position? Are some people just not meant to be leaders?
Sure, some people are just not ready to be an overall leader, but HRDQ believes everyone can lead in some way. Maybe they can initiate some action or solve some problem or train someone else. Perhaps you are a very good leader in many ways, but not a visionary leader.
If you are a leader that talks mostly about the past and rarely about the future, you are not a visionary leader.
For those who have trouble having and sharing a vision, maybe more work is needed on imagining the organization’s future and wording how to achieve that future.
We like visionary leaders who can think of the future and use these words to finish their thoughts:
“What I would like to see here is ….” “What I need to have happen is ….” “What would help us is if we ….” “Things will be better here when ….” “We would be more productive if ….” “We would be more motivated if ….” “We will need to reallocate resources in order to ….” “Our quality would improve if we ….”
These are the types of starters than visionary leaders work on creating, writing, and saying in order to communicate visionary scenarios to their teams. Of course, this is harder work for some leaders than others.