Archive for the ‘Leadership and Management.’ Category

‘Students must have excellent leadership skills’

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2019

KOTA KINABALU: Students, especially those given the responsibility as a Children Representative Council (MPKK), must have excellent leadership skills.

Health and People’s Wellbeing Assistant Minister Norazlinah Arif said among the attributes that the students must have in order to become great leaders is an ability to polish their strength and improve from weaknesses.

“Students must also be strong-hearted when it comes to listening to negative feedbacks. Never be too emotional when you are criticised,” she said during the closing ceremony of the Advocacy and Self-Improvement programme held at Ming Garden Hotel yesterday.

She also said that the students must gain as much knowledge as possible and not just stay at where they are the most comfortable.

“Students must also take their responsibility very seriously because they must bear the consequences to their actions.

“These must be instilled within yourselves because you are the one that decides what’s best for you,” she asserted.

Some 56 students from 28 districts in Sabah have been elected as the representative councils for the session of 2019-2021 to assist the welfare department to identify issues involving children in their districts.

According to Ponniya Irham from the Sabah Social Welfare Department said that the MPKKs educate the children on their rights that are protected under the government.

“They help identify problems faced by the children because most of the time, these children prefer to talk to someone who is the same age as they are,” she added.


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Climate leadership, clean growth crucial for survival

Wednesday, May 15th, 2019
Malaysia is embarking on an ambitious renewable energy generation target — to grow the share to 20 per cent by 2025. An example is the net energy metering programme, to catalyse and scale up renewable energy growth. – Reuters

THIS month the United Kingdom Parliament declared an environment and climate emergency. Many countries are following the UK’s lead.

The United Nations says we could have just 11 years left to limit a climate change catastrophe, and that a million species are at threat of extinction due to human activity. We are eroding our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide and need to make rapid, transformational change. Young people around the globe are rightly calling on governments to do more — act now to prevent disaster later.

That’s why I’ve come to Kuala Lumpur this week. I want to build a strong partnership between the UK and Malaysia on tackling climate change. We have a responsibility to allow our children to live in a world not irreversibly damaged by human activity. All countries must work together to make our economies cleaner and greener — now and for future generations.

I know that people in Malaysia have voiced out their concern over the impact of climate change to which they are particularly vulnerable. A two degree temperature rise — likely if we do not scale back carbon emissions urgently — would increase the frequency and intensity of extreme weathers in Malaysia, which include major flash floods in cities. If the high emission scenario continues, and without large investments in adaptation, an annual average of 234,500 Malaysians are projected to be affected by flooding due to a rise in sea levels between 2070 and 2100.

What can we do? A large part of the answer is to reduce carbon emissions by investing rapidly in green growth. Clean and sustainable energy, transport, agriculture and industry means cheaper energy, more and better jobs, cleaner air, better health and nutrition, more liveable towns and cities and an enriched natural environment. The UK, as a climate leader, has reduced emissions by 43 per cent since 1990, while growing the British economy by two thirds. We are determined to speed this process up further — the UK’s independent Climate Change Commission recommended this month that the UK legislate now to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, which would make us the first major economy to pass laws to end our contribution to global warming entirely.

All our unabated coal-fired power stations will close by 2025, and just last week the UK announced that it had gone for over a week without using any coal to generate power. That’s a good feeling. Yet only seven years ago, coal produced 40 per cent of the UK’s power. With an ambitious clean growth strategy and strong investment in and commitment to renewables, transformational change is possible and economically fruitful. It is win-win for the climate and for the economy.

The International Renewable Energy Agency estimates that renewable energy will be cheaper than unsubsidised fossil fuels everywhere in the world by 2020. Offshore wind in the UK (40 per cent of the world’s total) is already cheaper than coal, nuclear power and gas. India is investing heavily in solar and wind — from 50 gigawatts to 225 gigawatts in the next four years. South Africa and Chile have successfully pivoted away from coal.

I know that Malaysia is embarking on an ambitious renewable energy (RE) generation target — to grow the share to 20 per cent by 2025. In addition, the new government is also ramping up energy efficiency in public sector buildings, undertaking a holistic electricity market reform; and tabling a new bill in Parliament on Energy Efficiency and Conservation by this year.

Malaysia is increasingly recognising its own huge potential for renewables, particularly solar (much better than the UK), biogas and biomass, though its renewable energy targets which would help meet its 4.8 per cent annual electricity demand growth, provide economic opportunities and growth.

Growing the RE portfolio in the energy mix would help Malaysia make that transition of unlocking the country into a negative long term trend for emissions,  financial instability through stranded fossil fuel assets, and declining health (coal-fired power contributes to around eight million premature deaths globally each year, primarily in Asia).

During my visit to Malaysia, I will be discussing how the UK’s expertise and support can encourage Malaysia’s low carbon transition through our various joint partnership programmes. I am keen to offer the UK’s expertise in legislation and policy making, institutional framework set-ups, mitigation measures, addressing climate risk, our global leadership on renewable energy generation, low emission/electric vehicle technology and as a global centre for green finance (City of London). And our Prosperity Fund Asean Low Carbon Energy Programme will invest in growing Malaysia’s capacity to access the green finance needed for transformational change.

At the international level, I hope the UK and Malaysia can collaborate towards ambitious UN climate talks in Chile this year and particularly in 2020, when I am lobbying for Britain to host the talks. Such a partnership could help energise this region, and the world to address the scale and urgency of the climate challenge we face. We must invest in climate leadership and clean growth — for the sake of our children and future generations.

By Nick Bridge.

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World recognises Dr Mahathir’s influence, leadership quality

Sunday, May 12th, 2019
In just a year of his tenure as Malaysia’s seventh prime minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has been recognised as one of the world’s most influential men. (NSTP/AHMAD IRHAM MOHD NOOR)

KUALA LUMPUR: In just a year of his tenure as Malaysia’s seventh prime minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has been recognised as one of the world’s most influential men.

In fact, earlier in January, he was named the Muslim Man of the Year by The Muslim 500, a ranking of the world’s 500 most influential Muslims.

In April, Dr Mahathir was ranked among the 100 most influential individuals in the world for the year 2019 by international news magazine ‘Time’.

And earlier this month, international portal,, ranked Dr Mahathir 47th in its ‘World’s 50 Greatest Leaders’ list.

The three publications described Dr Mahathir, 93, as an extraordinary man for leading the coalition of (formerly) opposition parties, Pakatan Harapan, to win the 14th general election in May last year and for being re-elected as Malaysia’s prime minister.


As the oldest prime minister in the world, many know Dr Mahathir as a bold and vocal leader, always stands firm in his decision, trustworthy and has a high level of discipline, especially in terms of punctuality.

With a modest and tranquil look, Dr Mahathir is highly respected by many and regarded as a credible leader with a sharp mind and who is not afraid of giving or receiving criticism.

In his speech at the 73rd United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York on Sept 29 last year, Dr Mahathir made a bold call for a reform of the world body and suggested that a veto should not be by just one permanent member but by at least two and backed by three non-permanent members of the UN Security Council.

He also captured the world’s attention when he condemned the Myanmar government for the massacre of Rohingyas in Rakhine, and Israel for breaking international laws and moral codes.

In November last year, Dr Mahathir was also conferred the “Grand Cordon of the Order of the Paulownia Flowers” by Emperor Akihito of Japan.

The conferment of Japan’s highest award followed the contributions by the Prime Minister in strengthening the bilateral ties between Malaysia and Japan.


Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) Faculty of Modern Language and Communication lecturer Dr Syed Agil Alsagoff said Dr Mahathir was recognised as a credible leader as his thoughts and ideas had been appreciated and praised by many world leaders

The premier, who had also held the chair of the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC), had formulated various strategies for the unification of Arab nations to break away from the influence of the United States and Israel.

“His criticisms of the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, had also encouraged and motivated the Arab nations to support his leadership and recognised him as a respected world leader.

“Dr Mahathir’s success in transforming Malaysia from a third world country into a developing country also attracted the West Asian countries to emulate his political leadership. In fact, East Asian countries have also made him an exemplary model in their economic and political empowerment,” he said.

Syed Agil said Dr Mahathir was also regarded as a Muslim statesman who transformed Malaysia into a model for the Muslim world and would always be remembered as a Malaysian leader who had channeled various assistance to Bosnia and Herzegovina to rebuild itself after the Balkan country was involved in a war in the 1990s.

Dr Mahathir’s success in bringing together both the third world and the developing countries through the Langkawi International Dialogue (LID) consultative council and in becoming the driving force behind the cooperation between those third worlds and the Islamic countries through the OIC has made him a highly respected and exceptional leader in the international political arena, he said.

According to Universiti Utara Malaysia lecturer in politics and international relations Prof Dr Azizuddin Mohd Sani, Dr Mahathir had been consistent in championing world issues including those involving the Palestinians, the Rohingyas as well as developing or underdeveloped countries.

As a man who despises brutality, he said Dr Mahathir had established the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal to ‘put on trial’ leaders of the countries involved in Iraq war in 2003 which had claimed the lives of 1.4 million civilians.

“He is also anti-race assassination. That is why when his bid to ratify the Rome Statute failed, he got so angry at those who caused the failure.

“By his boldness in voicing out his opinions, we can see that Dr Mahathir obviously wants Malaysia to continue being the Asian Tiger who is not afraid of voicing out global issues,” he said.

At the same time, he said West Asian leaders continued looking up to Dr Mahathir to the extent of regarding him as their ‘voice’ in fighting Western oppression.


Dr Mahathir is also well-known as a dedicated, principled prime minister and always making reforms and transformation in the country’s administration.

Syed Agil said it had ‘opened the eyes’ of other countries to emulate Malaysia, especially after it was able to make political transformation under the leadership of a former prime minister appointed for the second time to hold the highest political office.

“Dr Mahathir is regarded as the driving force of reforms and transformation in the country’s administration since the first time he was appointed as prime minister and held the post for 22 years.

“The nature of Dr Mahathir’s simplicity in observing political culture with the interests of the people during that period caused the people to be moved by his determination in transforming Malaysia from a third world country into a successful developing country,” he said.

Dr Mahathir has also been regarded as a visionary leader who could steer the country to progress further in economic and social areas.

During his tenure as Malaysia’s fourth prime minister from 1981 to 2003, Malaysia experienced excellent transformation, particularly in infrastructure and socioeconomic development, hence spurred the success of the country in becoming a regional economic power and in facing several global financial crises.

Syed Agil was also in the opinion that the seriousness of Dr Mahathir’s ideas and thoughts in terms of national and economic development especially when liberating Malaysia from the 1997-1998 economic crisis by fixing of the ringgit peg to the US dollar, had prompted many other countries to seek his advice.

Whereas Azizuddin believed that Dr Mahathir was re-elected to lead the government as the people wanted Malaysia to become a prosperous country.

“His vast experience is badly needed. Malaysians respect him as a great statesman.

By Bernama.

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10 Principles of 21st Century Leadership.

Sunday, February 24th, 2019

This month, Adam Cairns the CEO of Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and Honorary Visiting Professor, Cardiff University Medical School, Cardiff UK talks about the leadership challenges we face in the 21st century.

The Leadership Challenge:

The leadership challenge is changing – and so leaders must allow their thoughts to evolve.

Here are ten provocations to nudge your thinking into some new places.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. – Martin Luther King, Jr.CLICK TO TWEET

Optimism Not Pessimism:

Our mindset governs how we see the world. As the pace of change accelerates, ask yourself whether your instinctive, below the waterline response to this is to worry that you’re going to get left behind. Relentless change can cause the best of use to question whether we will be able to keep up. Rather than worry however, take hold of the momentum which change brings –none of us can predict the future – but it will be fun finding out.

Receive and Send:

In the new reality of digital everything, we can engage anyone and everyone in a conversation on our terms. The exchange of information, views and ideas now happens instantaneously, whether we like it or not. By the time a service short-coming has impacted on a user of your services, the chances are the world is already hearing about it. Engage your audience, whether user, customer, patient or public and expect this to tell you more than you ever knew.

Questions Not Answers

Leaders should start asking some new questions. Instead of asking how to drive increased efficiency choose to ask what great would look like. Great isn’t usually more of the same, just faster. Great starts from a different place. It starts with an open not closed mindset – Henry Ford’s original customers said what they wanted was a faster horse. Ford had the genius to ask, how that was possible.

In-sourcing Not Outsourcing:

There are niches for every conceivable service or product. Today, you can buy a new logo design for $5 or appoint a virtual assistant for as little as $10 a job. Meanwhile your organisation can focus on what it and only it can do, while you outsource or automate anything that can be done faster, cheaper or is not critical to your core business. Competitive advantage can be built on the ability to narrow your focus. Consider the value that you alone can bring better than anyone else – and do that.

Upstream Not Downstream:

In the high mountains, springs, rainwater and snow-melt mingle to create little streams and brooks. By the time these have merged into a gigantic river pouring into the ocean they have become an unstoppable force. Healthcare needs to turn its gaze towards these highlands: the early years, maternal health, smoking, sugar, diet and exercise. Find the upstream in your business and intervene there. If we continue to intervene as the river pours into the ocean we will eventually and inevitably be swept out to sea.

Innovative Not Administrative

A leader can be in power or in office. If leaders fail to open the doors to experimentation, risk taking and entrepreneurship they are in office only and act as servant administrators to the current system – which is struggling to cope. The new generation of leader will create a climate where innovation is a standard operating principle. They will be in power and will use their influence to release the innovative potential of their employees.

Off Not On:

Managing our time and energy will be the new currency of leadership. What we choose to focus these two resources on will define what we get done. The edges of work and not work are becoming ever more blurred, and with it the hazard of burn-out and reduced productivity. Create a boundary between your work and home and make sure you have it well guarded.

Distributed Not Directed:

Leadership is like the power generation industry  – a central generator (purpose) provides energy to fuel the business mission. This energy is distributed to the point where it meets the business user or customer. Just as with power generation, leadership energy can be supplemented. There are many potential micro-generators in any business among the tens or hundreds of employees delivering on your behalf each day. 21st Century leaders don’t direct – they distribute their leadership effort, expecting to create fertile ground for the micro-generator to flourish.

Integrity Not Correctness:

Being right is not enough. To produce long-term commitment to a product, cause or ideal, leaders must act with integrity. For the modern leader, integrity can be measured in the wisdom of crowds. It is no longer possible to isolate leadership from the social context within which the business takes place. Whether it be with customer, clients, users or employees, leaders must show that integrity is not just a word on a page. You’ll soon hear if you don’t!

Learning Not Leading.

Finally, why not stop trying to lead from the front? In a rapidly changing world isn’t it more realistic to accept that leaders can’t know all that needs to be known? Allow yourself to learn by being curious and become practised at asking rich questions just because you are interested. Leading with humility* means you are likely to learn more and more often. The leader who learns more might also be someone who is more likely to succeed too.

by .

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4 Proven Ways to Keep Your Team Engaged

Sunday, February 24th, 2019

Photo of team huddle.

Team Engagement

Team engagement is more than just a buzzword.  Companies large and small have learned the value of engaging employees and what they mean to both the profitability and longevity of the company.

Millions of dollars are spent every year to discover ways to keep employees engaged.  Part of their budget is spent on discovering and retaining team leaders who are successful in engaging team members. Gallup recently released new research that discovered that “disengaged” employees offer the greatest opportunity for businesses to improve their performance and profitability.

That’s where you come in!

Here are 4 proven ways to keep your team engaged regularly, resulting in employees who are motivated, work with passion, and achieve a purpose in their everyday tasks that gives them a profound connection to your company and their work.

Individual commitment to a group effort ― that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work. – Vince LombardiCLICK TO TWEET

Individual commitment to a group effort ― that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work. – Vince Lombardi

1. Keep Your Team the Main Focus:

Too often, team leaders view their own position as a way-point to something bigger or better and fail to invest time or effort in developing the team around them. You may have had your own bad experiences when your team leader was disengaged. As team leader, you need to keep your focus on employees.

Today’s team manager is more than just a “get the job done” role; the team leader is sensitive to the needs of the team and knows employee needs intimately. As leader, you need to know what is really going on within the team dynamic and be ready to advocate for them as issues arise. When your team really hits a home run, you need to be the first to deflect all the praise back to the team and show them how important they are to you and the company.

2. Increase Your Surface Area:

No one likes a leader who directs from behind closed doors. To really engage your team, you need to be touchable. The larger your team, the more difficult this aspect of leadership becomes, but nothing prevents you from visiting your team!

Some may manage remote teams. with today’s technological advancements, it’s much easier to make video conferencing a part of your weekly routine. Slammed with meetings all week? Use your commute time to connect with team members and check in on their progress with projects.

Use technology to your advantage when attempting to increase your surface area. Be as innovative as you can when it comes to staying accessible to your team. They’ll love you for it.

I think trust is primarily built through relationships, and it’s important because it’s the foundational currency that a leader has with his team or his followers. – Tom RathCLICK TO TWEET

I think trust is primarily built through relationships, and it’s important because it’s the foundational currency that a leader has with his team or his followers. – Tom Rath

3. Allow the Team to Lead:

As leaders, it’s our natural tendency to want to take “ownership” (control) of every situation in order to ensure things are done exactly as we think they should. But, this is counterproductive to team engagement.

If you hold back, possibly for fear of failure, and deny the team ownership of processes and tasks you end up robbing the team of the experiences — both good and bad — that connect them to the purpose of their work. The team needs opportunities to succeed (and fail) and these are integral to their professional growth.

Not only should everyone in your team have a place, they should also have a voice. When employees understand that they have a “say so”, you will unleash the highest level of innovative thinking within the group.

By giving your team opportunity to take charge of an outcome, you will gain their respect and inspire a passion for what they do.

4. Speak Clearly:

There is nothing more confusing to any employee than a manager communicating with ambiguity.

Without clear, succinct communication, your team will often be left feeling confused and disconnected. They need to know how their efforts contribute to the “big picture” on a regular basis and this message needs to be told in different ways many, many times.

When you feel like you’re saying the same thing over and over again, albeit in different ways, that’s when you know your team is beginning to hear what you have to say. The Rule of Seven is an old marketing strategy that states your prospect needs to hear your message at least seven times before they take action.

The same applies to your team. They need to hear you tell them how their work contributes to the big picture over and over until that sense of purpose begins to grow in their own hearts and minds.

by .

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9 Vital Ways to Inspire and Motivate Teams

Sunday, February 24th, 2019

To get results, leaders must inspire and motivate teams. How do you do that?

Let me be very clear. Your style of leadership affects both team and individual performance and the degree of engagement you realise.

So, how do you get the best of the team?

Stick with me and I’ll tell you. And, if you hadn’t guessed it’s so much more about the carrot than the stick!

Appreciation is thanking, recognition is seeing, and encouragement is bringing hope for the future.

Job satisfaction doesn’t have to be about financial reward. Indeed most people would say that being happy with their work starts when they know they are a valued part of the team.

That’s what gives them job satisfaction.

It’s about being appreciated and receiving constructive feedback on performance. Keeping employees motivated isn’t rocket science! But it’s not about spinning stories either. Honesty and tact are two leadership skills needed to inspire the team.

So, keep reading and I’ll share thirteen vital ways to inspire and motivate teams …

Leaders must learn new ways in which to inspire the team so individual team members stay motivated and engaged. It’s all too easy to forget to encourage and reward the team for the good work they do. Fail to so and you fail to keep the team motivated.

Motivation calls for common sense, so read on and see how well you fare at inspiring and motivating teams.

A leader shapes and shares a vision which gives point to the work of others – Charles Handy

Here are 9 vital ways to inspire and motivate teams.

  1. Keep yer promises. If you make promises, keep them! For example, if you say you’re going to do something about pay or working conditions make sure you do. Sometimes you may not have the positional power or authority to influence outcomes. So, make sure you don’t paint yourself into a corner you can’t get out of … avoid losing face and credibility.
  2. Don’t be a bear! Don’t coerce employees and demand the unreasonable. Don’t be a bully. Don’t micromanage!Rather, be brave, and generous with the trust you have in others. To grow the team you have to let them grow and mature in their judgement and skills. So, take pleasure in letting go and remember that when someone who works for you shines, you also shine.
  3. Rules are for a-breakin’. Rules are made for breaking! Well, sort of. Set clear standards and stick to them fairly, but don’t be overzealous about upholding them. Allow room to manoeuvre and give the team plenty of opportunity to challenge and change the status quo. What worked yesterday may not be right for today.
  4. Challenge ’em. Most people think they do a good job. Indeed most people come to work with the belief they are doing a good job. But routine leads to bad habits, complacency, and indolence. What should you do? Simple. Challenge ’em. Help them to grow and learn.
  5. Never settle for mediocrity. Following in the same vein, don’t settle for average. Rather, build a high performing team. And, if you’re going to do this, expect to lose some people along the journey. Therefore, place great importance on development reviews, objectives, goals, and one-to-one supervision. Goals provide challenges and opportunity for people … and the team … to excel. They also serve to evidence performance when expectations aren’t met. Nuff said?
  6. Get to know ’em. Know your team member’s personal goals, values and aspirations. So, pay attention to their lives inside and outside of work. Get to know them. And, don’t be fooled by those leadership writers who say you should stand aloof and not socialise with employees. They’re wrong! How can you inspire the team and keep them motivated if you don’t know what makes them tick?
  7. Have a little fun. Work … smile. Don’t take everything too seriously. But get the balance right. Celebrate successes, birthdays, or other remarkable events. Go for a curry once a month. Laugh about the latest football result. Moan about the latest football result. It really doesn’t matter. What does is building relationships and bonds, so people learn to depend upon and respect each other. The leader can’t make this happen, but he can make room for it.
  8. Challenge how people think. So, you want to improve team performance, and set realistic goals? Start with questions first. That’s right. It’s not your job to come up with all the answers. Let the team do the thinking for you! Effective business coaching is all about the questions. Helping people to think about their options and what they should do encourages self belief and self-development.
  9. Be creative. Creativity is a motivator. Give the team plenty of opportunity to solve problems. But remember this, if an idea isn’t used it serves no purpose and is a waste of time and energy. So, focus the team on real-world problems. Ask them to think about the possibilities rather than the limitations, and encourage feedback and suggestions.

If you hadn’t noticed, there’s a strong theme running through this list. It’s about leadership. It’s about showing the leið (road or way from Auld Norse.) That is, leadership is setting the direction.

by ).

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Why Self-Reflection Is the Key to Effective Leadership

Sunday, February 24th, 2019

The practice of self-awareness and self-reflection for those in leadership roles goes back thousands of years to the ancient philosophers and teachers. Yet, it seems that self-reflection is the manager’s least favourite pastime.

By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest. – Confucius

In this guest post by Jacqui Spencer we learn why self-refection is the key to effective leadership. If we are to improve our leadership skills, then it is important that we are aware of our strengths and weaknesses, our values and behaviours, and the ways in which we attempt to influence others. In other words, self-awareness and self-reflection is about learning to understand our leadership style.

Think you need a leadership coach? Read this first.

Self Reflection:

I was working with a senior leader recently in an attempt to help him adjust to working with his new CEO. It was an interesting assignment as it had gone from me being engaged to help him and his leadership team with a new strategic framework to a one-on-one reflection exercise.

I was particularly intrigued by the level of impact this new CEO appeared to have had on a leader I had known for a couple of years. This confident, self-directed, successful leader was asking questions that were very much focused on trust, relationships, engagement. But not on how he and his leadership team could drive the department forward with a sound strategy for future growth or what co-creation and collaboration would look like.

It became clear that this shift to a new CEO was creating some anxiety at very senior levels — not because there had never been a new CEO before but because this new CEO was asking different kinds of questions and my client was perhaps not in full blown self-doubt mode but had definitely embarked on that journey.

I suggested that now was a good time for self-reflection; that is, before he starts to think about moving forward perhaps he should glance backwards. I suggested the simple exercise of writing himself a letter, addressed to his younger self, just as he was starting out on his career path. The letter should give his younger self advice on how to be a great leader based on what he knows today.

This was probably not the best match between client and proposed solution as he struggled a little to understand what I was after, so I moved on to another idea which was a better match.

However on returning home I decided to find my “leadership reflection” letter that I had written when I was in a leadership position. I found it in my home office and I sat down and read it.

To me this remains the best exercise I ever did on personal reflection not because it demonstrated the power of memories but because it made me appreciate what it was like to be me and how lucky I was.

Even a number of years later it still had the same effect on me and so my advice to those of you somewhere on a leadership journey is take time out and write yourself a letter and every now and again read it because, trust me, it will be better than any one-on-one session you will have with a paid consultation or coach.

Here is mine — when you read it I hope you see what I mean.

Dear Jacqui,

Be authentic. Tell the truth and explain the WHY. Show yourself as being vulnerable at times so people see you as real and true.

Focus on leaving a legacy from the very start of your career. It will make you take the time to talk to people and if you start out wanting to be remembered then you will lead that way.You will screw up – admit it as quickly as you can.

Pick a leadership tool that you can relate to and stick with so you can use it wisely. Myers Briggs was the one tool I picked because it was not about competency but about preference and that’s a key difference people that work for you need to understand. It will help you know how best to lead.

Hire the right people — surround yourself with people that you can nurture or learn from. Make sure you also have an irritant. They will make you think differently and whilst working with them will take your energy and test your patience, the value they bring will be worth it.

Tell stories — about yourself in particular. When you share your own opinions, thoughts, fears, choices, challenges, failures and decisions and talk or write about it people will begin to see who you are and what you stand for – it makes you genuine.

Develop the next generation of leaders — mentor, guide, spend time with them. It will be the greatest investment you make. Don’t talk about it or boast about it. Over time the people will talk about you and that will gradually build a reputation for you that is much more meaningful. Find someone yourself who will give you tough messages and guide you. Listen to them.

Don’t take yourself too seriously and make sure fun and humour is part of work. People like to laugh and it’s good for your wellbeing so never forget to bring fun into the work place.

Empower people — do NOT micro manage. Delegate significant responsibilities not just things you don’t want to do. It will stretch and develop people around you and they will respect the fact you have trusted them. They will make you proud.

Engage widely with all members of groups you lead — not just your own direct reports. Ask everyone to contribute their thoughts on topics where you are the final decision maker; always make that point clear up front. Avoid hierarchical leadership at all times but balance it with a leadership presence that engages people to WANT to work for you.

Seek feedback on how you are doing and what you have done — don’t wait for your boss to do it.

write mid-year and end of year messages aimed at everyone in your group and don’t mention achievements, milestones or goals. Talk about what made you proud, what you would like to have done differently and show your appreciation. When someone tells you someone else has done something good then reach out to them to add your gratitude. A simple email or phone call is worth a lot with people.

Be visible. Go on walkabouts, have coffee, stop and talk — wherever you are. It’s where you will truly find out what is going on and what people are thinking or what is an issue. Make sure you listen, act and feedback.

Don’t break a promise. Deliver on your commitments. Drive for extraordinary results. Showcase the work your group does and give airtime to others to get the credit.

Be passionate about what you believe and live by your values — don’t look upwards for instructions or downwards for gratitude.

Remember this is your life and work is a part of it — get the balance right.

You’re about to have a ball so enjoy! I wish I could do it all again …


Understanding our strengths, weaknesses, talents and behaviours will help us to respond effectively in a range of leadership situations. Without self-awareness we dismantle confidence and trust.

So, self-awareness is the key to being a more effective leader.

by .

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Don’t Panic! How to Lead In a Crisis

Sunday, February 24th, 2019

Every business experiences a crisis at some time. The unexpected can cause fear and anger, and give rise to anxiety in those responsible for solving the problem and leading others through the chaos.

If you take the lead in a crisis, don’t panic!

In this short guide we share 8 critical ways to lead in a crisis.

8 Critical Ways to Lead in a Crisis

No doubt your boss and team expect you to put aside your own fears and stay calm during a crisis. But how do you lead with confidence and find effective solutions quickly?

Many people let their feelings get the better of them in stressful times. They may become anxious, alarmed or even paralysed by fear. Yet others are accused of ignoring the crisis altogether and put their head in the sand.

But, ignoring your feelings or letting them control your behaviour is probably the worst thing a leader can do.

Knowing how the environment is pulling your strings and playing you is critical to making responsive rather than reactive moves. – Ronald Heifetz

Instead, strong leaders …

  1. Acknowledge their feelings — But manage them so they can fix the problem quickly. Leaders must have strategies in place to calmly lead teams in a crisis.
  2. Remember past obstacles overcome — At some time in our lives we all face a crisis that has serious consequences for the business, its customers and employees. When faced with such crises, strong leaders draw from previous experiences and remember how they overcame past problems. So, give yourself some needed encouragement: You can do it!
  3. Are emotionally detached from the problem — Strong leaders step off the dance floor onto the balcony. A strong leader needs to understand the problem before finding the solution. So, he steps out of the furore and learns what is going on.
  4. Are decisive and quickly take action — We often use the term “fire-fighting” to describe our reaction to unplanned or unexpected events. In truth, this is misleading. Firefighters — or any emergency service for that matter — are well drilled and know exactly what to do in a crisis. Strong leaders know this and are prepared. They focus on what needs to be done and get on with it; directing teams and taking firm control of the situation.
  5. Exude confidence — Whether you’ve led a crisis or not, act like you have! Strong leaders maintain composure throughout a problem; people draw strength from the leader because they — at least outwardly — conduct themselves as if it has happened before.
  6. Keep their cup half full — Strong leaders are black belts in self mastery. Thinking you won’t succeed will prevent you from handling the crisis effectively. So, believe in your own ability, be positive, stay strong and provide inspiration and motivation for the team.
  7. Are committed to solving the problem — Leaders who remain composed during a crisis are fully committed to taking care of the situation. They are accountable and assume the responsibility of the problem. They take the steps needed to solve the problem.
  8. Don’t take things too personally — Keep your emotions in check, put aside your feelings for now, and show the team that you are in control of the situation. Maintain your composure while continually expressing your concern and care.

A crisis will happen in almost every business at some time. It’s all too easy to lose composure when faced with adversity; letting concern and anxiety turn to fear. Strong leaders have learned how to lead during a crisis and are able to step back — from dance floor to balcony — to evaluate the problem critically and lead from the front.

Bonus Thought:

Many crises can be avoided. But, all to often employees aren’t empowered to deal with problems as they happen. Time is wasted seeking approvals and permission.

Problem begets problem and soon there is crisis.

Does the deputy store manager withdraw goods he suspects are contaminated? Or does he first contact head office for a decision?


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Emotional Intelligence in Leadership

Sunday, February 24th, 2019

When it comes to great leadership skills, people generally think about someone who is brave, honest, and driven, which of course are all very important traits.

But are they the most important?

Many modern leaders lose sight of an essential leadership skill that differentiates the good leader, from the great.

Emotional Intelligence.

The skill?

Emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognise, and react to your own emotions, and the emotions of others.

Emotional intelligence helps leaders recognise stressful situations and react in a positive, more effective manner.

Reacting to an individual’s emotions may seem part of human nature, and it’s easily taken for granted as a leadership skill needed to be successful. But this is where a lot of leaders go wrong.

Here’s why …

Many businesses are turning away from employee participation, and looking to their quarterly and yearly goals for their main priority. Without emotional intelligence in their leadership, the desire to reach these targets creates stressful and competitive environments that lack effective communication.

This type of leadership may get results fast, but in the long run it almost always will result in failure, companies that put employee first ultimately come out on top.

Becoming Self Aware.

To truly start understanding the emotions of others, you first need to understand yourself.

Becoming self aware is the first step.

This means coming to terms with your own personality, thoughts, and of course, emotions.

For example, a deadline for an important project is due in just a few days. Naturally this drives stress levels up, and may cause panicked thinking. With proper self awareness you can detect rising stress early, and take control of the situation to calm yourself, and others. This creates an effectively focused environment.

Increasing your self awareness can be as simple as meditating for just 15 minutes a day. It removes unnecessary clutter from your mind and helps you to take control of your emotions.

Knowing your personality type is another step in the right direction. Taking a DISC assessment test or Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment will quickly tell you your personality traits and how to effectively work with other personality types.

Awareness of Others.

An awareness of other people’s emotions poses a greater challenge than understanding your own. This part of emotional intelligence can be the difference between being a good leader, and being a great one.

When a leader understands their own emotions perfectly, but creates a solitary environment around themselves, they lose trust and communication will quickly dwindle.

And, when there is a lack of communication in the workplace, how do you read emotions correctly?

The invention company, 3M practices strong communication with its employees. They encourage their scientists to share ideas. Where one scientist may no use from a product, another scientist sees opportunity. This has resulted in many great inventions for 3M including the Post-It Note and hundreds of new ideas created everyday.

This equation stays the same in any business. Communication creates a more transparent, and trustworthy environment.  As a leader this is exactly what you want. By making it easier for people to express themselves, you are rewarded with trust.

Employees won’t create this kind of thinking on their own. It’s your job to create an open floor policy that invites a flow of regular communication with employees. Keeping an open door and being readily available is essential. If you are open with your employees they will be more outspoken, and that’s when your emotional intelligence is used optimally.

Practice, Practice, Practice.

Emotional intelligence is like many things, it takes practice to master. And, it all comes back to one golden rule:

Make sure you always treat your employees how you would like to be treated.

Before getting heated at an employee for making a mistake, ask yourself: How would I feel in their position?

Simple moves like this will gradually gain trust and respect. It will result in happier employees, and everyone, including yourself, feeling less stressed.

Soon you’ll start to realise the positive effects of emotional intelligence everywhere in your life. Maybe you have a disagreement with a friend or loved one? Instead of engaging in selfish arguing, you’ll be thinking about the best way to figure out a solution that will be best for both of you.

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Team Building — 5 Steps to Forming a Team

Sunday, February 24th, 2019

So you’re forming a team?  My job is completely new and I’m recruiting into a team now. This is a great opportunity and I relish the challenge!

Team Building.

When I started thinking about team building the first thing I did was to imagine what the team would be like. I see a highly successful team with the right skills, abilities and attitudes. A team with a flat structure. One that aids communication and encourages innovation.

But how do I realise this vision?

Straight away I thought of Tuckman‘s model for small group development: Forming, storming, norming and performing. Clearly my focus is on forming. But what does this mean? The advice is quite clear for this first stage of team building.

5 Steps to Forming a Team

Goodwill may exist but trust is likely to be low. There is little agreement on team aims. Roles and responsibilities are unclear and team members behave independently.

Consequently, there is high dependence on the team leader for guidance and direction. So, the leader should be ready to answer lots of questions about the team’s purpose, aims and relationships with key stakeholders.

What does this mean in practice?

Well here’s what I’m doing. As ever, in five steps!

Ground Rules:

The way in which the team operates is very important to me.

How will people behave? What is the culture of the team?

To be effective, everyone needs to be clear about the way they work together. The team needs a common identity … to share the same values, goals and objectives. Ground rules provide guidance for specific behaviours and expectations.

However, to make sure they are followed they should be prepared and agreed by the team. Therefore, I believe that a team charter should be drawn up when the team is first formed. This will help everyone to focus on the right things from the start.

Roles and Responsibilities:

Once the ground rules are agreed the team should begin to define roles and responsibilities.

How will the team work together? How are different personality types accommodated?

I am accountable for bringing people with the right skills and experience to the team. However, it won’t be until the team first meets that I get a real insight into how well members will work together. This is the time to match people to roles and identify gaps within the team.

At this early stage, the team can define the various duties and outcomes and agree responsibility for them. What’s more, it is the first chance to identify strengths and weaknesses within the team.

Decision Making:

Decision making is an important element of team work.

How are decisions made? Who has the last say? What can be done without prior approval? How is conflict resolved?

I believe that participation — employee involvement — leads to a more effective team.

And team members need to understand what authority they have in the decision making process. For instance, in what circumstances do I set constraints and delegate decisions to the team?

And, in contrast, when is a directive approach appropriate? Clarity about decision making strengthens the team because people are more likely to be committed to carrying out decisions.

Service Planning:

The team plan achieves two things:

  1. it outlines the team vision, mission and service objectives including performance measures, and
  2. identifies service-led development activities that will be completed during the life of the plan.

Preparing a mission statement is a great way to engage the new team and reach consensus about the team’s purpose. It will encourage answers to many questions.

For instance …

What value will the team provide for the organisation? How will we measure success? What will we do differently?

At this early stage in team development I believe it is necessary to set objectives that are measurable and capable of demonstrating that the team is making good progress.

Once again, agreement and commitment is more likely if the team decides on its priorities and then delivers on them.

Team Processes

Team building is largely about directing the team to establish clear objectives. This stage is best achieved with a high level of team involvement since it leads to strong, well supported decisions.

With strong foundations the team can begin to move from forming to storming establishing processes and structure.

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