Published date: December 16, 2019
Last modified: December 16, 2019

21 ways in which you can develop your self-belief.

Has there ever been a time in your life when you’ve wanted to have more self-belief, when you’ve wanted to have more confidence in yourself?

  • Be aware of your thinking. You talk to yourself more than anyone else talks to you
  • Start to develop more helpful self-talk statements, to replace the things that you say to yourself that might be hindering. Replace those, with things that are more helpful that can help you to achieve more and get you to where you want to be.
  • Develop helpful questions that you can ask yourself that will help to build or maintain self-belief. Questions that will give you answers that will help you to feel more confident and increase your self-belief.
  • Recognise your strengths. Write down 10 or 20 things that you’re really good at or that people tell you you’re really good at. These don’t have to be big things – they could be small things that you’ve been successful at in the past or things that make you feel good.
  • Develop helpful self-talk statements about your abilities. For example; ‘I’m really good at this’, and ‘I’m really good at that’. ‘I feel great when I’m doing this’. These things help to develop the self-talk that you need to help you be more successful.
  • Learn from past experiences. Take the learning from things that haven’t gone well. Take the learning from things that have gone great. We can focus on something that went well and think that’s great I’ll leave that in the past. But why not take the learning from it?
  • Focusing on an event – there could be three possible outcomes: you can win and have a great success, you can learn some stuff and you can also do some things to change the ways you might do it in the future. So, we can win, learn and change.
  • Focus on what you can learn and change from any experience. Don’t look at failure and think, ‘that went wrong that was terrible’.
  • Access self-development resources that are positive and can help you to stretch your imagination and stretch your thinking about the way you might do things. Write out 10, 15, 20 things that you’re going to take from that resource to help you in the future.
  • Plan time to undertake development activities and to do things that you’re not done before.
  • Look for things that are going to stretch your comfort zone. Throughout our daily lives we tend to do things that keep us comfortable. So, why don’t you do something that stretches you, because the more you do that the more your comfort zone will stretch.
  • Focus on what you want, rather than focusing on failure or what you don’t want to happen. Focus on what you do want to happen.
  • Visualise your success. If you imagine yourself in the future and you imagine your success, you’ll be amazed that the minute detail that you can get in your minds eye of what success looks like. Doing this creates a compelling future for you and it helps your mind to understand what it would be like to be successful.
  • Make decisions on what you want to do and when you’re going to do it. But also, be persistent and realise that along the way to being successful and making a difference that things will happen. There will be times when you’ll need to be aware of your thinking, to make it more helpful, to help you to maintain your self-belief.
  • Identify people who have achieved what you want to achieve and learn from them. Look at what they did and look at what their thinking was around the things that they did.
  • Associate yourself with positive people, people that’ll always be looking on the bright side, people that are looking at the good things in life. These people will give you energy and give you focus to learn and change and get the things you want to achieve.
  • Avoid comparisons with other people. They have their own path to take and you have yours.
  • Identify sources of enjoyment. Things we enjoy doing are the things we have a passion about and are the things we want to spend our time doing. If you can make a difference around these areas and the things in life which you are passionate about you’ll enjoy it much more.
  • Celebrate successes along the way to making your difference.
  • Understand that you have choices. You have a choice of the actions to take to build your self-belief. What might you possibly choose to do?
  • Understand your purpose. Knowing your ‘why’ and staying true to this in your choices, interactions and actions will give you confidence in your decisions.
Published date:
Last modified: December 16, 2019

6 stand out qualities that make an inspirational leader

Many studies draw parallels between strong leadership and solid organisational performance. But whether they’re a junior manager or a senior executive, the qualities that leaders need are changing. Traditional, coveted leadership skills must be coupled with new abilities in today’s rapidly evolving and unpredictable world. So, what does an effective modern leader look like?

A global study by McKinsey & Company found that more than 90 per cent of CEOs planned to boost their spend on leadership development, rating it as the most crucial human-capital issue their organisation faced. The report also found that leadership strength explains about 80 per cent of the variance in organisations’ ability to sustain long-term performance. Yet McKinsey also reports that more than half of companies are not confident their leadership development will yield positive results.

1. Remember what truly makes a leader

Before looking at what new skills leaders might need to take an organisation into the future, it is perhaps worth reflecting on what a leader actually is. Unfortunately, being put in charge of colleagues does not necessarily make you a ‘leader’.

In a speech at Harvard University, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said, “Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.”

Meanwhile, retired astronaut Chris Hadfield (most famous for his rendition of David Bowie’s Space Odyssey recorded on the International Space Station) believes that leadership is “not about glorious crowning acts”.

“It’s about keeping your team focused on a goal and motivated to do their best to achieve it, especially when the stakes are high and the consequences really matter,” he said in his book An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth.

While there are many other opinions out there, the common thread seems to be that a true leader allows other people to do their job better. But what traits are needed to achieve this in the modern workplace?

2. Use blended leadership styles for a VUCA world

Stacey Philpot, Human Capital Principal at Deloitte Consulting in the US, says the core skills that were historically most needed in leaders have not changed, based on psychological assessments of 23,000 senior leaders globally over the past 25 years.

These skills include pattern recognition, motivation, agility and emotional intelligence, or the ability to understand, control and express emotions.

“These skills allow someone to become a leader faster than their peers, even in today’s volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) environment,” she says.

However, leaders need new styles of leadership to deal with changing cultures, says John Rocco, Vice President of Marketing, Canadian Banking at Scotiabank in Toronto. “Being comfortable with not having the answer, owning failure and drawing lessons from it, can create an environment of trust and openness that creates innovation,” he says, adding that these behaviours may engage employees too.

Collectively, these behaviours form “servant leadership”, where leaders create the conditions for teams to excel by displaying empathy and vulnerability – traits that Rocco says were once perceived as weaknesses. This is a marked shift from the authoritative, ‘command-and-control’ leadership style that once prevailed, he says.

But given the stigma around servant leadership, how can it be encouraged in organisations? Alsu Polyakova, HR Leader for RCIS, GE Healthcare, says the key is frequent performance appraisals for leaders, where behaviours are decoded and encouraged. “We give leaders lots of opportunities for self-reflection, so they understand how they behave,” she says.

GE Healthcare’s most successful leaders help to encourage behavioural change, Polyakova says. Success is measured by how well employees rate (in surveys) leaders on achieving GE Healthcare’s “cultural pillars” – inspiring trust and empowering employees, among others.

Once an organisation has a clear set of values that are understood by everyone (this can be made clear through 360-degree feedback assessments), leadership can be scaled. Rocco says this should be done from the top down. “The most senior leaders must demonstrate leadership behaviours that are aligned to those values. If leaders walk the talk and create the conditions for those leadership values to flourish, the propensity for others across all levels to model that behaviour increases dramatically.”

He adds that behaviours that are contrary to those leadership values become more visible and, ideally, are not tolerated. “This effectively snuffs out the oxygen that breeds bad leadership,” he says.

3. Build a culture of trust

Gaining workers’ trust is more important than ever, says Nadezhda Kokoliya, Bayer’s Head of Talent Acquisition for Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). That’s because employees increasingly expect leaders to take action on societal issues like climate change, she says, and doing that is one way to build trust. In fact, 71 per cent of employees believe it’s critically important for their CEOs to do this, according to the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer.

Doing so may yield rich rewards. The Edelman poll shows that workers who trust their employers – a trust that is earned, in part, by leaders addressing societal challenges – are far more engaged and remain more loyal than their more sceptical peers. “If employees don’t trust you, they won’t follow you,” agrees Kokoliya, who measures trust through regional workforce surveys. “But employees are questioning management decisions more so than in the past because they are more informed by the proliferation of information online.”

While leadership styles are clearly changing, the most effective leaders tailor their styles to suit different scenarios, says Professor Sattar Bawany, CEO of the Centre for Executive Education in Singapore. “Leaders need a broad repertoire of management styles and the wisdom to know when each style should be used,” he says. “In crisis scenarios like cybersecurity breaches, for example, leadership should be authoritarian because the scenario is unstructured.”

4. Adapt leadership style for different generations

Managers must also balance leadership styles to suit different generations. Modern workplaces will soon house up to five generations under one roof – Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, Gen Z and Gen I – many with differing preferences for how they wish to be led, according to Lindsey Pollak, author of The Remix: How to lead and succeed in the multigenerational workplace.

She believes modern leaders must mix old and new leadership styles that better suit younger generations. That’s because millennials (20-somethings), for example, are forecast to account for three-quarters of all workers in the US by 2030.

Therefore, engaging them is crucial to good organisational performance, but leaders will need to tweak their styles to do that. For instance, Pollak says millennials want more transparency in how leaders communicate with them than older workers because they have grown up with social media.

“Twenty years ago, everything in organisations was on a ‘need-to-know’ basis,” she says. “With millennials, you need to be more explicit in giving instruction and explaining why, to keep them engaged.”

5. Commit to lifelong learning

With the workplace evolving so rapidly, leaders cannot rely on past experience alone to get by, says Norm Smallwood, who co-founded The RBL Group, a leadership consultancy. “Being exposed to many situations means you may be able to deal with future uncertainty, because you have developed resilience,” he acknowledges. “But many leaders are siloed, running one function.”

Ben Farmer, Head of HR, UK Corporate at Amazon UK concurs: “Experience is not always synonymous with wisdom and judgement. And naivety doesn’t always engender novel thinking and openness to change.”

For this reason, he says organisations should look for leaders who understand the future better, as well as those with a wealth of experience. “Success comes from the ability to combine understanding of exciting, new trends with the experience required to put that knowledge into action,” says Farmer.

But what is the right balance of prescience and retrospection? Farmer says: “Ultimately, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach when balancing experience with adaptability, which depends on the organisation and the sector it operates in.”

For example, experience is less important in rapidly evolving industries such as manufacturing (because of robotics), as prior knowledge may quickly become stale, says Bawany.

6. Be aware of cultural differences

Organisational culture is an important factor too, he says. Risk-averse firms, for instance, may prefer experience over novel thinking, fearful of a backlash from stakeholders should the latter fail.

To mitigate this risk, companies should look for leaders who also make decisions based on scientific evidence as well as gut feeling. That’s according to Omid Shiraji, a Consultant Chief Information Officer for a London council.

“Leaders need to use increasingly available data to inform their decisions, but they should always use intuition to augment the data,” he says. This can mean certifying the evidence based on decisions they’ve previously made, Shiraji says. “We still need human leaders in a technology-driven world.”

Ultimately, there’s no single blueprint for an effective modern leader, says Anuj Kumar, UK Financial Services Lead on Banking Industry Strategy at SAP. Each organisation must take a tailored approach to leadership development, he says, focusing on organisational culture, industry nuances, and employee mix.

But above all, says Kumar, leaders should recognise that today’s reality may be old news tomorrow. “The winners will be leaders who are proactively shaping things while also quickly adapting to doing things differently,” he concludes.

Thanks to Sandra Henke Group Head of People and Culture Hays

Published date: December 11, 2019
Last modified: December 11, 2019

5 ways to engage others in accelerating results.

Businesses set out the results they want through a vision, mission, goals, KPIs or other means. Providing these are communicated, individuals should understand the outcomes expected. But, how motivated are they towards reaching these goals and how can they be engaged to achieve them quicker?

If you can engage with others by defining goals that are then achieved, they’re more likely to want to repeat this success, to get this rush of pleasure. Continual repetition of this will contribute to establishing a results focused culture.

Here are five ways you can engage others in accelerating results;

1. Create a vision

Build understanding by starting with a visIon. This could be a vision about the expected outcome of a piece of work, a project or a change that is being implemented. The purpose is to have a clear picture of the end result. A vision will also engage your subconscious. This part of the brain helps with problem solving, making decisions, leads the way in creativity and takes control when approaching something new. Giving your subconscious a detailed view of where you’re going will ensure steps are taken in that direction.

This vision can take any format. This could be words, a picture, video, whatever works for you and the others involved. Most importantly involve them in creating this vision. Have conversations about how this adds value, both to them and the business. Ask questions to encourage thinking around the role they play and how they can contribute. This will give a real sense of purpose as well as a clear direction.

2. Achieve small wins

Once you have the vision break this down into a set of smaller achievable goals. The more successes, the more rushes of dopamine, the more the desire to have more of the same. These regular feelings of achievement will motivate others to keep going, to move onto the next small win. Decide how far you can break things down. Could there possibly be wins every week or even every day?

You’ll still have the bigger picture in mind, but if that is all that is visible to people they may feel they aren’t getting anywhere. They may even feel like they are failing. This feeling of failure causes a drain of dopamine from the brain, which can make it hard to concentrate and even difficult to reflect on the learning taking place.

Psychologist and workplace behavioural sciences expert Aubrey Daniels, confirms this. He refers to a study, which indicated that when individuals don’t reach their goals, their overall performance suffers. This suggests that goals only act as a motivator to accelerate results when there is a positive outcome. Thus, confirming the need to agree goals that are attainable.

3. Use inspiring language

In developing goals or communicating them, think about the words you use. Do you make the goals sound exciting and worth being involved in? Or do they sound dull and boring? It may be the same goal in the end, but how you describe it can make all the difference.

Inspiring language is more likely to draw people in. Bring goals to life to build the desire to want to work towards achieving them. Use action oriented verbs including; implement, design, create, build, develop, anticipate or promote.

Consider the difference in these two goals for a regular task:

Goal A – Make sure the finance report is completed by the last working day of each month.

Goal B – Create an easy to interpret report on the key financial performance indicators to enable the management team to determine priority actions for the next month.

Which would you rather take forward as your goal?

Remember to consider your non-verbal messages in face-to-face situations.  Is your tone of voice and body language congruent with what you are saying? Do you look and sound inspiring? If you are expecting someone to buy into a goal you need to make sure you sound like you’re bought in and excited about it.

4. Generate a wish list

Think about your hopes and aspirations. All the things that aren’t quite goals yet, but that you’d like to achieve at some point. How about keeping a list of these for yourself and involving the team in developing a list? These wishes could be actions related to working towards business or professional goals. They could be activities to implement at a team level. They may be wish stage now, but could be turned into goals as other goals are achieved or when the time is right.

A wish list can be a motivator, as it maintains the theme of having something to work towards. The list will always be work in progress and the motivations behind some of the items on the list might diminish as other items are added. Some might not seem realistic, but might open the doors for other ideas. I can remember one of the wishes of a team I worked with in the past was to have a team puppy. Now this didn’t come to fruition, but we did end up with an office cat, which was more than a good substitute.

And, you may be wondering how a wish list can contribute to accelerating results. But, if you follow the premise that you get what you focus on, articulating dreams and wishes help to create a culture of thinking about and going for the things you want.

5. Celebrate success

Make sure you celebrate your wins. Big wins, small wins and anything in between. This will keep up the flow of dopamine and give the impetus to do more. Recognise the good feelings that are generated when goals are achieved and make the time for these celebrations. The celebration doesn’t have to be significant. It could be something as simple as stopping work for five minutes and acknowledging what has been achieved. Crucially, remember to include all those involved in the celebrations.

Make celebrating success a habit. You don’t always have to lead it and you can encourage others to be involved in identifying and celebrating wins. I worked with a team that regularly sent around ‘well done’ emails when they recognised something that an individual or the team had achieved. It was great to see the buzz in the team as the message of the win was shared. Ultimately, when the celebrations are complete people should be fired up to go on to do more.

These 5 tips for engaging others to accelerate results can be applied personally, with just one other person or with a team.

It might be worth reviewing your goals and checking the effect they may be having. Are your goals broken down enough to be considered achievable? And, will there be enough small wins along the way to keep up enthusiasm and momentum?

Here are 3 practical things you can do straightaway to engage others in accelerating results;

  • Review your goals and your team goals to assess how inspiring they are. If they aren’t, then rewrite them.
  • Think about what might be on your wish list. Give it go – write out your list. Having done your own list, suggest that your team creates a wish list.
  • Identify the wins of the last week and celebrate them!

Thanks to GOMAD