Blog – Claude Warner – Upskill Coach

Are you OK? I’m worried about you.

August 12, 2021 in Executive Coaching, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership

It is said that “Life is what happens when you’re making other plans”. Imagine what would happen when you are working your plan to hit your numbers, and a loved one suddenly becomes critically ill. Can you just cut off and soldier on? Most people will turn their attention to supporting their loved one. We are human after all, and part of being human is to love and care. But what happens to our performance at work? How likely are you to still hit your numbers? That’s right, not likely. You need help and support at this time.

What if that person is in your team, and you see their numbers dropping further and further behind target. Do you pull them them directly into a performance conversation? After all, this person is a ‘resource’ in a ‘role’, whose performance is measured by ‘KPI’s’. (This is language I still hear in my work as a coach). Or, do you think to yourself, “This person is normally a top performer, there must be something going on”. This is called empathy, the simple act of putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, which is at the heart of leadership.

Employees are more than ‘human doings’; they are human beings with lives that extend beyond their performance. How leaders engage with them affects their sense of psychological safety, their trust in the leader (and the organisation), and influences their engagement and the discretionary effort they bring to their role. As a leader, you choose how you engage. Do you go straight to the “Produce the numbers or else” conversation, or do you show empathy and say “Your numbers are down. Are you OK? I’m worried about you”. Simon Sinek beautifully demonstrates these two approaches.

As a leader, you might think “Of course I am empathetic”, but how do your team members feel? What are their perspectives? Could theirs be different to yours, and if so, why? Running a 360 can give you objective data on how you are ‘landing’ as a leader.

A resource I often share with clients is this thoughtful HBR article that asks, “Is it better to be loved, or feared?”, suggesting four styles of engagement (and their likely responses), through a combination of high and low strength (competence) and warmth.

As a leader, how clear are you on how empathetic you are, and whether your dominant engagement style is the most effective? If you are not as sure as you would like to be, let me help you. Together we can set up a 360, selecting a range of stakeholders that will give you the most objective feedback. We can work through the report, looking at what the gaps are, and why, and what you can do to change those perceptions. With all that discretionary effort on the table, which ultimately affects your performance KPI’s, why not?

Want to explore your level of empathy, and possibilities to increase your engagement – Book a No-Cost Introduction Call to discuss crafting a coaching programme just for you

Aa professionally qualified executive and leadership coach, I have worked with hundreds of leaders over the last 15 years, passionately supporting them to close gaps and identify opportunities in their leadership practice, turning awareness into the wisdom and action to become a radically human leader. Further information and testimonials on LinkedIn.

Why we need radically human leaders

June 28, 2021 in Emotional Intelligence, Executive Coaching, Leadership, Remote working, Self-Leadership, Work-Life Balance

The world is changing radically.

The incessant and accelerating change in technology has required businesses to become more responsive and fluid to adapt. Organizational structures have morphed from the rigid command and control structures of the linear industrial era to more agile and fluid structures, increasingly becoming an eco-system of networks linking teams and projects. From living-systems theory we know that networks are bound by relationships, and the quality of those relationships determine both the cohesiveness of the networks and the results they produce.

Adding to this, technology has enabled, and the global pandemic has accelerated, the shift towards remote working, creating a hybrid workplace where many relationships are distant, and performance is digitally mediated.

The very nature of capitalism itself is changing, from an exploitative, short-term, profit and shareholder driven focus to a more sustainable “triple bottom line” focus of people, aligned with purpose, producing a profit.

Leadership, of necessity, is also changing. Whereas leaders previously lead mechanistically, requiring people to leave their emotions and private lives at home, emotional intelligence has becoming a key differentiator of leadership performance. However, this new world of work requires even more radically human leadership, a “Leadership 4.0” as it were, where leaders:

  • Know themselves at the deepest of levels, their strengths and weaknesses (and blind spots), as opposed to operating from long established default behaviours, creating internal alignment and increasing resilience
  • Show up with greater authenticity, driven from within by clearly articulated and aligned values, in order establish psychological safety, create trust and a shared sense of purpose
  • Lead with humility and vulnerability, and with deep empathy and emotional intelligence, to connect and create sustainable emotional engagement and performance.

This radically human Leadership 4.0 “upgrade” requires the courage and vulnerability to stand back and examine one’s mindsets, behaviours and approaches, and the willingness to prototype new ways of being and doing. It is both scary and exciting.

To support you in this journey, who better than to have a “calm wise shepherd” working with you in a “relationship of trust”, helping you to “discover more about myself and the actual me” in order to “change their perspective on leadership”.  (From LinkedIn testimonials)

As a professionally qualified executive and leadership coach, I have worked with hundreds of leaders over the last 15 years, passionately supporting them to close gaps and identify opportunities in their leadership practice, turning awareness into wisdom and action. Further information and testimonials on LinkedIn.