What it really takes to be a Conscious Leader

I’m often asked “What is Conscious Leadership”? How do I know if I’m a conscious leader or not, so I thought I’d shed a little light on the topic.

The difference between these two styles of Leaders:

  1. Conscious Leader – A leader that is making decisions and is fully aware of how their decision or behavior is potentially going to impact others.
  2. Unconscious Leader – A leader that makes decisions completely unaware of how their decision or behavior is going to impact others.

I’m sure we’ve all worked with leaders and team members that lacked self awareness – If I’m honest sometimes I am quite jealous of people who are blissfully unaware…for a minute or two, then the reality hits home, that it’s actually not as great as it appears.
But it can be incredibly frustrating working with a team member or leader who lacks self awareness. I came across this diagram – I can’t take credit for it, but it’s a perfect example of how when you have people in leadership roles or in a team with various levels of self awareness how challenging work can become.

Let’s start with those that are not self aware (the bottom right hand quadrant). When a leader and employee both lack self awareness, chances are it’s the blind leading the blind. They’re operating in a pretty reactive state, nothing is really being achieved, there is probably a culture of blame, victim mentality and well it’s not at all engaging. It’s chaotic.

Now, lets move to the employee being self aware and working with an unaware or unconscious leader (top right hand corner) – Hello frustration. Did you know that frustration with a direct leader is one of the biggest causes of employees resigning from their roles? It can be quite hard to try and have an impact when you’re working with someone who is unaware of how their behaviour and deiciosn are impacting the team.

However, when a leader has self awareness and an employee does not (bottom left quadrant) – there is an OPPORTUNITY for the leader to develop the employee. To mentor, coach, stretch them to think differently, ask questions, and start to unlock that self awareness within. This can be via feedback, coaching, a DISC Profile or opportunity to be exposed to new projects to challenge what they currently don’t know they don’t know.

Where the magic happens is when you have a self aware leader and self aware employee. Hello potential. With self awareness comes someone who truly knows themselves. They’re honest and upfront about where the excel, what they need help with. You can cut through the BS, have more honest conversations about what is best for the business and each other, build greater rapport as there is no confusion about the part they are each going to play in achieving success.

Pretty simple hey?

Self awareness – definitely one of the most valuable asset leaders and employees can have. Do you agree?

How to Bring the Best Out of your Team

It really is so easy.

So, it’s a New Year, but sometimes it’s not about everything being new but it’s about mastering what we’ve already got.

Just like a car going in for service we too need to give ourselves a service, a tune up so we can perform better. So, what do you need to do this year to help yourself perform better? Is it going to the gym, a walk, meditating, taking time out of the office to plan, to spend time in the sun or by the water or write on the beach (as I cheekily am now).

Personally for me there are 4 things I need to do:

  1. I need to be organised. I need to know the kids are sorted, I’ve got clarity on what needs to be done by when and how it’s going to happen. I need to make sure I prioritise my time, so I’m not working till midnight every night. It’s pretty easy when you love what you do to get carried away once the kids go to bed and you’ve got time to yourself. For some reason my creative juices start flowing about 10pm…. and it’s game on. But it’s doesn’t work to well come 5am when the kids wake up and the day starts so I’m trialling a few other options right now.
  2. I need some time to myself – to think, to write, to get to the gym, brainstorm, implement, learn and grow. I need this most days. Even when I’m pushed for time, the difference a 20min hypnosis (a form of meditation) – can make is incredible.
  3. I also crave time in or by nature – Ideally the ocean or beach, but I will never say no to a mountain esp if it’s covered in snow! If I’m super lucky I’ll get time by the ocean in the sun to write as I am today.
  4. Lastly I need time with my husband. To connect, talk, share and just be. It’s not easy when both parents work full time – whether you work for yourselves, someone else or look after kids full time, its so important to prioritise time with your partner. I always like to know what’s going on in his world – because ultimately it’s actually our world.

So, enough about me, now all about you. Do you want to know the secret for bringing the best out of your team? Actually it doesn’t even need to be your team, it might be your partner or even your boss.

Here you go….ASK THEM. Yep that’s right stop second guessing what they need from you and ASK them.

Do they need clarity on something? Time? Direction? Autonomy? Flexibility?

I reckon the best conversation you can have with anyone important to you in your life is to ask them what they need from you to be able to perform better or be a better version of themselves. You’ll be blown away with how simple it is and how easily it can be achieved.

So, STOP guessing and start asking.

Go on, do it. Ask, ask now.

Love to know what you got asked to do.

PS. My husband got asked to take the kids for a few hours so I could get organised and have an hour to myself! Surprise Surprise.

What Makes a Great Leader

What makes a Great Leader?

There are many articles written about leadership these days, some I skim over and get nothing from, others grab my attention and I’m glued. Usually the ones that grab my attention are those that have some aspect of scientific reference, after all, everything starts with science somewhere along the lines, doesn’t it?

So what makes a great leader? In my opinion, you need to have:

  1. Great self awareness
  2. Clarity on what success looks like and how you’re going to get there.
  3. Strong professional relationships with those influential to your success – your direct team – the one you lead and any others you’re part and
  4. Consistent time set aside for Investment in your development and the development of your team.

If you’re reading this, I’ve made the assumption that you’re a leader of a business or may desire to be a leader in the future.

If you’re a current leader, ask yourself, how’s your career or business going? Are you flying along, in flow, everything is lining up, sales are growing, costs in control, people happy, relationships strong?  Or are there constant challenges, one after the other, nothing quite going right, missing sales, struggling to get your people to stick around, move forward?

Well, if you’re in the first scenario, put your hand out in front of you, face your palm and lift it up to pat yourself on the back. Well done. you’re obv doing many things right.

If, however you’re in the second category and need some assistance, you’re not alone. Careers and business have and will continue to evolve at a pretty rapid rate and you too need to continue to evolve to ensure you’ve got constant clarity on what success looks like for you in your role and how you’re going to get there. If you haven’t invested in any Personal development or you’re still running a Strategy from even 2 years ago, it may be time to set some time aside to refocus and reflect.

Self Awareness is an absolute no brainer when it comes to being a great leader. If you’ve ever worked for a leader who lacked self awareness, you know what I’m talking about – the word frustration comes to mind. Sometimes you just don’t know what you don’t know – that’s ok. It’s when you think you know it all, yet your behaviours, decisions and results prove otherwise. The best way to create greater self awareness, is to get down and dirty with the science behind who you are and complete an Advanced DISC Profile. Click here to find out more about how to develop great self awareness.

Likewise, clarity is a key ingredient in success. Once you have clarity it enables you to prioritise where you spend your time in order to make the greatest impact and have the greatest return. A success plan that you regularly check in to and have someone hold you accountable to, is a great place to start.

So what is a Success Plan? It’s a modern twist on the old skool Position/Job Description except it doesn’t list a long list of tasks to do, the language used is more aspirational. You actually write what success looks like aka  – You know you’ve been successful when…. you’ve delivered x % of growth YOY, when retention is sitting at y.

It really is quite a simple yet powerful tool. Once you’ve got clarity on what success looks like in your role, it will provide valuable transparency to your team with what you need to deliver to be successful and in turn what they need to deliver to assist the businesses success.

If you’re a CEO, you’d absolutely need clarity from the Board as to what success looks like, – it doesn’t have to be as straight forward as a Success Plan. By the Board reviewing whats been working, what hasn’t, where the business needs to go in order to be successful…… receiving feedback is a form of clarity. Either way, long or short term, you need to make sure you’re on the right track and not just turning up day after day going through the motions. You need to be moving forward and so does the business you’re part of. It sounds simple and I hate to say it, it really is. Clarity is key.

Clarity from your peers and/or your team is also incredibly valuable. If they have clarity on what success looks like for you in your role, it will help them have greater clarity in what they need to deliver to contribute to the success.

When they have clarity, there is no confusion and everyone can simply get on with what they need to deliver.

When it comes to Strong professional relationships with your peers and team, if you truely want to embrace a future of trust, respect and speed, there needs to be the culture of open and honest conversations where feedback is welcome, as it’s always given and received openly for the intention of improving a person, decision or outcome for the business.

Feedback delivered or received without having a strong professional relationship can do great damage. It can ruin relationships, cause people to get their backs up and actually hinder ongoing communications and actually back fire from the initial good intentions. So, before thinking everyone is going to be on board with your plan and purely wanting support and confirmation, be open to actually listening to what feedback they’re providing. Feedback whether we like it or not is a gift, what we choose to do with it is up to us. If we value the person giving it to us, we’re more than likely to listen, consider and act, but if we don’t value them, we’re more likely to disagree, ignore and not act which can also be a valuable mistake.

So how do you build strong professional relationships? Time, yes, but by also finding common values. When you have things in common with another person you feel you are like each other, get each other and are able to relate to each other more so than with someone whom perhaps you do not have as much in common with. However, by you continuing to invest in your own personal development you can continue to learn the art and science or personal excellence aka self awareness and emotional intelligence – the internal dividends it will pay, will be significant.

Most of us want the last tech in our lives, or at least tech that’s helping our lives become easier, by updating the way we as leaders operate -think, behave and execute, we too can lead more easily, with greater results, so what are you waiting for. Become the leader you’ve always wanted to be.

Day One or One Day? You Decide

I took some time out earlier this week to

#focus on what I’d done well this year
#review what could have been better and
#plan what I wanted to nail next year.

I wont lie and say 2017 has been EPIC, it’s been more of a roller coaster – some incredible highs and some super tough decisions to be made, but what I will say is I have learnt more in the last 12 months of my life that I have in any other years.

Earlier this year, I was working full time in a role that I really loved, it was a business I’d wanted to work for, for many years.  Honestly it was close to my dream role outside of working at Merivale.

At the same time as working f/t I was undertaking a 12 month NLP Practitioners Certification alongside my 6 year old starting kindy and our 2 year old building her immune system @ daycare.

Kindy – well that was an eye opener. Anyone who has kids at school knows that it’s seriously another full time role. Dress ups, GOT games, Library days, excursions, dress ups, book week, Easter hat parade, dress ups, more dress ups…not to mention nightly reading and sight words. OMG! For the first time in my life I seriously started to understand why some parents chose not to work, worked part-time or had a nanny, this was next level.

For me, trying to be all things to all people, took it’s toll. I’ve kept this quite private up to now, a few close to me will know what happened, but I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you a few lessons I learnt along the way this year.

  1. If you’ve got your health you’ve got everything.

I remember my mum saying this to me as I grew up, but it never really sunk in until earlier this year, when I was lying in hospital and was told I had Lymphoma. I couldn’t quite believe the words that were coming out of the Doctors mouth. I was like no, not me. I’m just exhausted, I know I’ve been working too hard, not looking after myself, sleep deprived from play musical beds with the kids, but no, you’re wrong.

Lucky for me I was right. They were wrong. My bloods evidenced I had lymphoma but the Doctors were not able to find any Lymph nodes to support the blood results and deep down, I knew they wouldn’t, because I didn’t have it.

Yes there were some issues with my blood that we needed to monitor but I knew what I needed to do and I hadn’t been doing it.

  1. Prioritise Self Care – don’t feel guilty for looking after YOURSELF!

Self Care is incredibly underrated and my experience earlier this year taught me that. It astounds me how often I hear from people how their company “talks about wellbeing” but it’s not actually encouraged. They provide “wellbeing opportunities”, but if you happen to go could that raise a question about whether you’re actually dedicated to your role or the business?? Hopw could you possibly find time to attend a mediation when you are “so busy”. It’s such an old school fixed mindset that needs to change.

There’s a reason why they say “Put your own oxygen mask on first”….and from now on, that’s something I think to myself every day and I encourage you to as well.

I’m sure everyone can relate to how good they feel when they get to the gym, go for a walk, swim in the ocean or extra sleep for that matter. Sometimes our body just needs it, so listen to your yourself. If you need some self care- take it. You’ll be better off to the business and yourself – I promise. There was a sign I saw outside a gym the other day and it said

“Results guaranteed or your old body back”.

So many years of education, yet nobody ever taught us how to love ourselves and why it is so important.

  1. Failing to plan is planning to fail.

I started this year with great clarity on what I wanted to achieve. Did I achieve it? Part of it, yes absolutely. Other parts – not so. And do you know why? I didn’t take the time to plan out properly what the second half of the year was going to look like. I had the first half of the year planned, pimped out and ready to rock, but as I mentioned part way through that I changed course and when I did, I got too carried away in the excitement, I didn’t take time to stop and plan, so I failed – well I should say didn’t fail, got a serious does of Feedback.

I was so excited to work with my new clients, I did a cash flow but never reviewed it. I had so many opportunities and people wanting to work with me it was incredible. Money was coming in thick and fast, I was doing great things … until it wasn’t. I was so busy doing and delivering work for my clients that I forgot to focus on what was next and when one workshop and one client moved a project from Nov to Feb 2018, it caused a whole heap of stress. Anyone who runs a business knows cash is King and whilst I was still spending like a Queen, I didn’t have the cash.

I’d committed to various IT initiatives, I needed a website, a brand, needed to invest in some marketing – (which I’m still yet to do, figured I’d wait until my website is up). I’m lucky to date all my work has been referral based. I say to my clients if you’re happy with me tell everyone, if you’re not tell me! So next thing I learnt was to get real.

  1. Getting real and getting uncomfortable.

Getting real was and still is incredibly confronting. Like I said I’ve got some incredible clients, who I absolutely love working with and they tell me they love working with me too (ohhh), but how do I get myself out to those who I don’t know? I had no idea, but what I did know was that I needed to get real and real quick. I read about how videos was a great way to build rapport, connect with people – I’ve never liked being on camera, but I bit the bullet and did my first video and then my second in one week. I remember within the first hour of posting it, it had no likes – I was like OMG what have I done, I’ve just made a complete fool out of myself. I was talking to one of my ninja mentors and she said “Is it authentic?” “Does it portray what you wanted it to?”. I said “Yes” and she said well leave it up! So I did and within 2 days it had over 60 likes and comments – and for me that was a sign of what I had to say was valued so I needed to commit to doing more. It clearly resonated with many people, not to mention the amount of private messages I received, were quite humbling. People not confident to share their comments publicly who still wanted to share their experiences. It made me feel human.

So 2018 will see me continue to get outside my comfort zone and put myself out there more. I’m aiming to do one thing a month that scares me or may not work, but hell if I never try I’ll never know.

  1. Never give up being curious – there is always more to learn

I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by incredible mentors, clients and family this last 12 months. Mentors that have become great friends – Kylie Ryan from My Mind Coach – the most incredible mentor you could ever have. A woman so true to her word, not afraid to go places if it means it’s for the best in me, which it always was. So generous with her time.

But, what really hit home to me is that there is always more to learn. I completed a 6 weeks “Tuning into kids course” at my sons school on Monday mornings from 9-11am. It was a free course put on by the Principal to give parents more tools to connect with their kids and help them become emotionally connected. When my son found out I was coming to his school every Monday morning with him, he was like “Wow mum, I thought you’d finished school”. I said “Sweetheart”, I’ve only been a parent for 6 years – (which strangely was as long as it took me to get my law degree, yet I swear I learnt more in those 6 years), Mum doesn’t know everything about being a parent, sometimes I make great decisions, other times I don’t, so we can always learn more”. It was a really pivotal point in my relationship with him, acknowledging that I too make mistakes, I could see his mind processing what I had said. I’m going to be starting some free online Conscious Parenting Courses in 2018 to pass on the knowledge as I was go grateful for the opportunity I was given. If you’d like to know more – send me an email and I will keep you in the loop with when they are launching.

So it’s been quite a year! Feels like it went so quickly, yet so much has happened.

I’ve got absolute Clarity on what 2018 has in store for me and I’d love to invite you to join me for a free webinar to help you create the 2018 you’d be high fiving yourself or me with this time next year and

#focus on what you’ve done well this year
#review what could have been better and
#plan what you want to nail next year.

I know this has been a long post, much longer than anticipated but hey.

It’s never too late to start….but it’s your decision will you start One Day or will Day One be today.

Last chance –

Thursday 1st Feb @ 10am –

https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_SnY-C_D9Sy2uB2l6WwGWKw

If there is anything you need between now and then, you can reach me on Michelle@creatingconsciousleaders.com