* Johann Friedrich Struensee – a controversial character in Danish history, who engineered a great number of Enlightenment reforms but he also became known as the Dictator of Denmark. The way he did it …. Leader or not? What do you think?
Biography by Victoria Yates.
* The Case for Professional Career Support - Phil Crenigan. Many Execs don’t take the time to focus on their own self-development. Phil thinks you should, and offers a great checklist to think about and act upon.
* How to be the Teacher your Students will Never Forget.A major part of the Leadership role is teaching – yet so few of us put time and energy into figuring out what good teaching looks like. Here’s a simple but powerful action plan.
In this RSA Animate,Manuel Lima, senior UX design lead at Microsoft Bing, explores the power of network visualisation to help navigate our complex modern world. Taken from a lecture given by Manuel Lima as part of the RSA’s free public events programme.
Letting an employee go is always a difficult Leadership task, and must be as respectful as possible to the employee.
Depending on the country you are in, there are also detailed laws and cultural issues to consider.
Please carefully start with the legalities of every such situation.
And respectful behaviour throughout is a pre-requisite
This article from Ken Myers then lays out some helpful tips on “the good and the bad”.
“While you may envision the most productive and happy workplace imaginable for your employees, it doesn’t always work out that way. Sooner or later, your managerial duties will be called upon to let someone go. However, there are ways to firing an individual that doesn’t have to lead to animosity towards yourself or the company. There is something to be said about having grace when faced with the decision to fire someone.
1. Privacy – Too many times has an employer been enraged enough to fire an individual in front of his or her peers. This could cause an extremely bad set of future circumstances. It is incredibly embarrassing for someone to be fired and to do it in front of coworkers and/or customers shows little tact. Not only will the other employees begin to develop animosity towards you, but customers could become disgusted by your behavior.
2. Dissension in the Ranks – Being a manager is more than making sure payroll is correct and the facility is clean. You need to be an example of how you want your employees to behave. Verbally assaulting someone in public only sets your skills in a bad light. Before long, your employees will be fighting amongst themselves which could lead to customer dissatisfaction.
3. Office Spaces – The best course of action is to take the employee in question aside to a private locale, such as your office. Always bring a witness, such as your assistant manager. This will prevent lawsuits and other interpersonal situations from clouding the issues. In the privacy of the office or other locale, explain to the employee why they are being let go. It may be difficult, but keep your composure. Again, you want to lead by example and not fear.
4. Keep Your Composure – Regardless of how much the employee has enraged you, keeping your composure can accomplish several things. It demonstrates that you are in complete control of the situation. Other employees are more responsive to someone who can keep control of themselves as well as the establishment. And it could reduce the chances of the situation becoming violent.
5. Violent Happenings – While violence may be the furthest thing from your mind, it does happen occasionally. This happens when you don’t completely explain why the employee is being let go. Even then, there is a slight chance that the employee feels wronged in some way and will become physical. This is one of the reasons you include the witness. By including your assistant manager, you are reducing the chances of the episode escalating and providing another point of view in case the situation takes a turn for the worse.
6. Written Evidence – An effective measure of reinforcing your stance of letting someone go is detailing why in a document to be provided to the employee. This can be greatly beneficial in case of court appearances by wrongful lawsuits. If the employee is willing to sign the form, he or she is acknowledging why they are being let go. If they don’t sign it, then it’s still good to have on file as a precautionary measure.
When it comes to your own business, the “I’m the Boss” frame of mind can be overwhelming at times. While it’s true that you wield the future of an employee in your hands, there are tactful ways that can be used in order to terminate them. You should always maintain a level of professionalism regardless of the circumstance.
Lead by example and treat everyone with the utmost respect, even if you’re the boss.
“Business pundits are quick to suggest things that we should do. Several years ago, I reviewed a book by a prominent business writer that suggested over 150 “essential action steps.” Each action step had multiple sub-steps. You could do them all, but you probably wouldn’t get much else done.
It’s not just the pundits. We often build our own list of things to do, adding one thing at a time and never taking anything away. But, sometimes the best way to get more done and be more effective is to stop doing things. Here are some things to consider.
What are you doing that doesn’t have to be done at all? As you go through your normal routine over the next few weeks ask yourself: “If I stopped doing this, what would happen?” If the answer is, “Not much,” stop doing it.
Consider outsourcing. Are there things that you can hire someone to do for you?
You can outsource to technology, too. What things take your time and attention that could be automated?
What could be done as well or better by someone else? That’s a good question, but it won’t push you far enough. Instead, ask: “What could be done ‘well enough’ by someone else?” That will give you lots more things to get rid of.
What do you do that makes unproductive work for others? Don’t try to figure this one out yourself. Ask the people who work for you.
If they’re candid, you’ll be amazed at how much of your help and direction they don’t need and how hard they work to get you information you say you want. Lighten their load and help them be more productive and take a few unnecessary actions off your plate at the same time.
Boss’s Bottom Line
Eliminating things you don’t have to do frees up time for more productive activity and also for rest and recovery.”
Here’s an article Phil wrote a few days ago which I found very helpful.
“It is not unusual for executives to drift into crisis because many have invested little in time and resources in their continued development. Here is a simple checklist that will allow you to assess your risk and / or confirm that you are several steps ahead.
I have an aspirational plan with future career goals in mind. However rather than covet senior roles, I am preparing myself to be invited for greater responsibility into the future by working on future competencies and skills now. (Beware vaulting ambition which oe’r leaps itself. Ambition is good if it is grounded in the reality of where you are on your career journey.)
I understand that the further I move up the career ladder, the more I need to focus on soft skills rather than hard or technical skills. (Hard skills are easy, Soft skills are hard to master).
I have at last understood that my leadership model is centred on the success of others, not the success of me.
We have built a compelling vision for my current team; they are engaged, enthusiastic and passionate about where we are going.
We all understand our own responsibilities and those of our colleagues and most importantly how we depend on each other.
I role model values and behaviours and understand their importance in the creation of a great culture.
I have a deep insight of how my leadership is “felt “by others and a deep understanding of who I am, through extensive 360 degree feedback. My team want to be lead by me.
I continue to focus on my professional development and I clearly understand my strengths which I can leverage and the areas I need to develop to be the best I can be. I act on this daily when circumstances and opportunities arise.
I make time to grow through networking, attending conferences, reading broadly and investing in appropriate training and development opportunities. I have an Executive Coach to help me develop and to challenge and stretch my thinking and potential.
I have a copy of the future role description I aspire to, and am working on future skill requirements today and developing mentors inside my Organisation to help me with my development.
I understand the value of creating time to think and reflect on how we are going, is there a better way, what can we do differently? I am rarely “back to back” in meetings because I have worked out that I need to be on my business, not in my business and people really appreciate and respond to delegation and trust.
I understand how to get the best out of people and how to build trust by earning it. I understand the drivers of high performance.
I feel energised, have conviction and a deep sense of meaning but I never put at risk important relationships or pursuits that nourish me and provide perspective and balance. I do not run on empty because I know it is unsustainable.
I know how to create transformational change as a broad leadership competency.
If you are agreeing with many of these statements you are likely to be in a great place and in control of your career. If you are struggling with some or all of the above, you will benefit from external professional help.”
At Executive Turning Point, Phil works with executives on all of the above potential career derailers and support leaders in regaining their confidence and develop their ability to create an environment of high performance.
Guest post from the “Become a Nanny” blog. It’s about teaching, but as a critical Leadership activity is exactly that, it seems a very helpful summary of what makes a great teacher.
“A teaching career can be one of the most challenging, yet one of the most rewarding careers that a person can pursue. Most educators embark upon their careers with a determination to make a difference and to be a teacher that students remember and count as an inspiration.
Chances are, you have had a teacher at some point in your academic career that truly stood out, perhaps even inspiring your own desire to become a teacher. If you’d like to make that same impression on your own students, these tips may point you in the right direction. Keeping this advice in mind while emulating some of the behavior that your own inspirational educator exhibited can help you become just as important of a figure in the lives of your students as a few great teachers once were to you.
Respect Your Students
In order to maintain control over a classroom full of kids, you’ll have to command their respect. One way to accomplish that goal is to play the role of the authoritarian teacher that refuses to accept anything less. More gentle educators know that getting students to feel genuine respect, rather than blind fear, depends upon the amount of respect they show those students.
Some of your students will learn differently than others, and have to go at their own pace. Others will have behavioral problems that prevent them from comporting themselves in the same manner as their peers. In every class, you will have at least one student that tries your patience, but it’s important that you do your best not to let it affect you. When your students look back at you through the lens of adulthood, they’ll be more likely to remember the wonderful teacher that was patient with them and coached them through their difficulties than the ones that couldn’t manage their needs.
Your students will come from all walks of life and socioeconomic backgrounds. They’ll have different learning styles and different home lives that will affect the way they behave at school. Rather than lashing out at a student who’s clearly acting out due to anger or fear, take the time to work with them and show the compassion they need.
In order to inspire enthusiasm for a given subject in your students, you’ll have to show that you’re excited about teaching the subject matter. Approaching every class as if it were the most exciting thing you’ve ever done and showing a sincere eagerness to share your knowledge and help your students learn can make a significant difference in the way they respond to you and how they remember you throughout the years.
Set High Expectations, and Help Your Students Meet Them
It is okay to set lofty goals for each and every one of your students, as long as you’re willing to put in the extra work it takes to help them meet those expectations. Work with students that need extra help, coach those that need a confidence boost and make sure that they know you’re behind them all the way. When your students look back at the time spent in your classroom, they’ll think of the sense of confidence you instilled in them and all the encouragement you gave. While the memories of apathetic or bitter teachers fade away, they’ll still remember the teacher that did everything possible to make them feel powerful and capable.
Engage Your Students
Getting kids to connect with the source material is a key to helping them retain it and to fostering an appreciation for it. Working in as many hands-on ways as possible and getting kids engaged and connected is a great way to not only help them learn, but also to help them feel secure in their environment and eager for each new day.
Teachers might have summer vacations and weekends off, but the truly great ones spend time outside of the classroom working with their students. Whether you’re coaching a sport, supervising an after-school activity or spending time in a tutoring program, your students need to know that you’re taking an active interest in the school. Kids can spot the teachers that are simply going through the motions until summer vacation arrives and those tend to be the educators that they don’t carry such fond memories of when their school days are over.”
Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership all starting with a golden circle and the question “Why?” His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers
“We’ve already seen that the notions of stable character and fixed personality are a myth. And yet, our culture is wired for labels and checkboxes, eager to neatly file people away into categorical cabinets and thrown into furor over the slightest inkling of multiplicity. Take, for instance, Howard Hughes, at once a legendary aviator, movie mogul, tycoon, and socialite, and a reclusive billionaire housebound by his deathly phobia of dirt. He was a fearless aviation pioneer who set and broke countless records, yet he remained terrified of dying from germs. Hughes spent his final days unbathed, dressed in rags, with long sticky hair, curling nails, and the remnants of five hypodermic needles in his arms. He was worth $2 billion.
Each morning, we wake up and experience a rich explosion of consciousness — the bright morning sunlight, the smell of roast coffee and, for some of us, the warmth of the person lying next to us in bed. As the slumber recedes into the night, we awake to become who we are. The morning haze of dreams and oblivion disperses and lifts as recognition and recall bubble up the content of our memories into our consciousness. For the briefest of moments we are not sure who we are and then suddenly ‘I,’ the one that is awake, awakens. We gather our thoughts so that the ‘I’ who is conscious becomes the ‘me’ — the person with a past. The memories of the previous day return. The plans for the immediate future reformulate. The realization that we have things to get on with remind us that it is a workday. We become a person whom we recognize.
The call of nature tells us it is time to visit the bathroom and en route we glance at the mirror. We take a moment to reflect. We look a little older, but we are still the same person who has looked in that same mirror every day since we moved in. We see our self in that mirror. This is who we are.
The daily experience of the self is so familiar, and yet the brain science shows that this sense of the self is an illusion. Psychologist Susan Blackmore makes the point that the word ‘illusion’ does not mean that it does not exist — rather, an illusion is not what it seems. We all certainly experience some form of self, but what we experience is a powerful depiction generated by our brains for our own benefit.
Hood goes on to trace how the self emerges in childhood and examines why this notion of the illusory self is among the hardest concepts to accept, contrasting the “ego theory” of the self, which holds that we are essential entities inside bodies, with [David] Hume’s “bundle theory,” which constructs the self not as a single unified entity but as a bundle of sensations, perceptions, and thoughts lumped together. Neuroscience, Hood argues, only supports the latter.
The Self Illusiontells the story of how that bundle forms and why it sticks together, revealing the brain’s own storytelling as the centripetal force of the self.”
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