Ten habits for getting the best from your 121’s at work … to improve fulfillment and productivity.

If your 121 meetings are productive, positive and play a crucial role in moving forward in happily achieving company vision than maybe you don’t need to read this.

If not, read on and see how helpful you find it!. Either way, do message me or comment to share your experiences whether they are of best practice, or of the more frustrating variety!

What’s the point of 121’s?

The weekly, fortnightly or monthly 121 between a manager and team member is a fabulous opportunity for celebration, problem solving, creating thinking, learning and development.

It’s a chance for a senior individual to meet with a junior individual to check progress in relation to projects, the day job and ultimately checking that all is well, people are confident and supported and that all activity is in line with achieving the team and company vision.

“What a great idea – a no brainer”……. I hear you say!

Why then do I hear so many people, in many different organisations saying “ It’s a waste of time” “ Don’t see the point of them” and “ Ah, yes, 121’s….well…..we always mean to have them but something always seems to get in the way” ?

What goes wrong?

Talking to many team members and managers across many businesses, it seems that very often,  the 121 meeting is a tick box affair with managers and staff, short of time and focused solely on checking progress and on correcting poor performance.   Closed and leading questions are common, such as “Now that new project, you’re all Ok with that aren’t you?” to which the team member is highly likely to say “Yes” even if this is far from the case!

These meetings, it would seem, when they do happen, are often squeezed in to a busy week and, for this and other reasons, neither participant is able to be fully present. Both parties often have their brains darting all over the place to past, present and future challenges and focus is thus affected.

Getting the best from the routine 121 meeting.

Having created space in your diary for a 121, how do you both get the most from the precious time that you are spending together?

Here are my ten recommendations for leaders, managers and individuals who are meeting for 121’s and want to make them worthwhile.

  1. Manage your Mindset. Take time before the meeting to breathe and create headspace. This will help you to park other thoughts, be more mindful, focus on the outcomes of the meeting and thus have a positive attitude and approach.
  2. Build your knowledge and awareness of EQ skills….and use them. Emotional Intelligence at Work. What’s it all about?
  3. Decide what you want to have achieved when you both leave the meeting and…. “begin with the end in mind” as Covey would advocate!
  4. Always agree upon two sets of outcomes when setting the agenda.
    1. A focus on WHAT is going on i.e. strategy, projects, progress and challenges.
    2. A focus on HOW the individual and manager are operating i.e. using great skills, identifying skills gaps, awareness of how much pressure the individual is under, and how they are feeling about workload and success levels. In this way you can identify skills objectives and how the individual can be supported to develop skills that are lacking.
  5. Work out a format for your meetings that works – this may be that you spend the first part of the meeting, however long with your attention on WHAT and the second part on HOW or…… cleverly combine the two using great coaching skills along the way.
  6. Be fully present for each other during the meeting – choose the right meeting space, put phones on silent, park other thoughts, boundary the time you will spend, focus and delve in!
  7. Celebrate successes since the last 121 and identify the skills that have used to achieve it. The individual may be able to mentor another team member who is looking to develop the same skills!  To praise or not to praise? That is the leadership question!
  8. Identify challenges and adopt a creative and problem solving approach to overcoming them. Remember that between you, you have many years of experience and a combined skill set that is phenomenal.
  9. When mistakes or errors have been made, adopt a case study approach so that you can reflect together, be creative and plan to incorporate learnings in the future.
  10. Leave the room with a SHARED understanding of what you have spoken about and agreed and of next steps. 

Suggested exercise for leaders and team members.

a) Talk through these 10 habits with your team member and benchmark yourselves against them.

b) Decide where you need to focus and go for it!  I have a feeling that the quality of your 121’s, your working relationship and your productivity will all benefit.

c) Reflect upon the changes you have made and adapt further if necessary.

Do let me know how you get on and please share this to others who may find it of value.

Until next time

Best wishes

Bridget Clapham. Executive Coach and Development Consultant

www.bridgetclapham.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

To praise or not to praise? That is the leadership question!

To praise or not to praise? I believe that the short answer is “praise”, but, if I leave it there, the blog post would be a tad short and probably not too useful, so, here are my further musings!

As those with a fundamental knowledge and understanding of human psychology know, what we human beings like, or rather need, is to be treated kindly, to feel valued, appreciated and loved. It is, quite simply, part of being the social creatures that we are!

When we get signals from others that this is the case such as when we are authentically treated kindly and  praised by someone, our amazing brains release fabulous hormones – chemicals such as serotonin and oxytocin. This gives us a feel-good hit and, quite simply, we feel good.

For those of you who are interested in the neurochemistry and neuroscience, serotonin is released when we feel proud or valued and oxytocin when people are kind to us and we feel liked or loved. N.B. Love, in a workplace and leadership as opposed to a romantic sense, is defined here as having a sense of appreciation for and closeness to others.

For a great explanation of the importance of these and other neurotransmitters read Simon Sinek “Leaders Eat Last” – link here to one of the many places where it is available :- http://www.amazon.com/Leaders-Eat-Last-Together-Others/dp/1591845327

 So why is praise important? When we feel proud, valued and appreciated, our brains are running on great neurochemistry and we are more likely to feel positive, motivated, learn quickly, be creative and perform well.

 Praise

So, as a leader and, in fact, as a human being, which of your behaviours will help your team or your peers or your own leaders to feel supported, proud and valued?

Lead in a way that cultivates a culture where praise and celebration at all levels,  are the hallmarks of your style as a team or organisation. Be strong and kind – they can blend well together!  Spread the praise around too….. after all, your peers and your own leaders have a right to their own great neurochemistry too. It can be lonely at the top – who praises the leaders?

Many leaders and managers wait for formal 121’s or even for appraisal time to deliver praise and positive feedback to employees. My question is – why wait?

As a manager,  you are with your team most days.  It follows therefore that most days there will be positive behaviours and minor or major successes that you can use to deliver authentic feedback to your staff. I believe that authentic, time relevant praise – that is specific to an individual, even better, specific to an individual’s action or behaviour is worth its weight in gold.

“What about the need to let people know about their mistakes and shortcomings?”  I hear some of you say…. Well, think about it. We do indeed all make mistakes and have development needs. I believe strongly that the development feedback, delivered kindly in the context of a culture of praise and success, will be more likely to generate change in the employee. In the following example, which employee is more likely to develop and thrive?

  1. The one who is told to improve and given feedback on all of the reasons why he or she is not making the grade and thus feels demoralised and undervalued?

Or

2. The one who gets praised when he or she does well, is supported to develop in areas where improvement is needed and can work on making further improvements from a foundation of confidence and self-worth?

As an emotionally intelligent leader, and one who is keen to further develop EQ, you can tailor praise and feedback to suit the individual styles of team members. One style does not fit all! Experiment and ask for feedback on your feedback – it’s always useful.

Want to know more about the importance and value of praise and of helping people to feel important and valued? Here is a link to a great article highlighting research that supports the ideas within this blog post. https://www.virgin.com/entrepreneur/praising-employees-leads-to-higher-productivity-research-finds

My recommendation, start to make praise and positive feedback part of everyday conversations and ……let me know what you notice.

Until next time

Bridget.

Part Two. Why do you do what you do? the importance of your “Why”.

What do you do? Where, how and when do you do it – and WHY?

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“People don’t buy what you do, they buy “why” you do it” as Simon Sinek so eloquently explains.

If this doesn’t yet make sense, it may be that you missed last week’s blog on the importance of WHY we do what we do. At the end,  I said that I would post my personal “why” in the next post and so  in Part Two, I will be doing just that.

Firstly, you may want to refresh your understanding of Sinek’s work, which will mean a trip back to last week’s post. Here’s a quick link:- https://reallyusefulstuff.me/2016/04/19/why-do-you-do-what-you-do-for-a-living-and-why-it-matters/

If you are up to speed, let’s keep going!

One of the key points that Sinek and others make is that we are biological, chemical beings with complex neurology and, that we are driven to a great extent by our emotions.

Think of your own decisions- how often do you “sense check” a decision, or change one because the first one just didn’t feel quite right?

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If, like me, the answer to those questions is “always and quite often ”, then what follows will make perfect sense to you!

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy “why” you do it”

To explain what you do, is fairly straightforward, most people can tell you that. When I work with leaders and team members, most can articulate clearly what they do both as an organisation and as an individual within it. Often ( if not engaged with their “why”, they will explain it as being quite dull!)

As Sinek explains, some people can also explain how they do what they do. This is a bit more interesting but still a fairly neutral narrative.( See Sinek’s Golden Circle as explained last week – worth exploring if you haven’t already!)

What my and actually every other human brain is actually looking for is to experience a chemical shift, a connection, an emotional response to what we are hearing.

This starts to happen when people talk about or indeed, from their “why”. This is when we are likely to connect with and truly “buy in” to what the other person is saying. It is our “why” – our authenticity to our values that gives clues as to who we really are and what really matters to us! This is what other human beings connect with.

Think about it, given the choice, which Dr would you connect with and want to be cared for by? :-

  1. a Dr who only went into Medicine because it is the family tradition and is competent but dreams of another career because she/he would actually rather have been a lawyer…..OR
  2. a Dr who is also competent AND whose practice is fully aligned with her or his true values of care, support, health, healing and wellbeing.

So, here is my offering , my attempt to communicate my “why”.

My Golden Circle

Why I do what I do:- I have a passion and total belief in EVERY person’s ability to learn, develop and achieve their own excellence in life, in a way that enables them to feel happy, well and fulfilled. I believe that it is possible for each person to enjoy the process of becoming the best they can be.

How I do what I do:- I apply  curiosity and a skilled and ever developing knowledge and understanding of people, human psychology, organisational psychology, behaviour, learning, education, coaching and neuroscience in my work with clients. I combine with a great toolkit of strategies and methodologies to enable my clients to work with me to achieve fabulous results.

What I do:- I coach people to be the best they can be (beautifully combining personal excellence, success and wellbeing as essential ingredients in the cocktail!)

Those who meet me, say that when I talk about “what” I do, I do it from my “why”.

Exercise :-

I highly recommend working out your personal Golden Circle and one for your organisation. It is an interesting process and is great for developing increased self awareness as well as sometimes revealing some unexpected insights!

There are some great resources to share the ideas about the Golden Circle here

https://gumroad.com/l/GoldenCircle#

Let me know how you get on!

Until next time.

Bridget

 

 

 

The birth of a blog! Really Useful Stuff!

Welcome to my blogging adventure, sharing really useful stuff to folks around the world!

Let me elaborate… In my work as a Coach, working with leaders and people at work, with private clients and with students I often send them stuff which relates to the coaching and which is intended to help them to live a happier, more successful and generally more positive life.

The “stuff” can take the form of my own thoughts and alleged wisdom relating to the coaching we have shared to video links, Ted talks, Images, quotes and articles to compliment the coaching. The usual response from my clients is to say:-

“Thanks Bridget, that stuff you sent was really useful.!”

Reflecting on this led me to think that over  the years I have amassed a wealth of resources, some ( lots actually!)  in my head and some in my PC! Why send stuff to just one person when it could be shared to a wider audience?

I will be honest with you folks. I haven’t a clue about how to make best use of the software resources designed to help me blog so I am on a steep learning curve. I invite you to join me and to support me as I build up an online resource of stuff. Who knows how really useful you will find it!

Until next time

Bridget Clapham. http://www.bridgetclapham.co.uk