Archive for category Effectiveness

Six Griefs of Good Leadership – (6) LONELINESS

In the sixth part of this series looking at the importance for leaders of working effectively with your emotions we will examine LONELINESS.

  • Who can I talk to about this?
  • Am I the only one seeing this?
  • Nobody understands me.

By definition, if people are following you, they are not alongside you. Even if you don’t do anything to distance yourself from your team, just taking on a leadership role means that people will put you in a different category. Even the most authentic leader cannot afford to burden their team with all of their innermost thoughts and feelings. You have to shoulder the responsibility.

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Six Griefs of Good Leadership – (5) DISILLUSIONMENT

In the fifth part of this series looking at the importance for leaders of working effectively with your emotions we will examine DISILLUSIONMENT. How does the emotion that prompts us to let go of inaccurate expectations help us to become better leaders?

  • How could I have thought that?!
  • I thought I was better than this!
  • This is not how it should be!

As with disgust, the word disillusionment is often used to describe people’s reactions to a leader rather than the experience of the leader him/herself. Religious writer John Ortberg has said that ‘Leadership is the art of disappointing people at a rate they can stand‘ but it is also about disappointing yourself at a rate that promotes growth.

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Six Griefs of Good Leadership – (4) DISGUST

In the fourth part of this series looking at the importance for leaders of working effectively with your emotions we will examine DISGUST. Is your willingness to engage with activities that you don’t like the sign of a potential leader? How often do you use your leadership position to offload the jobs you hate? How much does corruption or incompetence offend you?

  • Do I really have to do this?!
  • How could they produce such shoddy work?
  • This behaviour is unacceptable!
  • I don’t want to be associated with these practices!

There is a pithy saying often credited to Mark Twain but which probably originated with a French writer Nicolas Chamfort.

Eat a live toad the first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.

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Six Griefs of Good Leadership – (3) ANGER

In the third part of this series looking at the importance for leaders of working effectively with your emotions we will examine ANGER. Is displaying anger as a leader always counter productive? Will it help or harm your leadership development?

  • How could they do that to one of my team?!
  • Don’t they see how important this is?!
  • I’m not giving up that easily!

Anger is one of the few emotions that bad leaders are often willing to embrace – venting their frustrations on their team in order to make themselves feel more powerful. This is why so much that is written about leadership and anger focuses on how to control it and remain calm.

However, feeling anger is a sign that you care about something and want to protect that thing from a potential threat. In our evolutionary past the thing we were protecting with our anger might have been our own survival or the safety of our family.

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Six Griefs of Good Leadership – (2) GUILT

In the second part of this series looking at the importance for leaders of working effectively with your emotions we will examine GUILT. How does your response to feelings of remorse determine your ability to develop as a leader?

  • By not acting in time I’ve just made more work for my team!
  • I should have made sure she knew what was at stake before giving her the project!
  • How could I have been so stupid as to miss that?!
  • I really don’t want to hear that feedback!

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Interview confidence

Man on Wire by image munkey (Alan)

Getting the balance right can be tricky

A couple of months back someone asked a very interesting question on Careers Debate about how one expresses and demonstrates confidence in one’s area of expertise at an interview whilst avoiding self-aggrandisement.

Is it just a question of body language and non-verbal communication, or are there other clues that you can give in the way that you talk abut your experiences?

I gave a couple of quick responses at the time, but I thought it would be interesting to add a little more flesh to the bones here.

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A measure of success

2008.11.24 - Things you don't believe when you're 16 by Adrian Clark

Is he counting what he can easily measure or measuring what counts?

One of the significant changes in the new Matrix quality assurance framework for careers services is an increased emphasis on evaluating the outcomes of our work with clients.

The most significant changes are the increased focus on outcomes, competence of staff, commitment to continuous improvement, service delivery linked to outcomes and responses to information technology advances.

A few services who have stuck with collecting more traditional feedback on their services have been judged as falling short in this area. Just asking clients whether they found a session useful or interesting is not enough any more (if it ever was).

In the Value and Impact Toolkit developed by the Association of Managers of Student Services in Higher Education (AMOSSHE), measures of impact are differentiated from measures of satisfaction.

Impact is about change, which implies that a situation needs to be evaluated before an action to stimulate change takes place, and after to determine whether indeed change has taken place. Impact might also be evaluated in terms of the effect of an activity on different groups; for example, students might attend a particular programme on a voluntary basis, so impact might be measured after the programme takes place in relation to the knowledge levels of those who attended against those who did not attend.

So what else could you measure and what would it tell you about the impact you are having?

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Overcoming the self-fulfilling prophecy of social rejection

The Prophecy by Riccardo Cuppini (Rickydavid)

What happens if your crystal ball is full of gloom?

Way back in 2009 I wrote about the social rejection self-fulfilling prophecy. This relates to the unfortunate fact that, if you expect someone you meet for the first time not to like you, you tend to behave more distantly towards them. This increases the chances that they won’t like you. The reverse is also true: if you assume that you will be liked, you tend to behave more warmly and thus increase your chances of being liked.

People who have high levels of social anxiety tend to fall into the trap of negative expectations. They are particularly sensitive to the possibility of social rejection. This threat triggers an avoidance approach which makes them behave defensively in unfamiliar social settings, leading to less than warm responses from the strangers they interact with. This, in turn, confirms their fears and insecurity about social rejection. A vicious circle.

This self-fulfilling prophecy can be a major handicap when it comes to career development. It means you are less likely to engage in appropriate professional networking, cutting off potentially useful sources of information, insight and advice which could boost your career. It makes you less likely to create a positive first impression during an interview. It can also affect your ability to establish important relationships in the crucial first few days of a new job.

How do you break out of this trap?

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Existentialist CPD: professional development in turbulent times

I would like to thank Professor Rachel Mulvey from the University of East London for contributing this post — David
developer applied with my hand - by square eyes

OK, I'm struggling to make a clever link between this picture and the article. The artist made a handprint using photographic developer fluid. I just thought it was pretty cool.

A few months ago I delivered a keynote address on continuing professional development as part of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Seminar Series entitled Re-framing Service Delivery, Professional Practices and Professional Identities in UK Careers Work.   At heart, these seminars bring people together (across professional disciplines) to share ideas about aspects of career work. There are two more still to come, the next is scheduled for November 2011 in Glasgow at the University of the West of Scotland.

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What we should be teaching in interview training

Every now and again during interview coaching, I will stop and ask the client, “What do you think I’m looking for with that question?”. Having read an article by some organisational psychologists at the University of Zurich (Kleinmann et al., 2011), I’m going to ask that question a lot more.

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