Recently I was honoured to be asked to take the role of independent chair and skilled facilitator for an exciting new initiative from the Ministry of Justice.
In response to the issue of religious marriages not being legally recognised, the Secretary of State for Justice, Jack Straw, supported face-to-face meetings to discuss these issues directly with Imams, given their influence in the community and role in officiating over religious marriages.
Having a religious marriage that is not recognised under civil law, often means people can encounter difficulties with division of assets should the marriage break down, and with inheritance and pension issues
The old adage goes: leadership development is a tough, laborious and lengthy process, and usually happens one person at a time. When tackling it, the industry norm is to plump straight for 1:1 coaching or small group leadership courses, which are more often than not costly ventures. But are they really impactful enough, how about challenging the norm and trying something different?
What do you do if you only have one hour to work with a leadership issue, and an audience of 1,000 people? You book a big theatre in the West End, work with actors to bring the leadership issue
About 25% of the population are introverts. This is a minority, but a significant one, especially since there seems to be a greater concentration of introverts amongst intellectually gifted people.
Myers Briggs defines introversion in terms of the source of energy which a person draws on in order to function in the world. Introverts get their energy from within. Extroverts need external stimulation (a bit like lizards in the sun). Jung says that we all prefer to behave as introverts or extroverts – one or the other. We are born with this preference, and it remains with us throughout our lives.
We’ve always known that communication is a core skill for a successful leader. It’s hardly surprising that this core skill is being severely tested in our more testing market environment. More surprisingly, it’s the skill where leaders still lack confidence and find it hard to work out both what to do and how to do it. As one senior HR director said to me recently: ‘Don’t assume that leaders know how to handle difficult news’.
In times of rapid change, people are searching daily for clues about the state of the business and will look for it by magnifying every bit
It never ceases to strike me how much the successful leaders we speak to care deeply, not only about achieving delivery and results, but also about their people and what their organisations are really trying to achieve. This is often in the face of the multiple challenges and risks that leadership brings, now in these challenging times more than ever.
These successful leaders manage to marry caring deeply with having a clear line of sight to the desired outcomes and the real purpose of their organisation. They know exactly what the goals are and keep them firmly in mind and, importantly,
I found myself wondering why the personal letters sent by the Prime Minster to those affected by the recent smear scandal landed so badly. Much of what he did was right. He used a very personal channel (handwritten letters) to communicate his messages. He acted swiftly. The letters were short and clear. He showed that he had taken action. So what was missing?
In delivering ‘high concern’ messages, it is vital to start off with a demonstration of empathy. This doesn’t mean an apology necessarily. Rather it means putting yourself in the recipient’s shoes and acknowledging their emotions.
When times are tough, more than ever the organisation must pull together and stay energised to succeed. But this is just when the pressures of the recession will tend to push people into battening down the hatches. Instinctively, many individuals will try to protect their jobs by focusing on their own agendas. It can feel counter-intuitive to lift your sights above your individual concerns to focus on the whole firm’s success. So how can leaders help people to do that?
One answer is more face-to-face communication. That personal, human contact will connect with people’s raised emotional needs at times of anxiety