Influencer

In a role with leadership responsibility the majority of things you say, don’t say and do or don’t do will be measured and weighed.

On top of that, people will form a perception of you. No exception. Sometimes, you might not even realise what that perception is and what you’ve done to prompt that perception.

Flipping it slightly: consider how critical you are towards the directors in your company making company announcements, sharing information in “all hands” meetings… You weigh and measure things those directors might have not even deemed to cause an issue when they prepared for the meeting (Which they meticulously tend do to make sure their messaging is spot on).

Consider the perception you have about your line manager, the Managing Director or CEO of the company you work for, influencers you might follow on Instagram, the founder of Microsoft, the Prime Minister, the President of America, the President of New Zealand… It might be really positive, or quite negative. But it’s likely to be strong.

As someone with leadership responsibilities (Don’t just think managers or world leaders: think teachers, parents, influencers) have you ever considered what the effect of your words and actions are? Have you realised that every action causes reaction? That you have the power to influence people?

Everything you say or do, or don’t do, can blow up, be taken out of proportion, can cause an unintended effect. Scary, right?

The more visible or influential you become, the stronger opinions will get; both positive and negative. It probably helps to develop a good sense of awareness of what you want to portray.

A couple of weeks ago, one of my reports told me they couldn’t understand where I found the time to do all the things I was doing with my life. He felt like I am never just doing my day job but always get involved in a million other things to keep me stretched and challenged. Inside as well as outside of work. He said he felt that I might expect the same of my reports or consider them to be lazy or inadequate if they didn’t have a similar approach to life.

My initial thought was: Why would he have that perception of me? I never feel like I read enough or am massively busy and I often consider other people to do many more useful things with their time. Also, I appreciate I have quite some more me-time available to spend than people who have caring responsibilities other than just themselves and their house plants.

Then I got a little shocked and worried. O dear, people take things from me and care what I think and consider changing their behaviour because of it!

Just because I like to do a lot of things at the same time, because I like to read management books and write blogs, it doesn’t mean I expect my reports to do the same! I’m not after copy-pasting myself into an army of duplicates! Do what works for you! And that’s not necessarily the same as what works for me!

It was a good eye opener though and it got me to reconsider influence and perception.

I believe that one of the most important aspects of leadership is understanding what your messaging does to other people. “Seek to understand”, in Covey speech. Put yourself in the shoes of people on the receiving part of your message. This applies to unconscious messaging, which might lead to unintentional perception, or conscious messaging, which should lead to some more deliberate effect.

I’m not saying you should be frantically worried about what people might think of you. I’m just suggesting you need to find a good balance. Be careful people don’t think their perception of you is the same as your expectation of them and be mindful and considerate about you messaging. Lead by example and treat other people they way you like to be treated. Just in case someone does go in to copy-paste mode… If you influence people, it better be in a positive way!

Oh, and you probably need to accept you can never please everyone. Good luck 😊

Reads:

How to make friends and influence people; Dale Carnegie

Never thought a video about firefighters would ever make an apprearance on this blog. Worth a watch!

What makes you tick?

When I was in between jobs, I got to this point where I thought I would never get excited about any job again, unless it was a job as a yoga teacher in Bali, a travel blogger sponsored through my Instagram account and YouTube channel with a million followers and subscribers, or a food critic, dining out for free for the rest of my life and handing out Michelin stars left right and centre.

I thought I failed massively at my first UK job: I wasn’t sure if I was very good at managing or let alone leading people anymore, it felt like IT was just not the right area for me, and I would always have a problem fitting in with British company culture.

I was wrong.

When I did some work with Kat the Coach, she made me think about criteria and values. What would my ideal job look like and why? What was it about those slightly unrealistic dream jobs I could convert to more realistic things that would make me happy in a job? What was I looking for in a company culture that matches my beliefs? Until that moment, I didn’t realise it’s so important to understand what drives you and gets you excited, in order to go and do things you love and that make you thrive.

Your core values will always stay about the same. Some values might become more important or less important than others over time because life happens. If you understand what your values are and what it is that makes you tick, it’s much easier to find things that make you excited to get up in the morning. You’ll understand what energises you and what drains you. What things you should be doing more of and what you might want to sandwich between activities that do energise. You’ll focus more on what you’re good at and that can help to achieve great things.

What makes me tick is making teams work well together, trying to do the best I can to make people enjoy their jobs, driving improvement and progression, working with awesome, smart, eager, humble people with a can-do attitude, getting sh*t done and Marie Condo-ing myself into bigger responsibilities by cleaning up messes I stumble upon while I’m trying to get sh*t done. O, and sometimes a little pat on the shoulder for a job well done. Lucky for me, that describes my job and the people I work with very well!

Have you ever considered what your values are? What makes you tick?

Testing the waters…

The last time I posted a blog was on the 15th of November 2017. It was an update on the outcome of my job hunt; had I really found a job to love? After that heads-up, I got caught up in the day job and also, I didn’t really know what to write about anymore, since my mission was accomplished.

Lately, I’ve been regaining that itch to write and I’ve even been playing around with the idea of writing a book. Now that’s big. And scary.

This is where the ever-lingering Imposter syndrome comes in. I don’t really believe I’m accomplished enough to write a successful book and I’m not sure people would actually want to read anything I write. I will definitely spend a blog on to that subject at some point.

However, there is so much I want to write about, which is why I’m not going to let that voice in the back of my head hold me back. I decided to try and test the waters with a new blog.

Simon Sinek teaches us to start with why. I just shared why I’m starting this blog. But why would you be reading this blog?

This blog will cover growth, development, feedback, insecurities, strengths, weaknesses, challenges, resilience and people. I hope the topics I’ll bring to the table make you think about you and how you deal with challenges, people and life, just as they make me think about those things and drive me to try to be and do better, every day.

I’m not a well-established CEO from Silicon Valley. I do work for a FTSE 250 company that ranks in the top 5 of Glassdoor and Great Place to work and I like to think I’m learning things at this company that are worth sharing. I’m still growing, developing, learning and I enjoy sharing what I learn.