‘When opportunity knocks, will you answer the door….AND hold it open for others?
John C Maxwell

Archive for October, 2017

Spotting Leadership Potential

October 31st, 2017

‘When opportunity knocks, will you answer the door….AND hold it open for others?
John C Maxwell

‘Who me?’… ‘Are you sure?’…. ‘Gosh I hadn’t really considered it’

Thinking back over your career were you always aware of your leadership potential?

Or did someone see the possibility for you long before you did?

For many of us, we were fortunate enough to have someone – be it a former boss, colleague or mentor – who played an instrumental role in guiding and encouraging us along the path long before we believed it was possible for ourselves.

They were the leaders who pushed us to develop new skills, provided fresh opportunities that challenged us to think and act in different ways. They helped us raise not only the belief that we had in ourselves but what others had in us. They coached and advocated for us with the purpose of seeing us step up and into our potential.

In an era where we have heard much about the ‘war for talent’, spotting potential has become a critical factor in business success. Unfortunately though spotting potential is far harder than simply measuring competence. It makes sense then that those leaders, who can not only identify potential but also foster and develop it, will achieve more success both for themselves and the people they lead.

With statistics suggesting that as much as 70% of on the job learning occurs informally, it is imperative that leaders learn how to harness this potential through their own actions and the role that they play.  But how do you help someone embrace their potential when they can’t see it for themselves?  Below are five practical ways you can help people see what is possible and to share what you see in them.

  1. Tell Them! All too often we don’t create the time to have the conversation in a meaningful way. Set the meeting up with the sole purpose of telling them what you see in them, exploring how they feel about it and what they need to grow their own confidence and belief.
  2. Validate Your Case: Be prepared to tell them why you believe in their potential. Offer specific examples of what you have seen or heard and how that skill, attitude or attribute is a much-admired trait of successful leaders.
  3. Provide Challenge: Emerging leaders need to be developed. They need opportunities to expand their knowledge and skillsets, work with stakeholders at varying levels and operate at higher levels of responsibility. When individuals achieve things they didn’t previously think possible it expands their thinking and confidence to embrace further opportunities.
  4. Check in! Offer feedback and encouragement and don’t hesitate to offer constructive criticism as they take on new challenges. It is also important to make sure that what we see as their potential is aligned with what they want and they are experiencing not only higher levels of accomplishment but also fulfillment.
  5. Open Doors: True leaders open the doors of opportunity for others. Not just any door but ones that lead to growth, align skills and leverage strengths and ultimately build ownership.

Cultivating potential and opening doors for others is a win-win. Leaders who believe in and sponsor others help create success and momentum not only for the individual but also for themselves and the business they lead.

Not everyone will understand your belief in their potential or want to take up the opportunity, however if you are willing to call it many will respond with enthusiasm and gratitude.

So who can you encourage into leadership today?

As always I would love to hear your thoughts.

Margot Andersen

The Abundance Mindset

October 16th, 2017

“Abundance is not something we acquire, it is something we tune into”
Wayne Dyer

It is all too easy to get caught up in the world of ‘not enoughness’. In an age where we are constantly being told that we need more, should aim for more, deliver more, earn more and want more is it any wonder that not having enough, doing enough or being enough is one of our greatest social cripplers and fears.

The real danger of this scarcity mindset is the paralyzing effect it has on us. Not only can you find yourself living in the interim moment – I am here, but when I am there everything will be bigger, brighter and better – but you can also easily fall into the trap that there won’t be enough to go round unless I fight for it. And herein lies a major issue for the way we manage our careers, our teams and our businesses.

Viewing our life and career through a scarcity lens can sabotage both your success and your progress. Scarcity people believe that there may not be enough pie to go round or that their share will be smaller than everyone else’s. Abundance people simply believe that you can make more pie.

People with a scarcity mentality tend to see the world (including the workplace) in terms of win-lose. Whilst it often is not about being malicious it manifests in negative workplace cultures and individual outlooks. People with this mindset typically hold onto knowledge, resources, people and staff with a tight reign. They find it difficult to share recognition, power or profit. They keep things close and small because they can control or influence situations with ease. As a result teams fracture, silos form and careers are damaged.

Conversely people with an abundance mentality see the world in terms of win-win. They are genuinely happy for the successes, well-being, achievements, recognition and good fortune of other people. They go out of their way to help others and contribute to their success because in doing so they believe they can all – both individually and collectively – achieve more. People with an abundance mentality operate from a strong sense of worth and security. They typically adopt a bigger outlook on life and the world and consequently generate new opportunities and possibilities.

Stephen Covey is credited with coining the term ‘Abundance Mentality’ in his book The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People. He notes that scarcity people are always comparing and competing and believes it s a sure fire recipe for unhappiness. Abundant thinkers feel rich before they become rich – and not just monetarily but in all things of value – time, relationships, attention, experience and happiness.

Take a moment to think about some of the attitudes and behaviours around you today:

Scarcity vs Abundance (1) copy

If we want to expand our possibilities and grow our careers (and those of our people) we need to shift our thinking away from scarcity to abundance. In doing so we maximise our potential for success and fulfillment.

I believe that there are two critical strategies for developing an Abundant mindset:

  • Know your own strengths and play to them: Your talents and strengths are unique to you and nobody can take them off you or away from you. The more clarity that you have around what they are and how to best apply them, the more you can rely on them to power your career.
  • Position yourself for recognition: This is not about endless self-promotion. Rather it is about building up your portfolio of accomplishments and positioning yourself for more opportunities and achievements. To do this successfully you need to seek feedback and input from your leaders, team and mentors both from within and outside your organization.

Scarcity separates and Abundance unites. We all want to be part of a winning game where opportunities abound, successes are shared and achievements are celebrated. Cultivating the right mindset and environment for both our teams and ourselves is what will position us all for success.

As always I would love to hear your thoughts below.

Margot BLACK Signature

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