Confidence can close the Gender Gap – for pay, promotion and possiblities

Confidence is something you can learn and you get it by taking action. Our programme gives you the process and practical tools to be more confident. When you raise your confidence, you raise your game not only in your career but in all parts of your life. You deserve it. What is it worth to you? What difference will it make for you – in work and out of work?

Despite all the regulation around equality, there is still a huge disparity between women and men at work. Women now tend to get better results in school and university, but in the workplace, men are often more successful, and women become a minority in more senior management, executive and board roles. Researchers conclude that confidence lies at the root of many typical differences in behaviour that play a part :

  • Women tend to wait until they are 100% certain they are a perfect fit for all the criteria before applying for a position. In contrast, men will typically apply when they have only some of the requirements.
  • Women often find it hard to fully believe in themselves. Successful women often say they feel like an imposter, that someone will ‘find them out’, that they are not really good enough for this role, or that they were lucky, in the right place and the right time to get the role. In contrast, a man will often say he got the role because he was the best person for it.
  • Women often give themselves a hard time for not living up to their expectations (especially when ‘only perfect will do’) and will often take poor results personally rather than recognising that external circumstances could have played a part too.
  • Men are more likely to negotiate a higher salary: men initiate negotiations four times as often as women do, and even when women do negotiate, they tend to ask for 20%-30% less than men ask for.
  • Women often underestimate their competence, are less confident in their abilities, and are more likely to turn down opportunities even though they are equally capable as their male colleagues who seek out the opportunities.
  • Women more often believe that if we keep our heads down, work hard and deliver excellent results, we will be rewarded. That worked well in school and university to get good grades and praise. Sadly, it doesn’t often work in the workplace to gain recognition, promotion, salary raises or other measures of your success. As one of my 1:1 coaching clients put it “It’s not fair. My boss is putting my colleague forward for promotion just because he talks more about his work. My boss acknowledges that the quality of my work is far higher than my colleague, but he doesn’t see me as being ready for promotion. You should be promoted on quality of your work not politicking about it.” We’ve worked on how she communicates authentically about the strategic importance of her work, so that her boss sees her as ready for promotion and she doesn’t feel like it is smarmy politicking. New opportunities have come her way.

Do you recognise any of those behaviours in yourself? Are you holding yourself back? Do you want that to change? If so, why not take action now and

  1.  Decide to become more confident and
  2.  Join our Confidence for Professional Women Programme
  3.  or Join the online Confidence Programme with 1:1 coaching to encourage you, give you impetus and challenge you when you need it.

Stop feeling afraid of presenting
You can step up to speak in meetings or in public

Stop holding yourself back
You can negotiate your promotion, pay rise or that new role
Stop avoiding difficult conversations and feedback
You can handle them
Stop feeling so stressed at work
You can manage all the change in your organisation
Stop feeling like someone will ‘find you out’
You can be confident in your abilities and competence
You can be confident about being you

by using the proven and powerful process you learn in the

Confidence for Professional Women Programme

 

Book your place now or

Email or call me to arrange a time for a confidential chat about whether the programme or 1:1 coaching will give you the impetus you are looking for.

Sue Mitchell    email: info@aeonacoaching.com  telephone +44 1875 830708  or  use the contact form below – please make sure you spell your email address correctly for me to be able to reply to you.

Three tips to improve your focus in 2016

Do you find you have a to-do list that extends in all directions? Do you have great ideas but never have time to make them happen? It’s hard not to feel overwhelmed and it’s hard to focus on a few priorities in a world full of possibilities. Being focused requires dedication and commitment, one of the core components for Mental Toughness – which helps you be more successful in life. Here are some tips to help you focus on what really matters to you.

 

  1. Clarify what is most important to you – personally and to your organisation. Review your values and identify your top 5 non-negotiable core values, the examples of when you live these values and examples of how you don’t live these values and can do better. When you are living and working in harmony with your core values, you are more energised, motivated and effective. When your values are conflicted, you tend to become more stressed and disillusioned.

 

  1. Review all the possibilities you have on your plate at the moment. Identify your top 3 priorities, that align with your values, your strengths and your personal motivators – and in work context, that align with your role and organisational priorities.

 

  1. Keep a log of how you spend your time. How often are you doing things that contribute towards your priorities (the important quadrant in Steven Covey’s Important/Urgent matrix)? How often are you living your values? How often are you reacting to other people’s priorities that get in the way of your own priorities? How happy are you with the way you are spending your time? What do you want to do about it and what will that achieve? (Doing nothing is an option too – it also has consequences.)

 

 

Steven Covey’s Important / Urgent Matrix.

(Abridged from The Seven Habits of Effective People, by Steven Covey).

 

This is probably familiar to many of you and for those of you who haven’t yet come across it: Effective people organise and execute their activities around priorities and aim to stay out of quadrants 3 and 4 and ideally mainly in quadrant 2. Looking at your activities, where do they mainly fall. Which is/are your dominant quadrant(s)? What can you do to act mainly in quadrants 2 and 1, and spend more time doing things that are important and not urgent.

 

The results you get in life when your activities dominantly fall in each one of these quadrants are shown below.

Steven Covey's Important vs Urgent Quadrants

Steven Covey’s Important vs Urgent Quadrants

 

Which quadrant are you spending most of your time in?

How happy are you with the results you are generating as a result?

How easily can you make the changes you want?

If you want support to make changes, please do get in touch. Let’s see whether coaching will be the right support for you to make those changes and if we would work well together.

 

 

Email or call me to arrange a time for a free chat about whether 1:1 coaching will give you the impetus you are looking for.

Sue Mitchell    email: info@aeonacoaching.com  telephone +44 1875 830708  or  use the contact form below – please make sure you spell your email address correctly for me to be able to reply to you.

Feel the fear and do it anyway!

 

In June, I was persuaded to submit an entry for one of the Association of Scottish Businesswomen National Business Awards because I wanted to raise the profile of the business and give it added credibility.  Looking through the different awards, it seemed I could work with the criteria for the ASB Outstanding Contribution Award.   I’ve never done anything like this before and I felt very much out of my comfort zone. It somehow felt wrong that I should put myself forward for something like this, despite other people persuading me that I really deserve to be recognised and should go for it!  So, I let it sit there, hovering over me as something I SHOULD do, until finally another conversation tipped the balance in persuading me to go for it.  Even so, I procrastinated for more than yet another week. Until on Sunday I suddenly realised that the deadline was Friday and if anyone was going to have a chance to write a reference to endorse my application, I’d better get my skates on.

 

Suddenly it was no longer something I should do, but something I wanted to do. And needed to do for the business. And was SCARED to do! Not only did I feel uncomfortable writing out how I fulfilled the criteria for the award, it felt scary asking my colleagues, friends, and clients from all the different areas of my life if they would mind writing a few words to endorse the application; especially as I was asking for it ideally by Wednesday so I could put everything together around other commitments by Friday. A HUGE thank you to everyone who dived in so promptly and wholeheartedly to meet that preposterous deadline.

 

I have to say that despite the trauma of starting and writing the application, it has been one of my most rewarding experiences. I felt so touched by the support everyone showed me and I really appreciated that they made the time to write such a valuable gift for me. Reading their words gave me such a boost of confidence and of feeling appreciated, that alone made it all worthwhile. And yes, there is an irony in that, as I spend much of my time supporting my clients to build their confidence. Yet we all feel the fear at times, in various guises and reasons, and we all deserve to have people around us to boost our confidence for the times and situations we need it. Even (or perhaps especially!) professional coaches. It is one of the reasons why we have regular ‘supervision’ sessions.

 

 

Dr Sue Mitchell is selected as a finalist in the ASB Outstanding Contribution Award 2014

Dr Sue Mitchell is shortlisted as a finalist in the ASB Outstanding Contribution Award 2014

 

As I submitted my application, the experience of  just putting it together turned out to be so rewarding that I felt happy that I’d made the effort even if nothing more came of it.  For me, this is a classic example of success not being about winning, but about getting stuck in and giving it all you have – and asking for help!  And now, the icing on the cake – I’m delighted to have been shortlisted as one of the finalists. I feel honoured to be in the company of so many amazing women. We have interviews next week and then wait until the awards dinner in October to hear the results.

 

So, I’d love to say to you, if you are thinking of maybe applying for an award – Go for it! You gain so much from the experience even before you (or if you don’t) make the shortlist.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Confidence for Business Women Course – 14th September in Edinburgh:

 

Choose to be confident

Choose to be confident

 

 

What difference will it make to you, in your life and at work, to be more confident?

Why not join the course in Edinburgh: (if you like Aeona’s facebook page you can get over 50% discount)

Confidence for Business Women is open to women who are managers, leaders, freelancers or business owners, or aspiring to any of these)

More details about the confidence course on www.aeona.co.uk/confidence.htm

 

 

 

Email or call me to arrange a time for a free chat about whether 1:1 coaching will give you the impetus you are looking for.

Sue Mitchell    email: info@aeonacoaching.com  telephone +44 1875 830708  or  use the contact form below – please make sure you spell your email address correctly for me to be able to reply to you.

How important is confidence?

I believe confidence is the foundation for success, in everything we do and in whatever way success is meaningful for us.  I believe confidence gives us the personal power to be authentic, true to who we really are and achieve our full potential.  For me, confidence is vital.  On a scale of 1 – 10, where 10 is extremely important, I rate confidence at 10!

 

When I did a quick Google search on “confidence” there were About 147,000,000 results.  That’s one hundred and forty seven million results.  That looks like an awful lot of interest in confidence!  So that could be evidence that other people also find confidence important.

confidence-abstr-balloon

 

What other evidence is there?

Confidence inspires trust and implies competence.  Think about people you know or know of who you believe are confident. What is it about them that makes you know they are confident?  Most people will say that is about the way they look, stand, speak and so on.  They dress and take care of their appearance in a way that shows self-respect. They look poised, stand or sit up straight, don’t slouch, hold their head up and eyes look up not down at the carpet. They look at you in the eye when they speak with you. Their voice sounds strong and positive, not strident and they don’t mumble.  They speak with conviction, knowledge and assurance.  They look comfortable not tense, anxious or nervous.   We read all this body language and from that we infer that they believe in themselves, and we tend to believe in them too.

 

Olympic athletes win more medals when they are confident in themselves.  Mo Farrah talked about how he used to want to win but in some part of his mind think his competitors were better than him and lose the race when they came up alongside him. Now he’s worked on his mindset and his inner knowledge that he can beat them and is going for it, he’s no longer focusing on the other competitors, he is focused on winning. He feels that confidence is like a weapon that gives you control, and you feel positive knowing you’ve prepared well. Andy Murray is another great example of a skilled athlete whose self doubts were the biggest barrier to winning. Self-doubt clouds your mind and focus with excessive negative thoughts about the outcome, not being good enough and so on. Andy’s ability in tennis was not the problem, he could pull marvellous shots out of the bag, but under pressure made more errors. Once he mastered his doubts and built his confidence, he could remain calm and focused under pressure. He won his first grand slam and then went on to win more.


confidence empowering beliefs


Confidence wins your job interview.  When applicants are all ‘equal’ on paper from their CVs, it is the confident person who can be themselves, assured, poised, calm, relaxed and unafraid of silence who comes across as most credible and wins the trust and respect of the interviewer.  The confident person is in a better state to contribute to a two way dialogue, ask questions and let their positive attitude, drive, enthusiasm, commitment and interest in the job and the company shine through.

 

Confidence wins your next contract and your next customer. Whatever your role in work – the business owner, project manager, sales person, retail  assistant, receptionist and more – your confidence in yourself, your work, your organisation and your products and services comes across in how you interact with people and influences their decision about whether they want to work with your or buy from you (or your organisation). For all the reasons described above.

 

Modern developments in neuroscience mean they can now record activity in living brains with imaging techniques.  The fundamental organising principle of the human brain is that we are designed to maximise rewards and minimise threats. Neuroscientists call this the ‘walk towards, run away’ theory.  Since the consequences of threats can be catastrophic, the ‘run away’ pathways operate much faster and stronger than the walk towards neural pathways in the brain, so we can respond immediately we detect any potential threat.  The neuroscience research shows that our thoughts of self-doubt and self-criticism create the same effects in our nervous system and stimulate the same ‘fight-fright-flight or freeze’ response as situations of physical danger.  This is the part of our brain that says ‘get me out of here’ and takes over from the part of our brain that controls our rational thinking.  It means we can’t think straight, make the best decisions, respond well or listen well.  Imagine the effect that has on how you present yourself and how effective you are in any situation – whether that’s sport, in work, in a job interview, with a client, doing a business presentation or in your home life and communities.

 

 

stand-up-vs-neg-voice


 

Confidence has a massive impact on how we enjoy life.  When we feel confident we are not beset with self doubt or negative self talk. The neuroscience research shows that positive thinking rewires your brain (the official term is neuroplasticity).  We can learn to focus our attention constructively and systematically alter brain circuitry underlying intrusive negative thoughts. Using mindful awareness, a self-observational skill, we can choose to respond rationally to emotionally stressful stimuli.  We create new connections and the more you use them the stronger those connections become.  After a while, you build a new good habit of positive thinking.  

 

So for me personally, how important is confidence? 

Well, confidence is what gives me the impetus to make things happen, to create new coaching programmes, to open up to speak to potential clients, to share my thoughts, and so on. Confidence and trust in my relationships allows me the strength to reveal my weaknesses and fears, to talk things through.  Confidence gives me the courage to embrace life, with all its risks and uncertainties and enjoy being me. That’s why I believe confidence is vital.

 

I’d love to hear how important confidence is to you.

 

Choose to be confident

Choose to be confident

 

 

What difference will it make to you, in your life and at work, to be more confident?

Why not join one of our courses in Edinburgh: (if you like Aeona’s facebook page you can get over 50% discount)

Confidence for Business Women” (open to women who are managers, leaders, freelancers or business owners, or aspiring to any of these)

Confidence for Business Owners” (open to men and women)

More details about the confidence courses on www.aeona.co.uk/confidence.htm

 

Why not take the online course with coaching calls and webinars if you can’t come to the Edinburgh courses?  See more on www.aeonacoaching.com  You also get over 50% discount if you like Aeona’s facebook page.

 

 

Email or call me to arrange a time for a free chat about whether 1:1 coaching will give you the impetus you are looking for.

Sue Mitchell    email: info@aeonacoaching.com  telephone +44 1875 830708  or  use the contact form below – please make sure you spell your email address correctly for me to be able to reply to you.

Five fundamentals for outstanding business success #1

 

1. Vision

 

Is your vision exciting and motivating?
Is it propelling you towards success?


 

Are your daily actions leading towards your vision?

Do you have a meaningful and compelling vision? Are your daily actions leading towards your vision?


Here are some thoughts to get you started.

  • What is the purpose for your business?
  • What difference is it making to the world in general and/or to your customers in particular?
  • WHY does your business exist?
  • When you take time to align your vision with your own personal values, your business becomes more meaningful to you.  You find your work energising and have boundless intrinsic motivation for getting stuck in to make it happen. If you recognise how this inspires you to put extra effort into your work, you will understand why taking time to align vision with values for the business as a whole is worthwhile.
  • What values do you want your business to express?
  • What behaviours do these values translate to, for yourself as business owner, for your people who work in your business, and for your customers, clients, suppliers, and anyone else who interacts with your business?
  • How can you create your vision and invite your team to contribute to refining it, so it becomes a purpose that everyone in the business buys into?
  • How are you then communicating that to all in the business and beyond?

 

Do get in touch with me if you’d like to know more about clarifying your values and creating a sensational vision – I have some fabulous tools to help you create your living, fiery, motivational vision.

 

If you found this note helpful and would like to get an email with business and leadership tips (and instant access to a report including the other four in this series) direct to your email, please sign up for the newsletter on one of the links below.  You can also register for my no-cost webinar series on business building: 1)  SOAR Analysis for the business and you, including targeting your niche.  2) Visioning Session – creating an inspiring and compelling purpose and direction.  3) Planning and resources.

Links

For coaches 
http://www.aeona.co.uk/aeonacone4coaches.htm

For women who want to grow their business sustainably, in line with their values, and make a difference. http://www.womenbuildbusiness.com

 


If you would like to talk to me about coaching and leadership development please do get in touch.  You can also check out the Aeona webpage for more information about what I do: www.aeona.co.uk

Sue Mitchell    email: info@aeonacoaching.com  telephone +44 1875 830708  or  use the contact form below – please make sure you spell your email address correctly for me to be able to reply to you.

Leading from behind or infront?

This month’s thought leadership conversation is all about leading from behind, and how (perhaps especially as women?) we often prefer to keep out of the limelight and want to lead from behind.  We are privileged to have Linda Urquhart, OBE, to open the round table conversation. She will share her own experiences with us around how she discovered there are times when you really do need to lead from in front.  She noticed that when things were not going well she had been standing back, and things went better when she was confident with the concept of being in front and offered strong and compelling direction to inspire buy-in and let others shine. If you’d like to join in (it’s in Edinburgh on 8th April), register here: http://www.leadersinscotland.co.uk/events.htm 

Linda Urquhart, OBE

Linda is opening the thought leadership conversation on “Leading from behind?”

I’m very much looking forward to an insightful conversation on the dance between leading from behind and in front.  Serendipitously, I heard about the ‘Leadership Two Step’ tool at the Emotional Intelligence Week online conference last week.  I think this is relevant to our conversation about leading from behind or in front and I’d like to share it with you.  The Leadership Two Step, from “Leadership keys field guide: emotional intelligence tools for great leadership” / by Reldan S. Nadler. — Santa Barbara, CA : Psyccess Press, 2007.

I see ‘stepping in’ as ‘leading from in front’. At first, this is setting direction, creating the vision and ensuring systems  are in place; clarifying expectations – outcomes, schedules, resources, accountability and boundaries of when to make decisions, when to check and when to ask; encouraging and motivating.  In later stages, stepping in involves reiterating the vision and outcomes and monitoring all that was set up initially.  When things are going well, it’s about supporting, acknowledging, spreading the news, identifying best practise so others can repeat successes, evaluation and so on. When things are not going well, stepping in involves understanding what’s going on, what’s been tried, offering solutions and making a decision. Then reiterating elements of the initial stepping in stage.

I see ‘stepping out’ as ‘Leading from behind’. Let them get on with it and come to you if they have questions, asking for their solutions and redirecting them to others; managing resources and resisting the urge to step in and take over or take on their problems; giving recognition and support.

Leadership two step

Leadership two step – timing to step in and step out comes with practise as you tune into the rhythm of leadership

The real skill is in recognising when you need to change step! That comes from being in tune to the beat and rhythm of what is going on, just as when dancing you need to be in tune with both the music and your partner. Like dancing, and just about everything else, that skill comes with practise.

I think a useful adage to this is “Trust and Verify” – trust they can and will do it, include discussions about how they will do it which builds your trust, and set clear expectations of how they will verify to you that it is on track.  This helps you refrain from constantly checking over their shoulder.

I know many of my senior exec and manager 1:1 clients will find this tool useful, particularly in practising timing for stepping in or out.  I think this tool gives a rational, quick reference to check where you are in the cycle and reaffirm your optimal next move.  It breaks the ‘stimulus – reaction’ response by creating a thinking space when you choose an appropriate response rather than automatically react with your habitual behaviour.   I think it is particularly useful in reminding the need to reiterate the vision and deliverables, both when things are going well and if they are not; and that you do need to step in and lead from the front at times even when things are going well.

What do you think?

If you let your own light shine it gives others permission to do the same” Nelson Mandela


If you would like to talk to me about coaching and leadership development please do get in touch.  You can also check out the Aeona webpage for more information about what I do: www.aeona.co.uk

Sue Mitchell    email: info@aeonacoaching.com  telephone +44 1875 830708  or  use the contact form below – please make sure you spell your email address correctly for me to be able to reply to you.

A tale of two bosses: the impact of leadership styles

This is a real example of two bosses I had and their dramatically different approaches to their leadership for the research projects I had been hired to run as a post-doc fellow.  Both projects had been funded to achieve a particular objective and both required a fairly specific methodology to be followed.

 

In my first fellowship, the boss invited me to a meeting to discuss the project.  He explained how this project was to complete the work started by a PhD student who had left after 2 years research.  My project was to extend the research to a wider geographic area in a way that meant we could make direct comparisons with the PhD student’s research and analyse all the data in a meta-analysis.  He asked me to come up with a plan that would best address these constraints and deliver the outcomes we wanted.

In effect, we both knew that this meant the style and nature of the experiments was already determined as it needed to be exactly the same as the experiments previously conducted by the PhD student, because this was the only way to make the data directly comparable.  However, at no time did my boss mention anything about the details of how to conduct the experiments.  He left it to me to do all the design and details, which we discussed at our next meeting, and agreed the standards and outcomes required.   In our subsequent meetings, he asked me about progress, results and my interpretation and how well (or not) I thought these indicated we were on track to achieve the project outcomes.  

The effect of his approach was to make me feel respected for my knowledge, expertise and professionalism.  It made me feel ownership of the project and responsible for delivering results.  I felt hugely motivated, committed and engaged in my work and I devoted (far too much!) time to ensuring we got great results.

 

 

My boss of my second fellowship was very different.  Again this was a project that had been funded to achieve a particular aim.  The boss and a third person had designed the project in order to apply for the funding.  They invited me in for the first meeting to discuss the project, and described in full detail exactly how the experiment was designed and to be delivered.  They hired me, they said, for my expertise in working with the system that was being used but would not listen to any of my concerns around implicit assumptions that were being made but not acknowledged.  These assumptions meant the biology in the system would create too much variability to be able to detect the results being sought.  I felt they were treating me like a technician and wondered why they had hired a postdoc in order to do a technician’s work.  In the end, I never had a real conversation with this boss until I gave up trying to speak with him and just started saying ‘yes’ to doing it his way.  The boss called regular meetings to discuss the details and how I was conducting experiments.  I was extremely demotivated, I didn’t trust my boss and this was the most disappointing job I have ever held. On the other hand, the prospect of potentially getting another boss like this was one of the triggers that spurred me to leave academia, so perhaps he did me a great service after all!

 

 

How effective were the two bosses’ leadership styles?

The first boss was effectively managing at a level to manage other people, especially experienced professionals.  His time investment in the project was 1) at the beginning clarifying the overall desired outcomes and standards and 2) in key meetings.  It resulted in the appropriate project design and delivery and a committed and engaged researcher.  Although he could have given me all the details the second boss gave me, he didn’t. He held back and let me sort out the details.  The time invested in creating the detailed structure for this project was all done by me, the professional – which was appropriate.  The style was very much outcome focus, which enhances and can further develop the professional’s expertise and ability to project manage.  It was an ideal style for someone who manages others to still be responsible for outcomes but deliver them through other people by delegating appropriately.  Note delegation is not abdication.  In this project, the outcomes were important to the boss’s reputation, so it was vital to ensure the results were valid.  He shared responsibility, and agreed clear standards and reporting with me, the professional, so we both knew what was required to recognise when we were on track and delivering outcomes at the right level.  Throughout this project, he did not get deeply involved in the operational side.  

He provided strategic direction and support, and at the same time showed respect for my expertise that resulted in commitment and engagement.  This freed up his time to lead a larger number of people and also have time to conduct his own research, which provided his fulfilment to still feel like the ‘expert professional’ that he was.  Note, however, that this style of leadership was not always appropriate at this extent of outcomes focus.  His new PhD students sometimes felt overwhelmed and a few post docs also preferred to have more hands on input and direction.  A little more flexibility to respond to individual needs could have paid dividends.

 

The second boss was still operating predominantly at the ‘manage self or project’ level, rather than managing other people at the right level.  He invested a lot of time overseeing the details of the work (the how) that could have been better invested in other things more appropriate to his leadership role.  He did not have time for conducting research himself any more.  He was heavily involved in the operational side of this project.   The result was demotivating, disengaging, lack of trust and a struggle to find commitment.  Now I know more about leadership and management I recognise this boss was using the ‘broken record’ technique on me during the first six months of my tenure.  This is hugely demoralising.  He never listened or responded to what I said, just kept repeating what he wanted to tell me.  I highly recommend that you never use this technique if you want to develop good relationships with people and engage your team.

Stepping up to manage and lead other people

Over the last few years in my role as an executive coach, I have subsequently worked with many managers to step up to lead and manage at the right level.  They felt there just wasn’t enough time to do everything they were required to do in their role.  They felt very time-stretched, no matter how well they managed time and scheduled their diaries.  They felt it was unreasonable for one person to be expected to do all this – the role was too big for one person.  Often their work/life balance suffered, they spent too long at work and took work home to finish off in the evenings and weekends.  Their home life suffered and they had too little time for friends and family or sport or other personal interests.  

They were still getting too involved in the operational and technical aspects of their direct reports’ roles.  They were deeply involved in the details and often telling their people how to do their job, in the way that was successful for them.  

They were doing this with the best of intentions, without realising how it could be destructive to their team’s morale, motivation, engagement and productivity.  They felt this was what was needed and expected of them to provide direction for their team, which was their job as the manager.  However, it didn’t leave them enough time to do their own work or focus on the far horizon and plan for longer term future strategy. Also, some found that they were not being seen as a peer by other managers at their level and people would primarily come to them for their expertise rather than strategic thinking.

They were effectively still managing at the ‘managing self or project’ level rather than managing at a level to manage other people and managers.  In effect, they were still ‘being the expert’ rather than the ‘leader of experts’.  Being the expert brings satisfaction and fulfilment, perhaps a sense of identity, and values their knowledge, skills and technical expertise.  Experts, or ‘individual contributers’, spend almost all of their time on work they directly control and value getting results through their own proficiency and delivering high quality work.  This value has brought them success in their career to date but gets in the way of being an effective manager and leader of other people.  Becoming a leader of experts requires a shift in values – to value getting results through others not yourself, to value time spent in developing your people, to feel their success is your success, to value the outcomes and success of your team or unit, to value your managerial work and getting the best out of your people, to value yourself as a manager and leader rather than as a professional expert. 

The key is to getting the right balance of where you spend your time.  The higher your leadership or management level in an organisation, the more your focus must be providing strategic direction and achieving results through others and less time being the expert working as an ‘individual contributer’.

Shifting values doesn’t happen overnight! It takes time to develop awareness of what is most important to you and what motivates you.  It involves developing a real and personal motivation to want to value your contribution in this different way.  Many leaders find this difficult transition is much easier with support from a mentor or coach who they trust to explore their values, thoughts and feelings; plan how to try out new ways of thinking and behaving; and reflect on what’s working well or what could be changed.

If you would like to talk to me about coaching around changing your leadership mindset or being  more confident, please do get in touch.  You can also check out our online coaching programmes on www.aeonacoaching.com or see the Aeona webpage for more information about what I do: www.aeona.co.uk

Sue Mitchell    email: info@aeonacoaching.com  telephone +44 1875 830708  or  use the contact form below – please make sure you spell your email address correctly for me to be able to reply to you.