Tag Archives: vistage

How are you leading online?

A square inch of screen to make an impact from the neck up!

Is your role as a leader any different today to your role in the environment we may have just left behind? If it is, how do you adjust in order to maximise your leadership impact?

We spend a lot of time thinking about and developing strategies for keeping our people, customers and suppliers engaged and productive in the current remote and virtual world. There is no shortage of good advice and guidance on the practicalities. These are all things that can be strategized, organised, provided and learned. And they really matter.

Do they matter as much as you, the leader, showing up in every virtual/remote interaction you have with those people who are important to you and your business?

And if showing up is more than broadcasting to-do lists, checking numbers and remedial actions, agreeing decisions and debating courses of action, then, as leaders, we need to look at how we show up as a person because that’s what shows up in that square inch of screen.

 Showing up is about how you demonstrate that you care about your team, their mental health and working environment.

Showing up is about being someone who empathises with the difficulties they are facing.

Showing up is about them knowing, without thinking, that you are in the bear pit with them.

How do you do all that when you are communicating as a “head and shoulders” 100% of the time in a full-on virtual world on computer, screen, or phone screen?

If celebrated TV presenters are struggling with this new world where there is no physical interaction between them and their audience, it’s not surprising that leaders can feel a bit on edge when facing the same challenges. 

I had never had formal on-screen training, especially in headshot mode, and especially being on-screen for long periods of time. So, I took a lesson from an expert in the field of professional and personal presence in the virtual world. Eye opening is an understatement. What I learned in a couple of hours has enabled me to relax, be myself, come across (I am told as the authentic person they know), be human and attract and inspire my team to come on this new journey with me.

My biggest learning ?  How you show up really matters so pay attention to it!

Do your flowers smell?

Not if you don’t smell them!

The saying I use often with my business coaching clients is “It’s always later than you think – so please smell the flowers along the way”. Even though I press this home, sometimes it’s hard to take my own advice. Smelling the flowers along the way has become so much more important to me over the past few months.

If the current crisis has taught me anything, it’s the absolute reinforcement, first and foremost, of the priority of family, friends and being human. Being a Human Being and not a Human Doing!

Being someone in the total lock down category, I am so grateful for all the support offered from people I do not know. We have seen the sacrifices being made by our first responder NHS workforce, our police and fire brigade and other critical workers. I have witnessed personally the selflessness of neighbours helping with shopping and supporting people they didn’t know ten days ago.

We have seen some of the worst side of people as they ignore the lock down rules and jeopardise the elderly, frail and vulnerable in their families and communities. Thankfully, these are few and far between.

A vast majority of us are having our humanity tested and we are proving worthy.

I have always tried to “smell the flowers along the way” and I’ve not always been successful at it. However, I have been a lot more successful than many of the business leaders I coach and, for this, I am grateful. I’m not a believer in a work-life balance which, by its definition separates work from life. It also assumes a pivot point in order to balance. So, you are one side or the other. I find this a difficult concept to believe in. I have always thought of it as a blend or a meld of life priorities. Not a linear time bound system but a universe of infinite possibilities where time is not a dominant factor.

I am finding it energising to have more time than normal to enjoy three elements of my life than matter greatly to me.

1.     To focus on my family, making sure everyone is safe and well, and thinking about what our future priorities are and what we want the future to hold for us.

2.     To be able to continue to offer my help, guidance, coaching and mentoring support to business leaders who are having every ounce of their resolve and resilience tested to the extremes.

3.     How I can continue to fully deliver on my objectives for both 1 and 2 above, without sacrificing either for the other at any point in time going forward. Having time to work on me is a great benefit here.

My focus is now moving towards what, as a family, we want to decide are our priorities.

Let me know what has the current situation taught you about how you want to be as a human being going forward? What’s really important to you and how are you going to blend your life so that you can create a life of meaning, gratefulness and value? A life that allows you and your loved ones to smell the flowers along the way? I wish you a safe and healthy passage through these strange and troubled times.