Leadership Tips for Discovery in Action Alumni + network
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March 2016

Welcome to our March edition of our Discovery in Action - Monthly leadership tips,  your 'once a month'  'bite-sized' chunks of practical leadership wisdom!

A quick welcome to our new DiA - Leading people participants receiving our newsletter for the first time. We look forward to working with you as you explore your beliefs, behaviours, practice and impact over the coming months.

It was also great to touch base this month with alumni from one of our earlier DiA - Leading people client organisations. It was encouraging to hear how you have used your models since the program ended, and to see how you are maintaining focus on your leadership practice. We look forward to working with you again on this mini-refresh of the DiA program!

In our March edition of our newsletter we share :
We post the blogs in this monthly leadership tips publication on Linked In. Please feel free to forward this email to people in your network who you think may find it helpful...

We also use the content we share each month, in the work we do in our consulting practice. Feel free to get in touch to find out more about anything in this newsletter or other blogs on our website.  Enjoy!

Paul and Melanie Eyres

The 4 rituals that will make you an expert at anything!

Many of our coaching clients in recent months have lamented about their on-going challenge with confidence. Many high achievers and perfectionists suffer from moments of doubt. We have shared posts on this topic before, and recently saw a post on LinkedIn (from Time magazine) that caught our eye.

This post, entitled ‘the 4 rituals that will make you an expert at anything’ (by Eric Barker) shares 4 tips from Anders Ericsson, a professor of psychology at Florida State University, who created the theory that it takes about “10,000 hours” to become an expert. He says, the majority of people totally misunderstand the idea and there are 4 tips that are critical to improving competence.

You can apply these four tips to pretty much anything you want to become better at. ‘I’d be more confident if I felt I was better at / knew more about …’ is often what we hear people with confidence challenges say. There are many reasons behind confidence issues, and improving competence alone will not solve the confidence problem outright. But actively working on increasing competence, and believing ourselves to be more competent when we move forwards on the development continuum – is one strategy that can often help.

Ideas to explore

  1. Find a Mentor
  2. Try different – not harder
  3. It’s about doing, not knowing
  4. Study the past to have a better future

Click here to read the full version of the blog, and to access more research on this topic.

What happens if you don't get enough sleep - and tips to help get more sleep

When preparing some updated content for our course entitled ‘Enhancing your Resilience’, I came across this great TED-ed video that shares some useful facts about sleep.

We all know that sleep is a fundamental core need, but did you know how important?

Experts suggest adults need somewhere between 7 and 9 hours a night, and teenagers between 8 and 10.  If you don’t get enough sleep, the body doesn’t have time to complete all of the phases needed for muscle repair, memory consolidation and release of hormones regulating growth and appetite.

Self control, attention and memory will suffer. We are less prepared to concentrate, less prepared to make decisions, find it more of a challenge to regulate our moods and are less able to engage fully in our activities.

And interestingly, a lack of sleep causes the stress hormone cortisol to increase even if there is no stress trigger present!

If you want to know more about what happens to our bodies when we don’t get enough sleep, watch this 4 minute TED-ed video. Then below the video, review the tips that can help improve sleep.

How to close a meeting and 2 things to do after it

Does this sound familiar?

Day 1 : ‘Thanks guys, that was a good meeting. I feel like we got a lot of things on the table and made some progress. See you next month’.

Next time the team meets : ‘Haven’t we already had this conversation? I thought we agreed that last time. Why hasn’t anything happened?’

Many of us would love to have the first statement (unfortunately too many of our meetings don’t feel like they have been of value), so it seems like a crime when a meeting that was productive doesn’t lead to productive action.

As Paul Axtell writes in his HBR article ‘Two things to do after every meeting’, “there are a number of reasons why the productive conversations in a meeting seemingly go nowhere. Attendees are often immediately running to another meeting where their attention shifts to a new set of issues. Or people leave the meeting without clarity about what was agreed upon.”

So what can you do about it?

These seem like really obvious things to do, but unfortunately that doesn’t mean they happen!

‘To make sure productivity doesn’t slow after you walk out of the room, do two things after and in between meetings: Quickly send out clear and concise meeting notes and follow up on the commitments made.’

Click here to read the rest of the blog and see more detail on how these 2 things can help make future meetings more productive – and maybe even redundant!...

The 'shadow beliefs' that drive your actions

There has been much written about what constitutes good leadership and management practice and what is required to have engaged and motivated staff.  Despite this there is much data to suggest that we are still not that great at it – otherwise referred to as the knowing–doing gap.  This is partly due to the fact that for many people leading others is not a natural actit requires high degrees of selflessness, self-control and conscious attention.  Underpinning our day-to-day unconscious auto-pilot leadership actions/non-actions are potentially some ‘shadow beliefs’ – more self-protective and controlling in nature – that we dare not confront or even say out loud.  However, rather than judging yourself negatively for these, it is helpful to accept them as natural human behaviours (from years of evolution), acknowledge them to yourself and commit to doing the hard work of continuously improving.

So let’s get specific – what are these shadow beliefs that you might want to confront?  Outlined below is a brief list of commonly espoused beliefs about when people are likely to perform well at work.  This list doesn’t come from a single source, but is an amalgam of themes from the literature on motivation, wellbeing and leadership as well as the reflections over 400 participants in our Discovery in Action® leadership development program.  There is nothing particularly controversial in this list, and whilst I’m sure the nuances could be debated at length I would suggest that most people interested in leadership and management would think…’’yeah, it’s a reasonable list’’.

So a reasonably well accepted set of beliefs might be that…people perform at their best at work when they:

Click here to see the full blog.

Some recent assignments

  • began a 'mini-refresh' of the DiA - Leading people program with previous alumni of the DiA program
  • Co-facilitated a leader as coach program for a local government
  • Facilitated a series of focus groups to gain input for a new HR delegations schedule
Click here to access the Eyres & Associates website to find out what else we do!

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