Shut up and Listen!

Sorry if that sounds rude but one of the mistakes we sometimes make when going into a conversation is to think we should have all the answers – slick, smart, clever answers.

Because, as a leader or manager that’s what you’re paid to do, right?

Wrong.

The best managers I know have mastered the art of asking great questions (and listening REALLY well) in order to get to the best answers.

And let me be clear. This is NOT a set of questions that you can learn by rote and pull out randomly. Oh no.

Now, there are some great questions that can serve many purposes because it’s always good to have a starting point. But we can do so much more than that if we want to get to mastery.

My wonderful coach mentor recently described a really great question as ‘one you would only ever use once’.

Because it only means something to that particular person. You’re using their words as part of your question.

That is really powerful.

It means really listening to...

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Are you giving out the wrong messages?

behaviour habits Jun 21, 2019

I’ve been reminded of a phrase this week for a variety of reasons and as a result of numerous conversations. There’s definitely been a theme emerging!

The phrase is this: ‘You teach others how to treat you’.

It’s a bit of a variation on the theme of ‘treat others as you would like to be treated yourself’:

Here’s what I mean:

  • If I want you to trust me, I have to demonstrate trustworthiness;
  • If I want to be respected, I have to respect myself and respect you;
  • If I want you to value what I bring, I have to value myself, value what I bring AND value what you bring.

Some time ago, I worked with a wonderful lady who was the team comedian. Which is all very well, but she wanted a promotion and nobody could imagine her in a more senior position – after all, she was the team joker and they couldn’t always take her seriously! She eventually had to leave the organisation and re-invent herself in a new role - (not losing her humour...

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4 ways to throw off the safety blanket of Busyness

Last time I wrote about the safety blanket of Busy-ness.

This week I want to share with you four key things to help you or your teams throw off that safety blanket! I wrote the article for Strategic HR Review a while back and thought it was worth a re-share! I do have permission to share it with you! (The article starts on page 2.)

Four ways HR can improve business productivity

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Is Busyness your Comfort Blanket?

busy comfort zone overwhelm Jun 07, 2019

We all know that our best learning takes place when we are ‘outside our comfort zone’ – but not so far out that we want to run for the hills. I know my deepest and most long lasting growth has come when I’ve had to confront something I’ve been avoiding or take on a challenge that felt new and scary.

I also know that for me and for many of my clients it’s easy to stay under the safety blanket of busy-ness’. And whilst we say ‘I’d love to be less busy’ or ‘I’d love to have more time for myself/my family’ we just keep on doing ‘stuff’ that we’ve always done and not getting round to the other ‘stuff’

So why do we say we want one thing and then do everything we can to sabotage ourselves?

Easy.

Busy-ness is safe (exhausting and overwhelming but safe)

We can do it.

We’re in familiar territory.

We’re experts.

And if I’m busy, I’m important; valued; valuable.

...

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Changing your Team Culture – We forget the blindingly obvious

How easy it is to forget the basics!

Over the last month, I’ve sent you four articles on how to change your team culture – sharing the very practical steps that you need to focus on and in what order (no theoretical meanderings that don’t work in the real world!).

As luck would have it, I’ve been working with a team recently who helped me understand one of the much more fundamental ‘blocks’ to changing or building culture.

In this particular case, the team had been brought together following a restructure and dived head-long into a massive piece of work thus ‘cobbling things together’ (their words) as they went along. 

This team needed a massive PAUSE. A ‘stepping off the treadmill, let’s start at the beginning and create something that will work’ type of pause. 

‘let’s build our firm foundation’ type of pause.

Now you know, as well as I do, that when we’re busy...

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Changing your Team Culture – Make it work in the real world

team culture teams May 24, 2019

Over the last three weeks I’ve been sharing with you a step by step process to help you change your team culture. (if you can’t find the articles contact pat@lynnscottcoaching.co.uk)

In last week’s article, I talked about the importance of focusing on no more than three critical behaviours to change – if you try to change everything at once, you’ll end up changing nothing.

A while back, I worked with a senior Finance Team. One of the things the new leader wanted was a ‘more open’ culture. He’d been saying this for a while and everybody nodded their heads in agreement – but nothing changed.

Why?

He hadn’t been specific enough about what ‘more open’ actually means and how that translates into daily working life.

When I asked each of the team to define ‘more open’ they each had their own ideas about what this meant – but they’d never really articulated this as a...

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Changing your Team Culture – Be real, not fluffy

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve shared with you the three steps you need to follow if you want to change the culture in your team. Last week we looked at the importance of respecting and recognising your team’s history before you start changing things.

This week, I want to help you get clarity about what you want to change and why.

What do you want to change? And why?

  • Can you clearly and succinctly explain the need for culture change – and the specific outcomes you are looking for?
  • Can the team see for themselves what needs to change but maybe just don’t know where to start?
  • Or are they cynical or worried about changing things? Can’t see the point? Tried before and nothing really changed?
  • What are the pros and cons of change for everyone? The challenges and opportunities?
  • Let people explore these questions and grapple with some of the answers.
  • Tap into their aspirations.
  • Then co-create the change together. This is NOT a...
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Changing your Team Culture – 11 Questions to get you moving

team team culture May 10, 2019

Organisational – and team – culture is described as ‘the way things are done around here’. 

This month I’m writing about Team Culture and last week in my first article I outlined the three things you need clarity on if you want to change the culture in your team. Read this article first if you haven’t already done so.

The first thing you need clarity on before you start changing anything is your team’s current culture. Respect and recognise its history before trying to change the world.

Think about the things that are ‘accepted’ in your team. These are often what you might think of as ‘small’ things such as:

  • Turning up late to meetings – because the last one over-ran;
  • Sending emails or texting during meetings;
  • ‘Not having time’ to complete the actions you agreed at your last meeting;
  • Poor performance not dealt with – or dealt with immediately;
  • Working from home on...
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Three things to focus on FIRST to change your team culture

change team culture May 03, 2019

Over the next four weeks I am going to help you understand how to change your own ‘team culture’ – if it’s not working for you as well as you would like.

I’m using the common definition of culture – ‘the way things are done around here’ – which encompasses how people in the team act, dress, carry out their work and behave.

Whilst organisations are often involved in large ‘culture change’ initiatives across the board (many of which are unsuccessful for a variety of reasons) I’ve sometimes been asked if it is possible to change the culture of one particular team within an organisation – when it’s not the top team.

The answer to that question is, I believe, ‘yes’ but with the following caveats:

  • The culture change in your own team has to complement what the organisation overall is trying to achieve;
  • The ‘level above’ your team has to be supportive of the initiative (so if you are a...
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