Purpose, Vision, Principles – why are they so important?

Purpose

For a long while now my purpose has been to inspire others to be the best they can be and to help people reach their full potential. This has guided me well in my leadership of others. It has helped to keep me true to myself. I would always have it in the forefront of my mind when dealing with issues and question ‘was what i was doing helping others to be the best they could be?’.

Sometimes, I would have to pull back. My desire to get a job done, my pursuit of excellence could, at times, mean that I would want to take over a project. If I was going to help people reach their full potential then I had to let them make their own decisions and see what the outcomes were for themselves.

I found this tough. The control freak in me would be desperate to jump in. And, sometimes you have to for the great good of the organisation or project.

Always, though I had to come back to my purpose. Although my organisational purpose was to provide services which supported the wider community, I wanted to do this whilst I was also meeting my personal purpose.

Your personal purpose defines who you are, it reflects your passions and values. It helps to provide you with clarity as you set goals.
Again, organisationally I would have specific goals. Within our plans for meeting those goals I would want to ensure that my team mates were developing, learning and given their chance to sparkle.

Vision

Leadership vision is vital for focusing attention on what matters most; what you want to achieve in your life and what kind of leader you wish to be.
Your vision should address the future as well as deal with today’s realities. It represents who you are and what you stand for. So, my vision (in part) is to ‘create work places where everyone can flourish.’
For me, your vision is what helps your colleagues to understand where you are going collectively. I believe your vision should give your team a clear picture of where you are aiming for. Too vague and blurry and it will be meaningless.

Principles

Your principles motivate you do to do what seems right to YOU. A collection of sentences which set out what you believe in and HOW you will work.

People always say, ‘When I am a leader I will support people’. But, what does that really mean? Your how and what are important to nail down exactly you mean.

For example, one of my principle is ‘I will support people by making time to create quality relationships and emotional connections, in order to understand them, and the problems they face.’

This is specific and helps me to hold myself accountable. I may have other principles which also clarify how I will support people. Again vague principles are not helpful, as everyone can interpret them differently.

To help you think about your Purpose, Vision and Principles I have developed a 5 day challenge.

It is completely FREE.

It takes you through some simple exercises and you can spend as much or as little time as you want on them.

I have used these with my team leaders over many years, and have seen how powerful they can be to help nail down what is important individually.

You can access this 5 day challenge right here: https://bit.ly/5dayleadershipchallenge

Once you have signed up, I will send you your daily challenges .

How to harness the power of encouragement

Imagine the scene…..

You have spent some time on a particular task or project. You are feeling particularly pleased with what you have done. Even if you do say so yourself, you’ve done a great job. You are feeling good, right?

But, what if no one else notices? What if your manager never notices? You might be left feeling flat. Or, wondering whether what you did was good enough? No matter how many times you tell yourself that you KNOW you did a good job, a complete lack of external validation brings even the most positive and self confident of us down.

No matter what level you are at in your organisation. Whether you are the business owner, the CEO, or a first time supervisor. We all need someone to tell us that we are on the right track, doing well, getting it right.

So why do so many leaders find expressing gratitude, encouragement and praise so difficult to get right?

We have all been subjected to the “you’ve all done very well’ comment as the boss leaves the office on a Friday afternoon. Or, had a generic thank you, but you are not sure what for.

Don’t be like those people. Be nice – give others what you would hope to receive yourself. Don’t buy into that ‘it’s not our culture’ nonsense. Make it the culture in your team to make people feel great about what they are doing.

Here are a few simple suggestions for improving every day feedback to your team colleagues.

1. Be specific.
Vague praise doesn’t work and won’t make an impression. General thank you’s will not get through the chatter of insecurity that most people have going on in their heads. Say what specifically you have noticed someone do well and when. This not only shows that you care but also that you are paying attention to what happens around you.

2. Praise sincerely and realistically.
You have to mean it! And, it has to be based on reality. Detail is important, so if you have been specific you should have this one sorted. The most important thing to remember is that the person receiving praise or thanks needs to believe you.

3. Avoid offering praise and asking for a favour at the same time.
This can feel so fake and if you do it too often people won’t want your feedback as they will know it is conditional.

4. Look for something less obvious to praise
Avoid praising the same thing over and over. It loses its power. If you can, find something that your colleague hasn’t heard praised many times before.

5. Don’t hesitate to praise people who get a lot of praise already.
Everyone loves praise. Those that tell you otherwise are probably not being honest with themselves. If someone has done a good job with something then let them know. It doesn’t matter that you praised them only the day before for something else.

6. Praise people behind their backs.
This is one time when the ‘grape-vine’ is extremely useful. The person will almost always hear about your comments. Hearing from a third party that your manager thinks you did a great job is almost better than hearing it face to face.

7. Be very careful if a person asks for your honest opinion.
This can indicate that they are feeling insecure and need some reassurance. Now is the time to praise their bravery in asking for feedback. Now is the time to spend a little more time looking at the issue in question. Find and point out the good, express your gratitude, and ask them to express what they are concered about.
Then maybe set aside another time to carefully discuss anything that needs a little more attention. You can turn this into a wonderful coaching opportunity.

8. Gratitude is powerful.
Expressing your gratitude is a sure fire mechanism for getting more of the same. Show your appreciation for your colleague’s hard work and contribution. Expressing gratitude doesn’t mean you have to be happy about everything. Just that you appreciate others and the efforts they go to.

I bet we are all agreed that getting sincere and meaningful praise and thanks feels awesome.

Giving praise and thanks will make you feel great too. It’s pretty difficult to feel down about making someone else’s day a better one. You will get an instant happiness boost – and who doesn’t like one of those?

If you have found this useful and you like my posts please share with others who might. Collectively we can make work places better through being more ‘human’ leaders. Thanks Mandy xx

How could mentoring help you?

Why mentoring can make all the difference

When I was starting out on my leadership journey the offer of a mentor wasn’t forthcoming. Even if it had of been I would have shied away from the idea. Talking to someone I didn’t really know, about work? No, thanks! Talking to one of my colleagues about what I was struggling with? No chance!

It’s only later on, looking back, that I realised I had found my own mentors early on. As my career developed my mentors changed to suit my needs. Then, later on in my career, mentoring became a more recognised tactic for supporting managers and leaders.

Mentoring is best described as a learning and development partnership between someone with experience and knowldge, and someone who wants to learn.

One person shares their knowledge, skills and experience to assist others to progress in their own lives and careers, within agreed boundaries.

As soon as I was in a position to do so, I decided to take a mentoring approach with all my team members. I made it my mission to share my learning and experience with others – if they wanted it. I was never going to be the sort of leader who held on to the knowledge because of that old nonsense that ‘knowledge is power’.

In my experience, knowledge did not equal power, it simply meant that no one else could do my job if I wasn’t around! I quickly learnt as a team leader that sharing knowledge and experience as much as possible built resilence and improved practice.

BENEFITS

There are benefits for the mentor AND the mentee, which far outweigh the resources spent on the relationship. The added value you gain from a mentoring relationship is significant.

For the mentor there is the very tangible satisfaction of passing on your skills, learning and experience.

But, also it enhances one’s own performance by giving you time to reflect on your own practice. It helps you to develop professional relationships, and enhances peer recognition.

As a mentee, you gain impartial advice and encouragement. Your very own NON-critical friend, who will help you with problem solving, in a non-judgy way. You will have the opportunity to reflect on how you handled situations. And, what you can learn from the good, the bad and the ugly. (Don’t kid yourself that you won’t encounter all as some point!)

You have your own personal cheerleader. Someone who is on your side and will support you. Your mentor is not there to tell you what to do, but to help you work out the best way for you to do something.

You will gain self-confidence and improve your belief in yourself.

You will learn from someone who has been through the same or similar issues. It’s very rare that your problems will be new. They are just new to you.

Personal professional development is a fantastic investment in YOU and prospective future employers will recognise this.

Now, if you work in a big organisation, chances are you already have a mentoring programme in place. Which is great because all you need to do is tap into that amazing resource.

But, this won’t be the case in all organisations. Or, you might run your own small business. You may simply prefer not to bare your concerns and areas for development with someone in the same organisations as you.

PITFALLS

There are of course some potential pitfalls. 

You may not hit it off with your mentor. The relationship is important and cannot forced.

If you have an internal mentoring progamme the mentor may feel that they don’t have time to fulfill the role whilst carrying out normal duties. This may be apparent in your meetings with them.

Another possible pitfall is that the mentor may feel that the mentee is not progressing quickly enough. Or, doesn’t seem able or willing to change their approach to a problem. This can lead to frustration and again will come across in your interactions.

You may also become frustrated if you feel that you are not getting the guidance you need.

Communication is vital – if its not working then honesty is the best policy. There need not be any judgement in a decision to discontinue and find another mentor/mentee arrangement.

REVERSE MENTORING

You may be a senior manager yourself and may be unwilling to enter into a mentoring relationship for yourself. In this case, do not use out reverse mentoring.

Whilst you may not need mentoring on your leadership skills, the ever changing and fast paced world we live in can mean we quickly become  disconnected from new technology, new approaches and emerging issues on the ground.

Reverse mentoring takes theconcept of mentoring and turning it on its head.

Reverse mentoring acknowledges that the more senior person is the one who is looking for a fresh outlook. It can be a powerful mechanism for organisational culture change if the bosses are being mentored by mentors much younger and who have a very different experience of today’s world.

I know that a lot of people cannot access mentoring through work. Some cannot afford it, or are put off by the huge costs that some people charge. If you are in a leadership role having a

For that reason I am offering a 1 hour taster mentoring session for the reduced price of just £79.

In one hour we will have time to unpick at least one issue that you are struggling with. You can get a feel for whether mentoring could be the life changer I believe it to be.

I have 30 plus years experience in leadership roles. I have encountered all the monsters you might be facing. In just one hour I can help you on your journey to be the best leader you can be.

Don’t just take my word for it. These are the words of a new leader that I had the pleasure of mentoring last year.

“I have being having mentoring from Mandy … and haven’t looked back. I get a huge amount from my meetings with her and she is teaching me so much which I am utilising on a daily basis. She has given me great confidence and challenged me to push myself and believe in myself. She is really thoughtful and realistic about what is achievable and is a calming influence which has let me focus on the positives. I have left all meetings with a clearer view of what I should be doing to better manage my career and work towards meeting my long term goals. Mandy is very talented and her experience and guidance so useful.” 

To access this special offer sign up to my list here:

https://mailchi.mp/eec62317c754/pplmentoringspecialoffer

Good leadership skills are much the same as good customer care skills – and here is why

We all know what good customer care looks and feels like don’t we? It makes us feel good, confident that we are being listened too. It creates a trusting relationship.

We certainly recognise poor customer care when it happens to us. Unhelpful, making excuses, rude, lacking understanding or empathy. We have all experienced this at some time or other. And, it’s really not very nice! We end up frustrated, angry, and if we can, we might take our business elsewhere.

Much of my experience come from within teams providing direct services to people. Some would say that they were not customers. This is because I worked in the public sector and they didn’t have a choice to take their business elsewhere. I always say, all the more reason to ensure that they are receiving the best possible customer care.

The way I see it if we always think about people as customers who can go elsewhere if they are not happy, then chances are we will put more energy into making them happy!

So, what about our team. Do you think of your team as your customers? Maybe not before now, but just stop and give that a little thought. Consider for a moment your role within the team. 

Your role is to help ensure that your team can do their very best job. If you consider your tasks ultimately you are there to serve your team, so that collectively you meet your goals, hit your targets. 

For me, providing a good ‘leadership service’ to your team is no different to providing good ‘customer service’.

A team member – your customer – wants some simple key things which are exactly what you would want as customer of any business.

1. Be Nice!

People don’t like the work ‘nice’. They say it’s wishy washy, and lacks gravitas.

When it refers to people I beg to differ. Being nice, is shorthand for a whole raft of traits such as being:

  • thoughtful, 
  • pleasant, 
  • polite, 
  • respectful,
  • kind,
  • helpful,
  • considerate.

Being nice is all of those, and more, wrapped up in a nice bundle. What is wrong with that? Who wouldn’t want someone to be nice to them?

2. Be Honest

Do you know what makes customers really really angry? It’s when we know that we are being lied to, or fobbed off. 

It drives us mad as customers when this is happening to us, and your team will certainly come to recognise it in you if you are not honest with them. 

Tell people the truth. Tell them what you can do and what you can’t.

If you can’t tell them the full story – be honest about that. 

Making excuses, or covering up is way worse than being told that there is a bigger picture which you can’t go into for confidentiality reasons.

3. Keep your promises

If you have committed to doing something, then do it. And, if for some reason you can’t let the person know why and when you will be able to do it. 

Set realistic and appropriate expectations – and then follow through. 

4. Be understanding 

Take the time to understand. All too often we need to stop and listen to what is really going on.  To get to the crux of the issue and find the right way forward. Time spent on understanding at the start of the ‘transaction’ with your ‘customer’ will save far more time in the the long run. 

That’s it. Four simple customer care principles which translate directly into your leadership role. Think of your team as your customers and you will make sure they are getting the service they deserve.  

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