Crisis Management

Crisis Management

Crisis Management – when disaster strikes!

Most large organizations these days, and many smaller ones, have crisis management plans. As a manager, you need to make sure that yours is up to date and that the key players know exactly what is expected of them.

If you don’t have a crisis management plan yet, you will find lots of resources on-line to help you and lots of companies willing to advise you. You will find great information on the Business Continuity Institute’s website

I hope that your crisis management plan reflects your organization’s core values. But here are some thoughts from me. 

People are really important. The right people need to be actively involved when disaster strikes. Leave status and the company hierarchy to one side when you plan your “war room”/control room. Top management may not be very useful. You need your operations’ people – the ones who know how to make things happen. No one should get into the war room unless they have a role and they are best equipped to carry it out. You can plan for this well in advance and you need to know who your specialists are and how to get hold of them.

Be Transparent. Tell the truth to your stakeholders (staff, customers, regulatory authorities, shareholders) and to the media.  Be as open as you can, within the bounds of law. With Twitter and Facebook around, it isn’t in anyone’s interest for you to start trying to throw a smoke screen over the fire, if you know what I mean! Honesty, sincerity and commitment to your staff and your customers can be tremendously disarming to potential critics.

Be clear about leadership. People get anxious and upset in a crisis, even when they try to hide it. They need a clear leader who knows how to stay calm and reassure everyone. Make sure there is a clear leader and, if it is you, focus on the task at hand, understand your goal and be ready to make decisions under pressure. That is what it means to be a leader! 

Know you priorities. In any emergency, “life” (that means people) comes first. Don’t lose sight of this. It is a good thing to remember this when you are doing your risk assessments, well ahead of the crisis. 

You need confidence to manage a crisis and if you would like to work on your confidence as a manager or a leader, please get in touch. I would like to help you.  Email me now to arrange a free half-hour taster coaching session by Skype.

Wendy Smith, Career, life and Business Coach
Wendy Smith, Principal Coach, WiseWolf Life and Career Coaching

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in organisational development, management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find all her books on Amazon at this link

         

Management – when disaster strikes!

Management – when disaster strikes!

Most large organizations these days, and many smaller ones, have crisis management plans. As a manager, you need to make sure that yours is up to date and that the key players know exactly what is expected of them.

If you don’t have a crisis management plan yet, you will find lots of resources on-line to help you and lots of companies willing to advise you. You will find great information on the Business Continuity Institute’s website

I hope that your crisis management plan reflects your organization’s core values. But here are some thoughts from me. 

People are really important. The right people need to be actively involved when disaster strikes. Leave status and the company hierarchy to one side when you plan your “war room”/control room. Top management may not be very useful. You need your operations’ people – the ones who know how to make things happen. No one should get into the war room unless they have a role and they are best equipped to carry it out. You can plan for this well in advance and you need to know who your specialists are and how to get hold of them.

Be Transparent. Tell the truth to your stakeholders (staff, customers, regulatory authorities, shareholders) and to the media.  Be as open as you can, within the bounds of law. With Twitter and Facebook around, it isn’t in anyone’s interest for you to start trying to throw a smoke screen over the fire, if you know what I mean! Honesty, sincerity and commitment to your staff and your customers can be tremendously disarming to potential critics.

Be clear about leadership. People get anxious and upset in a crisis, even when they try to hide it. They need a clear leader who knows how to stay calm and reassure everyone. Make sure there is a clear leader and, if it is you, focus on the task at hand, understand your goal and be ready to make decisions under pressure. That is what it means to be a leader! 

Know you priorities. In any emergency, “life” (that means people) comes first. Don’t lose sight of this. It is a good thing to remember this when you are doing your risk assessments, well ahead of the crisis. 

You need confidence to manage a crisis and if you would like to work on your confidence as a manager or a leader, please get in touch. I would like to help you.  Email me now to arrange a free half-hour taster coaching session by Skype.

Wendy Mason is a career coach working mainly with professional women who want to make that jump to senior level while having a life outside work. Before working as a coach, Wendy had a long career in both the public and private sectors in general management and consultancy as well as spells in HR. She now divides her time between face to face coaching, and coaching and blogging on-line. You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com and find out more athttp://wisewolfcoaching.com

Coming shortly – Getting There With WiseWolf, the Career and Personal Development Programme – if you would like to know more emailwendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com

  • Management – strong customer service can create valuable crisis management opportunities

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6 Habits of True Strategic Thinkers

 6 Habits of True Strategic Thinkers

This is an interesting post on http://www.inc.com from Paul J. H.Schoemaker

Paul is Founder and Chairman of Decision Strategies Intl.  He is also a speaker, academic and entrepreneur.  He is Research Director, Mack Ctr for Technological Innovation at Wharton, where he teaches strategic decision-making. His latest book is Brilliant Mistakes: Finding Success on the Far Side of Failure,

Here is an introduction and link to the post,

6 Habits of True Strategic Thinkers

You’re the boss, but you still spend too much time on the day-to-day. Here’s how to become the strategic leader your company needs…….

After two decades of advising organizations large and small, my colleagues and I have formed a clear idea of what’s required of you in this role. Adaptive strategic leaders — the kind who thrive in today’s uncertain environment – do six things well…More at the link below.

6 Habits of True Strategic Thinkers | Inc.com.

Working with a coach really can make your career zing! Get in touch at the email email address below.
Wendy Smith, Career, life and Business Coach

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in organisational development, management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find all her books on Amazon at this link

         

Leadership Styles – Now Discover Your Strengths

For decades, Gallup scientists have researched the topic of leadership. They’ve surveyed a million work teams, conducted more than 50,000 in-depth interviews with leaders, and  interviewed 20,000 followers to ask what they admired in the most important leader in their life.

The results of that research are set out in the book, Strengths-Based Leadership.

Using Gallup’s discoveries, authors Tom Rath and Barry Conchie identify three keys to being an effective leader

  1. The most effective leaders are always investing in strengths. In the workplace, when an organization’s leadership fails to focus on individuals’ strengths, the odds of an employee being engaged are a dismal 1 in 11 (9%). But when an organization’s leadership focuses on the strengths of its employees, the odds soar to almost 3 in 4 (73%). When leaders focus on and invest in their employees’ strengths, the odds of each person being engaged goes up eightfold.
  2. The most effective leaders surround themselves with the right people and then maximize their team. While the best leaders are not well-rounded, the best teams are! Strong, cohesive teams have a representation of strengths in each of these four domains: executing, influencing, relationship building, and strategic thinking.
  3. The most effective leaders understand their followers’ needs. People follow leaders for very specific reasons. When asked, thousands of followers were able to describe exactly what they need from a leader with remarkable clarity. This was trust, compassion, stability, and hope.

Tom Rath and Barry Conchie used firsthand accounts from highly successful leaders to show how each person’s unique talents can drive their success. The leaders included the founder of Teach for America and the president of The Ritz-Carlton.

Gallup’s StrengthsFinder assessment is available to readers with an access code that accompanies the book. This helps you discover your own special gifts, and specific strategies show you how to lead with your top five talents and how to plot the strengths of your team based on the four domains of leadership strength;

  • Executing,
  • Influencing,
  • Relationship Building
  • Strategic Thinking.

The second theme in this work is identifying the followers “Four Basic Needs”; Trust, Compassion, Stability and Hope which should inspire us all!

If you would like to buy the book you can find it at this link.

Wendy Mason is a Life and Career Coach.  She helps people have
the confidence they need to be successful at work and to change career. You can email her atwendymason@confidencecoach.me or ring ++44(0)2084610114 

Other useful articles

  • Team Work; forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning with Dr Tuckman
  • Team Work; Forming, Storming, Norming,Performing and Adjourning. Part 1 – Managing the Forming Stage
  • Team Work; Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning. Part 2 – Managing the Storming Stage
  • Team Work; Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning. Part 3 – Managing the Norming Stage

Three Steps to Resolve Conflict as a Leader

Today we have a guest post from Nadia Jones who blogs at online college about education, college, student, teacher, money saving and movie related topics.

I believe her very sensible advice will be useful to all leaders and managers.

Three  Steps to Resolve Conflict as a Leader

As a leader, not only will you have to make sure that everyone stays on task and that all business matters are taken care of, but if there is conflict between two subordinates, know that one (or both) people are going to come to you asking for help to resolve the issue. If/when this occurs, you need to know how to approach and deal with this delicate matter the correct way. Below are a few tips that can help you get the ball rolling.

1. First, Meet with Each Party Individually

It’s important that you hear each side of the story before coming to  any conclusions. Get all the facts. You want to know what/who caused the problem. Ask each employee if they have any documented evidence or dates of when the incident(s) occurred. Take the time to piece the story together while also taking note of how each story differs from the other. While speaking with each individual, you want to make sure that you maintain a cordial and objective tone. You don’t want someone thinking that you favor one story over the other but you don’t want them thinking you’re against them either. Do your best to keep your tone neutral. The key here is to listen.

2. Meet with both parties together

After you have a better grasp of what’s going on and you’ve drawn your own conclusions about what the root of the problem really is (and come up with a possible solution), it’s time to meet with both parties at the same time. While still trying to maintain a cordial and unbiased/objective tone, reiterate to them what you think the real issue is according to your own understanding. Ask them if it’s correct. At this time give your employees a chance to state their version briefly if they feel the need to change some details. Listen to what each person has to say, but make sure to pay attention to body language as well. Let each person propose their own solutions but show that you expect them to reach agreement. If the conflict still can’t be resolved, suggest your own approach. Then ask the both parties which solution they’d prefer. Whatever you do, make sure that none of you leave without some sort of resolution.

3. Document Everything

Lastly, you want to make sure that you have a record of the finalized resolution to the conflict. Type out the agreement! Have both parties sign it and make them copies for their own records. Make sure that you give the original copy to the Human Resources Department so that if the same issue occurs again, you’ll have a record of what was agreed. Whoever is in breach of the agreement at a later date may have to suffer some serious career consequences!

Author Bio:

This is a guest post by Nadia Jones who blogs at online college about education, college, student, teacher, money saving, movie related topics. You can reach her at nadia.jones5 @gmail.com. 

Leadership styles – are you the leader for all seasons?


A bonfire lit the sky of Babil Province, as no...

The post that gets the greatest number of visits on this blog is a very short piece I wrote a while ago on different leadership styles – here is the link. I know a picture is worth a thousand words but its success still staggers me – every day it get more hits!

Now leaders, being people, come in all shapes, sizes and personality types and thank goodness for it.

The secret of being a good leader is the ability to be flexible.  Whatever your natural style, If you can adapt that style to meet the needs of the times and your situation, well, in my book, you will be doing OK. And I believe you may be quite unusual.

But, if you are prepared and able to flex, you still need to be able to recognize when a different style is required. For example, a participative leadership style is great in gaining consensus, engagement and a commitment to quality.  But in a conflict situation where survival depends upon making a quick decision, it may have its limitations and could be potentially disastrous

There may be limits for many of us in how far, and for how long, we can adapt from what is our natural style.

It really helps if we understand our natural style and if we can be honest with ourselves about how far we are able to change.  Under stress and over time we tend to revert to what is natural for us.

An action-orientated leader may be great at saving an organization, bringing it out of inertia and building up motivation and morale, short-term.   But that same action-orientated leader may not be the person to develop a vision for the organization long-term.

If you can flex long enough to meet the need, that is great!  If you can’t, and you know it, then have the courage and honesty to admit the problem and put energy into finding someone who can.

So where do you start to become this paragon of leaders who can change styles as required?  Well, start by understanding you.

There are various leadership tests that you can find easily on-line (such as, Myers Briggs) and some of them are free.  Do your homework – find out as much as you can about your own and different leadership styles on this and other websites.

Then start to observe yourself and your organization.  If you look and listen to your people you’ll soon know if your leadership style is right for the times! But be aware, this may mean you have some difficult choices to make. That depends, of course, on how just how good you want to be as a leader!

Wendy Mason is a Coach, Consultant and Blogger. She works with all kinds of people going through many different kinds of personal and career change, particularly those wanting to increase their confidence. If you would like to work on developing your leadership ability or your own confidence, Wendy would happy to work with you.  Her Learn to Be Confident Program is at this link. You can contact Wendy at wendymason@confidencecoach.me  or ring ++44 (0)2084610114

Taking Your First Steps in Leadership

English: Children playing in snow

So when do you start to be a leader?

Well, we start leading as soon as someone starts to follow!

You’ve seen them haven’t you – a group of children playing together and then one of them starts to assume command?  They decide the games that will be played and usually the roles that others will take!  “We are going to play….” and off they trot – one of the group has become the leader.

In the workplace, as soon as there are two of you, someone has to lead.  Someone has to decide what you are there for and how you will work together! It is this act of making sense of things that is the core element of leadership.

Some people can’t wait to take the responsibility for leadership and they thrive on it.

Others are more diffident.  The prospect can be frightening and they think they won’t know what to do.  They hope someone else will be the leader, or that leadership can be avoided.

But organizations without any leadership founder!

To be successful leadership needs recognition, so that the direction people need can be given.

People need to know who the leader is! They will want, and need, someone to check-in with to make sure that they, and the organization, are on the ‘right’ course!

Clear and cohesive leadership can give a sense of direction and security even in these troubled times.

But remember as Warren Bennis has said “Leaders are made rather than born.”   So even if you start out nervous or unwilling to lead, you can learn to meet the challenge for your organization.

You too can learn to develop a vision and to empower and support your people in turning that vision into reality.

As you step into leadership, ask yourself what do I bring to the role and how will I prepare?  Then you will find there are lots of resources out there to help you on your leadership journey.

With commitment and good will, you have your feet on the first steps of the ladder to giving your organization the leadership it needs.

 
Wendy Mason works as a Coach, Consultant and Blogger. She works with all kinds of people going through many different kinds of personal and career change, particularly those wanting to increase their confidence

If you would like to work on developing your own confidence, Wendy offers the Wisewolf Learn to Be Confident Program at this link

You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com  or ring ++44 (0)2084610114

  • Confidence and the Passionate Leader (wisewolftalking.com)
  • Leading the Confident Team (wisewolftalking.com)
  • Leadership – It’s About You (coachstationsteve.wordpress.com)

When things go wrong! Giving criticism and negative feedback! Seven Ways to Be!

When things go wrong

Sometimes in leading or managing a team we need to give criticism or negative feedback.  Not everything can be perfect every time.  Sometimes things go wrong.  And sometimes that something is down to an action or lack of action by a person or a group of people.

First and most important be sure of the facts.  Try to find out exactly what went wrong and why.

To do this properly you need to have won the confidence and trust of your team.  They need to know that you will deal with them honestly, fairly and with compassion.  That does not mean that you will never give criticism when it is due.

Make sure that your criticism is constructive – it should be about getting things right in the future not about punishment or about scapegoats.  It should not be about the personal qualities of people.  You are not a parent, a school teacher or a judge in a Court of Law.

Dealing with discipline

If you think there has been a disciplinary offence then deal with it in line with your HR Policy. If necessary, take advice and if you are an SME don’t be afraid to have a word with an Employment Law Adviser.  Getting it wrong can cost you a lot of money.  If your team includes contractors be clear about the contract and where contractual responsibilities lies.

Giving Criticism!

Seven Ways to Be

How you sound, look and behave when you give the feedback often matters as much as the words you use.  But the words are important.

Here are my eight ways to be when giving criticism.

  1. Be direct! Get to the point and give the feedback in a simple straight forward way.
  2. Be clear! Set out what you are criticizing, the change you want to see and why.
  3. Be sincere! Say what you mean and mean what you say.  Sincerity mean you speak with care and respect. Don’t send a mixed message – for example “I think you are all wonderful but there is just this little thing I’d like to mention”.  This usually means the real purpose of the message gets lost. Putting the “but” in the middle just creates contradictions
  4. Be serious! Express concern but do not become emotional.  Getting angry and showing frustration will distort the message.  Again remember you are trying to create awareness and improve performance not to create noise, vent or make yourself feel better.
  5. Be objective! State what you have observed and the evidence you have gathered.  Do not reinterpret the facts and add your opinion beyond stating the gap between what happened and what should have happened according to the standards set by you or your organization.
  6. Be live! To have impact, feedback needs to be direct and person to person; not through someone else or through technology.  Talk live to people face-to-face when you can or by phone if there is no alternative.  If talking to a group be with them either physically or by a direct line.
  7. Be on time! No I don’t mean don’t be late for the meeting, although you never should.  Give feedback as close as possible to the event.  When everything is fresh in people’s mind your comments will have far greater impact than further down the line when many may have forgotten exactly what happened.

Those are my Seven Ways to Be when giving criticism and negative feedback.  Do you agree?  Send me your thoughts and observations by commenting below.

 
Wendy Mason works as a Coach, Consultant and Writer. 

She works with all kinds of people going through many different kinds of personal and career change, particularly those;

  • looking for work
  • looking for promotion or newly promoted
  • moving between Public and Private Sectors
  • facing redundancy
  • moving into retirement
  • wanting to do a mid-life review

You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com  or ring ++44 (0)2084610114

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Leader, Leadership and Leadership Styles

A walkway through the mid campus of Genentech

Leader/Leadership

According to Alan Keith of Genentech “Leadership is ultimately about creating a way for people to contribute to making something extraordinary happen”.

A leader is a person who influences a group of people towards a specific result. But how that person influences varies with the style of the leader.

Leadership styles can range from the autocratic (“I’m going to tell you what to do”) to completely free reign (“You do it your way but get it right!”).  The easiest way to think of it, is in three main flavours.

Leadership Styles

Transactional Leadership

Transactional leaders provide rewards if, and only if, people perform as they require and are believed by the leader to work hard enough! This leader wants to contract with you in detail to set the exact reward you will receive for an exact amount of effort. This leader is unlikely to want to change how things are done or to listen to your suggestions for improving things; just make sure the agreed performance goals are met!

The leader will only intervene if they think something is wrong or the targets look threatened.  Expect to be closely monitored, though, and expect this leader to look for problems.

This approach can be useful when people are new and don’t know the work. Then the leader can be expected to turn into manager and provide very detailed instructions.

When you know what you are doing, this kind of leader can make you feel very demoralised, stressed and de–motivated.  This is particularly so when you know there is a better way of doing things.

Laissez-faire Leadership

This kind of leader leaves you to get on with things.  Now this works when you are a highly skilled craftsman or professional.  You take pride in your work you know you do it well; you drive on to achieve the objectives rarely needing help from anyone.

When you do need help, or another opinion, it may not be there for you.  You may not receive praise because the leader may not know enough about the work to know whether it is good or not!

Sometimes these kinds of leaders don’t really understand what they should be doing and just hope you know enough to cover for them!

Transformational Leadership

These are leaders who motivate you to commit to the vision of the organization!

They become your role model and sometimes you feel you would follow them anywhere! (I’ve worked for them but not often!) These leaders know where they want the organization to go and share the vision with you,

They also allow you to share that vision making process! They let you join in the problem solving and decision making without you feeling they have exploited you.  It is true sharing and involvement. They offer both challenge and support – they coach and they advise.  Yes, you do have to work hard but you feel motivated to do so!

These are the leaders who believe your personal development matters as well as the organization of which you are a part.

Sometimes though, the style isn’t appropriate, for example,  in real a crisis.  But those occasions should be rare.

So, when you think about styles of leadership what kind of leader are you? And what kind of leader would you prefer to work with?

I am Wendy Mason and I work as a Coach, Consultant and Writer. 

As a coach, I work with all kinds of people going through many different kinds of personal and career change, particularly those;

  • looking for work
  • looking for promotion or newly promoted
  • moving between Public and Private Sectors
  • facing redundancy
  • moving into retirement

I am very good at helping you sort out what you want, overcome obstacles and handle change.   Email me at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com for more information

  • Becoming a Leader Today – What is Leadership? (wisewolftalking.com)
  • Are You a Transformational Leader? (psychology.about.com)
  • What Servant Leadership Looks Like (chrislocurto.com)

Becoming a Leader – Managing Your Own Energy

Energy Arc, central electrode of a Plasma Lamp.
Image via Wikipedia

We spend a lot of time thinking about  energy.

We do this at global, national and local level – for very good reasons. It has become a daily obsession for politicians and rulers all over the world.

But I want to think about you and your personal energy? For you, it is just as precious!

Your managers will know exactly how much your organization spends on energy.  In an enlightened organization,  they will know exactly how you use what you buy.  But how often do you think about your own energy.  Because, believe me, just like the world’s fuels, your energy can run out.

What are you going to do to renew it?

We all use physical energy in our work, We use emotional energy as well.

Even with very good time management skills, you can find yourself arriving home every night exhausted and unable enjoy time away from work.  This takes a toll on family life and relationships.

The effect is cumulative because there isn’t time over night for true refreshment.

As a leader it is difficult to inspire your team, or even listen to them actively, when you are feeling worn out.

There are steps you can take to conserve your energy and to renew it!

  1. Take short breaks between tasks – you can use a simple relaxation exercise at the desk or even in the washroom if necessary.
  2. Gentle exercise is good for emotional energy – can you walk to the next meeting? How about taking the stairs rather than the lift?What about walking a couple of floors of the building each day and talking to people – – get to know your team and feel refreshed at the same time.
  3. Do have a short break for lunch – low blood sugar makes you feel tired and miserable, plus you cannot concentrate.  But eat lightly; eating a heavy meal requires more energy for digestion.
  4. When in the day are you most creative?  Use that time for your more creative tasks: do routine tasks when you feel less energetic.
  5. Be ruthless about interruptions and distractions. Having an “open door” policy can be disastrous for energy.    Make it clear when you are accessible and when not – of course you need to make yourself readily available in an emergency.
  6. Review how much you delegate.  Is there more that you can pass on to others?  It will give them experience and you more space to concentrate on what really matters.
  7. Worry drains energy!  Work through your worries with a trusted colleague or friend or with a coach or counsellor.  Fix what you can fix, look the rest in the eye, make any necessary contingency plans and then, with support, stop worrying.  Worry doesn’t put things right, it just wears you out.
  8. Sort out those unresolved conflicts, with support if necessary, you really cannot afford the energy that conflict can cost you.
  9. Last, but not least, take a step back and think about why you are doing all this.  Take timeout to remember your own dream and to refresh your personal vision.  There is nothing like it for enthusing and energizing – so take it out, polish it up and keep it close.

Try these energisers or at least some of them. You may not aspire to inspirational leadership but all leaders need the energy to inspire sometimes. Right now anyway you need to energy to see your organization through these challenging times – please don’t let your energy just drain away.

I am Wendy Mason. I work as a Personal Development Coach, Consultant and Writer.I have worked with many different kinds of people going through all kinds of personal and career change, particularly those
  • looking for promotion or newly promoted,
  • moving between Public and Private Sectors
  • moving into retirement.

I am very good at helping you sort out what you want, overcome obstacles and handle change and I would like to work with you! I offer face to face, telephone and on-line coaching by email or Skype

Email me at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)2084610114 or ++44(0)7867681439 to find out more. 

  • Leading Change – are we there yet? (wisewolftalking.com)
  • Becoming a Leader Today – Can you have friends in the team? (wisewolftalking.com)
  • Are you a resilient leader? (wisewolftalking.com)