Leader – Stop Now And Take A Rest!

Leader – Stop Now And Take A Rest!

Everybody needs the chance to do nothing sometimes – even the leader.  But it is very hard for most leaders to accept that sometimes the right response from them is no action at all.

Suppose you are a very good leader and now you have a good team; they understand clearly your vision for the organization. Don’t you think they deserve the chance to show you what they can do?  Don’t they need their chance to move forward?  Oh yes, you can be around if they need you, but this could be their opportunity to make their mark.

But it is hard,  isn’t it?  You are the leader – surely you should be out there doing something all the time?

Sometimes doing nothing, letting go and letting the plans you have made just roll out is hard and it takes practice.  You don’t have to close your eyes of course – you can see still what is going on.  And you may have to grit your teeth because not everyone maybe doing things the way you would. But if they are getting there, isn’t that good enough?

Of course, you feel you should be busy – leadership is too important surely just to step back!  But maybe now is the time for reflection on what you have done so far and for you to find inspiration for the future. It is very hard to do that when you are actively engaged in leadership – sometimes you need to step out of the game to see what is really going on.

Refusing to take that step back is common among leaders.  Stepping back requires confidence in both yourself as the leader and in your team.  In addition, it requires a touch of humility and that is not something modern leaders are known for.

Leaders can begin to believe that they are so important to everything that even the idea of 24 hours of rest once during the week, feels impossible. But surely if you have built a good team and done your job in inspiring that team, they should be able to go forward without your hands-on guidance.

Try it for yourself – just take a deep breath and step back! You may be amazed at the benefits in terms of your own energy, enthusiasm and creativity – to say nothing of the positive effect it may have on those you lead.
Wendy is the Happiness Coach and author of  The Wolf Project and a new novel, Blood Brothers, to be published in Summer 2013.  As a life and career coach and blogger, she helps people reach their goals and aspirations. As a novelist she hopes to entertain. Oh and she writes poetry too! To find out more email wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com, find her on Skype at wendymason14, or call +44 (0) 2081239146 (02081239146 for UK callers) or +1 262 317 9016 if you are in the US.

A free trial/consultation gives you an opportunity to try phone coaching without risk. Remember there are great benefits to be achieved by being coached in the comfort  of your own home by phone or Skype .

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Leadership – Creating Leadership At All Levels

Leadership – Creating Leadership At All Levels

Leadership is about creating positive change in a group or organization to achieve some long-term objective. It involves having a vision, setting goals and knowing how to move  the organization and its people towards them. The key skill is know how to best use your resources including  your people and their talents to get you to where you need to be.

As the leader, you need to be able to show why you should have the authority to be in that role. You need to understand the organization and the world in which it operates – that way you can win the confidence and trust of the people you will lead. If you are new, you need the best brief you can get and then you need to ask questions that will show people you are really interested in them and what they are trying to do.

If you are leading a team, you will need to develop and motivate individuals and groups. That means helping people find meaning and purpose in what they are doing so that they can see it as worthwhile. And as a leader, you have a responsibility to create more leaders throughout you organization. You can do this by setting a positive example.  You should allow people to learn and develop on the job, as well as encouraging them to be proactive – let them know they really can influence the way the organization achieves success.

If you are the leader, you need to have resilience and be able to overcome obstacles that others would find daunting.  You need to know how to find new solutions and inspire others to do the same thing.  Make sure people throughout the organization know that their ideas are welcomed and rewarded.  Help them to have confidence in you, when times are hard.

Be prepared to recognize and reward positive leadership wherever you find it throughout the organization.  Let some of your own power be passed on to those around you.  Just make sure they share your vision and that you have a way to know whether they are staying on the right track.  Accept, as well, that letting go of power means taking risks and be ready to step when things go wrong – that is part of leadership too. Support your emerging leaders and what you will win is their loyalty – they in turn will support you.

Wendy Mason is the Happiness Coach and author of a new novel, The Wolf Project Wendy is a life and career coach and writer. She is passionate about helping people find happiness at work and at home! She helps people reach their goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life.  She believes coaching requires compassion, warmth and empathy. Wendy helps people reach their career goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life. You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com and find out more at http://wisewolfcoaching.com

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What Is Strategic Thinking And Can You Do It?

English: example of using a mindmap in a strat...

What Is Strategic Thinking And Can You Do It?

Strategic Thinking

Strategic thinking means generating and applying unique business insights and opportunities to create advantage for an organization.

It can be done individually, as well as in a group. Working in a group may improve the quality of strategic thinking by creative dialogue and challenge, adding different perspectives on critical and complex issues. This kind of thinking is a distinct benefit in a highly competitive and fast-changing business landscape.

J M Liedtka

J. M. Liedtka is a professor at the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, University of Virginia. Formerly the executive director of its Batten Institute, a foundation established to develop thought leadership in the fields of entrepreneurship and corporate innovation; she has also served as chief learning officer for the United Technologies Corporation (UTC) and as associate dean of the MBA program at Darden.

At United Technologies Corporation she was responsible for overseeing corporate learning and development for the Fortune 50 Corporation, including executive education, career development processes, employer-sponsored education and learning portal and web-based activities.

Strategic thinking competencies

J M Liedtka has observed five competencies for strategic thinking;

  1. A systems perspective; this enables understanding of the implications of strategic actions. A strategic thinker has a mental model of the complete end-to-end system of how the organization delivers value and his or her role within it, and an understanding of the competencies the organization contains already
  2. Intent focus; this means more clear determination to succeed with less willingness to be distracted by side issues – seeing the wood, despite the trees . To gain competitive advantage the organization needs more focus than others around it. Crediting Hamel and Prahalad with popularizing the concept, J M Liedtka describes strategic intent as “the focus that allows individuals within an organization to marshal and leverage their energy, to focus attention, to resist distraction, and to concentrate for as long as it takes to achieve a goal.”
  3. Thinking in time; this means being able to hold past, present and future in mind at the same time to create better decision making and speed implementation. “Strategy is not driven by future intent alone. It is the gap between today’s reality and intent for the future that is critical.” Scenario planning is a practical application for incorporating “thinking in time” into strategy making.
  4. Hypothesis driven thinking; this ensures that both creative and critical thinking are incorporated into strategy making. This competency explicitly incorporates the scientific method into strategic thinking.
  5. Intelligent opportunism; this means being able to respond positively to good opportunities for change. “The dilemma involved in using a well-articulated strategy to channel organizational efforts effectively and efficiently must always be balanced against the risks of losing sight of alternative strategies better suited to a changing environment.

Wendy Mason is the Happiness Coach and author of a new novel, The Wolf Project Wendy is a life and career coach and writer. She is passionate about helping people find happiness at work and at home! She helps people reach their goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life.  She believes coaching requires compassion, warmth and empathy. Wendy helps people reach their career goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life. You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com and find out more at http://wisewolfcoaching.com

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Leadership – The Psychological Contract At Work

English: Diagram of Schein's Organizational Be...

Leadership – The Psychological Contract At Work

This post discusses the theory of psychological contracts in the workplace and in the wider world outside work.

‘The Psychological Contract’ is increasingly relevant in workplace relationships.

The idea of Psychological Contract first emerged in the 1960s and it was widely discussed, particularly in the work of organizational and behavioral theorists Chris Argyris and Edgar Schein.

Many other experts have contributed ideas on the subject since then, and they continue to do so, either specifically focusing on the Psychological Contract, or approaching it from a particular or new perspective.   The Psychological Contract means many things to different people – it is open to a range of interpretations and theoretical studies.

Usually, the Psychological Contract refers to the relationship between an employer and their employees, and it relates to their concerns and their mutual expectations of that relationship, in terms of what each will put in and receive.

The Psychological Contract is usually seen from the standpoint or expectations of employees, although to understand it properly means you need to see it from both sides.

At its simplest, at work, the Psychological Contract is about fairness or balance. What can reasonably be expected! How will the employee be treated by the employer?  What will the employee put into the job? What will be the reward?

The closer you look at the real nature of the contract in any particular organization, the more complicated it becomes; there will be  unwritten “rules” and “expectations” on both sides.

The whole thing becomes more complicated when the organization is in change or when the outside environment intrudes – such as in times of recession when the employer’s ability to reward may be limited.

Of course, the theory and principles of the Psychological Contract can also be applied beyond the employment situation to human relationships, wider society and certainly in the world of politics between leaders and those led.

The concept of the Psychological Contract is still continuing to develop and it certainly is not recognized in all organizations.  It is even less well understood in the world outside work.

But respect, compassion, trust, empathy, fairness and objectivity – qualities that characterize the Psychological Contract, are worth the regard and respect of all of us, inside work and out.

Wendy Mason is a career coach.  She helps people reach their goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life.  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 coaching and writing. You can contact Wendy atwendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com and find out more athttp://wisewolfcoaching.com


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Career Development: Finding the Balance Being a Working Mom

Today we have a guest post from Ken Myers who advises organizations and groups on multiple household help issues. You can contact him at kmyers.ceo@gmail.com

Finding the Balance Being a Working Mom

Finding the balance being a mom is tough; finding the balance with being a mom and a full-time career woman can be near impossible. However, for many women, finding this balance isn’t just something they want to do, it’s a necessity. To help find the happy medium between being a good mom who is there for her children and a successful employee who excels at her job, use these 10 tips:

  1. Don’t bring work home with you. It can be tempting to check your email when you get home and work on a few projects, but unless it’s absolutely necessary try to avoid doing this at all costs. Dedicate your evenings to spending time with your kids and your spouse instead; the emails and projects will still be there in the morning.
  2. Get everyone to help out at home. Instead of trying to be superwoman and do all the household chores and tasks in addition to working 40 hours a week, divvy them up amongst the rest of the family. Knowing that your spouse is going to fold the laundry, your kids will do the dishes, and you’re responsible for vacuuming is much less stressful than trying to do it all by yourself.
  3. Accept that you won’t be able to do everything. Mommy guilt is a very real thing, and it plagues many working mothers throughout their days. At a certain point you’re going to have to accept that you can’t be everywhere at once. You may feel like a horrible mother for not being at the class party, but in reality you’re being a good mother by doing everything you can to provide for your children.
  4. Invest in quality childcare. Consider hiring a part of full-time nanny or look into daycares near your office. Figure out what’s important to you as far as childcare providers go and then start narrowing down your options from there. Finding quality childcare will give you the peace of knowing your children will be well-cared for when you leave for work each day.
  5. Create a schedule and stay organized. Have a calendar at home that you can mark all important meetings, school functions, after school activities and work trips on so that everyone in the family knows what’s going on at all times.
  6. Prep for the morning the night before. Make lunches, gather homework assignments, lay out clothes, prep breakfasts, and put backpacks and briefcases by the door the night before. This will help things move much more smoothly in the mornings.
  7. Learn to love the crockpot.Coming home and cooking dinner is probably the last thing you want to do at night, which is why you should invest in a good crockpot. Simply throw everything into it in the morning, set it on low, and then come home to a home cooked meal.
  8. Make freezer meals on the weekend. Consider making big batches of lasagna, breakfast burritos, and other meals that can be frozen on the weekends so that you can just pull them out and defrost them on busy weekdays. Having meals already prepared will help drastically cut back on your daily tasks during the week.
  9. Have specific family days. Carve out specific nights during the week for family game night or set aside one day on the weekends where you go do something as a family. Having these days to look forward to will get everyone excited about spending quality time together as a family.
  10. Turn off the email on the weekends. Once Friday at 5 pm rolls around, turn off your work emails. Dedicating your entire weekend to your family will help you be refreshed come Monday when it’s time to go back to work again.

Finding the middle ground being a mom and a career woman isn’t easy, but it is possible. By keeping work and family separate, prepping as much as possible ahead of time, finding quality childcare, dividing up chores, and creating a schedule to stay organized you’ll be able to better juggle all the different areas of your life that are vying for your attention. And don’t beat yourself up over not being able to do it all – no one can!

About the Author

Ken Myers as an Expert Adviser on multiple household help issues to many Organizations and groups, and is a mentor for other “Mom-preneurs” seeking guidance.  He is a regular contributor of “www.gonannies.com”.  You can get in touch with him at kmyers.ceo@gmail.com.


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Leadership Tips from Bill Gates – still the greatest!



Some 12 years ago Bill Gates wrote a book Business @ the Speed of Thought: Succeeding in the Digital Economy. To say it was influential at the time is an understatement.

I think the leadership tips he gave in it are still valid today.  Here they are:

1. Take two “retreats” every year.

“Leave your office to develop long-range strategies.”  Every leader needs to stand back from the day-to-day activities of the organization and take long hard look – long (forwards and back) and wide – what else is going on in the wider world, right now.  Then it may be time to refresh the vision and refocus the organization

2. Read books on other topics.

“Read books on topics that don’t pertain strictly to your business or industry. It’s the best way to maintain a broad perspective.”  Leaders need an open mind.  I wrote about that here recently.  Open Minds come up with new, innovative, solutions and new destinations – open your mind by reading books outside your immediate field of interest!  You’ll be surprised where it might lead to.

3. Identify problems early.

“Identify problems early by tracking “exceptions,” such as sales figures that suddenly sag for a particular product. Jump on them right away.” You should know your organization well enough to know what are  the key indicators and you should be tracking them.  Don’t just look at them – truly understand – ask questions till you do.  Then act!

4. Stop at the end of each day

“Stop at the end of each day to analyze how well you used it. If you wasted time on things you didn’t need to do, eliminate them tomorrow.”  Take time out to reflect and act on your reflection.  If you find you don’t have time to react then have a look at this link; there is a post and a poll today about managing your email in-box.

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 while maintaining a good work/life balance. You can email her at wendymason
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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. 

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

Organizational culture, what organizational culture?


An organization’s culture is a complex system with a multitude of interrelated processes and mechanisms that keep it humming along.   Sometimes it is hard for the leadership team to really understand the culture of the organization they lead.

This is true particularly if they follow the traditional pattern and don’t move much from the leadership floor!

The leading team may think they determine the culture when they agree a vision and define the values that go with it.

“Oh yes, we are on a mission and we have a mission statement too! It is all in the hands of our Comm’s Director, so I’m sure people understand what it means and reflect it in our culture!”

Really? Unless those vision and mission statements are truly reinforced throughout the organization, they can be meaningless in terms of the culture.

So how do you know what is happening where you are?  Well here are a few questions for you to think about;

  • Are your organization’s vision and values reflected in performance reviews and training programmes?
  • What about you financial reward systems – do they reinforce them?
  • What about memos and communications do they highlight what the leadership team thinks are important.
  • What about management actions — for example, are more junior promotions for people who toe the line or are they for people who go out on a limb to pursue your vision?

In reality, in most organizations the culture develops unconsciously and organically to create a system that, while not always ideal, does work.

Changing a culture is a real challenge!  It is hard to do without losing the good things you have now.

Of course, that assumes as a leadership team, you are clear about the good things you have now!

If you are serious about your vision and you really want to see your values in practice, then you may have some hard work ahead!

But, of course, until you understand the culture you have now, you won’t know what you need to do, will you?

Time to start asking some questions, I think!

I am Wendy Mason and I work as a Personal Development Coach, Consultant and Writer 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 to give up!

Whether you are new to leadership, or an established leader taking time out to reflect, it is worth considering your leadership style.  A summer break provides a great opportunity to contemplate lessons learned and the opportunities ahead.

What kind of leader would you like to be? Here are some thoughts on changes you might make and some things you might like to consider giving up!

  1. Give up talking down! Has your approach always been focused top-down with instructions flowing from the “top floor” to the rest of the organization?  Now is the time to go for a more collaborative approach!  Have you got the confidence to build discussion into your decision making process?  Try it and see whether you get more or less engagement from your team. Of course if it doesn’t work you can always revert, but I bet you won’t want to.
  2. Give up revolution and go for evolution.  If you want to change the team, try focusing on their strengths and build on them. You have a much better chance of getting the results you want if you start small and build on your successes rather than setting out to ‘rock everyone’s world.’
  3. Give up coercion and start changing from within. Stephen Covey states in his change theory that ‘change occurs on a broken front.’  Not everyone on your team will be where you are and some may not want to change at all. Start with those who are likely to come on board most easily and get them to change. Then help the change seep out to those who are less enthusiastic.  This is likely to be much more effective than forcing people to do something and then hitting a wall.
  4. Give up hypocrisy.  Model in yourself how you want people to be. If you expect people to make positive changes, they need to see it in you.  Set yourself as the example and be visible doing what you’ve asked others to do. You’d be surprised how good the human race is at imitation!
  5. Give up taking things for granted!  Make sure that as the ‘right’ things start happening, you recognize the efforts of those who have made it happen.  You’ll find that those who want recognition will work harder for more of it, and push others as well.

There are  other changes you may want to make in yourself as leader.  Give yourself some time for reflection and see what you come up with.  If you are an established leader and want to reflect on your approach in depth then try the mini-stocktake  you will find at this link .

Whichever approach you take, I’d love to hear about your results.
I am Wendy Mason and I work as a personal and business coach, consultant and blogger.  I have worked with many different kinds of people going through personal  and career change. If you would like my help, please email me at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)2084610114 or ++44(0)7867681439.  I will be very pleased to hear from you. I offer half an hour’s free telephone coaching to readers of this blog who quote WW1 – email me to arrange.

  • Becoming a Leader Today – Manifesto for a Servant Leader (wisewolftalking.com)
  • Becoming a Leader Today – What is Leadership? (wisewolftalking.com)