A more Considered Leader part two
Background to this Leadership article…
The reason why I do the job I do…it’s to enable people to be the best they can be. I always learn about myself with every group, every individual I work with. Being an effective trainer requires effort, being able to manage constructive feedback, and knowing you don’t know it all.
At TGW Group last week, I was given the feedback about the effects of my facilitation. Ian Powell, Director of TGW Logistics UK has transformed his management and leadership style – for the better!
One of his colleagues said that Ian’s behaviour and working style is less controlling and more enabling and that Ian has transformed his behaviour.
I met with Ian recently for an informal discussion about life, learning and Ian’s change in behaviour. Here are Ian’s thoughts on what has changed. They are Ian’s words, and in Part Two I have focused on when he reminded me of the fantastic work of Carol Dweck of Stanford University.
Put simply, her theory is that to achieve success and our true potential in life, we need a growth mindset.
Her research suggests people who have a fixed mindset tend to give up when it gets tough, focus on positive results rather than the effort, ignore constructive developmental feedback, feel challenged by others’ successes, think they know it all, and have a need to remind people how smart they are… and this determined approach to life means that they plateau without reaching their true potential.
Those of us with a growth mindset have a tendency to want to continually develop and learn, embrace and learn from constructive feedback and criticism, keep going in the face of adversity, as we see learning as a journey and not a destination. People with a growth mindset therefore challenge themself to put in the effort to achieve their true potential in life.
Think of this as you read Ian’s words below…
Ian – “My personality’s definitely changed for sure – some (neural) networks have altered over a period of time”
It becomes almost self-perpetuating after a while, once you get into a way of being ‘that’ person, ‘that’ manager, ‘that’ leader, it becomes, automatic, it becomes your default learned behaviour.
One of my team called me pragmatic Powell recently because of my far more balanced approach.
Previously, I wanted to be at the forefront of decision making. I was worried that if I wasn’t there then we were going to have huge issues. You can imagine how frustrating this was for the team when they’re not allowed to make their own decisions. I can remember the time when I was in their position, knowing that I was able to make decisions but being prevented from for no real reason.
I think the delegating of powers to others is key, it shows (and they will realise) how they are valued in the business.
“Time spent with the team is never wasted”
I always wanted to get to the end of whatever I was talking about almost instantly, whether a conversation or in presentations. I just wanted to get through it. I assume this was just another manifestation of my previous management style. Whereas now, I put much more effort into spending time with people where I can.
Now I encourage the team not to send emails but to pick up the phone, you know, the thing with the curly lead on it. That is our first line of discussion and it’s much more fun (and effective) to be honest.
As I improve my delegating and empowering skills I look to spend more time with the team…in person. Time spent with the team discussing how I can assist them in meeting the goals of the business is never wasted time.
“I wish we could do this programme again, actually”
I think the main problem with training for leadership comes from within the individual, it starts with the realisation that you will need to modify your behaviour …this realisation can take quite some time. It’s hard to change the way you think and work in an instant.
Personally I found that if you ‘get it’ and realise that you are going to make the changes suggested during the training program, the ‘getting it’ occurs part way through the programme . It’s what you do outside of the training that is key…you need to ’exercise’ the learning, your thoughts and ideas.
Towards the latter part of the training, my emerging leadership style became an amalgam of the thoughts and ideas triggered by each training module … it just became a more natural way for me to work.
If I was to pinpoint a specific element of the training, it would be the analysis and correction of poor leadership behaviour based on your feedback of my poor behaviour; my behaviour change is the biggest part of the change for me.
“It dawned on me that I had a closed mind…is that leadership?”
At the start of the management programme, I didn’t take it that seriously, then one day it dawned on me – I had a closed mind to others people’s ideas. I would enter a situation with my mind already made up – which isn’t leadership at all really is it? It’s dictating.
I was dictatorial – if a team member had an opposing view to mine, I talked over them, saying ‘Actually no I think that’s not right. This is how it should be’.
What do you think? Does Ian have a growth mindset? He sent me this email recently:
“I spent 2 days last week on a 2 day ‘competence for leaders’ training. This built on your great training last year and again, resulted in much soul searching … I think there are some other things I would very much like to add now to the blog (the journey has really only just begun for me I realise).
Ian Powell, Achieving his True Potential, TGW
“For twenty years, my research has shown that the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life.”
Mindset – How you can fulfill your potential
Take this growth test and see if your mindset is holding you back from achieving your true potential in life:
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