'Elevating the Experience'

How to position yourself as a leader

Posted by Nina Mostafa on 17/02/17 14:19

In today’s competitive environment, standing out can actually be the thing that gives you an edge. For instance, if you’re positioning yourself for a leadership role or promotion, It’s important to develop a strategy to consistently demonstrate your personal leadership traits.

To illustrate this point, let’s take a peek into John’s profile. John is an inspired, hardworking and conscientious high performer. John is great at stakeholder meetings and client-facing events. He is also an empathetic listener and hands on team player.

You could say John has high potential to be a leader: he’s a HiPo, i.e. he has been identified as having the potential, ability and aspiration for succession to leadership positions within the organisation. However, John has no management experience, having never officially led a team before. Apart from his own self-confidence and what some of his peers and his manager know, John has no concrete data to make a strong case. What’s more, John works in a dynamic firm with dozens of others who could possibly be vying for the same role.

So how can John progress his career? John could start preparing for his performance review conversations by gathering data. You see, future leaders are made long before they are earmarked for success. It comes from your own desire to excel. So what steps do you take to ensure you outshine those vying for that one coveted position?

 

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Topics: management, leadership, performance management, feedback, coaching, challenging conversations

How to avoid unconscious bias in a feedback conversation

Posted by Nina Mostafa on 31/01/17 14:00

 

 

Human beings are extremely judgemental creatures. Harsh but true. We make impressions on people, events and things, often within the first fifteen seconds of coming into contact with them. We form opinions and tell ourselves stories that become reality in our minds.

We often credit this to intuition or a claim to have good judge of character. Sometimes, we are right. Sometimes we are not. Sometimes, the judgement is tainted by our experiences, fixed ideas and unconscious bias.

But it’s the opinions we form and the stories we tell ourselves that can become dangerous. Because sometimes, just sometimes, even after we have become more acquainted with the person, event or thing, these opinions and stories stick in our subconscious, even if they prove to be false. We remain wedged in the bias.

Herein lies one of the fundamental flaws of the human psyche. And the workplace is no exception to this rule.

The thing is, managers and leaders are first and foremost humans and are not exempt from this. But to be an effective and fair manager, we want to separate ourselves from this pitfall and manage, inspire and lead without bias, either conscious or unconscious. So how do we ensure we don’t get sucked into the zone of stereotyping but instead embrace attributes that promote inclusivity and diversity?

 

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Topics: management, leadership, performance management, feedback, coaching, challenging conversations

5 tips to prepare for a performance review conversation

Posted by Nina Mostafa on 10/01/17 09:16

 

It seems performance review conversations have earned a bad reputation. Many managers may dread them because they seem tedious and laborious, followed by endless amounts of paperwork and administration that need to be completed and filed. At least for another six months or so.

And you, as you sit on the other side of the desk, dread it, too. Perhaps because you can sense how arduous it is for them. So you simply want to get it over and done with. But performance review conversations are not just one-way lectures. After all, they’re conversations, not monologues.

 

After all, they’re conversations, not monologues.

 

So have you ever wondered how you can proactively make your performance review conversations richer to serve you better?

Entering a performance review conversation having prepared for one has its benefits. By preparing yourself for your performance review conversation, you set yourself up for success in various ways. You work towards ensuring mutual understanding of expectations between you and your manager, ensuring goal alignment between yourself and your role, the department and the business, highlighting your strengths for increased job satisfaction, then identifying opportunities for development and growth to feed self-fulfilment and a sense of achievement.

Whether or not you intend to strive to a leadership status, it pays to approach every performance review conversation with a view to extend and leverage your career. So let’s look at how you can do this.

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Topics: management, leadership, performance management, feedback, coaching, challenging conversations

The value of feedback and coaching conversations

Posted by Nina Mostafa on 21/07/16 16:29

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk said: “I think it’s important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better.”

The beauty of human behaviour is that we are constantly learning. No matter how old we are, or how advanced we think we are, we never actually stop learning. And feedback and coaching conversations are a way in which we can learn. After all, how else are we meant to know if we’ve done something wrong or right and then learn or evolve from it?

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Topics: management, leadership, performance management, feedback, coaching, challenging conversations

Why conflict is like eating carrots

Posted by Lisa Harrison on 16/10/15 07:30

At the risk of sounding like Pollyanna (or Candide), in the world of my dreams there would be no conflict.

How different would the workplace be?

We would all link hands in a circle and sing songs of joy at the sense of wonderment that our goals and approaches are perfectly aligned to each other.

The sun would shine, the birds would sing and the bunnies would hop about happily in the fields. My work environment would be super-harmonious: brimming with positive energy and enthusiasm.

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Topics: management, development, collaboration, stakeholder management, conflict, team

How to prepare for giving and receiving feedback

Posted by Nina Mostafa on 24/09/15 10:32

Why has the word ‘feedback’ received such a beating over the years? It has a negative stigma attached to it that is unwarranted; especially when we think about how feedback can be a positive way to help us achieve our mutual objectives and help take us from good to great.

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Topics: opinion, management, performance conversations, feedback, performance reviews

What is effective coaching?

Posted by Lisa Harrison on 18/09/15 12:45

The term coaching is very popular in management and leadership conversations, and is used widely for a variety of meanings. I should say used and misused.

In fact, coaching means many different things to many different people. I thought it would be useful to try to pin down the definition, and to identify the actual skills and behaviours that make for successful coaching in a workplace setting.

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Topics: opinion, management, performance management, coaching

In defence of the performance review

Posted by Lisa Harrison on 08/09/15 14:48

Performance reviews have been getting some seriously bad press lately with GE the next high profile company to recently announce dropping the performance review cycle.

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Topics: opinion, management, listening, feedback, performance reviews, coaching