Archive for leadership

Things are hotting up…

Posted in Life and Learning, On building my business, On Resilience, On Women in Work with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 13, 2015 by racheljackson

So today I have spent my day juggling small boys who have accidentally spilt suntan cream/pressed exit on their Superhero Game and killed Spiderman/ emptied Travel Battleships pieces all over the floor…as well as negotiating with a Virtual Assistant from Time etc (recommended to me by Carrie Beddingfield from the glorious OneFishTwoFish), researching website redesigns and….agreeing to host a FREE Resilience session in October for HRDs across Suffolk and East Anglia in association with Waddington Brown HR recruitment specialists.

bouncing-backThe event will be a half day session aimed at fraught HRDs who support fraught employees, fraught managers (and equally completely calm “hand it to HR” managers) and generally work to keep the ship afloat whilst potentially also juggling a similar home-life to myself!

At the moment we are looking at a couple of venues in Ipswich with a ‘stay for lunch afterwards’ option and are hoping to offer 13-15 places for that intimate feel, with a potential for follow on events (also FREE) where demand dictates.

Delegates will be treated to a discounted rate on the Open Sessions that I plan to run in November/December on EI, Leadership, Recovering from Motherhood and Managing in Uncertainty

Details to follow.  If you are interested in registering your place, drop me a line at…and remember – its FREE!


Leader – Manager – Coach

Posted in Motivation, On Coaching, On Leadership with tags , , on November 23, 2009 by racheljackson

One of the most frequent questions I get asked in my training sessions around leadership is how to balance leading staff, managing their performance and coaching their development without losing the integrity of any one of these activities.

Many managers have grown up through the ranks amongst the teams they lead and the transition from team member to leadership is rarely an easy one to navigate.  I have even listened to a number of leaders downplay their role in order to retain the warm and comfortable relationships they have previously enjoyed with their erstwhile peers.  Whilst this shows a great and laudable degree of empathy and support for their people, it can be tough to lead from the middle and it’s worth making the essential psychological step of recognising that if your name is on the door with “manager” written underneath…then you cannot help but play your part.

There are a number of things that can hold leaders up in this transitional period.  The first comes from the fact that many leaders are promoted because they are the best at their particular role;  They are great with customers, they thrive on the challenge, they bring in the highest sales.  They are motivated primarily by the desire to do a brilliant job and gain recognition for that.  Sadly, the recognition they often receive is a promotion to a role where they are no longer the highest performer, they do not speak to customers or have nice numerical KPIs with which to measure their performance.  In short, the very activities that lead them to love their job, are now done by the people they are expected to motivate and manage.  Many many leaders then find it all too easy to slip into treating their people like an extra pair of hands and try to achieve through demonstration, advice and micro-management.  They want to stay close to the action and be in control and their teams respond in one of two key ways: they become dependent and simply follow, or they feel constrained and play up or leave. Helping new leaders to shift to leading rather than managing means finding them new goals and new measures for success and helping them to understand the new behaviours that will enable them to develop the autonomy of their teams and performance on a higher stage.

The other thing that holds back new leaders is the fear of not being taken seriously by staff who may often have applied to the same position that they have been granted.  Such managers resort to passivity and platitude rather than authority and leadership and often create the very conditions that they fear. It is not easy to juggle empathy with authority but one sure way to maintain closeness with your team at the same time as providing sufficient separation to retain authority is to engage in coaching discussions.  I’m not talking here about one to one long term therapeutic sessions or once a year performance discussions, but simply the day to day act of listening and facilitating rather than telling and directing.

Whatever your history in the organisation, you will have a different perspective and different information than the person you are leading.  Most managers I have trained find it almost impossible to avoid using that perspective to provide answers and suggestions as the first response to staff questions.  If you can hold back all your incredible wealth of knowledge and experience and instead adopt a coaching curiosity, you may be surprised to find that your team have the capacity to advise themselves…and that the added confidence they gain from you biting your tongue so that they can explore their own potential means that you get more time to lead and less time spent managing. It may not be as instantly gratifying or self-assuring…but it will make you a more inspirational and connected leader in the long run.  You may also be surprised how much less your people need to be “managed” and motivated by you and how instead they take accountability for their own performance.