Tips, News & Views / 159 posts found

Don’t Kid Yourself with an Out-of-Office Reply

by Iyas A
Comments are off for this post.
“Out of office” is an interesting game that too many of us play. We set up the autoresponse religiously when we go on holiday, then still surreptitiously check our inbox while we’re away. Before we know it, we get sucked into the inbox and suddenly we’ve lost hours. For some, a reply gets sent out as a part of the “real business people don’t do holidays” game, or its close cousin, the “see how hard I work even when I’m on holiday” game.…

Great leaders aren’t overly vulnerable or authentic

by Iyas A
Comments are off for this post.
“Good leaders don’t hide their emotions. Be vulnerable. Be authentic.” Simplistic tosh that continues to do the rounds in the industry that is training the next generation of leaders, and undermining their ability to lead effectively. The challenge is that there is a lot of nuance to this that is lost beneath the headlines, and most people, sadly, only read the headline and then regurgitate it. The phrase I probably use most commonly with the leaders I work with is that “Leaders…

Don’t be a people business. Be a business of individuals.

by Iyas A
Comments are off for this post.
Treat your team as individuals, rather than your company as a “people business”. I’ve been rereading two books by Oliver Sacks, “Awakenings” and “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat”. Both are wonderful books, as enjoyable in the second reading as they were when I read them first over 2 decades ago. I’m struck by what Sacks, following the lead of one of his mentors in neuropsychology, Alexander Luria, terms “romantic science”. Not romance…

Help your teams be impactful, not busy

by Iyas A
Comments are off for this post.
I’ve sat in leadership meetings where “the boss” feels a need to ensure that everyone has actions. Strategy sessions where they’ve visibly mentally scratched around to create something to do. Because that’s what a boss does, right? Always has something for their team to do. And so we create high volumes of pointless busyness. People being told to get busy doing something that has no real impact, no real meaning, but just in order to be busy. And in order for the leader…

Look after your values, and culture will follow

by Iyas A
Comments are off for this post.
I’m always astonished by companies that say that culture is important, but do no work on their values. Look after your values, and your culture will follow. A strong set of organisational values, lived by the leadership and reflected in how your company does business will end up creating the foundations of your culture. As people join and bring their own wonderful diversity, your culture will adapt for sure. Welcome this, but keep your values constant. Then the changes will only make your…

Dismissal is hard enough – don’t make it inhuman

by Iyas A
Comments are off for this post.
The hardest thing I’ve had to do professionally was to make people redundant. It can be easy to forget how much harder it is for the person going. If it’s unavoidable (and I’ve resigned over being asked to do it when I believed it was entirely avoidable), then make sure you stay human as you do it. You’ll find (and get) a stack of “good practice” and compliance requirements from your HR department or advisors on what you need to do and say when you let someone…

Motivation by KPI

by Iyas A
Comments are off for this post.
One of the dangers of our increasingly digital and data-driven world is when managers are encouraged to overuse data. This is especially pernicious for new and upcoming managers, as data becomes a crutch for them to lean on. It robs them of the hard work and opportunity to manage through judgement, through critical thought, through active listening and conversation. Some of the very factors that take you from managing to leading. Numbers are essential, but you can’t lead with them. I’ve yet…

Swearing isn’t unprofessional. Or is it?

by Iyas A
Comments are off for this post.
Do you swear at work? Often if leaders do, they set a tone. Which is *really* unprofessional. Because people don’t go to work in order to feel like extras in a Tarantino film. But I don’t think people go to work to feel like extras in a Mary Poppins film either. They go to work to work. In some companies, profanity is part of the culture. In others not. A profession is simply about being paid to create value. We can create value while swearing, or in silence. Or somewhere in between. This…

Authenticity is transient

by Iyas A
Comments are off for this post.
You had one chance at leading authentically. That was when you were born. If you didn’t do it then, you’ve blown it! Because the only person who can be completely authentic is the one who has learned nothing and not grown since the day they were born. Authenticity is continually redefined. Learning, growing, interacting with people and the environment – all of these things continually shape and reshape us. Yet every motivator out there wants you to “lead authentically”. Let’s…
The only way to lead

Context is Everything

by Iyas A
Comments are off for this post.
Context is Everything. I once directly managed a team of 60 people. Every HR consultant will tell you that’s wrong, and that you won’t do right by your team. A management catastrophe. So what was the outcome? The outcome was that the team doubled in size (while I still directly managed it), and the employee churn rate went from 40% when I took it on to 6%. We became a destination employer. We no longer needed recruitment agencies. We ranked in the top four agencies in Europe. We had a heck…