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Leading when things are tough
Episode 12nd March 2023 • How to Take the Lead • Lee Griffith and Carrie-Ann Wade
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We are back with our third series, and in this first episode we are talking about how you can lead when things are tough. We are all tired, we have moved from one crisis to another with no time to catch a breath, we have lots going on in life AND we still need to lead.

In this episode we share our own views, thoughts and experiences:

  • 04:08  – knowing where to start
  • 05:10 – working out what you can control and act on
  • 11:15 – we don’t have to be the saviour
  • 17:09 – leadership mindset
  • 22:55 – don't demote development
  • 28:48 – How to ... do things differently in 2023!

As always we share our top takeaways and in this episode we are all about actions not words – work out where you can add the most value and take action. Ask people what they need from you as a leader but don’t ask for permission to make changes. And look after yourself, it’s important for you and to role model to your teams.

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New episodes will be released every Thursday and you can listen/ download on your favourite platform.

To find out more visit www.howtotakethelead.com  

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Plus, we've launched our new Substack community, where you can get extra bonus goodies, network with a community of leaders and get direct access to us both.

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Mentioned in this episode:

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Transcripts

Lee:

you know, I had this wonderful metaphor of painting pictures

Carrie-Ann:

And then you're like, where am I going with this?

Lee:

it's gone.

Lee:

I dunno, we've, we're starting, we're starting series three with

Lee:

a bang, well, business as usual,

Lee:

right, and we are back.

Lee:

It's series three.

Lee:

We are here.

Lee:

It's a new year.

Lee:

It's a new dawn, it's a new day and I'm feeling good.

Lee:

It's like.

Carrie-Ann:

I did wonder if a song was coming and it's only taken one episode.

Lee:

So if you are new to the show, hit that follow button so

Lee:

you don't miss any future episodes.

Lee:

If you are a regular listener and you are joining us for another adventure,

Lee:

please share the show with someone you know so that more people can

Lee:

join the modern leader movement.

Carrie-Ann:

Modern Leader movement.

Carrie-Ann:

I'm loving it.

Lee:

Yes.

Lee:

And if you're wondering if we always look, look like this, no is the honest truth.

Lee:

We look like this today cause we're now on YouTube.

Lee:

So hi . If you are watching us over there, um, we'd love it if you subscribed

Lee:

and like this video so that there's a chance that YouTube might actually

Lee:

recommend us to some other people.

Lee:

So it's quite an exciting way to start the series.

Carrie-Ann:

quite is slightly nerve-wracking.

Carrie-Ann:

So we got to series three and I'm like, right.

Carrie-Ann:

I'm all over this podcast and now I'm loving it.

Carrie-Ann:

I'm totally confident about, oh, nope, we're going on YouTube.

Carrie-Ann:

Oh, right.

Carrie-Ann:

Okay.

Carrie-Ann:

So I actually have to look like I've put some proper clothes on

Lee:

Well, we

Carrie-Ann:

a brush through my hair.

Lee:

We can't proclaim that we want to change leadership in the modern world

Lee:

without actually getting out there and like spreading the word as it were.

Carrie-Ann:

true.

Carrie-Ann:

We are on a mission.

Lee:

It sounds like, it sounds like we are like building our own

Lee:

little cult, which we are not.

Carrie-Ann:

No, we are, but we are on a mission and we are

Carrie-Ann:

all about, uh, taking action.

Carrie-Ann:

I think this year, 2023 is gonna be the year of action, so I'm very excited.

Lee:

Yeah.

Lee:

So, episode one, I've, I dunno about you, but I've started the year and the

Lee:

series in a bit of a reflective place.

Lee:

It's tough out there.

Lee:

It's been tough for a few years and it's like not abating anytime soon.

Lee:

And the leaders that I'm talking to are tired.

Lee:

Their teams are tired.

Lee:

At one point you could say, well, it's only gonna be for a time,

Lee:

but it feels like there's been one thing after another after another.

Lee:

And I suppose I wanted to kick off the series in this first episode to

Lee:

recognize that in some way, and I suppose explore what you can do as a

Lee:

leader when things do get challenged, but when that challenge is relentless,

Lee:

and I suppose to start the episode.

Lee:

I kind of wanna ask, where do you start?

Lee:

Because if you think of the situation that so many leaders are in now, you've got

Lee:

the aftermath and recovery post pandemic, you've got the economic situation,

Lee:

cost of living crisis, you know, in Britain we've got the strike action.

Lee:

You've got political turmoil all over the world.

Lee:

We've got, we've got wars going on, climate issues

Carrie-Ann:

got leaders stepping down politically across the, across the globe.

Lee:

Fall in trust in, in kind of big organizations and stuff.

Lee:

So like how do you actually start to unpick at all and find that starting point

Lee:

as a leader and you're trying to navigate your way through, like where do you start?

Carrie-Ann:

I feel like if I knew the answer to that question, Lee, I

Carrie-Ann:

would be, uh, , maybe a millionaire, or at least, uh, at least have

Carrie-Ann:

more profile than I've got.

Carrie-Ann:

But, um, uh, good.

Carrie-Ann:

A good question about where do you start?

Carrie-Ann:

And you're absolutely right.

Carrie-Ann:

I feel like in.

Carrie-Ann:

in a space where leaders are tired.

Carrie-Ann:

And I think we are hearing leaders say that actually, particularly in some

Carrie-Ann:

of that political space, and I know we don't always want to focus our leadership

Carrie-Ann:

conversations around politics, but um, you know, that's out there, there are people

Carrie-Ann:

saying they're burning out, they're tired.

Carrie-Ann:

I think people are in a space where perhaps frustrations are starting to

Carrie-Ann:

take hold because it just feels like one thing after another, after another.

Carrie-Ann:

And I think for me, a place where you can at least try to make a start or

Carrie-Ann:

try to reflect and also forward think is, is in that space where you actually

Carrie-Ann:

take the time to try to determine what things are actually in your control.

Carrie-Ann:

Because there are so many things that are totally out of our

Carrie-Ann:

control as leaders, as people in the workplace, and as colleagues,

Carrie-Ann:

employees, as just human beings.

Carrie-Ann:

Right now, with everything that you've said is going on, that actually we just

Carrie-Ann:

need to pause, take stock, and decide what things are actually within our gift.

Carrie-Ann:

To take some level of control over.

Carrie-Ann:

And I started by saying it feels like 2023 is gonna be a year of action.

Carrie-Ann:

And I think that's also something that you need to think about when you are

Carrie-Ann:

determining what's within your control, what, what is it that you can actually

Carrie-Ann:

take some action on and then align that with what you know or find out if you

Carrie-Ann:

don't know this already around what is important to your key stakeholders.

Carrie-Ann:

So whether that's your teams in your, your organization, whether that's

Carrie-Ann:

your clients, communities, whatever that is, what's important to them and

Carrie-Ann:

therefore what can you take action on to make some sort of impact or positive

Carrie-Ann:

difference is probably where, I mean it, I'm saying it as if that's really easy

Carrie-Ann:

to do, but that is where I would start that thinking and those conversations.

Lee:

Yeah.

Lee:

I, I concur in the sense that your staff and your communities or the

Lee:

people you serve in, in, depending on the type of organization that

Lee:

you, you run, they're your guide almost at, at this time, aren't they?

Lee:

They, it's, it is around, what's gonna resonate with them, what's

Lee:

gonna help them, where they'd value your input most as a leader.

Lee:

And you can't second guess that.

Lee:

You've got to ask them about the issues and the impact it's

Lee:

having on them and find out what.

Lee:

Possible answers or solutions they might have, don't make an assumption.

Lee:

And often as leaders, we think this, you know, that savior complex, I've got

Lee:

to be a hero and come in and rescue it.

Lee:

And I do think, particularly at the minute, just acknowledging,

Lee:

actually there's a lot of stuff going on and I don't have the answers.

Lee:

It's not all in my control.

Lee:

But where can we wrestle some control is a, is a good starting

Lee:

point to have those conversations with people i completely agree.

Lee:

I also think that sometimes you can get so consumed with all the big stuff

Lee:

that's happening, but there are little things that you probably can do to

Lee:

push the dial in all of those things in one way or another, and that can add

Lee:

up to actually make a difference for the people on the ground, as it were.

Lee:

So, um, . I think sometimes just breaking that down, and again, it goes

Lee:

back to asking, asking the people that, that matter around how you can help.

Lee:

Um, you probably do have more influence than you think you might

Lee:

have on some of these big issues.

Carrie-Ann:

I was just gonna say on, on that point, I, yeah, I do agree

Carrie-Ann:

cuz I think sometimes you, and you touched on it earlier, that we're in

Carrie-Ann:

this state where w we had the project, that's not the right term to use.

Carrie-Ann:

We had the pandemic, but I think we felt like we were gonna be in

Carrie-Ann:

a position where there would be a kind of short to medium term.

Carrie-Ann:

Crisis that then we would be recovering from and, and coming out of.

Carrie-Ann:

But actually we've just lurched into to more and more . Um, and we're

Carrie-Ann:

just in that ongoing crisis mode.

Carrie-Ann:

And I think it can be easy to slip into that space of catastrophizing.

Carrie-Ann:

I'm so, I'm so glad I got that word out cuz I over was overthinking

Carrie-Ann:

it before I said it and I was like, I'm gonna say it wrong.

Carrie-Ann:

Um, catastrophizing and, and thinking that we don't have any control.

Carrie-Ann:

And actually that opportunity to, to just reflect and like you say, even

Carrie-Ann:

if it's small things, I, I think that just helps move you into a different

Carrie-Ann:

mindset and a different head space as a.

Lee:

Yeah, and I, I think it's important also that even though there's all

Lee:

this other stuff going on, , you can't ignore perhaps the things

Lee:

that are on your doorstep either.

Lee:

And, um, you, there's, there's a reality about there will always be something.

Lee:

Yes, it does feel like there's an inordinate amount of stuff

Lee:

happening at the minute.

Lee:

And it does feel relentless, but probably people would've said that maybe, I

Lee:

don't know, 10 years ago, or, you know, if you think back to when other

Lee:

big things happened, they, it probably felt like there was a lot of things

Lee:

happening at one time and hitting you.

Lee:

And so you can't let that stop you as a leader, as an organization from

Lee:

moving forward, but you might just need to take stock on how you do that.

Lee:

So it might be, how do you reevaluate the reality of the situation?

Lee:

So what you are trying to achieve when you are wanting to do things by, and

Lee:

you might have to adapt that, you might have to slow things down slightly.

Lee:

It might be you can speed things up also, there's, there might be an opportunity in

Lee:

some of this stuff and, and we overlook it and just look at the negative.

Lee:

But the pandemic shows that people were able to pivot and change their

Lee:

businesses and, and actually thrive in a situation of, of crisis.

Lee:

That reevaluation might show you that the things you thought were important perhaps

Lee:

aren't as important in the grand scheme.

Lee:

Um, and then I think the third thing for me is that sense of

Lee:

knowing where your tipping point is and when you are asking too much.

Lee:

And I think that's been the balance over the last couple of years and certainly

Lee:

the conversations I've been having with leaders is that sense of they're working

Lee:

so hard, this, you know, so many hours.

Lee:

This, it feels, it feels relentless.

Lee:

And then, and then, and then, and there's only so much goodwill or

Lee:

whatever you could, you can pull on.

Lee:

And it's knowing what's the right thing to ask and when and what

Lee:

that, that breaking point might be.

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah, I, I don't disagree with anything you've said, and I think

Carrie-Ann:

the bits for me that are really striking a chord, um, are around that not the

Carrie-Ann:

savior complex that you talked about.

Carrie-Ann:

Like I do often think that leaders, as leaders, we put ourselves in a

Carrie-Ann:

position where we feel or perceive ourselves to have to be the people

Carrie-Ann:

that have all of the answers.

Carrie-Ann:

Um, and, uh, you, you know, whether that is a true reflection

Carrie-Ann:

of how we are perceived in, in the spaces we we lead or not.

Carrie-Ann:

I, I think you can feel that, and I do think that asking other people what would

Carrie-Ann:

be the solutions they could bring to the table is really important because as

Carrie-Ann:

well as you feeling like you're able to take some control back, you are actually,

Carrie-Ann:

uh, gifting the others around you.

Carrie-Ann:

Um, some of that control as well at a time when people probably feel like things

Carrie-Ann:

are very chaotic and, and out of control.

Carrie-Ann:

So I, I do think that's, you know, control's not usually a word that

Carrie-Ann:

I would use a lot because in a, a lot of spaces, the connotations

Carrie-Ann:

of that I don't like I in a.

Carrie-Ann:

Space.

Carrie-Ann:

But I think if people, um, if you can enable people to feel some sort

Carrie-Ann:

of autonomy and feel empowered to do something that will improve their own

Carrie-Ann:

situation and that you are offering support and enabling them to do that,

Carrie-Ann:

I think that can be really powerful.

Lee:

So we know, you know, any management leadership theory,

Lee:

book, whatever your choice of learning is, or they all talk about.

Lee:

in a challenging situation, you, you've got to try and share a vision.

Lee:

You've got to show what an end picture might look like.

Lee:

You know, inspire some form of hope that light at the end of the tunnel

Lee:

that people often talk about, and we've just been talking a lot about control,

Lee:

but I think the biggest frustrations can come from those points where you

Lee:

feel you've got no or limited control where perhaps it's not always possible

Lee:

to paint that future scene for people.

Lee:

So as a leader, if you are in that position, what can you do instead?

Carrie-Ann:

So, um, I, I think there are a few things that spring to mind

Carrie-Ann:

for me, and some of it for me is not about what you can do instead, because

Carrie-Ann:

I would hope you're doing some of these things anyway in that leadership space.

Carrie-Ann:

But I appreciate in times of pressure and when things feel really difficult,

Carrie-Ann:

um, You know, things can slip, but I mean, first and foremost for me,

Carrie-Ann:

it's about transparency and honesty.

Carrie-Ann:

And actually, you know, if you've taken the time as a leader to, uh, be connecting

Carrie-Ann:

and building those relationships with your key stakeholders, whoever they

Carrie-Ann:

might be, um, I would hope that you are already in that space of having

Carrie-Ann:

open and transparent conversations.

Carrie-Ann:

But I think you just have to be honest about the fact that actually right now,

Carrie-Ann:

we don't know where this is gonna end up.

Carrie-Ann:

You know, if you think about the pay disputes that are happening in in Britain

Carrie-Ann:

right now, and people going on strike, I don't think there's really anyone who's

Carrie-Ann:

in a position as a leader on any side of that dispute to really give the clarity

Carrie-Ann:

about what the end result might look like.

Carrie-Ann:

Um, and, you know, that's why we're in a, a bit of a deadlock situation with that.

Carrie-Ann:

So I, I think there is something about.

Carrie-Ann:

Honest about that and open and having those discussions.

Carrie-Ann:

Um, I also think of a few of the things we touched on, um, in response to

Carrie-Ann:

that sort of first conversation point.

Carrie-Ann:

But, um, I know you talk about this a lot and we have had this

Carrie-Ann:

conversation, um, through Take the Lead and, and on other episodes of

Carrie-Ann:

the podcast about that adaptability.

Carrie-Ann:

So don't you, you talked about, you know, the strategy and being able to

Carrie-Ann:

be flexible and adapt and actually, you know, maybe now is not the time

Carrie-Ann:

to be totally focused on what your five year strategy may have been.

Carrie-Ann:

Um, and actually are we even operating now in an environment as leaders where having

Carrie-Ann:

that long-term strategy is even something that seems reasonable and achievable.

Carrie-Ann:

So actually demonstrating that adaptability and that willingness to

Carrie-Ann:

change course I think is important alongside recognizing that some

Carrie-Ann:

people really struggle with change.

Carrie-Ann:

So actually, if there were some people who were really brought into your strategy

Carrie-Ann:

for your organization or your vision as a leader and you, you know, you have to say,

Carrie-Ann:

we're gonna have to change approach our stratgeic objectives need to be different.

Carrie-Ann:

We have to be focused on something else to respond to the

Carrie-Ann:

situation we find ourselves in.

Carrie-Ann:

Just bear in mind that other people, you know, some people will absolutely

Carrie-Ann:

be, yep that's the right thing to do.

Carrie-Ann:

I'm totally on board with that and find it easy to change tac

Carrie-Ann:

and, and other people might not.

Carrie-Ann:

So it's just having that, a awareness, I think.

Carrie-Ann:

And for me, um, again, you, you mentioned this, there's something about.

Carrie-Ann:

What are the small things that might make the biggest difference?

Carrie-Ann:

And actually, if you haven't got an end state or an end goal in mind, or

Carrie-Ann:

you have, but it just doesn't feel realistic right now because there is

Carrie-Ann:

so much uncertainty, you know, bring it right back down to like those small

Carrie-Ann:

things that would make people feel.

Carrie-Ann:

Feel different today, tomorrow, next week rather than one year,

Carrie-Ann:

two year, three years time.

Carrie-Ann:

Because actually that's what, that's what will make a difference for people

Carrie-Ann:

on the ground who are looking to you to lead them and, and, and give them

Carrie-Ann:

any semblance of, of reassurance or assurance you're able to.

Lee:

Yeah.

Lee:

You, you can still paint a picture.

Lee:

It just might not be the picture you've, you originally envisaged you were gonna

Lee:

be painting for people and, and Yeah, it might, it might be, Uh, I, was trying

Lee:

to think of a really good analogy then, and I haven't got one, so I'm just gonna

Lee:

stop I, I was, you know, I had this wonderful metaphor of painting pictures

Carrie-Ann:

And then you're like, where am I going with this?

Lee:

it's gone.

Lee:

I dunno, we've, we're starting, we're starting series three with

Lee:

a bang, well, business as usual,

Carrie-Ann:

it's, yeah, it's like doing the.to dot and all the dots

Carrie-Ann:

have moved, so you're not quite sure what shape you're gonna get to

Lee:

That's, that's a really good analogy.

Lee:

Well done, well done.

Lee:

. Um, For me, there's something about your leadership mindset

Lee:

at this time and how you decide you're gonna respond to something.

Lee:

So I think one of the, the worst things you can do, and it can be feel so

Lee:

tempting when there's so many things going on, is to sit in that discomfort

Lee:

and feel the pain all the time and moan about kind of how bad it is

Lee:

and then never do anything about it.

Lee:

You know, because then that can just perpetuate that feeling of hopelessness

Lee:

and, and, um, also doesn't provide the inspiration and hope that you

Lee:

might need to as, as a leader.

Lee:

So I, I think there's, there's something you need to do as a leader

Lee:

around reframing your mindset when the chips are down, as it were.

Lee:

And deciding what is it that you can do instead?

Lee:

So it might be really simple things, and we've talked about small things

Lee:

you could do, and I, and I think, you know, looking to the health service,

Lee:

for example, in the cost of living crisis, you know, organizations were

Lee:

setting up food banks for staff or clothes swap shops or doing some free

Lee:

breakfasts for, for people in the morning.

Lee:

So really little things, but it was with a recognition of, we know there's

Lee:

a really big problem here and we can't help, we can't tackle it all, but we

Lee:

can do some little gestures that will, um, yeah, even if you are helping other

Lee:

organizations or or partnering that you wouldn't normally do there, there will

Lee:

be opportunities and it's that mindset shift that, that you need to take.

Lee:

Um, and I think the other thing for me, and we've talked about this in

Lee:

other series before, is this notion of the voice you have as a leader.

Lee:

And it's such an important and trusted voice and we know the evidence is

Lee:

there that staff and communities are looking to leaders of their local

Lee:

organizations to talk on their behalf.

Lee:

They see you as the person that can affect most change.

Lee:

Um, and so you need to start using your voice in this time and don't

Lee:

just sit there and say, oh, I can't comment on that, because it's not

Lee:

something that we directly involved in, or it's not our responsibility.

Lee:

It's a big, you know, we can't get involved in political

Lee:

issues or we can't do that.

Lee:

There will be something you can do and sometimes it might feel uncomfortable.

Lee:

It might feel like you're not gonna be the popular one if you,

Lee:

if you speak out on an issue.

Lee:

but actually where, where are you looking for that popularity?

Lee:

Are you looking at it with, you know, the, the big wigs at, at national or

Lee:

government LE level, or are you looking to support your people and that's actually

Lee:

who you are being employed to serve?

Lee:

So

Carrie-Ann:

I, I, yeah, I think that is a, a really important point to make.

Carrie-Ann:

And, and I just wanted to just go back a little bit to, that's the small

Carrie-Ann:

things that make the, the big difference and all of those things you mentioned

Carrie-Ann:

in, in that particular example were like really human things as well.

Carrie-Ann:

They were, they're things that just as a human being, It's really good to do for

Carrie-Ann:

other people, and I think that that is also really important to demonstrate as

Carrie-Ann:

a leader that you are a human being too.

Carrie-Ann:

And, and I do think there is something about that wellbeing piece, like obviously

Carrie-Ann:

your own, because as we've said, it is really easier during a tough time to

Carrie-Ann:

like burn out or to just keep trying to, you know, pile more and more on top.

Carrie-Ann:

Um, but I do think as well, like demonstrating concern and offering

Carrie-Ann:

opportunity to support the wellbeing of your colleagues, of your stakeholders,

Carrie-Ann:

communities, clients, whatever that may be, um, is ever more important at

Carrie-Ann:

this point in time when there are so many difficult, challenging, upsetting

Carrie-Ann:

things happening, um, in, in society and, and, and in people's lives.

Lee:

Firefighting mode is something that, you know, has been activated

Lee:

in so many ways for so many leaders across lots of different sectors over

Lee:

the last couple of years, really.

Lee:

And when you are in that mode, it can feel really glib glib or inappropriate

Lee:

perhaps to be focused on other stuff, the developmental stuff, the strategic stuff.

Lee:

Um, and more people I've been talking to at very senior levels are you

Lee:

know, having to work in the weeds to show camaraderie, to help out, to try

Lee:

and get things moving and whatnot.

Lee:

And it's become this challenge to get out of that cycle for of firefighting, doing

Lee:

the do, instead of doing the bigger stuff that you might need to do as a leader.

Lee:

So I'm interested, what's worked for you in terms of how do you shift from

Lee:

there's a time and place of doing, doing that, and then there's a time

Lee:

of when I need to exit as a leader.

Carrie-Ann:

I, I guess, um, it's really interesting, isn't it, cuz uh,

Carrie-Ann:

Mentioned like development and I think when you are in constant firefighting

Carrie-Ann:

mode, it feels like being focused on development is like to so totally out

Carrie-Ann:

there, it's not the right thing to do.

Carrie-Ann:

Um, and I guess as somebody who's really big on self-development and develop

Carrie-Ann:

the development of others, somebody who mentors, I'm talking to you who's

Carrie-Ann:

a coach, people are probably gonna roll their eyes and go, well, she would

Carrie-Ann:

say it's actually the time when it's probably more important than ever.

Carrie-Ann:

But that, that is genuinely how I feel.

Carrie-Ann:

And I feel like you do have to take time.

Carrie-Ann:

You have to make that time to focus on, uh, on developing yourself,

Carrie-Ann:

understanding what development needs your leadership team might have,

Carrie-Ann:

cause you've been operating in that in the weeds, operational firefighting

Carrie-Ann:

mode, um, for so long that you kind of need to step away from that.

Carrie-Ann:

And I guess things that.

Carrie-Ann:

Slipped for me at times when we've been in firefighting mode have actually been

Carrie-Ann:

the things on reflection it would've been really important to keep doing.

Carrie-Ann:

And I maybe haven't, haven't always done that.

Carrie-Ann:

And uh, I'm now in a position of reestablishing those.

Carrie-Ann:

So things like yesterday, um, I had a strategy day out of the office with my

Carrie-Ann:

deputy and we purposefully took ourselves out of our usual work environment.

Carrie-Ann:

You know, put our out of offices on, we're not available um, you know, to

Carrie-Ann:

the team, to the organization because we needed that dedicated time together

Carrie-Ann:

to focus on team development, our own development, what our priorities really

Carrie-Ann:

do need to be over the coming months, and just have that focus on that.

Carrie-Ann:

And actually pre pandemic, uh, we were doing that like once every

Carrie-Ann:

six to eight weeks, having that day together to really be focused.

Carrie-Ann:

Through the pandemic that slipped, but now it's back in because we realize

Carrie-Ann:

the value of that in terms of being able to be away from for a period of

Carrie-Ann:

time, that really operational kind of fire fighting mode that we're in.

Carrie-Ann:

But I also think it's important for you to offer those opportunities to your

Carrie-Ann:

team as well, because if you are in that space and you are operating maybe,

Carrie-Ann:

uh, you know, B below the level at.

Carrie-Ann:

You know, you've been employed to operate, which is what we're talking

Carrie-Ann:

about, that being in the weeds, then you can, you can bet that your colleagues in

Carrie-Ann:

your team will be doing the same thing.

Carrie-Ann:

Um, and actually you need to create that space, um, to have those conversations and

Carrie-Ann:

pick yourself, you know, up out of that and focus on, even if it is, what do we

Carrie-Ann:

need to achieve over the next six weeks?

Carrie-Ann:

That's, that's a step away from what do we need to achieve in the next six hours

Carrie-Ann:

when you are working really operationally.

Carrie-Ann:

So, so for me, that's been really important to, to reestablish

Carrie-Ann:

and put back in place.

Lee:

Yeah, the, for me, there's something about you need to start signaling your

Lee:

intent to shift because the boundaries have been reset at that point that you've

Lee:

been working in that firefighting mode.

Lee:

You've been down in the weeds, people may have created, um, dependencies on you, and

Lee:

if you suddenly go like that overnight, I'm, I'm suddenly now gonna be doing this.

Lee:

And you haven't explained why and what the outcome is and,

Lee:

and why things are shifting.

Lee:

People will think, oh do they not think this is a priority anymore, or

Lee:

they're, they're abandoning us and all of that stuff, which can almost

Lee:

in itself create another little mini crisis of, of whatever within, within

Lee:

your team or your organization.

Lee:

So it's, it's not like a ripping a sticking plaster off very quickly.

Lee:

I do think there's some work you need to do to, to extract yourself out of

Lee:

that way of working, but you have to do it very, openly, um, vocally and

Lee:

be really clear on, on the boundaries and, and how, what that's gonna

Lee:

mean for everyone, not just you.

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah, and I, I think that clarity on boundaries is important and

Carrie-Ann:

linked to that clarity on what people's roles are, and also expectations

Carrie-Ann:

of individuals and the wider team.

Carrie-Ann:

So being transparent and having those conversations is, is really important.

Carrie-Ann:

And actually, I think there's an opportunity to reflect, uh, as a

Carrie-Ann:

leader yourself, that if you are constantly in the weeds of things,

Carrie-Ann:

you've gone there with good intent, I think, as a leader because you are in

Carrie-Ann:

firefighting mode and you are wanting to roll your sleeves up and help get

Carrie-Ann:

through the crisis or, or whatever.

Carrie-Ann:

But if you are sort of constantly in that mode, it can feel to other people

Carrie-Ann:

around you like you are meddling.

Carrie-Ann:

and actually you are stepping on the toes of other people's whose job

Carrie-Ann:

it is to be operational or tactical or you know, whatever level that is

Carrie-Ann:

that you are, you are operating in.

Carrie-Ann:

Um, and I think it can also impact if you continue to be in that space on how

Carrie-Ann:

valuable other people see their own.

Carrie-Ann:

Contributions.

Carrie-Ann:

Cause you can actually start to get into a space where other

Carrie-Ann:

people see you as doing their job.

Carrie-Ann:

And is that because that person doesn't value what I'm bringing?

Carrie-Ann:

Is that because I'm not good enough?

Carrie-Ann:

Is it because they don't trust me?

Carrie-Ann:

So

Lee:

Trust that that was the word that was in my head.

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah, so that, that's also something that I think you really

Carrie-Ann:

need to reflect on as a leader, as you are doing what you said and kind

Carrie-Ann:

of navigating your exit from being in that operational firefighting space

Carrie-Ann:

to kind of moving back to the, to the space that you should be operating in.

Lee:

So we normally finish every episode with a how to, um, and rather

Lee:

than a straight up how to this week.

Lee:

I, I kind of wanna ask another question, but it is a how-to question.

Lee:

So I'm being a bit cheeky

Carrie-Ann:

I love it.

Lee:

So, and we've touched on some of this in, in the conversation,

Lee:

so we know that that constant challenge can have a real impact on

Lee:

wellbeing, on motivation, for example.

Lee:

So what do leaders need to start doing differently to make 2023 feel different?

Carrie-Ann:

Okay, so for me it is definitely about being focused on actions,

Carrie-Ann:

not just words, and that what we've talked about already about like what

Carrie-Ann:

can actually be done to take action and progress things and move things forward.

Carrie-Ann:

I also think leaders need to ask of themselves and of others, what

Carrie-Ann:

do people need from me as a leader.

Carrie-Ann:

What is it that you actually need from me as a leader?

Carrie-Ann:

And ask that question about, as a leader, what value can I truly add here?

Carrie-Ann:

So if we just go back to that previous conversation about being in the weeds,

Carrie-Ann:

what value can I truly add here?

Carrie-Ann:

And if it is none, then find a way to step out of that space.

Carrie-Ann:

Um, and, and I think some of that might be uncomfortable to have that conversation

Carrie-Ann:

with yourself and with, with other people.

Carrie-Ann:

But I think it's really important to have, because I think you can almost

Carrie-Ann:

ignore the, the bigger picture and the things that do need you to start taking

Carrie-Ann:

some action because you're creating a level of false comfort about where

Carrie-Ann:

you are operating in those weeds.

Carrie-Ann:

So, so for me, they would be the things, um, that, that I would say.

Carrie-Ann:

And then I, I think as a sort of practical thing, which always sounds

Carrie-Ann:

easier than it, than it is to actually do, um, there's something around how

Carrie-Ann:

do you create that space and time, um, for you to, to refocus your efforts.

Carrie-Ann:

If that's time blocking, if that's having less meetings, if that's taking days out

Carrie-Ann:

and working in a different environment.

Carrie-Ann:

I think those things can actually really help to shift

Carrie-Ann:

your mindset and your outlook.

Lee:

Yeah.

Lee:

Yeah.

Lee:

Love that.

Lee:

And I think link to that bit around shifting your mindset and and outlook.

Lee:

It's that starting to look after yourself through all this and role

Lee:

model the behaviors and all of that kind of stuff so that your team feel

Lee:

they have permission to do the same.

Lee:

Cuz I think often that that does get overlooked.

Lee:

It's interesting that you used the phrase, um, you know, ask more, and I

Lee:

don't disagree with anything you said, but my, my how to of how to do things

Lee:

differently is actually stop asking . But I say it from, Stop asking for permission.

Lee:

I think there's too many leaders, and it goes back to my point

Lee:

around start using your voice.

Lee:

There's too many leaders who are caught up in the optics

Lee:

of, I need to do what I'm told.

Lee:

I need to follow the pack.

Lee:

And I'm not suggesting that you start doing things that break

Lee:

organizational policy or pull you into rep, you know, reputational

Lee:

issues or, or anything like that.

Lee:

But, , there are ways that you can smartly make sure that your voice is

Lee:

heard and, and you have more impact and influence than you can ever

Lee:

imagine you have and you need to bloody start doing something about it.

Carrie-Ann:

Mic drop, end of episode to take that forward into 2023, and the world

Carrie-Ann:

of leadership is already a better place.

Lee:

Yeah, . So that's it.

Lee:

End of end of episode one.

Lee:

Um, as we said at the outset, we are now on YouTube.

Lee:

Follow.

Lee:

If you want to see our lovely faces as we, as we look at each

Lee:

other, kinda going, what was it?

Lee:

I was gonna say . Um, feel free to ho help hop on over there

Lee:

and, and give us a follow.

Lee:

Um, if you liked this episode, subscribe and please do find one other person that

Lee:

you think could benefit from this podcast and share it with them, because we would

Lee:

love more people to be getting involved in the conversations and yeah, just,

Lee:

just like this is the year of action.

Lee:

Let's all just get out there and do something.

Lee:

Until next week.

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