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Helping Farmers get the Edge

 


Last month Wayne was asked to work with some of the top performing dairy and beef farmers in South Australia. Some of these farms have up to 25 staff and herds of over 1,000 cattle.


For 3 days we worked together exploring how their leadership can turn their respective workers into ‘Professional Teams’. The most significant highlight for them was understanding the difference between managing people and leading them.


There were a lot of laughs but equally a lot of learning. Even the greatest technicians are not necessarily the greatest coaches. For many of these farmers, this was the missing link in taking their farms to the next level of performance and production.


The fact they all wanted to develop themselves as leaders, highlights why they are at the top of their industry.


Do people really trust you as a Leader?


Logical Engineering


I’m not saying engineers can’t lead people, but the bottom line is engineering is logical, people are not. Management is also more about logic, i.e. budgets, resources, ROI, where leadership is more about emotions, trust and respect – you don’t think trust, you feel trust.


So what do YOU need to do to be more successful as a leader not just a manager?


Consider the following:

You might be your team’s manager, but would your team vote for you as their leader? Titles mean nothing when it comes to leadership.


When was the last time you looked in your leadership mirror? Do you really know the impact you are having on your team?


Note: At the risk of over generalising and offending a whole group of engineers, I will point out before I start that these observations are not meant as judgements and are based on all the wonderful engineers and asset management professionals I’ve worked with over the past 20 years.


Engineers and Asset Management professionals are generally very process oriented, data driven and logical. They are usually confident of their decisions because they are backed up by quality data. While these are all great characteristics, they’re not necessarily characteristics that develop good relationships.


I often see highly technically proficient people being singled out for their excellent work and suddenly given a team to manage. The organisation will say, “Actually, you’re very competent at this process, so therefore we are promoting you to be the team leader.” Immediately the skillset required changes completely. Those highly technical skills honed over many years have to be shifted towards people skills – understanding a group of people who each have different motivations, personalities and egos.


  • The real challenge is that people no longer want to be ‘managed’
  • People want good leadership.  Do you know the difference between ‘managing’ & ‘leading’?
  • You might be your team’s manager, but would they vote for you as their leader?


Here are four questions that will dictate your personal, leadership and team effectiveness.


1. Why does your leadership style work with some people but not with others?

  • When was the last time you looked in your leadership mirror?
  • Do you understand the impact you have on your team members and colleagues.?
  • Are you a bridge ‘burner’ or a bridge ‘builder’? This is where the name of our organisation, Bridgeworks, originated. Exploring how well you build bridges with people.

It takes courage to look in the leadership mirror, but then again leadership is about courage. Those that need to look in the mirror the most, resist the most.

One process we use is called ‘How Others See Me’. It’s not like the classic 360 feedback tool, which measures what you do.  How Others See Me measures more who you are – your behaviour, your attitudes, how you build trust and your interpersonal effectiveness.


2. Have you thought about what motivates you, compared to what motivates your staff, family, others?

  • Do you understand that you can only motivate yourself, but you can influence others – positively or negatively?
  • We are not talking about ‘rah-rah’ extrinsic motivation more intrinsic motivation – what gets you out of bed in the morning.
  • What drives you, what drives your team, what drives your teenage kids!!

Dr William Marston back in the 1920s wrote a book called Emotions of Normal People. He was fascinated at how people behave differently, and in particular how the Greeks 2,000 years ago went about classifying behaviour. If you were a direct, confident, strong-willed person, you were called ‘choleric’, whereas if you were someone that’s more laid-back and ‘She’ll be right mate’ you were seen as more ‘phlegmatic’.

In the 1960s Dr John Geier, developed the ‘DISC profile’ based on Dr Marston’s principles. Since then over 50 million people globally have used DISC to help them understand why people do what they do. We will be exploring this tool during my session at Mainstream Conference.


3. Do you understand the real difference between management and leadership?

You manage ‘things’ but you lead ‘people’. Both are important – a job or project has to be done, but people need to be engaged in the process.

How well do you engage others?

As mentioned earlier management is more about logic, where as leadership is more about emotions. In your past have you worked in what you considered was a good job but with a poor leader? Their technical skills and process was excellent but people skills lacking. I’m sure this environment didn’t get the best out of you.


4. Do you understand why being trustworthy does not always build trust?

Do understand that people build trust differently? What are your strengths and weaknesses in building trust?

Many people in senior management roles assume their role makes them a leader.


Leadership has nothing to do with your management title, the size of your office or even your MBA.


IQ does not correlate with emotional intelligence (EQ).  Leadership is an EQ skill and it should be seen as a ‘special gift’ from your ‘followers’ based on trust and respect, not position power or formal appointments.


You may believe that you are ‘trustworthy’, but why is it that some may NOT trust you?


To simplify ‘How to build trust’ we will be working through a powerful model – ‘The 4 Elements of Trust’. This provides a logical system in understanding how best to build trust with others. Elements include; straightforwardness, openness, reliability and acceptance. We all have a preference for certain elements.


Ask yourself these simple 4 questions above. Quality leaders continually do this. They are prepared to learn, be more open to change and be able to build a climate of trust and respect with their teams. Their leadership harnesses the best from their teams and stakeholders.


Isn’t that what we all want?


You can hear more from Wayne Dyson at Mainstream Conference in March 2017 (in Melbourne and Perth). Join him for a 2.5 hour interactive workshop “Engineering is Logical, People Are Illogical” – People Skills for Engineering Managers” to discover a logical, practical, easy to use system to understand yourself and others you work with.

 


Do Accountants Make Good Leaders?


Not usually when it comes to motivating or inspiring people – but there are exceptions. I know some great leaders who have finance background.


You would think accountants and finance professionals have an edge over other professions when it comes to leadership in business.


The language of business matters now. If you can’t speak finance, it’s very hard for you to be a CEO or senior leader. The catch is accountants and finance professionals might have to unlearn some of the things that made them experts in the first place to make successful transitions to leaders.


In fact, my experience is that unless they have a high level of emotional intelligence, they can be ‘interpersonally inflexible’ and too controlling or tendency to micromanage.


As an accountant you are not meant to make mistakes, take risks and always focus on detail. Good leaders tend to make more mistakes, take several risks and see the big picture rather than the micro detail.


According to research from Dr Byron Hanson from Curtin Graduate School of Business in Perth there are 5 critical changes or transitions that will accelerate the journey to successful leadership:


  • 1. Moving from being the expert to leveraging expertise - Accountants pride their expertise, but despite what some people think you don’t have to be the smartest person in the room to be a good leader.
  • 2. Moving from the apprenticeship model to a coaching model - its good to help hone a learners technical skills – a leader is more a coach, less doing, more motivating and influencing
  • 3. Moving from being a reporter to a translator - providing the numbers is no longer how they add value – leaders need to ‘create meaning’
  • 4. From having the right answer to navigating multiple answers - Finance professionals are taught to see problems as complicated but having a correct answer – they need to unleash their thinking a bit!
  • 5. Moving from being a value protector to a value creator - learn how to create wealth, rather than to think in terms of being risk-averse and a protector of wealth

I have worked with many very powerful leaders with finance backgrounds. Not only do they have the critical financial insights but a high level of knowing when to lead, when to manage. All of this comes back to their ability to stop and look in their leadership mirror.

(Some references made from Tony Malkovic’s article in Acuity “Five changes that will make you an exceptional leader”)

 

Are you getting your Vitamin “F”? (F=Friends)


This great message was passed onto me by one of my “Iceberger” friends and I thought it had a powerful message:


At a recent meeting of a club I am part of, a member spoke briefly on the subject of friends. This gentleman is in his mid eighties and his eloquence is not surprising given he is a retired QC.


I was so taken by his brief but powerful message that I thought I’d share it with you. It is a reminder to us all that in this world we have nothing if we don’t have friends.


He said: “Real Age doctors tell us that friends are good for our health. I call them Vitamin F (the F is for friends). I count the benefits of friends as essential to my well-being.


Research shows that people in strong social circles have less risk of depression and terminal strokes. If you enjoy Vitamin F constantly, you can be up to 30 years younger than your real age. The warmth of a friendship stops stress and, even in your most intense moments, it decreases the chance of cardiac arrest or stroke by up to 50%. 


We should try to see the funny side of things and laugh together and pray for each other at the tough moments. Some of my friends are online. I know I am part of their lives because their names often appear on my computer screen and I feel blessed that they care as much for me as I care for them. The most beautiful thing about friendship is that we can grow separately without growing apart


Each of my friends helps to bring out a different part of me. With one of them, I am polite. With another, I joke. With another, I can be a bit naughty and I can sit down and talk about serious matters with others. With another I laugh a lot and with yet another, I listen to his problems. Some even listen to my problems.


My friends are like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. When completed, they form a treasure box – a treasure box of friends. My friends often understand me better than I understand myself. They are friends who support me through good days and bad. 


I’m so happy that I have a stock of Vitamin F. In summary, we should value our friends and keep in touch with them. I hope you also had some Vitamin F today.”


I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did and that it reinforced the importance of friends in all our lives.


“God” does exist!

He’s found in many workplaces where a management title has allowed the ego to take over.


The fiasco with Bronwyn Bishop reminds me so much about many managers I deal with. Having their title means that they are now “God” or the font of all knowledge, having all the rights under the sun.


A great way to build a high stress, 60-hour week, where your people are disengaged and spend more time on seek.com!


Jim Collins in his book “Great by choice” highlights that a person’s attitude rather than their knowledge is the best measure of a leader:


“Change is accelerating, uncertainty is permanent, and chaos is common. Yet some leaders and entrepreneurs navigate these conditions exceptionally well. They don’t merely react; they create. They don’t merely survive; they prevail. They don’t merely succeed; they thrive”


One of the most powerful tools used on our unique Leadership NOW program is our “interpersonal flexibility” measure. It is a game changer for many people – like being hit in the head with a piece of “4 be 2”.


If you have a title ensure that you DO allow opportunity for plenty of “How Others See me” feedback. Both formal and informal feedback is critical for keeping your leadership sharp and on track.


For some strange reason this also engages people to create fun, productive workplaces where ideas, innovation and trust thrive.