This article is about how to collaborate remotely, and thrive better working from home. Henrik and Caroline are fictive people. Their names and circumstances have been anonymized and changed.
Henrik is Technical Project Manager in a team of five. So he’s an informal leader. He depends on the others doing their job. Because he is responsible for the deliveries and the project. But he doesn’t have hire/fire responsibilities.
Usually, the collaboration with Caroline is fine, but for the last two months Henrik has started doing Caroline’s work instead of delegating it as he should as a project manager. But he doesn’t feel like he can count on her anymore. It’s easier to do it yourself – “and then we also avoid unpleasant mistakes like the one she made to the steering committee”: he told me in a session. Henrik has also stopped talking to Caroline like he used to. Now, working from home, it is easy to avoid her. But they still have the regular project meetings. One day it became too much for Henrik.
Henrik has a challenge. Before the pandemic he was part of a team of five where they were very effective and had a really good time together. Although Henrik is not very talkative and actually thrives on workdays at home, he now waits for the Corona pandemic to be over so everything can get back to normal. The collaboration with his colleague Caroline has gone off track, and this has major consequences for the project, the team and Henrik:
They have lost their commitment.
They don’t get much done in the project.
Their funding is at risk due to a mistake that Caroline has made – at least if you ask Henrik.
Neither Henrik nor Caroline thrives – and the others in the team can feel it too.
These days, there are many managers with anxiety, and as a leader you will most likely have to deal with anxiety in some way – yours or others. In my profession as an Executive Coach, I talk with highly competent and resourceful executives around the world about their challenges, problems, and objectives in life and in work. One question that is being discussed in many of my virtual coaching sessions these days is, how one is dealing with anxiety as a leader. My clients are executives in multinational corporations. Some of them are anxious for their families, companies, and countries. Actually, often they themselves are in a quite good position, but because they have a wider responsibility what used to be the normal pressure can become extra intense in times of crisis.
Would you prefer reading the article in Danish? Then you can read it here.
In times of uncertainty and change, what is good leadership differs from how to lead routine work in steady conditions. The first step is to understand how the difference between technical and adaptive challenges. Because it is in the very problem definition phase that a leader goes wrong.
Is it a technical or an adaptive challenge? Why people sometimes get it wrong to identify challenges and solutions in times of change and uncertainty.
As an Executive Coach, I get to work with some brilliant people. These people are leaders in multinational corporations. Most of them have very strong technical skills, which made them successful and brought them to the leadership position that they are in now. In this regard, despite their unique personalities and trait, I believe they are rather representative of most executives.
Are you more interested in reading in Danish? Then you can find the article here.
Closing the gaps?
For many leaders, minimising risk and uncertainty is imperative, or at least, is at the core of leadership. Sometimes the solution involves hiring consultants that can provide a detailed step-by-step process with the objective of closing the gaps. But this doesn’t always work, especially not now. No one really knows where things are going in these times of great uncertainty and it can be rather unproductive to take a technical approach to something that is really an adaptive challenge.
The hardest thing is not to learn new ways, but to unlearn what used to be the right thing to do.
Is your challenge technical or adaptive?
There is a difference between technical and adaptive challenges. It’s really important to understand how these differ to lead in uncertainty, solve the challenges, and be agile.
Ron Heifetz andMarty Linsky, researchers at Harvard University, identified two types of challenges in change: adaptive and technical challenges.
How we manage our mental energy and how the mental economy is managed in companies and societies are often overlooked. As an executive coach, I have a question for you to reflect upon and some techniques that can boost you and your organisation. Join me for an experience designed to inspire and ignite through inspirational speeches and good food!
You are invited:
The Executive Boost Event hosted together by Top Chef, Henrik Jyrk and me.
Where: at Henrik Jyrk’s restaurant – Ibu on Vesterbrogade 56 When: October 8th at 16.00 – 17.30 RSVP: Purchase your Executive Boost Event tickets here. Bring a colleague or business partner. The event is in English.
There is no innovation without agility. I am not talking about agile methods, but agility as a mindset. When I started working with innovation back in 2008, innovation was nice to have. Today, most leaders confront a situation where innovation is need to have and many have experienced the difficulties actually turning innovation ideas and projects into business value and tangible results.
Learning to access more agility is the answer to several of the challenges that leaders confront in the face of everyday change, innovation, new technology and stress. You can try to work more agile, but if you do not increase your individual agility, it is difficult for your organisation to actually become agile.
You may be familiar with the leader who ended an otherwise successful project to minimise risks. This was simply because there were too many unknown factors which were too difficult to predict and too potentially challenging of an outcome to control. Perhaps, you have made a similar decision.
In a stable environment, this is definitely the right thing to do. This is the type of environment where you can anticipate customer behaviour 18 months or more ahead, where you are not in danger of being disrupted, where you are not threatened by stress or new technology, and where success is created by doing the same thing as usual. Yet, in a constantly changing and unpredictable environment, being agile is needed and necessary.
This is for those of you who are not actively using LinkedIn for career development. Learn how being active in a few simple ways can benefit your career.
Many people with a corporate career forget to update their profile or do not actively use LinkedIn. As of June 2018, LinkedIn had over 500 million users. 61 million of these users were considered senior level influencers and 40 million were in decision-making positions. In other words, LinkedIn might be the most valuable tool for your career development today. As executive coaches working with career development, Lena Beck Rørvig and I have met many successful people who have ignored LinkedIn as a channel for career development. External recruiters are not the only ones using LinkedIn, your company might also have an account. LinkedIn is becoming a useful way to discover career opportunities within your existing organisation.
Think you don’t have the time? Engaging in a professional network doesn’t need to take a lot of your time. If you are not already a member or posting regularly, I have three simple ways of using LinkedIn for career development.
Three simple ways to use LinkedIn for career development
In the video below, Lena and I discuss how to maintain or improve your market value by using LinkedIn for career development in three easy ways:
Show your worth
Be digitally conscious
In the clip above, Lena Beck Rørvig and I give advice on how to use Linkedin for career development emphasising its importance for people with a corporate career.
Allocate a little time to follow posts on LinkedIn daily or weekly. In addition, post something meaningful on an ongoing basis. I recommend taking a moment to show an interest in your network by liking the posts of others you appreciate. Your company might also value if you share new job postings or news about your company’s success. It is essential to maintain your professional presence by updating regularly.
Show your worth
It is natural to worry about what others will think of your social media activity. However, you do not have to be too concerned about it as long as you maintain a professional online appearance. We tend to think far more about ourselves than others do, and it is rare that a post or comment will define you! Focus on posting what is relevant to your professional interests. This could mean something related to your job or a company you are following. For example, if you are into finance, you could share an article you value on investments. Ultimately, a personal post is much more engaging than a non-personal post. If you want people to comment and feel a connection to you through your posts, don’t be afraid to share a bit of yourself and your point of view.
Be digitally conscious
Being digitally conscious means several things. One is being mindful of what you post, especially on topics like politics and religion. Depending on the nature, politics and religion can often be offensive and divisive. The goal for using LinkedIn for career development is as a means for opening doors and connecting within your professional network. While you can only decide if a post will be this, it never hurts to be digitally conscious of the intentions behind a post.
Another aspect of being digitally conscious is not getting hooked on social media. A lot of people are addicted to the happiness hormone, serotonin. You might experience a release of serotonin in your brain when you get “likes” or receive approval. Having a healthy offline-online balance is essential for being productive, focused and happy. This balance is not always easy in company culture which lacks the environment for discussing this topic. You, therefore, have to be responsible for keeping yourself in balance. Everyone has different preferences. Some people may enjoy checking-in every day while others may need more digital breaks. You can read more about this in my new book, En dag med 12 godemobilvaner (will be available in Danish i 2019 – sign up for my newsletter to get the news when it is out).
Quickly boost your professional presence through those three simple ways for using LinkedIn for career development. Remember: update regularly, show your worth and be digitally conscious. I hope you are able to make some time to be active on LinkedIn today!
To stay up-to-date with new articles and videos, sign up for my mailing list. There are advantages to being on the list. Among other things, you will receive invitations to events in the Leaders Saloon where you will receive new inspiration in reflection with other leaders. You can learn more about me here.
This article is about developing your agility and leadership.
Navigating uncertainty with coolness, keeping a calm mind, being fearless and dealing with any discomfort you experience – this is what it feels like to be agile. Lars van Hauen is Chief Innovation Officer of E.On. Denmark, a European energy company with 43,000 employees. As an innovation leader and officer, I consider Lars to be more agile and innovative than 95% of other leaders I know. With tips from Lars, I will share what it means to be agile and how to develop your agility and leadership.
Agility and leadership advice from the agile and innovation leader, Lars
As I write this, my newborn baby is wrapped around my body sleeping peacefully in a sling. He is happy as long as he is close to his mother. This is one of my practical ways to be able to follow my professional passion, balance a demanding career and also be a mum. I certainly don’t have all the answers, but over the years many women have asked me how to be on maternity leave while having a career and professional responsibilities.
Becoming a parent is one of life’s biggest events. For new parents who are deeply engaged in their professional life or career, it creates a lot of difficult questions and dilemmas. If you are becoming a mum or a dad, you have to test many things with a lot of trial-and-error in the process. I would like to share some insights and inspiration for those who are curious about how being on parental leave while professional responsibilities. This can also be thought of as a career woman’s guide to taking maternity leave.
Mixing maternity leave and having a career involves us all.
There is no easy one-size-fits-all answer, we have to share our stories. Not just for the sake of young women, but for the sake of families, companies, and society. We need to inspire each other and learn how other working mum’s and working dad’s have tackled this dilemma. There has to be room for several models in order for it to work for everybody. Some career women prefer to be off-the-radar for a long time, others do not. Neither are right or wrong, it just depends on the personal preferences. No matter what, I believe the babies should come first and the parents second. But, one doesn’t necessarily exclude the other. There are win-win models to be discovered. Such as, being able to happily write this post, while my baby sleeps close to me.
There is no one-size-fits-all, we must explore and test new models.
One thing is certain: what has worked for one woman, may not work for another. It might not be ideal for to be off-the-radar for 9 months or more. Although it is ideal, not all jobs, managers or companies will make it possible to maintain your responsibilities or position while on leave for a year. Additionally, while some women might find maternity leave as heaven, others might not enjoy being out of touch with their professional passions.
When I was younger, I was concerned about combining my uncompromisingly high standards for parenting with my professional life. I never thought a baby could replace my ambitions. However, with age and time, I have realised doing both of what I love have contributed to making me a better mother and a better role model too.
I often have conversations with other women on the topic. Former Danish Minister Astrid Krag, who was a minister while having a baby, brought her husband with her on the road. This allowed her to nurse her child, be with her family and attend her duties as a minister. Her husband is an artist and very supportive, so this model fit well. However, this might not work for everyone and not all husbands are able or happy to take months out of their career to follow their wife. This stresses the importance of the need to explore other possibilities and models too. So, if you are going to be a parent, I encourage you to be curious and explore what model(s) might be the right fit for you.
The maternity leave stories of managing director and mother of three, Loui Törnqvist
Loui Törnqvist is the Managing Director of at Music Sales / Edition Wilhelm Hansen. She became a mother for the first time when she was 27 years old, just a short time after being appointed as a managing director of company she still manages today. She has three children and each time she dealt with her responsibilities in a new way. Even though she was the same person, none of her maternity leaves were similar.
In this video, Loui shares her story openly and honestly. I believe it is quite a good story on how to be on maternity leave while having a career. Watch our 13- minute conversation and listen to what Loui has to share below.
To stay updated with new articles and videos, sign up for my mailing list. Among other things, there are advantages to being on the list. You will receive invitations to events in the Leaders Saloon where you get new inspiration in reflection with other leaders, HR specialists and leadership developments professionals.
Many managers’ decisions are guided by bias. There are approximately 200 different types of bias. A bias is actually a mistaken decision. It is an automatic and unconscious mechanism that gets in your way of making clear decisions. We all have a different levels of bias and they are context-dependent. When dribbling a ball on a basketball court, it may be a kind of bias that affects your decision about where to move. For managers in sales meetings, you may have a bia that affects your choices and how you develop a strategy. Your decisions are often consciously or unconsciously guided by bias, which can have positive and negative affects on your leadership and those around you. Read more to learn 7 ways you can make better decisions and minimise bias.
We are constantly updating software on our smartphones. Imagine your brain as a computer that can be upgraded. As you grow your awareness, you get a stronger operating system that can handle heavier programs and more graphics. A software update is the metaphor we use to explain conscious management. Conscious management is a way of good management, especially in high performance environments.