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Leadership & collaboration

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With good leadership, employees can be even better than they are alone. They create better results, more value and get more mental energy from their work. Here you will find inspiration for management development that provides energy and creates results.

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’s challenge

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 and Marty 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.

The Executive Boost Event programme

Read the Danish version of the article here.

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 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

Decisions guided by bias affect your decisions

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.

I have a natural ability to see the potential in people. Somehow, we are all like uncut diamonds. Executive coaching can accelerate leadership and talent development. Business results, leadership and the manager’s personal strengths and challenges are largely linked. Therefore, executive coaching is effective in creating results in the company.

I am very grateful for what I received, and it helped me to clarify the opportunities I have and how I really feel about them. It has helped me pursue some things with more focus and put others at a lower priority.

David Gram, Senior Innovation Director, LEGO Group

Josefine Campbell mainly works for global corporations such as Novo Nordisk and The Carlsberg Group. Read more references here. 

Josefine Campbell, Executive coach and author

As an executive coach Josefine Campbell works on building on the strengths you already have. After a session, you should be more aware of your head and more equipped to handle the challenges you will face as a leader. Josefine Campbell practices a combination of pragmatic coaching and counseling combined with mental training and strategic thinking.

The session will always be adapted to you, your work and the challenges you face. You set the agenda, and we are therefore talking about what is yours. Josefine Campbell supports and challenges you in a safe and confidential space.

Executive Coaching approach

  • Starting from the challenges you have.
  • Practical approach to coaching so that you can get real results quickly and you can benefit from the coaching.
  • Coaching with expertise in innovation, management, business development, growth, balance and stress. That’s why you not only get coaching, but also expertise and advice.
  • Coaching is offered both online and offline, so we do not have to be in the same city to work together.

You are working. Time flies by and suddenly you discover that you are hungry. You have actually forgotten to eat. Sometimes it’s also like that with your breathing. You forget to breathe properly. There may be things that make your breathing tense. A tense leader, is not a good leader. It is important to pay attention to breathing deeply, which gives oxygen to the brain and makes your muscles relax. This little gadget from Spire helps remind me.