What to consider when preparing to return to work

Now that things are reopening, many of us are preparing to return to work. Whether you’re already partly there, or still anticipating it, here are some things related to career coaching to think about as we ease back into a life that is closer to how things were before the pandemic — yet still so different.

Here are some career coaching suggestions for everyone as we return to work:

Embrace the awkwardness:

If you’re not sure how to approach the first conversation, or how to interact in person, acknowledge it. The other person is probably feeling the same way. When you break the ice, the conversation can flow more naturally. Start by asking others about themselves and their work.

It’s okay if your appetite for socializing has changed. Some may be craving some interaction even if they were a bit of a hermit before, while others might have really gotten used to solitude and be yearning for some of that lost freedom. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge your discomfort and don’t take it personally when someone tells you they wish they could be home away from everyone.

Meet people where they are:

Accept what people tell you about themselves — now isn’t the time to try to convince others of your opinion. (This doesn’t apply to a work decision, or direction on a project. Here, we are talking about people and emotions around returning to the office.)

For example, if someone’s views on vaccinations or socializing differ from yours, accept that they differ. For you, going mask-free indoors post-vaccination might feel freeing and joyful, but for the person in the next cubicle, it could be panic-inducing.

Emotions may be on the surface. Regardless of your views on vaccines, viruses, borders and economics, the last 15 months have been stressful. Full stop. If you’ve been on Planet Earth since March 2020, life has been stressful. That means recognizing that everyone else who has been through this has also been stressed — whether they see it, or not, whether they acknowledge it, or not.

Keep lines of communication open:

Talk to your coworkers. Share what you’re concerned about and ask what they’re concerned about. Ask what they’re most looking forward to and share what you are excited about.

Prepare with your family. Talk through what your employer’s return to the office scenario means for you and your family. What will you miss about being home? What changes will you need to work through together? What are you excited about going forward?

Celebrate the little things:

Be patient and kind to yourself. Start by acknowledging the stress that has been and that is still to come.

There’s a concept in sociology of “re-socialization” – the act of learning new social norms that are expected in your society. For most of us, we socialize early to our society and then tweak things a bit as teens as we become more independent and then as adults in the working world. Very few people ever have to re-socialize – that is, learn an entirely new normal.

Full re-socializing is difficult and incredibly stressful. A mild example would be moving to a foreign country and having to learn some new customs. A more severe example might be being sent to prison or joining a cult. However, in 2020 ALL OF US had to re-socialize to a world that forbade gathering, where hugging could make you sick or visiting a grandparent could threaten their life. We had to stop traveling, learn to walk one way down grocery store aisles and wear masks in public. Many among us had to become school teachers while also being parents and workers. It was exhausting because we were having to learn to survive by living differently than we had before. The social rules changed, dramatically and often more than once.

While the end of COVID may be in sight, and vaccines are helping us get there, the unfortunate reality is we’re about to go through another massive re-socialization. In some ways, it may feel like a return to the old ways and yet in so many ways it’s not going to be that either. It’s going to be a third form of society – somewhere between isolated lockdown, and life pre-2020.

To get through it, we have to acknowledge it, accept our inability to significantly change it and find ways to make it work for us. In other words, we have to build resilience, knowing it’s coming.

Part of the social readjustment may be about learning how to reallocate time and energy away from family and back to friends, colleagues and acquaintances, without losing the closeness built up with loved ones.

Some suggestions for Leaders and HR:

Acknowledge there was stress and anxiety in your workplace BEFORE COVID – and much of that will return like a tsunami, if it ever subsided.

  • Consider the extra stress being felt by employees who joined the organization during the pandemic and who have never met their colleagues.
  • Consider those who went on or returned from parenting leave.
  • Some workers may have had strained relationships with each other that lessened during COVID and are about to re-emerge.

How are they feeling as some sort of return to work occurs? How are you helping your team build resilience alongside productivity as they return to work? Are you prepared to cope with your own return to work anxiety as a leader?

There has been much discussion about companies who have switched to an entirely virtual workplace – selling office buildings while fitting-up workers at home. Other companies have talked about a “return to normal” with everyone back at the office. For most of us, normal will now likely be a hybrid composed of some form of work from the office and work from home; in fact, this is what we’re recommending to our clients. But what does your hybrid look like?

First, it shouldn’t be entirely up to employees how the hybrid model rolls out. The reasons you are using a hybrid model are multitude and must all be considered. For example, you might want to think about:

  • Limits on how many people can be in the workplace at once. What physical changes need to be made? What are the rules around the group gathering spaces (boardroom, lunchroom, etc)? What about public spaces?
  • Given the limits, who needs to be there together? Will entire departments need to be together in person? Does the leadership team need to be? What about project teams? Discuss ideas and logistics with whomever you need to, to be prepared.
  • Set up a schedule and communicate it well in advance to those who will be affected (in other words, everyone).

Once you’ve figured out what groups or teams need to be together, at least some of the time, decide which days and times are best. Again, consult staff, but make the decision that will work best for the company (and be prepared to handle criticism). There is NO WAY you are going to give everyone what they want, but it is important to seek input and consider alternatives to the one way you might be inclined to do it yourself.

While we advocate that wherever possible, employers consider continuing work-from-home for some days for those who want it (i.e., be flexible):

  • Don’t overlook the risks of loneliness (which people may not be able to acknowledge).
  • Remember the lost benefits of teamwork (which tend to be long-term and not seen in the moment).
  • Consider the fact that some folks won’t be able to share their truth (“I need to work from the office because I’m in an abusive relationship at home,” or, “I need to work from home because my parent is ill and it stresses me out to think they may need help when I’m not there,” or, “My kids are making me crazy, I need to get back to an office.”).

Don’t base all your beliefs on an employee survey. Many organizations have done all-employee surveys sometime between autumn 2020 and spring 2021 to ask employees their preferences about returning to work.

Keep in mind that things are changing almost daily: Last week their kids were in school. This week, the kids are trying to learn from home, anxiety is high and Internet speeds are low. That survey was likely valuable in the moment, but does it still hold true? Will it hold true next week? Next month? The point is, with a return to the office, do what’s right for the company while being as flexible as possible, and be prepared to adapt that again, and maybe again, until you find the right spot for now.

Have honest conversations with employees:

  • Make it safe for people to share their truth.
  • Ask questions about what you need to learn.
  • Acknowledge when you don’t know the answer and when you will commit to figuring it out.
  • Ask for their input – good ideas come from all over.

Coach’s Questions about Career Coaching Canada

How does planning to return to work make you feel? What would be helpful for your career coaching Canada to consider? What can you do to be more prepared for yourself and your team?

Succession planning: Do you have an effective system?

What would you do if a key executive were to leave your company unexpectedly? What does your succession planning look like? Life is full of unexpected changes.

Maybe someone decides to retire early due to a change in health or family circumstances.

Or, maybe someone is offered a dream position in another city or country — it’s too good to pass up.

And, we all hate to talk about it, but, perhaps someone on your team dies suddenly.

Would this create havoc across the organization? How would your team carry on without the right person in that key role? How would your clients, your shareholders and other stakeholders react? And what might it cost you?

Of course, the replacement of leaders in key roles can be costly. This can be measured not only by the costs for headhunting, plus time spent reviewing CVs, interviewing and reference checking — not to mention the cost of a bad-hire now and then — but also by the missed opportunity of potential business lost when the team is left without leadership.

Not only is this uncertainty financially costly, it can also affect the rest of your team negatively. Why? Because people talk, especially if they’re wondering or worrying! When they’re uncertain, they tend to make up stories to fill the void, spreading more uncertainty that is as difficult to correct as it can be damaging to morale.

When you have succession planning in place to fill these key roles, your team won’t be trying to fill in the blanks with speculation and gossip.

Here are some steps leaders can take for effective succession planning:

Identify the key roles for the organization. Determine which vacancies would affect the organization’s objectives most and work towards having a plan for these.

Collaborate. I’ve found that engaging various leaders in this process is helpful for a few reasons. First, collaboration brings different perspectives to understanding the roles and the future candidates based on the leaders’ experiences with the various people involved. This can help to uncover candidates, both externally and internally, who may not have been considered in succession planning in the past. It will also help to understand where they are and what progress they are making in their careers.

Think long term with succession planning. I know some leaders who think about potentially replacing themselves whenever they’re hiring someone to the executive-level positions. When you think about hiring people who could eventually take over your role, you’re usually looking for folks who may not have all the training and experience, but they have the same or similar values and the motivation to do a good job. It changes your expectations and priorities (and gives you time to avoid high performers who don’t play nice with others). Of course, it’s important to remember to also hire folks who aren’t totally like you. First, because you need counter points of view at your leadership table. Second, because the company may need a different perspective than the current one, both now and when you move on.

Stay on Track. Include succession planning as a topic in the agenda at least quarterly to ensure that everyone sees this as a priority and is always on the lookout for top performers. Ongoing discussion is key, so that your succession planning keeps pace with your industry and you are always identifying quality candidates for key roles.

Involve potential internal candidates in discussions about their goals. This one worries a lot of companies. They seem to think having a conversation with internal candidates, letting them know they are being considered as future prospects, leaves people with expectations that may not be met. However, not having that conversation leaves them with the opposite expectation — if they know all good companies have succession plans and help potential successors to grow and advance, and if you haven’t had a conversation about their place in the plan, they may assume they’re not part of the plan.

When I worked in the Lead HR role for a large international retail chain, leaders would tell me that they were developing talent. I would ask, “Have you told them?” and usually the answer was no, they hadn’t told people they were considering them for promotion down the road.

I highly recommend that leaders let people know that they have noticed their engagement and talent and that they see they have high potential. When people feel they have a future with an organization, they’re less likely to leave or look for other opportunities.

Don’t assume that people feel valued. Again, people who don’t hear they have potential might be filling the void of feedback with misconceptions. This results in folks who become disengaged or feel unsatisfied with the workplace.

When you do have the conversation, discuss their career and their development for future roles of increasing responsibility, identify what they might need to achieve success and where they would like to see themselves. It’s also important to have a conversation to find out what they want. It’s no longer reasonable to assume everyone wants the next step up.

Once you know what their career goals are, you can help them to gain the experience they need to grow. This might include things like a mentor program, training, feedback and other developmental tools. (Pro tip: Set performance goals with team members you identify have potential that include tools to help them achieve greater responsibility.) Let them know they’re valued and that you see them advancing in future.

Welcome a bit of healthy competition. What do you do if you have a few good candidates worthy of consideration for one executive position? Embrace it! It’s okay if you have three candidates all vying for promotion – as long as it’s healthy competition. One organization with an opening in a VP role had three directors who were really good at what they did as well as some external candidates. As part of the recruitment process for this VP position, each candidate had to do a presentation.

When handled well and fairly, each internal candidate will know that their career path is not over with one opportunity. They will, instead, feel there are many roles for me, I am valued and I have opportunities for learning and growth to prepare me for the next level.

Be creative with skill-building opportunities. If you identify someone you think has real leadership potential but they’re in a role where they currently don’t have people reporting to them, that’s a good time to have them lead a project. That can be an opportunity for them to demonstrate and develop their potential. Watch for opportunities for career enrichment, like harnessing the power of peer learning with other leaders.

One company I worked with had a management leadership development team of MBA grads. Each MBA was assigned to a different business area within the organization where they were partnered with the business leaders. They acted as advisors or consultants who would work on new ideas with the leaders and, ultimately, on implementation. It was a great experience for them and for our organization.

Build succession planning into your planning process. Succession planning is often not top of mind because it’s not urgent — until it is. Urgency happens when someone leaves unexpectedly, causing stress for those left behind.

One organization’s approach to succession planning was to prioritize it in their planning process. After not including this previously in their strategic planning, they soon realized that they had very few high potential candidates preparing for more senior roles and few candidates identified for their top roles.
Whether recruiting from outside or from within, it’s important to have several candidates ready and willing to take on key roles when the time is right. Being proactive in preparing for a smooth transition ensures that the business can continue without a gap. Putting the time and effort in upfront as part of your strategic planning pays off in the following ways:

  • Increased confidence in the organization for all stakeholders
  • Minimum upheaval and cost due to lack of leadership or a gap in a key position
  • Increased engagement for those high potential employees chosen to participate in a custom-designed development program

Taking control of the people side of the business and planning for the future benefits everyone through increased retention and minimal disruption to the business (ideally no disruption!) when someone does leave unexpectedly.

By implementing a structured, collaborative approach to succession planning and leveraging everyone’s knowledge of potential candidates in the market and in the organization, your company can keep moving forward despite any unexpected resignations or other unforeseen circumstances.

Coach’s Questions

How would you describe your current approach to succession planning? What could you do to make your succession planning more robust? What’s the first step that you’ll take?


Cathy McConnell This week’s Coach’s Questions Blog is written by Padraig Coach, Cathy McConnell.



Regaining control amid all the busyness of life

Have you ever felt as though you were working so much that you were not in full control of your life? Not only your work life, but also your personal life?

I worked with a coach who was skilled at helping his clients to take a step back to understand why they were feeling as though they were working hard but not accomplishing everything they needed or wanted to do. He would ask them to tell him when the last time was that they had a day where the time spent was on activities that were enjoyable and re-energizing. He said there are three descriptions for each day:

  1. Work Days: Days when every moment is spent earning money
  2. Busy Days: Those days that are spent doing the tasks that are necessary (activities not focused on earning money — like housekeeping or errands or going to medical appointments)
  3. Free Days: The days full of activities that are enjoyable, energizing and rejuvenating

Most of us find that the time spent on Work Days or Busy Days following Free Days is much more productive, collaborative, positive and effective. So why don’t we make Free Days a priority? It may have something to do with our focus on being busy instead of productive.

Recognizing the signs of needing time to regroup and reframe your time is a skill that every high performer needs to practice. Planning time to separate from the daily activities that are necessary to earn a living and maintain a healthy balance of leisure, family, learning, spiritual and work activities — or whatever is most important to you — is essential to performing at the top of your game. Planning is key to ensuring this balance.

Recognizing that you can control your plans is the first step needed in regaining control. Many folks feel like they’re living in a constant state of urgency, when in reality we need to differentiate between what’s urgent and what’s important.

In my coaching practice, I once challenged a client to find some time during the week that was just for her. She was a mother, a senior leader in a fast-paced industry, a friend, a wife, etc. Imagining taking time to do something she really enjoyed was beyond her imagination.

It’s okay to set boundaries at work and have a personal life, and to make yourself a priority in your personal life, too.

I asked this client what she enjoyed and that was difficult for her to determine as well. She eventually remembered how much she enjoyed music when she was in high school and decided to take a music class one night a week. It was a challenge to make the time but she was determined to make a change. After several classes, she told me it was the perfect way to step away from the demands of her life and do something just for her. She found she was more energized and in better service to her team, her peers and the leaders in the organization and to her family and friends, which lasted through the week after each class.

There has been so much uncertainty in the past year. The pandemic has thrown us off of our game and tested us in ways we never imagined. One thing I’ve learned is to accept the things I can’t control and go after the things that are important to me.

My resilience, like everyone else’s, has been tested. It seems that those who have adjusted to the uncertainty and identified what’s in their control are feeling positive. (Pro tip: Read the blog post written by my Padraig colleague Eve Gaudet about moving to resilient leadership by learning from adversity — resilience is a skill we can build and strengthen.)

No one can give you control. This is something you can give yourself with the right frame of mind. When faced with a problem, identify what’s within your control and what is not. Once you accept that there are some things that are beyond your control, you can focus on the things that you have the power to change or to embrace. Think about what’s within your influence and take charge.

Taking the time for energizing activities, identifying what’s within your control and acting on it will result in accomplishing more and feeling that you’re on the right path again.

When we feel more positive and in control, we are:

  • More collaborative
  • More creative
  • More effective
  • More resilient

It helps to find a different perspective, like valuing the time you spend for yourself as much as you value your contributions at work or helping family and friends.

Coach’s Questions:

How would you describe the control that you have for your own life? How would you describe how you spend your time? When you consider the three different types of days, how do you divide your time? How is that in service to you? What are some ways that you’ve been successful when planning your time?


Cathy McConnell   This week’s Coach’s Questions Blog is written by Padraig Coach, Cathy McConnell




5 Must-have conversations for a new manager to succeed

Whether you’re a senior leader promoting someone into a management role, or you’re an HR advisor helping with that process, here are 5 conversations to have with that new manager to help them succeed.

One of the steepest hills any of us ever climb in our career ascent is the one from “worker” to “manager.” While it’s long and steep, it can feel like you passed it in an instant when suddenly you’re given the title of “Manager.” Unfortunately, that promotion merely means you’re far from the summit.

As leaders, here are the five conversations and talking points that help a new manager acclimatize to a leadership role:

1. The “it’s time to develop an abundant mindset” conversation

There are many ways to build an abundant mindset, which is very beneficial for leaders.

Managers need to shift from a fixed mindset – avoiding problems, thinking there’s a right way and a wrong way and thinking mistakes are always bad – to tackling problems, knowing there are many ways to get from A to B and that mistakes are a way of learning what works and what doesn’t.

Components of this conversation might include:

Coaching them to prepare: Try asking open-ended questions like – What are you most afraid of in this new management role? What can I do to help with that?

Mentoring: Tell them about a few mistakes you made as you learned to manage others, particularly ones related to their own circumstances.

Coaching them through the inevitable errors: Try asking questions like – What did you learn from the experience? What would you do differently next time?

Having an abundant mindset allows a new manager to manage people and inspire them to action rather than dictate tasks and micromanage outcomes (the difference between being a leader and a boss).

2. The “you’re going to be building a new skill set” conversation

New leaders are often promoted because of their technical skill. Perhaps they were a great writer on the policy team, they were a great widget maker on the factory floor or they were a great nurse on the ward. Continuing to rely on those skills they developed so well will now hinder them as a leader. They’ll be tempted to “do” rather than to lead. They will typically second-guess how others accomplish the goals.

Help them shift to thinking about their new responsibilities and the tasks that come with them – i.e., supporting others, developing others and guiding others.

Coaching them to lead: Questions that are helpful might include – What are your priorities for the first few months? What do you want or need to learn? What is essential in the team processes versus what is essential with the team’s goals?

Coaching them about the people aspects of leadership: Ask things like – How do you like to communicate? How do your staff? Which members of your staff are influenced by facts and figures and which are influenced by people and ideas? How can you become more aware of your staff’s preferences?

3. The “your work relationships need to change” conversation

Those folks who have been promoted up into a managerial or leadership role face one of the toughest situations as a new manager: Their former colleagues are now their staff.

Help them maneuver their way through that change while minimizing politics, drama and interpersonal conflict. Help them focus on owning the role while respecting their staff.

Mentoring: Share with them the positive experiences you had in shifting relationships when you transitioned from peer to manager. Acknowledge for them some of the challenges you had, and how you dealt with them (good or bad — they can learn from both).

Coaching: Ask them about things like – How will you approach realignment conversations with former peers? What do you understand about your former peers’ jobs and what they need to learn?

4. The “how to become comfortable delegating” conversation

Many new leaders are uncomfortable in the role. Most of us try to stick to what we know and what we’re comfortable with. So, many new leaders try to keep doing some of the work they were doing before. They’ll tend to think, “it’ll be faster if I do it myself.”

Learning to delegate effectively is important for leaders and their teams.

Helpful components for this conversation include things like:

Teaching: Discuss the importance of delegating and the risks that come from not delegating. For example, trying to do everything results in the manager feeling overwhelmed (and perhaps resentful). At the same time, staff may feel demotivated. A leader who fails to delegate builds a culture of the leader solving all the problems, which increases the feeling of being overwhelmed and doesn’t help staff learn for next time.

Teaching: There are ways to figure out what needs your attention as a manager and what needs to or can be delegated. For example, we’ve discussed how to figure out priorities before, using the Eisenhower Matrix to illustrate what is urgent/not urgent versus what’s important/not important.

Coaching: Questions might be – What could you delegate now that might give someone on your staff a chance to learn and grow? What holds you back from delegating? What can you do to overcome that obstacle?

Mentoring: Share your own memories of learning to delegate. Talk about the times you thought, “It would be quicker/faster/better if I just did it myself!” and whether that worked in the short-term and the long-term.

Setting an example: Ask them for their feedback of you as their manager and demonstrate the helpfulness of upward feedback because good leaders benefit from being able to handle criticism. Remind them that when you delegate to them, you are providing them with opportunities that might be easier and quicker to do yourself – but you want them to grow.

5. The “bigger picture” conversation

As a new leader, another challenge that is often unrecognized is the need to shift focus from the work to the relationships. Because it’s not recognized, new managers aren’t usually prepared for this (and often don’t even have it on their radar!).

We have a saying around the Padraig offices that is a foundation for almost all of our work with leaders:

Your role, no matter what your job title, is “Relationship Manager.”

Helping a new manager succeed involves helping them figure out the relationships they need to manage and how they’re going to do that. Shifting from doing the work to managing the team of people who do the work is a big one, but often there’s more – relationships with other managers, with clients and stakeholders – possibly even public opinion makers, the media, politicians and board members. The importance of this can be absolutely overwhelming and can often also be overlooked by those whose last role was to focus on making or doing.

Once again, a combination of coaching the new leader as well as guiding, mentoring and teaching will help them learn this new aspect of their work and to excel at it.

Coaching: Ask questions such as – Who do you need supporting you to be successful in this role? Who is relying on you most for the decisions you make and the outcomes your team delivers? Who has a stake in your work, and who will be upset if things don’t go well?

Mentoring: Share examples of times you managed to succeed by having built a relationship or having turned a foe to an ally. Share with them, too, the times things went off the rails for you in part because you hadn’t built a solid relationship with someone.

Teaching: Help them understand the structure of the organization, introduce them to the people they need to know and remind them when a relationship is important to the goals.

Develop your virtual offsite to be more than another Zoom meeting

Is it time to consider hosting a virtual offsite or leadership retreat for your team?

We’ve spoken before about the benefits of having a leadership offsite that doesn’t have to be a luxury getaway trip. Obviously right now, we’re facing travel restrictions and public health restrictions on gatherings in public spaces, but that doesn’t make the need for a gathering any less.

If anything, after months of figuring out how to work remotely in some capacity, changing how we deliver goods or services and dealing with worries about the pandemic, folks need some teambuilding and enrichment.

We know that a good offsite for employees:

  • Builds trust and connections
  • Inspires creativity
  • Makes people feel appreciated and valued
  • Clarifies and kickstarts goals
  • Enhances camaraderie and team cohesion

So many companies are separated right now, with some team members in the office and some at home — and new hires who’ve never met their colleagues in real life or gotten to know them other than on a screen or, if you’re lucky, from six feet away with masks on.

A virtual offsite done right can do a lot for our teams. If you’re familiar with The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni, then you’ll know that offsites serve a valuable purpose for building a healthy team dynamic. Namely, overcoming:

  • An absence of trust
  • Fear of conflict
  • Lack of commitment
  • Avoidance of accountability
  • Inattention to results (focusing on individual goals/status rather than collective success)

Hosting a virtual offsite is an opportunity to strengthen your team. So, how do you do it right?

Take time to prepare a robust virtual offsite

Figure out the technology piece: We’ve learned good remote meeting practices in the last year, like the essential tools for facilitating remote meetings. We recommend hiring an experienced online facilitator (that’s not a plug for us, just a facilitator in general) who can manage the logistics of admitting people, coordinating the virtual breakout rooms and troubleshooting any glitches or problems. Knowing which tools to use and a little bit of rehearsing before the virtual offsite is key.

Consider things like:

Having a special welcome screen when people join the virtual offsite. It’s an opportunity to cover a bit of the housekeeping and give them instructions or reminders (like how to maximize their viewing window, open chat and raise their hands). You can also do something fun, like have a poll ready for them to take or an activity to do while they wait for the meeting to start. Many groups ask participants to include certain details in their name on a virtual call, like title, location and preferred pronouns. If your folks know each other, you could change the name to “Name and favorite day of the week” or favorite food, favorite travel destination, etc., etc. — something to spark some curiosity, interest and maybe even conversation.

Setting ground rules, just as you would at an in-person offsite meeting. Ask folks to mute when possible, return from breaks on time, raise their hands to speak or use the chat to raise questions and introduce themselves before they speak and headline comments. Since people are likely participating from home, remind them not to worry if they have to deal with a fussy child or barking dog. Ask participants what other ground rules are needed (remind folks rules don’t have to be “don’t do this” or “always do this” but can also be, “We’re okay with this…”).

Starting with an icebreaker or activity. An interactive meeting helps to keep people’s interest, and making people feel connected is particularly important in a virtual setting.

Be strategic with the topic for your virtual offsite

Build in specific learning opportunities: What’s going to be most useful to your employees? In our experience, learning about something that applies to everyone — like leadership and teamwork — makes everyone on the team feel like they are valued and that the offsite was valuable. Stay away from silo-specific discussions in an offsite. If you’re going to discuss an area that is definitely under one person’s purview, be sure to set it up in a way that that person is listening to others’ views. For example, if the offsite is to discuss the marketing planning, have the VP of Marketing set up the topic and then have someone else facilitate the discussions. Remind the VP of Marketing ahead of time to be listening to understand, to take a “yes, and” approach rather than a “yah, but,” etc.

Keep in mind things like:

Using presentations sparingly. Anything that is presented should be well written and focused because long or rambling presentations are not engaging. Encourage presenters to have a short list of key points and to speak briefly to each point. At the same time, encourage them not to read from a script. That loses the audience in an in-person meeting and it’s even worse in a virtual one. Screen sharing will let everyone follow along, but minimizes the participant windows. So, use screen sharing intermittently — don’t hesitate to share for a few moments, then unshare to discuss, then share a new slide, then unshare to discuss. (If you’re not a whiz with the technology, use that facilitator/producer we mentioned to control that side of things.) The focus should be on making the most of discussion.

Making the most of technology to involve participants. You can get very creative with this (and this is when it’s helpful to hire an experienced online meeting facilitator to run the technology for you). There are ways to send groups of participants to separate breakout rooms seamlessly, while facilitators “pop” in and out to see how things are going. We do this extensively with Zoom for our leadership courses and it works VERY well. Breakout rooms are proving enormously helpful to engage people who don’t speak up in the main room, and to help focus small groups on different topics. You’ve likely always used “breakouts” in your in-person training courses (“Okay, all the folks who want to work on X, go to that corner of the room…”) but how often have you done it in your management meetings or offsite meetings? With Zoom and other platforms it’s easy and very helpful.

Each breakout group can prepare slides (on a Google doc or other shared platform, or using the Zoom/Teams whiteboard) to present to everyone after the breakout. There are also tools for voting (and not just yes or no, but on a scale of 1 to 5 how much they agree for instance), for polling for various results and for “stamping” icons if you want people to indicate on a shared screen what matters to them or something they want to know more about (like they would with a dot on a wall chart at an in-person event).

Running the chat throughout the offsite. A well-run chat board is a place for team members to raise questions or share ideas, and also to build community back and forth individually. This is important when not everyone wants to talk on camera.

Keep people as your focus for the virtual offsite

Focus on your team: While you’re planning, remember to include strategies to keep your team engaged online. A remote offsite isn’t the same as having everyone in a room together with catered coffee breaks and lunches. Knowing how you’ll break the ice, having some fun and celebrating wins with your remote team is important.

Other considerations include:

  • Pacing of the meeting. When people are sitting in front of a screen, we sometimes forget they still need a brain and body break. Build in 10-15-minute breaks every hour to 90 minutes. This way people can refresh, deal with personal or work-related issues quickly and come back ready to focus.
  • Encouraging people to move. Baseball games have the “seventh inning stretch” for fans to get up and move a bit because sitting for a long time is hard on the body. Some of our clients will build in group stretches or pause while people take a quick walk around. Is someone on the team a fitness instructor or yoga fanatic in their off hours? Would they be willing to host a “stretch break” for the team? If so, tell everyone else they can turn off their camera, if they wish, and follow the instructor for a few minutes of rejuvenation.
  • Ending the meeting on a high note. Thank everyone for participating. If there are decisions, tasks, goals coming out of the meeting — summarize and review them. Ask participants for their feedback, just as you would at an in-person offsite meeting. What did they like? What could have been better? Some people end with an inspirational video or send participants a $5 coffee card.

When a virtual offsite meeting is done well, you and your team will reap many benefits.

Coach’s Questions:

What have you been doing to keep your team connected? Are there opportunities for you to develop some teamwork and leadership skills? Who might really benefit from a virtual offsite right now? What can you do to engage your team?

We offer all of our leadership development courses virtually — if you’re looking for a learning offsite, or want to supplement your planning offsite with some leadership learning in a fun environment, check out what we offer.

The Power of Peer Learning With Other Leaders-Padraig’s Leadership Coaching

Want to accelerate your leadership?
Peer learning is one of the most effective strategies for leaders who want to boost their success.

One common feeling among executive leaders is loneliness or isolation. It makes sense that you’re going to feel a bit lonely at the top — you’re not going to hang out with your team members the way you would with peers, and you may not want to appear vulnerable to other executives or to your boss or the board members.

You can find ways to conquer the loneliness of leadership, because the best leaders don’t stay isolated. They find ways to connect with peers in other industries or mentors.

When you connect with other leaders who are facing the same kinds of changes that you are facing, you will benefit in a few ways:

  • Building a network of support so that when you have a challenge or concern, you have people who are at your level who understand your situation. When you trust people, you can be vulnerable and vent or share, knowing that you won’t face any repercussions.
  • Gaining from varied perspectives, which might help you figure out what will work for your situation. Just as teams bring different ideas and talents to a project, sharing ideas and experiences in a peer learning group will help you expand your leadership toolkit. Think of it as building the perfect peer leadership team; when The New York Times analyzed several team studies, it found that, “groups tend to innovate faster, see mistakes more quickly and find better solutions to problems.”
  • Stretching outside your comfort zone, because you’re hearing things that have worked for other leaders that you can try, you’re being challenged to do more, you’re feeling supported with ideas and ways to innovate and maybe there’s someone who boosts your confidence.
  • Practicing how to give — and more importantly — accept constructive feedback. It can be very tricky for some of us to accept criticism and it’s helpful to know how to share honestly with compassion and understanding. Peer learning is an ideal training ground to observe and try different communication techniques.
  • Reducing your stress level because you don’t have to go through things alone. You can turn to your peer learning group for support and advice. At other times you might be the one able to comfort and assist others, which is a great way to feel useful. We saw in the last year how many leaders were focusing on their team members, but leaders also need to cope with challenges like Covid-19 anxiety.

Finding ways to learn with peers who work at the same level as you but in other organizations or industries is the best antidote to feeling lonely, isolated or unsupported in your leadership.

 Leadership Coaching Questions:

When have you felt isolated and unsupported as a leader? What effect did those feelings have on your leadership? What tools could you use or learn to help?

Peer Group Opportunities:

At Padraig, we offer two peer group programs and we’re launching new cohorts of both.
Registration for The Partnership and Registration for The Network.

Here’s what some of the current participants have to say has been helpful in our coach-led peer groups:

Booked time! Having dedicated time, with a professional to keep the topics and conversations on track for developing/planning as a leader.

Everyone in the group is open and honest and that makes for much more spirited and genuine discussion.

Realizing that I’m not the only one with “imposter syndrome”. This has been very beneficial to me.

Hearing from the other participants has been very rewarding for me. It helps me understand my struggles and growth areas are different but the same as others. 

Networking and learning from our coach’s coaching style have been most helpful.

While the group sessions have been great, the opportunity for 1-1 leadership coaching has been valuable in terms of my personal development.


The PartnershipOur peer group program for experienced leaders. This program brings experienced leaders together in a small group with a certified executive coach for monthly group coached sessions and 4 private sessions, over the course of the year, of one-to-one coaching.

The NetworkFor new leaders and those who aspire to leadership roles. This program offers coach-led group discussions as well as four fundamental leadership courses, over one year. The program meets monthly alternating between 90-minute group coaching sessions and full-day courses. Participants in this program develop peer bonds as they become leaders — solidifying their connections for years to come. Each successful participant graduates with our Certificate in Leadership Foundations.

Learn more or register.

Or, host one or more of the programs privately in your organization.

As always – our leadership coaching programs are available as an exclusive offer for your company, as well. If you would like to talk to us about organizing one or more of the workshops or peer groups at your organization (online or in-person when COVID permits),then please click here and we’ll call you or email you (your choice).


Is escalating conflict threatening your team?

In our last blog, we looked at conflict and individuals: How to recognize it in ourselves and others, and how resolving conflict always starts with “the why.”

Escalating conflict isn’t just stressful for individuals, of course. It can wreak havoc with teams, leaders and workplace morale overall.

Productivity and performance suffer for a few reasons:

  • A team that lacks cohesion is not going to be as effective as a team where everyone trusts and works well with each other.
  • What happens when there’s escalating conflict in the workplace? Leaders are going to be dealing with the fallout — everything from team members seeking advice or support to missed deadlines and everything in between — instead of their own work.
  • When there’s escalating interpersonal conflict, some folks involved are going to lose focus and be anxious or stressed — and even bystanders might be on edge. It’s not unusual to see increased sick time and longer breaks as people avoid work.
  • If there’s tension in a workplace, everyone can feel it. There’s a current of unease that ripples through, and many times there are destructive behaviours at play like gossip and triangulation that can make things much worse.

As a leader, you might not always catch on that there is escalating conflict until things boil over. People can be angry with each other but appear very civil — or you might be so busy focusing on other issues that you haven’t noticed the subtext.

Here are some ways to tell when escalating conflict is an issue:

  1. The focus shifts from the problem to the person. “He’s being unreasonable with his expectations of us on this project.” “She’s not willing to be a team player.”
  2. Issues are rehashed. Time passes and people are still bringing up earlier resentments or frustrations. “I can’t rely on them. They’re going to miss the finer details like they did on XYZ.” “They made a mistake on X last month and…”
  3. There’s resentment. This can show up as people who don’t want to work together on new projects. “Do I have to work with her? She’s going to take all the credit and I do all the work.”
  4. You get a sense that folks are disengaged and reluctant to discuss things. People become frustrated and discouraged to a point that they don’t want to discuss it anymore. This is characterized by a “what’s the use?” attitude.
  5. People are taking sides and align with a group that believes one way or another (often belief is tied to ideas about others). This is often characterized and grown by Triangulation. ‘Don’t you think Jason is taking the wrong approach on this?’
  6. Time and effort are spent protecting those groups. Folks are entrenched and focus on reinforcing their opinions rather than tackling the issues or problems and finding ways to agree. It’s an us versus them scenario. Everything is black or white, right or wrong — and we are right.
  7. People become openly hostile or isolated. This is when we start to see negative remarks out loud or under the breath, shouting, people storming out of meetings or avoiding discussions and interactions with team members.

When Is Conflict Good?

If you follow us and our leadership beliefs, you’ll know we often talk about promoting good conflict for team cohesion. We believe successful leadership teams MUST have good conflict to continue to succeed.

Good conflict is when members of a team trust each other, and consequently, they can have lots of differences of opinion around ideas,
goals and directions. In that case, conflict helps to find the best solutions and best ideas; it helps to drive a team toward excellent decisions.

Bad conflict, on the other hand, is interpersonal conflict. This happens when two or more people have problems with each other (and often fail to address it head-on). When trust is broken, and the dispute is personal, it has the opposite effect of good conflict on a team.

Suggestions for resolving team conflict as a leader

Be proactive. Conflict often starts with small disagreements that escalate fast. So, if you see or sense some conflict, don’t leave it to team members alone, or HR, to resolve.

Stay calm. Getting emotional will exacerbate the problem, especially if others are already getting heated.

Listen. Try to communicate in private and seek to actively listen – not just to the words, but to the emotion, to the underlying causes, to the assumptions being made. You can catch those underlying things by listening carefully and with a goal of understanding the person’s point of view, observing body language, noticing facial expressions and listening for changes in tone of voice.

Seek to be fair and impartial. Even if you initially agree with one person or group, set a goal for yourself to be impartial and listen to all points of view. There is almost never one “side” that is all right or all wrong.

Bring people together with some ground rules. Mandate things like keeping a moderate tone, listening to understand, asking open questions for understanding (not for “gotcha”), encouraging folks to share their worries, frustrations and ideas.

Try to catch your own assumptions and those of others. There is ALWAYS the possibility you are getting it all wrong. Try using phrases like, “so what I think I heard…” or “what I’m understanding is…” and see if you are understanding what others mean.

Acknowledge the conflict and engage to seek resolution. Once the conflict has been recognized, everyone involved needs to agree upon reaching a resolution. Try to see the conflict from the viewpoint of your other team members and focus on the things you can agree on.

Be patient. Resolving interpersonal conflict can take time. It starts with both solving the small issues and helping people to see good intent from each other on the bigger stuff.

Follow up. Don’t assume one intervention solved the problems – these things take work.

Depending on your personality style, you might walk right into high conflict situations with confidence, find conflict very uncomfortable or you might prefer to try to make peace or focus on tasks rather than get to the root of things. There are also going to be some folks you’re much more comfortable talking with than others because the personality styles of your team members affect conflict in the workplace, too.

The good news is that you can learn ways to manage and address escalating conflict — ways that take into account different personality styles.

If you’d like to learn how to fix problems and build a stronger team, our live online Productive Conflict Course is designed to help people at all levels in an organization learn how to deal with conflict. This isn’t a conflict resolution course, but rather a way to become more aware of conflict behaviours (yours and other people’s) and how to adjust them — which makes it ideal if you want to register for yourself and some members of your team. Learning how to make conflict more productive improves relationships and workplace results.

Coach’s Questions:

What signs of conflict on your team have you noticed? Or have overlooked? What could you do better or differently with your team to manage conflict? What steps will you take to get there?

How resolving conflict starts with “the why”

Are tempers flaring in your workplace? Have you witnessed some heated conversations? Have any team members sought your help resolving conflict?

What about you? Do you feel exhausted, short-tempered? Does one of your peers push all the wrong buttons? Irritate you every time you have to work together?

Whenever there are relationships, there is bound to be conflict. Whether it’s with coworkers, family or friends, conflict is a catalyst for negative feelings ranging from frustration and anger to anxiety and sadness.

The first step to resolving conflict is to understand why it happens.

Conflict can be exacerbated by stress and a variety of other factors, including:

  • Personality styles: We all have different personality styles, which influence everything from how we approach situations to how we prioritize things in our lives to how we interact with other people. Add in power struggles, cultural differences and varied belief or value systems, and it’s easy to see how not seeing things the same way leads to tension and conflict.
  • Communication issues: How often does a misunderstanding end up causing discord or even a big fight? Depending on personality styles, some folks have no problem facing issues head on, while others are conflict avoidant. Then there are folks who like consensus and will do everything to keep the peace — and those who want time to figure out what their position is. If we aren’t resolving conflict, it can fester and become an even bigger problem.
  • Poor leadership: Without strong leaders, conflict can fill the void created when team members don’t feel valued, motivated or directed toward a common goal. Issues can also arise when leaders don’t actively work to build relationships, or when they forgive or overlook poor behaviour. How many of us have witnessed high performers who don’t play nice with others?

There are ways as leaders that we can actively work toward resolving conflict. This includes:

  • Taking a moment to read the room. Life can get so busy that we’re distracted and don’t take time to notice what’s going on around us. With many teams working from home some of the time or perhaps most of the time, is there more tension or less? Do you sense any subtext during team conversations? Is it harder to get an impression of that via Microsoft Teams and Zoom calls?
  • Not assuming everything is fine if no one is complaining. Make an effort to check in. Start with yourself. Do you notice any areas of conflict or frustration? Then check in with your team members, friends and family members. What relationships need some work?
  • Never ignoring conflicts in the hope they just resolve. Have you ever thought to yourself, “maybe this will clear itself up?” Yah, me too. But, more often than not, conflicts will escalate when we avoid difficult conversations (we now try to turn difficult conversations into essential conversations).
  • Learning how to productively manage conflict. At Padraig, we use the Everything DiSC assessment tools to help leaders and teams learn how to build better relationships, improve communication and solve problems. There are simple shifts that help with resolving conflict and we now offer an online, live course devoted to improving conflict.
  • Creating a culture where staff feel able to raise their concerns. Your team members are more likely to seek your advice if you’re not only approachable, but they see that you take their worries seriously. When you build strong work relationships and encourage team members to speak up, folks will trust you to manage disputes fairly and effectively.
  • Promoting and valuing differences. Thank people for offering differing opinions, beliefs and insights. Consider what they’re sharing and see where you can use this information to improve how things get managed in the workplace. We know that businesses that are inclusive and don’t tolerate harassment or other discriminatory behaviours flourish. If there are team members who don’t feel safe and supported to share their ideas or concerns, there will most likely be interpersonal conflicts and unhealthy team dynamics.
  • Listening to understand. What kind of listener are you? Are you listening with the intent to respond? Listening, really listening, is an important foundation for effective communication and can help you figure out what’s really going on. Have you made assumptions about that frustrating person that are wrong? Have they made assumptions about you?
  • Staying calm and in control. Take a deep breath, mentally remove yourself from the situation and don’t argue back or become aggressive. It takes practice, but being mindful of taking a non-judgemental stance is extremely helpful. Remember, as a manager or leader you’re setting an example for the rest of your team.
  • Ensuring you see the person and not the problem. It’s easy to focus on the problem or the issue, but what’s happening for the person or people involved? Sometimes people have other things going on that affect their performance. Are there stressors you don’t know about? Do they have very challenging personal circumstances? Has Covid-19 affected things? Sometimes showing compassion or empathy helps us determine solutions or supports that help to ease conflict.
  • Seeking to understand the whole issue. When you become aware of a conflict, there is often more going on than what you see on the surface. Is it possible you’re not seeing the whole picture? Remember there may be more than one way forward or solution. Ensure that those who are involved in the dispute are also involved in creating the solution.

We can’t eliminate interpersonal conflict from relationships and when it crops up, wishing it away never works.

Learning how to manage and address conflict is what leads to better decisions and not just a stronger team, but a stronger and more competitive organization.

If you’d like to learn how to fix problems and build a stronger team, our live online Productive Conflict Course is designed to help you learn how to deal with it. This isn’t a conflict resolution course, but rather a way to become more aware of conflict behaviours (yours and other people’s) and how to curb them. Learning how to make conflict more productive improves relationships and workplace results.

Coach’s Questions:

Where is conflict happening and it’s being overlooked? What would be better for you, your team and your organization if conflict was better managed? What steps will you take to get there?



Learning From Adversity: Moving to Resilient Leadership

If there is one thing we’ve all shared over the past year, it’s adversity. The degree to which we’ve experienced it, embraced it or denied it is unique. It’s created hardship for many and unrelenting hours of service for others. Whatever your experience, it’s real.

I’ve been talking and writing about leadership in a VUCA world over the past few years (if you’re unfamiliar with this managerial phrase, VUCA is short for volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity). I anticipated it would grow over the next 5-10 years. And then BAM! Within a matter of weeks in early 2020, VUCA became our new reality. With the worldwide pandemic upon us, we’re truly living within volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity.

As a leader, this is the time to take a deep breath and reflect on how you’ve managed your adversity. There is no right or wrong, good or bad. Taking the time to deeply understand how you’ve stepped toward the adversity – including how this has affected others – provides important information on your leadership. In fact, examining your response to adversity as a leader is necessary as we move toward the next stages of this universal pandemic.

This reflection requires us to start by looking inward at ourselves and moving outward to our influence on others.

It begins with curiosity. Taking a deep look inside yourself – without judgment. I suggest asking yourself the following kinds of questions, each based on 3 fundamental aspects of your experience – Isolation, Change and the Unknown:


  • Have I felt isolated and/or trapped?
  • How has being at home with others been difficult?
  • Have I felt heard and supported?
  • What’s changed in me as a result of being isolated?


  • How has my sleeping been affected?
  • Did I create physical routines to support my fitness?
  • What was my level of interest in food and eating?
  • Did I find myself worrying about my health?

Healthy thinking

  • What is my self-talk telling me?
  • Has my self-talk become more damning?
  • Am I saying “No” more often than “Yes”?
  • Am I leaning toward judgment versus curiosity?


  • Am I losing a sense of what I am here to do and be?
  • Am I drawing on my values to help propel me forward?
  • Have I leaned on my ability to choose and make decisions for myself?
  • Am I overly concerned with things beyond my control?

If we can be honest with ourselves as we answer and ponder these questions, we can begin to name what’s going on for us. This allows us to move from our flight, fight or freeze state to re-employ our brain’s prefrontal cortex.

This region of our brain contributes to various matters such as focusing one’s attention; self-monitoring; impulse control; short-term memory; managing emotional reactions; time management; reasoning; anticipating events in the environment; planning for the future; and adjusting complex behaviors.

In short, the prefrontal cortex is responsible for our higher order thinking. But here’s the rub: It takes way more energy to function than other parts of the brain. This is why it’s hard for us to change and adapt in times of stress and fear.

While I’m definitely not a neuroscientist, I do know from reading and working with clients that when we harness this part of our brain, we can manage way more effectively. The good news is that our brains are equipped with neuroplasticity – the ability to continually form new neural connections.

Re-employing our prefrontal cortex using our neuroplasticity comes through intention. It takes willpower, focused attention and mindful action.

Where does this lead us? To resilience: the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress. (according to the American Psychological Association)

Join us for our 5 part series on resilience building.

Resilience takes work by asking ourselves the hard introspective questions, particularly when threats and stress surround us. Resilience is a process and skill we can deepen over and over again.

If you find yourself reacting to situations through a negative lens, that’s a clue it’s time to take a deep breath and calm yourself so you can be open. Doing this allows you to “see” more options and to react with less of a fear response. In doing so, you’re building new neural pathways.

How often during this pandemic have you felt overwhelmed or fearful? Now think about how your staff may have experienced you. Were you calm, open and present? Or might you have left them feeling unheard, anxious or unclear how to move forward?

The stronger your resilience, the greater your ability to move outward to influencing others. This part of your leadership is critical in supporting others as they navigate ambiguity and uncertainty.

Research shows that a resilient leader can have significant positive effects on employees and organizations. To put it another way, leaders with high resilience model a strong commitment, control and challenge in their approach to stressful events. Employees experience this and are more likely to adopt similar behaviors.

As we move through this pandemic and beyond, your ability as a leader to develop your resilience will have an enormous effect on how those around you are able to weather their own challenges and maintain a healthy organization.

Coach’s Questions:

What uncertainties have you faced in the last year? If you could do something over again, what would that be? What steps can you take this week to build your resilience?



This week’s Coach’s Questions Blog is written by Padraig Coach, Eve Gaudet.





How to be a better leader: Top leadership skills & habits


It’s possible for good leaders to learn to be great. How? By learning some key leadership skills and habits.

In this video, we highlight the leadership skills that make good leaders great.


Learn how to delegate: It’s hard for some of us to trust others on our team to complete tasks we know we could do it ourselves (especially for new leaders). Being able to delegate effectively not only lightens your workload so you can concentrate on other matters, it engages your team and improves morale. When you give responsibility to your staff, you guide, coach or teach them.

Coach’s Questions:
What are you currently working on that could and should be delegated to someone else?
How would things be better for you if you could delegate that work?

Improve your ability to give and receive feedback: It’s human nature to want to avoid uncomfortable conversations, whether you’re hoping things will just improve or the problem will go away before you have to address it. but great leaders turn difficult conversations into essential conversations to prevent problems or issues from festering and getting worse. This allows you to help your team members perform better or improve what they produce, all of which goes a long way to fostering a sense of overall team cohesiveness. As well as being able to give feedback, great leaders are open to hearing the good AND the bad (even handling criticism) from mentors, team members and peers so they can course correct as necessary.

Coach’s Questions:
What difficult conversations have you been avoiding?
What could having the conversation improve?
Have you invited feedback from those around you?

(Pro tip: Our Essential Conversations program is an excellent start to help you have difficult conversations and to make them easier next time ).

Involve your team in goal management: This includes setting performance goals for your team, but focuses on delivering the goal. It’s about taking your team from where you are now to where you want to be. Leading your team to identify goals and then master the daily tasks to achieve the big goals is the first step to organizational success. Some leaders use weekly or bi-weekly meetings to check to see if the team is on track in spite of daily challenges. Consider whether you’re rewarding success for working toward long-term goals or for fighting fire after fire.

Coach’s Questions:
How do you engage people in setting goals for your business?
What could you do better or differently?
How often do you check in to see if your team is on course to meet those goals?
What kind of check-in process can you build-in and commit to?

Practice humility: Some leaders, often those new to leadership roles, might overcompensate and act more confident than they really are. This is a missed opportunity because practicing humility, being vulnerable and embracing who you are opens you to greater understanding, connections and room for growth. Displaying exaggerated confidence is not uncommon and it’s usually because a leader is struggling with Imposter Syndrome (thinking you’re not good enough, you’re not fully qualified or that you received a promotion earlier than you should have). Trying to be more transparent about what you don’t know (but can find out) or can’t answer (but will do some research) goes a long way to building trust with your team.

Coach’s Questions:
How critical is your self-talk?
What can you do to encourage yourself as a leader?
How have you been vulnerable with your team?
What could you do to show humility in your leadership?

Enhance your self-awareness: If there is a gap between how you see yourself and how others see you, there could be things that don’t go the way you think they should. Does the way you see yourself match how others see you? Being able to understand how you affect those around you lets you adapt and shift the way you relate to each team member. It also helps you make adjustments to how you approach prospective clients.

Coach’s Questions:
If you asked mentors, peers and team members to honestly and openly share their perceptions of you, what would they say? Why not ask them?
What can you do this week to see how you see yourself differs from how others see you?
How can you change how you are perceived?

(Pro tip: We have some amazing assessment tools to help with this process — and a coach can help, too.)

Cultivate a desire to serve others: Leaders who are able to use a desire to be helpful as a lens through which they see their team reap enormous returns. People follow leaders who have earned their trust, achieving moral authority that others want to follow — not because they have grand titles or exercise coercive power. It’s the difference between being a boss or a leader and it requires humility. Genuinely wanting to help your team also helps when you need to communicate with your team to drive them to action. They will trust not only your leadership skills, but also have confidence in your feelings towards them.

Coach’s Questions:
Do you serve your team members as a leader?
How could you be more helpful to your team?
What steps can you take to be a more effective communicator?

The really good news is, each of these six leadership skills can be learned and added to your leadership toolkit. As you think about these ways to be a better leader, consider:
How deep are you into your own leadership strengths?
Which skills would you like to practise and promote to others?
What will you do today to advance those skills?