Covid 19: Leadership opportunities

In this blog  we are looking at the Corona virus or CONVID -19 and its implications for our leaders as it has a high potential to showcase both the obvious and insidious failures that are inherent in our organisations.  I want to give a nod to my Barbadian colleague Dr Rochelle Haynes, who resides in the UK, who inspired me to take a look at CONVID 19 and the impact on leadership.

This pandemic is both an opportunity and a threat for the workplace. It is a threat because it will expose and highlight the existing leadership failures in organisations and it presents opportunity because leaders can learn from the experience and act differently going forward.

I am going to share opportunities

  • Firm up Leave policies
  • Work from home
  • Review of Policies and Procedures
  • Hygiene ant the office
  • Improved Communication
  • Practicing Compassion

Leave Policies

Some countries, Trinidad and Tobago being one,  have outlined the leaves of absence that will be required to deal with the fallout from the Corona Virus.  I paid particular attention to the appeals made to leaders to have compassion for workers, and to workers to show up for duty if not impacted.

Based on the contagion rates that we have seen in other countries, we in the Caribbean need to be prepared for high absenteeism as staff fall ill or need to tend to family members who are ill.

Does your workplace have clear policies for sick leave and vacation leave?

There are a number of businesses that have not yet adopted the basic leave guidelines as defined by the Minimum Wage Acts or labour laws that are relevant in their country.  For organisations like these, the pandemic provides an opportunity to fall in line with the provisions for leave under the relevant laws and regulations in your country.

Work from Home
One answer to the extended leave periods is to have our teams work from home.

I recall asking a CEO why weren’t laptops issued to all staff since almost everyone was required to work late several days each month.  He responded that laptops were more expensive than desktops and only senior roles were entitled to these. No considerations were made for volume and urgency of work, the likelihood of late hours or living distance from the office.  I’m wondering how that CEO feels now about that decision since the ability of staff to easily work from home safety and securely is now compromised

With the threat of extended absences from offices, there is a vigour to support work from home practices. How many members of our workforce can realistically and effectively work from home?

Over 50% of the Caribbean’s population are internet users, so it seems that work from home is a viable option. If the company has not equipped workers with adequate resources, then there is a real business risk using devices that have not been company issued and protected.  These risks include protection and security of business data, virus and hacking protection, as well as, insecure internet connections to access the organisations data bases

The reality is that working from home in many instances is not something that is easily and quickly done.

At one of my previous employers, safety officers inspected our homes to ensure that we had both available and adequate space to work safety and ergonomically.  Some organisations co-fund the creation of spaces in their team members’ homes and give small allowances to compensate for the use of internet, electricity, printers and other stationery supplies ..

Is your office prepared for work from home?  In this emergency situation while we may not have time to dot all I’s and cross all the T’s we need to consider the future. How are we planning to bring the promises of work from home to full fruition?

Leaders often share hesitance about work from home practices because they do not trust team members. Their focus is on monitoring the amount of time worked or ensuring that the team members are actually working while at home.

Working at home practices are effective when the foundation is trust and leaders believe that the employees can achieve the set tasks.  Admittedly some team members may be less disciplined than others.

Leaders can assist team members adjust to work from home by determining start and end times, being clear around deadlines, issuing protocols around availability for meetings and all other communication and explaining and documenting changes in workflow to accommodate these new parameters of work.

Some leaders confuse flexibility with accountability. Working from home means that the worker is remotely accountable to get the job done. Working from home allows flexibility in how the job gets done. Leaders can determine if they will allow flexibility and what the extent of this is. Can someone start at 6 and end the day at 2? Or work from 6pm to 2 a.m.?

Working from home is one of opportunities that the Corona virus has presented.  Organisations will be well advised to implement procedures, after the pandemic has calmed, to ensure that all the functions that can work from home are adequately  resourced and equipped to do this.

What is the return on the investment? Employees usually work longer hours, they have no morning commute and can enjoy more disposable income.  These tangible benefits  for both the organisation and team members compensate for the initial discomfort of setting up this practice.

Policies and Procedures

The work from home scenario offers us to a deeper dive into the organisation and how decisions were made and to review the traditions that exist. We can ask – What other areas of the organisation are decisions being made to prioritise status over goal achievement?  What decisions have nothing to do with the resource allocation and only reflect status?

Top down organisational structure often adds bureaucracy to decision making and things take longer to happen.  We can streamline and flatten our organisations removing the swollen middle management and supervisory levels by examining what is critical for goal achievement.

We can review the purpose of all policies and procedures. Are they to keep team members in check? Are they to ensure that leaders are in control?

We can also examine which policies and procedures are built on a lack of trust and how this manifests itself in the workplace.

This is an unique opportunity for reflection about the effectiveness of our organisations and what exactly we are trying to achieve.   A quick reminder that trust is a two way street.  Leaders don’t trust team members and members are aware that leaders don’t trust them so there is little incentive to be trust worthy. When Leaders trust team members, team members are aware of this and act in a trustworthy manner.

Hygiene at the office

The prevention and the containment of the Corona virus lies with our hygiene, both personal hygiene and the conditions of the spaces that we occupy.  When last were the carpets, the ac vents, the blinds at your office sanitised? How do the janitors and cleaning crew clean your office spaces on a regular basis?  What products do they use? Are they just wiping down surfaces or actively sanitising?

My prediction is that after the pandemic we will continue to practice much more hygienic sanitising practices at our places of work.  We will have more hygienic working conditions.

Improved Communication

We all know that fake news and trolls are synonymous with social media and that there is little that we can take as gospel without fact checking. I have seen many posts that contradict the number of confirmed cases as issued by the regulatory bodies.

Regardless of our inclinations leaders have a responsibility during this crises to disseminate accurate information to the workforce. Some companies can be commended for their communications around this issue. They have ben hosting staff meetings to disseminate information, allowing team members to express fears and sending regular updates from official sources.  To these employers I say sincerest thank you and congratulations for taking charge in this moment of crises.

The rest of companies can follow their lead.

I am intentionally making the assumption that our leaders are not spreading rumours to serve their personal agendas since they are genuinely interested in reducing the panic and anxiety among staff.

The pandemic offers the opportunity for organisation to review their communication strategies and how they deal with crises.

Practicing compassion

I have spent most of the weekend in isolation at my house.  I have a network of friends who call and whats app and so we stay in touch.  My family chat is also a bedrock of support.

We need to check in with our team members on a regular basis.

As quarantine increases there will be team members who feel lost by the break in their routine.  For many work persons work is a safe haven as it provides a much needed break from the domestic life.

As quarantine increases, and people are shut in cabin fever may set .  This is not a physical condition but a claustrophobic reaction, manifested as extreme irritability and restlessness that takes place when a person or group is isolated, or stuck indoors in confined quarters for a period of time.  The sufferer can make irrational decisions such as suicide or display paranoia, or leaving the safety of the quarantine.  They may also act out on others which increases the possibility for abuse or tense situations.

We are all under stress.  The thought of the virus with a cure in the form of a vaccine with unknown side-effects is particularly worrying for me.  (I will confess that I may have watched one too many zombie movies and the vaccine is always to blame.)

The anxiety that is there when I return from the house and have to separate myself from the clothing that I wore, the daily cleaning of the used surfaces.  The worry about contracting the disease or my mom contracting the disease adds to stress levels.

Leaders also have these same stresses as well as the additional stress of wondering about the ability of their teams to function under these conditions.  To these leaders I recommend that you share the responsibility of checking in with each other with team members.  The stress is too much for you to bear alone.

There is a shared stress about the economy and those of us who are self-employed, contract workers, small business owner are the ones who are most vulnerable as there will be reduced opportunities for earnings .

I am also thinking about the 4th edition of the gestalt Leadership Seminar. While our theme “Leading with Compassion” is relevant and we have a great line up of awesome speakers and we will have to postpone the event.

As we face the realities of Coronavirus and change our behaviours to match the needs of the time, this is an ideal time for us to actively practice compassion for each other.  While leaders can lead the charge, it calls on each of us to behave in a manner that will bring comfort and not fear.  The onus is on us as workers to keep the levels of productivity high so that our companies can stay afloat.

In our communities we can look out for each other.  Perhaps we can assist single parents who have to work by offering for their children to spend the day with ours.  Maybe we can check in on the elderly in your community especially those who live alone,

Coronavirus is a life threatening pandemic.  It threatens the way that we live and work and yet, it offers some real opportunities that can change the way that we live work and lead.in the future.

I would love to hear what you think about the blog.  Follow  me on Facebook at, connect with me on linked in or follow me on insta gram at Maxine Attong, You can also send me a whats app on 7247642.

My intention for this blogis to fuel your leadership spark so that together we can bring change to the systems that we live in.

Thank you for reading.

 

A Leadership Tale from Current Events

Today I am going to relate to you a tale. This is fictional tale regardless of how familiar it may feel or how much it may remind you of recent events.

We are going to look at the events that involved three men John, Arnold and Barry who all work for Trinity Tailors.  John is the HR Manager. Barry lives in as poorer area and Arnold lives in a more affluent part of the country. 

The company recently announced a new company wide dress policy, which stated that red must be worn on a Monday.  From that announcement date all staff abided with the policy, even though HR did not translate the policy into a formal procedure that stated the WHAT and HOW of the policy 

Neither Barry nor Arnold are rule followers, they both do their own thing,  They dot’t think that the company is serious because they have made many past infractions that went unnoticed  They thought What’s one more? They didn’t think that the company policy applied to them because they were low down on the totem pole and they never got  caught

One Monday, Barry wore a blue shirt to work. When the HR Manager spotted Barry he became incensed.  How dare Barry flaunt a clearly stated policy? The HR manager severely berated Barry in front of the entire company. Barry felt embarrassed since some of his colleagues laughed loudly at him and teased him long after the event.  While Barry agreed that he did the wrong thing he felt that the HR Manager could have treated with him in a more humane manner.

The company was split on the issue since most people didn’t appreciative the manner in which the HR Manager treated with Barry. Some employees thought that the HR Manager acted as a bully and could have acheived the same result without demeaning Barry.

Those who agreed with the HR Manager, said that some people need to be shamed to do the right thing.  What was certain was that persons both for and against the HR Manager actions agreed that shame was  used as a disciplinary tool.

A month passed and the policy about wearing red on a Monday still prevailed without being translated to procedure.  The staff including Barry continued to comply.

One Monday Arnold was working from home. He was hosting a Zoom call attended by a client and his work colleagues.  Midway through the call, his colleagues noticed that Arnold was wearing a purple shirt. This was brought immediately to the attention of the HR Manager, the company policy was breached.

The HR Manager took the complaint, called Arnold and had a long discussion with him. 

Staff waited to see what would happen next. They waited for Barry to be reprimanded yert nothing happened. Staff slowly accepted that nothing was going to happen. 

By Wednesday, the rumblings started at the bottom of the organization and swelled to the top.  People were disappointed, they were mad and they were uncomfortable. Why were the two same offfenses differently treated? 

Debates were being held. Did Arnold break policy? Did he not wear a purple shirt on wear red Mondays? Was the HR Manager going soft or did they just witness blatant discrimination?

As the noise grew so did the mistrust for the HR Manager.  Things got so bad that the Manager issued a statement that read as below

Dear Staff

I am aware that there is growing discontent about the policy of wearing red shirts on Mondays.  Please note that the CEO has not given HR specific instructions about how this translates into procedure. Further more Arnold was having a Zoom meeting at his private residence, albeit with clients and colleagues. Because of the great respect that I have for the privacy of one’s residence I could not impose the wear Red Monday policy. Please note that wording of the policy states that red must be worn on a Monday and purple is red and blue mixed. Regards The HR Manager

That statement caused even more havoc. Team members began to question the HR Manager’s credibility. They shouted that the Manager was not to be trusted since he used a technical loophole to explain why Arnold received no reprimand.  Some explained that the HR Manager was correct while others claimed the Manger was a trickster. Comparisons were made about the bullying of poor Barry and the defense of Arnold. Staff noted that while the HR Manager denigrated Barry he allowed Arnold to have his dignity intact.

The debate raged on as staff took sides.  They took to social media and accused the HR Manager of discrimination, unfair treatment. favoritism and having different rules for different people.

Eventually the CEO was compelled to put his voice in to the fray.  His statement was short and to the point.  He said, “Company policy is company policy and is to be applied the same across the organization”.

The HR Manager was not happy with the CEO’s statement.  He felt exposed for he knew that with every passing minute he looked less and less credible.

Once again he went on the offence.  He sent an all staff email that said that the CEO had thrown him under the bus and that he was not being supported.

The last I heard of it the CEO and the HR Manager held a meeting to trash things out.

What do you think of that story? 

The main issues for me are 

  1. Inconsistent application of policy
  2. Differential treatment of staff members
  3. Loss of trust and credibility
  4. Public airing of issues among senior staffers.

The dynamic between Barry, Arnold and the HR Manager play out in organizations many times. While this is a fictional tale we can learn a lot from this. 

We all have unconscious bias.  Our unconscious bias is at work when we prejudge persons based on our assumptions. Leaders we are asked to rise above our bias. We need to ask ourselves.

What is the evidence to support my conclusions? Whose voice am I speaking in?

Most times the voices that loudly shout our assumptions are often not our voices. Our assumptions usually reflect what we never questioned, the things that we grew up hearing or saying or the things that we learned from people whom we trust. Unless we question where these thoughts came from we may never find our own voice as leaders.  Once we understand our bias we will act differently.

Companies need to think deeply about policy and the far reaching impact of these. Policy is a broad statement that needs to be translated into procedure so that all employees understand What it means and equally important How to ensure that the policy is not breached.

Whether policy or  procedure, leaders need to apply these in similar fashion across the board. Policies and procedures need to be consistently applied. Breaches also need to be dealt with in the same manner.

If the HR Manager was consistent he would have reprimanded Barry and he would not have the issued that statement defending Arnold’s shirt. When leaders do not apply policies equally they suffer a loss of credibility and trust in their leadership is diminished 

Employees who identified with Barry, as well as those who identified with Arnold took sides on the issue. This led to overall disharmony within the ranks of the organization.  Consistent application of policy allows greater harmony amongst staff as team members believe that they are being treated the same. 

The HR Manager did not understand precedent. When he publicly shamed Barry he signaled to the rest of the organization that this was how he would deal with breaches of the Wear Red Monday policy. Granted the HR Manager may have learned after deep reflection that the way that he treated Barry was less than desirable and adjusted his approach. However, his written statement indicated that he gave Arnold a full pass. His lack of action cast serious doubts on his decision-making capabilities as well as his ability to see clearly the issues on hand.

Leaders with each action and decision we set precedent and the expectation is that we will operate similarly whenever a similar situation raises its head. We need to pause and think. What is the message that I am sending with this action? Is this fundamentally different from what I did last time? How can I do it differently while ensuring that I treat the issue the same?

Leaders need to be consistent because staff are always looking and comparing.  This calls for leaders to be transparent in the application of policies across the organization. 

The HR Manager aired his disagreement with the CEO for all to see. How can a leader who is disrespectful to his superiors expect to be respected by his subordinates?  Through his action, the HR Manager is showing persons in the organization how to treat him and how to treat other leaders. This I consider unacceptable.

The HR Manager’s behavior also aised questions about the leadership of the organization and brought the HR Manager and the CEO under scrutiny. Leaders need to provide a united front if they want to promote harmony within the organization. When leaders seem to have a united front, harmony is promoted. When leaders squabble, staff squabble.

Going forward all is not lost for the HR Manager.  The HR Manager needs to get to a place of humility and seek feedback from his peers and others whom he trusts. This is one way in which he can get another perspective on his behavior and the way that he treated with both Arnold and Barry.

One the HR Manager understands how he offended persons he can then make amends for his part in the dissent. Ideally the manager should apologize to Barry but everyone knows that this will not happen. 

The HR Manager needs to work with the other leaders to translate the policy into procudeure. Staff need to be informed of the proceudere and how breaches will be treated with. After this all leaders need to consistenly apply the plicy and deal with breaches in similar fashion.

Here ends my tale.  

Tell me what situations have you seen at play out in your organization?  How were these resolved if at all?

 If you have any topics that you want discussed or any questions answered then visit my website http://www.maxineattong.com and send them to me 

We are running our Women’s Program – Enhance U for women. Awaken to Your Truest Self  -reclaim your passion and rekindle your joy

Covid-19 has affected all of us. We have been disappointed, frustrated and stressed.  Yet, we still have desires, dreams and hopes. 

The pandemic makes us wonder if we will ever achieve our goals. How much longer will you wait? How much more will you sacrifice? 

Deep down we know and feel it – we were each created for an unique purpose, beyond our roles as aunts, daughter’s friends, lovers, partners, mothers, wives and sisters.

How do we find and live our purpose in these new times? What steps can we take to do so?

I have lived with these questions and luckily found some answers, which I would love to share with you. Since 2010, I have helped over 100 women to find and live from their purpose.  Covid is another reason for us not to live our fullest life and the very reason why we need to live our fullest.

If you are interested then contact me. I would love to share these with you.

Thank you for reading 

Leadership Lessons from The King

Leadership is always contextual.  Hence the reason I would never advocate for one type of leadership. According to the situation we dip into our resource pool and fish out the relevant way of being for the situation.  Individually we will have some basic traits that either support  or do not support our leadership .  

Leadership is all around us hence the reason I invite you to embrace your leadership wherever you may live play or work. As I listened to the tributes that rolled in after the death of Chadwick Boseman I thought that his life story held some great lessons for us as leaders.

Today I’m sharing the leadership lessons that I learned from the life of Chadwick Boseman.

Lesson 1 – He left a legacy

The media and the acting fraternity refer to Chadwick as the King.  Beyond his role as T’challa in Black Panther, there is great detail about the choices that he made, the way that he carried himself and the way that he treated people.

The word legacy keeps coming up as discourse is held about the impact he made on diversity in Hollywood and what they may translate to for black actors.

After reading and listening I ask myself, “Maxine what is your legacy? And I stopped to think.

So leader what’s your legacy? What is the legacy that you are leaving with your family, your team or your organization. It is a big question that we need to answer. 

Lesson 2 – He reframed experiences

Chadwick refused to take roles that made him seem as less of a man.  He avoided stereotypical roles that cast people who looked like him in derogatory roles. He chose roles hat were inspirational, celebrating the lives of phenomenal men – Jackie Robinson, James Brown, Marshall Thurgood.  

Breathing fresh air into their stories, telling them with dignity and offering another perspective from what we were commonly told. He deliberately chose these stories knowing that there were young men and women who are watching and observing.

He knew as we do that our  leadership can change lives.  Through our demonstration we can inspire others. As leaders we can choose the role that we play and the impact that our leadership can have on others.

Lesson 3 – He served a higher purpose 

Chad believed in a higher power. He made decisions and was guided from that perspective.  

What guides you as a leader? What drives your decision making process? What is the higher purpose that you are serving through your leadership?

Every decision that we make every action that we take should be based on something loftier than the task at hand. For some of us it will be the organizational vision, for others it may be a personal vision for others their God.  

Whatever the reason, when we operate from a higher purpose it means that everything and everyone becomes sacred and we treat everything and everyone as such. Leadership is about divinity.

Lesson 4 – He raised the bar

Boseman’s co-stars, his producers and his directors all speak highly of his work ethic.  He raised the performance bar for every one, in every scene, in every movie. He encouraged others to bring their best game with each and every performance. 

As leaders we are called on to inspire others to raise their game. We don’t do this by bribing or cajoling or pandering, We do this through the authority and power vested to us by the organsaiton but more importantly from the person that we are.  

We can lead by example and encourage and motivate others to attain a standard higher than they thought possible.

It also means that we don’t get a day off from setting the standard.  We need to keep our ‘A’ game going and yes we will have off days but these need to be less than more.

Lesson 5 – He broke barriers 

Chadwick broke barriers and showed that beliefs can be changed.  Who knew that a movie with a black cast would gain over 1Billion US$ in sales or that a superhero movie would be nominated at the Oscars.  He took risks throughout his career even when people made fun of the fact that he played the roles of other men. 

The invitation is for each of us to take risks.  

We can dream dreams that others don’t hold for us, and achieve things that others can’t envision. We can behave in a manner that challenges old beliefs about leadership and show that these are no longer relevant.  We can go beyond what others think about people who look like us, grew up the way that we did and went to the schools that we went to by our leadership.

Lesson  6 – He showed up

The most amazing fact about Chadwick Boseman, for me, is that he was diagnosed with colon cancer four years ago and showed up every day that he was required.  During that time he had physically challenging roles and he never complained and he never let his personal issues affect his job.  I know that was difficult to do.  

When I reflect on his ability to show up and perform I reflect on my bad days when I could not adequately support team members or when I would have been less than a pleasure to work with. Let us do as Chadwick, work through our personal issues in our personal spaces and don’t let these impact on the way that we treat with team members.  They don’t deserve that.

Lesson 7 – He was more than his issues

During the production of his last film Da Bloods, Peters – his co-star described himChawick as ‘Precious’. Peters explained that Boseman had a Chinese practitioner massaging his back, and a makeup artist massaging his feet, as well as having his girlfriend hold his hand, while on set. After Chad’s death, Peters was full of regret since he had prejudged Boaseman as a diva thinking that his Black Panther success had gone to his head.

This is a quick reminder for us – leaders we cannot afford to make assumptions about our team members.  We may see them acting out and not understand the why of their behavior.  It is our task to understand what is going and to work with team members from where they are to bring them along. We can only know what is going by having a conversation with them. The lazy team member may be lacking motivation, the sleepy team member may be studying.  

Let’s not make assumptions and to give team members the benefit of the doubt.

Beyond those 7 leadership leassons, reports are that he brought his passion, his humility, his creativity, his intelligence, and his drive for his craft. I think that was probably a combination of who he was as well as the deep respect that he had for the roles that he played and for his audience.  Beyond himself he understood that he was having a systemic effect on every black child on Earth and from his death some writers were lambasted for not  acknowledging that he also impacted non-black persons as well.

Humility, creativity, intelligence, passion and drive.  What a powerful combination of characteristics that will serve us well as leaders.

We can be passionate about the vision of the organizations, the work that we are doing and about the team members and their futures. It’s a good time for us to reflect on what are we passionate about.  

Maybe your leadership sucks because you are not passionate about the company that you are working in or the job that you are doing.  Only you would know.

We can be humble.  Our humility allows us to not take things personally when given feedback, allows us to admit when we are wrong and make amends.  We are expressing humility every time that we admit that we don’t know as well as when we show our vulnerability.

We also want to have a drive and energy that will bring enthusiasm to our workplaces.  As we work we can infect others with hope and optimism especially in these times. We also need to create the space for others to bring theirs.

One thing that stood out for me in all of the talks that came after his passing is that he was well supported as a fledging.  When Phylicia Rashad spotted Chad’s talent she encouraged him to study in London and Denzel Washington paid his tuition.  Can you imagine what the world would have missed if these two senior actors did not get involved with this protege?

As leaders we have an obligation to create other leaders. We need to blaze a trail and help others to run on that trail.  This can be an encouraging word, imparting knowledge, having discussions, giving advice or training.  

It is my wish that we use the life of Chadwick Boseman as a reminder that we can lead from wherever we are and bring systemic change to the places that we live and work.

What lessons are you walking away with today? What takeaways for your leadership journey have you gleaned from the life of Chadwick Boseman?  I woiuld love for you to share them.  

My intention is to fuel your leadership spark so that together we can bring change to the systems that we live in.

Look out for our Enhance U for women – Awaken to Your Truest Self  – Reclaim your passion and rekindle your joy.

Covid-19 has affected all of us. We have been disappointed, frustrated and stressed.  Yet, we still have desires, dreams and hopes. The pandemic makes us wonder if we will ever achieve our goals. How much longer will you wait? How much more will you sacrifice? Deep down you know and feel it – we were each created for an unique purpose, beyond our roles as aunts, daughter’s friends, lovers, partners, mothers, wives and sisters. How do you find and live our purpose in these new times? What steps can you take to do so?

I have lived with these questions and luckily found some answers, which I would love to share with you. Since 2010, I have helped over 100 women to find and live from their purpose.  Covid is another reason for us not to live our fullest life and the very reason why we need to live our fullest. If you are interested then connect me at http://www.maxineattong.com. I would love to share these with you.

Thank you for reading 

Leadership is Promoting Racial Equity

The last 2 weeks have been particularly difficult for me.  I don’t know about you but whenever there is turmoil in the wider system I feel it in my body as well.

I had to make several decisions when writing. Do I write about it? Do I just press on and pretend that it’s not a problem?  In the end I decided that I have an unique opportunity to have my voice heard so I have a responsibility to share a perspective about what’s happening.

Trinidad and Tobago held its 5-year general elections a week ago.  Both the lead up to and post elections have been problematic as supporters of political parties took to social media to spew insensitive and derogatory comments that reflected long held misconceptions and false beliefs about ethnicity.

This name-calling and insulting behavior doesn’t bother me at one level., since I understand the disappointment, hurt and anxiety that is present at this time. People are free to express themselves and they are doing so on their personal pages and personal posts.

What worries me is that most users have worked or work within organizations and this behavior may have spilled over into their teams, .

What worries me more is that some of the users maybe or have been in leadership positions as supervisors, as team leaders as managers or as executives and negatively impacted the lives of team members they think of as on the other side of the political divide.

Beyond the people who made their feelings and thoughts known there are many who share the same sentiments and do not post. 

Social media misleads some of us into thinking that we are invisible and invincible, some freely type the things that they wont dare say. Some have alter egos that are fearless, opinionated and know it all, 

While it is possible that we can act differently from the way that our social media posts suggest no one can sustain a façade for an extended period, the mask often cracks, and the alter ego shows itself when we least expect.  There is truth in our social media representation of ourselves.  

We each belong to affinity groups, which means that we more or less involve ourselves with people whom share similar outlooks and perspectives.  In these relationships it feels that we are speaking to ourselves, our beliefs, our opinions and our world views are never challenged and our groups confirm our beliefs with every interaction.  

You are wondering if this is true for you. Lets do a quick exercise.  Outside of your immediate and extended family write down the names of 5 to 7 people whom you trust. For each characteristic that you share with them put a tick next to each name that bears the same characteristic as you do.  For example if I say same sex then tick all of the people who are same sex as you are on your list. 

Lets give it a try.

Tick for same background i.e. way of growing up, 

**Give a tick for Same Religion, 

**Tick for Same educational level, 

**Tick for Same sexual identity,

**Tick for Same ethnicity or race, 

**Tick for same school 

**Tick for similar geographical area

**Tick for same manner of speaking – accent, language 

Now look at the list. Do you share 3 or more characteristics with the people on your list?  Yes that’s because you share the same affinity group.  This is normal for us, the people whom we trust most are the people who have similar backgrounds and think like us and act the same way as we do.

This is not a bad thing.

It becomes a bad thing when we believe that only people from our affinity group have positive qualities and that people from other affinity groups have negative qualities,  

It only becomes dangerous when we determine that taking care of our affinity group is to be done at the expense of persons external to our affinity group or when we deliberately exclude or treat badly persons from other affinity groups. 

So what does that look like in organizations and why does it perturb me?  

In the recruitment process we may give preference to people who went to your alma mater. The interview panel may ask discriminatory questions to ensure that only people who share the same beliefs and experiences enter our organizations 

It may mean that team members believe that if they don’t look or speak a certain way that they will never be promoted or will never be a manager. 

New hires maybe readily embraced by some leaving others uneasy, the promoted may be celebrated by some leaving others fearful.

This negativity is unfair to the new hires or promoted as they are also left feeling uneasy. To ease their hurt feelings some recruits/ promoted may hurt others external to their affinity groups fostering even greater divide with their teams  Eventually everyone pretends that is has faded away while leaving a bitter tastes in mouths.  These actions builds mistrust in the workplace.  It promotes an us vs. them environment and leads to discord.  

Who can trust a leader who promotes or hires people based on his/her affinity group?

Who can trust the leaders who notice these patterns in teams and do not speak up about them?

 What is the leaders role in ensuring that there is fairness and equity?

How can we trust an organization that turns a blind eye to actions like these? 

And what do we do if the leaders are the perpetrator of these offences?

When we do not choose the best for the job then we are not serving the organization we are serving our selves. When we don’t promote on merit or have a transparent process then we set up our organizations for failure. 

I’m sure you are thinking about other actions that have been perpretarted in  your organsations.

Who gets or does not get  selected for projects, who is praised or vilified, who receives priveleges or reprimands, who feels this is the best place to work and who describes it as the worst place to work with the relevant examples.  

Leaders.  What is your role either by your silence or thorugh your actions in perpetuating these behaviours at the workplace?

How do we limit the occurrence of this phenomena?

Leaders we need to stop this behavior at the gate and do not allow this behavior to enter our organizations.  

Check out the social media profiles of potential recruits and review the profiles of people whom they follow.  We use psychometric tests to evaluate aptitude and capabilities; we need to expand these tests to determine tolerance or bias for persons external to their affinity groups.

I am not saying do not hire. I am saying increase our awareness of whom is entering our organizations and the potential impacts they may have on our organizational culture.

Ensure that the workplace has policies and procedures that speak to equality, equity and the limitation of affinity group biases and that there are stated consequneces for not adhering to these.

How may offices have a written policy and procedure around derogatory behavior whether within or external to the organsaiton? How many organsaitions have consequences for behaviours like these?  

I know that you may be thinking that my social media posts are my business. And you’re right let me ask

Did you use your company issued phone or other equipment to access social media?

Do you have your place of employment listed on your social media profile?

Do people know where you work?

If you have answered yes to any of these then you can be called to task and suffer consequences of your behavior, if your organization was serious about having zero tolerance for this behaviour.

Our policies and procuderes also empower any staff member to hold others accountable for derogatory behavior in the public domain. 

Courageous Leaders can host conversations about differences in affinity groups. These will offer team members different view points from those touted within their affinity groups.

We can start with the stories of how people grew up, the primary schools they went to, how they succeeded, what their hopes and dreams are and celebrate how well they are doing.  In doing so we need to ensure that we keep an open mind and not let persons external to our affinity group feel ashamed of where they have come from and the challenges they have faced. When these stories are shared we will realize that though our contexts may be different our issues are the same.  

Think about it gambling addicts from all walks of life attend Gamblers anonymous and share their stories.  There stories are always different since they are from different backgrounds, and take different risks. In the sharing the addicts realize that they are all the same in their addiction, their stories allow them to identify their shared humanity.. They are different and yet the same

How many of us undersatnf the words cedula and concordat, how they came to be and how these two words have impacted our history?

I’m thinking that instead of dressing up and sharing food for ethnic holidays we can use these holidays to remind people of the history of our countries. How it is that people from the 5 continents all came to be on this small islands.  We can tell the historical and factual accounts of how various groups came to this country and the contributions that they each made to this nation. 

In so doing we will begin to see value in other than our affinity groups and we can intelligently and rationally challenge some of our long held beliefs.  Over the long term we will see clearly the myths and falsehoods that we hold on to as a conduction of our affinity groups.

My personal belief is that affinity groups and differences are part of a capitalist agenda.  

The few will contain the majority by pitting them against each other.  

It is an old playbook that we continue to live without questioning, we are playing our roles in a very old script and benefitting others by the suspicion we have for anyone external to our affinity group. Understand that when the majority is set against each other so that the few can stay in control 

Our organizations are not functioning optimally and we lament that our nation has not achieved its true potential. If only everyone acted behaved and believed as the people in our affinity group did, then this would be a wonderful and magical place.  This is a naïve and simplistic viewpoint that holds limited truth.

Without the benefit of various affinity groups Trinidad and Tobago would be a myopic place, short in Vision and stunted in tits growth potential because all affinity groups are limited in their thinking.  From the viewpoint of our affinity group we only see one frame, we need the impute of other groups to capture the whole picture. When we embrace and include our rich diversity we can spawn true innovation and creativity.  

Leaders what do you want for your organizations?

How can you ensure that the diversity in your workplaces is used to propel your organization and our country forward?

How can you limit your natural urge to serve your affinity group and instead serve all?

The first step is to be aware and the second step is to always be aware of our potential to behave this way

Our responsibility to the organization is not to your affinity group. We are to provide leadership to all members of your team regardless of their affinity group

In our communities and our families how do we treat the persons who are not within our affinity groups?  What assumptions do we make about their intentions?

What are you going to do differently?
This is a big question that we surely need to consider.

My intention is to fuel your leadership spark so that together we can bring change to the systems that we live in.

 If you have any questions or want me to speak on a particular topic then visit my website maxineattong.com and send them to me.

Leadership is Promoting Work-Life Balance

As Community spread continues the possibility of us returning to work from home with varying scales remains high.

We have spent 3 months practicing work from home and most of our teams are now ready and equipped for this reality.

As I continue to host group coaching sessions with leaders and teams, most teams are concerned with the their work life balance and ask how to maintain this as they go forward. 

As work from home becomes institutionalized, it may be difficult to actually perceive a separation  between our work and our personal lives.  Our workplaces have now encroached our lives.

We no longer have to leave home to go to the workplace and we can no longer close our doors on the workplace.  Our dining room table is now an office desk, our kettle is the work coffee station and our co workers noisy radio is replaced by the sounds of the children’s cartoon.

Those of us who have sworn never to take home work, now have work as permanent and prominently features at our homes. It seems that the balance has been tilted on the side of work since it now resides with us at home.

There are two aspects of this for me.  There is the work and the life, that we are being asked to hold in balance. I want to separate them before I rejoin them so that we can deal with either as a separate piece before bringing them back as a whole .

Lets deal with life

What was the quality of your life before the Coronavirus?

Were you happy, proud, disappointed with your life before the Coronavirus?

The stay at home and the other effects of Corona would have compounded and shown you exactly what is the quality of your life.

A lot of us live our lives with distractions, which  is not a bad thing. They may look different from person to person and they keep us going. For some of us it may be the exercise, for others liming, for some travelling.  What’s yours?

During covid we had to stay at home without distraction and face ourselves. We had to look at the man/ woman in the mirror and we got a long hard look at our reflection.  For the first time in a long time, we saw how we related to ourselves and to our families and our loved ones. Maybe we liked what we saw, maybe we didn’t. We were forced to acknowledge our way of life and not all of us wanted to keep looking.

Part of our lives is also the relationships that we share. Cabin fever is a real thing and for some of us we learned that we didn’t know and in some cases we may not like the people with whom  we lived.

We realized that with the bustle of life that we were not spending quality time with each other and we needed to relearn each other.  This may have been rewarding to some.

I saw a hilarious and horrifying tweet thread that suggested that people were horrified at their spouses workplace ego.  Some people recognized that they were living with the office bully or living with the brownnoser.  We have never seen how each other work and now we may have had to recalibrate our opinions of others based on their work behaviour

That’s a lot of reveals in a short space of time, which did not always help our life.

In response to the messiness of life very often we turn to work. It makes perfect sense.

As humans we do what brings us pleasure and for a lot of us our work is joy. Work is also predictable we more or less get what we put into the job. Life on the other hand is messy, involves other people and plans often go awry.

It’s a no brainer about where to invest our time, work gives us a more immediate and  much higher return on our time investment.

At work, we realized that there is a difference between accessible and available. Team members may be accessible and they do not need to be available at all times.

Most leaders confused the two thinking that because they knew where team members were that they could call on team members whenever they wanted. For most leaders this was a teething problem, they were new to managing teams remotely and thought this was the best way forward. over the last 3 months some leaders realized that staff were in fact being responsible and doing as they required and eased up on this behaviour.

Yes I am aware that there are some leaders who are still closely monitoring their teams.

I don’t think this is a phenomenon of working from home. I think that in those teams there was always a lack of trust and the remote working is highlighting  the situation.  These leaders either have no trust in themselves as leaders, or don’t trust that their teams will follow their lead or don’t trust their team members.

I have not heard any leader complain about the lack of productivity during the work from home and most team members have said that they have achieved more than their expected results.

Lastly leaders, What is the culture of your office around work?

Some workplaces celebrate long hours and think that people who put their personal or family life first are losers.

Some offices promote missing family events as signs of loyalty to the office not realizing that life is being destroyed.

Some team members sacrifice family time and relationships on the altars of high performance and leaders applaud these decisions as evidence of dedication.

At these workplaces long hours, weekend work and tight deadlines are considered hallmarks of success. 

Now that we have examined work and life dear reader what do you preference your work or your life? What is the reason for your preference?

A 2001 study in the UK said that work life imbalance was more likely to be reported, by those working longer hours. It was also more likely to be reported by those in managerial positions and on a higher income; by women rather than men and by those with dependent children; and by multiple-job holders.

On the positive side, those who reported that they worked in an organization with a friendly climate, where more human resource practices are in place and where they have more scope for direct participation and autonomy, reported less imbalance. 

This report gives us some tips

Lets start at the top and be deliberate about the culture that we are building around work and life. 

What do our cultures promote? We need to ensure that our workplaces do not penalize fathers for wanting to see their children being born or that women don’t lose their spots because of maternity leave.  We also need to have a culture that does not penalize people who want other things.

Leaders we need to  encourage team members to take their holidays to attend family functions and to take breaks from work.

We need to stop thinking that if I can do it they can do it as well and understand that each individual has different needs and different levels of contribution to make.

We need to be flexible.

We need to highlight the need for routines with our team members. Encourage them to plan and take scheduled breaks.  Retain the morning 10-minute coffee break, the lunch break and the bathroom breaks. Remind them that the breaks offer a good time to check in on their children. We should be monitoring for those exceptions as well.

Lunch-time can offer opportunities for socialization through lunch and learns and families can be invited in.

Leaders encourage team members to find their rhythm and point out when their routines are also not working. 

We can demonstrate what routines look like by scheduling meetings at the same time each week and having work deadlines .

We also need to ensure that team members work a certain number of hours a week. 

As community spread widens, we need to be physically distant  and we do not have to be socially distant. 

Leaders reach out to team members and and check in both with those who live alone and those who live with others.

Some clients host zoom hangouts during which team members have a coffee together and shoot the breeze.

Leaders we need to plant the seeds and remind staff that there is more to life.

This may seem like a ticklish topic since we often think that Money is the main factor to the quality of life. Before I go on let me ask. Have you ever gotten a raise and 6 months after expenses just seem to rise to match the raise? Yes that happens with most of us.

What’s the quality of life that you are allowing yourself? What are you doing that takes away from or adds to your quality of life?

This is not about how much money you have it is about the people who are around you, you doing the things that you love unapologetically and the amount of happy or sad in your life.

What makes your heart sing? When last did you do that?

Many of  us at some point in time we give up the things dearest to us in pursuit of the career and then we are left feeling that something is missing.

As I progressed in my career as an accountant I gave up my love for writing and I felt the imbalance in my lifeIt is only when I restarted writing and published my two books that I felt resonance in my t became balanced life, since I operate daily with what makes my heart sings. 

Those who have regained your heartsong you know what I mean. For the others who haven’t take some time to think about that one thing that you did that you were just happy doing and reintroduce it into your life.  A sure way to maintain some balance.

On an individual level, let’s get help in every way that we can. It could be something as simple as buying frozen dough instead of making bread or ordering groceries to pick up instead of going to the stores or getting help to clean the house.  In whatever way we can lets make our living simpler and easier.

We also need to take care of our emotional mental and physical states by being aware of how we are doing. We need to slow down and pay attention to ourselves since it is ourselves that will bring us through. 

We know that work from home is in our future.  The second wave of covid will see many team members retreat to their homes. Beyond covid some employers will  realize that there are cost savings and promote work from home as the way forward.

Work life balance suggests that we hold the two in balance on a daily basis.

I have the image of a seesaw with work on one side and life on the other. Some days the seesaw tips in favor of work and on other days it  tips on the side of life. Think of the fine balancing act to hold the two sides of the see-saw at an equal level. It feels almost impossible to do so and this is what we struggle with. There is an unseen tension in holding the two sides even, it is difficult to maintain the balance.

Let’s try another image.  Think of the sea saw and move the life and work away from their separate ends and bring them together in the middle of the see saw.

Now work and life together become the pivot on which the see saw easily swings.  Feel the release of the tension. I know it sounds too easy.

Consider that life is a continuum in which there is a feature called work. It’s not either or it is part of our life. It’s just one of the multiple realities of our life and we hold it in perspective and in context to our lives.

I would love to know how you manage your work life balance.

Drop me a line at my website www/Maxineattong.com or via linked in or ig.

My intention  is to fuel your leadership spark so that together we can bring change to the systems that we live in.

 If you have any topics that you want discussed or any questions answered then visit my website and send them to me

At this time I am hosting free 30 minute online sessions with teams to discuss how to promote work-life balance. If you want to host a free online session for your team then Contact me on on my website at maxineattong.com, linked in or Instagram at Maxine Attong.  You can call or send me a whats app to 8687247642 or an email at maxineattong@gamil.com

Thank you for reading

Leadership is Helping Teams deal with Stress

We have been reeling from the resurgence of covid 19 as more people have been tested positive.  Community spread is on and  contact tracing is in play. 

This has fueled a state of uncertainty for most of us  as we are wondering what will happen A lot of questions are emerging

  • Are we going to have another lockdown?
  • Can the economy survive another lock down ?
  • Can I survive to stay at home?
  • How do I keep safe?

As  community spread widens we will become more and more uncertain.

We have all been in the public spaces and seen that there has been a relaxation on the safety protocols.  We see masks being worn below the nose, around the neck or  on the chin. It’s pretty funny except that it isn’t a laughing matter.

We were looking forward to the creation of a new normal instead we are in a period of suspended reality. 

We can use this period of suspended reality to stop and think about what transpired over the last four (4) months before we move on.

The invitation is to have a discussion with your teams so that they understand that their feelings, issues and challenges were valid and experienced by others.

I have hosted these discussions with teams and team members usually express deep gratitude and relief after those meetings.  Closure is needed so that we can move on. Today I am sharing one perspective on that and you can mimic this with your teams

For a lot of us Corona was a time of grief as we lost our footing and our way of life. There were things that we missed and missed out on because borders were closed and we stayed at home.

Most of us experienced one or all of the five stages of grief – denial, anger, negotiation, depression and acceptance –  during that time 

Let me explain

Some of us were in Denial. At first most of us didn’t believe that covid was a severe threat. There were a lot conspiracy theories floating about and others grappled with the idea of staying at home believing that it was part of a larger plot to control our way of life. 

As  the threat became real some of us became angry. We were angry with the Government for the decisions that were made, we were annoyed that our favorite bars and restaurants were closed, vexed  that  we couldn’t exercise, and mad that our plans were thwarted.  At some point in time we asked, “Is this fair?” “Why is this happening?  “Who is to blame? “

Slowly some of us tried to  negotiate. Maybe if we stay at home, the threat will be lessened. We hoped that if we stuck to a routine did some fun things that we wouldn’t miss what we lost so much. We tried to make  juice with the sour situation

Eventually some of us became depressed.  We couldn’t deal with all the loss.  We were sad and slowly we couldn’t be bothered.  Why change clothes and not wear pajamas, why not eat what we love, why bother to exercise? We missed our way of life and some of us we withdrew even more..

Finally some of us embraced the fact that we were  going to be okay. We accepted the new routines and we decided to do things differently.  We decided to not fight and accepted the inevitable and it became much easier to deal with it

Even with acceptance we realised that we still had moments of denial, or of anger or of feeling down.  That’s because the stages of grief do not work in sequence.  Acceptance is a muscle that takes awhile to build and as we build it we are susceptible to the other stages of grief.

We have gone through a lot of change over the last 4 months and now we are being tasked to change again.

We are going to grieve again.  This time with some additional concerns and anxieties.   We don’t know if our coworkers have been playing it safe. We don’t know if they have been creeping out to Covid parties and if they have been going out without masks. 

As the case of infections rise we are wondering about the people who have to travel to work and how safe they are and by extension how safe we are.

All of this adds to what we commonly call stress. Working from home has been stressful and returning to work is now equally  stressful.  

I  have been chatting with various teams and they all share the same sentiment. We are stressed and we are burnt out. 

 Leaders I know that the stress for you is also magnified.  There are five (5) more months to complete all the actions from the Strategic plans.

How do we help our teams cope with the stress from the grief so that they can be effective?

The word stress is used to describe a lot of emotions.

We need to be clear about exactly what the emotion is and what has  triggered the emotion. The trigger could be in the present time or maybe related to  something in the past.

 Covid  created stress in the present time for some of us because we have anxieties about getting ill or losing income.

Some of us may be stressed because our movements are restricted  and that may remind us of being a teenager again when our freedom of movement was curtailed.

Once we establish the stress trigger we can link this to a feeling. What is the emotion that this stress brings? Are you sad, frustrated, angry hurt?  Name the emotion and link it to what exactly is happening. I’m really mad that I’m being told to stay at home it makes me feel like a teenager all over again and that makes be both angry and sad.

Locate the feeling in your body because each part of our body reacts differently to the emotions that we have. We often feel fear in our stomach. Sadness is often felt in our chest and anger can cause our bodies to tremble. Connecting the body’s reaction helps us to confirm the emotion and release the emotion as and when we feel it. The language is unfamiliar but trust me as we begin to make the links it begins to make sense. As it makes sense the mystery is removed and we can begin to take targeted action.

What actions can we take to deal with stress?.  I am going to give you a few .

Try this with me. If you are seated,  then uncross your legs and plant your feet firmly on the ground., stick out your chest beyond your stomach and straighten your back. Yes it immediately makes a difference

We can go deeper with the breathing as we inhale we push out our stomachs and as we exhale allow the stomach to deflate.  We can make noises as we exhale. This allows us to take in more oxygen into our bodies and that helpers release the tension.

Native people never wore shoes, because they understood that we were of the Earth and that we needed to be anchored by the earth as often as possible.  It took scientist until 2016 to discover that walking barefoot is a stress reliever. Walking barefooted reconnects us with the earth and grounds us to deal with the vagaries of the day. 

As much as possible, get out in nature and let mother Gaia heal you. A hike, a walk in the outdoors, a visit to the beach allows us to be in nature and  to connect with the earth.

We need to sleep for 5 hours or more.  For those of us who are insomniacs we need to  track our behaviour to see what contributes to our lack of sleep. I don’t drink caffeine after noon, it keeps me up.  

I know that we have a lot to do but consider once per week doing nothing. Sounds like a sin doesn’t it? We can mimic the  lifestyles of creatives. They have spurts of creativity followed by  periods of drought. It’s a natural cycle of harvest and rest, winter and spring and we can build that into our routines. When last did you rest? 

Take an absence from screens. No TV,  no whatsapp, no email and no social media for at least 4 hours a week. The longer that we can do without it the better for us.

For me the best stress reliever is my daily journal. I ask myself questions, process feelings, determine what’s really annoying me or making me sad. I make lists of the things that I need to achieve. It’s my time that I get to work out things. It’s my personal space. It’s not something that I ever read again. I do it to get rid of feelings and thoughts so that I am clear to move on with the day.

The final tip is gratitude. The world is so crazy we need to just remind ourselves that there is still good in every day. Even if there is nothing good. I am grateful that I can open my eyes and see another day and that I have a phone and maybe that I have my sisters and some friends who will take my calls.  Sometimes I’m grateful for a little, sometimes I am grateful for a lot and always grateful.

There is no end in sight of covid-19 and we have to cope with what is in front of us.

Leaders I am very aware that you have a greater burden to bear.  I invite  you leaders to have these conversations with your staff, not only for them but for you as well.

Today I met with a team for an hour. After the conversation one of the leaders cried. He said it was the first time since covid that someone actually asked him how he coped with all that happened and how he was coping with being back at work. He said that it was one of the rare occasions that he felt supported by his team.

Organisations are made up of people. We may have to be physically distant for a while longer and we do not have to be socially distance.  Let us reach out to each other and have the conversations 

My intention is to fuel your leadership spark so that together we can bring change to the systems that we live in.

 At this time I am hosting free 30 minute online sessions with teams to discuss how to deal stress. If you want to host a free online session for your team then Contact me on on my website at maxineattong.com\, linked in or Instagram at Maxine Attong.  You can call or send me a whats app to 8687247642 or an email at maxineattong@gamil.com

Thank you for reading

Leadership is Transparency

Business Dictionary defines transparency as a “lack of hidden agendas or conditions, accompanied by the availability of full information required of collaboration, cooperation, and collective decision making.”

There is an indelible link between accountability and transparency.  Accountability produces transparency; transparency promotes accountability.  You cannot have one without the other.

Can a leader be accountable without being transparent? No

Can a leader be transparent without being accountable. NO.

Realistically, no leader can be 100% transparent.   Any leader who is 100% transparent will be irresponsible. Leaders must use wisdom to choose when to be open and transparent.

As leaders, we often know the strategic plays that the organization is going to make and we cannot tell staff about them. We can say the what’s of strategy we can’t say the how. We can share that we want to double income in the next year but we can’t say that we are buying a company to achieve the target. The deal will be dead in the water before the agreement is made.

There are many decisions that we cannot share so that our business remains stable and continues to thrive

As leaders we need to state when we cannot be transparent. My standard answer is, ” I am not at liberty to answer because of the need for confidentiality”.

As with all things transparency calls for leaders to hold a balance and think about what they are accountable for and to whom they are accountable.

I have worked with leaders who preference their teams’ need for transparency over the organizational need to keep matters confidential. These leaders announced decisions to their team members to build loyalty while hijacking the organization.

When one team has information that other teams cannot access, it sets up an imbalance in which the team in the know is seen as more important or receiving preferential treatment. Other leaders who are holding confidence are viewed negatively by their teams as they seem to be withholding information.

The leaders who spill the beans need to come clean. Do you tell all because of your ego? What else would be worth breaking confidence?

Leaders need to think of where their obligations lie – is it with staff or the leadership team – at any point in time. This is not about us vs them it is about recognizing the sensitivity of issues that needs to be disclosed.

The meaning of transparency does not shift, the leader has to make the call about the purpose that is being served.

Now that I have placed that caveat, we can talk about transparency in terms of providing information that will allow accountability.

I will talk about  transparency as it relates to the leader, in relation to the team that they lead and in relation to the organization.

Leadership Transparency

Leaders what is your intention for your leadership? When we are clear about what we want we can tell team members about it. Our intention shows in everything that we do or say. So instead of team members guessing what we want ,we say want we want.  This helps everyone to get aligned. The leader has put his cards on the table and everyone is aligned.

Transparency in Teams

What would it be like if we understood the agenda of each team member? It would go a long way to building transparency for your teams. This conversation will

  • Allow a common understanding amongst the team.
  • Build trust between the team members
  • Lead to understanding motives and behaviour.

When team members are clear on each other’s agenda they may step up and support each other. I have seen team members volunteer for extra duties to allow persons to spend time with family members or allow people who needed the money to work the overtime.

All team members must understand the targets, the roles and responsibilities of other team members for transparency to exist within teams. Work processes are understood and efficiency is promoted. Everyone understands how what he or she does fits in to the team’s contributions and how others contribute as well.  Team members should be aware of each others qualifications and certifications. Sometimes team members are contentious about bonuses or salaries when they have no idea of what each other is doing or has done.

Transparency in the Organization

At the organizational level I welcome the day that salaries and salary ranges are common knowledge for all roles. This will go a long way in promoting transparency and accountability.

Most organizations cannot reveal this information because leaders are aware of the disparity in earnings that are not always backed by credentials, or years of service or  performance. Until your company is comfortable with stating salary and salary ranges of all employees then you know that there is no parity and no transparency.

To be or not to be transparent is a dilemma that many leaders face.  My rules of thumb for disclosure to both internal and external are

  1. Will revealing this information remove the organization’s competitive advantage?  Answer Yes then don’t disclose
  2. Will withholding this information cast doubt and confusion or be viewed as a cover up? Answer Yes then disclose
  3. If 2 years from now a reasonable man looks back on this situation,  will he understand the reasons for non-disclosure as ethical or rational? Answer Yes, then don’t disclose

Leaders, unless it is a strategic decisions that will be revealed when the pieces fall in place we need to think about it.

Team members want to hear bad news about the organization from the organization. They do not want to read about it online or hear about it from others.  They do not want be shocked as well as they want to save face.  While leaders are deciding what to disclose, they need to think about team members and how they will feel by being blindsided by negative press. Some questions to consider during these situations are:

  • What is the impact of not telling the staff?
  • How can we build trust if we do not state what happened?
  • Who are we obliged to speak to when situations like this occur?

Sometimes the loyalty that we have for the organization and each other as leaders makes us want to draw a fence around issues and keep the situation under wraps.

We are pretending that the need for us to come clean, to internal and external stakeholders goes away it doesn’t.

So leader What are you pretending not to know?”

No one worries about transparency until something goes wrong.  To make it easier to build the transparency muscle we can practice being transparent with positive things that are happening.  It will make it easier when we have to be transparent with negative situations.

When leaders set a tone of transparency then the organizational culture becomes more open, communication becomes easier and it supports accountable behavior for both employees and leaders.

Some ways to build transparency are

  • Allow team members access to you to ask questions and understand what is going on. Yes it requires constant communication.
  • Conduct regular meetings with your team. These meetings are to follow up on work and deadlines. This way everyone knows what is going on what everyone else is responsible for.  Team members begin to appreciate each others contributions.  Give feedback on performance in these meetings – congratulate and help team members to work through challenges that come with failures.
  • In these meetings allow time for questions from the team members about what is going on in the organisation. Give information that is sanctioned. Distinguish when it your opinion vs the company’s decisions.  Be responsible and do not break confidentiality.
  • Encourage honest feedback about the company, its strategies or actions or whatever you may consider important. Online surveys can be used.
  • Have regular communication tools – newsletters, email from the CEO that will keep all team members on the loop
  • Practice stating intentions out loud, so that others on your leadership team and team members begin to understand what transparency looks like. Then do as you say. For example, My intention for giving you feedback is to reduce the errors.  This assumes that you are clear on your intentions.
  • Take the time to get to know your team members and meet with them one on one. This helps you to understand their personal agendas and promotes openness.
  • Host regular town halls to report on the company’s progress to everyone at the same time. This is best hosted by the CEO or top leader.  In this forum state challenges and opportunities with the caveat being that some things are confidential and cannot be shared. Take questions and comments from the floor.  Do not reprimand persons for asking difficult or challenging questions
  • Help persons who struggle with transparency by holding them accountable for being transparent.

Transparency builds and fosters better relationships since trust is present.

As always this is part of your leadership journey.

Becoming a more transparent leader takes time and effort. It will also take time for the benefits to spread throughout your organization.

Reader what about you? What do you need to be transparent about so that others can hold you accountable?

My intention is to fuel your leadership spark so that together we can bring change to the systems that we live in.

At this time I am hosting free 30 minute online sessions with teams to discuss how to deal with accountability/ transparency in their organizations. If you want to host a free online session for your team then Contact me on my website at maxineattong.com\, linked in or Instagram at Maxine Attong.  You can call or send me a whats app to 8687247642 or an email at maxineattong@gmail.com

Leadership is Accountability

Leaders are called  to be accountable especially when things go wrong.

Sometimes the responses to the call indicate that leaders don’t quite understand what accountability means.

Leaders are great at taking responsibility. They are great at fulfilling their ongoing duty to complete the task at hand directly or indirectly.  That is the end of responsibility.

Accountability is what happens after a situation occurs. It refers to the leader’s response and her/ his ability to take ownership of the results of a task.

So quick way to remember. I am responsible for completing the task, I am accountable for the outcome of the task and I take ownership of all that follows after.

There are 4 levels of accountability

Level 1: No accountability.

No one takes ownership of any results good or bad and there is no consequence for any behavior.  People can come to work late, deadlines are missed and customer service sucks and nothing happens.  Leaders turn a blind eye or stand by and watch.

For example, Patrick comes to work late everyday.  No one speaks to him about it and he keeps coming to work late

Level 2: Top-down accountability

The leader is responsible for the performance of the team members and holds team members to account for what they have done and what they have failed to do.  For instance, when Patrick was late it was my responsibility to talk to him about his late coming and hold him accountable for it.

Leaders need to hold all team members to the same standards. There may be a tendency to hold some team members to a higher or lower standard of accountability because of relationships shared, or sympathy or an ambition for another. When the standards are different for different team members this sets up dissonance in the team as the seemingly preferential treatment does not go unnoticed

Level 3: Peer-to-Peer Accountability

Peer-to-peer accountability occurs when the leader shares responsibility with the team. Ideally when Patrick is late, I as leader will not be the only one to address him. His peers will remind him about his late coming and the impacts of it on the team.  They may also help him resolve the issue. The assumption is that this feedback will mean more to him since it is coming from his peers.

The leader’s job then becomes ensuring that the tone of these conversation promotes the team and does not devolve into a negative or toxic situation

This is a form of peer pressure and as with peer pressure it can backfire. Team members may pressure others not to complete tasks, or volunteer for projects or accuse others of being a brownnoser.

Level 4: Self-Accountability

Leaders and team members both accept personal accountability. There is no peer pressure, team members  can look after themselves instead of each other, and leaders do not have to bribe, beg or cajole for persons held accountable for outcomes.

Persons who accept personal accountability do so because that is who they – accountable human beings, and they have a higher standard for themselves.

In this scenario, Patrick comes to work on time because he has adjusted his schedule, to ensure that he comes to the office on time.

The truth is that no one can make another person accountable.

In the short term reprimands may seem to work but over time team members will revert to the way that they want to be.

When I held Patrick accountable for his late coming he promised to come to work early.  After 2 weeks Patrick was back to his usual trick of coming late.  Until he accepted personal accountability for his late coming nothing would change.

What level of accountability do you see in your organization?

What would you like to see?

I think we need to be make a distinction between internal and external accountability especially when the failure to be accountable has impacts beyond the boundaries of our organization.

The Catholic Church, is a well known example of an organization that failed to hold its team members accountable to external stakeholders.  The Church held priests accused of wrongdoing internally accountable for misconduct.  It reprimanded the priests, sent them to lesser parishes , stripped them of title and paid fines.

The Church erred in not extending its accountability to the wider population that was impacted by the crimes. The crimes that were committed were beyond the boundaries of the organization,  as a result, external parties needed to be involved in any resolution.

The error was in limiting the offending priests’ accountability to within the confines of the church

Unfortunately the church’s actions has been mirrored in many organizations – internal accountability and no external accountability.

I have seen this play out when team members who have embezzled funds are told to pay the funds back, without interest, and are kept on the job without ever facing  criminal charges.

I’ve seen this play out when senior executives are asked to resign with a promise of a sterling recommendation and without a blemish on their records.

We hold the accountability within the organization but we are unwilling to involve external parties. We think about protecting reputations by not having public disclosure or involving the legal and statutory framework.

As a result, when these events become public the organization loses credibility and its reputation is sullied. The leaders are seen as promoting bad behavior, protecting  people and are accused of  having a boys club that takes care of its own.

If  we want to build accountability at the lower levels then the organization  must demonstrate that there is zero tolerance for breaches at the highest levels.

We need to hold people accountable both within the internal framework of the organization and within the external legal and other frameworks of the larger system that the organization exists within.

What leader is brave enough to break with tradition and stop the cover ups?

What leader will ensure full accountability even when this involves external frameworks?

In organizations with loosely defined core values, haphazard policies and procedures  it is difficult to hold people accountable.  If there are no rules then people will create their own.

Leaders make assumptions that team members understand and can apply the meanings of core values, and that they should know what behaviors are acceptable. Leaders need to state explicitly the behavior, the standard of behavior and the values that team members will be held accountable for and then enforce it.

Things will always happen and when they do leaders need to deal with them immediately.  The call for accountability must be swift and as close as possible to the event.

Things take time.  If this is a new habit then it will only come with constant reinforcement. Leaders need to communicate the need for accountability and the duty for accountability.  This is an ongoing discussion that should be repeated when tasks are assigned.  Patrick I am assigning you this task and you will be held accountable for the outcome.

The words won’t mean much without consequences so ensure that you as leader are willing to go the distance. If there are no consequences for the breaches then no one will be bothered to be accountable. Patrick was unwilling to change his late coming, even with flexi-time he was still late. Eventually  I had to report Patrick’s late coming to Human Resources to ensure that I went the distance to hold him accountable.

As leaders we need not cover-up or protect the breaches of accountability. We need to expose them and let the remedies take their course even though the outcomes may be unpleasant for all.

Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

We must be willing to expose the lack of accountability to get accountability.

The call is for leaders to hold all team members accountable.  We do this through our internal policies and procedures and having constant communication around the issue. We also need to ensure that the consequences are also matching to the events. We need to commit to involve external parties when events are outside the boundaries of the organisation.

Dear reader what about you?

What are you covering up to protect the family or the community?  

What needs to be aired for people to be held accountable?

My intention is to fuel your leadership spark so that together we can bring change to the systems that we live in.

At this time I am hosting free 30 minute online sessions with teams to discuss how to deal with harassment in the organizations. If you want to host a free online session for your team then Contact me on on my website at maxineattong.com\, linked in or Insta gram at Maxine Attong.  You can call or send me a whats app to 8687247642 or an email at maxineattong@gmail.com

Thank you for reading.

Leadership is Zero Tolerance on Harassment

I’ve spent the last year working with some brilliant entrepreneurs who literally started their company in a bedroom.

Working with them has been a learning experience for me since I work mainly in corporate.  As I worked with that client I concluded that regardless of the environment, the leadership needs are the same and all leaders are faced with the same challenges. 

One of the first revelations with this client is that they did not see themselves as leaders hence they did not act as leaders.  Even though they, made decisions, set direction and executed strategic plans.

They resisted the word leader. As a result, they did not lead. 

There were no policies and procedures stating what was unacceptable and acceptable and  no one understood their boundaries.

The result was that while the organisation was successful, the staff felt that they were in a whirlwind and everything was topsy turvy.  I’ve seen this many times in organisation. Managers don’t see themselves as leaders, executives don’t see them as leaders, supervisors don’t see themselves as leaders. Therefore no one leads.

Leaders have a responsibility for the tone of the organisation and do this via code of ethics and standards. Sadly the words often don’t quite resonate.

Leaders when we allow jokes that discriminate about gender, race, identity sexuality or any topic that is derogatory in nature, it says something about our organisation and a lot about our leadership.

Yes I understand that we love to joke and that we are just having fun, but let me ask you this.

  • How did you feel when you were the subject of a little joke ?
  • How did you feel when you are at the receiving end of derogatory joke?

I’m pretty sure that you either got defensive, faked a smile or went on the attack.

Why then do you allow this toxicity in your organisation?

Yet we wonder why some team members don’t speak up – it’s because they don’t feel safe.

We wonder why some team members never achieve their full potential – it’s because they feel battered.

And we wonder why some team members that we have big plans for resign – it’s because they could not grow in your environment.

When we ignore the winces, the sudden retreat of people from a room, the quietening of voices, the fact that only some people always have the floor we need to start observing and asking questions about what is really happening in the team.

  • What makes the quiet people not talk?
  • How is it that these brilliant people whom you hand-picked have nothing to say?

And most importantly What does my silence as a leader condone?

Of course it goes without saying if you leader are the one always making jokes and teasing, then you are part of the problem.  If all of your jokes tend to be personal in nature then you are the problem and your team does not feel safe with you.

Of course team members won’t complain, of course they all laugh, of course they mimic your behaviour but while you are throwing your head back and laughing because you are so funny, you may be missing the body language that indicates that not everyone is having fun.

It’s not that team members can’t take a joke. It’s that that’s not what they came to work to do.

Leaders often ignore complaints about harassment of any type. 

Leaders often say that there is a zero tolerance for sexual harassment yet predators are promoted and enjoy perks.

I have heard leaders say, “This boy wouldn’t change,” when referring to a 40 plus year old man who has had multiple relationships in the office.  I’m never sure if they are shaking their heads in awe or  with a sense of pride in the male prowess, it never seems to be in disgust.  Leaders we need to stop and think about the message we are sending to the wider organisation.

Simple questions to change the narrative.

  • Is that man / woman so hot that every woman or falls for him or her?
  • Are the people in the office so desperate that they all date this one person?
  • Is he/ she lying?
  • Is he/ she sullying the character and reputations of others?
  • Is he/she forcing him/ herself on others?

Leaders tend to turn a blind eye to these persons who date multiple persons in the organisation because the other narrative is not pretty. 

Yet this is what we MUST do.

We have to  consider the possibility that the multiple daters are not always on the straight and narrow and there may be questions both about the veracity and the permissions in their relationships.

It is sad the extent of sexual harassment that goes on in office places.  It is appalling the number  of leaders who have slept with team members  .

We know the narrative of people sleeping their way to the top, but it takes two to tango.

Leaders take a cold hard look at yourself.

That young man or woman could not sleep his or her way to the top unless a leader slept with them.

Power is a real thing and power makes everybody sexy.  Let’s not be fooled.

We may not be attractive, our power makes us very attractive.

Do you really think the best use of your power? Your position is not for you to try new positions.

My personal belief is that any leader who has sexual relationships with anyone who directly or indirectly reports to him or her  is at fault, especially when these relationships have started in the office.

The higher this leader is poised in the organisation the more unethical and wrong I view the behaviour.  Let me explain why.

The power dynamics of the situation will make most people say yes to the leader’s advances. 

A team member’s livelihood, may depend on the income.  A team member may be flattered by the attention, this is a stroke to the ego – the big leader likes me. So many thoughts swirling and they can’t get it straight.  Most will say yes to the leader.

I’m sure by now you are thinking of the serial daters, the multiple offenders and the professional harassers who reside in your organisation.

Leaders you may think that whom people date in the office is  not your business but if not yours then whose is it.

(Caveat – We all know that couple whose office relationship blossomed into marriages and children.  Most times, the members of that couple did not serial date people in the organisation.)

What as a leader can you do to limit this behaviour in your organisation?  

Here are some actions that leaders can take to limit this behaviour

Many years after joining a company, I was sharing time with a senior leader. He asked “Did Jerry ever bother you?” I replied, “No. I’ve heard about his reputation but he never bothered me”.

To which he replied good, because when you joined the organisation I warned Jerry, Jack and Jill to leave you alone.  What would it be like if all leaders told the serial daters to  simply leave new hires alone?  That would go a long way to delimit that behaviour.

We have seen the pattern.  We know who the serial daters are in our company.   When I joined a new team I was told several times to watch out for certain guys.  While I did not initially understand why, I paid particular attention to those guys.  When they made advances I knew it wasn’t about me it was about them

Leaders limit the harassment and jokes. This is an easy fix.  Let it be known at your next staff meeting what is unacceptable.  Yes people may groan but there will be many persons who will breathe a sigh of relief.

Develop policies and procedures around harassment.  This  includes– bullying, name calling, sexual and issue a zero tolerance statement.  Host discussions on what is harassment so that people understand what it means.  Allow time for reflection and encourage team members to use the language and tell others when they are being offensive.  In the first instance, everything will be offensive as people are learning about it.  Eventually it will normalise and everyone will learn what it means,

Leaders listen and accept complaints. We tend to make excuses for the offender and often ask the aggrieved to grin and bear it.  Our language is never so plain but when we put the burden of tolerating on the aggrieved that is exactly what we are doing.

We are not to ask the complainant to justify or explain why she or she feels that way.  We can engage both parties in conversation and set limits on what is acceptable and unacceptable to the aggrieved. At the same time stating that any form of victimisation will not be tolerated.

Set up an anonymous harassment reporting channel that is monitored external to the organisation.  Put the management and decision making about these issues in the hands of a neutral third party that resides external to the organisation.  This will give people the confidence to make complaints

Leader you may be going against the grain of the organisation to have these conversations with your team. Some leaders will disagree with you and not want this raised.  You know that sweeping it under the rug will not make it go away.

Leaders have courage, your team members are depending on you to create and maintain a stable environment.

Leader of course the lens falls on you.  You need to self-examine and determine when you may have been the offending party.  We leaders need to reflect on how the path we have walked may have negatively impacted others.

Leaders we need to have zero tolerance for any type of harassment.

For too long we have harboured multiple offenders, serial daters and professional harassers within the walls of our organisation.

We may not privately condone their behaviour but we have never publicly denounced it.

This is one of the little things that we do not talk about that deeply and negatively impacts our organisation ability to move forward.  How do we create a great future without addressing this?

Dear reader what do about you?

Who in your family, in your community,  in your church have you seen displaying these behaviors or have heard whispers about?  What are you doing about it?

When we stay silent we are aiding and abetting the persons who perpetrate these offenses.

My intention is to fuel your leadership spark so that together we can bring change to the systems that we live in.

At this time I am hosting free 30 minute online sessions with teams to discuss how to deal with harassment in the organizations. If you want to host a free online session for your team then Contact me on on my website at http://www.maxineattong.com, linked in or Instagram at Maxine Attong.  

Check out the podcast Leadership Unlearned 

Leader as Change Agent

2020 has been the most interesting year in my lifetime.  This has been the year of change. All unprecedented, all unplanned all major.

During this year, new words have become part of our lives – quarantine, self-isolation, social and physical distancing – and  a mask is now both a fashion accessory and a necessity.

On the social front, we have seen a request for unlearning of traditions and a time for re-examination of history, economics and politics. All that we accepted previously is being challenged in the name of equity, equality and justice.

2020 may seems like a never ending tornado of events that threaten to sweep us all within it and land us in quite a different place from where we started.

2020 says,  Change is coming.  Change is here.  Change is our new constant.

The truth is that small changes were always happening, there have been pandemics before, and there have been Black Lies Matter protests before. The difference is that our world has shrunk. We are more connected. Events are no longer isolated, whatever impacts your humanity is going to impact mine.

Whatever happens to one of us affects all of us , we can no longer deny our connectedness. Therefore we are going to continue to face massive and rapid changes in short periods of time.

We have watched as Sophia, the human Artificial Intelligence robot was turned on in 2016. Sophia is marketed as a “social robot” that can mimic social behavior and induce feelings of love in humans.  From her inception date we have seen Sophia learn, adapt and change,

By 2023, the fifth-generation wireless network 5G, will be used.  This will usher in the era of Augmented Reality where the way that we experience the world will change.  We can shop by seeing ourselves clothed in the desired clothes.  That technology will unleash the use of bots in almost every sphere of lives.  The struggles that we are having today with bandwidth and working from home and integrated technology will be things of the past.

With those scenarios we anticipate even more crises and change, therefore even more need for leadership to navigate this new environment.

With the power and weight of their organisations leaders are poised to bring and effect change in a real way. Leaders can truly make an impact.

Post COVID most of us were forced to review our business models and ask ourselves what is the way forward?

Before we move forward we need to also ask are we satisfied with the way things are.

Change often comes with the dissatisfaction of the status quo.  Leader what do you want to change in your organisation?

I was chatting with a team about leadership and the floor was open for questions.  A young man asked, “Maxine how do I become a good father if I have never had a father figure.”

This was truly a beautiful question because he understood exactly what leadership was about.  In that moment, he looked at his family model and was dissatisfied. He was aware of what was lacking and he wanted to lead differently,.  He was aware that he lacked a suitable business model that he could emulate, In that moment, he willingly stood up to take  personal responsibility for the leadership of his family unit

I gave him the answer that I offer to all leaders and to you reader, “As leaders we need to be what is missing in our systems”. 

We need to be like that brave young man and say I do not know the way forward, but I know what is missing in this family.  The result is that he has a number of options. If this father did not provide financial support then he needs to provide financial support, if his father did not provide advice and guidance then he needs to be this resource for the family.

There is no one answer, since what is missing in your organisation may be different from what is missing in mine.

This is the invitation for all leaders. The simplest thing to ask is, “What is missing from this organisation?” And then to provide it.

The answers are easy when we think about the traditional factors of production. For instance if capital is lacking then we take a loan or sell shares, if its  skill or competence then we can hire the skilled labour. We can implement state of the art technology

But what if what is missing is leadership? Then do we change it? Can we change the leaders? 

This is a big question that organisations need to answer. It is an even bigger question for persons who occupy positions of leadership. One that each leaders needs to honestly answer.

Very often we all know that leadership is not quite what we want it to be in our companies and we are all waiting on someone to fix it.  Maybe we are waiting on the the Chairman and the board of directors or maybe they are waiting on the appointed managers and executives to make a change.

Maybe you are timid with your leadership.  You worked hard to get here and will do anything including nothing to keep your hard earned position.

You may be near to retirement and you want to secure your pension.  Besides you are tired and just want to go home.

Perhaps  you are new to leadership and you don’t want to rock the boat. You notice all the leaders with more tenure seem to be blind to what is needed,  so you are playing along, at least until you establish your position.

Or maybe you are in the middle of your career. You don’t want to make trouble and you are concerned about your reputation,  if you play it safe you will be safe.

While all leaders protect their position and do not change what needs to be changed nothing gets done.  Each year the company implements brilliant strategies yet there is a general malaise and no real change happens throughout the company.

In a post covid world, where every thing that we know it has been challenged, this is your opportunity for you push for changes. .

What do you want to change in your organisation? What is missing?

Leader, you can create change in their organisations.  You are the change agent in your organisation.

Change is contagious, systemic, starts with small steps and in this way cannot be predicted,

Malcolm Gladwell in his book Tipping Point suggests that for change to occur the effect must be contagious.  The idea must be planted and spread.

He suggests that you have to know your audience to determine how to make information sticky for them. This  may require using market or scientific research to tap into their interests or subconscious motivation.  Gladwell  also gives an idea of the person that we need to co opt to spread change in the organisation.

  • Connectors who occupy many different worlds, and can bring these together
  • Mavens who are knowledgeable and trustworthy sources of information. Their words carry a lot of weight.
  • Salesmen who use the right words and possess an inherent energy, enthusiasm, charm, and likability that makes people want to listen to them.

Change is systemic. We have seen that changes that occur in other parts of the world reach our shores. Be aware of the impact that the change will have in both the target and other areas.  A change in strategy may require a change in policy and procedure for the strategy to work.  The implementation of new technology often requires a change in job description as well as a change in the business process.

Spend a bit of time thinking about the obvious impacts of the change as well as the subtle areas of the change.  This will also assist your idea to be contagious.

We often think of change as doing something big.  That’s part of being human we thing on a grand scale.  The novice painter wants to be the next Da Vinci.  He is unsatisfied with this small strokes he want to create a masterpiece immediately.  This novice painter puts so much pressure on himself that the magnitude of the task at hand stops him in his tracks.  Nothing happens.  He gets demotivated.

Leaders don’t be daunted by your small efforts at change.  It only takes a spark to get a fire going.  Your small effort on a daily basis will add up

The systemic nature of change when combined by the complex nature of our world, makes it seem that change happens overnight. It is often difficult to identify exactly when the change began.

We can ask ourselves did the BLM protest start because george Floyd lost his life when the cop kneeled on him? Or did the protests start because of the systemic injustices?  Or did the protests start when slaves were emancipated but not freed.

At times it is difficult to say what happened.  It is the small steps that add up until Gladwell’s tipping point is reached

Things take time.  If we want to make change it is to start where we can. It is to make the change with others who are like minded so that we can spread the contagion.

When frustrated remind yourself that what you are trying to change has been embedded within your company’s DNA, therefore it will take time to erase it,

Leaders as you determine what you want to change I encourage you to think what you are hoping for.

You are going to invest time and energy and money to make a change so before you make a move I ask you to consider this question

*”What is the one thing that you can change that if changed will change everything?

This is where you want to put your efforts,

Consider the obvious and the subtle results of the change.  Consider that the changes will impact the lives of many team members, their families and their communities will also be affected.

Lots to think about if you are a leader

In summary

  • Change needs to be contagious.  Recruit the right people to help spread the word
  • Small bits add up
  • Things take time so don’t be haunted by the change you want to make nd how long it takes.
  • And you never know where the tipping point is so don’t stop going.

We can also ask ourselves the following questions

  • What is missing in my family and my community?
  • What can I provide for what is missing?
  • What is the one thing that we can change, that if changed will change everything?

 

My intention is to fuel your leadership spark so that together we can bring change to the systems that we live in.

At this time I am hosting free 30 minute online sessions with teams to lead the conversations about change. The intention is to bring about the healing and help team members to alleviate that pain the hurt and the sadness and the confusion that is felt at this time

If you want to host a free online session for your team then Contact me on linked in or Instagram at Maxine Attong.  You can call or send me a whats app to 8687247642 or visit my website

Thank you for reading

*This questions is an adapted from the book the One thing by Gary Keller