Archive | Meta Org Blog

RSS feed for this section

ROLE MODELLING IN LEADERSHIP

When we are young, we are greatly influenced by our role models.  As children, we learn to mimic or parents at a very young age and, in later years, whilst our role models may change, we continue to learn from those we admire.  These will include our heroes, whether fictional or real, those at school who may be brighter, better at sports than we are or those who are the most popular.

Whilst our tastes may change, as we grow older, the desire to learn and emulate others does not diminish.  At work, we try and understand what makes people successful and recognise the behaviours of the most influential.   Our own leadership styles are more likely to reflect what we have picked up from others than what we may have learnt from our own experiences.

Before we notice, others are watching us closely and seeing what works and what they like.  And if what we do does not seem to match what we say, we build suspicion, distrust and potentially lose others’ commitment to our leadership.

So I would like you to think about the behaviours that you demonstrate at work.  Do these reflect the ways of working that you are trying to encourage or are there inconsistencies.  For example, are you trying to encourage others to have a better work/life balance, but are the first to arrive and the last to leave?  Or are you trying to improve team working within your department, whilst being openly proud of your independence and autonomy of decision-making?

We are often unaware of these inconsistencies between what we say and what we do, but they are glaringly apparent to others.  So, ask yourself some key questions:

  1. What are the behaviours and ways of working that you are trying to promote within your team or department?
  2. How consistent are your own actions in demonstrating these changes?
  3. What improvements or changes in your leadership style do you need to make to ensure that there is greater consistency?

Finally, why not take the opportunity to explain to others the changes you are planning to make?  This will demonstrate your commitment, show them that you believe in adapting your own style and so encourage them to take similar actions themselves.  And isn’t that what being a good role model is all about?

Comments { 0 }

TOOLS FOR CREATION – NATURE

This month’s workshop is inspired by nature. As I write this update, the sun is streaming down and there’s a Magritte blue sky with whispery light clouds. The birds are singing, and you can almost hear the grass growing..

Nature has been the inspiration for artists and creatives throughout human existence. From the crude drawings of pre-historic man, through to the landscapes of Constable and Turner. Yet how we harness nature for our own creativity is not as predictable as it may sound.

Nature is all around us. I want us to look at nature, not as ‘watercolour challenge’ or a Constable ‘village scene’ but something vibrant and dynamic that can inspire!

Begin to look at nature with fresh eyes. Begin to see nature as a tool for creation. I have a few exercises which may help…

  1. Find a place in nature – this can be remote, a park, a garden, even an urban environment
  2. Take time to notice what is around you – what do you see? Make a note of everything in your place in nature.
  3. Take a slow walk, again noticing the bounty of nature around you. If you want to stop, pick something up, study it, do.
  4. Take time to study in depth a piece of nature, – a leaf, a hill, a berry, a cone, a feather – maybe sketch it, maybe take it home with you.
  5. The wonder of nature is in its perfection on a miniature scale– a bumblebee’s tiny wings, the veins on a leaf, the spiral on a snail’s shell.
  6. The cyclical nature of nature is everywhere. See new birth, life, death, growth, and reproduction. Does this have parallels in our own lives?
  7. What are we doing to this environment we live in? What is our relationship to it?
  8. How does it make you feel? What are its smells, tastes, sounds? Make a note of them.
  9. Nature is awash with colour, vibrant and full of life, let nature’s colours inspire you, be the starting point of a new piece of creation.
  10. What shapes can you find in nature? Take the outlines/shapes use them in your own work.

Nature is vast. It is a vast topic to cover in such a small workshop. But if the British summer does hold out, do take the time to go somewhere new and record in whatever way suits your own creativity, the way it makes you feel.

 

Comments { 0 }

MAKING WORK PURPOSEFUL

I often hear that work is a means to an end for people. They do it so that they can earn enough money to do other things. What a shame to spend so much of your time doing something which doesn’t have any intrinsic fulfilment!

Yet we also come across all sorts of people doing all sorts of jobs who do feel that their work is worthwhile. What’s the difference? These people have found something to make their work purposeful.

Ways of making your work purposeful can be identified by asking yourself:

  1. How does what I do make a difference in the world? For example you may be contributing to a service or product that improves people’s lives.
  2. How does what I do help other people? For example you may help to make their job easier, or make them feel good by treating them well.
  3. How does what I do use my talents and personal qualities? For example, you may be good at communicating and use that to please your customers, or someone whose sense of humour lightens the day for others.

When our work feels purposeful, we give of our best, and feel satisfaction with what we are doing. It gives meaning to all those hours spent at work. What is the purpose for you of your work?

Homework

  1. Ask yourself the questions above and find at least one thing that makes your work feel purposeful.
  2. Encourage others to do the same.

 

Comments { 0 }

EMPOWERMENT

This month, I would like to explore the concept of EMPOWERMENT.  This became a buzzword for the nineties, along with other management concepts, such as de-layering, re-engineering and even, dare I say it, “leadership” itself!  Many organisations embraced the concept and empowered their people, but the results have not been inspiring.

Empowered staff often complain that they are not really empowered, as decisions are still taken by their bosses.  Managers complain that empowered workers ignore the rules and are quick to explain that they “tried empowerment”, but that it just did not work.  Leaders need to anticipate the needs of those that have been empowered.  How will others react to them, will they want confirmation from “the boss”, will they resent their authority?  Leaders and others may also need to show greater tolerance for mistakes and support people, so that they are able to learn from their experiences.

A useful metaphor is a teenager who becomes “empowered” through having greater independence, often financially as well as socially.  As parents, we recognise the need to set boundaries, to gradually develop trust in our sons or daughters, to tolerate their occasional mistake and for them to know that we will always be there for them.  But as managers, we can often operate with a different set of rules.  We do not outline the “do’s and don’ts”.  When people fail, we take back control (after all, it was a daft idea, anyway!) and if things get tough, we are not always supportive.

Think about how you have empowered those who work for you.  Have you provided them with the support, at both a day-to-day level and also at an emotional level?  Are they flourishing, as would a growing adult, or are they floundering like a child in the wilderness?

  1. Spend some time thinking about the people that you manage?
  2. How are they coping with the degree of “empowerment” that you have given them?
  3. Have you outlined the “rules-of-the-game” (both written and unwritten) within your company or are they stumbling into problems on a regular basis?  If not, jot down some of the rules and discuss them at the next opportunity.
  4. How are you supporting them on a regular basis?  Do you share their experiences and discuss ways of improving things next time?
  5. How do you react to mistakes?  Do you support them?  Are you there to help when things go wrong – in a way that is constructive?

Be sure to treat them as individuals, since they will be at different stages and will have differing needs.  Finally, consider the benefits that effectively empowered staff will offer to you.  Perhaps, more time to think strategically or to network with others outside your company or even the chance to occasionally go home early!

Write these down, as they will be useful reminders to you when you are tempted to abandon empowerment and to take control back again!

 

Comments { 0 }

GIVE YOUR SPIRIT A LIFT

Inspired by my own flagging spirit, this month’s workshop is a good dose of the nice medicine – for me too!

It’s all too easy to get caught up in the drama of life. After all, we did come here to forget what wondrous beings we truly are..but every now and again it’s good to catch ourselves out and let go of our ‘human frailties’ and remind ourselves of just how special we are. All it is, is that we have started to ‘believe the hype’ that we are just humans and forgotten our true nature. We have managed to forget where we put our angel wings and well and truly hidden away our inner self behind one, two or three big solid looking, locked doors. No wonder we start to feel that the world is conspiring against us…we’re conspiring against ourselves!!

So give yourself a break, and give your spirit a lift!

When you find yourself in the office or at home, and nothing seems to be going quite right – nothing major, just niggling little things. – what you need is a Spirit lift. This workshop is for you. Little things you can easily do, to give your spirit a lift and lighten your day. Renew your friendship with your-self and get back in touch with your spirit.

How we feel is reflected in what it is we create for ourselves in our lives. When we feel good, things generally go well and we attract good things into our lives. But when things falter, we tend to spiral very quickly into a negative mind-set and hey presto! We only seem to attract the not so good stuff.. If only we could catch ourselves before we slip too far…

Well here it is, the Meta-Spirit team’s: recommended tasks for flagging spirits ‘ Go on give them a try! And please do send in any further suggestions to add to our list, because this list is by no means exhaustive.

RECOMMENDED TASKS FOR FLAGGING SPIRITS:

  • Buy yourself some sweets/chocolate (I bought ¾ lb of sweets today…my bad day, just got better!)
  • Phone a friend, or visit them – true friends have the magic ability to help you forget all your troubles, they help you remember how special you really are.
  • Treat yourself to a take-away on the way home – mmm..curry!
  • Cat/Dog Therapy – Here in the office we have ‘cat breaks’. Basically Angel and Funky come up and will literally stop you from working by walking all over the computer until you’ve had your 5 minute break! (as I write this, Funky is curled up in front of the computer keyboard, having given my spirit a lift)
  • Read something inspirational – I like to surround myself with books by inspirational people. Books to pick up and help you remember.
  • Music – I love music, and music can beat the blues any day and I recommend a good dose of Mozart to revive flagging spirits.
  • Walks – simple but effective – nature will always bring you back to the wonder of it all, and these crisp, sunny, autumnal mornings were created for us to share in.
  • Ice cream – brings back memories of my childhood, walks in the park and a 20p ‘99’ ice cream with raspberry sauce…what will it spark off in you?
  • Cookies – There’s a cookie monster in us all – go on let the monster loose!
  • Listening to something inspirational – Words of wisdom from your favourite spiritual teacher, never fails to reinvigorate a flagging soul.
  • Videos – curl up in front of the telly with your loved one, (cats make an excellent substitute if loved one not available), ice cream/sweets /cookies/popcorn/all of the above and watch your favourite video.

 

Comments { 0 }

Experimenting

Why do we have to get it right first time, every time, or else we feel bad? It just doesn’t fit with our experience as humans does it? And it certainly doesn’t fit with being a learner! Actually we don’t call it experimenting, we call it ‘getting it wrong’ – no wonder it makes us feel bad!

Yet the way we grow in our lives is by trying things out, and gradually establishing what works for us. No, it’s even more than that, it is continually experimenting, because what works for us at one point, may change within moments, and as we move into it, we can see even more possibilities.

As children, this way of growing into our true selves comes naturally to us. We love to experiment and find different ways of doing things, thinking about things, and reacting to things. It is only a taught behaviour to try and find the ‘right’ answer that will last forever.

So let’s be children again! Let’s experiment and play with ideas and approaches. And don’t feel bad if your experiment is not perfect – be delighted that you have more exploring to do!

  1. Experiment with a different route home, or a new type of cereal for breakfast – anything that takes your fancy!
  2. Next time something doesn’t work quite how you intended, smile to yourself and say, ‘great! More experimenting to do!’ (OK, I know that’s a tough one, but it might at least make you laugh instead of being upset! After all, it’s not the end of the world!)
Comments { 0 }

Tune in, Turn on, Chill out.

In the busy world of illusion, we have very little time to ourselves.

Everything has to be done now! – the kids need feeding, the garden needs weeding, got to get to work, got to go shopping, must visit dad, better do the hoovering, must put the washing on, gotta get home-we never stop! We never take a time-out from the hectic lives we lead.

We end up over-worked, stressed, out-of-balance, feeling empty/low/under appreciated, het-up and tense- so why not give yourself some appreciation, wash those daily hectic blues away!

In this month’s workshop we’ll be finding out about finding time for yourself.

How? It’s simple-really simple.

Just take 15 minutes a day that you dedicate to yourself. A time for you and you only, that no-one or no-thing can interrupt or interfere with.

Find a quiet place, sit in a comfortable position, light a candle or incense if you would like.

Put on some relaxing instrumental music or simply listen to the sounds of nature/life.

Close your eyes-and breathe.
Breathe in, breathe out – that’s all you have to do.

Initially your mind will probably fill with 101 things you have to do or sort out yet today, but just let the thoughts pass without connecting with them, and soon they will pass.

Continue breathing deeply, but naturally until the 15 minutes are up.

The great thing about this exercise is that it can be done anywhere: on the train or bus, as a passenger in a car, in the office, anywhere that you can shut your eyes for 15 minutes and breathe.

You should find yourself feeling lighter, thinking clearer and re-energised. Ideally it is a good start to the day and it is also good to aid peaceful sleep at night.

As you get used to taking the 15 minute ‘ Me Break ‘, you may find that 15 minutes is just not enough Me Time, so lengthen the time to suit your needs.

So To Re-cap

When you wake, or when you get stressed, or the strains of life are getting to you..

REMEMBER .. It’s time to:

1.Tune In: Find a quiet spot to tune in to your inner self and the body you inhabit.

2.Turn on: Just 15-20 mins a day gives you time to revitalise tired bodies and minds.

3.Chill out: Breathing deeply for 15-20 minutes will leave you feeling lighter, calmer and more relaxed.

Comments { 0 }

Knowing it All

One of the things that I was reminded of while I was on retreat in August was the importance of being rather than knowing.

The man who led the retreat has been a teacher for most of his life and has always inspired me and helped me to continue to develop myself. He is now wheelchair-bound and takes a question and answer session each afternoon.

And in those sessions, what comes clear is that he is still learning, and still wanting to develop. So he will say that he doesn’t know the answer to all the questions, he will accept and acknowledge challenges that stimulate him to think more about some of the topics, and of course sometimes his answers are just perfect, coming from a deep knowing that goes beyond the purely intellectual.

I sit there and realise yet again that being comfortable with not knowing is a vital ability in anybody, and allows others to explore for themselves and find what they know at some level. It may be more valuable than being the expert who keeps people as the ‘children’ who don’t know yet.

Homework

  1. Next time you don’t know the answer when someone asks you something, feel comfortable about saying that you don’t know, and get the group or individual to explore for themselves
  2. Next time you do think you know the answer, try letting others find it for themselves, and enjoy some of the differences between their version of the answer and yours

 

Comments { 0 }