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Emotional Intelligence

What’s the greatest gift you could give?

What’s the greatest gift you could give?

by Moyra Mackie on September 19, 2016

The other day my twenty-year old son baked a cake for the 18th birthday of his girlfriend’s sister.    This was the first cake he’d made since he was little and we used to bake together – him standing on a chair, with a grown up’s apron folded over to fit him.

Suddenly, like it was yesterday, I see him learning to break eggs that are as big as his toddler hands. I can hear him laughing as he turns the electric whisk to High on purpose just to see the resulting cloud of flour and sugar.

Moments together AND the subsequent memories are great gifts

Along with kicking endless footballs and counting and categorising dinosaur and train collections, I took up baking as a way of spending quality time with my son. But as he grew out of needing a chair to stand on, he outgrew the desire to spend time doing this and I lost the chance to spend that time, just him and me.

Sometimes we mistake a gift for a burden

Whilst I can see those moments as clear and precious gifts now, I didn’t always appreciate them.  I turned down moments because I was too busy, too tired and – yes sometimes –  just a little bit bored.

Great gifts last for a long time

I was surprised that after more than a decade my son was choosing to go back to baking.  It wasn’t an easy choice as he had to borrow everything he needed.

Instead of Google, he rather touchingly turned to me for a recipe and advice; phoning me half way through beating the cake mixture to check what it should look like.  He was using a wooden spoon, so it was demanding patience and elbow grease.

What impressed me most was that this was not necessary

He could have easily bought a cake or some other gift.  But he chose to give his time and his effort.  In the process he pushed himself to try something outside his comfort zone.

What gift could you give?

read more…

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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The promotion precipice

The promotion precipice

by Moyra Mackie on July 17, 2016

In simple terms, we can usually divide our careers into two parts.  Before we managed people and after.

The first part of our career is usually spent building and honing our skills.  We may start off as generalists, but gradually as we get recognised and rewarded for what we do well, we focus on our strengths.  Perhaps without realising it, we become an “expert” in a particular area.

After a time, if we do this well enough we usually get given people to manage.

Promotion and progress are linked to managing others

Without knowing it, we’ve arrived at the Promotion Precipice.  It’s a place of great opportunity, but also one of great unknown and potential risk.

Why?

Because in the eighteen years I’ve been coaching leaders and their teams, I’ve met only a handful of people who received any form of training BEFORE they were given people to manage.

Yet everything has fundamentally changed

http://www.coachwiththegreenhat.com/emotionally-intelligent-management/From now on a manager cannot just focus on developing skills related to their task – the WHAT.  Now they have to focus on the HOW, on building the skills of others.

Of course our Before Management career has involved people skills, but it’s different.  Let’s take the example of an orchestra.

Before management you played the trumpet.  You needed to be good at playing the trumpet, but also mindful of how you kept time and tune with the rest of the brass section.  You also had to pay attention to what the rest of the orchestra were doing.

You keep your place by being a good solo contributor and by fitting in with the rest of the team.

Management requires you put the trumpet down and move to conducting the orchestra.

Once you’re a manager you’re responsible for co-ordinating multiple relationships – down, across and up the organisation.  In fact, getting things done requires that you increasingly look up; that you develop a bigger picture view.

Without training or coaching new management can feel precarious

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Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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Leadership and lying down to photograph elephants

Leadership and lying down to photograph elephants

by Moyra Mackie on April 1, 2016

It’s a beautiful spring day in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe.  We’ve just got back from our early morning safari drive. We began in the barely-light crisp cold, swaddled in fleece and thick woollen blankets.  We return under clear blue skies, our faces upturned to the emerging heat of the sun, our hearts full of the raw beauty of the landscape and animals we’ve encountered.

With the smell of lunch in the air and the sound of the crickets starting up in the bush we spot a dozen or more elephants making their way in a graceful line to the waterhole, fifty or so metres away.  The professional photographers in the group, grab lenses and tripods to capture the playful babies and the protective mothers gathering at the water’s edge.

I’ve come armed with only a smartphone, which I’m realising is not at all equipped for long distances.

There are many ways of seeing the same thing

So I lie on the wooden decking, near the fire pit.  I tune out the other guests who are amused by my photographic technique.

As I am in Africa to research my leadership retreat, Campfire Conversations, capturing the fire and the seats around it is also important to me. It’s not a perfect image – I miss the fact that a tree branch cuts through the herd and the camera can’t pick out the individuality of each elephant.

Yet we have a choice as to how we see things

From where I’m lying I can get a sense of perspective about how close the animals are to us; I can show the relationship between them and us.

I would never have become aware of this – never thrown myself down on the floor – if it had not been for my friend, and professional photographer, Rebecca Fennell.  Before leaving for Zimbabwe, Bex had given me a crash course in how to get great pictures with a smartphone.  One of the biggest lessons she passed on to me was:

“Most people just point their camera at the subject, they don’t think about how they should best relate to what they’re photographing.  Get down level with your subject.  Think about angles and light and what you want to show with that image.”

She showed me how different the bottles and glasses on the table in front of us looked, if taken from a more thoughtful height, paying attention to where the natural light was.

Photography is the art of paying attention

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Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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It’s estimated that around 75% of change initiatives fail. A failed or interrupted change program is really just disruption. Disruption is costly –  to the bottom line and to the emotions, energy and engagement of all involved.

Change fails because we start in the wrong place

Most change programs start with a reaction – to the market, to what is happening “out there.” Senior management or HR departments see other companies doing this or that and decide, “that’s where we need to be. Let’s get a plan together, let’s add some targets – some carrots and sticks – and let’s get our leaders to sell this vision.”

Wikipedia summarises the literature more formally:

“Regardless of the many types of organizational change, the critical aspect is a company’s ability to win the buy-in of their organization’s employees on the change. Effectively managing organizational change is a four-step process:
1. Recognizing the changes in the broader business environment
2. Developing the necessary adjustments for their company’s needs
3. Training their employees on the appropriate changes
4. Winning the support of the employees with the persuasiveness of the appropriate adjustments”

Change fails because it’s reactive and focused on selling a vision

Vision is incredibly motivating in getting us to move from where we are to where we really want or need to be. But you need to know EXACTLY WHERE you are starting from.

Imagine finding yourself in a strange city where you can’t speak the language, or read the signs, and you’re hungry. You find a wonderful restaurant on Google maps but GPS can’t locate where you are. Knowing where you want to be, and being highly motivated to get there, is not going to help.

For lasting change you have to start with the present – where you are right now

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Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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Emotional Intelligence: The difference that makes the difference

Emotional Intelligence: The difference that makes the difference

by Guest contributor Liam Barrett on December 13, 2014

For years, in school, you are taught that good grades is how life works. That getting straight A’s and doing your homework is all that matters.

While being smart, and doing your work is a must, there is more to life than just “being smart”.  Employers are starting to recognize that the real prize is emotional intelligence.

Emotional Intelligence is the difference that really makes the difference

Emotional intelligence is the ability to react and adjust to your own emotions;  properly controlling and moderating them.

Many people measure how successful they will be on how smart they are.  But some of our toughest tests are those we face when we leave school – getting turned down, failing, or hitting a roadblock. How we cope depends a lot on our EI.

Becoming a master of emotional intelligence helps your chances of success and fulfillment at home and at work.

There are many ways to increase your emotional intelligence

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Guest contributor Liam Barrett

Guest contributor Liam Barrett

Liam is a young entrepreneur from Boise, Idaho. He is always looking for ways to become a great, influential leader. Everyday is another day to achieve his idea of success, and he believes that only one's self is responsible for the daily life that you live.

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Close encounters with elephant:  A lesson in leadership

Close encounters with elephant: A lesson in leadership

by Moyra Mackie on September 20, 2014

“The role of a great guide is to get clients as close to the animals without fear.”

Said the man on the right of this picture as he described Nic Polenakis, (centre above) a Zimbabwe guide selected by National Geographic Traveler as one of the “10 Great Tour Guides Who Can Transform Your Trip”.

Watching Nic in action certainly transformed my trip, giving a demonstration of leadership in action

Zimbabwe guides hold Professional Guides Licences, one of the most difficult, extensive and well-respected qualifications of its type in Africa.  Qualifying takes 4-5 years, including 2 years’ apprenticeship with another pro guide and a 2 day written exam.  The pass rate is around 5%.

I confess that in the moment that we came across that bull elephant standing between us and our tented room, the only thing that mattered was how Nic handled the tension – ours and the elephant’s.

Leadership is about how you show up

I had only met Nic an hour before, but I trusted him implicitly.  His rigorous training and extensive experience gave him the courage to handle our fear. He easily modelled the way he needed us to respond. read more…

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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I’ve been thinking a lot about gratitude this week.

Firstly Jane, a friend of mine from school, nominated me on Facebook to declare three positive things each day for five days and to pass this nomination on to three of my friends.

Now ordinarily I am not a huge fan of the “get me a million likes because I’m seriously ill” or “share this picture of a mis-treated animal to show you care” type of post that Facebook is awash with.

I believe we need to give real time and real money to the causes we care about and spend time with people we know who are suffering, rather than soothe ourselves with an instant LIKE or SHARE.

So that’s the grouchiness out of the way, let’s get back to the gratitude.

Jane’s nomination struck a chord with me

I’ve been buried in books about emotions over the last couple of weeks as the subject of my Masters dissertation is about working with emotions in coaching.

http://www.coachwiththegreenhat.com/gratitude-bene…ying-attention/

All roads to happiness and leadership start with positive emotions

In the Emotional Life of your Brain, the neuroscientist,  Richard Davidson, says:

“Emotion works with cognition in an integrated and seamless way to enable us to navigate the world of relationships, work and spiritual growth.  When positive emotion energizes us, we are better able to concentrate, to figure out the social networks at a new job or new school, to broaden our thinking so we can creatively integrate diverse information, and to sustain our interest in a task so we can persevere.”

read more…

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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In the absence of other metrics on leadership effectiveness, let’s take employee engagement levels as a way of working out how well managers are leading.

Given that record numbers of staff are disengaged, we can safely say that current leaders are failing on a massive scale.

But what to do about it?

Spend on leadership development continues to rise.  Yet according to many surveys, including a summary of research by the Corporate Research Forum, dissatisfaction with results is also on the rise.

From the mountains of research and 15 years of helping organisations to develop leaders and their teams, I would summarise the reasons as follows:

  • A confusion with the difference between training and learning
  • Too much or too little “classroom” learning
  • No scope for individualised learning tracks
  • Lack of management buy-in and involvement
  • Too much focus on strategy and not enough on measurable skills
  • Inconsistent follow through
  • Lack of focus on the science of change

The red herring in the room: 70:20:10

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Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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Emotional Intelligence and the Art of Noticing

Emotional Intelligence and the Art of Noticing

by Moyra Mackie on April 26, 2014

When Daniel Goleman’s first book on Emotional Intelligence was published in 1995 I was so excited by the possibilities he was describing that I was happy to rush to Barnes and Noble in Raleigh, NC and pay out what was then a princely sum of $40.

I was pregnant with my first son and captivated by Goleman’s introduction:

“What can we change that will help our children fare better in life?  What factors are at play, for example when people of high IQ flounder and those of modest IQ do surprisingly well?  I would argue that the difference quite often lies in … emotional intelligence…these skills can be taught to children, giving them a better chance to use whatever intellectual potential the genetic lottery may have given them.”

What four years olds and a plate of marshmallows showed us

In the book Goleman describes what has become known as the “marshmallow experiment” which was actually a series of studies on delayed gratification carried out in the 60s and 70s at Stanford University. 

Researchers offered children the choice between eating a marshmallow immediately or holding out for two marshmallows if they waited until the researcher returned.

If you want to see how cute delayed gratification looks, do watch this video.



The effects lasted….

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Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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Whenever I run a leadership program, I ask participants to list what they consider to be the essential traits of effective leadership.  Along with “being trusted”, there are always those old clichés of “having vision”, or worse “charisma”.

Don’t get me wrong.  Charisma is a wonderful trait, but it’s what I would term decorative.  It’s a nice to have, alongside a great smile and a welcoming handshake.

Time management is not decorative. Or optional. It is the very foundation of effective leadership.

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Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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