Intro – what is this and why?
I strongly believe that to improve as a leader or at anything in this life you need to reflect on yourself. You need to be willing to dig up those failures and put them up on a wall to analyse what you did wrong, why you did it and what you could do better. This is what I plan on doing using this blog. In these posts, I am going to dive into my work as a leader and identify where I can improve. I will be honest in order to learn and to hopefully inspire others to learn and grow as well.
To read more about how you can have a healthy mindset about failure and make it a learning experience that propels you to success – check this post out!
The quote good
“The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection.” – Thomas Paine
Quite funny that a man called Mr Paine came up with this quote but I think it is true. This quote describes real grit, dealing with the trials of life as you get battered, again and again, looking at yourself and how you might learn and grow – asking yourself how you can turn the bad into something good. I think a great example of this is my wife. Only a few months after we were married she suffered severe sciatica and was sofa bound from the pain and it turned out she had a herniated disc. It took nearly 2 years, 4 procedures and many appointments to finally get her back to full health. During that time, it would have been easy to give up and waste away her time but instead she decided to learn something new, she learnt how to crochet. She kept at it day after day, filled our home with all kinds of wool and is now running her own Etsy shop, doing craft fairs and crocheting pretty much every day! It wasn’t easy to do or to keep persevering with everything going on around her but she did. Check out her Etsy shop here for some awesome crochet toys, gifts, cards and all sorts (some great Christmas gift ideas to choose from)!
These last few weeks have been manic – I have been on several short city breaks with my wife and finishing off one of my ILM assignments. Life was busy and I was super exhausted and I knew if I kept up my post regime for hitleader.com I would end up burning out and not spending any time with my wife, so I gave myself a break. Today a lot of people talk about the importance of productivity, and there is this notion that we should try to always be productive, always be doing things and building things and I don’t believe that is a healthy attitude at all. We need to be self-aware and see when things are getting too much when we actually need a break to ensure we keep what we actually produce to a high calibre. It may mean we need to reprioritise and drop certain things for a while, that isn’t giving up, it is a vital thing you need to be able to do.
Last week I found out I had made a mistake on an old project I moved on from that has come round to bite a colleague in the bottom… Early on in the design phase we had identified a need for the system to work in a particular way to support the client but that is where the email trail goes cold – it was never discussed again. In fact, I had assumed that it would all just work together and that we didn’t need to track this issue, and I still do believe that it was a reasonable assumption. However, the issue was that I kept this assumption to myself. I didn’t ask for advice, I didn’t tell the client that I held this assumption and I didn’t hand it over when I left the project. Assumptions are generally bad – it means there is no clarity so you are having to make a guess and that isn’t bad in itself, it is the fact that we usually internalise our assumptions that is bad, we don’t tend to discuss them and test them. As a leader you will probably have to make assumptions on a daily basis, there is always an unknown lurking around somewhere, but when you are dealing with these uncertainties, don’t do what I did, don’t internalise it. Bring out your assumptions and uncertainties to the open, discuss it, question it, and get new perspectives. I wrote a post about this a while back, check it out here if you want to read more on this topic.