Leader's Digest #60 (February 2022)

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LEADERS ISSUE 60

FEBRUARY 2022

DIGEST

Purposeful

LEADERSHIP Source: Image by Freepik


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Publication Team Editor-in-Chief Ismail Said Editor Diana Marie Capel Graphic Designers Awang Ismail bin Awang Hambali Abdul Rani Haji Adenan

* Read our online version to access the hyperlinks to other reference articles made by the author.

Contents

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SARAWAK HUMAN CAPITAL AND TALENT DEVELOPMENT

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3 WAYS TO MASTER SELF-DISCIPLINE

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THE ROLE OF EXECUTIVE ASSISTANTS IN AN ORGANISATION

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THE PURPOSEFUL LEADER

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HOW TO HAVE THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF MEETINGS

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WHAT’S ON YOUR ‘BACK TO WORK’ CHECKLIST?

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10 WAYS TO STREAMLINE COMMUNICATIONS IN A DIGITAL WORKPLACES DIVERSITY MANAGEMENT: HOW CAN LEADERS FOSTER MEANINGFUL INCLUSION?

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Read this issue and past issues online at leadinstitute.com.my/ leaders-digest Scan the QR code below for quicker access:

BOOK REVIEW: BECOME: THE FIVE COMMITMENTS OF PURPOSEFUL LEADERSHIP BY MARK HANNUM

LET US KNOW If you are encouraged or provoked by any item in the LEADERS DIGEST, we would appreciate if you share your thoughts with us. Here’s how to reach us: Email: corporate@leadinstitute.com.my Content Partners:

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Leader’s Digest is a monthly publication by the Leadership Institute of Sarawak Civil Service, dedicated to advancing civil service leadership and to inspire our Sarawak Civil Service (SCS) leaders with contemporary leadership principles. It features a range of content contributed by our strategic partners and panel of advisors from renowned global institutions as well as established corporations that we are affiliated with. Occasionally, we have guest contributions from our pool of subject matter experts as well as from our own employees. The views expressed in the articles published are not necessarily those of Leadership Institute of Sarawak Civil Service Sdn. Bhd. (292980-T). No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without the publisher’s permission in writing.

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From the

Editorial Desk

BEING INTENTIONAL W

hen there is dedicated, extended focus with energy and immersion, it is felt. A massage that is intentional is when we feel that we are truly connecting with the point of pressure, the point of massage, the point of care towards very directed well-being. When the muscle holding our spine is massaged, be it with a finger, a fist or palm pressure both the masseur and the person receiving the effort, are meeting at the same point, yet from different perspectives. Taking this process of intentionality into leadership, we can then realize if what we do as leaders or experience under leadership feels and results in similar outcomes. Being purposeful, being meaningful come together and become the measurable element. Yet as much as there is an activity, there must have been the starting point of the reason for activating the intention, or better said, bringing the mental state of wanting to do something to doing it, externalizing it. When a leader has an intention to do a paradigm shift in mindset, the biggest challenge which is initially an extended pain (that undoing of the tensed muscle of an established mindset) that will only have meaning much later. Therefore, purposeful action requires the stamina, the resilience of going against the tension of pre-established and strongly defended concepts that have become the comfort zone of many leaders. “Let the next leader, make the changes!” is a common state of mind of wanting to keep the boat in a nice, calm water, rather than continuing with the intended creation of waves to ‘rock the boat’ of conformity.

“What’s the purpose of ….?” “What does it mean?” are some ways of, maybe, hampering, limiting a passionate effort to improve, to innovate, to align the present to future scenarios rather than to the known past. Purpose is not a clear-cut approach. Purpose is very personal. If the purpose in our personal life can be extended to our social and our professional lives, then we are acting in a symmetrical fashion. What we do for us, we will also do for others and that should also work vice versa. “What’s the purpose of…?” becomes the request for clarity, understanding and realization – that is a positive perspective. But it can also be the priming for remaining closed, remaining distant and nonparticipative, less alone supportive. And some activities, may have no purpose than just the act of it. This is what happens when children play. They play for a feeling first, then maybe to score or to win. The main purpose is to discover something new with others. And when adults play, that happens to. Yet the moment we ask what is the purpose of playing, somehow it feels as if the act of playing is being questioned. Purpose may be the decision to go towards a destination for an initial outcome. Yet on the way there, we may find out that the meaning prior to getting to the purpose (the destination) is what only after reaching the goal becomes the realization of the entire intention – what started it all. Bring it out. Dare. Do it with passion and respect. Involve as many as possible. And purpose will become evident for all. … and by the way, leaders are the representation of followers. Therefore, Purposeful Leadership requires a continuous Purposeful Followership. Because if the leader is to look to his/her followers, imagine they are going towards a different direction. As you drive your leadership car, remember that there is always a blind spot when you just use the mirror to see what is behind and next to you!

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Source: Photo by The Borneo Post 4

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SARAWAK HUMAN CAPITAL AND TALENT DEVELOPMENT “I believe there must be development in human capital and innovation that drives our economic growth. To create 195,000 high-paying jobs and 1.5 million employment opportunities by 2030, we have to align these initiatives to the state’s economic direction. Whilst there is a strong demand for soft skills such as project management, decision making, critical thinking, communication, design thinking and negotiation skills, I have often said digital competencies such as data analytics is an increasingly valuable economic commodity in both the public and private sectors. Organisations need to provide more training involving technology that makes an impact unto our people’s employability and income bracket. I urge all Sarawakians to take advantage of the vast opportunities enabled by the State’s Human Capital and Talent Development allocations.”

Datuk Patinggi (Dr) Abdul Rahman Zohari bin Tun Datuk Abang Haji Openg Chief Minister of Sarawak PCDS 2030 September 15, 2021

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3 Ways to Master Self-Discipline BY ROSHAN THIRAN

Source: Image by Unsplash

WHATS STOPPING YOU? In his bestselling book The 4-Hour Workweek, Tim Ferriss writes “‘Someday’ is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you.” How often have we thought about how, someday, we will start up a business? Or that, someday, we’ll join the speaker’s club to improve our presentation skills? Perhaps, someday, you plan to travel the world or write a book or learn how to paint. Sadly, countless people discover that someday never comes. Someday, for many of us, isn’t a reality – it’s a psychological comfort blanket that lets us believe that it’s not that we’re procrastinating. We’ll get there, eventually, it’s just…now isn’t the right time. In 1989, John Grisham was working as a lawyer in Mississippi when he wrote his first novel, A Time to Kill. Thirty years and over forty books later, he published The Guardians in October 2019.

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Promoting the book, he held a Facebook Live Q&A. In response to a question asking what the best advice he ever received, John replied that his publisher once told him, “Aim to put a book out every year – that’s how you’ll create a following.” Adding on to that advice, The Pelican Brief author suggested that, if writers aren’t writing at least one page every day, they’ll lose their momentum and never get around to writing their first work. There will be plenty of writers who will say that it’s not necessary to write every day. As with any valuable lesson, Grisham’s point doesn’t need to be literally true. His advice is clear: we can think and plan and fantasise for as long as we like, but nothing will develop or grow until we start doing.


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BRINGING YOURSELF TO START Some might argue that they struggle to work up the motivation. They want to achieve a certain goal, but they just can’t bring themselves to get started. And therein lies both the problem and the confusion. Motivation is described as “a reason or reasons for acting in a certain way”. In wanting to do anything (and thus having a reason for it), we’re already motivated. The only thing that holds us back is the decision to act, to follow through. To be self-disciplined. Self-discipline can be a challenge to develop. When we’re growing up, we are disciplined by our parents and teachers. Society disciplines us through its norms, and we face degrees of consequences when we don’t conform. In the workplace, we’re disciplined by two primary considerations: firstly, we need to perform in order to get paid; if we don’t perform, and secondly, we could find ourselves unemployed. So, for most of our lives, discipline is something that comes from sources external to ourselves. Unless you’ve pursued your own ways of developing selfdiscipline (e.g. joining a martial arts class or learning piano), you might be unfamiliar with what it entails. With that in mind, how do we develop self-discipline? Here are three key ways to develop the skill and master ourselves:

1. Whatever you’re doing, treat it as seriously as a paid job A lack of self-discipline comes when we have all the time in the world to get something done, and there are no real consequences for procrastinating. In an interview with Harvard Business Review, the author Salman Rushdie describes how he disciplines himself to write, “I’ve always had told myself simply to treat it like a nine to five job– if you have a job, you just go and do it. It doesn’t matter whether you’re feeling good that day. You know, if you’re a carpenter, you make your table…I can sit down at my desk every day and do my day’s work. I just do not give myself permission not to do it.”

2. Use the Pomodoro Technique If you find it difficult to just get down to the work, this popular time-management technique can help you progress towards that goal. The idea is that you commit to 25-minutes of work, and then take a fiveminute break. After the third round of working for 25 minutes (75 minutes in total), you take a 15-minute break. Repeat the process as necessary. This helps you to focus during the time you’ve set for working, and the self-discipline is incentivised by knowing you’ll have a short break soon as your reward.

3. Remind yourself why you’re trying to achieve a specific goal Learning Japanese might be challenging, but your partner’s Japanese parents don’t speak English very well. You want to make a good impression when you meet them. Even if you manage to hold a basic conversation, it shows that you’ve made an effort – and that means several plus points for you!

ROSHAN THIRAN Roshan is the Founder and CEO of the Leaderonomics Group. He believes that everyone can be a leader and “make a dent in the universe”, in their own special ways.

It’s difficult to maintain discipline if there’s no real meaning or purpose to it. By making sure an ambition or goal is important to you, it’ll be much easier to follow-through on your motivation and to persevere when you’re feeling stuck.

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Photo by RODNAE Productions @ Pexels

The Role of Executive Assistants in an Organisation Executive Assistants = Secret Weapon

The following are some of the benefits an executive assistant brings to your company:

The secret weapon for an organisation’s success can be executive assistants. In most instances, they help boost morale, increase productivity, and keep the company organised by acting as problem solvers and gatekeepers. However, the position is often ignored when hiring personnel. Over the years, the roles of executive assistants have evolved, and they do so much more than just file paperwork and answer phones. Since they can contribute to complex projects and handle a broad scope of responsibilities, they ensure costs are kept to a minimum and operations run smoothly. Although sometimes the return on investment is not measurable in concrete units, hiring qualified professionals has many advantages.

INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY

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They can quickly implement business strategies that create a significant impact since they understand the top tactics to improve business productivity. They also allow you to focus on more strategic work than immediate distractions such as email and calendar management. Although technology enables you to handle specific administrative tasks, you can perform your day-to-day tasks more efficiently with the help of an executive assistant.


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PROVISION OF SOLUTIONS

GROWTH SUPPORT

A competent executive assistant should play the role of an essential strategic partner who is constantly looking for ways to improve the entire organisation. You can engage the services of a qualified recruiter for your executive assistant post to get the most qualified employees. Since they are intimate with almost all the aspects of your company, they are well-placed to know where problems arise.

A competent executive assistant understands that you cannot grow a large company all by yourself. Since they serve as the firm’s communication backbone, they can help you achieve your goals more quickly. They do this by aligning everyone to endeavour towards the same targets and bringing people and projects together.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

Also, they are uniquely equipped to spot improvement opportunities. Additionally, experienced executive assistants can provide exact solutions to different issues upfront since they may have faced similar issues while helping past clients. In short, they not only keep a company moving forward but also provide solutions to some of your biggest obstacles.

INCREASED COLLABORATION The need to keep a team working together and engaged is more crucial than ever in the current world of remote work. Studies indicate that almost three-quarters of employers consider collaboration and teamwork very important. However, many people find collaboration among the most challenging aspects of modern work despite its significance. To solve the collaboration puzzle, you need a liaison that endeavours to connect people across departments and organisational levels. Executive assistants can help you streamline projects and pass communication to multiple parties easily and quickly. This is because they are well-versed with coordination and proactivity.

Therefore, your organisation gets to focus on higher leverage work and even more growth than before. Also, since they already have protocols and systems for remote work in place, they can significantly aid you in engaging remote teams if you collaborate remotely. Remote teams are essential today since they enable your company’s growth and open up a whole new world of opportunities and possibilities.

IN SUMMARY Your organisation as a whole can significantly benefit since an executive assistant adds a tremendous amount of value to it. As the leader of your company, you will notice a lot of personal value when dealing with an executive assistant. You will see a better worklife balance as well as an increased feeling of control in performing your day-to-day activities. However, you must hire a qualified and competent executive assistant who can withstand the pressure associated with the role.

LEADERONOMICS This article is published by the editors of Leaderonomics.com

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Source: Image by confused_me from Pixabay

The Purposeful Leader BY BERNARD LEE

John has been involved in adding value to people his entire life. In my own journey, I have been privileged to hear him in person and read his books / materials. Another example is Ken Blanchard. From his iconic classic, The One Minute Manager, to business school lectures, Ken has lived a life devoted to developing leaders. Why do people like John Maxwell and Ken Blanchard still make themselves available (today) to coach, develop and train leaders when they could easily have retired and sat back to enjoy life? I believe the reason they are still actively writing, speaking and investing in people is because they have a servant-heart. Their mastery generates passion. They have committed themselves to a lifetime of developing leaders. A purposeful leader acts as a catalyst to spur others on. They ignite the spark and provide the thrust to launch others towards greatness. They inspire others to dream and create a safe space for them to explore their aspirations. One of my favourite global hotel chains is the Marriott Hotels and Resorts. They offer a wide range of hotels and resorts around the world catering to different budgets. Apart from its hotel offerings, the stories of people who work at Marriott fascinate me.

Purpose And Leadership The purposeful leader is a leader with purpose and is intentionally living out his/her purpose. Purposeful leaders are confident and secure in who they are; competent with a servant-heart in what they do; acting as a catalyst to spur others into future possibilities. For a leader to be confident and secure, he / she must recognise their call as a leader. The call to influence and impact the lives of people comes from their purpose and not their position. Purposeful leaders understand the person makes the position, not vice-versa. Mother Teresa is no stranger to us. Her desire to serve others has made a difference in the lives of people across the globe. She did not have a position, a title nor accolades, but she had a very clear purpose and passion to serve others. When she left this world, Presidents and paupers alike mourned her loss. Former U.N. Secretary-General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar says, “She is the United Nations. She is at peace in the world.” Purposeful leaders are driven by purpose, not performance. Purposeful leaders have mastery in what they do. They spend years honing their skills to be competent in what they do. They do it not for self-benefit, but to serve others. “We become a leader the day we decide to help people grow, not numbers”, says Simon Sinek. I think of world-renowned leadership guru - John Maxwell.

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Pam Wilby was a nurse, then worked in an airline, before starting in the hotel industry as a receptionist. She studied and worked her way through to become the first female General Manager in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). (Image taken from Hotelier Middle East) Craig Smith (Group President and Managing Director) describes Pam as a true trailblazer and a beacon for the company and industry - “she creates a family environment, catapulting not just her own career, but thousands of others.” I have read many stories about how people are given opportunities to thrive and grow their career and there is always one thing in common someone (organisation) acted as a catalyst and nudged them towards that opportunity that eventually launched their careers.


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How do we become a purposeful leader? I believe we (people and organisations) need to do 3 key things engage the core, equip the skills, and empower the spirit.

1. Engage the core Engaging the core is about intentionally working on strengthening those muscles that hold the body together. By doing so, we enable the other parts of our muscles to move efficiently and effectively. Every athlete understands that a strong core allows swift and smooth movement of your arms and legs. Similarly, every organisation must strengthen its core. Only by strengthening it can the people operate and deliver the expected results. The core could be the likes of purpose, values and vision; organisational culture, performance and development initiatives; and knowledge, skills and abilities for someone to be successful in the organisation. Regardless of what it is, leaders need to intentionally engage it and make it strong. If your core is weak, don’t expect optimal performance.

2. Equip the skills Organisations must intentionally focus their efforts on equipping and upskilling its people. I don’t mean “training”. Far too often, “training” is nice to have - when I have the time and budget to do so, I’ll do it. People and organisations must rid themselves of this lackadaisical attitude and equip themselves with the relevant skills that will enable them to perform the role today. Equipping is about being prepared for something. The preparation is a process and not an event. Hence, “training” cannot be a one-off activity we do when we have the time and budget. It is a carefully planned and crafted journey that makes the person ready for the role and task ahead. At Invigorate we call this, developing leaders today, for tomorrow. We work with clients to intentionally build leaders today, preparing them for the future.

As leaders, we create opportunities for them. We open doors. We journey together with them. If that journey is within the organisation, that’s fantastic! If it’s not, then we need to be gracious to release them and ask ourselves, why can’t we create that opportunity for them here! Empowering others is not about people doing our bidding, but launching people into opportunities for them to live their purpose. In short, we need to treat people as people, and not a resource. Purposeful leaders are driven by purpose, not performance. It’s not about what I (people) have to do, but rather “WOW, I get to do this!”. There is a world of difference between the two statements. The latter sparks excitement and releases energy that is beyond what is asked for.

Some questions for us to reflect on: Are you a secure and confident leader? Do you feel threatened by the success of the people you lead or do you celebrate with them? Are you equipped to lead today for tomorrow? How can you use your knowledge, skills and abilities to serve others? Are you launching others into their opportunities or are you using them as a tool and resource to do your own bidding? Regardless of where we’re at in our leadership journey, we can be that purposeful leader. Engage the core to build security and confidence for yourself and the people you lead. Have a servant-heart as you invest time and resources into equipping the skills required to prepare yourselves for tomorrow. Catapult others into opportunities and spur them on to live their purpose.

Be The Purposeful Leader!

3. Empower the spirit I’ve met leaders who say they empower others, only to find the opposite when I speak to those they believe they have empowered. Why is this so? Often when they say they empower others, it is because they want them (others) to do something for them. I understand the need for organisational alignment to provide context. That aside, leaders must learn to empower by releasing people to pursue their aspirations and dreams - and sometimes, that may mean doing it outside of your organisation.

BERNARD LEE Bernard is the Founder of Invigorate Consulting, a firm seeking to connect people and organisations to their purpose. He has over 20 years of management consulting and corporate experience with global organisations. He is also a seasoned facilitator. He enjoys travelling and is excited about the second half of life.

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How to Have the Right Amount of Meetings BY JULIET FUNT

Just Right! Scaling a business is a thrilling ride. To build something of magnitude with dozens of employees (perhaps with cool jackets with logos and a yearly retreat) is where every small business wants to go. But for our firm, scale might come with a price paid in flexibility. Scale at the level of the “big kids” might mean we take on investors with high expectations, more complex clients, and the hassles of managing more headcount. In my best-lived life, I want scale. But I also want ease. It’s a simple dichotomy of desiring two things at the same time and consciously choosing the path that makes the most sense. This pull between two sometimes mutually exclusive desires happens all the time in business, but we often don’t recognize it. One example is the simple dichotomy of inclusion versus efficiency. We want to “generously” include folks in everything—email threads, projects, and especially meetings. However, this elevation of inclusion leads to kindness run amuck where we repeatedly sacrifice efficiency, which in turn makes people miserable. Our good intentions end up hurting us. This reflex to include comes from a lovely host-like impulse, like pulling one more chair around the table. But it has driven our calendars to disastrous levels of overflow, threatening the basic structures that move business forward. We must bring more thoughtfulness to the equation. Leaders and teams who walk the inclusion/efficiency tightrope with ease use the following techniques. 12

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Measure Your Waste

Track Boredom

Not the one above your hips, the one within your team. To motivate yourself to embrace more efficiency over inclusion, try putting a dollar amount on your unnecessary meetings. It’s math your eight-year-old can do. Send around a survey asking people how many of their meetings are ones in which they are neither contributing nor benefitting. (Frighteningly, the number is usually around 30 percent.) Then you can translate the percentages reported into minutes, dollars, and cents, following this formula:

If you’re bored in a meeting, it may be unavoidable— simply part of the job. Or, if you let yourself experience it, boredom may become valuable evidence that you’re in the wrong place at a particular moment. Ask yourself why you are bored. Are you the wrong person to be there? Are you redundant with others in the room? If you’re sitting in a meeting that feels boring—and you abstain from the distraction (and stimulation) of digital multitasking—you will see your situation more clearly, at which point you can begin to plan your response to your next meeting invitation with more care.

Take the minutes per day of wasteful meetings x the cost of one hour’s salary for an average worker x the number of your employees x five days in a week x fifty business weeks per year = cost of meeting waste annually Using a calculation like this for meetings, plus five other categories of workplace waste, we tend to see a million dollars of annual waste per person in our clients’ companies. Doing your own math should hurt just enough to be a catalyst for change.

Let People Opt Out An invitation is not a subpoena. In communities of trust and efficiency, colleagues accept or decline meeting invites freely. They do what they consider best for the business, and those choices are respected. Everyone is then more engaged because they’ve been given the priceless gift of autonomy. When you decline a meeting yourself, do so after taking a strategic pause and deciding that the meeting will neither add value to your work nor, more importantly, will you add unique value to it. Declining has many subtleties and some hazards, so it’s often smart to engage a buddy to test your plan before enacting it and make sure the respectful language you use to decline will be well received. It’s scary at first and far easier for senior folks, but you can learn to do it, especially if your team is working collectively to rebalance the focus on inclusion and efficiency. JULIET FUNT Juliet Funt is the founder and CEO at JFG (Juliet Funt Group), which is a consulting and training firm built upon the popular teaching of CEO Juliet Funt, author of A Minute to Think.

Never Let the Colors Touch Once you are in the right, edited-down number of meetings, you should see more white space (literally) appearing on your calendar. The cardinal rule to follow then is “never let the colors touch.” If the color blocks are all touching in your calendar, you don’t have a single minute to reflect on the meeting before, plan for the meeting to come, or rest to return refreshed. Try for five, 10, or 15 minutes of white space between each and every meeting. In many team cultures, schedules are an open book, and anyone can insert meetings wherever there is space. This is Dante’s version of calendar management, so close off this option where possible.

Keeping these simple fixes in mind, we can stop ourselves and our team members before we return to the familiar groove of choosing inclusion over efficiency (and then complaining about it instead of changing it). We can use these small adjustments to then enjoy our meetings by shining up what they do best: bringing together human beings in a rich, live environment of together-time, making exciting work come true. Issue 60 I February 2022

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WHAT’S ON YOUR ‘BACK TO WORK’ CHECKLIST? BY MICHELLE GIBBINGS

Source: Image by Glann Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

How Proactive Are You? If you have school-aged children, you’ve likely been spending part of last week getting ready for the back-toschool routine. Casting my mind back to childhood, the week before school started, you’d get organised. School uniforms were washed and ironed, and school shoes polished. Textbooks were wrapped in brown paper or contact paper (does anyone else remember that?), pencils were sharpened, and the schoolbag was packed. On the first day back, there would also be the obligatory first day of school photo (here’s me from grade two). There was a whole range of things to be done. These days, the list might be even longer, and your child’s school likely provided a checklist of what’s expected and optional. Even Officeworks offers handy clipboards with a prepared checklist at their stores (likely a clever marketing tactic).

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We get children ready to go back because it builds anticipation and excitement and helps them get in the right headspace. It helps ensure they are prepared. These back to school reflections got me thinking about how we approach the start of the working year. Do you just rock up and hope for the best? Or do you spend time preparing yourself to be ready for your new working year? In short, how proactive versus passive are you? Much research highlights the importance of a proactive personality and proactive behaviours for career success.


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For example, research examined the correlations between proactive personality types and career success. A proactive personality is defined as a tendency to seek to change one’s environment, not be constrained by situational forces and to seek out new and different opportunities and show initiative. Career success includes salary, bonuses, promotions, career satisfaction and job satisfaction, and a person’s internal and external marketability. This study also found that a proactive personality is relevant in helping people navigate a new career successfully. Other research, this time with college graduates, found that having a proactive personality significantly influenced a person’s success in job searches. Take a moment to challenge yourself and consider: • How proactive are you with your work and career on a scale of 1 – 10 (with one being the lowest and ten the highest)? Do you do what’s expected of you (but no more), or do you seek to add more value? These questions are getting you to consider the balance of your day that is spent ‘passively’ versus ‘proactively’. • Next, how much of your day is spent on activities, tasks and work that are fulfilling the needs of others versus fulfilling ideas or needs from within? This is an external versus internal perspective. At work, there are many things expected from you because of your role. These expectations can come from yourself or others – be it your boss, colleagues or stakeholders. They are the obligations and outcomes required of you to successfully fulfil your role. There are also options and opportunities to do more than is expected. You can exceed your own expectations and go beyond what other people require from you. In this way, you have both options and opportunities. It’s your choice. Graphically it looks like this.

Using this framework, we are going to develop your back-to-work checklist. As I’ve written about before (Are you forgetting something?), checklists are handy. They are used in many industries because they save time, money, energy and reduce the likelihood of stuff-ups. This activity is more than ticking off that you’ve bought new stationery, ironed your shirt and worked out where you are buying lunch. It’s getting deliberate about where to spend your energy so you deliberately decide your proactivity level and the balance between meeting the needs of others and meeting your own needs. Look at the year ahead, consider the goals and activities that are in the ‘must do’ and ‘will do’ categories. Then, consider your ‘could do’ and ‘can do’ to find the options and opportunities. Your options may include people to meet, colleagues to form strong working relationships with, and community work to get involved with. There may be personal growth and development opportunities involving new projects, micro-learning, the acquisition of technical skills and new experiences or things to explore and experiment with. Once you’ve got the core goals and activities assigned to the various categories, step back, and look at how balanced your checklist is. Is everything you are doing optional? If so, you are likely to be letting some people down and missing expectations. Alternatively, is all your work based on outcomes and obligations? If so, you are likely letting some good opportunities pass you by, and you might be missing out on some fun too. Next, check your emotional reaction. When you reviewed the list did you feel energised and excited or filled with dread? Those feelings are telling you something too. If you are in the latter category, go back to your checklist and challenge yourself to see what can be removed, tweaked or added. There’s an Indian proverb that says “Certain things catch your eye, but pursue only those that capture the heart”. For me, it’s about being deliberate and knowing your trade-offs, because many things in life involve tradeoffs. Doing this reflection helps you get deliberate about where you spend your time and who that time is in service of – yourself or others. MICHELLE GIBBINGS Michelle Gibbings is a change and leadership expert and founder of Change Meridian. Michelle works with global leaders and teams to help them accelerate progress. She is the author of ‘Step Up: How to Build Your Influence at Work’. Issue 60 I February 2022

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Source: Photo by Samantha Borges @ unsplash

10 Ways to Streamline Communications in a Digital Workplaces DIGITAL COMMUNICATION IS VITAL! The success of any business depends on how effective communication happens, either within the business or with external parties such as customers and other business stakeholders are carried out. It is even more crucial with the increased adoption of digital communication tools after the coronavirus pandemic. But even as remote working becomes hugely embraced by most organisations, certain things must be done to streamline communication in the digital workplace. Otherwise, it’ll be a great challenge to maximise value out of the digital communication tools. Because of this, it becomes a huge challenge to streamline the communication process. So, without further ado, you can read on to see the various ways how to streamline digital communication in the workplace:

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1. Make Sure To Train Your Employees On Using The Platform Although many employees today are tech-savvy, they still need some guidance on using a specific digital communication platform. After all, they might be familiar with how to use some digital communication tools but have no clue on how to use the one your company has chosen. Because of this, it’s best to first train your employees with the specific tool you’re hoping to use. This way, you can be certain that each of your employees seamlessly integrates with your preferred Workspace. The training you offer your staff needs to be in-depth and comprehensive. It is vital because you’ll be dealing with different employees, each with a different level of understanding. Only if you do this will you be certain that your staff fully understand the functions of the adopted technology. As a result, they’ll be able to know best how to use the numerous features of the adopted digital communication tool across the different departments. In addition, your staff will be less anxious and stressed when performing different tasks and navigating the system. Another advantage of training your staff is it helps them understand the entire abilities of the adopted digital communication tool. Without doing this, other capabilities that can further boost the company’s productivity and efficiency might end up being unused. It will be a real shame considering the company has paid for access to all the capabilities, yet only a handful is being made use of due to not being adequately trained.

2. Give Consent One of the first things to do when looking to streamline digital communication within the workplace is permit employees to use digital communication tools. It’s best to do this because your staff might be somewhat hesitant to start using a newly adopted digital communication platform. If this is the case, all the effort, time, and money you’ve allocated to implement the new digital communication tool will be of no use. With this in mind, set aside time to let all your employees know they’re without a doubt allowed to use the newly adopted digital communication system when necessary. It will help foster greater teamwork within the workplace as it allows them to communicate with others within the organisation effortlessly.

3. Offer And Receive Feedback There is a need for smooth communication between the different parties within the company, be it the managers, stakeholders, and employees, to ensure a harmonious working environment. However, this can only be possible if everyone within the company is free to share their opinion. It is what an open work environment helps companies accomplish. As a result, employees feel more comfortable stating issues they’re facing, suggesting processes that can be improved, and giving feedback. The consistent feedback from the different stakeholders within the company helps boost the company’s turnover in the long run. You can ask for feedback from the team members on matters related to their work, performance, or overall workplace environment, either quarterly or monthly.

4. Create A Safe Workplace Communication Space While you should encourage team members to give their feedback, it’s also equally crucial to make them realise there won’t be any consequences for their actions. Otherwise, they won’t freely share whatever issue they have due to not feeling psychologically safe for sharing their opinion. As a result, this negatively impacts their productivity. Luckily, this issue can be avoided altogether by creating a safe space that promotes workplace communication. This way, everyone can freely share anything they’re going through without being victimised or humiliated. You can best create this sense of psychological safety among team members by leading an example as the company owner or manager. For instance, if someone made a mistake, correct them humanely and gently. It will help others see you as an open and approachable individual, thereby creating a safe space for communication. Issue 60 I February 2022

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5. Allow For Failure While there are numerous digital communication tools to choose from, not all of them are best suited to your unique business needs. Because of this, you need to have an open mindset that a specific platform might not be a perfect fit for your business. It will help you quickly get demotivated by a specific digital communication tool and quit using it when it doesn’t work as desired. A better approach to employ would be to give your trained employees enough time to make the most out of the availed digital communication platform. Only if the platform doesn’t feel like an ideal match should it be abandoned and start the search for another suitable alternative.

6. Create Time For face-To-Face Conversations Digital communication in today’s era where working from home is the new normal king. But despite this, face-to-face conversation still plays a significant role. It is because before, digital communication platforms lack facial expressions and body language. In contrast, this is something that in-person conversations help accomplish as employees talk amongst themselves while in the office. Therefore, there’s a need to set aside more time for face-to-face conversations. It is because these chats, in addition to creating a better bond among team members, ensure the discussed matter isn’t easily forgotten. Luckily, this issue can be avoided, thanks to video chat technology. The use of digital communication platforms allows detailed information and visual cues to be effectively passed across.

7. Establish Governance Polices Another effective strategy of streamlining digital communication with your company is through setting up governance policies for the tools being used. Doing this is necessary as it allows you to outline each employee’s permissions, whether they can invite other users, and state who has the power to create channels and teams. It’s also advisable that your teams have naming policies. It will help to ensure easy tracking of conversations, promote order within the workplace and prevent any confusion.

8. Set Boundaries While you should encourage the adoption of digital communication tools, there need to be clear boundaries that your employees should observe. Setting these clear boundaries helps make it clear to employees that they too have a life and know they have your consent to disengage from work. It prevents your employees from continuously using their laptops or smartphones to perform various duties. You must always set boundaries despite while digital communication platforms allow for greater flexibility of working from anywhere and at whatever time they prefer, it’s easy to feel trapped with work.

9. Be Clear About The Communication Rules There are different communication channels, and each has a specific edge over another depending on the specific situation. For example, channel posts are an ideal communication route when looking to update all the employees within the organisation or share sensitive information. When it comes to informal conversations among team members or asking for a quick explanation, private chats are a better communication tool. Also, emails are the perfect digital communication platform for reaching out to prospects and leads, while videos meetings are appropriate for lengthy meetings. With these different communication platforms, it’s recommended you share any important information across all of them. It ensures everyone in the workplace sees whatever information is being conveyed. This consistency is crucial because everyone being on the same page guarantees the smooth running of the organisation.

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10. Communicate On A Personal Level With Your Employees Aside from ensuring that everyone in the company is well-informed at all times, another purpose of communication allows you to better connect with your employees. It is crucial as it presents you the opportunity to know your employees better other than what they do for the organisation. Therefore, you shouldn’t be overly concerned about being personal during your conversations and only talk about workrelated matters. Instead, you can share with your team other things you might have in common. Through these personal interactions with your employees, you’ll be able to identify better issues they might be going through which hindering their productivity. It also creates a more supportive work environment for your employees as they feel more comfortable sharing their opinions. As a result, everyone enjoys working for the organisation, and their improved morale helps boost their desire to deliver exceptional quality work.

TAKEAWAY In today’s business world, digital communication is vital, be it among the staff or between employees and management. When it comes to expectations, only with clear and open communication does everyone within the company gets to have the same mindset, direction, and goals. However, issues are bound to hinder how smoothly communication in the digital workplace. For this reason, this guide has outlined the different ways on how best to streamline communication in the digital workplace. This way, everyone within the organisation gets to work as a team.

Source: Photo by Elena Kloppenburg @ unsplash

LEADERONOMICS This article is published by the editors of Leaderonomics.com

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Diversity Management: How Can Leaders Foster Meaningful Inclusion? BY LOUISA DEVADASON

Most countries are now diverse in some shape or form. How represented or visible that diversity is, relies on active inclusion – welcoming and embracing the complexity of every human being. Diane Richler, former president of Inclusion International said it this way, “Inclusion is not a strategy to help people fit into the systems and structures which exist in our societies; it is about transforming those systems and structures to make it better for everyone. Inclusion is about creating a better world for everyone.”

“ Inclusion goes deeper than political correctness or grin-and20

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Research indicates that people want to feel included, heard and valued, and they will go above and beyond if this essential need – to belong – is met. If inclusion is not present, diversity may be attainable, but not sustainable. A lack of belonging negatively impacts an organisation’s bottom line through attrition – a sure-fire indication that your staff is primed to leave. When organisations foster inclusion in their workplaces, they open themselves to new ideas, insights and learning from people who may otherwise shrink to a corner. So, how can leaders foster meaningful inclusion? While it is impossible to consider all the values, beliefs, and norms of every individual at work, we can try to reflect on our own beliefs and unconscious biases. How do these affect the assumptions we make about others and what do we project onto other people because of them? What assumptions are you making when you interview someone for a job? What evidence do you have for those evaluations? It’s important, as a leader, to be aware of the bias in our decision-making and a good way to start challenging that is to be reflective. It’s also equally important to create ways to reduce bias by working with the human resources department to evaluate hiring processes, policies and training so that they may foster a healthy, inclusive workplace.

LEARN INCLUSIVE LANGUAGE The language leaders use can set the tone for how others in the organisation communicate and treat each other. Used constructively, language can reflect social and cultural diversity in a positive and accurate way rather than perpetuating negative stereotypes about individuals and groups. This example needs to be set from the top. Therefore, it is necessary for leaders to learn the most appropriate terms when referencing someone else’s age, gender, disability, appearance, race, etc.

MAKE IT EXPLICIT Be the “change you want to see” in your organisation. So, make your vision for inclusion clear and let it inform meetings and discussions.This can be tricky when you – as a leader – are not part of a marginalised or less represented group. In this case, listen emphatically to others and let their experiences inform how inclusion evolves in your organisation

PEOPLE ARE CREATED EQUAL, BUT NOT THE SAME People have different needs based on their backgrounds, abilities and experiences. Inclusive leaders are more successful when they can see the strength in the unique qualities of each individual within their team. This also means building a flexible and agile work environment. Inclusion is a value that is needed for future workforces. Companies that have been built on it have proven to be more successful. So, besides being the humane choice – it’s also the smart thing to do as a leader.

LOUISA DEVADASON Louisa was formerly an editorial associate and freelance writer with Leaderonomics. An extrovert who loves the outdoors; she thinks change is exciting and should be embraced.

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BOOK REVIEW

BECOME: The Five Commitments of PURPOSEFUL LEADERSHIP by Mark Hannum BY DIANA MARIE

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We have all witnessed the magic that can occur when a leader is in a role that aligns with their core purpose. Progress towards meaningful work acts as a magnet for maximizing our effort, intellect, emotional and social intelligence. This book talks about becoming a leader by using evidencebased methods introduced by global leadership firm Linkage, Inc. and leadership development expert Mark Hannum. In BECOME, Mark Hannum, a leading Executive Coach, Consultant, Practitioner and Researcher in the leadership field, reveals the evidence-based secrets that surfaced from vast data Linkage has collected on leadership effectiveness. Leaders whose actions align with their purpose are consistent with their responses, even in a rapidly changing business environment. When people know how a leader will act, it increases engagement and satisfaction, leading to greater employee productivity. Consistency means taking the time to explain why they have changed direction and help others understand why the change aligns with the values and purpose of the leader and organization. Clarity and commitment to their purpose allow them to choose their best actions versus reacting out of fear, uncertainty, or frustration. A leader’s purpose acts as a guide for making good decisions about how to prioritize their limited time and energy. This clarity of purpose-driven decision-making allows leaders to create healthy boundaries for how they invest their time and energy. Purposeful leaders are committed to accomplishing something that matters; they articulate a vision that others embrace; and they demonstrate a series of five commitments that make up the message of this book. He details the five commitments that the best leaders make to themselves and their organizations: * INSPIRE others to join the pursuit of a common vision * ENGAGE every team member to contribute their best abilities * INNOVATE key products or processes that lead to the goal * ACHIEVE results by organizing people and aligning resources * BECOME more self-aware and courageous as a leader Effective and inspirational leaders are deliberate about defining their leadership purpose and aligning their daily actions to that purpose. They understand that this is the foundation for authenticity, meaning, and wellbeing as a leader. Do you know your leadership purpose?

DIANA MARIE Diana Marie is a team member at the Leadership Institute of Sarawak Civil Service attached with Corporate Affairs who found love in reading and writing whilst discovering inspiration in Leadership that Makes a Difference.

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A leader needs to fit with the culture and model desired behaviors. - Ismail Said CEO Leadership Institute of Sarawak Civil Service

Building Leaders to Make a Difference to our Society and State LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE OF SARAWAK CIVIL SERVICE KM20, JALAN KUCHING SERIAN,SEMENGGOK, 93250 KUCHING, SARAWAK. 082-625166

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