I was super excited when Michelle agreed to come on our leadership tips series because she seriously gets how people tick. I've learnt a lot from Michelle with her forward thinking approach to building great teams. I'm also very thankful for the input Michelle and her team have provided into the iteration and improvement of our product. Over to you Michelle...
Who is the best boss you had and why?
The best boss I have ever had was a wonderful mentor, and now a lifelong friend, named Graham Porter. Graham was patient, insightful and saw things in me (good things) that I didn't see in myself. He saw and fed my potential long before I did. He made me think, he tailored his leadership approach to suit me and my personality and needs, he challenged and stretched my thinking in respectful ways, and I always knew I could count on him to support me and guide me, even when things went pear-shaped (in which case he never laboured on blame!). When I would seek his advice, I always remember him asking me this great question 'Michelle, what is the right thing to do?' It's amazing how many times that was all that was needed.
What are your top 3 tips for being a better leader?
Be kind. Be curious. Be trusting. Learn to have really powerful conversations ...sorry that's 4.
What conventional corporate wisdom no longer applies in the workplace?
I work in a field called 'neuroleadership' where we take the latest developments in social cognitive neuroscience and apply them in useful and practical ways to help leaders master the art of leading humans! So my whole world is full of new perspectives on what really works when communicating with and motivating people, and those new perspectives often challenge our traditional views on what works. A few come to mind...
"Employing people who can multi-task means we will get more done". NOOOO! Research shows that people who multi-task (in reality they are task-switching - the brain cannot do two things at once) get less done, with less performance, and create changes in their brains that mean they tend not to think or feel - just do!
"When people are stuck, I, as the leader, should tell them what they need to do" NOOOO! The brain will always resist being told. There is great skill in knowing how to help someone in a way that supports them to have their own insights and hence, the motivation to take action. That is exactly what I teach in my Rewired Conversations programs!
"As the leader, it is my responsibilty to engage and motivate my team" NOOOOO! I am passionate about the need to support all our people to development mastery in self-leadership. We are all responsible for turning up to work as fully functional and focused human beings and knowing how to get the best from ourselves. That is NOT your manager or your organisation's responsibility.
Workplaces are changing, I predict...
The skills needed to lead effectively will move away from theory and models, and into helping people to become better communicators, better self-managers and better humans who have the confidence, courage and skills to have the conversations that at the moment, they either avoid or implement poorly! The new-age leader needs to have focusing skills, personal skills, learning skills and social skills.
A bit about Michelle
Michelle is a leadership and communications expert in working with individuals and organisations to REWIRE their leadership to an approach that motivates, inspires and engages others.
Michelle is all about mastery, and her methodology will create masterful leaders, conversations, teams and meetings. She is a sought-after speaker and author of Your Brain is Your Business, 52 Weeks of Awesome Leadership and – coming soon – Naked, Nurtured, Nudged and Rewired Conversations. A strategic adviser to businesses, she engages this emerging field of study that takes the latest in social cognitive neuroscience and applies it to the art of leadership in a practical way.