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Leadership, Disruption, Engagement, EQ + SQ

Recruitment and retention have always been a significant factor in the success and sustainability of a business or organisation.

The landscape for this currently is on the disruptive side for many!

Brexit and COVID 19 have been game changers in the way we view work and the way we do work. It has shifted perspective as well as resource.

I started writing this blog yesterday, but I am inserting an experience from today because it is a classic example.

We went for afternoon tea to celebrate my sister’s birthday today.

We chose a well-established venue in a stunning location and we were all really looking forward to the treat (especially as we are the chief cook and bottle washers in our homes)!

To say it was below parr is an understatement.

None of us are sour enough to have let it spoil the occasion, in fact, we were more fascinated by the experience to be honest!

I rarely complain and I am always kind to staff because I know it isn’t their fault because it often comes down to training and the standards from management.

I also know that the hospitality industry has been crucified in recent years.

The service and the food were seriously disappointing to the point that it felt genuinely sad. I felt more sad that people were having this experience, not just the customers but the staff.

I love the hospitality industry, I started my working life there and fondly remember the pride and dedication it took to have everything ‘just so’ for customers.

When service is on point, in a large dining room, it is like a finely tuned orchestra playing a symphony.

There is a lot to get right between the kitchen and front of house. Timing, quality and service are critical and there is little margin for error.

It can be very stressful but that was never shown to the customer. Their experience was paramount.

This was in the days well before Trip Advisor and we were always on the lookout for restaurant critics dining incognito.

Anyhow, back to the changing landscape!

Generations are changing more rapidly than they have historically.

We have experienced major advances in technology along with both the positive and negative influences this brings.

I am old enough to remember a time before even email or mobile phones even though that’s hard to believe now!

Of course, fuel prices have hiked, and we have more changes coming relating to cost of living.

The one thing we can be certain of at this time is CHANGE!

Ironically, this brings a lot of uncertainty which can be very stressful, but it can also provide opportunity.

Times like these require flexibility and innovation. They can bring about revolutionary changes for the better….eventually!

I certainly am not putting ‘the answers’ out there, I would not be so bold!

There are so many layers to this challenge from government decisions and systems to mindset, logistics, leadership and more.

I am just sharing some personal thoughts.

Well, it’s my thoughts along with some fascinating Gallup statistics and other references.

However, it is in my style, that means it will be interwoven with my personal experiences, emotional and spiritual intelligence and energy!

I have no interest whatsoever in trying to persuade anybody to my way of thinking, that is a complete waste of my energy and time. My beliefs just a few years ago look very different to now!

I used to be wired differently though, I liked to be right, deep down I really needed to be but never knew why and I didn’t even question it for a long time.

People who need to be right are often afraid of being wrong.

Why? Because they have associated being right with being OK, being valued and respected.

It is deeply personal and often comes with feeling the heavy weight of responsibility (real or imagined).

Therefore, being wrong means, they are not OK. It is a self-esteem issue at its root.

I carried so much shame that I couldn’t afford to be wrong, because I thought it meant that there was something wrong with me, I had little compassion for myself.

It took me a long time to learn this and thankfully, I am now rewired and recovered and can admit to my faults and shortcomings without it impacting my self-esteem.

I am much happier being open minded because when we are limited, our conversations and potential are also limited.

Alas, I am only human and so there are topics that I am very passionate and if you push my buttons, you might see that fire come up!

But hey, at least that’s a reminder of what we truly we care about. Nothing major would happen in the world from a place of nonchalance!

Duality is everywhere, within us and around us! Most of us are walking contradictions in some way.

What is for sure, is that I love learning and I enjoy both ends of the spectrum.

It reflects two of my archetypes (we are all made up of several archetypes, I love this work too); the Teacher and the Student.

I guess it is just about sharing which is ultimately giving and receiving (yang and yin) and there is a great balance to strike here whether we are in the classroom, the living room or the board room.

I have my beliefs (half of them were not quite what I expected, granted!) but they serve me in all aspects of my life, and I am open to their expansion and development.

I have done a lot of work on my beliefs, and I help others with this now.

Our beliefs create our reality. They exist in three layers; our unconscious, subconscious and conscious mind.

You might have different beliefs to me, but if they are serving you well in your relationships, your understanding of yourself, your work and beyond, then happy days!

Live and let live.

So back to disruption!

Whenever we experience major disruption, challenge or indeed chaos, there are two layers to look at, both are necessary and valid:

1) Surface Level = Making The Change

Recognising the consequence of external influences and practically doing what we can to navigate, explore options, find solutions, design a strategy and take action.

2) Meaning Level = Being The Change

This runs deeper. There is meaning in almost everything we encounter. It points to something we are meant to learn, realise or integrate about ourselves, for our empowerment and growth.

Often, when it comes to the second level, we can be too busy to pause and notice.

If the ego gets over involved, we will fail to see the deeper meaning altogether.

Either way, significant change requires a shift in perspective.

After all…“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

But to do something differently, we must think or see things differently.

Everything ever brought about, originated in the mind, be that via thinking or intuition.

You cannot solve a problem with the same mindset that created it.” Albert Einstein (a genius beyond his time who was deeply connected to intuition and energy).

You may well feel the levels of change and challenge that are occurring right now, it’s here to squeeze and re-shape us, so we can pivot and grow.

Pressure makes a diamond after all!

I do believe (because I see it all the time in my work as well as experience it personally) that challenging situations are here to take us to another level.

We can use these opportunities to grow and develop and to take directions that we wouldn’t ordinarily do if we weren’t being backed into a corner.

It’s like the universe’s way of saying “don’t get too comfortable, there are lessons here for you, it’s time to grow, it’s for your highest good, trust me!”

This is very hard to believe at times, particularly when, you are stuck in frustration, so busy your head might fall off or feeling very down.

I have been there, but in those times, I have grown significantly more than in the happy times (although let’s have more happy times, please and thankyou)!

Inevitably the challenges do lead to happier times. Life is a rollercoaster, well it is if you choose to live outside the comfort zone anyway!

As they say (whoever ‘they’ are!) it can often be darkest just before dawn.

Just like the ‘breakdown to breakthrough’ - I have had my own belief system rocked to the core through my personal transformation.

I believe people can be so much stronger after a breakdown. It is not a weakness, it is a life changing process…if we listen, learn and don’t rinse and repeat the same cycle!

When this happens at a deep level, everything you thought you knew doesn’t make sense anymore, you must question who you ‘think’ you are.

It is very unnerving, like an earthquake or tornado coming along to shake you up!

The foundations are not solid enough to go forward, so they will need to be rocked and crumbled.

Piling yet more bricks on top of wonky foundations doesn’t make it stronger, it makes it weaker. You can build it better from the ground up.

It’s not a tweak, it’s a complete reconstruction! Destruction has a purpose.

Whatever is happening in our lives, we do have a choice and it seems so easy to forget this.

We can choose our approach.

Will we be riddled with fear and worry or will we be curious, trust and have faith?

When stuff happens where we don’t have full control of the outcome (one thing my journey has taught me is that control is often an illusion) then the only thing we can control is ourselves and our approach.

The first approach is very damaging to our health and sanity. I keep training myself to go with the second option. It impacts everything!

Work on yourself, this is where the true power is! If you are a leader, help others to do this too. That is empowering!

I have always had a love of personal development and a real interest in leadership.

With great interest, I have observed leadership traits over the years, in others and myself.

I can see now that it stems from my obsession with psychology because of course, they are intertwined.

As my experience and work with emotional intelligence became stronger, I could see the connection even more.

The next layer being spiritual intelligence, at its most basic level, it is understanding life at a deeper level of meaning.

Ultimately, once our basic needs are met, we need and thrive on something bigger…purpose!

We see this in various psychology models from PERMA to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs etc.

All lives are meaningful. All lives have purpose.

What we choose to do with them will impact the level of meaning, purpose and fulfilment we feel and achieve.

Stuff is good, things are nice but there is nothing that touches our hearts more deeply than a sense of purpose, value, meaning and community.

This rests in the spirit of people.

Spirit is the element of FIRE.

It is the spark of motivation and inspiration.

It is the fuel that lights us up and burns to cook something and create.

It is the engine that drives us through the hardest of times.

It is the campfire we gather around as a team or community to make things happen together.

It is passion, it is power, it is energy, it is determination, dynamism and direction. We feel it!

That is what people bounce out of bed for!

Feeling hot yet..?! :D

Purpose exists in all areas of our lives.

Jobs and positions don’t define us, in fact to be over identified with our work is a dangerous limitation.

We are all so much more than the one thing.

BUT if we can find this fire, this deep sense of purpose in our lives and through our work and community, then that is a true blessing.

Those walls will stand the test of time and the flame will burn bright…until it’s time for a rest or a change and then the ground will start to rumble, and you will feel the shaky invitation to get moving.


Are you laying bricks or building a cathedral?

Once you have answered that personally, reflect on your team.

Do each of them know you are building a cathedral and the reasons why?

Are they inspired to build it with you or are they just laying bricks?

Over the years, prior to my current business, I have worked and excelled in B2B corporate sales and business development roles and in education for business growth.

When I needed an alternative, more flexible employment option so that I could raise my two daughters at home, I joined a direct sales business owned by Warren Buffet and built a team of consultants across the UK.

It wasn’t a hobby, I intended to make it a successful business so I could be at home with my babies, earn a good income and keep my fire burning!

Why am I telling you this? Because I now realise the meaning behind all my experiences and how all the pieces of the puzzle are fitting together like a jigsaw.

Working in sales has a lot to do with psychology, as does marketing.

Not just in terms of how and why people buy or respond to things, but also because many sales roles have a relationship to commission as well as a basic salary.

It is interesting to see how this motivates or demotivates people and how it impacts the team and individuals.

The dynamics in any business can be fascinating; the personalities, how the teams work together or don’t, how the departments communicate, the style of meetings and management, etc.

Sales roles can highlight people’s confidence and esteem levels.

It showed me all facets of myself!

What I learned from working in direct sales is how people tick when they are on commission only or when it is a hobby, a part time job or a business and what retains people.

It taught me how you run meetings that people CHOOSE to attend and still generates results.

Imagine if it was optional to attend your meetings, what would the attendance rate be?

It showed me what people really valued and how to create meetings and a team environment that made people want to keep showing up together, developing and growing.

This organisation had a staggering overall feeling of community that I haven’t quite seen anywhere else. It was extraordinary and with hindsight I am even more grateful for the experience now.

Emotional connection is powerful!

Leaders with emotional intelligence are far more powerful influencers.

Now then, let’s have a look at some interesting statistic. If you know me, I am a bookaholic. I often have a couple on the go at once.

Today, whilst doing the housework and chores, I am two chapters into an audiobook called ‘Lead From The Heart – Transformational Leadership for the 21st Century’ by Mark C. Crowley. So far, I am liking it a lot.

I just had to interrupt my hoovering to make a note of these stats from Gallup to share with you! Don’t worry, I did finish the carpets, wouldn’t want to leave you on a riveting cliff hanger there :D

I have heard these stats etc before and likely you have too.

But, it’s worth having another look, not that stats are the ‘be all and end all’ but still, it might be worth absorbing if you need change.

In his book, Mark shared that:

In 2021, Gallup’s Global Engagement Study released a leadership report card for managers and supervisors.

It stated:

20% of employees admit to being ‘Fully Engaged’ at work.

61% are Not Engaged.

19% are Actively Disengaged.

Fully Engaged = Deeply committed to the success of their organisation and emotionally connected to its mission and goals, routinely willing to put forth discretionary effort.

Not Engaged = Less emotionally connected to their work, less compelled to put forth extra effort, they show up for work but generally do the minimum required.

Actively Disengaged = actively working against what the organisation or the leader is trying to get done.

I have (this is me, not Mark btw) seen all three of these in organisations, the Fully Engaged is the dream, the Not Engaged is common of course and the Actively Disengaged are toxic to your culture.

Back to Mark and Gallup:

The upshot being “engagement drives greater productivity, lower staff turnover and a better quality of work. Organisations in the top decile of engagement out perform their peers by 147% in earnings per share and have a 90% better growth trend.”

Interesting to re-look at and reflect over potentially?

In his book, Mark also talks about people and emotions.

What is so fascinating and equally worrying and in need of dramatic change, is that despite the pandemic, he makes the point that:

“since 2014 anxiety and depression has more than doubled and 7 out of 10 people are currently struggling and suffering rather than thriving.”

I shall keep reading the book!

My summary is that whilst there are so many layers and so many possible solutions, what remains clear to me (and I can only comment from my frame of reference and experience) is this;

· IQ has been the dominant intelligence for some time and yet being stuck in our heads is one of the greatest contributors to anxiety and depression.

· People are not just a mind, they are a body, soul and spirit. The gut and the heart have intelligence beyond the brain. We must water the whole plant and honour the seasons for the best growth and harvest.

· Relationships and communication are two of the most valuable components of any organisation, be that a household or a business. To be at its best, it requires a balance of left and right brain activity; specifically increasing Emotional Intelligence.

· Emotional intelligence is an essential skill and tool for leadership - this requires high levels of self-awareness (including admitting and being open to what you don’t know i.e vulnerability) and awareness of others.

· Technology is incredible when used to enhance rather than replace community and connection.

Community, belonging, a deep sense of purpose and being understood and valued (both from an individual growth perspective and organisational direction) is needed to be fully engaged and burning that fire!

Emotional Intelligence (Water) and Spiritual Intelligence (Fire) must be significantly woven into the fabric of the organisation and therefore the people, in balance with what it takes to trade and get stuff done (profits).

It starts within and it has to come from the top down.

It is the Year of the Water Tiger after all!

Good Vibes, Amanda G

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