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Guest Post: Confident teams reduce management burnout

We are excited to welcome leadership coach, Kathy Archer, to the Volunteer Alberta blog! This is the third of a three-part series on leadership in the nonprofit sector. Read  Confident Leaders Stand Out. Do You? and Train Yourself to be a Confident Leader.

poptech photo on flickr There is a connection between the level of confidence in your employees and your level of satisfaction in your leadership role. As a leader, when your employees are sure of themselves, certain, and poised, you may find yourself more satisfied.

The difference between managing a confident team and an uncertain team can look like this:

  • leading employees that can come to conclusions decisively, who take charge, and are willing to admit their mistakes
  • supervising a group of unsure, hesitant, and doubtful staff that can’t make an independent decision to save their souls

Teams that lack confidence can be a breeding ground for management burnout. If you are craving more confident employees, here are four ways you can grow confidence in your team members.

4 ways to grow confidence in your team members

1. Give opportunities for growth

Confidence is grown when individuals step outside of their comfort zone. That means you need to create openings that will push the envelope of your employees expectations of themselves, which may be potentially uncomfortable for your staff.

Look for opportunities that are new, strange, and maybe even awkward. Consider situations that your employees can be successful in but that will challenge them. Guide and support your team members, but push their limits as well.

2. Focus on future roles

Consider what role or new skills your employee may have in a year or two. Share your enthusiasm with them about their development. Provide the training and support they need to grow.

Confidence grows because your staff know you believe that they have the capability of learning and growing. Your faith in them brightens employees and motivates them. Remember, what you expect, you get. Expect progress.

3. Delegate

Micromanaging sends a clear message that you don’t have confidence in your team. If you don’t have confidence in them, they certainly won’t in themselves either. Share the responsibility of the workloads.

Ask for help. In fact, expect it. Talk openly about what needs to be completed. Inquire who has the skills or desire to take on jobs. Then delegate. Don’t check over their shoulder constantly. Give them space. It is through the challenge of figuring it out on their own that employees will grow.

4. Re-evaluate being “on-call”

Too many times we take unlimited evening calls and emails. It is your responsibility only to take after hour calls or emails when they are necessary, not convenient for staff.

Get clear and communicate what you will respond to. Pushing staff to tackle challenges on their own will develop their skills, help them listen to their intuition, and become better problem solvers. When they put all of that to work, their confidence will sky rocket.

Increase staff confidence levels: For staff growth and your sanity

Increasing individual team members’ confidence does take effort on your part. Be mindful of stretching and growing them. Look for opportunities when you can push tasks and responsibilities back to them. In doing so, your staff will mature, your team will grow, and you regain some sanity.

Kathy is a leadership coach for women who want to strengthen their leadership and find balance in life. She mentors women as they rediscover their purpose, passion, and persistence for life while dealing with office politics, jerk bosses, and the challenges of family life. In her signature program Women with Grit: Leading with Courage & Confidence, Kathy gives her ladies the hope and inspiration they need along with a kick in the pants to make positive change in their lives.

 

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Guest Blog: Train yourself to be a confident leader

We are excited to welcome leadership coach, Kathy Archer, to the Volunteer Alberta blog! This is the second of a three-part series on leadership in the nonprofit sector. Read last week’s blog Confident Leaders Stand Out. Do You?

Having confidence helps us stay calm and composed in challenging situations.

It’s true, having self-assuredness benefits you as a leader. It helps you achieve results. Knowing that, however, doesn’t do any good when your knees are knocking or your stomach is churning. In those moments, you can’t just will confidence upon yourself. Or can you?

Leadership can be a tough gig. At any moment, you can be thrust into an intimidating situation or handed a seemingly overwhelming task. Lack of knowledge, being short on skills, or simply lacking the confidence to tackle situations head on can cause many leaders to pull back and play small.

When you are insecure, it often means you don’t hold others accountable. Your uncertainty makes you wishy-washy and indecisive. The truth is, unconfident leaders don’t do the tough work required of being a truly outstanding leader.

What can you do to develop your leadership confidence? Here are two daily habits you can adopt to grow your leadership confidence.

2 habits to practice daily in order to grow your leadership confidence

1) Assume the position!

Your body posture plays a key role in your confidence levels. Research has shown that not only does body posture speak to others, it also it communicates to you too!

When you slouch, the world sees indifference or inability. Likewise, folding in tells your body: “I’m not very important in this situation. I don’t know anything. I’m scared. I’m embarrassed”.

When you instead sit upright, head up and shoulders back, the message to yourself is more about feeling in control, feeling knowledgeable, and being capable. This change in your body results in a change in your demeanour which impacts how you are perceived by others.

One tool to immediately increase your confidence is power posing.

This pose is not to intimidate others. Instead, strike this stance in private. Standing in the superwoman position, taking up as much space as you can, releases chemicals in your body that boost how you feel and up your level of confidence.

Get in the habit of striking a superwoman position before any task you perceive may be threatening, challenging, or demanding. Try expansive body postures such as putting your hands on your hips, standing up and stretching tall, or leaning back and putting your feet on your desk to send the confidence chemicals to your brain.

Habit to Build: Shut your door or head to the bathroom to assume the superwoman position for 2 minutes a day.

2) Lean into the discomfort!

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The best way to develop confidence is to practice courage. Courage and confidence go hand in hand.

We often lack confidence because we lack the courage to try anything different, enter into precarious situations, or to wrestle with arduous tasks. We take the easy way out far too often.

Make a commitment at the beginning of the day to purposefully do at least one thing that takes you outside of your comfort zone.

Habit to Build: Record your results daily. What did you learn by leaning into the discomfort? Write down your new commitment for the coming day. You will soon have a running list of uncomfortable things you did that you didn’t die from!

Increase your confidence one day at a time

Purposefully working on increasing your confidence puts you ahead of the crowd. Cultivate new habits that encourage an increase in your confidence levels. Push yourself to do something uncomfortable daily and practice the power position. It won’t be long before you are doing things you were once scared to even consider.

Kathy is a leadership coach for women who want to strengthen their leadership and find balance in life. She mentors women as they rediscover their purpose, passion, and persistence for life while dealing with office politics, jerk bosses, and the challenges of family life. In her signature program Women with Grit: Leading with Courage & Confidence, Kathy gives her ladies the hope and inspiration they need along with a kick in the pants to make positive change in their lives.

(Photo credit Mike Ngo)

Thinking lady

Guest Blog: Confident Leaders Stand Out. Do You?

We are excited to welcome leadership coach, Kathy Archer, to the Volunteer Alberta blog! This is the first of a three-part series on leadership in the nonprofit sector.

You know a confident leader when you see one. Their posture, mannerisms, and voice command your attention. Confident leaders can influence a community (of any size or shape) to act.

Working in a nonprofit or charity, your organization is a community that you can move to action. Increasing your confidence will help you shape a team of devoted followers so you can do meaningful work.

3 reasons why growing your leadership confidence is a good idea

1.  Confidence assists your decision-making

leadership 1Big decisions, like applying for funding, must be made decisively. A leader should not waver on when, how, and who is developing the framework and pulling the proposal together. A confident leader selects and delegates these tasks swiftly and succinctly.

Smaller decisions, in many ways, require even more leadership courage. “Do I spend time cleaning up email or head over to the program site?” Without confident awareness, hiding your head in the sand (a.k.a. cleaning out your inbox) will most certainly not ease any staff challenges that may be going on at the site.

A leader who has developed the confidence to address tough staff issues will make the decisions, such as where to focus their time, with more clarity and courage.

2.  Confidence makes it easier to accept feedback

Leadership is synonymous with personal development. Great leaders emerge because they are brave enough to look at their mistakes and to learn from missteps. Growth starts with the capacity to give your attention to the feedback you receive.

Hearing criticism is uncomfortable. It takes courage to hear other people’s opinions openly. Once you learn that receiving feedback won’t kill you, it gives you the self-assurance to course correct and start the cycle all over again. You will be a bit tougher the next time. You will find more and more that rather than reacting with defensiveness, you respond with curiosity and a desire to learn how to improve.

3.  Confidence reassures your team

leadership 1 bA leader who lacks confidence gives off potent vibes that can scream uncertainty. Shaky, hesitant, and non-committal responses leave employees feeling unsure. Uncertainty breeds apprehension amongst workers leading to gossip, low morale, and general dissatisfaction.

Your team looks up to you. Even when it feels like they spend more time tearing you down, the truth is that they are looking to you to provide the stability and composure they crave.

Your job is to be the brave, valiant leader who courageously moves the program forward. While it may not seem like it some days, your employees want to get behind you. They want to follow you. Take their feedback as an empowering message. They want a strong leader to follow, and by speaking up, they are helping to strengthen you.

Leadership Confidence comes from within

To increase your influence and impact, it is imperative that you develop your confidence. Doing this will assist you to make better decisions, accept and respond to feedback effectively, and allow you to reassure your team. In the face of the challenges nonprofit organizations are facing today, these are keys to growth and prosperity.

In next week’s article, you will learn the two habits you need in order to grow your leadership confidence. The following week we will look at growing confidence in your team.

Remember: Emerging as a confident organization will set you apart from the rest.

 

Kathy is a leadership coach for women who want to strengthen their leadership and find balance in life. She mentors women as they rediscover their purpose, passion, and persistence for life while dealing with office politics, jerk bosses, and the challenges of family life. In her signature program Women with Grit: Leading with Courage & Confidence, Kathy gives her ladies the hope and inspiration they need along with a kick in the pants to make positive change in their lives.

 

There are No More Silver Bullets

To understand and address 21st century challenges, we have to become familiar with complexity, systems thinking, and resiliency.

There are no shortage of tools, resources, and information available to guide and support our capacity to tackle these challenges. At interCHANGE 2015, Mark Cabaj outlined the approach leaders need to implement when embarking on challenging, complex work.

MeetingTo start, we must move away from leadership that relies on a “born with it” attitude, to leadership attitudes oriented toward developing the capacities and capabilities of others to support authentic responses to 21st century challenges. For example, developing a leadership capacity for situational awareness or “knowing what’s going on around you”.

Leaders who increase their situational awareness are able to effectively identify issues as simple, complicated, political, complex, or chaotic. The capacity to differentiate between these types of issues begins to orientate leaders and teams towards appropriate responses. Issues that are often the hardest to shift (i.e. poverty, hunger, inequality, community resilience, sustainability, etc.) always fall in the complex category and these types of challenges require leadership capacity to engage in adaptive responses.

Adaptive responses are participatory, systemic, and experimental in nature:

  • Participatory responses engage multiple stakeholders and build broad-scale ownership and action. They are about gathering a wide sense of the multiple facets that make up a complex challenge and understanding the issue from multiple perspectives. Participatory approaches are inclusive, and stakeholders are instrumental in defining the problem and shaping the solutions.
  • Systemic responses begin by understanding a complex challenge by exposing the roots. They recognize the challenge has many interconnected factors and interventions in one area of the challenge will likely result in unanticipated outcomes in another area of the system.
  • Experimental responses aim to learn by doing and iterations (trial and error). The strategy or plan emerges over time as lessons are learned and new approaches are developed. Experimental responses are flexible and shift along with the context they are a part of.
    Adaptive responses move conversations away from silver bullet or cookie cutter solutions and into a new space where unpredictability is embraced, root causes and connections are explored, and diversity of perspective, knowledge, and experience is necessary.

For more information and resources on adaptive responses, check out the interCHANGE 2015 resources page.

2015 Federal Election – Vote with nonprofits in mind

Canada flagEarlier this year, we encouraged Albertans to go to the polls in the Provincial Election. Once again we are calling on all Albertans and Canadians to vote, and to vote with nonprofits in mind in the Canadian Federal Election on Monday, October 19.

After all, we are all impacted by the work of nonprofits. The nonprofit sector includes social services, religious institutions, university and colleges, libraries, hospitals, environmental organizations, health research, cultural associations, legal aid, theatre and the arts, recreation and sports, advocacy, professional associations, and more.

For this reason, we have put together a list of resources to help you vote, to help you mobilize others to vote, and to show why the nonprofit sector is so important this election:

Vote!

Mobilize Others to Vote

#elxn42 Sharing your priorities, concerns, and voice during this election is important – Join the conversation about the upcoming election on Twitter with #elxn42.

#NPVote CCVO has created the first-ever Calgary Nonprofit Democratic Challenge. Join the challenge on Twitter by using the hashtag #NPVote and share the creative ways your organization is encouraging your staff, patrons, members and/or clients to vote. Challenge other nonprofit organizations to participate as well.

Vote Nation Voting is contagious — we know this. If you tell your friends and family you’re voting, they’re more likely to vote too. Add ‘I Will Vote October 19’ to your profile picture with this site. No matter what you are sharing on social media, your message of civic engagement will be included in every post!

Pledge to Vote Try out this CBC election engagement and interactive mapping tool to pledge to vote, share what you care about, and see why other Canadians are pledging to vote as well. Once you have pledged, share the call to action on social media.

Apathy is Boring Apathy is Boring is committed to getting young and first time voters out on Election Day. Visit their website for infographics, information, and tools to better engage these demographics – especially if you or your organization work with young people, immigrants, or marginalized groups.

Nonprofits and the Federal Election

Nonprofits Step Up! The Ontario Nonprofit Network (ONN) and Samara Canada have created an excellent infographic outlining how nonprofits can play a crucial role in strengthening our democracy. Read more about why they are asking nonprofits to start conversations about: what role does (and should) nonprofits play in democracy? How can the nonprofit sector build a healthier democracy?

Election 2015 Hub Imagine Canada has created this hub to keep charities informed and involved this election with information and resources. Find out why and how this federal election offers an excellent opportunity for charities and nonprofits to promote civic engagement and to talk bold about issues important to Canadians and our communities!

2015 Federal Election Resources CCVO has compiled a thorough list of information, resources, and link to support nonprofits, their staff and volunteers, and their clients with their election engagement strategies. Find it on their website.

Nonprofit Advocacy during Elections Check out Charity Village’s tips for engaging in advocacy this election. As long as your organization’s advocacy efforts are issue-based and non-partisan, elections offer unique and important opportunities for your nonprofit!

Sam Kriviak
Volunteer Alberta

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