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Developing Leadership Skills

The first area that we look at is that of Personal Attributes. This is a blend of knowledge, expertise, and competencies, encapsulated in the approach, the behaviour, of the leader. In organisations of all sizes and in all sectors, public and private, these characteristics are key to effective leadership. The essential personal attributes are as follows. 

Behaving Ethically, by: learning about the ethical issues and concerns that impact on your business sector; adopting a balanced, open-minded approach to the ethical concerns of others; considering the ethical issues and implications of all personal actions and organisational activity; raising and discussing ethical issues before proposing or agreeing to decisions; resisting pressures from the organisation or its partners to achieve objectives by unethical means.

Thinking Strategically, by: learning and understanding how the different functions, physical divisions, and layers, of the organisation should work together: understanding the complexities of, and the changes happening in, the external environment, and considering how the organisation can best respond the these; understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the organisation, and the opportunities and threats facing it; understanding how the strategic objectives are influenced by all the current and forecast influences that will impact on the organisation; understanding that the operational objectives and targets must be in line with and support the strategic objectives of the organisation; being aware of and responding to the behaviour of current and potential competitors.⚫ Supporting Corporate Goals, by: helping to create and communicate a vision which can be understood and supported by people at all levels; helping others to understand and contribute to the strategic goals; giving visible personal support to the strategic direction and specific goals set by the organisation.

Communicating Effectively, by: being responsive to messages and signals from the internal and external environments; making effective use of communication channels from and to all levels within the organisation; pro-actively encourage the exchange of information within the organisation, and amongst suppliers, customers and partners; listening to others, including those with opposing views, carefully and thoughtfully; selecting personal communication styles that are appropriate to the different situations and audiences.

Gathering Information, by: establishing multiple channels and networks which generate a constant flow of information, from within and outside the organisation; regularly and consistently gathering, analysing, challenging, and using the information gathered.

Making Decisions, by: establishing a consistent approach to the analysis of information; drawing on personal experience and knowledge to identify current and potential problems; consider a range of solutions before selecting the final one; ensuring that the selected decision is feasible, achievable, and affordable; considering the impact of the decision on all stakeholders, at all levels, before approving implementation.

Developing Effective Teams, by: appreciating the contribution of others, at all levels in the organisation; ensuring that individuals and teams are kept informed of plans, developments and issues that will affect them; ensuring that individual and team development schemes are given appropriate priority; providing personal support for the implementation and maintenance of development activities for individuals and teams at all levels. 

Behaving Assertively, by: understanding and responding to personal roles and responsibilities; adopting a leading role in initiating action and decision making; taking personal responsibility for decisions and actions; being properly prepared for involvement in activities and events; being confident and professional in dealing with change and challenges; refusing unreasonable demands; defending and protecting individuals and teams from unfair or discriminatory actions; remaining professional in manner at all times.

Concentrating On Results, by: contributing to the establishment of an organisational culture that demands high standards and high levels of performance; focusing on objectives and planned outcomes, at all times; dealing with issues and problems when they arise; planning and scheduling personal work and the work of others in ways which make best use of available resources; delegating appropriately; giving personal attention to the critical issues and events.

Managing Yourself, by: reflecting regularly on personal performance and progress; pro-actively asking for feedback on personal performance; changing personal behaviour in the light of feedback received; being responsible for your own personal development needs.

Presenting a Positive Image, by: adopting a leading role in initiating action and decision making; behaving in a professional manner at all times; being open-minded and responsive to the needs of others; visibly working towards personal and career development goals; adopting an ethical approach to all personal and organisational activity; being supportive to colleagues; demonstrating fairness and integrity at all times.

In Summary: these essential attributes are many, and difficult to maintain consistently, but they are the attributes needed by, and expected of, our business leaders. The size of the organisation, the business sector, whether public or private, is of no consequence. The leaders of all organisations should be role models for others, be visible champions of high standards of professional and ethical behaviour, be leaders who others in their organisations can be proud of, and be leaders that competitors are envious of. Not many of these characteristics are imbued in our leaders by default. They have to be learned, can be learned, and should then be continuously developed and enhanced. With these personal attributes in place, and being demonstrated in behaviour and actions, business leaders will be more effective and more successful.

Empowered Leadership

It seems that every decade or so there is some new fad that runs through the business world in terms of supervision and in the world of diversity management, downsizing, outsourcing, generational work conflicts, and the information age, things are even more complicated than ever before.

No longer does a one size fits all leadership model really work. We can’t treat everyone the same and expect that everything will just “work out” somehow. Managers and leaders must have a framework with which to manage their workers in a way that honors everyone’s unique and specific position on the job.

Empowered leadership is the way to do just that. Empowered leadership shares the power between management and the workers, thus empowering both groups. 

Conventional wisdom tells us that when those in power relinquish some of that power by sharing it or giving it to their employees, then they would lose something when in fact, they gain. 

Think about it. When people rule with an iron hand, they generally instill fear in those who work for them. Do you do your best work when you are afraid? I don’t know about you but I will attempt to comply because I want to avoid negative consequences but it certainly won’t be my best work. The absolute best a manager can hope for with coercion is compliance. If compliance is enough, then coercion might work.

However, I will gripe and complain and quietly wait for opportunities to get even. I won’t have a kind thing to say about my employer and at every available chance will seek confirmation for how I feel from my co-workers, thus spreading an “us” versus “them” mentality. 

When leaders and managers seek to empower their workers, they will gain their loyalty. Workers want to give their supervisors their best when they are listened to and respected. Without fear, their minds can be creative and innovative. 

When managers are willing to accommodate special requests and it doesn’t interfere with product or service delivery, then their employees will be sure to give back their best in return. Giving away power only increases a manager’s power.

Now, I am not talking about being a total pushover and only advocating for what employees want. As a manager, you have a two-fold job—you are to represent your employees’ desires, opinions, and suggestions to management while at the same time communicating management’s issues, concerns, and expectations to your employees. This is not an easy line to walk.

You will never get the best from your employees if they don’t respect you. You cannot be a doormat for your employees to walk over. If they believe you have no bottom line or are nonnegotiable, then they will never be satisfied and always asking for more. You will feel used and abused and the truth is, you asked for it.

As a manager, you must hold the bar high. Expect great things from each and every one of your workers. If you only expect mediocrity, mediocrity is exactly what you will get. Set the standards and lead by example. If your workers see you giving it your all, it will be difficult for them to perform below standard. 

Strataconnect Australia Pty. Ltd.

You must have production goals you are attempting to meet for either products or services. Always enlist the help of your employees to set the goals, with the underlying premise being continual improvement.

And as a manager, you have the responsibility to create a satisfying workplace for yourself and your workers. You cannot emphasize one to the exclusion of the other without there being undesirable consequences.

When you focus on production only and forget the human capital, you will end up with resentful, resistant, angry workers. On the other hand, when you only focus on the people and allow production goals to be compromised; you will have workers who do everything they can to take advantage and to get out of doing the work. After all, if you the manager don’t value production, why should they?

Somewhere in the middle, when you are walking that very fine line between relationships and production goals, you are practicing empowered leadership and that’s where you will get the most from your employees. 

Four Questions About Leadership

Parents universally hope that their children develop leadership qualities.  They know that leaders are people who are effective in what they do, are respected by others, and typically rewarded for those skills in a variety of ways.  It is in these formative years that, through our parents, we first see leadership as desirable and important.

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No to Instagram

Today (10th June, 2021) , for the second time in a couple of months, my account has been disabled (and possibly deleted). No warning, no reason.

I try to find a way to find out what’s going on, but all I get is a request to confirm my login details (via SMS), and I get

There is no one to call (after a brief message, the phone hangs up), no one to email.

I tried to work through the online form at https://www.facebook.com/help/instagram/contact/1652567838289083 only to get an error “that account doesn’t exist”.

So, if I don’t know what I’ve done to be banned, and all the “recovery” stuff doesn’t work, what am I to do?

Of course, if someone from Facebook/Instagram would like to contact me, I’m available to talk.

Easier to say “I’m not on Instagram”

-Ian

Update 11 June 2021:

I attempted to log in and got the following message:

https://help.instagram.com/579394218790742

Which says the following _helpful_ information:

Obviously posting quotes to help people be better is against Instagram’s terms.

Update 23 June 2021

So it looks like after 2 rounds of reviews they thought I was trying to impersonate myself – (my original account @strataconnect had the same logo etc). After a further several attempts (and 0 notifications) my account miraculously became reactivated (I only found out when I tried to log in again).

So, whilst I’m still upset at the level of support, at least I’m up and running again!

-IB

Simple Leadership Basics

A great cloud of jargon, debate, and junk theory surrounds the idea of leadership, what it is, who does it, and how to do it well. But if you have just been promoted, and you’re responsible for a group for the first time, there are only a few things you really need to know about leadership.

When you get promoted and become responsible for the performance of a group you become a leader. But you don’t undergo some magical change.

In fact, it will probably take you over a year to completely adjust to your new role. 

You’re a leader because the people in your group treat you like one. The only choice you have is what kind of job you’ll do.

When you become a leader, your power actually goes down. As an individual contributor, you just have to decide to work harder, longer or smarter to improve performance. When you’re responsible for the performance of a group, the group is your destiny. They choose whether to act or not.

When you become a leader, your influence goes up. The people who work for you pay attention to what you say and do. They adjust their behavior accordingly.

The result is that you use your behavior (what you say and do) to influence the behavior of the people who work for you to achieve a defined objective.

Achieving the objective is part of your job as a leader. The other part is caring for your people.

It may be possible to achieve good short-term results without caring for your people. But you can’t achieve long term success for you or your company without the willing cooperation of the best folks you can find.

At the end of the day, you can measure your leadership based on those two standards. Did we accomplish the mission? Are the members of my group better off today than yesterday?

From Basics To Mastery

Can emotional intelligence be taught?

How do you know if you are emotionally intelligent?

Emotional Intelligence, and our ability to draw on it as a reserve helps us in so many ways: from assisting in looking after our physical and mental health and well-being, through to our ability to inspire and lead.

For all of us, emotional intelligence encompasses five basic areas of mastery. 

They are: 

🔵 Knowing your feelings and using them to make decisions you can live with. 

🔵 Being able to manage your emotions without being hijacked by them – not being paralyzed by depression or worry, or swept away by anger. 

🔵 Persisting in the face of setbacks and channeling your impulses in order to pursue your goals. 

🔵 Empathy — reading other people’s emotions without their having to tell you what they are feeling. 

🔵 Handling feelings in relationships with skill and harmony – being able to articulate the unspoken pulse of a group, for example. 

The scope of these skills means there is indeed room for all of us to learn, grow, and improve. There is a lot to learn here. Learning about emotional intelligence, learning about the tools for energy efficiency; that’s only the beginning. It’s like reading all the books on sailing and small boat sailing. You then have the theory mastered, but you have no hands-on practice. It’s only with practice that we gain mastery of anything. That’s true of our feelings and emotions too! 

How do you address so many broad areas? 

🔴 Assessment tools are a great way to learn to identify your emotions

🔴 Energy efficiency tools are invaluable in helping you tap into inner wisdom and resources to manage your emotions and understand what the best choices are when you are making life decisions. 

🔴 Persistence can be learned. In fact, providing challenges and hardships to children, to give them an opportunity to develop persistence and stick-to-itiveness, is intrinsic in many cultures. Goal-setting and the 6 Most- Important-Things List are just two tools you can apply immediately. 

🔴 Developing empathy is powerful in critical business situations like a sales call, a closing, your management style, etc. Using your energy efficiency tools will allow you to pay attention to your instincts in this area instead of second-guessing yourself.

🔴 Once you learn to be the manager of your feelings, it becomes an easy habit to apply in any business or personal relationship.

Mastery of all the basics does not occur overnight. But with practice it comes very quickly – just like learning to ride a bicycle. Once you experience how it’s ‘supposed to work’, how energy efficiency is ‘supposed to feel’, it’s easier and easier to reestablish in a variety of circumstances. That’s where mastery is achieved. That’s where you and everyone in your business benefit from your mastery.

UniFi CloudKey with HTTPS

I had to rebuild my UniFi CloudKey Gen2 recently, and in the process lost the LetsEncrypt SSL configuration (guess who’s the silly one who forgot to back up).

Turns out others have made the job a lot easier over time!

I found 2 documents that fully satisfied my requirements. The first from James Ridgway gave me the overview (and the very nice command set that takes care of the UniFi bits), whilst the second (from the acme.sh github Wiki) gave the rest (namely the way to use API instead of CloudFlare).

NSW Street Smarthandbook

NSW Street Smarthandbook

As part of our community support program we again supported the NSW Steet Smarthandbook

Neigbourhood Watch Australasia is the representative organisation that leads, facilitates and supports the Neighbourhood Watch (Australia) and Neighbourhood Support (New Zealand) goal of creating safer, connected and inclusive communities. We do this by formulating strategies and policies that encourage community participation in building safe and confident communities to reduce the fear of crime and increase feelings of safety in the community.

Neighbourhood Watch Australasia in conjunction with Countrywide Austral Pty Ltd officially supports the Streetsmart handbook.

The publication is produced for teenagers entering adulthood, providing them vital information regarding bullying, substance abuse, employment, travelling, emotional health and more. The book is delivered to all year 11 students with a minimum of 60,000 copies distributed in New South Wales each year.

Ambulance Active

As part of our community support program, we support the National Council of Ambulance Unions

Ambulance Active is the official journal of the National Council of Ambulance Unions – a publication for paramedics, ambulance officers and members from related fields.

This bi-annual journal will include industrial, professional, public interest and campaign articles relating to the ambulance sector of the Australian emergency services and is a vital link between the National Council of Ambulance Unions and its members.

It is strategically produced for your area to support your local members and without funding from businesses like yours, it would be impossible to produce this quality publication.

All advertising assistance is gratefully received and is essential for the ongoing support of this publication and to continue the communication between the National Council of Ambulance Unions and its members.

Their objectives are to raise the status and advance the interests of the profession of ambulance-related services and represent the views and interests of members. They also aim to facilitate full interchange of concepts and techniques amongst various fields and promote research and development of emergency medical treatment generally.

Police News

Police News

As part of our community support program we support the Police Association NSW

The Police Association of New South Wales (PANSW) represents the professional and industrial interests of approximately 16,500 members, covering all ranks of sworn police officers in NSW.

PANSW protects and ensures member wages, working conditions, and the occupational health and safety of police officers in New South Wales.

PANSW is owned and controlled by its members and a registered trade union organisation pursuant to the Industrial Relations Act.

PANSW is non-political, non-sectarian and affiliated with the Police Federation of Australia, Unions NSW and the Australian Council of Trade Unions.

PANSW is based on fraternalism for, and on behalf of police officers and their families, in both trying and better times.