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InfoQ Homepage Podcasts Michael & Audree Sahota on Being Better Leaders

Michael & Audree Sahota on Being Better Leaders

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This is the Engineering Culture Podcast, from the people behind InfoQ.com and the QCon conferences.

In this podcast, recorded at the Agile on the Beach New Zealand conference, Shane Hastie, Lead Editor for Culture & Methods, spoke to Michael & Audree Sahota about their work on helping leaders change to enable high performance

 

Key Takeaways

  • Organisational transformation is about a deep shift from our current way of working and being into a completely different way of working and being which requires of us to grow and develop as human beings
  • In high-performance organisations people are willing to examine their egos, their leadership styles, their practices in order to learn and grow as a human being
  • As leaders we need to become aware of how we are showing up to others and then apply our problem-solving skills to deliberately choosing to adopt new ways of thinking and behaving
  • We’ve known from solid research over the last 20+ years that the only factor that matters about having an engaged team is the boss - the world’s greatest managers treat their people well
  • Culture, leadership and organisational change are not three separate things – they are one deeply interwoven thing and we need to have a deeply integrated understanding on how they are related to and dependent on each other

Show Notes

  • 00:28 Introductions
  • 01:17 Working with leadership to create ways and paths to shift into new ways of thinking and working
  • 01:47 Approaching organisational change from a health and wellness perspective
  • 02:28 Your belief systems, how you think and feel impact how healthy you are 
  • 02:54 Applying this thinking to exploring how organisations impact the people who interact with them
  • 03:21 Shifting consciousness to create a well being 
  • 03:43 Agile thinking as a vehicle to shift the way humanity shows up, how we create wellbeing in ourselves and in everyone around us
  • 04:16 Organisational transformation is about a deep shift from our current way of working and being into a completely different way of working and being which requires of us to grow and develop as human beings 
  • 04:34 An organisation cannot transform into new ways of working to cope with the volatile world today without the people in the organisation growing and developing 
  • 05:11 The essence of the agile mindset is about the same things that are needed to create high performance organisations
  • 05:26 In high-performance organisations people are willing to examine their egos, their leadership styles, their practices in order to learn and grow as a human being
  • 05:45 In most organisations today the focus is on process and standardisation, not on valuing and growing people
  • 06:03 The focus should be on engaging people and inspiring them to move towards more capable ways of being
  • 06:12 Embracing uncertainty will allow us to create organisations that can flow and be flexible to respond to the environment they are in
  • 06:59 The three core elements of the mindset are  
  • 07:18 Embracing uncertainty is hard and requires deliberate practice, like a kata 
  • 07:48 The fundamental distortion we have as people regarding our fear of how we are perceived by others which makes us afraid to make change, experiment or fail
  • 08:11 These are aspects of consciousness that we are not addressing in our modern-day society 
  • 08:54 For technical leaders today, what got us to where we are now won’t get us to where we need to go in the future – we need to develop new skills and competencies 
  • 09:18 As leaders we need to become aware of how we are showing up to others and then apply our problem-solving skills to deliberately choosing to adopt new ways of thinking and behaving 
  • 09:48 What actually leads to success is engaged and motivate people 
  • 10:00 Every high-performance manager knows that when you treat people well they perform better  
  • 10:06 Most of what happens in modern organisations is not aligned with this knowledge 
  • 10:24 The default business-as-usual situations we have are leading to a lack of safety and low performance 
  • 10:42 As a manager you need to ask yourself “what can I do about this” – it leads to unlocking and personal change 
  • 10:51 Instead of focusing on technical excellence, focus on personal excellence 
  • 11:07 When people are not performing well there is something going on that causes it to happen – listen to the team and individual to hear their needs rather than trying to adapt a process
  • 11:43 There is a deep inner wisdom that each of us has inside when we can slow down enough to really listen to what’s going on 
  • 12:07 Stop for a moment and listen to yourself and listen to everything that is going on with your team
  • 12:45 this is not a complex shift – we can all do this 
  • 12:59 Ask if the people are OK, do they have everything they need to be successful, are their voices being heard, are we using the best wisdom of all the people on our team to create the best product 
  • 13:18 Start with the people – change yourself first and then create a safe environment where your people can show up and be successful
  • 13:31 These things are easy to explain and hard to achieve
  • 13:35 It takes a desire to create the success we want which requires a shift in how we show up 
  • 13:55 The desire to make change to personally function better, to help my team function better, to create the result that we want to achieve the organisation’s goals 
  • 14:14 It’s up to each person to find their own motivation for going on the journey of showing up as the leader they want to be  
  • 14:27 Standing in the truth means being open to the realities around you and stepping back to ask yourself where you need to change to be a better leader or team member
  • 14:58 Recognising where you are not showing up in the way you want to is very uncomfortable
  • 15:17 We’ve known from solid research over the last 20+ years that the only factor that matters about having an engaged team is the boss 
  • 15:21 If your team is not performing in the way you want it to, the problem is with you and your behaviour 
  • 15:48 The world’s greatest managers treat their people well
  • 16:05 It’s not easy to achieve this because of the way organisations are ruled and structured 
  • 16:17 The world’s greatest managers break the rules to enable high performance in their teams
  • 16:46 Every small step we take towards causing less harm, less oppression, less reaction and move towards treating people better directly results in performance benefits – there is a strong feedback loop
  • 17:06 Examples of Theory X & Theory Y behaviour and how the attitude and actions of a single individual makes a huge difference to our motivation
  • 17:37 The qualities of great leaders include compassion, understanding, caring, showing you how good you are, influencing and developing people in a natural way
  • 17:59 The importance of unconditional positive regard 
  • 18:28 Ask yourself how you want others to perceive you and what do you need to do to live up to that bar
  • 18:45 Michael’s book available on InfoQ: An Agile Adoption and Transformation Survival Guide 
  • 19:15 Michael & Audree’s new book which addresses what culture is and how to shift organisational culture, how to move from the current way of operating to a higher performance organisational culture system 
  • 19:25 Examining what is needed from three perspectives:
  • 20:01 Culture, leadership and organisational change are not three separate things – they are one deeply interwoven thing and we need to have a deeply integrated understanding on how they are related to and dependent on each other 
  • 20:33 Currently the book is available as part of Michael & Audree’s training classes
  • 21:01 The book provides guidance on personal growth and tactical steps leaders can take to help move towards higher performance
  • 21:24 The book has simple techniques and practical guidance on what you can do to achieve the outcomes needed 
  • 21:54 The book is designed to create a context in which people can start shifting their mindset

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