Over the last decade, thanks to social media, I have had the privilege of meeting inspiring marketing, branding, customer experience, leadership, and social media experts. One of these experts is Lynn Scott, a leadership coach based in the UK and France. We recently had a discussion about leadership, and highlights follow Lynn's introduction.
Lynn works with entrepreneurs, leaders, and teams to help them beat overwhelm, build confidence, and cut out all the noise. She’s founder of the Effortless Leader Revolution – a lively and supportive Facebook community full of ideas, inspiration, resources, and answers. She’s known for her powerful insights, no-nonsense guidance, and her ability to cut through the BS ‘stories’ that keep wonderfully talented people from doing their best work. Visit her website at https://www.lynnscottcoaching.co.uk/, her Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/effortlessleaders, and connect on Twitter at https://twitter.com/lynnthecoach.
QUESTION: Take a look at the featured quote for this post's Q&A. How do you coach leaders who may not embrace the quote? (Fun fact: the quote was in a frame that was prominently placed on President Ronald Reagan's desk in the Oval Office during his two terms in the White House.)
LYNN SCOTT: Leaders who are only interested in their own success/career progression can and do create a toxic work environment. Leaders need to understand the impact of this behaviour – it doesn’t empower people, it breaks trust and ultimately, it can be career limiting for them in the long run.
My role as a coach is to give honest feedback about their impact and help them understand the importance and power of winning hearts and minds. And show them what this looks like in practice on a daily basis. But as with most things, they must genuinely want to change and not just pay lip service. People can see through fakery very easily.
It’s important to note though, that some leaders (often women in my experience) are shy about recognizing or sharing their personal achievements. Whilst it’s right that they acknowledge the team effort, they also need to own their own success and the leadership they demonstrated that led to success.
QUESTION: How do you explain the difference between management and leadership?
LYNN SCOTT: I’m not in the ‘leadership is x and management is y’ camp. If we lead a team, however small and whatever our title, we need to demonstrate leadership. Very simply, a good leader inspires others to do their very best work. People often ask me ‘how do I know how to motivate people to do this?’ My answer? Ask them! And really listen to the answers.
Someone who spends all their time being ‘busy’ with emails – ‘doing,’ reacting and firefighting rather than leading – is not someone many of us want to work for. And yet too many leaders are slaves to the inbox or the immediate at the expense of the work that really moves the dial.
So, a question we need to be asking ourselves always is ‘How should I be spending my time so others can spend their time in the best way too?’
TWEET THIS: A good leader inspires others to do their very best work. ~@LynnTheCoach #LeadershipTip #EmployeeExperience #EmployerBranding
QUESTION: How can a President/CEO become an organization's number one brand ambassador?
LYNN SCOTT: Let people know HOW the brand contributes to the world – this can be at a community level or globally or both. If you have corporate values, live them every day – actions speak louder than words, and you’ll be judged by your actions not your fancy mission statement. When things go wrong, own it, and say what you are doing to make things better. And finally – ask your staff this question!
QUESTION: What book should every leader read, and why?
LYNN SCOTT: Time to Think by Nancy Kline. Busyness has become such a badge of honour that we’ve forgotten the importance of thinking well, listening well, and being ‘thinking partners’ for others. And yet, there is nothing more powerful than feeling heard. This is a book I go back to again and again.
QUESTION: Which two brands impress you as examples of inspiring employer brands, and why?
LYNN SCOTT: I’m going to choose two very different brands based on my personal experience.
The first one is Kajabi – constantly improving their service to customers, totally honest when they screw up (which they have done recently) and responsibility taken by the President to make the necessary changes and improvements in a very personal series of emails (no hiding behind lessons have been learned corporate BS).
The second one is my accountancy firm for the last 20 years. Russell Smith Accountancy – a real ‘can do’ attitude demonstrated by all staff particularly during COVID and Brexit. Clear guidelines around how they treat their customers, a totally ‘can-do’ attitude and a lot of opportunities for young, talented people to grow and develop within the business.
QUESTION: Your E-Book, The Effortless Leader Revolution, features two important questions that a leader must ask his/her/their team on a regular basis? Can you share the two questions and provide some explanation?
LYNN SCOTT: Question number one: “What can I do, starting today, to be a better boss/leader/manager”? When you get an answer to that question all you need to do is say “thank-you” and then: “If I started to do that, what would the impact be?” (On you, your team, our results, etc.)
Question number two: “When I’m operating at my very best, adding real value to you and the business, what specifically am I doing?”
There are a few reasons I chose these questions. Firstly, they’re simple. Secondly – people don’t see our good intentions, they ONLY see the impact they have. So, understanding others’ perspectives helps us see where we’re getting it right or missing the mark, and we can decide what, if anything, we want to change. Third – we should encourage open and honest feedback at every level because it helps everybody to grow and develop. Celebrating success does a lot for building morale and well-being.
If you are then very public about what, if anything, you are going to change and what help you need from those around you, this shows you are open, honest, transparent, and willing to learn.
By the way, if you’re reading this and you’re thinking ‘I don’t think people would tell me the truth if I asked those questions,’ you’ve got a problem with your culture, your leadership, or with trust and psychological safety. That should be a big red flag for you.
My thanks to Lynn for appearing here on my Blog and for sharing useful take-aways for all leaders and teams to improve their leadership skills.
Image Credit: Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.