Thanks to support from Code Like a Girl and its readers, I finally finished it.
I wrote the first version of a story on “why I am about to publish my first book” in March 2017. One year later, I had to write it again. In the 12 months between the two, the encouragement and response I got from Code Like a Girl readers kept me going.
Feedback from readers told me that that the lessons I had to share were resonating with them, and that readers appreciated the simple, accessible style. On those days when I sat down to edit a chapter for what felt like the hundredth time, and the self-doubt would start to creep in, seeing comments on stories or watching the numbers of readers click upwards on them would give me a much-needed boost to keep going.
Here is the story of that book, which you can find here on Amazon, that was just published last week:
I wrote a blog post recently about a time I was the victim of poor management practices. I was surprised by the strong response of some readers.
I got a few comments along these lines:
- all organisations and managers are rubbish
- the farther you look up the management ladder, the less intelligent people seem to be.
Ouch. I couldn’t really argue, given the story I had written was telling a very unflattering tale about both organisations and managers, who had not acted very intelligently.
But I did wonder about this overall view, and what could be done to change it. Not least because I write a weekly blog in which I share my own hard lessons learned in 20 years of executive leadership to help anyone become a better leader and manager.
Also, through my own experience of setting up my first tech startup as an over-40 non-techie female during the past four years, I have made sure that the tools and tips are just as applicable to startup and entrepreneurial cultures as organisations and corporates.
Stop managing and start leading
I have pulled those lessons together into a simple guide to help any manager who is feeling out of their depth or who is struggling with a new or underperforming team. This guide helps managers get a grip and regain a sense of control, so they can stop merely managing and also start leading.
In Becoming a Fearless Leader: A simple guide to taking control and building happy, productive, highly performing teams, I present my antidote to the feeling of being overwhelmed and panicked that often comes with tackling a challenging managerial role, especially if you have a team that is struggling to perform well.
My antidote is to keep things simple.
Feeling out of your depth, insecure, afraid or stuck can cause you to make poor decisions and be a bad manager. Grasping a simple tool to help you quickly get a grip and find some solid ground is essential. It will speed things up, free up your staff, and make you a more effective leader.
Top tips to build a highly performing team
You need just a few basic components to get out of a downward spiral of poor performance and an unhappy team, to get a grip, and turn things around:
Creating a mission statement, establishing values, and setting goals with your team. This has the added value of giving you a reason to engage with your team, and find common language and common ground to start from.
Setting up a system for and conducting effective one to one monthly meetings and annual performance reviews. This helps you take on your responsibility as manager for not only the performance but also welfare of your team members. And, it gets and keeps a conversation going so problems are less likely to sneak up on you or them.
Reviewing the basic building blocks of your team’s functionality, including skill sets, access to information, and the workplace physical environment. The devil is in the details — these are the things you don’t usually pay attention to until they are causing you big problems. Pay attention now, and do a swift review. This will help you get ahead of any potential performance-killers and put in solutions in anticipation.
I cover all of these areas in detail in my book. I also include worksheets and questions you can work through to guide you step by step in your work with your team. You can download a free fillable pdf workbook of all the tools from my website here.
Being a manager doesn’t have to be difficult, though it will always be a challenging role. If you keep it simple and put a little work in, you can be the leader that changes the way we all write about our experiences of managers.
My first book, Becoming a Fearless Leader: A simple guide to taking control and building happy, productive, highly-performing teams is out now. You can find access to a free pdf workbook that accompanies it on my website. If you do read my book, I would love to hear your comments.
I write about how I became the founder of a tech startup as a non-techie, over-40 female with no entrepreneurial experience, and all I am learning along the way. You can see more here. If you think this might be helpful for others on their entrepreneurial journey, please recommend and share.