Employee engagement is becoming the leadership challenge for the early 21st Century. In a world pressured by constant change, agility, and digital transformation, how leaders connect, communicate and inspire their people in organisations will matter more than how work is done. Last month, we attended a panel discussing revolutionising leadership - the power of inclusivity. The leadership trinity of Head, Heart, and Hands methodology is effective and valuable to leaders and organisations today. It is a holistic and human-centric approach that incorporates the what (head), why (heart), and how (hands) into leadership practices.
Head represents the concern for vision, direction, and guidance. How do we create our vision for the future and identify the priorities to get there? Leaders need to reflect on the organisation's purpose and values. Reflection can lead to awareness which is necessary for change. Without it, organisations cannot identify, question, and reframe underlying values and beliefs, acknowledge and challenge assumptions, recognise bias, identify fears, and understand strengths and weaknesses. Making time for reflection is something we often advise clients, and strive to implement for ourselves. This inward retrospection is part of an identity formation for the business and underlies the values and beliefs that support the views and strategies they develop.
Heart represents the concern for inspiration and energy. How do we inspire and empower people? Heart encourages emotional intelligence leadership by embedding purpose to an organisation’s “why” and its existence. It is more important than ever in the always-on era. When people understand the benefits of the "why", they are more likely to be motivated to execute that goal together. Leaders should drive a culture that emphasises people and the team as this will ultimately nurture relationships. Relationships have a powerful effect on people’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviours because human beings have a fundamental need to belong. It is team relationships that transform pointless tasks into directed, meaningful experiences. It even fuels transformation by fostering an emotional connection that inspires greater commitment and the willingness to go the extra mile.
Hands represent the concern for achieving goals. How do we execute amid constant change? It is the habits, actions, and tools for execution. It deals with holding people accountable and ensuring that they perform and that processes are iteratively developed. Leaders need to show support and provide feedback. It is especially important to provide feedback to employees as they take steps towards learning or engaging with new procedures and tools.
When the Head and the Heart are aligned, leadership becomes effective. The deep cultural level, where the Head and the Heart exist is the basis of how people work. It includes values (company and individual), norms (acceptable and unacceptable behaviours), identity (connections), as well as relationships and attitudes. Apply the Hands element of leadership into the mix and you end up with a fully engaged and transformative team.
A study conducted by BCG suggests that the Head, Heart, and Hands leadership methodology is most powerful when all three elements are fully engaged in parallel and seen as a holistic approach. BCG saw 96% of the companies that fully engaged the three elements achieved sustained performance improvement, a rate nearly three times that of companies that did not engage the elements.
The Head, Heart, and Hands methodology is a revolutionising approach to leadership that increases employee engagement, fosters a healthy and empowering culture, and is critical to organisational transformation. Most leaders are not all head, heart, or hands – most are a combination. However, if we strive to balance this trinity of leadership elements holistically, teams, leaders, and organisations will all benefit from the increased level of engagement, persistence, and accomplishments.
Very pleased to say that our Leading Engineering Workshop for September was sold out for the second time! We enjoyed meeting everyone and thank you for your participation and feedback. Our next Leading Engineering Teams workshop will be on December 6th-9th. Early bird tickets are available to purchase now until the end of this month.
Elle was presented with a Certificate of Appreciation on behalf of the Commonwealth Bank and https://www.ourcommunity.com.au\ for her contribution to the Australian Community, serving as the Treasurer at her local Kindergarten. Elle made significant improvements to the running of the non-for-profit Kindergarten by allocating budgets, assisting in the administration, and setting up the hiring process for new staff members. This is also where Elle met Sarah, who looks after our marketing, and joined the Blackmill team this time last year! Another reason why we should all volunteer for our community every now and then. You never who you’ll meet and connect with. 🖤
Elle wrote about pandemic burnout in last month’s newsletter and the impacts it has on our mental health. World Mental Health Day is to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and to mobilise efforts in support of mental health. Mental health problems have an impact on employers and businesses directly through increased absenteeism, negative impact on productivity and profits, as well as an increase in costs to deal with the issue. In addition, they impact employee morale adversely. At Blackmill, we have re-balancing leave to help team members who need time off to “re-balance” their lives. When leaders recognise the importance of mental health and its impact on productivity, that in itself is a start in fostering a healthy culture for their organisation.
“If you feel ‘burn out’ setting in, if you feel demoralised and exhausted, it is best, for the sake of everyone, to withdraw and restore yourself.” — Dalai Lama
I’m Chief of Staff for Fastmail. Delightfully, this role means I get to wear a lot of hats: whether it’s running complex projects across our three multinational teams, continuously shaping our culture for improved happiness and performance, wrangling our financial obligations or staying up to date with the international privacy legislations that affect us and our customers.
I also help run the CTO School Melbourne: a meetup group for people with CTO aspirations, looking at aspects of leadership, strategy and the kinds of technical challenges people in technical management face.
You can also find me, a few hours a week, working at my kids’ school library. Reading is so fundamental to learning, to curiosity, to breaking out of the bounds of our environment. It’s key to building empathy, and a safe way to experience emotions and situations that maybe we haven’t encountered yet. But mostly it’s a path to joy.
I am part of the Open Hardware miniconference team for Linux Conference Australia. I don’t have the deep hardware expertise of the others (yet!), but I enjoy communicating what we do and help bring other new folk into the fold, so we can all learn together. Two years ago we explored self-driving cars, last year we made a conference badge that connected to the internet. This year we’re hoping to pull off FPGAs and a sound application.
Across all of this, it’s clear to see that I enjoy learning, and I love coaching others. I’m passionate about privacy and data protection rights, and providing support for others to help themselves. Apparently I’m also bad at saying ‘no’ to new opportunities too! 😂
I feel like I’m going to be pushing the narrative around digital privacy for the rest of my life, in the face of people saying “I have nothing to hide”, or “They already know everything about me anyway”, or “Whatever, I don’t care.”
If you have nothing to hide, you are speaking from a position of inherited privilege, which is great… but it’s also a fallacy. A lot of organisations use your data to influence you, beyond the scope of what you might expect. It’s one thing to get an ad for a washing machine right after you’ve bought one, but it’s another thing to have your political views shifted as happened in the Cambridge Analytica Facebook scandal (Netflix also made a documentary about it: The Great Hack).
It’s never too late to reclaim your privacy! If information about you is spread amongst different systems, it’s harder for any one entity to use that knowledge against you.
Allowing the normalisation of surveillance and undue influence in our lives, whether to individuals, or corporations, or even governments should make us all uncomfortable at what it might lead to. Profiling is not so far away from the notion of Thought Crime brought up by George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four“.
Hopepunk! This is the idea that holding onto hope, and broadcasting hope, in the face of the crushing state of the world, is an act of punk-like resistance. You can see manifestations of this in guerrilla craftivism like yarn bombing, or the spate of Spoonvilles that popped up during lockdown last year.
I’m also mad keen about words (reading, writing, communicating). I’m partial to reading stories aloud to anyone who will sit still to listen, cooking (and eating!), Tai Chi, cats, googly eyes, and chocolate. But not googly eyes on chocolate; that would be bad.
I’ve been coaching a couple of folks and they’ve had some big wins recently: one navigated a really challenging project and brought it to completion, the other is looking to change roles to a much larger position that will challenge them a lot more and they’re ready for that growth.
I used to be very conflict avoidant. I would handle it passive-aggressively, or try to navigate my way around it using back channels. Terrible mistake, every time! I’m pretty happy that I’ve gotten enough skill and experience to handle conflict in a healthy way. It’s never going to be in my comfort zone, but I can meet those situations head-on now and the outcomes have been so much better.
I nap with a cat and eat a lot of chocolate! Turning off the phone is a huge help too. But the best thing for me is Tai Chi. To practice the routines well requires the entire focus of your mind. Bringing mind and body together forces thoughts of everything else out of your brain, and the movement brings on the endorphins (and helps to address the postural stresses too).
Life is too short for bad chocolate or bad friends. Never rub your eyes after cutting up a chilli pepper. Don’t be afraid to let your passions shine: it’ll turn your life into full colour instead of just shades of grey.
Insert a day between Saturday and Sunday: it shall be called Napsday it’s for snoozing, reading books, patting the good doggos and the fluffy cattos. Or, y’know, aggressively tax billionaires.
Make sure my family makes it through this crazy year with our good humour intact. Having a lot more external pressures has forced us all to evaluate what’s really important in our lives and make sure we nurture and preserve that.
Did we mention that we are food nerds? So much so that we built a web app for it (which still needs a lot of TLC) 😃 A couple of weeks ago, in the Food & Family newsletter, Elle shared an easy and delicious cauliflower stew. Hello cumin, paprika, and turmeric! 😋
Thank you for showing an interest in our newsletter and we hope that you enjoyed the read. Feel free to contact us if you have any feedback, a burning question, or just a recipe that you would like to share
Until next time, keep learning!
Everyone at Blackmill