Achieving full potential

25 January 2019

This article was featured in the March 2019 issue of the magazine.

Giulia Remondino, managing director of Genius in 21 days UK, discusses what you can do

If every individual who works with you was able to show their full potential, your business would flourish. The reality is that there are many underlying issues often overlooked; below are three of the most important ones that need addressing. 

It is challenging to implement all these aspects, but at the end of every challenge lies a reward and to get it we need to be willing to adjust the culture in order to create an environment where any seed can bloom.

 

Ineffective time management

We often hear things like: “I have too much stuff on my plate”, “I am behind”, “I’ll stay late to meet this deadline” and so on. Actually, we hear it so often that it becomes normal. 

But it shouldn’t be the norm to be exhausted by too much work; to have so many things that require our attention that we don’t know where to start; to go home thinking our day hasn’t been productive; and keeping our mind on work when we are spending time with our loved ones. 

How can you prioritise tasks and maintain a clear vision of the big picture whilst being aware of all the little details, avoiding distractions and keeping your eye on the ball, even when tired or bored? 

Learning how to plan strategically is the first step. Being able to raise your efficiency whilst working on each deadline is the second. Learning how to remove distractions in order to be completely focused on what you are doing will complete the circle. 

Tip: Use the Pomodoro technique. Break your work into sessions of 25 minutes of intense work followed by a break of 5 minutes. Once this has been repeated four times, allow yourself a longer break (30 minutes). This will keep your mind on the work you need to do, while allowing you to recharge during the breaks. Focus on keeping breaks ‘intense’ too – switch off 100% so it’s forbidden to think about work.

 

...create an environment where any seed can bloom

 

Fear of making mistakes

Most people fear presentations because of the nervousness they will feel when in front of the audience. The interesting thing is that a lack of clarity of thought doesn’t just appear in presentations and exams, but also in every task in which we know we will be judged. So many people have shared how anxious they feel when they need to write an email to someone more senior, or when they need to take care of part of a project where a manager will have the chance to assess them. When we are in front of someone who could examine our work, our confidence reduces because we feel more exposed. 

Promoting a culture in which people feel comfortable making mistakes – even though we initially may feel resistant to it – will create an honest environment in which employees will not be afraid to show their own talents and add value to the team, rather than fearing judgement and only doing what is extremely easy or comfortable. 

Tip: When you receive feedback on your work, instead of getting upset or sad, focus on the fact that you can become better by learning from it. The only way to speed up your growth is to be ready to receive as much feedback as possible. On the other hand, if you are giving feedback, make sure you talk about the work and not about the person, so that the individual will not feel attacked and will be more prepared to take on your suggestions.

 

Managers but not leaders

When someone takes on a leadership role, this usually occurs because of the competence they have shown in their previous role, but the skills required to lead a team are not the ones that are required to be promoted. It may sound obvious, but the number of managers who struggle managing a team shows that too little time is allocated to train them as leaders. There are many investments in hard-skill training (updates, regulations, information required, etc), and while these are important, they shouldn’t become the reason not to invest in soft skills training. 

Becoming a good leader requires more than just a few hours – it’s a journey. If companies understood the business advantage in creating a company of leaders, rather than managers, I am sure they would spend time every week to raise the leadership level of their employees.

Tip: If your company doesn’t invest time in leadership training, read a number of books about it, apply and try on your own until you find the style that suits you. You could observe whether people bloom or regress when you manage them; be open-minded and ready to change if need be.