I just got back from summer vacation, dear readers. If you’re a regular reader, and I hope you are, then you know that I’m an American who’s proud to call Ireland home now, but who still refers to some things in old American usage . I’m back from “holiday”, not “vacation”. Whatever you call it, it’s important to take it. Each of us needs to detach from our busy work lives to refresh and re-energize.
oh, where have we gone? Thanks for the question. For the first time in three years, daughter Lulu and I (along with my boyfriend Damien in tow) returned to one of my favorite places: Tuscany. In particular, we visited a particular agriturismo or country inn known as The Pozzo. It was named in honor of the ancient well discovered on the site that served the farm’s residents hundreds of years ago.
It is now owned and run by my wonderful friend Carla Veneri, who serves as a prime example of what makes a good boss. Throughout the pandemic, while hospitality was on lockdown even though Carla’s own livelihood was in jeopardy, she found a way to take care of her staff The Pozzo was able to reopen to guests, her loyal employees returned as well.
We received a warm “Bentornati‘ or ‘Welcome back’ from Gioia, Valentina, Alessandro and others whom we haven’t seen for years and who, like in the old days, took great care of us.
Teach people skills, not management skills
The experience reminded me of a recent interview with Rob Peacock. Based in the UK, he is responsible for talent development at online retailer Very Group. In particular, I remembered the part of our conversation when he explained to me how committed they at Very are to teaching their leaders “human skills” and not “management skills.” “We teach people how to use their sources of inspiration,” he said.
“We teach them how to show up every day. How to grow yourself. How to take an interest in people around you. How to care about their effect on others.
“If you know all these things, you will become a good manager. Good management follows.”
Rob also shared how, throughout his own career, he discovered the importance of learning and using people’s skills. He started in the private customer business.
“I took a job as a graduate and started selling personal loans and insurance products. I thought I had sales talent. I didn’t know it was actually a human talent. People are sales.”
Rob was successful in achieving goals and was soon offered a job as a bank manager. That’s when he realized he didn’t want to sell anymore.
“Where I got my energy from was encouraging people to do their best. It made me a good boss, but not a good bank manager. I didn’t chase people by how many business meetings they had each day and whether they achieved their goals. That’s when I thought I had to change.”
In addition to his passion for being a husband and father, Rob now says he is fulfilled in his position of “helping each and every person to maximize their ability to do what comes naturally to them each day and to… to grow”.
Build a democracy of talent
Rob said that one of his latest talent development endeavors is finding more ways to bring social mobility into the business.
“How do we know we don’t have future leaders in the operations department? But they just don’t get discovered or sponsored? How do we give them chances? How do you provide learning opportunities for all? It is important to recognize everyone as a talent and create a democracy of talent.”
He said he previously worked in companies where people were often put in boxes. “High potential on the one hand and others on the other. It’s better if we can equally recognize that everyone has potential,” he said.
He also wants to encourage organizations to hold back and get managers to think about coaching as an art of asking catalytic questions to prevent them from overdriving their teams.
“Ask open-ended questions like ‘What do you like about your role?’ or ‘What would you like to do that you are not currently doing?’ Make your people think.”
Rob wants to help managers see themselves as the container for the conversation and not just someone who dictates performance.
Discover and experiment
Looking back, Rob said that exploration and experimentation are among the most important things to do in a career.
“There is value in doing things wrong. There is value in being in a career that is wrong for you. Getting up every morning to do a job you hate is valuable because it can motivate you to strive for more. It’s harder when what you’re doing is just OK, because OK can get comfortable and you can get stuck in just being OK.”
keep making mistakes
“You stop making mistakes when you’re dead. Carry on, mistakes and all, while you breathe. Live.”
This pearl of wisdom comes from my wonderful friend Teresa, whose father, Peter Harte, recently died peacefully at his home in Ryefield, Co Cork, with his wife and daughter by his side. He was 98 years old and lived a “beautiful and blessed” life, according to Teresa. Keep it up, dear readers. Experiment. Make mistakes. Above all: Live.
https://www.independent.ie/business/in-the-workplace/how-mistakes-enhance-your-work-and-life-journey-41924156.html How mistakes improve your work and life journey