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Posts tagged ‘leadership’

Jobshare Top Tip #5: Practice Humility

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Often in today’s workplace, being humble can be seen as a weakness when in fact, entirely the opposite is true and crucial to success as a Jobsharer. Being aware of our limitations, accepting imperfections and recognising our potential when combined with another is an incredible strength! It takes courage to talk through our “mistakes” but only through creating this type of dialogue with a Jobshare (or any) partner can you create a truly fulfilling experience.

There’s no room for ego

Practicing humility as a Jobsharer requires a shift in perspective. Respect and commitment of successful Jobsharers is focussed on doing what’s best for the role (and inherently, the Partnership), as opposed to themselves as individuals.

“Any successes we had were not personal, they were as a result of the Jobshare” (Maggy Pigott CBE, a Jobsharer of 23 years with the Civil Service, 5 of which were at CEO level)

There really is no room for ego, if a task is done well, it doesn’t matter which Jobsharer does the presentation/ takes the call /is present at the meeting, what’s important is that the organisation experiences success as a result of the Partnership working together. Practicing humility through a consultative approach in the interest of the Jobshare not only enables the Partnership (and associated lifestyle) to thrive, it increases productivity and enables the Partnership to make more innovative, brave and strong decisions quickly, because there’s another to consult, to bounce ideas off and to rationalise with.

“It’s wonderful having another half who has exactly the same knowledge of the job as you do, and also exactly the same interest in making that Job a success” (Maggy Pigott CBE)

Of course sharing in the successes of the Jobshare also mean sharing in the mistakes and this leads me to a second important advantage of practicing humility.

Always Present a United Front

Practicing Humility in the interest of successful Jobsharing means developing and presenting a united front irrespective of differences. When differences in approach inevitably emerge it’s crucial to have a strategy for containing and resolving these within the Partnership because commitment to being consistent to everyone outside of the Partnership; colleagues, team, manager, clients, suppliers, is crucial for the development of Trust.

Experienced Jobsharers say that when a difference leads to a disagreement, it’s almost always due to incomplete communication. By engaging in dialogue as opposed to debate when differences emerge, each has the opportunity to explain fully their rationale and challenge with reason. Through approaching this process constructively, a shared way forward can be established and importantly the opportunity to respect and get on board with what’s best for the Partnership to deliver.

Another key success factor is summarised neatly in this salient point made by Maggy Pigott as she reflected on habits that led to the long-term success of their 23 year partnership:

“we always adopted the rule it a rule to never unpick anything the other had done, we would always move forward, even if we would have perhaps dealt with it slightly differently ourselves”

Food for thought

We only need to look at crucial leadership traits to discover how core Jobsharing skills like self-awareness and acceptance, communication and humility can translate into developing successful leaders. In a recent survey by Catalyst Research (which I discovered in the Harvard Business Review), leaders with increased self-awareness and a greater focus on relationships achieve greater commitment and performance from their teams.  So whilst these skills are required and developed through Jobsharing, they are also important characteristics of future leaders.  If you’d like to find out more about Jobsharing and how it could work for you or your organisation, please contact us at

Ban Bossy?

ban bossy

Yesterday, I went on BBC radio Cambridgeshire to discuss whether we should “Ban Bossy” from the workplace and so I thought I’d share with you my perspective, in case you missed it;

  1. The term “Bossy” is entirely context specific. It’s usually used in association with children, giving out orders without listening either by the child or to the child, which let’s face it is sometimes necessary. When used professionally, it always invites clarification otherwise it’s difficult to interpret what the person means because “bossy” is such a loaded term. It usually refers to someone being assertive, direct, organised, all of which are positive attributes and necessary in most situations, we don’t always have time to negotiate. If you’re achieving results but considered bossy, then ultimately you have to accept that as “the boss” you’re never going to please everyone. If you’re not achieving results, then perhaps it’s time to review your approach in which case the clarification can offer useful feedback.
  2. It’s all about mindset. The word Bossy itself can’t be damaging, it’s just a word! It’s the way we choose to interpret and respond to it that can be damaging. I asked a random selection of men and women how they would feel if called bossy and whilst the reaction from women was mixed and a significant proportion said they would feel bad or offended by it, men unanimously viewed it as either positive or dismissed it entirely. It’s all about mindset. Women generally seek feedback and want to please those around them, which is a very positive trait but the flipside can mean that we are also (over) sensitive to words. I certainly feel that putting a lot of effort into campaigning against a word is ridiculous and not really doing women any favours, instead we should learn to use feedback positively or simply dismiss it if it’s not useful.
  3. It’s not the reason fewer women progress to board level. Sheryl Sandburg, Beyonce, Victoria Beckham haven’t let it stop them pursuing an extremely successful career, despite claiming they have been called bossy at some point. I don’t believe it’s language that’s preventing women from progressing, more the limited employment options, which don’t allow any more than one life priority at a time. Dedicating 40+ hours each week to professional development leaves little time for anything else and it’s ignorant to claim we only have one life priority to manage at once. The more companies acknowledge this and actively support flexible working options like Jobsharing at a senior level and give Jobshare partnerships equal opportunity for employment in full-time roles, the more opportunity there will be for experienced, ambitious women to continue to progress up their career ladder and also grow as parents.

Don’t get me wrong, Ginibee and Jobsharing is for men and women at all stages of their career. It’s great that we’re seeing more couples share maternity and paternity leave and dads working part-time than ever before. I think the next generation of exec’s will see a significant change in perceived equality in terms of career progression. If you have any thoughts on anything that has been discussed in this post or Jobsharing, please share your comments, I’d love to hear them.

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