Holding family in strange times…

How has your family life changed?

I’m battling with being far from family, Karen is struggling to balance home-schooling and work-life. Marta is, in her own words, ‘completely overwhelmed’. John is feeling resentful about being forced into a home-care role, whilst Sam is delighting in being a full-time Mom. Nick is missing being a busy professional and experiencing anxiety over his elderly mother living alone. Others are feeling increasingly concerned over the health and well-being of their parents, extended family and friends. Everyone is feeling mostly fine, slightly guilty, sometimes happy, quite stretched and very uncertain. We are all trying our best.

We believe we can learn from and support one another. With this in mind we have a regular 60 minute conversation every Thursday as a moment to reflect, connect and learn our way through these uncertain times.

Stephanie is part of the facilitation team – she says “The time every Thursday is a gift to myself, an opportunity to share the personal highs and lows involved in managing my relationships with my loved ones during this unprecedented time of physical disconnection…without fear of judgement and without guilt.”

Please do join every Thursday at 12:00 on zoom for an intimate and curated precious group conversation: Holding Family. The group is welcoming, what is said is confidential and the time is held with care.

Please email Laura on hello@sheleadschange.org for joining instructions.

Come, talk, listen and realise you are not alone.

Learning to Listen

“The biggest communication problem, is we do not listen to understand, we listen to reply”

Iffet Burton, from our second Open Programme cohort, shares how her understanding of listening was transformed as a result of her She Leads Change experience.

“Deep listening is where you focus on the person in front of you: you do not speak, you try to stay out of your own head and really hear the words/emotions/expressions of the speaker.”

About, three weeks into the She Leads Change Open Programme, I began to grasp how to listen, yet a year later, I’d sometimes reflect on conversations, and realise I was away in my head and not really listening…then felt upset at having left someone feeling less special than they deserve.  We like to be listened to…

I have always listened and as a Teacher, my students were annoyed with my ability to be across the room talking to one person and pick up their conversation at the other end (just like most parents can) – they were, of course, off topic and I would let them know they needed to stop.  What I did not realise, is that I learnt a habit of looking like I was distracted when listening to others. 

When I first started in Pearson this habit was noted, and some of my peers felt I did not listen when they spoke to me.  I could not understand why as I always gave the correct responses and actioned everything.  It took my going on the She Leads Change Open course to learn about the skill of deep listening to understand why.

So here’s a partial ‘I’m sorry’ to those who thought I was not listening to them.  

I try very hard now, to stay in focus on what is being said to me and I get a better response.  I also remember not to multi-task when someone is asking for my help, I have learnt to say: please give me a moment, finish my task and go and give them my undivided attention.

It can be part of the issue with remote working, that some people feel they are marginalised and not heard or able to participate in discussions.  I read a document written by the Pearson Senior HR Manager, Kevin Lyons who publishes on GroSum which points to this situation.   

So next time you are tempted to type whilst on the phone, or type while answering a question to a colleague, consider if you left them feeling they knew the answer and had been heard, or would they leave and find someone else, not entirely sure you knew what they asked or discussed?

Our Spring 2020 Open Programme starts on 18th February.

The three month peer mentoring programme helps women better manage their internal narratives, successfully navigate personal and professional relationships and lead from a place of confidence.

We would love to have you join us. Apply now or get in touch with Laura if you have any questions.

She Leads Change at Pearson Business School

I was invited by Rhys Marc Photis, leader of the strategy module, to introduce Pearson MBM students to She Leads Change, and to work with them on a topic relating to the self: I chose resilience.

She Leads Change was created on the premise: to lead positive change we need to first find and be our most powerful, authentic selves. Self and resilience are two concepts at the heart of our programmes. We work alongside our Open Programme participants on self – helping them open up the narratives, misperceptions or limitations we carry, alongside the strengths and capabilities we hold back. Our session on resilience, co-created by participants and facilitators, encourages participants to have the courage to live fully through being able to handle failure and related emotions of shame, vulnerability, hope, compassion and grief.

” Having looked at “Graves Value system” as part of the current module and how personality types can affect the way a team and company operates, it was good to reflect on how resilient I am as a leader. Shalini helped me to realise that having the power and confidence to know when to stop and say no is vital in effective leadership and enables me to be resilient in my everyday work.” — Matthew Evans, Senior Standards Manager at Pearson

With the students from the MA in Business & Management, I ran a session on resilience working on personal stories through an exercise of deep listening in pairs. Having got students to think deeply about their own resilience – the situation, their actions, what they learnt about themselves – we moved on to consider how knowledge of resilience qualities can help better us understand drivers and motivations and build deeper awareness of organisational styles.

She Leads Change was given as an example of a group orientated leadership and organisational style where individuals are motivated by collaboration, sharing responsibility and putting the team first.  Quite different from some of the other leadership styles in evidence all around us.

“It was a very insightful session to have Shalini in the programme. It showed me and others how important it is to be true to ourselves. The more authentic we are, the more resilient will be in this slightly mad world.” — Rhys Marc Photis, Head of Contemporary Strategy, MBM at Pearson

It was a wonderful opportunity to share some of the She Leads Change approach with business students and to co-create the session with Rhys as part of the Strategy module he leads on.

Shalini Sequeira is a facilitator on the She Leads Change Open Programme, and also a coach for She Leads Change. Outside She Leads Change she is an executive coach, working with talented BAME professionals to support them into leadership.

Our next Open Programme starts on 30th September, more information and sign-up here.