Shelley Flett is a Leadership Coach at LFTC Coaching, helping others to reach their greatest leadership potential at work and within their personal lives. Dalton Koss HQ speaks with Shelley to find out about her journey in becoming a Leadership Coach.
My leadership journey began in the UK 13 years ago when I was appointed Manager of a bar in Surrey. Upon my return to Australia in 2005, I commenced work at ANZ as a call centre operator and worked my way up through the ranks. Over the ten years at ANZ I held 11 different roles and developed a reputation of being a balanced leader who inspired passion in the people I worked with to deliver the results of a high performing team. I now coach entry and middle level managers to improve their leadership capabilities.
Five key words I use to describe effective and successful leadership include openness, trust, integrity, influence and organisation. A good leader must create a level of trust in their team that allows open conversation and gives confidence to challenge each other. They will lead by example and take a balanced approach to ensure their team feel fulfilled in their roles and are clear on what is expected to succeed. A good leader will be well managed with their time and balance their work with their family/social life.
There have been a number of key successes, challenges and failures in my leadership journey. When I first became a leader I was completely focussed on delivering and didn’t give too much thought to the emotional wellbeing of my team. I came unstuck when one particular team I managed made a bullying/intimidation complaint against me. It was this event that completely changed the way I viewed leadership. I realised that the work couldn’t be separated from the worker and in order to be successful I had to develop relationships with my team and take a genuine interest in them as people. Once I’d made this shift, the work happened almost by itself. I learnt that you must give in order to receive and much of this takes place on an emotional level.
I have been extremely lucky to have some amazing leaders to coach and mentor me throughout my career. The best managers are the ones that tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear!
I invest time and finances in my personal leadership and as a leadership coach. I attend leadership courses 1-2 times a year and invest in a life coach to help me maintain direction and set goals. I invest a great amount of time and a little bit of money in improving my skills as a leader, I think it’s important to constantly evolve and continue to learn.
It is important to learn the rules of the game and play it! Don’t get emotionally involved and be clear on what you want to achieve in the longer term, setting personal goals is extremely important. Finally, make sure your life doesn’t revolve around work…keep active, socialise, spend quality time with your family – create a balance, it will help build your resilience!
I volunteer regularly at ‘not-for-profit’ organisations to coach/mentor leaders and long-term unemployed. Volunteering keeps me grounded and teaches me to see things from different perspectives. I love the concept of ‘paying it forward’ and volunteering is the perfect way of doing this.
I am really disciplined with the hours I work, I start at 7am and leave the office by 4pm. Creating this time limitation prevents me from procrastinating or spending longer than I should on a task. This is important for maintaining my mental and physical health and wellbeing. I have two sons and a daughter on the way so I find it easy to switch off when I leave work, I love being a mum and I love having my career!
Regularly reviewing my goals to ensure I’m still heading in the right direction keeps me ahead of the game. I also talk to a lot of people and ask a lot of questions to keep up-to-date with what’s going on within the organisation and leadership coaching…I like to be curious!
My top leadership secrets are to listen, ask questions and don’t assume…there are too many leaders who like the sound of their own voice and never hear what’s being said.
For those who want to move into leadership roles, I recommend joining Toastmasters & Business Chicks. It is a wonderful network of inspirational professionals and leaders.