“Doing” Leadership

“Doing” Leadership

“DOING” LEADERSHIP by KELLY HUTCHISON

As a long-time leader of teams, I often get asked for my thoughts on how to “do” leadership.  Just recently, I was talking with a bright, early-career entrepreneur who said, “My business is growing like crazy and I’m starting to hire people.  I don’t know how to manage and lead others.  What training course would you recommend? Or are there some books I can read?”

These questions are more common than I’d like them to be.  While they are well-intended, and it’s great that people who seek leadership responsibility actually want to do it well, the assumption (or perhaps hope) beneath the question is that if you read the right books, and/or take the right training course, you will be able to lead.

The question I asked this poor soul in return was, “regardless of the training course or the books – how will you know when you can manage and lead other people?  Does reading the books and attending the training mean you’re done?  Tick, you’re a good leader? Cross it off the list of things to do?”

The truth (like it or not) is that managing and leading others is not a destination.  It’s a practice.  Kind of like yoga.  In fact, yoga can teach us a lot about leadership.  No matter how good you get at yoga, there’s always something more to learn.  There’s more to practice.  You never FINISH working at yoga.  And if you’ve practiced yoga, you’ll know that some days are great – you nail the pose, you go deeper, you balance longer.  Some days are terrible.  You fall over, or you can’t hold even the most basic version of the pose you held for 10 minutes yesterday.  It requires focus, getting back into the pose even when you’ve fallen out of it six times already, and tuning in to your thoughts and feelings. Perhaps most importantly, it requires a willingness to push beyond your comfort zone – taking your pose just a bit further, without a guarantee that you’ll nail it the first time (knowing, in fact, that you’ll probably fall over).

The same is true for leadership.  This is because leadership exists within a human system.  One set of leadership behaviours which works perfectly well with one group of people may completely backfire with another.  Or a style of leadership that works when times are good, fails when times are difficult.  Some days are great – the team is humming, people are happy.  Others stink – business is underperforming, there’s tension between people, tough decisions to be made, and politics to manage.  Pesky human beings – they are so unpredictable.  

So what is this achievement-oriented entrepreneur to do, as the company grows and leadership becomes a necessity and requirement?  While I do not endorse the concept of a “checklist for good leadership”, in the spirit of helping these shooting stars along the journey, I offer the below as a non-linear process.

First: understand the baseline.  Look for clues.  Do you lose people from recruitment processes after they interview with you?  What’s your voluntary employee turnover rate?  If you use an employee engagement survey, what does the data tell you about how people feel about their manager and/or senior leaders?  You should also look inward.  Who’s been your favorite or most respected leader over the course of your career and why?  Who do you emulate as a leader?  

Second: ask your people what they need from you  – what motivates them to perform at their best.  Again, these pesky human beings are all slightly different.  But one thing remains consistent – people join great companies and leave bad managers..  The trick is to find out what “bad manager” means to your people – and practice behaving differently.

On the note of PRACTICE…this is a critical third (and ongoing) step. Just as you don’t become a star tennis player on day 1, and you can’t learn to play the piano with one lesson, leadership is a practice.  Remember that feeling of trying something new when you were a kid?  It’s frustrating and uncomfortable.  Get used to this feeling – in fact, seek it out in your workplace.  It means you’re learning – and learning is supposed to feel uncomfortable.  Try new behaviours.  Refine.  Try again.  Try again.  

Fourth – ask your people how you’re doing.  And “your people” should include those below you, above you, and beside you.  If you’re heading a start-up, maybe there’s no one technically above you.  Whose opinion do you respect and admire?  Do you have a board of directors? An investor or business partner?  Importantly, consider this guide for soliciting feedback (and ignore it at your peril).

Fifth (and arguably the most important element to include in your practice): Reflect on the feedback and use it as a source of data to improve your practice.  Extending the “learning to play the piano” analogy, consider how listening to a recording of your practice can shine a light on areas where you need more practice.  You listen, you think about what you want to work on, and then you work on it.  The same is true in leadership.  What can you learn from the feedback you received?  What should you try differently?

What can you learn?  What can you try?  

Sixth (or maybe first!) – ask for help. What professional athlete does not have a coach? What opera singer doesn’t study under another professional?  It can be very lonely at the top.  Cultivate your network, join leadership forums or communities, and consider a psychotherapist, counsellor or performance coach to help you reflect, learn, and grow.  As someone who has been practicing leadership for decades and advising others who are doing the same, I firmly subscribe to the view that every leader needs a therapist and coach.  

Finally – Repeat steps 1-6.  Often, and for as long as you hold a leadership role.  In doing so, you will exceed your own expectations and you will make a difference to your team, your company and potentially by extension, the world around you.  

After all – isn’t this why you became an entrepreneur in the first place?

Kelly Hutchison

Kelly Hutchison is a psychotherapist, counsellor and executive coach with aMindset, based in Hong Kong. 

To book an individual consultation or discuss mental health & wellness initiatives for your organization, contact Kelly on +852 9179 4454 or kellyamindset@gmail.com 

Other Articles by Kelly:

Find out more about Kelly here

Qualifications:

  • Master of Counselling, Monash University, Australia
  • Master of Applied Science (Innovation & Organisation Dynamics), RMIT University, Australia
  • Bachelor of Arts (Liberal Arts/Music), Florida State University, USA
  • Executive Coaching – Level Two Coach, Institute of Executive Coaching & Leadership, Australia
  • Member, Hong Kong Society of Counselling & Psychology
  • Member, Australian Counselling Association
  • Member, Hong Kong Professional Counselling Association

If you would like to speak with a counsellor about how Kelly or AMindset can support you, please contact us.

 



Karuna Kapoor

Karuna Kapoor

Master of Counselling, Monash University, HK.

Fee: HK$850 per 50mins.

Languages: English and Hindi.

Karuna is from India and has been residing in Hong Kong for almost 25 years which she now considers her home. Although she has worked in multiple industries in the corporate sector, her attentiveness to mental wellness has been her focus from the time she studied Psychology at an undergraduate level.

Karuna has a natural interest in supporting people and believes there is always both help and hope for any person experiencing distress in all spheres and stages in life. Karuna is patient and focuses on giving her ears to her clients within a non-judgmental and confidential space. She is of acceptance that most people often just need someone non-biased to speak with to feel better. Her aim is to work collaboratively with her clients, so they feel empowered to make their own choices to optimise a balanced life.

Karuna is appreciative that many challenges often go unnoticed in adolescence and is forthcoming to aid teens, young adults, and their parents in creating meaningful relationships with themselves and others. She also uses life skills and experiences to help persons in embracing grief and loss and concurrently encourages taking steps toward self-compassion and further purpose.

Karuna considers attributes of cognizance and vigilance as key components to adopting healthy thought processes. Karuna regards counselling as a powerful proactive and reactive medium to mitigate several mental health concerns with the aid of psychoeducation.

Karuna is available for Counselling sessions in English and Hindi – More details here.

HK$850 per 50 min session

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us here.

A free 20-minute intro consultation is available for new clients. Please email office@amindset.hk for more details.

 

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Nimishaa Mohinani

Nimishaa Mohinani

Master of Counselling, Monash University, HK.

Fee: HK$850 per 50mins. 

Languages: English.

As a counsellor, Nimishaa wants to empower her clients with a greater understanding of themselves as well as tools they may need to enhance their own well-being.

Nimishaa believes counselling sessions are a collaborative and safe space for clients to explore their challenges as well as to learn strategies to enhance their experience of life. She uses an integrative approach that includes Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT), and mindfulness techniques.

Nimishaa has been working in the area of mental health and well-being for several years. She began her career in Industrial-Organizational psychology and specializes in leadership training and resilience coaching. Early on in her career, she realized that she had a passion for supporting people’s self-growth and wanted to further develop as a counsellor. This led Nimishaa to acquire a Masters in Counselling at Monash University.

Education & Qualifications:

  • Monash University, Australia – Masters of Counselling
  • The Chinese University of Hong Kong – Masters of Philosophy in Industrial-Organizational Psychology
  • Tufts University, MA, U.S.A – Bachelors of Psychology
  • Youth Mental First Aid (YMFA) certificate
  • Member: HK Society of Counselling & Psychology (HKSCP)

Find out more about counselling here.      If you have any questions, feel free to contact us here.

A free 20-minute intro consultation is available for new clients. Please email office@amindset.hk for more details.

Schedule Appointment Book a Package of 4 Sessions

Packages must be used within 12 weeks of the first booking.

Megan Chang

Megan Chang

Master of Counselling, Monash University, HK.

Fee: HK$850 per 50mins. 

Languages: English, Mandarin, or Cantonese. 

Megan is a Master of counselling graduate from Monash University dedicated to counselling adults, teens, and children with issues related to anxiety, stress, depression, as well as relationship tensions.

Before counselling, Megan had worked in the financial sector for over 10 years in both Taipei and Hong Kong. She totally resonates with how one’s mental health state is intertwined with the highly stressed and sophisticated working environment. And, how these experiences affected their performance and well-being, both physically and mentally.

After moving to HK, she involved herself in several volunteer and charity works that support the well-being and living of underprivileged women, youth, and children in our community. With experiences working with teens and children in school to support their emotional regulation, learning motivation, anxiety, and relationship issues with friends and family, she found it truly rewarding to witness how adaptive and plastic are those fast-developing minds. This planted the seeds of pursuing a counselling profession that would enable her to bring substantial change to people’s lives.

Influenced by the person-centred approach, Megan strives to provide an environment where clients feel safe and at ease with her unconditional, positive regard. She is always present, respectful, and curious about how clients’ lives were shaped. Megan integrates evidence-based psychotherapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT), and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) in her practice to help clients navigate their thoughts, emotions, value, purposes and expectations. “Everyone can be empowered to shape their own life” is her motto, so please reach out whenever you or your loved ones feel like talking to someone.

A free 20-minute intro consultation is available for new clients. Please email office@amindset.hk for more details.

Megan can provide counselling services in English, Mandarin, or Cantonese. Please note your preference when booking.

  • Member of Hong Kong Society of Counselling and Psychology (HKSCP)
  • Member of Hong Kong Professional Counselling Association (HKPCA)

Find out more here.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us here.

 

Book a Package of 4 Sessions Schedule Appointment

Elise Phillipson

Elise Phillipson

Master of Counselling, Monash University, HK.

Fee: HK$1,150 per 50mins. 

Languages: English, German and Dutch. 

Elise is a counsellor who is committed to helping those going through transitions in their lives – voluntary or involuntary – and including LGBTQ+ communities. She helps them learn how to accept and embrace change, look forward and build or discover new opportunities. Elise believes in working with you and in taking a collaborative approach to help you alleviate your troubles and to reach your goals. The therapeutic process is built on trust, unconditional positive regard and compassionate, and open-minded listening from the therapist. It is the therapeutic relationship that will be of most benefit to you and therefore therapy will be geared towards your wants, needs and preferences.

Elise was born and raised in Germany and Hong Kong and has a multicultural, tri-lingual background in the service industry and in teaching.
She offers counselling sessions in English, German and Dutch.

Qualifications:
BSc (Hons) Psych Coun (Open), Psychology with Counselling, First
Master of Counselling, Monash University

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us here.

A free 20-minute intro consultation is available for new clients. Please email office@amindset.hk for more details.

HK$1,150 per 50 min session – (discounted packages of 4 are available via the link below)

NOTE: Elsie’s present clients, on HK$850 per session, may be able to continue at this cost for a period of time – please contact Elise for further information

 

Schedule AppointmentBook a Package of 4 Sessions

Packages must be used within 12 weeks of the first booking.

Kelly Hutchison

Kelly Hutchison

Master of Counselling Monash University.

Fee: HK$1,150 per 50mins. 

Languages: English. 

Kelly is a corporate executive by background, with 20+ years of working across multiple industries and geographies.  She is also a qualified executive coach. She loves working with clients who are motivated to change and ready to look inward.  Often, people come to counselling with a sense of disconnect or a gut feeling that something isn’t working or isn’t where it should be.  Kelly’s own journey in therapy began with this ‘dissonance’, and she loves working with her clients to discover (or re-discover) who they really are, and what they really want.  The answers to our challenges in life nearly always lie within us, and Kelly works with her clients to build the confidence and self-belief they need to make a productive change and live a life that is true to themselves.  Inevitably, meaningful change results in uncertainty and turbulence, and Kelly’s focus on building resilience and adaptability helps her clients to navigate this change with greater clarity, calm, and purpose.

Kelly’s clients describe her as warm, open, supportive, and unconventional.  Sessions are often a mix of laughter and tears as clients work to understand and challenge themselves in a safe, caring environment. Kelly’s approach is person-centred, drawing on a range of therapeutic modalities including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Motivational Interviewing (MI); she is also a student of the Gottman Method for Couples Therapy. She has a wide range of interests including women’s identity and confidence, life transitions, trauma, healthy aging, couples & relationships, and men’s mental health. ​  She also enjoys working in underserved communities, particularly adults with special needs.

In her free time, Kelly can be found on the water or on one of Hong Kong’s beautiful trails.  She was born and raised in the US and is also an Australian citizen and Hong Kong Permanent Resident.

Qualifications:

  • Master of Counselling, Monash University, Australia
  • Master of Applied Science (Innovation & Organisation Dynamics), RMIT University, Australia
  • Bachelor of Arts (Liberal Arts/Music), Florida State University, USA
  • Executive Coaching – Level Two Coach, Institute of Executive Coaching & Leadership, Australia

Associations

  • Member, Hong Kong Society of Counselling & Psychology
  • Member, Australian Counselling Association
  • Member, Hong Kong Professional Counselling Association

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us here.

A free 20-minute intro consultation is available for new clients. Please email office@amindset.hk for more details.

HK$1,150 per 50 min session – (discounted packages of 4 are available via the link below)

Articles by Kelly:

Schedule Appointment Book a Package of 4 Sessions

Packages must be used within 12 weeks of the first booking.