Last Friday, we hosted the WeAreFutureLeaders conference at County Hall in Westminster.
It was a wonderful day-long event full of interesting talks from many renowned speakers covering everything from what the future world of work will look like, tips on networking and increasing your online presence to how to be an impactful leader, advice on how to plan for your career and discussions on the importance of mental health.
Read the lowdown on the morning sessions in this article.
The future world of work — Tracey Groves, Founder & CEO, Intelligent Ethics
Tracey kicked off the session by saying that the future world of work is already here, but what does that look like? Tracey says it will be about innovation, creativity and communication activities, like networking. Adaptability is a keyword for the future, with the ability to create, learn, and pioneer new ideas at the heart of future business. Tracy also notes that being trustworthy, honest, and consistent will be core to being successful at work. In a recent report that asked CEOs what they valued most in work, there was a significant change in answers from previous studies. Older studies found that they were focused on the numbers game, with buzz words like scale-ability, global growth and cost reduction being at the core. The most recent results show that going forward CEOs will focus on problem-solving, creativity, innovation and identifying unseen opportunities. Tracey claimed that how we define work will be different, as there is a significant paradigm shift taking place. The objectivity of work is changing; it is no longer about money but places value on and how we can help society for the better.
Tracey used the examples of Mark Zuckerberg vs Elon Musk to show differing opinions of how tech will influence the future world of work. While Mark thinks technology will be fundamental in helping us, Musk believes we must be cautious with technology and heavily regulate it. While technology will help us deliver this future, it is important to remember that it should be a force for good, to ensure this is done with humanity at the core, with a sense of purpose. Between now and 2026, 57 per cent of the roles likely to be displaced by technology are predominantly ones held by women, such as administrative roles. However, by the early 2030s, it is predicted that technology will take over other industries, such as construction, which is mainly male-dominated. Everything will change; it will no longer be about technical competence as we can teach this. Instead, leadership skills will be at the forefront of the future world of work. Overall, the future is bright; it’s all about the way you look at it.
Resilience in an ever-changing world – Kate Franklin, CPCC, PCC, Director, White & Lime
Kate started the session by asking us what resilience is? Society often talks about resilience as ‘manning up’ or ‘sucking it up’, when in reality it should be about gaining better connections, compassion and self-love. She noted how it is harder to talk about how things are making us feel in the moment and is easier when the moment has passed. To build stronger resilience, we need to be better at sharing how we feel in the moment and be honest with ourselves and others about what is causing us stress. Stress can cause a lot of health issues, and most people don’t notice the signs their bodies are giving them. The common symptoms of burnout include physical pains, such as headaches and trouble sleeping, if you’re finding it hard to concentrate at work and that you are no longer enjoying the things in life you used to. To help manage your stress levels, you need to ask yourself constantly what your stress number is on a scale of one to ten. When your stress level is too high, something needs to change. Kate finished the session by telling about the STOMP tool, something you can use to adjust things in life when you are feeling the pressure. First, stop whatever it is your doing at that moment, take stock of what you are feeling and of what you need to do. Organise your workload, via lists and prioritising tasks, manage your workload more effectively by thinking about what is reasonably achievable in your day. Finally, don’t forget to praise yourself. This can be as simple as sitting down at the end of each day and writing three things you have achieved.
Playing to your strengths – Jenny Garrett, award-winning coach, speaker & trainer
Jenny started the session remarking on how we often focus on our negatives, constantly asking ourselves, what did I do wrong? Instead, we need to focus on what we love about ourselves and how these are our real strengths. Our strengths make us who we are. We need to learn and identify our hidden strengths and make them work for us. Playing to your strengths makes you more productive, better at your job and for the company. Sometimes we are the right person in the wrong place and that is okay. There is no need to try to fake it till you make it; instead, we need to be more honest with those around us and truly be ourselves. You need to articulate to your colleagues what those strengths are and how they can help us utilise them. Jenny asked us, what are your strengths? How do you use these skills in your current job? How else could you use your strengths? How are these strengths bringing value to your company? What do you consider your weaknesses to be? Jenny commented that sometimes our weaknesses are actually just overplayed strengths and that we need a team at work that is supportive that can help us build on our weaknesses to make them strengths. She finished the session by advising us to stop trying to be perfectionists, as this can make us super self-critical. Instead, we should try to live in the moment and try to be more kind to ourselves.
Communicating with power – Esther Stanhope, Confidence Speaker & Personal Impact Expert
Esther spoke to us about how we can communicate with power. She started by telling us about the power pose. If you stand up tall, put your hands-on-hips, turn your shoulders out and hold this position for two minutes you will feel more powerful. Esther talked about the difference between technical ability and visible ability, you need to voice your strengths in order for your technical ability to be seen. She noted that confidence is a work in progress; you need to keep practising to keep it up. She finished the session by giving us some tips on how to speak with confidence. Her triple-A method reminds us of the importance of our audience, try to love your audience more than yourself. You should be authentic when speaking and you need to make sure you don’t forget that you are awesome. She also shared her POSE method, which stands for Posture, Oomph (Energy), Speech, Eyes and Teeth. Ensure that you have a good posture, that you present yourself with energy, that your speech is clear and that you smile.
Q&A with Tracy Groves; Kate Franklin; Jenny Garrett; Esther Stanhope; Rob Mukherjee, Director of Transformation, Everycloud Security; & Lara Morgan, Co-Owner and Founder of Scentered, Serial Entrepreneur and Investor
Melanie Euseben hosted this Q&A, the audience asked, was what does the future world of work look like? Rob stated that it will the age of authenticity, a cultural transformation fuelled by technology. Adding that the traditional feminine soft skills will become more important as we introduce AI. Lara responded by saying that resilience will be key, so as women we need to stop investing in handbags and start investing in ourselves. We need to educate ourselves, plan for the future and hold our own. At the end of the day, your career is your progression, it’s about constantly evolving and following your passion in life. The panel was then asked, who their role models are? Kate commented that everyday people, nurses and teachers, people whose work is normally invisible, and people who are agents for change inspire her. Esther said that her grandmother is a huge role model for her as she was the first woman to own a car on her street. The panel then tackled a question, how you can you be a role model? Jenny commented that often you don’t try to be one; other people choose you as a role model. Tracey added that to be a good role model you have to stand up, step in and voice your opinions. But that it’s not about being a role model, but being a real model, being the real you for everyone to see. Finally, the panellists were asked, is it possible to be too confident? Esther declared that it doesn’t matter what others think of you, it only matters what you think about yourself. If you do that with warmth and generosity, then it is coming from the right place.
Network to get work – Andy Lopata, Business Networking Strategist
Andy began by giving us an example of his favourite networker. Whilst attending an event, he noticed a man approaching individual people, shaking their hand, offering them his card and then turning to walk away. With so many people in the room, he realised that this wasn’t the most effective way to network. So, the gentleman then proceeded to go and stand by the front door and give his card to everyone as they left. As you can guess, this is not the most valuable or productive way to network. Just attending networking events does not equate to networking; instead, they offer us the opportunity to network and broaden our social connections. But ultimately true networking is about asking those around you, who you trust, to support and mentor you. Networking is no longer just the old boys’ club, it’s about building meaningful relationships, and if you want to be an effective leader networking is key. But why should you network? Andy says that networking can help us become better known, which will help you develop your personal brand resulting in more recommendations to other people in their network. It can help you build up your resources, surrounding yourself with mentors, give you the chance to learn from their knowledge, leaving you better equipped to solve problems. As well as leaving us better connected, building your relationships can help build up your business too, opening up opportunities to new clients. It’s always said that networking is about who you know, but in reality, it’s about who knows you and who would recommend you to others. Andy finished his session by discussing the book ‘Empowering Yourself, The Organizational Game Revealed’ by Harvey Coleman. In this book, he broke down what it takes to succeed in your career. He said that your performance at work, the way you deliver day-to-day tasks makes up ten per cent, that your image and personal brand, your positivity and your leadership style make up 30 per cent. The final 60 per cent is exposure, who knows you and what they think about you. With exposure being such a large part of success, networking seems a logical way to increase your exposure. Ultimately you want to ask yourself, what do you want to be known for? And who do you want to be known by?
Your digital footprint – Anna Baird, Start-Up Advisor, Former LinkedIn Global Client Executive
Anna talked to us about how we can make sure that our digital footprint is presenting us in the right and most effective way. She started the session discussing why we should be bothered about our online presence. Having a good online presence is important as it can help you structure your career identity, give you access to new, different and better opportunities. It will help you be flexible in the ever-changing job market and align with other people in your organisation, network and social spheres. Your digital footprint is always on, even when you aren’t in the room, it can give people an impression of you to potential business clients. When creating and keeping up your digital footprint it is good to have a variety of content on your pages. Having an assortment of written content, such as breaking news, trends or unique insights, and visual content, such as videos, photos and presentations can help attract a wider audience to your profile. The more you engage with others the more likely they are to engage with you.
If you are looking for ways to stretch yourself and build your online presence, there are several things you can do. This includes volunteering for projects that interest you and align with your career vision. You can also seek advice and feedback from mentors to ensure that you’re developing the skills and attributes you need to be successful. You can ask your manager to consider you for a high visibility project or identify what gaps there are in your skill set and learn as much as you can to fill these. Finally, Anna gave us some tips to remember for our online profiles, firstly that a picture tells a thousand words. That our summaries at the top of our profiles are crucial for our searchability, using keywords can help us be found easier by the right people. We should also think about the way we title our industry and position, as this is the first thing people see. But you should have the freedom to label yourself the way you like to present the image of yourself that you want. Additionally, it’s good to have examples of your work and recommendations from others on your profile, as well as a way for people to contact you.
How to Influence others – Kay White, Author, Facilitator and Savvy Communication Expert
Kay started the session by defining influence as a person or thing with the capacity or power to have an effect on someone or something. She continued to tell us the harsh truth that people are more interested in themselves than they are in you. But that this is not necessarily a bad thing, as it gives you all the more reason to be more yourself without worrying about what everyone else will think. So many people are often told by their managers that they need to have more impact at work, but what does that mean? Kay says that when faced with this situation we need to ask senior staff for specific examples and ways to improve this because, if you don’t take responsibility for your career then someone else will drive it for you. If you want to be in control of your career then you need to prepare, plot, plan and keep actively working on it. Kay finished the session with three things to remember when trying to influence others. Firstly, we should try to join the dots between where we are now and where we want to be with our careers. Secondly, we need to consider the mindset of others we are trying to influence as they will likely think, so what? Who cares? What’s in it for me? Finally, we should think about the relevance of what we have to say, what does it bring to the conversation, can we be more relatable to others?
Q&A Session With Andy Lopata, Kay White, Anna Baird, Hira Ali, Chief Executive Officer, Advancing Your Potential; Founding Director, Career Excel | IWEE-International Women Empowerment Events; Author- Her Way To The Top & Anne-Marie Headley, Strategic HR Business Partner, Northern & Eastern Europe, Uber; Patricia Keener, Head of Early and Mid-Career Programmes, Career Centre, London Business School
Melanie Euseben hosted this Q&A, the first question asked by the audience was what advice the panellists have for networking? Anne-Marie kicked things off by saying that we should be ourselves, Hira reiterated this saying that we shouldn’t be afraid to be different. She continued that we should always ask for the things we want, because if we don’t ask then we don’t get, we shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help. Patricia added that we should try and approach networking with curiosity. The panel was then asked how to tell if a potential employer will be a good leader and what attributes are key to good leadership? Kay said that when determining if a manager is a good leader, in the scenario of a job interview, we can ask the prospective employer why they chose to get into that sector, what the dynamics of the team are and what they do to keep their team motivated? Patricia added that it is also worth asking them how they manage their team and what has surprised them about trends in the sector. Anna encouraged us to do our own research on prospective companies before any interviews and Andy mentioned that humility and humbleness are key in being a good leader. Finally, the panel where asked, how do you keep a balance of work and home life? Anna commented that it is important to schedule your time and to look for small snippets of time in the day to work on yourself.
Do you want to know what happened in the afternoon at our WeAreFutureLeaders Conference? Keep your eye’s peeled for part two.