Surely, the primary role of the leader of any organisation, establishment, business, college or team should be to create a culture where people are inspired to deliver their very best, develop their skills and collaborate to win, every day. Such leaders will focus on 3 key measurements:
- Living and breathing the vision of the business to such a degree that every employee, partner and customer of the whole organisation can feel it and want to be a part of it.
- Delivering staggering results by creating a high value, high performance culture and building unstoppable teams.
- Creating a legacy for long term sustained success through the development and nurture of even greater leaders than the leader himself/herself. Jim Collins Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t calls this ‘breakthrough’.
I have no doubt that when it comes to ticking these three boxes, 95% of leaders will say “Well, of course, I’m doing all these things.” The reality, sadly, is that less than 5% of our current leadership teams globally really measure up. In most cases, all I can hear are leadership teams who blame their staff for under-performance and not living the vision and values of the organisation. Many leaders tell me they are bereft of talent within their company and until they can get the right staff today, they struggle to think further ahead than the current financial year.
Many leaders can’t actually answer the question: “Where does your immediate leadership team stack up against the three key measurements above?” Consequently they do not know where to begin when it comes to addressing these three issues, so they focus on the most pressing one at hand, which is usually the delivery of results (short term ones).
So, how do you know if you are doing a good job and you are heading in the right direction when it comes to bringing to life your vision, delivering sustainable results and nurturing your people? How do you measure up against the five success criteria outlined below? I would encourage you to assess:
- Which boxes would you currently tick?
- What do your immediate leadership team think?
- What’s the view of all the rest of your staff (this view is likely to be closest to reality)
Poor Leadership and Dysfunctional Teams:
The vision lives on a poster or intranet but very few people can articulate it, let alone live it. Ask your immediate leadership board how do they and their immediate teams bring the vision to life in their day to day actions. There will only be a handful of tenuous examples.
The senior leader team cannot articulate the values and there are differences of opinion as to what they are. Few people in the organisation know what they are and don’t buy in to them. This creates dysfunctional behaviour at every level. Meeting agendas rarely focus on strategic values – they mainly focus on tasks and consequently teams are wrapped up in meeting after meeting, achieving little progress.
There is a blame culture, usually senior leaders pointing their fingers at subordinates, peers or other divisions. The organisation is wrapped up in emails. Things don’t get done. Most people are working in the ‘Urgent but not important box’. This is a team of busy fools. Stress is prevalent and there are capacity issues through high sickness, high staff turnover (above 8%) and inefficiencies. HR is ineffective at driving capacity improvement. Action plans have far too many actions on them causing inaction.
The autonomy to make decisions has been removed, because the senior leader team believe they are the only ones with the answers and they want control. Staff work for the leaders. However, they feel disengaged and dis-empowered. Staff meetings are top down cascades. Eventually the best people leave, because this is not an environment in which they can thrive. The leadership is creating a culture of followers who ‘do as their told or face the consequences’. There is an insufficient budget to develop and improve staff skills and what little training that takes place is force fed (mandatory!) and plans for continuous improvement are ineffective. Indeed, leaders feel like they keep asking the same questions over and over again and the organisation is going round in circles.
There are very few decision makers because there is very little delegation from the senior team who don’t have the confidence in their people to ‘let go’. Staff feel they are working in a dictatorship where the consequences of speaking up are dire. There are large numbers of grievances in this organisation and many go right to the very top, wrapping the senior team up in far too many ‘HR issues’ which increase their mistrust of the staff as a whole. Whilst the senior leader team may be doing a good job at convincing stakeholders all is well (because they in turn often only want short term results), there are cracks and flawed strategies everywhere and staff do not feel their leaders are doing a good job. If they could they would fire the boss.
The environment looks like this:
Good Leadership and functional teams
The vision is clear, visible and well communicated at every opportunity. The outcome of all meetings is vision focused. Leaders are constantly asking themselves, how can we bring the vision to life for everyone who touches our organisation? Staff believe in the vision and want to play a part in the organisations future success.
The senior leader team and middle management can articulate the values, but it usually doesn’t go any further than that. There are gaps and misconceptions regarding the future, but there is an awareness and desire to rectify issues and bring everyone on board. There is a real understanding that it is through the vision and values that a high value, high performance culture is developed and a long term legacy is built.
In the main people work together and work towards team interdependence is under way. Everyone is aware of the importance of their roles and responsibilities in such a way that they are encouraged to be creative in finding solutions and taking calculated risks to move the business forward. Staff want to come to work and there is an environment of continuous improvement and fun as well as peer pressure for people to raise their game. Levels of stress are manageable and HR are proactive in supporting and getting the best out of individuals.
Everyone has spans of control. And over 80% of decisions are made quickly, without going through a referral process. People base their decisions on achieving the vision and values and driving continuous improvement. The leaders work with the staff. There is good staff engagement with regular 2 way communication meetings and staff feel they are having a real say in the direction of the business and want it to succeed. Improvements are being made at pace and there is a sense of urgency at every level to want to make things better. Meetings drive change although everyone agrees there are still too many actions to deliver effectively. There is regular training and development opportunity and talent management. Keywords, competitiveness, openness, development.
There is good delegation across the organisation enabling people to learn and grow. There is a culture of openness and the sharing of best practice. People know who the senior leader team are and they feel they are doing a good job at driving the organisation forward. There are few grievances as issues are discussed in a spirit of openness and trust and resolutions sought in an effort to maintain a balance of harmony and commitment. HR over 50% of HR time is spent on positive HR issues such as promotions, awards, development programmes and talent. Staff feedback survey results are shared openly and champions appointed to deliver positive change.
Great Leadership and Unstoppable Teams
The vision is powerful. ‘Making a dent in the universe’ or ‘Putting a man on the moon’. Everyone has total belief in it and wants to be a part of it. Everyone knows the role they have to play in bringing it to life. People who walk in the door for the first time, feel the vision and can articulate it themselves within a few moments. You know as soon as you walk in the door you have entered the realm of an unstoppable team.
The vision and the values are inextricably linked through the daily attitude and actions of every member of staff. People passionately believe this is the best company to work for. They love working here. There is a strong sense of community. Few people leave. Visitors can sense the values through the consistent behaviour of every member of staff from the top to the bottom of the organisation.
Interdependence and mutual understanding are the cornerstones of the success of this organisation. Staff are operating at their peak and there is a strong desire for everyone to experience their best year yet, year after year. This team works hard and plays hard. However, working harder does not mean working longer. In fact the ability to work in 5th gear stems from not working any longer than 40 hours per week. There is a healthy work life balance, with regular social activities, celebration ceremonies, recognition schemes and public ‘pats on the back’.
People base their decisions on whats right for the organisation. There is a culture of learning. The leaders work for the staff. 360 degree feedback is the predominant model for driving change and staying one step ahead of the game. Leaders are outward facing – keeping a close eye on the competition and reporting back to staff if competitors develop and edge. Staff have a say in the strategic direction, forming internal boards to champion and drive key areas of the business. Meetings are results and time focused. Consequently the average meeting time is 1 hour. Actions are few. This is a team of snipers – there is no scattergun approach to this organisation – they know what they want and how to get it. There is significant investment in training and development.
This is a bottom up culture thriving in an atmosphere of challenge – stretching people to their full potential and recognition – celebrating success at every opportunity, thereby leaving people want to experience more and more success. This company is recognised externally as one of the best companies to work for in the country, with many awards in this category. This in turn attracts the very best people. There is absolute clarity regarding the strategic aims and objectives which all staff can articulate, knowing the role they play in bringing it to life. The senior leader team have won over peoples hearts and minds and people feel the warmth of success.
The environment looks like this:
Most organisations are on a journey in an effort to become more efficient, results orientated and an outstanding place to work. The leaders of the organisation set the tone and there are huge differentials in leadership skills and performance. The culture is created by the senior leadership team. If, like me, you are a humble servant to the company, feel free to share this article with your Executive – for better or for worse…
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Welcome to Leadership Expert’s page on Leadership Training.
What is leadership training about? Is leadership training effective? If my company isn’t presently investing in any leadership training for me – what can I do about it? These will be the questions I will be investigating, evaluating and more importantly – solving for you.
Whether you are a top performing CEO or someone who is considering (or being considered) for their first junior management or supervisory role; providing you with the right tools to do the job effectively is essential. After all, you wouldn’t want someone who knows nothing, or very little about plumbing to come and install a new bathroom, complete with energy efficient boiler, power shower, expensive tiles etc into your home would you? Unfortunately, however, this is exactly what most organisations do. They take a good employee and then throw them into the deep end of management under the auspices of ‘career development’.
Pro-active, innovative and forward thinking organisations do have whole suites of tried and tested, highly effective management induction and learning programmes. Over the course of the next few months I will be researching and interviewing some of these organisations HR Directors and Staff Development managers to see exactly what they do and how they do it. If you currently work somewhere you feel is amazing at leadership training and support I would love to hear from you.
Many of you are telling me that, sadly, you were either thrown in at the deep end, or that you feel your training has been inadequate. The fact is that most of the greatest leaders I have ever come across embarked on a relentless drive for their own self-development, regardless of what their companies offered. It is in this respect that I also plan to investigate the most cost effective and life changing learning programmes that are available to you.
I am currently researching leadership training courses in the following subjects:
- Transformational leadership
- Situational leadership
- Global leadership
- Leadership verses management
- The accomplished executive
- Leadership training for new managers
I will be investigating up to 10 different leadership training companies to see what they provide and how effective their training has been. The list is not exhaustive so let me know what king of leadership training you currently need and I will guide you accordingly. Just so you know, most good leadership courses cost up to £3,000.
One leadership course I would definitely recommend you should take a look at is called Best Year Yet®. What is so good about this programme is that it is goal orientated and behavioral. It is also value based and blended with on-line tracking, audio programmes, webinars, and for those who want it, one-to-one coaching. It is also one of the cheapest and yet most effective (life changing) programmes I have ever come across. To take a closer look – see my full review.
One of the most effective ways to learn to become a leader is through coaching. Coaching can add so much more value compared to attending a course, because it is more personal, in-depth and can unlock peoples hidden potential in amazing ways.
There is currently an explosion in leadership coaching, because people want to be able to find their own path to success, independently to what their company offers them, or at least, with the ability to discuss real issues with someone from outside the company. This can have major benefits for both the individual and the organisation. External coaches are being accepted in greater numbers into organisations and as part of peoples continuing professional development planning.
For details of the three different types of coaching programme available directly through Leadership-expert™ – click here.
From visiting organisations, I’ve found that the happiest employees and managers regularly invest in themselves and their personal leadership training. People have often sought out useful leadership books and learning material that will help them along the path to happiness and success in leadership. These days, many e-courses tend to be rather disappointing, and although we can all learn from material which is available on-line, finding the right learning programme for you can be a real challenge.
So, if you are looking for access to straight-forward, useful leadership training materials, top tips and tools to help you to become a more effective leader in your organisation, join our community and I will let you know every week when I have been able to update the website with some incredibly useful, cutting-edge leadership thinking and techniques – all for free.
Bespoke Leadership Training:
If you have specific leadership and management training needs and don’t want to spend hours trawling the internet, employ Leadership-Expert™ to find the right solution for you.
If you are looking for very specific leadership training which doesn’t fall into any of the above categories, email me at email@example.com and I will compile an initial assessment of your development needs and learning style, undertake the appropriate research and recommend the most relevant leadership training solution to meet your and your organisations needs. The cost of this service is minimal compared to the overall training outlay and could save you £thousands if you attend a programme that is ultimately not right for you.
Sure, every individual has valuable contribution to make within an organisation. But it is the core team that makes the difference between corporate success and mediocrity. The core are the key strategic, mission-critical roles driving the organisation. The rest is just window dressing.
If you consider the dynamics of the world’s ultimate sporting teams, it is the spine of the team that spells great team success. With the England ’66 squad it was Banks, Moore, Charlton and Hurst. For the long unbeaten Australian cricket team, it was McGrath, Warne, Waugh, Gilchrist and Ponting. And then Vickery, Johnson, Dallaglio, Dawson and Wilkinson delivered in spectacular form as the legendary 2003 Rugby World Cup team.
History tells us that behind each of these sporting team triumphs was a beautifully crafted core in which not one player, but the entire critical backbone of the team was equally outstanding. A strong core team can also afford to support remaining players with lesser skills and experience without compromising overall performance.
And if you translate this sporting analogy into a business context?
It is about the effectiveness of the corporate core, working as an elite team driving the corporate direction, living and breathing its vision. But make no mistake - organisations require more than competent, experienced individuals to fill these key roles. Business excellence demands that the calibre of the core team is best-in-class.
Without exceptional appointments in the core, organisational success is badly diluted. Surely this is never more important than in a challenged economic climate.
About the Author:
This is a guest post by Christina Sage, an ambassador for CMI, a leading source of management training in the UK
The term “social loafing” is synonymous with social psychology yet is equally apt, if not more, to the corporate context of 2011.
I mention this because businesses are once again challenged to create synergy or ‘more with less’, the hangover from a binge on financial credit leaving much of the world’s major economies feeling groggy and less inclined to indulge in the same poison, even in smaller, healthier doses. As always, the first thing to cut is the HR budget line – less training; less staff; smaller bonuses; pay freezes.
German Max Ringelmann’s 1913 studies were a pre-runner to our contemporary understanding of “synergy”; the magical osmosis that takes place when you put a group of people together with a shared goal; the result greater than the sum of its parts.
Ringelmann actually discovered that people perform greater as individuals than they do as part of a group.
Further studies in 1974 by Ingham et al discovered that the greater the number of participants in any group, the lesser the effort expended by each individual in that group – even when the resultant output was found to be greater.
This phenomenon gave rise to the term ‘social loafing’. Expressed in numerical terms for example: 8 people each giving 90% effort would equate to 720%; 10 people giving 80% (10% less effort than the smaller group) would achieve 800%; 12 people giving 70% effort would achieve 840% collectively and so on.
As the number of participants increases, the collective output is greater but the individual input is reduced (90%, 80%, 70%) whilst ‘social loafing’ remains masked by the cumulative result (740%; 800%; 840%) as a result of focus on outputs and outcomes rather than inputs.
Tying all this together with more contemporary studies into employee engagement and the recommendation UK Plc taps into individuals discretionary effort to make businesses sustainable; viable and competitive, what can managers do?
If possible, nullify opportunity for social loafing by creating short term, small membership groups. If possible, allocate responsibilities to individuals.
Collective responsibility creates and encourages social loafing as accountability for failure will be dispersed across all participants leaving you, as the Project / Programme Manager, with the blame so try to break the goal into component parts and allocate these to individuals.
If people are doing the same or similar work, basic mathematical equations can determine a collective “norm” or average.
Basing individual performance targets on collective averages negates any anomalies and exceptions thus leaving no room for manoeuvre when it comes to attaining these targets.
Such systems also aid meaningful appraisal of an individual’s performance and contribution.
Once individuals realise they can no longer hide in the crowd, performance will improve or you’ll have meaningful evidence to start conversations about ongoing suitability to do this line of work.
The benefit of measuring ‘averages’ is that it aggregates out anomalies and it’s statistically unlikely that the same staff member will always get the difficult case / poor machine / difficult clients / slow computer /poor sales leads or whatever other variable you care to substitute in.
Such systems create virtuous circles – once staff start seeing the benefits of increased effort through appraisal systems, they’ll be driven to maintain or improve their results further.
Don’t let functions get too big or too diverse. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs recognise the power of “spinning off” business ideas.
This keeps the small units focussed whilst capitalising on opportunities for growth.
The collective result of individual performances will always create synergy – but that can be ‘negative synergy’ or ‘positive synergy’. Focussing on the inputs as well as the outputs will help ensure that the synergy you’re team’s creating stays positive!
This is a guest article by Colin Millar, an ambassador of the Chartered Management Institute.
Team morale is a massively important element of motivation and is also a key driver of productivity. If you can manage the morale of your team effectively, you can help them produce results in a way that will be as fulfilling for them as it is for you. Different team members with different personalities in different roles will respond to some morale-boosting tips better than others, so please don’t use this guide as a checklist. Be selective, and tailor your strategy to which you think your subordinate or team members would love.
1. Keep employees informed to tackle ‘them and us’ attitude
The retail industry (among many others) suffer from a ‘them and us’ culture, where employees increasingly see management as standing against them. This culture explains the high absenteeism, shocking employee turnover and extreme demoralisation that some retail giants (See: Walmart) suffer from. A communication defficiency between the organisational layers is the main cause of this problem. Elect to be up-front with employees, discussing problems and storms on the horizon as they’re discovered, and not after decisions have been made.
2. Explain the value and benefit to the business they’re creating
A workers morale is derived from the value they believe they’re creating. In this way, a director of a multinational corporation will have a serious morale surplus! However, a cashier at a fast food chain may not feel as well-endowed. Naturally, these grass-root positions in organisations still create plenty of value for the company though, and it pays to remind their occupants of this fact. A manager could, for example let a cashier see how many sales they’ve put through the till that week. It will likely be an impressive figure reaching into four digits for a full-time employee, and may let them impress themselves!
3. Deliver proper training
When your employees are being trained, are they simply thrown in front of a TV and told to sit through a dull and dated video? Or do they get to be coached one-on-one by a consultant, and put through a personalised and well-tailored training programme? A thorough and professional training scheme will fill employees with a sense of empowerment and self-respect. The thought that a company is investing time and expenses into developing their skills will remarkably improve their morale. For existing employees, consider a 2-day training excursion to refresh competencies and update their knowledge with recent market/company changes.
Training schemes are often out of the control of operational manager, and are ‘slotted into’ the induction programme by senior HR managers. However, if you’re in a small company, you may have sizeable influence over the structure of these training programmes. When it comes to budgets and spending, hotel & travel costs will quickly become astronomical if you choose a distant venue. My advice is to hire a local venue that will take employees out of their workplace, but will not require overnight accomodation. This is the key to receive value for money on training programmes, and will allow you to spend more on top quality talent to train your staff!
4. Consider worker’s outside lives by being flexible
Employees flex their lifestyles to fit their jobs with mixed success. Some people, especially young, single professionals manage to get by fine. However those with many responsibilities, including looking after family simply loose a grip on a sensible balance between fun & meaningful activities, and their career. Employ these ‘common sense’ policies into effect today, to create a positive change:
- Allow reasonable personal calls to be made during working hours.
- Use your discretion in allowing employees to leave earlier or arrive later than normal, with the understanding that the hours will be made up later.
- Put money torwards a medical treatment for a parent’s sick child.
5. Treats and team building exercises
I’d describe treats and team building days as ‘expensive and reliable’. Whether you see them as reliable or not, will depend on what you expect to get from them. If you expect a white-water-rafting day to cohesively give your organisation a firm sense of direction, then you probably need to take your head out of the glossy brochure. If however, you would like to encourage positive behaviour you’ve seen recently, and allow a disjointed, new team a little room to gel as a productive unit, then you could be making a wise investment.
6. Suggestion schemes (for large companies with many employees per manager/shop)
The notion that suggestion boxes are somewhat impersonal is a catastrophic understatement. Suggestion boxes are completely impersonal, and don’t directly help the relationship between management and employees. The cloak of anonymity can encourage people to be reckless, hurtful and careless with what they say.
Question: Why did these old-fashioned boxes make it on my list?
Answer: Because they actually work.
Indeed, despite what I’ve said; suggestion boxes do their job rather well. They’re not there to let employees vent anger, or for managers to gleefully ignore. They’re there to take a poll of employee sentiment, feelings, and pick up some of their ideas. I want you to think about the revolutionary (pun intended) element of the 360 feedback exercise. The key element is that you also get feedback from those beneath you, and a suggestion box is a simple way to do this that has been around a long time before such buzz words were ever printed. You need to be disciplined to encourage the use of a suggestion box. You must not let positive comments fill your ego, nor let the angry or hateful words trash your whole strategy. Gather plenty of responses about the exact topic in question, (be sure to ask for constructive ideas alongside any comments) and sit down in a professional fashion and see what you can incorporate into the working environment.
Expert™ Tip: Don’t look up for support
The green flag from a board of directors to go crazy with employee entertainment and training budgets is an recurring fantasy, but don’t hope for it. Don’t resent those ‘fat cats’ for not even supporting a practical, cheap and (in your opinion) worthwhile training project. Instead, become a manager that others will respect. In the face of an old fashioned and top-heavy corporate culture, make your own success in building morale.
You don’t need permission from your boss to tell Jessica how well hard you know she worked last saturday. You don’t need a dual-sign off on a anniversary card to give to an intern graduate you recruited precisely 1 year ago. Morale comes from the heart, and no board member, no chairman and certainly no accountant can stop you in leading your team to new highs of morale.
To Your Success in Achieving Higher Morale!
Simon Oates ~ Leadership Expert
“Leadership Pathways offers senior school leaders practical access to the latest in leadership thinking and school practice, which will benefit their schools as well as them as individuals.
The programme seeks to build on experience that participants have developed in middle leadership and via National College programmes such as Leading from the Middle and Teaching Leaders. It can also help support those aspiring to take part in the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH).”
Who is Leadership Pathways For?
This course is designed for senior leaders who intend to move up into a Head Teacher or very senior role within the next 1-2 years. This is a fairly specific leadership development course aimed at a specific level of staff. Applicants must also have previously been involved in successful change management, and have an opportunity to undertake a school-wide change project in the near future.
The course lies somewhere in between ‘Leading from the middle‘ and NPQH (National Professional Qualification for Headship). Many refer to Leadership Pathways as a stepping stone to the NPQH qualification.
What is the Role of the In-School ‘Coach’?
Each Leadership Pathways applicant will need another member of staff to apply as a mentor for the participant. This leadership coach will also be assessed as part of the application process, and should have a decent skill set which will enable them to guide the participant through the course and become a vital link in the communication chain between the participant and the headteacher.
What will I Gain From Leadership Pathways?
The website loosely describes the benefits as being ‘increased performance’ of individuals who show a proactive attitude and take responsibility. I think that on balance – the benefits will match the enthuasiasm you bring to the course, and intelligence with which you set personal course objectives. Ironically, those with the best leadership traits will probably draw the most benefit from this leadership course.
How Much Does the Leadership Pathways Course Cost?
The cost of the course to a standard school with over 100 pupils is £550, which is a surprisingly low price for a leadership course. This low cost will no doubt be due to the fact that the course is a “self-directed learning programme”, which hints that direct tutoring from the college will be minimal. This reinforces the fact that participants must be very organised and pro-active, as the success of this programme will depend on how rigorously they choose to follow it.
Giving feedback isn’t just a great way to help employees around you perform better. If done properly, it will also make them feel better! Read the 12 simple rules below on how to provide good feedback to a team, employees or fellow workers.
Simple Rule 1: Give feedback the time it deserves. Great feedback isn’t shouted to an employee across the carpark at the end of the day. Try to dedicate time for the sole purpose of giving feedback, whether it’s just a minute or part of a formal meeting. Properly announce your intentions by asking, “I would like to give you some feedback on X, would that be OK?”.
Simple Rule 2: Be Honest. The purpose of giving feedback, (whether positive or constructive), is to align the persons perception of their behaviour with reality. If your idea of feedback is to spoon feed half-truths in an attempt to shift their behaviour to suit your ends, you may be only making things worse.
Simple Rule 3: Use the ‘compliment sandwich’ or more exotic varieties. A compliment sandwich is where you offer a compliment followed by a constructive point, and closed with a further positive feedback point. The theory is that this approach will help the conversation end on a positive note. However a word of warning to those dealing with savvy employees & especially middle management (who may use this technique themselves); don’t strictly stick to this exact recipe because it is a very transparent strategy. If an employee actively recognises you are using a compliment sandwich, they may choose to ignore the positive comments in the belief that the ‘true’ purpose of the conversation is for you to communicate the constructive point, and this may cause them to react defensively.
Simple Rule 4: Be Specific In Giving Feedback. Try to use phrases such as ‘You were effective when you…” or “You could’ve been more effective when you…”. The focus on specific actions not only helps to avoid employees taking it personally, but also allows the feedback to be more actionable. Generic feedback such as ‘Good Job!’ won’t offer your collegue any useful advice on which elements of their performance created the greatest value, and therefore won’t provide the opportunity for them to make a note to repeat the positive behaviour; conversely it may encourage them to continue performing badly in some areas.
Simple Rule 5: Feedback doesn’t always require a constructive element. Some leaders can just go too far the other way, and almost impose a rule that they should include at least one piece of constructive feedback when giving pointers to employees. When the situation allows it, don’t hesistate in simply delivering a sincere list of compliments and really putting a smile on someones face!
Simple Rule 6: Sculpt feedback to suit the receiver. Some people are naturally better at receiving feedback than others. When you suspect feedback will be taken relatively personally, ensure you follow these 11 Simple Rules more carefully.
Simple Rule 7: Be as direct as possible in talking about how the feedback should be received. Transparency is key in giving excellent feedback. If you are worried about the employee focusing excessively on one constructive point – be direct and tell them that you do not want them to do so.
Simple Rule 8: Focus on the behaviour, not the impression you had of it. The difference between an employees behaviour and intentions can be explained in the following example:
Imagine that a manager tells an employee that they have noticed the employee is ‘looking disorganised and disinterested lately’. This is actually a comment about the managers perception, or ‘impression’ of the employee rather than concrete behaviours. In reality, this impression may have been formed because of personal issues effecting the employee at home, or even because the manager had not been paying attention in the past week. This approach to feedback could leave the employee feeling alienated, and confused as to how the manager wishes to see improvement. If however, the manager had specifically referred to the employee answering the phone in a less positive manner than normal, then this is a behaviour that the employee and manager could have a clear discussion about. This would allow them to get to the bottom of the reasons behind it quickly and respectfully.
Simple Rule 9: Only Provide Constructive Feedback on Something the Employee can Change. If an employee cannot do a thing about your point of criticism, the feedback will only serve to hurt their feelings and cause resentment.
Simple Rule 10: Avoid sounding patronising by stopping short of giving advice. When giving feedback to employees, it is often easy (and advisable) to be vocal about how you think the employee could correct their undesirable behaviour. This isn’t always recommended in cases where the feedback recipient is ranked above you, or where they normally react very defensively to feedback. If you wish to avoid sounding condescending, then provide an observation about their behaviour and leave them to create the solution. If no action has been taken after an agreed period of time, then more direct measures could be taken.
Simple Rule 11: Ensure Feedback Is Timely. Managers often see feedback as a pointless and bureacratic annual exercise. I would like to stress that this is not proper feedback, this is merely a pencil pushing exercise that will indeed have little effect on behaviour. Good feedback is provided within hours or days of the behaviour being performed, and is discussed in person if possible.
At the end of the day, you don’t need to an official leadership training programme to teach you feedback skills. Leadership courses can impart these leadership skills, but you can find leadership advice on that topic and other leadership and management topics all and more on this blog!
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Because Leadership is a subject defined by ideas, gestures and feelings, rather than science – we debate many contentious leadership issues with our visitors and put the most interesting articles for discussion in this catergory.
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“Fun” Workplaces are one of the biggest magnets for graduates looking for a bright place to launch their career. Early twenty-somethings, also known as Generation Y, aren’t just interested in a generous salary or promotion potential – they want to apply to companies that have a lively culture and accept that professionalism doesn’t necessarily mean boredom.
So how can you, as a manager, go about injecting a bit of fun into the daily working routine of your employees? Read on for our 6 favourite methods that have emerged in the past few years.
Everyone enjoys a good laugh, and provided the victim gets to keep a fraction of their dignity – they will too. Having a atmosphere of quirky pranks will gel your team together as a more cohesive bunch. The more stories they can tell about each other, the more they’ll enjoy spending time together. Some suggested pranks:
- Computer Malfunction. This one is a classic prank, which is very annoying for the victim. First take a screen shot of the victim’s desktop. Now set this screen shot as the background and make it a point to hide all the icons and the task bar and lock them. Now if the victim tries to click anything nothing will work. They will think their computer is frozen and will try to reboot and do any and everything to get their computer to work.
- Post-it Prank. You will have to stay back late after your victim leaves the office or come to the office well in advance to play this prank. All you have to do is cover your co-workers desk and the entire cubicle with post-its. In case you want to make it seem more annoying, put funny messages on each of the post-it notes.
- Telephone Mania. You will need an accomplice for this one. All you need to do is get a co-workers phone, and your own phone and dial the phone numbers of two other co-workers you wish to harass. When the phones ring, switch on the speaker phones of both the phones and hold the phones together so that the two victims can hear each other. Once they start talking, just listen to the confused conversation and have the last laugh!
Find more fun prank ideas here. (External website)
2. Special Lunches/Trips
Once, every month – take your team out for a cinema trip and lunch combination. Being together outside of work will really help new teams to bond, and provide a fresh distraction for veteran employees. I have visited over 20 work places in the past 6 months, and when talking to the staff during their day to day business – they sound the proudest when discussing various perks or activities that management arrange on a weekly or monthly basis.
“Every Tuesday, they pop over the road and buy us all Fish & Chips!” they proudly exclaim. My jealousy only makes their smile widen.
Buy sweets spontaneously and leave them in the office or workplace. Never underestimate the power of sweets to lift up moods and turn the harshest boss back into a school child as their face lights up.
4. Humourous Awards
Whether at the Christmas party – or better – every month or quarter, dish out humourous awards to your staff for various funny qualities or achievements. Here are some examples:
- “Change of Address” - For the staff member who never leaves.
- “The Lochness Award” – Staff member least likely to be found.
- “The Torvill and Dean Award” – For skating round the issues
- “The Selective Hearing Impairment Award” – For only hearing what you want to hear
- “The Clock Watcher” – For being out never later than a minute past 5!
- “The Professional Surfer” – For most time spent on the internet.
- “The Bermuda Triangle Award” – For the desk where things go in and never come out!
5. Allow fun!
The most important element of this list is that in order for your employees to have a good time – you have to really let them! Show leadership in playing pranks yourself and having fun everyday. Officially tweaking company policy to incoporate ‘fun’ into the culture will have as much effect as including it in the small print of their contract – unless you show them that you’re truely commited to them having a good time, and that you won’t frown upon workers for trying to do so.
I hope you enjoyed this guide on how to have a more fun office environment. Fun is the greater motivator, so go out and create some!
Author – Simon Oates – leadership-expert.co.uk
Welcome to the second article in a teamwork series at Leadership-Expert.co.uk. Within this series, we aim to bring you up-to-date theory on the fundementals and advanced techniques relating to teamwork in the modern organisation.
2. How Can I Build a Powerful Team?
Having good team players is key to great teams. No matter what other fancy stuff we do in the name of team building, if your team members are not good team players, managing the team will be quite a struggle.
How can good team players be developed?
Team players are usually the people that are known for sharing and hard work. This alone will not be sufficient as people also want to see their career progress and be recognized.
Then how do you focus people towards the team goals?
Being a team player often involves doing the right thing by not always having your self benefit in mind. Again, in this age of fast forward on careers and achievement, I cannot see how most people will accept this line. The question of “what is in it for me?” must be answered.
Team goals and objectives must be set. There is no compromise for this because there is no need for the team if not for the project. Now, for the team members. They must have their personal development goals also set. In some organizations, employee development plan is part of the people development process. In fact, people placement into projects are very much influenced by the employee development plans. If this has already happened and the team members are in line for career progress through this team assignment, then half the battle is won.
If this is not how they were assigned, then the project manager or the team leader can discuss with the team members on what are their development and career progression goals. Many a time, it is possible that by contributing to the project success, the team members would also make progress. The fact that you even bothered to find out what are their personal development goals, you would already have created a positive impression with the team members. Just this alone could make a difference in your team building efforts.
There will be times when the project goals and the team members’ plans are not in a similar direction. First thing you must do is to decide whether skill-wise this person fits into the team requirements. If not, do yourself and the team a favor and get a replacement for this person. You might also be doing this person a favor.
However, if it is not a skill mismatch, then understand this person’s aspirations and see if it is possible to assign some activities that will achieve these. Again, it will be a win-win-win-win situation for you, the team, the team members and especially the project which after all is what it is all about. Just caring enough for the individual will make the person contribute more to the project.
If despite all this, the team members still think that this project or team is not where they want to be in, then there is one other suggestion. It is not always that we can choose exactly what we want to do. But then, it is not always that we know what are the possibilities in our lives. Maybe, this is the opportunity that will bring something different that could lead to new possibilities. Suggest that they look for new skills and experiences that will become part of their resume for the next job.
Remind them of Napoleon Hill’s ” Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.”
This is not hype! How can it be hype if Napoleon Hill’s books are as popular now as they were years ago? But if the project or team leader thinks it is hype, then this is a difficult step for the leader.
As someone said ” I don’t care how much you know until I know how much you care”. I think one of the secrets in team building is caring not only for the project but also for each of the team members.
This is an article from guest author from Regina Maniam