Being a Boss is hard work and takes determination. Here’s a great infographic with 42 simple tips that take you from good to great.
As a life long fan of Star Wars and MBTI step 2 qualified Practitioner this gave me a chuckle
I always wanted to be Hans Solo turns out I am more Luke Skywalker!
The highly unscientific and invalid test is here. May the force be with you.
Thought I would share an Extract from a great article by By Bruna Martinuzzi
Author, Presenting with Credibility: Practical Tools and Techniques for Effective Presentations
1. Be clear about the issue. To prepare for the conversation, you need to ask yourself two important questions: “What exactly is the behavior that is causing the problem?” and “What is the impact that the behavior is having on you, the team or the organization?” You need to reach clarity for yourself so you can articulate the issue in two or three succinct statements. If not, you risk going off on a tangent during the conversation. The lack of focus on the central issue will derail the conversation and sabotage your intentions.
2. Know your objective. What do you want to accomplish with the conversation? What is the desired outcome? What are the non-negotiables? As English philosopher Theodore Zeldin put it: A successful conversation “doesn’t just reshuffle the cards: it creates new cards.” What are the new cards that you want to have in your hands by the end of the conversation? Once you have determined this, plan how you will close the conversation. Don’t end without clearly expressed action items. What is the person agreeing to do? What support are you committed to provide? What obstacles might prevent these remedial actions from taking place? What do you both agree to do to overcome potential obstacles? Schedule a follow up to evaluate progress and definitively reach closure on the issue at hand.
3. Adopt a mindset of inquiry. Spend a little time to reflect on your attitude toward the situation and the person involved. What are your preconceived notions about it? Your mindset will predetermine your reaction and interpretations of the other person’s responses, so it pays to approach such a conversation with the right mindset—which in this context is one of inquiry. A good doctor diagnoses a situation before reaching for his prescription pad. This applies equally to a leader. Be open to hear first what the other person has to say before reaching closure in your mind. Even if the evidence is so clear that there is no reason to beat around the bush, we still owe it to the person to let them tell their story. A good leader remains open and seeks a greater truth in any situation. The outcome of adopting this approach might surprise you.
4. Manage the emotions. Most of us were likely raised to believe that emotions need to be left at the door. We now know that this is an old-school approach that is no longer valid in today’s work environments. It is your responsibility as a leader to understand and manage the emotions in the discussion. The late Robert Plutchik, professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, created a Wheel of Emotions to show that emotions follow a path. What starts as an annoyance, for example, can move to anger and, in extreme cases, escalate to rage. We can avoid this by being mindful of preserving the person’s dignity—and treating them with respect—even if we totally disagree with them.
In some cases, you may have to respond to a person’s tears. In the video “How To Handle Tears At Work,” Anne Kreamer, author of It’s Always Personal: Navigating Emotion in the New Workplace, provides several strategies. These include acknowledging the tears rather than ignoring them, offering the person a tissue to provide an opportunity to gather his or her thoughts, and recognizing that the tears communicate a problem to be addressed.
5. Be comfortable with silence. There will be moments in the conversation where a silence occurs. Don’t rush to fill it with words. Just as the pause between musical notes helps us appreciate the music, so the periodic silence in the conversation allows us to hear what was said and lets the message sink in. A pause also has a calming effect and can help us connect better. For example, if you are an extrovert, you’re likely uncomfortable with silence, as you’re used to thinking while you’re speaking. This can be perceived as steamrolling or overbearing, especially if the other party is an introvert. Introverts want to think before they speak. Stop talking and allow them their moment—it can lead to a better outcome.
6. Preserve the relationship. A leader who has high emotional intelligence is always mindful to limit any collateral damage to a relationship. It takes years to build bridges with people and only minutes to blow them up. Think about how the conversation can fix the situation, without erecting an irreparable wall between you and the person.
7. Be consistent. Ensure that your objective is fair and that you are using a consistent approach. For example, if the person thinks you have one set of rules for this person and a different set for another, you’ll be perceived as showing favoritism. Nothing erodes a relationship faster than perceived inequality. Employees have long-term memories of how you handled situations in the past. Aim for consistency in your leadership approach. We trust a leader who is consistent because we don’t have to second-guess where they stand on important issues such as culture, corporate values and acceptable behaviors.
8. Develop your conflict resolution skills. Conflict is a natural part of human interaction. Managing conflict effectively is one of the vital skills of leadership. Have a few, proven phrases that can come in handy in crucial spots.
9. Watch your reaction to thwarting ploys. In a Harvard Business Review article, Sarah Green lists nine common mistakes we make when we conduct a difficult conversation. One of these mistakes is how we handle thwarting ploys, such as stonewalling, sarcasm and accusing. The best advice is to simply address the ploy openly and sincerely. As the author says, if the ploy from your counterpart is stubborn unresponsiveness, you can candidly say, “I don’t know how to interpret your silence.” Disarm the ploy by labeling the observed behavior.
10. Choose the right place to have the conversation. Calling people into your office may not be the best strategy. Sitting in your own turf, behind your desk, shifts the balance of power too much on your side. Even simple body language, such as leaning forward toward the person rather than leaning back on your chair, can carry a subtle message of your positive intentions; i.e., “We’re in this together. Let’s problem solve so that we have a better workplace.” Consider holding the meeting in a neutral place such as a meeting room where you can sit adjacent to each other without the desk as a barrier. Don’t exclude the coffee shop.
11. Know how to begin. Some people put off having the conversation because they don’t know how to start. The best way to start is with a direct approach. “John, I would like to talk with you about what happened at the meeting this morning when Bob asked about the missed deadline. Let’s grab a cup of coffee tomorrow morning to chat.” Or: “Linda, I want to go over some of the issues with XYZ customer and some concerns that I have. Let’s meet tomorrow morning to problem-solve.”
Being upfront is the authentic and respectful approach. You don’t want to ambush people by surprising them about the nature of the “chat.” Make sure your tone of voice signals discussion and not inquisition, exploration.
People who use their strengths more perform better at work
In a study of 19,187 employees from 34 organisations across seven industries and 29 countries, the Corporate Leadership Council (2002) found that when managers emphasised performance strengths, performance was 36.4% higher, and when they emphasised personality strengths, performance was 21.3% higher.
In contrast, emphasising weaknesses led to a 26.8% decline for performance weaknesses and a 5.5% decline for personality weaknesses. Data the Norwich Union shows that people working from their strengths perform better and stay with the company longer (Stefanyszyn, 2007).
Some questions as a leader are
Do you know what your strengths are?
How much do you use them at work?
How can you adapt to harness more of them or to a higher percentage at work?
How can I help my team do the same?
What would a 36% rise in productivity mean for us as a team?
Let me know you thoughts by leaving a comment.
Hope you have a great weekend
3 Factor – Employee Engagement
I recently attended a talk by Sir Harry Burns the Chief Medical Officer for Scotland around his study around early intervention with young people in order to empower them to turn their lives into something more positive. He is a fantastic presenter and the evidence he has collected around brain development and what can positively or negatively affect it is fascinating and made me think about how leaders could adopt this to enrich the life’s of their employees.
I love simplifying things and what I took away was 3 things that help empower people are
Control – having a real sense of control over their working lives, the how, what, when etc
Sense of Purpose – knowing that you are making a difference or heading towards a worthwhile goal
Community– seeing that you are part of the team, company,organisation etc
So how do you do this, well you can hold back on the fancy questionnaires and start having conversations with your staff around these 3 pillars and really listening to them and empowering them. As Sir Harry Burns talked about, this is not about doing things to people it’s about enabling them to do it for themselves.
Here’s a crazy idea, you could do it in 30 days. Here’s a Ted talk about just that
Let me know what you think about employee engagement in the comments section below and if you would like to read more about how to build the 3 factors into your working life.
We are all looking for ways to be more efficient in the workplace and unfortunately it seems to be about rationalising or cuts however what if you get an extra 23 % productivity with out cuts?
Well there was a study by Bath university around discretionary effort of 700 people and they realised through the study that 3 things would help this Ability, Motivation and opportunity. However I have recently noticed in organisations going through change that employees need more that these 3.
VAMOS the Spanish for to go
V= vision and I am not taking about the interchangeable, sometimes unmemorable cliches that I have seen, what I am talking about is what the manager sees as the future of the team,department etc. Talking about what they picture as a positive future, in turbulent working environment employee need to know that their boss is guiding them to a better place.
A = ability when asking employees to do more, due to changes in the workplace, have you as there manager talked to them about development or a skills gap and empowering them to get the development they need.
M= motivation… There are many theories on this and I have blogged about a few, however, the easiest way to find out what motivates them is ask them, many managers make assumptions about their employees, this can have the opposite of the desired effect.
O= opportunity; whether it is outdated processes, systems, IT or employees getting dragged into other duties that distract them from doing what they are employed to do. It’s your duty as a leader to cut through these distractions to allow the employee to do what they do best.
S= Specific outcomes. Setting expectations / targets whatever you want to call them mean that employee know exactly what they have to do to be a success. Sounds simple however you would be amazed the amount of employees I meet that find it difficult articulate what a good day looks like or their boss changes the goal posts so often that they don’t know what good looks like.
Hope you had a great weekend
Tips on positive politics at work.
‘Politics is showbusiness for ugly people’. No matter how ‘ugly’ it is and how frustrating it may be for you as a leader politics at work is something that you are going to have to deal with like any other challenge at work.
Why work politics are inevitable:
- Some people have more power than others, either through hierarchy or other basis of influence.
- For many people, gaining promotion is important, and this can create competition between individuals, or misalignment between the team’s objectives and those of individuals within it.
- Most people care passionately about decisions at work and this encourages political behavior as they seek to get their way .
- Decisions at work are impacted by both work-related goals and personal factors, so there is further scope for goal conflict.
- People and teams within organizations often have to compete for limited resources; this can lead to a kind of “tribal conflict” where teams compete to satisfy their needs and objectives, even when this is against the greater good.
People Power not Pay Grades
Office Politics often circumvent the formal Hierarchy. Sit back and watch for a while and then note who has the most people power as well as traditional grades and job titles.
- Who are the real influencers?
- Who has authority but doesn’t exercise it?
- Who is respected?
- Who champions or mentors others?
- Who is “the brains behind the organisation”?
Social Networks at work
Ever wonderred why social networking is so popular today? Well before the internet it was happening in work and life and it is an intrinsic part of human nature. In order to use positive politics well at work you need to understand the social networks present.
- Who gets along with whom?
- Are there groups or cliques that have formed?
- Who is involved in interpersonal conflict?
- Who has the most trouble getting along with others?
- What is the basis for the interrelationship? Friendship, respect, manipulation?
- How does the influence flow between the parties?
Build Your Social Network
Now that you know how the existing relationships work, you need to build your own social network accordingly.
- Do not be afraid of politically powerful people in the organization. Get to know them.
- Ensure you have relationships that cross the formal hierarchy in all directions (peers, bosses, executives).
- Start to build relationships with those who have the informal power.
- Build your relationships on trust and respect – avoid empty flattery.
- Be friendly with everyone but don’t align yourself with one group or another.
- Be a part of multiple networks – so you have a wider picture of how things work and make more informed choices
When you spend more time listening, you are less likely to say something that will come back to bite you later. Also, people like people who listen to them.
Make the Most of Your Network
As you build your relationships, you need to learn to use them to stay clear of negative politicking, and also to promote yourself and your team positively. It is up to you to communicate your own and your team’s abilities and successes to the right people, and you do this through positive political action. Use your network to:
- Gain access to information.
- Build visibility of your achievements.
- Improve difficult relationships.
- Attract opportunities where you can to shine.
- Seek out ways to make yourself, your team and your boss look good.
Neutralize Negative Play
Get to know these people better and be courteous to them, but always be very careful what you say to them.
- Understand what motivates these people and what their goals are, and so learn how to avoid or counter the impact of their negative politicking.
- Be aware that these people typically don’t think much of their talents (that’s why they rely on aggressive politicking to get ahead).
Govern Your Own Behavior
Don’t pass on gossip, questionable judgments, spread rumors – when you hear something, take a day to consider how much credibility it has.
- Rise above interpersonal conflicts – do not get sucked into arguments.
- Maintain your integrity at all times – always remain professional
- Be positive – avoid whining and complaining.
- Be confident and assertive but not aggressive.
- When voicing objections or criticism, make sure you take an organisational perspective not a personal one.
- Don’t rely on confidentiality – assume things will be disclosed and so decide what you should reveal accordingly.
- Be a model of integrity to your team, and discourage politics within it.
I would love to hear about how you deal with politics at work, please use the comment box to let me know your experiences with it.
Some help when making those networks… a great TED Video
Amy Cuddy’s research on body language reveals that we can change other people’s perceptions — and even our own body chemistry — simply by changing body positions