Archive for the ‘Leadership Thoughts.’ Category

10 Principles of 21st Century Leadership.

Sunday, February 24th, 2019

This month, Adam Cairns the CEO of Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and Honorary Visiting Professor, Cardiff University Medical School, Cardiff UK talks about the leadership challenges we face in the 21st century.

The Leadership Challenge:

The leadership challenge is changing – and so leaders must allow their thoughts to evolve.

Here are ten provocations to nudge your thinking into some new places.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. – Martin Luther King, Jr.CLICK TO TWEET

Optimism Not Pessimism:

Our mindset governs how we see the world. As the pace of change accelerates, ask yourself whether your instinctive, below the waterline response to this is to worry that you’re going to get left behind. Relentless change can cause the best of use to question whether we will be able to keep up. Rather than worry however, take hold of the momentum which change brings –none of us can predict the future – but it will be fun finding out.

Receive and Send:

In the new reality of digital everything, we can engage anyone and everyone in a conversation on our terms. The exchange of information, views and ideas now happens instantaneously, whether we like it or not. By the time a service short-coming has impacted on a user of your services, the chances are the world is already hearing about it. Engage your audience, whether user, customer, patient or public and expect this to tell you more than you ever knew.

Questions Not Answers

Leaders should start asking some new questions. Instead of asking how to drive increased efficiency choose to ask what great would look like. Great isn’t usually more of the same, just faster. Great starts from a different place. It starts with an open not closed mindset – Henry Ford’s original customers said what they wanted was a faster horse. Ford had the genius to ask, how that was possible.

In-sourcing Not Outsourcing:

There are niches for every conceivable service or product. Today, you can buy a new logo design for $5 or appoint a virtual assistant for as little as $10 a job. Meanwhile your organisation can focus on what it and only it can do, while you outsource or automate anything that can be done faster, cheaper or is not critical to your core business. Competitive advantage can be built on the ability to narrow your focus. Consider the value that you alone can bring better than anyone else – and do that.

Upstream Not Downstream:

In the high mountains, springs, rainwater and snow-melt mingle to create little streams and brooks. By the time these have merged into a gigantic river pouring into the ocean they have become an unstoppable force. Healthcare needs to turn its gaze towards these highlands: the early years, maternal health, smoking, sugar, diet and exercise. Find the upstream in your business and intervene there. If we continue to intervene as the river pours into the ocean we will eventually and inevitably be swept out to sea.

Innovative Not Administrative

A leader can be in power or in office. If leaders fail to open the doors to experimentation, risk taking and entrepreneurship they are in office only and act as servant administrators to the current system – which is struggling to cope. The new generation of leader will create a climate where innovation is a standard operating principle. They will be in power and will use their influence to release the innovative potential of their employees.

Off Not On:

Managing our time and energy will be the new currency of leadership. What we choose to focus these two resources on will define what we get done. The edges of work and not work are becoming ever more blurred, and with it the hazard of burn-out and reduced productivity. Create a boundary between your work and home and make sure you have it well guarded.

Distributed Not Directed:

Leadership is like the power generation industry  – a central generator (purpose) provides energy to fuel the business mission. This energy is distributed to the point where it meets the business user or customer. Just as with power generation, leadership energy can be supplemented. There are many potential micro-generators in any business among the tens or hundreds of employees delivering on your behalf each day. 21st Century leaders don’t direct – they distribute their leadership effort, expecting to create fertile ground for the micro-generator to flourish.

Integrity Not Correctness:

Being right is not enough. To produce long-term commitment to a product, cause or ideal, leaders must act with integrity. For the modern leader, integrity can be measured in the wisdom of crowds. It is no longer possible to isolate leadership from the social context within which the business takes place. Whether it be with customer, clients, users or employees, leaders must show that integrity is not just a word on a page. You’ll soon hear if you don’t!

Learning Not Leading.

Finally, why not stop trying to lead from the front? In a rapidly changing world isn’t it more realistic to accept that leaders can’t know all that needs to be known? Allow yourself to learn by being curious and become practised at asking rich questions just because you are interested. Leading with humility* means you are likely to learn more and more often. The leader who learns more might also be someone who is more likely to succeed too.

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4 Proven Ways to Keep Your Team Engaged

Sunday, February 24th, 2019

Photo of team huddle.

Team Engagement

Team engagement is more than just a buzzword.  Companies large and small have learned the value of engaging employees and what they mean to both the profitability and longevity of the company.

Millions of dollars are spent every year to discover ways to keep employees engaged.  Part of their budget is spent on discovering and retaining team leaders who are successful in engaging team members. Gallup recently released new research that discovered that “disengaged” employees offer the greatest opportunity for businesses to improve their performance and profitability.

That’s where you come in!

Here are 4 proven ways to keep your team engaged regularly, resulting in employees who are motivated, work with passion, and achieve a purpose in their everyday tasks that gives them a profound connection to your company and their work.

Individual commitment to a group effort ― that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work. – Vince LombardiCLICK TO TWEET

Individual commitment to a group effort ― that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work. – Vince Lombardi

1. Keep Your Team the Main Focus:

Too often, team leaders view their own position as a way-point to something bigger or better and fail to invest time or effort in developing the team around them. You may have had your own bad experiences when your team leader was disengaged. As team leader, you need to keep your focus on employees.

Today’s team manager is more than just a “get the job done” role; the team leader is sensitive to the needs of the team and knows employee needs intimately. As leader, you need to know what is really going on within the team dynamic and be ready to advocate for them as issues arise. When your team really hits a home run, you need to be the first to deflect all the praise back to the team and show them how important they are to you and the company.

2. Increase Your Surface Area:

No one likes a leader who directs from behind closed doors. To really engage your team, you need to be touchable. The larger your team, the more difficult this aspect of leadership becomes, but nothing prevents you from visiting your team!

Some may manage remote teams. with today’s technological advancements, it’s much easier to make video conferencing a part of your weekly routine. Slammed with meetings all week? Use your commute time to connect with team members and check in on their progress with projects.

Use technology to your advantage when attempting to increase your surface area. Be as innovative as you can when it comes to staying accessible to your team. They’ll love you for it.

I think trust is primarily built through relationships, and it’s important because it’s the foundational currency that a leader has with his team or his followers. – Tom RathCLICK TO TWEET

I think trust is primarily built through relationships, and it’s important because it’s the foundational currency that a leader has with his team or his followers. – Tom Rath

3. Allow the Team to Lead:

As leaders, it’s our natural tendency to want to take “ownership” (control) of every situation in order to ensure things are done exactly as we think they should. But, this is counterproductive to team engagement.

If you hold back, possibly for fear of failure, and deny the team ownership of processes and tasks you end up robbing the team of the experiences — both good and bad — that connect them to the purpose of their work. The team needs opportunities to succeed (and fail) and these are integral to their professional growth.

Not only should everyone in your team have a place, they should also have a voice. When employees understand that they have a “say so”, you will unleash the highest level of innovative thinking within the group.

By giving your team opportunity to take charge of an outcome, you will gain their respect and inspire a passion for what they do.

4. Speak Clearly:

There is nothing more confusing to any employee than a manager communicating with ambiguity.

Without clear, succinct communication, your team will often be left feeling confused and disconnected. They need to know how their efforts contribute to the “big picture” on a regular basis and this message needs to be told in different ways many, many times.

When you feel like you’re saying the same thing over and over again, albeit in different ways, that’s when you know your team is beginning to hear what you have to say. The Rule of Seven is an old marketing strategy that states your prospect needs to hear your message at least seven times before they take action.

The same applies to your team. They need to hear you tell them how their work contributes to the big picture over and over until that sense of purpose begins to grow in their own hearts and minds.

by .

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9 Vital Ways to Inspire and Motivate Teams

Sunday, February 24th, 2019

To get results, leaders must inspire and motivate teams. How do you do that?

Let me be very clear. Your style of leadership affects both team and individual performance and the degree of engagement you realise.

So, how do you get the best of the team?

Stick with me and I’ll tell you. And, if you hadn’t guessed it’s so much more about the carrot than the stick!

Appreciation is thanking, recognition is seeing, and encouragement is bringing hope for the future.

Job satisfaction doesn’t have to be about financial reward. Indeed most people would say that being happy with their work starts when they know they are a valued part of the team.

That’s what gives them job satisfaction.

It’s about being appreciated and receiving constructive feedback on performance. Keeping employees motivated isn’t rocket science! But it’s not about spinning stories either. Honesty and tact are two leadership skills needed to inspire the team.

So, keep reading and I’ll share thirteen vital ways to inspire and motivate teams …

Leaders must learn new ways in which to inspire the team so individual team members stay motivated and engaged. It’s all too easy to forget to encourage and reward the team for the good work they do. Fail to so and you fail to keep the team motivated.

Motivation calls for common sense, so read on and see how well you fare at inspiring and motivating teams.

A leader shapes and shares a vision which gives point to the work of others – Charles Handy

Here are 9 vital ways to inspire and motivate teams.

  1. Keep yer promises. If you make promises, keep them! For example, if you say you’re going to do something about pay or working conditions make sure you do. Sometimes you may not have the positional power or authority to influence outcomes. So, make sure you don’t paint yourself into a corner you can’t get out of … avoid losing face and credibility.
  2. Don’t be a bear! Don’t coerce employees and demand the unreasonable. Don’t be a bully. Don’t micromanage!Rather, be brave, and generous with the trust you have in others. To grow the team you have to let them grow and mature in their judgement and skills. So, take pleasure in letting go and remember that when someone who works for you shines, you also shine.
  3. Rules are for a-breakin’. Rules are made for breaking! Well, sort of. Set clear standards and stick to them fairly, but don’t be overzealous about upholding them. Allow room to manoeuvre and give the team plenty of opportunity to challenge and change the status quo. What worked yesterday may not be right for today.
  4. Challenge ’em. Most people think they do a good job. Indeed most people come to work with the belief they are doing a good job. But routine leads to bad habits, complacency, and indolence. What should you do? Simple. Challenge ’em. Help them to grow and learn.
  5. Never settle for mediocrity. Following in the same vein, don’t settle for average. Rather, build a high performing team. And, if you’re going to do this, expect to lose some people along the journey. Therefore, place great importance on development reviews, objectives, goals, and one-to-one supervision. Goals provide challenges and opportunity for people … and the team … to excel. They also serve to evidence performance when expectations aren’t met. Nuff said?
  6. Get to know ’em. Know your team member’s personal goals, values and aspirations. So, pay attention to their lives inside and outside of work. Get to know them. And, don’t be fooled by those leadership writers who say you should stand aloof and not socialise with employees. They’re wrong! How can you inspire the team and keep them motivated if you don’t know what makes them tick?
  7. Have a little fun. Work … smile. Don’t take everything too seriously. But get the balance right. Celebrate successes, birthdays, or other remarkable events. Go for a curry once a month. Laugh about the latest football result. Moan about the latest football result. It really doesn’t matter. What does is building relationships and bonds, so people learn to depend upon and respect each other. The leader can’t make this happen, but he can make room for it.
  8. Challenge how people think. So, you want to improve team performance, and set realistic goals? Start with questions first. That’s right. It’s not your job to come up with all the answers. Let the team do the thinking for you! Effective business coaching is all about the questions. Helping people to think about their options and what they should do encourages self belief and self-development.
  9. Be creative. Creativity is a motivator. Give the team plenty of opportunity to solve problems. But remember this, if an idea isn’t used it serves no purpose and is a waste of time and energy. So, focus the team on real-world problems. Ask them to think about the possibilities rather than the limitations, and encourage feedback and suggestions.

If you hadn’t noticed, there’s a strong theme running through this list. It’s about leadership. It’s about showing the leið (road or way from Auld Norse.) That is, leadership is setting the direction.

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Why Self-Reflection Is the Key to Effective Leadership

Sunday, February 24th, 2019

The practice of self-awareness and self-reflection for those in leadership roles goes back thousands of years to the ancient philosophers and teachers. Yet, it seems that self-reflection is the manager’s least favourite pastime.

By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest. – Confucius

In this guest post by Jacqui Spencer we learn why self-refection is the key to effective leadership. If we are to improve our leadership skills, then it is important that we are aware of our strengths and weaknesses, our values and behaviours, and the ways in which we attempt to influence others. In other words, self-awareness and self-reflection is about learning to understand our leadership style.

Think you need a leadership coach? Read this first.

Self Reflection:

I was working with a senior leader recently in an attempt to help him adjust to working with his new CEO. It was an interesting assignment as it had gone from me being engaged to help him and his leadership team with a new strategic framework to a one-on-one reflection exercise.

I was particularly intrigued by the level of impact this new CEO appeared to have had on a leader I had known for a couple of years. This confident, self-directed, successful leader was asking questions that were very much focused on trust, relationships, engagement. But not on how he and his leadership team could drive the department forward with a sound strategy for future growth or what co-creation and collaboration would look like.

It became clear that this shift to a new CEO was creating some anxiety at very senior levels — not because there had never been a new CEO before but because this new CEO was asking different kinds of questions and my client was perhaps not in full blown self-doubt mode but had definitely embarked on that journey.

I suggested that now was a good time for self-reflection; that is, before he starts to think about moving forward perhaps he should glance backwards. I suggested the simple exercise of writing himself a letter, addressed to his younger self, just as he was starting out on his career path. The letter should give his younger self advice on how to be a great leader based on what he knows today.

This was probably not the best match between client and proposed solution as he struggled a little to understand what I was after, so I moved on to another idea which was a better match.

However on returning home I decided to find my “leadership reflection” letter that I had written when I was in a leadership position. I found it in my home office and I sat down and read it.

To me this remains the best exercise I ever did on personal reflection not because it demonstrated the power of memories but because it made me appreciate what it was like to be me and how lucky I was.

Even a number of years later it still had the same effect on me and so my advice to those of you somewhere on a leadership journey is take time out and write yourself a letter and every now and again read it because, trust me, it will be better than any one-on-one session you will have with a paid consultation or coach.

Here is mine — when you read it I hope you see what I mean.

Dear Jacqui,

Be authentic. Tell the truth and explain the WHY. Show yourself as being vulnerable at times so people see you as real and true.

Focus on leaving a legacy from the very start of your career. It will make you take the time to talk to people and if you start out wanting to be remembered then you will lead that way.You will screw up – admit it as quickly as you can.

Pick a leadership tool that you can relate to and stick with so you can use it wisely. Myers Briggs was the one tool I picked because it was not about competency but about preference and that’s a key difference people that work for you need to understand. It will help you know how best to lead.

Hire the right people — surround yourself with people that you can nurture or learn from. Make sure you also have an irritant. They will make you think differently and whilst working with them will take your energy and test your patience, the value they bring will be worth it.

Tell stories — about yourself in particular. When you share your own opinions, thoughts, fears, choices, challenges, failures and decisions and talk or write about it people will begin to see who you are and what you stand for – it makes you genuine.

Develop the next generation of leaders — mentor, guide, spend time with them. It will be the greatest investment you make. Don’t talk about it or boast about it. Over time the people will talk about you and that will gradually build a reputation for you that is much more meaningful. Find someone yourself who will give you tough messages and guide you. Listen to them.

Don’t take yourself too seriously and make sure fun and humour is part of work. People like to laugh and it’s good for your wellbeing so never forget to bring fun into the work place.

Empower people — do NOT micro manage. Delegate significant responsibilities not just things you don’t want to do. It will stretch and develop people around you and they will respect the fact you have trusted them. They will make you proud.

Engage widely with all members of groups you lead — not just your own direct reports. Ask everyone to contribute their thoughts on topics where you are the final decision maker; always make that point clear up front. Avoid hierarchical leadership at all times but balance it with a leadership presence that engages people to WANT to work for you.

Seek feedback on how you are doing and what you have done — don’t wait for your boss to do it.

write mid-year and end of year messages aimed at everyone in your group and don’t mention achievements, milestones or goals. Talk about what made you proud, what you would like to have done differently and show your appreciation. When someone tells you someone else has done something good then reach out to them to add your gratitude. A simple email or phone call is worth a lot with people.

Be visible. Go on walkabouts, have coffee, stop and talk — wherever you are. It’s where you will truly find out what is going on and what people are thinking or what is an issue. Make sure you listen, act and feedback.

Don’t break a promise. Deliver on your commitments. Drive for extraordinary results. Showcase the work your group does and give airtime to others to get the credit.

Be passionate about what you believe and live by your values — don’t look upwards for instructions or downwards for gratitude.

Remember this is your life and work is a part of it — get the balance right.

You’re about to have a ball so enjoy! I wish I could do it all again …


Understanding our strengths, weaknesses, talents and behaviours will help us to respond effectively in a range of leadership situations. Without self-awareness we dismantle confidence and trust.

So, self-awareness is the key to being a more effective leader.

by .

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Don’t Panic! How to Lead In a Crisis

Sunday, February 24th, 2019

Every business experiences a crisis at some time. The unexpected can cause fear and anger, and give rise to anxiety in those responsible for solving the problem and leading others through the chaos.

If you take the lead in a crisis, don’t panic!

In this short guide we share 8 critical ways to lead in a crisis.

8 Critical Ways to Lead in a Crisis

No doubt your boss and team expect you to put aside your own fears and stay calm during a crisis. But how do you lead with confidence and find effective solutions quickly?

Many people let their feelings get the better of them in stressful times. They may become anxious, alarmed or even paralysed by fear. Yet others are accused of ignoring the crisis altogether and put their head in the sand.

But, ignoring your feelings or letting them control your behaviour is probably the worst thing a leader can do.

Knowing how the environment is pulling your strings and playing you is critical to making responsive rather than reactive moves. – Ronald Heifetz

Instead, strong leaders …

  1. Acknowledge their feelings — But manage them so they can fix the problem quickly. Leaders must have strategies in place to calmly lead teams in a crisis.
  2. Remember past obstacles overcome — At some time in our lives we all face a crisis that has serious consequences for the business, its customers and employees. When faced with such crises, strong leaders draw from previous experiences and remember how they overcame past problems. So, give yourself some needed encouragement: You can do it!
  3. Are emotionally detached from the problem — Strong leaders step off the dance floor onto the balcony. A strong leader needs to understand the problem before finding the solution. So, he steps out of the furore and learns what is going on.
  4. Are decisive and quickly take action — We often use the term “fire-fighting” to describe our reaction to unplanned or unexpected events. In truth, this is misleading. Firefighters — or any emergency service for that matter — are well drilled and know exactly what to do in a crisis. Strong leaders know this and are prepared. They focus on what needs to be done and get on with it; directing teams and taking firm control of the situation.
  5. Exude confidence — Whether you’ve led a crisis or not, act like you have! Strong leaders maintain composure throughout a problem; people draw strength from the leader because they — at least outwardly — conduct themselves as if it has happened before.
  6. Keep their cup half full — Strong leaders are black belts in self mastery. Thinking you won’t succeed will prevent you from handling the crisis effectively. So, believe in your own ability, be positive, stay strong and provide inspiration and motivation for the team.
  7. Are committed to solving the problem — Leaders who remain composed during a crisis are fully committed to taking care of the situation. They are accountable and assume the responsibility of the problem. They take the steps needed to solve the problem.
  8. Don’t take things too personally — Keep your emotions in check, put aside your feelings for now, and show the team that you are in control of the situation. Maintain your composure while continually expressing your concern and care.

A crisis will happen in almost every business at some time. It’s all too easy to lose composure when faced with adversity; letting concern and anxiety turn to fear. Strong leaders have learned how to lead during a crisis and are able to step back — from dance floor to balcony — to evaluate the problem critically and lead from the front.

Bonus Thought:

Many crises can be avoided. But, all to often employees aren’t empowered to deal with problems as they happen. Time is wasted seeking approvals and permission.

Problem begets problem and soon there is crisis.

Does the deputy store manager withdraw goods he suspects are contaminated? Or does he first contact head office for a decision?


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Emotional Intelligence in Leadership

Sunday, February 24th, 2019

When it comes to great leadership skills, people generally think about someone who is brave, honest, and driven, which of course are all very important traits.

But are they the most important?

Many modern leaders lose sight of an essential leadership skill that differentiates the good leader, from the great.

Emotional Intelligence.

The skill?

Emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognise, and react to your own emotions, and the emotions of others.

Emotional intelligence helps leaders recognise stressful situations and react in a positive, more effective manner.

Reacting to an individual’s emotions may seem part of human nature, and it’s easily taken for granted as a leadership skill needed to be successful. But this is where a lot of leaders go wrong.

Here’s why …

Many businesses are turning away from employee participation, and looking to their quarterly and yearly goals for their main priority. Without emotional intelligence in their leadership, the desire to reach these targets creates stressful and competitive environments that lack effective communication.

This type of leadership may get results fast, but in the long run it almost always will result in failure, companies that put employee first ultimately come out on top.

Becoming Self Aware.

To truly start understanding the emotions of others, you first need to understand yourself.

Becoming self aware is the first step.

This means coming to terms with your own personality, thoughts, and of course, emotions.

For example, a deadline for an important project is due in just a few days. Naturally this drives stress levels up, and may cause panicked thinking. With proper self awareness you can detect rising stress early, and take control of the situation to calm yourself, and others. This creates an effectively focused environment.

Increasing your self awareness can be as simple as meditating for just 15 minutes a day. It removes unnecessary clutter from your mind and helps you to take control of your emotions.

Knowing your personality type is another step in the right direction. Taking a DISC assessment test or Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment will quickly tell you your personality traits and how to effectively work with other personality types.

Awareness of Others.

An awareness of other people’s emotions poses a greater challenge than understanding your own. This part of emotional intelligence can be the difference between being a good leader, and being a great one.

When a leader understands their own emotions perfectly, but creates a solitary environment around themselves, they lose trust and communication will quickly dwindle.

And, when there is a lack of communication in the workplace, how do you read emotions correctly?

The invention company, 3M practices strong communication with its employees. They encourage their scientists to share ideas. Where one scientist may no use from a product, another scientist sees opportunity. This has resulted in many great inventions for 3M including the Post-It Note and hundreds of new ideas created everyday.

This equation stays the same in any business. Communication creates a more transparent, and trustworthy environment.  As a leader this is exactly what you want. By making it easier for people to express themselves, you are rewarded with trust.

Employees won’t create this kind of thinking on their own. It’s your job to create an open floor policy that invites a flow of regular communication with employees. Keeping an open door and being readily available is essential. If you are open with your employees they will be more outspoken, and that’s when your emotional intelligence is used optimally.

Practice, Practice, Practice.

Emotional intelligence is like many things, it takes practice to master. And, it all comes back to one golden rule:

Make sure you always treat your employees how you would like to be treated.

Before getting heated at an employee for making a mistake, ask yourself: How would I feel in their position?

Simple moves like this will gradually gain trust and respect. It will result in happier employees, and everyone, including yourself, feeling less stressed.

Soon you’ll start to realise the positive effects of emotional intelligence everywhere in your life. Maybe you have a disagreement with a friend or loved one? Instead of engaging in selfish arguing, you’ll be thinking about the best way to figure out a solution that will be best for both of you.

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Team Building — 5 Steps to Forming a Team

Sunday, February 24th, 2019

So you’re forming a team?  My job is completely new and I’m recruiting into a team now. This is a great opportunity and I relish the challenge!

Team Building.

When I started thinking about team building the first thing I did was to imagine what the team would be like. I see a highly successful team with the right skills, abilities and attitudes. A team with a flat structure. One that aids communication and encourages innovation.

But how do I realise this vision?

Straight away I thought of Tuckman‘s model for small group development: Forming, storming, norming and performing. Clearly my focus is on forming. But what does this mean? The advice is quite clear for this first stage of team building.

5 Steps to Forming a Team

Goodwill may exist but trust is likely to be low. There is little agreement on team aims. Roles and responsibilities are unclear and team members behave independently.

Consequently, there is high dependence on the team leader for guidance and direction. So, the leader should be ready to answer lots of questions about the team’s purpose, aims and relationships with key stakeholders.

What does this mean in practice?

Well here’s what I’m doing. As ever, in five steps!

Ground Rules:

The way in which the team operates is very important to me.

How will people behave? What is the culture of the team?

To be effective, everyone needs to be clear about the way they work together. The team needs a common identity … to share the same values, goals and objectives. Ground rules provide guidance for specific behaviours and expectations.

However, to make sure they are followed they should be prepared and agreed by the team. Therefore, I believe that a team charter should be drawn up when the team is first formed. This will help everyone to focus on the right things from the start.

Roles and Responsibilities:

Once the ground rules are agreed the team should begin to define roles and responsibilities.

How will the team work together? How are different personality types accommodated?

I am accountable for bringing people with the right skills and experience to the team. However, it won’t be until the team first meets that I get a real insight into how well members will work together. This is the time to match people to roles and identify gaps within the team.

At this early stage, the team can define the various duties and outcomes and agree responsibility for them. What’s more, it is the first chance to identify strengths and weaknesses within the team.

Decision Making:

Decision making is an important element of team work.

How are decisions made? Who has the last say? What can be done without prior approval? How is conflict resolved?

I believe that participation — employee involvement — leads to a more effective team.

And team members need to understand what authority they have in the decision making process. For instance, in what circumstances do I set constraints and delegate decisions to the team?

And, in contrast, when is a directive approach appropriate? Clarity about decision making strengthens the team because people are more likely to be committed to carrying out decisions.

Service Planning:

The team plan achieves two things:

  1. it outlines the team vision, mission and service objectives including performance measures, and
  2. identifies service-led development activities that will be completed during the life of the plan.

Preparing a mission statement is a great way to engage the new team and reach consensus about the team’s purpose. It will encourage answers to many questions.

For instance …

What value will the team provide for the organisation? How will we measure success? What will we do differently?

At this early stage in team development I believe it is necessary to set objectives that are measurable and capable of demonstrating that the team is making good progress.

Once again, agreement and commitment is more likely if the team decides on its priorities and then delivers on them.

Team Processes

Team building is largely about directing the team to establish clear objectives. This stage is best achieved with a high level of team involvement since it leads to strong, well supported decisions.

With strong foundations the team can begin to move from forming to storming establishing processes and structure.

by .

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5 Weird and Effective Ways to Inspire Unmotivated Employees

Sunday, February 24th, 2019

Black and white image of a man with fake moustache and glasses smoking a cigar.Weird Ways to Inspire

Creating a positive atmosphere in the office is not that easy. Sometimes, there are periods of the year when your employees are going to feel less motivated. This is all a normal cycle, as we’re all only human.

However, if you notice that your employees are constantly dissatisfied, you should do everything in your power to change this. It will bring better productivity, and a positive atmosphere, while also taking away the stress from your business surroundings. So, let’s take a look at a couple of weird ways in which you can successfully motivate your employees.

1. Change the Notion of Friday.

According to research performed by Accountemps, the least productive day in the week is Friday. Depending on the type of work you are in, you can take certain unorthodox methods to incite higher productivity.

For example, you can make Friday a rest day for all those who have finished their weekly tasks early. Or, you can make the first-half obligatory for all the employees, after which they can go home and enjoy the weekend.

This can mean a lot for the employees motivation, as they get a longer period of rest at the end of their week. Give this method a go, and see how your workforce is going to react, you will most likely be surprised with the results.

2. Give a Part of the Company to the Team

Many companies decide to give their employees a small part of the company. This is a great motivator for the following reasons:

  • Sense of belonging – First of all, if you expect someone to give everything they’ve got for your business, you have to create a good reward system. Once a person working for your company has a stake in the company, they’re going to feel much more motivated since they’re directly benefiting from the company growth. This sense of belonging to a company will motivate employees significantly.
  • Whole family benefits – Giving an employee part of the company creates a sense of security for their whole family. In case something happens to the employee, the family keeps the company shares. Knowing this, an employee will always feel gratitude to the business, feeling special for having an opportunity to work for such a company.

This is a very important step you can take, if you want to motivate your employees in a completely unique way. Think about it, you will notice a significant surge in positive energy and motivation among your employees, as you all become a part of one big family.

3. Jump-Start Their Self-Growth Path.

If your employee is in a situation where a lot of repetitive work is done, he or she is going to feel bored and unmotivated sooner or later. This is why implementation of online learning tools can be of great benefit to your employee’s motivation.

In your company, they are going to able to start or continue their self-growth path, making them better at what they do. Through the self-growth journey, a person is going to appreciate the business much more and feel motivated to progress to other working positions.

It is essential to create an environment where every employee can grow, a unique idea coming from an employee can mean a lot for the whole business.

4 Work Hard, Play Harder.

Many companies understand that team building activities are very important for company success. They bring people together and improve the productivity of the whole team. However, many companies only focus on dinners as a form of team building. It is necessary to get as creative as possible and approach the whole process in a completely different way.

Organise team meetings on which suggestions for team building are going to be created, and vote for the best ones. With this process, you are truly going to get to know your employees and what they like better. Furthermore, they will get to experience an activity that all of them like.

You can include sports, travelling, adrenaline rush activities, and any other types of team activities for your employees. It is going to let them more easily blow off some steam, get to know each other better and enjoy the whole process.

Therefore, get creative with team-building activities, you are going to love the results, as all of the team members become much more productive.

5. Let Them Experience a Vacation In a Completely Different Way.

The majority of companies stick to the usual vacation rules for all their employees. You can take this to a completely different level, and create a unique set of vacation days.

Take an a world-leading event company as an example. Their CEO claims that all of the employees have unlimited vacation days. How is this possible? Well, all you have to do is handle all the tasks in time, and you can rest as much as you like.

Furthermore, every five years working for the company, you get a full four-week vacation for you and a friend, all expenses covered.

Now, you do not have to be this extreme, but your can create some vacation rules that will let your employees relax a lot more, more often. The above-mentioned research also measured the productivity of people before and after a vacation, and impressively, 34% of people are more productive before the vacation, and 51% of people are more productive and motivated once the vacation is over.

Get creative and see what vacation adjustments you can make, they will certainly motivate your employees. So, if you notice that large part of your employees are dissatisfied and unmotivated, make sure to make the necessary changes to improve their mood and productivity.

It is essential to motivate and inspire all employees of your company if you want sustained success. A positive work environment where everyone genuinely wants to be productive is one that you should strive to create.

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7 Competencies For the Next Generation of Leaders

Sunday, February 24th, 2019

Man wearing dungarees with various tools in the breast pockets.Competencies For Future Leaders

Despite the undeniable impact of sound leadership on the success of any organisation, there remains an apparent lack of understanding when it comes to the specific core competencies every leader ought to prioritise while carrying out their professional responsibilities. To be clear, this does not mean these leaders are wholly unfit or ineffective; instead, it only indicates that these professionals have not yet maximised their own potential or the potential of the organisation they are charged with leading.

Developing a better understanding of the most critical leadership competencies not only benefits those in current leadership positions, as the next generation of leaders  many of whom are already seeking mentors in preparation for future leadership roles  will encounter all kinds of new opportunities and challenges demanding exceptional leadership built on a foundation of several especially important competencies. In the sections that follow, we’ll explain why the next generation of leaders will:

  • Act according to consistent ethical and moral standards
  • Communicate clearly and listen attentively
  • Empower team members and demonstrate respect and trust for other
  • Emphasise company culture by highlighting shared values, goals, and objectives
  • Maintain the flexibility necessary to change course and remain receptive to new ideas
  • Demonstrate a commitment to professional development of employees
  • Create an environment conducive to innovation

In discussing these seven competencies for the next generation of leaders, it is worth noting how each competency allows leaders to be themselves by leveraging their individual strengths while minimising their individual weaknesses. The same can be said of those working under the guidance of these leaders, as these competencies are designed with the goal of maximising the contributions made by those at every level of an organisation, thereby turn ensuring that the organisation ultimately realises its own potential over both the short and long term.

1. Act According to Consistent Ethical and Moral Standards.

Leaders are expected to make decisions that closely align with the company’s specific goals and objectives, requiring a commitment to fairness and objectivity. With a set of clearly defined ethical and moral standards in place, leaders are much more likely to make unbiased and objective decisions, engendering a deep sense of trust and loyalty from team members.

When organisational leaders act according to a consistent set of ethical and moral standards  which means that all decisions are based on logical, reasoned analysis  employees believe they will be treated fairly by leaders and have no reason to feel burdened by uncertainty, which in turn encourages a greater level of creativity and productivity from team members.

2. Communicate Clearly and Listen Attentively

Effective leadership is undermined by communication lacking in clarity, so it is incumbent upon those in leadership positions to communicate clearly and consistently in every interaction. Team members are far more efficient and productive when they can count on leaders to issue clear and easily understood directives. Team members are also more likely to carry out their responsibilities with a greater level of confidence, promoting the kind of creativity and collaboration that leads to innovation.

While a consistent focus on clarity in communication reduces the likelihood of a misunderstanding or miscommunication, it does not necessarily eliminate the possibility in its entirety. This is why the most effective leaders also make a point to attentively listen to questions or concerns from team members, as every team member should feel comfortable enough to clarify a directive without fear of reproach from leadership for doing so.

3. Empower Team Members, Demonstrating Respect and Trust for Others.

The second competency concerning clarity of communication also plays a role in empowering team members to think independently and to take action benefiting the organisation and its goals. In addition to issuing clear directives, the best leaders actively empower employees and recognise that any form of micromanagement betrays a lack of trust in the abilities of team members. Empowering employees with autonomy over key responsibilities, on the other hand, highlights how a leader trusts and respects the intelligence and competence of their employees.

4. Emphasise Culture by Highlighting Shared Values, Goals, and Objectives.

With a strong company culture that highlights a shared set of values as well as a common set of goals and objectives, employees are much likelier to feel invested in the organisation’s success and to feel a sense of connection with their colleagues as well. It is for this reason that the most effective leaders understand how to highlight specific company values, goals, or objectives in a way that unites employees and ensures everyone is on the same page.

5. Maintain Flexibility to Change Course and Remain Receptive to New Ideas.

In order to get the most out of their employees, leaders must be willing to accept that not every decision leads to a positive outcome. In these circumstances, leaders must not only be flexible enough to change course if it benefits the organisation; they must also be receptive to the ideas and opinions shared by team members.

Unfortunately, many leaders worry incorrectly, of course that changing course or asking others for assistance might be perceived as a sign of weakness, but doing so is actually a sign of strength. Confident leaders are able to admit when they are wrong and consider new ideas based on the merit, not the source, of an idea.

6. Demonstrate a Commitment to the Professional Development of Team Members.

Team members are more likely to work harder and remain loyal to an organisation that demonstrates a commitment to helping employees flourish as professionals through professional development opportunities. The most effective leaders work to create mutually beneficial relationships with employees by encouraging growth and professional development at every opportunity.

7. Create an Environment Conducive to Innovation:

Each of the six previous competencies ensure employees are empowered to act autonomously and encouraged to engage in creative collaboration with others. These competencies also ensure employees feel valued by organisational leadership and feel invested in the company’s achievements, outcomes that are necessary when creating an environment conducive to innovation.


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Why Millennials Will Make a Great New Cohort of Leaders

Sunday, February 24th, 2019

MillennialsMillennials Will Make a Great New Cohort of Leaders

There really is no way of getting around it. Sooner or later companies are going to have to embrace millennial leaders. After all, the ones that came before are going to keep retiring. Even before that happens, the old guard going to start losing touch with what an ever-growing group of customers wants, needs and pays attention to.

The good news? Millennials actually make some surprisingly good leaders. They have some vital attributes which make them perfectly suited to the world as it exists today. Here we’ll explore some of their strongest attributes.

They Are Tech-Savvy

The biggest changes to our modern economy are coming from the tech sector. Both offline and online there are a huge number of innovations taking place which are sending earthquakes through the economic landscape.

To succeed companies therefore need people who want to embrace the winner technologies (while avoiding those which flunk out.) That requires a certain awareness of where we are now technologically as well as where we’re going.

What will happen to the online space? How will the shopping of the future work? What will the ramifications of having a machine intelligence in our pocket be? All these questions are ones that millennials are in a better position to answer than previous generations.

Millennials Cere About Corporate Activism

Millennials don’t just want jobs. They want what they do to mean something. They want the companies they work for to stand for something. The interesting thing is, it isn’t just millennials that are experiencing this change in perspective. The populace at large also expects companies to take a more activist approach and a stand on important aspects of modern society.

This means that the way millennials are going to approach public relations and the way the public at large expects them to are aligning. In this way, companies can make sure that they boost the loyalty and enthusiasm of those of their customers that buy the lion’s share of their products – their most ardent fans.

They Are More Flexible:

Yes, of course young people are more flexible than the old guard. That has always been true and will remain so. Young people have a higher degree of fluid intelligence, which makes it easier for them to adapt to changes.

But that’s not the whole picture. The millennial generation has on average done a far wider selection of jobs than former generations. They are more likely to try new avenues and job from one career to another.

And though critics try to paint this as a drawback of this group, the truth is that this culture of trying many different things means that millennials are more flexible and are capable of seeing the same problem from more sides.

This adaptability will suit them well when they’re in leadership positions.

They Have a More Fluid Understanding of Ownership.

In the past, you either owned something or you did not. This was true of cars, houses, furniture and tools. In the last decade or so that understanding has been shifting. The economy has become one where ownership is shared and where you only use a product or a property when you’re actually using it.

This way of thinking has already changed how companies work. There are companies, for example, which are entirely located in co-working spaces.

The thing is, this is only the beginning. A lot more products and services can be licensed on a per-use basis. Millennials, with their more fungible understanding of products are in a better position to take advantage of this continued growth.

They Have Less Respect for Hierarchy.

Though it might not always be good for people lower down to have little respect for how a hierarchy works, when the people at the top have this mindset that offers all sorts of opportunities.

These include:

  • Quicker innovation. As people lower down are often younger, leaders who are willing to listen to them will often have a better insight in which direction the market is heading.
  • Nimble reaction. A flatter hierarchy is generally quicker to embrace new ideas and new ways or working together.
  • Greater meritocracy. When bosses interact with people of all levels, they are more quickly pick realize who the rising stars are and can take more actions to promote these people into positions of influence.
  • Higher engagement. We all want to be listened to. Therefore, bosses who do so are going to have a more engaged and loyal workforce to back them up.

They Understand Corporate Culture:

A company is more than the sum of its parts. Hiring the biggest stars and putting them into your company isn’t necessarily enough. It’s also about how well they work together and collaborate.

Millennials respect this. They understand that it is important that a company hires people not just based on how good they are as individuals but also based on how well they fit into the atmosphere which we’ve got in the places we work.

This type of hiring makes sure that we avoid the types of situation where the inappropriate behaviour of some undermines the enjoyment and satisfaction that everybody else gets from working in a company.

They Understand We’re Not Just Robots:

In previous decades work was considered a place where you went, did what you were supposed to and left again. You didn’t show your weaknesses, your personality or go there to have fun. More recently, we’ve come to realise how counterproductive this perspective is. The truth is, the happier and more adjusted our work force is and the more they feel like they’re part of a family, the better they do.

Millennials have been raised in this new culture and appreciate the usefulness of having spaces where people can relax, as well as the importance of letting people bond and form strong relationships. In this way, they are able to get a more productive workforce as well as make sure turnover stays as low as it can in this modern work environment.

So, are Milliennials the answer to all our woes?

Obviously not. To say that ‘millennials will be better leaders’ is to paint with far too broad a brush. There are going to be failures and successes in every generation. What’s more, to hire somebody based on their age alone is asking for problems.

At the same time, millennials do have a great deal of positive attributes, not least of them the way they view both technology and human interaction. In both cases, they were raised in during a time where we gained a great deal of insight about how things and people fit together which we didn’t have before. They take this information for granted, but the truth is that former generations haven’t managed (and probably will never manage) to completely come to grips with the ramifications thereof.

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