Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Great information on women leaders in the workplace

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

The HBR Blog last week provides, in its own words:

‘startling glimpses into what work and leadership is like for women around the world’. The post is titled: Tell me something I didn’t know about women in the workplace.  It quotes recent research across a broad range of issues and links to a host of  HBR archives of relevant articles on those issues. There’s also a series of slides quoting very interesting data on the issues.

Go look at it and ponder! Not all of the research is depressing and some of the information provides pointers for women and talent managers in our workplaces.



Is old fashioned courtesy all that's needed?

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

I often remember the basics that my grandmother was so keen on. Those old fashioned things called ‘manners’.

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They are well ingrained into my fundamental practices.

Some of the ‘rules’ are now very out of date for example a male walking on the outside of a female (I think it as to stop her gown getting splattered by mud from on coming carriages) . However some are well worth thinking about and probably putting into practice.

Many of us have changed the way we work.We are now in shared open plan spaces often ‘hot bedding’. The old idea of owning our office space where we can scatter our personal belongings is fast disappearing. Now we need to be mindful of others that are sharing office space.

For introverts the interruptions can be very irritating.For extroverts it is a welcome change.For those who love a clear desk policy having to clear a space to work is infuriating.

The conversations you have on the phone are not for sharing…if you need to have a conversation take yourself to another area where you can’t be heard.

I guess the secret of working in close proximity is to be conscious of others and be aware it’s not the big things that drive people nuts but the little things that cause havoc with working relationships.

No man is an island .We all need to work together and maybe all it takes is courtesy.

When communication goes bad

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

The newspapers are filled with examples of communications that weren’t meant for the people reading them.  Often it’s deliberate as in whistle blowing and for others it is as the result of leaks. The result is the same -information out in the open and not for the intended viewer.

It’s a similar,if not as serious,problem for you in the office. We spend far too much time on emails rather than face to face communication.

How many of you have been cc’d into an email that is irrelevant and just takes up space.Or even worse when the sender says “You were copied in therefore I take no responsibility for you not reading it”

Have you ever sent an email in a rage? That can have serious consequences. Or have been copied in on gossip?  Emails can be a real problem

A couple of tips:

  • If you need a response urgently
  • If you have a difficult message to communicate
  • Or if you are angry or sad

Take a breathe and don’t send the email.Phone or face to face is always best!


How to persuade people they need to improve their presentation skills

Monday, May 13th, 2013

Do you cringe when you see senior managers and staff making inadequate  presentations?  It’s difficult to challenge people on these important skills, even when the problems are glaringly obvious.

It is a difficult issue to confront, unless there is strong support from high level executives, who often are the worst offenders.

Ellen Finklestein’s useful PowerPoint Tips blog has a good post on just this issue and includes a couple of less common tips.  She views it through the PowerPoint lens, but PowerPoint does reflect many of the symptoms of boring presentations.



Sensible starting point when you suspect bullying

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

A complaint of bullying is a majorstep down a very formal path. It puts people in polarised corners regardless of the cialis pills validity or seriousness of the complaint.  Relationships are more damaged because of this. Some people put off making a complaint because of fear of  the repercussions.  Some managers are very badly damaged by accusations of bullying, even when an investigation discovers that the complaint is unfair.

Hayden Olsen, from Workplaces Against Violence in Employment, suggests an informal process as a starting point.  This is a mediated approach that aims for resolution of the problem, rather than retribution.  Whilst a formal process inevitably has to look back to see what happened. An informal process enables an organisation to look forwards and asks what needs to change for a better future?

Some organisations use this approach as a starting point. Consciously applying it could shift the process into something much more open and constructive for all parties.

Doing more for yourself with less

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

One of our clients in the hospitality sector is getting managers to provide  staff training sessions on skills where they have outstanding competence.  Most managers are surprised that they are seen as outstanding in a particular arena. For example, one manager consistently builds great customer relationships  whilst at the same time controlling the length of the conversation with them.  She was both proud and startled to realise that her level of skill is unusual.

We often assume that what we do is just obvious – any fool would do it this way. These assumptions about competence are explained very well by the four stage  competence model , developed in the 1970s by Noel Burch for Gordon Training International.  Our hospitality manager was unconsciously competent in building customer relationships.  To train others in the skill she has to figure out what she does that works. She will almost have to freeze-frame the steps  to work out what they are and why they work. In the model this moves her into conscious unconscious competence, believe it or not!

That recognition of competence will be a tremendous boost to her self-esteem.  How beneficial for her and the organisation to also have an opportunity to extend these skills to the rest of the firm.

You can make use of the benefit of conscious unconscious competence for yourself.  Work out your competencies and then consciously use them to help in areas where you feel very incompetent!

Feeling like you don’t have any special competence? The Helen Marcoz Skills and Strengths blog can help with this. There’s also the very useful book and website: Now Discover Your Strengths.

What challenge makes you feel daunted? Look back on your areas of competency and see what you can use from there to apply to this new situation.  Where else have you faced something similar and what could you use from that experience?

The answer generally lies within us.


Simple three way test for communicating with staff

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

One of my clients is working on her leadership skills in a major corporate organisation.   A recent session focused around getting key partners and managers to buy into a new strategy for the business unit.  In the end it came down to a  whole series of individual conversations – with other partners and with the managers.

How do you get those conversations ‘leaderly’? Run your conversation plans past this three-way leadership communication test:

1. Is what I am going to say going to be inspiring?

2. Am I being a good steward of the people?

3. Am I solving the problem?

There’s a lot more depth in Kouzes and Pozner’s book  ‘The Leadership Challenge’.  We also need to remember that leader communication is a mix of what leaders say, the communication behaviours they model and the decisions they make supporting a communicative culture matter too.  The three way test is a good simple start though.

Keeping connected during change – A Christmas message

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

We have just had our annual Christmas get-together.

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  Our friends and neighbours  join us to catch up with us and with each other. Often it’s a chance to renew old connections and check in on the year just gone.  Over a year there have always been changes, mostly positive; but this year a few of our friends have faced redundancy.

Restructuring and redundancy are now a regular part of our lives.  Some of you will have been affected, either as managers of change, or as people strongly affected by it.

Whatever your role, there will be emotion involved. For managers, telling people they are redundant is difficult and  a series of these conversations can leave managers feeling isolated and unpopular.

Being on the other end can be even harder.  The sense of loss and dis-empowerment can be huge for people.  A feeling of unfairness and fear can loom large.

What can we do about these difficult emotions?  The best answer is, of course, the simplest – connect with others. It helps to reduce the effects of the emotional upheaval, by talking it through with your support people – your co workers, your family and your friends.


Seeing change as an opportunity may be difficult when the news is still raw, but as CS Lewis said:  ‘Getting over painful experiences is much like crossing monkey bars.  At some point you have to let go to move along.’  ‘Take time to reflect.  Then when that the new role comes along, once again take your time to settle in. There are more tips in this interesting article.

If you are the manager of people who have undergone a lot of change,  remember your new team will take time to regroup and feel confident abut the path ahead. There are some tips to help at this site

We are fast approaching  Christmas. It is traditionally a time for family and friends and the opportunity to take your time and value the moment. Cherish what is really important in your life.   ‘Change always comes bearing gifts’  said Price Pritchett. Sometimes it’s hard to even see the gift let alone unwrap it.