In with the new

In with the new
We seem to be galloping towards Christmas. Soon, we’ll leave the tinsel-decked office for the last time this year and we’ll each head off to celebrate the festivities in our own way. For some it will mean spending time – possibly a little too much of it – with family and friends, eating, drinking and making merry. Others will simply be looking forward to a well-earned rest and a mince pie in front of the TV. A lucky few may even be anticipating Christmas on the beach… This time of year is truly…continue reading →

Promises, promises …

Promises, promises …
There is an undeniable truth around communication: people hear what they want to hear. Then there is the other truth about human behaviour. When undertaking a tricky conversation with a staff member, many managers are tempted to ‘soften the blow’ with something that could sound like a promise but is actually not meant as a promise. For example: What is said: ‘Don’t worry your turn will come soon’ (referring to promotion, holiday over Christmas, chance to choose biscuits at the next team meeting). What is heard is: ‘The next promotion/holiday choice/biscuits selection will…continue reading →

Distorted thinking

Distorted thinking
This weekend I cleared out my kitchen cupboards - a proper job - everything out, shelves cleaned, stuff sorted and then put back. And this simple job showed just how distorted ‘thinking’ can be. In this simple task I learnt: It is easy to over-estimate or under-estimate time. I thought this was going to be an all-day job so I kept postponing it as it was difficult to find the time. In fact, it took two hours. How much old junk had been sitting there unused for years. I filled a large bag…continue reading →

Have fun at work!

Have fun at work!
Can work really be fun? Of course the answer is yes! But sadly many people do not experience it as such and the common reasons are: Somewhere in their past they acquired the belief that work is NOT fun; rather that work is to be endured, got through, and is a necessity rather than something they would choose to do. And by holding on to that belief they have ended up in a job that is not fun – well, not for them, at least. When they started the job role it was…continue reading →

What Brexit can teach us about dignity and respect

What Brexit can teach us about dignity and respect
Brexit has taken up a lot of our time, energy and certainly news space over the past two weeks. Whichever way you voted, the action that has followed in the wake of the historic referendum has all the hallmarks of the most dramatic of soap operas. But among all of the resignations, speeches, protests and political manoeuvrings was a very interesting piece of information that came out the analysis of why some people voted Leave - that the highest percentage of Leave voters came from areas that received the largest EU grants. At…continue reading →

Safety First

Safety First
As vital as Health & Safety is, this article is not about importance of looking out for trailing wires. It’s about the need to create a sense of safety in the workplace for voices and opinions to be heard and for risk to be taken. New behaviour, markets and innovation do not occur without staff feeling safe to experiment, make mistakes and try out the new. If you find your current staff passive, reluctant to voice opinions or adopt necessary change one reason could be that they do not currently feel safe to…continue reading →

Get your new recruits off to a flying start!

Get your new recruits off to a flying start!
Recruitment is a hard task. Even with the apparently infinite resources that big companies have at their disposal for occupational psychologists, assessments centres and banks of interviews, they still make recruitment mistakes. And it’s because making the right hiring decision is so difficult that the probation period was created. Yet again and again I hear from managers who hesitated over taking action with a new hire during the probation period and have now found themselves with a difficult employee and a sense of helplessness. Here is the step-by-step guide to successfully managing the…continue reading →

Know your policies inside out

Know your policies inside out
Every organisation has its set policies and procedures on sickness management, disciplinary and how to report absences. Sadly, many believe that they should be written in boring, ponderous language which can make them extremely difficult to read and - in some cases - to understand. No matter what the presentation style of your policies, these documents need to be read thoroughly and completely understood by you as a manager before any issues occur. Let me stress that again: before any issues occur. In my experience, however, when I ask managers even the most…continue reading →

Harness Christmas energy!

Harness Christmas energy!
Christmas is coming! And this is the time for celebration, partying and eating way too much. But work still exists and jobs still need to be done. As a manager there are some crucial communications that need to be made around expectations over the Christmas period – which can be a delicate balancing act! Fail to communicate any expectations and productivity may tail off as Christmas fever begins to take over. But be too heavy handed about what must be completed and you run the risk of being considered a Scrooge; tasks may…continue reading →

R.E.S.P.E.C.T. – find out what it means to me

R.E.S.P.E.C.T. – find out what it means to me
I was chatting to a client recently and they were thrilled to learn how they could give key feedback to a staff member so that they could become successful in their job role. I mentioned that it was important to respect the individual throughout the conversation and they replied: ‘And demand respect back!’ My heart sank. They were stating a belief that many hold in thinking that respect can be demanded, yet we all know from our own experiences of working with senior people in organisations that respect cannot be compelled. An expectation…continue reading →