Double jeopardy

Telling someone they are failing to make the grade is always tough. One scenario many managers dread is telling a staff member their job is at risk because of their attitude or actions. They fear any approach will be seen as potentially threatening, and could elicit cries of ‘Constructive dismissal!’ or ‘So you want me to leave?’ when the message actually boils down to ‘This is serious but it can be fixed’. How, then, can you communicate the seriousness of the situation without getting an immediate ‘fight back’ response? Unless the misdemeanour is…continue reading →

Get better connected!

Stay on track this month by creating some powerful new connections. Forget money - connections really do make the world go round! If people feel a connection with you, they will go the extra mile to help you wherever they can, so make February the month when you purposefully increase your connections. Start close to home and have a connection conversation with colleagues and co-workers who could provide valuable support in 2015: Your boss. Suggest a coffee, a chat, anything that means you have a conversation without an agenda and without a deadline.…continue reading →

How to make 2015 the best year yet!

How to make 2015 the best year yet!
With Christmas over for another twelve months and a bright New Year stretching before us, it’s the traditional time for making changes. While it’s easy to make a wish list of glib ‘resolutions’ in January, it’s often much more useful to decide on the outcomes you’d like and then put procedures in place to change the things necessary to achieve these goals. What this really means is taking effective action to ensure your desired outcome - after all, it’s often said that one definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and…continue reading →

Managing The Christmas Party!

It’s that time of year again and we’re all preparing for the inevitable: the Christmas party. Having arranged a number of office Christmas parties myself - and witnessed the good, the bad and the ugly – I’d like to share a few tips on how to make it a great celebration and how to come out winning! Often it is the party person in the team who is given the job of organising the event and it is good to set out some clear expectations at the start, specifically: How much time they…continue reading →

One Negative Person can Kill the Team

One negative person can flatten the energy within a team and kill creativity and productivity. This was clearly demonstrated to me during a workshop I facilitated. As soon as this individual entered the room it was clear that they had a negative attitude to the company and consequently to the training course they had commissioned. Unfortunately, they successfully recruited two friends to join them and they proceeded to sit with their backs to the main group, arms folded and whispering amongst themselves. Even though I made attempts to engage with them and encourage…continue reading →

Walk The Ship

I went to a party yesterday and meet a wonderful lady.  She was in her late 70s, full of energy and enthusiasm.  She was telling tales of places she had visited, people she had worked with and things she had done as well as expressing her disappointment that, after two bouts of cancer, she no longer had the strength to return a serve at tennis and was now considering taking up table tennis! We got to talking about what I did around management development and training and the phrase that immediately came to…continue reading →

Retirement – Motivating Staff Who are Switching Off

When I talk with managers during my workshops I often hear ‘X has switched off but as they have less than 2 yrs before retirement it is not worth the hassle and upset of getting them to improve their performance’. To my mind this approach never has been a strong management solution. It gives the workforce a clear demonstration that in certain circumstances you can ‘get away’ with doing very little, to say nothing of irritating good staff who find themselves making up for a poor performer who continues to bank the same…continue reading →

Be Effective in Feedback – Find the Key Issue

Planning and undertaking a feedback conversation is a big investment of time and effort on your behalf as a manager. Unfortunately, many managers waste all that well meant effort by feeding back on the first issues that come to mind rather than identifying the key underlying issue. For example, I was in discussion with a participant at a workshop when she said ‘It won’t make any difference what I say as everything I say goes in one ear and then out the other!’ In this case she was preparing a conversation on the…continue reading →

Memories are Short – Speak up Now!

We are all in a rush in our business lives but when it comes to feedback it is crucial to speak up immediately. Why? Because we forget and even if we remember to mention it later (usually at an official point such as an appraisal) it will, at best fall flat, or at worst create resentment. Say for example, you notice a team member speak to a fellow member of staff using an abrupt and disrespectful tone of voice. If you bring up the incident at some later point they will struggle to…continue reading →

BO – What to Say if a Staff Member Smells Bad

In my workshops this is frequently cited as one of the most feared feedback situations. Needing to talk with a staff member about the fact that they have a bad body odour and so making working life unpleasant for their colleagues. And the reason we fear this is because we would be mortified if someone gave us this feedback and, anticipating this reaction, we enter the conversation feeling the embarrassment and awkwardness of behalf of the individual. However, you need to remember that one of the cast iron rules of feedback is that,…continue reading →