Most of us have been there at least once in our professional lives: You enter or leave the meeting wondering why you were invited and how you will make up for the precious time you’ve just lost by attending the meeting. And you wish the meeting organizer had stopped to ask „Do we really need this meeting?“ before the meeting took place.
Consider the FACTS and the benefits before organizing your next meeting
To help you decide whether a meeting is worth holding, we ask you to consider the FACTS:
Is a meeting the right format?
For example, if the goal of your meeting is only to relay news to your team, maybe you can save everyone time and send an email instead? Can, for example, everyone on your team make it to the meeting? If you’re relaying important news, will they feel left out? Thinking about alternative formats to meetings can reduce the total amount of meetings you need to have with your team. There are pros and cons of meetings, emails, community updates etc., and there is no right or wrong. You need to make the decision as to which is the right format for each situation.
Is there a clear, definable aim for this meeting?
A meeting without a specific aim is usually a waste of time. However, there are situations where the aim is vague. Perhaps, for example, you haven’t seen each other for a while. You may not have something specific to say, but explaining the situation helps everyone to understand why they are in the room. And meeting to catch up and network is a perfectly valid aim. There are also cultural considerations here – in some cultures meetings are to get work done, in other cultures they are to build relationships. There is no right or wrong, but a happy medium needs to be established in international environments.
Are there negative consequences if we cancel?
If you can’t think of any negative consequences of cancelling, then there’s no reason to have your meeting. If you do cancel with people you’ve already invited though, make sure you offer some explanation. And be honest. Don’t try to make up an excuse for cancelling it. Just explain what you are thinking. The chances are that most people will rate you very highly for doing this.
Is now the right time to meet?
Perhaps new developments in the near future will make your meeting unnecessary? Do you really need to have this meeting at the same time each week? Why are you calling the meeting in the middle of the holiday period? Giving a bit of thought about the situation now can save time later.
Does it make sense?
If you answer ‘no’ to any of the questions above, then holding the meeting clearly does not make sense. Cancelling this meeting is definitely the best option.
Three benefits of cancelling an unnecessary meeting
You may be reluctant to cancel a meeting, especially if everyone else around you seems to be in meetings regularly. Here’s why you need to lead the way by taking this step:
You save everyone valuable time – when you cancel a meeting, you and your colleagues can use that time to focus on tasks that add value to your organization.
You save money – when you calculate the resources needed to hold a meeting, the price can be extremely high.
You lead your regular meetings more effectively – knowing when to meet is just as important as knowing how to run a meeting. If you do this right, the participants in your meeting will know that their valuable time is always being used in the most effective way possible.
For more tips and language for managing meetings in English, why not look at our ebooks and related blog posts.
https://www.targettraining.eu/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Fotolia_71554784_M.jpg9601979Guest Authorhttps://www.targettraining.eu/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/logoWP.pngGuest Author2016-05-04 12:15:592016-05-18 17:06:00The FACTS and benefits to consider before you organize a meeting
We all know the feeling. You come out of a meeting, negotiation or a conflict discussion with a difficult team member, and say to yourself, “If I had only said or done this.” Or “Was I too hard on my report?” For whatever reason, you aren’t asserting yourself and addressing the issue.
What do we mean by assertiveness?
Before going any further we ought to agree and be clear what “being assertive” is. We have all experienced managers, experts who have the ability to set people on the right course, give negative feedback without breaking the relationship, or make a tough point without being offensive or hurtful. They handle substance and people equally well …and that is true assertiveness. These people have good communication skills, are blessed with social and emotional intelligence and have reached the fourth level of „conscious competence“.
Very quickly, here’s the fourth level, explained in more detail:
Level 4 – unconscious competence*
the skill becomes so practised that it enters the unconscious parts of the brain – it becomes ’second nature‘
common examples are driving, sports activities, typing, manual dexterity tasks, listening and communicating
it becomes possible for certain skills to be performed while doing something else, for example, knitting while reading a book
the person might now be able to teach others in the skill concerned, although after some time of being unconsciously competent the person might actually have difficulty in explaining exactly how they do it – the skill has become largely instinctual
this arguably gives rise to the need for long-standing unconscious competence to be checked periodically against new standards
But this takes time, experience and maybe innate ability. So what about us mere mortals lower down the food chain who struggle with the substance/people balance?
Assertiveness starts with knowing our rights and responsibilities
In the world of learning and development we understand that being assertive is being aware we have rights and responsibilities. In other words, we have the right to assert our position, but (especially as a manager) we have the responsibility to be fair and to respect our reports and colleagues. This easier said than done. Furthermore it is often those who tend to play the teddy bear (accommodate), or the tortoise (avoid conflict) who need most support and coaching. People who tend to be pushy, or even aggressive (the sharks), normally feel quite good about themselves. So here are 5 strategies for teddy bears and tortoises.
5 communication strategies that work
If you have a difficult discussion coming up, then write down your key arguments, how you can best convince the other party. Script how you address the issue, how you formulate what you want, how you word criticism and other sensitive issues. Unless you are very experienced, just relying on intuition and ’seeing where the moment will take you‘ can be costly.
When you want something out of the ordinary from a team member or colleague, then script using the SPIN formula: Situation – Problem – Impact (of the problem on the business) – Need. In other words involve the report by briefly describing the context. Involve them and treat them as adults.
As a manager you have the right to say no. If you want to say “No”, then say it but give a reason and maybe provide an alternative. If you want to say “Yes”, then say that too. We have all come across people who appear to say “No” on principle. This might be useful in a negotiation, but counterproductive when dealing with staff.
Sometimes your opposite number just refuses to take “no” for an answer. Provided you are 100% clear on your position, then it’s time to play broken record. Like the old-fashioned vinyl LPs with a deep scratch, you simply repeat yourself, NO plus reason, always using the same wording: e.g: “As I said I cannot give you a pay rise, as there is a freeze on salaries.”, then “I understand your position but as I said ……” and so on. Using this strategy takes courage and should be used sparingly and only with difficult people. Even the most obstinate will get your point after three rounds.
People are not stupid. If they want a favour or a concession, they will approach you when you are under pressure, with no time. This can mean you are unprepared and certainly unscripted. So if you are at all unsure about your response, then buy time: “Let me get back to you when I have finished this.” You will come to regret shooting from the hip and start kicking yourself, “Why on earth did I say that?”
Most of us cannot be assertive on command
Our behaviour is determined by our fight, flee or freeze instincts. Assertiveness is a conscious way of thinking and acting. These five simple strategies will help you develop your assertiveness. But, as with nearly everything, it takes practice.
There’s a great English expression “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”. I’ve found this to be a practical starting point when working with clients to build their intercultural competence. Why? Because not every problem comes back to cultural differences! So many other factors play a part in relationships. The first step is to recognize is this actually a difference in culture? And if yes, how am I different to this culture?
How can the Intercultural Awareness Profiler (IAP) and the 4 R’s help you succeed globally?
This is where the IAP and the 4Rs model add tangible value. Developed by Dr Fons Trompenaars, the IAP does a great job of explaining what these steps need to look like, and why “knowing“ that Chinese culture value the group’s needs over the individual’s needs doesn’t necessarily translate into performance, commitment and results. During an interview with Dr Trompenaars we asked him to briefly explain the 4Rs model in his own words, and how he saw the Intercultural Awareness Profile tool within the context of the 4Rs.
Can you recognize that you are dealing with differences in cultures? How do you as an individual differ from those cultures? For example, ss the different approach to decision making you’re struggling with a cultural dilemma? Or a question of personality? And most importantly – what is the dilemma?
Can you genuinely respect that the differing approaches are not better or worse – just a different way of operating. Do you respect that they are equally valid and legitimate? For example, is coming to decisions through a consensus as valid as coming to decisions through the “expert” deciding, or by the “boss” deciding?
Now that you’ve recognized the difference and genuinely respect them how do you reconcile the dilemma facing you? What do you do? How can you come to an agreement? How are you going to make decisions?
How will you take what is working and make it part of your day to day modus operandi? Will you forge a team culture that is transcultural (bridges all cultures)?
It seems as though 2016 has only just started, but it’s February already! We know you’re really busy, so we thought we’d help out by reviewing 8 of the best management books from 2015 for you. If any of the summaries grab you, why not read the whole book?
This (Target) eBook
1001 Meetings phrases is a useful toolkit of phrases for the most typical meeting situations you find yourself in…
Did you know that actually the right team size is usually one fewer that most managers think they need? And that “chemistry” doesn’t equate to team success? Can you spot the right moment when one team needs to be dissolved to create another very different team? And are your teams really leveraging multicultural values as a strength?
Written for today’s managers, Team Genius reviews and explains the latest scientific research into how teams behave and perform and uses simple case studies and examples to bring it to life in a way that any manager can relate to.. It shows that much of the accepted wisdom about teams just doesn’t hold true – and then goes on to outline “new truths” and how to achieve them.
George Everly Jr, Douglas Strouse and Dennis McCormack
If you get turned off when you see the author is a “great business school professor”, “world-famous CEO” or “top management thinker” then this might be the book for you. Everly, Jr.is an expert in disaster mental health, and McCommack is a former Army psychologist and was one of the first original Navy Seals.
Drawing heavily on the psychology employed by US Navy Seals plus other examples from all walks of life, this book focuses on how we can each build our resilience and be “stronger” when everything seems to be falling apart. More importantly the book outlines how we need to practice building up our resilience (psychological body armor) before we actually need it. The five key factors the book explores are
Each area is outlined in detail with case studies and research. A quick warning though – being written by 3 psychologists, it’s not an airport quick-read.
When you think about it, it’s amazing that this book hasn’t been complied sooner – management and leadership books aren’t a 20th century creation. General fiction, biographies, great literature etc have reflected core management and leadership questions for centuries.
This anthology draws our attention to 102 stunningly diverse extracts from fiction, speeches, anthropology, letters, songs, and even the odd occasional poem! The extracts from Machiavelli, Macbeth, Ghandi, Didion, Ovid, Melville, Mandela, Lao Tzu, Orwell plus many many more all invites us to step back and think about leadership. Excellent reading for just before you take the dog for a long walk.
“They just don′t know how to behave professionally.“, „They know how to text but they don′t know how to write a memo.“, “They don′t know how to think, learn, or communicate without checking a device.“
Today′s new young workforce (also known as Millenials or generation Z,) has so much to offer – new technical skills, new ideas, new perspectives, new energy. All great stuff- but Tulgan also argues that research shows that employers across industries feel that too many Milennials have weak soft skills. As a few of the many case studies outline “they only want to do what they want to do” and ”his technical knowledge far surpassed anyone else in the firm … but his communication made him seem so immature”.
Renowned expert on the Millennial workforce Bruce Tulgan offers concrete solutions to help managers and HRD professionals alike teach the missing basics of professionalism, critical thinking, and followership. The book includes 92 step–by–step “lesson plans” designed for managers to use, and these include “take home” exercises, one-on-one discussion frameworks and training room activities.
In a nutshell, I can’t imagine a more complete or practical book than this.
Leading a global organization is no longer just a big businesses challenge. Even small company owners can be leading a virtual team that includes people from all over the world – and just yesterday we spoke with a HR manager with 60 employees in 11 countries and 23 cities.
This books aims to guide you through this new business environment. It features stories from people in critical roles around the world, advice based on practical experience, and shares new research which outlines the distinctive challenges of leading in a virtual and multicultural environment … and cultural awareness isn’t enough! Happily the book also includes strategies, tools and tips for working across cultures, leading virtual teams, running a matrix team, integrating an acquisition and developing the agility needed to innovate in such an environment. Personally I found it aimed more at larger mature organizations, but still worth a read … and we integrate many of the elements into our Working in Virtual teams training.
Despite receiving 1,5000,000 job applicants every year, Google spends twice as much on recruiting as comparable companies. Why? Because top performers are usually doing very well where they are and not looking to move. So Google works to identify these performers and cultivate their interest. But while Google spends considerably more on recruitment than most companies it also spends considerably less on training, believing top performers need less training.
Laszlo Bock, Head of People Operations, joined Google when it had just 6000 “googlers”, and in this book he shares the different recruiting and talent management practices Google use and have used. Although sometimes bordering on self-congratulation, the book is very much-action oriented with each chapter outlining a clear to do – Become a founder, Don’t trust your gut, Why everyone hates performance management and what we decided to do about it, Pay unfairly.
Have you ever wondered why you become so irritated around a specific colleague? Or questioned why your communication skills fall apart when presenting to a certain team? Goldsmith is an executive coach, and in this book he examines the triggers that can derail us – and how we can become the person we want to be and stay on track.
Perhaps common sense, but our reactions don’t occur in a vacuum. They are usually the result of triggers in our environment—whether this be specific person, situation or environment. .But how do we actually change ourselves? Knowing what to do doesn’t mean we actually do it, right? This book outlines how we can overcome the trigger points in our lives, and actually change to become the person we want to be, Drawing on executive coaching experience the authors use a simple “silver bullet” approach – daily self-monitoring, using active questions which focus on the our effort (and not the outcomes).
Do you wish you actually had the time and the space to be the manager and leader you know how to be? Introducing the idea of “outsights”, Herminia Ibarra, -an expert on professional leadership and development at INSEAD — shows how managers and executives at all levels can make an impact by making small but crucial changes in their jobs, their networks, and themselves. She argues that managers and leaders need to act first then to think – and to use the “outsights” resulting from the experience as a basis for meaningful individual growth and enabling of people and organizations. Joe Kaeser, CEO of Siemens AG. summed it up nicely as “transforming by doing”
The book is full of engaging self-assessments and plenty of practical advice so you can actually build a plan of action. It can be a bit heavy going but stick with it.
https://www.targettraining.eu/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Fotolia_48820712_M-e1379323674704.jpg270405Scott Leveyhttps://www.targettraining.eu/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/logoWP.pngScott Levey2016-02-03 13:25:142020-07-01 13:59:598 great books for busy managers you may have missed in 2015
From my years working in HR, I know that employees don’t often ask HR for help. At least, that is what it was like for the companies I worked with. As HR consultants, it is our job to give guidance and support to enable our colleagues make better decisions. Our roles are operational, not strategic, and, if we do our jobs right, we are practically invisible to other departments and employees. When a problem arises on the operational front, HR is consulted, but not always, or only when the situation has „gotten out of hand“. I’ve often stood and asked myself „why didn’t you come to us for advice or help before?“ For HR consultants to become trusted advisors to every employee in the company, here are five of my ideas.
1. Advertise what you can do
‚You don’t know what you don’t know‘. In other words, what is someone going to ask, if they don’t know what you can help with? Tell others what you can do for them. You can advertise your services via a newsletter, via posters on the wall, via Q&A pages on the intranet, etc. You can even write simple case studies, describing what you have done for someone in the past.
2. Listen for context and unspoken words
Listening for information that employees aren’t saying is very important. When we can listen for the context around what is happening, not only the content, we can get more information and offer better solutions.
3. Ask before you tell
One way to be clear about the needs of employees is to clarify what we have heard from them. Questions like “Let me check to see if I understand…”and “I heard you say these things are important, is that right?” lets the other person know you are listening and thinking about their needs before you give advice. It also helps you to make sure you understand what they are saying.
4. Begin with the end in mind
Questions like “What outcome would you like to see?” and “What is the most important behaviour to change?” help employees to see the end of the process – not just the first step to solve a problem. By focusing on the overall outcome, you can offer methods your internal clients may not have thought about.
5. Don’t say “no” if you don’t have to
“What I can do is…” can be the most powerful tool in your phrase book. Why say, “No, I can’t do that” if you don’t have to? I know this can be a cultural point, but focusing on what we can do for our internal clients instead of what we cannot shows them that we are willing to problem solve together.
These tips are based on my personal experience. If you work in HR, or if you have recently dealt with a situation involving HR, and if you have any additional tips for our readers, please use the comments box below.
https://www.targettraining.eu/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/circle.jpg5581082James Culverhttps://www.targettraining.eu/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/logoWP.pngJames Culver2016-01-27 15:29:172018-06-06 12:29:285 tips for internal HR consultants
Is it ever possible to give bad news in a good way?
Some would argue not. Having started my working life around three months before the Global Economic Crisis hit, and watching colleague after colleague being made redundant throughout the media industry, I certainly would never have wanted to swap places with the people who had to give the bad news to their employees over and over during that time.
But while over time, some colleagues remembered the action of being made redundant, for others the way they were told stuck in their minds longer than the pain of having to pack up their things and reconsider their lives at a moments’ notice. If you have to deliver bad news, it will always be tough, but the aim is to do it in a way which leaves the bad memory without you in it.
Some of my participants are controllers. Delivering bad news is one of the challenges they find extremely difficult to overcome in English. While one popular theory is that giving negative feedback to English speakers might follow a hamburger approach – i.e., give some positive feedback (the top bun), followed by the negative (the meat), and finished with a positive plan for the future (the bottom bun), in my experience most employees value honesty far more than any trick designed to make them feel better. There is a need to be respectful, but a positive bun full of too much sugar won’t cut it when the negative meat needs to be delivered hard and fast.
33 ways of saying Merry Christmas to colleagues, customers, suppliers and close contacts
“Would you rather get a bullet in the head or five to the chest and bleed to death?”
Billy Beane summed it up well in the movie Moneyball, when he taught his intern Peter Brand how to cut players from their team. “Would you rather get a bullet in the head or five to the chest and bleed to death?”, he asks when discussing the prospect of firing someone. There are a number of things to be learned from the tactic Billy uses throughout the movie, who in real life was lauded for his business sense within the sport of baseball. They would include the following:
1. Understand who you’re talking to
When giving negative news to a baseball player, you might need to sweeten it less than when giving it to a secretary renowned for being slightly sensitive to change. What are the main personality traits of the person you are talking to from your experience? Are they culturally inclined to handle the truth quickly? Do your research first on who they are are you will get a better idea how to handle the situation.
2. Sugar coating the truth doesn’t make it better
Saying nice things around the bad news won’t make the person feel better. Some cultures don’t use imperatives nearly as often as others (i.e. I hear German clients saying ‘do this please” while British clients might say “could you do this please?’), but all cultures value honesty. Keep your wording polite but also keep the sentences short and to the point.
3. Don’t mislead in the hopes of saving someone from bad news
At all times, the aim should be to give all the information you have and in the simplest way to understand. Like ripping off a bandaid, it will hurt less in the long run. People always find out the truth one way or another if you try to embellish the reasons behind the bad news. If you don’t know the answer to something, say so!
4. Keep it short
People don’t appreciate receiving emails with three paragraphs giving them the important news right in the last paragraph. They don’t appreciate the meetings that go for what feels like an eternity before having bad news dropped right at the end like a bomb. Give the bad news quickly and succinctly and then allow time afterwards for explanations and questions. In my first job, when we found out 30% of our department had been made redundant – explaining why they weren’t in the meeting – I certainly appreciated getting the news first up without a long winded explanation first.
5. Be confident
Billy oozes confidence throughout Moneyball and it’s one of the reasons he was so successful at his craft; and he shows in this clip that the second you are on the back foot after giving negative information, you will fall into a hole that is difficult to get out of. Be confident in what you are delivering and why you have to say it, even if you are faking it. Practice beforehand if you find it difficult.
How do you deliver bad news?
An exercise I often do with my clients is to watch the video and discuss whether they think it’s a good way to deliver bad news to their English speaking co-workers and how they think this method is effective or ineffective. While it is certainly an extreme way to deliver such news; direct, honest and without any flowery language around the sides as Peter quickly learns and applies; it is a good example of showing that cultural stereotypes don’t always apply when you need to tell someone something they don’t want to hear.
What tactics have you found to be helpful when delivering bad news? Would you give it like Billy does in Moneyball? Comment below with your feedback.
https://www.targettraining.eu/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/banner.png6511084Guest Authorhttps://www.targettraining.eu/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/logoWP.pngGuest Author2015-12-09 13:44:392018-06-06 12:29:28Tips and tricks for delivering bad news from a famous baseball coach
Yes is one of the most simple words to understand in the English language. Or is it?
Yes is generally perceived as a positive response, and when you’re asking for something in business it’s normally the answer you’re hoping for. My father thought this when he started an importing company in China. On his first few trips to the country he returned having already mentally calculated the profits he was set to make from the customized, high quality parts they had supposedly agreed to put together within weeks for him. The only problem was he didn’t understand the word ‘yes’ like the Chinese did.
Fast forward to now, years later, and he knows that ‘yes’ means something very different in China. When saying ‘yes’, Chinese colleagues only mean that they are listening to you, rather than that your request will be fulfilled or that you have been completely understood. Many problems stemmed from this simple misunderstanding and while now there is a good business relationship between my father and his suppliers, much time was wasted getting to such a point. Artist Yang Liu summed up many of the big differences between Chinese and German cultures in her artwork of the two against one another, from little things like attitudes to standing in a line to how the counterparts view their bosses.
As an inhouse business English trainer in Stuttgart I provide on-the-job support to my client, a department of global purchasers. During the last months , I have come across many participants having to learn the hard way how to get around countless misunderstandings. From our sessions on cultural competence in China, my purchasing participants have shared experiences and identified five common lessons which speed up the process of making a business relationship with a Chinese colleague prosperous.
The group comes first
Chinese colleagues are not interested in individual gains nearly as much as helping the community around them. It’s what the culture is built on and giving individual gains for doing work will not be as effective as creating a positive and motivating team.
The importance of the leader
The boss is highly valued in China, much more so than in Germany. When a problem is getting to a point where it doesn’t seem possible to solve it, get your superior involved a lot earlier than if you were dealing with a colleague from the same culture or at least bring up the possibility in discussions.
They don’t solve problems like you
Whether it’s struggling to say no when they can’t do something, or insisting that everything is ok when it’s not, the Chinese don’t like to directly discuss and deal with a problem or talk about their shortcomings. Learning some ways to politely ask what the problem is, or getting them to take you through their schedule and deciding for yourself if there is a problem, will give better results than simply asking ‘is everything ok?’.
They don’t challenge, they listen
Chinese colleagues will often treat meetings as more of a lecture than a chance to swap ideas and air their grievances, particularly if the boss is present. On a recent trip to China, a translator summed it up well for me in her comparison of our school systems. “For us, we are told what to know and we don’t question it. For you, discussion is encouraged and you are taught to challenge.” Push them to express themselves and know that they’re not entirely comfortable doing it.
They value pleasantries
The Germans are known for seeing small talk as inefficient, but if you want a Chinese colleague to do you a favour you would be a lot better off adding some polite phrasing and extra niceties. It makes them feel as if the workplace is more harmonious and while being direct is more efficient, when they give excuses rather than results such efficiency is out the window.
Phrases for dealing with the Chinese culture
English that is better for Chinese dealings
I think you did this wrong.
Perhaps next time we could try it like this instead?
You need to do this by Wednesday.
If you could do this by next Wednesday, the team can achieve their results.
I will have to get the boss involved if you don’t agree to a solution.
Is this a problem that we can solve ourselves or do you think our superiors should give us assistance?
Do you understand?
Could you summarise for me what you need to do (to make sure we’re on the same page)?
Are there any problems with this?
Please let me know if there are any ways that you can do this more efficiently, because that would really help the team.
Did you get everything finished today?
What did you finish today?
Do you want to learn more about the Chinese culture?
If you have any tips or comments on dealing with the Chinese, I’d love to hear them (and so would my participants). Please leave your comments below.
https://www.targettraining.eu/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Fotolia_50575894_M.jpg11531648Guest Authorhttps://www.targettraining.eu/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/logoWP.pngGuest Author2015-11-18 13:06:042018-06-06 12:29:28Working with Chinese colleagues and suppliers
Whatever your job, where ever you’re based, whenever you interact with others – authentic communication counts. It could be in a meeting, teleconference, interview, presentation, conflict situation … Your ability to communicate authentically will have an impact on your success. And your company’s success. But what do we mean by authentic communication? And what does it look like?
Authentic communication – the bare essentials
The term “authentic” communication is frequently used but too rarely defined or explained. To break it down to its basic component I’d say that authentic communication is fundamentally about intention. You genuinely intend to create a real connection with the person you’re speaking to. And you genuinely intend to allow them to make a connection with you. This intention means you
share who you are, where you are coming from and how you see something
do this in your own words
are honest and clear about what you see, feel and believe (saying what you mean and meaning what you say)
seek to understand and identify with the other person
Sounds simple, right? Let’s go deeper…
10 key behaviours authentic communicators display
Authentic communication isn’t about tips, tricks and impressive sounding communication tools and acronyms. It’s about being comfortable in your own skin, and with who you are. As Bruce Lee said…
“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.”
And who would want to argue with him?
The key to is to really allow yourself to see the person you are speaking with and allow yourself to be seen. You let them see you as you really are at that moment and let them into your world. This can be frightening and involves a degree of vulnerability – but to be authentic you need to be real – and that means showing them something, and something that is true right now.
Make sure that when you are listening you are fully focussed one the speaker and not rehearsing your response, judging etc. Listening skills are the key to making a genuine connection with somebody. (How good are your listening skills?)
Work to create mutual understanding
Imagine yourself in the others’ shoes and be curious. Avoid second guessing and making assumptions about what others are feeling, thinking or mean. Check your understanding on a regular basis.
Take responsibility for your communication
Use I/me rather than we/our. You need to accept ownership for what you say and be fully responsible for any unexpected consequences. You need to be descriptive.
Use natural, conversational language. Short sentences are great, and look for common vocabulary. Avoid using ambiguous language and jargon. And if in doubt check you both understand what was said in the same way.
Watch the sweeping statements
Exaggerating to make a point is never helpful and creates divisions and resentment. Language such as “always” and “never” is rarely accurate.
Separate the objective and subjective
Try to be clear about what you see as an objective fact and a subjective opinion. If in doubt, ask for clarification.
Say what you do and do what you say
Match your words to your actions.
Work to become aware of your own prejudices, tendencies, triggers and judgements. The sooner you can become aware of your reactions to specific triggers, the sooner you can focus on controlling them.
Wouldn’t it be easier just to walk, than to walk and carry a car made of boulders?
As a training organization we train our clients as you would expect, but we also develop our trainers. Our trainers are observed regularly in the training room for two reasons. Reason one is quality management: Does the training meet client expectations? Reason two is professional (trainer) development: How can the trainer improve their training skills? From time to time, I get puzzled by how hard some trainers make their own lives. I was discussing this recently with a colleague, and she compared the situation to Fred Flintstone and his car. Do you remember that car? The one which he gets into, lifts up, and walks with? The car is a tool that is supposed to make his life easier. But the way he uses it can surely only make life harder.
What, you might be asking, has this analogy got to do with training? It’s a bit of a stretch but just like Fred, some trainers stop thinking logically about which way of doing something would be the most effective. They end up making some basic training errors as a result. Let’s look at five common training mistakes and some ideas for what you can do about them so you can a) make your training more effective for your participants, and b) easier for you.
1. Confusing training with presenting
As a trainer I’ve often worked with participants who had to train people in something specific. In preparation they wanted to check their powerpoint slides with me. We reviewed the English on the slides, and that was it. This was a shame. Training is not running through a bunch of slides. Don’t you tend to switch off after 5-10 minutes of slides filled with text while the presenter talks you through them? I certainly do.
Effective training is interactive and experiential. Get the participants to talk about their experiences and come to conclusions themselves or with the help of colleagues. This means standing back, setting up tasks which make them talk, facilitating these activities, and giving feedback. Allow participants to learn from each other.
2. Talking too much
This is closely related to the first point. Successful training does not involve a trainer standing at the front of the room lecturing the participants. In a one hour training session, what percentage of time do you think the trainer should be talking for? As a general rule: the less the trainer talks and the more the participants are doing something, the better. That makes life easier for the trainer too.
Some trainers feel that if they are not talking, they are not in control, and that the participants will feel they can’t manage the training room. This is absolutely not the case. Aim to talk less – a lot less. If you’re not sure how much you talk, then film yourself, and watch it later. This can be a really valuable, eye-opening exercise.
3. Giving unclear instructions (and failing to check they’ve been understood)
I’ve been teaching and training for around 20 years, mostly with adults. A while ago in Spain I had to teach 6 year olds. Before this I hadn’t thought too much about how I gave instructions. I did some training before taking these kids on. One of the things that was stressed to me there was the importance of carefully planned out instructions. I started planning what I was going to say, and more importantly how I was going to check that everyone had understood what I needed them to do. This was a bit of work at first, but it was worth it in the end. Have you ever tried to get thirty kids into four groups by giving them the letters A, B, C, D?
Think your instructions out very carefully and make sure you are concise. Find a way of checking that people have understood what they have to do – this can be as simple as asking one person to repeat it back. This may sound silly, but it will save a lot of time and help clear up any problems in your instructions. After all, what is clear to you, may really not be clear to others, especially in an international audience.
4. Keeping things predictable
Variety is the name of the game. If everything is predictable and routine, it is boring. If it’s boring, no learning is going to be taking place.
How can you shake things up? Make sure you vary what you do. Look for variety in pace, activity types, groups, materials, and feedback methods. People learn in different ways, so try to cater to different learning styles.
5. Failing to explain aims and transferability
Sometimes when I am observing a class – fortunately not too often -, I have little idea what the trainer is trying to do and why he or she is trying to do it. If I don’t know why, then I doubt very much that the participants do. If you were taking time out of your day for training, wouldn’t you want to know why you were there and what you were going to get out of it? Luckily this problem is easily remedied.
Share your aims – write them up at the start of the session and cross them off as they are achieved.
Explain why you want people to do things. Generally most of us are prepared to do things if we understand the rationale behind them. All you need to do is say for example “We’re now going to ….. so that…..”
So, think about it. Can you make yourself a little less like Fred Flintstone and his car? What mistakes have you made when training? What have you learnt from these mistakes? Why not share your experience with us?
https://www.targettraining.eu/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Fotolia_68113559_S.jpg583824Guest Authorhttps://www.targettraining.eu/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/logoWP.pngGuest Author2015-08-26 13:24:272018-06-06 12:29:29How do your training skills compare to Fred Flintstone and his car?
Sound matters. In work. In life. Sometimes we forget that. I heard a story recently that was told by a former Major League Baseball player. He talked about a manager he once played for. During practice, the manager would put players in the outfield with their backs to home plate. A batter would stand at home plate and have someone pitch the baseball to him. Baseball bats are made of wood and are roughly 30-34 inches long. The cork-filled, leather-covered ball is thrown anywhere from 80-100 miles per hour. The batter would swing the bat and hit the ball. Now here is the important part:
Because the player in the outfield had their backs to home plate they had to train their ear to know what part of the field the ball was travelling to, based on the sound created when the baseball made contact with the bat. If you’ve ever seen a baseball game (or cricket) you know you can hear when a ball is hit solidly. But you can’t determine where it is going to travel. This manager wanted his players to hear the contact, and make a split-second decision to race to the position they believed the ball was going, without even seeing it. With practice, players knew exactly where the hit ball was going.
They had to learn to listen.
Are we „losing our listening“?
TED, the great, freely accessible online source for learning, has what I think are two of the best talks around on how to achieve excellent communication. Both are by Julian Treasure, author of an excellent book on the impact sound has on our working lives called ‘Sound Business,’ and both are well-worth watching. In one, he talks about speaking well and in the other, the one I suggest below, he talks to us about listening.
Of his five tips on how to listen better, the final one – an acronym, of course – RASA, the Sanskrit word for ‘juice’ or essence’ is exactly that when it comes to business communication: listening is important, it’s the essence of effective business communication. RASA stands for:
That is, actually pay attention to what they’re saying.
By making natural small noises or utterances like, “ah” or “hmm” or “okay.” You may have also heard it referred to as active listening.
Very crucial to all sorts of business communication, from presentations to negotiations and everything in between. Here it’s critical you are authentic and summarise what you heard – NOT what you wanted to hear.
And finally, ask questions. Find out more. Learn as much as you can about a situation, a trend, a project, a risk, or an opportunity.
Learning to listen starts with recognizing all the barriers we create for ourselves. This is where ALF comes in, and no, we’re not talking about the sitcom character that chased cats. ALF means Always Listen First. Julian Treasure warns us at the beginning of his TED talk that ‘we are losing our listening.’
https://www.targettraining.eu/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/listen.jpg364875Guest Authorhttps://www.targettraining.eu/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/logoWP.pngGuest Author2015-05-27 01:09:402018-06-06 12:29:31Learning to listen: lessons from baseball, TED talks and an alien life form
Research shows that when we work in virtual teams managers tend to praise far less. In an earlier life, I worked as an analyst for an international corporation in Boston. A large part of my job was generating weekly reports and sending them off to various people. I never received a response, so I never knew if what I was I was doing was adding any actual value. This lack of feedback, whether positive or negative, was sometimes demoralizing.
It is vitally important to praise a job well done
Everybody likes to know that they are doing a good job and are on the right track in their tasks and projects. Working in virtual teams can feel isolating – and it’s motivating to know that your work is being noticed.
Praise does several things:
It improves the morale of both the team and the team member
It motivates people/teams and increases productivity
It’s an opportunity to give positive feedback
It builds commitment
Email phrases for praising performance
Here are 17 phrases you could use the next time you want to praise one of your team members (or all of them) in writing:
The work you did on the project was outstanding.
You are an asset to both our team and our organization
Your performance this past year has been exceptional.
The quality of your work is routinely excellent.
Your professional attitude is much appreciated.
I have been very pleased with your efforts.
Your extra effort and dedication have made this project a success.
I must commend you for your dedication to our team.
You have made a great contribution to the project.
Your consistent professionalism has ensured the success of this project.
You have been an invaluable addition to our team.
Thank you very much for taking the initiative to find a solution to the problem.
You can take pride in the work you have put into this project.
The success of this project is a direct result of your efforts.
Your enthusiasm and passion are exemplary.
Your disciplined approach to problem solving led directly to this project’s success.
You earned my respect with your inspiring performance on the project.
Mix and match and be specific with your praise
It is easy to mix and match the phrases in order to personalize how you want to praise each of your team members. For example, if you take #3 and #6, you can change it to: “I have been very pleased with your performance this year.” Or, you can use two or more and combine them into one sentence: „I have been very pleased with your efforts, you have made a great contribution to the project.“
Who doesn’t like praise?
Everyone enjoys receiving praise, don’t they? My colleague, Kate Baade, wrote in a recent post that it’s important to point out the positives as and when they happen. Don’t wait until the once a year performance appraisal interview to give praise. Kate, I fully agree.
As a kid, my parents told me I watched too much TV. They would not be pleased to know that hasn’t changed very much, but at least nowadays I try to watch things that might actually inspire me. That’s where TED [www.ted.com] comes in. TED talks can be a great source of inspiration. They can be short, or long. They can be energetic or dry. And they are full of information on nearly any topic.
The “3-6-9 of great leadership”
As an intercultural trainer, business English teacher, project manager and former actor, I think a lot about what motivates people, especially at work. Three short TED talks that I have watched over and over really get to the heart of what makes a great leader. I call them the “3-6-9 of great leadership.” These three talks summarise in (more or less) 3 minutes, 6 minutes and 9 minutes what I think is the essence of great leadership. For now, I’m not going into why these and other well-structured talks and presentations work as well as they do. Let’s just take in their messages.
How to start a movement
The first TED talk, by entrepreneur Derek Sivers, explains to us in three minutes “How to Start a Movement.” Using a light-hearted video of a group of rather spontaneous dancers, he demonstrates how to lead and how to create a situation in which people want to follow. He also surprises us by highlighting who the real leader is. It’s not who you might think.
If you work in a team or an office, how often do your simple, unremarkable actions influence others? In the second talk, leadership educator Drew Dudley asks us in six minutes whether people can be leaders even if they don’t have that title. In this quick-paced, very personal story, he shows us how we can often be leaders without even knowing it.
What it takes to be a great leader
In the final talk, the longest of the three at just over nine minutes, leadership expert Roselinde Torres details qualities of a great leader. She has spent 25 years researching leadership and her fascinating talk boils it down to the need to ask three simple questions:
Where are you looking to anticipate the next change to your business model or your life?
What is the diversity measure of your personal and professional stakeholder network?
Are you courageous enough to abandon a practice that has made you successful in the past?
All three talks repeat one particular theme: While some principles of leadership may remain, true leaders are characterised by doing something different. But not just for the sake of being different. They have a goal.
Derek Sivers’s ‘leader’ is the first person who has the courage to follow the person you think is the leader. As the first ‘follower’ he gives others the permission to join in.
Drew Dudley’s ‘leader’ appears to go about his daily business fearlessly and effortlessly. In the process, he unknowingly inspires someone to go about her work as fearlessly as she can.
Roselinde Torres reminds that great leaders take action; they do not walk with their heads down, trying not to be noticed. They dare to be different.
Is leadership for managers only, then? Definitely not. These three talks remind us that learning to be an effective leader can help you chair a meeting, or create a presentation that people remember. Among many other things.
… so what are your thoughts?
https://www.targettraining.eu/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Fotolia_77011002_S.jpg543884Guest Authorhttps://www.targettraining.eu/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/logoWP.pngGuest Author2015-05-13 13:33:192020-07-01 13:59:59The 3–6–9 of great leadership (according to TED …and me)
Performance reviews, appraisal interviews, annual reviews – whatever you call them it all boils down to the same thing. Extra work. I used to hate preparing for appraisal interviews with members of my team. Now I really enjoy them. Why? I’ve changed my approach. Rewind 10 years or so: I’d make the appointment, forget about it until I saw it on my schedule for the next day, have a quick think, dig out a few pertinent facts, come up with a few random goals, and off I went.
What’s changed then? I want to keep my employees in the company. And performance appraisal interviews are important in making sure this happens. So, I use my “5 Keeps” approach:
„If you’re reading this, apologies to those individuals who had to live with how I used to prepare for performance appraisals. I’m probably part of the reason you hate performance appraisal interviews.“
Keep it objective
I’ve finally understood that appraisal interviews don’t work if you see them as an event that happens once a year. How can they? We’re all human and we don’t remember things. We inevitably end up reviewing what the employee did most recently. If that was good, great. If something wasn’t so good, then the employee gets a poor review for the whole period, which is not really fair, is it? Emotions play a role here. It helps to find a way of standing back from what is happening at the time of the interview and look at the whole year objectively.
This may sound a little geeky, but to help with the appraisal interview, I keep a little notebook for each member of my team. I make notes of the little things, feedback from clients, team members, from other members of the management staff. Anything that could be of interest really. This means I don’t have to spend time gathering information before the interview. I have the specific examples I need in front of me. All I need to do at the preparation stage of the appraisal interview then is grab my little book. I schedule time for preparation before the meeting. I align my notes with the appraisal interview form and the self-evaluation form from the employee, and I’m all set for the interview.
Keep the conversation open all year
The thing about my notes is that there is nothing secret in there. Everything has already been shared. When I get good (or bad) feedback from a client, I tell them about it when it happens. When they do something really well, I tell them. When they underperform, I tell them.
Keep it developmental
Too often the focus can be on the operational details. Sure, that’s important for the business, but you can talk about that during the year. The key question is: how can I use this opportunity to make sure that this person is not doing exactly the same thing in exactly the same way this time next year? I want to make sure the focus is on development. I want to make sure goals we set together are motivating and are going to help the person grow. If they grow, we grow.
Keep it fun
Fun? Really? Yes, appraisal interviews are a great opportunity to talk to your employee about them. Do you have much time during the year to really learn about them? Probably not as much as you’d like. Here you’ve got allocated time to hear about how they feel – make the most of it, be encouraging, and enjoy it!
More on performance appraisal interviews
This post is the first of a 4-part series on performance appraisal interviews. Make sure to come back if you’re interested to read more about:
Starting a performance appraisal interview
Giving opinions and explaining reasons in a performance appraisal interview
Summarizing a performance appraisal interview
https://www.targettraining.eu/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/MP900423031.jpg10241024Guest Authorhttps://www.targettraining.eu/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/logoWP.pngGuest Author2015-05-06 11:53:412018-06-06 12:29:31Preparing for a performance appraisal interview
The Project Management Institute’s 2013 report Pulse of the Profession revealed that US$135 million is at risk for every US$1 billion spent on a project. Of that, a shocking 56 percent of is at risk due to ineffective communications. 56% of $135 million = $75 million dollars!
As a project manager, how can you ‚make effective communication happen‘?
Let’s look at some simple things you can do to focus your team:
Talk the Talk
You know how important it is to know what’s happening in your organization. Now, stress to your project team how valuable it is too. In project meetings, make sure your message is understood. Check in with your team, especially if it appears there may be confusion. They may not solve all your communication issues but they do convey how valuable good communication is to you:
Is everyone clear on this?
I want to make sure there is no misunderstanding.
What is not clear?
Admittedly, all three of the tips are too often reduced to clichés. But there is truth in them. Back in my theatre days, I, and many other actors I knew, often worried about playing stereotypes and clichés. A very good acting teacher used to tell me, “Embrace the cliché. It’s there for a reason. Find the truth in it!”
Walk the Walk
Keep language as uncomplicated as possible. Be polite but be clear.
A German manager, who worked internationally and used English in Live Meetings, once told me, „the challenge is that we are sometimes not strong enough in English to understand these problems, or sometimes we don’t realize that there ARE problems.“ And therein lies the risk. Not only might you miss the complexity of problem, you might miss that a problem even exists.
Recognize that not everyone is at the same level when working in a foreign language. Different project management methodologies use some different terminology. You might be come from a PMP background but your colleagues might mostly understand the language of PRINCE2. Or your organization might use its own language to discuss projects. While using different terminology may be necessary (more in the 3rd point below), try to keep ‘jargon’ to a minimum.
Get Everyone on the Same Page
Although different project management methodologies boast unique language, it’s a good idea to be able to adapt in such a way that you are able to communicate with all stakeholders.
Have a standardized communications plan.
The Pulse reports that high performers are almost three times more likely than low-performing organizations to use standardized practices through the organization. As a result, they achieve better project outcomes. Making sure your language is standardized defines outcomes, invites trust, manages conflict, invites commitment, and embraces accountability.
Embrace the cliché!
Any good project manager will tell you that project outcomes are never guaranteed. No project manager can control everything. But keep these tips in mind and you will be ensuring that one of the most important aspects of project work which is under your control – communication – helps make your project, you and your team be as successful as it can be.
https://www.targettraining.eu/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/process2.jpg383903Guest Authorhttps://www.targettraining.eu/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/logoWP.pngGuest Author2015-04-29 13:40:592018-06-06 12:29:31What makes an effective communicator in Project Management?
What strategies can be used to make virtual meetings as effective and engaging as possible?
One of my clients recently asked me to listen in on a virtual meeting and give feedback to the chairperson of the meeting. This person wanted to make the daily meeting more interesting, interactive and motivating for the participants. Regularly scheduled meetings with topics which may or may not be completely relevant to all of the participants can lead to boredom. The temptation to multi-task and read emails, mute your microphone and tune out completely are high. Afterwards, we discussed the possibilities. Below is a summary of the ideas we came up with.
Know and use the virtual tools available to you
Do you know which tools are available to help make your meetings interactive? There are other tools you can use apart from just sharing your desktop. If you don’t know the system which your company uses very well, find out by doing some research or asking others. Or perhaps taking formal training is the most effective way to learn more about it.
Insist that participants dial in with their name or department
It is very helpful to have some way of identifying exactly who you are speaking to about a certain point. People often feel more inclined to answer or respond when they are addressed by name. Plus encouraging people is also more effective when you use their name!
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Clearly identify (and stick to) the topics for the day
If possible, identify the people who need to be involved before beginning to speak. If this isn’t possible, clearly identify the topic and ask those people involved to give you some sign that they are listening.
State expectations and rules for participation in advance
Does this mean that you want people to orally respond when spoken to? Should they raise their hands using the virtual feature? Should they do nothing? Sometimes people do nothing simply because they don’t realize that you want them to respond at a given moment. Setting expectations beforehand can make participants more willing to engage.
If participants aren’t very motivated, ask yourself if the meetings are being held too frequently
Sometimes frequency leads to apathy. Are people starting to think that it isn’t important if they come or not or if they actively participate or not? Perhaps having fewer meetings might make them pay more attention and give the event a sense of importance again.
Consider having an assistant
This person could take the notes for you, prepare information, moderate chat sessions for big groups or help motivate people to respond by using pointed questions to individuals by using the chat feature. This will leave you free to concentrate on other matters.
Which strategies do you use?
There are certainly many other ideas which can be helpful for leading online meetings. If you would like to share, feel free to use our comments area below.
Anyone who knows me well will tell you that I’m not the most structured and organized of people. Like many managers I’ve got multiple roles – some I enjoy, others are a “necessity”. At the end of last year I was, quite frankly, ready for a break. Over the holidays I walked the dogs and reflected on the causes and possible solutions – and, like many of us, I’ve resolved to make a few changes this year. Drawing on the techniques we share in some of our seminars, these are two concrete time management tips I’m going to focus on going forward, and I know from past experience that they’ll make an impact. Maybe they can support you too.
Time management tip #1 – Talk with people about how they communicate and interact with me
Identifying why I seemed to be so busy was a first step. I then split these reasons into “time sins” , “time thieves” and “time wasters”. Time sins are things I do to myself, for example getting easily distracted, poor planning etc. Time thieves are things that others do which mean I’m not as effective as I could be, for example sending me too many emails when a phone call would be more effective, not preparing for a meeting which means everyone loses time, pushing problems up to me that they can and should be dealing with themselves. Time wasters are those things that just happen and are out of my immediate control e.g. delays caused by traffic, IT issues etc.
I’ll address time sins in the tip below – but in my case time thieves are also clearly a problem. So, going forward in 2015, I’ve resolved that, as and when time thieves reappear this year, I’m going to take (or make) the opportunity to talk with my colleagues. I’ll try to understand how they see things and why they are working like this, explain how I see things and then together agree to build new routines and habits. I know that time thieves won’t just disappear by themselves unless I talk with the “thief” directly. These conversations won’t always be easy but having them is important.
Time management tip #2 – Eat my frogs
Do you ever have that feeling that you just don’t know where to start? Everyone procrastinates at some time, and Brian Tracy’s “eat that frog” technique is an approach I’ve relied upon time and time again when things are getting a little too crazy at work and I don’t know where to start. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, it goes something like this…
Your alarm goes off, and you roll over, turn it off and rub your eyes. Another day has begun and it’s time to get up and get ready to go to work. However before you get out of bed you sit up, reach across to your bedside table and pick up that big glass jar you keep next to you. You unscrew the lid, put your hand in and pull out … a frog. A living, croaking, slightly slippery frog. You then open your mouth, push the frog in, and start to chew it. Bones crunch, you resist the temptation to throw up, and then you swallow it. You then get up feeling relieved that this dreadful task is over. That was probably the worst thing that’ll happen to you all day .
Got your attention, right? Obviously this is a metaphor – eating frogs doesn’t actually help you become more effective. “Eating the frog” is a metaphor for doing the task that you’ve been avoiding, delaying or ignoring – and doing this task first thing! Most of us start work with the same comfortable routine. We get into the office, start up our computer, talk with a colleague, grab a coffee (and perhaps even read the news online) and then open and read our emails. Eating your frog means the very first thing you do when you get to work is that task you’ve been avoiding, delaying or ignoring. It could be a task that you’re nervous about tackling a task that you just don’t enjoy doing, or a task that you just don’t know where you should start. But before you open your emails, before you allow yourself the luxury of perusing the morning paper, before you even start chatting with a colleague – you do the thing you don’t want to do (for me this could typically be an administrative task). Once you’ve got your frog out of the way you’ll hopefully then spend the rest of the day being more effective, feeling more effective and focussing on other challenges.
These are 2 approaches I’m going to commit to. How about you? What tips and tricks do you have to share? How will you make sure that you are effective in 2015?
https://www.targettraining.eu/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/roblynngary.jpg4571123Scott Leveyhttps://www.targettraining.eu/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/logoWP.pngScott Levey2015-01-14 12:36:322018-06-06 12:29:33Being effective in 2015 – 2 time management tips I know will make an impact
As a training provider, I have my opinions on how I think leadership and training should be connected. Is this the same as what a German Dept Head thinks? I was recently fortunate to spend a few minutes with Arnhild Ott, Department Leader of Personnel Development in the Mail division of DPDHL. Here are four questions on leadership and training and her answers.
What do you wish line managers would understand about training?
Arnhild Ott: I wish that they would understand that training is only one possibility. The most interesting method is to learn on-the-job and that training is only 10% of the learning environment and it’s most valuable in your own business environment. A second point is that every training session needs to be centred on communication between the line manager and their employee. There is a need for a talk before and after the training. And this is very important for the training’s success: that the manager has an important role. A third point is that training is not an incentive; training is for when we have to close a gap between the current knowledge and the expected knowledge in the function of the role.
What will training look like in 10 years‘ time?
Arnhild Ott: I expect that training will be more and more virtual, further away from classroom training with more webinars, more on-the-job, smaller pieces of content, or experience. It will be more creative, more integrated in your normal life and business life. It will be more difficult to see a distinction between training and a non-training session as it will be integrated in your business life. In short, small pieces, more virtual and more media-driven.
Can you give me your perspective on current trends in leadership culture?
Arnhild Ott: The world is rapidly changing. Main issues in the leadership culture context are that leadership practice is influenced by globalisation, by the uncertainty of the situation at the moment . You have to act in a more and more complex world. It’s more difficult for each manager to create the future. This is very strenuous for each manager because traditional methods and perspectives don’t help you in these increasingly complex situations. You always need more skills and more knowledge about methods, so as to be able to understand and (re)create complex situations with your employees.
The next point is that you see an increase in burnout; more and more people feeling limited in their competencies, their lives restricted by too much time at work. Everyone is searching for better work-life balance as they have to struggle against complexity. In fact, you see more and more issues of rationalisation. Mostly leaders have to handle more and more uncertainty and ambiguity. These are major challenges for people and especially leaders; everyone needs competencies to deal with uncertainty and unclear perspectives and also to enable them to decide on their own how to act.
Can you give some examples of these competencies?
Arnhild Ott: You need ambiguity. You need more systemic thinking rather than a linear perspective. You need to think from a network perspective- influence between several influences– not a single linear one. You have to combine rational thinking with more intuitive thinking and you have to recognise more and more your own gut-feeling.
A special thanks to Arnhild for taking the time to share her thoughts with us. What do you think about what she said? Do you agree? Let us know in the comments area below. Also, make sure to check out our methods and tools section to learn more about how companies are approaching their training.
https://www.targettraining.eu/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/logoWP.png00Martin Wheelerhttps://www.targettraining.eu/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/logoWP.pngMartin Wheeler2014-04-30 10:18:262018-01-29 11:58:30Leadership and Training: A department head’s view
Giving advice to someone is not as simple as just telling them what to do, especially in an intercultural situation where more sensitivity needs to be applied. The problem is that if the advice you give is too direct it can come across as a command. What if you haven’t understood the situation correctly or completely, and your advice is no good? The person seeking your advice needs ‘an out’ – a way that they can reject your advice, or reformulate their request for advice without losing face – or causing you to lose face!
Below you can see some typical phrases for giving advice across cultures in the form of tips which can help you ensure nobody loses face. They offer your conversation partner plenty of flexibility to take your advice or not, as they see fit. If you are able to offer advice in an objective, neutral, sensitive and respectful way when people come to you, then the risk of accidentally damaging a good working relationship will be reduced.
Language for giving advice across cultures
Tip: Clarify the limits of the question
Phrase: If I were you, I’d make sure you understand the limits of the question.
Tip: Ask how your advice sounds
Phrase: Asking how your advice sounds might help.
Tip: Be confident not arrogant
Phrase: If you ask me, be confident but not arrogant when giving advice across cultures.
Tip: Beware of giving unsolicited advice
Phrase: Bear in mind the difference between solicited and unsolicited advice.
Tip: Give the recipient an “out”.
Phrase: You could try giving the recipient an “out.”
Tip: Ask for follow-up
Phrase: In your situation I would make sure to ask for follow-up.
3 Benefits of using suitable language when giving advice
By ensuring the language you use to frame your advice is culturally sensitive you can:
address your conversation partner respectfully
avoid damaging relationships
help establish trust and open channels of communication
Over the years there have been countless models developed on this theme, and millions of books sold (and some of them even read! ). Although it’s not the very latest of models, John Adair’s Action-Centred Leadership model is a simple and effective starting point when reflecting on your personal impact as a manager. According to the model, the heart of your responsibilities as a manager are:
to achieve the task
to develop your employees
to build an effective team
When you are performing at your best you are able to do all 3 of these things, and find the right balance. This balance means you and your team get the results you need and everyone benefits. This balance also makes your life easier, as synergies quickly build e.g. by achieving the task the team grows and individuals have a chance to develop. Likewise a strong team sharing ideas and supporting each other in difficult situations, naturally enables individuals to develop and therefore you achieve the task.
PUSH & PULL
Learn more about the two basic approaches to influencing others
A simple reflective exercise for managers
This is a simple and practical exercise to help you reflect on your performance and focus your actions. You’ll need an uninterrupted 10 minutes, pen and paper.
As a manager you are responsible for achieving your department’s task, building the team and developing individuals.
Take a moment and think about how well you are performing in these three areas.
Now take a pen and draw the three circles in proportion to how satisfied you are with your performance in each area. (and not how much time you spend on each area). For example, if you feel that you are doing a good job of achieving the task, but your employees aren’t really developing and there’s very little team building then you might have something like the example below:
Now look at your circles and consider these 3 questions:
How satisfied are you with your situation?
Can you identify 3 concrete actions you can take to improve your performance?
What has been preventing you from doing this and how are you going to overcome this?
Identify one concrete step you can take in the next days – and do it.
More on action-centered leadership
This activity is used in our Practical Toolbox for Managers seminar, and something I try and do every few months myself. Clients and participants have consistently found this activity hugely useful. A little focus and some “time out” from the hustle and bustle of your day-to-day challenges can go a long way. Take a look at these links for more information:
https://www.targettraining.eu/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/listen.jpg364875Scott Leveyhttps://www.targettraining.eu/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/logoWP.pngScott Levey2014-03-27 11:12:292020-07-01 14:00:00Leadership: A practical exercise for managers
Prioritizing work can be a challenge for anyone, especially managers. I have just returned to work after being on holiday for two weeks. After reading all of my emails and speaking to my colleagues, I now have a huge to-do list. In the past, I wouldn’t have known where to start but I recently learned a very simple method for prioritizing. Based on The Eisenhower Matrix, I label each task on my to-do list with a letter, A, B, C or D.
Prioritizing work with A, B, C, or D
1. ‚A‘ tasks: Do it
These tasks are:
urgent, very important and should be done straight away
directly affect the work of others and they are waiting on you to continue their own tasks
2. ‚B‘ tasks: Plan it
These tasks are:
important but not urgent, so you can take the time to plan when you will do them
ones that require extra thought and consideration and should not be rushed
3. ‚C‘ tasks: Delegate it
These tasks are:
ones that aren’t overly important but need doing quickly
easily done by others who have more time to do them
4. ‚D‘ tasks: Drop it
These tasks are:
not urgent, nor are they necessarily important
ones that could be skipped, forgotten about, or done only if you have extra time at the end of the day
The A tasks are the most important, so I start with them, then the B and so on. One challenge I face is to find the time for the C tasks. Normally, at the end of the day, I find it useful to make my to-do list for the next day, along with the priorities; that way I know exactly what to do when I arrive at the office and I can get straight to work. It also stops me from brainstorming tasks for the next day when I should be listening to my bedtime story!
What methods do you use for prioritizing work? Let us know in the comments area below. Are you interested in improving your time management? Click here for information on how.
https://www.targettraining.eu/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Aktion-462-e1390394968116.jpg10402048Guest Authorhttps://www.targettraining.eu/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/logoWP.pngGuest Author2014-01-22 14:04:382018-06-06 12:29:42Prioritizing Work: 4 Categories to Help