Blog list ...

Giving Great Feedback

“People don’t leave their company, they leave their boss”.

The syndrome of leaving one’s boss to move to another job has been frequently discussed (see Harvard Business Review ). Many of course would argue that they leave because of pay and conditions, but of course even in that scenario a manager has some responsibility to address issues before the person leaves.

We are all aware that the biggest area of concern in staff surveys is “communication”. And that communication starts with the manager in the challenging arena of personal feedback.

Why is feedback so hard for many of us to give? After all, the cost of not giving feedback appropriately is people who leave their jobs because of the ‘poor manager’ syndrome, costing the company money and costing the manager huge amounts of time, effort and stress.

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Enabling people to deliver - delegation tips

"If you want something doing, do it yourself".

A comment my mother frequently used in the pandemonium of a growing family. With a chaotic household full of kids, as many of you know, the quandaries of parenting can get tiresome!

The workplace can often feel that way. “Why don’t they get it, do they need it explaining again? It’s quicker to do it myself.” So even when we are desperately trying to keep a more strategic view, we are getting drawn back into the detail. Alternatively, some resort to ‘Teflon’ delegation, by issuing instructions, departing the scene and then laying blame when things don’t work out. But there is a middle road of course, and that is  effectively delegating to others. It's a 'no brainer' right? But it's not easy to  do and get right.

In my early days of delegating to others I thought delegating was an act of allocating tasks. Eventually I have learned it is a process of allocating decisions. This blog gives some quick thoughts as to how we can manage that process.

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Your Personal Impact at Work

In presentations, meetings and conversations we are given many opportunities to move others in the right direction. We often know the direction that should be taken, we have done our research, we have the facts. We are ready to move others. But have you ever hit a block at this stage?


I have, many times. Often our personal impact at work needs some enhancement. And usually like many, I am adept at blaming others’ lack of understanding of the situation. But after a breather, a cup of coffee and sometimes a beer or two, the truth dawns. “I need to be a little better at getting my case across.”

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Enabling others to deliver for us

You may have noticed over the years that the traditional ‘line management’ lines are blurring. Increasingly we report to several people, or at least deliver work to several places in our organisation. Often this can cause us prioritisation problems as several people demand our services. Perhaps a bigger problem though, is when we need others to do work for us. If people now deliver their output to several others, how can we ensure the work we ask for is prioritised and produced to standard?

Looking at organisational change over the past decade, I have noticed a transfer of power from those who allocate work to those who deliver it. The change from line management to matrix management structures means that the allocator of work has less institutional power. This causes he or she to often find themselves arguing with colleagues about how another person is to prioritise the work they are delivering; should it be the work I have allocated or the work my colleague has allocated?

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High impact team events for our organisations

We have all seen it many times. Everyone is present in body, but we haven’t necessarily got their full attention or commitment.

Running powerful team events can be a game changer for the business, and every manager aspires to hold team events which deliver committed and ongoing change. From a board strategy meeting right through to a local ideas group, the aspiration is always that everyone attending offers their full intellectual capability to help solve problems, identify opportunities, and build solutions.

But hand on heart how often does this happen? How often do we run high impact team events which deliver well, but not quite as well as they could? What is it that separates great team events from average ones?

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Control your nerves and maximise your stage presence

Big deal proposal, or first time giving the team brief?

Heart racing. Hands shaking. Beads of sweat upon your brow?

Many of us get extremely nervous prior to public speaking regardless of our status or the audience size.  If you aim to maximise your personal impact, nerves go with the territory. This is nothing to be embarrassed about, if you get nervous, it is simply because you care. That is a good thing.

I suffer with nerves something chronic before any kind of performance. A dry mouth and many trips to the bathroom is only a small insight to the way my nerves take over my body! I will almost certainly be found backstage at the 5-minute call rocking in a corner and repeating the words ‘Why do I do this, why do I do this?!’  However, when audience members learn of how much my nerves affect me, they are always surprised. ‘But, you never look nervous!’   Aha! If only you knew!

And this is the trick ... learning tools to help us to not only mask our nerves but to put the nervous energy to good use.

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Fantastic negotiations means understanding 'mood'

“Everything is negotiable. Whether or not the negotiation is easy is another thing." Carrie Fisher.

The hardest thing about negotiation, in my personal opinion, is maintaining the ongoing discipline of imagining how the other side sees things.

Honesty called for here. How many times have you ended up in an argument or dispute only to later find that the other side really did have a good point? Maybe you couldn’t process this at the time because you were against the clock, because it was poorly explained, or because you just didn’t like each other. Whatever the reason, a deal was not done when it could have been. Like you, I have been there many times regretting that more wasn’t done in the deal when it could have been. Richard Holbrooke records how WW1 started because of a botched negotiation. It needn’t have happened. Quite a sobering thought.

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Maximise your stage presence: a word in your ear

Ever heard of Professor Mehrabian? Some of us may have been on courses that mention his work. Mehrabian's research shows that 55 percent of our communication is visual - our facial expressions, 38 percent our tone and only 7 percent connected to the words we speak. Mehrabian was as much talking about consistency and congruence of message as he was outlining impact of style. Our need for great visual impact along with positive tone is often used as the base for building up our stage presence in the workplace, and why not? Work on these factors is bound to bring benefit.

For the moment though, I would like to focus on the 'words' element.

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Great networking skills - for the time we need them

'It’s not what you know it’s who you know.'

I first heard that phrase from my Nan. I had no idea what it meant as I was under 10 years old, and I don’t think she knew what she meant either. But it does roll sweetly off the tongue, doesn’t it?

I recently put a little mind experiment to a group of middle managers in a service industry. Scenario 1, you know the client a little because you mail monthly reports and he/she meets with you once a quarter and you discuss how it is all going. Scenario 2, you know the client well because he/she talks to you weekly and you send a couple of your team to their office monthly as well as going yourself at every 3 or 4  weeks.

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