Grit: Emma Raducanu and You

There have been few individual sporting feats more impressive than tennis player Emma Raducanu’s recent success in the US Open. She got over the barrier of being just 18 years old, the barrier of having precious little experience in major tournaments, the barrier of having to play qualifying matches to reach the tournament proper… I could go on and on.

As well as her tennis talent, it was an immense amount of grit that helped her to get over these barriers and, ultimately, win.

On the mindset flipside, I remember sitting in on my first lesson as a trainee teacher, with re-sit students not much younger than Emma, who looked as if life had already well and truly beaten them. The body language and lack of any kind of engagement was contagiously depressing. The combined level of grit in the students in that classroom was, at that moment, absolutely zero.

I never saw those students again, but if things stayed that way they would almost certainly not have ‘won’ at their re-sits.

 

So what is grit exactly, and is it worth developing?

Dr. Angela Duckworth – the world’s most prominent expert on the subject – describes grit as passion and perseverance for long-term goals.

As a leader or manager in the workplace, can developing your level of grit help you to win your own personal US Open? You bet.

It would be naïve to believe that you will achieve any meaningful level of success in your working life without any setbacks or challenges, and your level of grit is a significant factor in how these setbacks or challenges affect you.

 

How can you develop your level of grit?

A great place to start your journey is by reading Dr. Duckworth’s book – Grit: Why passion and resilience are the secrets to success. Also investigate the Six Personality Attributes of Grit model, introduced by Buzzetto-Hollywood & Mitchell and based on years of research by the authors. You will find out the vital importance to your grittiness of working on:

  • Self-regulation
  • Self-discipline
  • Resilience
  • Dutifulness
  • Conscientiousness
  • Low impulsivity

 

Which way will you go?

So, have you decided to be more like Emma Raducanu or my old re-sit students?

Honestly, the working world as an entity doesn’t care either way. But it also doesn’t care how young or old you are, where you come from, etc.

If you are great at what you do and you develop the grit to pull you through the setbacks and challenges you will undoubtedly face, you will win.

 

Written by Darren Ward – Management & Leadership Assessor

Increased Support for ILM Learners

Online Booking of One-to-One Assessor Sessions for ILM Learners

 

Now simple to book online – our MS Teams or telephone Assessor sessions can be booked at the click of a button.

These one-to-ones are available to book in a variety of ways:

  • Using the buttons below
  • Through links in any emails from our Assessors
  • Through the Business Centre (coming soon)

One-to-one time with our first-class Assessors will help ensure your new skills are ready to bring to the workplace.

Finding the time to complete your qualifications can be difficult when you’re balancing a busy work-schedule. We have made it easier than ever to get feedback and support from our Assessors who can help you get started, or with individual questions, or help get you over the finish line.

 

If you want extra support, simply book a tutorial session with one of our Assessors below or through the Business Centre. This helpful session will address any questions you may have about your ILM assignments.

What’s more, the one-to-one support is tailored to each person’s specific needs. You will get the opportunity to ask any questions that you might have, and our Assessors can offer hints and tips on how best to move forward from where you currently are.

The system is really easy to use – you can use the links below, or you can click on the link at the bottom of emails from your Assessor (coming soon on the Business Centre too). Next, choose the best time and date from the slots available, answer a couple of short questions, and book it. You’ll then get an email with a Microsoft Teams link and can add it to your own calendar.

All ILM delegates are free to get in touch with us whenever they need to, and with our one-to-one Assessor sessions it is easier than ever. See for yourself:

 

ILM Level 3

 

 

ILM Level 5

 

 

Keeping on track with your ILM course is easier than ever.

5 Tips for Purposeful Manager/Employee Interactions

Now, more than ever, it is important that as a manager you have regular and purposeful interactions with your employees. After 17 months of turmoil through Covid-19, felt both personally and professionally by so many, do you know how best to support your employees? Are you checking in with them on a regular basis to find out what’s on their minds? Do you know whether they may be a potential flight risk?

1-to-1s, or check-ins, are an ideal opportunity to build and maintain the manager/employee relationship, support performance through coaching and feedback and to aid progress towards goals by proactively addressing any obstacles or challenges.

What does good look like?

Regardless of what you call the meeting or activity, an effective and purposeful interaction between manager and employee contains the following ingredients:

1) Regular dialogue

These interactions should occur regularly and be scheduled in the calendar for the year, or at least for the coming six months. They can be via a video call, face-to-face or a combination of the two.

The regularity of these interactions allows for an ongoing dialogue between the manager and individual where they can follow up on important topics and keep track of agreed actions and the resulting impact. This continued focus ensures that important topics stay front of mind.

2) Informal and relaxed setting

You may like to have an agenda for what is discussed in the meeting but the environment the meeting is held in should be a relaxed, informal setting. If the employee feels relaxed, they are more likely to be at ease, and open about anything that may be on their mind.

3) Mutual accountability

Both the individual and the manager share accountability for the success of these interactions. The individual should prepare for the meeting and come prepared to discuss ideas, successes, concerns and challenges. The manager should prioritise their time to be fully present and give thought to what feedback they want to share and how best they can support the individual.

4) Two-way feedback

Part of the manager’s role is to offer feedback on the individual’s performance to help them stay on track and improve in any areas that need development. And the 1-to-1 is a perfect place to do that; it is private and is a time dedicated to supporting the individual to do their best work.

 

 

However, there should also be the opportunity for feedback both ways. The individual should be encouraged to offer the manager feedback. To create an environment where this is possible the manager must be open to hearing the feedback and show the individual that they too are keen to improve the way that they work.

5) A learning environment

Effective 1-to-1 meetings create a learning environment where the manager acts as a sounding board for the individual’s ideas and thoughts. In addition, the manager uses their coaching skills to help the individual think through their challenges and explore potential solutions. Encouraging your team members to think for themselves will ensure you have a proactive team who own, and solve, their problems.

So, if you don’t use this practice already, or you have let the practice lapse over recent months, think about introducing (or re-introducing) it within your team. You’ll find that it will help you to have your “finger on the pulse” of what’s going on around you, and your employees will feel supported, more engaged in their work and committed to your organisation. It may just help your company to ride the wave of “The Great Resignation”, which so many companies are currently experiencing.

 

Written by Siân Milne – Lead ILM Management Qualification Assessor

 

Impellus is a UK-wide provider of management, leadership and core commercial skills training. See our relevant courses:

Management & Leadership Skills

ILM Courses in Leadership & Management

Commercial & Professional Skills Training

Surviving the Great Resignation Tsunami

The global job market has been increasingly volatile over recent years and the Covid-19 pandemic has added to this volatility due to radically different employee expectations. As a result, experts are predicting a tidal wave of resignations.

Why are so many people quitting their jobs?

So, what are the key drivers of this inevitable increase in voluntary staff turnover?

  • Pandemic burnout – stress and uncertainty about job security and a sense of isolation leading to feeling disconnected from company culture and values.
  • Re-evaluated priorities – a year or more of not being able to lead a ‘normal’ life has created a determination for many to change things for the better rather than just ‘wait and see’, often moving to an entirely new career.
  • A taste for work / life balance – working from home has provided greater flexibility and freedom. Many will never go back to working in an office full time.
  • De-motivated and undervalued by managers – feeling valued, supported and worthy is more important than money.
  • Lack of growth – due to lack of engagement from managers about learning and career opportunity, many (particularly Gen Z) are driving their own growth via an increased availability of online learning resources.
  • Zoom / Teams demands – increased online meetings and a feeling that there is little separation between work and home has often led to longer working hours.
  • Financial independence – increased savings due to reduced expenditure on the daily commute and our social lives has given greater freedom to move jobs.

 

What can leaders and managers do to lessen the likelihood of this mass migration?

Provide clarity around the culture and values of the organisation to promote a sense of belonging.

  • Have regular 1-to-1’s with staff to check they’re okay.
  • Meet up for a coffee rather than just chat via Zoom or Teams.
  • Praise and recognise – make your staff feel valued.
  • Give them a reason to come into the office, don’t just mandate it – make it attractive (maybe even enjoyable!).
  • Agree a ‘hybrid working’ model that suits you and your staff and be clear about how it will work.
  • Conduct and analyse exit interviews and act on the results.

Effective leaders create a positive working environment where people ‘want to’ stay.

You need to ask yourself, what does it feel like working for you?

 

Written by David Ross – Learning & Development Consultant

 

Impellus is a UK-wide provider of management, leadership and core commercial skills training. See our relevant courses:

Management & Leadership Skills

ILM Courses in Leadership & Management

Commercial & Professional Skills Training

Impellus Google review winner August 2021

A big congratulations to Teresa Lowers of Metro Mechanical Services who is the winner of August’s Google review draw.

Every month, everyone who leaves us a Google review gets put into a prize draw to be in with a chance of winning a £100 gift voucher of your choice. Whether you’d like to treat yourself to a new pair of shoes, take your other half out on a lovely date, or order a last minute birthday present through Amazon, the choice is yours.

We select our monthly winner using a random name generator, which is then verified internally. For August, there was a 1 in 5 chance of winning. So, if you’ve enjoyed our courses why not leave a Google review to have the chance of winning £100 voucher of your choice this month.

 

 

Many congratulations again to Teresa for winning this month and thank you very much for your kind review.

Teresa – we’ll be in touch directly to send you the voucher of your choice.

 

The Brain Functions that Influence Every Aspect of our Lives

The human brain is a remarkable machine. After all, it’s the only part of our bodies that named itself. It’s resilient, creative, boundless, and utterly extraordinary. One thing it isn’t, however, is rational. No matter how much we might try and convince ourselves that all of our decisions are made from a solid base of logic and reason, that simply isn’t true.

The role of Cognitive Biases

Our brains are confronted by processes called cognitive biases on an hourly basis. Hundreds of them. Every day. Often characterised as ‘systemic patterns of deviation’ from our normal, rational mode of judgement, they can be observed in almost every aspect of our lives.

For example, how would you feel about spending £100 on a night out just after you receive your monthly pay cheque? Would it feel different to spending the last £100 in your bank account on exactly the same night out? This is called the ‘Bottom-Dollar Effect’. It’s an observable phenomenon whereby we feel less satisfied, perhaps even negative, towards a product or experience if it’s associated with running out of money.

How often have you been told that first impressions count? Perhaps you’ve had this thought in your mind as you shake hands at a job interview, or meet a partner’s family for the first time? This is known as the ‘Primary Effect’. It essentially describes our tendency to prioritise, and hold on to, the first piece of information we’re presented with in a situation.

Think back to the last time you unboxed a new phone, did the packaging impress you? If it did, that’s no coincidence. Companies are aware of the Primary Effect and will deliberately strive to make your first experience of their product a positive one, as they know that impression will linger in your brain.

What about the world of work?

Unsurprisingly, cognitive biases are rife within the workplace. Have you ever been tempted to do the bare minimum to secure a sale, rather than going out of your way to find out about every aspect of the client’s requirements? This is called ‘Bounded Rationality’; the tendency to seek ‘satisfactory’, rather than ‘optimal’.

Have you ever worked for a company that, despite overwhelming evidence suggesting it was no longer effective or viable, decided to stick with their current marketing plan because ‘it’s just how we do things’? That’s the ‘Commitment Bias’; the propensity to base future decisions on past actions, even when those thoughts and actions are no longer relevant.

So what’s the point?

Cognitive biases are everywhere. They’re a perfectly normal and intrinsic part of our everyday lives, but that’s not to say we’re powerless in the face of them.

The more we become aware of how our brains function, and the role that these biases play in our decision-making, judgement and thought processes, the more we’re able to influence and manipulate them in our favour.

 

Impellus is a UK-wide provider of management, leadership and core commercial skills training. See our relevant courses:

Management & Leadership Skills

ILM Courses in Leadership & Management

Commercial & Professional Skills Training

We’d Bee Lost Without Our Leader

When you think of leadership, what first comes to mind? Your country’s Prime Minister? Your boss? Maybe even your parents?

We often consider leadership to be a man-made concept, but leadership skills have been part of evolution for millions of years, across a wide number of different species.

Wolf packs are well documented to have their own social structures and rules of conduct, with many studies suggesting that each pack has their own ‘alpha’ male and female, none of whom had any professional leadership and management training.

Similarly, most lion prides will have a dominant male, who will spend his life protecting his lionesses and their young cubs.

Leadership skills have been crucial in allowing so many species to evolve and thrive. But what really defines a leader, and why do most species need a decision-maker rather than a democracy?

King of the corporate jungle

We’ve all grown up with an idealistic understanding of how lion prides operate (largely thanks to The Lion King), with a dominant leader who keeps his (and occasionally her) pride in check, making sure they work as a team to ensuring they all get fed.

A top lion will show leadership, courage and decisiveness, inspiring the pride to continue despite whatever brutal environments they have found themselves in.

We, as leaders in business, can learn a lot about leadership from lions by examining their behaviour both individually and within their social groups.

Their leadership can be contested of course. A young, ambitious lion will stand up to the leader once in a while and the leader will have to make a decision – to fight for their seat, or to flee and risk losing everything they have worked towards. With lions and humans, leadership and respect go hand in hand.

Everyone has a role in the hive

Now, we all know that bees operate in a hive, with a ‘queen bee’ known to be at the top of the hierarchy. Despite her title, though, the queen is more of a servant to the whole hive.

While the worker bees spend their lives bringing nectar back to their hive, the queen’s job is to lay eggs – an absolutely crucial role to ensure the survival of their colony.

Leadership in bees is nearly non-existent – there are different roles of course, but everyone plays a part.

Bees don’t have a decision-maker. They have a collective group, where everyone does their job well, and those who don’t get killed or banished. This is because they have the same common goal, instinctually driving them forward to survive and reproduce.

With humans it is different. People have their own individual goals, hopes and ambitions, and their decisions often revolve around those. A good leaders’ job is to align their teams’ goals and to inspire them to work together to achieve their collective targets, and their personal goals naturally will come with that.

Let’s take a step back in time

Leadership has been a key trait throughout the evolution of hominids (the taxonomic family consisting of humans, gorillas, chimpanzees and all great apes). The most recent of our common ancestors may have been alive 14 million years ago, but even they will have displayed similar behavioural patterns.

This common ancestor will have had a leader in their group, and that leader would designate roles to his or her team (albeit in a much more primitive way to modern humans).

The leader, or boss, would expect their team to perform their roles and allow the group to thrive more than its competition. It would have also found innovative ways to help the group further – consider the use of tools for hunting prey or finding fruits to be the ‘sliced bread’ of this ancient ancestor of ours.

Leadership then and now

If it wasn’t for the smart, direct and innovative leadership displayed by our eldest hominid ancestors, humanity as we know it would not exist.

Leadership and social hierarchy have been ingrained in the evolution of our species, and remains as crucial as ever in ensuring the growth of business, economy, society, and everything else you can think of.

So when you next make a decision as a corporate leader, why not consider this: how will this decision help my team to grow and thrive? How might the actions I take now inspire others to continue the evolution of leadership?

 

Impellus is a UK-wide provider of management, leadership and core commercial skills training. See our relevant courses:

Management & Leadership Skills

ILM Courses in Leadership & Management

The Taliban and your Team

The Taliban’s recent resurrection in Afghanistan can be easily explained; as soon as they detected weakened leadership they were able to take advantage of it. It’s a clear example of a ‘leadership void’.

Leadership voids can happen in any team, partnership, group, council, country or international environment – at any scale. They happen through will or circumstance; through helpfulness or, most frequently, through malice.

Notice carefully that it’s called a leadership void.

It can happen whether there’s a manager, president or leader in charge or not. As long as there’s no strong leadership.

And herein lies the lesson for managers and leaders at all levels.

Is your leadership strong enough?

Leadership voids are created when there’s either no leadership or ineffective leadership. That doesn’t mean you need to be a feared leader to escape creating a void, just an effective one.

If your leadership weakens then it allows others to fill the void you leave and create groups or silos who either do things you don’t want them to do or actively create an organised opposition.

 

 

Will you be toppled?

Leadership takes effort. Not just the effort of being busy with tasks, but effort in all the things that make good leadership; direction, inspiration, engagement, feedback, praise, fairness, community. If that effort isn’t there then the void begins to appear.

An individual or group which dislikes the status quo will then always assume some leadership themselves. They’ll start making decisions and enable others to do things which ‘will be okay’, or that they can get away with.

For weak managers it’s the beginning of the end. For managers learning the ropes of leadership, or the dynamics of their new teams, it’s an opportunity to rise up.

But it’s going to go one way or the other.

 

Impellus is a UK-wide provider of management, leadership and core commercial skills training. See our relevant courses:

Management & Leadership Skills

ILM Courses in Leadership & Management

Could Your Goal-Setting Be Smarter?

I bet I wasn’t the only one who watched the recent Olympics, then immediately set about revising my list of goals. But where should I even begin planning to become the oldest-ever skateboard medallist?

“SMART” I hear you shout!

I love a clever acronym as much as the next person. And SMART is certainly a memorable one – you would be hard-pushed nowadays to find an adult who can’t reel off what has become the universal goal-setting chant (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound, for those who don’t remember much from school).

But should we as cutting-edge leaders and managers still be blindly using this one-size-fits-all technique and encouraging our teams to do the same? For the answer to this question, we must look to the smartest. In the case of goals, this is two academics called Locke & Latham, who formally set out their goal-setting theory in 1990.

Locke & Latham recently revisited their theory in a paper called The Development of Goal Setting Theory: A Half Century Retrospective. Okay, it might not be the simplest thing you read today, but the effort will be worth it if you want to give yourself an edge on the competition in this critical area.

Performance v Learning Goals

One of the main ways effective goal-setting is more sophisticated than SMART suggests, is understanding that there is a difference between setting ‘performance’ and ‘learning’ goals. Each of these types of goal should be set only in appropriate contexts.

Specifically, factors like knowledge, ability, commitment, and perceptions of task complexity should be assessed before identifying which of these types of goal to set.

Leadership and Management Training - Impellus

A damaging consequence of setting a performance goal where a learning goal would be more appropriate is that the goal can lead to stress, anxiety, pressure, unethical behaviour and perceptions of failure. If this is the case, motivation could drop dramatically, even though great progress in terms of knowledge and self-improvement may have been achieved.

So maybe you should think about setting your new salesperson the learning goal of successfully being able to handle a commonly encountered objection, before even thinking about setting them the performance goal of hitting the £150k per month target that your most experienced salesperson achieves.

There are, of course, several factors involved in determining whether you achieve your goals. Fortunately, there is another fantastic model that has been developed for this – keep an eye out for a future blog article on this. For now, I’m off to ask my skateboarder niece what an Ollie is…

Impellus is a UK-wide provider of management, leadership and core commercial skills training. See our relevant courses:

Managing & Appraising Performance

Managing Performance & Efficiency

Do You Value Your Values as a Leader?

Many organisations will have their own Vision, Mission and Values.

To put it another way, who we are, what we do and how we do it.

The how we do it is crucial, as it is where we can find the core values of the organisation. In any workplace you should be aware of these corporate values, and as a leader or manager you will be communicating these out to your team regularly.

However, as a leader or manager these are not the only values that you should be adhering to or communicating to your team.

 

 

We all have our own personal values.

These are deep rooted within us and have a profound impact on how we behave and approach situations. As a manager or leader, you should be in an organisation where your personal values match your teams – if not this can lead to dissatisfaction and conflict.

In the workplace many people are reluctant to show their true selves and the thought of sharing these personal values may seem like a risk of exposure, but the value of sharing your values far outweighs the potential negatives.

If you lead through your values, you are staying true to yourself and your beliefs. You will be far more passionate about what you are doing, this passion will be evident to your team and others in the workplace making them far more likely to follow you.

Leadership and Management Training - Impellus

If you lack passion in what you are doing, how can you expect to inspire it in others? Your communications will also have far more clarity as you will be speaking from a natural place.

As a leader or manager, if you are clear on your values, and have communicated them out to your team, this will lead to greater transparency in the workplace. The people around you will understand why you do what you do and have a far better understanding of what is expected of them…

…Leading to more productivity and a harmonious environment.

By working from your values, your decision-making process will be much quicker. As a manager you will face tough choices in the workplace, but by following your values and doing what you think is right you will reduce stress and internal conflict.

This can only be a positive for you and those around you.

Understand your values as a leader, share these with your team and stick to them. You will undoubtedly see the positive impacts of doing so.

Impellus is a UK-wide provider of management, leadership and core commercial skills training. See our relevant courses:

Management & Leadership Skills

ILM Courses in Leadership & Management