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

Impellus Google review winner July 2021

A big congratulations to Alexander Leonard of Sheffield Futures who is the winner of July’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 July, there was a 1 in 7 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 Alex for winning this month and thank you very much for your kind review.

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

 

Patience – A forgotten leadership quality?

Have you ever found yourself getting agitated in the queue in the supermarket? Or felt your blood boiling while sat in traffic?

With our world quickly becoming a place where we can get everything instantly, without thought or justification, could we be losing our ability to be patient?

Gone are the days where we would sit waiting for a letter to arrive, take a trip to the library to choose new books or wait a week for the next episode of our favourite programme. We are quickly turning into a society where we want, or even demand, things to be available to us instantly.

Over the past few years we have also seen this shift in attitude in the workplace.

It seems to be that society expects those in charge to take action quickly and decisively. Patience is too often thought of as a weakness when it comes to leadership skills.

Effective managers and leaders are often expected to make split-second decisions and move on to the next solution if the current one isn’t working. If they take a moment to consider options or think strategically about what to do, they are often viewed as slow or even incompetent.

We categorise what we believe to be qualities of an ‘inspirational leader’ as; honest, fair, motivational, trustworthy, passionate and an excellent communicator. Take a look at Michelle Obama’s 10 most admirable leadership qualities here.

Leadership and patience go hand in hand

So, what about patience as a leadership skill?

Surely in a crisis, we need our leaders to act with patience. If our managers and leaders can’t retain composure in the face of frustration or adversity, they certainly won’t be able to keep others calm.

Patience is essential when defining what true leadership skills are all about. If our direct reports show signs of strain or uncertainty, we need to be able to support them, not get irritated.

If we think about what patience is, it’s having the ability to stay calm in the face of disappointment, adversity or distress. Having it allows us to better process challenging situations. It helps us sort out our thoughts and bring our feelings under control demonstrating high levels of emotional intelligence.

Patience reduces the risk of angry outbursts. It helps us not to resort to snap judgments, improving the quality of our decisions. Patient managers and leaders will have better relationships in the workplace and find they are more credible and respected.

It’s not to be confused with inactivity – far from it. Patience is a cornerstone of true leadership.

 

 

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

Management & Leadership Skills

Management Paradoxes – Focused v. Open

There are many paradoxes in the world of leadership and management which are seen at all levels and in all situations.

 

This week we explore the two opposed truisms that you need to be focused and that you need to be open.

 

Any accomplished leader will tell you that you need to be open. You need to be able to foresee changes; listen to stakeholders such as staff, clients, investors or voters; you need to adapt; you need to embrace new methods.

The same leaders will also tell you about the value of focus. How deviation and drift is costly, and how goals and values that are known, shared and lived deliver results.

 

So how to consider the two?

The trick is to be both but to be clear as to when and how you’re choosing the right ‘mode’.

First of all, as a leader, it’s your responsibility to either choose the entire strategy, or certainly how you’re going to accomplish your part of it.

At this stage you should be open to possibilities, thoughts, opinions and options. These are extremely helpful and allow you to make good choices. This doesn’t mean you have to do everything or take everything on board, but it gives you valuable information on how to pick the right direction and what the stakeholder challenges that will need to be communicated will be.

Once done you’re switching mode. Your plan is ‘fixed’ and you can be focused. Effective leaders have ways to continuously keep the plan in mind. From meetings and intranets to results boards and speeches.

 

However, as the saying goes, no plan withstands contact with the enemy

In other words, your focused plan will need to move, change and take a little redirection here and there. So you’re back to being open.

Being able to do this and pick the right mode on any scale is a key leadership skill. Communicating your decisions is the important conduit from those decisions to engagement and performance. This is true on any scale from completing tasks successfully to running whole campaigns or organisations.

It’s easy to find examples of where these things are done badly. We all know an underperforming manager somewhere who never listens and thinks they’re right. We all know an underperforming manager somewhere who changes direction so often it’s hard to know what’s happening. On a larger scale; Blockbuster, Kodak, Woolworths, Debenhams.

Knowing when to pick the right mode and communicating it is a sign of a strong leader.

 

For further information:

Organisational Leadership Skills

Strategic Thinking and Decision Making

Managing Performance and Efficiency

 

Impellus Google review winner June 2021

A big congratulations to Suzanne Thompson of HRM Homecare Services who is the winner of June’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 June, there was a 1 in 6 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 Suzanne for winning this month and thank you very much for your kind review.

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