3 Chairs – Or How to Improve Niggling Staff Issues

Unreasonable discussions?  Unsolved problems?  Elephants in the room?

How can you improve communication issues?

Try this exercise in a quiet room: Read more

The Key to Motivating with your Leadership Style

Motivation can seem a nebulous concept to the busy manager.  Some employees seem more motivated than others and it is tempting to assume it will always be that way.  But then you find some companies where the motivation is high and you have to ask yourself what is the magic stardust that makes it so? So if you are leading a team where you think the motivation could be better, let’s take a quick look at one thing you can do to improve it. Read more

How to Diffuse an Argument – a lesson in the knife drawer

Got into an argument with someone at work recently?  Or worse still, have you come away from a discussion feeling furious and crushed having failed to get across your point?

It happens – we all know that.

Normally an argument starts with simple differences of approach, but the reason it gets heated may be something else entirely. Read more

Dysfunctional team? The clue may be here

Why do some teams work well and others with the same abilities do not?

Why does someone excel on one team and not in another?

It was researching these questions that led Dr Meredith Belbin to develop his Belbin team roles. His research, first published in 1981, outlined 8 (and later 9) roles which must be fulfilled for a team to function at its best. Interestingly these roles are universal across all teams no matter what the business (or leisure activity) they are in.

The principle of Belbin’s theory is to do with the way people behave in a team, and it recognises that a team works best when there is a balance of behaviours. There is no right or wrong – just different characteristics in the way people approach their job. Read more

The Power of the Eye

Direct eye contact is powerful. It can be listening intently, it can be a threat, it can be deep kindness, or it can be dominant behaviour. Whichever way, it is seeking a strong connection with another human being.

You can use eye contact to make your point, and you can also refuse eye contact to passively disagree with someone.

Eye contact from a recipient is an indication of co-operation. If you don’t get eye contact from a staff member it can be a sign of disengagement and even rebellion. Read more

4 Ways to Improve Staff Performance – A Lesson from the Experts

Getting the best from your team can sometimes feel like an elusive goal.

Sometimes it seems like, no matter what you do with the best of intentions, there are those who take what you say the wrong way and assume the worst of you, or just ignore you and carry on with what they have always done.

At moments when it just isn’t working for you, it may be worth thinking about your behaviour within the team and whether there is any room for improvement.  So for a minute, let’s get away from the facts and figures, even leave aside the things you say, and think about the way you behave with them. Read more

Mentoring or Coaching?

When you are entering into a supportive relationship with someone, it is important for both parties to be clear about what they expect of the relationship at the beginning.  This clarity helps to get the relationship off to a good start.  And in all this there is a decision to be made about whether it is a coaching or a mentoring relationship. Many people use these terms almost interchangeably but the reality is that they are very different skills and if both parties are not clear about what it expected the relationship could easily fail. Read more

What messages are you giving off?

We all give off messages as we move around in this world. Far more than anything we actually say, we “speak” with our body language – giving off messages with our posture, facial expressions and eye contact (or lack of it). We also send out messages with the environment we create around us, such as the tidiness (or otherwise) of our desk or office, the background on our computer or the photo on our desk. Oh and then we get to clothes – your dress sense speaks volumes – and yes it does for men too!

OK I hear you say – so what? Does it matter? Well the answer is that when you get into a leadership situation it sometimes does matter, and observing these messages coming from others also helps you understand where they are coming from. Read more

The 8 Factors of Business Success

In the shifting sands of the business world, I think it is fair to say that all leaders would like to be successful. Their definitions of success will vary wildly but the common factor will be that they want the business to grow and to be profitable. But we all know that some businesses do grow and prosper and others don’t. So why does this happen? And what is the secret to those who are successful?

In the past success was often put down to good luck, but as a society we have largely moved on from such ideas and researchers have studied businesses in detail looking for the common elements of success. Out of this has come a handful of common factors that successful businesses exhibit which enables them to see off the competition and bring great ideas to a wide market.

Read more

Communication Skills: Framing

Communication can be difficult, and in a busy environment when people are stressed and have a lot on their minds it only becomes harder to get your intentions across clearly and without causing offense or upset.  The opportunities for misunderstanding are many and we all have moments when we realise that something important we said got misinterpreted or not heard at all. Read more