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Tag Archives: Personal Leadership



The presidential farewell address used to be a big deal. George Washington started the trend in 1796.

For many decades it was considered the most famous speech in American history. Students had to read it and memorise portions from it until another speech displaced it - The Gettysburg Address.

Although the Broadway hit, Hamilton, recently brought Washington’s speech back to public attention, we don’t celebrate presidential speeches like we used to. I wish we would.

Words have the power to move us. Words have the power to inspire us. Words have the power to unite us. The great speechwriter, Peggy Noonan, once wrote, “When big, serious, thoughtful things must be said, then big, serious, thoughtful speeches must be given.”

When President Barack Obama left office he gave a big, thoughtful speech about serious things.

The Smile: Obama walks out with a brisk gait and an easy, wide smile. He makes eye contact with all parts of the room. Research shows that your audience will form an impression about you within seconds, before you say a word. Make your first few seconds count.

The Humour: After a long, sustained applause by fervent supporters in the audience, Obama had to get everyone settled. “We’re on live TV here, I’ve got to move,” he said with a smile. “You can tell that I’m a lame duck, because nobody is following instructions,” he said as the audience laughed before finally taking their seats. (more…)


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Email is integral to the way that many of us work. Yet there is no universally accepted standard for its use, which leaves many of us struggling to find strategies that will help us work effectively without also overstressing or causing email fatigue.

This article, originally published in  The Conversation explores how people feel about email and gives hints and tips on how to manage the ever-increasing number of emails we received while at work.

 

There is no shortage of self-help books and time management gurus who argue that email zen is possible. But with so much research being conducted in different fields there is a risk that populist volumes and consultants simply cherry-pick the data and findings to fit their point of view – that is, if their recommendations are even evidence-based at all.

We were commissioned by UK workplace experts ACAS to produce a systematic literature review across the fields of psychology, human-computer interaction and management of the strategies people use to try and deal with the torrent of work email. This approach examines published data in a rigorous way, and after excluding many papers that didn’t fit our sifting criteria, we settled on assessing 42 papers.

From these, we identified a number of themes relating to how email is used today, which were then matched against markers of productivity and well-being. Finally, these themes were sense-checked in a qualitative study with 12 representative participants.

What did we find? It became apparent that there is no one-size-fits-all set of strategies that improve both people’s productivity and well-being across job roles and industries. For example, a strategy such as catching up with email outside of work hours might help people feel more in control of their work, but it does not tangibly reduce work overload – and can create conflict in families where work is brought home.

But we were able to identify a number of strategies that research indicates are generally beneficial, and these can be used to dispel many of the popular myths about work email and how we “should” be using it. Here are the top five work email myths – busted by science. (more…)


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If you want to have successful teams in your organisation, make sure you have successful leaders.  What do I mean by this you ask?  The way a team is led will have a major impact on the success or otherwise of the team.

What do I mean by this you ask?  The way a team is led will have a major impact on the success or otherwise of the team.

In fact, when I asked team members from within a large financial institution what they wanted from a team leader they identified the following values they would like their leader to hold.

What do I mean by this you ask?  The way a team is led will have a major impact on the success or otherwise of the team.  In fact, when I asked team members from within a large financial institution what they wanted from a team leader they identified the following values they would like their leader to hold.

  • Trust
  • A commitment to their staff as well as the task
  • The willingness to support and serve the team
  • Inspirational leadership, combined with energy, enthusiasm and appropriate expertise
  • The guts to take responsibility rather than pass the buck
  • The glue to make the team come together and operate as a team
  • A willingness to have fun!

I’ll explain each of these in more detail. (more…)


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Many leaders recognise the value of a SWOT analysis for their companies. Understanding a business' Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats gives leaders a new perspective on what the organisation does well, where its challenges lie and which avenues to pursue.

However, few people realise that a personal SWOT analysis can do the same for an individual in pursuit of his or her career goals.

The SWOT analysis was first devised as a business tool in the 1960s by business icons Edmund P. Learned, C. Roland Christensen, Kenneth Andrews and William D. Guth.

In 1982, Heinz Weihrich took it one step further, constructing a 2-by-2 matrix to plot out the answers to the four key questions for easy comparison. Strengths and Weaknesses were across the top, and Opportunities and Threats in the bottom row. This remains the most common and effective way to conduct the analysis.

(more…)


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Tony Robbins is a pioneer in the personal development space, but his book on finances is like a graduate course in college.

A novice in finance could read this book and walk away an expert.

Tony takes complicated financial strategies and distils them down to the average reader’s level.

Money is not everything in life, but it is important, especially in the business. There are many entrepreneurs who are great at making income but are clueless as to how to make their money work for them through investing.

You started your business to create freedom, Tony’s book can help you take that freedom to a level you didn’t think was possible through the right investment strategies.

Money - Master the Game


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Learning styles were developed by Peter Honey and Alan Mumford, based upon the work of Kolb, and they identified four distinct learning styles or preferences:

Activist, Theorist; Pragmatist and Reflector.

These are the learning approaches that individuals naturally prefer and they recommend that in order to maximise one's own personal learning each learner ought to understand their learning style and seek out opportunities to learn using that style

To understand your particular learning style Honey and Mumford have developed a Learning Style Questionnaire [see Team Leadership Activities] and with this information, you will be in a far better position to do three really useful things [quoting P. Honey]:

  1. "Become smarter at getting a better fit between learning opportunities and the way you learn best. This makes your learning easier, more effective and more enjoyable. It saves you tackling your learning on a hit-and-miss basis. Equipped with information about your learning preferences, you'll have many more hits and fewer misses."
  2. "Expand the 'bandwidth' of experiences from which you derive benefit. Becoming an all-around learner, increases your versatility and helps you learn from a wide variety of different experiences - some formal, some informal, some planned and some spontaneous."
  3. "Improve your learning skills and processes. Increased awareness of how you learn, opens up the whole process to self-scrutiny and improvement. Learning to learn is your most important capability since it provides the gateway to everything else you want to develop."

However, to be an effective learner you should also develop the ability to learn in other styles too. (more…)


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Most of us are managed by someone. Whether you enjoy a good working relationship with your immediate superior, or you approach work in a completely different way, it’s important to find ways in which to influence your manager in order to progress.

These top tips give you some useful indicators on the subtle art of managing your boss and providing them feedback on how what they do impacts on you.

 

Take Control: Most of us can’t choose our boss. But this doesn’t mean we can’t influence the type of relationship we have with them.

Moaning to your colleagues about your manager won’t change anything. Making a conscious effort to get to know them and understand their needs, however, can determine how effective you are in your own role, and how well you progress at work.

Find Out What Makes Your Boss Tick: Consider what motivates your manager as well as what makes them frustrated, worried or feel under pressure. Observe how they
react in a variety of work situations. These observations will help you to start to effectively manage your boss, by identifying ways you can help them and creating development opportunities for yourself.

Useful insights can also be gleaned from casual conversations with others who have worked for or with your boss regarding what makes them tick.

(more…)


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