360 Degree Feedback for Leaders

360 Degree Feedback for Leaders

We all know how important leaders are to a business. Their ability to inspire and motivate their teams is an essential ingredient of business success.

Often in leadership development the focus is on what we want our leaders to improve, what we see as gaps in their knowledge and the results we want them to achieve.

If our leader’s success is achieved through their people, doesn’t it make sense to turn that around and ask what their team want from their leader?

360-degree feedback surveys are a powerful tool for figuring out exactly what a leader’s real development areas are. Every team is different, and every organisation is different, so leadership skills need to be adapted and developed continuously to achieve great results.

Making this a meaningful exercise can be challenging, so here are a few of our top steers:

  1. Let you leader choose the feedback participants alongside you

Typically, you will have 8 to 10 team members complete the 360. Choosing a balanced group is essential. Working together to select this group will ensure that the leader is engaged and receptive to the feedback.

  1. Brief the participants well

Sometimes the feedback in a 360 can be tough to take, so making sure your participants understand how to provide this feedback constructively is important. Phrasing questions so that they feed forward can help, using questions like “What would you like to see your leader do more of?”. Participants should also focus on skills and actions, not personalities. A personal attack in a 360 will never achieve good results.

  1. Have the leader rate themselves too

It’s always interesting to compare how we think we are doing against how others see us doing. This opens the conversation about why there may be differences in perception. Often leaders will establish an environment which motivates them but may not work for their team. Seeing these differences will help leaders realise that their team may have different needs from them.

  1. Make the feedback session a safe space

Its normal to be nervous receiving 360 feedback, and this can make your leaders defensive. The best way to approach this is to let them work through it in stages. Provide the report for them to consider, meet to help them work through it and discuss their thoughts on it. Then meet again to agree development areas. Having time to process the feedback can make it more meaningful. It can pay to use an external person or your HR Manager for the feedback session, as they can discuss the results dispassionately and the leader can respond honestly.

  1. Agree the development areas together

Just like any goal setting exercise, if your leaders have development areas chosen for them they won’t completely commit to them. This may mean that there are some compromises in their development plan. However, any development that moves them forward and improves their skills will benefit your business.

“If your actions inspire people to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

John Quincy Adams

 

Positive People have 24 years’ experience helping medium sized business’s develop great leaders. Contact us today to discuss how our 360-degree feedback surveys can work for you.

Effective Decision Making for Leaders

Effective Decision Making for Leaders

Effective decision making is a key skill for everyone in the workplace, but in a leadership role it becomes vital. Whether you are deciding the best candidate to select, which marketing strategy to choose or what price point to offer to win a big piece of business, you must be able to make the best decision possible with the information you have available to you.

Although we all have different ways of thinking and approaching problems, a systematic approach is important to avoid bad decisions.

 

The steps to good decision making:

  1. Categorise

Is this a unique problem, or is it reoccurring? Here you are establishing if you have a pre-designed principle to follow or adapt, or if you need to develop the rule through this decision.

  1. Define

What is it? Where is it? Who is affected by it?

  1. Desired Outcome

What is the result you need? Who and what will be affected by that outcome and how?

  1. Decision

First, consider what decision will fully achieve the desired outcome. From this starting point, you can start to think about what compromises can be made while still reaching the outcome you need.

  1. Action

Assign responsibility for the action being carried out, as well as specifying who will actually carry the action out. This may all be the same person (you!) or you may, for example, assign responsibility to your Operations Manager and delegate the particular tasks to the relevant employees within their team.

  1. Review

Build in feedback and reporting to review the effectiveness of the decision against the results.

 

Bring in the team

It is well documented that teams make better decisions than individuals. None of us is smarter than five people! It’s generally accepted engaging a team of four to six people is the sweet spot for decision making. You will benefit from diverse skills and perspectives, without the complexity that organising a larger group brings. Next time you have a decision that you would normally make alone, consider getting a team together and working through the decision making steps together.

 

Positive People have 24 years’ experience helping leaders and teams grow and develop their skills. We can work with you to tailor a bespoke learning and development solution that will help your leadership team to build their decision-making capability.  We can also help you to introduce and integrate decision-making models into how you do business and work with you to ensure your leadership team are working together to make the best decisions for your business.  Call us today to find out more.

Reflecting for personal growth

Reflecting on 2018:

Getting ready for the New Year

 

Why take the time to reflect?

Reflection is the engine room of personal growth.

  1. It helps to detach ourselves from rigid ideas and reminds us that we have the ability to make independent decisions that will lead to better outcomes
  2. It develops self-awareness of our own emotions. This helps us to understand how and why we have responded in certain ways to various situations, and how we can change this
  3. It allows us to see that we usually already have the answers and the knowledge we need to make the best decision, to change or to grow. We are our own best source of learning to enable personal growth

Challenge yourself!

Take 30 minutes (outside if possible) and think back over the year that has been and the year that is ahead.

The Personal and Work sections will probably overlap to a certain extent.

Personal

  • What were my biggest achievements this year?
  • What were my biggest mistakes this year?
  • What would I do differently if I could travel back to any point during the year?
  • What have been my personal strengths and weaknesses this year?
  • What were my goals and have I achieved them? Why or why not?
  • If there is one thing I wished I’d achieved, what was it?
  • What have I learnt?
  • What do I want to learn to do better next year? How can I do this?

Work

  • What new thinking and ideas am I bringing to my work?
  • How can I regularly make time for deeper thinking about my job and how to do it better?
  • How could I up the productivity of my team by 10%?
  • How could I better meet deadlines?
  • What do I need to do to be acknowledged as a genuine top performer?
  • What do I need to improve in my leadership style?
  • How can I better connect with what the future holds?
  • How can I better engage and communicate across the organisation?

We hope this exercise puts you in a great state of mind and good space to welcome in a successful 2019 with a bang!

Problem Solving

Problem Solving

One of the biggest challenges new leaders face is the sudden pressure of being the main port of call for workplace problems. They no longer have the back-up of passing issues up the chain to be solved by someone more senior. The responsibility suddenly falls on them to find effective solutions and make decisions quickly.

If they do this well it builds confidence and improves your organisation, but, if they procrastinate or do this badly it damages confidence, undermines reputations and can have a significant impact on business results.

 

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”

Albert Einstein

 

So, how do we build our future leaders to effectively solve workplace problems?

We suggest you:

  • Empower your leaders
  • Have a defined, commonly understood problem-solving framework
  • Encourage root cause analysis
  • Develop support networks
  • Support learning from mistakes

Empower your leaders

Sometimes problems come up for your leaders, which you know how to solve. Resist the urge. Even though they may still be growing in confidence, stepping in to solve their problems will undermine their leadership role and hinder their growth as a leader. Take a step back, take a coaching approach and encourage your leaders to come to you with solutions, not problems.

Use a defined, commonly understood problem-solving framework

Making decisions when problems arise can be stressful for new leaders. Introducing a problem-solving framework into your organisation encourages your leaders to feel confident that they will solve problems effectively and reach the right solution. Having a framework which the whole business understands encourages the practice, allows for a common understanding when solving cross functional problems, and gives you a better chance of reaching the right solution.

Encourage root cause analysis

Sometimes you need to do a quick fix – and that’s fine. Business must continue, products must go out and time is money! But…..if your leaders don’t double back, establish root cause and put a solution in place which stops the problem re-occurring they will end up in continuous firefighting mode. Not good for your business, and not good for them.

Develop support networks

Usually when one of your leaders is solving a problem they need the help and support of other teams within the business. If this doesn’t come willingly it can undermine their effectiveness, confidence and how positive they feel about their role. Developing a culture and network of supportive teams is essential to good problem solving. Your leaders need to know who they can call on when they need expert input and feel confident they can trust the advice they receive.

Support learning from mistakes

Despite the best, most robust problem-solving process in place, mistakes do still happen. Using these as learning opportunities helps your leaders to accept their mistakes, look forward and become better at what they do.

Problem solving is an often overlooked, but essential leadership skill. The ability to do this well can transform your organization and keep it continuously moving forward.

We can help to ensure your Leaders have the skill and confidence to be expert problem solvers. To find out more you can check out our website here or contact us at 09-455-1077.

Following these guidelines will help you and your team members smooth over and resolve any differences of opinion. Keen to learn more? Positive People run a Problem Solving & Decision Making module as part of our popular Leadership Development Program. Contact us today atinfo@positivepeople.co.nz or 09 445 1077 to discuss our group or individual training, coaching and development solutions.

Motivation

Motivation:

Making sure you and your team are goal focused, driven and successful.

Pretty much anyone can issue instructions and somehow get the job done.

But what is the quality like? How quickly is the job done? Does the team work together? How innovative is the team? How focused on the customer are they? Is the job delivered on time? What is the service like?

What good leaders are looking for is their team actually WANTING to do the job. And this is the mantra that stands at the core of motivation – WANTING TO rather than having to. It is about commitment, not compliance. Take a look at the individuals in your team. Who is committed? Who is just going through the motions?

“You cannot motivate anyone. You can only provide the environment where your team members motivate themselves.”

When people want to do something they can overcome the biggest of hurdles to achieve their goals.

Often people with loads of experience, knowledge and talent just fall by the wayside because they don’t have the passion to achieve things – they lack that critical WANT TO factor.

 

How do you ignite their passion?

There are two elements to this.

  1. Developing an understanding of each person in your team. This means there is a need to establish which buttons you need to push for each person. And each person’s motivational buttons are different, so it takes time and insight to work out what makes a person tick. This understanding allows you to temper and fine-tune your natural approach so your communication resonates with each person. People instinctively understand, appreciate and “get” that you “get” them. This individual awareness allows you to develop and grow a special relationship with each of your different team members. This means that you connect to each person and this is a strong contributor to their commitment.
  2. Creating a workplace environment that allows everyone to be their best. This requires the development of an organisational culture that is conducive to people pushing forward for both individual and organisational success because it feels good to do so.

This kind of environment is usually principled, supportive, challenging, exciting, and collaborative.

Add to these two key motivational factors an appreciation of what the organisation is trying to achieve, coupled with a clear understanding of the expectations attached to their role, and you will have motivated team members committed to succeed.

While the motivation of each individual is in their own hands, the set-up for this motivation is very much in the hands of the management.

Following these guidelines should help you and your team members ride the crest of a wave with enthusiasm and success. To find out more you can check out our website here or contact us at 09-455-1077.

Keen to learn more? Positive People run a Motivation module as part of our popular Leadership Development Program. Contact us today at info@positivepeople.co.nz or 09 445 1077 to discuss our group or individual training, coaching and development solutions.

Managing Conflict at Work

Conflict Management:

Everyone experiences conflict – in life and at work.

Why? Because different people are always going to have different points of view and different needs, wants and values.

Differences of opinion are natural and usually need to be openly addressed to avoid tension.

So, what should we do when conflict or differences of opinion arise?

  • Deal with the issue before the situation escalates
  • Talk directly to person(s) concerned
  • Work with people to try and resolve the issue
  • If someone approaches you with an issue, be prepared to confront and work on it
  • Where appropriate, if someone complains to you about another person, encourage them to talk directly to the person involved. Give them the tools to do this through a coaching discussion.

Before you meet with the person

  • Identify the real issue, not just the symptoms/emotions
  • Be prepared to work toward agreeable solutions, not just towards “winning” (or one party winning)
  • Remember that it is not unusual to disagree and that people are quite entitled to do so. You can still find a solution and resolve the conflict.

During the discussion

  • Look at the issue through another ‘lens’ or point of view
  •  Be willing to “own” part of the problem
  • Establish a common goal (a solution) and stay focused on it
  • Define the problem and establish solid facts (yours and theirs)
  • Identify common ground
  • Agree on a common goal
  • Explore all possible solutions and select the solutions that will best meet the needs of both parties
  • Decide on a course of action
  • Summarise the agreed course of action back to ensure that the needs have been met

It is also important to manage the post-conflict situation. Don’t leave it and pretend that it didn’t happen. Follow-up is essential. This may involve checking in to see how the person is feeling and monitoring the situation to ensure agreed actions have actually happened. Then when the matter is truly resolved, it’s time to put it to rest and move on.

We can help to equip your leaders to manage conflict effectively. To find out more you can check out our website at here or contact us at 09-455-1077.

Following these guidelines will help you and your team members smooth over and resolve any differences of opinion. Keen to learn more? Positive People run a Conflict Management module as part of our popular Leadership Development Program. Contact us today at info@positivepeople.co.nz or 09 445 1077 to discuss our group or individual training, coaching and development solutions.

Performance Management

How to have that difficult conversation

 

Preparing for performance reviews with your team should generally be a straight-forward process.

Typically, the steps include:

  1. Requesting the employee’s feedback on their own performance
  2. Gathering evidence, including things like sales figures, other KPIs/measurements, customer feedback, attendance records, etc.
  3. Completing your manager review
  4. Meeting with your employee to discuss the above, along with their personal development plan
  5. Finalising actions for the next review period

However, where you have a poorly performing employee, additional preparation is required. Here are our recommendations for approaching difficult conversations at performance reviews.

 

Be solution driven.

Any performance difficulties discussed need to conclude with an agreed way of moving forward so that every issue has a solution attached to it at the end of the discussion.

Use the phrase: “So, now that we have discussed this challenge, lets agree how to change this in the future…”

 

Keep the meeting on an equal footing.

Make certain that the meeting allows for the employee to feel that they are completely free to say what they want to – allow time and space for them to talk. If the meeting is not conducted on an equal footing, then half the communication (and much of the benefit) will be lost.

 

Discuss the differences.

Major differences between your manager review and the employee’s self-review highlight a gap in perception and understanding. The discussion will centre on why the perceptions are different and also what can be done to move the assessments up the scale.

 

Is it a problem of motivation or ability?

Ask questions to diagnose the root cause of the issue. Listen for whether it is a case of ‘can’t do’ or ‘won’t do’? Tailor the solution accordingly.

 

Discuss your role in improving the performance.

Are you helping or standing in the way of performance? Are you controlling too much or being too hands-off? Does the employee need more training? How can you can best support them to make positive changes?

 

Make a plan and follow up.

Agree and document the plan – what, who, and by when? Then don’t forget to follow-up. Too often a performance plan languishes unopened until the next review. Regular follow-up is essential to effect real change.

 

Following these guidelines should lead to a constructive conversation and the development of a quality action plan. Keen to learn more? Positive People run a Performance Management module as part of our popular Leadership Development Program. Contact us today at info@positivepeople.co.nz or 09 445 1077 to discuss our group or individual training and development solutions.

Time Management

Making sure you are personally well organised, relaxed and successful. 

 

Time Management is such a misnomer!

No one can manage time. Time proceeds independently of us, and will tick on regardless of what we do.  What we can do is manage ourselves so that we make the best possible use of the time we have at our disposal. And the key to that is ensuring that we are well organised.

 

What simple action can we take?

To be well organised and successful, means you:

  1. Know exactly what you need to be doing every day
  2. Identify and balance the different priorities that keep coming at you
  3. Understand the difference between the Urgent and the Important
  4. Use tools and systems, and get rid of time wasters
  5. Manage pressure so that it does not become stressful.

 

Know exactly what you need to be doing.

It is important to always have a very clear focus for the day ahead. It can never be “just another day”. Every day has to dawn with a set of challenges and goals that you have clearly identified and that you are ready to accomplish. You need to know exactly what you are going to be doing to be successful for the day

 

Identify and balance the different priorities that keep coming at you.

The single most important element of being organised and successful at work is, within the rush and hurly-burly of life, to cultivate the ability to identify, understand and rank your priorities. Choose what to do first, then second, then third – every day. Sometimes there is a practical need to fine-tune these priorities during the day. At the end of the day reset your priorities ready for tomorrow, knowing exactly what you are going to tackle first.

 

“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least”  Goethe. 

 

Understand the difference between the Urgent and the Important.

It is easy to end up chasing your tail every day. There is no success or satisfaction in it. Often the Urgent matters are those that create a whirlpool of busyness – things like some emails, some deadlines, some meetings, interruptions. This single minded dedication to busyness can mean that the Important matters – things like relationship building, planning, prevention strategies –  are sacrificed and put on the back burner, only to emerge as a crisis at a later date.

If you don’t get your car serviced, at some point that lack of action will jump up and bite you – probably at midnight on the motorway.  Make time for the Important.

 

Use tools and systems, and get rid of time wasters. 

Actively choose to move away from a life of crisis management by simply using some effective tools that take the pressure off you.

Make use of your Calendar and To Do lists – they will drive your self-discipline. Also, consciously and deliberately reduce time wasters like some emails, some conversations, some meetings.

 

Manage pressure so that it does not become stressful.

The bonus with good time management is that you do not feel unduly pressurised or stressed.

Too often pressure is internalised as stress, and this then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Pressure in a modern job goes with the territory. The key barriers to preventing pressure feeling like stress is to:

  1. Acknowledge that there is pressure in your job and that this is normal
  2. Don’t be afraid to take pressure and use it to challenge yourself to be better organised
  3. Foster a calm demeanour and put in place practical personal relaxation strategies that help you keep pressure as pressure, no more than that. These may simply be ensuring a regular personal regime of basic health & wellness practices. They may also involve a mind element like meditation
  4. Apply self-discipline and keep on working hard at keeping pressure where it should stay – as an external element of your job that doesn’t get to you

 

It is all about working smarter not harder.

Following these guidelines should help you and your team members to be better organised and ultimately more relaxed and successful. Keen to learn more? Positive People run a Time Management module as part of our popular Leadership Development Program. Contact us today at info@positivepeople.co.nz or 09 445 1077 to discuss our group or individual training, coaching and development solutions.

Communication

Engage and inspire your team with effective communication. 

 

In today’s digital world communication is everywhere, yet why is it so hard to still get cut through in the workplace? From a time when under communicating was a key workplace issue, these days it is easy to over communicate, lose your messages in the noise, or get lost in translation.

 

So how do you get it right?

To make sure your employees receive and understand your key messages make sure you:

  1. Keep it simple
  2. Have a mechanism for feedback
  3. Include verbal communication in your plans
  4. Tailor your message to your audience

 

Keep it simple.

When drafting emails, memos, newsletters or updates it is easy to include too much information or over explain. This will cause your essential messages to get lost.

Before you start think carefully about exactly what you want to say – then say it. This way a clear concise message will be received.

 

Have a mechanism for feedback.

What if your message doesn’t make sense to someone? What if they don’t understand a concept? How easy is it for your employees to ask questions and are they encouraged to do so? In any company communication plan, it is essential to have a place or forum where the team feel comfortable to ask questions and deepen their understanding of your message. Remember the message that you have sent is only what your team understand it to be, so promoting two way conversations and feedback makes sense to help you get this right.

 

“The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

George Bernard Shaw

 

Include verbal communication in your plans.

The increase in online Company communication forums means it is easy to forget the importance of face to face verbal communication, as it is so much quicker and easier to post something online. Written messages can be misunderstood, lack the right tone or a human face, which can aid the impact of your message. Regular team meetings or Company gatherings are crucial to keeping messages personal and connecting your team to your message.

 

Tailor your message to your audience.

It is easy to communicate a message in a way which you understand, but think carefully about your team – are they all like you? Do you have employees with English as a second language, or team members who don’t understand more technical terms, or don’t have an extensive knowledge of business? Giving updates which the team don’t understand adds to the noise and decreases the self-esteem of the team. Think carefully about your audience, recheck your words and write for your team – not for yourself.

 

Strong workplace communication is essential for engagement and motivation and helps to create inclusive, collaborative teams. Using the tips above will help you to get cut through in an increasingly noisy world and create a better workplace for you and your team.

Would you like to improve your Company communication? Positive People run a Communication module as part of our popular Leadership Development Program, which can be tailored for both Managers and staff.  Contact us today at info@positivepeople.co.nz or 09 445 1077 to discuss our group or individual training, coaching and development solutions.

 

PositivePeople November 2, 2016 No Comments

Leadership Development in Talent Planning

It’s a fact of life that no matter how great your workplace is, at some stage you will lose key staff. This might be due to career changes, personal situations, babies, marriages, or they simply make the big move out of Auckland to escape the rising house prices.

Whatever the reason, losing a successful leader can have a huge impact on your team, as well as your future business objectives. Projects can be delayed, team dynamics interrupted, and it takes time and cost to ride this out and get your business back on track.

Having a succession and talent management plan in place is a vital ingredient of successfully safeguarding your business against this disruption. Equally as important is ensuring the identified successors have the skills and ability to step up into the role before the transition takes place.

A key component of this is ensuring that successors have the leadership skills to manage this transition to leaders, develop relationships quickly, and move their teams forward from day one. Too often we see team members moved into leadership roles without the required leadership experience to be successful, promoted with the hope that they develop these skills once they have been appointed. The damage this can do to a team and to their own self confidence while they learn can be long lasting.

To develop a succession and talent plan that really works to support your business it is important that you:

  1. Identify a pool of talent, large or small, within your business that has the potential to move into leadership roles
  2. Identify the key skills required for each identified team member to step up to a new role
  3. Identify the skills gaps for identified team members well in advance of these skills being needed
  4. Develop these skills by training, coaching and project work, before they need to use them

A skilled leader will fill any role gap seamlessly, ease the team into the transition, and communicate openly and honestly from day one on their expectations and your business goals. When this is done well the loss of a key team member is barely felt and your business can continue successfully on its current trajectory.

Succession and talent planning matters. This has, in no small measure, been one of the key ingredients to the All Blacks continued success and competitive advantage over many years. What would you give to be the All Blacks of your sector?

Positive People have 22 years’ experience working with businesses to develop their future leaders.

For more information view Leadership Development