Managing the Transition

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

leadershipOver the last few months we have come across numerous managers who have struggled with their transition to manager. This isn’t the first time we have written about this; however the issue of transition doesn’t ever seem to go away.

For some reason, when we get promoted up the leadership ladder we have a tendency to focus on the technical aspects of the role and we step up to provide support and guidance on getting the job done. However, we don’t afford ourselves the same luxury to allow time for ourselves to lead the team and have conversations with team members on a 1:1 basis to help them develop and grow.

So why is this? We asked some managers why they didn’t afford the time and here is what they told us:

“I still have my own work to do as well as managing the team, I need to complete my tasks.”

“I never seem to have the time.”

“It’s never really been explained to me what is expected of me.”

“I didn’t realise there was so much to it”.

“The team are alright, they just get on with it. They know what they are doing”

However, let us not forget that 62% of people leave their job because of their manager, so it is important to give this important role the time and focus it deserves.

Challenge Yourself

Have you / your managers received any management development?

Are you / your managers finding the time to lead?

Are you delegating tasks to have more time?

What can you do that will make a difference to you and your team?

We have a number of solutions that can help your transition through management and leadership which include leadership programmes and coaching. If you would like to discuss your requirements and how we can support you / your businesses then why not get in touch.

How good are you at delegating?

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

delegate At a recent session we shared some recent research on delegation. In 2016 it was reported that only 30 percent of managers think they can delegate well, and of those, only 1 in 3 were considered to be a good delegator by their team members. This means that only about 1 in 10 managers are good delegators. This statistic didn’t surprise us as it’s one of the most common areas we address in coaching. What did surprise us was other research that found that there are gender differences in the willingness to delegate. Female leaders find it more difficult to delegate than their male colleagues; they have negative associations with delegating and feel greater guilt about delegating than men. As a result, females delegate less than males. However, there is good news. Reframing delegation as a social interactive task reduces negative associations. And we know that great delegation is a fantastic opportunity to work closely with someone to help them to grow and develop in their role, and in turn, this links to increased employee engagement. So, it is a win-win activity.

Do your managers need training or coaching on delegating well? If so, you may want to consider our Management Development Programme, more details can be found here.

Go on, look at your to do list and think about what you can delegate and what opportunities there are to enable others to shine!

How important is Work-life balance?

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

work life balance The cumulative effect of increased working hours is having an important effect on the lifestyle of a huge number of people, which is likely to prove damaging to mental well-being. The Mental Health Foundation is concerned that a sizeable group of people are neglecting the factors in their lives that make them resistant or resilient to mental health problems.

One in six of us will experience a mental health problem in any given week, and research this year suggests that a majority of Britons have experienced some kind of mental health problem, with young adults especially open about this when surveyed.

What’s clear then is that in our workplaces and in our circles of friends, there are people living with mental health problems, or just keeping themselves afloat, whether we know it or not. Work related stress already costs Britain 10.4 million working days per year.

The human costs of unmanaged work-related stress extends far beyond this. A key way to protect your mental health against the potential detrimental effects of work related stress is to ensure you have a healthy work-life balance.

How can the workplace help?

The workplace can also contribute to improving work-life balance. Here is how the workplace can help promote the messages about work-life balance to individuals in the workplace:-

Encourage a culture of openness about time constraints and workload. Employees must feel able to speak up if the demands placed on them are too great.

Promote a culture of ‘working smart, not long’.

Ensure that employee’s jobs are manageable within the time for which they are contracted.

Audit their work environments to identify elements of practice, policy or culture that may be detrimental to a healthy work-life balance.

Regularly monitor and evaluate policies against performance indicators such as sickness, absence and improvements in staff satisfaction.

Encourage activities that promote good mental health, for example lunchtime exercise or relaxation classes.

Give better training to managers so that they can spot stress, poor work – life balance and its effects on the individual. They should also be trained to develop better systems to protect everyone in the workplace.

Can you answer these questions?

Are your people getting a good work-life balance?

Are you providing an environment for your employees that encourages them to do their best work?

Are your managers supporting your people and do they also feel supported and developed in their role?

Are you in danger of losing really good people?

Not sure? Well, we can help you to measure, improve and maintain your employees’ attitudes in a way that will work for your organisation and transform your business.

Pro-Development believes that if you want to grow your business, you need to Grow your People. Our vision is to inspire you, your teams and individuals to improve how you work at every level through the engagement and development of your people.

If you would like to know more about how we can help you then please contact us.

Create an environment of openness and trust

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

honest trust We’ve been sniffling and sneezing a lot recently at Pro-Development Towers, and being the engaged lot that we are, we all come into work and plough on, hankies in one hand and Lemsips in the other (other products are available!). However, Nottingham (try saying Nottingham with a blocked nose!) Business School’s latest research has found that the average employee spends almost two weeks a year at work when they are unwell, costing more than £4000 per person! How can that be?

Well, it’s quite simple, its due to lower productivity. We all know when we come into work under the weather, we struggle to focus, we’re less creative, we’re slower than normal and I for one certainly spend more time talking about my ailments to anyone who will listen! Then if we consider how we are potentially passing the illness on to others, costing yet more money, it does make you stop and think! Would people be better off staying at home to recuperate, and come back fitter and stronger, sooner?

Working in an engaged team impacts positively on sickness, the research suggests that the annual sickness level of an engaged employee is 2.69 days as apposed to 6.19 in disengaged, so this could suggest an engaged person may be more likely to come into work when they are unwell.

So, where’s the balance? Well we don’t have the answer, but we do believe that by creating an environment of openness and trust, operating in a flexible manner, having honest conversations with people when they seem unwell, having a good team spirit and having strong sickness management processes can help.

Our conclusion then, it’s good to have an engaged workforce, in fact it’s great. Just remember to challenge people when they are unwell to look after themselves and offer support to meet any looming deadlines.

For more information around how you can help ensure you employees are engaged and productivity is at its best, then click here. We also run a monthly Employee Engagement Workshop click here to book.

Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone to build resilience

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

comfort zone pic How often do you push yourself out of your comfort zone? We’re thrilled that our latest Management Development Programme has started, and we can’t wait to work with our new cohort. Some of the cohort have admitted to feeling a bit nervous; it’s completely normal to feel apprehensive at the start of something new. It isn’t surprising they feel a bit nervous given that our programme is experiential and includes a range of outdoor activities which push people out of their comfort zone, into their learning or stretch zone. The activities enable us to observe leadership behaviours whilst managing people outside the normal work environment.

Why is it important to push yourself out of your comfort zone? Moving into your learning or stretch zone helps you to become more comfortable with being uncomfortable. The more often you introduce small stretches, the more resilient you will become. Greater resilience will help you to tackle life’s challenges more effectively.

How can we be comfortable with being uncomfortable? It won’t be easy and will involve us feeling some pressure; however, some pressure is good for us, it energises us and helps us to move forwards towards our goals. And the more we do it, the more we will increase our comfort zone. If you want to push yourself out of your comfort zone, do so in small steps. The good news is that we still have a few places left on our Management Development Programme starting in April, so go on, take a step and click here to find out more.

What if you were the one who pressed the button!

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

Press the buton We were reflecting last week on the official alert sent in Hawaii warning people a ballistic missile was about to hit – only for it to turn out to be a false alarm!

It’s your worst nightmare, just like when you send an email to the wrong person or even, send to all!

You know, we all make mistakes…granted, some are bigger than others, but we have two choices in our opinion:

Choice 1 – Make everybody involved feel bad and spend copious amounts of time and effort finding out who exactly was to blame.

Choice 2 – Find out where it went wrong to ensure we learn from our mistakes and stop it from happening again.

Let’s look at choice 1 for a moment. Making people feel bad is a waste of energy and no doubt the person involved will be doing a good job of that themselves. We know from our own experience how we love to beat ourselves up when we make an error or even dare to produce a piece of work anything less than perfection! Secondly, finding out who is to blame reflects an unhealthy company culture, one which encourages people to hide errors, lie, avoid accountability, and stifles risk taking and innovation.

Now lets look at Choice 2. Ask yourself who do you know who comes to work and intentionally does a bad job? We bet you’re struggling to think of anyone, and that’s because people generally want to do a good job. So when mistakes are made, rather than spend the time blaming someone for something they didn’t intend to do, find out what and where in the system or process led the individual to the error and change it, learn from it, improve it! Operating in this manner will foster a culture of openness, honesty and learning, where people will step out of their comfort zones and try something new!

If an action was taken with good intent, next time maybe think about the choice you take in response.

If you would like to know more about how you can create a great company culture, come along to one of our Employee Engagement workshops. This workshop will provide you with a framework to understand the key drivers for employee engagement and give you the opportunity to consider what you can do to bring out the best in your teams and increase your productivity and sales. Click here to book your place and we look forward to seeing you soon.

I’ve seen the light!

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

Clock The shortest day is behind us, but many of us are still going to work in the dark, driving home in the dark and spending the days indoors, not even breaking for lunch. If you’re lucky enough, you may have a lovely view of the daylight out of your window!

Interestingly scientists at the Lighting Research Center have reported that daylit environments increase occupant productivity and comfort, and provide the mental and visual stimulation necessary to regulate human circadian rhythms (sleep/wake cycle)!

In a 1999 study “Daylighting in Schools: An Investigation into the Relationship between Daylighting and Human Performance,” found a high correlation between schools that reported improvements in student test scores upwards of 10 percent and those that reported increased daylight in the classroom.

So why, if natural daylight is so good for us, do we not get more of it? This year we want to challenge you to do at least one of the following:

• Look at your working environment and make the most of your well-lit areas, make plans to share the space with other team members.

• Make sure files and other bulky items are away from the windows letting the light flood in.

• To enhance the benefits of daylight further, find time in your working day to get outside, hear the birds tweet and feel the wind in your hair!

• Design an outdoor space for you and your team to enjoy. Maybe buy a picnic table or some garden furniture. What about developing an edible garden in plant pots for people to pick lettuce leaves in the summer?

Overall, research suggests that daylight and daylit areas are likely to improve worker satisfaction, mood, and productivity, so come on, let’s SPRING into action!

If you want to know more about creating an environment that can positively impact on profit and productivity, why not join us on one of our employee engagement workshops where you can find out some handy hints and tips to put into action.

This year I am going to be more organised!

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

untidy desk Ha! If only we had a pound for every time we heard that over the last couple of weeks! Being organised can make such a difference so we would like to share some top tips to help you start 2018 the way you mean to carry on!

• Operate a personal clear desk policy – Keep documents, supplies and stationery to the bare minimum and move anything that doesn’t directly serve a function.

• Give everything a home. If you don’t, it WILL join ‘the pile of paper’ or go in ‘the drawer’. If you haven’t got space to store it, have a clear out, maybe scan it, ask yourself ‘do I really need it?”

• Filing – Studies suggest that 80% of what we file is never accessed again (just saying!) if you do need to file, book some time in each day to do it until it becomes a habit.

• Organise your PC/Laptop – Take some time to think about the programs you use regularly and set up your homepage to allow easy access to the program and files you use on a regular basis.

• Plan your work – Take 15 minutes at the end of each day to wrap up loose ends and prioritise key tasks for tomorrow.

• Identify when you have the most energy – Keep a note of your energy levels throughout the day and see if you can establish a pattern. If you notice your energy levels are higher at a particular time of the day, maybe save the larger and more challenging task for then.

• Eat the frog – If you have a task which you find distasteful, a bit like eating a frog, make sure you do it first thing, otherwise you’ll never get around to it!

And, if you need more help, then we can offer training and coaching, Click Here to find out more.

Leadership…Bah Humbug!

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

Ebenezer Scrooge, was a cold-hearted miser who despised Christmas. So, what was he like as a leader we wonder? The words difficult and challenging spring to mind and that’s being kind! His behaviours towards poor old Bob were dire, to say the least! He showed Bob very little respect, not even providing the basic resources needed to enhance performance such as heating or good light (having said that, it’s been a bit nippy in Pro-Development Towers recently!) He was totally inconsiderate, work life balance was pitiful, 1:1’s and honest conversations were non-existent as were any performance and development conversations. And forget creativity and innovation, the negative culture would have stifled that!

However, throughout all this, Bob continued to work hard and provide for his family, but we would suggest he wasn’t engaged in his work!

We have invited Mr Scrooge onto our next Employee Engagement workshop on 23rd January however he is yet to accept the invitation! However we feel that once he sees into the future of how an engaged workforce can increase profit and productivity, he might change his mind!

We have also suggested he might want to join one of our next Leadership Development Programmes commencing in January or March 2018. He said he’d sleep on it. We do hope he has a good night’s sleep.

If you know of anyone who has Scrooge like characteristics, why not point them in our direction. We can help them move from the past, reflect on the present and feel hopeful about what’s yet to come!


The Journey of Authentic Leadership

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

2017-12-05 16.20.31 This month we said goodbye to another cohort on the Leadership Development Programme. It’s a strange time as on the one hand we are filled with sadness as we say goodbye to people whom we have built strong connections and emotional bonds with, yet on the other hand we see people who have been on an incredible journey over the last seven months and we know they will continue to be great and inspiring leaders in their respective workplaces.

On the last day of the programme we hear from the delegates what have they learnt throughout the programme, what have been their greatest achievements, we even want to hear about their biggest challenges as we believe we learn a lot from these.

Their personal stories are incredible! A couple of examples, yesterday was one individual stated how she had been described as going from ‘zero to hero’ whilst on the programme, this was a colleague describing the difference they had seen in her confidence and self-belief. Another individual had asked for feedback from a team member and both opened it for the first time and read it out loud to us. The feedback stated how this team member felt very disengaged with work and his manager, however went on to share how this has changed over the course of the programme and how he had seen his manager change his style to one which built a relationship of mutual trust and respect. Our delegate wasn’t surprised by the content of the feedback as he knew, through having regular honest conversations, what the feedback would say. All the same, a very brave thing to do and we admire him for it.

So filled with sadness and joy we say goodbye to this cohort knowing that we made a difference, and that is all we can ask for. The Leadership Development Programme is truly a remarkable programme, we are very proud of it and the difference it makes. It’s special, it’s different and it’s powerful. If you know of anyone who you think would benefit, then get in touch, we’d be happy to discuss the programme to see if it’s right for them.

We have a programme starting early 2018…Click here for more information and watch our video of a past delegate describing his journey through the programme.

Over the last few months we have come across numerous managers who have struggled with their transition to manager.…

RT @GreatestQuotes: "Until you make peace with who you are, you'll never be content with what you have." - Doris Mortman