Is that the sun I see?

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

smily sun We’ve been talking in the office about how lovely it is, driving home, and it’s… sunny! Yes, its bright and light outside and we are feeling great! We’ve been thinking, shall we go for a run, cut the grass, go for a walk or swing a golf club? This is great news as our usual thoughts are, what’s for tea, goodness I am tired, or shall I have a glass of wine tonight? Sound familiar?

There is something about the sunshine that fills us with energy. We have read that sunshine boosts levels of serotonin which contributes to a sense of wellbeing and happiness, that’s why we tend to feel happier and more energetic when the sun shines. More importantly (for us), we have also read that HIGHER levels of serotonin in our bodies not only makes you feel happy, but it also suppresses the appetite, so you’ll eat less in warmer weather, say hello to weight loss and feeling healthly!

The good news is that this week it’s only going to get warmer and sunnier, so are you going to seize the opportunity to boost your wellbeing and happiness?

Why not do a brisk walk for 15 to 20 minutes at least once a day. Early in the morning can prepare you for the day ahead. Perhaps at lunchtime to re-assess and re-plan you day, or after work maybe, to release any pressures and to ensure you focus on time for you. We challenge you to do this and email us the difference it made to you on info@pro-development.co.uk.

Wellbeing, happiness and energy levels are very important, if you’d like to talk more about ways of increasing these, to get the best out of both you and your colleagues, why not get in touch for a chat or attend one of our monthly Employee Engagement Workshop events.

Reward and Recognition

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

reward and recognition Having undertaken numerous employee engagement surveys in businesses of different shapes and sizes, we are beginning to build up a picture of how local companies are finding different and innovative ways to recognise and reward their employees.

We have known for many years that money is a short-term motivator, plus many of the businesses we work with are not in a position to hand out large bonuses and pay rises. However, they are exploring new and different ways to help people feel valued.

Here are a few ways some of our clients are rewarding their teams:

• Having your birthday off

• Buying pizza once a week

• Buying sandwiches on a Friday or (food has featured quite heavily)

• Working from home

• More flexible working

• A move away from set hours

• Able to bring your dog to work

• Provided a seating area to work outside

• Setting up a fun committee with an agreed budget

• An indoor recreational area for relaxing or having lunch

• Having study time

• Gift voucher

The key is to note that not one size fits all. Businesses who are investing the time getting to know their people have a clearer understanding of what will make individuals feel more valued. Here’s an example:

Someone on slimming world or weight watchers would not necessarily feel recognised by being gifted free Pizza, but they may well appreciate being able to leave earlier on a Tuesday to get to a slimming class.

It seems simple but its effective! Each business is different, and you will have you own limitations as to what is feasible, but why not spend some time thinking creatively to see if there is anything you may be able to do that would make a difference to your people.

Questions

• Do you know how valued your employees feel?

• Do you understand what would help them to feel more valued and recognised at work?

• How effective are your current reward and recognition strategies?

Our Employee Engagement survey can provide a measure of how valued and recognised your people are, alongside insights into what’s working for them, and what’s not as effective. If you would like to find out more, click here or contact us on 01904 628838

Receiving Feedback

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

receiving feedback We have talked a lot about having honest conversations and delivering feedback to help people grow and develop…however, we’ve noticed something recently. When we ask people to gather feedback on themselves, there is always a sharp intake of breath and more often than not, complete inaction in gathering any feedback.

Ok, so getting feedback on yourself isn’t the most comfortable of things to do, I mean, who’s to say people will be honest with us. Are we just happier with our head in the sand?

Here are some hints and tips to help you receive feedback.

• See the feedback as valuable information. It will potentially help you to move in the right direction.

• Remember, it may have taken a lot of courage for someone to provide feedback, so we should be thankful that they were kind enough and brave enough to provide it.

• People generally deliver feedback with good intention.

• Listen to the feedback without interrupting, so you fully understand and check out your understanding by restating what you have heard.

• Probe for more information. Ask questions such as “Can you give me a bit more detail?”

• Avoid a defensive or emotional response. Comments like “I only did it that way because …” and watch out for “Ah yes, but …”

• Don’t argue with the feedback. It is based on their perception of the truth.

• Feedback is a gift, you can choose whether to accept it.

Challenge

So, we challenge you to go out and ask for feedback from 3 people, you never know, it might just be the catalyst for change you have needed for a while!

Disc 363

If you are a leader and would like to take a more structured approach to receiving feedback we are accredited to offer the Everything DiSC® 363 for Leaders profile. This tool can be used by anyone in a leadership role who wants to include 360 feedback as part of their ongoing personal development. If you are interested in finding out more, contact us on info@pro-development.co.uk

Cooking up a storm

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

This month our fearless Management Development Leaders got hot under the collar in our cookery extravaganza.

What can you learn about leadership in a kitchen we hear you cry? Well quite a lot as our Management Development delegates will tell you. Having to perform under pressure, in unfamiliar situations, providing direction, clarity and communication can be a regular feature of a leader / manager’s role. In the kitchen we simply re-create the business environment and observe people lead.

cook 1 march 18 So, what did the kitchen teach us?

• Keep your eye on the goal

• Spend time up front planning

• Take the time to observe what’s going on

• Use the skills and talents of those around you

• Listen to people and ideas

• Ask questions to understand

• As a leader, try not to get stuck in the detail

• Define the roles and responsibilities of those in the team

• Celebrate the success and reap the rewards!

And reap the rewards we did!

Can you handle the heat of leadership? Would you like to understand more about your style and the impact it has on those who you lead?

To find out more about our Management Development Programme CLICK HERE or give us a call on 01904 628838 for a chat about the programme and how it can help you and your business.

Time

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

time deadline Ah if only I had more of it! It seems to disappear, there’s never enough time in the day to do what we need to do. Recently I met a lady who was early for our appointment, I said I would get there as soon as I could. I spent the next half hour dodging through traffic, getting het up as everything was taking too long and arrived in a fluster and full of apologies for taking so long.

She on the other hand, had a light bulb moment and shared with me, in her calm and serene manner “I’m always late, however being early has given me time to prepare my thoughts, to reflect and learn and its been really great, I am going to be early more often”.

Then I had a light bulb moment, we are victims of our own making. We pack so much in to our busy days that we don’t often allow ourselves time to stop, to catch our breath, to reflect, to learn. I long to be that calm, serene self and so from today I made a pact with myself to change a few things to remove some of this self-imposed time pressure.

Ask yourself these questions?

Does this resonate with you? Do you impose deadlines and pressures on yourself unnecessarily, because let’s face it, what’s the worst that can happen? Are you unrealistic about how long things will take you. If you have answered yes, think about 3 actions you could take to change a few things for yourself to remove the pressure.

If you need more support and challenge in doing this, explore the option of being coached by a member of the Pro-Development team. Coaching is a very powerful tool that can help with behavioural change and may be just the thing you need to make the changes needed. Take a few moments to read what people who have worked with us have to say.

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.