Posts Tagged ‘Honest Conversations’

The Advantages Of A Calm Approach

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

breathe pictureIt’s been another great weekend for British sport with Geraint Thomas winning the Tour de France and Lewis Hamilton the Hungarian Grand Prix. Followers of Formula One may have detected that Hamilton appears more calm and measured than he has in earlier seasons. In a recent interview (Beyond the Grid, F1 website) he talked about the impact of the highs and lows of F1 racing. In the early years this caused him to have extreme highs and lows of emotion. He has learned that the calmer he can be when racing, the better it will be for him. He refers to the calm approach of Serena Williams and Muhammad Ali and suggests that it’s like shooting at a target, but you are moving around; if you can breathe and calm it down you will be much more likely to hit the target.

This reminded us of a recent management development cohort. One of the delegates was an experienced shot but when he was trying to hit the target, adrenalin was taking control of his body and hindering his performance. He was able to relate this to other areas of his work life and we worked with him to help calm down his automatic, adrenalin filled response. This has helped him to be calmer and more measured in his approach.

The outcomes from our management development programme are much wider than a traditional leadership programme because of our unique mix of theory, experiential activities and coaching.

Do you have any managers/leaders who would benefit from developing and fine tuning their leadership skills?

Click here for more information.

Are your Leaders and Managers hot to trot?

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

2017-06-28 15.21.31 Having the confidence and self-belief to face challenging and sometimes conflict situations in the work place is a common issue we find when we speak to the many managers we come across in our work. As a result, there is a lack of action and issues are left to fester. Often, the lack of action taken by managers in these situations is a source of frustration for many team members and has a detrimental impact on team morale and employee engagement.

Interesting, we are seeing a theme at the moment as well around managers and leaders who are still getting too involved in the role they had before they were promoted and not making time for managing and leading their team. In a coaching session recently, one manager who was spending 90% of his time doing his old role said “but if I don’t do all this work, what would I be doing?” It can seem like a blank sheet to many people who have never led or managed a team before.

We believe that giving managers theory, processes and tips to understand their role or deal with issues and challenges isn’t enough; a more holistic approach is needed to develop their confidence and belief in themselves as a person and as a leader and enable them to develop their own vision of what being an authentic and inspiring leader looks like.

This is the approach we have taken on our Management Development Programme and we are seeing some amazing transformations; one person was even described as going from zero to hero.

• Do you have managers and leaders who know what do to do in challenging situations but are not stepping up?

• Do you have managers and leaders who avoid conflict situations?

• Do you have managers and leaders who seem to be too busy in the day job to manage their team?

• Are your managers and leaders holding back on some honest conversations?

Based on our experience we believe a high percentage of those answers will be yes but let us know your thoughts on what you think gets in their way of dealing with the issues.

We also know our Management Development programme has equipped people with the confidence and belief to go on to be truly authentic and inspirational leaders who face challenges head on. If you think this is something your business would benefit from, click here to watch our video or contact us and we can talk you through the programme and the benefits of having a manager hot to trot!

Phone Addiction

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

mobile phone pic 2018 This month we have heard about Simon Cowell who has ditched his smart phone for 10 months…WOW! We say WOW because we are not sure we could do that, but the thought of it sounds fantastic. We wonder how many times a day we look at our phones? Even writing this blog we have glanced at it about ten times and touched it twice. If we ever can’t see our phone or fear that we have left it somewhere we go into a complete meltdown. Its quite a scary addiction, and we say addiction because we think we probably are addicted to it.

Rest assured that it’s not just us. When we deliver training courses, we now ask people to turn their phones on to silent. Sometimes we ask people to agree a way of working together to get the most out of the training event, often the mobile phone is mentioned where people ask for agreement that they will remain off them for the duration of the course. Interestingly though, as soon as it is break time we see delegates rummaging in their bags looking for their phones taking calls and checking appointments. Are we really that critical to the business that a couple of hours without contact will cause a massive risk to the business? We think we all know the answer to that one!

Our challenge to you

• Ask someone to be your conscience and notice how often you check your phone during a work day.

• The next meeting you go to, turn your phone off or leave it ask your desk.

• When you get home tonight, turn your phone off until the next morning.

• Notice how you feel, being away from your phone.

The power of self-awareness

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

self awarenes 3 Increasing self-awareness is a very powerful tool. What’s great is that ANYONE can do it at ANYTIME. There is just one key rule, you need to be open to it!

There are many ways that we can increase our self-awareness – we can seek feedback from others either verbally or non-verbally, we can work on being more present and in the moment so we spot what is going on around us and how we are feeling/behaving and from reflecting on situations, conversations and their outcomes. In a recent Chartered Institute of Personal and Development article, there is reference to a large company who has invested in a Leadership Programme to “help managers increase their self-awareness and deliver more effectively” and they are seeing great results.

Managers and leaders having great self-awareness is important. How many of you have worked for a manager whose lack of engagement has impacted on the whole teams’ motivation to deliver, or the manager who delivers key business messages starting “this isn’t me saying this, its them” leaving the team disengaged from the content of the message. Managers and Leaders need to have an awareness of their impact on others which in turn impacts on engagement levels and ultimately business results.

Questions for you…

• How engaged are your managers/leaders?

• How self-aware are your managers/leaders?

• How often do you provide feedback to your managers and leaders?

• Do you your managers and leaders ask for feedback?

• How well do your managers/leaders understand and manage their own emotions?

Now reflect and answer the questions on yourself!

Pro-development offer programmes and coaching to build self-awareness Click Here to find out more. If you would like further information or to speak to us then call us on 01904 628838.

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.

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.