Posts Tagged ‘Honest Conversations’

Emails – Is it just me?

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

email or call Is there anybody else out their who spends ages composing an email, reads and re-reads and then hovers over the send button mustering up the courage to press the button? It is so difficult to send some emails knowing that the words we use can be interpreted in so many ways, often dependant on the mood of the receiver, the grammar and mis-use of grammar, the size of font and is it appropriate to use bold? Dare I underline? Red font means trouble, but what does blue font mean?

Why oh why are we reducing our use of the telephone? We used to use it before the advent of email and text and rarely hovered over the key pad. Is it time to bring the phone back into our lives more? Well we think so, not to replace email but to be used in conjunction with.

We often find that communication is an area that scores low on employee engagement surveys, and an over reliance on emails to communicate makes a regular appearance in the comments.

So, I would like to challenge you all today, to make a call where you would normally email. Note the difference it makes to the quality of the communication. If you find it has a positive impact, try and make a phone call part of your daily routine, just as email is. Email does have its place, no doubt, just leave a little room for a conversation … it’s good to talk!

If you would like to know more about Employee Engagement, click here. If you would like support with communication in your business, you could email us on info@pro-development.co.uk and don’t forget you can always pick up the phone and call us on 01904 628838 for a good old fashioned chat!

How do I feel?

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

Blue Monday Drum beat please…

“How does it feel to treat me like you do?

When you’ve laid your hands upon me and told me who you are

I thought I was mistaken, I thought I heard your words

Tell me, how do I feel

Tell me now, how do I feel”

Yes, Blue Monday is here. 21st January, apparently is the most depressing day of the year!

Let’s turn this around and turn this negative into a positive! Here are some hints and tips to brighten your day…

• Wear your favourite item of work clothing, something that makes you feel good.

• Treat yourself to an extra special breakfast (egg benedict springs to mind)

• Pick out one of your favourite happy tunes and blast it out on the way to work (we recommend Xanadu by Olivia Newton John )

• Don’t forget to sing along!

• Make a point of wishing colleagues good morning and pay them a genuine compliment (You never know, they might just be wearing a favourite item of work clothing!)

• Go for a lunch time walk, notice the trees, the sounds that fill the air, feel the wind in your hair.

• Give colleagues some positive, authentic feedback.

• Repeat a personal mantra in your head (something like “I rock”)

• Leave work on time and return home with another favourite tune (We recommend ‘I’m in the mood for dancing’ The Nolans, or ‘Funky Town’ Lipps inc)

• Don’t forget to sing along!

• Go out for tea. A lot of restaurants have great deals on a Monday.

• Relax at home, note all the good things in your life.

• Have a bath with some of the body wash you undoubtedly got for Christmas.

• Spray your pillow with lavender scent and tuck yourself into bed for an early night.

There, I think we’ve got you through it! If you would like to learn more about personal wellbeing, then get in touch to find out how we can help you develop in this area. For more info click here.

New year, New You!

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

new year new you Well here we go again! Resolutions set, however, the stats would tell us we are unlikely to succeed! Well not this year. Why not turn those resolutions into serious goals that you can smash!

Are you with me?

Ok, whether you have thought about what you want to achieve this year or not, think about the following, you might get some new ideas:

• What has been your biggest learning in 2018?

• What are you going to do differently this year?

• What do you want to achieve in 2019?

• What do you want to be saying about your achievements in a years’ time?

Once you have done that, it’s time to write down some goals. Make sure they are SMART though!

• Specific (in other words, you are very clear what it is you want to do)

• Measurable (how will you know you have achieved?)

• Achievable (in the realms of possibility)

• Realistic (umm, that’s a biggy – our resolutions are quite often not realistic! I mean, losing 3 stones is achievable, but not very realistic!)

• Timebound (has a deadline)

Finally ask yourself

• Have I limited myself?

• What could get in my way?

• Am I excited by the goals?

• How can I make sure that I achieve my goals?

Right, we’re off and running (well cycling in my case – the exercise bike arrives tonight!) Good luck, keep focused and here’s to a brilliant 2019

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.