4 ways to encourage better teamwork in your business

In a teamwork culture, team members work collaboratively to further their team’s objectives, perhaps even placing these objectives ahead of their own individual goals. Organisations where employees work alone or in silos will arguably become less productive over time compared to organisations that encourage teamwork.

The message should come from the top, with your Senior leadership team communicating the clear expectation that teamwork and collaboration are expected. However, there are some key issues which should be dealt with as a team leader or line manager, in order to maintain a positive teamwork culture. We’ve highlighted 4 ways that you can encourage better teamwork, based on both our experience of working with organisations on their employee engagement and leadership development strategies and by looking at trends within the employee surveys that we’ve conducted for our clients.

Leaders are only as good as their teams (and vice versa!)

As a leader or manager, you are setting the tone for the rest of the employees in the workplace and your positive attitude and energy will help to motivate and inspire your team. There is lots of good advice out there on how to be a good team leader but I’ll highlight a couple of issues that often come up in our clients’ survey results.

  1. Try to adopt a coaching approach rather than a ‘do as I do’ attitude, allowing team members to demonstrate what they can do without constant interference. Giving clear instruction without micro-managing will prove to your team members that you believe in their abilities and efforts.
  2. Consistency is key when it comes to managing your team. It’s impossible to build trust amongst your team is there’s perceived favouritism. Make sure team members feel they are treated fairly and equally, and take care not to exclude anyone from group decisions or activities. It seems obvious, but conduct team meetings on a regular basis and allow your team members the opportunity to volunteer or get involved with special projects or tasks.

Encourage open communication

Encouraging a culture of open communication will help develop great teamwork and will undoubtedly have a positive on your team’s overall performance. Communication is often an area which scores poorly in the Employee Surveys we conduct. In our experience, many employees often feel that they aren’t being listened to, whether it’s by their immediate managers or the senior leadership team. Your team should be confident in sharing their ideas, points of view, and feelings and not be afraid of doing so.

Let employees know their contribution is valued by introducing rewards for feedback and suggestions. Encouraging contributions from teams rather than individuals will help get team members working together more closely so make sure you offer rewards for collaborative efforts as much as recognising individual contributions and achievements.

Define and share responsibilities

The more clearly you define your team members’ roles and responsibilities, the more effectively they can meet expectations. The team as a whole, as well as individual team members, must have clearly defined responsibilities and objectives in order to focus their efforts. Your team should be encouraged to recognise each other’s role on the team, helping one another when needed. No one completely owns a work area or process all by themselves. As a manager, make sure your team members have opportunities to cross-train others in the team so that the team’s contribution to the business and service to customers is reliable and consistent. This inspirational quote sums up the point perfectly: “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” (Phil Jackson)

Resolve Conflicts

You spend many hours of your life at work, so getting along with your colleagues is very important. Conflict and ‘politics’ amongst team members is a major cause of stress at work. For example, our clients surveys have revealed instances such as team members arguing in public, others giving each other the silent treatment and where one person was left to do all the work while their team members allegedly ‘slacked off’. As a manager or team leader you’ll need to make sure that any tension is resolved as quickly as possible to prevent long-term damage to your team dynamic. Put in place a clear process for employees to raise and resolve issues, so they know they are being listened to, taken seriously and that issues will be dealt with fairly. Teams which include people that do not get along with one another will quickly collapse, become inefficient and unproductive.

 

Team up with INSPIRING…

At INSPIRING, we’ve helped thousands of organisations with Employee Engagement issues over the last 15 years and we’d be happy to share our experience with you. We are also an approved CMI centre providing leadership and management training at different levels with the option of CMI qualifications.

Call us on 0800 612 3098 to find out more or email info@inspiring.uk.com or get in touch using the form.

What is a Learning Culture and why is it important?

One of the best and most efficient ways an organisation of any size can get ahead of its competition is by creating a learning culture.

Working within an SME is all about trying to find that competitive edge. There is a need to continually innovate and be one step ahead of the ‘big boys’. A learning culture, if correctly implemented and carried out effectively, can result in your organisation moving to the next level.

What is a learning culture?

It is important to understand what a learning culture is before trying to implement one.  A learning culture can be achieved by embracing the ethos of learning as a continual process, where it is understood that learning opportunities happen at every stage of an employee’s journey within the organisation. A learning culture needs an agreed set of practices, processes or conventions. The aim of these conventions is to help the people within the organisation learn continuously. All barriers that could potential stop an individual from learning and developing are removed to help create an environment in which learning is at the core.

The differences between a learning culture and training and development

Some may suggest that a learning culture isn’t any different to that of an organisation that provides regular training. However, the subtle differences between a learning environment and that of an organisation that simply focuses on training can result in large changes to the whole organisation. A few examples of the differences are below:

Who leads the training or learning

Within a training environment a specific trainer will come into the organisation and train the employees in a specific area. However, within a learning environment the learning is lead by the individual employee. The employee should be able to understand the areas in which they need to improve or receive coaching and therefore they lead their learning.

How and when learning takes place

Within a training culture the emphasis is on specific workshops or courses which take place at scheduled times throughout the year. However, a learning culture views learning as a continuous effort, for example, through coaching, mentoring and social interaction.

The ‘carrot’ or the ‘stick’

In many organisations, training acts as the ‘stick’, occurring as a result of employees not meeting required outcomes through lack of skills or knowledge. Training in this context is seen similarly to punishment. Within a learning culture the learning is not a result of poor performance but a ‘carrot’ to encourage personal development through a continuous process.

Knowledge sharing

The training culture is often centred around isolation. Different departments are often kept away from one another. This results in some knowledge being warehoused by one department and depriving others of what could be valuable information. However, within a learning culture the emphasis is on collaborative learning. Ideas are shared, not just with other employees but across areas or departments to the benefit of the whole organisation.

What are the benefits of implementing a Learning Culture?

  1. Increased efficiency and productivity
  2. Increased employee engagement resulting in decreased employee turnover
  3. The organisation and its people are better able to react to change
  4. There is an increase in innovation
  5. Increased problem-solving ability within the organisation

How to create a learning environment

There are a few different tactics a manager can implement within their organisation to help it to develop a learning culture:

  • The first step is for the leader(s) of the organisation to commit to the ethos that learning is a continuous process and not one that can be set for a specific time. Therefore, they should treat learning as a resource to be used. This is the mindset needed before starting to create a learning environment.
  • The next step is to introduce the aspects of coaching and mentoring to senior management roles, setting out a plan to coach and mentor the employees that report to them. Some managers may need development themselves in these skills, which only highlights the importance of the learning environment from top to bottom.
  • The employee should then be encouraged to create their own personal development plan to ensure their learning and development needs are noted, understood and followed through. If an organisation is committed to developing a learning culture it must be mandatory for employees to create these plans.
  • It is imperative that once a new skill has been learnt that the organisation recognises and celebrates the achievement, for example, when an employee successfully masters a skill they were being coached on. It does not matter how they have learnt but what matters is that learning is celebrated and rewarded.
  • Regular feedback within a learning culture is very important. There are two main areas of feedback that are vital for the creation of a learning environment. Firstly, feedback from the manager to the employee that they directly manage, where the manager can suggest areas of their work which they could benefit from developing and improving on. Secondly, when the employee has begun to work on identified development areas, the employee should give feedback on whether the specific method of learning they are doing is helping them. This will help the manager be better informed for future development through the identification of preferred learning styles. In addition, the employee should give feedback on what, if anything, they have gained from the learning activity. This needs to be constantly assessed as to whether the investment in learning is worthwhile to both the employee and the organisation.
  • Developing blended learning methods. Not all employees learn in the same manner, some learn best in training courses, others prefer a hands-on approach, whereas other may prefer to learn by being coached. Read our blog about alternatives to training courses.

Are Traditional training courses still needed with a learning environment?

There is always going to be a need for training courses in the traditional sense. Training courses have improved and changed over the years and can often be extremely beneficial. Training courses are sometimes the best methods in which specific learning can take place. Within a learning culture, training courses are one of many tools to be utilised without becoming the main focus of the organisation’s learning and development plan.

Creating Learning Agile Leaders

Research from Korn/Ferry Institute assessed nearly 1 million executives and found that the higher up the corporate ladder an individual goes, the more at home they become with uncertainty and change. This is where being Learning Agile comes into play, especially for leadership.

Sports fans around the world will tell you that agility is rated as one of the most keenly appreciated skills a sportsperson can display. The ability to be flexible in the face of what is thrown at them is of paramount importance. The same skill of agility is extremely important for improving learning in a business environment. Business, as in life, is not all plain sailing. It is sometimes a treacherous place, where you never know what is going to happen next, hence why being Learning Agile has become such an important quality to possess. In a position of power it is you who is looked upon to make the decisions (sometimes without knowing the full details) and it is up to you to lead.

Learning Agile Leaders

Learning agility is described by Korn/Ferry Institute as ‘knowing what to do when you don’t know what to do.’ They go on to say that Learning agility is a key indicator for leadership potential because Learning Agile individuals ‘excel at absorbing information from their experience and then extrapolating from those to navigate unfamiliar situations.’ Therefore, in an increasingly turbulent business environment having the ability to learn and adapt and apply yourself in constantly changing circumstances is the best way to ensure you and your leadership team do not become stagnated.

There are 4 main types of agility that Learning Agile Leaders have:

  • Agility with Others –Agile Leaders will have the ability to relate well with others which is easy in good times however they still can relate to them in tough situations.
  • Mentally Agile – Agile Leaders will have the mental ability to delve deep into complex issues and create new possibilities from them.
  • Agility with Results – Most leaders can deliver results in a repetitive cycle in an area they know well. Learning Agile Leaders deliver results at the first time of asking in new and changing environments by inspiring their team and building confidence.
  • Agility in Change – Learning Agile Leaders enjoy change they like the perceived challenge of change and can deal with uncertainty. They view change as a chance to learn.

Research has also identified that there are four very specific behaviours that Learning Agile Leaders have that enables them to constantly learn and progress.

  • Innovation – These leaders constantly want to challenge beliefs and find unique ways of completing tasks. They examine the status-quo from different angles to try and see if there are new and better ways of working. This leader is constantly seeking new experiences for them to begin to innovate.
  • Risk – There is always an element of risk for these leaders. This risk comes from the want to try new ways of working, and to experience new roles. They use what is called ‘Progressive-Risk’ they do not throw caution to the wind but understand that risk leads to possibility. These leaders put themselves forward for tasks that may not have success guaranteed but there is the possibility of learning, as in the saying ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’.
  • Reflection – Just because a Learning Agile Leader has new experiences does not mean they will learn from them. A constant need for reflection is necessary, they will look for feedback and process what has gone well and where there needs to be improvements, be it with their own behaviours or their actions. By reflecting these leaders become more insightful.
  • Performance – The most learning comes from being in the thick of it and performing a new task or challenge. To learn from these circumstances, the individual must be able to stay on task, not get flustered by the new challenge and be able to perform. The Learning Agile Leader will be able to pick up the new skills required and perform them quicker than their less agile colleagues.

In addition to these four specific behaviours that a Learning Agile individual will have, there is one behaviour that they must avoid:

  • Defensive – A defining principal for learning is being open, be it to new experiences or receptive to feedback. For these individuals they like to seek feedback as it is a chance to validate their progress and processes; they are then able to build upon what has gone well and identify where they need further development. A non-agile learner will be defensive when they are challenged or critiqued. This will put them directly at odds with progression through learning.

How can you develop into an Agile Learner?

  • Innovation – Take any opportunity to seek out new ways to operate. Ask yourself questions such as ‘What more could I be doing?’ ‘What different ways can I approach this task?’ Get yourself into the mindset of looking to innovate where you can.
  • Risk – Look to find tasks where you are not guaranteed success, try to find areas where you will test yourself.
  • Reflection – Ask yourself ‘What if’ questions and think through ways in which tasks would have turned out differently if you had used a different approach. Regularly seek feedback from colleagues and ask them specific questions as to how they felt you approached a task such as ‘What two areas should I improve on for the next task?’. This way you can be sure they will give specific and actionable feedback.
  • Performance – When dealing with a new or complex task, try to find the similarities in this task to that of tasks you have successfully completed. Be deliberate in what you do; don’t simply react in a knee-jerk way. Understand the task at hand fully before rushing to complete it.

Learning Agility is a skill. Like any skill it can be developed and honed over time. It takes time, effort and practice you need to consistently make sure what you are doing is working toward your goal. However, once you have become plugged into this mind-set you will see any chance to learn as an opportunity not to be missed. 

 

Inspiring is an approved CMI centre offering CMI accredited leadership and management programmes and qualifications.

Developing Leadership with the Johari Window

As a leader, trust and honest communication should be at the centre of what you strive to achieve. Without trust, it will be impossible to work through any complex problems or issues with your team as honest and productive conversations will not be able to take place.

What is the Johari Window?

Building good working relationships is a common leadership goal, but it can be difficult to know how and where to start. That is where the Johari Window comes into play.

The Johari Window (1955) was developed by Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingram it was created as an attempt to better understand ourselves and our relationships with others. They created the model below:

Open –  This section relates to all that is known about that individual. It is what is known by the individual themselves and what is known about them by the group. The information that is open can relate to their behaviour, feelings, knowledge, experience or skills etc.

Blind Spot – This area relates to what is known about the individual by the group, but that individual does not know about them self.

Hidden – This relates to what the individual knows about them self but does not reveal to the group. This could be related to their own feelings, fears, sensitivities, agenda or manipulations.

Unknown – This section deals with all the information, feelings, experiences such as a natural ability the individual does not know they possess etc. These are neither known to the individual or known to the group.

Putting the Johari Window into context

Understanding the premise of the Johari Window is one thing but being able to put it into the context of leadership is another! Below are the two most important aspects to focus on whilst using the Johari Window for leadership development.

When engaging in honest conversation as a leader, important information is placed into the open area. Leaders want others to know what the relevant details are to enable them to make informed decisions or understand the targets they must achieve. However, the complicated aspect is moving information from hidden into the open.

Moving information from the Hidden into the Open

It can seem strange to want to move things that are hidden into the open. However, when employees are not aware of what a leader’s goals or concerns are, often they will guess them. Keeping things hidden from employees is often problematic; how can your employees be expected to alleviate your concerns when they aren’t aware of them? When speaking with your team members, consider sharing these two crucial bits of information:

  1. Your top priorities and in what timeframe
  2. The issues that are keeping you up at night

When you share what’s on your mind with colleagues and team members, you are giving them the opportunity to offer their help.

Moving Information from the Blind Spot into Open

To develop this, you as a leader must provide an environment based safety and trust for your employees. It also takes a degree of courage to ask for honest feedback, both from the perspective of yourself and your team members. Your aim should be to have as few blind spots as possible. In our experience, one of the best methods of ensuring ongoing honest feedback is by having frequent one to one sessions with your direct reports. Within these sessions, it may help to ask these questions in order to uncover information on your blind spots:

  1. What should I start doing?
  2. What should I stop doing?
  3. What should I keep doing?

An effective leadership development tool

The Johari Window is an effective tool for helping to develop leadership as it enables a leader to identify areas that they need to work on and issue they have. It is great for helping to create honest conversations within a business and for gaining the ability to build trust –  two elements that cannot be overstated within a productive business environment. Try using this for yourself and see how effective it can be.

10 Business Thought Leaders You Need to Follow Today

The online world is a hub of thought development and business insight. But how do you cut down to the nitty-gritty of genuine information? Find the people who have it.

Here’s our top ten thought leaders who will actually inspire you, help you genuinely motivate your workplace, or seriously develop your conversational abilities. Follow them on Twitter for some quick snippet intros into what makes them tick.

Gary Vaynerchuk (GaryVee)

Known for: CEO of VaynerMedia and VaynerSports. Investor in (and vocal on the topic of) social media.

Follow him if: You want to know how to wield social media to your advantage.

https://twitter.com/garyvee

Elon Musk

Known for: Tesla, SpaceX, PayPal and SolarCity (to name a few).

Follow him if: You are interested in sustainable energy and businesses that invest in humanity.

https://twitter.com/elonmusk

Alice Korngold

Known for: Philanthropic thought leader, and consultant for global businesses and non-profit organisations in corporate community involvement.

Follow her if: You are interested in leadership and development with a positive social impact.

https://twitter.com/alicekorngold

Tim Ferriss

Known for: Leading tech investor. Ferriss is an angel investor to a number of companies including Facebook, Twitter, Evernote and Uber. Author and inspirational speaker.

Follow him if: You want to read the latest business book everyone is talking about.

https://twitter.com/tferriss

Kate Darling

Known for: Expert in robot ethics at MIT, nominated for Digital Thinking awards.

Follow her if: You are interested in the relationships between humans and robots as they evolve.

https://twitter.com/grok_

Michael Porter

Known for: The most cited author in business and economics. Winner of multiple business leadership awards.

Follow him if: You want wisdom backed by a lifetime in the industry.

https://twitter.com/michaeleporter

Nilofer Merchant

Known for: Ted Talk ‘Sitting is the new smoking’. Made over $18b in sales from personally launching over 100 products.

Follow her if: You want to know how to best unlock the capacities of others, and other business strategy solutions.

https://twitter.com/nilofer

Tony Robbins

Known for: American author and entrepreneur. One of the most popular and well known thought leaders.

Follow him if: You want motivation to succeed.

https://twitter.com/TonyRobbins

Simon Sinek

Known for: Motivational speaker and marketing consultant. Focus on inspirational leadership and organisational structure.

Follow him if: You want be a great leader.

https://twitter.com/simonsinek

Eric Brynjolfsson

Known for: Academic and professor at MIT. Brynjolfsson co-wrote ‘Race Against the Machine’ .

Follow him if: You are interested in the co-working of digital tech, employment and organisations.

https://twitter.com/erikbryn

 

Anyone you think we should be following? Let us know.

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Want more sales? Have happy employees

An unhappy workforce is something your customers will pick up on and will undoubtedly impact your sales. In addition, unhappy employees usually unproductive employees. It’s therefore crucial to dedicate resources to ensuring your employees are happy in their work.

Happy, productive employees

There’s plenty of evidence around relating to the link between employee engagement and productivity. A study from the University of Warwick suggested that happy employees were 12% more productive. The research was carried out by Professor Andrew Oswald, Dr Eugenio Proto and Dr Daniel Sgroi from the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick. Professor Oswald said: “Companies like Google have invested more in employee support and employee satisfaction has risen as a result. For Google, it rose by 37%, they know what they are talking about. Under scientifically controlled conditions, making workers happier really pays off.” Dr Sgroi added: “The driving force seems to be that happier workers use the time they have more effectively, increasing the pace at which they can work without sacrificing quality.”

Happiness and your bottom line

When it comes to the impact of employee happiness on sales, research by the Hay Group found that organisations scoring within the top 25% for employee engagement achieve 2.5 times the revenue growth of organisations in the bottom 25%. The Hay Group reported more evidence of the positive impact of employee engagement, finding that high engagement levels can reduce employee turnover by 4%, which reduces recruitment costs. It also found a direct link between employee engagement and customer satisfaction, suggesting that employees who are happy at work will often go the extra mile when it comes to customer service (backing up the theory behind the title of this blog!).

Valuing your people

The key to employee happiness is balancing the value that you place on your employees with the value that they get out of working for your organisation. If your business plan includes a strategy for valuing people and ensuring the happiness of employees, the benefits could be huge. For example, more ideas, greater commitment, improved customer service and, ultimately, better productivity that will help to gain a competitive advantage.

If working for your organisation creates a valuable experience for your employees, they are more likely to remain loyal and put in extra effort.  The result of that extra effort is an employee whose value to your organisation far outweighs their cost.

This may sound like the holy grail of employee relations, but it really doesn’t require complex or expensive investment in new ways of working. What it does rely on is wholehearted support from your senior leadership team, through their vision, leadership and communication.

Team up with INSPIRING

INSPIRING provides valuable, practical advice for organisations who want to improve employee engagement or look more generally at achieving performance improvements. Take a look at our employee surveys, leadership programmes or find out more about BS 76000 – the British Standard for Valuing People. Get in touch using the form on the left, email us or call us free on 0800 612 3098.

Employee Engagement Surveys: using benchmarking to compare your results with other organisations

We’re often asked by our clients how their scores compare to other organisations that we have provided employee surveys for. We’ve been using our own ‘engagement index’ for 13 years now, so we’re sharing some of this insight and looking at some other benchmarking resources that might help you determine how you match up to other organisations.

Providing benchmark scores

As all of the surveys that we conduct for our clients are designed specifically for their own organisation, it would be impossible (and unethical!) to compare scores between surveys to determine if one organisation is ‘better’ than another. However, many organisations do want the ability to be able to rate themselves against similar organisations.  External benchmarking resources can be particularly useful when referring to results which indicate levels of employee engagement, as this has been proven to have a significant impact on employee, and in turn, organisational performance. Back in 2003, Towers Perrin (now WillisTowersWatson) identified the items that define employee engagement:

  • Emotional Items – to determine an employee’s personal satisfaction and the sense of inspiration and affirmation they get from their work and being part of an organisation
  • Rational Items – relating to the relationship between the employee and the broader organisation.

A set of questions were included in the Towers Perrin 2003 Talent Report and subsequently in their 2005 Global Workforce Study to determine employee engagement levels in line with the above items. Inspiring have drawn on this set of questions to create our own ‘engagement index’ and have used these when designing employee engagement surveys for many of our clients, ever since we began providing employee surveys 13 years ago.

Of course, the headings and questions have changed somewhat in more recent Global Workforce Studies (find out more about the 2016 study on the WillisTowersWatson website), however for Inspiring, using our original set of questions as a constant has allowed us to monitor ‘engagement index’ scores over the past 13 years and provide a benchmark for our clients to measure their own results against.

In the majority of our surveys, we use uniform distribution to calculate a percentage figure that reflects the positivity score of each question. From within our engagement index, here are the questions that have resulted in the highest and lowest average scores (as of 30th June 2017) for surveys undertaken since January 2014:

  • I care about the future of XYZ: 84%
  • I would recommend XYZ as a great place to work: 71%

These scores, along with those from our other engagement index questions, provide a useful reference to help organisations put their own results into context, as well as give an indication of what can be achieved by having an effective employee engagement strategy. For those organisations who have undertaken repeat surveys with us, it’s usual for their scores to improve year on year across the engagement index, especially when they have developed and implemented an action plan following their survey feedback. Our engagement index average scores are of course changing all the time as we conduct more surveys in which these questions are included – in fact, over the past 12 months the average overall engagement index score has increased by 0.5%.

Identifying the reasons for high or low survey scores

Having conducted hundreds of surveys over the years, we’ve had the benefit of gaining insight into the trends which affect employee engagement levels within organisations. Here are some of the factors that we’ve found to have had the greatest effect on employee engagement scores:

Higher levels of employee engagement

  • Being people-focused
  • Good communications
  • Opportunities for training, learning and personal development
  • Strong leadership
  • Culture of trust and empowerment.
  • Good work-life balance

Lower levels of employee engagement

  • Lack of communication
  • Organisational Change
  • Workload / staff shortages
  • Poor leadership and direction
  • Lack of respect or concern for non-managerial staff

The effect of pay on employee engagement

Although pay and benefits do not feature in our engagement index questions, perhaps unsurprisingly, research conducted by other organisations suggests that this is a major factor in employee engagement. In the XpertHR Employee Engagement Survey 2015, Pay ranked highest as the most substantial influence on employee engagement, cited by 37.1% of respondents. In addition, an HBR study, published in Human Resource Management Journal earlier this year, showed that performance-related pay was positively associated with job satisfaction, organisational commitment, and trust in management.

Useful Resources

Benchmarking is often confusing, as there are so many surveys and reports out there to consider. If you’re looking for some free resources to help benchmark your organisation externally here are three places which might provide some useful statistics:

The CIPD’s Spring Outlook provides findings from their latest survey and it’s free to download.

The Global Workforce Study conducted by WillisTowersWatson mentioned earlier in our blog is also an interesting read for anyone concerned with employee engagement.

XpertHR offers a free HR benchmark tool to help you find out how your organisation compares on key HR and employment benchmarks.

Team up with Inspiring…

Find out more about our employee surveys on our website. If you are considering undertaking an employee engagement survey and would like more information about our services or would like to chat to one of our team about benchmarking, get in touch on 0800 612 3098 or email us at info@inspiring.uk.com.

Things to consider when restructuring your business

Expanding or restructuring your business could mean that you find yourself having to manage some difficult changes. We've put together some of the key points to consider when you’re planning and implementing a restructure from a people aspect.

Restructuring your business inevitably results in having to implement changes within your organisation, which will in turn test the skills of your leaders and managers.

As a leader, you have a responsibility to stay positive, upbeat and focused on the future. You will need to utilise all those coaching and interpersonal skills you’ve learnt along the way to allay any concerns people may have whilst maintaining a grip on the day to day business. In addition, having a management team who possess good people skills and display positive behaviour is crucial to managing change effectively.

John Telfer, Managing Director of Inspiring says “In my experience of working with businesses undergoing change, the thing they often have in common is the problem of Accidental Managers. They are the people that get promoted to management positions because they have the technical skills to do their job brilliantly, but they don’t have the people skills to manage a team effectively.”

Here are some other key points to consider when you’re planning and implementing a restructure from a people aspect:

1. Why is a re-structure being planned? Being clear on the purpose of the exercise is vital as this will be the starting point for of all other planning and implementation activities.

2. Enable clear communications to all those involved and use the purpose to describe what the end result will look like and how associated benefits will help the organisation.

3. Essential to success when re-structuring is to identify any areas of resistance. People get attached to structures just like all other familiar aspects of their organisation – some people may be reluctant to give these up unless the reasons make sense.

4. Inviting people to ask questions and get involved are important elements which if ignored may result in bad compromises and ineffective arrangements as the restructuring unfolds.

5. Ask line managers to keep an eye on their team to spot early signs as to how people are reacting to the changes and whether this is having an impact on their performance.

 

Do your leaders and managers have the right the skills and behaviours and are they working effectively together as a team?

INSPIRING helps develop Inspiring leaders and managers. Our 3-phase approach diagnoses development needs, designs and delivers appropriate training and evaluates the outcomes, allowing you to measure the impact on your business. Our Leadership Development Programmes include an option to work towards a formal management qualification accredited by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).

Nurturing Leadership Qualities

When you’re looking to grow your business and enable it to achieve its potential, it’s vital that you have a strong leadership team.

Promoting from within can foster a meritocratic culture where employees understand that with the right qualities and behaviours they can rise up the ladder within your company. It can be more beneficial to recruit internally rather than externally because of the smooth transition between roles and increased employee engagement and retention.

A great leader can engage your staff and encourage increased productivity. Spotting employees with leadership potential and helping them to develop their skills and behaviours will reap big rewards for both the individual and your organisation.

There is an argument that great leaders are born rather than taught, however many people do recognise that leadership is indeed a skill you can learn. Leicester City Manager Claudio Ranieri is a prime example of how leadership skills can be developed and perfected over time, with the help of personal knowledge and experience.

Writing in an article in The Psychologist, with Professor Alex Haslam of the University of Queensland, the psychologists explained: “Ultimately, Claudio Ranieri’s redemption follows a trajectory from ‘I’ to ‘we’. From his first day as Leicester manager he was keen to make it clear that it was not he who was special, but the team and league that he had come to serve.” Professor Haslam added: ‘Ranieri’s failures and successes teach us critical lessons about how to be a good leader – and also how to be a bad leader. Indeed, there is a long history of leaders in sport – but also in politics and business, moving in precisely the opposite direction to Ranieri.

Leadership may be a skill, but it is understood that many leaders share similar traits, and it’s these traits that you can identify in your employees. In an article for the Guardian, Senior management coach, Steve Nicholls, was quoted as saying: “There is something built into leaders about the kind of personality traits which enable them to be effective. A strong self belief is very important. Natural qualities are fundamental to leadership. You can learn the techniques of leadership, but in terms of personality I don’t think you can.”

Once you’ve identified leadership qualities in individuals it’s your job as an employer to encourage and assist them to reach their full potential.

How to nurture?

The first step is to talk to the person, let them know how well they’re doing and find out if they’re interesting in stepping up into a leadership role within the company. This is your opportunity to discuss development areas and see which path the individual would like their career to take. Once you know that the potential leader wants to progress, you can help them to reach the required level to step into the role when a vacancy appears.

Give increased responsibility

Providing opportunities to take on additional responsibility will show your employee how much you trust them. How you do this depends on the person’s role and your organisation but there are usually ways to offer small leadership roles, such as a place on a committee or chairing a team meeting.

Other ways to increase an individual’s responsibility include delegating challenging assignments and tasking them with special projects. Give those you’re nurturing the autonomy and freedom to solve problems for your organisation. Managing director of INSPIRING John Telfer says that it’s important to make sure that managers aren’t using all of their time on reporting and line management duties however. “This can hinder their own progress by making them focus on what has been, instead of what could be achieved if they are allowed to develop their own inspiring leadership skills,” he explains.

Mentoring programme

Offering a mentor programme can help to support those in whom you spot potential. Pairing them with a senior leader will give your junior staff the opportunity to benefit from the senior member’s experience and they can be inspired to push forward and achieve their goals. Providing mentors can also assist your future leaders in growing their leadership skills. The mentors could suggest books to read, TED talks to watch, and so on.

Provide training in areas of development

In their current role it might not be possible for your future leaders to be exposed to areas that they need to develop, for example commercial knowledge. Offering training that fills these knowledge gaps is a good way to help your staff develop. This could be done formally through an external training provider or informally through work-shadowing or internal coaching on specific skills and leadership competencies.

Recognise achievements and show your appreciation

One of the traits of a good leader is commitment and dedication to the organisation. Your leadership team needs to be fully invested in your company, aiming to be able to encourage and engage junior employees. Thanking your staff and giving honest recognition for their work achievements can help them to feel appreciated and enhance their job satisfaction. As Bart Cleveland wrote for Ad Age, “Sure, it is an employee’s job to do their best. But ask yourself, would you give even more if you knew you were appreciated?”


If you’re looking for a formal way to identify development areas and provide leadership qualifications for your future leaders, our INSPIRING Leadership programme could be ideal for your organisation. This three-phase approach gives your employees a personalised development programme, helps you to retain talent and aligns with your business needs, directly benefiting your bottom line. Find out more about INSPIRING Leadership here.

Why people are leaving your organisation (and what you can do about it)

Understanding why people leave your business and having the strategies in place to deal with issues effectively is crucial if you want to retain your best employees.

If people are leaving your business, it will usually be for one or more of the following reasons:

Lack of manager support…

Unsupportive managers are a key reason for people leaving. It’s a common saying that people leave their manager, not their job.
The skills and behaviours required for leaders and managers are different. An Inspiring Leader has a clear and compelling vision for the organisation. They can engage their team and encourage increased productivity. An Inspiring Manager will be able to set objectives and communicate effectively to their team, helping your employees to pull together and achieve your business goals.
INSPIRING can help you diagnose problem areas and provide tailored development through our Inspiring Leadership programmes.

Not such a great place to work…

Culture, physical working environment and operating policies all factor highly in ensuring a healthy, engaged and productive workforce.
The culture within your organisation impacts the happiness and satisfaction of your employees. It also strengthens, or weakens, employee retention and affects how your business attracts new talent. Conducting a culture survey will pinpoint what’s needed to create and maintain a positive culture: i.e. valuing, recognising and supporting individuals contribution to the company, both from the perspective of the employer and employee.
You could also look into having a wellbeing survey , which measures the physical, emotional and social wellbeing of your employees, as well as identifying areas where you can improve wellbeing within the workplace.

Career progression…

You will have a better chance of holding on to your employees if you have plans in place for talent management, succession planning and learning and development.
Spotting employees with leadership potential and helping them to develop their skills and behaviours will reap big rewards for both the individual and your organisation. Have a look at our recent article ‘How to identify future leaders in your organisation’ for more about this.
As well as offering learning and development solutions, INSPIRING can help with design and implementation of a tailored performance management system to ensure that your team is set relevant KPIs / objectives that not only reflect your business needs, but also correlate to their personal development.

Not feeling valued…

Employees will leave if they are disengaged and don’t feel appreciated. Reward and recognition isn’t always about money. Everyone would like to get paid more for what they do, but other important factors for job satisfaction include opportunities to:
• grow and learn new skills;
• to progress their career;
• to work on challenging and stimulating projects;
• to be acknowledged and praised for their efforts; and
• to feel that they are an important a part of the overall business.

Working with BSI’s new people management Standard (BS 76000) will ensure your people practices are clearly defined and consistent. As a result, your employees will be more engaged, paving the way for improvement in both individual and business performance.
INSPIRING can support you throughout every stage, from your first look at the Standard through to initial audit and beyond. Achieving certification against BS 76000 will help your staff to understand their impact on the overall business and demonstrate that you truly value your people.

The best way to find out why your people are leaving is to ask them!

Conducting Exit Surveys will help you understand why employees leave, enabling you to identify any problem areas. INSPIRING’s bespoke exit surveys, with reports tailored to your business, will help you to understand and reduce staff turnover.