Want to increase productivity? An Employee Engagement Strategy is a good place to start.

Businesses with an effective employee engagement strategy will be rewarded with greater levels of innovation; increased commitment from employees and, ultimately, better productivity that will impact directly on business performance.

Examples of positive employee engagement practices include:

  • Shared decision-making
  • The opportunity for all people to influence the planning process
  • A robust approach to communicating
  • An open flow of information
  • The development of effective leaders and managers

For this article we thought we would focus a bit more on the people aspect and look at how workplace behaviours and relationships impact on employee engagement levels, which in turn affect the productivity of your team. Here are some of our thoughts on the fundamentals that lie behind a great employee engagement strategy.

Reciprocity

At the heart of the employment relationship is reciprocity. If employees believe that they are supported by their employer (and their line manager) in getting what they want out of work beyond just money, they will respond with positive behaviour.

The right person for the right job

Creating a fit between the needs of the role and the needs of the individual person will help to build a culture which is driven by supportive behaviours that are good for performance and productivity.

Competence & Capability

Make sure that managers have a good understanding of what their team members’ individual competencies and capabilities are. Giving individuals the opportunity to use their skills to the best of their ability will give them great satisfaction whilst the business will gain value by making the lost of them.

Encourage Self-determination

Enable your people to make decisions for themselves at a level appropriate to their role and responsibilities.  Allow individuals to initiate and regulate their own actions whilst ensuring line managers step up to their role of supporting their team members.  It’s about creating a good level of trust within your business, i.e. does the manager trust the team member to do the job?  Does the team member feel trusted?

Impact

Make sure that your people understand the impact they have on business performance as a whole.  At all levels they should be able to describe the contribution they make and the important part they play in the success of the organisation.

 

If you’ve recently started to develop your employee engagement strategy or are looking to revive your existing one the main thing to remember is that it doesn’t need to involve expensive investment or developing a whole new set of policies and procedures. It does however need wholehearted support from your Leadership Team through their leadership and strategic vision, and the active buy-in of effective line managers.

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.

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

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.

Could 360 degree feedback help rejuvenate your workforce?

If you’re thinking about running a 360 degree feedback exercise, you may find our objective look at the pitfalls and advantages of 360 degree feedback useful in deciding if it could help rejuvenate your workforce.

Three Common Pitfalls of 360 Degree Feedback

1. 360 degree feedback is a very sensitive activity that touches people to the very core of their personality and it should be completed sensitively and empathically. If the purpose, methodology or understanding of multi-source assessment is misunderstood, it can result in a destructive situation from which it can take years to recover.

2. 360 degree feedback should never be linked to merit, pay or reward. Under ideal circumstances multi-source feedback is used as an assessment for personal development rather than evaluation. Certainly, the results should never be used as a way to punish the individual in any way.

3. Some would agree that 360 degree feedback can take people outside of their comfort zones and result in some difficult conversations. People may be afraid to give honest answers, perhaps in fear of lack of anonymity or they’ve been encouraged to collude with others respondents to give false opinions.

 

Three Advantages of 360 Degree Feedback 

1. In some cases, 360 degree feedback can be used to reduce tension, for example, if an employee is having difficulties with their manager or there is a perceived ‘personality clash’, the end results averaged and weighted by feedback from others could offset or diminish potential personal misjudgements.

2. The 360 degree feedback process is a good way of improving communication within your organisation and can be a useful tool in the run up to a company restructure and to help implement change. The process can help break down barriers between areas in the company and create a culture of openness and trust.

3. Different people often have vastly different views of who we are. To know what we look like in another’s eyes provides a strong enabler for personal development and growth. Being able to gather and analyse the perceptions of colleagues, not just those we report to, can be extremely powerful in helping us understand how our actions play out from many points of view, other than our own.

 

Tips for success

  • Have a clear communication strategy for disseminating the purpose aims and intentions of the assessment
  • Develop an unambiguous questionnaire which includes open ended comments
  • Have a properly constructed competency framework and link this to your organisational goals and values
  • Maintain confidentiality
  • View criticism positively and as an opportunity of personal development
  • Have a plan of support and development in place for candidates following the assessment.
  • Provide clear, consistent and easily understood results reports.

 

If you would like to speak to one of the team at Inspiring about 360 degree feedback, call us on 0800 612 3098 or email info@inspiring.uk.com or get in touch using the form. You can also visit our 360 Degree page for more information.

The Importance of Evaluation in Leadership Development (and how to do it effectively)

In most cases, evaluation is usually carried out towards the end of a process. We do this because want to examine if what we did or experienced went well, where it struggled and what could be done differently next time. But what if this is actually the wrong way to carry out Leadership Evaluation?

Leadership Evaluation should be a continuous process for it to become truly effective. The key here is to have more chances to reflect on the whole process, not just at the end. This allows you to adjust things as and when you need to and not wait until the end of the process to find out if you achieved everything you set out to.

Continuous Leadership Evaluation

When developing your leadership skills, it can be very easy to fall prey to not allowing enough time for effective evaluation. If you do not take stock of how close you are to progressing towards your objectives, you will not be able to identify what you have achieved and where further growth is required.

Whilst working towards improving your own leadership skills, it is imperative to evaluate and fine-tune. Continuous evaluation allows you to do this by looking at new skills you have learnt and assessing what needs additional work, enabling you to use this to lead future actions. By being honest with yourself about how your journey is advancing, you can accurately track your progression and use evaluation as a tool for improvement. Be objective and evaluate fairly both your successes and weaknesses and use your findings to build upon your areas of strength and target your weaknesses.

Methods of Evaluation

Journals and Logs

These are the most efficient methods of examining where you have moved forward against your objectives whilst also helping you reflect on what has already been accomplished. The main benefit of keeping a journal is that it is structured, so you can note down exactly what has happened as it happened. You may find it difficult to accurately note an activity you have put into your journal but there are ways in which you can stay on task. When struggling to document your feelings use the following for help:

  • How do I feel?
  • Has my attitude changed?
  • What was the reaction of my colleagues?

The way you decide to create your own journal will depend on whatever you find to be most effective for you. However, key things to note down are:

  • Feedback from colleagues or clients and your own thoughts about them
  • Specific incidents and examining how you reacted to them
  • How you were able to work within a specific team

Self-Reflection

As you will already know, the act of reflection is looking back on learning, events or even actions and from this trying to draw lessons. Self-reflection is an important strategy when it comes to evaluation as you can look back on your areas of weakness and identify what you would like to improve on yourself, without any outside influence. By reflecting, you can:

  • Examine where you have weakness and what you can do to improve before the next time that situation arises.
  • Examine what methods of learning have best suited you and build future learning around them.
  • Scrutinise where your strengths lie and how you can use this knowledge in future.

Feedback

Any worthwhile evaluation contains at least some elements of feedback. Feedback can be from almost any source that is clear, honest and specific, e.g. analytical tools, colleagues or appraisals. Asking an individual for feedback can seem daunting, but it is essential for you to stay emotionally detached and take everything they are saying positively and not personally. Asking for feedback from someone in an unstructured way could potentially mean important feedback could be wasted, therefore consider asking for the following information:

  • Specific strengths that you exhibit
  • Specific areas in which you can be more efficient or effective
  • Specific situations in which you could have acted differently

Whilst feedback can be given by anyone, it is important that you identify a suitable source, relevant to you or the situation. You should look to be selective about who you ask and consider whether their feedback has merits. Before deciding, ask yourself:

  • Is feedback being given by someone that has experience?
  • Is there evidence to support their feedback?
  • Is their feedback verifiable?

Evaluation Infographic

 

The Happy Employee: Transparency

When it comes to the workplace environment it can be difficult to ensure total transparency. The phrase ‘you are the face of the company’ is something that employees often hear, and whilst this is designed to encourage employees to represent the company as best as they can, it is also true.

As an employee, you are responsible for various company procedures, as well as client interactions – acting as a major part of the company. Which is why transparency in business is important; how can you represent your company without total understanding of how the business runs? By implementing transparency in the workplace, you can effectively increase overall employee productivity.

Information

Some companies limit the information that they provide to employees; both client related and internal. By including employees in communication about the company’s profits and achievements, a positive connection is forged – as employees can understand how their hard work contributes to the company’s success. The same can also be applied to losses and any setbacks, as employees will feel invested and increase their efforts to ensure the company gets back on track.

Authority

By providing authority to employees, you can motivate them to become empowered. Employees who are given authority become more inspired to be decisive and take responsibility for their actions, both of which are strong elements in great employee performance. This also reduces time wasted on waiting for approval from a higher authority, and allows employees to continue with the work that they are given at their own pace.

Communication

Giving your employees an opportunity to discuss ways for the company to move forward, improve operations or point out areas that require development, allows you to establish a connection with your team. Show them that management appreciates and values employee thoughts and suggestions. Consider implementing the changes and requests your employees offer, where applicable, as this further cements your relationship with your employees and demonstrates that they are an important part of the business.

Deliver on your promises

As management, it can be easy to offer incentives to your employees to encourage them to work harder and more productively. Whilst these incentives can be an effective tool, often we can forget what we have promised – or put it to the side so we can focus on more important things. However, by not delivering on your promises to your employees, they can become unhappy, resulting in a lower standard of employee performance. By ensuring incentives are given to employees, big or small, and providing everyone with the chance to receive these bonuses, you are ultimately encouraging employees to work harder to receive these benefits.

 

Ultimately, transparency provides your employees with a clear and happy path to success, allowing them to feel valued, supported and involved, whilst ensuring any grievances can be swiftly and effectively handled.

Why being consistent is so important when it comes to people management

You know the importance of having a leadership team that is able to encourage and engage employees. But with different leaders having different strengths, weaknesses, behaviours and personalities, how do you achieve consistency across your organisation and help maintain a positive perception of ‘The Management’ amongst staff?

From the employee surveys that we conduct for our clients, the text questions always make for an interesting read. So many comments are made about management, in terms of how some managers are either good or bad in different ways. For example, managers who allegedly don’t delegate properly; make seemingly harsh decisions as opposed to those in other teams; or who never give praise, when other people are being given recognition for their efforts on a regular basis.

Of course, not all comments stem from management problems – it can be that some individuals have a more negative perception than others. However, from our experience, having different management styles and inconsistency with how people are managed is often the cause of problems relating to people feeling that they’re being treated unfairly in some way.

Here are a few of our thoughts, based on our experience of working with many different organisations, on how you might go about creating consistency across teams in your workplace.

Communication is key

Honesty and openness from managers will help renew common purpose across your organisation. Managers should communicate with their teams regularly regarding plans and progress; operational activities and milestones. Staff should be invited to ask, comment and suggest on a regular basis. Make sure all managers are arranging regular, documented team meetings or one to ones to ensure that everyone is being given this opportunity.

Create opportunities for new and shared experiences

Giving employees the opportunity to shadow a colleague in a different department, or to participate in a cross-departmental team of some kind, can give them new perspectives whilst helping them to contribute more to the company. Managers can use the exercise to expand their own thinking as well as that of the individuals involved. All in all, it’s a simple cost effective way of sharing experience and creating cross-team understanding. It may also lead to new opportunities for employees, helping to spot and unlock potential.

Show your appreciation

Showing appreciation to your team by simply saying Thank You goes a long way. By saying those two small words, your managers are demonstrating that they understand what is happening in their teams. Thanking 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?”

Establish Accountability

When accountability goes out the window, so does an effective workforce. General people management practices should be implemented company-wide, ensuring each employee will be held to the same standards of conduct. Inconsistency in how your managers deal with everyday situations sends mixed signals to employees. For example, if one employee constantly arrives late and their manager turns a blind eye, but another shows up late and is given a warning, your people will see the injustice and determine that there is no structure of accountability within your organisation. This is a sure-fire way of sparking resentment between teams and individuals and fuelling peoples’ perception of unfair treatment.

Team up with Inspiring

INSPIRING Business Performance provides practical advice, business information tools and training programmes for organisations who want to improve employee engagement, develop their leaders and managers or gain accreditation against standards such as BSI’s BS 76000 standard for Valuing People.

We are also a Chartered Management Institute approved training centre offering leadership and management development programmes with the option of CMI qualifications at various levels.

If you would like to speak to us about how to go about improving your organisation from a people aspect, call us on 0800 612 3098 or get in touch using the enquiry form on the left. We would be happy arrange for one of our consultants to meet up with you for an informal chat.

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.

10 Alternatives to Training Courses for SMEs

With the business world being as competitive as it is, employers are discovering that the main thing that can help differentiate them is their people. Developing, or ‘up-skilling’, employees is now more important than ever. Gone are the days where training courses focused upon just the necessities and regulations of the job role; we are now seeing more forward-thinking employers who are looking to uncover talent within their people which, in time, will give them the advantage over their competitors.

We know that making sure your employees are up to speed with what is required of them is vital, so training in that respect will always be a necessity. However, with some training courses coming in at a high cost, SMEs could find it hard to find the budget for broader training and development, often having to weigh up the cost of training courses against other necessities in their annual budget.

With this in mind, we’ve put together some alternatives to training courses that SMEs could investigate that might help implement learning and development and nurture talent at a lower cost.

Coaching

This is effective if the employee has a specific objective or area of development that they need to target.

Mentoring

An effective technique when there is already an individual within the organisation with the expertise to develop potential. This enables transfer of knowledge and ways of working.

Shadowing

A great way of helping an employee explore different aspects of the business. It is beneficial to watch someone else demonstrating what is required of them, then reflecting on what they have learned. They can then discover the effectiveness of their ways of working and even make suggestions for improvements, which could be mutually beneficial. This could be a reciprocal arrangement whereby one colleague shadows another in turn, allowing for feedback on both.

Expanding Roles

By expanding an employee’s current role, they are likely to develop longer term aspirations and invest more into the organisation. Also, they will come to realise what areas they need to improve in and, given the opportunity and with support, can start to address these.

Project Roles

Putting an individual forward for different project roles helps to broaden their perspective, whilst encouraging interaction with new areas of the business can aid their development. It may even result in hidden skills being identified.

Practical Learning

If an individual has been given a new task or responsibility, they may be able to learn on the job providing they are properly supported. It is important however that they have the confidence to ask managers and colleagues for support and advice whilst they are learning.

Distance and E-Learning

There are specific college and online courses, some of which are free, where the individual learns in their own time and at their own pace. These can include accredited courses, which build towards a qualification.

Volunteering

Giving employees the opportunity and time off to volunteer may help to develop existing skills and learn new ones. Volunteering could help people build their confidence, as it is a less pressurised environment. It may also lead to networking opportunities.

Blended Learning

This is where the focus is not on one development area but a variety. By using Blended Learning, it gives the employee a mixture of different activities to develop many skills over a short space of time.

Media

There is a wealth of information available on platforms such as YouTube and watching specific programmes can help gain useful knowledge.

Books and publications

In the modern world there is a neglect of written texts. These books and other resources hold a valuable knowledge and theories that can help employees develop. However, for convenience and accessibility, there are often PDF copies of these resources available.

Other Notables

Membership of professional bodies, work placements, sabbaticals, sideways moves and job swaps.

 

People development will always be needed if SMEs are to stay ahead of their competition. But we also know that funding for all these development activities is often limited, therefore thinking outside the box and using alternative methods of learning and development are definitely worth looking into.

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.

Reward and recognition of employees without breaking your budget

Rewarding staff is a great way of motivating them and maintaining employee satisfaction. But how can you do so without spending money? We understand that as a business you can’t throw bonuses their way every time you want to say ‘well done’ or ‘thanks for the good work’. We’ve created this article to share some top tips for showing your employees appreciation for a job well done without putting pressure on already stretched budgets.

Keep hold of your talent

Employee satisfaction is absolutely vital in any workplace, but that doesn’t mean salary reviews and end of year bonuses have to be the ‘be all and end all’. To motivate and retain talented employees for the year ahead, employers need to develop more innovative recognition and reward strategies that don’t rely on money alone. Doing so will protect against misalignment between company goals and individual activities and keep everyone on track. You will maintain and improve employee happiness without damaging the company’s budget.

Honesty is the best policy

Speculation and gossip surrounding pay increases and bonuses can be dangerous. It’s impossible to eliminate this completely but you can make sure that you’re delivering a consistent and honest message about opportunities for financial reward in the coming months and years. Employee wellness is important, so it’s important they know how things like pay increases work because, if for example, an employee had false information, and was hoping for a bonus/increase in the nearby future it could lead to constant disappointment and the employee might start doubting their work and lose motivation and interest. That’s why it’s important you provide accurate information. This will give your employees a sense of control over their futures and help to create an open, honest workplace.

Offer opportunities

A good way to recognise high performance is to offer opportunities to broaden your employees’ experience. For example, ask them to lead an internal knowledge sharing session or offer a day’s job shadowing. This could lead to creating a new role for them in another area of the business. Engaging with the aspirations of your employees and creating personal development plans that help them realise their ambitions is crucial to retaining talent.

Regular feedback

Taking the time to evaluate your communication and feedback processes sends a strong message that you care about employees’ development and that good work will be recognised. Without structured feedback employees can feel like the quality of their work, good or bad, goes unnoticed. Staff surveys and focus groups are a good way of achieving this.

Say ‘thanks’!

It’s common knowledge that  a lack of recognition from management is one of the most demotivating factors for employees. Taking the time to highlight good work will boost employees’ job satisfaction and put any constructive criticism in context. Drawing attention to achievements across teams can be a powerful motivation to other team members.