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SHARPEN FROM NICHOLAS C. HILL

SHARPEN YOURSELF • SHARPEN YOUR TEAM • SHARPEN YOUR ORGANISATION

ISSUE No. 1 The Weekly Ezine For Trailblazing Leaders And Managers

THIS ISSUE:

Memory Skills: Forget about Forgetting Accountability in Leadership and Management Roles

3

The

Primary Management Skills

Ethics Vs. Integrity During Crisis Management Essential Principles for Good Team Building COVER STORY:

by Nicholas Hill

INFLUENCE AND PERSUASION:

Lessons from Barack Obama


Contents LETTER FROM THE EDITOR: Getting Ahead and Bringing Other People with You����������������������������������������������������������3 Leadership Styles: Long-term legacy or short-term efficacy?������������������������������������������4 Accountability in Leadership and Management Roles�����������������������������������������������6

THE

C O N S U LTA N C Y

PUBLISHER The Hill Consultancy Ltd, First Floor 23 Clerkenwell Close, Clerkenwell London EC1R 0AA, United Kingdom T: +44 (0)20 7993 9955 F : +44 (0)845 678 9988 E : info@nicholashill.com W: www.nicholashill.com AUTHOR AND EDITOR Nicholas C. Hill FIC FInstLM

COVER STORY: Influence and Persuasion: Lessons from Barack Obama��������������������������������������������������������������8

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Ethics Vs. Integrity During Crisis Management����������������������������������������������������������������10

Irene Gurne T: 0845 678 9900 E: admin@nicholashill.com ABOUT SHARPEN

Hypnosis: A Legitimate Tool for Communication Skills������������������������������������12

Sharpen Magazine and Ezine is the weekly publication for trailblazing leaders and managers, who refuse mediocrity and are hungry for excellence.

Change Management Skills in Three-Steps��������������������������������������13

ABOUT THE HILL CONSULTANCY

The 3 Primary Management Skills����������������������������������������������������14 Essential Principles for Good Team Building���������������������������������������������������������������������16

We will facilitate your rapid transformation into a highly productive manager and influential leader, through UK wide accredited training courses, so you can achieve optimal performance, fortify human relations, and reach the top of your profession. COPYRIGHT

HOW TO: Maintain Tenacity in the Midst of Turmoil�����������������������������������������������������������������������18 Memory Skills: Forget about Forgetting����������������������������������������������������������������������21

All articles and designs copyright © The Hill Consultancy Ltd, UK, 2013. All rights reserved. Reproduction or resale in whole or in part by any means without written permission of the publisher is strictly forbidden. DISCLAIMER The Hill Consultancy Ltd, its employees or associates are not liable for any third party advertised product or content. We have taken reasonable care to ensure that all information contained within this publication is accurate at the time of production. The reader accepts full responsibility for the practice of any advice contained within this publication and fully indemnifies the publisher against any direct loss or consequential loss resulting from adherence to any said advice.


Letter from the Editor Getting Ahead and Bringing Other People with You Welcome to issue one of Sharpen. Born in 1971, a modern thought leader and international Trainer of strategic leadership and management development, Nicholas Hill is the Managing Director and Principal Trainer for The Hill Consultancy Ltd. Nicholas is an INLPTA Licensed NLP Business Trainer and INLPTA Accredited Executive Master Coach having received over one thousand CPD training hours. Nicholas is also a qualified Fellow of the Institute of Leadership and anagement and a Fellow of The Institute of Consulting, having trained thousands of delegates of corporations and SMEs at all management levels since 1996. Qualifications And Endorsements • INLPTA Licensed NLP Business Trainer • INLPTA Accredited Executive Master Coach • INLPTA Accredited NLP Master Practitioner • ANLP Registered Trainer Member • Guild of NLP Registered Gold Trainer Member • Licensed ILM Endorsed Provider • ILM Fellow • IC Fellow • Graduate of Dale Carnegie Trainers’ Training • Diploma Graduate in Theology • BIPP Fellow

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For professionals who are cognizant of the fact that competition exists, regardless of the kind of career or industry one belongs to, it does pay to know how to best exhaust one’s potentials, and equip oneself with all requisite arsenal for success. Nonetheless, it should not end merely with optimizing your personal competencies in relation to your job; just as crucial is the recognition that even in the most competitive or demanding fields and industries, teamwork remains as an integral component of the whole package. With this said, it is imperative to strike the right balance between individual goals and team-oriented objectives. After all, to get ahead, should not mean leaving other people behind. In issue one of Sharpen; we delve into this subject matter. How do you ensure that you maintain your rightful and considerable stake in an organisation while still allowing your colleagues—fellow managers and employees alike—to share and benefit from your successes? How do you move forward without blocking others path and journey, and instead, provide a clearing through which they could pass? We answer this, by poring over specific leadership and career competencies, which are supported by principles that have endured the test of change and time. These integral concepts namely tenacity, communication skills, influence and persuasion, memory skills, accountability, integrity, leadership styles, team building, management skills, and change management, are all found in issue one. The aforementioned competencies are just among the many qualities or expertise which each leader, as well as employees aspiring to one day climb the corporate or organisational ranks, should possess and practice. In terms of your growth and development as a career-driven individual, competencies like tenacity, communication skills, influence and persuasion, memory skills, accountability, and integrity are definitely a must-have. Tenacity, for instance, is what separates a careerist who easily bends and folds during challenging times from one who is able to not only survive but also thrive amidst trials and difficulties. Communication and memory skills, on the other hand, are highly practical strengths that we can nurture incessantly. Lastly, influence and persuasion skills, accountability, and integrity are what make a professional worthy of his or her colleagues trust and respect. Nevertheless, being the best in your profession is not the end-all and be-all of success, as we have already stated above. Another important principle to keep in mind is team building which encompasses other concepts like leadership styles, management skills, and change management, to name a few. Knowing all the practical details of these concepts and practicing them consistently and unwaveringly is what makes a leader, or an aspiring leader for that matter, the real deal. Issue one, seeks to help you optimize your competencies both as a professional, guided by specific and personal career goals, and a team player who must efficiently integrate into a group for the purpose of organisational unity and cohesion. These intents are of equal importance and you cannot exist without the other. More importantly, failure to subscribe to these concepts can very well mean failure to become one’s best in its truest sense.


4 • SHARPEN

Leadership Styles:

Long-term legacy or short-term efficacy? There are many known variants when it comes to leadership styles. However, if we were to reduce them to a dualistic notion, one approach is characterized by a sense of ironclad urgency whereas the other is of a more tempered method that can easily be considered as borderline-leadership-passivity. Leaders in command of the corporate hierarchy, at some point, have to decide which among the aforementioned methods is best in order to steer the organisational vessel toward projected goals. More often than not, this decision proves rather tricky since both have advantages and disadvantages which directly take a toll on the bigger scheme of every corporate entity’s vision, as well as a leader’s legacy. In order to dig deeper into this seeming dilemma, let us discuss the pros and cons of both leadership styles. Leaders who employ a more imposing stance during goal setting and strategic planning are able to ensure short-term observable results. This is due to their acquired competence in motivating employees to accomplish their assigned tasks within an allotted timeframe. This means that utmost office productivity is achieved by each member of the team, thus, creating a sustained work momentum. Unfortunately, motivation under the terms of this leadership style may not always signify the kind that actually elevates office morale. It is then safe

to deduce that this method of headship may prove counterproductive in the long run. The more passive approach in leadership has its own merits. The most recognized is the fact that it allows clear goal setting and avoids hasty but ineffectual execution of corporate plans. Leaders who employ this strategy are keen on maintaining a healthy work pace that breeds beneficial long term upshots. The downside is that some employees might confuse this particular leadership style in a way that they will eventually allow themselves to succumb to workplace atrophy. Of course, the last thing a leader wants is to have a team who mistakenly has the idea that what they do does not entail any urgent significance. Now how does a leader go about choosing which path to follow? To give a more pragmatic answer to this question, here are some means for leaders to ensure long term results without falling prey to the abovementioned unconstructive scenarios. And in turn, create a different kind of leadership style that fuses the best attributes of the two known methods.


SHARPEN • 5

Work as a team

and that a culture of constructive feedback and criticism is subscribed to at all times.

Even the most talented of leaders need the insights of their subordinates in order to arrive at a more cohesive course of action. Furthermore, sustained collaboration allows the consistent identification of novel ways to approach a particular issue or to tackle a specific goal.

Professional development Leaders are not the only ones who require continued education. An organisation who invests enough money, time, and effort to improve the set of knowledge and skills of its employees is sure to reap the rewards from having a highly competent team. Education, in this context, also extends to the workplace itself. It is imperative that mistakes are addressed as benchmarks for learning and improvement,

Accessibility This is a two-pronged leadership technique. The first component is to allow employees with a sufficient knowledge of the inner workings of the company and make them realize that they are an invaluable part of a whole. The second component is the disintegration of corporate hierarchy as evident in known status symbols such as exclusive parking spaces. Take risks. From time to time, veer away from the beaten track and execute old plans using new methods.

Bottom line - leadership styles can make or break a company. Also, they can make or break the legacy a leader hopes to leave behind.

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ACCOUNTABILITY

in Leadership and Management Roles Accountability is not always an easy concept to practice. Many people can take the easy road to their detriment. After all, it is effortless not to assume responsibility and consider that we could be wrong or to dismiss liability for anything that could seem ill fated. Not being answerable for actions gives a person a great sense of freedom, whereas having to ‘report’ to a senior figure or authority can bring constraint and limitations. This is exactly why a sense of accountability proves challenging to instil in people, even motivated and compliant team members.


SHARPEN • 7

S

uch constraints, however, can be healthy and good leaders or managers will offer team members a certain amount of flexibility when it comes to the execution of actions. In fact, I will often remind people that we are only ever accountable for three things, everything we think, everything we say and everything we do. Often this elicits a chuckle amongst the group. Therefore, the leader needs to encourage his or her team members to nurture a sense of accountability using good coaching and mentoring skills.

Lessons from the past In 1964, a woman succumbed to a heinous crime which was witnessed by at least 38 witnesses. The incident happened in less than 35 minutes and although there was enough time to interfere with the crime, which eventually killed the victim, the witnesses opted to sit back and isolate themselves from the incident. Now we could only speculate what relatively better scenarios could have resulted had one of the witnesses decided to assume accountability and intervene.1

The unfortunate explosion of the Challenger Shuttle was caused by faulty O-rings developed by an industrial company called Morton Thiokol. One of the engineers from the company had recognized the dysfunctional O-rings but instead of going out of his way to decide whether to amend the glitch or, at the very least, inform the appropriate individuals

who could then decide on the matter, he allowed the dysfunctional products to move pass quality control. The ending, as we know now, was an accident that could have been prevented easily.

A study in accountability In research conducted to determine how individuals respond to a call for personal responsibility and accountability, a very curious observation was made: a higher percentage of the isolated participants came to the aid of an individual simulating a seizure, as compared to those who belonged to a group. This somehow communicates that people are less likely to assume a challenging role if there is no scarcity of individuals who could do the job.2 The outcome of the said research is quite relevant in positions of leadership and management. In a workplace environment comprised of individuals with different values, diverse personal backgrounds, and belonging to various levels of the corporate hierarchy, how can a leader or manager make sure that a sense of accountability from each individual is not hindered? In order to instil a sense of accountability to one’s employees, leading by example is an excellent way to start. Leaders and managers who consistently demonstrate a set of exemplarily behaviours will subliminally instil these same qualities into their subordinates, which over time will inspire employees to learn how to troubleshoot, as opposed to pointing fingers. Leaders and mangers can develop such skills and understand the values of accountability through effective leadership and management training courses.

[1] Rosenthal, A. M. Thirty-Eight Witnesses: The Kitty Genovese Case. (University of California, Berkeley, 1999) [2] Darley, John, and Latane, Bibb. “Bystander Intervention in Emergencies: Diffusion of Responsibility.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 8, No. 4 (1968).


COVER STORY:

by Nicholas Hill

INFLUENCE AND PERSUASION:

Lessons from Barack Obama

Influence and persuasion are two of the major targets in the art of oration. A public speaker’s job is not limited to the delivery of a good speech. In fact, that is only half of the task. Whether orators succeed or fail in their message delivery depends greatly on how the audience receives their message, and the extent of the audience’s willingness to translate the said message into an observable action. Take for instance the case of US President Barack Obama who is arguably one of today’s most prominent and admired public speakers. He succeeded twice in his presidential bid and this feat can be attributed to his unrivaled public speaking skills. This man knows the inner workings of influence and persuasion and he was able to exhaust this expertise to ensure that his audience not only bought what he had to say, but, more importantly, voted for what he stood for. For a successful public speaking engagement, here are five tips as observed from President Barrack Obama’s oratorical techniques, which you can try.

1. Be one with your audience. In public speaking, the first mistake you can make is to build a wall between you and your audience. This usually happens when the speaker urgently delves into the details of his message without first building rapport with the listeners. One way to engage the audience from the get-go is to talk about concerns, issues, or stance, which you and the audience share.

2. Stick with a clear and precise message. There is a difference between an exhaustive and persuasive argument. Whereas the former focuses on technical details, the latter aims for clarity and simplicity. When it comes to influence and persuasion, concise and easily understandable messages, such as President Obama’s “change you can believe in” slogan, are more reliable.

3. Engage your audience’s thoughts proactively. In every statement you pronounce or argument you raise, recognize that there is always a counterpoint. Competent public speakers, then, must be proactive enough to acknowledge these possibilities, and readily address them during their speech.

4. Give yourself and your audience that much needed breather. A proper breathing method when delivering a speech is integral to the efficacy of the task. Public speakers must learn how to take a moment to let their words linger to the audience’s thoughts, allow the audiences to catch up, or simply for a much-needed rest. Carefully choosing when to pause during one’s speech has a subliminal effect in terms of influence and persuasion.


SHARPER • 9

5. Be conscious about your body language. Public speakers have to deal with the presence of a discerning audience. This audience does not only respond to verbal cues, but to body language as well. One way to ensure that your body language communicates the same sense of calm and authority that is apparent in your speech, you must practice specific non-verbal manifestations of favorable attributes—a sense of cool for instance. Every day you can exercise the ways a person with utmost confidence and levelheadedness moves and behaves. Eventually, these attributes will become an inherent trait. Influence and persuasion must be triggered with subtlety. Barack Obama’s oratorical command seems to come off naturally. But, we all know, such public speaking prowess required an ample amount of practice (and a good manifesto always helps!).


10 • SHARPEN

Ethics Vs. Integrity

During Crisis Management At some point, an organisation, or a leader specifically, has to deal with crisis management. No matter how competent one’s team is, and no matter how competently designed business processes and procedures are, an error is bound to happen. When this time comes, many matters will be put to the test: the strength of the business, the tenacity of the team, and the set of priorities and values of a leader. This is where the concepts of ethics and integrity come in. What do ethics refer to? How is it different from integrity? Do these two concepts merge or overlap at some point? Which one should we resort to during crisis management?

Ethics in Crisis Management Ethics is a set of moral rules or standards that govern a particular society. It is a principle outside the human person. Ethics is the result of the evolution of society and the emergence of civilised communities. Business ethics is pretty much the same. It is an agreed way of doing trade. In a highly competitive world, business ethics try to make the landscape as fair as possible.

Crisis management can be rather tricky, especially when the stakes are high and the options are low, and leaders are forced to reevaluate their priorities. Should integrity be sacrificed in favour of business ethics? Should business ethics suffice?


SHARPEN • 11

During crisis management, though, business ethics become more or less unhinged. When the going gets tough, of course, profit-driven individuals tend to look for ways to get going. Even if such intent requires them to bend the rules here and there, while making sure not to go overboard in terms of shady business conducts. In short, business ethics is not as resolute compared to, let us say, profit goals. It is also safe to assume, that more often than not, business ethics does not precede organisational functions and procedures, and that it is actually the other way around.

Integrity in Crisis Management Whereas ethics is governed by the society in general, integrity, on the other hand, emanates from individuals. It is a person’s set of moral codes that doesn’t rely on, or get affected by, externalities. In business or organisational settings, integrity is manifested when individuals, teams, or the organisation as a whole, take a stand on a particular issue. For instance, in crisis management, in relation to extreme profit drop, a leader can either opt to lay-off or keep everyone on board. If his or

her sense of integrity values workforce, then he or she will most likely choose reformation without reduction. Integrity in business is also directly related to professionalism. It is a principle built on trust, confidence, and competence between colleagues, superiors and subordinates, and businesses. Furthermore, business integrity aims to make the trade as beneficial as possible to all stakeholders.

The Marriage of Ethics and Integrity Crisis management can be rather tricky, especially when the stakes are high and the options are low, and leaders are forced to re-evaluate their priorities. Should integrity be sacrificed in favour of business ethics? Should business ethics suffice? The bottom line is that in every decision, or every choice, there is always a repercussion. Once crisis management is dealt with, results are expected. If your organisation is not ready to face the possibility of high profile scandals due to unethical procedures, or to suffer defeat due to an unwavering sense of integrity, the key is to find the middle ground.

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12 • SHARPEN

Hypnosis:

A Legitimate Tool for Communication Skills NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) can be viewed as having a three-pronged design that generally aims to equip participants with the necessary tools for personal development and business success. The seminars catered by training providers typically include issue-centric self improvement sessions, NLP certification trainings, and business-driven seminars. These trainings have been favorably received by both participants and notable critics in the industry, and their established reputation has led a number of individuals to speculate that NLP practitioners employ and teach hypnosis to gain full command of, and access their subjects’ consciousness and sensibilities. Of course, not all NLP Practitioners are keen on confirming, or at the very least, dignifying the aforementioned speculation. Although, with the level of efficacy of the NLP core group’s lectures and leadership sessions, there may indeed be a certain degree of truth to the claim.

What is hypnosis? NLP practitioners are not entirely enthusiastic in divulging whether they use and teach hypnosis in their sessions. This is primarily due to a certain taboo response toward the concept of hypnosis. Hypnosis is, in fact, not as sinister as some people would have it. It is, in all essence, merely a state of mind that falls outside the bounds of the ordinary or mundane. Hypnosis facilitates a kind of consciousness that is directed inwardly as opposed to the type of awareness projected toward the detached or external world or objects. The process can be achieved and observed in many different ways. A person under the state of hypnosis could either experience an obvious bout of trance or simply an augmented measure of focus.

The ironic truth is that individuals do not automatically realize they are using hypnosis, or do not willingly accept the possibility of them being susceptible to the device. It is then safe to speculate that, NLP Practitioners use and teach it either knowingly or unwittingly. It can either be an overt or covert exercise, depending on the intentions and influence of a particular training facilitator.

Hypnosis in day-to-day situations Hypnosis is not as otherworldly as most people consider it to be. In fact, day-to-day situations, even the most seemingly trivial, can be accounted as hypnotic breakouts. Take for instance an individual who absorbedly waits for the next train. With that said, we can then deduce that hypnosis can serve a more practical purpose in relation to personal and business development. This is likely what NLP Practitioners and NLP advocates were able to unravel and familiarize.

Communication skills and hypnosis The act of message exchange is in itself an exercise in hypnosis, at least the ones that prove successful. Sending a message to a specific receiver requires the latter to focus inwardly in order to competently decipher the essence and importance of the said message. As it is, NLP training courses and seminars rely heavily on communication, and whether NLP’s men and women employ and perpetuate this concept is definitely not something that should cause bother to anyone.


SHARPEN • 13

Change Management Skills in Three-Steps Change management is an indispensible component of business maintenance. In a fast changing world that allows all known trades and markets to consistently shape-shift, only those organisations which recognize the inevitability of change, and follow a clear cut change management model, are able to rise above the challenges of an ever evolving business landscape. There are several change management designs available to corporate trailblazers and one of the most revered and utilized is Kurt Lewin’s threestep design which was made public in the 1940s. Lewin’s change management tool is dubbed as the Unfreeze-Change-Refreeze model. This three-step method is a practical means to ensure that companies and organisations are able to efficiently tackle even the most challenging dictates of time.

Step 1. UNFREEZE This step requires ample understanding of the current nature of the business and why change is an inevitable phenomenon that must be faced with urgency. This entails the need to ascertain the current policies or practices that no longer work and creating a compelling message that can turn change cynics into ardent believers. Aside from its potency, the message should also be clear and accessible enough so as to hinder misinterpretations that could result in unfavourable responses. Support from the higher-ups is another critical component in this step. Same goes with observance of utmost receptivity toward concerns, issues, and possible misgivings from all levels of the corporate hierarchy.

Step 2. CHANGE Effective communication should be employed to properly disseminate the course of action to be taken within the change management plan, alongside its advantages to all stakeholders of the company. What’s in it for everyone? Will somebody get left behind? Proper communication will

also facilitate the discouragement of flawed rumours that can get in the way of the successful execution of the change. One way to limit resistance is to involve employees from planning to execution.

Step 3. REFREEZE Once change has already taken place, the next step is integration. For the change management plan to efficiently cater the expected result, it must be adequately assimilated into workplace culture. After successful assimilation, it should then be sustained through well laid-out approaches such as feedback methods, reward systems, and consistent affirmation from managers or high ranking business officials. Lastly, ongoing training should be facilitated so as to ensure that employees do not only understand the change management principles, but are also knowledgeable in terms of its levels and modes of execution. Kurt Lewin’s change management model is a straightforward strategy that has been a proven and trusted supplement for existing corporate change management practices. For improved grasp of this change design, leaders and managers can participate in leadership and management training courses that have long supported the model. Indeed, change is a vital aspect of business management. Some may view change as a daunting prospect that can either make or break a company. But from a more optimistic point of view, change actually gives corporate stakeholders the chance to regroup, and reassess their business’ prospects.


3

The

Primary Management Skills

Leaders who attend management training courses are uniformly interested in one basic query: what are the most management skills to efficiently manage the implementation of team projects? In order to provide an apt response to this question, let us first discuss the three major types of management skills, namely, process management skills, people skills, and technical skills.

Process Management Skills

People Management Skills

Technical Management Skills

This set of competencies refers to a leader’s level of aptitude in a wide array of prerequisite and consequential business procedures such as goal setting, project planning, risk assessment, issue management, contingency plotting, project scope alteration or restructuring, and the like. These supervisory or managerial tasks are critical to achieving desired results within the allotted time and resources.

These skills are manifested when a manager knows how to deal with his or her subordinates in such a way that each member of the team feels valued and motivated. People skills, otherwise known as interpersonal skills enable two or more people to build and maintain rapport, which is vital when the pressure is on. Also included in this category is the ability to manage conflict and bring about a suitable resolution quickly and completely.

Managers that are equipped with an advanced understanding of a business and its inherent machination, as well as the specific technological aids, which the organisation employs, are the ones who possess these management skills. These technical skills are often learned prior to employment through college or university, however, theoretical knowledge seldom builds a skill. It is only in the practice of the knowledge that skills are developed.

In an ideal scenario, a manager or leader should have all of the abovementioned competencies, but, unfortunately, when reality strikes, organisations get to realise that such ideals do not always exist. This is where the importance of setting a priority comes to play, in terms of which management skills are the most beneficial to a business.


SHARPEN • 15

Four scenarios to ponder on 1. Managers with utmost people skills but lack the necessary business technology aptitude, do not possess a firm grasp of the inner workings of the business, hence limiting their involvement in the step-bystep project execution. But a satisfied and enthusiastic team with enough talent and creativity can suffice for the manager’s shortcomings. Quality control is not assured in this scenario but project can still prove successful once team members truly rise up to the challenge. 2. Managers who lack the necessary people skills may fail in maintaining a “happy team”. But this seemingly unfavourable scenario can be reversed when the leader demonstrates sufficient project

management skills. Once goals are reached within the planned timeframe and under the allotted budget, team morale can easily be restored. 3. The exact opposite of the previous scenario is when a manager scores poorly in process management and tries to make up for it with his or her people skills. Surely, team morale will be maintained, but, whether observable or quality project results can be achieved is an entirely different story. 4. Leaders who are thrown in the commanding role merely because they are well versed with the organisation’s theoretical frameworks and technological/ process supplements, but do not exhibit firm process management skills, are most likely to fail in terms of keeping the project on track and toward the right direction.

With the aforementioned scenarios, one matter is most obvious: all three skill sets harmonise with one another and management skills are incomplete without all three. Leaders and managers can adequately develop all three of these essential competencies in unison and through continuing professional development, persist to grow exponentially and indefinitely.

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16 • SHARPEN

Essential Principles

for Good Team Building Most, if not all, leadership and management training courses offer specific models that tackle the concept of team building. The core of these models is to learn adequately the difference between a group and a team, as well as to teach workable strategies aimed at efficient team building and maintenance. Team, compared to a group, is an organisational principle that highly relies on the concept of “interdependence”. A team can only be called as such if the members that comprise it are required to work with one another in order to carry out the execution of set tasks. For organisations that are in the process of putting individuals in a team, there are essential principles that must be drawn out clearly.


SHARPEN • 17

Team Building Prerequisites

Team Building Basic Components

Understanding these key principles can very well separate a stable team that is anchored in specific organisational needs and standards, from a flimsy team that works under an ambiguous design.

After getting to know the crucial prerequisites to team building, the next step is to recognize team components that are vital to its eventual success.

• Team building requires a purpose that is recognized by both its members and the organisation it represents. This purpose should be in congruence to the business’ mission and vision. • Specific functions should be determined from the get go. Is it a team geared toward problem identification, troubleshooting, or both? • It is crucial to pinpoint the individuals, as well as the set of competencies required to build the team. • A set of guidelines should be formulated to ensure order from team building to future team restructuring. • The level of authority or control to be granted to the team should be agreed upon by business stakeholders during team building. • The category to which the team will fit should also be ascertained. Will it independently serve specific projects? Alternatively, will it work closely with other existing teams or groups? • The team structure should be made unambiguous. Is it a team with members of equal command or will someone be assigned to take on the leadership role?

• Purpose- A team’s existence should be backed up by a fundamental business need or requirement, and this should be adequately understood by the team building committee, as well as the team members themselves. Some of the recognized reasons for team building include the need for improved business quality control procedures, customer satisfaction, and even profit management. • Team Design- The importance of a clear team structure can never be undermined. This will set the specifications in relation to work hours, hierarchy, flow of resources, and division of tasks, among others. • Communication Skills- Team members must be well equipped with competencies such as active listening, conflict resolution, problem solving, and professional relationship maintenance, to name a few. • Resources- A detailed model on resource management should back up a team’s functions. Resources refer to both monetary and technical/clerical support. • Key Performance Indicators- Both team members and the team building committee should come up with a fixed and mutually agreeable method/s on assessing whether the team is meeting its goals.

Good team building is an expertise like no other, and its efficient execution is a business asset in itself.


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HOW TO

Maintain Tenacity in the Midst of Turmoil

Tenacity is the ability of employees, leaders, and the organisation they belong to and represent, to rise above critical challenges that can potentially jeopardize the viability of a business. Unfortunately, with the fluctuating trends in a specific market, or the economy in general, sometimes, organisational leaders and managers unwittingly lose their cool, and succumb to stressors. This scenario consequently prompts the said leaders and managers to resort to known shortterm troubleshooting tactics like employee layoff. In addition, as a result, the employees who get to stay are pushed to work doubly hard with decreased benefits and remuneration. This whole cycle proves vicious and stressful to all individuals involved, regardless of the business hierarchy they belong to—this is the exact manifestation of an organisation on the verge of losing its sense of tenacity.

Stress-Related Facts Organisations under turmoil tend to demand more from their employees. Although short term results are manifested by this organisational framework, experts have determined long term disadvantages toward which leaders may be oblivious. Here are helpful facts and figures to ponder. • In the West, stress-triggered absenteeism, sickness, and poor output quality amounts to $300 Billion USD of lost revenue annually. • 40% of employee resignation is caused by stress. • Workers under stress prompt organisations to invest 50% more in healthcare. • Stress in the workplace scores higher than family or financial concerns in terms of the common triggers of employee sickness.

• Employee replacement requires businesses to invest 120-200% more than the salary of the laid off employee. • Large businesses amass a $3.6 million annual absenteeism cost. • Absenteeism and poor performance, indicators of lost tenacity, are directly attributed to work-related depression. • In a year, an average of 10 sick days per employee is caused by workplace stress. • Insurance claims due to stress-related workplace accidents cost almost twice the workplace accident claims under different circumstances. • Organisations pay the cost of employee depression treatment as well as its workplace repercussions. • In a study conducted in New Zealand, researchers found out that 78% of employees under stressful work conditions think themselves as unfit for their job, whereas 80% anticipate failure before they even take on a task or assignment. • Milken Institute’s study in 2007, declares that at least $1.3 trillion dollars are spent by businesses to address stress-triggered conditions. Source: University of Massachusetts at Lowell

These pronouncements may sound astounding and to an extent frustrating, but leaders and managers need not panic, because there is a way out of this predicament.


20 • SHARPEN

Proactive Measures: Tenacity Made Practical There are ways to combat a stressful work environment without losing the kind of tenacity that doesn’t require urgent business restructuring like employee layoff. Here are some of these strategies: • Create an independent and self-driven team through proper task delegation. • Restructure certain policies that do not cater to productivity-related goals. For instance, allow take-home assignments. • Avoid ambivalence on expanding your workforce if a specific set of skills and competencies are required. • Listen actively to all business stakeholders. Stress can be reduced through proper lines of communication. • Be honest to your team, especially in terms of the business’ current condition • Encourage your team with regular balanced feedback.

An organisation needs tenacity to continue functioning despite all odds. How to keep this level of bullheadedness can be learned in all good leadership courses.

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“ Success is the deliberate creation of one`s own world.” Nicholas C. Hill


SHARPEN • 21

Memory Skills:

Forget about Forgetting Forget about forgetting should be a leader’s credo. Now how does one enhance his or her memory skills? Understanding the key concepts involved in the science and art of memory retention is a good way to start. Memory skills are crucial in carrying out specific business tasks which are grounded in key organisational principles and procedures. Especially for leaders who normally serve as sponge for all sorts of business-oriented information, memory skills is a competency that demands to be retained lest one’s proper grasp of managerial functions and processes gets compromised.

Personal Awareness: Prerequisite to Memory Skills Enhancement How we respond to messages highly depends on how we view them. If we deem these messages as personally relevant, chances are, we will be more receptive to them and our brain will consciously retain the new information. With that said, we must equip ourselves with an understanding of our own penchants and priorities both in terms of our personal lives and in terms of professional undertakings. Our preferred manner and style of learning also affects message reception, and, consequently, our memory skills. We must then pinpoint the specific techniques of learning to which we are most suited, and find ways to adapt these styles in different learning scenarios. Lastly, our level of comprehension takes a toll on our memory skills. Obscure messages, as compared to clear ones, will elude us in the end, because their ambiguity does not allow our brain to adequately perform retention processes such as information summarizing, questioning, and processing.

Two Levels of Memory Memory skills are manifested in two levels: short and long-term memories. Short terms memories are information that currently holds our attention, and only allows simultaneous retention of 7 messages or items in any given time. Long-term memory, on the other hand, refers to all sets of information that have been accumulated in our brain. In order to fully grasp and retain a short-term memory, it must be refashioned into a long term memory through certain processes such as rote learning. Rote learning employs repetition to ensure memory retention.

Theories on Memory Skills Even the most intelligent individuals are not exempt from a faltering memory and the deterioration of memory skills, although, these scenarios can be avoided through a sufficient understanding of guiding principles and theories that try to elucidate the framework of memory retention.

1. Fading This argument used the path in the woods metaphor in order to capture how memory disintegrates. Like a path in the wood that has been abandoned for a long time, a particular memory disappears once not accessed regularly. Therefore, to retain memories, they must be revisited and relearned as often as possible.


22 • SHARPEN

2. Memory Retrieval and Interference Memories are not lost. They are merely filed in mind cabinets that, over time, get hard to open or access. In addition, the acquisition of new information results in congestion and conflict in one’s memory space. To prevent these assimilation and retrieval concerns from hampering memory skills, experts suggest for individuals to properly cluster newly acquired memories by relating them to existing ones that have been permanently established or etched in their psyche.

Always remember, memory skills, just like all sorts of professional competencies, can be learned and nurtured.

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Are leaders “natural-born“? Find out from Nicholas Hill`s insighst on the next issue`s cover story, The Bourne Leader. Would Narcissistic Leadership be the alternative? This ezine tells you exclusively about it, while also rising a most current question, Can You Develop Leaders And Managers In 140 Characters? Have you wondered about The Essence and Efficacy of Brainstorming, what it takes to Achieve Success through Emotional Intelligence or about Understanding Non-Verbal Communication Skills? To find more about all of these, just...

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