Posts Tagged ‘Human Resources’

How To Be A Bad Manager

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Bad Managers

I was intrigued recently to read an article in The Huffington Post (find it here) that identified eleven ineffective leadership styles. It was hard while reading not to assign the names of people I have worked with through the years against these. It was even harder when I realised I was guilty of a number of them.

The article is a quick read, in infographic style, so I’m not going to reproduce all the material here, but I will highlight the top five styles that most annoy me:

  1. Micromanaging
  2. Autocratic
  3. Dictatorial
  4. Excessive consistency
  5. Mushroom management

As you read the article, think honestly about your own leadership and see if you are guilty of having any of these styles, and if you do, then develop a plan to see if you can move from being ineffective to effective. Your employees will love you for it!

The Myth of Open Office Spaces

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Open OfficesThe idea of open office spaces comes and goes, and has recently been revived by a new group of employers looking to “break down barriers” and create “collaborative” and “team-oriented” work spaces. However, recent research questions this premise and instead suggests that open office spaces cause more problems.

Rachel Morrison and Keith Macky surveyed 1000 Australian employees about their experiences with open office plans. You can read about this research here. Contrary to the popular myth, their research found that there were increases in “employee social liabilities”, which include distractions, uncooperativeness, distrust and negative relationships. They also found that co-worker friendships and perceptions of supervisor support worsened.

The authors surmise that in open office environments, employees develop coping strategies like withdrawal which create a less friendly team environment. In addition, from the research, cooperation became less pleasant and information flow did not change in a shared office space.

Acknowledging that providing every employee with their own office is unlikely to happen, two strategies shared by the authors include:

  • Use panels, bookshelves or green walls of plants to block visual distractions
  • Allow the use of noise cancelling head phones to reduce noise distractions

Maybe it’s time to rethink your office layout and give back some privacy to your workers. If you would like further information on how Avondale Business School can help your organisation, contact Warrick Long:

E: Warrick.long@avondale.edu.au

P: 02 4980 2168

How To Do Sick days

Friday, September 23, 2016

Sick daysRecently I felt a bit out of sorts, but was proud that I was able to “soldier on” and still turn up to work and get a few things done. But I was challenged about the real virtue of doing that, and found an article in ‘The Muse’ by Richard Moy (read it here) that gives some tips on how to handle being sick.

Moy makes the point that we all feel like we need to get to work in order to keep on top of things, but challenges this. In the article he proposes three things most of us are not doing right, and offers some tips on how to get it right.

The article is not particularly long, so I’m not going to summarise it all, however the main issues Moy addresses are:

  1. You’re treating your sick days as an all or nothing proposition

What to do instead of going into work sick

  1. You’re trying too hard to get out of the house

What to do instead of going out

  1. You’re working too hard

What to do instead of taking meetings from bed

Presenteeism is a real issue in workplaces now, whereby employees come to work sick, but are basically ineffectual for as long as it takes them to get better. Whereas if they were to stay home, they are more likely to get well quicker, and you actually gain in productivity more than if they come to work sick. Not to mention the risk of spreading their disease to other employees causing them to get sick as well.

So let’s make a pact to take the time to actually take our sick days, and get better sooner. If you would further information on how Avondale Business School can help your organisation, contact Warrick Long

E: Warrick.long@avondale.edu.au

P: 02 4980 2168

Why Leaders Lack Emotional Intelligence

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Emotional IntelligenceTravis Bradberry is the author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, and in a recent blog in Inc.com explained the counter-intuitive situation of CEOs having the lowest level of emotional intelligence (EQ). You can find the article here.

Through his organisation TalentSmart, Bradberry analysed over one mission EQ profiles across the spectrum of roles to find out who has the highest level of EQ. Surprisingly, it is middle managers, probably because people in these positions have been put there because of their ability to work with people and general level-headedness.

After this though, the scores drop continually until ending up with the CEO, who typically had the lowest EQ scores. However, Bradberry also notes that the best-performing CEOs will have the highest EQs. Bradberry proposes that KPIs and knowledge form a significant part of the appointment process for these roles, which focus on short-term results. Instead, he suggests that the key criteria should be their skill in inspiring others to excel. It is this new environment of leadership where leaders find themselves getting out of touch with people and their EQ levels dropping.

Listed below are a few of Bradberry’s strategies for boosting your EQ:

  • Acknowledge other people’s feelings
  • When you care, show it
  • Watch your emotions like a hawk
  • Sleep
  • Quash negative self-talk

In the coming week, why not give at least one of these strategies a try, and see if your EQ gets a boost. The Avondale Business School can help you and your team develop leadership skills – find out how by contacting Warrick Long at the Avondale Business School.

E: Warrick.long@avondale.edu.au

P: 02 4980 2168

Not-for-profit Workers Are Happier Workers

Sunday, July 31, 2016

NFP WorkersMoney doesn’t always buy happiness! Reviewing a recent article by Martin Binder in the Journal of Economic Psychology (find it here), Christian Jarrett writes in the BPS Research Digest (read it here) that Binder’s study looked at British people working in both commercial and not-for-profit organisations.

One of the surprising findings was that while there are many “perks” in working for a commercial organisation, people in the NFP sector were typically happier with their lives, more satisfied in their jobs, and believed more strongly they were making a difference.

Other findings included:

  • For-profit employees would need to earn an additional £27,000 to be as happy as an equivalent NFP employee
  • Women and higher education people are more likely to work in the NFP sector

Some may question whether by their very nature happier people are more likely to enter the NFP sector, however Binder does not believe this is the case.

This is a very interesting and challenging research project, and has implications for both sectors of the workforce. What else can for-profit entities do to increase the happiness of their workers, and how do NFP entities ensure they do not exploit the generosity of their happy workers?

Are you happy in your work?

If you would like further information on how Avondale Business School can help your organisation, contact Warrick Long

E: Warrick.long@avondale.edu.au

P: 02 4980 2168

If You Are Hiring on the Basis of Skills, You Are Doing it Wrong!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

HiringManagers typically don’t do enough to understand their own organisational culture, and that exposes the organisation to significant risk. Such is the assertion in a recent Australian Financial Review article (read it here) that looks into organisational culture.

In fact, the traditional definition of organisational culture as being ‘the way we do things around here’ is challenged in the article with an alternative suggestion being ‘how we understand what motivates individuals at the forefront of our business and why they are engaging in the conduct they are.’

One of the main points of the article is that organisations typically hire people based on their skill sets and capabilities, yet fire them because of their behaviours and cultural fit. Why not instead consider behaviours and cultural fit at the time of hiring? Hence the question as to whether Australian managers really know enough about their organisational culture and people to really know what people are needed to move the organisation forward.

Another issue raised in the article concerns what organisations say is their purpose and culture often being quite different to what customers and front-line employees are actually experiencing. This is identified as a significant risk for organisations whereby people are empowered to disregard management statements because they have proven to be meaningless.

Within your organisation, does your organisational culture at all levels match what you say it is? And even more importantly, are you hiring people who are congruent with that culture? The Avondale Business School can advise your organisation on being effective in these areas – find out how by contacting Warrick Long at the Avondale Business School.

E: Warrick.long@avondale.edu.au

P: 02 4980 2168

The Secret to Being a Better Leader: See and Hear Others

Sunday, July 17, 2016

EmpathyConsistently people who have good empathy for others are proven to be better leaders, lead more effective teams, and gain power more readily. What does it mean to be empathetic? According to Dacher Keltner in a recent Science of Us article (Read it here), it is the understanding of what other people think and feel. Using Abraham Lincoln as an example, he quotes a journalist (Thurlow Weed) from the Albany Evening Journal who said of Lincoln: “He sees all who go there, hears all they have to say, talks freely with everybody, reads whatever is written to him.”

Keltner refers to numerous studies that show the positive results of being empathetic. It increases team effectiveness, one’s ability to negotiate better, widens the circle of friends, and enables one to gain power much more easily. In part this is because when people are heard and understood, they are more willing to be influenced by such people.

However, an interesting phenomenon occurs – Keltner refers to studies that show once empathetic people attain power, they often experience empathy deficits, whereby their empathy disengages. By losing this empathy, people in power then start disrespecting people and those once harmonious relationships are now jeopardised and tend to undo the previous good work.

The challenge for those that do rise to power is to be conscious of this and to purposively commit to maintaining the empathy that got them where they are. As Keltner points out from Lincoln, the secret is to see and hear others.

The Avondale Business School can help you and your team develop leadership skills – find out how by contacting Warrick Long at the Avondale Business School.

E: Warrick.long@avondale.edu.au

P: 02 4980 2168

Performance Management Reinvented

Monday, May 23, 2016

Performance ManagementJust in case you didn’t know, the traditional annual performance management discussion is on the way out. An increasing number of companies are ditching the time-consuming, subjective and demotivating practices for new ways of managing employee performance.

McKinsey & Company have published an excellent article on this issue (read it here), complete with examples of companies that are implementing these new practices. Interestingly no one is suggesting the idea of performance management be abandoned, merely that it needs to morph into a much more effective process. Amongst the ideas raised in the article are the following:

  • Rethinking what constitutes employee performance
    • Instead of focussing on the middle ground, identify clear over performers and underperformers
    • Highlight and encourage exemplar performances
  • Automating real-time analyses
    • Using apps for continual crowd-sourced performance data throughout the year
    • Collected in real-time which is not only fresh, but enables managers to draw on actual evidence
  • Severing the link between evaluation and compensation
    • Link compensation to the performance of the company, not the individual
    • Studies indicate that employees value meaning (seeing purpose and value in work) as the most important factor.

In handling performance management, it is now coaching rather than evaluating that is the key. The article list three practices that seem to deliver the results, these being changing the language of feedback, providing constant crowdsourced vignettes, and focussing discussions on the future rather than what happened in the past.

Performance management is changing, and companies that succeed will be the ones that change with it. The Avondale Business School can help you keep ahead in performance management. To find out how, simply contact Warrick Long on:

E: Warrick.long@avondale.edu.au

P: 02 4980 2168

Good Employers Encourage Sleeping

Monday, March 28, 2016

SleepingIt is no secret that sleep-deprived brains are less effective and make more bad judgements. While it may ultimately be the individual’s responsibility to manage their sleep, employers can play a significant role.

In recent research from McKinsey and Company (Read it here) the links between a good night’s sleep and effective leadership are clearly demonstrated through an extensive survey of 82 organisations comprising 189,000 people around the world.

Unfortunately many organisations encourage and reward employees who routinely work extensive hours, or who answer their phone and emails at all times. I wonder how many of these entities would tolerate an employee being on the job with a blood-alcohol level of 0.05 (the drink driving limit)? Yet that is how the brain performs after 17–19 hours of wakefulness!

What can organisations do to encourage employees to have better sleep patterns and therefore better effectiveness and productivity? McKinsey note some suggestions in their article, a few of which include:

1. Training employees in effective sleep patterns

2. Ensuring company policies reflect outcomes. For example:

  • Travel – ensuring employees have opportunity to get good sleep while travelling
  • Emails – discouraging the use of emails outside of work times
  • Culture – discouraging a culture of long hours and “all-nighters”

3. Preparing for the new generation of employees who won’t put up with current practices

The Avondale Business School can help you and your team develop leadership skills – find out how by contacting Warrick Long at the Avondale Business School.

E: Warrick.long@avondale.edu.au

P: 02 4980 2168

Work-Life Boundaries

Monday, March 28, 2016

Work life BalanceA critical component in maintaining psychological well-being and recovering properly for a new day is effective detachment from work. New research from Brendon Smit, and reported in BPS Research Digest identify (Read it here), the number one way you can effectively detach from work.

Detachment is important so that work does not totally invade our lives and thoughts, imposing on family and personal time that is important in our recharging and recovery process. Without effective “down-time” our productivity declines and effectiveness is reduced.

Surveying a number of professionals and testing a variety of methods, Smit identifies the key factor is to spend a few moments at the end of each day creating a simple list of incomplete goals and a few actions steps to tackle each one in the new day. This process effectively ‘closes the loop’ on these items and allows your subconscious to leave them alone. This simple yet effective strategy was demonstrated by Smit to help participants put their work issues out of their minds and effectively detach from work. It seems our minds carry around any “open loops” and continually attempt to find solutions and develop plans for them, never giving the subconscious the rest it needs.

So if you want to detach from work and increase your productivity and effectiveness, take a few moments at the end of each day to ‘close the loop’ and leave it all behind.

The Avondale Business School can advise your organisation on being effective in these areas – find out how by contacting Warrick Long at the Avondale Business School.

E: Warrick.long@avondale.edu.au

P: 02 4980 2168