Posts Tagged ‘Management’

Rewarding Employees

Friday, February 22, 2019

What ‘floats your boat’? That is, what is it that makes you genuinely feel appreciated for the work you do? Is it the big pay packet? Or the internal sense of achievement? Or some gesture of appreciation from your company? Unfortunately, what works for you is unlikely to work for others in your organisation, imply, one size does not fit all. So if you have been magnanimously offering pizza vouchers to staff for their achievements, there is a strong possibility many of them have not felt rewarded or appreciated at all.

I am a big fan of the 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman as a means of communicating within meaningful relationships (see Chapman, G. (2010). The 5 love languages: the secret to love that lasts. Chicago: Northfield Publishing). Recognizing these do not necessarily fit as easily into the workplace, Chapman teamed up with a colleague to write the 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Work Place (Chapman, G., & White, P. (2012). The 5 languages of appreciation in the workplace: empowering organizations by encouraging people (Revised and updated. ed.). Chicago: Northfield Publishing). I recommend this to leaders.

And now a friend of mine recently sent me a link to a great article by Dr Jenny Brockis (read it here) that provides another view of rewarding employees. Essentially Brockis advocates acknowledging employees for a job well done by using meaningful gestures. As an example, she references a study in which people were given rewards following an increase in performance. After only a few days performance dropped significantly in those who received a cash bonus, whereas those who received a meaningful complement, the decrease was much less. Money doesn’t activate motivation to do great work, but rather it is praise used appropriately. It’s the little things that mean the most, like being personally thanked. Read the full article to get more tips on how to acknowledge the people you work with.

Knowing what we know now, ask yourself how do you reward others in your workplace?

The Avondale Business School can help your organisation move to the next level, to find out how, contact Dr Warrick Long on Warrick.long@avondale.edu.au.

When Being on the Same Page Is Bad For the Organization

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

“All our employees are on the same page!” “We are united as a team!’ “As an organization we move forward as one!” Really? Are you sure everyone in your organization is on the same page, united as a team, and moving forward as one? It is more likely your employees hold different values and perspectives, are too reluctant to speak up against the prevailing view, and as a consequence are less committed to their tasks than you would like. These are the conclusions I drew from reading an excellent article from Maud Lindley, Jeffrey Schwartz and Malcolm Thompson entitles ‘When Cultural Value Leads to Groupthink, the Company Loses’ (read it here), found in a recent online edition of strategy+business.

Drawing on some recent Australian experience with values and perspectives in the public and corporate arena, the authors note that even company values like “courage” and “excellence” can negatively impact on people in their organization. So the key is to develop a workplace based on authenticity, which is described as creating “a context for dialogue in which the organization’s leaders and employees can talk openly and genuinely about the values of the enterprise, and why they agree or disagree with those values”. Without having such safe places for such discussions, hidden conflicts develop that can diminish people’s commitment and increase their cynicism. And it’s not about changing people’s minds, or getting them to al think the same way, it is about ensuring employees “feel that they can contribute freely and bring their whole selves to work”.

If you goal in the organization is to avoid conflict, then the authors note this to be a bad decision. They draw on the work of Patrick Lencioni who advocates conflict, and to avoid it is to put temporary comfort and the avoidance of discomfort ahead of the ultimate goal of the organization. Bringing painful issues to light and dealing with them constructively is the best course of action.

The article describes three capabilities effective leaders have that can help manage diverse perspective:

  1. Mental Agility – being able to recognize the existence of different perspectives and the reasons different people might hold them. These sorts of leaders consistently invite others to voice opinions, perspectives, or expertise that might challenge their own views.
  2. Cognitive Humility – that is, where leaders recognize their own unconscious associations and correct the errors of judgment that result. It involves bring a third-person perspective to their own experience.
  3. The Ability To Foster Psychological Safety – which involves creating contexts where everyone feel valued and heard – where people feel safe to contribute perspectives even if they differ dramatically from the organization’s prevailing values.

Thankfully the authors recognize that not every conversation will lead to a solution, and people may not necessarily understand another’s perspective any better, but it does mean people will “recognizer the workplace as a place with a true commitment to its employees: a place where people respect one another, even in disagreement, and are able to bring themselves openly to work. If you would like to see your leadership and organization become such a place, contact the Avondale Business School on abs@avondale.edu.au or 02 49802168 to find out how.

ABS Head Helps Judge Central Coast Business Awards

Thursday, October 25, 2018

The ‘Helloworld Erina Group’ 2018 Central Coast Regional Business Awards were hosted by the Central Coast chapter of the NSW Business Chamber, at Crowne Plaza Terrigal. The evening is about celebrating business excellence in the Central Coast Region. Finalists and award winners across 11 categories celebrated with the evening culminating with the presentation for the 2018 Central Coast Business of the year! The Dress Code was Black Tie & Formal. The evening was attended by Lisa Barnes who was also one of the judges of the awards. https://ccrba.com.au/

The finalists on the night included the following:

“The judging was a huge challenge as there are so many great regional businesses out there who are doing really innovative initiatives and demonstrating that even though they are regional they can still play in the arena with the bug businesses” said Lisa Barnes. The Central Coast NSW Business Chamber provides a voice for Central Coast businesses. They advocate governments and authorities at local, state and federal levels to create a better commercial environment.

The big award winner of the night was The Australian Reptile Park who took out the award for Central Coast Business of the Year 2018. Congratulations to all finalists and winners on the night.

Miscommunication or Missed Communication?

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

If miscommunication were causing delays and failures in project completion in your business, and sales were clearly identified as being lost to the same causes, and over half your workforce identified it as causing stress, wouldn’t you actually want to deal with it? Apparently not, according to recent findings from an investigation by The Economist Intelligence Unit between November 2017 and January 2108 of 403 senior executives, managers and junior staff at US companies. The risk of miscommunication was clearly identified as having a huge impact on the bottom line of business. The full survey and article can be found by clicking here.

The top 3 causes of this poor communication are identified as different communication styles, unclear responsibilities and time pressures. But not far behind these were a lack of strong leadership and personal differences amoung colleagues. As the article suggests, clearly managers need to tailor their communication styles to those around them in order to be effective.

Interestingly, 65% of the respondents said that face-to-face meetings are a very effective mode of communication, irrespective of the generation of person surveyed. However, those from the millennial and Gen X demographics do use social media and instant messaging every day in a work context. To connect with these colleagues, managers need to incorporate these alternative modes of communication. Equally, as those from the younger generations rise to leadership they also need to ensure they are using communication styles and modes that reach the older members of their teams. Key then, is the ability to adapt your communication style and mode in order to reach across generations.

While most respondents (60%) reported using emails every day, only 40% recognised it as a very effective means of communication. To address this, the survey identified virtual-based tools, video conferencing, presentation decks and white boards as being much more effective.

The article proposes that the following steps can assist in reducing workplace miscommunication:

  • Having clearer goals for every scheduled meeting
  • Having a wider range of communication tools to use
  • Firm-wide training for employees in communication, including awareness of communication differences and what the best applications of various tools are.

In summary, the article is succinct yet punchy in the information it provides, some of which provides evidence for what we might intuitively already know. A highly recommended read. And the Avondale Business School (ABS) can assist you in fine-tuning your workplace communications, just contact us via abs@avondale.edu.au

Book Review: ‘The Tyranny of Metrics’

Thursday, July 5, 2018

“There are things that can be measured. There are things that are worth measuring. But what can be measured is not always what is worth measuring; what gets measured may have no relationship to what we really want to know.”

This statement, and the subsequent arguments presented by Jerry Muller in his book ‘The Tyranny of Metrics’ (2018, Princeton University Press), were initially a challenge for me, with my background as an accountant. But I warmed to his argument and grew to appreciate what he was presenting.

Muller is a professor of History at Catholic University of America and the author of numerous books on markets and capitalism. He draws on publically available information, numerous research and reports to substantiate his position, and provides a number of supporting examples that are easy to relate to.

A central theme of the book is that ‘many matters of importance are too subject to judgement and interpretation to be solved by standardized metrics. Ultimately, the issue is not one of metrics versus judgement, but metrics informing judgement…” (p. 183).

I felt it was a very convincing argument which has caused me to consider the metrics I use and am exposed to. Being very well organized, with logical arguments and ample evidences, the book is easy to read over a relatively short space of time. It would appeal to anyone involved in developing or using performance metrics.

Overall, this book is a balanced and worthwhile read, and as noted, is not about the evils of measuring. Muller’s summary would be captured by this statement from page 4 of the book: “The problem is not measurement, but excessive measurement and inappropriate measurement – not metrics, but metric fixation”.

Reviewed by Warrick long, Lecturer, Avondale Business School

What Does CEO Stand For?

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

“Effective CEO’s should make as few decisions as possible!”

This statements, taken from their book ‘CEO School: Insights from 20 Global Business Leaders’, authors Stanislav Shekshnia, Kirill Krachenko and Elin Williams come to the conclusion that  CEOs should be Chief Enablement Officers. In a summary article in INSEAD Knowledge (click here to read), the authors share their finding that in today’s organisation the main role of the CEO is to enable other employees to perform, rather than being the ‘Commander-in-Chief’..

That is, employees today are typically highly skilled professionals who most often are “better than anybody else- including the CEO – at what they do”. Consequently such employees don’t need to be directed, they need to be enabled to fulfill their role.

The authors identify seven key practices that CEOs who enable their teams display. In a much abbreviated summary, these are:

  • Reducing uncertainty
  • Encourage collaboration and remove organisational barriers
  • Create productive autonomy for employees
  • Support but challenge employees
  • Make learning available to every employee
  • Stay in touch with the business and outside world
  • Role model enabling leadership

Leaders who focus on an enabling culture are able to focus more on the essential elements of their role and that of the company. They create productive environments where employees are supported, much like a professional athlete who is being coached to maximum success.

This article is highly recommended to leaders who want to maximize the success of the employees and their organisations. Avondale Business School is able to help you in your leadership through our Executive Development and leadership programs.

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!

Micromanaging Could be Killing Your Employees

Sunday, November 6, 2016

MicromanagingVery recent research has looked at how having less freedom in a high-stress job can increase the likelihood of employee death by over 15%. Chad Brooks provides a great summary of  this research in a blog (read it here).

Interestingly, where employees have control within their high-demand jobs, there is a 34% decrease in the likelihood of death as compared to a low demand job. Therefore, in stressful jobs employees need control over what they do and when. This can be energising to employees when they feel they have more freedom.

The study also found that in low control jobs employees are often heavier – frequently the result of using coping mechanisms like eating or smoking to cope.

The lesson from this is that organisations should focus more on giving employees more say in how their work gets done. Are you a micromanager? Or do you trust your employees?

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