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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in change management

You’ve probably heard of the term ‘emotional intelligence' (EI)  which was popularised by psychologist and science journalist Dr Daniel Goldman in the mid 1990s.  

His book Emotional Intelligence was on The New York Times bestseller list for 18 months and later translated into 40 languages worldwide. Over five million copies of the book are now in print and a number of spin-off books by the author and others have followed.

So what does EI really mean and why is it such a big deal in the workplace?

Goldman’s groundbreaking ideas centred on the notion that people who have strong self-awareness, self-restraint/self-control, motivation, empathy and people skills, can and often do achieve more success in life than others who may have higher intelligence or IQ scores, but can’t demonstrate the same abilities interacting with people.   

Twenty years and thousands of behavioural research papers on, emotional intelligence is now widely regarded as the special ‘X-factor’ that helps some people achieve more than their peers. People with high EI will progress to leadership roles and other sought-after positions within the workplace, often over people who are technically stronger or rated as ‘more intelligent.’

The good news is, unlike our IQ which is pretty much set for life from childhood, EI can be learned and improved over time by anyone, at any age. We now know the brain has far more ‘plasticity’ than previously thought. However, you will need patience, determination and a willingness to practise your EI skills at every opportunity. It’s like developing a new muscle – the more you use it, the stronger and more noticeable it becomes.

Here’s some practical ideas for building your EI at work:

1.  Start with your self-awareness.  

Take an EI quiz to determine your current capability levels in this area. Ask a trusted colleague or friend to help you identify your triggers,  your strengths and weaknesses are in terms of your personal insights and how well you relate to other people. Decide what specific area/s you need to work on most and set yourself small achievable goals each week.

2.  Listen to your own inner sound track.  

Are you naturally an optimist or pessimist? What tune are you singing to yourself each day? Negative thoughts and patterns of behaviour can build up over years and be hard to change. If you catch yourself thinking the worst about yourself or somebody else, try to reframe those thoughts in a more positive way. Recognise the power of negative self talk on your emotional well being.

3.  Be curious about other people and try to really empathise with what they might be feeling or experiencing.  

Listen carefully to what they’re saying without making any judgements about them. Watch their body language for any non-verbal cues and try to give genuine positive feedback to others whenever you can.

4.  Practise your self-restraint and self-control.  

Next time someone says or does something that triggers negative emotions in you at work, take a deep breath and resist the urge to react.  You may say something in the heat of the moment that you later regret. Even the act of showing restraint is empowering.  If it’s important, make a note to discuss it with them later when you can compose yourself professionally. Don’t hold grudges – it takes up too much valuable energy!  Learn from past mistakes (yours and others), then let them go.  

5.  Check your ‘gratitude attitude’.  

Your job may not be perfect but do you have a great team, the opportunity to help others, a comfortable office or maybe even work in a really convenient location, close to home? This isn’t just Pollyanna stuff. Role model the language of gratitude. After a while it will become part of your thinking habit and won’t require as much conscious thought to remember all the positives. Researchers have also found that people who take the time to work on their gratitude attitude each day, report increased energy levels, more positive moods and a greater sense of physical well being.

6.  Learn to embrace change, rather than fearing it.  

Change is predictable but it still fills people with fear. Switch your lens. Change is also an important part of renewal and growth in nature and in business. Anticipate it, talk about it and normalise it through your language and your behaviours. Be disciplined and challenge yourself when you automatically start to associate change with negative thoughts. The ability to respond flexibly and adapt to change is another characteristic of people with high EI.

7.  Practise good self care.  

Regular exercising, getting enough sleep, limiting your caffeine and alcohol intake, making time for relaxation and eating sensibly can all help you regulate your emotions and be the best ‘you’ you can be – at home and at work.

For more great practical ideas about how we can help you or your team, please contact us.

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Posted by on in Performance Management

How productive are your workplace meetings? 

Are the outcomes worth the significant investment?  

Is attending unproductive meetings just adding to your already hectic work schedule? 

Recent research has found that the average officer worker spends 62 hours a month in meetings and that 31 of those hours – or exactly half! – are considered unproductive or a waste of time. The estimated salary cost to businesses from this lost productivity is a whopping US$37 billion dollars each year.

The ability to hold a successful and productive meeting is a dying art. Even with the wealth of technological aids for modern organisations, many meetings still lack focus, fail to deliver outcomes, fail to engage staff and often become a source of great frustration.  

The ability to chair a successful meeting, even at an informal level, is a direct reflection on our professionalism. If our meetings are not achieving anything, this perception can become an extension of how others perceive us. The reality is many people are not confident in setting agendas, navigating procedural motions, understanding meeting rules and etiquette, recording action items and taking minutes to make the most of the forum.

In order to get the most from resource-intensive meetings, organisations should regularly review the way they organise, conduct and follow-up on them. 

Here are the top ten tips from PSW HR Solutions on how to have more successful meetings:

1. Define

Define your purpose – why do you need to have a meeting?  Is there another communication channel possible that will achieve the same or an even better result in a shorter time-frame?

2. Plan

If you must have a meeting, plan it carefully. Who needs to be there? Do you need the entire team or just the key decision-makers?  Invite everyone who needs to be there and no-one else.

3. Agenda  

Develop your agenda collaboratively to ensure relevance of discussion topics and ‘buy in’ from intended participants. Set time limits for each item. Rank agenda items in order of priority and allow more time for complex or controversial items.

4. Roles & Responsibilities  

Assign clear meeting roles and responsibilities. For formal or structured meetings, make sure the role of minute taker is assigned to someone appropriately skilled for that task. The same goes for the chairperson and/or facilitator. These two roles are crucial, particularly for large meetings.

5. Venue  

Is the meeting venue fit-for-purpose? Room size, accessibility, ventilation, lighting, equipment and technology all matter, especially for long and/or important meetings.

6. Preparation

Send out any background reading materials well in advance of the meeting. This is not only a courteous and professional practice but it will help to foster more thoughtful and considered discussion at the meeting itself.

7. Procedures & Protocols

Follow agreed meeting procedures and protocols. Anticipate any contentious or controversial issues that may be raised and/or potentially difficult personalities who may be attending. Make sure you have strategies up your sleeve to deal with them. For example, seat potentially difficult participants close to the chairperson or facilitator, on their right hand side, if possible. Brief the chairperson or facilitator thoroughly in advance about the meeting’s purpose and any issues or invitees that may be of concern.

8. Participation

Encourage active participation and questions for more meaningful and honest discussions.

9. Evaluation

Don’t wait till the end of the meeting to evaluate it!  Then it’s too late to do anything about it. Ask participants during the meeting for their feedback on how the objectives are being met and take their feedback on board without taking it personally.

10. Actions & Outcomes

Follow-up on any agreed action items and outcomes from the meeting as soon as possible. Be sure to send out the minutes promptly, otherwise the momentum for change/progress may be lost, and key participants will be less likely to attend your next meeting.

 

It makes good business sense to take meeting management seriously. Improvements can be simple and inexpensive to implement and the potential for positive results can be enormous.

For more information and help on how to develop better meeting skills, including useful strategies for engaging and energising participants, troubleshooting tips and essential competencies for your  21st century meetings toolbox, please get in touch.

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Posted by on in Stakeholder Management

PSW HR Solutions have been working with several clients recently who are seeking to enhance the resilience of their teams. 

Significant and sustained organisational changes, negative media attention for an organisation and leadership changes have resulted in the resilience of team members being tested. 

People are worn down by the moving goal posts, ever challenging targets and uncertainty about their role and even their long-term future in tough economic environments. 

Workgroups with low resilience are often evidenced by the following HR challenges;

  • conflict in the workplace
  • low morale
  • staff turnover and absenteeism
  • low innovation and productivity

The good news is that people can always improve their capacity for resilience at any time in their life! 

Further, successfully leading your teams through challenging periods is actually an opportunity to build a culture of resilience and can strengthen the team – if it is managed well.

So how can we get our teams to move from the victim/blaming reaction to the learning/coping reaction?

Here are some strategies to help you create a resilient work culture

Evaluate Workload

Across public sector and private sector people are being asked to do more with less and it is critical to clearly discuss and clarify organisational expectations and priorities. You also need to ensure you carefully and objectively assess a healthy level of pressure versus unmanageable work demands. 

Many people thrive in challenging work environments but where this balance is out people quickly feel anxious and defeated. The key is open communication with your teams regularly about their workload.  Leverage the opportunities offered through the structured performance discussions processes.

Empower your people

Where people feel they have little control to influence decisions or events, particularly where they affect us directly, we become very stressed. We often do not know all the facts and that adds to the pressure. 

Where reasonable involve your teams in decision making at all levels, consult wherever possible to solve problems and offer a variety of ways for teams to provide feedback. 

Keeping people informed about decisions and providing opportunities to contribute builds engagement and creates a resilient culture.

Resource your teams

People managers have an important role in ensuring teams have adequate resources, training and technology to do the work required. It is vital to make a conscious effort to fix niggling problems quickly as they amplify our frustration in pressured environments.  Save the stress for the big-ticket items, not annoying technical or process problems!

Prioritise expenditure on creating improvements that enable people to meet their goals as easily as possible.  Focus on continually developing skills in your team and consider ways they can grow their capability with incremental challenges. Growth builds confidence which underpins resilience.

Create positive work relationships

People’s relationships with their colleagues and their managers can often define how they feel about work. Lack of support, aggressive and/or disengaged management styles will quickly demoralise the team.

To counteract this, build in routine  practices that actively create positive relationships within the team as part, for example open communication processes.  Communicate appropriate workplace conduct and ensure the standards around positive behaviours are maintained. You should also monitor your own leadership style when under pressure and reflect on whether you need to adapt your style to meet the current circumstances.

Create positive strategies to support change

Change is an inevitable part of our lives yet it is constantly recorded as one of the major triggers for stress. It is helpful for your teams if you acknowledge how stressful and challenging it can be. You can then build engagement in the process by celebrating even small wins along the way where you can. 

In addition, regular updates on progress are critical to keep teams energised. You can also role model positivity about the changes and consciously use positive language. This serves to encourage people to shift their thinking from focusing on what is lacking or going wrong towards what is working well and how they can build on it to create new opportunities.

For more information on options to develop a resilience culture in your organisation, please get in touch.

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