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Entries from August 2014

What is the Predominant Mood of your Team?

28th August 2014
Emotional IntelligenceMoods are contagious and understanding the predominant mood in
your team will be an indication of the level of engagement, commitment and
What do I mean by mood?
Well, think of it as an emotional state that has some
longevity such as; optimism, intensity, dour, calm, resentment, resignation,
bold, gratitude….  Think of it as a
longer-term attitude.
As you think of the moods I mentioned above I’m sure you can
imagine what they feel like when you are with someone in this ‘mood’.
How often
have you walked into a room where the mood is uplifting? You actually feel it as
you walk in. Compare that to walking into a room where there is a pensive mood.
You feel it, and it’s very different to the previous mood of uplifting.
Moods envelope you. You automatically
adapt to the environment. They have an impact on how you relate to others and
how you move through the world and take action– humans are emotional beings.
  • What is your predominant mood?
  • How does this affect your team, or meetings you are in?
  • What is the predominant mood of your team?
  • Is it effective?
  • If not what can you do to begin to shift it?
  • Do you drive the mood of your team?

There is likely to be a dominant ‘player’, so who is it?
Exercise: At the beginning and end of every day take a
moment to notice your mood – write it down and reflect on how it’s affecting
your outlook – your thoughts, your actions, your ability to listen. Just
raising your awareness will provide you with new choices.
Managing your mood is a key task of leadership and will
affect the impact you have.
“Don’t let people; places and things determine your moods. Take charge
of how you feel each and every day.”

Michael Barbarulo

Four Skills Great Managers Apply to Engage Their Teams Fully

21st August 2014
Fifteen years ago I was lucky enough to be invited to hear
Marcus Buckingham speak to mark the publication of the book I he co-wrote
–‘First Break All The Rules’. I know it was fifteen years ago because I still
have the invitation pinned to the inside of the book! This book is one I go
back to regularly when considering employee engagement, as it’s full of useful
information that any manager can apply on a regular basis.
Employee Engagement 
As well as laying out the twelve questions that measure the
strength of a workplace (the most important information that measures the core
elements needed to attract, focus and keep the most talented employees), it
also explains what great managers do
to create the right environment.
In summary these are:
Select for talent: Great
managers do not select purely on experience, intelligence or determination.
They define talent as ‘a recurring pattern of thought, feeling or behaviour
that can be productively applied’. Every role performed to excellence requires
talent because the role requires a recurring pattern. While experience,
intellect and will power are important it is the presence of certain talents
that allow people to excel.
Everyone has talents. The trick is finding the right role
for them to shine.
Define the right
Great managers set expectations and steer away from defining the
steps. This encourages individuals to take responsibility and it also builds
self-awareness and self-reliance. They consider what does the task look like
when done well?
The outcomes will clearly stipulate any standards that have
to be met, particularly if there are legislative requirements to be met.
Focus on strengths:  Great managers motivate by doing this
and not focusing on weaknesses. Helping people to become more of who they are.
It’s not about ignoring poor performance. If there is a performance issue they
start with questions like is it trainable? Is it me? Am I not spotting the
right trigger to motivate this person?
Find the right fit: When
developing someone they help find the right fit for the person not simply the
next rung on the ladder, or what would work for me, or this organisation. The
next rung on the ladder may be the right fit – but it isn’t always. It might be
with another organisation.
Great managers get people to look in the mirror. They are
excellent at performance feedback and consider the individuals’ dreams and
aspirations to truly engage them.
“People don’t change
that much.
Don’t waste time
trying to put in what was left out.
Try to draw out what
was left in.
That is hard enough.”
Taken from ‘First
Break all the Rules’
Which one of these skills are you naturally brilliant at?

Which one may need some further focus?
How are you doing with your employee engagement?

Great People Deserve Great Leadership – How Great are You?

14th August 2014
I was listening to an audio recording recently entitled
‘great leadership creates great workspaces’ with Jim Kouzes, one of the authors
of the book The Leadership Challenge. Whilst there was nothing really new in
what he was saying it was backed up by global research that focussed on what
great leaders do to engage their people.
The one item that did make me sit up was the relationship
between values and commitment.
The Relationship
between Values and Commitment
From the research Jim
Kouzes and his colleague Barry Posner
conducted they found that the highest
levels of commitment from individuals occurred when they were clear about their
own values irrespective of whether they understood the organisations value.
So let’s start with you, the leader. Do you know your own
values and what you stand for? If you can’t rattle the top 3 off the top of
your head I’d argue that you don’t, and I make no apologies for being so blunt
about it…
If you don’t know your values there’s no chance that your
team will know what you care about, or what is important to you. Values drive
our decision-making and in a leadership position will help your team know what
is likely to motivate you to say yes or no to a decision that is required.
Great Leaders Connect
with their People
I’ve heard it all before I hear you say…. And I agree with
you. The question for you to consider is – do
you connect with your people?
Great leaders connectLeadership is personal. We are all different. We have
different needs and different motivations. Do you know exactly what it is that
motivates each and every member of your team? Are you able to talk to these
when you have your one to one meetings and conversations with them? Do you even
have regular one to one meetings??!!
Yes, I know it takes time. That time is an up front
investment cost. You’ll easily regain that time over the weeks and months to
come through being ‘in-tune’ with that person and the increased level of
productivity you’re likely to gain.
Take Time out
If you don’t know your
own values in relation to the work you do I suggest you take some time out now
and do just that. There are many ways for you to do this and if you are not
sure how download my personal
branding demystified
booklet, as there is an exercise in it that will help
you, or alternatively give me a call. There is a quick and easy method I use that
can then be used with members of your team.
Hopefully, you’ll then begin to engage and connect with your
team on a whole new level.
‘You can make more
friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in
two years by trying to get people interested in you.”
Dale Carnegie

4 Key Enablers to Engaging Employees

7th August 2014
The benefits of employee engagement to the bottom line is not a new concept. I first came across it almost 20 years ago and yet many organisations still seem to struggle with making it a reality.

There is certainly no silver bullet that will deliver high levels of employee engagement overnight and there is no one size fits all solution. It takes consistent action and a commitment from all who manage people. There are some areas to consider to start the journey though.

The Institute of Employment Studies defined an engaged employee as:

 “one who experiences a blend of job satisfaction, organisational commitment, job involvement and feelings of empowerment. It is a concept that is greater than the sum of its parts.”


Enablers to Engagement

Leadership that ensures a strong, transparent and
explicit organisational culture and gives employees a link between
their job and the vision and aims of the organisation. The story is clearly expressed laying out the purpose of the organisation, why it has the broad vision it has, and how an individual contributes to that purpose so they understand where their work fits in. The leaders have to be visible to achieve this. It’s not about sending out emails or making presentations, it’s about making it part of everyday conversations.
Engaging managers
who offer clarity, appreciation of employees’ contribution, treat people as individuals and ensure that work is organised
efficiently and effectively. The outcome being employees feel valued, equipped and supported to do their job. Managers facilitate and empower rather than control members of their team. This involves meaningful dialogue to understand where individuals can be stretched, providing feedback, coaching and training. Engaging managers understand their team and treat each team member as individuals, with fairness and respect and with a concern for their well-being. 
Employees feeling they are able to voice their ideas and be listened
, both about how they
do their job and in decision-making in their department. Their is a joint sharing
of problems and challenges and a commitment to arrive at joint solutions. Employees’ views are sought out; they are listened to and see that their opinions count and make a difference. 

The ‘ Sunday Times Top 100 Companies to Work for’ found that feeling listened to was the most important factor in determining how much respondents valued their organisation. Being heard reinforces a sense of belonging within an organisation and a belief that ones actions can have an impact.

A belief among employees that the organisation lives its values, and that espoused behavioural norms
are adhered to, resulting in trust and a sense of integrity. Behaviour throughout the organisation is consistent with stated values, leading to trust and a sense of integrity.
Barriers to Engagement

 I am a strong believer in focussing on what works. That said, it is worth being aware of the potential barriers that may also be lurking in the organisation. 


  1. Some
    leaders may not be aware of what employee engagement means, or do not believe that it is
    worth considering.
  2. There may be low perceptions of senior management visibility and the quality of downward communication.
  3. Those who are interested in the topic do not know how to address the issue.
  4. There is great variability in Leaders views and commitment to it.

Often the potential of employee engagement is underestimated. For some, engagement is an annual staff survey whose results may be acted on by others.  The survey is no more than one tool in an overall approach that is part of the organisation’s strategy.


  1. Even
    when leaders place great emphasis on the idea of employee engagement, managers
    may not share the belief, or may be ill-equipped to implement engagement
  2. Reactive decision-making that fails to
    address problems in time as before anything is fully implemented there is something new to focus on.
  3. Inconsistent management style, which leads to lack of clarity and perceptions of unfairness.
  4. Lack of communication and
    knowledge sharing, due to rigid communication channels which can disempower managers as well as their teams.    
Engagement does not necessarily involve outlay on consultants or expensive surveys. However, it will involve behavioural and cultural change which takes time and effort.

not wait; the time will never be ‘just right.’ Start where you stand, and work
with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be
found as you go along.”

George Herbert

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