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Empowering your people to do the right things right

empowerment

Empowering your people to do the right things right

Don’t we all want our colleges to do the right things right? Well you would think so, but sometimes our behaviours don’t allow them to do so. Have a look at the Paradigm below it identifies four distinct areas that people will fall into at work and there are associated dangers and benefits to each area, along with organisational effectiveness, performance, skills development and team work.

In previous blogs we have looked at the whole concept of Attitudes and Behaviours. click here to see

In this context we are going to call them different things. Attitude, the stuff inside you, personal to you and your journey through life, can represent your prejudice. When you prejudge things adversely it can be problematical. It is very hard to see someone’s prejudice unless they drop their guard and let you see it through their behaviour. It then cease to be prejudice and becomes alive via discrimination.

So in this context Attitude = Prejudice and Behaviour = Discrimination

Area 1 – People with prejudice that allow it into discrimination at work

Empowering Prejudice

Where is the place for people that do this in your business? The obvious answer is out of the business, if colleagues come to work believing bad things and acting on them, they must surely fall foul of a vast array of policies and procedures. However many just get away with it because they have always been like it!

Not an empowering environment for creative, innovative working….. Empowering your staff requires every policy and procedure to be robustly applied to everyone.

Area 2 – People with absolutely no prejudice who never act in a way that might discriminate

Empowering No prejudice

Now we would all love to have workforces like this! Most of us bounce in to this area on occasions, but its a really difficult place to live in. NEVER having any negative thoughts, NEVER acting on them in anyway. This is the domain of saints and babies!  A delegate once suggested that this is an are solely for “the dead”, they can’t have prejudice and never discriminate.

A great place to aim for, resulting in the demise of every HR department, harmony at work…….

Area 3 – People have no prejudice, but their behaviour is discriminatory

Empowering bad behaviourHow can this happen? How can someone not feel the prejudice but behave in ways that discriminate? this falls into several subsections

1 The ignorant. These workers have no idea that their behaviour is inappropriate, but as no one has ever held them to task for their behaviour they just carry on doing it. The colleague who uses bad language as a matter of course, without realising its impact on those around, those that they would never want to offend or upset. But do.

Empowering your staff means dealing with these openly, frankly and honestly. The conversations might be unwelcome, make the individual feel uncomfortable, BUT they are necessary and warranted

 2 The blind eye. Where workers turn a blind eye to things that are going on, because they would be difficult or embarrassing to tackle. The manager that sees sloppy behaviour towards a customer and lets it go. Thus setting the standard for every subsequent customer interaction because “he saw it and said nothing……”

Empowering your staff requires standards to be set by managers and gives staff the permission to insist on appropriate behaviours, knowing they will be supported.

3 The Avoider. This individual knows that something is going on that shouldn’t be, but doesn’t have the tools to deal with the situation so they make sure they are never present when problems could occur. Supervisors roster conflicting colleagues together on a night shift, knowing that they will be on the day shift…. Not my problem then!

4 Joining in. The most difficult of the 4. Why would someone join in with behaviour when they KNOW its wrong? there are six simple answers, all of which revolve around fear. Fear of Position, Personality, Threats, Expertise, Social standing and Moral high ground.  Click here for our blog on power.

Empowering your staff means being very aware of the political dynamics at work, insisting on fair play, assassinating banter, keeping a finger on the pulse of the work place. Making sure it stays healthy.

Area 4 – People who come to work with prejudice, but don’t allow their behaviour to be discriminatory.

No Discrimination

 

Recognise anyone?  I certainly fit this area most of the time. I am able to choose my behaviours, I am responsible for them.

Empowering your staff means supporting good behaviours by acknowledging them, recognising them, celebrating them. When these things happens it is possible to start to erode the preconceptions and help colleagues dwell for longer in Area 2.

 

At PDP we help business’ and individuals look at their behaviours and the behaviours of those around them. We do this via training, coaching, mentoring and up-skilling.

Get in touch by email with Richard or Paula

By following Richard or Paula on Twitter

By giving us a call on 08712 349 873. We would love to by you a coffee…

 

 

Customer Service – What your team need to know

customer service

Customer Service – What your team need to know

Having just spent a brilliant day with London’s newest train operator MTR Crossrail we thought that it would be good to share some insight into excellent customer service. You may be aware that we worked really hard in the run up to London 2012 with the London Ambassadors, staff at City Hall and the service personnel who did such a great job securing the Olympic and Paralympic games. We were involved with training, coaching, consulting and monitoring performance.

Top Tips for effective customer service

Understand what the term “customer” means. Many business’ don’t.

DefinitionA customer is someone who receives something we provide, either a product or a service or information.

You will note here there is no mention of payment! Most operational employees of organisations rapidly identify where the “money” comes from, but fail to see the frequent “internal” customer and supplier chains. These chains are the ones which ensure the external customer gets great service. They also help ensure the business is there for the long term, which is great for job security..

It would be daft to say that every customer is the same, because we are all unique, different individuals. However we can identify similarities in customers that will lead to particular customer service outcomes.

Elective Customers

These are the people that recognise they have a choice for the provision of goods, services and information. They have the ability to move from supplier to supplier as a better deals or products come to the market. They are not Elective customertied in to the supplier. Organisations really fight hard to keep these customers by offering all kinds of loyalty bonus’, reward cards and incentives to attract customers back. When you genuinely have a choice would you put up with crappy products and services? Neither would we, so we go to the competition. So organisations really want to impress the Elective customers…. and do so by encouraging excellent customer service.

Captive Customers

There are a vast array of business’ that have captive customers. Look at your phone. Did you get swayed by the Captive Customershiny latest model and then sign away a 24 month contract to someone who knows it will cost you money to get out of their contract. The more complacent of these firms offer “new customer only” deals, which are far better than yours… If you are a captive and happy customer then well done to you and the supplier. The reality is that many of these business’ know you are captive and get complacent, until month 22…. when you start to become elective again and get better customer service.

Unwilling customers

Why would anyone be an unwilling customer? It doesn’t make sense! Well every time there is a bank holiday in the town we live in the refuse collection gets varied by a day or so. Every time that happens our rubbish isn’t collected, Unwilling customersso we have bins full of household waste that sits for … well… The service supplier that takes our bin has a two week cycle, week 1 rubbish, week 2 recycling. Not a service level agreement we wanted, but that’s it! So when a failure happens on August 28th the next time the bin gets taken is September 11. Can you imagine what the sardines we didn’t quite finish on the 14th of August are like now? BUT we have no choice in that supplier, and they know it, and they don’t care until their contract is up for renewal in 5 years…… so much for customer service.

Non Users

How can someone be a customer without using a product, service or information? In the UK cash is moved from Non Userbanks and shops to cash centres and then back to banks and shops. It is done by several companies, but the largest is G4S Cash Solutions Ltd. They protect their employees well with good vehicles, body armour and training, making it very difficult for “baddies” to steal from them. Fewer thefts mean that insurance premiums stay low, so when we go to insure our homes, lives etc the premiums are lower because of G4S! Even though we don’t use their products.

If it was your business…

We always try to deliver customer service that recognises our customers as elective, it keeps us focussed, ensures we pay attention to detail, makes us really listen to our customers. If you would like to find out more about the training, coaching and development work that we do please contact:

Richard by Email or twitter

Paula by Email or Twitter

or call us on 08712 349 873

As a mother are your talents being utilised?

Mother Utilise Talents

 “Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talents in the world”     Hilary Clinton

We know it, we recognise it and we agree with her comment….or should I say, us women do, and many mothers are living as part of this “untapped reservoir of talent“.  As a women with my own business and a mother of a primary aged child, I feel proud and privileged to know the range of talented and skilled women that I do. If you were to harness the abilities and qualifications of mothers in the school playground, you could set up and successfully run a number of hugely profitable high powered businesses, and I’m talking state school here.  However, I feel there are three key pressures that stop mothers doing what they really want to do, and using their talents to their best advantage: financial considerations, job security and expectations of others.

“In this day and age women can just as easily be the main breadwinner as men. Why should they have to give up their careers when they have children?”

 

Ben Foden fronting the Government campaign for shared parental leave.

The most important one that batters this talent into submission is financial issues.  Traditionally men have earned more than women, and as women give birth, it was always felt they should stay at home and bring up the child in Women and work talentsthose important early years, plus if we’re talking traditional, men weren’t allowed in the hospital and were outside smoking cigars!  However, in today’s society a high percentage of women have high powered and well paid jobs which are challenging and engaging.  Their wages make a significant contribution to the household, and so many, when they become mothers, need to go back to work financially.  They may need to work less hours, find they have a reduced or different role in the company, or end up applying for less skilled jobs, in order to balance financial need with childcare consideration, and so feel de-skilled and that their talents are unfulfilled.

 The recent change in paid maternity leave and how it can now be divided up between both parents, may make financial considerations less of a concern, but only if fathers are willing to take on this role.

The second issue is job security.  A National Childbirth Trust survey published in 2014,  commented that:

“Around half of new mothers have to cut short their maternity leave because of fears they will lose their job if they stay at home

 

The study quoted nearly 45% of women as feeling they are being forced back to work sooner than they wanted after giving birth, due to concerns over “job security”.  There are still great issues in some companies over asking for woman in distress Talentsflexible hours, yet remaining in the same role in which your talents were utilised.  This may not always be the employers fault, but also due to their financial considerations as well as staffing issues, yet the “job security” issue for women remains!  It can see them taking a sideways position in the company when they come back from maternity leave, or trying to balance work and childcare considerations to such an extent that both suffer, and it is all they can do to get through each day.  They are too exhausted just trying to keep afloat and get through the daily tasks to show initiative and flair.

The third key pressure, is the idea that women can and should have it all, and most importantly want it all.  Society and other women, make it sound as if it can be nothing but a great thing!  Nicola Horlick was hailed as a superwoman for balancing her extremely successful and high powered finance career whilst raising six children!  This is a fantastic achievement, but does every woman and mother want it, or do they feel under pressure to show they too, can act this way?  I know I did!

My neighbour and I had a really interesting discussion  about the pressures on mothers to return to work, and how much of that anxiety was generated by the women themselves and the media.  My neighbour told me she made a conscious decision to give up work and be at home with her four children as she felt it was important “that I bring up my children my way.  The way I want them to be brought up, with my values”.  She felt women shouldn’t have to apologise for wanting to be stay-at-home mums and choose to nurture and raise their children, but should feel confident in the choice they’ve made.

Will the much needed change in paid maternity leave see more fathers taking paid time off to share the childcare, and allow mothers to go  back to their same challenging careers, and perform well because they are able to?  Or, will companies still feel mothers are a liability and gradually squeeze them out of their positions, into a more mundane role?  Lastly, are women their own harshest critics and feel they should be able to do it all, and that their failing if they choose to stay at home with their children?

Where do you stand?  Are you at the point of returning to work, or having to make career decisions?

Do you feel you can return to work and still perform at the same high level, or do you need a confidence boost and skills audit?

Share your experiences with me on twitter @therealme_PDP or Facebook The real me (Paula Ashby)

Alternatively email me for a free and confidential chat about whether coaching can help you utilise your talents me.  paula@professionaldevelopmentpeople.co.uk

 

Prejudice and discrimination in the work place

prejudice and discrimination at work

Prejudice and discrimination in the workplace

When dealing with managers on various training events it’s rare to come across someone who would fall foul of the 2010 Equalities Act. The Act sets out 9 protected characteristics and various ways in which some or all of the characteristics can be abused.

The nine Protected characteristics are;

• Age
• Disability
• Gender Reassignment
• Race
• Religion or Belief
• Sex
• Sexual Orientation
• Marriage and Civil Partnership
• Pregnancy and Maternity
To most of us these protected characteristics are factors which should play no part in treating others unfairly, they are not relevant in work based behaviours and choices. To be clear; your age should have no bearing on your abilities in the work place.

These protected characteristics can be abused in the following ways

1 Direct Discrimination.
When someone treats an individual unfairly because of a protected characteristic.
“Don’t employ Hindus because……. I don’t like them”
2 Associative Discrimination
When someone treats and individual unfairly because they are linked to someone with a protected characteristic.
“ I won’t employ him because he has a disabled wife and that will mean he takes time off for her care”
3 Discrimination by Perception
When an individual is treated unfairly because someone thinks they are linked to a protected characteristic.
“ She looks like she’s too young to meet customers”
4 Indirect Discrimination
Stipulating a particular rule or process, which might sound reasonable but discriminates.
“Male Police officers must be 6ft 1 tall, there by making sure that the majority of British Sri Lankans who may not get to be 6ft, cannot become Police Officers.”
5 Harassment
Employees can now claim offensive behaviour, even if it isn’t directed at them to be harassment. The important aspect of this is the impact of the behaviour on the recipient NOT the intention of the Harasser.
6 Harassment by a third party
Where an employer allows its employees to face harassment by someone else.
“a courier is subjected to sexist comments by a customer, but the employer keeps sending them back into the same business”
7 Victimisation
Not quite the dictionary definition of victimisation. This is where an individual is treated differently and unfairly because of a course of action they have taken, or because of their support for an individual that has taken a particular course of action.
“ An employee supports a friend in making a grievance and is then side-lined for promotion.

Not all the protected characteristics are protected entirely (See the ACAS TABLE)

In most work places

What we do come across often is that individuals don’t think about their feelings and the outcomes. They don’t think about their attitudes which can drive their behaviours, their prejudices which can drive inappropriate discrimination.
There are four outcomes forming this paradigm

Prejudice and discrimination

Fred comes to work with a strong race prejudice and then makes racist comments.
Outcome. Fred should be disciplined and probably sacked

No Prejudice and Never discriminates

Who on earth is that? Saints, Babies…. I have never met someone in this area, although every business I have ever been in seems to expect it….

No Prejudice but discriminatory behaviour

How can that be? Fred never has a malicious though, but his behaviour is discriminatory. This is the grave yard for managers old and new. How can someone do this?
1 Ignorance – they just don’t know what they are doing
2 Ignoring – they see something happening, but take a back seat rather than dealing with it. ( a suicidal management strategy)
3 Avoidance – They deliberately manipulate situations to not be present when problem might occur. Fred and Julie are always arguing at work, rather than deal with it their manager rosters fred and Juile on a shift pattern he isn’t on
4 To join in – because the behaviours that aren’t desirable are being demonstrated by someone with POWER (click for the blog on power) , rather than Challenge they go along with it

Prejudice but no discriminatory behaviour

Thinking and feeling something, but not allowing others to see that in your behaviour. Which accounts for the majority of us!

 

Interested ? Why not give Richard or Paula a call?
Email Richard or Paula
Tweet Richard or Paula
We would love to talk to you and your colleagues about brilliant work place behaviours. #how2PDP

What happens if colleagues are not supported or challenged at work?

Support and challenge at work

What happens if colleagues are not supported or challenged at work?

Well this particular paradigm should be useful to everyone that manages people at work. Understanding it builds a culture of team work, up-skilling, objective setting, raising performance and motivation. The model looks at the relationships between support and challenge and the feelings / behaviour that can be seen.

So the grid spans challenge high to low and support high to low.

How does it feel to work in a business where there is a huge amount of challenge, but no support?

Frustration with managementDo you recognise this? It is where the business expects you to go the extra mile every day, where work is piled up on people who are expected to cope, but have no mechanisms to access support.  This is a really bad place to be because the constant pressure you are under has no release. This is where people trip into the bad stress areas, where illness begins with all the personal and business trauma that can cause. At the very least its hugely frustrating and de-motivating.

 

How does this happen?

Often because the employee seems to be doing OK, because they never use their assertiveness skills to say “I need help”, “I can’t cope”, “I don’t understand.” There is a responsibility on the employees behalf to help their manager understand.

There is also a legal, moral and business case why managers need to be monitoring this closely. This keeps productivity, efficiency and effectiveness high, which is what we all want, but doesn’t burn people out.

How does it feel to work in a business where there is a huge amount of support, but no challenge?

On face value many of us would relish this particular outcome. However on examination its not a really good place Manager doesn't Trusteither. This is where you don’t have to make any decisions, you are spoon fed data and information. Anything of value that needs to be done, anything that might make an impact is done by someone else. Usually the manager. It makes us become dependant, unable to assert opinions, fearful of making errors. It de-skills the employee.

How does this happen?

  1. The manager doesn’t want to overload the employee, wants to make sure that they are safe and happy in their work, doesn’t want the person to feel stressed by a task or situation. The manager feels this is a form of kindness to the employee, many managers think its their job to protect the team from everything. The DUVET feeling. Wrap you up carefully so no harm can come to you…. patronising, humiliating and in the long term de-skilling. If you have got children you might recognise this!
  2. The manager simply can’t do without you, but doesn’t TRUST you. This happens frequently in operational business’, where the manager allocates menial tasks to workers and they do them. When any decision needs to be made the employee MUST NOT make it, because the manager loses control…. Positional Power (click for previous blog)  in action.

 

How does it feel to work in a business where there is no support and no challenge?

Staff leave because of poor managersEver had a summer vacation job when a student? This is it. Nothing really to do, no one to supervise you, no one to give you more to do. You are a minion and get paid for being present. You can last a summer holiday, but not much longer. We all need some strokes of recognition, acknowledgement.

Organisations that create this culture haemorrhage staff. People will mark time until a new opportunity shows up then they leave. Frequently without notice, well why would you give any?

How does it feel to work in a business where there is an appropriate amount of  support and appropriate challenge?

How does this feel?

Stimulating, enjoyable, professionally stretching, cared for, invigorating, worth while.Happy at work

The kind of place you work hard in.

The kind of place that’s really good at what it does.

The kind of place you want to be.

HAPPY DAYS!

 

This could be your Business!  Like to have a chat? Email Richard or Paula

Tweet us Richard or Paula

Call us 08712 349 873 We would love to buy you a coffee and see how we might help you or your business

At a crossroads in your life? Not sure which turn to take?

Coaching mums

At a crossroads in your life? Not sure which turn to take?

Are you prepared practically and emotionally for your new venture?

 

Coaching for mums crossroads

 

SPECIAL OFFER!!!!!

Group coaching for mums returning to work

An opportunity to discuss common anxieties, tips for job hunting and preparing yourself mentally for work

Coaching PDP crossroads

 

Email Paula

Tweet Paula

Call Paula, to have a chat about how to begin moving forward.

 

 

Power at work

Power in the workplace

 

Power at work – 6 things you need to know

There are various theories about how “power” plays a role in the work place, having an understanding of these theories might put you in a better position use assertiveness.

Here are a few indicators that I find useful when the situation looks a little tricky.

POSITIONAL POWER – The obvious power play, this derives from the grade, rank or position that you hold, it’s Positional Powerabout status. Many senior managers in organisations use this deliberately to get things done, that probably should have been planned better. “I am your boss and I am telling you to do it!”, “your family commitments need to wait, this deadline must be achieved, just get it done”. We see this Power play in everyday life. Why do Policemen (It is only men) wear helmets? So that they stand out, so that their status / power is readily observed. Some police forces would only recruit above a certain height to exacerbate this. (lets not get drawn into how well you do the job or how you behave, just give us big ones, ho hum) In a court of law judges sit higher than everyone…uniforms in the military.. uniforms at work.

Expert PowerEXPERT POWER – “I am the recognised guru in this field, challenge me at your peril! For I am the font of all knowledge”. Unfortunately many people confuse expert with length of time served, therefore you can be perceived as the expert just because you have lived long enough. How many colleagues do you know that have 10 year’s experience, but actually only had 1 year, but repeated it 10 times!  Learning little in the past 9 years.

coersive powerCOERSIVE POWER – The ugly use of threats to get people to do things. Often, but not exclusively, comes with Positional Power, frequently an abuse linked to social power.

Moral PowerMORAL POWER – “We must do this because it is simply the right thing to do”. A hard power play to argue against. The usual failing of this is that the right thing to do is often based on subjective feelings or misdirection, rather than objective facts, trends etc. “The Government of Syria should not gas civilians”. Well of course not, a point that makes absolute sense. However why was it OK to kill and injure civilians using other methods? And why were we silent then?

Social PowerSOCIAL POWER – This is a bit more delicate. How do you discipline a colleague when he is having an affair with the chief executive? Some people deliberately use their patronage to behave badly towards others. Although I have recently seen an example where a competent hardworking colleague was getting some really poor work allocated to her. The reason? Daddy is a senior manager and her boss doesn’t like Daddy, because Daddy got the job the manager wanted.

Personal PowerPERSONAL POWER – Some people are just really charismatic, regardless of their position. I am sure that all of us recognise people at work, home or in the pub that influence enormously because of their personal power.

I hope that makes sense, just a taster. Now think about your tricky situation, what are the powers being used? How can you use that knowledge to your benefit WITHOUT VIOLATING THE RIGHTS OF OTHERS? Richard

 

 

 

To find out more contact Richard or Paula by email, follow us on twitter Richard or Paula. or call us on 08712 349 873. We would love to buy you a coffee.

 

 

ROI – Return on Investment for training events

ROI Training

ROI – Return on investment for training events, how do you KNOW you have got it?

This is the simple question that many clients really want to know the answer to. How will I be able to demonstrate to the business that my training intervention has had an effect on the employees, customers and the culture of the organisation? We have been working on a straight forward way to help with this, to really mark individuals positions at the start of an intervention and then revisit those positions at the end.

So how do PDP do that?

Firstly with some time dedicated to talking to you about your development needs, organisational culture and desired outcomes. This consulting and communication process is critical to build confidence, objective outcomes and behavioural measures. Lots of development organisations outsource their behavioural measurement to third parties. We never do. We want your needs to drive the process, not someone else’s 360 model.

Most of our partner organisations have their own behavioural competence frameworks, used for the measurement of progress, gap analysis and often appraisals. We always look to use these in a simple, digestible format. We turn your framework into pictures!  Pictures that generate discussion, highlight realities, are by definition not verbose and open to misinterpretation.

Here is an example of a 360 picture taken at the start of a series of management development workshops.

360 degree picture

 

 

 

This particular organisation has four main competence areas that its managers need to work to. Delivering Results, Setting the Direction, Leadership and Working with Others. These main heading areas are then spilt into the more detail by describing 14 key competency areas. Your business will not be exactly the same, but similar principles probably exist.

The blue line indicates the self assessment of the individual against all these areas. The red line indicates the views of five others who sit around that colleague.  In this scenario at least 1 customer was asked to contribute, because the business holds customer care as one of its strongest values.

Learning from phase 1?

Loads!

The individual;

  1. takes time to look at the competence framework and self assess
  2. gets a good picture of their performance against the frame work
  3. is informed about how other see them at work…..

 

The diagrams are sent to the individual a week before a scheduled 1 hour meeting with us. The purpose of the meeting is to build some rapport with colleagues and to explore areas where development may be required and strengths celebrated. This can be the start of really a meaningful coaching relationship, to set the focus on the training programme and its benefits.

 

The organisation;

  1. gets a snapshot of individuals performance at the start of the programme
  2. identifies where people are significantly at variance with their circle of colleagues
  3. often becomes aware of unknown skill shortages, which may be addressed within the development programme

The training intervention

 

Based on the outcomes of the first 360 and the associated coaching sessions the content and time frame of the training events are agreed. usually along with a coaching session “mid-Term”. At the end of the programme delegates revisit the 360 process. Take a look at the second chart, which was undertaken by the same colleague 9 months after the first 360.

360 end picture

 

 

 

 

 

 

So what does this tell us?

It indicates lots of things that are really important to the individual, their team and the business.

  1. the individuals view of himself is much closer to that of their peers.
  2. the competence areas are all outside of the “usually” sphere, where we would expect effective managers to be
  3. there is demonstrable growth in several of the competence areas from both the individual and their peers
  4. a 9 month intervention has developed this person at work. When the organisation looks at all the individuals we can measure the impact of the training across the business
  5. now we are in this position it is possible look forward to the next challenge, knowing where the people are
  6. a culture of coaching is becoming “normal” within the company because individuals know it works

 

 

Would you like to know more about PDP and how we can help with your training development?

Contact us by Email Richard or Paula,

by telephone on 08712 349 873

by Twitter  Richard or Paula

We would love to buy you a coffee!

 

 

7 top tips to help you survive your first job interview!

First Interview

“Nation of awkward teens need help to shake hands and smile”

Antony Jenkins Barclays chief executive, was quoted in The Sunday Times today as saying that Britain will probably have a “lost generation” of teenagers, if we don’t “help them develop the skills they will need for the new world of work”.  Are these your students he’s talking about?  The skills he’s referring to aren’t the academic topics they’ve spent years studying for, but “people skills”.  These are the skills that take the individual from being “socially awkward” and not able to give eye contact or shake hands with someone in authority, to appearing confident in the way they manage themselves, engage in conversation and play their role within the interview.  Below I’ve outlined 7 top tips for you to share with the young people you work with increase their effectiveness in interviews:

Be prepared for the interview

How many of us worry about the interview in private, but shrug it off as “no big deal” in public.  IT IS A  BIG DEAL! Statistics from www.parliament.uk showed that 764,000 young people aged 16-24 were unemployed in September to November 2014, which was up 30,000 on the previous quarter, and the unemployment rate was up 0.9% from the previous quarter. This means that no matter how positively you are viewed at six form, college or university, you are an unknown quantity in the world of work. You will be judged on what you know and how you present yourself, so read up on the company, the position you are being interviewed for, what other similar companies are up to.  Have questions prepared that you can ask the company, and appear knowledgeable. Be very clear why YOU want to work for THEM, as HR and company directors like to know that you have chosen to apply to them for a job rather than a competitor.

Be confident

How do your friends and family view you?  Do they see you as being confident in a range of situations?  Ask them for examples of when they have seen you this way, and what you looked and sounded like?  Check out were you naturally confident in this situation, i.e. discussing a topic around Sunday lunch with your family, or did you have to switch if on, such as giving a speech at college.  Get your family or close friends to describe these situations and coach you, so that you can conjure up these positive words, phrases and mannerisms again, when your confidence is beginning to fade, either before or during an interview.  Also ask them to describe situations where you’ve been over-confident and what this looked like? It’s important to know the difference so that the wrong impression doesn’t come across in an interview.  When we are nervous, over-confidence can easily come into play to cover up nerves.  This is not a good look

Posture and stance

When you go for an interview, you never know who is observing you, so it’s always a good idea to be confident from the minute you enter the building.  What impression are you giving the receptionist who greets you?  At this stage, you will need to show confidence through your posture and stance, so ensure that when walking into the building or interview room, you stand up tall and straight, put your shoulders back and keep your head level with your chin up, as this makes it easier to gain eye contact.  These things extend your body length and give you a presence.  If this is difficult for you to understand, just think of how you view people who are the opposite.  By trying to make themselves as physically small as possible, how do you see them: shy, worried, fearful  or even powerless?  Can you think of someone who has a strong presence on TV?  Observe their mannerisms and how others react to them.  However, as I’ve mentioned earlier, don’t be over-confident and swagger into the interview room thinking the world is lucky to have you.

Eye contact

There is a lot of information out there on whether you should or shouldn’t make eye contact due to cultural differences, gender and age differences and how best to show respect to someone in authority.  The golden rule, is that the person interviewing you is asking you questions and so will usually be looking at you, and so expects you to look at him or her when responding.  It’s useful to do this, as you can generally pick up on their facial cues, smiles, nods show they are listening and are either agreeing with what you are saying or are finding it interesting, whilst frowns or  stares could mean confusion or disagreement.  It IS acceptable however, to break eye contact. You are not in a staring competition, and also ensure that if you are being interviewed by a panel, that you initially look at the person who asked you the question when answering, then look along the panel as you continue answering the question.

eye contact

 

Body language

During the interview you’ll be using a range of body language and the key is to be aware of some of the messages you are giving.  This is why mock interviews are really useful, and preferably with people you don’t know, as they can tell you, without bias, the impression you are giving.  You will be nervous, you might be flustered, you’ll probably be sweating and possibly uncomfortable in the clothes you’re wearing.  If you have excluded an air of confidence before entering the room with your posture and general chit chat, don’t blow it now.  Ask friends and family if you have any ‘poker’ tells, which means what do you routinely do when you are nervous, twist your fingers, play with your hair, clear your throat or jiggle your legs?  Whatever your poker tells are, unless you are consciously aware of them you won’t be able to know when they are happening and stop doing them!  You won’t fail an interview for crossing your arms across your chest or saying erm, but the person interviewing you will pick up on how uncomfortable you feel compared with the person they have just seen, and may choose to give the job to the more confident person, if qualifications and knowledge are similar.

Choice of words

You must know your stuff!  You must use key terminology in a knowledgeable way and also provide examples of things you have done.  Look at the job description, objectives or competencies required and pick out the key points that link your experiences or ‘career/job wants’ and talk about these.  At the very least it shows you have read all the information sent to you and can link the job competencies to experiences you have had.  It also makes you feel comfortable as you are talking from a position of familiarity and therefore are more confident.  It’s like using hashtags, if you want to get hits, use the right tags.  If you want to get the job, use the workplace language! Most interviews want to know about your life experience as well as academic information, so talk about your hobbies and how decision making comes into play, or budgeting, decision making or problem solving…

The open and close of the interview

These are important times and interviewees often feel powerless at these points as they are unsure what is expected of them, so are just usually quiet and waiting for someone to tell them where to go and what question to answer.  Use this time to engage in small time or chit chat, about the company “I’m delighted to have the opportunity to come here today because I’ve heard ….”, the building “What a fantastic old building, what’s it like to work here?”, the weather or any small talk (you can prepare some topics beforehand), so that you give positive verbs to the person meeting you, and it also helps you to relax into the situation.  More importantly, the interviewer sees you smiling and chatting to a member of his or her staff on entry to the room. An excellent first impression! Similarly, at the end of the interview, show some initiative and thank the interviewing panel for their time, give them eye contact and shake each person’s hand if you have the opportunity.  This gives them a positive lasting impression of you being a confident candidate for the job!

Professional Development People have worked with schools, universities and companies in coaching people and developing their communication skills.  We were most recently involved with #DavidCameron’s #Employability programme in Surrey, helping the long term unemployed get back into work, through training them in a range of qualifications, CV writing and interview skills.

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#Change – recognise your team and yourself?

Change

#Change – recognise your team and yourself

This blog sits well after the past two which were on PESTLE and Kotter’s 8 stage change model.

Take the time to have a read of these two blogs as they will help you understand why your coaching, training, assertiveness and motivation will need to be at its best to get people through change. I would like you to think of a simple grid. The “y” axis being a scale of positive to negative and the “x” axis being active (loud) to passive. This allows us to attach some traits to people dependant on where they fit into the grid. The diagram below gives the extremes of these behaviours a label.

#Change

 Let us explore these in a little detail

The champions of change

Behaviours found here; passion, people being really up for the change, really on message highly supportive, may be even a bit “gung ho!”. These colleagues may be relatively new to the team or business, they may also be quite junior. They like to run with ideas, crave innovation, can journey through the Fisher Transition Curve at the speed of the starship Enterprise.Change Champions

Management issues; They really want autonomy, but if you give that without checks and balances they are like a riderless horse, will go fast, but the direction is utterly random. The problem is if you sit on them and repress the flair they will head south on this diagram, quickly. Other colleagues can look at these guys as if they are some kind of teacher’s pet, they can be sickly sweet!

The Resistors

Resistors of changeBehaviours found here; Highly active dissent. Loud wailings and out pouring of anger, frequently in public places and forums. Guaranteed to hold a grudge, guaranteed to bring the same old things up at meetings. Likely to have felt personally aggrieved at a management decision many moons ago that they simply cannot move on from.

Management issues; These colleagues need to know, to be TOLD exactly what their behaviour does to them, to their team work, to the business. (see attitudes and Behaviour blog) These are the people that may once have been champions but were left alone to fail or wither on the vine. Clear communication, objectives and up-skilling are required here.

The Guardians of the past

Behaviours found here; Often these colleagues hide behind the veil of being the unchallengeable expert, Guardians of the pastfrequently there is an element of truth in this, but a thicker crust of just having lived longer than the rest of the workforce. They were once champions, felt slighted and became resistors. Whilst there they realised that shouting the odds and exposing yourself is career damaging and personally limiting. So now rather than make big bangs and damage things; they provide the materials to supply the resistors to do that, because the resistors have not yet learned! These guys are the ammunition makers, the subtle stirrers.

Management issues; Loads of organisations spend a massive amount of HR time, stress and valuable skills trying to deal with the guardians of the past. It is really hard to prove what they are doing, which makes intervention difficult. How about ignoring them? Deal with the resistors let the guardians rust! It saves a lot of heart ache and you can spend time above the line helping motivate the spectators and champions instead! A clever CEO we work with once publicly described a bus journey, the direction of organisational travel, and asked these people to get on OR get off the bus. The result? A catalyst for change!

The Spectators

Behaviours found here;The majority of the work force live here. They may not be motivated to take on the world, Spectatorsbut they have the inclination and ability to adapt and do a really good job. These workers will give you a good day’s work for a good day’s wage. Take money off the table, pay them enough, and they will get on with a professional job without moaning too much. They are motivated by family and things outside the work place, having the confidence that they are doing a good job.

 

Management issues; The spectators often get ignored. They feel happy out of the limelight so are often kept there when they should be praised, challenged and stretched. Some good participation with managers allows their professional abilities to be recognised and that allows them to get positive strokes. These are the people that need development training to upskill, to be more confident, to really feel valued and engaged. Ignoring the masses will eventually increase the Guardians of change numbers. Be Careful!

 

Reality Check

Take a look around your work place. How difficult is it to recognise these behaviours in others? Now take a deep breath, how would managers in your business categorise you?

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