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The ability to work effectively with others toward a common goal, sharing knowledge and skills to create solutions that benefit everyone involved, are an important element in the success of any business.

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360 Degree Feedback

About this Article:
Carol Wilson identifies the tools and models frequently used during coaching projects. In this article she looks at 360 degree feedback.

About

About this Article:
Carol Wilson identifies the tools and models frequently used during coaching projects. In this article she looks at 360 degree feedback.

Opening Words:
360 degree feedback is a process used by many organisations today to provide managers with information about how they are viewed by the different categories of people they come into contact with in the course of their work, for example, the managers they report to, the staff who report to them, and their colleagues, customers and clients.

The feedback is usually delivered anonymously and participants are asked to fill in a series of tick-boxes (often on-line) and to provide individual comments about various aspects of the subject’s performance, typically around their skills, abilities, attitudes and behaviours.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone who is thinking of using 360 degree feedback or upward appraisal mechanisms for their own or others' development.

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Action Learning

Article Overview:
This is an excellent article from Jane Honeybourne, which explains what Action Learning is, and how it can benefit individuals and organisations.
The article includes advice about what questions to use during the process, and how to review an Action Learning Set's effectiveness.

About

Article Overview:
This is an excellent article from Jane Honeybourne, which explains what Action Learning is, and how it can benefit individuals and organisations.
The article includes advice about what questions to use during the process, and how to review an Action Learning Set's effectiveness.

Opening Words:
Action Learning (AL) is a powerful performance improvement/management technique. In this article, I've explained what AL is and how it works, and given advice about the types of questions to use in an AL set. Towards the end of the article you'll find some ideas for introducing AL and reviewing its effectiveness.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone who wants to know more about the Action Learning process and how it can help individuals and organisations tackle important work-related problems.

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Bruce Tuckman's Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing Team Development Model

Article Overview:
In this article, Carol Wilson briefly examines a team development model that was created in 1965 and which remains relevant today.

About

Article Overview:
In this article, Carol Wilson briefly examines a team development model that was created in 1965 and which remains relevant today.

Opening Words:
There has never been a time of greater conflict between members of newly formed teams than in today’s world of cyclonic corporate change, where relationships are made and changed through global mergers, demergers, portfolio careers, cost cutting redundancies and a widespread lack of ability in organisations to nurture and retain their home grown talent.

For some 40 years, Bruce Tuckman’s classic model has been delivering comfort and new perspectives to managers either charged with running a team, or trying to function within one, assuring the players that they are not alone and that the discomfort of conflict is a normal part of the journey towards an effective and enjoyable unit.

Suitable Reading For:
Anyone interested in understanding how team dynamics work and change and why teams perform in different ways at different times in their life cycle.

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Building Effective Relationships that Work

Article Overview:
This article by Nick Heap examines the importance of relationships within the work environment.

About

Article Overview:
This article by Nick Heap examines the importance of relationships within the work environment.

Opening Words:
I have been interested in how people build relationships since 1969. I went on a week’s training event where a group of us were encouraged to look at our behaviour as it happened. My most important insight from this experience was that we have the technical resources and material to solve all the problems we have. What is missing is the willingness and the skills to work together. This requires us to listen to each other; indeed, listening is the underlying skill required in all good relationships.

In society we need to build effective relationships for a number of reasons. For instance, the health of people depends on what happens in organisations and what they do.

Useful Reading For:
Everyone.

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Developing a Coaching Culture

Article Overview:
In this article Carol Wilson looks at what coaching is, how organisations can integrate it, and what the pitfalls might be.

About

Article Overview:
In this article Carol Wilson looks at what coaching is, how organisations can integrate it, and what the pitfalls might be.

Opening Words:
Many organisations across the world today are putting coaching programmes in place, either hiring external coaches or training their own managers. The word is out that a ‘coaching culture’ is the goal to pursue, although there is some confusion about what the term actually means and even more about how to achieve it. In this article we will look at what coaching is, how organisations can integrate it, and what the pitfalls might be.

I have identified that there are three principles underlying a coaching culture:

Useful Reading For:
Managers and anyone else wishing to increase the use of coaching skills within their organisations.

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Diversity and Fruit Salads

Article Overview:
In this article, Joanne Barnfather takes a look at diversity in the workplace and asks the question, “How do we create an inclusive and supportive business culture, leading to profitability?”

About

Article Overview:
In this article, Joanne Barnfather takes a look at diversity in the workplace and asks the question, “How do we create an inclusive and supportive business culture, leading to profitability?”

Opening Words:
We have all heard or read the definition of ‘TEAM’ – ‘Together Each Achieves More’.

We live in a world dominated by iPods, iPads, iPhones and irobots. I realised, one day when working with a difficult group, that we need to add to the definition of ‘TEAM’. We need to focus on the ‘iTEAM’. Because, no matter what we do, if ‘I’, the individual, is not committed at the beginning, because they feel left out, unappreciated, or misunderstood because they are ‘different’, then ‘TEAM’ will be far more difficult to achieve.

In business we need to support and be supported by many different people.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone interested in creating a work environment where all people, regardless of race, ethnic group, language, gender, age, ancestry, marital status, social-economic or educational backgrounds, will demonstrate respect and insight for one another, enabling them to work better as a team.

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Email Etiquette

Article Overview:
This handy article from Bryan Edwards provides a simple list of tips and recommendations for sending and reading emails.

About

Article Overview:
This handy article from Bryan Edwards provides a simple list of tips and recommendations for sending and reading emails.

Opening Words:
When sending:
1) In character, email is somewhere between an informal telephone call and a formal letter, but an email can be easily kept as a permanent record – a phone call is more difficult. Avoid slang, careless writing, thoughtless comments, too many dots or exclamation marks.
2) Consider the recipient – who really needs to know? Is it ‘nice to know’ or ‘essential to their job to know’?
3) Talk to your boss about the types of information he/she needs to be copied in on.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone that sends or receives email - that's everyone then! :-)

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Emotional Intelligence

Article Overview:
This excellent article from Mike Bagshaw explains what Emotional Intelligence is, and explains what to consider if planning Emotional Intelligence training.

About

Article Overview:
This excellent article from Mike Bagshaw explains what Emotional Intelligence is, and explains what to consider if planning Emotional Intelligence training.

Opening Words:
When people in the workplace do not act with emotional intelligence the costs can be great: Low morale, bitter conflict and stress all limit business effectiveness. There is also the financial cost of litigation when people complain of being bullied, intimidated, and exploited. Emotional intelligence also contributes in a positive business enhancing way, improving teamwork, customer service and the managing of diversity. Fortunately this critical personal resource can be improved through appropriate coaching and training.

Stability makes us feel secure. It gives a firm and safe base on which to build. Stability means we know what is going on, and what is likely to go on in the future, and stability is something we have not got. Instead, we have one dramatic change after another. It feels frightening and out of control, and it's a natural reaction to keep things the same as much as we can, even when we acknowledge that that is going backwards. What we need to do is build, but we can not have the firm base of stability. We need to draw on inner resources to help us move forward.

Useful Reading For:
Managers and trainers.

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How Can I Boost Initiative In My Team?

Article Overview:
In this article Jennifer looks at some suggestions for getting people to take responsibility for themselves and show initiative.

About

Article Overview:
In this article Jennifer looks at some suggestions for getting people to take responsibility for themselves and show initiative.

Opening Words:
Do you ever get asked for your advice, opinion or assistance? In fact, do you seem to spend most of your time responding to people’s queries and telling them what they should be doing? And do you feel that you are repeatedly asked the same questions by the same people?

It’s frustrating, isn’t it? You have a job to do, a team to manage, results to achieve and deadlines to meet. You could do without these distractions because that’s what they feel like. Why can’t people just use their initiative and get on with the job?

Useful Reading For:
Managers and in particular first time managers.

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If Feedback Is So Valuable, Why Do We Keep It To Ourselves?

Article Overview:
The second in three articles from Ian Clarke about feedback. This one looks at our willingness to give feedback when requested.

About

Article Overview:
The second in three articles from Ian Clarke about feedback. This one looks at our willingness to give feedback when requested.

Opening Words:
The last article discussed the value of asking for feedback and how we can help and encourage our colleagues to give us feedback. The other side of the coin, of course, is “How willing and how effective are we at giving feedback when asked?”.

We can often find it much more difficult to give feedback than receive it. We can even find it difficult to give praise. I’m told the three greatest causes of stress are overwork, boredom and not feeling valued. (Take a look at your last employee survey to see if you and your colleagues feel valued, recognised and well rewarded). As you read this can you think of any recent instances when you wanted to give some feedback to somebody but decided not to? Can you remember why you decided not to?

Useful Reading For:
Managers in particular, but anyone interested in developing their own ability to give and receive meaningful feedback or anyone wishing to develop a culture of feedback and coaching.

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Inside Quality Service

Article Overview
In this article, Diane Bailey looks at the importance of Internal Customer Care and looks at the benefits of an internal service culture to the organisation, its employees and its customers.

About

Article Overview
In this article, Diane Bailey looks at the importance of Internal Customer Care and looks at the benefits of an internal service culture to the organisation, its employees and its customers.

Opening Words:
In the late 1980s, management specialist John Humble worked in conjunction with Management Centre Europe on a survey of how managers in Europe viewed the 'service' ethic. In his introduction to the report, Humble stressed that ‘service', in fact, was not something which referred only to external customers. 'Service' is something which is also relevant to colleagues within the organisation – the internal customers. The detail of the service will obviously differ, the report suggested, but the need is the same.

Of the senior managers who took part in the survey (1055, biased towards larger, more forward-thinking companies), 78% saw improving quality and service as the way to competitive success; 85% felt that providing a superior service was one of their key responsibilities.

Where British Managers differ from Europe perhaps is that, in general, much less work has been done in the UK to improve the level of service and care offered to the 'internal' customer, i.e., the people who work within an organisation in other departments or sections, or in branches and units geographically dispersed from the centre...

Useful Reading For:
Anyone attending training related to internal customer care or involved in creating a service culture within an organisation.

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Playing To Your Personal Strengths

Article Overview:
This interesting article from Sheila Williams, looks at personal conflict in the workplace and looks at how our preferred behaviours can bring us into conflict with others who have different preferences.

About

Article Overview:
This interesting article from Sheila Williams, looks at personal conflict in the workplace and looks at how our preferred behaviours can bring us into conflict with others who have different preferences.

Opening Words:
In a week of battling against the winter elements I have also been exploring conflict of a different nature – person to person. The type of interpersonal conflict that can for no apparent reason (at least to the warring parties), spring up in the workplace. Part of this has led to an exploration of how we deploy our personal strengths and whether over-use of these, in certain circumstances, can tip them over into becoming weaknesses.

We develop behaviours that, when used to good effect, over time, become our preferred way of doing things. We consider them as our personal strengths. However, the more we use them and the more success we have with their use then the more we can slip into auto-pilot mode, with an expectation that their use will always produce success. In this way, we sometimes overlook the fact that using a particular personal strength may be inappropriate to the context or situation in which we find ourselves.

Useful Reading For:
Line managers and trainers.

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Team Coaching

Article Overview:
In this excellent article, Sheila Williams looks at the challenges of coaching a team using her own experiences. The article includes a helpful list of questions to ask before undertaking team coaching.

About

Article Overview:
In this excellent article, Sheila Williams looks at the challenges of coaching a team using her own experiences. The article includes a helpful list of questions to ask before undertaking team coaching.

Opening Words:
How many teams do you belong to at work – three, four, five? Research from Clutterbuck Associates suggests we may be members of as many as six or more different teams at any one time. When team members have clarity about their roles and contributions, team performance in key results areas is measurably improved - creating a positive impact in the organisation as a whole, in terms of service quality, organisational performance, motivation and morale.

Team coaching can be particularly challenging, whether the coach is the team leader or an external coach. It is a complex activity involving the facilitation of 1:1 and team interactions, observing and giving feedback on team processes and behaviours, and dealing with tensions and conflict which are often hidden beneath the surface.

Useful Reading For:
Trainers and line managers.

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Vital Leadership in the Twenty-First Century

Article Overview:
To succeed in today’s world, Mike and Caroline Baghsaw argue that an organisation has to become a complex adaptive system, operating through core principles that nurture flexibility and innovation.

About

Article Overview:
To succeed in today’s world, Mike and Caroline Baghsaw argue that an organisation has to become a complex adaptive system, operating through core principles that nurture flexibility and innovation.

Opening Words:
At the dawn of the twentieth century, most organisations relied on large numbers of people working together in the same building. The young started at the bottom, and the most able would, with experience, become the leaders. It worked well in the context of stable technology. The bosses could predict future needs well enough to make quite detailed plans, including the duties of employees. These could be structured into career ladders, plus a pension, to reward good workers. "Good" meant co-operative. They didn't want bright ideas from low down the ladder. The boss looked after good workers, and the workers obeyed the bosses.

At the dawn of the twenty-first century, all this has metamorphosed. Constant innovation makes experience, not irrelevant, but in need of constant adjustment. The good workers are no longer the quiet, co-operative ones, but those who look ahead, spot what's coming, and adapt. This applies to organisations as well as individuals. The static ones will be left behind. To succeed, an organisation has to become a complex adaptive system, operating through core principles that nurture flexibility and innovation.

Useful Reading For:
Managers and trainers.

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What We Want Most From A Leader

Article Overview:
In this article, Richard Nugent asks what is it that we want most from our leaders.

About

Article Overview:
In this article, Richard Nugent asks what is it that we want most from our leaders.

Opening Words:
Let’s get straight to the point. There is one thing that people want from their leaders more than anything else. In fact if this one thing is absent, even if the leader demonstrates strong leadership characteristics, he or she will struggle to maintain their ‘followership’.

So last chance for you to guess – what is the single most important thing that followers want from their leaders more than anything else?

Well most text books and research calls it ‘honesty’. I have found through my work, that more specifically it is congruence.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone who wants to develop their leadership skills or increase their understanding of what makes a good leader.

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Who Do You Think You Are?

Article Overview:
The final of three articles from Ian Clarke about feedback, this one looks at what happens when we receive feedback from others.

About

Article Overview:
The final of three articles from Ian Clarke about feedback, this one looks at what happens when we receive feedback from others.

Opening Words:
The previous two articles discussed the value of asking for feedback and how effective we are at giving feedback to our colleagues. This article explores what can happen when we are the recipients of feedback.

How good are we at hearing what people say when they are talking about our behaviour. Are we able to accept praise? When someone says we have done a good job do we believe him or her? How do we respond? “Thank you – I appreciate your comments” or “It was nothing – just doing my job”.

Are we able to accept criticism? When someone says we could have done a better job do we believe him or her? How do we respond? “Thank you – it would help me to hear your views on how I can improve” or “Hey – give me a break – I’d like to see you do better”. Even if we don’t actually say it we may start thinking – “Who do you think you are talking to me like that?”

Useful Reading For:
Managers in particular, but anyone wishing to develop their ability to receive feedback objectively or anyone wishing to develop a culture of feedback and coaching.

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