One of the most challenging tasks for any manager is how to handle employee underperformance. This could be a general team issue where the whole group seems to be demotivated and underperforming. More likely, however, the issue will relate to one or maybe two particular individuals.
Most of us are familiar with the concept that how we say something is as important – if not more so – than what we actually say. This article takes a look at how we can craft the right tone.
It was UCLA academic Albert Mehrabian who taught us that good communication is made up of three parts:
Body language; and
Tone of voice
I lead learning groups in both presentation skills and autism support. Within these sessions, we spend a fair bit of time thinking about how we may need to tailor our communication if the receiver has a barrier to their understanding – as in the case of an autistic person. Or, if we ourselves are a little unsure about the communication – as with someone who is new to public speaking or writing for an audience.
Professor Lupin taught Hogwarts students to banish the terrifying boggarts by chanting the spell, “Ridikulous!” accompanied by a loud crack of their wands. This caused the boggart to assume a funny, no-longer-terrifying appearance, and thus lose its power to scare.
Now if you don’t know Harry Potter, this probably won’t mean a lot so, in summary, the principle is that you cannot be scared of something that appears silly or daft. Things are only terrifying when we give them the power to be. Or in the famous words of, President Roosevelt, ‘the only thing to fear, is fear itself.’
When I type the word ‘leadership’ into Google, within a nanosecond my screen is full of blue headlines like:
“Study for a High Impact Leadership Course”
“Future Leaders Get Ahead Now!”
“Authentic Leadership …”
If I just search for, ‘good leader’, Google nearly explodes. But if I type in, ‘good manager’ then very little comes up, with the exception of the rather dismissive, “7 Things Great Leaders Always Do (but Mere Managers Always Fear)” – mere managers, eh?
Even when I studied for my MA, I spent a whole semester studying and writing about ‘leadership’ – though my actual degree was in ‘management’.
Why are we so obsessed with turning managers into leaders and when did this happen?
State schools have long been used as a political football by successive politicians – a lot of whom, it can’t be ignored, were themselves educated privately.
The last ten or so years have seen austerity measures used as a reason (some may use the word, ‘excuse’) for starving schools of cash. Funding has reached breaking point and last year some 4,000 head teachers wrote to parents explaining just how short of money their schools were.
Internet of things – “… the extension of Internet connectivity into physical devices and everyday objects. Embedded with electronics, Internet connectivity, and other forms of hardware, these devices can communicate and interact with others over the Internet, and they can be remotely monitored and controlled.” (Wiki)
It’s fairly well opined that the internet gave us the Third Industrial Revolution. It not only transformed the way we work, but both culled and created whole new sectors of employment.
I started my grown-up working life in the mid-90s and I can – just – remember life before the World Wide Web. Working for an advertising agency one of my (hated!) regular tasks was physically carrying a huge bulky mock up of an advertising hoarding across London to the offices of the Advertising Standards Authority for approval. Can you imagine someone actually doing that now? Obviously, you’d just email it.
There is more than one theory to origins of the 9 – 5 working day concept. The one I like is reformer, Robert Owen’s, concept of, “Eight hours labour, Eight hours recreation, Eight hours rest”, as the most productive state for the working man. Hence, in theory, we work from 9 – 5, and sleep and play during the other 16 hours of the day. Now as anyone who has clicked the link will see, Mr Owen wrote this back during the 1800s. At this time we were talking mostly about factory and labour intensive work which also relied upon daylight hours. Now, as the job market continues to develop, and we spend more and more of our working lives online, there is a creeping acceptance that remote working is the future one way or another. Yet, there is still a resistance to the idea of employees not being physically present in the office. Continue reading “Flexible Friendly?”
There is a story in the paper this weekend saying that people with autism are now required by the DVLA to inform them of their diagnosis. This is a new development of which the NAS has just become aware. The change in policy – people with autism were not previously required to do this – was not communicated to any of the main charities or professional bodies supporting those with autism.
A quick look at both the Equality Act and the Autism Act and how they support people with autism.
Most of us who work with people in any capacity will be familiar on some level with the Equality Act 2010 or the earlier Disability Discrimination Act 1995 which the Equality Act replaced. But did you also know that there is a full piece of legislation devoted specifically to autism? It’s the Autism Act 2009.
Some of love it, some of us loathe it, very few of us are ambivalent.
I must admit that, when I attend training sessions as a delegate, I’m not a massive fan of group work. Generally I find it quite stressful and prefer to just listen to the training and learn what I’m there to learn.
But we’re all different and some people really enjoy it. They find it a good way of getting to know new people and picking up useful first hand information in in relation to specific shared interests.
From a professional trainer’s point of view, I’m undecided about the merits of group work. I completely see the value of asking delegates to practise, in groups, a specific skill I might be showing them. I can also see that group practise and pair-sharing is very useful if we’re working towards a test or exam. But for general information gaining or knowledge building type talks or training sessions, I’m less convinced of its value – other than to allow the trainer a short break, obviously.Continue reading “Group Work – Great or Gruesome?”