Category: Training

20 Jun 2018

Taking the lead by Debra Fraser

Welcome to the first edition of Launching Leaders a bimonthly conversation about leadership and people engagement, better known as human resources. It encompasses leadership strategies, management issues, recruitment, business services outsourcing and just about everything to do with managing human capital.

It’s fitting we debut with a conversation about leadership given the wealth of knowledge and literature available in print and online about this subject area. Over the past few decades, we’ve witnessed the evolution of workplace philosophy from just focusing on managing staff to placing greater emphasis on leading team members. On the surface, the difference may seem semantic or mere wordplay, but the distinction is very important and in my opinion is a significant characteristic driving the BPO sector, an industry which is transforming Jamaica’s economic landscape.

 

Servant Leaders

There are many great books that speak to the core of what effective leadership should entail. Good To Great by Jim Collins comes readily to mind, as does The Servant as Leader by Robert K Greenleaf, who coined the term ‘servant leadership’. Greenleaf says “the servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve; to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead.”

Truly effective leaders start from a place of appreciation for every team member’s contribution and exhibit a sincere desire to serve as much as they do to lead. This is the kicker — servant leadership turns the traditional hierarchy upside down. The higher you go in the organisation, the more you serve those who you manage. This is a philosophy that leaders must work closely with their HR and department leaders to flesh out.

It means that in a typical team setting, it is not the most savvy or best educated who is promoted, but the one who is most engaged with assisting the team in fulfilling their deliverables. This type of person is focused on ensuring his coworkers are truly successful at getting the job done, and does so in a way that balances efficiency with engagement. With this mantra, the leader who masters his tactical job does so while pulling up his teammates to succeed with her/him. It’s the opposite of the popular Jamaican colloquialism “…crab pulling down crab”. And who can resist a leader who genuinely wants to help you be successful?

 

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http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/career-education/taking-the-lead_136009?profile=1270

14 Jun 2018

Smart Ways to Manage Older Employees

Managing a team can be very challenging for anyone.  It does not matter if you are young and inexperienced or older and more experienced.  Perhaps the second situation might be slightly easier to handle.  Teams come with different kinds of skills, personalities and ages.  It might get a little awkward and uncomfortable if you have to manage a person who is older than you.  This is so because you assume that this person has more experience, knowledge and confidence than you.

There are 5 tips you might want to consider in such situations.

You have been given this job for a reason

Don’t you ever forget this.  You might perhaps want to have this inscribed on your desktop, so that no situation at the workplace can get the better of you.  You got this job for a certain reason, for the skills and the strengths that you bring to the table, as compared to the others.  Also, older employees’ priorities might be something else at this point in their careers.  It is a good idea to be patient and assertive, rather than being pushy.

Minimize friction

You should be very clear in your head and in your communication to your team about what you want them to achieve.  Adopt a democratic style of leadership which keeps friction in the team to a minimum.  By focusing on tasks rather than uncertainty and emotions, you indicate a clear direction and reasoning behind your requests.  Create an amicable environment where everyone is moving in the same direction together.

Do not underestimate the power of the elders

The elders bring a lot of experience to the table which you can use.  In life, there is not enough time to make all the mistakes yourself.  Learn from the mistakes of older employees and make use of their knowledge.  A good leader acknowledges the strengths of each member and their contributions to the vision of the team, thus recognizing their importance and making them feel good.

Understand what makes your team tick

It is very important to know what makes your team happy, what motivates them, what keeps them going and how to get them working hard.  Respect their opinions and find out from them how they would like to be managed.  Having the right conversations would help in bringing clarity to what makes them tick.  Older employees definitely want to learn and stay relevant and supporting them in the right way with appropriate development plans and meaningful rewards helps in building a motivated workforce.  At this point in their careers, they might be looking for flexibility rather than money.

Getting the best out of your team

As a leader, if you are clear about the vision of the team, the direction in which they are going and robust plans to back them up, you need not be intimidated by older or younger employees. Age is just a factor.  Create a healthy and motivated environment that uses the different skills that each employee brings.

Any workforce would definitely have a couple of employees who are older than their managers.  All it takes are smart and wise ways of managing them without making anyone feel uncomfortable.

 

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02 May 2018

Training and Development of my Staff – Are my Programs effective?

Training and development of staff is arguably an important part of the development of your company and ensuring that your company grows. Onboarding a new employee is costly and similarly, every company wants to ensure that their employees are not only effective but also efficient. Training and development programs provide employees with that necessary skills and knowledge to grow and also implement in their current work to be more efficient and effective. As an organization, it is therefore critical to examine training and development programs and ensure that they are effective.

Here are 5 tips to ensure that you have a successful training program

  1. Identify Clear Goals and Outcomes

Any good program starts with clear and definable goals. Training merely for the purpose of having it is futile. You need concrete outcomes in order to stand any chance of deploying materials and a curriculum that add value to your firm.

  1. Develop Engaging Training Resources

In addition to having the correct goals and the best intentions, you also need materials and a curriculum that is sufficiently interesting to engage your employees and keep them focused. It comes down to three choices:

  1. Establish a Consistent Schedule

Effective training is all about consistency. Instead of trying to cram all of your company’s required training into a three-day period at the end of the calendar year, try spreading things out and commit to a couple hours of training every week or month.

This kind of consistency not only lessens the burden on your company, but it also raises the probability that your employees will become committed to ongoing learning. (They’ll also retain more information this way.)

  1. Give Employees a Say in the Curriculum

Though you’ll have the final say over which curriculum your organization uses for its training programs, don’t deny your employees the opportunity to get involved. Ask them about concepts and topics they feel would help them grow as employees, leaders, etc. There’s a lot of potential value in getting their input, and you may stumble across some ideas you hadn’t previously considered.

  1. Bridge the Gap Between Knowledge and Action

One of the biggest mistakes organizations too often make is failing to bridge the gap between knowledge and action. In other words, they expend generous amounts of time and money on training but don’t give employees a timely opportunity to transfer the knowledge they’ve acquired into action.

Employee training expert Julie Winkle Giulioni believes in developing an action plan: “Organizations, leaders, and individuals invest heavily in training and development through traditional classroom-based workshops, e-learning, webinars, apps, mentoring, experiences, and more,” Giulioni explains.

“But formal and informal learning efforts fall short of the full range of possible outcomes if we don’t metaphorically cross the finish line by bringing the learning to life. Action planning is what does this, bridging insights and intentions to results.”

You can increase the odds that your employees will convert knowledge into action by setting them up for success. Always enable employees to debrief before they leave any training session.

Ask questions like “What will you do differently now that you know X?” Host follow-up meetings with your team to see what progress they’re making. Simple things like these can have a significant impact.

 

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