Leadership

future proof your career leadership training

Leadership Tips for Introverts

Are you looking for your next promotion, the next step in your career or a leadership role? Are you concerned that as an introvert you are not a natural leader? Well, fear not, as introverts have personality traits that can lead to great leadership skills. 

Here are some leadership tips that will help you secure your next big role and be successful in it. They are simple and easy to implement. 

1. Listen skills

The ability to listen to others is a powerful skill that introverts have and comes naturally to them. This will allow you to listen fully to your team then acting instinctively. You will be able to listen to all viewpoints when making various decisions. This will enable you to lead your team in a positive way.

2.Thinking skills

As an introvert, you are more likely to enjoy spending time on your own than with others. This can allow you time to think and contemplate. This could aid you in making better decisions and could lead you to consider ideas more, instead of jumping in with little thought!

3. Writing it down

It is probably easier as an introvert to write things down then speaking about them. This can be used to your advantage. We don’t always remember what we would like to say but writing them down on paper allows as to come back to the ideas and not forget them.

4. Meetings

It is key that you prepare for meetings so you don’t feel overwhelmed or nervous talking in front of a large audience as this is something which you are not used to. It may also be productive to practice beforehand the agenda that is to be discussed. This will give you more confidence in the delivery.

5. Get to know your team

You may find it difficult to socialise, as this does not come naturally to introverts. However, if you plan for this through after-work events or even allow times during the working day this will help you build positive relationships within your team.

6. Recognise different personalities

It is probably likely that there are many other introvert personalities within your team. Recognising this will allow you to hon in on each individuals strengths, regardless of their personality. This will give them the best possible chance of success.

7. Professional Development

Always remember that professional development will allow you to further develop your skills in leadership and get better at the things you are not particularly good at. Look at the skills you want to develop and take action. This can be through taking on a public speaking course, taking the lead on the next big project and more. 

So, as an introvert, you have an abundant set of skills to take on your next leadership role. Some of these skills come naturally and others can be developed and refined. Remember, through time there have been plenty of famous introverts such as Albert Einstein and Bill Gates, who have revolutionised the world in their field, and you could be up there with them!  

6 Ways to settle in your new recruit

Your new employee has accepted the job and it is now their first day.  They are bound to be nervous and the longer this lasts, the more their productivity and motivation for their job will be affected.  So what can you do to minimise this, and help them to settle as part of the team more quickly?

Create understanding

Spend time showing them the whole picture. Knowing how they fit into the organisation and how their contribution makes a difference will help them to feel valued and inspired to pitch in. Teach them about your company vision and values.  Understanding the purpose of their role, knowing the progression route that is achievable for them will help them to settle and see a future for themselves.

Keep up the energy

If you present a picture of energy and enthusiasm for your job, the company and your team, this will be contagious.  If you see your new recruit in difficulty or looking hesitant, ensure they know who can offer assistance.  Resolve any issues they have quickly and keep the momentum going.  

An open-door policy

You know that the reality of the job is often not quite that given in the interview picture, your new recruit will be aware of this too, so why not be open and honest, remove the surprises and chances for uncertainty to creep in.  

A team that feels their boss is open, approachable and honest will pull together through good and bad.  If a new recruit sees this, they will feel less intimidated and grow in confidence, which will help their performance. 

Individual attention

This is especially important for new recruits. No matter the size of your team or how quickly the new recruit settles into their role; it’s essential to keep conversations about development going.

Learn about the strengths and weaknesses of your team.  You may have a little gem in your new recruit that takes them far beyond the role you employed them for.  

Encouraging them, allowing them to learn a little about you, and you about them, not just work personas, will allow for a free flow of feedback and encouragement.  

Inviting workspace

Your workspacee has to accommodate many different pieces of equipment, but placement and lighting can help to make the area more inviting, and the more comfortable, inviting and friendly your set up is, the more you productivity is likely to improve.

You are more likely to recruit and retain employees if they love their environment.  If your new recruit sees others happy at work, then they will be more likely to relax and follow.

Create social events both in and out of the work place, hold regular team building meetings, and show your new recruit their opinion is as valued as that of a long-standing employee.  After all fresh eyes can often see what older ones miss. You may learn something worthwhile too.

Track progress and reward

Do not be afraid to monitor progress and reward your new recruit, recognise small achievements, whether by a comment or more formal reward. You will help keep your new recruit engaged and motivated when they see you notice. 

It will also help you step in early should their need to be changes, before it becomes a bigger issue that requires more drastic actions.

Mentoring An Anxious Employee – Top Tips

According to the HSE, in 2018/19, there were over 600 thousand employees suffering with anxiety, depression or stress in the workplace. Whether they’re a new recruit or an old hand that’s suffering, looking after the mental health of your employees is as important as their physical health.  Wiht this in mind, what can you do within your business to help anxiety levels in the employees you mentor?

Clear Company Policy

One of the first and perhaps the most important factors is to ensure that your entire business is open to mental health awareness. Maintain a clear visible strategy to show staff that both mental and physical wellbeing is important and they can be confident to speak, through established channels when they need help or believe another member of staff may.

Mentoring junior employees can help greatly in reducing their stress levels, which in turn gives them more confidence and ultimately leads to greater productivity and help them to settle into their work.  

When handled sensitively, a mentor can be the difference between an anxious employee succeeding in your company or crumbling under the pressure.

Mental Health Awareness

Managing mental health in the workplace requires a strategy that promotes wellbeing for all staff. It is important that staff who require additional mental health support feel they can speak out, be listened to and receive support. It is important to focus on what employees can do, rather than what they cannot. 

Providing a mentor for an anxious employee will provide them with the security of support from someone who will get to know them and be able to personalise the support they give.  It can be as simple as giving feedback on a task more regularly than they would normally receive, or simply an ear to discuss concerns they are having whether it is in work or their private life.  

Action Plans

Mental health can affect an employee differently from one day to the next. By supporting your managers to work with those suffering, developing an action plan in advance with tailored support ready for the times they feel they are not coping so well, will ensure you are able to respond quickly as issues arise.  Creating practical and agreed steps in advance gives both the employer and the employee a basis for review and monitoring. It should cover triggers and warning signs, so that both learn to recognise the onset quickly. Is should also recognise the impact an occurrence may have on their performance and what support can be offered to reduce the effects and lastly cover what workplace changes may be needed to facilitate the support. 

It should also identify positive steps that the individual can take to safeguard their wellbeing, and manage their anxiety.

Changes

Many of the changes required are often small and inexpensive, but will require some thought. Perhaps scheduling a catch up meeting to help prioritise workloads, offering flexible working to facilitate causes of anxiety outside the workplace, allowing adjusted working hours or an additional break which can help some individuals cope, especially those on medication. 

Your company will benefit by fostering a caring attitude for staff and reduce the number of staff that may be unable to continue working if no support could be offered.  Anxious employees will often thrive, grow in confidence and ability and provide many years of loyal service if the right support is given by their emplpyees and those that mentor them.

Learning as leaders – How to make sure you’re not leading from behind

When it comes to leadership there are a number of very distinct styles that team leaders can often find themselves falling into. 

When you lead from the front, rather than from behind, this means that you are play a vital and active role in the day to day running of the company or organisation that you are working for. When a business leader adopts this style of leadership, they are actively choosing to be more engaged with the members of their team, their customers and the stakeholders who are actively involved with the operations “front line.” 

You can learn from those you lead

Being a leader is not all about you, its actually about the people that you lead, and they have a lot of valuable information to share with those who are willing to listen. A huge part of being a leader requires you to use great communication skills, this might be for talking to customers, stakeholders or even the members of your team. But communication is more than talking it is also about listening, and your team can be a great source of information and ideas if you are willing to listen to them. 

When you encounter a problem with something you are working on you might want to get the team together to work on finding a solution; this can often come from the most unexpected member of your team. In other words the members of your team can teach you things, but you have to be willing to listen to them. Interacting with your team, letting them see that you are also working on problems, and getting involved will help them to feel like their voice matters. When you choose to put barriers between you and your team; to create a “me” and “them” situations, and this is not effective leading.

Learning is constant

From the CEO of a company to the newest apprentice, learning is a continual process. You are always in a position to learn something new whilst you are working. It is also important to consider your Continuous Professional Development (CPD) as well. These are the learning activities that any professional undertakes to enhance and renew their skills in the workplace. These are not just those skills linked solely to your role, they can also be your interpersonal skills as well and even the skills needed to use new software and technology. Continually improving your skills can help to keep you in the loop with developments that occur within your field, new innovations and methodologies that might help you to carry out your role much better.

When you create the right environment within your team and are not leading from behind it benefits everyone and there are opportunities for team member to learn from each other. It isn’t a sign of weakness when the team leader learns something from another person in the team but rather a sign of strength that can help to strengthen the team.

future proof your career leadership training

3 major leadership challenges and how to overcome them

A lot of people think that being a leader is something that either comes naturally or it doesn’t. However, this is not the case. You can teach yourself to be a good leader. A good leader is someone who is able to effectively overcome all of the different challenges they face. A good leader is someone who learns from mistakes so that they can make improvements going forward. With that being said, below, we are going to take a look at three major leadership challenges, as well as providing some tips on how to overcome them.

Keeping your team motivated and inspired 

As a leader, your team is going to look to you for motivation. It is up to you to make sure that everyone working for you is inspired. There are going to be moments whereby people do not feel motivated. You may notice that productivity levels have dipped and that your team does not seem as interested anymore. It is up to you to spot the signs of this. If your employees are unmotivated, look for ways to keep their eyes on the prize. You can break tasks down into smaller jobs and celebrate small wins. You may even want to consider team building activities. 

Managing people without micromanaging 

Leaders can often fall into the trap of micromanaging. This is something that is incredibly easy to do. However, micromanaging can cause employees to feel frustrated and they will assume that you do not trust them. At the end of the day, your team has been employed for a reason; they have the skills and qualities that are needed to succeed. Therefore, you need to delegate tasks effectively. Do not delegate them on a first-come, first-serve basis. Instead, think about who is going to be most suitable for the task at hand. 

Dealing with conflict 

Last but not least, there is no denying that dealing with conflict is one of the most challenging things that any leader has to do. It is healthy for people to have different opinions. However, there does get to a point whereby this spills over, and healthy conflict turns into unhealthy conflict. When this happens, you need to look for ways for conflict to be healthy and constructive. As a leader, you need to make sure that any sort of conflict is steered toward a positive resolution.

Final words on major leadership challenges and how to overcome them

Now, we’ve hopefully given you an insight into three of the most common and difficult leadership challenges. All leaders face challenges in the workplace, and there are going to be times when you do not handle them as effectively as you should. Rather than punishing yourself over this, you need to make sure that you take the time to assess the situation and learn where you went wrong so that you can make better decisions in the future. We hope that the advice provided above will help with this. 

mental health tips

Should leaders always promote resilience?

The idea of resilience in the workplace is one that is both problematic and important. Leaders do have a need to improve their efforts on the resilience front – including targeted interventions like flexible work arrangements to things like paid leave and well-being resources. However it is important that at the same time they also remain vigilant to the downsides of this. It is important to not only understand but also address the pitfalls that can occur, and to know when they should, and should not, promote resilience.

Resilience pitfalls 

It is often considered that resilience is something that someone either has or doesn’t have and whilst it may be true that some individuals have “trait-like” stability to their resilience, that is the ability to demonstrate consistent levels of resilience over time, this is not always the case. When resilience is thought of this way the emphasis is placed on the employee and there is no consideration made to the support that an organisation should be providing. When there is an encouragement towards resilience with no accountability then it can result in burnout. 

Instead of thinking of resilience as a trait consider it to be a state that any employee is capable of attaining. This means creating environments that support resilience and proactively enable it. Employees need to feel that they can speak up and ask for the resources that they need in order to address any concerns that they might have. There are some circumstances however that it can be impossible to anticipate, such as the loss of a loved one or a period of severe illness and it is important that there are policies in place to address these situations as everyone’s resilience is different, and until these types of situation arise nobody knows how they will react. 

It should also be remembered that resilience should not be used as any form of replacement within the workplace, or indeed anywhere else for the removal of inequality. Anyone who has experienced any form of discrimination or racism should not be told to simply be more resilient, grow a thicker skin or “man-up”. The root cause of the issue should always be looked into in these types of cases. Every organisation should be creating a culture where acceptance, inclusion and diversity are the norms

Employees experiencing adversity shouldn’t be stigmatised

Positive emotions aid in the boosting of resilience, however, negative emotions do not, in fact, prohibit anyone from being resilient as well. When an individual is experiencing anxiety or is overwhelmed it is easy for them to be stigmatised and not look for the support that they need because they believe that they will be judged. Whilst this can become too much if a person is continually over-emotional, resilience is not an absence of negative emotions during difficult periods

Whilst leaders should promote some resilience in the workplace, it is important to understand that it is not always appropriate to do so, and each situation should be considered on its own merits before they decide which route they should take. 

business owner

The Biggest Challenges of Leading Remotely

It’s easier to manage and lead a team when everyone is in front of you, and you can see what is going on more clearly. Yet, with the change to hybrid and remote working showing signs of continuing, it’s essential to brush up on the skills of leading remotely. Of course, there are challenges, and here we take a look at what they are and what you can do to overcome them.

Setting clear expectations

Don’t assume that just because expectations in the office were clear this is the case for home or hybrid workers. You may need to give more direction and guidance, especially when it comes to what you expect when it comes to responding to communications and attending virtual meetings.

Avoid micromanaging. Instead, empower your team’s belonging and accountability, so they take responsibility for getting the job done without you.

Managing productivity

Whilst remote working can improve productivity for many workers; others will struggle. They may find it difficult to keep focussed and productive with home distractions and a lack of direct in-person supervision. Set realistic goals and innovative ways to track working time and progress to help keep them on track. 

You may also face the challenge of aligning expectations of those in the office with remote workers to manage perceptions and ensure resentment over production or perceived lack of it doesn’t build. Keep everyone in the office and home up-to-date on who is responsible and doing what.

Communicate regularly

With the ability to integrate and discuss matters freely around an office, it’s essential to make time for engagement and communication with those working remotely, and these tips may help. Set aside some times of the day when you are free to engage in short sessions with remote employees to catch up and share your calendar to let them know when you are available.

Cohesive teams

It can be challenging to treat both on-site and hybrid workers equally, but it’s essential to make everything as fair as possible. Differences can cause teams to break up through resentment and will affect productivity. Find ways to include remote workers if you provide free snacks or meals during meetings to office-based employees. Find ways to extend flexible working hours to remote workers if it’s a benefit afforded to on-site workers, or recognise that remote workers do not have the travel hassles of their office-based colleagues. There are no hard and fast rules but you should seek to remove any bias.

Social interactions

Remote workers are at risk of social isolation, and loneliness is one of the most common complaints, especially from those who had transitioned to home working when they previously came to your office each day. So it’s essential to be mindful and make ways to include socially those at home, grab a virtual coffee together and chat about things that aren’t work-related as you would over a typical office coffee break. Open a chat channel that is fun and is more about inclusion and socialising than work, listen to the concerns of both those in the office and at home, and be sure to follow up, just as you would do if everyone were together. 

Lastly, lead by example. The easier and more pleasant you make it, the more work everyone is likely to get through. Perhaps learn how to become more productive yourself and share insights and experiences with all your team members no matter where they are based.

virtual business mentoring

Can you mentor someone virtually?

Virtual literally became a reality with the changes demanded of us through the Coronavirus pandemic. Businesses quickly adapted to significantly reduced personal interaction levels and moved to video calls, meetings, and training by phone or video call.  For some, the benefits have been enormous and they see very little reason to return to old ways, so does this work for virtual mentoring?

Mentoring should support teams and individuals, which is even more critical when working remotely. The feeling of community is easily lost and individuals can suffer stress and feel isolated without it being noticed when they aren’t turning up to an office every day. The virtual world is one way to overcome this and mentoring can undoubtedly be as effective.

Virtual Mentoring Has Many Benefits Even Post-Pandemic

  • Location– remote mentoring immediately removes the location barrier. Virtual mentoring opens up the opportunity for relationships that would never happen in an office.
  • Time Efficiencies– No travel time and sessions can happen from anywhere, be scheduled more efficiently and cost less.
  • Less Social Pressure– Meeting with a mentor face-to-face can cause anxiety and nerves, especially for those with low self-esteem, which can inhibit some natural reactions and become a barrier to progress. Virtual mentoring can be a highly successful way of removing this stress to become a more comfortable and productive process. You can begin with phone calls and move to video calls at a pace that your mentee is comfortable with.
  • Multiple Mentors– Individuals can have multiple mentors through the new flexibility that virtual mentoring offers.
  • Quick To Put Into Action– Mentoring programs within offices tend to become large programs that take planning and big meetings. Virtual mentoring allows this to be scaled down and is much quicker to get up and running as a result.

Overcoming The Challenges of Virtual Mentoring

  • Forming A Connection–Wherever possible, encourage participants to use video calls, even if they start without the camera. It gives the option to switch on the camera as you form a connection without changing the basic meeting structure. Make time for the social side and use icebreaker games to get to know each other and become comfortable. Understanding how to mentor an anxious employee can teach skills valuable to all virtual mentoring encounters. 
  • Reducing the feeling of isolation – Mentoring programs have a sense of community that needs to develop even more strongly in virtual mentoring, whether to an individual or a group. Schedule a webinar for those involved before the program’s official start, encouraging participants to feel part of something. Have similar milestone meetings throughout the program to celebrate achievements and progress.
  • Technical Difficulties– You are bound to encounter some technical difficulties, so have a backup plan that everyone understands. Disruption can derail the flow and become frustrating. Check connections are stable before you start and resort to a phone call to get back on track if you can’t fix the issue speedily.

Mentoring may never become entirely remote and there is, we hope, no reason for that to be the case. Still, it is undoubtedly a productive and valuable addition to mentoring services that we see staying around.

building a successful business

Top 5 Leadership Books Of All Time

Effective leadership is arguably the holy grail of business and makes all the difference in whether a business thrives or merely coasts. Many books, papers and articles have been written on this topic over the years which creates the dilemma of which is likely to be informative and inspiring and which is destined for the recycling bin.

Read on for our selection on which leadership books are, in our opinion worth reading for insight and inspiration, whether you are an experienced CEO or just starting out on your leadership journey.

1 Learning to Lead by Ron Williams with Karl Weber

Growing up in segregated Chicago was no barrier to Ron Williams getting to the very top of his field in health care and this book sets out to share his personal philosophies as well as useful tips on how to put yourself in the right place at the right time to progress your career.

2 Excellence Wins by Horst Schulze with Dean Merrill

The hotel business is more than most subject to the vagaries and whims of passing trends and a successful hotelier is all too aware that the hotel business is only as good as the quality, enthusiasm and ideas of their employees. Former Ritz-Carlton president Schulze understands the power of a fully committed and engaged staff who contribute towards the success of a business when their ideas and experience are taken on board by managers.

3 Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

The two ex US navy seal officers who gained valuable leadership experience and more when they led special operations units during the Iraq war bring their unique perspective on how to structure your team for success. Strong leadership is essential whether in the field of war or otherwise and the authors illustrate perfectly how to lead under fire whether real or metaphorical.

4 The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis

How many of us have worked for a company or organisation where the management and leadership was at best sporadic or even non-existent and how many of us have been the ones gallantly struggling to keep things together for customers or other stakeholders. The Fifth Risk offers an insight into how much better and more successful an enterprise can be with the right leadership and support.

5 Leadership is an Art by Max De Pree

This book by the former CEO of the highly successful home and office furnishings company Herman Miller Inc is probably the definitive work on how to build the success of your business through not only hiring the right creative minds but also through placing trust in your employees and nurturing relationships. He makes the point that great leadership is not just about ‘wielding the big stick’ but instead building solid foundations from top to bottom.   

Whether you’re just starting out and unsure of your talents or whether you have innate, instinctive leadership skills we feel sure that there is always something to be gained from the wise words of those who have mastered the art. 

Managing Conflict With Those You Lead

Managing conflict or arbitrating through disagreements is never the fun part of being a leader. Still, even the greatest leaders have to understand how to handle conflict and, wherever possible, prevent it or manage it in such a way that workplace morale and productivity isn’t severely dented.

Conflict management is a crucial skill that every leader should acquire, and seeking mentoring, training and coaching services early in your career can help, as it can undoubtedly be challenging learning on the job.

Leadership and conflict management connections

Conflicts may not happen often, but you will undoubtedly lose the respect of your team if you don’t handle it correctly. You may lose the confidence of your superiors if it is found that conflict is severely damaging output and morale. Promoting employee happiness benefits everyone; as a leader, understanding potential conflicts you may face and strategies to handle them will help you maintain workplace harmony

You are primarily likely to face two different conflicts occurring. The first is personality clashes and conflicts between individual team members, and secondly, the conflict team members have with goals or demands placed on them or the methods required to meet those goals. 

To achieve goals, the team must understand not only the destination but also the route to get there. You will see better cooperation and achievement if methods used to complete a project successfully can be agreed upon.

Success requires clear communication both from the leader and the team. One of a leader’s primary responsibilities is to build a team that works well together and can handle differences of opinion without damaging the team’s overall well-being and usefulness. Undoubtedly, a team will comprise varying personalities, which is often essential to identify the best possible outcomes. Too similar characters can leave great ideas missed, so as a leader, you must have the ability to recognise potential conflicts and resolve them quickly. Understanding conflict management will help identify possible causes and give a chance to resolve issues before they occur or provide ways to resolve existing conflicts to ensure the team dynamics aren’t interrupted, and you keep a cohesive unit.

The benefits of sound conflict management for leaders

Even with differing opinions occasionally, a team that works together, successfully managing conflict, will achieve goals, develop strategies, and streamline processes more effectively if they are led well.

Look to assess the situation and only intervene when necessary. Some conflicts may resolve quickly without assistance. When a solution isn’t forthcoming, or the conflict persists, it is time to step in.

Create guidelines. If it is clear that certain situations always cause conflict, try establishing rules that help respectful conduct or use error accountability that defines expected behaviours and consequences when things don’t go to plan.

When you can recognise outside forces likely to cause conflicts, such as changes in work processes that may require additional support for some team members to adjust. In that case, you can establish a training program or offer support where appropriate to team cohesion. This may be enough to reduce the chances of conflicts occurring.

The essential tips for leadership conflict management are staying calm, impartial, and focusing on facts whilst maintaining boundaries. Set clear behavioural expectations and a way for team members to understand what a resolution looks like for each individual to enable the whole team to benefit.