One of the toughest tasks any manager faces is dealing with members of staff who have clearly stepped over the line. There is nothing wrong with people having fun in the work place and banter of the right kind can help create a good atmosphere and boost morale. But one of the jobs of a manager or team leader is to ensure that everyone in the workplace is treated with respect and dignity at all times.
The easy option to take when members of staff cross the line is to ignore issues and hope any difficult situation might blow over. But choosing to not act is asking for trouble because if you let any problem or difficulty between staff fester it will simply get worse and create bad feeling and ruin any sense of camaraderie and team morale. The only option in a difficult situation is to deal with the issue head on and as soon as you possibly can.
Members of staff need to understand that they can come to work in an environment that is pleasant and that they will always be treated in the right and correct manner. When a difficult situation does arise the first thing to do is to speak directly to everyone involved on a one to one basis and away from the rest of the team.
Everyone involved needs to know that they can speak to their manager in confidence and they will be treated fairly and on the same footing as every other member of staff. All the individuals involved should get the chance to have their say and to give their own version of events. Although managers need to act quickly it is also important not to jump to conclusions and possibly make the situation even worse.
If it transpires that someone has crossed the line and has acted in a completely inappropriate manner then the best course of action is to discipline them and if necessary remove them from the workplace. It can be really tough to have to dismiss someone and sacking anyone really should be the taken as the very last option.
But gross misconduct can never be tolerated or accepted in any workplace. If you do have to discipline any individual then the reasons behind your decision should be explained clearly to them and on an individual basis. Any disciplinary process should be transparent and as fair as possible for a number of very good reasons. Any manager needs to remember that they need to protect their own position. If you do get things wrong or make a mistake then you run the very real risk of facing legal proceedings.
And as a manager you have a duty to protect the welfare and rights of every member of your team. If you fail to act or ignore completely inappropriate behaviour then you will very quickly lose the respect and trust of the people who work for you. That is why when people cross the line their behaviour needs to be addressed as soon as people so the message gets out to everyone that inappropriate behaviour should never be tolerated.
The rise of the internet and the ever growing influence of social media sites have completely changed the way the majority of us now look for new career opportunities and job openings. There is now a wealth of information available to everyone at the touch of a button which has made it far easier than ever before to get out there and look for a new job.
Many commentators had predicted that the rapid advances in technology seen in recent times would mean that there would no longer be a need for people to use recruitment executives and agencies. But the reality is that as the economy has gone into recovery mode the sector has returned stronger than ever before and there is still plenty of demand for the services of recruitment specialists.
Changes in technology and communications have meant that recruiters have had to change the way they operate and offer the kind of service that both employers and candidates are looking for. As a result everyone working in the sector has had to seriously up their game and the industry is now all about specialist knowledge and in-depth information.
The best and the most successful recruiters are the ones who know their chosen market-place inside out and understand exactly what it is their clients are looking for in potential recruits. That evolution and shift in the industry over the last decade means that recruiters can now offer a lot more to those looking for a fresh start or a change of direction.
When people decide to take a step into the employment market the sheer volume of information available can be over-whelming and almost impossible to navigate. With so many job boards and websites it can be almost be impossible to know where to start looking. That is why the best recruitment specialists can make all the difference when it comes to landing that dream job or perfect opportunity.It always helps if you can find someone who specialises in the area or sector that you work in.
You are looking for someone with fantastic inside information and the very best contacts.The very top operators are the ones who know exactly the kind of person that employers are looking to fill a particular role. And that can make all the difference for those who are active in the jobs market.The most successful recruiters are the ones who work not just for the employer but also for the person looking for a new job. In fact the relationship should always be a win-win situation for all three parties involved.
WITH the solar eclipse last Friday and the budget earlier in the week it feels as though the sun has been dominating the headlines. George Osborne’s final budget before the General Election was full of optimism and good news and has been described as a sunshine budget by plenty of political commentators.
In truth there were not many major measures in the budget and the reality is ordinary people will notice very little change in their finances as a result of last week’s political set piece. But despite the lack new measures and policies there was still plenty of great news for the country as a whole. According to the Chancellor we are currently enjoying the highest employment rates on record, growth is higher in the UK than in any other major economy and national debt is continuing to fall.
George Osborne summed up the spirit of his budget with his opening statement:He said: “Out of the red and into the black. The sun is starting to shine and we are fixing the roof. We choose the future. Britain is walking tall again. The comeback country.”The reality is that this particular budget will not live long in the memory and there was very little to talk about in terms of policy and change.
The Chancellor was merely clearing the decks in readiness for the General Election and preparing for the battle ahead at the ballot boxes.At this stage in the life of the Government it would be a strange move to start introducing wholesale changes. There was some good news for savers and for once there were no increases in the cost of petrol and there was even a cut in the cost of a good old fashioned pint of beer.
It still remains to be seen how British voters react to the budget and whether George Osborne has done enough to win over the hearts and minds of the British electorate. But the most important feature to emerge from all of the facts and figures was the strength of the recovery of the economy here in the UK. All of this needs to be taken into context and it should not be forgotten that we are still emerging from one of the harshest recessions in several generations.
The fact is that we are recovering faster and stronger than any other major economy in the world. We are now well and truly out of recession and currently in the position where we could go on to be one of the strongest economies on the global stage.
IT is all too easy to be viewed as a good manager or leader when things are going well in a company and the operation is running smoothly. It is no coincidence that teams tend to be at their most productive and morale is always at is best in organisations which have a long established record of success and several consecutive years of stability.
But the sign of a truly great leader is someone who is at their very best when it comes to dealing with an emergency and who can cope with a crisis. The ability to think on your feet and to respond well when unforeseen circumstances arise tends to come through years of practice and with plenty of experience – it is not a skill that can be learnt at college or through training exercises. Of course there are some people who are naturally gifted when it comes to responding to a stressful or difficult situation but you can develop the required skills over time. In every business and in every sector there will be times when things start to go wrong and difficult decisions have to be made.
The key thing to remember in a time of crisis is to try to keep a clear head and to always take the most logical approach. Staff can sense when people are not in control of a situation and it is important not to add to the general sense of crisis during difficult times. Panic can spread quickly and the worse thing any manager can do in a time of crisis is to give out the impression that they are buckling under the pressure and not in complete control of the unfolding situation. It is also vital to try and take a step back from the situation and so you can take the logical approach.
If you get caught up in the drama and the stress then you are far less likely to make the kind of decisions which will help to bring the crisis to a satisfactory and speedy conclusion. Sometimes the right solution may not be obvious or clear but the important thing is to take some kind of decision or set out on a course of action. Indecisiveness can be incredibly damaging and it is important to be seen to be moving forward rather than appearing to be in a state of shock and paralysis.
And rather than looking for someone to blame for an issue or a problem it is far better and much more constructive to concentrate on finding a solution. If things have gone wrong or if mistakes have been made then the right time for putting measures in place to avoid a repeat of similar situations is once the crisis has been dealt with.
In my experience the very best leaders are the individuals who come to the fore during the tough times and the difficult periods. The top managers and the best managers are the ones who are prepared to take personal responsibility for a situation and to step up to the plate when the going starts to get really tough.
Anyone who wants to succeed in business or is aiming to be a great leader needs, at some stage in their career, to learn the art of communication. It doesn’t matter how talented you happen to be or how innovative your ideas are, if you do not have the ability to talk to other people then you are likely to fail to reach your full potential.
There are some sectors where good communication is not as important as others, but a failure to master the basic skills can hinder and hold back any career. The very best leaders are the ones who can inspire and motivate their staff, you can lead by example but you still need to be able to convey your ideas and personal vision.
Great communication has become even more important in the modern digital age. The rise of the internet and emails has meant that we are constantly being bombarded with information but at the same time we are no longer speaking to one another as much as we did in the past. It has become far easier to send an email rather than walk across the office or even pick up the telephone. I have always believed in the importance of direct communication, after all if you want someone to do a job properly it makes perfect sense to speak to them directly and tell them exactly what it is you are looking for.
Thanks to technology there are plenty of ways we communicate information with one another. Modern businesses can use online presentations, video conferencing and even the old-fashioned meeting but the same principles always remain the same. The most important thing is to always be as clear and concise as possible and to always steer clear of any kind of jargon or clichés. If you are trying to convey difficult and complicated ideas and concepts then it makes no sense whatever to use difficult and over complicated language.
You should always plan ahead and think about what it is you are trying to say, if you prepare properly then you are much less likely to lose your thread and confuse your audience. Finally, and perhaps most important of all you should always remember that the very best communicators are the ones who do as much listening as talking.
Rather than just talking at people the best conversations are always a dialogue with both sides playing their part in the exchange of ideas and views. One of the best ways of ensuring that people have fully understood exactly what it is you are trying to tell them is through a two way conversation. And the only way to make sure that you have delivered the right message to your audience is to ask them for their feedback and views.
The problem with being the chief executive or director of a large organisation is that you can very quickly become isolated from the rest of your staff. Many business leaders can find themselves locked away in their offices and can quickly become distant from the rest of the workforce. The larger a business becomes the harder it can be to maintain a direct link between the management and the rest of the staff.
Many people opt to work in smaller businesses because of the greater sense of involvement in the day to day decision process which will help to shape the performance and future of the organisation. Of course, there is always going to be a lot of pressure on the time of senior managers and the bigger a company grows the harder it becomes to stay in touch with every individual employee.
But if you want your staff to be fully committed to the cause rather than just go through the motions then you need to have to clear and transparent lines of communications right throughout the business from the very top to the bottom. The best companies are the ones where everyone involved has a shared vision and are working together towards communal goals and targets. If you are aiming to create that kind of high-achieving culture then you are going to need a well-thought internal communications strategy.
That means that everyone needs to play their part from the company directors to team leaders in charge of small sections. You can have certain processes in place such as appraisals, inductions and regular briefings but there also needs to be a shared sense of responsibility. Middle managers are perhaps the most important link in the process, they are the ones who will have the job of disseminating the company ethos and business ambitions to every individual.
The old-fashioned concept of using knowledge as power and making decisions behind closed doors can actually be damaging to morale and often results in making people feel excluded and isolated. In my experience it always best to be as open as you possibly can with the people who work for you. As I said a managing director has to cope with plenty of demands on their time and it would be virtually impossible to get on with the job if you spent all your working day talking to every employee.
But there is nothing wrong with taking the time and making the effort to get to know as any people as people. That can be done in a number of ways and in a number of different formal and informal settings. And the results will certainly be worth the effort if you can talk directly to people. As well as helping to make people more involved in the business you will also get to hear first-hand from staff about the things you are doing well and even more importantly the things you are not doing so well.
The very best companies are the ones that tend to be the market leaders in their sector are the organisations which foster and encourage the spirit of creativity amongst their staff. Firms are always at their best when the creative spirit is allowed to flourish within every department and in every aspect of the business. That means encouraging people to be constantly thinking of new ways of going about their jobs and new approaches to selling the firm’s products and services.
Of course the businesses which operate in sectors such as the media and computer technology have to be constantly keeping an eye on the market place to make sure that they are not being left behind by their rivals. Creativity is at the very centre of what they do. But every company no matter what sector they are operating in should aim to have the creative spirit entwined into the DNA of the business. However, creating that kind of atmosphere can be a lot harder than it sounds in practice. The reality is that you have to hand over some of the power to determine the direction of the organisation to employees.
If you want your staff to be able to think for themselves and to come up with new ideas and approaches then you have to give them the space and the power to be able do so. Of course managers have to lead from the top and every member of staff has to understand that the major decisions will always come from the top. However, fostering a creative culture is all about giving the people the chance and confidence to express themselves and to empower them to give voice to their ideas.
If you are really serious about building a forward thinking and innovative business then you are going to need your staff with you every step of the way. That means actively encouraging staff to think for themselves and to put forward their own views and ideas. Processes can be put in place to encourage people to be creative such as staff awards and incentive schemes.
You can also make people feel more involved by inviting them to take part in meetings and by holding regular briefing and discussion sessions. But the most important thing in all of this is actually taking the time to listen to staff and taken on board their views. Those who are working on the frontline are often the ones who know what things are being done badly and how every day practices can be improved.
The aim in all of this is to make the business as efficient and forward thinking as possible. It is worth remembering great ideas and creative approaches don’t always come from the top they can emerge from any level of an organisation.
There are many skills needed if you want to perform to the very highest levels when it comes to taking part in job interviews. Thorough preparation, the ability to present your ideas clearly and concisely and demonstrating confidence are all important and valuable skills. But one of the most important qualities that potential employers look for in all candidates is the ability to ask the right questions at the right times. Fortunately the ability to ask the right questions is a skill that can be learnt through practice and experience.
The reason that interviewers are keen to hear the correct questions is that it demonstrates candidates are taking the process seriously and are acting in a professional manner. Often during the course of an interview an experienced panel will give people prompts because they are looking for a specific piece of information or to elicit a certain response.
To get yourself in the position where you are in command of the interview situation it is vital that you do plenty of preparation research. You need to find out as much information that you possibly can about the company or organisation you are hoping to join. Just as importantly you also need to take an in-depth look at the advert and the job description. If the recruiter has done their job properly then both the advert and the job description should describe in detail exactly what skills, expertise and characteristics are required from the successful candidate.
That is why it makes perfect sense to sit down and analyse all the available information. Once you have done that then you can start to formulate a strategy or plan for the interview itself. It can make a huge difference if you go into the interview knowing exactly what it is you want to say. I would suggest getting the stage where you have all the necessary information at your fingertips. The fact is the more preparation you do the more confident you will be when the pressure is on.
However, the hardest part of getting the questions right in the interview comes through plenty of experience and lots of application. The very best candidates are the ones who are not just saying the right things but are also listening carefully at all times to what is being said by the interviewer or interviewers. To make sure that you are not missing any important questions or are not misunderstanding what is being said in the interview demands 100 per cent concentration at all times.
There is a balancing act between making sure you are saying all the right things while listening very carefully throughout the whole process. You can only be 100 per cent sure that you are asking the right questions if you are actually listening at all times. Get that right and you will drastically improve your chances of success when it comes to landing that dream job.