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Empathy and leadership-02

Empathy and leadership

 

By Morgan International Staff Writers

This article is based on Simone Sinek very famous book called “Leaders eat last”. 

Empathy is the most important leadership quality

 

What is leadership? Is is about telling people what they should be doing, what you need to be done and then making sure they do it? That’s what many people will assume to be the case, after all that’s what their boss is like. But what if empathy was the cornerstone of leadership ? How would that change the face of the usual business hierarchy?

 

We are actually biologically designed to put the needs of others ahead of our own. Any parent will tell you that - it’s innate. But it can extend to the workplace and often does - in great leadership.

 

Endorphins and dopamine are designed to make us stick to a task despite it being difficult - we push through barriers because the rush of feel good chemicals at the end makes it worthwhile. These are experienced individually. As a team however, the chemicals serotonin and oxytocin bring about a sense of pride in our work and how it is valued by others. It reinforces the workplace bond and helps to establish feelings of trust and empathy. These are incredibly powerful in a work setting.

 

Look around you at work and especially those in leadership roles. Are they exhibiting the selfish chemicals of endorphins and dopamine or are they taking advantage of the feelgood chemicals serotonin and oxytocin? Are they individual workers or collaborative? Who do you admire most and who would you follow when the chips are down? Put simply who offers you more empathy and who do you trust?

 

Good leaders have discovered that putting others first feels good and is a successful way to run a business. It results in loyalty and a sense of pride that comes from the top and the bottom. These are the leaders who ask their staff if they need help, if they are feeling valued and if they are happy and they are the ones who actually care what the answer might be.

 

These are the leaders who last and for whom success is more meaningful - interestingly they are the ones who achieve more success overall.

Creative thinking as an important soft skill

 

By Morgan International Staff Writers

Let your creativity push you towards your goals

 

As children we eagerly tell stories, paint pictures and let our imaginations rule our world. It’s fun, it’s exciting and we do it naturally. At some point (and for most of us) this natural, innate creativity is lost, pushed to one side and seen as unimportant in the world of work.

 

But what if your creativity could be harnessed and used to improve your work? This so-called “soft skill” is increasingly being seen as an important part of achieving our work goals - and our personal ones. But how do we rediscover those delights of our inner child?

 

  • Choose the right environment - whether your creativity shines when you are in the shower, going on a long walk or while you are driving - you need to allow your less practical side, the space to get creative. If your day feels like it is grinding, take the time to go for a walk and to think of something else. The answers to your work questions are more like to leap into your subconscious if you give them space to do so.
  • Brainstorm in the right way - once you know what environment suits your creative brain, use it to your advantage. Introduce pressing issues into this environment and see what happens. Keep a pen and paper handy because the ideas you get might be fleeting - but brilliant.
  • Be challenging - the way you think about things, or the way you have been taught to think is not always conducive to creative paths. You need to be willing to cast those preconceived ideas to one side and to create your own. Start fresh - bring back those ideas that you know work and come up with new solutions to new problems.

 

The result will be fresh ideas and new perspectives. In work, as in life, this is immensely valuable.

 

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How to encourage employee accountability

 

 

By Morgan International Staff Writers

We know that employees who feel accountable are more engaged and therefore more productive. However accountability can be quite a difficult concept as employees need to balance giving enough, but not too much. The question is, how to make employees feel accountable, without of course giving too much responsibility too quickly?

 

Hire the right people

Hire people you can trust and who will also want to take on responsibilities. During the interview process ask candidates to talk about their prior roles and use this to ascertain if the individual has truly been accountable previously. Competency based questions are a great way to find out what people have done before. “Tell me about a time when….?”

 

Delegate authority

Absolutely fundamental to this is actually delegating authority. Unless you devolve some responsibility, there will be nothing tangible for employees to be accountable for.

 

Reward accountability

Reward employees who are responsible and accountable. This will typically happen in most organisations through the performance review process and may include bonuses and/or promotions.

 

Avoid the blame game

This is absolutely about accountability, but not about blame when things go wrong. Employees who are fearful of the consequences of incorrect actions will be very wary of being held responsible for work outputs.

 

Set SMART goals

The thing about being accountable is that you need to know when you are going right and wrong. It is important as an employer to set SMART goals for results – specific, measurable, achievable, results focussed, and time bound.

 

In Summary

Productivity will be higher within organizations when employees are truly accountable, understand what good looks like by being set SMART goals, and are rewarded when they do great work.

 

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Encouraging Employees to Live the Company Vision

 

By Morgan International Staff Writers

The company vision or mission statement is hugely important. Why? Because it sets the tone and direction for every employee within that organization. It is a common goal that all can be united in working towards. To be effective the following points should be considered:

 

Write an inspiring statement

The statement itself is important – it needs to inspire and motivate. Take Microsoft’s – “Our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more” and Google’s – “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

 

Hire the right people

It begins with the hiring process, before you even ask candidates in to interview. Speak to the recruiter or hiring manager and make sure they understand the company mission so that they hire candidates who would live that vision.

 

It starts at the door

The induction process into any organisation is incredibly important. It is the best opportunity to set the new employee on the right path and ensure they are in alignment with the company vision from the beginning. One great way to do this is to use a buddy or mentor system to guide and support the new starter.

 

Annual reminder

A lot of businesses do annual kick offs or other types of meeting which are often off site. This is a great opportunity to get the employees to live and breathe the company vision and work out how that can be delivered at a more practical level, i.e. what they can do in their own roles to deliver the company vision.

 

In Summary

A company vision or mission statement can be an incredibly powerful way to align employees with the goals of the business. It also allows customers to buy into the organization. To be effective, it needs to permeate the business and be at the heart of all lower level strategies.

 

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5 Tips to Create a Successful Employee Retreat

 

By Morgan International Staff Writers

Employee retreats are a popular way to get the team together offsite, build relationships, and boost morale. It gives individuals an opportunity to get to know each other and appreciate each other’s strengths and capabilities. If run well, employees themselves should return to the workplace reinvigorated and with renewed motivation. These are our top 5 tips to create a successful employee retreat:

 

  • A developed agenda

A free flowing event does not typically result in overly productive conversations. To make the best use of time it is important to have a clear agenda with objectives for each session.

 

  • Senior managers should be involved

For employees to really feel that the event is important, senior colleagues should also be invited. Their support and participation should convince others that the output of the retreat has the support of the leadership team.

 

  • Hire a guest speaker

Hiring a great motivational speaker can be a brilliant way to spark lively debate. It also differentiates the retreat from regular meetings. That said, it is important that the speaker is a good fit for the team and the event.

 

  • Include activities

Energizers, break-outs, games, and other sorts of activities will keep the interest levels up. This is a useful way to encourage interaction between participants – perhaps among those who do not usually get a chance to communicate in the workplace.

 

  • Include social events

Set up a meal out and some drinks or another social event during the retreat. This is not a time to talk business, but some time for relaxation and to have some fun in what might otherwise be quite an intense agenda packed retreat.

 

  • Action plan

To avoid the outputs from the day fading away into a distant memory, it is important for individuals and teams to come away with clear action plans and this should include follow ups once back in the workplace.

 

In Summary

Employee retreats can be really powerful events to build team working and employee engagement. However to be most effective, they do need to be carefully planned out, taking into account the 5 top tips we have shared above.

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When to change how you lead

 

By Morgan International Staff Writers

It’s fair to say that the world of business is becoming increasingly demanding due to the fast paced and often challenging times we live in.

 

This often means that business leaders are forced to respond to change faster than ever before. But does this mean that you have to change the way you lead? And, if it does, when’s the right time to change?

 

There are a number of different leadership styles, all offering their own pros and cons, and each potentially effective in their own way. However, that’s not to say that all leadership styles are appropriate or effective for all businesses, employees, and leaders.

 

The main management styles are:

 

  • Directive

 

The leader closely controls employees and motivates them through threats and discipline. The classic, “do it the way I tell you” manager.

 

This style of leadership is most effective when there is a crisis or when deviations are risky, but is not effective with underdeveloped or highly skilled employees.

 

  • Authoritative

 

The firm but fair manager who gives employees clear direction and motivates through persuasion and feedback on performance.

 

This style of leadership is most effective when the leader is credible and when clear directions and standards are needed, but ineffective when employees are underdeveloped or the leader is not credible.

 

  • Affiliative

 

The people first, task second manager who avoids conflict, focuses on good personal relationships between employees, and motivates by trying to keep people happy.

 

This style of leadership is most effective when used in conjunction with other leadership styles, for routine tasks, and managing conflict. It is not effective when performance is inadequate or when a crisis situation requires direction.

 

 

 

 

  • Participative

 

The everyone has input manager who encourages employee input in decision making and motivates by rewarding team effort.

 

This style of leadership is most effective when employees are working together, when staff have experience and credibility, and in a steady working environment. It is least effective when employees must be co-ordinated, when there is a crisis, or when there is a lack of competency.

 

  • Pacesetting

 

The ‘do it myself’ manager who performs many tasks personally and expects employees to follow by example. Motivates by setting high standards and expects self-direction from employees.

 

This type of leadership is most effective when people are highly motivated and competent, requiring little direction or co-ordination.

 

  • Coaching

 

The developmental manager who helps and encourages employees to develop their strengths and improve their performance. Motivates by providing opportunities for professional development.

 

This leadership style is most effective when skills need to be developed and when employees are motivated and keen to embrace development.

 

Before you change your leadership style, it’s important that you understand what type of leader you are and why change is needed.

 

Changing your management style certainly isn’t easy, but it’s worth it in the long term. There are a number of times in which change can be highly effective, or even essential.

 

Of course, you might not see results instantly, and it can be all too tempting to fall back into your old ways. But stay aware of your personal progress and keep yourself on track.

 

But that’s not to say that you can’t rethink your approach. If you find that, despite your best efforts, your new management methods aren’t proving beneficial for your team, you might need to alter your approach again.

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Decision making: is it as simple as it seems?

By: Morgan International Staff Writers

Decision, decisions; every day we make hundreds of decisions, many of them totally subconsciously but some being more demanding and requiring more concentration and attention. But how do people make these decisions and what factors come into play?
Whether we are involved ourselves in the decision making process or we are subjected to this in our line of business, it is an unavoidable part of life. If we are involved in sales of any type then working with the client to reach the right decision can be complex and taxing. As financial professionals we also find ourselves involved in this process when customers make use of our services and by understanding how decisions are reached we are better able to advise our clients.
How are decisions made?
Whether people are making financial decisions or those related to something else such as career or family, judgments have to be made. If the choices are complex then using a multi-step process to break down the path towards the conclusion can be very helpful. Here we are going to look at some of the factors that can impact upon decision making.
• Past experiences
Events that have occurred in the past can impact greatly upon decisions made going forward. Much depends on whether the results in the past were negative or positive as those involved are more likely to use the same methods if the outcome a good one. The problem here is that decisions made now based upon past experiences do not always result in the best result.
• Cognitive biases
These are patterns of thinking based upon generalizations that can result in judgments that are faulty and inaccurate. Things such as prior knowledge, omission and hindsight may kick in with people being so affected by the influx of this information that the decision reached is not the right one.
• Escalation of commitment and sunk outcomes
People may make a decision based upon how much money, effort and time they have sunk into it. This can play out by people ending up making a risky decision purely because they have invested so much they do not want to go back i.e. they are now so far down the line, it seems like the only way to go is forward – right or wrong.
• Individual differences
Particular differences such as age, cognitive ability and even status socioeconomically can all impact upon the way in which decisions are made. As we get older, our ability to make a decision can become harder as cognitive ability diminishes whilst younger people may be over-confident with the arrogance that comes from youth. It is definitely worth noting that the older we are, the fewer decisions we like to make.
• Belief in personal relevance
When people feel that what they decide really matters, they are much more likely to come to a decision. For example, constituents are far more likely to vote if they think that their support will change things.
• Decision Making Heuristics
Heuristics are strategies used based to make a decision based upon a small amount of precise information. Think of it as a mental short cut; a judgment can be made by focusing upon just one or two aspects of a very complex problem, ignoring others.

As financial professionals we can see that decision making is a very important area to understand and by having knowledge of the process, we are able to develop a greater comprehension of not only our own decisions but those of others.

Check out some of our training programs now and get yourself fully equipped with a thorough and detailed understanding of decision making, enabling you to interact far more effectively with clients, professionally and competently.

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4 Tips to Personalize the Employee Experience

 

By Morgan International Staff Writers

The importance of personalizing the employee experience is often overlooked and underrated by employers with severe and often unacknowledged consequences. Providing a personalized experience to an employee plays a vital role in their overall engagement with the company and ultimately influences whether they choose to remain working for them. When you consider the financial implications of recruiting new employees, putting more effort into retaining employees makes huge commercial sense.

 

  1. Utilize recognition schemes

 

Recognition takes many forms and even a small gesture can go a long way in personalizing an employee’s experience. Even if you don’t have a large budget to work with, improvise with alternatives to financial rewards. A popular way to do this is to use intranets or similar digital platforms to enable colleagues to provide peer-to-peer recognition as well as management acknowledgements.

 

  1. Develop a talent management program

 

Professional development is a major motivational factor for employees. An employee who feels that there is no career pathway or way for them to further develop their skillset will become disengaged and demotivated. Developing an effective talent program will not only boost engagement levels of existing employees, it will also help to attract high calibre job applicants.

 

  1. Conduct regular evaluations/appraisals

 

Dedicating time to review and feed back on employee performance is hugely beneficial for both enhancing the personalized experience and to help reach business targets. Constructive feedback from management on a regular basis will help to boost performance and make the employee feel valued and more motivated.

 

  1. Build strong relationships

 

Whilst all of the first three tips are highly effective, for some employees they will still feel it is part of a corporate process. To really personalize the employee experience, putting in genuine effort to know and understand an employee can make a huge impact.

 

In summary, providing a personalized experience for employees is a critical aspect of a successful business and should never be taken for granted. The business benefits that can be gained are huge and although the overall results can be difficult to measure, the costs of employee retention vs. recruitment will ensure that it is a very worthwhile exercise.

Battling Climate Change with Lean Six Sigma

Battling Climate Change with Lean Six Sigma

By Morgan International Staff Writers

Six sigma methodologies are widely used in business to improve processes, reduce waste, and increase efficiency. The techniques employed are also transferable to other areas, and one issue currently benefiting from their application is climate change.

Six sigma uses hard data as the basis for managing a problem and improving outcomes. So what specific techniques and methodologies are helping climate change scientists tackle the issue on a day-to-day basis?

·        Root Cause Analysis

Root Cause Analysis exposes problems within a system, allowing scientists to find the cause of a certain aspect of climate change. This aspect could be the reason we’re experiencing warmer summers in the UK, or why high levels of smog are lingering in certain cities around the globe.

The methodology involves asking multiple questions to find an explanation for an issue, and reveal its basic cause. In conjunction with the following six sigma methodologies, it covers the groundwork needed to expose issues at their roots.

·        DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve, Control)

DMAIC allows scientists to focus on a specific problem, for instance the release of methane and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Having identified where these gases originate - landfill sites or cattle, for example – they determine how to measure the problem scientifically.

Results are then analysed with a view to improving and controlling the situation more effectively. In the case of landfills this might involve having stricter control over the number of landfill sites and levels of toxicity, or incentivising the public to change the way they dispose of waste.

·        DFSS (Design for Six Sigma)

This process has no defined steps as with DMAIC, but uses a technique called Critical Parameter Management (CPM) to predict the likely success of a project. DFSS also concentrates on the ideal outcomes for everyone involved, including those companies whose activities add to the climate-change issue.

Learn more about how six sigma methodologies can help your business. We offer a number of courses and certifications for you and your staff - take a look at our website for the full range of training opportunities.

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Email Marketing: Where are you going wrong?

 

By Morgan International Staff Writers

Email marketing campaigns can be a highly effective way to engage your audience, generate leads, and drive results. However, in order to deliver the best possible results, it’s important that your email marketing strategy is carefully planned and finely tuned.

Here are just some of the ways you’re going wrong with your email marketing activities:

Your emails don’t engage with your target audience

Like any marketing activity, it’s important that your email marketing campaigns are interesting and engaging in the eyes of your target audience.

Before you even start planning your campaign, you need to carefully consider the demographic of your target audience, as well as their needs and interests. Segment your audience based on parameters such as geographical location, cultural preferences, time spent on your website, and the devices they most commonly use to open emails. This process will help you to truly understand your audience and how you can best target them.

Your emails are unresponsive

It’s all very well designing a great looking marketing email on your desktop but, if it isn’t responsive then it won’t be anywhere near as effective when it’s opened on a mobile phone or tablet.

And, with up to 70% of all emails now being opened on mobile devices, it’s more important than ever that your marketing emails are fully responsive with design elements that are not only eye catching, but also adjust to the recipient’s screen size.

You haven’t tested your approach

When it comes to implementing your email marketing strategy, you shouldn’t expect to get it exactly right first time.

Email testing should include aspects such as the readability and actionability of your emails, helping you to understand factors such as why the bounce rate was so high, where you went wrong in your messaging, how your CTA can improve your response rates, etc.

Even the smallest changes to your approach can make a significant difference to your results so it’s well worth taking the time to test.

You’re not measuring results

As well as creating an effective email marketing campaign, it’s also important that you measure their performance and analyse your results.

Look at factors such as what percentage of recipients click on a link or a specific Call To Action and conversion rates. It’s only by looking at these results that you’ll be able to adapt and update your plan to optimise results.

Want to know more?

To find out more about email marketing, get in touch. Our digital marketing courses are designed help you further your marketing career and equip you with the necessary skills and experience to optimise your performance in the modern marketing environment.