Archive for leadership

Good presentation tips

Posted in Management / Leadership with tags , , , , on August 28, 2010 by virtualcitypa

There are four aspects of a good presentation that we should all be aware of: 1) The purpose of the presentation is chrystal clear 2) The message is concise 3) Well prepared 4) Vivid message delivery

Understand what you want to achieve.

Before you start working on your talk or presentation, it’s vital that you really understand what you want to say, who you want to tell and why they might want to hear it. To do this, ask yourself: Who? What? How? When? Where? Why?

When it comes to wording your message, less is more. You’re giving your audience headlines. They don’t need to and are usually not expecting to become experts on the subject as a result of hearing your talk.

If you’re using slides, limit the content of each one to a few bullet points, or one statement or a very simple diagram

Be prepared

Preparation is underrated. In fact, it is one of the most important factors in determining your communication successes.

Of course, not all communications can be scheduled. In this case, preparation may mean having a good, thorough understanding of the office goings-on, enabling you to communicate with the knowledge you need to be effective, both through verbal and written communications.

Unforgettable delivery

Your delivery of your speech or presentation will make or break it, no matter how well you’ve prepared and crafted your clear, concise message. Some useful tips for keeping your presentation vivid include:

  • Use examples to bring your points to life
  • Keep your body language up-beat – don’t stay stuck behind a rostrum
  • Don’t talk to fast. Less is more here too. Pauses are effective.
  • Use a variety of tones of voice
  • Use visual aids.

We thank MindTools.com for this insight to effective presentations

http://www.mindtools.com/CommSkll/PublicSpeaking.htm

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Be more successful – Delegate more

Posted in Lifestyle Management, Management / Leadership, Time Management with tags , , , , on July 22, 2010 by virtualcitypa

There is only so much time in the day, so it is important to delegate tasks as the managementstudyguide.com reports:

A manager alone cannot perform all the tasks assigned to them. In order to meet the targets, the manager should delegate authority. Delegation of Authority means division of authority and powers downwards to the subordinate. Delegation is about entrusting someone else to do parts of your job. Delegation of authority can be defined as subdivision and sub-allocation of powers to the subordinates in order to achieve effective results.

Elements of Delegation

1. Authority – in context of a business organisation, authority can be defined as the power and right of a person to use and allocate the resources efficiently, to take decisions and to give orders so as to achieve the organisational objectives.

Authority must be well- defined. All people who have the authority should know what is the scope of their authority is and they shouldn’t misutilise it.

Authority is the right to give commands, orders and get the things done.

The top level management has greatest authority. Authority always flows from top to bottom. It explains how a superior gets work done from his subordinate by clearly explaining what is expected of him and how he should go about it. Authority should be accompanied with an equal amount of responsibility.

Delegating the authority to someone else doesn’t imply escaping from accountability. Accountability still rest with the person having the utmost authority.

2. Responsibility – is the duty of the person to complete the task assigned to them. A person who is given the responsibility should ensure that they accomplish the tasks assigned to them. If the tasks for which he was held responsible are not completed, then they should not give explanations or excuses.

Responsibility without adequate authority leads to discontent and dissatisfaction among the person.

Responsibility flows from bottom to top. The middle level and lower level management holds more responsibility.

The person held responsible for a job is answerable for it. If they perform the tasks assigned as expected, they are bound for praises. While if they don’t accomplish tasks assigned as expected, then also they are answerable for that.

3. Accountability – means giving explanations for any variance in the actual performance from the expectations set.

Accountability can not be delegated. For example, if ‘A’ is given a task with sufficient authority, and ‘A’ delegates this task to B and asks them to ensure that task is done well, responsibility rest with ‘B’, but accountability still rest with ‘A’.

The top level management is most accountable. Being accountable means being innovative as the person will think beyond his scope of job. Accountability ,in short, means being answerable for the end result.

Accountability can’t be escaped. It arises from responsibility.

For achieving delegation, a manager has to work in a system and has to perform following steps : –

1. Assignment of tasks and duties
2. Granting of authority
3. Creating responsibility and accountability

Delegation of authority is the base of superior-subordinate relationship, it involves following steps:-

1. Assignment of Duties – The delegator first tries to define the task and duties to the subordinate.

2. Granting of authority – Subdivision of authority takes place when a superior divides and shares his authority with the subordinate. The subdivision of powers is very important to get effective results.

3. Creating Responsibility and Accountability – The delegation process does not end once powers are granted to the subordinates. They at the same time have to be obligatory towards the duties assigned to them.

www.managementstudyguide.com/delegation_of_authority.htm

How to win the commitment of staff

Posted in Office Management with tags , , , , , on July 19, 2010 by virtualcitypa

Having committed staff is key for small buinesses and this is why Virtual City PA would like to refer to this article from teamtechnology.co.uk.

Top tips to having dedicated support from colleagues and co-workers:

The most powerful motivators are not monetary. They include a variety of things, such as:

* a sense of achievement
* a feeling that the job is worthwhile
* thanks or recognition from respected people
* a sense of having made a difference
* contributing to a long term vision
* developing a new understanding
* bringing organisation into a situation of chaos
* building up knowledge, skill or experience

Not all of these are of the same importance for each individual – different people are motivated by different things. This is of particular relevance when deciding how to tackle the issue, because there are (broadly speaking) two approaches:

1. developing a standard approach
2. enabling staff to develop their own approach

The problem with option (1) is that it often presumes that employees have a particular type of motivation. If they do, then the approach you introduce will work. But if they don’t then your standard approach will not win their commitment (at most you will gain ‘compliance’ with your appraoch which, in a customer service environment, is just not good enough). Proponents of this option may argue that a standard approach is required to achieve quality – but if supposed “quality” is achieved at the expense of staff commitment, then the level of customer service will be poor.

The value of option (2) – which enables staff to become the architects of their own customer service – is that staff can incorporate the things that motivate them in to that approach. You need standards as well – but if staff are involved in the development of those standards then then are much more likely to be committed to them.

Customer Service Workshops

Staff can become architects of the customer service through a workshop-based approach. Take your team offsite for a couple of days, and take them through a syndicate-based process where they:

* think about their own experiences – good and bad
* define what is (generically) good customer service
* apply those definitions to their own environment
* ask a customer to make a presentation (followed by Q&A) on “the type of service I want from you”. Have syndicate discussions afterwards to review the issues raised.
* get them to produce an action plan to follow up on the workshop.
* appoint a follow-up manager, to make sure that all the output from the workshops is supported by management, and progress on actions are regularly communicated to everyone involved

This approach gives staff:

* direct exposure to customers’ views of the service they provide
* the opportunity to shape the future customer service (and thereby implicitly include what motivates them)
* full support from management
* an efficient communication mechanism to see that their suggestions are being acted upon

These are the essential components for winning commitment of staff to better customer service.

http://www.teamtechnology.co.uk/customer-service.html

Team Building – A Complete Guide

Posted in Management / Leadership with tags , , , , on July 8, 2010 by virtualcitypa

Team Building is the process of improving collective performance.

Small businesses need to work harmoniously to really thrive and this is why we thought this exert from the teamtechnology.co.uk website was relevant for many of our clients.

Simple but effective way of making team building work include:

* Establishing ownership of shared goals
* Removing inhibitors/blockages to achievement of those goals
* Introducing enablers (awareness, resources, information, processes, etc.) to help achieve those goals
* Using team building processes (e.g.: health checks, performance management, 360 feedback)

Team Building is often ineffective because:

* In many cases, advanced techniques are used whilst there is a lack of buy in to the shared objectives (commitment to team building activities is predicated on commitment to the overall direction/goals)

* Interventions are made out of sequence (e.g.: a poorly defined structure, roles and responsibilities will undermine attempts to improve interpersonal relationships)

* Many offsite events fail to add any real, lasting value because the approach taken to team building is too generic(any offsite event should be designed to meet specific goals and outcomes

* There is often a lack of understanding of the difference between a group and a team (team building with a group can be counter-productive, detracting from individual performance without any compensatory collective benefit)

* There is a lack of assessment of the team (diagnosis is required in order to develop effective intervention strategies)

Objectives

In the Forming stage (Forming-Storming-Norming-Performing), individuals are committed, at most, to their own objectives. Members will only invest time in Storming activities if they think it is worth it – that is, if the collective objectives are seen as important as their own.

A common mistake is for individuals to think that being committed to their own objectives means they are committed to the team.

As in the age-old metaphor where a house needs to be built on rock, the foundation of all team building is commitment to the shared goal.

Techniques

If team building is viewed as a commodity, as a product to be purchased from a supplier, then it is unlikely to have any lasting value. Having an awayday, playing games or doing fun things will generally lead to lasting and improved collective performance only in the context of a good plan, where events are bespoke (designed to meet specific objectives and outcomes). In fact, having an awayday without good design is taking a gamble – it may achieve something, be a waste of time, or even damage teamwork.

The choice of intervention strategy depends not only on the current state of teamwork, but on the nature of the people. For highly motivated individuals, it can be enough to set a high level direction and then allow individuals to contribute to the detailed development of the goals. For others, whose natural motivations are more individual, there may need to be objective-based rewards that require teamwork. In some instances, where high levels of teamwork cannot be achieved, they may only be effective in the Forming stage, which is highly dependent on leadership.

Groups

A group is a set of people with individual objectives who happen to share the same boss, or the same workplace, or be part of the same organisational unit. In a group, individuals might even have the same objectives – e.g.: in a sales force, everyone might have the same sales target to meet, but they may also compete against each other rather than cooperate.

A team is a group that works towards a single, common objective. In fact, they might have different individual objectives, but those objectives contribute to the higher collective one. E.g. in a sales team, one person might make appointments, another provide technical sales support, another prepare a bid document, and another make the sale. But they are all accountable together for the sales and are not judged solely on individual objectives.

Strategies

Interventions fall into four main areas:

* Individual – e.g.: development of individual skills; establishing familiarity with shared processes
* Relational – e.g.: improvement of unconscious dynamics; engendering a sense of common purpose and commitment
* In/Out Groups – tackling the barriers between different organisational units
* Cultural – building a teamwork ethos in larger organisations
The foundation of good teamwork is having a shared commitment to common objectives. Without this, all other forms of team building will have a limited impact. Therefore, before using any team building exercises and activities, or team buildinglooking at relationships in the team, or embarking on other forms of team building, you need to put this foundation of shared commitment in place by:

* Clarifying the team goals, and building ownership/commitment to those goals across the team
* Identifying any issues which inhibit the team from reaching their goals, rand emoving the inhibitors
* Putting in place enablers to help the goals be achieved to higher standards
* Using team processes in the correct sequence to help the team climb one rung at a time up the ladder of performance

Team Building is therefore not just a single event (though events can play a part), nor is it something that can be done by someone outside the team (though outside consultants can help). It is a task primarily for the team manager and the team members themselves.

Four Types of Team Building

Once you have established the basic foundation of shared commitment, the approach you then take to team building depends on the size of the team and the types of issues that may be inhibiting good teamwork.

Better teamwork is achieved through dealing with: individuals, small teams, team islands and the organisation.

Individuals

In a project environment, where team composition is continually changing, the emphasis must be on selecting people who are self-starters and developing the skills in individuals to become effective team members very quickly. The ‘scale’ involved is 1 person, and the team building consultant or trainer is endeavouring to change the skills and abilities of the individual at operating within a team (or within multiple teams).

Small Teams

In teams where membership is static – typically in management teams – the motivational challenge is to align the drive of the disparate individuals around the same goals. There can be many inhibitors to performance – eg: personality, dynamics, processes etc., and how the individuals within the team relate to each other can have a big bearing on team performance. So, if a member leaves, or another joins, the dynamics of the team can be changed greatly and the task of team building has to start again. Here, the scale is small – say, 2 to about 12 – and the main priorities are to build the foundation of collective ownership of team objectives, and then overcome inhibitors through team bonding, facilitation, processes, etc..

Team Islands

A larger scale operates between teams. Where the teams do not relate well, they are called ‘team islands’. The motivational challenge is to overcome the problem of “in/out groups” so that people have positive attitudes towards those in other teams. There are often many barriers between teams that inhibit team performance, but not all of them can be removed. The main task, therefore, is the bridging, or relationship, between the teams.

Large Teams

The largest scale is organisational culture change. With the exception of the senior management team, any changes to personnel have limited impact on the corporate culture. The key aim of company-wide team building is to change the behaviours and attitudes prevalent in the organisation, which are almost independent of who actually works there – new recruits who are ‘different’ often start behaving in accord with the existing culture.

Summary

* A team is a group of people working towards a common goal
* Team building is a process of motivating and enabling the team to achieve that goal
* The stages involved include clarifying the team goals, building ownership, removing inhibitors, introducing enablers and using processes to move up the ladder of performance
* The nature of the team building varies in terms of scale, and what you are trying to achieve:

http://www.teamtechnology.co.uk/tt/h-articl/tb-basic.htm

Management Styles – which suits you..?

Posted in Management / Leadership with tags , , , , , , on July 30, 2009 by virtualcitypa

Sometimes its interesting to take a step back to review where you fit in the text book world of business. Where am I now and how do people see me..?

Democratic Management Style

A democratic manager delegates authority to his/her staff, giving them responsibility to complete the task given to them (also known as empowerment). Staff will complete the tasks using their own work methods.

However, the task must be completed on time. Employees are involved in decision making giving them a sense of belonging and motivating individuals. Because staff feel a sense of belonging and are motivated the quality of decision making and work also improves.

Although popular in business today, a democratic management style can slow decision making down because staff need to be consulted. Also some employees may take advantage of the fact that their manager is democratic by not working to their full potential and allowing other group members to ‘carry’ them.

Autocratic Management Style

In contrast to the above an autocratic manager dictates orders to their staff and makes decisions without any consultation. The leader likes to control the situation they are in.

Decision are quick because staff are not consulted and work is usually completed on time. However this type of management style can decrease motivation and increase staff turnover because staff are not consulted and do not feel valued.

Consultative Management style

A consultative management style can be viewed as a combination of the above two. The manager will ask views and opinions from their staff, allowing them to feel involved but will ultimately make the final decision.

Laissez Faire Management style

A laisses faire manager sets the tasks and gives staff complete freedom to complete the task as they see fit. There is minimal involvement from the manager. The manager however does not sit idle and watch them work! He or she is there to coach or answer questions, supply information if required.

There are benefits, staff again are developed to take responsibility which may lead to improved motivation. However with little direct guidance from the manager staff may begin to feel lost and not reach the goals originally set within the time frame.

http://www.learnmanagement2.com/leadership%20styles.htm