Author Archives: Chris Mooney

Chris Mooney

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Managing Our Mindset Demons
16 Oct

Managing Our Mindset Demons

Our mindset has the power to make or break our success and our development…so how do we take control and manage it?

 

Watch our short Facebook Live to find out our top tips for mindset management!

 

Join our private and FREE Facebook group for support with your personal and professional development. With regular posts and Facebook Lives on a variety of topics, there’s always something to get involved with!

Click the image below and request to join now…

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How to Develop Stronger Relationships Without Causing Conflict!
10 Aug

How to Develop Stronger Relationships Without Causing Conflict!

Interpersonal Skills

Do you need to develop stronger relationships at work, adapt and connect with others easily and manage conflict more confidently?

 

Who amongst us doesn’t have to try and get along with others at work, a bit like the pen pot you have on your desk, all stuck together in a confined space!

 

When we work together, conflict is inevitable; perhaps with other members of your team, with your manager or even your stakeholders. This can lead to feelings of stress and disengagement, so much so that often it’s not the organisation we leave, it’s the environment.

 

The one thing you can control and influence is the quality of how you communicate and interact well with other people.

 

Catch-up with our free online training session below, delivered from our Facebook Group, to find out how you can develop these vital skills and learn how to change your life for the better!

 

Let us know if you would like any more details on the programme mentioned from 45 minutes in!

 

 

…and as if that’s not enough, download our cheat sheet to help you start making a difference TODAY!

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The Pain of Conflict in Communication
28 Jul

The Pain of Conflict in Communication

Communication at work can often feel like a tug of war where one person must win and the other must lose…but how do we work together with our different styles to successfully work through our conflict?

 

Watch our Facebook Live to find out!

 

Catch-up with our free online training for support on how to develop stronger relationships without causing conflict at work here.

 

Join our private and FREE Facebook group for support with your personal and professional development. With regular posts and Facebook Lives on a variety of topics, there’s always something to get involved with!

Click the image below and request to join now…

Managing Conflict…is this the biggest key?
14 Jul

Managing Conflict…is this the biggest key?

Wherever there are people working together, conflict in inevitable, and it’s no wonder when we all have differences in personal styles and objectives to achieve.

 

Watch our short Facebook Live to find out our top tip for managing conflict!

 

Join our private and FREE Facebook group for support with your personal and professional development. With regular posts and Facebook Lives on a variety of topics, there’s always something to get involved with!

Click the image below and request to join now…

How Feedback Unfolds
03 May

How Feedback Unfolds

We provide lots of teams with development. One thing we hear over and over is that they don’t take the time to give each other feedback, so why not try this approach, whether you have an Insights Discovery® profile or not!
 

Insights Discovery Feedback

Courtesy of Insights®

 

Check out how we can support you with personality profiling and get in touch to find out how we can develop your people and your business!

Could Your LinkedIn Profile Use a Spring Clean?
12 Apr

Could Your LinkedIn Profile Use a Spring Clean?

We work with many people to provide outplacement support and career coaching, which leads to us reviewing a lot of LinkedIn profiles which are becoming just as viewed by employers as the traditional CV.
 

When was the last time you reviewed your LinkedIn profile to make sure it’s really working for you? Gone are the days when the sole need for this was to secure your next position; millions of us across the globe now use LinkedIn on a daily basis for to seek new ideas and opinions, network and help others.

 

That said, if you are looking for your next move, it pays to make sure your profile really sells you in the best way, and that doesn’t mean it simply existing to be a carbon copy of the content on your CV. You can significantly multiply your profile views, connection requests and messages by taking some simple steps, such as having a great profile picture, a good balance of interpersonal skills / technical expertise and optimised keywords.

 

We love this ‘cheat sheet’ from Leisure Jobs. Even though LinkedIn significantly updated their interface in January 2017, much of the cheat sheet still holds true. Click the image below and put some time aside to work your way through your LinkedIn profile to give it the spring clean that it deserves!

 

Ultimate LinkedIn Cheap Sheet

Get in touch to find out how we can support your people and your business!

Why We Need Creativity & Innovation in the Workplace
07 Mar

Why We Need Creativity & Innovation in the Workplace

creativity employee training and development

With workplaces needing to cut costs and often cut headcount, people need to think differently – and that means getting creative like never before.

 

With the majority of organisations needing to become more efficient and ultimately do more with less, many rush into this without revising old ways of working.  This in turn often leads to stressed employees, missed deadlines, unhappy customers (internal and external), and a wholly unhappy place to be.  We’ve seen many high profile cases of companies going into or almost going into liquidation (HMV, Jessops, Blockbusters, Republic), proving that now more than ever, businesses must keep up to date with changing trends and constantly challenge the way things are done to not only stay current, but profitable too.

 

So how often do we actually stop to think about how to challenge old ways of doing things?  We are all guilty of complaining about there not being enough hours in the day, never enough time to do what is required of us just to keep our heads above water, so the easiest option is of course to just do what we’ve always done.  Getting creative doesn’t have to take a lot of time, it’s simply about considering other ways of doing things.  Sure, it might be that once you have considered other options that the best solution is what you would have done anyway, but if you don’t go through the process you’d never know.

 

Many people consider themselves uncreative.  This can trace right back to childhood, when we were told we couldn’t draw, or our talents lay elsewhere.  Or perhaps as adulthood loomed we put away those childish things and grew up; considering a sensible job, paying the rent / mortgage and other such commitments as the final nails in our creative coffin.  If this sounds like you, consider two things:

 

  1. When was the last time you did something seriously creative?  Either at work or at home, it doesn’t matter.  If you struggle to think of something then it’s not surprising that you feel uncreative.  Creativity is like a muscle, it needs constant exercise or else it withers away.  Classical pianists don’t just become great at playing the piano overnight, it takes constant time and focus (but you’ll be glad to know you don’t need to flex your creative muscle for quite as many hours a day to be great at getting creative!).
  2. Don’t be tempted to think of creativity as blue sky and beanbags.  It’s easy for us to think about what creativity looks like outside of work (arts & crafts, dressmaking, cops & robbers, doctors & nurses!), however when it comes to work creativity can take many forms.  We each have our own unique preferences when it comes to getting the creative juices flowing.  Some people will prefer to think through options themselves whilst others will thrive on the energy of a group discussion.  You may also prefer structured and methodical ways of coming up with new ideas or more abstract methods.  Either way it’s important to identify your own preferred approach, so take some time to identify this.

 

There are a myriad of different tools and techniques out there that can help you to get creative.  Below we offer one for generating new ideas (it’s probably the best known of the lot but that doesn’t mean it’s always used the way it should be!), and one for whittling down your long list of creative options into your few possibles to proceed with.

 

Generating new ideas: Try ‘Brainstorming’

Whoa there!  Before you skip past this bit thinking you know about brainstorming, please read on!  This is arguably the granddaddy of creative thinking tools, but with fame comes mis-use and abuse.  A good brainstorm can be done with groups of people over short or longer time periods depending on what’s being ‘stormed’.  It works because people trigger each others thinking which leads onto constantly new and different or associated ideas and it allows people to think big rather than be restricted…but therein lies the problem with brainstorming.  How many of us have been sat in one of these when each and every suggestion has been subjected to analysis-paralysis or shot down because “that wouldn’t work” or “we’ve tried that before”?

 

So…here are some simple steps to help you to have a successful brainstorm:

  • Have some help – whether it’s a facilitator or a neutral party, try and have someone who can keep things on track and bring everyone back to that big thinking when the debate heats up.
  • What are you brainstorming – make sure everyone is clear on what it is you are trying to generate ideas for.
  • Collect all ideas – capture everything that is offered and spend no time filtering or analysing…that comes later.  This bit is all about quantity over quality.
  • “If you have nothing nice to say…” – by far the hardest part of most brainstorms: keeping a lid on critical evaluation.  Introducing critique at this stage will only stop people from contributing.
  • Brief the ‘rules’ – because brainstorming has been around for so long, most people think it’s easy (which of course it is!)…but you might need to walk through some or all of these steps with your group before you begin, so that everyone is on the same page.

 

Distilling your creative ideas:  Try ‘Negative Selection’

So you’ve gotten creative on how to market your new widget, and you have a list of ideas as long as the combined length of arms in your department.  Maybe a 100 foot plasma billboard suspended above The Thames won’t work, but perhaps it might…!  Essentially, what you are doing here is whittling your list into your no’s and maybe’s, just like you would do when you were considering which breed of dog to adopt or what kind of car to buy.  Be careful not to label the whacky and inventive ideas with a ‘no’ just because they’re whacky and inventive; you could always keep it in the ‘maybe’ pile and come back to it later, or consider if there is a simpler alternative of the idea.  You want to end with a shortlist that has a number of workable and unique ideas, not just a pile of logical, sensible and totally uninspiring ones.

 

So, challenge yourself and your business today.  Think big and think differently…the world is changing and we all need to change with it or get left behind.

 

At Right Trax Training we can help your managers, teams and business to be more creative. Find out more about our employee training and development and get in touch to discuss how we can help.

Are Managers to Blame for Disengaged Employees?
22 Feb

Are Managers to Blame for Disengaged Employees?

disengaged employees

Managers who don’t know how to meet the engagement needs of their team become a barrier to employee, team and company performance’, suggests a recent Gallup poll.

 

The global poll found that disengaged employees outnumber engaged employees by almost 2:1 (24% vs. 13% respectively), so can we then presume that on a worldwide scale, more people find their working lives dissatisfying rather than delightful?

 

An engaged team is naturally the more preferable option, delivering better results across the board in terms of higher employee retention, customer satisfaction ratings and of course profitability to name but a few benefits.

 

Are managers to blame?

 

In a way. But it’s a tricky one.

 

We can’t levy all of the blame at the manager’s doorstep. Whilst it is undeniable that they have a huge amount of collective influence, we must also consider the impact of organisational culture and the infrastructure in place to support them to be able to effectively manage and lead their teams.

 

After all, if a manager is brought into a company that has little or no concern for their people, should we then be surprised if the manager adopts a similar style? This lack of concern can be seen in many ways such as ignoring suggestions, telling not asking or the mis-match between corporate values and behaviour demonstrated, particularly from senior leaders.

 

Let’s be clear: there is a big difference between a manager who actively chooses not to engage their team and one who is not supported to work in such a way. The former must always be performance managed, but we mustn’t paint all managers with the same brush.

 

‘Appropriately trained and aligned managers are vital to the execution of the company’s mission and to the development and engagement of employees.’

Brian Fielkow

 

disengaged employee
The way forward?

 

There are a huge number of factors that can impact employee engagement levels, but to see a significant increase a few of the top areas to focus on include:

  • As mentioned, organisational culture, including strategy, mission, purpose and values must be aligned to provide a unified direction, and this must be driven from the top.
  • People (not just managers) must feel empowered rather than micromanaged.
  • People (particularly managers) must be invested in and supported, both on-the-job and in the long-term through management and leadership development and training.

 

Coming next week: Part two of our look at the importance of developing Emotional Intelligence as an interpersonal skill.

 

Get in touch to find out how we can help to develop your people and your business. Learn more about our management training.

How to Empower Your Team
08 Feb

How to Empower Your Team

How to Empower Your Team

Being a manager often means that your achievements depend largely on the achievements of your team. It stands to reason then that the more empowered they are, the bigger the benefits for you, them and the business.

 

What is ‘Empowerment’?

Not to be confused with delegating tasks or responsibilities, ‘empowerment’ involves giving the authority or power to do something, which can lead to people becoming stronger and more confident.

 

Why bother?

Just think back to a time when you have felt empowered – either in your personal or professional life. Motivation is high, ambition is a driving force and morale and mindset are focused. Now multiply this impact within a team, a department, an organisation and empowerment suddenly becomes a huge differentiator.

 

Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over, instead of craving control over what you don’t.

Steve Maraboli

 

What are the Influencing factors?

You may be thinking ‘This all sounds great, but my organisation doesn’t allow me to empower my people!’, and you may be right; to a degree. Sure, the culture may not be perfect and the top-down influence of the leadership team may leave a lot to be desired, but don’t underestimate the individual impact that you can make as a people manager!

 

Identify the blockers and barriers, then work out which you can address and influence yourself. We see a lot of managers espousing the virtues of empowerment, however they refuse to relinquish control for various reasons such as fear of failure – a valid risk – but consider the benefits of a controlled risk, and if things do go wrong, what can be learned for next time?

 

Where to start?

Here are our top 5 tips to get you started!

1. Build Trust (over time)

Developing a sense of empowerment within your team will take time; there is no silver bullet and it won’t happen overnight. Spend time with people and support them both professionally and personally (where appropriate). Ask questions and really listen to what they have to say. Learn what makes each person tick and tune in to how they each communicate and adapt your style accordingly to build relationships with trust as the foundation.

2. Give Them Boundaries

We should all know where the boundaries and parameters are. What do you expect people to get on with, without permission or input from you and where should they check-in? Build up and extend the boundaries gradually and generously.

3. Believe In Them and Provide Challenge

As trust builds and boundaries are established, you must also demonstrate a belief in people and their abilities. This is an excellent time to highlight the importance of coaching and feedback to pinpoint all the strengths that can be leveraged and what can be built on and developed going forward. Create an open and constructive environment for progression and challenge, and encourage people to challenge you back.

4. Invest in People and Their Development

You need to speculate to accumulate! Invest both money and time in formal and informal development. Think about 70:20:10; how can people develop on-the-job, from others and formally? Yes, it may be easier for you to take charge and control in the short-term (“If you want something done right, do it yourself!”), however it doesn’t help you or the team in the long-term. We all know and appreciate this, but often don’t act upon it.

5. Remember the Interpersonal / Soft Skills

Following on from number four, it’s all too easy to focus on the technical training needs of your team and overlook the importance of interpersonal skills. When you’re deciding on where to invest in, consider a rounded approach and provide development in key areas such as communication, presentation skills and resilience (to name but a few!).

Good luck empowering your team!

 

Get in touch to find out how we can help to empower your people and your business. Learn more about our interpersonal skills workshops.

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