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Archive: Jan 2019

How can you effectively manage your team?

Posted: January 31, 2019 10:35 am
In most workplaces, progressing up through the ranks involves getting to grips with management. Not all of us are natural managers so this can be a challenge at first. However, there are some simple ways to craft a management style that enables you to lead and inspire the people you’re working with.

Make good communication a priority

This applies to everything, from encouraging people to speak up with ideas and responses, to ensuring that constructive feedback is a regular feature of interactions. Make sure that those who are working on the same project are regularly in contact, whether that’s face-to-face or via video calls or email groups. The more interaction there is, the more open the channels of communication will be.

Be a transparent manager

If you take an attitude of transparency you’re not only helping your team to see what your values are and what you expect of them but creating an atmosphere of trust and respect too. Transparency helps people to feel more secure and usually means that they are more willing to speak up with suggestions and ideas. It creates a safe space in which employees tend to be more productive and creative.

Set boundaries for your team

Even if you have intense deadlines or people working flexibly who could, potentially, be on call 24/7 it’s important to set the example of boundaries. Be clear about when your team should be working and when it’s time to switch off. Ambiguity around this is often used to make people work harder but just tends to lead to situations of stress and burnout instead.

Don’t micromanage

Most people respond better when they feel that their manager trusts them to do the task that they have been set – or to get on with their job without being closely monitored. As a manager this means stepping away from micromanaging when the temptation arises and instead creating a system whereby you can keep an eye on productivity and progress from a safe distance. Learning the art of delegation is essential. Not only will this make your team feel more competent and involved but it will also take the pressure off you.

Teamwork makes the dream work

If you can do one thing as a manager it should be to get your team collaborating. It’s collaboration that can be the catalyst for business transforming ideas and record breaking productivity. The more collaboration there is the better your team will get on and the more comfortable they will feel with each other – and when it comes to adding value. Collaboration can be encouraged by using digital tools and also by physical processes, such as sitting down together to create solutions to a current problem.

Don’t underestimate the value of feedback

Regular constructive feedback allows individuals to understand their progress and to set goals and objectives that are achievable. It will help to avoid a situation where someone feels isolated because they’re not doing that well and can provide a clear path to better performance. It’s also essential for reinforcing achievements and positive behaviours. Learning how to manage effectively is essential for anyone who is looking to move up the corporate ladder. Book your place on our Effective Management of Your Team course today.

Top negotiation tips for 2019

Posted: January 25, 2019 9:55 am
Negotiation lies at the heart of business success. Whether you’re an employee looking to move up the management chain, or about to launch your own enterprise, without strong negotiation skills you won’t get far. If you prioritise one business ability this year, make it negotiation. These are our tips for improving this essential skill in 2019.

Don’t take it personally

Effective negotiation means being able to engage and disagree when you’re in the room and then walk out and have a drink together afterwards. The way people behave in negotiations can vary but is rarely personal – to be more effective, avoid getting caught up in the disputes that can arise when people take things personally.

Stop talking

Negotiation is as much about listening as it is about speaking. If you take a step back and allow the other person to speak you’ll be able to understand what they want. This is the fastest way to resolve a dispute and is essential information if you’re looking to agree an outcome that benefits everyone.

Balance assertive and aggressive

Assertiveness is essential in negotiations – it’s a way of setting your boundaries, standing your ground and being clear about what it is that you want from a specific situation. Aggression tends to be the opposite. In a negotiation situation aggression often arises as a result of anxiety or fear and it tends to reveal weaknesses and reduce leverage. It’s essential to learn how to ask for what you want calmly and to say no without fear.

Be prepared

Information is power in a negotiation situation. From lots of statistics to business history or current assets and interests, the more information that you can gather on the people you’re dealing with the better position you will be in. It always pays to do your research before a negotiation so that you have a sound understanding of where the other party is coming from.

Aim for a mutually beneficial outcome

Wiping the floor with your opponent is more appropriate to a boxing ring than to the negotiation table. The most successful negotiators know that delivering an outcome that pleases everyone is the best option because it preserves ongoing relationships. So, take the time to understand what the other party wants and then show them how those needs will be met.

Be patient

If you’re in a hurry to get to an outcome then you’re instantly at a disadvantage. Patience can be an incredibly powerful tool in negotiation so use it well.

Walk away if you have to

It’s essential to let go of the idea that you have to make a deal, any deal – this can result in a less than favourable outcome. Give yourself a benchmark, below which you’re willing to walk away. Before you go into a negotiation make sure you have this clear in your mind and identify your other options so that you don’t end up being forced into a situation you’re not happy with. The art of negotiation is a powerful skill set to have – and one that can take you a long way in life. Book your place on our Negotiation Skills Course today or get in touch with PTP on 01509 889632 for more information.

Top 5 business skills needed in negotiation

Posted: January 18, 2019 3:21 pm
We may now live in a tech-driven, fast paced digital business environment but the ability to negotiate is an art that continues to add great value. Negotiation has an impact on everything, from the employment deal that you get as an individual through to what you can achieve for the business or a specific client. One study found that UK businesses lose £9 million per hour from poor negotiating skills, so being an effective negotiator is something that most employers value highly.

Essential negotiation skills

  1. Confidence

If you understand what you’re trying to achieve – and why – then it’s much easier to walk into a negotiation and be confident. With a confident approach you’ll be more persuasive, less easily swayed and more able to get the results that you’re hoping for. A confident negotiator is far more likely to be successful than someone who isn’t quite sure what their end goal is or whether it’s really worth achieving.
  1. Being able to create a mutually beneficial situation

The very best negotiators know how to come out of a discussion making all parties feel like they have won something. Although the popular idea of being effective at negotiation is to wipe the floor with an opponent, in reality this can shut down the potential for future ongoing relationships. Aggression and a refusal to compromise are not effective negotiation tools – it’s the ability to make everyone happy while a achieving a goal that is so prized.
  1. Looking beyond traditional negotiation situations

While there are some obvious scenarios in which negotiation is essential – in deals on behalf of clients, for example – the true art of negotiation is to be able to apply it to a much wider range of situations. Great negotiation involves clear communication, which is essential in many workplace situations, whether you’re carrying out a management role or helping to set the ground rules for what is expected of a new hire. Listening is another key negotiation skill that goes beyond the boardroom, as is the ability to find resolution where two views are at loggerheads.
  1. Applying the impact of negotiation to the bottom line

Negotiation does not happen in isolation – if you’re able to strike a great deal with suppliers or new clients it’s important to understand how this will directly impact the financials of the business. Part of being a great negotiator is being able to see how what you achieve in discussions will have a wider ranging financial impact.
  1. Respect

It may be easy to lose sight of the need for respect in the heat of the moment at the negotiating table. However, remember that it’s important those you’re speaking to walk away with a positive impression of you or they won’t want to deal with you again. Be firm, stand your ground when necessary but don’t add bullying and aggression to your negotiation skill set if you want to be really effective. Being a great negotiator is a key skill that can be learned. Once you’ve mastered it you’ll be an invaluable asset to any employer. Sign up for our Negotiation Skills Course today to find out more.

How to develop your influencing skills

Posted: January 11, 2019 10:14 am
Being able to influence others is a crucial skill in life today. Particularly in the context of a career, influencing and negotiation skills come in to play at almost every level, from promotions to getting the hang of management. You may need to exert influence over those who are more senior in order to get ahead – or with multiple individuals at one time. Being able to do so could open doors that will take your career to new heights.

The importance of empathy

Asserting influence over another person is often seen as an aggressive or forceful way to behave. However, the reality of being an effective influencer is that this is much more subtle. It starts from a place of empathy and ensuring that the other person feels like you understand them. For those being influenced, it should always feel like winning, or as if an effective compromise has been reached that is mutually beneficial.

Listen and enquire

It’s quite difficult to exert influence if you’re not aware of who you’re dealing with and what their key concerns are in any given situation. Asking questions is crucial to being a good influencer – this is the way you’ll be able to extract the most important information to enable you to find a way forward. Listening is also essential. Most people will tell you what they’re looking for in terms of needs and outcomes, whether directly or indirectly. All you have to do to pick up on that is listen.

Building trust

It’s much easier to influence someone who likes you than a person who doesn’t trust you. That’s why building a rapport with others is essential if you’re looking to successfully influence them. This feeds into the idea that influencing should never need to be forceful – instead it should be a positive process that feels good for all those involved.

Be aware of your behaviour

There are a number of ways in which behaviour has a big impact on influencing. For example, your body language can feed into whether someone you’re communicating with feels that you’re trustworthy. If your body language is calm and open or you’re mirroring their own then it’s much easier to establish trust. Natural behaviour and easy confidence also have a lot to contribute. The more relaxed and confident you are, the more persuasive your words will be.

Look beyond your own perspective

You may be able to see the benefits of what you’re pushing for but if you want to be able to successfully sell this to another person you need to be able to see it through their eyes. What does your argument look like from their point of view?

Don’t be impatient

Influencing isn’t something that often happens over night. It can take time and patience to achieve a desired outcome. In fact, the best outcomes are often those that require the most dedication to achieve. Influencing is a skill that can be learned by anyone. Being a successful influencer has the potential to change your life. Get in touch with PTP today to book your place on our Influencing Skills course.

Understanding discipline and grievance in the workplace

Posted: January 3, 2019 3:48 pm
When problems arise with employees in the workplace this can lead to complex situations that are difficult to resolve. It’s rarely, if ever, simply a case of saying “you’re fired.” In fact, doing that can end up being costly for the business if an employee has not been fairly treated during a disciplinary and, consequently, dismissal process. Whatever the sector, every organisation needs to ensure that key people understand discipline and grievance in the workplace.

Discipline vs. grievance – what’s the difference?

Disciplinary procedures in businesses are essentially there to provide a roadmap if something goes wrong in the relationship between employer and employee. That could be poor performance or bad behaviour. Grievance procedures give employees the opportunity to raise issues that they are experiencing, whether that’s a feeling that they are being bullied or a lack of support.

Why are discipline and grievance procedures so important?

They provide a structured way in which problems can be aired and discussed and (hopefully) a resolution found. With a disciplinary procedure, in the worst case scenario, the process will also set out clear steps that lead to dismissal. Given the pressures and the wide range of different people in any workplace, issues are likely to arise at some point. What is crucial is to ensure that there is a process in place for these issues to be dealt with fairly and objectively before bigger problems arise.

Why have disciplinary and grievance procedures?

Both employees and management understand the process of dealing with issues< Problems can be dealt with swiftly and aren’t given the opportunity to escalate
  • Employees feel like their voice is being heard where there is a grievance procedure in place to tackle problems
  • When employees are encouraged to speak up early they are less likely to sit on issues that could later become much larger and more complex
  • Employees know that they will all be treated the same in specific disciplinary situations
  • Law or regulation may require that the business has disciplinary and grievance procedures in place
  • Both employees and managers know where they stand and what the process is to bring a situation to a resolution
  • Using a structured process can lead to a quick and effective resolution via a series of transparent steps that ensure legal compliance
  • Without the right procedures in place, the business could end up paying out compensation to employees who have not been fairly dealt with

Working with disciplinary and grievance procedures

It’s crucial to ensure that both disciplinary and grievance procedures are clearly laid out and easy to follow. Employees should be able to access the relevant information easily and know where to find it for reference. Training may be necessary, both for employees and for management. This will not only make it easier for everyone to use the procedures in place but will ensure that they are properly followed so that time consuming and costly mistakes can be avoided. Disciplinary and grievance procedures are an essential part of managing the relationship between employer and employees. Find out more by booking your place on our Understanding Discipline and Grievance course today.