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Category Archive: Management Training

6 ways to manage your team more successfully

Posted: November 1, 2018 2:27 pm
People skills are essential for managers at any level. From difficult individuals to situations that require careful handling to resolve, there are many instances in which a skilled manager can make a difference. 70% of an employee’s motivation is influenced by a manager so businesses really value people who are able to handle a team successfully. If your goal is to progress in a management position then there are a number of key skills to learn.

1. Empathy

Empathy in a management context is demonstrating an understanding of an employee’s own individual circumstances when making decisions that affect them. So, that could be approving a holiday request that coincides with a child’s time off school or presenting concerns raised by the team to upper management to argue their case for change. Empathy is a very powerful force for connection and essential for managers keen to succeed.

2. Engage with your team

If you want to improve team management then your presence in the team needs to be felt. Engage with all team members on a regular basis don’t sit in your office behind a closed door. Attend team events and company parties, start random conversations, have an open door policy and ask questions so that you can begin to understand your team and build stronger connections as a result.

3. Avoid micromanagement

Micromanagement will suck the motivation from any team because it demonstrates a lack of trust in their abilities and doesn’t give them room to thrive. Provide the support and guidance that your team needs to move forward of their own accord and then take a step back. With the space to grow and develop your team will feel nurtured but not controlled and could go on to do great things.

4. Support ongoing professional development

The first step is always to provide regular opportunities to assess performance and progress, and identify ways in which these could be improved. Once you start to acquire more knowledge of where your team members succeed and fail you can design solutions that help them to do better. That may be finding training or courses to improve a skill set or giving them more opportunities to do a specific task every day.

5. Keep the lines of communication open

Successful managers know when to listen to their team. Even if it’s negative feedback or complaints, it’s important for everyone to feel like they have a voice within the business. Equally, when it comes to talking about progress or development within the business, make sure your team is kept well informed and isn’t the last to know.

6. Reward success

Reward and recognition is essential to good management and has a key role to play in how engaged employees are and whether motivation is maintained. Look for ways to recognise and reward everyone, not just those who regularly do best – that way the whole team will progress in the right direction and no one is left behind. Our People Management course is specifically designed for managers looking to progress, from those at the early stages to more experienced individuals. Book your place today.

How can you help your team to set performance goals and review these with them?

Posted: September 27, 2018 1:59 pm
Performance reviews are a necessary, and essential, part of any workplace. Although they do sometimes have a bad reputation, it’s these reviews that give everyone the opportunity to better understand their role, to set key goals and to monitor progress. Whether you’re new to management, or looking to improve your team management skills, a strong approach to performance reviews is essential.

Take the process seriously

A quick, unstructured chat over a coffee might feel more enjoyable than something more formal but it could also fail to deliver the right results. So, make sure you have a structured process in place, a set timeline for everyone to adhere to and one that makes sense in terms of when your business conducts performance reviews or hands out bonuses.

Key steps involved in goal setting and review

On the basis of a 12-month cycle, there are five key stages to consider when it comes to performance goals and review.

Month 1 – setting goals

Start the yearly cycle by sharing goals and objectives with the entire team. Meet with each employee to ensure they’ve absorbed the company’s goals and to define their own personal goals for the year. Use a clear framework for individual goal setting - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-oriented, Time-bound (SMART) will ensure that the objectives you set are within reach.

Month 3 (and every quarter after that)

Rather than attempting to summarise an entire year in a single performance review at the end of 12 months, it’s often preferable to check in throughout the year. The idea of each check in will be to sit down with the SMART goals defined at the start of the year, look at expectations and see what the employee has achieved in terms of results. Take notes from each one so that you have more to work from at the end of the year too.

Month 10 - Employee preparation

Now is a good time to give employees notice that they should begin preparing for the review and to agree a date for the end of year review. Ask employees to begin compiling their own results, as well as completing any forms that company requires.

Month 10 – 11 – Manager preparation

It’s not just employees who need to prepare for performance reviews. As a manager you’ll also need to compile notes, results and data, as well as gathering feedback. Identify the structure that you want to use for your performance reviews and then stick to this so that you’re using the same approach for every employee. It’s important to ensure that every review identifies areas for improvement but also provides encouragement.

Month 12 – Carry out the performance reviews

Remember that different people respond differently to reviews so it’s worth tailoring your approach to personality types while retaining that key consistent structure. It will also be important to encourage employees to feedback on the review process itself to make sure that it works. Our Performance Review Skills course is ideal for managers looking to get more from employees via effective reviews.

How can you get your team motivated?

Posted: August 24, 2018 7:27 am
Most businesses today are structured around teams. They can be an incredibly powerful way to deliver business goals and create positive community and values in an organisation. However, motivation can be a big issue within team structures. When it begins to drop away this can have a broad effect on the entire business. So, how do you motivate your team and make sure that the momentum remains?

Provide a quality working environment

It’s not difficult to see how physical discomfort (e.g. poor office furniture) or a challenging environment (poor light, overheating etc) could have an impact on motivation. So, one of the simplest ways to help keep motivation levels up is to ensure that your office is a pleasant place to be and one that is conducive to work.

Provide opportunities for advancement

It’s easy to underestimate the value of training and skills development to employees. If everyone in the team is given opportunities to improve skills, understanding, knowledge and abilities they are much more likely to remain engaged and motivated. From job specific training, to courses that relate to the wider industry, giving employees the opportunity to grow on an ongoing basis is incredibly motivating.

Be wary of micromanaging

Employees thrive when they feel a manager has trust and confidence in them and most dislike the constant pressure of having someone always looking over their shoulder. In fact, 38% would rather take on an unpleasant job than sit next to a micromanaging boss. So, if you want to keep your team motivated it’s important to learn to let them work autonomously.

Goal setting is crucial

Employees need to have clear goals for their own role and to be aware of the objectives for the wider organisation. With an understanding of how they fit into the context of the broader business, they will be motivated to do more to positively affect its future. On the other hand, employees without goals have nothing to work towards. And those that don’t understand the goals that have been set will most likely do the minimum required to achieve them.

Failure is natural

Punishing failure can quickly demotivate a team and leave very little room for the kind of experimentation that often leads to exciting innovation. Creating an atmosphere in which failure is seen as natural – even encouraged as part of the process – will motivate employees to take risks and explore new ideas.

Teams must learn to collaborate

Without collaboration, teams fail. Employees are always more motivated when they feel that their contribution is valued and that they are encouraged to speak up and make it.

Focus on engagement and happiness

There are many different factors that go into creating engaged and happy employees but the outcome is always the same: they are more motivated and productive. From pay and benefits, through to business culture, the freedom employees have and making them feel like they matter, it’s possible to create a business environment in which happiness and engagement thrive. Our Motivation Skills course will help you to understand what makes people tick and how great managers motivate.

5 leadership practices that will make you an exemplary leader

Posted: August 9, 2018 12:16 pm
Great leadership is something that can be learned and nurtured – it is not personality-dependent. Anyone can master the skills of leadership, no matter what your age, gender or background. Taking the time to do so could be life changing in the course of your career. These five practices provide a crucial foundation from which you can go on to great things in leadership.

1. Providing a structure for others

Change can be difficult but is essential to development and growth – and an exemplary leader has a big role to play in facilitating this. Great leaders set standards and establish goals, whether that is with respect to the way that people should be treated or when it comes to establishing a path to get from A to B. They identify and remove bureaucratic obstacles and clear the road ahead of red tape so that progress can be achieved. Crucial to being an exemplary leader is the ability to identify the long-term objective and then create a series of interim goals so that others can achieve small wins as they move towards the larger target. When others are unsure how to proceed – and how to get to a long-term goal – great leaders will signpost the way.

2. Fostering collaboration and teamwork

Fostering great teamwork and a spirit of collaboration is fundamental to the qualities of a great leader. This means ensuring that others are actively involved and that you are creating an atmosphere of mutual admiration and respect. Being an exemplary leader means showing others the way when it comes to establishing an atmosphere of trust and openness, giving others the tools to feel capable and competent to strengthen the overall team.

3. Inspiring others with a vision

Perhaps the most defining element of exemplary leadership is the ability to inspire others with a single shared vision. Skills such as quiet persuasion and the ability to effectively describe a vision that could change the course of an organisation’s future are crucial for enlisting others in making that vision a reality. Great leaders inspire others to share their own vision and values, and to work towards making them happen.

4. Innovating the status quo

The greatest leaders don’t simply follow established practices and processes but look for new ways to improve and innovate. They are aware of the necessity of taking risks when it comes to overthrowing the status quo and able to weigh up and analyse the risks involved. Exemplary leaders learn that failures and mistakes are an inevitable part of progress, as well as an opportunity to learn and grow.

5. Making people feel like heroes

Perhaps the hardest leadership practice to master is that of making everyone feel like a hero. Progress and transformation can be tough and it is usually down to a leader to ensure that everyone remains engaged, focused and enthusiastic so that goals can be achieved. From celebrating the small wins, to learning how to recognise accomplishments, an exemplary leader understands how to make everyone feel like they’ve done an incredible job. Our Essential Leadership Practices course is designed to help you to understand and appreciate the core skills and practices of effective leaders, improving both confidence and results. Get in touch with PTP today to find out more.

How can you become an expert at objection handling in your workplace?

Posted: July 20, 2018 1:59 pm
Objections can bring us up short. Most often heard in the context of a sales conversation, an objection can bring a pitch to an end and remove the potential for a conversion – unless effectively dealt with. Objections can also arise in many other situations, from team members objecting to a plan to a manager who raises objections to a request for a pay rise or a promotion. Whatever the context, how can you become an expert at objection handling?

Why is it important to handle objections?

Objections are basically roadblocks. Whether your goal is to achieve a sale with a customer, or to convince someone to try another process or idea to get to an objective, when there’s an objection in the way then nothing can go any further. The longer a person holds an objection, the more entrenched it can become and the more difficult it will be to shift. So, it’s important to deal with objections as soon as they arise – and to be alert to the fact that they could arise at any moment. Dealt with in the right way, objections don’t have to become obstacles. Sometimes, they may even open a channel to getting to your ideal destination more quickly.

How can you become an expert at handling objections?

Welcome objections rather than avoiding them

This means not just being prepared for someone to raise an objection but also proactively encouraging them to voice that objection early on. So, you might ask if someone has any concerns to something you’ve suggested, or to the product you’re trying to sell, rather than waiting for them to bring it up. The sooner you deal with the objection after it forms in the mind of the person you’re speaking to, the easier it will be to get past it.

Listen, Acknowledge, Explore, Respond

Hearing objections raised may make you feel like instantly trying to shut them down but sometimes this can just make a situation worse. Instead, start by listening to the objection so that you understand exactly what the problem is. Acknowledge that the objection has been raised and then explore some of the reasons for it. When you’re ready, respond thoughtfully. You’ll have more chance of being listened to if you’ve already listened to what was said and a better opportunity to get through to someone if you present your response in a thoughtful way.

Keep track of common objections

This is a useful tactic if you’re in an environment, such as sales, where you’re hearing many of the same objections repeatedly. If you start tracking them you’ll be able to identify the most common objections and be prepared for them next time around. It may be useful to role play responses to objections so that you can refine them in a way that will make your replies more effective. Whatever the context, the ability to handle objections is essential. Our Objection Handling Skills course helps you to find the best possible answer in every situation so that you’re not held back by the objections you face.

How to effectively manage staff sickness and absences

Posted: May 10, 2018 2:16 pm
Staff sickness and absences are a reality for any business. The unpredictable nature of sickness and absences can make it difficult to avoid disruption to operations so it’s crucial to ensure that they are carefully managed.

The importance of monitoring

For any business, keeping track of the number of days that staff take off sick or out of the office is going to be important. And for smaller businesses it’s crucial to understanding what’s happening in the workforce. Whether you monitor manually or with software, make sure you’re keeping track of when staff are sick or absent. Are there any patterns that emerge – such as an increase during the school holidays? This could be an indication that all is not as it seems.

Maintaining contact

If you notice that some staff are taking a lot of sick days or are often absent then it’s important to make contact to find out why. There could be a genuine and serious sickness behind their lack of presence at work or this could be more to do with being unhappy in a role. It’s also important to maintain contact with anyone on sick leave so that you’re appraised of their progress and you know when they are likely to return to work.

The issue of pay

Employees have a right to Statutory Sick Pay for absences of three days or more but there is no legal entitlement for shorter periods. Statutory Sick Pay entitlement is for a maximum of 28 days and employers can pay more than the statutory rate but not less. Whether you choose to pay your employees for sick days over and above what the law requires will depend on company policy – this should be clearly written into contracts so that there is no confusion.

Handling staff taking short term sick leave

Short-term sick leave can be particularly problematic for employers, especially if the leave is taken frequently but never for more than a day or so at a time. This can be incredibly disruptive for others in the workplace. The first step is to establish whether there is an underlying condition that is necessitating the absences. If there is nothing that connects the absences then it’s worth speaking to the employee to see if there is another reason. After that it may be necessary to see whether the employee is in breach of the company absence policy.

Dealing with staff on long term sick leave

Many employers dread having to deal with a situation where an employee is on long-term sick leave. This can leave a team depleted but employers must be careful about the action taken – it’s important to ensure you follow the contract you have with that employee. Get as much information as you can about the reason for sickness and make sure you are provided with medical evidence about the employee’s condition and whether they might be fit to return to work – and when. Decisions about how to handle an employee on long-term sick leave should be made on the basis of medical information provided and the contract in place. Our Managing Sickness and Absences course is designed to support the effective management of a business dealing with sick days and absences. Get in touch with PTP today to book your place.

5 key skills that successful HR Managers have

Posted: April 25, 2018 2:10 pm
In any business, human resources provides a core function that is crucial to nurturing and developing the talent that you have. Where the HR team is functioning badly, or unable to meet its goals as a result of a lack of key skills, this can have a negative knock on impact right through the business. So, the quality of your HR manager is crucial, as they will shape and direct the way that the HR team interacts with the rest of the business. The most successful HR managers tend to share a number of key skills.

Sound communication

Communication is perhaps the Number 1 key skill for an HR manager. Without the ability to effectively communicate with their own team, the HR manager will be isolated and unable to ensure that your human resources people are functioning as they should within the business. Communication skills should be both written and verbal and extend to everyone, from the HR team itself through to the business’ employees and everyone at management level.

Positive negotiation skills

From agreeing the details of contracts, to handling disputes, there are many situations that could arise in the HR manager job description that require a positive negotiation skill set. Experience in previous negotiation situations is likely to be of benefit here, as well as the ability to apply a fair and rational approach to a situation that might be tense and sensitive. An HR manager with great negotiation skills is always worth their weight in gold.

The ability to make accurate judgments

Sound, practical and reasonable judgment in an HR manager will create a positive atmosphere within the human resources team and also ensure that HR delivers on its goals and objectives for the rest of the business. Great judgment comes into play repeatedly for HR managers. It could be the difference between ensuring that employees are placed into the right roles - or jobs that make them feel unhappy and unfulfilled. It could be the key factor that stops a potential discrimination claim from escalating. HR managers with excellent judgment know how to assess a situation – and when to ask for support.

The ability to multi-task

Many jobs today require multi-tasking abilities but perhaps few more so than the HR manager role. This not only involves leading a team and ensuring that team meets its goals and objectives but also dealing with the myriad of HR-related situations that arise daily, from recruitment through to staff disputes or the need to let someone go.

The right ethics

HR managers have access to the kind of data that most other company departments don’t and may be privy to confidential information that employees don’t share widely. The right ethics mean that an HR manager is able to ensure that there is a balance between the rights and responsibilities of employees and the obligations and legal requirements that the company must observe. HR managers have a crucial role to play in any business – and the right training and make all the difference. Register your place on PTP’s Introduction to HR Skills course today.

What are your new responsibilities as a Director?

Posted: April 19, 2018 2:08 pm
When you become a company director, you sign up to take responsibility – with the rest of the Board – for the management of the company’s business. This means ensuring that the business complies with its statutory obligations, as well as taking part in operational and strategic decision making. When you become a director there are certain key responsibilities, defined by law, that you need to be aware of.

Directors’ legal responsibilities

  • Acting within your powers and only exercising these for the purpose for which they were given.
  • Promoting the “success” of the company, bearing in mind factors such as employee interests, relationships with any suppliers and the company’s reputation.
  • Exercising independent judgment i.e. you must be making your own decisions.
  • The expectation to act with reasonable care, skill and diligence. This expectation doesn’t require you to have knowledge or insight outside the scope of your experience, just the general knowledge, skill and experience of someone in your role and to the degree that you actually possess.
  • Ensuring that you avoid a situation that might be a conflict of interest. The conflict here is with the interests of the company and could be something like having multiple directorships or being an advisor to a competitor of the company. In some situations, a conflict will not cause an issue – for example, where it has been pre-authorised. Where there is a potential conflict, directors have a responsibility to seek the approval of the rest of the Board of Directors and to check the situation against the company’s Articles of Association.
  • Avoid accepting benefits from third parties. If you receive a benefit from a third party as a result of something you do or don’t do as a director then this could cause a problem.
  • Declaring relevant interests. If there is a transaction or arrangement with the company that you have a direct interest in then, as a director, you have a responsibility to declare this. This should be done before a transaction is entered into or, if the transaction has already taken place, as soon as is reasonably practical after that.

Directors who breach their legal responsibilities

If you are in breach of these duties then you could find yourself facing an injunction, damages or compensation – in some cases even a criminal fine. Some relief can be granted either by the company’s shareholders or the courts in certain situations. Director’s insurance will also ensure that you have a financial safety net should the worst occur.

What about other responsibilities?

Outside of legal duties, directors also have a number of other responsibilities including:
  • The company’s confidential information can only be used or disclosed for the benefit of the company.
  • Health and safety. Ensuring that the business is compliant in health and safety is a responsibility that falls to the directors.
  • Other obligations. Directors are also responsible for ensuring the company’s compliance with other obligations, such as environmental obligations and anti-corruption obligations.
  • Directors have a responsibility to seek advice as soon as possible where the business is in financial difficulty. This is especially important in order for directors to avoid potential personal liability under insolvency law.
Becoming a director is a significant step and one that you need to prepare for – our courses provide all the grounding you need in how to do the job well. Take a look at our Role and Responsibilities of a Director course today or give us a call on 01509 889632 to find out more.

How to use appraisals to get results from your team

Posted: March 26, 2018 1:54 pm
The value of managing the performance of staff is all too often ignored by businesses and those in a management role. It can seem like a difficult and complicated process where uncomfortable conversations are sometimes required. However, the reality is that appraisals are an incredibly useful tool for businesses to motivate, engage and communicate with staff – as long as they are properly used. Before the appraisal The value of managing the performance of staff is all too often ignored by businesses and those in a management role. It can seem like a difficult and complicated process where uncomfortable conversations are sometimes required. However, the reality is that appraisals are an incredibly useful tool for businesses to motivate, engage and communicate with staff – as long as they are properly used.

Before the appraisal

  • Take care when scheduling. It’s important that both you and the employee have enough time to prepare for the appraisal so that no one is caught out and unhappy about it taking place. It will be a more constructive experience for everyone if there is adequate preparation time.
  • Make sure you’re ready. As a manager, you need to lead the appraisal and be ready to confidently explain assessment processes, decisions and consequences. Look at previous appraisals, check the employee’s job description and be prepared with questions, such as “which completed tasks are you most proud of?” or “what have you found challenging this year?”
  • Look forward, as well as back. Appraisals are about covering past behaviour but also planning for the future. What new skills is this person going to need to develop and what career defining moments do they have coming up? Development is as important as assessment.
  • Think ahead. What kind of issues is this person likely to raise and what are their next career goals likely to be? How will you manage a situation in which they have a high volume of criticisms to bring to the table?

During the appraisal

  • Remember that this is an ongoing relationship. You still have to work with this person after the appraisal so be kind, constructive and businesslike even if you’re delivering bad news.
  • Be specific and factual. Working on the basis of making a statement and then providing the evidence to back that up will give whatever you say credibility and ensure that you get your point across.
  • Remember the impression that you make. Relaxed body language, maintaining eye contact and asking friendly open-ended questions will create an atmosphere of openness and rapport.
  • Focus on solutions as much as problems. If you’re in the position where you’re having to raise issues about conduct or performance with an employee then just imagine how this is going to feel from the other side of the table. It’s difficult to hear criticism for anyone – but if this is accompanied by suggestions for solutions and next steps it can be much easier to bear and use constructively.
  • Make sure there are outcomes. Appraisals should always end with employees being able to see what positive next steps are likely to be. So, aim to create an action plan, points or ideas that will turn the appraisal into positive progress.
If you manage other people and you’re keen to understand how to get the most out of them, our Appraising Performance Effectively course is designed to help you do just that. Learn how to handle appraisals effectively and use them to begin producing better results.

How can you become an effective team leader?

Posted: March 20, 2018 1:47 pm
A team leader role is both a challenge and an achievement. While it doesn’t have the full responsibility of management it still puts you in a position that is distinct from just being another member of the team. Success at team leadership can be a stepping stone to greater things in a career and is also a good opportunity to hone the skills that you’ll need to have to effectively lead.

Always lead from the front

Team leaders often set the tone for the way a team performs and the kind of collective attitudes that are fostered. So, if you want to be an effective leader, you need to establish what you expect from the team by setting an example. That means avoiding the temptation to delegate everything that comes your way and demonstrating the kind of work ethic you expect from the people you work with.

Face up to difficult decisions

A key moment for many progressing into leadership roles is learning that you will garner more respect from your team by facing up to difficult decisions than turning away from them. That’s the case even if the difficult decisions adversely affect the people you’re working with. You may need to have a conversation about lateness or poor performance, or be part of a disciplinary process for an employee. Doing this to the best of your ability is as much a part of being an effective team leader as any other task.

Tackle the least appealing jobs

Moving into a team leadership role doesn’t mean taking all the nice and easy work for yourself. If you want to be effective then you need to be as willing to tackle the unpleasant tasks as those that will bring glory and which are easy to compete.

Remember how much you value fairness

That is, when you were a member of the team being led by someone else, you – like all of us – expected leadership to act in a fair way. This can be a real challenge for a new team leader, as fairness can sometimes feel like a subjective concept. Avoiding having favourites, listen to everyone and take all your team seriously if they come to you with an issue - that is a good place to start.

Educate yourself on law and policy

What parts of company policy are you responsible for implementing? Everything, from mobile phone use to health and safety standards could now come under your remit so make sure you’re aware and educated. The same goes for legal requirements – do you understand the concept of discrimination, for example, and are you well educated in behaviours that might trigger it?

Have a positive mental attitude

Being upbeat and positive can be contagious – and that’s exactly the kind of spirit that you want to pass on to the rest of your team. Our Masterclass in Management Skills course provides a comprehensive introduction to key management skills and gives you tools to become a better and more effective team leader from Day 1.

How can you manage others in a very practical way?

Posted: March 14, 2018 1:02 pm
Learning how to manage others is one of the most challenging stages in any career. However, without acquiring key skills – and gaining an awareness of how you manage and lead others – it’s very difficult to progress. Great managers can make all the difference to the experience that employees have within a business. They can inspire and motivate a team to great things with just a few practical skills and a straightforward approach.

Effective communication

Few things are possible in life without effective communication but this is especially so when it comes to leading other people. The first element to effective communication is to be on top of emails, phone calls and messages – responsive and clear. The second step is in the interactions that you have on a daily basis. Do you listen to what people say, are you open to feedback and do you find it easy to avoid taking a defensive position?

Leading by example

It’s the oldest trick in the book for managers – go first where you expect others to follow. If you’re keeping your team late to work then work late too, if you expect people to take on challenges that scare them (such as public speaking), you go first.

Creating a genuine team

The word ‘team’ is often used for a group of people working together on a project. However, there is much more to creating a real team dynamic than just shared targets and space. Being an effective manager requires the ability to foster a team atmosphere, motivate the team forward and encourage genuine collaboration between those who are working together.

Nurturing relationships

It’s almost impossible to separate who we are as people from who we are in a business environment and so good managers understand how to nurture whole humans, even the difficult and challenging elements. Tolerance and patience are essential when dealing with relationships at work, particularly in situations where there might be a great deal of pressure or heavy workloads. Workplace relationships can be nurtured by managers who are big on respect and trust, encouraging all colleagues to treat each other kindly and with dignity.

Understanding the importance of environment

While the personalities within the team are a key responsibility for a manager, so too is the environment in which that team is operating. Happiness at work will be a big factor in whether a team performs well and working out whether this is there is often something that falls to a manager. From a comfortable physical environment to nurturing a culture of support and hard work, managers have much more influence than simply ensuring that targets are met.

Development and progression

Happy staff have goals, motivations, dreams and objectives – and a manager has a role to play and enabling team members to strive and reach them. Being able to effectively manage is closely related to guiding those in your team to finding out what they need to do next to move forward. We offer practical tools for reviewing and improving existing management skills. Our The Practical MBA - Managing By Your Actions course is designed to provide personal guidance on how to manage more practically and effectively.

10 ways to effectively manage a remote team

Posted: March 6, 2018 12:59 pm
In this new era of flexible and agile working there is simply no need for teams to be in the same location to be highly effective. Remote working has its own unique set of challenges but can also be an incredibly effective approach when you have the right management skills for a remote team.

1. Hone your communications

Different methods of communication work for different tasks and teams, so find out which one achieves what you’re trying to do. For example, you might use email for quick interactions or switch to Google Hangouts if you prefer instant messaging.

2. Standardise systems

When individuals work remotely they can quickly develop their own ways of doing things – and these may not overlap with how others on the team are working. Effectively managing a remote team means ensuring that everyone on the team is working in the same way.

3. Enable flexible hours – up to a point

One of the major benefits of a remote team is being able to offer employees more flexible working hours. However, you also need to make sure that people are online and available at key times when you’re likely to need them.

4. Measure productivity

There are many different ways to analyse whether a remote team is doing well when it comes to productivity. You might want to track the number of hours spent logged on or to set regular goals and targets and review how many of these are reached. Whatever you use it’s important to have some way to measure what is being achieved by a remote team.

5. Implement regular review

A monthly or quarterly review can be incredibly useful when you’re managing a remote team. You’ll be able to provide feedback, adjust arrangements and also get an idea of whether the current approach is working for the team members too.

6. Make sure your team has the right environment

It’s no use employing people to work remotely if they don’t have a WiFi connection at home or they’re going to be busy with other commitments at the same time. Effective remote working requires a quiet environment, with a strong internet connection and somewhere your employees can shut the door if they need to have an important conversation.

7. Try to meet in person

It’s always much easier to motivate a remote team if you have met at least once in person. Try setting up an annual social for your team or make sure you at least have a face-to-face interview with them so they know that there is a person on the other end of your emails.

8. Foster a team atmosphere

It can be difficult for remote workers to feel like part of a team but this is important if you want them to work well together. From scheduling regular Skype catch-ups, to encouraging constructive feedback on others’ work there are lots of ways to remind people that they’re not functioning alone.

9. Involvement in the company culture

Remote workers can feel isolated from the rest of the business which makes it crucial to ensure they are involved in its culture. Take every opportunity to communicate firm values, explain objectives and ensure their own priorities are aligned with the wider business.

10. Use video

When you have a remote team, video is a very powerful tool to communicate, inspire and brief. From video messaging to video reports and presentations, you’ll see much more impact if you switch from text to the moving image. If you’re managing teams spread over two or more locations our Managing Remote Teams course could give you the tools you need to excel. Get in touch with PTP today.

What skills do you need as a first-line manager?

Posted: January 23, 2018 3:38 pm
Promotion to a first-line manager position can be a career-changing moment. However, it may also leave you feeling like you’re balanced on the edge of a cliff. Most first-line managers step into this new position with no prior experience and often lack appreciation of the skills, strategies and experience that will make the role a success. For those about to make this crucial step up there are some key skills to get to grips with.

Communicating in a business context

Communication is perhaps the most crucial of all management skills. At lower levels it is not quite so key but once you start in a management position you need it constantly. From being able to manage meetings, through to creating clear proposals and communicating new strategies and concepts, this skill is one that will enable you to motivate those below you and forge links with those above.

Leading strategically

As a first-line manager there is simply no opportunity to hide at the back and follow. Within a specific area of the business you will now need to step into leadership, informed by an understanding of strategy. This is often the first time that strategic thinking has become a requirement and the ability to grasp it could be fundamental to whether or not progress up the career ladder is swift. Examples of strategic thinking in a leadership capacity could be anything, from innovating to revitalise old, tired processes and systems, to being able to manage and motivate teams in an uncertain business environment.

Self awareness

It’s almost impossible to manage other people if you’re unable to manage yourself. What are your strengths and weaknesses, what are your personal values and how do you ensure that you consistently stick to them no matter what you’re doing? Today, every type of leader is expected to lead by example and so solid self awareness has become a key skill. For most of us, self-awareness needs to be learned and isn’t something we are naturally born with – but that also means that it’s something anyone can cultivate.

Broadening perspectives

In a more junior role there may have been a much more simple outlook with no responsibility involved in changing it. For managers, perspectives need to be significantly broadened – do you understand, and can you apply, the context of the sector that you work in to what you do? How does the latest innovation in your industry affect your role and the future of the business? Crucially, an understanding of the uncertainty of the business world and a willingness to embrace this and delve into the complexities is a key skill to develop.

Committing to ongoing learning and development

The only way to develop skills not currently present is to learn them. You may acquire some on the job but often for a role like first-line manager it can be useful to undertake some professional training. The First Line Manager Skills course from PTP will enable you to become more focused on the objectives of the organisation, develop clear and analytical thinking and become more proactive in a leadership role. Contact PTP to find out more.

Tips for beginning a new management or supervisor role

Posted: January 17, 2018 3:37 pm
Moving up in a career means tackling the challenges that managing or supervising other people can bring. This doesn’t just require the development of a new skill set but also an ideological shift too. If you’re about to enter the world of management for the first time then there are a few tips that might make the transition easier.

You don’t need to have all the answers

Even supervisors can ask questions and look for information to ensure they get it right. It’s far better to ask for input or request feedback than to plough on regardless and be unaware of any crashing errors you’re repeatedly making.

Learn how to delegate

It’s a rookie manager mistake to make yourself responsible for absolutely everything. Good delegation means taking responsibility for ensuring a job is done – but that doesn’t mean you have to do the job yourself.

Avoid trying to be a friend to everyone

Every employee who is moving upwards will eventually find themselves in a supervisory role with former colleagues. It’s important to be friendly and accessible but those lines of management need to be drawn. Otherwise leadership and discipline will be almost impossible to implement when required.

Get to grips with the concept of “fairness”

The people working under you will expect to be treated fairly – in fact, it’s the perception of unfairness that often causes the most problems for managers. However, that doesn’t mean that you need to treat everyone the same. Sometimes the route to fair treatment means treating people differently (as long as you’re not falling into discrimination territory).

Find a way to balance new responsibilities

With a move upward into management comes additional pressure. If you want to be a good supervisor then you need to learn to deal with this extra pressure in a way that doesn’t entail taking it out on the people around you. It’s important to find a way to have downtime when you can detach and relax from your responsibilities. Having someone to talk to who understands your position can also be incredibly useful.

Sometimes the answer is no

As juniors we’re often encouraged to say yes to every request and opportunity. As you become more senior the ability to say no – to superiors or juniors – starts to be an essential quality to avoid overwork, resentment and too much pressure.

Become a change specialist

At the heart of every successful business is the ability to swiftly adapt to change. Nothing stays the same and it’s the way that we cope with this that often defines the kind of managers we are and the value we can offer to the business. If your skill set is underpinned by an awareness of how to handle – and optimise – change then you’ll be a great manager to follow and a valuable asset to the business overall. The PTP Introduction to Management and Supervisory Skills course provides a valuable overview of how to take that key step up in your career. If you’re looking to enable that mindset switch this type of training is essential.

Why should Britain close the gap on management skills?

Posted: December 1, 2017 5:10 pm
According to the whitepaper released as part of the government’s Industrial Strategy in November, poor management skills could account for a quarter of the productivity gap between US and UK companies. American companies produce a fifth more than UK companies do with the same effort, something that is logically attributed to poor business management. Apart from the natural competitiveness with our cousins across the pond there are also many other good reasons for Britain to close the gap on management skills.

More productivity means more profit

It’s not difficult to understand how a fifth more productivity would be a very positive increase for UK businesses. Particularly if it requires no extra effort other than to close the gap on management skills. To put a figure on how much this lack of management might be costing the UK economy, if the gap were to be closed over night tonight and UK companies caught up with US companies then – without any extra work at all – British companies would be an instant £300 billion richer. That’s an impressive figure for any economy.

It can be done

The example often given of an economy that completely turned itself around with the benefit of management skills is Japan. After the Second World War Japan was just one tenth as productive as America. Within years it had made huge strides with a specific programme of improvement in management skills that was designed to spread across the entire economy, from small businesses to large. Japan even subsidised management consultancies to help disseminate better business practices and set up a state inspection agency to help bring standards up.

Britain will likely fall behind if the gap is not closed

Japan is just one example of how a very conscious and specific initiative to improve management skills in all businesses has had a tangible impact on overall productivity. Singapore is another Asian economy that used a similar tactic in the 1980s when it realised that the foreign companies based there weren’t passing on their management capabilities to the smaller, local firms. So, Singapore introduced a campaign to change management mindsets and brought in consultants to upgrade knowledge and experience. South Korea has introduced similar measures, as has Finland and many other countries that have suffered from a similar management skills gap. It’s not something that can be successfully ignored and the prediction is that Britain’s productivity could fall further behind if it continues to be a problem. There is an awareness in Britain that poor business management is causing problems for our overall economy. In the report The Innovation Paradox, the management quality of British businesses was compared to the worst 10% of firms in China. So, we are already falling well behind. The industry is trying to help itself – for example Be the Business, an initiative to spread best practice. However, most experts agree that when it comes to closing the management skills gap it’s going to require more than just private sector initiatives. As in Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Finland, the government is going to have to get (more) involved. If you’re looking for management training, get in touch with PTP today on 01509889632.

What type of Management Training is the best fit for you?

Posted: November 21, 2017 10:50 am
At PTP we offer a range of interactive and practical management courses that are designed specifically for the client. Our courses run with a maximum attendance of 10 delegates although the average class is around 4-5 delegates. However, for larger groups we also offer tailor-made courses depending on the type of training required. But which one is right for you?

Public Courses

All of our courses can be run as a public course. What is great about the public courses is that we run them in 7 different UK cities, meaning, if you require training in London, we can offer you a choice of over 80 management courses in the heart of London. Each of our venues are of exceptional quality with lunch and refreshments provided. However, if you’re looking for more of a tailored course for you, we would recommend choosing a more bespoke option.

In-House Tailored Training

Each and every one of our courses can be tailored to the exact needs of you and your company, making it perfect for your team to really benefit from the training. We deliver our tailored training in-house at your offices, or we can organise a venue for you to make your employees feel more valued. As part of this package, the trainer will call you in advance of the course and discuss your needs so that the course is tailored for you.

U-Choose

Alongside our public course, we also offer a U-Choose service that is unique and flexible to you. As long as you book for a minimum of 2 delegates on any of our courses, we give you the power to choose the date and location on which you would like the course delivered. We will then promote the course and venue you have chosen and we guarantee we will run the course even if we don’t sell any additional places, which makes it perfectly tailored to you.

One-To-One Training

Finally, we offer an affordable training service on a 1-to-1 basis for any of our 200+ courses. When you book a 1-to-1 training programme you will get a telephone conference of up to 1 hour prior to the on-site session, a half day on site coaching session and then a further telephone conference call of up to an hour within 2 weeks of the on-site visit. To find out more or to book a place on one of our courses or to book your own, visit our website here.

How can you lead your team through effective delegation?

Posted: October 28, 2017 10:41 am
Regardless of your position in a company, if you are leading a team in any way, as a department leader or even CEO of a company, delegation is one of the most important tools you have. Delegation is a skill, and learning to use it effectively can make your team more productive, reduce stress for all employees, and free up your time to manage your team better. Here are some ways that you can master the art of delegation:

Trust your team’s skills

The biggest barrier to effective delegation is the struggle of letting go of work. Dedication and self-belief in your own ability to get the work done to the best possible standard can stand in the way of being able to delegate it to someone else. There will be times when it’s better to do something yourself, but there should be a balance between what is relevant and necessary within your role, and what needs to be shared amongst your team. In these cases it’s important that you trust your team to be able to carry out these tasks.

Work to the strengths of your team members

Everyone in your team will have different areas of strengths and weaknesses, experience and skills, so part of delegating is identifying these for each person. You can then assign tasks according to these things, not simply delegating to the person who has the most time available, even if they are the least suited to getting it done.

Prioritise carefully

As you begin to delegate, you should group tasks into different skills, and different priorities. You can then communicate to your team the deadlines of each assignment and which are the more urgent tasks that need to be completed first. This helps to prevent any issues or delays in the tasks getting completed, and builds a culture of teamwork.

Give clear instructions

When delegating, don’t just give a task list. Instead, give clear instructions where appropriate, including milestones, deadlines, goals and anything else that is important to produce the best possible outcome. This gives your team a clear process to move forward and progress whilst giving you peace of mind that your team are suitably briefed.

Pass on your knowledge

As part of delegating, you can also choose to pass on your own knowledge. There may be things that your team are unsure of and need to ask for your advice and expertise, so part of this process is answering their queries and continuing to let them handle it instead of taking over yourself. Find out more about effective delegating by attending our “The Art of Delegation” one day workshop, or by giving PTP a call today on 01509 889 632.

Great Reviews For PTP Management Training

Posted: January 25, 2017 5:27 pm

37 Reviews in 8 weeks. Score: 4.8 stars out of 5!

A Big Thank-You To Our Very Satisfied Clients!

In the last few weeks, we have invited our clients to review us at www.Reviews.co.uk and we have had a tremendous response. I list below a small sample: Attended a well-run Introduction to Project Management course. The trainer was excellent and customised the session well for the delegates. The company used a high quality venue with free car parking, lunch and refreshments included. I thought it was excellent value for money. George Whalley, Trafford Housing Trust review 5/5 Stars 25/1/17 We used PTP for a course on interpreting financial statements for board members, staff and guests. We were particularly pleased with the pre-course contact from the company and the trainer who all worked to help accommodate our particular preferences. The mixed audience gave very positive feedback about the content of the course, the approach of the presenter and the value added. Linda Wallace, CDS Co-operatives review 5/5 Stars 19/1/17 PTP provided Management Skills training at our offices, and the whole experience was excellent. The booking process was easy, the trainer was in touch before to discuss and tailor the course, and the delegates all enjoyed the course and took plenty away from it. The quality of the training materials and framed certificates were well received too. Linda Smith, Knight Knox review 5/5 Stars 11/1/17 To view all our reviews click here.

London Management Courses 1/3 Off July-September 2016 Selected Courses

Posted: June 14, 2016 3:14 pm
  [caption id="attachment_582" align="alignnone" width="461"]London venue PTP Central London Training Venue[/caption]

Selected Management Training & Personal Development Courses 1/3 off in Central London

PTP is delighted to inform our clients who can get to our central London venue at 40 Gracechurch Street in the heart of the city that we are able to offer the following 6 management and personal development courses at 1/3 off:   Project Management 13th July

I found the course to be very informative and enabled me to have a more detailed insight into the aspects of delivering a successful project. - John Willocks, Esure

Introduction to Management & Supervisory Skills 13th July

Great course, really feel I have learnt some new skills which will benefit both myself & team. - Emma Castle, Allianz Global Corporate & Speciality

The Effective Administrator 15th July

I feel that this has been very beneficial to help developing upon the skills I already have and also giving me more confidence and conviction in what I would like to do. - Lyndsay Brooks, Doosan Power Systems

Personal Effectiveness 6th September

Enjoyed course, gave me a greater understanding of my own personal drivers and those of others and how to influence them. - Brian Brooks, Bombardier

Negotiation Skills 7th September and 1st November

The course was enjoyable. I learnt a lot about the skills of negotiation. It was delivered in an excellent manner. Thank you. - Rachel Slack, Ramada Hotel

Credit Control 16th September

The course wasn't what I expected. I would say it actually exceeded my expectations and will be useful for my role. - Ewan Anderson, Marks and Spencer

Click on course tiles to view full details including timetables and further testimonials. All these courses have been reduced from £450 + vat to £300 + vat to include lunch, refreshments and framed certificate of attendance as shown below: [caption id="attachment_581" align="alignleft" width="211"]Photo of training materials PTP Example of Delegate's Training Materials[/caption] To book either go to relevant course page by clicking above course titles. Select the date and venue above and you will automatically receive the discount when booking online - you even get a further 5% if you book online and pay by card - please note you can book online and opt to pay by invoice as well. Alternatively, email marc@ptp.co.uk and include the course, course date, venue and name/s of delegate/s and your full billing address and contact number and we will process the booking for you.

Management Training - PTP Exhibits in London Olympia

Posted: May 8, 2016 11:47 pm

Management and Sales Training courses showcased in London Olympia by PTP

May 11-12 2016 Management and Sales training will be explained by a number of PTP trainers and consultants at this prestigious London training event the CIPD Learning & Development Show. All 200 + PTP Management and Sales training courses run in central London and 6 other major UK cities. Our most popular management and sales programmes are listed below. Click on the links to view timetables, testimonials and forthcoming dates: Consultative Selling Developing Major Accounts Finance for Non-Finance Managers First Line Manager Skills Influencing Skills Introduction to Management & Supervisory Skills Key Selling Skills Management by Coaching Managing Major Accounts 2- day course More Advanced Finance for Non-Finance Managers Performance Review Skill Project Management Selling for Non-Sales Professionals Time Management Below are links for free registration to the exhibition and how to pay and book for conference tickets. We are exhibiting on stand 384 so if you can come, we hope to see you there. Top reasons to attend the CIPD Learning & Development Show:
  • Hear from thought leaders who are already putting the future of L&D into practice in the masterclasses
  • Learn a new approach to training and development at the world learning cafes – interactive learning at its best
  • Build your network and meet other professionals facing the same challenges as you at speed networking
  • Meet the PTP team, receive a lucky dip prize and a £100 voucher against any PTP training course
Venue: Olympia London Date: 11–12 May 2016 Register for the FREE exhibition Find out more about the exhibition Book your conference sessions now Find out more about the conference We hope to see you there! To view more details about PTP's management and sales training courses please go to www.ptp.co.uk
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