Category Archives: Human Resources

Top 5 – Keys to Effective Business Writing

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This weeks Top 5 – Keys to Effective Business Writing

  1. Know the basics
  2. Be clear and concise
  3. Know your writing structure
  4. Choose the Best Medium for the Message
  5. Be creative

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Top 5 – How to be an Awesome Leader

Do you manage your people or do you lead them?  Maybe it is a bit of both? So when do you manage and when do you lead?

There is a real difference between Managers and Leaders, put simply Managers have subordinates and possess a transactional style, their tasks include planning, organising, controlling and reviewing. A Leader has followers and possesses a transformational style (see tip 3) their day is filled with aligning their people and activities to the vision; they are pioneering the way whilst carving out a legacy to be remembered.  Leaders will also have subordinates as they are often managers appointed to roles in an organisational structure however they see their main goal as leading their followers so their style of leadership will be less of a manager and more of a leader.

Other attributes of a leader as opposed to a manager including being a change agents, looking  long term , setting the direction, appealing to hearts and our passions, looking for and encourage others to achieve, sometimes breaking free from rules to achieve and pioneering the way as they seek to do right rather than be right.  Finally they seek the truth and they give credit to their followers.

We offer you our Top 5 on How to Be an Awesome Leader.  If you haven’t done so already, ‘like’ our Facebook Page www.facebook.com/HappeningPeople and be sure to look out for our extra Top Tip- Number 6, which looks at Power and Leadership.

1. Lead from the Front

Leading from the front is described by General Douglas MacArthur who said

“A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.”

The term leading from the front has been bandied about boardrooms for decades, at its most effective it means “I am willing to do, whatever I have asked you to do.’ Leading from the front doesn’t mean huge acts of heroism it means showing your followers you care about the company and their success when they see that you will never ask them to do something, that you are not willing to do yourself.  Leaders who lead from the front are great role models.

2. Show Vision
Great leaders, show leadership by showing the vision.  They do this at every appropriate occasion whether it is in a group or one on one.  By doing this they focus attention on what matters which focuses the team.   When you are able to articulate the vision, meaningful goals can be created. When goals are firmly aligned with the vision the purpose of your team is clear and achievement of the goals is more likely.

3. Possess a Transformational  Style
A good leader is focused on moving its followers towards the vision, they do this by inspiring them to follow not telling them what to do.  Your role is to appeal to their hearts rather than their heads, raise their passions and follow you.  At times you will lead them in directions they haven’t gone before which can be overwhelming for followers.   They will follow you if you show the way and are able to show them the benefits so that your followers will receive more than extrinsic rewards but will become better people along the way.

4. Be People Focused
A good leader does not have to be a loud and overly gregarious one to be effective, in fact many leaders aren’t, rather, they are good with people and are focused on the people rather than the task.  Through their actions and interactions they boost the confidence of those around them to achieve the goals before them and they want to see their followers succeed and take the credit.   Though these methods they inspire loyalty and motivation.

5. Your Legacy
Most people think about their legacy at the end of their careers, awesome leaders think about it throughout their careers.  Pericles famously said ‘What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.’  Leaders look to leave a legacy through changing the lives of their followers.  Robert Galford and Regina Maruca, authors of “Your Leadership Legacy,” suggest that “thinking about your legacy now makes you a better leader today no matter how far you are from retirement.” This view is based on interviews with people at all organisational levels.  Galford and Maruca advocate we all should be engaged in legacy thinking.

Leaders aren’t just born, good managers become great leaders through being shown the way.  Happening People are award winning  corporate  training specialists and are the Leaders in Leadership Training.  Give us a call on 1800 68 67 69 or visit our website www.happeningpeople.com for more information on how we can help you and your organisation develop awesome leaders.

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Top 5 – How to Be a Great Mentor

Not to be confused with a coach a mentor is a peer to peer guide or is often described as someone who has walked the path before others.  If you wanted to be the worlds best swimmer then you would work with the worlds best swimming coach but if you wanted to know what it was like to be the worlds best swimmer then you would talk with someone who has done it and this person is a mentor.

Mentors are people who help the mentee to develop and grow until the mentee feels empowered to function alone.  Mentors do this by providing support, sharing their experiences, knowledge and skills whilst keeping in mind the level of skill and experience the mentee possesses. The relationship between the mentor and the mentee usually unfolds over time and can be formal and informal.

The role of a mentor is one that is best taken seriously for the mentee’s often see their mentor as ‘larger than life’ or the expert and it’s probably healthy for them to see  you in such a way initially to help establish the relationship for they are looking for someone to point the way.  They are often unsure of their abilities through a lack of experience and the mentee seeks to acquire your abilities.  At times you may even feel that the mentee is becoming you.

There are a variety of skills good mentors possess which enables them to have long and successful relationships with their mentees who often go on to be their friends and provide mutual counsel.  If it’s time for you to jump on the mentoring bus or indeed you are already on-board Happening People give you our Top 5 on How to Be a Great Mentor and in this top 5 check out our extra top tip (it’s one you won’t want to miss!) by liking our Facebook page www.facebook.com/happeningpeople

 1. Success is in the structure
Mentoring can be stifled by too much structure.  Many people who engaged in mentoring would not apply the label to their activities.  Some would be embarrassed and inhibited by so naming the relationship.  Very informal one-off instances of advice or short-term mentoring can afford to be totally unstructured.  However it can be lack of structure with no agreed objectives, ground rules or parameters that leads to problems in mentoring. Where a mentoring relationship is recognised and acknowledged as such, a verbal agreement as to the purpose of the relationship is the minimum structure required.  Written agreements can also be valuable.

2. Responsibility of the mentee

Your role as mentor requires you to guide, offer suggestions for improvement, uncover strategies that maybe of use to the mentee and provide them with a sounding board to help them navigate to a successful outcome.  Your role here is not to take over and own the process or become possessive of the outcome.  Ultimately the mentee is responsible for the outcome which you help them facilitate on the side lines.

 3. The 4 phases to mentoring
1. Start up- People seek mentors when they are typically unable to make sense of an experience on their own, they seek mentors to guide them in these situations, to interpret their experiences for them.
2. Development- This is where you will see and hear your mentee being more independent.  This is usually the longest phase in mentoring and offers you the greatest chance to assist in enhancing their skills and knowledge.
3. Separation – This phase begins when the mentee starts to separate from you.  You can expect that they will want to do things by themselves to prove themselves and establish their own identity.  They will be looking to stand-alone. It is usually the most rewarding stage for both the mentor and mentee.
4. Common Ground – Here you will be looking to see that the mentee feels completely at ease without your guidance.  Better yet the mentoring relationship turns into a workplace friendship based on mutual respect and admiration.

 4. The mentees manager
Some specialists in mentoring recommend that the boss should not be the mentor to a subordinate.  However, some boss /subordinate mentoring works extremely well, either in the in the formal or informal sense. This works best when the culture of organisation endorses such behaviour or where the boss regards the staff development as a high performance goal in alignment with their own goals and those of the organisation. If you are not your mentees boss remember your job is to help the mentee develop and grow not to pick holes in how they are being managed.

5. Practice confidentiality
Where the mentor/ mentee relationship commonly falls apart or is severely tested is when there is a breach of confidentiality. Trust is paramount to the success of the relationship and only you can decide how much confidential matter you offer.  At times ethical issues arise in which you may consider breaking confidentiality e.g. organisational security.  At this point it is often best to refer to your organisation policies if a breach occurs.  Legally, the law of land prevails and cases of stealing or harassment, among others, must be reported.

Let Happening People help you and your people develop your mentoring skills by attending our Mentoring  Training Program.  To find out more call us on 1800 68 67 69 or visit our website www.happeningpeople.com

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Top 5 – How to Protect your Mental and Emotional Health at Work

With a slew of reality television shows focused on weight loss and a healthy lifestyle when we think health we often only consider our physical health and not our mental and emotional health.

The workplace is a melting pot of high stress situations, poorly managed tensions, disappearing resources  and hidden agendas and of course an abundance of politics.  Our emotional and mental wellbeing is put to the test repeatedly and we can become worn down.  When this occurs disaster strikes and we become unwell, sending us into a negative spiral.  But is it all doom and gloom?

With a little help from some brilliant minds on mental health we have pulled together our Top 5 on How to Protect your Mental and Emotional Health at Work.

1. Nourish good Relationships
Professor Jane Fisher, the Jean Hailes Professor of Women’s Health at Monash states “Close relationships are one of the most important protective factors for mental health…” says Prof Fisher. “Nourish good relationships, be committed to them, and get professional help to address destructive or negative relationships if necessary.”  Your work day is full of interactions, and relies on your ability to develop good and lasting relationships with a wide variety of people.  Focus on developing strong bonds with colleagues, they really understand what you are going through on a day-to-day basis and can act as a great listening post and support system.

2. Be Kind to Yourself
Sally Connolly, a clinical social worker, therapist and co-founder of Counselling Relationships Online.com suggests making a decision to do something nice for yourself every day and stick to it. “For many people it has to be a conscious process,” says Connolly. “They must take time to do it. I often recommend some simple ritual as a way of honouring themselves.” She recommends something as simple as daily meditation to inspire peace and relaxation. Other rituals might involve:
Planning to make your favourite dinner once a week, or getting to work 20 minutes early to enjoy a chat and a coffee with colleagues, maybe it’s about getting off the bus a couple of stops early and enjoying a stroll home on a Friday evening.

3. Laughter is the Best Medicine
Paul E. McGhee, Ph.D. is a pioneer in humour research and says “Your sense of humour is one of the most powerful tools you have to make certain that your daily mood and emotional state support good health.”  Physically laughter relaxes the whole body, laughter boosts the immune system, laughter triggers the release of endorphins and laughter protects the heart. Emotionally laughter dissolves distressing emotions, laughter helps you relax and recharge and humour shifts perspective. At work the benefits of laughter include allowing you to be more spontaneous, let go of defensiveness, release inhibitions allowing you to do your best work and it allows you to express your true feelings.

4. Never Stop Dreaming
Richard Branson Gazillionaire and entrepreneur “…. you need to take the opportunity to focus on the future. Finding time for aspirational thought is vital. … I spend time every day with my notebooks and iPad, thinking over new dreams and ideas.” Your work day can be filled with procedures, guidelines and protocols.  It can be hard to think outside the square with restrictions placed on our thoughts.  Daring to dream broadens the mind and ignites creativity which in turn boosts our confidence, reduces our stress levels and gives us hope.

5. Keep your Job
Building financial security will help protect your mental and emotional state at work.  When you know your financial future is secure it frees your mind of stress and tension that could otherwise jeopardise your health.  David Koch, presenter, finance Journalist and commentator  has been voted by his peers as one of the ten most influential people of all time in the Australian financial services industry he states “…. the increase in joblessness should prompt action to ensure your position at work is secure. Now is the time to make yourself indispensable by learning, increasing awareness of those around you and taking on a bigger role in everything you do.”

Happening People know that good Emotional and Mental Health as well as Physical Health are vital to your overall well-being and that of your team and organisation which is why we offer Happening Health a program aimed at helping organisations become employers of choice by offering a holistic approach to their employees’ wellbeing.  If you would like to know more or to book a session please call us on 1800 68 67 69 or check out our website www.happeningpeople.com

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