The Importance of Managing Up

By Justine EdenJustine Eden, Director

Having been in the recruitment industry for a few years now (not specifying how many because it makes me feel old!) I have been able to sit back and watch many people progress up the leadership ladder. Some more successfully than others. There can be many factors impacting on success of course, but in many instances I have seen the inability to recognize the need to manage up, lead to failure.

Managing up can sometimes bring connotations of having to “kiss arse” – excuse the language, and I would argue that if this is what you interpret as managing up you are missing a key opportunity. Many leaders can be overly consumed with managing down and depending on the profile of your team sometimes this is necessary – but you need to ensure this isn’t a long-term strategy.

You need to focus attention on managing yourself – your career, your education, your professional portfolio to ensure you remain relevant and challenged. You of course will have an element of managing down through delegation and KPI’s to ensure deliverables are met.

But – how to manage up? Be clear on who above you this could include and then determine how often and how you will need to feedback to each person. In person communication is an effective way to build rapport and trust followed by putting things in writing to protect each other.

A good executive should adopt a no surprises approach in order to have the back of the people they report to and should also be able to determine what is communicated and what is not to prevent information overload. No Board wants hundreds of pages to read through, so your ability to grasp and communicate the key issues and expand if needed, is critical.

By managing up you increase your visibility and intel because you should be privy to strategic issues and be on the front foot to ask for the opportunity to work on key projects. You will better anticipate future challenges and therefore be able to better position your team to respond. Knowledge and networks are the power base of any ambitious executive but like anything require constant work and attention!

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BBB (Best Business Books)

Compiled by Jade Mortlock

Many of the industries that we work in have specific mandatory training and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements. While these are imperative to continuously improve specialist knowledge, skills and abilities a personal commitment to broader professional learning and development is equally important. The team at Eden Ritchie Recruitment, who work across a number of industries, recently had a discussion about the best business books that we have ever read (and why) and we came up with the below list that we’d like to share with you. We would also love to hear the name and title of YOUR favourite business book.

Justine Eden – Director (https://au.linkedin.com/in/justineeden) The Rise by Sarah Lewis. I saw Sarah speak at a conference and bought her book, the connections she makes between business, sport and the arts resonated with me. As a bit of a “controlling perfectionist” myself reflecting on “failure” and “mastery” made so much sense in a hyper critical and connected world where we are too quickly judged.

Kim Ritchie – Director (https://au.linkedin.com/in/kimritchie) Feminist Fight Club by Jessica Bennett. I initially looked at this book due to the title but what pulled me in was the funny and dry humour she uses to give a warts and all view of woman in the male dominated corporate world and the tools (and stories) successful woman have used to try and become equals at the table.

Angela Anderson – Recruitment Consultant (https://au.linkedin.com/in/angelaanderson3) The Truth About Leadership by James M Kouzes and Barry Z Posner. This book presents theories and insights based on the authors’ decades of research and experience working with leaders, yet is very focused and readable and has some engaging stories. It highlights fundamental truths and values, and makes a great guide for leaders in any sector at any point on their leadership journey. I have also previously used their Leadership Practices Inventory with a management cohort in another organisation and found it was very effective and well-received.

Linda Parker – Executive Manager (https://au.linkedin.com/in/lindaparker1) Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter. Rich Dad world’s goal is to increase your financial IQ, and bring you a world of possibilities, a world of learning, a world of understanding. A take charge world, where you’ll be equipped to take command of your finances and live a Rich life. I read this book during a personal/professional development course, and it was enlightening. I also read ‘Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff at Work’ – this was extremely useful for prioritising my work and refocusing on what really matters.

Angela Ng – FastERR Recruitment Consultant (https://au.linkedin.com/in/angconsultant) Good to Great by Jim Collins.

Elizabeth Duncan – Administrator Body Language: How to read others’ thoughts by their gestures by Allan Pease. This very amusing but insightful book details how what people say is often very different to what they feel.  It helps to identify subconscious cues and read body language in context.  As well as body language it includes speech patterns, image and appearance, dress, questioning techniques, interview strategies and TV marketing through body language. It is useful in the context of reading other people’s body language and also being conscious of your own.

Jade Mortlock – Senior Healthcare Recruiter (https://au.linkedin.com/in/jademortlock) First Things First by Stephen R. Covey. The principle-centred approach for prioritising gives you the confidence to make changes and sacrifices needed in order to obtain ‘happiness’. A series of user friendly, clear and concise graphics deliver the philosophy in effective manner while retaining the core message of time management and happiness.

Rebecca Ward – Chief Operating Officer (https://au.linkedin.com/in/berekaward) Blink – The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell. This great book discusses how we think without thinking – it’s about the decisions we make in the blink of an eye. Malcolm gives examples on reliable predictors for marriages that will and won’t last AND antiques that can be deemed as fakes just by looking at them! Some people have perfected the art of ‘thin-slicing’. Highly recommended!

Carmina Catahan – FastERR Recruitment Consultant (https://au.linkedin.com/in/carmina-catahan-847a433a) How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. Another classic best seller, I read this book ages ago but decided to read it again since starting with ERR. It’s such an amazing book as a reminder of the simple but very effective things that we tend to forget when trying to influence people and create long lasting relationships. There are a lot of facts and statistics too in this book about human behaviour, how people generally think, which explains some of the underlying reasons on why people do what they do. A lot of examples from people in history, their successes and how they became some of the most influential people known in history.

Ben Wright – IT Recruitment Consultant (https://au.linkedin.com/in/ben-wright-b8117318) Who Moved My Cheese by Dr Spencer Johnson. A motivational business fable. The book describes change in one’s work and personal life, and four typical reactions to those changes by two mice (Sniff and Scurry) and two little people (Hem and Haw), during their hunt for cheese.

Nicki McCaskill – Business Development Coordinator (https://au.linkedin.com/in/nickimccaskill) Speaking persuasively; Making the most of your presentations by Patsy McCarthy. Using real examples, Speaking Persuasively shows you how to hone your speaking skills in business and politics, in the classroom and in the community. It explains how to order your material, attract the audience’s attention (and keep it), control your voice and adapt your techniques for different situations. It also includes practical advice on making a successful business pitch, communicating across cultures and handling the media. Speaking Persuasively is for anyone who wants to become a more persuasive and more impressive public speaker.

Kate Broadley – Executive Manager (https://au.linkedin.com/in/katebroadley) The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R Covey. An oldie but a goodie. Written by an internationally respected authority on leadership back in 2004, Stephen Covey’s first groundbreaking novel implies true success is founded on personal and professional development habits like prioritisation, empathy and self-renewal. I always go back to this book when I am feeling a bit stale and need a bit of a boost in terms being the best you can be.

Please get in touch with your ER recruiter either via email or their LinkedIn address (above) and let them know what your favourite is. We look forward to hearing from you!

EMPLOYEE PROFILING – Are we all cut from the same cloth?

Ben Wright

I’m asked quite regularly my opinion on the viability of an assessment methodology known as ’employee profiling’, which is quite commonly used to assist organisations in making sound hiring decisions.

 These methods are neither correct nor incorrect and it’s difficult to provide a definitive answer to this question, but rather their degree of effectiveness and relevance depends entirely on the individual circumstance.

 To assist you in making the right decision for your organisation I will outline below both the pros and cons to profiling and how it can be used effectively.

How profiling assessments methodologies are conducted?

  • A selection of an organisations high-performing employees are chosen and given the opportunity to take an assessment that is designed to measure a number of characteristics related to performance. Regardless of the role, the content is usually the same. The score patterns then serve as a benchmark for hiring.
  • During the hiring process, candidates are required to sit the same test and the results are then benchmarked against the current high performers. Those applicants who most closely match the ideal profile are viewed as having the best chance of success and are recommended for hire in an effort to “clone” high performers.

Logically, applicants scoring the same as ‘high performers’ have more in common indicating that they too have what it takes to be a high performer.

What are Pros and Cons of this Methodology?

Let’s start with the pros:

  • Intuitive: The idea behind profiling makes sense.  Look at your best performers and develop a profile that can be used to make sure you hire staff who model success. SIMPLE?!
  • Fast: While many assessment methods are timely to implement, profiling can usually be implemented relatively quickly and reused across multiple opportunities.

In the IT space I have seen this work really well when a profile assessment has been specifically created for role, like Project Managers.

One of the downsides to using a strict Profile Assessment Methodology is that across different roles i.e. Business Analysts, Project Managers, Web Developers, and Solution Architects, they all share different characteristics, that in their own right make them high performers in their specific field. I’ve touched base on a few other cons below:

  • Deficiency: When only one assessment is used for all situations, organisations may find that the content of this assessment will not fully capture all of the things required for performing the specific role.
  • Failure to account for change: This is a big downside as it does not account for the fact that the top performers surveyed may have had a different job profile at the time of hire.
  • In many cases, job performance and on-the-job training may allow an individual to learn and develop in many positive ways. Thus, the profile provided may be an unrealistic one for staff who have not performed the job in question.
  • Over-reliance on “the profile”: as this may create unrealistic standards that can lead to an over-reliance on some attributes and under-reliance on others. Hiring decisions should be the result of balanced information of many types, and the best hiring systems are designed to provide key decision-makers with a variety of information.

The above criticisms can apply to other assessment methods. However, they are worth considering when evaluating the relevance of profiling methods for an organisation’s needs.

Below I have mentioned a few situations where profiling is an ideal methodology for a company to use;

  • An off-the-shelf assessment is needed quickly: Profiling is one of the fastest and easiest assessment methods to implement.
  • The role is mainstream and doesn’t have any specific requirements: Most profiling uses one set of content for all jobs means that the profiling assessment content will be relevant.
  • The organisation is too small or there are too few incumbents to do a proper validation study: Validation research requires relatively large numbers of incumbents to produce a more accurate result.

From my experience the decision regarding the relevance of profiling for a company’s needs comes down to speed vs. accuracy. In such situations, speed and financial expense are often the key decision criteria and a reduction in accuracy is accepted as a result.

In these cases, profiling is a legitimate option and one that will still provide more accuracy than using no assessment or simply using an unstructured interview.

I hope this is helpful, and gives you a better understanding of the pros and cons that need to be considered when choosing the right assessment tool for your recruitment process.

For further information or to discuss please contact me on ben@edenritchie.com.au or 07 3230 0037 

You can also contact Eden Ritchie Recruitment via our website and follow our team on LinkedIn and Twitter.

I’m Engaged!

Jade Mortlock

Hold the bubbles!

While I am sure my mum and dad can’t wait for this call I am not talking about a sparkly ring and white dress, I am talking about being an ‘engaged’ employee.

An “engaged employee” is one who is fully absorbed by and enthusiastic about their work and so takes positive action to further the organisation’s reputation and interests.[1]

How would your staff respond to the following 3 questions?

  1. Would you recommend this organisations service to your friends and family?
  2. Would you recommend this organisation as somewhere to work?
  3. Do you see yourself working here in a year’s time?

I attended the most recent Brisbane ACHSM Breakfast forum where guest speaker Ms Michelle Russell, Solution Manager, GE Healthcare Performance Solutions explored employee engagement as a key driver of organisational performance. She believes, and I agree, the above 3 questions will quickly tell you if you have engaged staff.

Regardless of your industry, research shows that organisations with engaged staff deliver better patient/consumer experience, fewer errors, stronger financial management, higher staff morale and motivation, less absenteeism and stress and specific to healthcare; lower infection and mortality rates.

10’s of thousands of articles and papers talk about ‘how to engage employees’. Although written specifically for the NHS ‘Staff engagement’ identifies six building blocks for harnessing the creativity and enthusiasm of staff, which can be applied to any organisation.

7-great-benefits-of-engaging-your-staff-3-638

  1. Develop a compelling, shared strategic direction – inspire your staff with a persuasive narrative about what your organisation is seeking to achieve and how staff can contribute.
  2. Build collective and distributed leadership – move away from top-down leadership and share authority, responsibility and accountability with staff.
  3. Adopt supportive and inclusive leadership styles – encourage leaders throughout your organisation to develop a broader range of styles, with less reliance on directive leadership and a greater focus on consensus-building, coaching and supporting staff.
  4. Give staff the tools to lead service transformation – give staff the training and support to improve their services for themselves, creating learning organisations, rather than parachuting in external experts.
  5. Establish a culture based on integrity and trust – develop a clear sense of your organisation’s values and live by them, including maintaining the highest standards of integrity and fairness, even when things go wrong.
  6. Place staff engagement firmly on the board agenda – start making time for regular board discussions of how to improve levels of engagement.What is your organisation doing to ensure the staff are engaged?

[1] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Employee_engagement

5 types of people you’ll meet in every workplace

By Ben Wright

Ben Wright

I recently read an article that resonated, on the 5 types of personalities that you will find in every workplace and couldn’t resist sharing it with my networks. While each working environment can differ greatly according to its industry, scale and company culture, you are still bound to come across these personalities within the workplace.

Learning how to spot these people and work with them will help you build a stronger working relationship and support your own professional development.

  • The office gossip: Now this may be a stereotype, however there’s usually one lingering in the workplace – just waiting to pass on the latest gossip and titbits to colleagues. How do you get around this? Build a rapport by talking about the latest news and celeb gossip but avoid engaging in negative talk about other staff or even the company in general. Engaging with the office gossip can sometimes come back to bite you, so keep it upbeat, positive and about non-work related matters.
  • The noise-cancelling headphone wearer: Does your colleague insist on wearing their headphone or play rather loud music for the duration of the day? This personality can sometimes be tricky to work with, at first it may seem that they are disengaging from their co-workers, but don’t take it to heart. Studies show, depending on the individual, listening to music can increase a workers productivity. If you need to ask them a question, a simple wave or smile will get their attention- alternatively if they are ‘’in the zone’’ send them a quick email.
  • The team cheerleader: If your colleague’s energy level is through the roof before you’ve had your first coffee for the day and they seem to thrive on praising the good work of others – you’re working with a cheerleader. Don’t be suspicious of cheerleaders, appreciate that they have the best intentions, and play a vital role in boosting team morale. Embrace their positivity and make an effort to sing their praises once in a while in return.
  • The negative nancy: The polar opposite to cheerleaders, a negative nancy is generally the person in the workplace who rebuts the ideas of others, is reluctant to try new things and gravitates towards explaining why something won’t work. Don’t write these people off as being a downer, and understand that they are trying not to take the wind out of their co-workers’ sails. They often like to think of themselves as being pragmatic and realistic, so consider their opinions as much as anyone else’s to rally them, suggest you give that new thing a try and see how it goes – if it doesn’t work out they can always say they told you so.
  • The overachiever: You can spot overachievers a mile away!! They’re the busy bee that has a stack of projects on their desk, is always rushing off to the next meeting, insists on arriving early and staying late and always puts their hand up to volunteer for new work. While overachievers can sometimes seem to be exhausting to the uninitiated, these ambitious colleagues thrive on success. Look at them for guidance on managing your workload and bringing your A-Game.

Understanding how each of these personalities operates is key to managing a productive team.

Which type are you?