Get On The Right Side Of History

By Justine Eden Director Eden Ritchie RecruitmentJustine Eden

A couple of weeks ago I was having a conversation with a couple of friends who work in the legal profession. Faced with huge competition, narrowing panel services arrangements and clients shrinking legal budgets these two professional leaders were under increasing pressure to lead high performing, profitable teams.

I put the issue of market disruption to them – questioning the way they operate, and highlighted just one aspect – the perception of extremely long hours, timesheets and the lack of flexibility that they generally offer to their teams.

I pointed to a new breed of emerging firm that offers just that and appear to be attracting the best and brightest and are highly profitable. I could see their eyes glaze over and that the idea of disrupting anything (apart from a court room) for what is such a traditional industry, was out of the question.

This morning I read a related article and saw this:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-04-24/richard-branson-marissa-mayer-s-yahoo-work-policy-is-on-the-wrong-side-of-history

It resonated with me – few are the leaders that recognize performance based on results. And it clarified something for me as a leader that I have struggled with for a long time. I spent all of yesterday in performance reviews with my team. I heard A LOT about their great efforts – and don’t get me wrong I am big on putting in your best effort.

But when that doesn’t equate to results or tangible outcomes there is a real problem. Imagine as a business owner going to the ATO and saying, “well I tried really hard, put in my best effort – but I wont be able to pay the BAS this month”. That’s not a result the ATO are going to accept.

So why are so many leaders still so hung up on their people being visible in the office?? Why are so many leaders not having honest and frank discussions with their teams about their tangible results – and letting themselves be sidetracked by conversations about how hard everyone is trying?

Giving people flexibility only works for some people and some roles – don’t get me wrong, we have tried and both succeeded and failed. In our business flexibility is offered to those (where it is applicable to their role) who have demonstrated strong results over a sustained period of time. There has to be trust and mutual respect, you have to all be on the same page and clear (VERY) about what is required.

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The Art of Constructive Feedback

Linda ParkerEver had those days when you just really want to tell a staff member the brutal truth about their performance? If you are answering yes you are only human! Let’s face it, we’re not really supposed to tell people we work with that they are worthless and dim-witted!

We all give and receive feedback differently – some get defensive, offended and downright obstinate.  Others seem to listen, agree and take it in, and then promptly carry on doing things exactly the same way. Then there are those who are mortified, hanging their head in shame, and disappearing to a quiet corner to lick their wounds for a while.

Most of the time you aim for somewhere in the middle – for them to take note, demonstrate some accountability for their work and/or behaviour – good or bad, identify their own weaknesses and above all strive to improve.

I recently read an online article that provided some useful tips, and one point in particular resonated with me as a solid and effective approach, and one that I see used a lot in practice.

‘Try giving them a feedback sandwich’…

Basically this means breaking down the feedback process into layers.  Start with praising and complimenting their strong points, thus providing the ‘bread’. Then start to fill it with some areas that need work and improvement – careful not to overfill it and make it difficult to swallow! Then top it off nicely with some encouragement and positivity for better future outcomes.

Leading by example is more often than not the most successful way of driving performance in the right direction.  It doesn’t matter what position we hold, we are always looking for someone to inspire us.

I have two very strong, successful and dynamic leaders who have inspired me for the past 9 years, and who have also allowed me to see their more vulnerable side, which I think keeps it very real and honest, and builds a greater level of trust and respect …

What type of leader has inspired you?

“The Power of Mentoring”

KateSo what is mentoring? Mentoring uses the resources your company already has to improve employee satisfaction, develop leadership, and teach new skills.

Does your company have a mentoring program? If yes, is it working? If not, why not?

Here are some ideas about how to start your own program. Starting a mentoring program might be the closest you’ll ever get to making a business decision that has a positive impact for everyone involved. Research has shown that mentoring can improve employee satisfaction and retention, enrich new-employee initiation, make your company more appealing to new recruits, and train your leaders. And the best part is, it’s “free”, unlike similar learning incentives, training programs or offering to pay for courses, mentoring uses the resources that your company already has.

A mentoring program can help develop both mid-level employees for possible promotion and entry-level employees for self-improvement to help them grow with the company. Mentors are employees already in management positions, employees highly skilled or trained in a specific area, or employees at any level who can provide encouragement and guidance to other employees just starting or ready to take their next career move.

Mentoring can do a lot of good, but only if people know what they are supposed to do. Training of the mentors is important, and I recommend that the mentees receive some training as well. There are plenty of websites available with tips on what to do and at Eden Ritchie we have skilled and experienced staff available to assist organisation’s in the development of their mentoring program.

When you have implemented a mentor program, remember it will require “nurturing and caring”.
 So now you are ready to unleash the “power of mentoring” to ensure you talented workforce grows with you.

If you have a mentor program already in your organisation, share your ideas and thoughts to assist others.