Just another blog…

One-on-One

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How many times have you been in a discussion when you’re asked a question after your mind has drifted off? This is a “deer in headlights” moment, you’ve been caught out not paying attention. I’m certainly guilty of this – listening can be hard work! You could even say it’s an art, as it takes practice to not only continue paying attention but also reacting to what you’re hearing in the best way.

The HBR post What Great Listeners Actually Do saying listening skills are much more than simply not taking while others are speaking, nodding regularly, and being able to repeat what someone has just said.

There are difference levels of listening, as the post says, and to fully committing to every conversation isn’t realistic, but for me one-on-ones are were we need to be be engaged with the person we’re speaking with. I believe that all the levels… Continue reading

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This Fast Company article – 4 Habits Of Employees You Should Promote Immediately – contains signs that every leader should be aware of and looking out for. Keeping team members engaged and supporting them with suitable challenges is all part of keeping both individuals and the team energized. To do this leaders have to be closely observing the team in order to recognise when to act.

The article covers 4 signs to look out for:

  1. They don’t always say what you want to hear
  2. They already lead
  3. They’re fully invested
  4. They’re self-aware

It’s the fourth point I wanted to cover more as I believe self-awareness is such an important habit to have. But the challenge comes when someone isn’t self-aware, how do you promote/improve self-awareness in them?

self-awareness – conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives, and desires

This is often be perceived as a spiritual journey to enlightenment,… Continue reading

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Settings goals for the year always seems like a painful experience! “How do I know what I’ll be doing in 6 months time!!” “What’s the point…I have work I need to get on with…writing this pointless list is distracting me!” And that’s usually myself! Only kidding…but I did think like that and I know many people still do. It is time consuming and sometimes a painful process, but there is much to be gained from setting goals which make it a rewarding progress. If we are personally trying to better ourselves then evaluating what we want to achieve in a year can help to set the focus.

As a leader, you have to sets goals for yourself while also guiding the team with theirs. It can be daunting…there is no easy road to do this properly, it takes time and thought. Each company has their own performance process, but… Continue reading

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At the end of the year I look forward to the Christmas break, it’s a good excuse to rest and enjoy family time. But before that there is the small matter of year-end reviews that need to be done! This can be an arduous task but it’s a very important one! Managers need to spend time on each review so that it can be as beneficial as possible, they can affect the future of the team. Thinking back at my past reviews, the ones that stand out are those where I was challenged in some way. We all want to hear good things and we should be praising good work but giving constructive criticism is just as important, if not more!

Be prepared

They can be difficult conversations to have, which is why time has to be spent for each one. Usually these would be written down in some system… Continue reading

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When leading one-on-ones I’ve tried different ways to be engaged with the conversation while also attempting to capture points we discussed. One-on-ones can cover a range of topics rapidly so unless you have a very good memory…I don’t…notes are important, especially for any actions that need to be taken.

When I started out as a manager I did go through a stage of not taking notes. I’ve said I don’t have a great memory so this wasn’t one of my better decisions! The conversation was the priority to me, I was focused on being engaged with the other person so didn’t want to distract myself. I took a notepad with me but only jotted down actions I needed to do. On the long term though I had nothing to look back on when review time came, only my bad memory! Most of the feedback was based on comments from other… Continue reading

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Do you enjoy having one-on-ones? If you see them as “getting in the way” then maybe a re-think is needed on getting value out of them. One-on-ones are different from the usual meetings, you can run them how you want; they can be structured or casual conversations, they can happen around a desk or on giant bean bags, they could be short or feel like they take forever! Over time I’ve experienced almost every variety, but this post isn’t about which of these is right or wrong but about how important these meetings are. At one point in my career my manager didn’t have regular one-on-ones with me, in retrospect this wasn’t a good choice for either of us!

Teams only make progress through the work of the people so any issues can impact performance. If these issues are not visible then it can be a mystery where the problem… Continue reading