Up until now it has been assumed that an intelligent leader is a good leader. But new research into IQ and leadership suggests that being too intelligent in relation to your employees could have negative effects on how they perceive you.
Most of us have a range of different conversations throughout an average working day. These can look like anything from department meetings and phonecalls with clients; to grabbing a coffee with a colleague or catching up with a friend. These conversations can be very important, as a positive conversation can have very successful outcomes. However in a world where the face to face conversation seems to have been slowly replaced by online interactions, in the words of Jim Brown, ‘technology is creating a society with relationships a mile wide but an inch deep’.
Conversation is the key to building deeper relationships, so try our 5 tips to help you achieve more fruitful conversations:
Give conversations your full attention in that moment, as allowing ourselves to be distracted when someone is speaking to us is the ultimate no-no. However good you think you are at multi-tasking, you will never be able to give your full focus to someone if you are simultaneously looking at your phone or computer screen.
Meaningful conversations don’t have to be reserved only for the times when you have hours to spare. Even when you only have a few minutes to spare you can still make the time count by giving the conversation. Ken Blanchard famously suggested that managers should spend just 60 seconds setting goals, giving praise or coaching individual team members in the One Minute Manager.
Consider your phrasing
The key to encouraging people to open up is to avoid simply asking ‘How are you?’ in a way that allows them to answer ‘I’m fine, how are you?’ Try using different phrasing and altering the emphasis of certain words, as this can help to encourage a more thoughtful response which then opens the door to a deeper conversation.
Forget advice about using eye contact, open body language and nodding to show you are listening, and don’t stress about showing you have heard them by repeating their words back to them. Focusing on these techniques could distract you from actually hearing what is being said. If you are genuinely listening with sincerity and curiosity then the speaker will know that they have your full attention.
Use open questions
If you want to keep the conversation going then try to always ask ‘why?’ rather than ‘what?’ or ‘how?’. Open questions often lead to the best answers and encourage people to open up.
Feedback is crucial for teams to be able to thrive. However many of us will find ourselves avoiding taking the time to commit to regular check-in sessions with team members, even though as managers we know the benefits this would bring.
The best leaders have one-to-ones with their team members every week, whether over lunch, whilst taking a walk or even travelling to a meeting. One-on-ones don’t need to be formal but they should be clear to those involved, so that you can make productive use of your time.
However regularly you communicate with your team members, taking the time to sit down together and go a bit deeper with a dedicated one on one is worth doing. Whether it is once a month, quarterly or even just 6 monthly, it can be a really valuable thing to do. To make the most of your one to ones, follow our dos and don’ts.
Show your interest in the career goals of your team member, beyond their current role.
Provide a welcoming space for any complaints or issues.
Be receptive to feedback about yourself too; a one to one is an opportunity to hold one another to account.
Create an action list to follow up on after the meeting.
Postpone one to ones or deprioritise them. This sends a negative message to your staff.
Clock-watch- allow as much time as is required depth of conversation.
Hold one-to-ones back to back in the same room on the same day- dedicate the proper time to get the most out of each session.
Spend the whole meeting talking- while feedback is helpful, you also need to listen.
Many team members will roll their eyes at the thought of a Team Away Day if they have found previous events to be boring and uninspired, or unstructured and ineffective. A well planned event can change this attitude as if you follow the rules below, you will find your team comes away feeling refreshed, inspired and motivated to work together more successfully.
Check your Away Day plans include these essential ingredients:
Get the right timing
Set a date well in advance, avoiding any obvious no-go times such as school holidays, to ensure that everyone can attend. It can be helpful to schedule your Team Day with the wider business landscape in mind- is there a period of time every year when your company is naturally less busy? The ‘fresh start’ feeling of the New Year in January, or even the new financial year can be a good time to catch team members when they are in a more flexible mindset.
Have a clear purpose
Make sure that the key aims are at the front of your mind when scoping out a team event, and share these with your team too. Having a clear vision for the day does not take too long to decide on, but it can help transform the whole event by keeping everyone on the same page and preventing the day from going off track.
Make an appropriate plan
Choose the right activities for the day- spending hours in a conference room listening to various talks is not always the best way to get the message across. Try some of our team building activities to break up a day of meetings and discussions, or as a total replacement of these things. Tackling a set of tasks together is a great way to improve teamwork, unite your team and create a truly enjoyable day.
Attendance at team events shouldn’t be optional, as this suggests that it is not important to the business. Consider employing a facilitator for the day to help lead the day and encourage discussion whilst allowing the company leader to be a part of the activities.
Select a good location
If you always opt for the same location for conferences and meetings, look for somewhere new to create a blank slate. Choosing a unique location will inspire team members and make the day particularly memorable.
As conference season is well and truly upon us, we have been considering the most important elements of a good team event or away day. If you are planning a conference event then follow these 5 tips to ensure it is a success. Continue reading
How many times have you left a meeting feeling like you have achieved nothing? Next time you need to get your team together, consider one of our ideas for alternative meetings to get the most out of your time. Continue reading
Just like eating healthily and exercising, we all know that getting enough sleep is good for us. But you might not realise just how much of an impact that a lack of sleep can have on your work. The amount of sleep that you need will vary from person to person, but if you regularly get less than 7 hours of sleep per night, you may start to notice the following effects at work:
Inability to concentrate- If you frequently struggle to focus on your work, and find yourself missing things as they have slipped your mind, it could be down to tiredness.
Decision-making- Bill Clinton once said “Every important mistake I’ve made in my life, I made because I was too tired”. A serious lack of sleep can cause cognitive impairment, so if you have an important meeting coming up then make sure you are well rested for it.
Inefficiency- By skipping the snooze button and heading into the office early you might think you’ll have time to get more done, but in fact if you have not had sufficient sleep you will be less efficient and less productive, so those extra hours could be wasted.
How to stay awake in the office
If you’ve hit an afternoon slump, try one of these ideas:
Get outside- When you’re busy it seems like you have no choice but to eat lunch at your desk, but even a 10 minute break from the office can help you recharge enough to make your afternoon more productive. Exposure to natural light is a great midday wake up, as is exercise, so a quick walk around the block can make all the difference.
Moderate your caffeine- Although it can be tempting to mainline coffee when you’re tired at work, drinking too much caffeine can keep you from falling asleep at night. Try not to drink caffeine after 2pm- if you can’t live without hot drinks try swapping to herbal teas.
Hydrate yourself- Dehydration affects brain function, so keep a bottle of water at your desk and make sure to drink from it throughout the day, especially if you are craving sugary snacks as it is easy to mistake hunger for thirst.
Here at Team Building London we had a great 2016. We have worked with companies such as Bayer, Jaguar Land Rover, Clarins and Warner Bros, helping teams to grow, to work together and to celebrate their achievements. Continue reading
Often in business people stick with tried and tested methods, or follow certain processes not because it is the most efficient way; but because historically that is just how things have been done. Continue reading
Everyone likes to think of themselves as a good boss, but leading a team can have its challenges. Try this test to measure your manager, or if you dare to quantify your own leadership qualities.