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  1. Tips on how to effectively lead teams

    May 5, 2015 by Jenna

    Leading teams requires great commitment and looking outside of yourself to meet their needs. We have provided some tips below to help set you on the right path to a great leadership experience: If you are new to a leadership role they might help guide your way and if you have been at it for a while they may serve as a useful reminder.

    1. Brush up on Your Communication Skills. Having clear and precise communication is important, and being honest and open with your team helps build a level of trust. Making sure all staff understand what the goals and expectations are and giving them the opportunity to contribute their thoughts and ideas for feedback is important.

    2. Be Committed to Your Goal. Not only should you be explaining the importance of the company goals to your team, but you need to show by example that you support the goals as a leader. This involves setting out the tasks, having follow-up meetings and making sure that your team is on track with what needs to be achieved.

    3. Give Verbal Recognition. Verbal recognition for efforts and praise show your support towards the staff member’s accomplishments. It also boosts morale and positivity that encourages a mutual support among team members.

    4. A Team Leader Should Lead by Example. A great leader is someone who shouldn’t be afraid to get their hands dirty or dig in to help when the team requires additional support. Someone who can encourage team members to take risks and support them when they do.

    5. Invest in Staff Careers. To ensure your staff are up to date with the skills they need for their role, you may need to invest in training, invest time mentoring or finding the right mentor, invest time to discover what they really need and want in order to do a great job.

    6. Resolve Conflicts. Any conflict within the workplace needs to be handled promptly and assessed by leaders as soon as it arises. Appropriate measures need to be taken to find resolution or negotiate a mutual agreement. Whether it is conflict in a task or between co-workers, leaders must step up to the plate to take action and problem solve the best way that they can.

    7. Teach Adaptability. The effective team manager should teach adaptability and flexibility to all their team members. This results in better communication, a greater sense of empowerment among staff and a faster exchange of information.

    8. Build Pride in Your Team. Positive reinforcement on success is a proven way to keep staff motivation high and build pride in your team. It will increase productivity amongst the team and encourage drive towards goals. You are also creating a positive working environment that employees are happy to be a part of.

    9. Give Your Staff New Responsibilities. Just as you have developed into your role of leadership, your team are looking for development opportunities. It is important that you help them by giving them the opportunity to take on new responsibilities as the opportunities arise.

    Have you lead teams during your career? What were your first experiences when it came to leading teams? What did you find was most successful? What did you learn from the experience?


  2. What are the next steps after gaining a promotion?

    April 28, 2015 by Jenna

    You have worked hard to get your promotion, now you have to set yourself up for success in your new role. Preparing to take on more responsibility will make the transition process run smoothly and will help set you up for future success.

    So what are the next steps after you receive the promotion? What can you do to keep yourself on track?

    1. Get clear expectations. The first thing you need to do is really understand your new role. What does the organisation expect of you? What does your manager expect of you? And what do you expect of yourself? Clarifying these expectations sets up a path to follow.

    2. Set your goals What do you want to accomplish and why? Set personal and career goals both short and long term so you can measure your progress on the path. Don’t be afraid to share your goals or vision with management and get their buy in as well,

    3. Talk to your boss. Get to know your manager and determine how you will work together. How and when will you communicate and what will help you succeed beyond the job description. These things are critically important to your mutual success.

    4. Focus on building relationships. You may have moved to a new department with new peers or report to and a new manager. The relationships with the people around you are part of that job! Invest time in building relationships with your new peers, people in other groups, your boss, your customers, and if you are a leader, your team. It makes your working environment more positive and productive if you have a level of rapport with your team.

    5. Learn what you need to learn. Remember you are new to this position so you cannot know it all on the first day! It is part of our development to learn new skills. Take notes, ask questions, request feedback to make sure you are heading on the path towards success. The earlier you set yourself up to understand the requirements and expectations of the role, the easier it will be to settle into the position and start delivering.

    6. Celebrate! Of course you deserve the time to celebrate your promotion and share the excitement with others. Take some time for yourself and those closest to you to celebrate your progress and accomplishments. Celebrating builds your confidence and awareness, and it sets you on the right path for even better performance.

    Sometimes we tend to rush from one project to the next without fully understanding what we have achieved. Every accomplishment is a stepping stone on the path towards your future. Show appreciation towards those who helped get you get to that next stage.

    If you have been through a promotion recently, what steps did you take to continue to perform at your best and show that you were the right one for the job?


  3. Key Strategies for Achieving a Balance between Work and Home. How do Working Parents do it?

    December 16, 2014 by Jenna

    We are delighted to share this week’s blog from Virginia Herlihy, who works for an organisation called How Do We Do It. They provide in-house programmes to help working parents in Australia and the UK combine their dual roles. For those of you that may not know her, here is her background below and we hope you enjoy her featured blog:

    A note from Founder, Virginia Herlihy

    My passion for helping working parents find a successful way to manage their work and home lives has meant I’ve witnessed first-hand the issues that organisations face in attracting and retaining talent, particularly female talent.

    As a working mother of two and a successful small business owner, I’ve personally faced the challenge of combining work and family.

    It’s been critical for me to examine and understand my values and develop strategies to achieve success and satisfaction in both areas of my life.

    My background in executive coaching, training and group facilitation means I can help both organisations and parents acquire those skills and strategies– to facilitate greater work-life harmony and success.

    I’m proud to say, the feedback we’ve received means the programmes and coaching we’ve developed, work.

    Key Strategies for Achieving a Balance between Work and Home. How do Working Parents do it?

    •  45% of couples with children under 2 are both in the workforce
    • 66% of couples with primary school children are both working. Australian Financial Review 2011

    Today many couples are jointly responsible for sharing their work and family responsibilities, so getting some kind of work/life balance can be a real challenge. If you’re a working mother you probably feel that family and work are competing (and constant) demands. You’re likely to be juggling your own expectations and responsibilities about how you should perform in both areas, as well as those of your colleagues and family. While mothers might get most of the attention when it comes to the challenge of balancing family and work, fathers also struggle to juggle their responsibilities and aspirations.

    So, how do YOU do it? Here are some tips that you have time to read because they are short and that we know help, from our experience with working with hundreds of working mothers and working fathers.

    • Strategy 1

    Continue to identify, acknowledge and appreciate the benefits of what you’re doing that is working for you/what you gain from the choice you are making to be a working parent.

    •  Strategy 2

    Remind yourself that you are not alone, and your challenges are normal which is very helpful in itself.  Keep actively talking to others like you and sharing experiences. Your network and the tips they share will help normalise your experience.

    •  Strategy 3

    Stop tuning in to others negative judgements/biases of how you are supposed to make being a working parent work. You can only get this right for you and your family/work.

    •  Strategy 4

    Get clear on your version of success as a working parent by answering theses questions – What does success look like for me as a working parent? What’s most important to me about my life? What’s most important to me about my working life?

    •  Strategy 5

    Avoid the language of compromise/trade off/sacrifice, which is negative and implies loss. Instead recognise that you are making choices, which have consequences and benefits so consciously use the language of choice.

    •  Strategy 6

    Use a scaling technique i.e. rating things from 1-10, low to high – to assess how much you want to do something out of 10 in terms of your energy, motivation, ability, how important it is to others etc. You can also use this to get perspective and rate how important something is in terms of your life overall so that you are less stressed by it. Your intuitive response will give you useful information.

    •  Strategy 7

    Check your energy around choices you are making/people with whom you are interacting and see whether or not you are being drained or filled.  When you have choice, in your personal life particularly, you can limit your exposure to draining people, situations.

    •  Strategy 8

    Remember to position shift – consider the decision/situation from different perspectives, your position, the other’s position.

    Author – Virginia Herlihy, Founder and Director of How do YOU Do It – Working Parents Programmes tailored to your business.

    Contact details:

     Who is How Do YOU Do It?

    • We deliver in-house programmes to help working parents in Australia and the UK combine their dual roles. We’re specialists in helping businesses support their talent.
    • We help businesses solve issues including female attraction and retention, flexible working strategies, as well as “on and off ramping”.
    • We help working parents find success at work and at home and balance their responsibilities in both areas
    • The result is a win/win for both businesses and parents

  4. Is Work-Life Balance REALLY Achievable?

    December 2, 2014 by Jenna

    When you look at the term ‘work-life balance’, you may wonder if there really is such a thing. Now while there is no ‘perfect’ way to find work-life balance, we shouldn’t aim to believe that it isn’t achievable. So what’s the solution?

    An article published by Alyssa Gregory discusses three important elements to consider when creating a work-life balance compromise:

    Firstly, when you think of the word balance, you think of weighing scales. Your work life on one side and our personal life on the other. It can add extra pressure to continually be striving to find an even balance between the two on a regular basis. Alyssa challenges you to get rid of the ‘balance’ aspect of the term and instead focus on ‘compromise’. Imagine compromise as a means of aiming for a level of give and take that satisfies all of your needs in the best way possible.

    In order to do this, there are three essential things you need to keep in front of you to make our struggle for acceptable compromise achievable.

    Priorities

    The first essential element involves taking a long, hard and realistic look at your priorities. You will then need to rank the level of importance of all aspects of your life, whether it’s work commitments, family, hobbies etc.

    It’s also important to recognise that your priorities will change, sometimes frequently, and if you’re not clear on what parts of your life need your attention first, achieving an acceptable compromise will be a struggle.

    Flexibility

    Being able to react and adapt to changes and unexpected surprises are vital as nothing is ever set in stone. Regroup and shuffle your priorities, and change directions when necessary. By doing this, you’ll gain the flexibility you need to move with the changes.

    Acceptance

    The reality is that some days are better than others and some priorities will be easier to satisfy than others.

    The key is to remember that with a constant give and take, and the goal of doing the best you can at any given time, you can trust that it will eventually all even out in the end.

    I personally agree that if all three points outlined above are applied, the outcome you want can be achieved.

    If I don’t set out my priorities in order of importance then I won’t be able to balance the time and energy I need to put towards them. If I’m not flexible or adaptable to changes in my work or personal life, then I will find it harder to move forward in the right direction. And if I don’t accept that some days I will kick a goal with my checklist and other days I won’t, then my expectations of perfection may add further pressure on myself and to my workload. So why not apply these methods and see what happens?

    Do you believe that work-life balance is achievable? If so, what do you do to make it work?


  5. New role in leadership – Tips on leading your team

    May 13, 2014 by Jenna

    Learning to be an effective leader takes time. All of the great leaders we have come to recognise and revere had to learn and grow their skills over time.

    If you want to pursue a role in leadership you need to understand that your prime responsibility is to your organisation, your team and your clients. So how can you devise an effective leadership strategy to keep your team moving on the path towards success?

    While doing research on the topic I found an article on Career Realism that outlines 5 Tips For Good Leadership Skills:

    1. Communication is key
    Communication is important for many reasons – it builds connection and relationships between other colleagues and team members, it expresses ideas clearly and it also creates an open environment for others to express their ideas. It’s important that others know what is required of them, and if employees and colleagues feel like they can openly approach you to communicate on issues this will create a sense of trust.

    2. Wrong can be right
    Encourage creativity amongst your team and try different approaches to help your organisation reach success. If the idea fails, it is important not to discourage individuals to not input ideas but to instead assess what worked and what didn’t work to come up with plausible outcomes for the future. Keep inspiring others to think outside the box and work together to come up with new solutions.

    3. Look into the future
    Every great leader has a vision, and setting a plan into motion with your team is valuable to help you reach these goals. Make sure to meet with your team to share your vision and establish with each person his or her part to aid in the completion of the objective. This will not only keep your team members motivated but also accountable for their tasks and willing to work together for the overall outcome.

    4. Passion is contagious
    If a leader is enthusiastic and believes in their work, others can’t help but be enthusiastic to partake in the project. This also includes recognising and outlining the hurdles that the team may encounter as well so that they can try and prepare themselves for what lies ahead. Keeping up the enthusiasm and a positive attitude however will keep the momentum going regardless of what stages your business will encounter.

    5. Know Yourself
    This involves identifying your own strengths and weaknesses. It may also be best that while in early stages of the role you keep record of the goals/tasks that you have set out (or even making an important decision) and re-evaluate the outcome in nine to twelve months’ time. It is important to pinpoint where you and your team have excelled and where you may have fallen short for improvements to be made for the future. Did your course of action meet expectations?

    For current managers, do you find these points effective for potential new leaders? And for recently appointed leaders, what steps are you following to grow and develop yourself as well as your office team?


  6. How To Be A Top Performer In A Panel Interview

    April 1, 2014 by Jenna

    The interview process is becoming more and more thorough. There are often two or even three rounds before you are contacted and confirmed successful or not.

    If you receive the call to attend a panel interview, what goes through your mind? Lots of individuals find this process quite intimidating; however, that is not the intention of the employer. If you will be working in a department where you need to report to more than one person, it can be quite beneficial to meet all members of the team beforehand. You can also find out what their expectations are of the individual they want for the role.

    As with any interview process, there are ways to prepare and present yourself successfully in front of a panel.  I found an article on Careerealism that outlines these five steps:

    1. Direct Your Attention To Each Person On The Panel:

    Make sure you introduce yourself to everyone on the panel and engage with eye contact. Positive body language is important as well as showing each individual that same level of respect and attention. Even make a note to write down their names if need be to avoid awkwardness if you need to address them for questions afterwards.

    I tend to have this problem if I am in a group with people that I don’t know very well. I tend to give eye contact to just one person when I am talking. If you are the same, try and be aware of this and shift your focus to each individual in the room. Project your answers confidently to the whole group, and don’t forget to smile when you can!

    2. Expect To Repeat Yourself

    As you will be dealing with new people in the panel interview, you may find that you have to repeat some of the information from your first interview. It is to be expected. The panellists want to get to know you, understand your skill sets and how they will apply to their department and the role you are applying for.

    3. Find Out Who You Will Need To Impress The Most

    As every individual in the group is different, there may be some panellists that you need to work a little harder at impressing or winning over. It shows your ability to work with all different types of people and also how to problem solve on the spot.

    Make that pitch count, be clear and precise and do your best to make a lasting impression. If you are able to appeal to the toughest member of the group it may help influence the other members of the panel to look in your favour.

    4. Be Prepared For At Least One Zinger Question

    With most interviews there will be a question that puts you on the spot for various reasons. It can also feel a lot harder to address it to a group of people as opposed to a one-on-one interview. Take the time to brainstorm some difficult questions and practice your responses. This will help you to relax and address these questions in a confident, composed manor.

    5. Thank All Participants Promptly

    Similar to the first step, make sure you address each interviewer at the conclusion of the interview. Shake hands, thank them personally, and even collect business cards if you haven’t done so already.

    You can use the business cards to your advantage if you send a prompt thank you email to those that attended the interview. This will help keep you fresh and memorable in their minds and also shows a level of professionalism.

    Have you attended a panel interview before? What steps did you take to prepare for it? And what was the overall outcome?

     


  7. What do you need from your manager?

    April 30, 2013 by Jenna

    In order to be effective team members, or to become effective team leaders, supervisors or managers, we first need the direction of a great leader.

    ‘Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.’ —Peter Drucker

    Have you had a great manager that stands out in your mind? How did they help you develop your career? Or perhaps you are currently a manager? Do you know what your team members need?

    Melissa Raffoni submitted a blog in the Harvard Business Review on Eight Things Your Employees Want From You (as the manager):

    1. Tell me my role, tell me what to do, and give me the rules. Micromanaging? No, it’s called clear direction. Give them parameters so they can work within broad outlines.

    2. Discipline my co-worker who is out of line. Time and time again, I hear, “I wish my boss would tell Nancy that this is just unacceptable.” Hold people accountable in a way that is fair but makes everyone cognizant of what is and isn’t acceptable.

    3. Get me excited. About the company, about the product, about the job, about a project. Just get them excited.

    4. Don’t forget to praise me. Motivate employees by leveraging their strengths, not harping on their weaknesses.

    5. Don’t scare me. They really don’t need to know about everything that worries you. They respect that you trust them, but you are the boss. And don’t lose your temper at meetings because they didn’t meet your expectations. It’s often not productive. Fairness and consistency are important mainstays.

    6. Impress me. Strong leaders impress their staff in a variety of ways. Yes, some are great examples of management, but others are bold and courageous, and still others are creative and smart. Strong leaders bring strength to an organisation by providing a characteristic that others don’t have and the company sorely needs.

    7. Give me some autonomy. Give them something interesting to work on. Trust them with opportunity.

    8. Set me up to win. Nobody wants to fail. Indecisive leaders who keep people in the wrong roles, set unrealistic goals, keep unproductive team members, or change direction unfairly just frustrate everybody and make people feel defeated.

    Does your manager know what you need to be successful?

    It is up to each of us to make our expectations and needs clear to our manager. While it may be an easier option to blame the boss when things go wrong, remember that management is also dealing with many other tasks on a broader scale and they too are human and make mistakes. And even while they may appear to be busy, it is important for you to approach them and provide feedback when needed. Taking accountability and showing initiative by taking action is part of the way we grow, both personally and professionally.

    Managers are not expected to be mind-readers however, when it comes to employee goals and expectations. In order for effective progress to be made, communication needs to be established between both parties to achieve company goals, personal goals and when processes/procedures need to finalised by (setting deadlines, follow up meetings etc.).

    Companies across Australia are about to be busy with Performance Appraisal Meetings – what feedback will give to your manager? What do you need to be most effective in your work?

    I personally need a manager that I can approach to ask questions or report issues to. Who can make the time to sit with me to discuss upcoming tasks. Not only that, but someone who can allow me to get the job done and make decisions on my own and I can report to back to if I have any questions/issues.

    If you set out your needs and management sets out their needs, it is then the process of collectively working together to achieve those goals and move forward. In order to work collectively however, you will need to consider the following:

    • Not all goals/strategies may be agreed upon when meetings take place. Certain goals may be put on hold to be re-evaluated at a later stage. However, take the opportunity to ask management to review this again if you are truly passionate about it and believe it will benefit the overall business.

    • Try to understand from a bigger picture where your goals tie in with the company goals. This will help you to understand management’s perspective and will help further build your bond between one another instead of creating a barrier.

    • You need to be adaptable and flexible with the feedback we are provided with. This needs to be taken into consideration from the manager and employee perspective, as you will both have the opportunity to share your opinions. Don’t take constructive feedback too personally. As one of my articles in this week’s news outlines, use feedback to your advantage.

    I have been in situations in the past where management has offered me the opportunity for advancement for hard work and effort, and I have also been advised on times where I needed to step up my game and it does leave you in a situation of vulnerability as negative feedback can feel like a personal attack. The shields go up and you may end up spending a long period of time reflecting on the negative instead of looking for positive solutions.

    Listening to management’s feedback and then offering feedback to work together towards a solution is the best way that I have found dealing with feedback and also getting my own needs met within any organisation. It could even be something like ‘further training’ required in a particular field or area of your job and you should never be afraid to ask, especially if it offers advancement within the company.

    Have you compiled a list of items that you would like to discuss with your manager? It’s never too late to do so. Take the time to assess the most important items or ones that require more immediate action. Also make sure to review what goals will overall benefit your career and the organisation as a whole.

    Are you prepared to take action and approach management about your needs/goals? You don’t need to wait until the performance review, and you can even arrange a meeting if you would like to discuss items in more detail. In order for changes to take place, someone needs to be the initiator, so why not take the stand and be the one to enforce it. You will feel better knowing that you took the steps to voice you needs rather then spending your days wondering ‘what if’?

    As a manager, what feedback have you received from your team? How did you handle this feedback and what did you provide to your staff in return?


  8. How To Ask For A Promotion

    April 9, 2013 by Jenna

    According to recent research, asking for a promotion ranks high on the list of one of life’s most anxiety-inducing activities. Do you think this is true?

    Most people agree that promotions are also one of the most vital things that you can do to move ahead in your career. But there is always that underlying question of when is the right time? Or even that subconscious fear of what if management says no?

    But with any increase in responsibility or salary, it is something that needs to be earned, not expected. Especially as a recent graduate stepping into the workforce, sometimes you have to start from the bottom and work your way up to get to that job of your dreams.

    For example, my cousin works for a law firm in the city and he puts his heart and soul into his work. When the opportunity arose for a chance to prove himself further within the company and be promoted to different section of the firm he didn’t hesitate. He came in to the office early, stayed back late, and pulled the extra yards needed. Needless to say I did not hear from him during the process as he had his priorities on showing management what he was capable of, but in the long run he got the promotion and we were able to celebrate together. He pushed through the challenges to win the goal. And he always takes on new challenges the same way.

    So you have put in the hard yards and worked above expectations, how do you go about asking for the promotion? Megan Alpern at Forbes outlines the following key tips:

    1. Do your homework – Assess what you have brought to the organisation so far and have it written down and prepared to present to management. Providing examples of how you have gone above and beyond can be very advantageous.

    2. Plan the Timing – As there is no perfect time to ask, however, a good time to ask may be when annual or semi-annual reviews take place. But also keep in mind the current economy within your team or department. Is your business struggling or thriving and is it a wise move to make the request now?

    3. Ask for the Meeting – Perhaps you are not near review time, you can request a meeting, but make sure to outline to management what you are hoping to discuss so that you do not catch them off guard.

    4. Know Your Numbers – It is best not to discuss numbers until you are technically offered the promotion, but make sure you are prepared to negotiate it if the conversation arises. And don’t sell yourself short!

    5. Follow-up – If you receive the promotion then you can go and celebrate, but if you don’t make sure you are not closing the conversation just yet. Assess what has been discussed and areas of improvement, and if conversations arise again in your department about a potential promotion later down the track, ask management if they would be willing to revisit the conversation again. They will appreciate your initiative!

    In the event of a less than favourable outcome, I am not saying that every request for a promotion will be accepted and there are a couple of other factors that you need to consider:

    • The answer may be no for now. Your current organisation or the economy may mean that you cannot be offered a promotion at this time. You may need to consider if you want to wait until things turn up or look for alternative employment. Alternatively, rather than stepping up could you take a sidewards step to take on new responsibilities or projects to develop the skills you may need in the long-term?

    • You don’t have the skills needed. Management may want you to pursue further training and development before considering you for this role. As we all need to continue to learn and grow, take this as a good opportunity to take on training as who knows where this could take you in the future.

    • Negative feedback – areas for improvement. Although this may be disheartening, keep in mind what feedback has been provided and start following the measures put in place to get past it. Then if the opportunity arises again, ask if you can revisit the topic of promotion.

    Have you been in the situation where you approached management for a promotion? If so, what steps did you take to do so and what was the feedback received?


  9. How much does positive thinking influence your outcomes?

    October 25, 2011 by Jenna

    One fine morning a few years ago, my very lovely and well-meaning neighbour thrust a DVD into my hands. It was “The Secret”. Many of you will be familiar with this title. The book spent forever at the top of the New York Times bestseller list. I still remember my feeling of absolute incredulity as I viewed the film. Was I being too negative as thoughts such as “you have got to be kidding me” and “what a load of nonsense” floated through my mind? 

    “The Secret states that desirable outcomes such as health, wealth, and happiness can be attracted simply by changing one’s thoughts and feelings. For example, if a person wanted a new car, by thinking about the new car and having positive feelings about the car, the law of attraction would rearrange events to make it possible for the car to manifest in the person’s life.” [Source

    Almost 22% of respondents to last week’s online pollHow much does positive thinking influence your outcomes? – selected “Completely – exactly like the law of attraction, my thoughts attract what I want”. 

    Fascinating. 

    To gain more of an expert insight into the “positive psychology” movement and philosophy, I approached our Organisational Psychologist, Narelle Hess, for some guidance. The articles she directed me to all cautioned that “positive psychology is much more than ‘positive thinking’, and offers a vast array of insight and direction for how people can function more optimally. Positive psychology offers us added insight into how we can embrace change, feel positive about who we are, and enjoy healthy, responsible and fulfilled lives. But, like anything else the application of this knowledge and information is very important. Particularly when it comes to how we apply positive emotions.” [Source

    This reflects the feelings of 75% of our poll respondents, who agreed that positive thinking helps them “Moderately – a positive outlook helps me to approach situations, but thoughts won’t work without actions too”. One commented: “You can think as positively as you like, however, it is your actions that will determine whether your positive thoughts come to fruition”, whilst another said “the power of positive thinking is incredible and certainly helps me, but in certain situations action is required. All the positive thinking doesn’t get the job done but it certainly helps and stops procrastination.”     

    Last week, I read Peter Bregman’s book 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done 

    I was particularly struck by a section in which he discussed how managers can motivate staff members by giving them tasks above their current abilities and outside their comfort zone. The important thing for the manager to do was to assure their staff member that it was okay to take some time, make some mistakes, and even to fail initially. The combination of setting realistic expectations within a framework of unleashing unrealised potential created an ideal environment for growth, achievement and a new level of productivity for the staff member, and therefore the company. 

    The interplay between a positive environment and attitude, combined with a realistic set of expectations and actions, created the optimum zone. There can be no result without action, but a positive yet realistic attitude certainly helps things along. 

    As a final, neat illustration of this, the person who responded to the poll with the comment “this week’s poll is the best ever and will win me tickets” was not the winner. However, if they, and you, continue to enter the poll, they might be a future winner. 

    As my dad always says when he buys his Lotto tickets, “You’ve got to be in it to win it”.   

    Our new poll is live! Tell us: Are we relying too much on email, rather than actual conversation, to communicate? Results published in next week’s ChallengeBlog …

    ________________________________________

    Challenge Consulting has a Facebook page. Click the FB icon to “Like” us now and stay in touch re our new blog posts, weekly poll, links and more …


  10. How to Ask for a Payrise (and how not to)

    May 24, 2011 by Jenna

    We’d all like more money. Some of us may even deserve it. 67% of respondents to last week’s online poll said they would like to ask for a payrise.

    But how do you go about it with any chance of success?

    The most obvious tip for the right way to ask for a payrise is to be able to justify why you deserve one. You have to prove your worth. It is unrealistic to think that a raise is warranted just by you doing the job – that is, after all, what the current pay level covers. And length of time at a company does not automatically entitle you to bid for extra money. You therefore need to give before you get, exceed goals and expectations, and build a reputation of success. 

    – Can you clearly articulate what you do, what you have learned, what value you add, where you go above and beyond the bounds of your job description?

    – Is the timing good, say, after a positive performance review, or when you have been allocated new duties and responsibilities that perhaps warrant a pay rise?

    – Is the company in good financial shape?

    – Have you been in your job for more than five minutes?

    The following is a list of Do’s and Don’ts from someone in an excellent position to give advice in this area – our Managing Director, Elizabeth Varley:

    Do’s

    1. Prepare your case: get facts, figures and evidence as to why you deserve an increase and what you will bring to the role in the future.

    2. Compare your current salary: research the employment market using similar roles in similar companies as your benchmark.

    3. Put yourself in your boss’s position: how would this pay rise affect the salary parity of your co-workers?

    4. Be open minded to other solutions and benefit options: these can include flexible work hours, study assistance, career advancement opportunities, further investment in your professional development, etc.

    5. Give your boss advance notice: make sure that your boss has the time and is forewarned as to the nature of your discussion.

    Don’ts

    1. Don’t get emotional: keep the discussion on a business level.

    2. Don’t threaten or use arm-twisting tactics: this will only create the wrong impression and result in negativity and resistance.

    3. Don’t ambush your boss: make sure that your boss can give you the time and is in the right frame of mind for this discussion.

    4. Don’t expect too much: you might deserve a pay rise but your boss’s hands may be tied as to what they can give you.

    5. Don’t gossip: this is a private matter between you and your boss. Office gossip will only lead to negative outcomes and you could “shoot yourself in the foot” by blabbing to your colleagues about your intention and the content of your discussions. 

    If there is a no or an unsatisfactory outcome …

    What should people do if they are only given part of the raise being requested?

    – Politely ask whether the situation will be reviewed within the next 3-6 months.

    – Ask what responsibilities or professional development you could do to improve your chances for next time.

    – Re-emphasise to your manager how much you are enjoying working for your firm, and indicate what you plan to do to demonstrate your eagerness for personal growth.

    Also understand your organisation’s constraints; you may think you deserve it, but your company may not currently be in the position to offer you a raise or promotion. Are there any non-monetary benefits the company could offer? If not, and you feel you are consistently working beyond expectations without any prospects of reward in the next 6-9 months, it may be time to consider your options external to the organisation …

    [With thanks, as always, to the Challenge Consulting Team for their expert comments and suggestions!]




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