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Archive for the ‘Personal Development’ Category

5 Signs That Instantly Identify Someone With Good Leadership Skills – Inc.

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While the word leadershipconveys hundreds of possible scenarios about what a leader is or does, I posit that the best leaders are people-centered; theyaspire to lead by serving others first, and everything else follows to exceptional results.

In the words of Robert K. Greenleaf, the man who kicked the servant leadership movement into high gear decades ago, "The servant-leader is servant first ... It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead."

Here's my most recent list of what I feel makes a great servant leader and, in turn, how instantly identifiable they become in the eyes of their followers.

I recently connected with David Graham, founder and CEO ofCode Ninjas. Hestarts his brainstorming meetingswith the hard truth: eliminatingany tension with his team by being transparent, and openingevery brainstorm by announcing that 90 percent of what his staff is going to say is never going to happen.

"There are no stupid ideas, so just let them flow. You never know what you might say that will inspire someone else, even if your idea was a flop," Graham tells his team.

When an idea strikes a chord, he has four simple questions to ask his employees to determine if it'll get pursued: How is it going to fail? Can we mitigate the failures? Is it in our realm of expertise? And is it on brand?

Traditionally, an autocratic style of management has been effective in getting results.Butthe nature of worktoday, along with its workforce, has changed. Success in management today requires collaboration -- not command. Asking people to take part in deciding the goals that they will be a part of is an essential component to engaging employees.

Before you assume you're fit to lead, you have to ask yourself,Am I a good listener?Because if you're going to lead, you need to be.

Recent researchpublished inHarvard Business Reviewsupportsevidence that leaderswho listen well "are perceived aspeople leaders, generate moretrust, instill higherjob satisfaction, and increase theirteam's creativity."

One reason leaders don't listen more in the workplace is that they think they'll be perceived asweak or without authority. Another reason is that they aresimply under time pressure or distracted by other thoughts.

The first step tobecoming a better listener is to eliminate the noise --from yourdistracted mind andyour physical anddigital environment.

Employee burnout is a real threat to the well-being of today's workers. Recent research conducted byGallupfound that 23 percent of employees reported feelingburned out at workvery often or always, while an additional 44 percent reported feeling burned out sometimes. That means up to two-thirds of your employees could be experiencing burnout on the job at any one time.

Leaders are now faced with fostering a healthy environment forhappy employees to perform at a high level. One of those leadersisShawn Riegsecker,CEO and founder of Chicago-based ad tech providerCentro.

Riegsecker shared with me the idea of establishing a workplace where friendships are developed for competitive advantage, or, as he puts it, a "culture of professional intimacy."

Sounds soft and fuzzy, but what he's getting at is backed by science. Office friendships boost individual performance and increase lifetime happiness.A recent Gallup studyfound that women who havea best friend at workare more than twice as likely to be engaged than women who don't.Look beyond the bottom line to create an office that encourages friendships in and out of the office.

Improving self-awareness is an emotional journey, but can be incredibly rewarding. One of my favorite executives I've featured in my column a few times isChuck Runyon, the extremely self-awareCEO of the multibillion-dollarSelf Esteem Brands, parent company to Anytime Fitness, Waxing the City, and Basecamp Fitness.

"Just as you have to work out consistently to build muscles, you have to actively work on improving your leadership, too," notes Runyon. In a previous column, he shared five steps to becoming more self-aware, which will helpin your interactions with employees, colleagues, customers, and investors.

One of those steps is to knowyour team members on an intimate level in order to build them up, becausebusiness is only as strong as itspeople.

Runyon shares: "Get in the weeds with them, celebrate their wins, and be there for them if they fail. Encourage and empower them to take risks in order to continue improving and advancing. Provide opportunities for professional development such as conferences, events, and courses for personal growth."

The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of

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November 30th, 2019 at 5:48 am

How to find and keep skilled workers a critical focus of BC associations – – Daily Commercial News

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Finding, keeping and motivating a skilled and enthusiastic workforce is at the top of the of most British Columbia construction contractors to-do lists.

Many contractors, however, are so busy that they dont have time to give HR (human resources) matters the attention it needs, says Andrea Ringrose, education manager of the Vancouver Regional Construction Association (VRCA).

VRCA education is offering two courses in early 2020 to help Lower Mainland contractors get a tighter grip on their HR file: Hiring in a Labour Shortage and Love Them or Lose Them: Employee Retention.

Theyre new and different, said Ringrose. And they complement each other. Hiring in a Labour Shortage teaches how to become an employer of choice to attract top-tier applicants. Love Them or Lose Them is about how to retain the best workers after theyve been hired.

Instruction for both courses is being provided by Vancouver-based Envol Solutions Inc.

Both eight-hour courses are aimed at managers and supervisors, business owners and HR and recruiting professionals.

Hiring in a Labour Shortage will cover a variety of interrelated subjects, including employer branding; sourcing strategies to find and attract the right applicants; and interview skills and tools.

On average, top candidates are on the market for only ten days, said Brianna Blaney, who is Envols founder and managing partner. How can employers possibly keep up?

Love Them or Lose Them will look at such topics as the causes of employee turnover and the early warning signs thereof; how to engage and retain productive employees; the roles of career development, mentoring, compensation, personal development and workplace culture as retention strategies; and how to build a committed workforce.

More than 80 percent of employees are either actively looking for a new job or are open to one, said Blaney. Retention begins with having the right people on the bus. Not all turnover is bad turnover. The workshop will teach participants how to identify their key players and develop strategies that keep them engaged and fulfilled with their organization.

For more information on both courses, go to

Like their Lower Mainland counterparts, Vancouver Island contractors are concerned with attracting and holding workers.

Its hard to retain skilled labour, said Rory Kulmala, CEO of Vancouver Island Construction Association (VICA).

Kulmala says the Vancouver Island construction industry is encountering what he calls demographics in action.

Were losing people due to retirement and theyre not being replaced quickly, he said. Construction is strong right across the country, so tradespeople in other parts of Canada are busy and dont need to move to BC to find work.

Because many construction businesses on Vancouver Island dont have a full-time HR person, VICA is partner in a new initiative led by Allison Greaves, HR manager of Durwest Construction Management Inc.

Graves wants to set up an HR networking group for the local construction industry. VICA is sponsoring the first meeting of the group, which is taking place in January.

For more information, see

Not all western Canada construction contractors are as taxed for labour as British Columbias.

We havent had to provide training on hiring and retention recently, said Karen Low, president of Merit Contractors Association Saskatchewan (Merit). We are in a different labour market. Its much more stable and there is less movement.

Merit offers between 25 and 30 training courses per year in Regina and Saskatoon.

We focus on providing the soft skills that tradespeople need to be successful in their construction careers, said Low. They know the trades skills, but they have to learn how to manage people.

A few years ago, when there was a labour shortage, Merit offered courses in effective recruitment, how to deal with difficult employees, on-boarding, training, and terminating.

Training for contractors is tough, says Low. While they may ask for training, if they are too busy, or have laid off staff, they wont invest in it.

Weve found best success in offering short courses and webinars that wont take them away from the job site for too long.

Lower Mainland construction industry consultant Helen Goodland says construction industry employers, wherever theyre located, need to start fishing in a different pond to catch the workers they need.

Construction needs to attract good young people who are tech-savvy and wary of hard, physical outdoor labour, says Goodland. The construction industry is competing with tech companies like Microsoft and Google. Young people are looking for more than just cash. Professional development, career growth opportunities and flexibility are very important to them.

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November 30th, 2019 at 5:48 am

Novel techniques to improve internal communication and build a strong company culture – Estonian World

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Eva-Maria Merjel, the CCO at Thorgate, an Estonian software company, highlights the ways to create a working culture that makes people thrive.

As the Chief Culture Officer at Thorgate, I am responsible for a variety of areas from hiring and peoples development, internal communication as well as taking care of our office.

Our company builds tech-savvy digital products for manufacturing, health care as well as for the finance industry and we have more than 30 employees, of whom 30% are foreigners. The fact that a third of our people have worked in the company for more than three years assures us that we have built an open and supportive company culture. How did we accomplish that? I will share a few novel techniques and methodologies that we use on a weekly basis and that I encourage others to try.

Once a month, our people come to the office and spend an entire day working on something useful but that does not include their daily work. It can be their personal hobby project, watching an online course or reading a book.

Think of a time when you wanted to learn something new. Why did you end up not acquiring that skill? The most common excuse is that you didnt find the time. With a dedicated work free workday in everybodys calendar, they all know they indeed have the time and should start investing in themselves. As during that day, everybody in the company is concentrating on this, it makes it easier for people to not get carried away.

Rewarding our people with 12 extra days a year for personal development has helped decrease the overall stress level. Most of our employees are software engineers whose work requires deep concentration and the ability to cope with constant failures. Time has shown that work free workdays help avoid the risk of burnout as well because it breaks the daily routine and allows experiencing something positive.

Two of the core values of Thorgate are being trustworthy and open-minded. Both are necessary for creating a supportive work environment where communication runs smoothly.

For full transparency, once a month during a company-wide meeting, we host a CEO grilling session. Our CEO, Raido Pikkar, reads out and answers questions sent by the employees anonymously via an online form throughout the month. Our company culture is open and welcoming, so every employee can, of course, talk to Raido directly whenever something concerns them or perhaps, they want to propose some new initiative within the company. However, as the questions sent during the CEO grilling are anonymous, it provides a perfect forum for more uncomfortable topics.

Each Friday late afternoon we also host retrospectives or retros to improve the internal exchange of information. Every team gathers for about twenty to thirty minutes to discuss the positives and negatives from the week. In the beginning, everybody has five minutes to write them down as keywords and then we all take turns reading them out loud and commenting on the topics. Recurrent negatives are then discussed in-depth to find solutions or perhaps next steps towards solutions.

For reporting on the status of different work tasks, we use a methodology called PPP progress, plans and problems. In a simple spreadsheet, everyone simply lists their three-to-five key accomplishments (progress), planned activities (plans) as well as problems they are facing this week. It is recommended to also have a column for notes where people can include links to different projects or files mentioned in the PPP.

I recommend filling out the PPP once a week and use a new sheet for each week. This allows having a good brief overview of the achievements as well as plans when youre in a one-on-one meeting with your supervisor. I personally love the structure of PPP precisely because its so efficient and allows reviewing your personal progress during an entire quarter, as well as keep track of the challenges you faced.

The same goes for the supervisor having a very clean easy to understand summary of the employees progress in their team. To our knowledge, some other Estonian companies, for example, Weekdone are using PPP methodology as well.

What if instead of bigger team trainings, you learned something new with your colleagues every week? At our company, we have hosted weekly knowledge sharing sessions for some years now and it has definitely had an impact on our company culture.

Curiosity and willingness to learn from each other have become something very natural and it is being noticed and valued. In addition to a few bigger company-wide trainings a year, we host these 30-minute sessions casually in our office, where the topics vary from new trends in technology to mental health.

Most of the presentations are put together by our own employees on a voluntary basis, but every now and then we invite an external expert to host the session. As an example, doctor Jri Laasik from SYNLAB, a medical laboratory in Tallinn, came to speak about mens health and Taavi Kotka, a former chief information officer of the Estonian government, about future trends.

Each spring and fall, we host an internal hackathon that starts on Friday afternoon and runs for 48 hours. During those hackathons, teams themselves choose what they want to accomplish, be it prototyping a business idea or find clever ways to make office life more comfortable.

Once we set up a camera to see the length of the queue of our lunch cafe downstairs. These hackathons encourage collaboration between colleagues that dont usually work together on a daily basis. It also increases overall bonding and motivation as people support each other in achieving a common goal. We hosted our fall hackathon just a few weeks ago and even though the event is voluntary the turnout was impressive 50%.

As the above-mentioned techniques also reflect, our focus is on being transparent and efficient and on supporting everyones personal development. We also care about giving back to the community, which is why, twice a month, we host coding clubs for everyone interested in Python programming language and once a year in the fall we host a technical conference called PyCon Estonia.

The opinions in this article are those of the author. Cover: The team at Thorgate.

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November 30th, 2019 at 5:48 am

Summit to honour three Bahamians – Bahamas Tribune

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Three Bahamians will be honoured at Hubert Edwards Global Success Summit 2019, which will be held tomorrow.

Barry Rassin, the first Bahamian president of Rotary International; Ricardo P. Deveaux, founder of the Primary School Student of the Year Awards, and Anthony Longley, first Bahamian and current director of Toastmaster's International, will be honoured for their leadership excellence in The Bahanas and internationally.

Success Summit, now in its third year, was founded by Hubert Edwards, a certified accountant and talk show host who wanted the conference to connect Bahamian society and allow persons to network and be invested in each others' success.

"These three distinguished Bahamians, through their leadership and commitment, have positively influenced the lives of many, both locally and internationally," Mr Edwards said of the honorees.

"The standard for this award is very high and discriminating. We will recognise persons who are unquestionable leaders and active contributors to national life who, through their work, represent The Bahamas in ways consistent with national ideals and who, through their life, demonstrate the philosophy of Ubuntu (I am because we are). Barry Rassin, Anthony Longley and Ricardo P. Deveaux embody important leadership essentials."

Success Beyond Self is the title of this year's event, which is targeted at corporate employees and executives; small business owners; public service workers; politicians and national leaders; young professionals; entrepreneurs; religious leaders; trainers and life coaches; and any person committed to their personal development.

Speakers include Duquesa Dean; Zhivargo Laing; Dr Kenneth Romer; Ethan Hepburn; Ethan and Dekel Quant; Malachi Munroe; Ean Maura; Khrystle Ferguson; Rodney Bain; Simmone Bowe; Victoria Mullings and Mr Edwards. The international presenter is Pollo Prosper, a Haitian-American author and John Maxwell Team Member who fought his way from the streets to success as a retail leader and now a speaker coach and entrepreneur.

The summit's title sponsor, Aliv, will have also two executives presenting.

Scholarships for Bahamian students have been made available through this event.

Three students from inner-city community schools were selected from numerous applicants and will be awarded scholarship grants. Scholarship awardees will be recognised and presented with their scholarship information at the Summit.

The scholarships grants are: Dr Myles Munroe memorial Scholarship Grant sponsored by Aliv; the Michelle M. Miller Memorial Scholarship Grant sponsored by Hubert Edwards Global and Friends; and the Dr Richard Pinder Memorial Scholarship Grant sponsored by Genesys Now.

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November 30th, 2019 at 5:48 am

5 of the Most Popular Questions on Emotional Intelligence, Answered – Inc.

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Still, there are many who are unsure what emotional intelligence really is, and what it looks like in the real world. Is it just a "feel good" set of guidelines? Is it simply the ability to show common sense? Or is it something more?

In my book, EQ Applied: The Real-World Guide to Emotional Intelligence, I aimed to answer some of these questions using real-world examples and current research. Below you'll find answers to five of the most popular questionsregarding emotional intelligence--and discover why it's important that you work to develop yours.

Simply put, emotional intelligence is the ability to identify, understand, and manage emotions. It's a practical ability that enables you to use knowledge about emotions to inform personal decisions, and to manage your thoughts and actions.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to make emotions work for you, instead of against you.

To understand the full scope of emotional intelligence, it's helpful to break it down into four general facets, or abilities.

Self-awareness is the ability to identify and understand your own emotions and how they affect you. Through self-awareness you recognize how your feelings can help or hinder you from reaching your goals. You become aware of your emotional tendencies, strengths, and weaknesses.

Self-management takes things one step further: it's the ability to manage emotions in a way that allows you to accomplish a task, reach a goal, or provide a benefit. It includes the quality of self-control, which is the ability to control your emotional reactions.

Social awareness is the ability to accurately perceive the feelings of others and understand how those feelings influence behavior. In order to achieve social awareness, you must be empathetic, ready to see and feel things from the perspective of others.

Relationship management allows you to get the most out of your relationships with others. Instead of trying to force others into action, it allows you to use insight and persuasion to motivate them to act. It also includes the ability to strengthen the level of trust between you and others.

Just like what you might think of as traditional intelligence, everyone possesses a degree of emotional intelligence.

However, it's difficult to measure emotional intelligence since tests are inherently subjective and imperfect. Nonetheless, here's a five-minute test you can take that will help you determine not only how emotionally intelligent you are, but where your strengths and weaknesses lie.

Here's a quick summary of the test:

1. Do I try to control my thoughts?

2. Do I think before I speak?

3. Do I learn from negative feedback?

4. Do I acknowledge others?

5. Do I have a balanced view of myself?

6. Do I listen for the message, and not just the words?

10. Do I give helpful feedback?

11. Do I willingly apologize?

12. Do I forgiveandforget?

13. Do I keep my commitments?

14. Do I know how to handle negative emotions?

15. Do I practice self-care?

16. Do I focus on what I can control?

17. Can I tell when others are using my emotions to manipulate or control me?

Yes, to an extent. A variety of factors will affect your ability to understand and manage emotions, including your genes and environment. And your formative years definitely play an important role.

But research demonstrates that you can grow these abilities. For example, Stanford psychology professor Carol Dweck has shown the advantages of having a "growth mindset" vs. a "fixed mindset." In other words, individuals who believe their talents can be developed through hard work, effective strategy, and feedback from others (growth mindset) tend to achieve more than those who believe their talents are innate gifts with finite development potential (fixed mindset).

You can apply the growth mindset to emotional intelligence, too.

Emotional intelligence begins with self-awareness. We often go through life reacting, never really thinking about how or why we respond the way we do.

But you can develop self-awareness by asking the right questions. For example, begin by asking yourself: In what situations do I find that emotions work against me?

Once you've identified a few areas, you can then ask someone you trust to give you feedback on the same question. It could be a family member, a close friend, or another confidant. Be clear that you're working to improve yourself and you want them to answer the question honestly; then, allow enough time so that they can give the question some thought.

Some other questions you can ask yourself (and others):

It's important to know that emotional intelligence isn't about dissecting every feeling you have it. Rather, it's the ability to search for deeper understanding when beneficial--or to simply enjoy the moment when not.

Emotions are beautiful--they make us human. But they can also lead to major regrets if we allow them to control us. When you instead strive to harness the power of your emotions, you avoid becoming a slave to your feelings.

The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of

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November 30th, 2019 at 5:48 am

Freddie Ljungberg will be a popular choice with Arsenal players, but everything else is a total unknown – The Telegraph

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The red mohican may be gone but the memories of Freddie Ljungberg remain for Arsenal fans, many of whom have spent weeks hoping their former player might be given an opportunity to take over from the struggling Unai Emery.

Ljungberg, Arsenals new interim head coach following Emerys sacking on Friday morning, has been working towards this moment ever since he was promoted to the first team this summer. His brief has been to lead the individual development of the younger players, but the reality of his position in the dugout has meant he was always going to be the next in line once Emerys time had drawn to a close.

Ljungbergs new role means that three of the Premier Leagues so-called big six are now managed by former players. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Frank Lampard have shown how an old flame can reignite the passions of a home crowd, at Manchester United and Chelsea respectively, and Ljungberg surfs into his new role on a wave of goodwill that had never been earned by his predecessor.

The current trend is, increasingly, for players who understand the club. Ljungberg ticks that box and the Swede, famously an underwear model during his playing days, will appreciate that ex-pros of his ilk are very much in vogue in the managerial winter collection of 2019. His appointment is an easy win, in PR terms, even if his first game at Norwich City is likely to be anything but.

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Freddie Ljungberg will be a popular choice with Arsenal players, but everything else is a total unknown - The Telegraph

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November 30th, 2019 at 5:48 am

#CPD – Are you getting a return on your investment? – FE News

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Embracing ongoing opportunities for personal development can benefit both employees and their employers; external training workshops provide the opportunity to build on their existing skillsets, learn something new, evaluate their current working methods and can also help with fostering new friendships within the workplace or just simply bring a team together.

Continued Professional Development (CPD) certainly seems to be a factor which influences peoples job satisfaction levels in an earlier article, "Do you offer on-going training and development?" GPRS Sales Director Helen Wilson discusses the benefits of offering training to staff.

This is not an ideal situation for managers and business owners who have invested company money towards the training.

I attended an external training workshop recently, and whilst there were some like-minded people present who were also eager to make the most of the day, there were those who spent the day checking their emails, repeatedly left the session to make phone calls and, in the case of a few, didnt show up at all.

Fortunately, this doesnt apply to everyone but as training isnt, and shouldnt be, cheap, as a manager you need to ensure that you are getting a worthwhile return on your investment. Once youve booked the training and sent calendar invites to your team, dont just move on to something else and forget about it, expecting your staff to be prepped and ready.

In addition, there are steps that can be taken which may sound obvious but are often overlooked, to ensure that everyone makes the most of the training.

Feel free to share the below guide with your staff ahead of an external training day:

As a manager, following the training day it is then your responsibility to sit down with those who attended and evaluate the day, asking what they have learned and what they are going to put into practice.

Training days can be costly in terms of both time and money, so its important that managers and staff alike get some benefit.

With more time and planning put into it, its possible to see a greater return on investment from training days, and enables a more effective focus on the much talked about CPD.

Sarah Burns, Managing Director of GPRS Recruitment


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#CPD - Are you getting a return on your investment? - FE News

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November 30th, 2019 at 5:48 am

How to use NLP for good within high-performance teams – AdNews

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Personal development and growth are extremely important to me. Recently I had the opportunity to unlock training budget through PHDs Smart Fund (a training fund for high performers to pursue learning opportunities) to attend a 6-day intensive neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) workshop run by Arabella Macpherson, a communications coach with more than 10 years experience.

In simple terms, NLP explores the relationships between how we think (neuro), how we communicate (linguistic) and our patterns of behaviour and emotions (programmes).

The idea is that, by studying these relationships, people can adopt more successful ways of thinking, communicating, feeling and behaving.

NLP does get a bad rap and I believe deservedly for those that use it for self-gain. Used and taught in the right way, it can help fast track understanding of the brain and how to influence it for purposeful team and individual benefit.

With practice of specific techniques, communication and people interactions can become more meaningful and more successful.

For leaders of high-performing teams, there are two main challenges: 1. Dealing with individuals who have strong personalities 2. Getting individuals to act as a team and not individuals

The techniques I learnt at the intensive workshop have taught me some nuggets of gold. NLP works at both the conscious and sub-conscious level, which is why it is so effective.

In order to tap into the sub-conscious, techniques that an NLP practitioner could use include visualisation, metaphors, challenging and probing questioning techniques and hypnosis.

Ultimately, NLP can be used to improve and maintain the performance of teams. There are many NLP techniques that can be harnessed to improve team performance, Ive shared two which can help with the following scenarios:

Scenario 1 - We have all been there at some point. One team member who is demotivated, cant be bothered and is negatively impacting the rest of the group by not respecting team values and infecting the team with negative behaviour.

To be a middle of the road manager you need to understand everyones motivation, priorities and behaviours, how they operate day to day but most importantly under stress.

To become a more effective leader you should understand the teams individual baseline personality types and makeups. These change when under stress.

Having the ability to help team members understand their makeup is important which can in turn enable team members to stand at Cause (accepting responsibility for results/actions).

Ineffective team members with negative behaviours are at Effect where it is always someone elses fault. Having individuals with positive language patterns and empowering beliefs is key for high performance teams.

Scenario 2 - A team or individuals that lack understanding of what the goal is and how to get there. No one is motivated by ambiguity, without clear direction you will not get a effective, high functioning team with drive and purpose.

An effective leader needs to be able to communicate clearly and frequently. NLP puts emphasis on communication, because of the role of language in the thought and decision-making process.

Teams and individuals operate effectively when there is clear communication, clear goals and understanding of purpose.

There are five principles for success although the best approach is always to break down goals into actionable chunks, this will help create the framework to be successful.

It also sets you and team up for success by teaching to focus on feedback as a way to improve, not as a sign of failure.

This approach will have the group refining individual and group actions and outcomes until collectively you achieve the goal.

These insights are a couple of many which can help internal alignment (team/company) of values and goals. In turn creating a vision and ensuring the alignment of personal goals and values.

This helps create energy, motivation and momentum toward a joint point of effort.

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How to use NLP for good within high-performance teams - AdNews

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November 30th, 2019 at 5:48 am

Employee Engagement: Everything You Need to Know – HR Exchange Network

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Engage employees and carry on a message every HR professional needs to hear as the transformation of work continues. As a strategy, employee engagement has always been a chief concern for human resources and leaders within any given company, but no one could have predicted when the concept was first introduced nearly 30 years ago, that it would have the impact on the business strategy that it does now.

Having said that, engagement isnt just about getting better results for the business, its about ensuring the companys longevity. And given recent statistical data, its become a financial imperative.

Thats an astonishing number, one that should spur every HR professional to place more focus on their organizations engagement strategy. Low engagement from employees can and will have a negative impact every part of the business from recruitment to retention.

In the guide below, the HR Exchange Network explores the topic of engagement in more detail. It takes a look an in depth look at what engagement is, the current state of affairs, effective strategies and a prediction of what is to come.

If one were to ask HR professionals from different companies to define engagement, there is a high likelihood different responses would be received. Some might take a numbers approach while others would take a psychological approach or a different approach altogether. As is often the case with other HR concepts, the definition really lies in the eyes of the beholder.

The term was first coined by psychologist William Kahn in a 1990 study titled Psychological Conditions of Personal Engagement and Disengagement at Work. In the piece, Khan studied two different workplaces: a very structured and formal architecture firm and a casual summer camp. From his observations, he defined engagement as the harnessing of organization members selves to their work roles; in engagement, people employ and express themselves physically, cognitively, and emotionally during role performances.

Additionally, Kahn outlined three psychological conditions that allow engagement to exist:

Kahn further stated those individuals who are fully engaged with the organization will take ownership of their work and will be loyal to the organization. Additionally, he says engagement isnt a constant. Any number of experiences can cause engagement to change.

Of course, Kahns original definition has changed somewhat over the three decades since it was first coined. Instead of engagement being focused solely on the person bringing their full-selves to work, its more about the employees willingness to go above and beyond to benefit the organization.

What weve learned about engagement since its inception has colored the approach HR professionals and leaders have taken. An increase in engagement marks a positive impact of the business and a decrease marks a negative impact.

To understand more about employee engagement, here are a few quotes from HR professionals on the topic and associated issues.

High engagement through amazing culture and opportunities for your teammates is one of, if not the main drivers, in increasing teammate retention. Atrium Healths SVP of Workforce Engagement Sebastien Girard said. High retention and high engagement results creates less pressure on the organization and HR. It also means higher expertise, higher tenure, accelerated growth, and stronger productivity.

There is a direct correlation between the level of engagement an employee demonstrates and the amount of discretionary effort they are offer, World Travel Holdings senior vice president of Human Resources Debbie Fiorino said. An engaged employee is one who is fully involved in, and enthusiastic about their work, and thus will act in a way that furthers their organizations interests. This translates to a greater experience for our customers, which generates a loyal following. Loyal customers translate to revenue and profits.

I would say that engagement is harder to achieve today than it was 20 years ago, or in the past, because we are less engaging places to work. We used to have an ethos where employees would come to an organization; they would commit to an organization, build a career there and want to stay for life. The company would equally make a commitment that it would develop a career for life, ICON plc executive vice president of strategic initiates Don Kraft said. Companies would look out for people, protect them and invest in them. Over a period of time, we have invested less and signaled a reduced commitment to people. As a result there are many people, including a generation of young people, in their 30s and under, who have watched their parents, and perhaps themselves, impacted by these things. They are saying, "I cant, and therefore I wont, count on my employer."

HR practioners globally are looking for the right engagement recipe. As is often the case, the recipe is different for every company in every industry. As a result, it is often difficult for HR to know where to start. There is something to be said for looking at other companies, especially those that are similar, for inspiration, but the best place to start is internally. Here are five different strategies and theories as to how to increase employee engagement across the workforce.

1. Flexibility

Offering employees an opportunity to set and design their own schedule feels counterintuitive at first glance. Most HR leaders are conditioned to believe giving an employee the ability to set their own work hours will cause a decrease in productivity. A fair amount of research suggests the opposite is true. Employees given the freedom to set their own schedules are often more productive and happier employees. They are also more engaged in the workplace.

RELATED:12 Work-Life Balance Tips

2. Required Tools

When an employee starts working for a new company, he or she will expect to have the needed tools to complete their job responsibilities effectively. If the employee has access to those items and can work as expected, employee engagement will flourish. Deloitte calls this enabling infrastructure. Without the necessary tools, employees will disengage.

3. Employee Surveys

Employee feedback is important. Even more important is the need for leaders to listen to the feedback and act on that information. This isnt to say every leader has to do or put into practice every employee suggestion, but they do need to consider the feedback. Additionally, the leader must be transparent about the feedback and whether it will be put into action. According to an engagement report from Aon, this approach to feedback helps an organization quickly address problems, but more importantly it makes the employee feel valued. Thus, it increases engagement.

4. Manager selection

Its been said before: employees dont leave companies. They leave bad managers.Managers and leaders are critical to engagement success according to Gallup. The right leader knows their success and the organizations success is linked to the engagement of the employee. Hiring the right external candidate or internal candidate for a manager role; one whom possesses the ability to manage people effectively can have a positive impact on engagement rates.

5. Training and Development Opportunities

Investing in employees byoffering training and development opportunitiesprovides the atmosphere for workers to become more engaged. A lack of these opportunities typically translates to the employee not feeling valued by the company and will thus negatively impact the chance for engagement. Employees who are not invested will not support the company in any way other than making sure they can protect their job. At least until they can secure other employment.

When it comes to measuring engagement, there are several schools of thought on the issue. Some suggest an organic approach. Gathering data through conversations such as one-on-one meetings or team meetings. Others suggest a formal approach like engagement surveys that happen once or twice a year. These surveys can provide a wealth of data that helps indicate what engagement initiatives are working and how engaged employees actually are with the organization.

Engagement surveys differ from other types of surveys. According to SHRM, engagement surveys measure employees commitment, motivation, sense of purpose and passion for their work and the organization while other surveys, satisfaction surveys for instance, measure workers views, attitudes and perceptions of their organization.

The most important piece of measuring engagement isnt the measurement itself, however. Its all about how the results are shared and how the findings are put into action. If leaders have access to this information, share it and then dont capitalize on it, they can expect engagement scores to suffer in the future.

Engagement will continue to be a main focus moving forward. As eluded to earlier, this is directly related to the fact the workforce is transforming. Todays newest workers and their successors care more about personal growth and purpose than just getting a paycheck from employers. They want to make a difference while growing and building relationships with the organization and co-workers.

But changes in the workforce arent the only catalyst for the increased importance of engagement. It shares the spotlight with technology. Technology has revolutionized the way people work and engage with that work and one another. And technology, like engagement, is constantly in flux.

All of this points to the reality engagement continues to play, as it will in the future, a large role. Engaging these workers will be critical to future success, not only of the organization, but so too for the employee. Now more than ever before, the organizations and their futures hang on the success of their respective employees.

NEXT: Talent Acquisition: HRs Guide for Finding the Best Talent

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Employee Engagement: Everything You Need to Know - HR Exchange Network

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November 30th, 2019 at 5:48 am

From apprentice to master: Fabian Cancellara’s career through the years –

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He may have been a time-trial specialist and won the World Championship title four times, the Olympic title twice, and the opening TT stage of the Tour de France five times but Switzerland's Fabian Cancellara endeared himself to his huge fanbase by being one of the most adaptable riders of his generation.

He won both Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders three times, as well as Milan-San Remo and the overall titles at the Tour de Suisse and Tirreno-Adriatico. Well-liked by his teammates at the likes of Mapei, CSC and Trek, since retiring following the 2016 Olympics, Cancellara can look back on a career full of highlights.

In a nutshell: The apprentice

After I won the time trial at the junior world championships for the second consecutive year in 1999, the Mapei team reached out and offered me a contract. Although I was desperate to sign for them, the situation was complicated by the fact that I was working as an apprentice, learning to become an electrician. I was in Bern, Switzerland, working three days a week and studying for two, and the balance between my education and my passion for cycling was tough for a young rider.

The mentality within the Cancellara household was that I needed to finish my studies, complete my mandatory military service, and then I could consider life as a cyclist. But everything changed when Mapei knocked on the door. This was the all-conquering Mapei, with the divine Colnago bikes and their distinctive kit; it was the team of glittering stars, where I knew that I'd be learning from some of the best minds in the sport. Immediately, I realised that this was my one chance. You don't say no to Mapei.

But back home, everyone could see that I was struggling to find the right path in life, as I tried to keep my studies on track, my family happy and my young career hopes alive. My electrician boss could see things clearer than most. He was wise and could recognise my love for school was non-existent, and that I was simply going through the motions. One day, he pulled me aside and agreed to give me an entire afternoon off to 'study', but he and I knew that what 'studying' really meant was riding my bike.

I used those hours to clear my head, battle my thoughts and apprehensions about the future, and, of course, to train like a demon. All my long-distance rides were done during those hours but, eventually, my boss sat me down again and said that I needed to make a choice, and that, once I'd made my decision, I needed to put my heart and soul into it. I gave him my word that I would follow his advice, and from that moment everything in my life was about cycling. It was my passion, my drive, my love, and my life. And then the wins came one after the other, with perhaps my favourite coming when I put my arms in the air at the GP Palio del Recioto, an important Italian race, in which I beat Franco Pellizotti on his turf.

In August 2000, I went to Mapei as a stagiaire. It wasn't just the star athletes that impressed my family and me. What stood out above all was how the team treated their riders. It all started with the owner, the late Giorgio Squinzi, who had a love for cycling no one could match, and to whom a generation of riders now owe so much. Giorgio's devotion trickled down through the team, from the directors to the riders, the mechanics to the soigneurs. It was magical.

They were the team that gave me my first Polar heart rate monitor, which at the time was a huge moment, and, through them, I learned about training. But more importantly, I learned about their ethos of vincere insieme 'winning together and what that meant.

I had some great memories with Mapei, not least in 2002 when they would send all the young riders like me to races and we would win consistently.

In a nutshell: Following the general

When Mapei closed its doors at the end of 2002, I needed a new team, and I ended up signing with Giancarlo Ferretti and his Fassa Bortolo squad. But Mapei and Fassa Bortolo couldn't have been more different. If Mapei had the culture of winning together, then by contrast Fassa Bortolo was simply the team that wanted to win. If Squinzi was the romantic, then Ferretti was the general a leader charging into battle with his troops behind him, and an iron will when it came to discipline.

For Ferretti, even training camps were treated like races. At one camp, he organised a 100,000 lire prize for a sprint on a particular training route he planned, and before the ride he saw me joking around with a few riders. That was all it took for him to march over and bellow, "Fabian let's see if you're still laughing and joking after today's ride."

Anyway, I won the prize, I took the 100,000 lire, and from that moment I went up in his estimation. He could see that I had a professional side and that I wasn't just a joker.

However, Giancarlo didn't care much for time trialling. One year we didn't receive our time trial bikes until the very start of the racing season, but he was more old school than some of the managers we see in cycling these days. He was an authoritative figure with a real presence. Always moving, always talking, from moment we had breakfast to the moment our heads hit the pillow, his message was always the same: "We're not here to make up the numbers. We're going to race and we're going to win."

There was never a "let's see" attitude with him. The general called the shots and I went along with that. Certain riders struggled to buy into that mentality, like Filippo Pozzato, for example. On the other hand, Juan Antonio Flecha loved it.

Giancarlo also didn't like it if you turned up at races or training camp in a brand new car. "Come with a banged up, dirty car," he would tell us. "You should be investing in property, not wasting your money on expensive cars." He had a totally different mindset when it came to luxury goods, but we had the luxury when it came to riders on the road, with a really talented team.

In a nutshell: I'm Spartacus

After three years, the Fassa Bortolo team, just like Mapei, came to an end. Luckily, I had already found a new home before the whole Sony Ericsson fiasco ruined Ferretti's plans. Bjarne Riis, who had built up his Danish trade team during the early 2000s, came in for me and, as with Mapei, I was instantly sold on the idea.

What came next was the most important phase of my career, and the years in which I learned the most. At Fassa Bortolo, I was relying on myself quite a bit when it came to gaining experience, but with Bjarne, he immediately made it clear that he cared about the person and not just the athlete. He organised those famous military-style camps, and they opened me up to so many different things when it came to maturing and my own personal development.

They were amazing years, with a lot of ups and downs, but Bjarne as a manager was taking care of so many things for us when it came to equipment and sponsors. Other teams had shown interest in me before I signed with him, but Bjarne was so detailed and so methodical about everything that I had no hesitation in joining him. It was an instant decision, but Bjarne wasn't just about the here and now he was always looking at the bigger picture.

For instance, after I won Paris-Roubaix in 2006, most people thought that I'd be selected for the Tour de France team but Bjarne decided to leave me at home. I had tears in my eyes when he told me that he was taking Christian Vande Velde because he needed another climber, but it turned out to be the right call. I ended up missing what turned out to a horrible Tour with everything that happened in Strasbourg [when Ivan Basso was sent home following his implication in Operacion Puerto ed.], and Bjarne made it clear that I should focus on the Worlds instead of July. He pointed out that I had a baby on the way and that the Vuelta would make for better preparation. He was right. I missed the Tour, got married in August, went to the Vuelta, and then won my first elite men's time trial title at the World Championships.

CSC, and later Saxo Bank, provided a supportive environment for a rider, too. So when I struggled in 2007 because of all the life changes that had taken place during the previous 12 months, the team put their arms around me and gave me the support I needed. That was a big deal because I'd struggled through the winter training camp with weight problems and, as a result, I was lacking form in the Classics. My results were terrible. So they sent me to the Giro d'Italia not as a punishment, but with the primary aim of helping Andy Schleck as much as possible, and from there I found my rhythm. I went to the Tour, and won the prologue in London, and then spent a week in the maillot jaune. 'Spartacus' was back!

It wasn't just a one-way relationship, though. In 2008, when I probably should have left the Tour early to focus on the Olympics, I decided to stay to help the team go for GC. I didn't want to miss out on winning the race. I gave everything I could for the guys and we rode into Paris with the yellow jersey [Carlos Sastre ed.], which was a really special feeling.

Some people think I was a rider who only thought of myself during my career but, when I look back, I think I was more than that. Some managers described me as a 'sure thing' when it came to winning races, but when I was required to work for others, I could do that, too.

During those years at CSC and Saxo Bank, I also learned from my mistakes, and there were many. Like how I rode the Worlds in Mendrisio, in Switzerland, in 2009. In races back then, I was always attacking and making mistakes either going too early or attacking at the wrong moment. It was't arrogance, it was just that I wanted to be aggressive, and race with panache. But, looking back, perhaps if I'd won the Worlds in 2009, I might not have won races after that because that experience galvanised me and helped me figure out that I needed to change the way I raced.

I was too sure I would win at times, and I wasn't using my head, but that changed after 2009. I realised that being the strongest wasn't always a match for being the smartest, and if I could be both, then nothing could stop me.

There were other tough times, for sure. We had the incident with the fake sponsor and, of course, there was all the CERA shit that was pointed to us in 2008. That was such a negative situation because some looked at the team in the 2008 Tour, saw how strong we were, and automatically thought that we were doping. I gained 10 kilos in three weeks because of the strain the CERA rumours put on me. I took two months off from cycling after the Olympics, like a big fuck you, but it was a rest from the sport that I needed, and I came back refreshed.

That's been a problem in cycling for many years, but I'll say this about Bjarne: he put money into helping the fight against doping. He set up external checks that helped pave the way for the UCI Biological Passport. At that time, he was the only team boss to do this, and if he doped or not to win his Tour de France, I don't care. He did a lot for anti-doping, but he still gets shit. On one hand, I understand that, but at the same time, he was still putting money into making cycling better for athletes.

In a nutshell: Closing my career on a high

If you ask me whether I felt bad leaving Bjarne, the answer is probably both yes and no. I had a contract in place with Saxo Bank for 2011, but I went to Bjarne and I asked if he would let me go. As you can imagine, he was bitterly disappointed. He knew that the Leopard project was happening, and while the Schlecks were always going to leave, I think he felt that I might stay.

It wasn't easy, but I talked to him during the Vuelta in 2010 and told him that I needed to go. Flavio Becca was telling me that he needed me, that the door was open, and I felt like I needed to take the next step in my career.

It wasn't that people were going against Bjarne, but almost the entire team was leaving for the new project. It felt strange, but I felt like I had to follow because you had the Schlecks, Flavio, Kim Andersen and Trek all involved. Almost the entire squad that had been around me at CSC and Saxo Bank was leaving.

On reflection, maybe Bjarne needed to take a step back, too, because, after so many years at the top, it's hard to keep your motivation and your passion at the very highest level.

My last years, though, from 2011 to 2016, were still a period in which I rode at the highest level, even though there were so many different combinations of directors, riders and sponsors around me. I worked with Kim, Brian Nygaard, Johan Bruyneel and then Luca Guercilena. I learned so much during that period about management and structures, and I loved seeing how everything worked behind the scenes.

I had chances to go to other teams in my career, but I always looked at the team's structure before deciding on my next move. Perhaps that's why I never went to BMC Racing. Don't get me wrong, I think that they were a fantastic team proven by their great success and I have a huge amount of respect for Andy Rihs and the brand, but if I'd moved to BMC Racing, then I would have needed to change a lot of internal aspects, and there would have been many rider changes.

I wasn't like Lance Armstrong, telling everyone in the team that this was 'my group', but I still needed support. I know that as a rider I could be egotistical and that I could be arrogant, but I always felt that part of that persona was needed to reach the very top. That was Spartacus perhaps not always Fabian. At the top, you don't have many friends, but you certainly have enemies. That's because everyone wants to be at the top and win, but if you win more than the others, then you're automatically going to lose friends.

But I always tried to be fair. There are some champions who would never pay for a round of coffees during rides, or who wouldn't appreciate teamwork, but I tried to live my pro career in the best way possible, whether it was buying a watch for a teammate or trying to persuade the management to offer a rider a one-year extension when perhaps it was touch and go.

When it came to the end of my career, I could have continued beyond 2016. Physically, I was still at the top, but mentally there was fatigue, and I felt that as the years ticked by there was more and more resistance from within myself to keep going. I wanted to decide the end of my career on my own terms and didn't want it to come down to a results issue or a health problem. And I knew in 2015 that the next year would be my last.

At the time, I didn't know exactly where I'd finish, and I could have signed for another two years. But, in the end, I left at the right time, with a medal around my neck [time trial gold at the Rio 2016 Olympics ed.] and on the top step of a podium. A professional rider could never ask for more. I learned a lot in my career: how to lead, how to win, but also how to grow. Each team taught me new lessons and prepared me for the next phase of my career. Nowadays, my life is different, for sure, but I still try to use my experience for the better.

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From apprentice to master: Fabian Cancellara's career through the years -

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