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Influence: becoming an influential person

26 February 2011
10 tips for becoming an influential person
People often ask us how to get better at influencing - a team, colleagues, upper management, the boss.
Unfortunately, there is no formula. Each situation is different and each person you wish to influence will be persuaded by different factors - such as budgets, values, creativity, tradition, ambition, strategic plans, turn of mind and even turn of phrase.
However, although there’s no recipe for influencing individuals or individual situations, you can become a more influential person. That way, you have an edge: impact and respect. With that advantage in hand, you can set out to discover ways to influence that are effective in your company’s culture.
Here are some tips for becoming a more influential person.  
 1. Be a source of reliable, up-to-date information in at least one arena that the company values
IT changes, strategic alignments, new managers, periods of growth - in all organizations, people are inevitably in the throes of solving problems, making decisions and creating plans - and prize those with judgment based on specialist knowledge. Study the trends in your organisation. Then become knowledgeable if not expert in a field of business or management practice that is likely to help managers make decisions and progress plans in the near to medium term. 
 2. Be emotionally intelligent
Emotional intelligence, Chuck Wolfe reminds, is not about being nice or kind. Rather, it is being wise to the ways of making people feel accepted, valued and appreciated in one to one interactions. That’s manipulating feelings, some say, though most people agree it is simply being careful about what you say and how you say it. Tact isn’t easy to develop if it’s not your natural style, yet is worth cultivating.  
 3. Develop as a negotiator
A negotiation is a discussion for purposes of identifying common purpose or acceptable compromise. A skilful negotiator knows how to facilitate the discussion, yes; yet also how to recognise when someone is caving in – a dangerous position which could exact a price in pent-up resentment. True negotiation is a rare skill that is highly prized in most organisations. 
 4. Develop as a delegator
By strict definition, delegation is assigning some of your tasks to another person. The art is in keeping the tasks for which you are a rare resource (rather than those you particularly like to do), and in turning over the remaining tasks to the right people. Part of delegation is also recognising when someone is underemployed.
Learning to identify a person’s strengths and talents, planning the reporting process, and calculating when to intervene once you’ve delegated are interesting subjects of study and highly regarded capabilities.  
 5. Be clear and confident about saying yes and no
Sometimes people who want to get ahead say yes to everything, believing managers will see them as cooperative, helpful team players. However, once you say yes and don’t deliver – or deliver less than excellent work - whatever excuses you make, your reputation takes a nose dive and is a long time in recovery. 
Best to judge what you can and know you will do. People will respect you for your candour and also trust implicitly that when you say yes, they can count on you. That way you avoid forever the need for embarrassing excuses and you gain a reputation for quality and reliability. That carries a lot of weight when you set out to influence.
There’s a sign on my desk that says my Yes jar is full. You’re welcome to try it yourself.
 6. Be articulate in all your communication
Except in an urgent situation, take the time to organise your communication. Think through the key point you want to make, and then be simple and direct when making it. People will be grateful to you for being efficient and effective, and respect you for clear thinking. This is true whether your communication is a simple request or a long, complex report. You become more powerful when you can outline, create transition sentences, and develop an idea logically.  
 7.  Accept responsibility when you’ve made a mistake, whether in judgment or deed 
Especially if you are a manager, it is easy to leave what’s your fault as someone else’s problem. Your staff may grumble behind your back yet aren’t likely to complain. However you will suffer in reputation and loss of respect. If you take responsibility for what you’ve decided or done, people will respect you and also will be more likely to help you put it right, should you wish some help. 
Owning up has the further benefits of creating a personal sense of integrity, alleviating stress, and allowing you to learn from mistakes instead of sweeping them away.  
 8. Become a skilled listener
Whenever you become aware of something – whether you see, hear, read or even sense it – the most natural thing in the world is to respond, saying what’s on your mind. Perhaps the input sparks a thought, a question, an idea, makes you angry; calls up an old grievance, a lesson you’ve learned, or a belief that’s developed over time. You’ll want to express it.
What’s important here is that your response reflects your background, conclusions, perceptions and viewpoints – everything that makes up who you are at a given point in time. So you hear, read, and see through filters, and may miss the point of someone whose background and viewpoints are very different from your own.
When you are a skilled listener, you set your own perceptions aside temporarily in order to give your full attention to what another person has said. That doesn’t mean you accept or agree; it means you try to see things as the other does and to assess based on that fuller understanding. When you combine the new information with yours you often find a broader base for judgment.
There are manuals and courses galore on listening skills; be sure that you check out the activities of the course rather than simply the outline. You want a course that helps you discover and recognise your own perceptions and filters, as well as a course that helps you build patience and ability to focus your attention and process new information. Listening is about learning to learn more than you knew before.
 
 9. Focus on situations, never on blame
You can’t know motive from behaviour, although it is so easy to interpret motives most of us slip into that as the default. They missed their sales targets; we need some motivational work here. She came to the meeting late; doesn’t she respect the rest of us? They kept the information to themselves; when did gate keeping become part of this culture?
Here are alternative settings. They missed their sales targets; what might be the reasons and can we help? She came late to the meeting; how unlike her; I wonder whether anything is amiss.
The real point here is looking panoramically at a situation and seeing how the parts are moving within the whole.
You will be greatly appreciated by everyone involved any time you can defuse blame in order to focus attention on the dynamics and ways to move ahead.  
 10. Take the initiative and keep learning
In her first job after film school, Laura was on location and responsible for catering. After hours she kept up with technology and in particular taught herself how to use a brand new movie camera that was on location for some specialist shots. There was one camera and only one person – a celebrated cinematographer - knew how to use it.
As it happened, the cinematographer left in an emotional moment and the film company was stuck in progress with scenes requiring the camera. Of course you know what happened; Laura stepped forward and showed she could use the camera to a high professional standard. She bypassed many steps up the career ladder and became a respected cinematographer sooner than she might have otherwise.
‘Nuff said. Keep alert to what’s coming along. Don’t wait for someone to offer training courses. Be proactive; take initiative, and keep learning. You will gain a reputation as someone who is willing and ready to undertake what is largely unfamiliar yet what may give the organisation a competitive edge.

 
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The top 10 mistakes most Leaders and Managers make

15 February 2011

The Most Common Leadership and Management Mistakes
Avoiding Universal Pitfalls

 
It's often said that mistakes provide great learning opportunities. However, it's much better not to make mistakes in the first place!

In this article, we're looking at 10 of the most common leadership and management errors, and highlighting what you can do to avoid them. If you can learn about these here, rather than through experience, you'll save yourself a lot of trouble!
 

1. Lack of Feedback


According to 1,400 executives polled by The Ken Blanchard Companies, failing to provide feedback is the most common mistake that leaders make. When you don't provide prompt feedback to your people, you're depriving them of the opportunity to improve their performance. to everyone in your team.

To avoid this mistake, learn how to provide regular positive and constructive feedback


2. Not Making Time for Your Team


When you're a manager or leader, it's easy to get so wrapped up in your own workload that you don't make yourself available to your team.

Yes, you have projects that you need to deliver. But your people must come first - without you being available when they need you, your people won't know what to do, and they won't have the support and guidance that they need to meet their objectives.

Avoid this mistake by blocking out time in your schedule specifically for your people, and by learning how to listen actively to your team. Develop your emotional intelligence so that you can be more aware of your team and their needs, and have a regular time when "your door is always open," so that your people know when they can get your help. You can also use Management by Walking Around, which is an effective way to stay in touch with your team.

3. Being Too "Hands-Off"

One of your team has just completed an important project. The problem is that he misunderstood the project's specification, and you didn't stay in touch with him as he was working on it. Now, he's completed the project in the wrong way, and you're faced with explaining this to an angry client.

Many leaders want to avoid micromanagement. But going to the opposite extreme (with a hand-offs management style) isn't a good idea either - you need to get the balance right.


4. Being Too Friendly

Most of us want to be seen as friendly and approachable to people in our team. After all, people are happier working for a manager that they get on with. However, you'll sometimes have to make tough decisions regarding people in your team, and some people will be tempted to take advantage of your relationship if you're too friendly with them.

This doesn't mean that you can't socialise with your people. But, you do need to get the balance right between being a friend and being the boss.

Also, make sure that you set clear boundaries so that team members aren't tempted to take advantage of you.


5. Failing to Define Goals

When your people don't have clear goals, they muddle through their day. They can't be productive if they have no idea what they're working for, or what their work means. They also can't prioritise their workload effectively, meaning that projects and tasks get completed in the wrong order.

Avoid this mistake by learning how to set SMART goals for your team. Use a Team Charter to specify where your team is going, and detail the resources it can draw upon. Also, use principles from Management by Objectives to align your team's goals to the mission of the organisation.

6. Misunderstanding Motivation

Do you know what truly motivates your team? Here's a hint: chances are, it's not just money!

Many leaders make the mistake of assuming that their team is only working for monetary reward. However, it's unlikely that this will be the only thing that motivates them.

For example, people seeking a greater work/life balance might be motivated by telecommuting days or flexible working. Others will be motivated by factors such as achievement, extra responsibility, praise, or a sense of camaraderie.


7. Hurrying Recruitment

When your team has a large workload, it's important to have a full team. But filling a vacant role too quickly can be a disastrous mistake.

Hurrying recruitment can lead to recruiting the wrong people for your team: people who are uncooperative, ineffective or unproductive. With the wrong person, you'll have wasted valuable time and resources when they eventually leave. What's worse, other team members will be stressed and frustrated by having to "carry" the under-performer.

You can avoid this mistake by learning how to recruit effectively, and by being particularly picky about the people you bring into your team.


8. Not "Walking the Walk"

If you make personal telephone calls during work time, or speak negatively about your MD, can you expect people on your team not to do this too? Probably not!

As a leader, you need to be a role model for your team. This means that if they need to stay late, you should also stay late to help them. Or, if your organisation has a rule that no one eats at their desk, then set the example and head to the break room every day for lunch. So remember, your team is watching you all the time. If you want to shape their behaviour, start with your own. They'll follow suit.


9. Not Delegating

Some managers don't delegate, because they feel that no-one apart from themselves can do key jobs properly. This can cause huge problems as work bottlenecks around them, and as they become stressed and burned out.

Delegation does take a lot of effort up-front, and it can be hard to trust your team to do the work correctly. But unless you delegate tasks, you're never going to have time to focus on the "broader-view" that most leaders and managers are responsible for. What's more, you'll fail to develop your people so that they can take the pressure off you.


10. Misunderstanding Your Role

Once you become a leader or manager, your responsibilities are very different from those you had before.

However, it's easy to forget that your job has changed, and that you now have to use a different set of skills to be effective. This leads to you not doing what you've been hired to do - to lead and to manage.

 


 
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Secrets of Inspirational Leadership

1 February 2011
Secrets of Inspirational Leadership
The best leaders promote a culture where their people value themselves, each other, the company and the customers. Everyone understands how their work makes a difference and this helps to build a commitment to higher standards where everybody is always looking to do things better.
An inspired and motivated workforce is essential for any business that hopes to stay ahead of the competition. But just how do you motivate people? What kind of leadership do people respond to? And how can you improve the quality of leadership in your business?

The Inspiration Gap:

In a survey of more than one and a half thousand managers, people were asked what they would most like to see in their leaders. The most popular answer, mentioned by 55% of people, was ‘inspiration’.

When asked if they would describe their current leader as ‘inspiring’, only 11% said yes. The two attributes that people actually mentioned most often when describing their leaders were ‘knowledgeable’ and ‘ambitious’. As well as this thirst for inspiring leadership, there’s also evidence to support the idea that companies with inspiring leaders perform better.

The Sunday Times publishes an annual survey of the ‘Best Companies to Work For’, which is compiled from the opinions of the companies’ own employees. One interesting fact is that those ‘Best Companies’ that are publicly quoted consistently outperform the FTSE All-Share Index. Five-year compound returns show a 5.7% negative return for FTSE All-Share companies against a 13.6% gain for the Best Companies. Over three years, the returns were -11.3% and 6.7% respectively while, in the last twelve months, they were 23.1% and 44%.

The ‘Best Companies to Work For’ have also performed impressively on staff turnover, sickness rates, absenteeism, and the ability to recruit good quality people.

The stereotype of the inspirational leader as someone extrovert and charismatic is the exception rather than the rule. Looking at best practice across business, though some inspirational leaders certainly do fit this mould, a large number do not. Many are quiet, almost introverted The following are some of the most commonly observed characteristics of inspiring leaders:

Strong Strategic Focus:

They are very good at ensuring that the business only does those things where it has the resources to do a good job and where it can add real value.

Lateral Thinkers:

They are particularly adept at drawing on experiences outside their own sectors and taking a much broader view than the norm. They look at things very laterally and encourage their people to do the same.

Vision and Communication:

An inspirational leader has a very strong, customer-focused vision of where the business should be going. Importantly they are also able to communicate their vision so that their people feel they own it and know where they fit into it. The best leaders are great communicators who prefer plain speaking to jargon.

Principled:

They are deeply committed, courageous, demanding of themselves and their people and confident, albeit often in a quiet and under-stated way. What singles them out is an exceptionally strong set of values built on honesty, openness and true respect for their people.

What makes an inspiring leader?

Reflective:

What distinguishes them is genuine humility and not being afraid to show vulnerability on occasions. This comes from regular periods of reflection and an unquenchable thirst for learning.

Risk Takers:

They have a marked tendency to ‘bend the rules’, take calculated risks, and, on occasions, be guided by their gut-feelings. They also tolerate this in other people, recognising that a certain amount of flexibility is essential to adapt to circumstances and make real strides forward.

Accessible:

They make time to get out and speak to people. This informal and personal contact is a very powerful motivator. Equally, when they are at their own desk, they aren’t cosseted behind a wall of PAs.

Value Attitude:

They value skills and training very highly, but they also focus heavily on attitude, believing that, without the right attitude and motivation, nothing will be achieved.

In the previous section, we looked at the qualities of inspiring leaders. The question is, why do these traits produce results?

Pay is only one component of job satisfaction. Other factors like respect and prestige can be tremendously important in making staff feel good about their jobs. The reason that inspiring leadership produces results is that it contributes directly to fulfilling many of people’s emotional needs.

The following are some of the ways that best practice in leadership contributes to improved job satisfaction, motivation and productivity.

Why people respond to leaders

Being Listened To:

A business where only senior managers are allowed to ‘have ideas’, rarely achieves great staff satisfaction. Inspirational leaders ask for, and respect, what their people tell them about how to do things better, and they provide the resources to ensure that the solutions are delivered.

Being Involved:

Inspirational leaders involve their people in changes for them to be a success. They give their people the freedom and support to get on with the job. When you walk around these companies, there is electricity in the air – you can feel the energy and buzz.

Having Fun:

In successful companies, people work hard but enjoy themselves in the process. Fun is a great indicator that an organisation is innovative and is also a key innovation driver. At the ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ you see a lot of fun at work.

Being Trusted:

It’s no coincidence that, when you ask people what it is like to work in an organisation run by an inspirational leader, they talk about openness, honesty, respect and trust. These firms can boast highly committed staff that has a great sense of responsibility to their work.

Being Appreciated:

Recognition is an absolutely crucial element of inspiration, and few things are more powerful, or simple, than a genuine ‘thank you’. Inspirational leaders know that it’s vital that people feel appreciated and valued, so they show their appreciation through extensive celebration of success – both formally and informally.

Summary:

The best leaders promote a culture where their people value themselves, each other, the company and the customers.

Everyone understands how their work makes a difference. This helps to build a commitment to higher standards where everybody is always looking to do things better.
Click here to find out more about how you can develop your inspirational leadership skills
 

 
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'So was this the most depressing week of the year for you?'

20 January 2011
Effective Ways To Get Out of a Negative Mindset
 
It is too easy to get into a negative mindset which invariably leads to unhappiness and depression. To avoid being overwhelmed by negativity we need to make a conscious effort to avoid the experience. When life seems like a perpetual dark tunnel these are some suggestions to change your outlook on life. Download here
 
Don’t Cherish Destructive Thoughts.
Often we don’t realise how much we subconsciously cherish negative thoughts. It may seem counter intuitive, but often a negative frame of mind occurs because we won’t let go of the negative thoughts and ideas. Sometimes the mind clings on to these thoughts with a feeling of self pity or injured pride. We don’t like the negative frame of mind, but at the same time are we consciously trying to overcome it? The problem is that if the negative thoughts go round and round in our mind they can become powerful and we lose a sense of perspective. Just make a conscious decision to ignore the negative flow of thoughts and sentiments and be persistent in these attempts.
 
Do You want to be Happy or Miserable?
We should feel a negative mindset is a choice. If we feel a victim to our own emotions and thoughts, nobody else will be able to help us. We should feel that by holding on to a negative frame of mind, we are inevitably choosing to be unhappy; each negative is a conscious decision to be miserable. If we really value the importance of our own inner peace and happiness, we will aspire to cultivate this through good, uplifting thoughts. Next time you feel the onset of a depressed state of mind, just ask yourself the question: Do I want to be happy or Miserable?
 
Spend Time With Positive People
The best antidote to negativity is simply to spend time doing positive, uplifting activities. Sometimes if we analyse and examine our own negativity it does nothing to reduce it. By engaging in useful fun activities, we forget about the reasons for our negativity; this is often the most powerful way to overcome a depressed state of mind.
 
Don’t Accept Negativity from Other People
We live in a world where there are no shortage of pessimists, critics and doomongers. There will always be people who can find the negative in life; but, there is no reason why we have to ascribe to their world view. For example, often in an office environment there is a negative attitude to the workplace, but, even if there are faults and limitations we don’t have to allow them to make us a negative person.
 
Let Go of Thoughts
If you can learn to control your thoughts, you can control the experience and emotions of life. The best antidote to negativity is learning the art of meditation. Meditation is more than just relaxation; it is a change in consciousness. We move from the limited perspective of our mind and discover an inner source of happiness.
 
Live in the Heart
The nature of the mind is to be suspicious and critical. If someone does 99 good things and 1 bad thing, the mind will invariably remember the bad thing. If we allow ourselves to be drawn into highlighting the mistakes of others we will invite a negative mindset. However, if we live in the heart we are not drawn to the faults of others (even if they are insignificant). It is in the heart that we can have a true sense of oneness with others, their faults seem insignificance and we can feel a sense of identity with the achievements of others.
 
Don’t Sit Around Doing Nothing
The worst thing for a negative frame of mind is to mope around feeling sorry for ourselves. Ruminating on our bad luck / worries / fears will not diminish them in any way. Exercise can be a powerful way to bring about a new consciousness. Negativity is often associated with boredom and lack of purpose. Stop endlessly checking emails and surfing web, look for something good to do.
 
Force Yourself to Think of 3 Positive Thoughts.
If you are feeling really miserable and have a low sense of self esteem, try thinking of 3 good things that you have done. At time our own mind can be our worst enemy and very self critical. It is important not to lose a sense of balance; for the various bad things we have done, we have also done some good things.
 
Don’t Think Anything You Wouldn’t Say in Front of People
We often think things we would never say in front of people. If you are annoyed, disappointed with someone else, imagine what you would say to them in person. Sometimes when we are with people we are forced to behave; even if we are not particularly sincere the effort to avoid negativity can help us to overcome our bad mood.

 
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PDG commit to Sponsor Bradford Bulls through 2011

12 January 2011

Watch out for the PDG logo appearing once again in the media.

If you are a sky sports fan and in particular a fan of Superleague watch out for the pdg logo appearing on your TV screens.

Michael Barker, MD at PDG says, 'We are proud to play a part in supporting the Bulls alongside major local brands such as JCT 600, Sovereign Healthcare, Damart and Grattan.

Having been a supporter from the terraces for many  years  we are delighted to be able to help in a bigger way.

It should certainly raise our profile as the Bulls appear on National TV 6 times before the end of April'.

Heres to a successful season for all.

Follow whats happening with the the bulls @ www.bradfordbulls.co.uk

 


 
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Managing and Sustaining Employee Engagement in Turbulent Times

16 August 2010

Free workshop from Performance Development Group

Woodlands Hotel, Leeds, 10th November 8.00-10.30am

In today's austere economic climate, with the threat of cuts, job losses and increased costs hitting the headlines every day, it's difficult to maintain enthusiasm and commitment.

Yet these are the very qualities which will bring us through the tough times!

Leadership has never been more important. That’s what this highly rated workshop delivers.

Practical skills that will help you to lead your team through challenging times.

Your agenda;

  • Recognise how to encourage ownership of change and keep people engaged in the process.
  • Understand the ten key qualities of outstanding, inspirational leaders. Learn how to build and maintain motivation during turbulent times.
  • Understand the most powerful tool that organisations use to build an engaged workforce
  • Learn how to deal with negativity by building a climate of trust

This interactive workshop is packed with loads of practical tips and how to's that can be applied immediately with your team.

PDG has earned its reputation by helping companies develop the full leadership potential of its key people. We can all be Leaders whatever job we do - it's our attitude that makes the difference.

Venue: Woodlands Hotel, Gelderd Road, Leeds,

Date: 10th November 2010

Welcome and refreshments: 7.45am, meeting: 8.00am – 10.30am

To reserve your places email:    info@performancedg.com 

click here for PDF Download


 
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PDG Overview and what people say about us

2 August 2010

 
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Page: Previous  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9


 
 
12 Ways to Spot Ineffective Leadership
6 Ways to deal with your most irritating colleague
How To Give Negative Feedback Respectfully
9 Things That Motivate Employees More Than Money
7 Great Questions You Need to Ask Your Team Every Month.
What are the 10 Traits of Lousy Leaders?
10 Questions Managers Are Asking During One-on-One Meetings
16 Leadership Competencies Guaranteed to Deliver Results
How to avoid the 10 most Common Leadership Blind Spots
8 Essential Qualities of Inspirational Leaders
Top 10 Tips for Becoming More Influential
Top 10 tips for empowering your team
How to Delelop a Powerful LinkedIn Presence
How to Build a High Performance Team Culture
What to do when your team won't take responsibilty
12 Habits That Set Ultra-Successful People Apart

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