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In an age where there is so much information on different leadership styles, it’s hard to know where to begin when managing a team. Aidan Kearney gives four simple tips on how to lead your team more effectively.  Have you noticed how much information there is on leadership? An influx of publications, academics, podcasts, studies, surveys, TED talks and stories of leaders can make it hard to figure out what the right approach to leadership actually is. Here are four simple methods to help you get started on one of the most important aspects of leadership: how to lead your team more effectively. Lead by example Not only is this an effective method of leadership, but it will also earn you respect. Don’t ask someone to do something that you as a leader are not prepared to do. Exhibit the behaviour that you ask and expect of others. Where possible, ‘roll up your sleeves’ and get into the work yourself. If you need to delegate, take time to explain and share your knowledge and experiences; be meticulous with details. Show up early for work and meetings. Stay committed to tasks and decisions. Help your employees embody your firm’s values by demonstrating them daily in everything you do. Remember, whether it’s your work ethic, attitude or the way in which you interact and communicate with colleagues and clients – your employees take their cues from you. Be the blueprint for your organisation. Set an example of excellence and don’t let it falter. Inclusiveness and empowerment An inclusive, motivated, empowered and happy team generates a positive environment and boosts performance. You can foster this by inviting team members to meetings, sharing information, being open to feedback and asking for input. Empower them by letting the team take more responsibility and accountability – a good team will relish the challenge and go the extra mile. Recognition Recognise and appreciate your team. Acknowledging their successes with a simple “well done” can go a long way. Say “thank you” more often. Check in with them to see where they’re at in terms of professional and personal progression. Are they open to new challenges? How can you help them? Lead with integrity Integrity means being honest and always committed to doing the right thing. You can't be an effective leader, a trusted colleague or adviser without integrity. If you take all of the above into account – leading by example, involving and empowering your team, acting with integrity – you will find that this encourages and inspires others to do the same. This, in turn, leads to happier, motivated and effective teams, which is a hallmark of excellent leadership. Aidan Kearney is a Partner and leads the Advisory and Audit/Accounting teams in Baker Tilly Ireland.

Nov 17, 2019
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The modern workplace has led to the end of the centralised office. Often, a manager can have team members all over the globe. It’s important that these team leaders know how to connect with their remote workers as if they were at the next desk over, says Anne Phillipson. With the increase in remote working, globalisation and flexi-time, there is every chance that if you are not currently leading a remote team, you will be in the near future. This means that managers need new skills to engage parts of their team that they don’t see face-to-face; to make their remote workers feel as connected as the person sitting at the desk beside them. The employee experience Let’s start with awareness and mind-set. The single biggest factor in the ‘employee experience’ is their relationship with their direct line manager. It is critical that remote team members don’t feel disadvantaged because of where they happen to work. Whether that’s across the world or three floors away in the same building, it is easy to fall into the trap ‘out of sight, out of mind’. This means managers must consciously go out of their way to include remote team members in daily chats –whether that is using a messaging service, phone, Skype, or social networking apps – to check-in, update, offer support or challenge. The leader must initiate these interactions at first, and hopefully, in time, the team members will also make the effort to connect daily. Otherwise, you run the risk of a team member feeling isolated and disconnected from the priorities of the team. Awareness of circumstances Awareness of the time zones of remote workers is also important. Don’t greet them with a ‘good morning’ when it’s already afternoon or evening where they are. Check your world clock when scheduling your daily check-ins as not to catch them when they are just arriving into or leaving the office. Little things like this make a big difference, and as you don’t have the opportunity to engage often, it is even more important that you get it right every time. Cultural competence Once you have adopted an inclusive approach, it is important to consider the leadership skills that are critical to leading a remote team. Top of that list is cultural competence, which is the ability to understand or find out how the execution of certain universal practices translates from one culture to another. A manager of a global team must be adaptable and exhibit cultural sensitivity, with the ability to modify behaviour for different situations, localities, or audiences. While there are lots of books and resources to help with this, nothing compares to actually visiting the remote team members on their home turf. A visit will help you appreciate the cultural norms and working environment of your remote worker. This investment of time and travel may cost initially, but the dividends in the enhanced relationship will generate returns for years to come. And don’t forget to invite the remote team members to visit the home office, too. Find the extra energy Leading at a distance requires extra energy. A global leader must possess extra capacity for focus, productivity and the ability to turn up the energy in a fast-paced, always-on environment. Global leaders must be extremely self-aware, make extra effort to engage, and need to be sensitive to adapting their messages for different audiences. They need to work smarter and leverage technology to enable them to spread their leadership influence wider. It can be difficult to manage valued employees from afar, but to get the very best out of your team, you have to give them the very best in leadership. Anne Phillipson is the Director of People and Change Consulting at Grant Thornton Northern Ireland.

Nov 17, 2019
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A lot of people have big ideas about what innovation means, but a lot of those ideas are just holding people back from being innovative themselves. Anne Byrne and Grace Cunningham discuss the five biggest myths about innovation. Myth #1: Innovation is just a buzzword We know that ‘innovation’ gets its fair share of eye-rolls, but it’s not because innovation is just a buzzword – it’s that the word ‘innovation’ is often misused or used without understanding what it is. There are many definitions of innovation out there. The one I use is “the creation of a new, viable offering that adds value”. It’s the last part of the definition that differentiates what is meant by ‘innovation’ and what people often mean when they use the word liberally. Innovation that isn’t viable – that isn’t working in the real world – isn’t innovation; it’s just an idea. Innovation isn’t just a cool new thing, it’s something which must add value to the lives of the citizen, employee or member of the public. Innovation can mean something as simple as turning ideas into a policy or process, delivering new or better services, or building on solutions that already exist. Myth #2: Innovation means technology A common misconception is that innovation must involve complex technology or that technology itself is innovation. Technology is a huge enabler of innovation but is not necessarily innovative. What’s really innovative is when a user's need is met or a social problem is solved in a new way. It can be high-tech (such as eTolls instead of queuing at a toll booth) but it can also be low-tech (like Dublin City Council’s tea and chat sessions to engage with local community groups). Myth #3: It’s got to be the next iPhone to “count” as innovation Innovation doesn’t have to be new – some of the best innovations are where existing processes or technologies are adapted to meet a new need. Innovation at its finest is when seemingly unconnected things are joined together to make a really impactful solution. Mosquito-borne diseases cause hundreds of thousands of deaths each year. Mosquito repellents exist, but one of the challenges faced is how to distribute and dispel the repellents across large spaces. In Bangkok, social entrepreneurs looked around their city and found the answer in the ubiquitous mopeds and motorbikes. They fitted a device to the exhaust pipes of the bikes that releases natural mosquito repellents around the vehicle. The developers claim that they have protected 80,000 people so far. Neither mopeds nor mosquito repellent were “new” technologies, but with a bit of creativity and modification, the developers brought these existing elements together to create a powerful innovation. Myth #4: I’m not an innovator Everyone can be an innovator, and everyone is creative – you just need to be equipped with the skills and knowledge. There isn’t one type of person who is an innovator. Innovation does need big thinkers and tech whizzes – but it also needs the small thinkers who will work on the detail to make the big idea work. It also needs people whizzes, who make sure that technology can meet the users’ need. There are some common innovator traits – curiosity, an experimental mindset, and empathy – but these can be developed in all of us with the right training, tools and culture. Myth #5: The public service isn’t innovative There are many ways we see innovation in the private sector, but the public sector can be innovative, as well. We’ve seen truly inspiring innovations developed by the public service across the world. For example, a public servant in Portland, Oregon was instrumental in the development of Google Transit; similarly hospitals across the world are being re-designed to better meet the needs of patients. There are great examples close to home, too. The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection are rolling out digital services, through mywelfare.ie, that have been designed in a truly user-centred way. Dublin City Council have implemented innovations from painted traffic light boxes to brighten the city and reduce graffiti. Become an innovator No matter who you are, or what sector you are in, you can be innovative. If you are creative (you are!) and recognise a need in your business or community, try to solve the problem with the tools already available. Anne Byrne and Grace Cunningham are part of the GovLab team in Deloitte.

Nov 17, 2019
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As part of measures to tackle white collar crime and money laundering, the vast majority of companies incorporated in Ireland are required to submit information on their beneficial owners to the Register of Beneficial Ownership of Companies (RBO) by 22 November or risk significant fines. However, based on figures released by the Registrar, only about 21% of companies have done so, according to law firm Mason Hayes and Curran. Under the regulations, companies and certain other types of bodies corporate which were incorporated on or before 22 June 2019 have until 22 November 2019 to submit information on their beneficial owners to the new central register. Newer bodies have five months from incorporation. Fines for companies failing to properly keep a register, or to comply with requests from authorities, will be up to a maximum of €500,000 and there is provision for custodial sentencing of up to 12 months for knowingly or recklessly providing false information to the Registrar. These punishments will also apply to an officer of a company in breach, where those breaches are with the officer’s consent or connivance. The Beneficial Ownership Register opened for filing on 29 July 2019. All filings should be made online at www.rbo.gov.ie. Source: Mason Hayes & Curran.

Nov 17, 2019
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The Central Bank of Ireland has published a new guide to sanctions imposed under the Administrative Sanctions Procedure (ASP) for the financial services sector. This ASP Sanctions Guidance increases transparency by providing greater clarity on the Central Bank’s general approach to sanctioning of firms and individuals. It provides guidance on the application of a variety of factors relevant to sanctioning under the ASP, including cooperation, self-reporting and remediation. The Guidance intends to help to promote an improved culture of compliance in financial firms by clarifying the behaviours which may aggravate or mitigate a breach of financial services law. You can find further information on the ASP here. Source: Central Bank of Ireland.

Nov 15, 2019
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The trustees of the IFRS Foundation invite applications from suitable candidates to fill a new vacancy on the IFRS Interpretations Committee. For this specific vacancy, when considering candidates, trustees will look across all geographic regions for individuals who are currently practising within a non-Big Four accounting firm. The Interpretations Committee is the interpretative body of the International Accounting Standards Board. It consists of fourteen voting members under the non-voting chairmanship of Sue Lloyd. The role of the Interpretations Committee is to interpret the application of, and to support the consistent application of, IFRS Standards throughout the world and to provide timely guidance on financial reporting issues that are not specifically addressed in IFRS Standards, within the context of the Board's Conceptual Framework. The closing date for applications is 9 December. You can read more information at ifrs.org. Source: IFRS.

Nov 14, 2019