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2020 presented leaders and their teams many challenges, making boosting morale more important than ever. Learning how to praise your staff is an essential skillset. Fiona Flynn tells us how. Giving praise might not be the first thing that comes to mind when considering business leader duties, but praise has been shown to have a direct impact on business results. A Gallup poll found that people who received “recognition or praise for doing good work” are also responsible for a 10% to 20% difference in revenue and productivity. Employees who reported that they are not adequately recognised at work were three times more likely to quit in the next year. As we move through Q1 and into Q2 of 2021, many managers and organisations are completing the annual review process. This can be a painful or powerful task. Unfortunately, managers can unknowingly undermine employee performance during this process. According to research from the Corporate Executive Board, line managers directly influence many key drivers of employee’s performance, improving or destroying performance by up to 40%. Giving praise authentically has many benefits for the indivdual, team and organisation. It creates a positive workplace climate with higher levels of trust, improved problem-solving and innovation and a postive impact on the customer experience and net promoter score. How to give praise There are a few things to keep in mind when acknowledging employee accomplishments and giving praise. Be genuine Ensure the message is delivered with genuine conviction and authenticity. Be specific Clearly articulate what behaviour is being recognised – solving a problem, using their initative, collaborating with another department. Recognise how the behaviours reflect company values, purpose, and business. Be consistent Use praise as part of regular one-on-ones between you and employees, and not just once a year at the review. Be spontaneous When you receive feedback from others about your employee, or see a positive behaviour – pass on the praise. You don’t need to wait for a one-on-one or review session. Send the email or talk to them immediately. Recognise behaviours Don’t just focus on the end results of great performance – praise the behaviours that contributed to that result, as well. Smart actions on the part of the employee won’t always end up as a business win, but you want to reinforce that what they did was the best option. Ask open-ended questions and listen Encourage and praise employees for sharing their insights – this encouragement can cultivate discretionary behaviour and problem-solving culture within the whole team. Offer praise, even amidst failure Praise your team members even when, despite their best efforts, things don’t go as planned.  It is at this time that praise can have the most impact. It can boost morale and get the employee’s mindset back on track. Use it as a coaching and learning opportunity. Review the process and identify what they did well, what they learned and what they would change the next time. Set clear goals and expectations Be sure that the goals given to the team, as well as your expectation in meeting those goals, are clear. This ensures that praise is transparent, and people don’t feel excluded. Praise is a powerful tool that can be used to support and stretch team members. It will improve their self-confidence and morale. It is a particularly useful technique when implementing change – new processes, systems, etc. Identify and praise the individuals who are leaning in and adopting the change. That can have a ripple effect to encourage others to also do well. Fiona Flynn is a Director of Montauk Consulting.

Jan 29, 2021
News

Career conversations can be nerve-wracking at the best of times; adding the pandemic and homeworking into the mix makes it even more challenging. The way to crack this, says Louise Molloy, is to think through the problem rather than just about the problem. It’s that time of the year when career discussions abound. While this is always an anxious time, with COVID-19 and working from home added to the mix, I’m hearing about fear of being seen as negative, complaining or not supportive when there are legitimate concerns about promotions and upward mobility. This results in frustration and disappointment as teams fail to have the conversations needed. Having sat in both the reviewer and reviewee’s seat, and now coaching clients in this area, I’m reminded of Simon, an ambitious and capable guy who was keen to progress. His boss was relatively new to the organisation and, while he met targets, he struggled to get buy-in from the team and their stakeholders. Simon was full of ideas on how to restructure the team to allow more room for collaboration and creativity, and he was willing to take on more responsibility to deliver this. Previous discussions were taken as personal criticism by his boss, so Simon felt unable to raise the issue again without being seen as unsupportive. Sometimes when situations get emotional and we feel scared or rejected, we fail to see it objectively. He told me that the company needed results, innovation, and good engagement. So, putting on that company ‘hat’, Simon had to consider a few things: How can I contribute more? What is the work that needs to be done – for the company; for the team; for me? The key here is to be honest with yourself and ignore experience or everything you think you know about the company/culture. Imagine I’m the team leader – what do I need to achieve? What am I afraid of? What is my biggest challenge? What allies do I have and need? Really think about your team leader as a person within a system and how it feels to be in that situation. How do I need to present my view of how I could contribute and the work that needs to be done to meet my boss’ priorities and challenges? Reframing what you want to say in this way helps build trust and buy-in, showing you recognise and respect your boss’s position. What do I want to achieve in the session? This conversation is only the beginning, not the end. Share observations on where projects didn't go well (with supporting evidence). Make constructive suggestions, such as starting a working group with different people from various departments, so you can ensure alignment and best ways of working. After considering the above four points, Simon decided to put together a working group comprising members of his own team as well as people from other departments. By doing this, he revised the reporting process, improving quality, freeing up resource time for more innovative insight sharing. He got great feedback, leading to more delegation from his boss. It took a while to get promoted, but in the meantime, his working life had changed. He was happier, more influential and had a clearer view of how he could move his career forward. The questions above are designed to challenge you to think the problem through rather than just think ‘about’ it. This, in turn, will change how you will feel about the conversation ahead. Rather than a battle, it will feel more like you and management are in it together. Remember, if you always do what you always did, nothing changes. So, give it a go. Challenge yourself to answer those questions and see where it leads you. Louise Molloy is a director at Luminosity Consulting.

Jan 29, 2021

Today mentoring relationships are becoming more common amongst professional accountants. This blog will explore the benefits of mentoring and explain how to get the most out of having a mentor. What is mentoring? Mentoring is a one-to-one relationship between you and someone with extensive knowledge and experience in your professional field that can help guide, advise and support you to achieve your career goals.   Sometimes this relationship may be a formal one organised through your employer, or it could be through a mentoring organisation or via your professional institute. Alternatively, it may be more of an informal relationship that you have arranged yourself through your own network. There are advantages and disadvantages of an internal/external mentor so you need to consider who the right person is to help you succeed and then ensure that your mentor has the time to commit to helping you. Sometimes a workplace mentor may have a specific remit to support you with such as helping you keep focused with studies and experience to qualify whereas general mentoring in its purest sense is about your long-term career. Mentoring can take place in a range of ways both in person or remotely using virtual meetings or social media platforms. A mentoring relationship will typically involve the mentor playing different roles to support you by offering you guidance, advice and suggestions from their own knowledge and experience. They could support you with advice around technical skills development in your early career, leadership skills or business skills as you progress further in your career. They can also act as a sounding board, someone to think through problems, issues and challenges with as well as someone who may challenge and push your thinking, motivating you and holding you accountable for any actions. Do I need a mentor? Having a mentor can have many benefits. Working with the right mentor can help you by allowing you to: Seek advice from an industry expert who has the knowledge and expertise to give guidance Explore your career options, path and future objectives with someone in the field Discover your areas of strength and areas of development through feedback Discuss ways to overcome any barriers to your success Gain different perspectives when thinking through issues Improve your confidence and performance in your role Access the mentors network of contacts that could be helpful to your future career Gain the support and advocacy of the mentor for future job roles Choosing a mentor It is important you have some choice in your mentor. You’ll want them to be someone you can be open with and trust with your personal objectives, thoughts and feelings around your career, as well as being someone who inspires you. When choosing a mentor, you should consider: Whether the person has the relevant knowledge and experience to advise you in your career Whether you hold the person in high regards, someone you admire or who you find inspirational Whether you feel comfortable with the person’s style and approach Whether you feel you will be able to be open and honest with the person Whether you feel the person will treat information with confidence Whether you think the person will be able to offer you feedback to help you learn and grow; Whether the person has some experience in mentoring others You should spend some time meeting together to assess your answers to these questions and ensure you make the right choice before entering into a long-term mentoring arrangement. For mentoring to be successful you need to enter into it with clear objectives around what you want to achieve from it together with personal motivation and commitment. Mentoring can be a short-term relationship with regular meetings to support you through a particular challenge or career transition or it could be a long-term relationship throughout your career journey with fewer meetings spread out over a longer period of time. This has to be mutually agreed between both parties and regularly reviewed. Your career takes different routes and you may naturally reach a point where you are ready to work with someone else or they may feel they have supported you so far and are ready to watch you fly on your own. Find out more information about mentoring. Written by: Meg Burton Meg has over 15 years' extensive experience of delivering and facilitating development training in corporate organisations working with leaders and managers at all levels in a wide range of businesses. Meg is a qualified learning and development professional, qualified MBTI practitioner and Executive Coach. Meg has a warm enthusiastic approach, a passion for learning and a desire to make a difference to individuals. Article reproduced with the kind permission of CABA, the organisation providing lifelong support to ICAEW members, ACA students and their close family around the world.

Jun 24, 2019