28 May 2013

"Focus on People" Article by Tina Zawila

An Australian Institute of Management event I attended recently was “Management Explained” by Devora Zack.  Devora is an international speaker and author specialising in the field of leadership development.

Most managers become managers simply because they were very good at what they do and therefore they are “promoted”.  For example a good tradie, often becomes a supervisor or team leader – however, just because they are good at what they do doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be good managers – or even that they want to be a manager!

Often these new managers are not given adequate training or tools/techniques to deal with the issues arising in a management role such as emotions, conflicts and personalities, whilst still achieving goals, targets and deadlines.

Devora believes that it is important to identify our own “management style” that fits who you really are.  She identifies two styles – “thinkers” and “feelers”, and encourages managers to be true to themselves, and their own style to be successful, whilst recognising the “style” of their team members to be more effective in managing and communicating with them in a way that they will relate and respond to.
Generally speaking, “thinkers” communicate directly, are focussed, productive and efficient and like clear lines of responsibility and authority.  “Feelers” on the other hand, are focussed on friendly interactions, want to build rapport and relationships and like positive reinforcement.

If you try to communicate with a strong “thinker” by using a “feeler’s” language and approach, you may find that they will have “tuned out” at the first “So, how was your weekend?” question.  Similarly, if you approach a strong “feeler” with a direct approach without exchanging any “pleasantries”, they will be thinking about “what is wrong with the relationship, that you don’t care enough to ask how they are?”, rather than focussing on your message.

The key is to “treat others as they would like to be treated”, whilst still staying true to your own management style.  The more we focus on people, the more successful we will be.

Have your managers been given adequate training?
What kind of “management style” do you have?
Is there a particular technique you use within management you find most effective?

At Sothertons we are committed to lifelong learning and we are always keen to share and receive good ideas – call us on 4972 1300 to discuss your thoughts on Management Styles and Techniques.

16 May 2013

"Building a Community" Article by Tina Zawila

Recently I have had the opportunity to attend a couple of breakfast meetings hosted by the Australian Institute of Management.  In late April “The Complexities of Managing in the Regions – A Leadership Forum” was chaired by Kurt Heidecker (GILG)  with an outstanding discussion panel including Kevin Berg (Bechtel), Glenn Schumacher (NRG) and Julie Boyd (Previous Mayor of Mackay).

This was an excellent discussion around the challenges of being a manager and leader in a regional area.  Importantly, whilst it was recognised that working and living in a regional area has its own unique challenges, there are many challenges faced by managers of teams, organisations or businesses, that are ‘global’ and generic.

The key insights I obtained from the experienced and knowledgeable panel included:
  1. Be a role model, make good business decisions - Be the best you can be.  Seek out a mentor for yourself – even one outside of your industry to keep you challenged, focussed and on a path of continual self-development (personal and professional).  It was said that “we all become a little bit of the good people we meet along the way”. 
  2. Create a community with a positive environment - As a manager/leader you should be actively involved with your team/organisation.  Get to know them, and what is going on in the workplace, and where possible interact on a personal level with your team.  Stop. Listen. Understand.
  3. People make the difference - Understand that the success of the team/organisation or business is completely dependent on the skills and success of the people involved.  It is people that make the difference –not machinery, software or technology.  If your team members are not successful, you won’t be.
One of my favourite sayings (and Kurt also shared it on the day) is one by Charlie Jones “You are the same today as you’ll be in five years, except for two things: the books you read and the people you meet”.  

Do you agree with these 3 keys insights on managing?
Is there a quote or saying which you strive to implement in your life?
How do you “build a community” within your organisation?

At Sothertons we are committed to lifelong learning and we are always keen to share and receive good ideas – call us on 4972 1300 to discuss your thoughts on Building a Community.

10 May 2013

"Learning from our Elders" Article by Steve Marsten

I had a great conversation with a retiree recently. He had had a very hard life and he was inspiring for he was still thriving in life. He made me think - for most of us, life offers abundant opportunities for both laughter and tears. The good times we savour. The hard times often go to our heart and deep into our soul. We measure our ability to handle life’s challenges through our strength of character. And yet, where do we learn how to deal with those challenges, those hard times and difficulties? In school, we are taught how to read, add and write.

But what about the keys to living?  Where do we do our bachelor degree in Life? Where are the classes dealing with the loss of a job, the death of a loved one, the failure of a relationship? Unfortunately, those lessons are mostly learned through trial by fire and the school of hard knocks. The message I took from talking to this multi experienced gentleman was that no matter how difficult your life may become, no matter how hard it gets, there is always reason to keep on going and fighting back because you can survive and thrive. Only selfish people would think otherwise.
He had lost his parents to a tragic accident; a daughter to illness; had a broken marriage; and lost several well paying jobs to various economic set backs not of his making. Believing that his life has value is important.
He believes that we have to live life with a sense of urgency so not a minute is wasted. Failure, defeat and loss afflict us all. Expect it, and learn to deal with it. And then learn to get back to life without waiting for an invitation. One way to do that is to trust in the power within yourself, and to believe good things are going to follow—great things will occur when you get up, dust yourself off, and go at life with renewed determination and courage. He remarried at 55 and at 70 continues to work for charities 3 days a week and he thoroughly enjoys life to the max.
What are some lessons you have learnt from an Elder?
What do you think the keys are to living?
Do you need help with some of life’s hurdles?
At Sothertons we support you in [Business] + [Life]. If you need assistance with planning your future or tackling some financial hurdles please contact us on 4972 1300.