Monthly Archives: January 2017

4-leadership-styles

4 Leadership Styles Every Leader Needs to Know

4 leadership topicsHave you ever given feedback to a team member and felt it wasn’t received well? Or communicated the outcome you want, and what’s eventually delivered doesn’t resemble what you asked for?

Giving constructive feedback and direction is a critical skill for all leaders, but it’s not always easy to do. You want to balance the need to achieve outcomes with maintaining a great relationship, knowing it’s inevitable that team members will get it wrong sometimes.

The key is to use the correct leadership style for the person you are leading. A great tool to help you do this is the Competence / Confidence Matrix, adapted from research done way back in the 70’s. But unlike your safari suit, this model has stood the test of time.

1. High commitment / Low competence: Guide and coach

This might a new person on the team – a recent graduate or even an experienced player who isn’t yet familiar with how your team goes about things.

  • Discuss and decide on ways of doing things
  • Identify and provide the training needed
  • Accept early mistakes as important opportunities for coaching
  • Give responsibility and authority for the aspects of tasks the person can do
  • Require frequent updates early in the project, but relax control as progress is shown

2. High commitment, High competence: Delegate & release

These are your proven performers. The worst thing you can do is make them feel micro-managed.

  • Involve the person in decision-making
  • Frequently as the person for opinions
  • Give responsibility and authority because the person is competent and committed
  • Ask for updates at important moments or when the person has questions

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3. Low commitment, Low competence: Direct & tell

You don’t want people in this category for long. You may be able to help them increase their competence or commitment, or it may be time to break up.

  • Discuss what would motivate the person and agree on what’s possible
  • Set clear rules, methods and deadlines
  • Give responsibility and authority for aspects of the task the person can do
  • Plan tasks in such a way that ensures the person has some success quickly
  • Identify & provide the training needed
  • Require frequent updates early in the project, but relax control as progress is shown

4. Low commitment, High competence: Excite & inspire

Your mission is to find out why their commitment is flagging. Are they looking for a new challenge, or are they disengaged with you, the team, or the company?

  • Discuss why the task is important and why the person is the right choice
  • Discuss what would motivate the person and what’s possible
  • Give responsibility and authority because the person is competent
  • Require frequent updates

Thinking back on recent interactions that went well, was there a relationship between the style you used and the competence and confidence of the team member? What about interactions that didn’t go well – might a different style have produced better results?

Delegating, directing and managing performance is something we all struggle with at times. Even highly experienced leaders come across people they just can’t figure out, or regardless of how consciously they try, where any interaction with the person just ends up pushing buttons! But know that engaging and developing the skills of team members is the cornerstone of good leadership and your genuine efforts today are influencing the next generation of leaders who are currently under your mentorship.

Author: Peter Diaz
Peter-Diaz-AuthorPeter Diaz is the CEO of Workplace Mental Health Institute. He’s an author and accredited mental health social worker with senior management experience. Having recovered from his own experience of bipolar depression, Peter is passionate about assisting organisations to address workplace mental health issues in a compassionate yet results-focussed way. He’s also a Dad, Husband, Trekkie and Thinker.

Connect with Peter Diaz on:
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managing-upwords

The Art of Managing Upwards

managing upSometimes, it’s easy to get too comfortable in your career, isn’t it? You come to a time where you can do everything that is expected of you easily, without a lot of stress. But, beware! you can, at this point start to feel a little less satisfaction. You may feel that you are not being challenged. Or, you can worry that you will stagnate in your career and never move up to the heights you are capable of. What you need to do then is this: get good at managing up.Managing up refers to stretching yourself in your job. Instead of focusing on just what needs to get done to fulfill your duties, look at what needs to happen to help your company as a whole and you in your career grow. It means taking on additional tasks that make your manager’s life easier and make you a more valuable part of the enterprise.

Why is Managing Upwards important?

If we just stick to our job descriptions, the people who work around us will never know our full capabilities and potential. It is too easy to get stagnated and stop moving forward in your career. By making managing up part of your philosophy and strategy, you can become more valuable to your department and the company.

It’s also good protection. If there is a down turn in your business, your industry or the economy as a whole, there will be times when cuts may need to be made. By showing that you are valuable and committed, you can increase your chances that you will be there to ride along on the next upswing.

And, more than anything else, it’s good for your mental health at work. When you come in dedicated to being valuable, you will feel more confident and happier about the work that you do. A sense that you are doing valuable work and helping to build something leads to higher job satisfaction. Since most of us spend a significant amount of our time at work, finding value there enhances every part of our lives.


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5 Tips for Succeeding at Managing Up

Once you’ve decided that managing up is part of your strategy, you need to figure out how to succeed at it. If you are going to keep your efforts productive, there are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Get to know and understand your manager.

You and your manager need to be able to communicate clearly. You need to understand what their priorities are and what they want from the people who work with them. If you do not understand what your manager means, for instance, when they asks for a task to be completed, take the time to learn. And, know what your manager prefers. For instance, many people do not like to hear new ideas unless there is data to back it up. Make sure you give your manager what they need to be able to say ‘yes’.

2. Jump in where you are needed.

Don’t wait to be told that something needs to be done. When you observe a need, find a way to fulfill it. By jumping in, you show your willingness to take chances and your willingness to get things done.

3. Keep your boss informed.

Your manager is not a mind reader. Tell him regularly what you are working on and what you have accomplished. By keeping a running narrative, you can demonstrate your value to the company and begin to move up.

4. Work on building relationships.

Get to know the people in your company and in your industry. By making sure that people know who you are and the work ethic and ingenuity you bring to the job, the more likely they will think of you when new opportunities come up.

5. Keep things positive.

Sometimes, the most valuable thing you can be is someone who is easy and pleasant to work with. Stay out of company politics and drama. Keep complaining to a minimum when things do not go as planned. By making sure that you are easy to be around, you help ensure that you are the person people want to pick for new projects.

Managing up is not just doing a few extra things around the office. It’s a philosophical difference in how you relate at work. You will find that when you start looking at your career through this lens, you will feel happier, more fulfilled and more pleasantly challenged in your work.

Author: Peter Diaz
Peter-Diaz-AuthorPeter Diaz is the CEO of Workplace Mental Health Institute. He’s an author and accredited mental health social worker with senior management experience. Having recovered from his own experience of bipolar depression, Peter is passionate about assisting organisations to address workplace mental health issues in a compassionate yet results-focussed way. He’s also a Dad, Husband, Trekkie and Thinker.

Connect with Peter Diaz on:
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Workplace-Mental-Risk

Workplace mental health must be given priority or else

Recent Federal Court cases have raised serious questions around when directors may find themselves facing personal penalties. It appears directors may be personally liable for issues in the work place even if their company does not break any laws. If the company is found to be at risk of breaking any laws, then directors and business owners could be in trouble,” Mr Diaz said today.

These recent cases mark quite a change in the way directors, owners and managers are seen by the courts.

Mental health is a serious issue in the work place and becoming a bigger issue for businesses.

The increased pressure of cost cutting and doing more with less, is placing significant strain, stress and pressure on staff across the country.

Many Australian businesses are competing against multi-nationals who are able to source cheaper labour overseas and invest in technology to systemise and computerise activities normally undertaken by humans. As a result, jobs are being lost, outsourced and off-shored.

This level of change, pressure and disruption in the work place combined with more challenging front line issues is creating significant stress for workers and work places generally.

It is no surprise that the presence of mental health issues in the workplace is on the rise.

While many companies have targets and programs to deal with work place accidents and other issues such as bullying and harassment, most do not have programs to deal with mental health issues.

Mental health issues silently affect absenteeism, productivity, morale, customer service and many other areas of a business. In effect, they cause financial loss.

Unless companies start taking work place mental health seriously, we are going to see a rise in the number of claims against directors and business owners from staff who feel their mental health has been damaged due to poor work place practices or a lack of regard for the mental health of staff in the work place.

Managers are not trained to deal with mental health issues, they are trained to be managers and administrators. Their focus is generally operational and business related.

In the last few years, we have worked with many organisations to develop and implement programs to address and manage mental health issues in the work place.

Some of these have included organisations with large contingents of front line staff who are required to deal with angry and stressed members of the general public.  Others include businesses where there is a fair degree of pressure, particularly sales environments.

Our work involves assisting organisations to identify the risks, implement programs, train managers and establish systems to enable monitoring and action.

Organisations must start incorporating mental health into their corporate wellness programs and implementing mental health management planning and support systems into their work place strategies to support staff at all levels.  If they don’t directors and business owners may find themselves losing their homes or even worse, facing jail time. Mental health issues are just as serious as physical health issues, it is just that they can be a bit more difficult to recognise.

It’s time.

Author: Peter Diaz
Peter-Diaz-author

Peter Diaz is the CEO of Workplace Mental Health Institute. He’s an author and accredited mental health social worker with senior management experience. Having recovered from his own experience of bipolar depression, Peter is passionate about assisting organisations to address workplace mental health issues in a compassionate yet results-focussed way. He’s also a Dad, Husband, Trekkie and Thinker.

Connect with Peter Diaz on:
Peter Diaz on Google Plus Peter Diaz on Face Book Peter Diaz on LinkedIn

five-ways-to-motivate-team

5 Ways to Motivate Your Team for the New Year

five ways to motivate teamA lot of employees find that motivation drags most in the weeks after Christmas holidays. To get the new year off to a positive start, you need to have powerful motivation strategies in place. For most people, this doesn’t mean pep talks; when those work at all, their influence wears off pretty quickly. Instead, use these five tested techniques:

1. Listen to the people on your team & tell/show you value them.

The relationship between an employee and their direct manager is the most important factor that influences engagement and motivation. If it is an open and honest relationship, that sets the tone for everything that goes on in the workplace. Listening to the people who work with you is a big part of that. This means listening when they have concerns as well as being open to their ideas. When the people around you feel like they are heard, they feel like they are valued, as well.


Read more on workplace leadership and wellness strategies….


2. Learn what motivates each team member.

Some people really thrive on praise and feedback. Others are all about responsibility and freedom to get things done. Still others want a workplace where they feel that work/life balance is prized and protected. Learn what makes everyone you work with tick. By learning how they work and what drives them to do a job well, you can craft an environment that helps them be their best. Learning can come from a combination of closed-door, one on one meetings, surveys and questionnaires and simply observing people in action to see how they work best and what they respond to.

3. Make group goals.

Instead of always working to motivate each team member individually, create goals that everyone can work toward together. Make sure that everyone knows their roles and their responsibilities — remember, when more than one person is responsible for something, that can mean that no one is. Each person needs specific tasks and a way to check them off for accountability.

Goals should be broken down into milestones, short term goals and long term ones. Meet regularly to see where everyone is and what they need for the next steps or the bigger picture. Think about rewards for steps along the way. This combination of short and long term provides some reward for each step while helping keep focus on the larger, long term goal, which can help prevent fatigue. Making it easy for people to see small accomplishments help them drive toward larger ones and helps boost emotional and mental health at work.

4. Give team members responsibility.

People feel happiest at work when they know that they are important to an enterprise’s success. By giving people responsibility and the freedom to complete the work the way they want, it can help them take ownership of what they are doing. Allow different people to take leadership positions at different times. For instance, instead of a manager always leading meetings, ask different individuals on your staff to take charge. This allows different people to shape the discussion, giving you a variety of points of view. And, when this happens, people feel that their contributions are more important and are more likely to feel motivated about making them happen.

5. Show your team the bigger picture.

When people are just tasked with little pieces of the whole goal, their feeling about their importance might feel small, too. There is no value in deciding that information about the larger goals is over someone’s pay grade. Make sure that everyone knows what their contribution means to the success of the whole. Update regularly about how each of their tasks and projects works toward the organization’s bigger success.

This sort of transparency means that people know that the work they are doing means something. It helps them understand the value that they bring to the project. When people understand that, they feel more empowered and invested at work. They will do better work and feel more motivation each day to do it.

Keeping a team motivated is an ongoing task. It’s more than a few meetings or buzzwords. It comes down to a constant dedication to being the sort of leader who brings the best out of people. While that’s a big job, these are a few simple policies and actions to put into place to start. These and other tips to motivate your team can help make the coming new year a productive and fulfilling year.

Author: Peter Diaz
Peter-Diaz-AuthorPeter Diaz is the CEO of Workplace Mental Health Institute. He’s an author and accredited mental health social worker with senior management experience. Having recovered from his own experience of bipolar depression, Peter is passionate about assisting organisations to address workplace mental health issues in a compassionate yet results-focussed way. He’s also a Dad, Husband, Trekkie and Thinker.

Connect with Peter Diaz on:
Peter Diaz on Google Plus Peter Diaz on Face Book Peter Diaz on LinkedIn

Waves-in-the-Brain

How Will You Lead Differently in the New Year

Brain wavesThere’s no one right style of leadership. Each manager needs to make decisions based on the people who make up her team and what works best for them. However, it’s also true that there is always room for improvement. And that’ll be time well spent since good leadership is strongly associated with improved results overall. The good news, it’s not that hard. By taking some time for some self-reflection and study, you can become a better leader in the new year.

Reflect on What Went Well

Figure out what your leadership wins were in last year so that you can build on them in the new year. This starts by writing down your own impressions of where you think you were successful. Think in terms of what you did that got you to a goal instead of just what was accomplished. Hint: you are looking for your own ‘pattern of success’ here.

You should also talk to employees and your manager to see what they think about the year we’ve just finished. What did they feel was especially effective? What did they find surprising or innovative?

… And on What Didn’t

None of us hit it out of the park every time. That’s ok. We are not supposed to. But we are supposed to take the opportunity to learn from what didn’t work. After writing down your wins, take some notes about what you felt did not go well. Were there times you fell short of goals? Times that you felt that you did not make yourself clearly understood to team members? Times you dropped the ball and didn’t delegate as well as you should?


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When asking others for their impressions on where there was room for improvement, it can sometimes be better to allow people to be anonymous. Consider sending around a survey or putting out a box where people can drop notes about what they think could have gone better and their suggestions for the new year. One word of caution: make sure that you yourself get into a powerful state before you review feedback. Some of it will not be pleasant. Don’t make it personal even when it feels personal. Remember, you are a leader and the aim is to take what you can out of it and learn how to lead better, not to go into a pity party. If you need to vent, go and vent with someone you respect and can guide you with wisdom, such as your executive coach.

When you are looking at how you did, you should also look at metrics that spell out hits and misses in numbers. Were there more sick days in your department this year than in others? Did you have a higher average than other departments in the company? Were your rates of turnover higher than normal or about average for your company and your industry?

Look Outside for Inspiration

If there were situations that you did not feel you handled as well as possible or areas where you feel your team has untapped potential, look for ways to change or improve your leadership to bring out everyone’s best in the coming year.

Sometimes the best thing we can do is find an example of what we want to be. Modelling your style on the style of someone who you find successful can be an excellent place to start. By looking to others, you can adopt some of what gets them their great results. Who’s the leader you admire or like the most? What is it about them you like?

A leadership coach or a mentor can help provide actionable advice about how to take your current leadership strategies and tweak them to be more effective. These individuals will have the outside perspective you need to see what you are doing well and how you can improve.

Challenging yourself in the workplace is another way to make yourself a better leader, as well. When the people who work with you see you stretching, they often feel more confident about your abilities. You will also likely learn new skills that translate well into better leadership.

Communicate with Your Team

To be effective, change can’t be unilateral. If you want to change procedures in your workplace so that you are more effective, be sure to talk about this with your team. Get them meaningfully engaged. Explain where you feel you all are at the present time, what new results you want to see and what you see as the ways to get there. Make sure you ask them for their ideas and suggestions of what they feel will help you, as a team, get there. Remember – sudden changes can make people feel unsettled or even worried about their jobs. This sort of open communication makes people feel more at ease. It also helps them understand your expectations better so that they are more able to shape their efforts to fit your needs.

Better leadership is, in many ways, the result of deliberate and thoughtful choices. By making decisions based on what you want instead of being in a place where you are purely reactive, you are better able to coax and work together with your team in the direction that will be more successful for you all. Be patient as you try putting new strategies into place. It can take some trial and error to get the results you want. Over time, however, it will lead to better results from your team and a happier, more productive workplace.

Author: Peter Diaz
Peter-Diaz-AuthorPeter Diaz is the CEO of Workplace Mental Health Institute. He’s an author and accredited mental health social worker with senior management experience. Having recovered from his own experience of bipolar depression, Peter is passionate about assisting organisations to address workplace mental health issues in a compassionate yet results-focussed way. He’s also a Dad, Husband, Trekkie and Thinker.

Connect with Peter Diaz on:
Peter Diaz on Google Plus Peter Diaz on Face Book Peter Diaz on LinkedIn

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