Leadership Tips for Discovery in Action Alumni + network
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June 2016

Welcome to our June edition of our Discovery in Action - Monthly leadership tips,  your 'once a month'  'bite-sized' chunks of practical leadership wisdom!

In this edition of our newsletter we share :
We post the blogs in this monthly leadership tips publication on Linked In. Please feel free to forward this email to people in your network who you think may find it helpful...

We also use the content we share each month, in the work we do in our consulting practice. Feel free to get in touch to find out more about anything in this newsletter or other blogs on our website.  Enjoy!

Paul and Melanie Eyres

6 questions to increase employee engagement

Many organisations we work with conduct a climate or employee engagement survey. Each year managers try to decipher the results, and explore this question with their teams : How do we increase our levels of employee engagement?

Some scary statistics were published by the 'Gallup 2013 study on the state of the Global Workplace' - only 13% of employees around the world are engaged at work. And 24% are actively disengaged, meaning they are unhappy and unproductive at work.

The responsibility for actively working on employee engagement does rest with each manager and the organisation they work for, but it is certainly not the only key to improving engagement levels. To understand all the factors that contribute to engagement, we need to explore the 'holy trinity' of the I - the We - and the It!

I we it jigsaw
The We and the It

A great concept shared by Deloittes was profiled in a previous blog we shared called 'Becoming Irresistible - a power new model for employee engagement. After a two year research study involving discussions with hundreds of clients, Deloitte have “uncovered five major elements (and 20 underlying strategies) that work together to make organizations “irresistible.” These 20 factors fit together into a whole system of engagement in an organization, one that is held together through culture.

It says that organisations and the individual leaders within each organisation should pay attention to 5 key elements:

  • meaningful work
  • hands on management
  • positive work environment
  • growth opportunities
  • trust in leadership

Deliberate, focused attention on each of these 5 elements, with leadership at the local level investing time and energy on these 20 strategies will help your organisation go a long way to ‘becoming irresistible’; where employees never want to leave!

The I part of the equation

But working on the We and the It only takes you so far. You can have two people doing the same job in the same team - and you feel you apply the same engagement strategies with each of them - and one may be engaged and the other disengaged! Sound familiar?

Marshall Goldsmith offers another take on the issue of engagement : "What employees really should be asking is, what can they do to engage themselves, not what the company can do to engage them!' (see videos below)

Marshall has published what he calls his 6 Active Questions that he suggests each person should ask every day. And he practices what he preaches - he asks these (plus other) questions for himself every single day.

Marshall Goldsmith - 6 active engaging questions

Click here to read the remainder of this blog (including videos from Marshall Goldsmith)...

A simple trick for getting the 'right' stuff done!

Dan Pink's second 'Pinkcast' shared a super simple but highly effective productivity technique called the MIT : the Most Important Task!

Ask yourself : What is the most important thing that you have to do that day? That is your M.I.T.! Write it down - and do that FIRST!  Don't check your emails, don't return phone calls, don't get distracted bu something less important - focus on this task and get it done!

You'll feel so much better!

Click on his picture to watch the video.


How to ask great questions at work

When you are talking to your colleagues at work, are you getting the right information? Are you getting the information you need to do your job well? If you hesitate or feel like saying ‘no’, it is “possible you may not be asking the right questions.”

In a blog post on HR daily by Brennan McEachran, he suggests ‘some professionals are reluctant to ask questions because they see it as a sign of weakness; as if admitting you don’t understand something is a reflection of your competency.” Does this sound like you?

I think asking questions is quite the reverse – being able to ask effective questions actually quite a skill! Asking considered, well phrased questions :

  • allows you to discover what people are thinking
  • enables you to test or validate assumptions
  • encourages other people to share their thoughts, opinions and ideas
  • helps you discover information you otherwise may not otherwise have access to
  • facilitates an exchange of information
  • helps facilitate a greater level of understanding for you – and the other person

This blog shares some detailed tips about phrasing – a key to asking effective questions. And it also shares some things to avoid.

Things to avoid

When asking questions, be careful to avoid:

  • asking double-barrel questions – ie two questions in one
  • asking closed questions when you are wanting an exploratory dialogue
  • asking leading questions that include a strong suggestion about what you want!

Check out the original post to see detailed examples of questions that make these simple mistakes.

Some tips to help structure questions for the best answers

Brennan suggests “Asking questions the right way (the way that gets you the best possible answers) means, for most instances, pausing for a moment to consider just what you’re asking — what information do you expect to get? — and then taking a step back to remove any assumptions from that possible question.”

Here are some tips to help structure better questions...

Click here to view the full blog

Mindset - Do you mine for Gold?

What mindset do you have about the people in your team?

How do you see each person in your team?

  • Do you see the shiny external surface where everything looks ok, but – if you were really honest – on the inside you think there is something ‘NQR’ and you are waiting for them to come unstuck or let you down? (the picture on the left.)
  • Or – do you recognise this person is less than perfect – and in fact accept these imperfections – but know there is something more there – some ‘potential’ for excellence – if you just keep looking for it…or better still, help them realise it? (the picture on the right.)

Do you think about people in terms of their potential – not just their current performance?

It is frightening to appreciate the impact your thinking has on you and your dealings with people.

What you believe about a person can have a profound effect on what they do, what they don’t do, and even how they see themselves…


What research tell us

In the blog post called ‘Performance Is In the Eye of the Beholding Manager’ by Trish Cloete, she explores this concept further, wondering why a person can be an ‘average performer’ under one leader and a ‘star’ under another.

Click here to see more...

Some recent assignments

  • Facilitated a number of Business planning workshops for teams inside larger organisations
  • Kicked off another Discovery in Action program
  • Ran some 3hr Resilience sessions for staff working at libraries
Click here to access the Eyres & Associates website to find out what else we do!

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