Monthly Archives: May 2022

Perceptual Positions

different perspectives

Seeing different perspectives

Where do you first see the red dot in relation to the Perspex box?

Last week I was running a communication skills workshop for a small hotel group, to help improve communication between the sales teams and operations teams.

One of the principles we discussed was the importance of seeing things from others’ perspectives.

Coming back to the red dot, there are lots of possibilities; it doesn’t matter if in your mind it was on the front face or back face, or suspended in mid air, whether it was in the top left hand corner or the middle; you may even have imagined it behind or in front of the box. Wherever you saw it, you were not wrong. But I imagine the longer you looked at it, the more possible positions you saw

Seeing things from different perspectives extends far beyond Perspex boxes. When I’m coaching managers to get the best from their team, or training teams to improve communication across departments, or training staff in dealing with customer complaints, encouraging them to see things from other people’s perspectives is such an important part of resolving difficult situations.

One technique uses that of perceptual positions, which helps you imagine what difficult situations look like when viewed through others’ eyes, in other words to imagine what others perceive by imagining that you are that other person.

This involves looking at it from 3 different perspectives different perspectives

  • First position is your natural perspective. You are fully aware of what you think and feel regardless of those around you. This is of course the perspective we find most familiar. But as you focus on it you may only then start to realise what is important to you and what you want from this interaction. You will probably become more aware of what you believe and value, and more likely to be assertive about your own needs.
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  • Second position is about stepping away from our own position and imagining what it’s like to be the other person, experiencing the situation as they would. The better you know and understand the person, the easier this will be.Some people are very good at considering others’ needs and concerns; for others imagining second position can be a completely alien view. When you are really in their shoes everything you do or say makes perfect sense to you.When you do this well you start to get a sense of what the other believes and values; what is important to them, and a better understanding of what they want. And the better you get at this the more empathy and rapport you create. You might even be able to predict how they might respond in this situation. You are certainly in a better position to get buy in from others, offer better customer service or to give the best support to a team member.
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  • Third position is an independent position where you act as a detached observer noticing what’s happening between two other people. I like to think of this as the ‘fly on the wall’ or ‘The Consultant’s perspective’ What is important is that this position is an impartial insight into a situation.Imagine you are watching and listening to each of the people involved as they communicate without getting involved yourself, without having to feel their feelings and emotions..From this new perspective, you more likely to get an overview of the situation, the bigger picture. You can start to notice patterns and become aware of similarities and differences between the parties involved, and you’re better able to analyse the situation logically with less emotional involvement. What’s also important is you can start to see yourself as others see you..From this position what advice would you give ‘first position’?

When to use Perceptual Positions

It can be particularly useful when you are dealing with a situation where you are having strong negative feelings towards the other party, or do not understand their actions.

For example:

  • When a team member is acting in a way that you find destructive to the task in hand, or negative towards others in the team
  • When you need the support of a colleague, but they are being obstructive
  • In customer service training to illustrate how to handle an angry and (to our mind) unreasonable customer

It doesn’t just help in negative situations, it can also help clarify the way forward in for example sales situation when it will help to see things from the clients’ positions or in a consultant position to see the situation better and help the client achieve their outcomes easier.

It works best when you physically change position when moving from 1st position to 2nd position and then 3rd position; e.g. in 2nd position move round to sit or stand when the other person would normally see or stand when you meet with them, and when the ‘fly on the wall’ stand up and physically look down on the situation.

The real learning comes by stepping out of first position to explore second and third positions and see what light it sheds on a situation.

If you only do one thing: Get to know and understand your team members and what’s important to them so you can imagine their perspective

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Onboarding new team members

onboarding new staff

A couple of weeks’ ago I was a guest panellist on Corecruitment’s recruitment webinar. One common theme is the challenge of recruiting and retaining good staff.

When it comes to retention, having gone to the effort and expense of finding a good fit, don’t waste this by poor onboarding, only to have the employee leave again after a couple of months, leaving you back to square one.

In addition to permanent roles, many hospitality, leisure and tourism businesses will be taking on seasonal staff now.

Maybe you are too?

The first few days and weeks in any job will determine how that person feels about your business and whether or not this is the place they want to stay. It might just be for a season initially, but who knows… maybe even to pursue their career here. Is this an environment where they’ll be happy, fit in and feel their contribution is valued?

Getting this right is as important for temporary or seasonal staff as it is for permanent. They too can act as ambassadors for your business, and make all the difference the next time you need to recruit. Quite apart from the impact they can have on other team members and your customers depending on how well they’re equipped for the job.

People like (and need) to know what’s expected of them. So when people start with you a thorough onboarding is absolutely key to ensuring you’re not wasting all the time, cost and effort you’ve put into recruiting the right person.

A thorough onboarding process firstly ensures they’ll be up to speed and able to carry out their job effectively, resulting in less pressure on other team members, and a better customer experience.

But just as importantly, it creates the right first impression, that shows that their role is valued.

Imagine your new team member getting home from work after their first day and their nearest and dearest asking them “how was your first day?” If you were a fly on the wall, what would you like to hear them say?

“It was ok, I suppose”

“Hmm, I’m not so sure; I didn’t really know what I was doing and they just left me to muddle through. I’ll give it a couple more days…”

“It was brilliant. Everyone was so welcoming and helpful, and they’ve mapped out a great training programme for me so I know what I’m going to be learning and doing over the next couple of weeks. I’m really excited to have got this job, and can’t wait for tomorrow.”

Start the onboarding process as soon as possible; the more you can do before their first day the quicker they’ll get them up to speed.

In your job offer let them know how much you’re looking forward to them coming to work for you and then start with information that lets them know that they’re going to get a warm welcome.

If you need to re-vamp your on-boarding process or want to learn more about how to engage new team members I’ve just made that chore a whole lot easier for you!

Take action

If you only do one thing, take a fresh look at your on-boarding programmes and how you engage new team members, and ask yourself do they really give the best possible start for anyone new to your team to be a productive, happy and engaged team player in your business.

p.s Start your on-boarding process as soon as possible; the more you can do before their first day the quicker they’ll get them up to speed.

Discover more here…

 

 

 

 

 

 


Respect your team

Respect your team

Last week I was invited by a local charity to give a talk. The charity is Oakleaf, who supports people with mental ill health, giving them the skills, confidence and training needed to return to the workplace.

My talk was for their Health Leaders sharing my own thoughts on practical ways employers can help their people feel valued and proud of the work they do – just one small step towards hopefully improving people’s well being at work.

Not forgetting of course the business benefits of how it contribute to productivity, staff retention and customer service.

I covered 5 core leadership actions and one of these was respect.

It’s often little actions (or lack of action) that can unwittingly leave a team feeling they’re not respected. And of course when this happens it can have a negative impact on their perception of the business, the importance of their role, or their relationship with colleagues.

Here are the 5 principles we discussed in relation to respecting your team:

Common Courtesies

This is something most people do without thinking.

That is until we’re having a bad day!

Failing to say a cheery good morning, checking in on how that big event went yesterday, asking about someone’s weekend or holiday, saying please and thank you – all get noticed when they’re missing, even if subconsciously, leaving people feeling unappreciated.

A sunny smile and a cheerful good morning sets everyone up for the day.

Treat your team with the same care, courtesy and respect as you’d like them to show your customers.

Integrity

How you behave or talk about others when they are not present says a lot about your personal integrity.

Lack of integrity can undermine almost any other effort to create trust with your team. It goes beyond honesty.  Integrity is conforming to the reality of our words – keeping promises and fulfilling expectations.  One way of demonstrating integrity is to be loyal to those who are not present. Confidentiality about others in your team is paramount.

Care

Show you care as much about your team as you do about the business and results.

Listen and observe so you can spot any staff concerns quickly. Left to fester these can snowball into bigger problems.

Help your team stay healthy. Simply ensuring people aren’t expected to work excessively long shifts back to back. Keep an eye out for anyone working excessively long hours or not taking their due days off or full holiday entitlement. It could be an early warning sign.

Provide support when needed and be receptive to when this is required; not everyone will be confident enough to ask for help. If you recognise they need help in areas you feel you don’t have the skills to deal with, support them in seeking help from someone who can.

Commitments

Apologise when you let someone down.

Keep commitments. Do what you say you’ll do. Making a promise that’s important to someone and then not delivering on it suggests lack of respect.

It’s one thing to make a mistake, and quite another not to admit it. Sincere words – “I was wrong”, “I showed you no respect”, “I’m sorry”.  It takes a great deal of character strength to apologise.

Time

If lockdown taught us anything it’s the value of personal time.

Respect people’s personal lives and commitments. Don’t be so hell-bent on people’s contracted hours that you can’t allow somebody that flexibility to alter their hours or do something out of the norm.

Picking up the kids from nursery on time, attending their grandchild’s graduation, tending to a sick relative, attending a one off event that would mean so much to them, allowing time to get ready for a long awaited holiday or special occasion, celebrating personal or family milestones.

If you know these things mean a lot to them, give them that flexibility.

If you only do one thing:

Showing respect for your team is the first step to them respecting you and your business, so always think about what message your actions send to your team about how much you respect them.

Related article: Puffed up with Pride



Creating a Learning Culture

Creating a learning culture

Can we really learn from mistakes?

Creating a learning culture starts with accepting people will make mistakes.

Providing we’re able to spot the mistake, make the effort to understand the mistake and be open to learning from it.

And the same applies with your team.

Let me explain…

I was at a conference recently where one of the talks was on creating a learning culture. To my mind there was one aspect of this which was completely overlooked. And that was to create a learning culture you have to be prepared for people to make mistakes and to help them learn from these. Unless you do, people will not be prepared to try new things or take a chance on taking action for fear of messing up and being blamed – even when they think it’s the right thing to do.

Here are 10 ideas to help in creating a learning culture, one where it’s ok to take a chance and make the odd mistake, so long as you learn from it.

  1. Set the example. Admit when you’ve made a mistake – when you’re open about making mistakes your team will be recognise that everyone makes mistakes. But, make sure you also focus on what’s been learnt as a result of that mistake (see The Emotional Bank Account)
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  2. Demonstrate your trust in team members by giving them responsibility and authority to do what they believe is right. E.g. to respond to customers’ expectations and requests in the way that they see fit. If they truly understand your values and what’s of most importance generally they’ll work out the best route to get there.
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  3. Define what levels of authority your team members have in any given situation, and give them examples of when they need to refer to a manager or get sign off, and when it’s OK for them to make the decision. But when you do have to get involved use this as an opportunity for others to learn from the situation, by explaining your approach and why you approached it in the way you did.
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  4. Build confidence; often people know what they should be doing, but just lack that certainty and confidence to do this really well, so give time and an opportunity for them to practise in a safe environment.
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  5. Listen out for hesitation. When you hear a team member saying  “I can’t…” that might be an indication they are fearful of making a mistake. Talk this through with them to identify any obstacles. Do they have the necessary resources, time, authority, peer support?  Let them know you are still there to support them.
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  6. Don’t expect perfection straight away. People need time to find their own way of doing things, and they shouldn’t feel afraid to make the odd mistake when they initially put principles into practice. Recognise and reward as they improve, even if things are not yet perfect.
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  7. Foster a supportive culture. It should be okay to ask questions and admit they don’t know all the answers, where they’re encouraged to seek out new activities and it’s accepted that people won’t always get things right. Recognise even marginal gains in performance are a step forward.
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  8. Give supportive feedback, and help people see their own mistakes, as well as encouraging them by pointing out what’s gone well. https://www.naturallyloyal.com/giving-effective-feedback/
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  9. Reframing. Get people into the habit of looking for solutions rather than trying to blame others. Asking “what can I do to improve the situation?” “What’s in my control?” Rather than focusing on what’s gone wrong, or seeing it as a failure.
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  10. Think about your emotional states. When you, your team – any of us – are in an unresourceful state (such as anger, exhaustion, boredom) if faced with challenges the tiniest problem can lead us to frustration or aggression; the slightest failure can lead to disappointment, blame or self-doubt; a hint of rejection can lead to defensiveness.

Take action

If you only do one thing towards creating a learning culture…

The next time you or any of your team make a mistake use it as an opportunity to learn from it and move on.

Book recommendation:

Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed.

An inspiring book about how we cannot grow unless we are prepared to learn from our mistakes, by understanding and overcoming failures and demonstrates how even marginal gains all contribute to success.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Black-Box-Thinking-Surprising-Success/dp/1473613779

Building Confidence Video