Tag Archives: Leadership & Management

More than just a headache

I don’t normally write about personal stuff but as this week is National migraine week and I’m a long-term sufferer I thought this was a great opportunity to educate those who are affected by friends and colleagues or employees who suffer from migraine. Also to promote some of the excellent achievements from the National Migraine Centre in London who have a worldwide reputation for treatment and research into migraine, and have certainly helped me to keep my migraines in check.

Migraine affects 1 in 5 of the population and every day in the UK 190,000 suffer a migraine attack. The World Health Organisation ranks it as one of the 20 most disabling conditions, however it is the least publicly funded neurological illness relative to its economic impact (it costs the UK economy in the region of £7 billion).

My migraine hell started in my early teens and I remember whilst at university some of my fellow students reporting that they thought I was dying when they first saw me with a migraine attack.

Mercifully when I’ll was working in Florida for 14 months I can only recall one migraine attack; maybe I was just a little bit more relaxed while I was there. Frustratingly the one attack I did have was when I was visiting friends and I certainly wasn’t fit to drive home and missed work the next day. My boss simply could not comprehend that a ‘headache’ could prevent me from getting to work.

Then as I moved into management positions initially my migraine attacks became more frequent. Although I had a certain amount of empathy from the company I always felt that there was an element of suspicion that my ailments weren’t genuine. A consultation with the company doctor at the time confirmed this as “classical migraine” and from then on in my colleagues were a little more understanding.

If you have friends or family who suffer from migraine you’re probably already aware of just how debilitating it can be. But if you’re an employer and it affects someone’s reliability and quality of their work you may not be quite so understanding. Migraine is not simply a headache, and pumping yourself up with painkillers does nothing to alleviate the symptoms, and in fact in many cases can make things worse, especially nausea and sickness.

Talk to your employee about any known triggers to a migraine attack. Quite often it might be a combination of triggers that bring on an attack rather than just one. In my own case there are a few things that I am wary of and in the past as an employee it could sometimes be difficult to avoid without letting others down. Of course the net result is you let them down any way if you then end up being ill.

Here are a few triggers that I’m aware of which can crop up in the workplace:

  • Low blood sugar, made worse by skipping or working through the lunch break
  • Dehydration so not having access to water
  • Interruption to sleep patterns, so made worse by shift patterns for example working a late shift followed by an early shift
  • Extremes of temperatures, e.g. Overheating in stuffy rooms or hot kitchens
  • Changes in barometric pressure or weather and/or extreme cold temperatures
  • Flickering lights
  • Undue stress or worry, which is often okay until people relax and then the migraine hits and on the first day of your holiday or at a weekend, so you come back to work feeling as though you never had a break.

If any of your team suffer from migraine and have not sought professional help, then do them (and yourself) a favour and refer them to the migraine clinic. More details below.

Extent of the Problem of Migraine

  • Every day in the UK 190,000 suffer a migraine attack
  • 90,000 in the UK miss school/work every day because of migraine
  • Migraine affects 1 in 5 of the population
  • Migraine is most common between the ages of 30-50, and in women.
  • More than ¾ of sufferers report that their activities are limited by their condition
  • Most sufferers say migraine interferes with family and social relationships
  • Migraine is more common than diabetes, epilepsy and asthma combined
  • The World Health Organisation ranks migraine as one of the 20most disabling conditions.
  • 1 in 3 neurologist referrals are for headache
  • Migraine is the least publicly funded neurological illness relative to its economic impact
  • Over ⅓ of sufferers face difficulties and discrimination at work because of their migraines
  • Less than half of migraine patients consult a physician

National Migraine Centre has for 32 years provided treatment to sufferers of migraine and cluster headache as well as education to healthcare professionals. Patients can self-refer and are asked to donate towards the cost of their appointment as the Clinic receives no NHS funding. The clinic is based in London and open to those from all over the UK, however hopes to setup outreach clinics in the future to improve accessibility for sufferers around the country.

Migraine treatment has come a long way in the last ten years, but recent developments show there is more that can be done. The current approach is for treatment that targets the head (as opposed to the whole body with drugs). These treatments include; Greater Occipital nerve block injections, Botox injections (recently approved by NICE – The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, and due to be offered by the NHS from mid September), and handheld devices giving electrical or magnetic stimulation of the brain.

For information regarding the charity and its work:

Rebecca Sterry, National Migraine Centre. 22 Charterhouse Square, London EC1M 6DX.

Tel: 0207 251 7806/07716 426896 rebecca.sterry@nationalmigrainecentre.org.uk

Website: www.NationalMigraineCentre.org.uk Registered Charity no 1115935.


Build confidence in others

This is part two of this week blog ‘Building Confidence’:

Limiting confidence just to your own abilities comes over as arrogance and failing to express confidence in the capability of others becomes a self-filling prophecy. People soon pick it up when you fail to trust or allocate any responsibility to them, leaving them doubting their own abilities. Lack of confidence will only lead to people not getting on with things off their own bat, which can be both frustrating and draining for you.

Encourage your team by assuring them that they have the skills and knowledge. If you really are unsure of somebody’s ability to deliver what’s needed reflect on what help and support they would need in order to achieve this and focus on that instead.

Look for the capabilities in others that they themselves may not see and help them to see these for themselves. If they doubt their own  ability encourage them to focus on what they are good at and where they do well. Then talk about what is holding them back and suggest ways of dealing with this.

Build confidence by providing positive feedback and recognition. Offer plenty of support and encouragement. Explain clearly the importance and significance of what they do. Foster a supportive culture where people can learn from their mistakes, rather than be blamed. Encourage team members to come up with their own areas of improvement and how they will achieve these. Recognise and reward when these improvements have been made even if things are not yet perfect!

 

Inspire commitment

Set out a clear vision of what you want to achieve for your business and what business success looks like. Paint a vivid picture that your team can relate to. Translate your overall strategy into meaningful direction.  Involve the team and deciding on how this vision can be achieved; they are the ones who will need to implement the lion share and have first-hand experience of what works and what your customers want.

Target individuals and inspire them to take ownership. Set goals which are stretching but still achievable and demonstrate your belief in the likelihood of success and your confidence in your team’s ability.

Make statements to build hope, optimism, excitement and enthusiasm in others and demonstrate your own belief in and have high expectations for the success of a particular plan or strategy.

Demonstrate your trust in the team. Empower individuals and the team by giving them authority to make decisions and take action. Generate a climate of confidence by drawing attention to the strengths of the team and individuals and where they complement one another rather than dwelling on shortcomings.

 

Join me on the FREE recording from myrecent tele seminar on  how to get the best from your team


Getting your team on board for their performance reviews.

Getting them on board for a staff one to one.

One to ones should be a two way discussion. Ask open questions to get their ideas on performance and how to move forward.

When giving feedback on their performance use the AID model:

  • A  Action what they did – i.e. what you have seen or heard (back this up with examples, focus on actions not on your interpretation or their intentions)
  • I  Impact – what has that achieved, or what impact has it had on the business, the department, the guests, or themselves
  • D  Development – what can they do to build on this, or do differently to improve or perfect, and how you can support them

Ask for their views, not only on their performance, but what support they need, what could be improved in the business, what feedback they have had from guests, their suggestions for future objectives. And be prepared to listen to their answers and probe for more detail or examples if you need to so you fully understand what they are saying.

Remember, if people’s previous experience of one to one meetings up till now has been bad or at best just a waste of time, it can take time to build trust before these can be totally honest exchanges. Start by asking the questions above, or similar, and use this as a starting point to get the discussions going.

 

Where to begin

If you aren’t already conducting regular one to ones now might be a good time to start. Use your first meeting to establish (jointly) their goals and KPIs if you don’t already have these in place.

Begin with the end in mind.

As it the nearly the end of the week this is the best place to start, get your diary out and start booking you and your staff in on Monday.


Planning your team one to ones.

What’s on the agenda for your staff one to ones.

The agenda doesn’t need to be written in tablets of stone, but it’s good to follow a basic structure so you both know what to expect and can plan accordingly. Linking back to your objectives there are some key elements to include, all of which can be structured around the questions yesterday. It’s far better to home in on one or two areas at each meeting so you can go into some depth, than covering everything superficially and covering the same ground each time.

What have they achieved towards pre-determined goals, targets, KPIs, etc.

How have they gone about this – this is where you might also look at their behaviours too. It’s all very well achieving all their targets if they have upset colleagues or guests along the way.

What needs to be focused on or addressed, and what support or development do they need to do this

A summing up and agreement on actions moving forward, with some measurable goals and clear direction

 

Time and place

One to ones should be scheduled so both of you can plan for them and around them, and fully prepare. And nothing smacks more of “I’m not valued” than one to one meetings being continually cancelled for the slightest reason.

I’m often asked how often and how long should they be. There is no hard and fast rule, but allow on average a minimum of an hour per month per person, longer for roles with more responsibility. So if you conduct them monthly then set aside at least an hour for each, plus preparation time. If logistics mean that you can only meet once every 2 months, then allow two hours.

Either way allow sufficient time so that neither of you are rushed or distracted by imposing deadlines e.g. prior to your main service times for F&B staff. Think also of their state of mind at the end of a very busy shift.

Avoid the fish bowl type of office or public areas. You want a free and open discussion, and you’ll not get this when there’s a fear they’ll be over heard or others can see their reactions to any sensitive issues raised.

Now the scene has been set for a really good one to one, now all you need to do is to get them on board with it too, and this is what you will read about tomorrow.


Do you dread staff one to one review meetings?

Why are ‘One to Ones’ so valuable for you, your staff, and your business…..?

1to1 reviews do you dread your review meetings

Some see staff 1:1 reviews simply as a chore. Never under estimate the impact of sitting down with each member of staff on a one to one basis.

A good starting point to get the best from them has to be identifying what you want to achieve from the meetings.

Your aim should be to motivate your team members to either continue or sustain good performance and to feel confident that they have the ability and support to fill any gaps where they need development.

It’s an opportunity for them to have their contribution recognised – not just performance, but have their ideas heard. And finally it devotes time to set direction and goals for the coming weeks.

The net result should be an enthused and motivated employee who knows what they should be focusing on, and how this will contribute to the business.

Finding the time for your staff one to ones.

One of the common concerns I hear is that the process is time consuming, particularly when you have 8 – 10 people reporting to you. Well, ask yourself this – how much time potentially will you need to spend rectifying things if you don’t take that time out with them?

I often hear of managers spending literally hours preparing for the meetings, then finding themselves having to work twice as hard to get the employee to contribute their ideas and views to the meeting. One to ones are as much for their benefit as yours, so ask them to take some responsibility too for the preparation.

3 questions

There may be things they’ve done that are worthy of comment, which you are oblivious to; remember you don’t see them every minute of every day they are at work. So ask them to plan what they would like to discuss. As a minimum you may like to consider these 3 questions:

  1. What successes or achievements have you had this month or what have you done this month that you’re proud of?
  2. What disappointments or frustrations? Or if you had a magic wand, what would you change or do differently?
  3. What do you feel needs to be your number 1 focus for the coming month?

You don’t need to use this wording, but you get the gist.

Their preparation obviously doesn’t let you off the hook altogether, but if they are well prepared it will certainly reduce the amount of time needed in the meeting to achieve the same result.

The preparation is key for these meetings, so in the next post you can read my thoughts on how to ensure a good agenda and the right environment which helps with the process of getting on track for a good meeting.

Continue to the next post for tips on planning your one to ones…


 

 


E is for Empathy

In the A- Z of leadership E is Empathy. Putting yourself in another’s shoes.

 

Empathy is really understanding the other person’s perspective, position and feelings. It is the ability to ‘step back’, and achieve a detachment from our own emotions, and is essential for building trust, rapport and effective relationships.

It involves listening and understanding – not necessarily agreeing (which is different) – to the other person. Listening without judging.

As a minimum a good leader asks open questions to encourage and understand the views, feelings and attitudes of others, and reflects back to show they understand or to clarify. But a good leader will do this without being judgemental of others’ views even if these conflict with their own, and will be open to differences in opinions and perspectives.

 

Empathy goes beyond what is said, it is also demonstrated via your tone and body language. A critical or sarcastic tone will not encourage someone to share their views; neither will raised eyebrows, scowling or defensive body language.

 

Active listening is key, show your interest, ask probing questions (in a non-judgemental way) to ensure understanding. Aim to understand how the other person feels, why they see things as they see things as they do (so bring out any underlying assumptions) and to discover what they want to achieve.

 

Seek first to understand’ is one of the seven habits described by Stephen Covey in ‘The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People

 

Ask for feedback on your own behaviour so you can use this information to strengthen your relationships with your team. Be open with your own feelings and views too to enable your team to see things from your perspective, and by sharing your views you will encourage others to do the same.

Aim to develop a culture of trust and openness where your team can speak out knowing they will be heard and without fear of criticism.

Why is empathy important?

  • When you understand others’ perspectives it can help in the way you sell ideas to them and gain buy in (as well as the way you sell to customers and suppliers).
  • If people know they are listen to it helps to build trust between you and your team
  • It creates a more open and honest environment where you will get to hear of issues and concerns before they become a problem
  • Your team feel able to state their true ideas, feelings and beliefs maximising their contribution.
  • Empathy is also important in dealing with guests and customers, so demonstrating the skill with our teams will act as a role model

 

Building relationships with your team is key to effective leadership, and the skills needed will is covered in detail in my new Leading for Peak Performance programme,


D is for Development

In the A-Z of hospitality leadership D is for Development

 

One question to ask yourself is “Could I honestly say I am tapping into 100% of the potential of my team?” If the answer to this is no, what do you need to be doing to tap into that potential?

 

We need to be able to develop people to be the best that they can. This gets buy in, it helps contribute to the business, and boosts their confidence, which means they are going to do a better job ultimately. The industry has loads of examples of people who have moved up through the ranks. So give people that opportunity. When you see somebody’s strengths in a particular area, think about how you can tap into that, how you can develop them.

 

Not everyone will want to ever have any more responsibility, or to be doing anything different from what they are doing now, but development is not just about promotion. Even for the people who are very content with the job that they are doing, is there an opportunity to develop their role just to make it that little bit more interesting for them. If they have been doing the same job for three or four years, and doing it in the same way all of that time, don’t you think they might welcome just a little bit of change in the way that they do it or what they do. Plus it give you some flexibility within the team and promotes teamwork if people understand each other responsibilities.

 

So identify your objective. Is it because you want to give that person an opportunity to develop their skills to move on? And, maybe, ultimately leave your hotel to work somewhere else, because they outgrow the job. Believe me, if they think they are better than the job, they will move in any case. So, at least this way they can move on knowing that you did everything to help their career and help their development. And that’s going to be a great advertisement when bringing in people to replace them; or help bring on people in more junior positions to replace that person.

 

Identify your objectives for that person’s development in terms of how it brings them on to do a better job where you are. What is it that you would like them to do that little bit better? Or what role might be the next logical step for them? What role might suit them ultimately? Have clear objectives and identify how it is going to contribute to the business or develop that individual.

 

Consider the range of options there are for developing that person, and what might suit both the topic and the individual’s learning styles. Development is not just putting someone on a training course. It could be assigning a mentor, working in other departments, shadowing others, setting them practical assignments e.g. setting up a promotion, working on a particular sales drive, reviewing rosters, improving standards within the business. Ensure they can see how it contributes to the bigger picture, and it does not get in the way of them achieving their core responsibilities and KPIs.

Involving people in day to day decision making can also help stretch them. When they ask for guidance and decisions rather than giving them all the answers, bounce it back to them and ask for their views. Involve them in decisions by asking for their views; to analyse the pros and cons of different options, and put forward their recommendations.

 

Development activity needs to be structured in such a way it allows the employee to learn rather than being thrown in at the deep end. If they are thrown in at the deep end they are probably not going to learn anything; in fact the opposite; it could shatter any confidence they had in the first place.

 

So take time to sit down with each of your team and plan their development to build on their strengths and stretch them. Identify their long-term aspirations, where do they think they can be contributing more, what they enjoy, what else they’d like to get involved with, how they would approach things differently. People will generally put more effort into the things they enjoy, and consequently make a better job. And generally the better people are at things, the more they enjoy them.

 

Failure to develop your team is such a waste, and the chances are that if you ignore their full potential they will go and utilise it somewhere else.


Give your team authority

The more authority and skills you give your team, the better.

Where I stayed last week I had a very noisy room. I reported this to reception on arrival, but they assured me the noise would stop when the kitchen extractors went off. They didn’t go off. I called again and finally the extractors died down, but still there was far more noise than was acceptable for a good night’s sleep. The net result was moving rooms at midnight.

Now why couldn’t this have been dealt with when I arrived? Not only did it mean a frustrated guest, but lead to more work for housekeeping as now two rooms needed servicing instead of one, and added costs.

I suspect either a lack of training for night staff in dealing with complaints, or lack of authority.

Giving your staff authority to deal with complaints and unplanned situations enables them to resolve issues quickly and with minimum fuss. Great for the guest and less effort in the long run if staff don’t need to find you or a manager. Telling a guest you don’t have the authority to deal with an issue is both frustrating for the guest and degrading for the team member.

There will naturally be situations where a manager’s input may be required, but aim to keep those to a minimum by ensuring that any one of the team can deal with the most common issues, questions or complaints.

Authority and skill give your staff a sense of responsibility, so they take more initiative in other areas. It means you don’t have to keep an eye on things 24/7, in the confident knowledge that guest service will always be the best it can be.

 

Delegating responsibility and authority is key to effective leadership. Hear more on leadership questions and answers in my recent tele seminar Leading for Peak Performance


Selecting an appropriate coaching style

Over the last couple of weeks I have written about using a coaching style to get the best from your team.

This approach will have a different outcome depending on where people sit in the ‘skill will’ matrix.

The skill will matrix looks at two dimensions. On the one hand it takes into account someone’s ‘skill’. Here we look at their capabilities based on their experience, knowledge and skill. Even someone with little experience in a particular role or task may still have the knowledge to understand what is required (e.g. how to deal with customers will be from someone’s own experience of being on the receiving end of customer service).

On the other axis we look at someone’s willingness or motivation to perform a particular task. Someone can be quite skilled at a task, but still not be motivated to do it.

 

 

 

Skill


The Problem Child

Knows how but isn’t willing

Coach to motivate

ENTHUSE


 

The Star Performer

Can and Will

Coach to develop and progress

STRETCH

 


The Under Achiever

Neither willling nor able

Coaching less affective and hard work

DIRECT



The Apprentice

Willing but lacks the know how

Coaching help to apply learning        

GUIDE


Will

 

Let’s consider what role coaching has to play in each of these four quadrants.

 

Top right – Star Performers

The aim of coaching here is to stretch people. This does not necessarily mean you are grooming them for a bigger or better job; your aim is to at least make them even better at the existing task, and to prevent them moving across into the top left box.

These people are the ones who will be most receptive to a non-directive coaching approach.

 

Top left – Problem Child

These are people who are quite capable, but not motivated. Often this same person may have been motivated at some point, but over a period of time has crept across into this box due to boredom or lack of recognition. Or they may move from willing to unwilling due to a one off event e.g. something has gone wrong, and they have lost confidence.  Either way your aim is to get them back into the star performer box, so you need to either enthuse them or rebuild their confidence. By using a non-directive approach you will be more likely to get buy in from them, and more likely to get them to recognise their own abilities to build confidence. However people in this category can sometimes be cynical or suspicious of you using a non-directive approach, so tread carefully.

 

Bottom right – The Apprentice

People new to their role or to a particular task will often be enthusiastic, but lack the skills or knowledge needed. Here you need to use a combination of direction followed by non-directive coaching to guide them put their new knowledge and skills into practice. Again you aim is to move them into the top right-hand box.

 

Bottom left – Under achiever

Coaching does not suit every situation or person.  The nearer people sit to the bottom left hand corner the more directive you will need to be.

 

Recognise that individual employees will sit in different boxes on different tasks. Someone who is a star performer in some areas, may lack motivation in others, and may be taking on new tasks from time to time which can put them in wither of the two bottom boxes. Equally someone who is an under achiever in some tasks may still sit in any one of the other boxes for other task.

Do you know where each of your team sit on the matrix for each of the tasks they are responsible for?

 

Coaching and leadership styles will be covered in detail in my forthcoming Leading for Peak Performace programme which is being launched in late September.