Monthly Archives: February 2014

Can You be Friends with Your Boss?

The simple answer is of course yes, you can. The more complicated version of that is yes, you can, with certain limits.

Let’s say you have a good job and a great boss. You click with him and you feel great to chill over a cup of coffee or a glass of beer. You don’t mind hanging out after office hours. You are not just colleagues, you are friends. However, here’s a word of caution: It’s very hard for friendship and professionalism to co-exist in a business setting.

Your boss is still the one who will be giving you performance reviews and ordering you to do things and correcting you if you’re making mistakes. Taking an advice from your boss seems ordinary. But imagine taking these advices from a friend. The message may get tangled or even not received professionally, but personally.

So what kind of friendship is favoured between a boss and his employee?

boss employee relationship

1.     Not mixing business with personal.

When you are at work, business is business and it is not personal. Being friends is okay but once you step into that corporate setting, professionalism immediately kicks in. Don’t let your guard down because he is your ‘friend’ and you end up telling him every work issue you have in your life. Despite his empathy, your boss still wants to see that project finished.

2.     Not having too much discussion on personal life.

It’s really your call, but telling your boss about problems happening back home may have a slight chance of backfiring. Say that you’re struggling with 10 different family problems, thus not meeting your deadline. Your boss, knowing what you’re going through, gives you a grace period. The problem is, this favouritism may be picked up by other colleagues and soon, your boss’ authority and your own quality of work will be questioned.

3.     Not befriending each other on social media sites.

Or if you do, avoid posting anything that are meant for close friends and family.

To learn more about how to take your career to the next level, check out our Institute of Management training modules or visit our website at www.im.edu.au.

 

Stop Working Long Hours: 5 Tips to Maximise 8 Hours of Work Everyday

In this even tougher economy, many businesses operate on the basis that the longer an employee works, the more he will get done and the bigger the profit. Some people even work for 10 to 12 hours a day. Does this mean that more things get accomplished? Unfortunately, the answer is no.

time management

In the early 1900s, Ford Motor experimented on various working hours to maximise their worker productivity. They discovered that their employee productivity is at its best in working 40 hours a week, while adding an extra 20 hours a week will instead cause negative results.

This rule still applies in today’s business setting: People who work a solid 40 hours a week get more done than those who regularly work 60 or more hours.

Here are 10 tips to maximise our 8 hours of work.

1.     Work smarter, not longer

If you have three similar things to do (i.e. replying emails to your boss, clients, and team members), finish them in one go before moving to another task. This way you will finish a lot more tasks in a limited amount of time. Make a list of things to finish before you start working that day. Odds are you’ll finish things quicker.

2.     Do one thing at a time

Multitasking is a myth. Research has proven that by doing multiple things, we are really jumping between tasks with divided concentration. So the next time you’re in a meeting, don’t reply to emails. When you’re designing a project, don’t plan a presentation for your next client.

3.     Attend fewer meetings

Most business leaders agree that many of the meetings conducted are a waste of time. Before going into a meeting, ask yourself, “Can I finish this matter in a five-minute email?” And if you really have to go, prepare the things you need to discuss beforehand and stick to the agenda so that you don’t end up having an unnecessarily long meeting.

4.     Don’t check your email every 10 minutes

Checking our email may be the number one task that’s taking us the most time. Set up three times in a day when you need to check your email and spend the rest of the time doing your projects instead.

5.     Set up breaks between work

Studies show that our brain can work optimally on a task for 90 to 120 minutes before we lose concentration. Thus, taking frequent but short breaks can actually increase our productivity.

To learn more about how to maximise productivity in the workplace, check out our Institute of Management training modules or visit our website at www.im.edu.au.

3 Leadership Tips Every Leader Must Know

There is a lot of emphasis on good leadership nowadays and we are never short of tips to take our leadership to the next level. A good leader knows how to take responsibility while at the same time empower their employees. He knows where he wants to take his people to in five years’ time.

Here are three other leadership tips less known, and yet very important to note.

leadership tips

1.     Help others

While it might be obvious that a leader or a manager’s job is to get as much profit as possible, it might be less obvious for a leader to actually help others, especially their own employees.

A leader who genuinely helps his team to grow and explore their potentials – not just for the benefit of the company but also for their own personal benefits – is more likely to create a strong, professional working environment.

2.     Don’t only learn from your mistakes, let others learn from them too

Even the greatest leaders make mistakes. Sharing your victories may motivate your employees to achieve higher standards but sharing your mistakes will also make them learn. Many leaders think that sharing their mistakes will make them look weak. On the contrary, employees who know that their leaders are not ashamed to admit and learn from their mistakes are more likely to do the exact same thing themselves.

3.     Correct them in person, praise them in public

When giving criticism, a good leader knows not to embarrass their employees. Yes, you might not think that way when you are correcting them in the middle of a meeting, but he might be feeling that you are attacking him. If he feels threatened, his productivity will decrease as well.

Praise, however, works in the opposite way. If someone does a good job, praise them in public as it will build their self-confidence and sense of belonging. Make a point that you value him and his contribution to the company.

Want to learn more about how to be a great leader? Visit our courses at www.im.edu.au.

5 Tips for Empowering Employees

Every leader wants empowered employees. Managers want people who take initiative in solving problems and completing tasks that are given. We want our employees to take control without needing us to guide them 24/7.

That said, despite the advantage of empowering our employees, many leaders do not invest significant time in creating an environment of empowerment. Here are five tips to make your company a place where people feel valued and ready to step it up.

empowering employees

1.     Make your employees believe they are valued

People are a company’s most valuable asset. If you have good business plan and yet no manpower behind the wheels to take your business from good to great, your business will suffer. Customers, clients and partners connect with people and not only your business brand, thus it is really important to remind your employees of their value in the business.

2.     Create an environment that encourages open communication

Companies that work on top-down management may cause employees to take little initiative in solving problems. They may feel like it is useless to give their opinions as it will be dismissed by their leaders. In such case, leaders need to constantly let their employees to work for solutions instead of just giving orders of what to do.

3.     Foster self-improvement

When an employee makes the wrong decision, many leaders would be hesitant to give them another opportunity. However, this will stop the person to take initiative or to try harder next time around. As a leader, tell your employee that making mistakes is natural, and provide the context on which his mistakes are made. Try to give other perspectives instead of just finger pointing that what he’s doing is wrong.

4.     Support their independence

Nobody likes a boss who looks over his employees’ shoulders all the time. Practise trust on your employees and give them some space to practice their authority in the field. Wait for them to surprise you. Most often, they will.

5.     Appreciate their effort

Say “Thank you,” to your employees. Take the time to visit their desks and say, “Great work on the project yesterday.” An employee who feels appreciated will put more energy to produce even greater work.

Want to learn more about how to empower your employees? Visit our courses at www.im.edu.au.

Higher EQ, Better Job Performance

The trend is clear. Companies no longer hire employees based only on their brilliance or intelligence level. Today, companies put more emphasis on emotional intelligence to determine an employee’s effectiveness in the workplace.

Intelligence Quotient or IQ used to be the only acceptable benchmark to predict a person’s success in the business world. Back in high school, we were taught by our teachers that those high performing students with IQ 140 and above will be the future lawyers, doctors, and CEOs. Fast forward twenty years and suddenly we realise that IQ is not that important after all. The ones who make it to the top are the ones who have high EQ as well.

better EQ

What are IQ and EQ?

Emotional Intelligence, referred to as EI or EQ, is basically defined as a person’s ability to understand emotions, both our own and others. While IQ measures how intelligent a person is, EQ showcases your soft skills: communication, negotiation, empathy, understanding and self-awareness.

Why EQ can be more important?

We work with other people and many of the problems we encounter at work may be due to miscommunication or difference in personalities. Trainer and Consultant Bill Duncan says, “Emotional Intelligence can have a significant effect on the performance of a project, especially if you have a team of low EQ people. Overall it has a negative effect on teamwork.”

Research has also proven that higher EQ leads to better job performance.

For example, one study shows that a national insurance company found that sales agents who have low EQ sold policies with an average premium of $54,000. Sales agents who have high EQ, however, sold policies with an average of $114,000.

Improving our EQ

While research shows that our EQ level is developed during our early childhood and fairly stable over time, but fear not as it is not set in stone. Our EQ is not rigid, which means, everyone can change for the better. Your boss can learn to manage his/her temper and your colleague can become more understanding.

Change, however, takes time.

Improving our EQ does not happen overnight and it clearly needs dedication and hard work. Just like trying to quit smoking, improving our communication skills or being more open minded towards critics take practice.

How important is Emotional Intelligence in the success of a project? Is it equally important factor as cost, time or scope? Learn more at www.im.edu.au.

blueVisions Management Welcomes Four New Hires to its SEA and MENA Offices

Upon its expansion to Indonesia and United Arab Emirates in the past few years, blueVisions Management keeps on being committed to quality service as it announces new hires to strengthen both the consulting and training team in 2014. We are pleased to welcome these four team members as part of our blueVisions family.

Jakarta, Indonesia Office

Elliot Rossbach – Senior Consultant – Indonesia

Prior to joining blueVisions Management, Elliot has worked in Asia and the Middle East since 2008, bringing with him his expertise and formal education in management, cross-cultural communication, training, and linguistics. He has taken on leadership positions in the development of multi-million dollar partnerships between the US government and private sector in Indonesia, consulted on FMCG marketing strategies in Asia, created professional training programs in the renewable energy sector as well as language training courses for the government of Saudi Arabia.

Andrew Gadd – Legal Counsel – Indonesia

Andrew is the BlueVisions Legal Counsel based in Jakarta, Indonesia and provides corporate/commercial counsel to BlueVisions business units and BlueVisions clients in Australia, Indonesia and the UAE. Andrew thoroughly enjoys building strong relationships with clients, providing strategic advice to clients and BlueVisions business units, and assisting clients develop corporate strategies and programs. Andrew also has experience preparing and presenting client seminars. Andrew is strongly committed to his own personal development and he continues to attend both legal, commercial advisory, and corporate management seminars on a regular basis. He is also currently completing advanced Indonesian Language studies in Indonesia.

Afifa Loutfie – Senior Trainer – Indonesia

Afifa has over 9 years of experience as an English language trainer and English for Business Communications lecturer with versatile capabilities. Other than teaching a wide range of levels of English courses, she has also taught subjects that require students to sit an international English for Business examination held by the City & Guilds examination board based in the UK. She is a highly cooperative and dynamic person who enjoys working as part of a team.

Dubai, MENA Office

Dr. May Jabri – Senior Trainer – MENA

Dr May is a caring, enthusiastic and motivated tri-lingual teaching and training professional, with HR and Management experience.  Having worked with Western NGO’s and EU grants, she has gained international management and training experience.  She has worked closely with the Syrian Ministry of Higher Education and the European Union to assist  the Higher Institute of Business Administration (HIBA) to facilitate cross cultural administrative and instructional expertise.

 

We are always looking to invite great talents to join our blueVisions Management family. Send your CV to jobs@bluevisions.co.id or visit our website to find out more.

DISC: Communication Tips for Cs – Part 5

In the previous four parts of this series, we talked about the importance of DISC and D, I and S’s profile characteristics. In this final part of the series, we’ll cover  the characteristics of Cs and how to communicate with them.

If you are a fan of the Star Trek series, you would instantly note that Mr. Spock is an extremely high C type of person. That said, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, and Queen Elizabeth also share the trait.

Quick reminder: C measures how a person responds to the rules and regulations of others.

communication tips 4

C(autious) style characteristics

People with high scores on C have these characteristics:

  • Perfectionist
  • Sensitive
  • Greatest fear is criticism
  • Accurate
  • Require  many explanations
  • Ask many questions

People with a higher C value are compliant with rules set by others. Consequently, the lower the C value of an individual, the more the person will seek independence.

The C factor measures fear. The higher the intensity of the C value, the more the individual is motivated out of fear. The lower the C value, the more daring the individual is.

Enhance communication with C’s

Noted, he is the  perfectionist co-worker who asks again and again for explanations regarding the project, as if afraid that he will miss something out. He does a great job though, but sometimes you are afraid to voice your opinions on him because he is really, really sensitive to criticism.

Here are some tips to enhance communication with C’s:

Do:

  • Prepare your case in advance
  • Delineate pros and cons
  • Use accurate data
  • Assure them “no surprises”
  • Use precise explanations
  • When agreeing, be specific on what
  • Disagree with facts, not with the person
  • Give patient and diplomatic explanations.

Don’t:

  • Refuse to explain the details
  • Answer questions vaguely or casually.

Fun fact: When in an antagonistic environment, the high C will respond passively and will usually withdraw.

Last words

Now that we have talked about all four DISC behavioural styles, it is important to note that there are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ behavioural styles, or no  behavioural style which is better than another.

Instead, these behavioural style characteristics provide a map for us to determine our own communication styles and how to communicate best with others. As Steven Covey  said, “In order to be understood, we must first seek to understand.”

If you missed them, check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 for more insights into  communicating to influence, through knowing your DISC behavioural styles. Join the conversation and tell us your thoughts in the comments section!

This article is modified from the Institute of Management training module: Communicating to Influence. For more information about the course, please visit our website.

DISC: Communication Tips for Ss – Part 4

In Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of this series, we talked about the importance of DISC and D and I’s profile characteristics. In this next discussion, we’ll cover the characteristics of Ss and how to communicate with them.

Steady. Stable. Secure. It is no coincidence that Princess Diana was depicted as a true lady, Mother Teresa as a humble, patient woman and Gandhi as a calm person who hates disputes. These people in fact have a high score on their S behavioural style.

Quick reminder: S measures the pace at which a person responds to change.

communication tips 3

S(teady) style characteristics

People with high scores on S have these characteristics:

  • Loyal;  gentle team player
  • Person of substance
  • Greatest fear is loss of security
  • High level of trust
  • Possessive
  • Resist change; adapt  slowly

People with a higher S value are more resistant to change. Furthermore, the higher the S value, the more a person prefers to start and complete one project at a time. Consequently, the lower the S value of an individual, the faster the pace and greater the desire for change.

The S factor also measures the lack of emotion. The higher the S factor, the less emotional they are and the more difficult it is to read that individual. The lower the S value, on the other hand, the more the person is emotional and expressive.

Enhance communication with S’s

You just can’t read this person. She may be the real S behavioural style type of person but you just can’t read the signs of whether she is in a good mood or a bad mood and whether voicing your problems now is the right move.

Here are some tips to enhance communication with S’s:

Do:

  • Build a favourable environment
  • Show genuine interest in them
  • Ask “how” questions
  • Patiently draw out their goal
  • Give them time to adjust
  • Define goals, procedures and their role in the plan
  • Assure personal follow-up
  • Minimise perceived risk.

Don’t:

  • Be pushy, aggressive or demanding
  • Be controversial.

Fun fact: When in an antagonistic environment, the high S will respond passively and usually without emotion.

If you missed the previous parts of this series, you can read them here. The next and final post will cover the characteristics of Cs.

This article is modified from the Institute of Management training module: Communicating to Influence. For more information about the course, please visit our website.