Archive for the 'Team Management' Category

9 Ways To Spot A Sociopath

This is a great article worth reading if you have someone creating havoc in your life at home or at work. Sociopaths are not all the same, but they do have telltale signs: Here are 9 ways to spot a sociopath.



Are you ready for PRIME TIME?

One of the key concepts of Personal Productivity Principles is the concept of PRIME TIME.

Every time you have a task to do, you have to weigh the time/cost – value equation against your own “productivity expectation” and determine WHEN to do it.

PRIME TIME is best explained with a telemarketing/sales example:

  • PRIME TIME = whenever contact (calls) can be made.
  • NON- PRIME TIME = the rest of the time.

A top gun salesperson (or highly effective business person) only does PRIME TIME TASKS IN PRIME TIME and vice versa.

For example:

  • Reports, time management, scheduling is done early in the morning (NON-PRIME TIME)
  • Calls are made during the day  – maybe even during LUNCH TIME when people have time to talk (PRIME TIME)
  • Paperwork, planning, educational and development tasks are done in the evenings and/or weekends (NON-PRIME TIME)

It’s all pretty SIMPLE to understand – harder to actually do – because most people don’t know what their PRIME TIME tasks/outcomes are.

Once you know your PURPOSE / OUTCOME, everything should fall into place…

But it’s all easier said than done – unless you have a SYSTEMISED approach to time/life management.

Of course, when time permits, NON-PRIME TIME tasks CAN be done in PRIME TIME as long as they don’t interfere with PRIME TIME TASKS.

If you want to learn more about these principles, contact us. These are skills we teach within our Platinum Program.

Praise At Work

I am not an advocate of feeding Praise Junkies as spotlighted in the BBC article hyperlinked, but praise does go a long way to motivating employees. Here is a useful infographic to help you motivate your team.

Interview Question To Test A Candidate

Here’s a quick quiz to get your (mental) hamster working…

I have used mini tests (quizzes) like this math quiz for years in Interviews… You can find thousands of them online, especially on

Go ahead and have a look, try to solve it and then come back so I can explain WHAT you are looking for to determine a person’s skill, ability AND personality.

Continue reading ‘Interview Question To Test A Candidate’

Recruiting Engaged Employees

Almost all of the research conducted on engagement has so far focused on what leaders can do to engage their employees.

  • But what if it were possible to recruit people who could actually engage themselves?
  • In other words, are there specific characteristics some employees have that make them inherently more engage-able?

The answer, of course, is yes.  And that has just been demonstrated in a new study conducted by psychologists at the University College London.  The researchers assessed over 1,000 adults and they discovered there are seven personality traits that predict whether an employee is more likely to be engaged.  The results are as follows:

  1. Emotional intelligence:  This is the biggest predictor of engagement.  It reflects employees who can control and understand their own emotions as well as those of their colleagues.
  2. Openness to experience:  This is the second-biggest predictor.  That’s because employees brave enough to embrace new opportunities have higher reserves of resilience.
  3. Extraversion:  Extraverted people are less likely to be affected by emotional exhaustion and cynicism, the absence of which ramps up their energy.
  4. Conscientiousness:  Conscientious individuals are predisposed to being engaged because they’re less likely to allow interferences to get in the way of their commitment.
  5. Interpersonal sensitivity:  An interpersonally sensitive team member is one who can maintain sound relationships with colleagues and can communicate in a tactful manner.
  6. Adjustment:  If an employee has the ability to remain calm under pressure, that individual is said to have a high rate of adjustment.  And subsequently greater engagement.
  7. Ambition:  The more competitive someone is – or the more they aspire to progress further in an organisation – the more inclined they’ll be to push themselves into an engaged state.

So what does this mean from a recruitment perspective?

Four things.

  1. Incorporate questions into your interview guide that enable you to ascertain the degree to which a candidate is high on those seven attributes.
  2. Since emotional intelligence is of supreme importance, consider including an EQ questionnaire as part of the recruitment process.
  3. Be mindful you’re not over-emphasising aptitude over attitude in your hiring decisions.  Those seven traits could outshine any technical shortfalls.
  4. Think about providing developmental opportunities to your current employees so they, too, can learn how to adopt those characteristics.

It’s also worth considering whether you, as the leader, are high or low on those attributes.

A good place to start is with emotional intelligence.  Because there are few things more disengaging than an emotionally unintelligent boss.

Original Article Source: James Adonis

Provided By: Mark Mackenzie of Graffiti Eaters.

Unhappy Employees = Unprofitable Business

We understand the logic:

Unhappy employees = unproductive employees = an unprofitable business

The issue begins when we deal with employees as a GROUP – Employees only exist as individuals, just like you EXIST right now, reading this sentence. ONE person at a time is reading this sentence. Even though there might be several or even thousands doing it at the same time, each is doing it in-div-id-u-al-ly.

Too many managers and HR people forget this very important aspect.

This is a “problem” only solved at the personal level with greater initiative, motivation, enthusiasm, encouragement and accountability.

It is a BIG problem, no doubt about it. The first step, in my book, is to have each person on your team or organisation become “purpose driven”, which simply means having their reason for coming into the office aligned with their personal goals, dreams and ambitions. My “My Best Year Ever Program” is one of the first steps I recommend to all my clients, for their own personal planning, but more importantly for their staff to get focused and clear on what they want out of life and consequently their jobs and careers.


You are more committed to being sick than achieving your dream(s)

I bet you’re skeptical, even defiant this is not the case. Surely you want your dreams to come true more than you want to be sick…

Maybe, maybe not.

Sick Leave Cartoon

Let me explain.

I know a lot of busy people. People who complain they don’t have any time to do anything, especially the things necessary for their dreams to come true. The investments in time, money and effort to create the lifestyle you dream about.

These same people keep telling me “If only I had more time, I could be successful… blah, blah, blah.”

Then they get sick. It might be for a day or a weekend. They lie in bed, recuperate and get back to work.

So they have TIME to get sick, but not enough time to CREATE THEIR DREAMS.

Has the penny dropped?

Here’s the thing most people don’t get. When you fall sick, you DON’T HAVE A CHOICE BUT TO REST AND RECOVER. Yet regardless of how busy you are – you do it.

That’s why you’re more committed to being sick than achieving your goals – you simply don’t make the time because it’s not a “MUST” for you.

Every successful person out there who reads this “gets it”. They make “success” their priority – not tasks and to do lists that are thrown upon them.

Give it some serious thought – your health depends on it!

Psst! Did you know that successful people are statistically healthier than less successful people? Interesting isn’t it?!?!

How To Have A Culturally Sensitive Workplace

Modern society is a diverse, multicultural mix of people from different backgrounds and belief systems. There has been a lot of focus on anti-discrimination in the workplace in recent years, but in addition to providing equal employment opportunity, it’s crucial that your company values and supports cultural diversity. Read on to find out some pointers towards ensuring your workplace is providing an inclusive, culturally sensitive working environment.

Workplace  Diversity - Phil Whitehouse

Workplace Diversity – Phil Whitehouse

Engage Professional HR Consultants

Reputable human resource firms are not just there to help with recruitment. They also provide valuable training, coaching and workshopping to help develop your team to not only perform their jobs well, but also work together as a collaborative, accepting and productive team.

Visit for more information about how outsourcing some of your HR can help your organisation to be more culturally sensitive.

Reputable HR firms will also help with understanding your HR Training Software.

Encourage Teamwork

When teams truly work together harmoniously and productively towards a common goal, the lines of communication are more open between one another and potential issues get discussed, not argued over. Team building exercises can be formal (e.g. planned, structured sessions with a facilitator) and informal (casual social style events like a lunch or BBQ) or a combination of both, but should be part of your long term, ongoing organisational development plans.

Educate Employees

Education can go a long way in ensuring a harmonious, inclusive working environment. It’s essential to make sure that you have a robust induction program in place that adequately equips new staff members to integrate into the workplace before they start. Regular refresher training with existing staff or conducting some workshops into working with people from different backgrounds and cultures across the business can also be beneficial to having a harmonious workplace. .

Set An Example

Management need to conduct themselves in the same way they expect employees to behave, especially when under duress. Regardless of the company’s expressed values, often the actual organisational culture is a reflection on management’s language, beliefs and behaviours. Ensure you and your team leaders/managers are leading by example.

Remember Everyone Is An Individual

Just as with religion where someone may identify as belonging to a particular faith but not agree with or practice all of the traditions associated with it, there are often variations on how individuals embrace their cultural heritage. While managers should be communicating one on one with their team regularly anyway, make sure you ask them what their personal preferences are before making any assumptions about their needs and beliefs.

Often it is a lack of awareness and understanding, not intolerance, that can cause issues relating to cultural sensitivity in the workplace. Including values that embrace and celebrate diversity and individuals in the company’s operating ethos is one part of the process. Ensuring that the way you actually go about the business lives up to those ideals is also an essential part of creating an inclusive, culturally sensitive and above all else, well performing workplace.

How would you rate your workplace’s cultural sensitivity?

This has been a guest post, if you would like to submit your article, please contact us for our publishing terms and conditions.

5 Ways to take your business to the next level

Aymane Remmal - www.exponentialprograms.comClimbing the ladder in the business world can be tricky. It takes careful planning and good judgment. In some cases you need to be psychic. But climbing the ladder is not impossible. As long as you are open to learning new lessons then this journey won’t be as tedious. To get your business started, here are five ways you make your business reach the next level.

1. Use your unique selling proposition

This is the factor that you sell as the reason your product or service is better than your competition. But before this can be done, you need to be sold on this reason yourself. Grab a pair of your customer’s shoes and run a mile in them. Ask yourself what do you customers want and need? What are their motivations? Why are they buying specific products over others? This reason is crucial in creating a good sales pitch and you can uncover this information by investing in feedback surveys or market research. Then once the research is done, switch your customer’s shoes for your creativity ones because you need to figure out how to sell this message in a unique way.

2. Be the best in customer service

Psychologically if a customer has a bad experience somewhere they will then take it as their personal mission to save someone else from experiencing the same. Treat every customer with the respect they deserve and cater to their needs. ‘Word of mouth,’ marketing is still the most influential ad in the world. Give them the best experience and this starts by having a good receptionist at the door. Servcorp Executive Suites are one rental office company that values the need of having a good receptionist.

3. Be mindful during hiring and fire away

It wastes expenses and time to train the wrong person. It is more beneficial to have a lengthy hiring process in place than a speedy one. Forget about the pressure to hire quickly and instead redirect this urgency when you let someone go because at the end of the day, you will wish you let them go earlier.

4. Have a good location

Invest in having your office on a good city street with lots of traffic. Make sure your company’s name is displayed on the front door and have a good slogan that sells your unique product or service. Someone is bound to read it in the midst of a traffic jam. Don’t forget to display your contact details.

5. Make your business appeal to the masses

Have a product with a reasonable price for all social classes because when your business seems accessible, you will seem friendlier overall. Remove the intimidation. Classify your services with different levels of offers and then give the customer the opportunity to upgrade after a certain time. You are expanding on their brand loyalty and by then they might not want to waste their time searching for a similar service somewhere else. Also invest in a marketing plan that sells your key message to all.


Vacuums and voids

You may be aware of the scientific theory that ‘nature abhors a vacuum’.  In quantum mechanics, it’s referred to as the vacuum state, which basically means there’s no such thing as a vacuum.

Let’s say, for example, that you created some kind of glass container closed off to all physical particles.  From the outside looking in, it would appear as though it was empty.  But really it’s not.  That space, at the very least, contains electromagnetic waves and particles.  If the slightest piercing were to penetrate the container, it would then be filled with air.  And, depending on where the container was located, a slightly larger opening may see it consumed with water or sand or any other substance.

That’s why philosophers like Aristotle have professed that vacuums don’t exist.  As soon as we think that one is there, something instantly fills it up.

Such is the case at work – an environment notorious for the vacuums that arise.  When there’s a vacuum of information, it’s filled with gossip.  When there’s a vacuum of training, it’s filled with mistakes.  When there’s a vacuum of opportunity, it’s filled with disengagement.

If we were to look specifically at new teams (or established teams that have been leaderless for a while), there are four vacuums that are especially present:  structure, knowledge, relationships, and authority.

Structure:  This represents the systems that are in place, the ways in which the team is organised, and the rules that determine how and when the work gets done.  A vacuum of structure is often filled with misguided people.

Knowledge:  This reflects the collective expertise of the employees, an awareness of their developmental gaps, and the principles that influence their decision-making.  A vacuum of knowledge is often filled with costly errors.

Relationships:  This includes the level of trust among the team members, the degree to which they understand each other, and the extent to which they like and respect one another.  A vacuum of relationships is often filled with conflict.

Authority:  This is in relation to the informal power that some employees hold, the credibility of the leader to lead the team, and the ability of the leader to inspire change.  A vacuum of authority is often filled with power struggles.

If you’re a leader taking over a new or leaderless team, it’s important to fill those four vacuums before other (unfavourable) elements infiltrate them.  As the American writer Tennessee Williams wrote figuratively: “A vacuum is a hell of a lot better than some of the stuff that nature replaces it with.”

The trouble, though, is that a vacuum doesn’t last very long.  Or at all.

I’d like to thank Mark Mackenzie of The Graffiti Eaters for this week’s submission. If you come across something valuable like this, please forward it in to me and I will share it with our readers and subscribers and reward you with a few valuable backlinks!