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Structuring a team: advice to start on the right track

Successful Culture

Whether you are setting up a business start-up or reorganising an established company, it’s vital to arrive at an appropriate structure for your team. When you achieve this, the business operation becomes streamlined and productivity improves. Here are a few tips for team leaders and operational managers seeking the best ways to structure a team:

Back your people first

Business experts often say that a brilliant team of people with an average plan of action will perform better than an average team of people with a brilliant plan of action. As an employer you need to engage with your workforce, to help them share your common goals and to feel trusted and supported. Your team members also need to feel they are in a positive working environment – this helps them identify with common aims and objectives.

Create your workplace culture

As a leader or manager, it is your role to determine the ‘personality’ or culture of your business. Core values must be both clearly defined and clearly communicated. Employees need to know that their work is meaningful, and to understand how it fits with the company’s prime aims.

Nurture your talent

Strong positive cultures attract talented people. Choose skilled employees carefully and think hard about how their roles fit together. For example, do you need a team comprising full-time employees for every project, or are there some instances when using specialists, such as IT consultants, makes more sense? Remember that you can always use a reputable Employment Management Company to recruit contractors for short-term work. This may make more sense depending on your circumstances, and may provide economic as well as teamwork benefits.

Dealing with problems

Difficulties arise in many team situations, and learning how best to handle these is an important lesson. For example, a culture of blame is not helpful in a case where a tricky issue has arisen. This serves to alienate team members and may have a negative impact on the performance of the whole team. Instead of endlessly discussing problems in team meetings, aim to shift the focus to what is working well and what solutions can be identified.

With regular, positive feedback, most employees will feel inspired, valued and motivated – failure to do this can result in workers feeling uncomfortable about their standing and a little ‘at sea’ about their achievements, resulting in lack of confidence.

As a manager or leader, never give half-hearted or faint praise. Once again, this can affect a team member’s self-esteem and even the morale of the team as a whole. Instead, acknowledge contributions and achievements and reward success. Recognising positive attainments will encourage other team members to try harder, as well as having a beneficial effect on the recipient.

Team building

Finally, take some time out so that everyone can enjoy focusing on shared activities that are not work-related. Whether this is paintballing, rock climbing or simply organising a party will depend on the organisational culture and what you think will work with the team dynamics.

Leadership in the Age of Technology – Ryan Ayers


Those seeking to be leaders in the 21st century will naturally be well versed in the power of technology. But what separates leaders from seekers is the fact that leaders know precisely how to leverage technology to their company’s advantage.

Precision is of key focus here, as the uninitiated can quickly find themselves abusing or under-using the technological power at their fingertips. Considering this, here are a few essentials for leading in the age of technology.

Acquire Only the Data That You Need

We are currently living in a year of unprecedented levels of data. The amount of data that we are generating is growing so fast that it is difficult to calculate the exact amount. That said, researchers have found that in 2014, global internet traffic processed 16,144 GB per second. Furthermore, approximately 90% of our data has been created in the last two years.

Such a massive progression of new data is naturally intriguing; yet, individuals must be careful that they don’t get “data drunk.”

Yes, shifting and analyzing myriad data reports may make one feel important or busy, but at the end of the day leaders know that Big Data has the potential to lead to Big Distractions.

Therefore, it is wise to acquire and analyze only the information that you need for the decision at hand – nothing more, nothing less.

Believe in Quality over Quantity

To truly lead in the age of technology, you and your business will need to provide content and services that the general public literally cannot find anywhere else. As Elon Musk said when explaining how to draw customers from competitors, “They’re not going to make the shift if it’s only a small improvement, it has to be a big improvement.” In order to deliver these major improvements, leaders must believe in quality over quantity.

With the power of technology, individuals and companies are able to release an extremely high daily-volume of content. Yet most of this content is insubstantial, leaving the viewer moderately informed but seriously disengaged.

When true industry leaders (i.e. Apple, Google) release content, it is met with immediate attention, as consumers and pundits know that these companies are founded upon releasing content of only the highest quality.

Therefore, to become a leader in the content-heavy technologic age, focus on building an individual or company brand that is known for consistently producing high-quality content, as opposed to being just another quick flash in the pan.

Are You Following or Leading?

If you spend even a moderate amount of time on social media, you probably have noticed that a large number of individuals market themselves as “thought leaders.” But when analyzing their work, it becomes quite evident that often their content is merely repurposing information that they gathered elsewhere.

This lack of authenticity poses major warning signs, particularly for the generation of internet natives who have been advertised to their entire lives. These warning signs can then lead to a lack of trust in both in the individual and the content. For example, studies show that 80% of consumers say that the number one factor for becoming the follower of a brand is “authenticity of content.”

To truly lead in the age of technology, shift your primary focus from leadership to execution. This might seem counter-intuitive at first, but one of the essential qualities of leaders is their ability to execute, get the job done, and create a path for others to follow.

Although technology continues to alter the way our businesses and societies operate, our ideals of leaders and leadership have stayed rather consistent. We continue to prefer leaders  that  know what is needed, that we can trust, that prefer to dream than follow.

Therefore, stay true to yourself, your goals, and your ideals.

And most importantly, be careful not to sacrifice authenticity in attempts to be just the fad of the day.

Effective Communication: The Success Secret of Great Leaders

To succeed in life you will need to be able to communicate effectively; this is more than just being able to talk. It is the ability to convey ideas and inspire others with your vision. The most successfully leaders are passionate and driven; this shows in how they communicate with others.

It is a well known fact that many problems in business, at home or even in social gatherings are created by bad communication. It is possible to learn the secret of effective communication; the more you practice the better you will become. This is the only way to ensure, that when the going gets tough, you are able to rise to the occasion and inspire others; this is the mark of a truly great leader.

Effective Communication 1

Building trust is easier said than done

One of the most important aspects of good communication is an establishment of trust between the two parties involved. One of the best ways to build trust is to always do what you say; if you promise to build a new canteen, housing block or simply to take the rubbish out make sure you do it. People trust others who they can rely on. Allowing others to see you are trustworthy will ensure your reputation spreads and even those who have not witnessed your actions will trust you. Once people trust you they will forgive many things which are beyond your control and they will always put the extra effort in.

How do you build trust? Start by telling the truth no matter what, and be frank even if that you create an uncomfortable situation. If there’s something you don’t agree with, there’s no shame in admitting you have a different perspective.

Get personal and speak to people from the bottom of your heart

Everyone responds better when they feel they are part of a relationship. Giving a high powered corporate speech, may, impress people with your knowledge. It will not engage or inspire them. To do this you must speak to people on a personal level; show them that you care about them and their needs. This will ensure they are honest with you and all communication is effective.

Don’t dig too deep though and maintain your professionalism. It’s ok to admit that you don’t know everything; this makes you human and your listeners will appreciate your honesty.

Effective Communication 2
Making words count

Time is precious; there are not enough hours in the day to achieve everything anyone wants to. Don’t waste it by giving long winded, technical spiels. Instead focus on what the other party needs to know, keep it simple and concise; this creates less room for error. Make every word count!

Focus on the other party

The aim of any good communicator is to give more than they receive. Listen to what the other party is saying; focus on what the other person or party needs. By listening to them you will understand and learn far more about any situation than simply talking at them. On top of this you will create a relationship where the other party feels they can communicate with you at any time and their needs will be considered. This will inspire loyalty and trust; they will work much harder to achieve your goals.

Keep an open mind

Your solution is not the only solution! Learning to listen to those with different opinions is important, understanding those opinions is vital. But, the mark of a great leader is someone who can listen, understand and embrace those views; open conversation will often provide a previously unseen solution that everyone can live with.

Effective Communication 3

The unsaid

In every conversation there are things which are not said, these things are usually implied and it is the job of a good communicator to hear what is not being said. It is this information that can be used to win the hearts and minds of an opponent. This shows that you understand the underlying issues and want to deal with them. In the process you have allowed the other party to talk and have gained far more knowledge than if you had simply talked at them.

Know what you’re talking about – master the subject line

No matter what you are talking about make sure you know your facts. You will quickly lose the interest and respect of others if you clearly do not know what you are talking about. A good communicator will know their subject and be able to portray it in the right light to evoke the expected response. It is this that makes them great leaders.

The secret to great leadership is communication – with customers, clients, employees, investors and so on. In order to help your company thrive you have to talk to people. Share your vision but allow them to share theirs too.

By Jason Phillips and!

LeaderValues October Newsletter – Caroline Lucas biography, “7 Steps for Leaders to Deliver results as a Team”, and “Strategic Foresight” Book Review

Caroline Lucas

Click here to see this month’s LeaderValues newsletter.

There’s a nicely eclectic theme, this month. The leadership biography, by Victoria Yates, is on Caroline Lucas.

Lucas has been hugely influential in shaping the “Green” political agenda in the UK and Europe. She is the UK’s only Green Party MP, having actually increased her majority at the recent General Election. Even if that isn’t your political persuasion, she’s an accomplished leader and her story is well worth reading.

The featured article is “7 Steps for Leaders to Deliver results as a Team” by Alexander Maasik. This is an important yet easy-to-follow checklist of things we should all do (and often forget).

We also have a book review of Patricia Lustig‘s on “Strategic Foresight“. If you focus on potential, possible futures, and what you might learn from them, you rekindle your sense of wonder and love of possibility; you uncover energy for change. Patricia lays out helpful tools and processes to do this, based on her extensive experience across several industries.