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675 Ways to Develop Yourself and Your People

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We all struggle as professionals to stay on top of our game. Here is a book with hundreds of practical ways to take control of moving your career in the direction you want to go _ and of helping your people do the same. 675 Ways to Develop Yourself and Your People reflects the real needs of real people in today's workplace. You'll gain exercises, activities and strategies that will help you develop your ability to build positive work relationships, change an aspect of your interpersonal behavior, come across as powerful in meetings, listen, make decisions, survive a downsizing and much more. The engaging and hands-on resource provides a set of 50 individual learning opportunities and over 600 ideas, techniques and activities for making the most of the learning opportunities. Each module begins with an overview of the subject and moves on to exercises in easy-to-use categories.You can pick up this book and start wherever you like. You'll be amazed at how many opportunities you face each day to learn with and from your co-workers, facilitate the development process in others and travel purposefully through your life.

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1 Achieving Ambitions with Goal Setting




Ambitions with

Goal Setting


Goal setting is a very powerful technique that can yield strong returns in all areas of your life. By knowing precisely what you want to achieve, you know what you have to concentrate on and improve, and what is merely a distraction. By setting goals, you can:

Achieve more

Improve performance

Increase your motivation to achieve

Increase your pride and satisfaction in your achievements

Improve your self-confidence

Plan to eliminate attitudes that hold you back

Research has shown that people who use goal setting effectively:

Suffer less from stress and anxiety

Concentrate better

Show more self-confidence

Perform better

Are happier and more satisfied

The first step in setting personal goals is to consider what you want to achieve in your lifetime. Setting lifetime goals gives you the overall perspective that shapes all other aspects of your decision making. Try to set goals in all of the following categories:



Physical fitness



2 Balancing Life and Work




Life and Work


Fact. There is more to life than work.

Fact. Eight-hour days are things of the past. You now spend 10 to 14 hours working. That doesn’t leave much time for anything else, does it?

Is your life out of balance? Do you spend more time at work than you would like? Do you concentrate too much on meeting everyone else’s needs? How do your own needs get met?

Finding and maintaining a comfortable balance in life is a challenge. Most probably, you direct so much time and attention on work that you sacrifice other areas of your life. Think of balance as paying attention to every aspect of your life on a regular basis. It’s about attending to your multidimensional self so that you can make conscious choices about how you spend your time and energy at work and in life.

There are four aspects of living that need your attention: the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual dimensions. Paying too little attention to any one of them will create the feeling of being out of sync with yourself.


3 Basics of Transactional Analysis



Basics of




Eric Berne, founder of transactional analysis (TA), made complex interpersonal transactions understandable. TA offers a concept explaining how our present life patterns originated in childhood and develops explanations of how we may continue to replay childhood strategies in adult life, even when these produce results that are self-defeating or painful.

TA is used in educational settings to help teachers and learners stay in clear communication and avoid setting up unproductive confrontation, in management and communications training, in organizational analysis, and by social workers, police, and religious clergy. In fact, TA can be used in any field in which there is a need for understanding individuals, relationships, and communication.

The Central Concepts of TA

The central concepts of TA are as follows:

1. The ego state models. An ego state is a set of related behaviors, thoughts, and feelings—a way in which we manifest a part of our personality at a given time. Transactional analysis portrays three ego states: Adult (behaving, thinking, and feeling in response to what is going on in the here and now), Parent (behaving, thinking, and feeling in ways that reflect one of your parents or other parent figures), and


4 Building Positive Work Relationships




Positive Work



Guidelines for building positive work relationships include the following:

◆ Be tolerant of others’ weaknesses.

◆ Be tolerant of your own weaknesses. Don’t be self-critical in front of another person, because, after a while, both of you will believe it.

◆ Be a good listener.

◆ Remember that physical warmth bonds people together. Try touching, a wink, eye-to-eye contact, a smile.

◆ Don’t expect closeness through inappropriate behavior. Pouting, withdrawing, or being curt, negative, and whiney seldom draw people closer.

Own up to your emotions and feelings and express them in an open, honest, clear, and direct way.

◆ Learn to give and accept praise. Compliment people on their character, not on their appearance. If you don’t accept praise, people will eventually stop giving it.

◆ If you need to scream at someone, do it at the right person. Don’t take it out on your spouse, children, or yourself.

◆ Learn to say “no” to yourself and others when, after objective selfassessment, it seems the appropriate thing to do. Rescuers and do-gooders are often resentful because they expect, but receive, little in return.


5 Career Planning






Nowadays, each one of us has the opportunity to be in charge of our own working life. It is up to each person to plan their career and reskill when appropriate. Are you aware of the following facts?

◆ The skills most commonly thought to be lacking are IT skills, communication skills, and personal skills.

◆ According to the Department for Education and Employment, growth in demand in the higher skilled occupations is predicted to the year 2005 and beyond and there is a growing emphasis on multiskilling and quality.

◆ Core workers are expected to have a wide range of skills including leadership, managerial, development, professional, and technical abilities.

◆ If you want to get the maximum return from your networking, you need to give a high profile to your transferable skills.

◆ You need to be able to work without a clear job description and to prepare yourself for short-term employment.

◆ To stay in work you will need to constantly demonstrate your value to the organization in each new situation.


6 Changing Interpersonal Behavior







Are you happy with how you relate to other people? Would you like to be more outgoing or less dominant in a group? Would you like to be able to start up a conversation with anyone or do you need to take a step back?

Let’s take a typical interpersonal behavioral problem: for example, you’re unhappy with your tendency to dominate conversations at social gatherings or meetings. You end up crowding other people out and, as a result, you often alienate them. To rectify the problem, you could take the following steps:

◆ Set a goal (for example, “I’ll stop talking so much when in groups”).

◆ Identify an action you take to alert yourself in typical situations (for example, decide to keep your mouth shut for a while, instead of always jumping into the conversation). However, also consider whether there is a positive action you might be able to take to achieve your goal more fully, such as focusing on listening more to the other person.

◆ Devise a reminder for when you feel yourself slipping into the behavior you want to avoid. For example, if listening is not your natural response when you’re socially stimulated, you need to be reminded of exactly what you should do. However, this reminder will have to be motivational. Because you typically become so stimulated when you’re in the company of others, you conclude that, unless a reminder makes you want to listen, you’ll have trouble doing it. So you decide on a combination reminder. In trying to identify an important reason for taking the trouble to listen when you’d rather talk, it occurs to you that the word friends helps convey what you really want to accomplish—and what you’ve been losing. Therefore, you decide that the reminder


7 Coaching Others






A good coach encourages others to think for themselves. In other words, good coaches teach others to fish for themselves, rather than feeding them fish.

Coaching is a form of leading—you lead people to think differently. Coaching means asking questions that lead others to new insights, and helping people solve their own problems. One of the challenges in coaching is to resist offering people your own answers and thereby metaphorically feeding them fish; it is an accepted fact that people commit themselves most fully to their own solutions.

Coaches help people carry out any occupational task more effectively and aim to help high performers reach greater heights.

Managers who use coaches are committed to self-improvement, and it is becoming increasingly evident that managers develop more effectively with the help of a coach rather than just relying on ad hoc experience or courses.

Coaching is not complete until the other person has a concrete action plan to do something different.


8 Conducting Interviews






Interviews are particularly useful for discovering the story behind a respondent’s experiences and to pursue in-depth information around a topic.

Before you start to design your interview questions and process, clearly identify the purpose of each interview. This helps you keep a clear focus on the intent of each question.

Types of Interviews

◆ Informal, conversational, general interview. Here, predetermined questions are asked. This approach is intended to ensure that the same general areas of information are collected from each interviewee.

◆ Standardized, open-ended interview. Here, the same open-ended questions are put to all interviewees. This approach facilitates faster interviews that can be more easily analyzed and compared.

◆ Closed, fixed-response interview. Here, all interviewees are asked the same questions and are asked to choose answers from the same set of alternatives.

Preparing the Sequence of Questions

◆ Get the respondents involved in the interview as soon as possible.


9 Counseling in the Workplace



Counseling in the Workplace


There are basically four types of strategy for helping others in the workplace:

◆ Giving advice: making suggestions about courses of action another person can, and possibly should, take, looking at the situation from your perspective.

◆ Direct action: taking action yourself to provide for someone else’s needs—for example, stopping a fight.

◆ Counseling: helping someone explore a problem so that they can decide what to do about it.

◆ Teaching: helping someone acquire knowledge and skills you think they will need.

Counseling in the workplace can be used for:

◆ Participants in work-related courses who wish to do personal work on a related matter

◆ People who wish to talk over personal or work-related problems in complete confidence with someone

◆ People who are facing redundancy or career changes

◆ People who have suffered trauma

Counseling has a powerful, long-term impact on people and organizational effectiveness. It involves talking with a person in a way that helps that person solve a problem or helps create conditions that will cause the person to improve their behavior. It involves thinking, implementing, and knowing human nature, timing, sincerity, compassion, and kindness. It is much more than simply telling someone what to do about a problem.


10 Creating a Wellness Program



Creating a




Why create a wellness program? For the good of the company or the good of the individual? We can see company health and individual health here as two sides of the same coin. The company can only be a healthy working entity when the parts are working well, both individually and together. The physical and psychological well-being of employees contributes to their effectiveness and motivation both in and out of the workplace. That is not say that a healthy person will necessarily be a good worker, but if a company can encourage a good health program, this will be a positive investment in the employees who are any company’s most valuable asset.

Stress and Nutrition

When life becomes busy, it’s tempting to forget about a balanced diet by skipping meals or eating while on the run. However, when your body doesn’t get the balance of nutrients it needs, you may end up trying to do more with less energy. Even healthy low-fat foods don’t constitute a high-energy diet on their own. Below are some hints to remedy this.


11 Critical Thinking






Critical thinking is the art of thinking about your thinking while you are thinking in order to make your thinking better.

Sounds like quite a juggling act? The key to understanding critical thinking involves recognizing and working with the basic building blocks that construct and color our thought processes. These are:

Point of view (our perception)

Purpose (the reason for the thought process)

Information (the raw material for the process)

Assumption (any pre-established criteria we might be using)

Implications (the consequences of the process)

Interpretation (the meaning of the process)

Concepts (any ideas buried within the information)

If you are aware of these building blocks and can reflect on their relevance, accuracy, and logic, you can then judge what influence they are having on any decisions or conclusions you reach.

Critical thinking—and the self-awareness that accompanies it—is a skill that you can master with time and practice. The starting point involves developing a series of reflective questions that you can use to question your ideas. These questions can be categorized into four basic types:


12 Delegating





Delegation is:

◆ The process of effectively using group members by sharing authority and entrusting them with responsibility

◆ The process of empowering group members or individuals through task completion in an effort to reach the organization’s goals and objectives

Some signs that you might need help with delegation skills include:

Constantly taking work home with you and/or working overtime

Not receiving work you assign on time

Finding a pile of work waiting for you when you return from an absence

Making decisions without staff input, thus causing resentment

So how do you delegate? First decide which tasks to delegate using the following guidelines.

◆ Identify tasks with sensitive implications and keep them for yourself.

◆ Identify tasks that might impact outside of your department—across the organization—and keep them for yourself.

◆ Identify tasks that others might be more skillful at completing and give them to others.

◆ Identify tasks that others might enjoy more than yourself and give them to others.


13 Developing Emotional Intelligence







Emotional intelligence—a concept originally coined by Daniel Soleman, author of Emotional Intelligence (1996) and Working with Emotional

Intelligence (2000)—involves balancing our thoughts and feelings. Sometimes in order to avoid feeling, we rationalize or intellectualize our feelings.

Equally, we can sometimes immerse ourselves to an unhealthy extent in our feelings, without any logical thought processes.

Imagine that someone you know says to you, “Can’t you do anything right—you fool!” What would you think? How would you feel? What would you do?

Now, imagine that the voice talking is your own and that you are thinking such thoughts about yourself. You might recognize a similar kind of negative self-talk dominating your own thoughts. This self-critical voice works by:

Emphasizing past failures

Ignoring anything good that happens

Setting impossible standards of perfection

Assuming others’ thoughts about you are negative

Calling you names

There is a relationship between thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Our thoughts give rise to our feelings. This combination gives rise to behavior and action. If we think, “Yes, I can get through this exam,” we feel positive, upbeat, and confident, and we have more chance of sailing through the exam successfully. If we think, “I’ll never do it,” we feel insecure, powerless, and anxious, and have more chance of failing the exam.


14 Developing Leadership






Leadership is the ability to enable ordinary people to do extraordinary things.

—Sir John Harvey Jones

Leadership can be a lonely role, and a key to being an effective leader is coming to terms with the responsibility it entails. Since you are the pivot for providing vision and support to others, you need a network of support yourself such as mentors, colleagues, family, and friends. It is also important to understand that you may be a leader in a particular sphere, but this doesn’t necessarily make you a suitable leader in all spheres.

Effective leaders:

◆ Have a strong belief in their own and other people’s capabilities and set out to release this latent power in themselves and others

◆ Respect others and believe that they, given the opportunity, will contribute to the success of the organization through their own inner conviction and drive

◆ Personalize rather than generalize their leadership approach, in that they do not seek or use a single best-practice approach, but set out to create an empathetic relationship in which leader behavior matches the needs of those being led


15 Empowering Others






Empowerment is a little like delegation—responsibility and power that managers grant employees. The reality today is that many front-line employees already have a great deal of power. The key is to recognize their power and motivate them to channel it in the interests of the business. For example:

◆ Employees who serve both internal and external customers and suppliers, and whose innovations are crucial, have the power to make or break your business. You cannot empower them; you just need to acknowledge how important and powerful they already are.

◆ Employees are now recognized as those who carry out the most critical jobs, and managers are increasingly seen as facilitators or coaches who simply need to stand back and let their people do their jobs.

Nevertheless, it is difficult for people to fully exploit their power because managers still have the power to promote or fire them. Both sides have their own sort of power and, today, the balance is more equal than it used to be.


16 Facilitating Learning






Facilitation is the art of guiding others in self-discovery. Facilitation isn’t about leading, teaching, or training. It’s about providing a safe environment or arena for people to make discoveries for themselves. It’s almost like selfdirected learning, but there is a coordinator (facilitator) to hold it together and to guide it along. The facilitator could be seen as the chair, if you like.

Effective facilitators:

◆ Adapt their small-group activities to suit the participants, the environment, and the desired outcomes

◆ Are proactive (before using a small-group activity, they modify it on the basis of the characteristics of the participants and the purpose of the activity)

◆ Are responsive and make modifications during the small-group activity to keep the different tensions within acceptable ranges

◆ Are resilient (they accept whatever happens during the small-group activity as valuable data and continue with the activity)

Within any small-group activity, there are six stress areas that can enhance or destroy its effectiveness. These revolve around:


17 Generating Creative Solutions







If you can develop your creative abilities, you are better placed to find solutions to problems. Also, the more you can blend creativity with your logical planning and evaluation skills, the more effective you will be and the more you can produce. Channeling creativity in productivity involves going through a number of processes, such as:

◆ Gathering data: concerned with analyzing tasks, gathering data, and trying out ideas

◆ Frustration: when we doubt our ability and become bored or irritated

◆ Gestation: when we put the issue on hold and it sinks into the unconscious

◆ Birth: the moment of inspiration from the unconscious as promoted by the right side of the brain

◆ Reality testing: living and testing out the reality

Hemispheres in the Brain

Did you know that the left hemisphere of the brain is almost always larger than the right hemisphere, and that there is a difference in the function of each hemisphere?

One of the most important advances in the study of the brain occurred in the 1960s when Roger Sperry of the California Institute of Technology led a team of researchers to a new understanding that the two hemispheres of the brain each control different processes.


18 Giving and Receiving Feedback



Giving and




Criticism or feedback? Our initial response to criticism is likely to be negative. By contrast, the word feedback sounds as though we have a role in deciding whether or not it is appropriate.

Feedback is most useful when it is . . .

Feedback is least useful when it is . . .

◆ Specific

◆ Vague

◆ Focused on behavior

◆ Impossible to change the situation

◆ Positive

◆ Negative

◆ Useful

◆ Given in front of others

◆ Supportive

◆ Based on hearsay and speculation

◆ Given privately

◆ Based on one incident

◆ Based on first-hand information

◆ Used to protect feelings/egos

◆ Fair

◆ A personality attack

◆ Given with care

◆ Given thoughtlessly

◆ Expressed directly

◆ Expressed indirectly or to someone else

◆ Easily acted on

◆ Difficult to act on

◆ Uncluttered by evaluative judgments

◆ Judgmental

◆ Well timed

◆ Delayed

Handling Negative Feedback

When you feel under attack, your first instincts are to focus on that feeling, making it more intense. You are more likely to react, rather than choose how you want to act. In responding to negative feedback, the momentum of defensive emotions builds rapidly because we mentally focus on the “right” things we are doing, while obsessing about the “wrong” things the other person is doing. This tendency leads us to take a righteous position and listen less as the negative feedback continues.


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