MANAGING HIGH PERFORMANCE TEAMS
Steve Jobs was quoted as saying “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” Once you have hired a bunch of really smart people, you need to manage them effectively.
High performing people tend to take pride in their work, they want to grow and develop throughout their careers. In order to manage them effectively, you need to redistribute decision-making. A top-down, hierarchical approach to management may be ineffective because the best employees tend to know more about their area of expertise than their managers do. As such, you need to give people some autonomy so that they can effectively self-manage.
The best performing businesses tend to have flatter organisation structures. Information is shared more openly across the business and people are able to make decisions more quickly as a result.
In a high performance organisation, managers need to provide support and demonstrate leadership through teamwork. The best managers tend to be able to bring people with them.
They do this by building strong relationships with their teams and through effective communication. In creating a culture of teamwork, managers can align the individual objectives of each team member with the overall goals of the business. Where there is misalignment, good managers will work with the individual to agree a compromise.
If you want to be a really effective manager and create a high performance team, you need to be a good listener. Ask your team members for their view on how to best get a piece of work done. This shows the team that their opinions and expertise are valued. The best leaders listen to the ideas and insights from their people and allow them the space to implement those ideas.
Everyone wants to perform meaningful work and enjoy being involved with interesting projects. If opportunities are given by a manager who takes the time to create strong relationships with people, the team can be more effective and innovative than ever.
SHIFT YOUR NETWORKING FOCUS
Networking isn’t just about attending an event with a
stack of business cards and speaking with random people. People want to do business with people they like and trust, and people they know through friends and shared connections.
Attending networking events has its place. If you work in a particular industry sector and you know that your contacts are going to be at a conference or event, you might want to attend. Events provide opportunities to catch up with clients and key contacts and are likely to be time well spent. However attending such an event “cold” where you know nobody in the room, is unlikely to produce a new pipeline of business.
If you want to build a really powerful network for yourself, look for situations that will allow you to make friends, not just “contacts”. Small settings work well. Friends of friends and e-mail introductions go a long way. Keep the focus on making meaningful connections, instead of giving business cards to random people.
Finding people with common interests such as sailing or golf can help you to build strong relationships and they will be more likely to engage with you when they need to buy the product or service you offer.
So, focus on the relationships first and wait for the business opportunities to arise over time. This can be a slow process, but you’ll end up with a strong circle of people you trust.
MANAGING OFFICE POLITICS
Office politics are a fact of life. People are complex and work relationships are often complicated to navigate. So, what should you do when office politics become problematic?
When people feel that they have been listened to, they tend to step away from the politics and become more transparent. Active listening, combined with empathy, is powerful.
Lead by example:
If left unchecked, office politics can lead to bullying and conflict. If office politics becomes a serious issue, the management team needs to set a clear code of conduct, lead by example, and quickly discourage unprofessional behaviour through direct communication.
Stick to your values:
Stick to your principles and don’t let others force you down a road that you aren’t comfortable with. You should try to remain consistent, authentic and ethical. This can be difficult if everyone else is being pulled into a political situation.
Encourage your team members to focus on the long-term goals and objectives of the team and the firm. Providing continuous performance feedback is a good way to address any undesirable behaviour. You should try to provide constructive and specific feedback to each of your team members and keep them focused on their individual responsibilities and objectives within the firm.
Keep people informed:
Lack of information can contribute to negative office politics. As such, it is important to embrace open communication. Managers should brief their teams and keep them up to date on the company strategy, overall progress towards achieving objectives, upcoming projects or changes, etc.
It has been 10 years since the launch of the original iPhone. To celebrate this milestone, Apple has launched the new iPhone X. Many business users see the iPhone as their go-to business phone. So is the latest version worth an upgrade?
Starting with the design, the iPhone X no longer has the familiar home button. The front of the device is made up almost entirely of the touchscreen, surrounded by a small bezel. The new 5.8-inch OLED display looks fantastic. It is way ahead of the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus thanks to its increased levels of sharpness, image quality and the fact that it fills the whole front of the phone. The bigger screen allows a bit more space for onscreen menus and makes the iPhone X a bit easier to use.
Another new feature of the iPhone X is that you can use facial recognition to unlock the phone. This isn’t new (its been available on the top Samsung models for a while now). Users can also use a numeric code to unlock the phone.
The iPhone X has a new 12-megapixel dual camera which is similar to the one on the iPhone 8 Plus. Compared with the last generation of iPhones, the iPhone X captures more vivid colours, and the way images are processed brings more detail to photos. It also features IP-67 water resistance and has a toughened glass back panel, which allows wireless charging.
In terms of processing power, the iPhone X uses the same A11 Bionic chipset as the iPhone 8. Battery life has improved a bit and users should get a full day’s usage from the iPhone X. Apple claims that you can generally expect two extra hours using the iPhone X over the iPhone 8. This will really depend on your level of usage.
Upgrading to the iPhone X is expensive. The new design looks fantastic and it has some great new features. However, it is the most expensive flagship phone currently on the market with SIM free prices direct from Apple starting at £999 for the 64GB model and rising to £1,149 for the 256GB version. Mobile phone networks will undoubtedly offer deals but the latest and greatest iPhone certainly won’t come cheap.
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