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To tweet or not to tweet...

Jon Reed discusses the issue of how 'social' social media really is and its place in business.

Recently, I've been wrestling with the world of online social networking. Is it something that can help me, or that I can use to

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Ask the experts - first time manager dilemma

Industry experts tackle common management dilemmas. Taken from Edge magazine, February 2010.

You have promoted a member of your department to head up her own team of four staff. You chose her because she's independent, organised and hardworking, traits which you thought would make a good manager. However, three months into the new role, she has come to you upset, saying she's not cut out to be a manager. You hadn't realised how much she was struggling and that she needed support. What do you do?

Jane Sunley, Managing Director of learnpurple and talent toolbox.

One of the most challenging transitions is from team member to manager. Just because someone is a good self-manager, doesn't mean they will automatically make a good leader.

Many organisations don't adequately prepare the people they promote. In recent years, business has become more complex and competitive. Combine this with depleted management layers due to the recession and the pressure to make fast decisions about internal promotions has increased. But, internal promotion is often the best option - as long as the candidate has been well prepared.

In this case, i'd look to the people involved with this new manager, including yourself. What could you do to develop her? Have you done all you could to help grow her confidence, to offer support and trust? Having made sure she has the tools to do the job, is her line manager prepared to let go and have belief in her? Is there role clarity, in particular when it comes to desired outcomes?

Meet with this new manager to reassure her that help is at hand. Make sure you clarify her remit in terms of the role, responsibilities and what a 'good job looks like'. Explore exactly why she is feeling so upset. Discuss the skills and attributes she needs to be able to fulfil her role and identify any skill gaps. See if there are any quick wins to help restore some of her confidence.

Assuming she wants to meet the challenge, draw up a development plan. This might include leadership basics such as coaching, teambuilding, communication and influencing skills, supported by some one to one coaching and mentoring.

Make sure you meet regularly to review progress and continue to support and put a talent management system in place to ensure that you can build great teams and the people to lead them.

To read this article in full click here.

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Coaching from the cricket field

Ben Buet, business development manager, learns how to get the most out of people at work using skills learnt on the cricket field.

I first went to Australia to play and coach cricket at the tender age of 19. At such a young age, this wa

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Warming hearts and hands through service

MJ Flanagan comments on recent examples of customer service as highlighted in the Evening Standard this week.

Two contrasting stories in the Evening Standard (22nd January) clearly illustrated the importance of the 'wow factor'

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Is 2010 the year of the small company? We think so!

Jane Sunley on the rise and rise of SMEs in the UK

The onset of a new decade made me think back over the last one. It was this time exactly ten years ago, some might say with my corporate career in its acendency, that, some might also

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Managing stress for success

Sally Brand, Business Development Manager discovers ways to manage stress for organisations and individuals.

Stress is a fact of life for many people in modern society. Research shows that levels of anxiety have risen in recent years an

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Be the best you can be - but above all be yourself

MJ Flanagan, Training Director brings the X factor to the finance industry.

This weekend I sat watching the X factor with a glass of wine. I wanted Olly to win although I knew Joe would. But it was Stacey who stole my heart. Here was th

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Keeping staff motivated through the highs and lows of hospitality

This article came from Hotel Business December 09 / January 10

Keeping staff motivated through the highs and lows of hospitality can be difficult. Jane Sunley, Managing Director of learnpurple, has some advice.

As 2009 draws to an end, many are sighing with relief. The Christmas period is often quite stressful anyway, and this year we had the added challenges that came with the dreaded 'R'. We have been very impressed with how so many organisations used this period to really up their game and did not cut back on engaging their people. Many realised that it's now more important than ever to really have motivated people to help deliver the best and really go into the New Year on the right footing.

This is our ten point plan to help you engage and motivate your staff:

1. Become a 'best place to work'

If your employees are proud to work for you, they will naturally be more motivated. People want to be associated with success, and will be motivated by it. Constantly promote how great your company is - both internally and externally - and shout about your successes. Make every single person you employ an ambassador for your organisation by giving them the key messages to pass on.

2. Communication

Find a way to make sure real two-way communication happens. It is important to share information about the organisation, as well as to consult and involve your employees in decision-making.

3. Career Path

Research has shown that although there are those who need a clear career path in order to feel inspired, there are many who are not motivated by feeling pressured to keep taking on more responsibility or changing what they do. Either way, job security enhances motivation. Encourage some calculated risk taking with internal promotion - people often grow into a role. If you are developing and coaching people on the way up, then the risk is far less. In any climate, seeing that there is the possibility to grow and develop within the company can be very motivating.

4. Vision and Values

Be clear about what these are, and make sure everyone in the organisation knows. This is not about a plaque on the wall - you have to live them. Take the time to find out what each employees' personal values/aspirations are, as in order to be motivated, these need to match and the employee needs to feel as though they are valued as a person.

5. Flexibility

Discover what your staff members want and do your best to give it to them. People will often trade excitement for flexibility or money for excitement - it's all about what their own motivators and drivers are - so find out what they want as individuals. Review employment practice with a view to work/life balance - you may need to train existing people to understand and support this.

6. Support

You can't have loyalty unless you give it. Take care of people in trouble - it's a strong message. This isn't about 'going soft' - it's a commercial business decision. Give the same level of commitment you expect to receive back.

7. Pay and Benefits

According to our research, this is number nine in the level of importance for engaging employees. So if you are getting it right with communication, leadership, development, career path and managing aspirations, then it becomes less emotive. Pay fairly, and then make your people forget about money. When it comes to benefits, find out what your people would want and what they consider a benefit, rather than what you would - think about how this can be cost effective for you.

8. Development

Make it accessible, make it appropriate, and make it timely. Be flexible and fit the business as well as the individual. Consider the use of personal coaching for executives/top team. Make sure agreed development happens within the agreed time-scales by ensuring there is accountability.

9. Appreciation

Feeling valued is very important for employees to be motivated - especially in situations where we are expecting them to go the extra mile; often by doing more work, with less help and the same money. Praise accomplishments and attempts: both large and small; in different ways - sometimes verbally, sometimes written; as soon as it's deserved; publicly and privately; always sincerely.

10. Leadership

Employees work for people, not companies. And they leave people too. Make sure leaders are skilled at all levels - the middle management layer is key. Engage the superstars through inspirational leadership. Make sure that the top team take time out to regularly think about the people - this is a broad issue, which needs input at board level. Put employee issues at the top of the agenda, and encourage creative thinking - think the unthinkable every day.

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The restaurant

Helen Flint, Learning and Development Director takes a look into the BBC's 'The Restaurant'.

I'm now thoroughly hooked to the new series of 'The Restaurant' but sadly probably for all the wrong reasons. It should

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Random acts of kindness

Director Jo Harley looks at how being kind to others, may impact on our own experiences at work.

One of the questions that we always ask people when they're completing their planning for their talent toolbox performance review is: &

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