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Internal Communication Strategies to Improve Workplace Engagement

Internal Communication Strategies to Improve Workplace Engagement

The team communication tactics used in business significantly impact business outcomes because communication is the glue that binds an organisation together. The pandemic was one of the most testing times that we have experienced in recent times. Many organisations across the globe have reported a decline in employee engagement levels since early 2020. With remote and hybrid work styles gaining popularity, the necessity of effective communication between employees and immediate managers is more important than ever.

Internal communication is a significant element of employee engagement. It is a prerequisite for developing long-term productive relationships between employees and employers for achieving all the business objectives successfully. Internal communication is a mechanism for offering assistance and empowering staff members to do their best work and managers to achieve organisational goals by exchanging high-level information based on the company mission and values. Shared knowledge of the organization’s vision, goals, and values is always reinforced by internal communication. To achieve corporate and personal objectives, internal communication does include conversations between employees and between employees and management.

Although it may seem obvious that good team communication is critical, it is not always apparent how to implement a strategy for it. The challenges of driving employee engagement can be overcome by developing a solid internal communication strategy.

Foster clear, regular and deliberate communication

Clear and effective communication is inevitable in any business. Regular and deliberate communication should not be confused with staying connected the entire day and micromanaging the team. That would be a sure recipe for disaster. Managers can schedule times in a day to connect with their team members on a one-on-one basis. This ensures that the tasks are being carried out seamlessly making the employee feel valued. If managers make use of this opportunity to check on the well-being of the employee, the engagement levels are sure to skyrocket.

Written communications during remote working need to be handled with care. Since interpreting the tone of text messages is difficult, it is better that messages sent on communication apps are followed up with a call. This keeps unwanted friction and confusion at bay.

Apart from the above, managers can make the employees feel important in the business by employing a few tactics consciously. A simple smile here and there, a moment taken to appreciate the hard work put in by the employees, and talk in terms of their interests.

i.        Sharing regular updates

If the managers share regular updates about the performance of the business and the contribution of employees towards it, employees feel motivated to be better each day. Making all review meetings only about individual performance can be distressing to the employee. Instead, if regular updates are shared regarding the performance and how it is enabling the business would be a good strategy for improved engagement.

ii.        Appreciating efforts

Any additional effort put in by the employee should be generously praised by the leaders. The results that public appreciation does to the future performance of an employee are immense. Recognising good work needs to be a regular practice and should not be overlooked as something that is expected of an employee.

iii.       Training and Upskilling

Regular communication is essential to identify the struggles and gaps in the performance of employees. It is valuable for an employee when a manager identifies areas of improvement and supports them by organising training programs and workshops.

iv.       Provide a platform to engage

The goals of strengthening internal communication can be made more engaging and interactive where the entire team contributes their views on business problems. Regular internal surveys and discussions in the internal group are helpful where everybody irrespective of seniority comes together to find a solution to improve bonding within the system. The improved rapport between employees and leaders improves engagement.

Strengthening the link between internal communication and employee engagement

Employee engagement and internal communications should be integrated by design and through the utilisation of leadership communication skills. Enabling the practice of feedback gives employees a feeling that their voices are being heard. A lot of leaders and businesses still think that internal communication is the same as engagement. In fact, it is just one aspect of employee engagement. Communication can be informative but driving engagement is a different game altogether. Each employee should be aware of what is expected of them at work, opportunities to be seen and heard, a sense of purpose, room for growth and recognition for work. Trying to see concerns from the employee’s point of view and appealing to nobler motives aids in employee engagement while also showcasing your leadership skills.

For improving engagement, leaders need to adopt top-level communication skills. Leaders need to attain impeccable communication skills to strengthen their teams and their relationships with others in the organisation. Dale Carnegie Training offers training programs in communication and people skills to thrive in any environment. The program empowers participants to project an enthusiastic attitude, motivate others to take action, communicate clearly and logically, and energize and engage listeners. The program equips participants to be influential and focused leaders and problem solvers. The training program works best for all leaders who wish to take charge of the well-being of their team members, nurture interpersonal relationships and improve employee engagement and retention in their organisations. Dale Carnegie’s Golden Book has a multitude of principles to motivate, coach and mentor employees.

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How Does Diversity Without Inclusion Affect an Organisation

How Does Diversity Without Inclusion Affect an Organisation

 

A well-articulated diversity agenda has consistently been the focus of organisations that have made remarkable progress in their D&I journey. For a long time, diversity in Indian workplaces was defined through the gender lens. Workforce diversity also includes generational, cultural, religious, racial and geographical diversities. In the initial stages, an organisation focuses on initiatives and the focus shifts to model behaviours as the mission progresses.

In the efforts to become equal opportunity institutions, organizations place a strong emphasis on diversity and inclusivity, which is consistent with their values and culture. Brainstorming of D&I goals needs to happen at the top level. Setting realistic goals together and being open to feedback at all times are essential practices for instituting and achieving D&I goals faster.

What is diversity without inclusion?

Diversity without embracing inclusivity is a sure recipe for disaster. For instance, the possible outcomes would be a struggle for power, harassment and assigning “gender roles” within a work environment intentionally or otherwise. A diverse pool of employees contributes extremely well to creative and “out of the box” thinking with their diverse experiences and socio-economic backgrounds. If the ideas are criticised and rejected without any discussion by the team leaders, diversity becomes pointless. Diversity is nurtured only in an inclusive environment.

In a nutshell, true inclusion is when all people from diverse backgrounds feel accepted, valued and respected. Diversity is like preparing an elaborate menu for a dinner party without considering the guests’ preferences. Inclusion is when everybody gets to enjoy the feast. There is no point boasting of a diverse workforce if each of those employees does not feel included. The feeling of non-inclusiveness arises from various factors. A few reasons are lack of awareness and exposure, personal bias, or the unwillingness to be open-minded and welcoming.

Tips to improve inclusion

Inclusion is largely dependent on the company culture and the responsibility of shaping the organisational culture is on the senior leaders.

i.        Create awareness

The seniors form the connection between the management and the employees. Hence the first step towards improving inclusion is to educate the senior leaders. Many a time, one’s personal biases come in the way of inclusive behaviour. Such unconscious judgements can be overcome with education and proper training. Regular D & I training and sensitization programs are increasingly becoming an integral part of the corporate policies of many Indian organisations.

ii.        Set goals and communicate

Inclusion goals that are set need to be communicated to the whole team. There should be an open channel of communication between the policymakers and the employees to ensure that the goals are achieved. The HR department and team leaders need to ensure that the policies that are in place are effective and serve the purpose. This is possible only with discussions, assessments and two-way communication.

iii.       Revise the policies

As an inclusive organisation, the HR policy needs to consider and include leaves for significant occasions that are generally not celebrated in the location of work. The policies need to be structured in a way that candidates feel welcome right from the acquisition stage through the retention phase. A neutral job description, a diverse interview panel and specialised psychometric analyses need to be part of the hiring strategy. Rather than coming up with a long list of policies and not following through, it is best to introduce simple and realistic policies and work steadily.

iv.       Introduce team-building activities

In any team-level or organisation-level decision-making, the management needs to consciously include employees from diverse cultures, races, religions and sexual orientations. Celebrating diverse traditions together at the workplace is a great way to make everyone included. Everyone will feel included if significant days for all groups are celebrated, including those for minority communities where they might have previously experienced some form of discrimination.

Challenges of implementing D&I policies and driving workplace inclusion

Diversity and DEI goals are not event-based or number-based. When an organisation starts treating DEI objectives as metrics that need to be chased every year, the whole idea becomes futile. The strategies need to be integrated with corporate policies and approached in a way that drives workplace inclusion. If that alignment is not there, diversity and inclusion become merely a fancy statement for attracting fresh talent. DEI initiatives are aimed at making human lives and collaborative functioning easier in the workplace.

When an employee goes out of the way and respects diversity at work, the organisation needs to appreciate their efforts publicly. Encouraging employees and rewarding good behaviour drives employee engagement as well. Diversity is a catalyst for innovative thinking, better decision making and team building. Inclusion is what strengthens the team and boosts engagement and retention.

The goals and plans of DEI do not serve everyone equally. A “one size fits all” approach does not work when trying to achieve inclusion. Rather, a customised approach whereby the organisation understands the psychology of each employee through communication and psychometric assessments helps in driving inclusion. At the end of the day, the DEI strategies should ensure fair representation of its workforce.

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Be a Leader that Creates an Impact

When we talk about leadership, the first few words that come to our mind would be “helping beautify others,” and “making an impact.” Once a person attains a leadership position, their prime intention would be to make a difference. Anybody can help, but how well you inspire, motivate and influence the thinking of others makes you a true leader. Being a leader and leading with influence is a calling.

Attributes of a true leader

Leadership is not just people management skill but an attitude. People are not born with leadership skills but develop them during their lifetime with the kind of life experiences they go through. As John Maxwell states, “Leadership is Influence – nothing more, nothing less” and it cannot be truer. Regardless of one’s position, anybody can influence and create an impact on others. The following points mentioned in this blog are inspired from Book from Dale Carnegie ‘The Leader in You’:

i. Leading over giving commands

Commanding power is often mistaken for good leadership skills. A person who is a good leader always leads by example and walks ahead of the crowd.

ii. Strong belief and sense of self

Everybody has the power to impact but one needs to believe it first to make it happen. A strong sense of self is needed for one to display a high level of confidence. As the belief to create an impact on others develops within an individual, they start to show strong leadership skills.

iii.  Active listening skills

Good communication starts with active listening. When an individual has a genuine interest in understanding what others have got to say, they get one step ahead in becoming a good communicator.

iv. Integrity

Personal values and integrity are vital in creating an impact. Nobody will be interested in following someone who does not stand by them in adverse situations. A good leader takes accountability, shares the load with the team, and shares credit for good work equally.

How to create an impact as you lead

When visualizing a leader, each individual will have a different picture. The goal of a leader is to leave an impact on others and create more leaders for future generations to come. Rather than questioning the effectiveness of leadership, the focus needs to be on how your influence affects others around you.

Let us take a look at the key areas of influence.

i. Logic

Logic is tied to common sense and basic reasoning. It is the attitude with which one approaches a situation and comes up with solutions. The competency in making wise and timely decisions without jumping to conclusions is a key factor that makes a leader stand a class apart.

ii. Humility

Leaders who create an impact are humble and not arrogant. They are extremely humble and do not get agitated when their authority is threatened. That self-assurance also shapes them to be great communicators. Great leaders show emotional control by understanding the problem and responding patiently.

iii. Passion

Leaders exhibit an unbeatable degree of perfection that arises from a deep-rooted passion for what they do. People around can see one’s passion and the energy that radiates while a task is being done.

iv. Accountability

Successful leaders do not shift blame when in trouble and take accountability for their actions. They are open to receiving feedback and do not feel threatened when their authority is in question. They are great listeners and effective communicators.

v. Mentoring

Leaders do not blame and insult others for their inefficiency. They coach, mentor, and hold their hands on their journey to unlocking their true potential. They are generous with praise and do not mince words while appreciating others.

vi. Promoting diversity

Diversity is critical for a company’s growth and success. Leaders need to recognize the importance of diversity and be more open to everyone irrespective of their gender, and cultural and generational differences.

The true meaning of impact in leadership

Leadership is like a muscle that needs to be developed. It is an attitude that needs to be polished by practicing leadership skills regularly with determination and a positive attitude. A leader is also someone who identifies opportunities and makes the most of them. They recognize that opportunities are golden chances to prove their potential.

Impact is an influence that inspires others towards adopting positive behavior. Having influence may not necessarily create an impact even though there is an opportunity for it. For a better understanding of what creating an impact means, think of the influence parents have on their children. They have an impact on the children’s growth and behavior. All leaders influence but very few are capable of leaving an impact. 

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How to Develop Presentation Skills that Leave a Powerful Impact

Presentations are crucial in any business, whether they are for sales pitches, keynote speeches, reports, training sessions, or board meetings. The main aim of presentations is to put one’s points across to the other person expecting a favourable outcome. Delivering presentations can be nerve-wracking but the skills can be mastered with the right techniques and practice. Delivering a presentation is empowering when done well. In addition to imparting knowledge, it is an opportunity to establish authority on the subject.

Presentations that are well-structured and delivered create a massive impact on the audience. As a presenter, the first impression an individual give is with their personal appearance. This refers to an individual being well-groomed, well dressed and having a confident body language. Virtual presentations are increasingly common these days. Proper care for grooming needs to be given even while presenting online. The same rule goes for presentations that are delivered online. Keeping the content crisp and attention-worthy is the key here. How well and effectively one communicates determines the rate of success of the result.

Tips to turn ineffective presentation abilities into smarter ones

During any presentation, it is important to choose one’s words carefully to establish credibility, appear knowledgeable, and ensure that the message is comprehended well. The speaker needs to use forceful, precise language to convey the ideas and not be ambiguous at any point.

A few pointers that make presentations extremely interesting and impactful are:

  1. Clarity of speech

Clear thoughts result in clear speeches. Speeches need to be informative and entertaining at the same time. Reading out the facts and giving a serious talk is sure to leave the audience bored. Inexperienced and nervous speakers tend to speak fast or fumble during presentations. Adding proper pauses and consciously slowing down makes a big difference. Every idea should have a 10-20 word summary. Knowing those words and repeating them during presentations will leave a bigger impact on the audience. 

2. The 10-second rule

These days, the attention span of viewers has reduced considerably. All the creators are capitalizing on this and making short, visually appealing content to penetrate their target audience. The wider reach and engagement levels that crisp content with visually appealing elements manage to attract is beyond imagination. The same goes for presentations. Irrespective of the vastness of the idea, the presenter should be able to describe it concisely, in a few slides. The current capabilities of applications that produce data-rich visualizations ensure ease of understanding. Dale Carnegie’s 10-second rule implies that any presentation slide needs to be comprehended within 10 seconds. A successful presentation is one that enables faster information retention and decision making.

3. Tell a story

Presentations are about telling stories. The purpose is to make the audience see, hear and feel exactly the way the speaker did. Stories need to be structured in a way that the speaker first shares an incident, talks about a specific action to prevent or solve it and close it with the result caused by the action. Long presentations need not be stretchy and boring with dry facts. In such cases, conveying the message by narrating real-life experiences or as a simple story would leave an impact on the listeners. Great speakers use storytelling as a way to connect with their audience. People tend to tune out when flimsy and catch-all words are used.

4. Encourage interactions

Presentations that are engaging and interactive are more impactful. Keeping eye contact while presenting, and encouraging the crowd to ask questions and share their thoughts improves the credibility of the speaker. Acknowledging the audience’s comments and questions with patience and grace gives the listeners the confidence and conviction that the presenter knows the subject thoroughly. 

5. Admit when wrong

Many presenters and speakers find it difficult to accept that they do not have all the answers. Although unnecessary apologies create a negative impact, it is extremely important to admit when mistakes happen and are pointed out. For instance, apologising for being anxious or not having practised well needs to be avoided. Many a time, the audience does not care if the presenter is nervous. It is better to accept the fear and not intensify the anxiety trying to fight it.

6. Body language

A confident and commanding body language boosts the confidence of the presenter and gives a level of trust to the audience. Before any presentation, practising stress relieving techniques and deep breathing help to a great extent. Apart from that, joining a group activity and frequently putting oneself out there helps to ease the stage fear. 

How powerful presentations inspire the audience and leave an impact

Writing content that is meant to be read differs from writing content for speaking situations. Make sure the presentation’s wording is easy to understand when spoken, without losing any of its pertinent aspects. Beyond what is said, how an individual presents the content as a speaker—the body language, the volume etc. has a big impact on whether or not the listeners pay attention and comprehend what is being said. Proper use of visual aids helps the audience recall the information. Whether the communication objective is to persuade, sell, or inspire, having strong presentation abilities will set you apart from competitors.

Speaking and presentation skills are not inherent, they are developed with practice. Brainstorming and practising beforehand are essential before any presentation. Addressing a group of people can be a nerve-wracking experience. Professional training along with practice will do wonders when structuring and delivering powerful presentations.

Dale Carnegie Training is the pioneer in providing guidance and training programs for creating high impact presentations. The High Impact Presentations course empowers participants to communicate and present confidently and competently to all types of audiences. The program focuses on creating a presentation with a strong structure that engages your audience, establishes credibility, and effectively communicates your message. The participants discover their unique strengths as a presenter, explore the optimum use of voice and gesture to create a lasting impression. Get in touch today to learn more about the course. 

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Developing the Core Qualities of a Good Trainer

Every industry requires good trainers for moulding and mentoring people. Employees need effective training to promote the services and products of an organisation successfully. Trainings have become extremely important in recent years. This is primarily because of the increasing awareness of people with regard to polishing their skills and improving competencies. It is a common notion that training others is simple if one has good subject knowledge and impeccable communication skills. Training is much more than that.

Communication skills and presentation skills need to be worked on along with personal development for one’s training skills to be enhanced.

What makes a good trainer?

A good trainer continuously practices and educates themselves about the evolving demands of the organisation and the requirements of the trainees. Exercising those qualities and being up to date with the developments in that particular discipline, latest trends, gaps in the market etc. help trainers upskill themselves. A good teacher never stops learning. Since a good trainer is expected to have technical, behavioural and functional competencies, they can get external help in enhancing these competencies. We shall discuss a few factors that make a good trainer a great trainer.

1. Listening Skills

Good listening skills form the foundation of good communication. Listening should not be confused with active listening. Practising active listening helps an individual ask the right questions, listen without judging or interrupting and interpret the message well. Listening attentively is useful for a trainer in identifying the problem, understanding the concerns and finding solutions in the right manner. 

2. Improve audience engagement

Training is not a lecture or a one-way road. Active engagement between the speaker and listeners makes the interaction fruitful. A good trainer is enthusiastic in saying what they want to say and listening to what the audience has got to say. A healthy exchange of ideas along with entertainment is necessary for training sessions to be effective. A competent trainer understands this and ensures the trainees learn and retain what is taught rather than passively consuming it.

3. A solid strategy

A strategic planner knows what they get in return for the investment made. The same goes for a good trainer. A good trainer who understands strategy is aware of the costs involved, the return on investment and providing the desired output without compromising on the quality of work.

4. Latest trends

There is no doubt that the methods of teaching and learning have diversified so much that it is vast beyond words. The digital world is evolving rapidly and keeping up with the current research and latest trends in order to improve learning and teaching methods is extremely crucial. Identifying the trends that are gaining traction and incorporating those in their training methodology makes an exceptional trainer.

5. Handling disruptive audience

Trainers need to be able to think on their feet and quick to respond in a classroom situation. Difficult situations may arise at any time and handling those with ease and poise is essential. The innate quality of handling people can be developed with professional guidance and mentoring. 

6. Clear Communication

The way one communicates ideas is the main selling point. Communicating ideas with clarity and force in order to inspire others is the trait of a good trainer. Trainers need to be good at sales and communicate in a convincing manner. Presentation skills are also important for becoming a top-notch facilitator. 

Training Excellence Programs for Trainers

There are several programs and workshops available for trainers who want to coach and lead others effectively in their organisation. A trainer’s overall development helps them to think on their feet, manage time effectively, be patient, analyse the training requirements and design programs effectively. The best training excellence programs are aimed at enabling a participant to structure their presentations, develop a natural style of communication, pitching ideas with clarity thereby inspiring others to take action, create an environment that is interactive and inclusive, empower them to improve continuously and guide their trainees approach challenges in the best possible manner. 

The Dale Carnegie Program on Training Excellence enables its participants in facilitating impactful and engaging programs and create a highly interactive environment. Novice and experienced participants will experience holistic development in core competencies, presentation skills, handling the classroom and many more. The program assists both seasoned and inexperienced trainers in honing the abilities required to conduct training that is participatory, enjoyable, and has a lasting influence. Training programs should be modelled based on one’s own ethics and principles. Trainers who devote effort to cultivating these traits and putting them into practice will undoubtedly notice an improvement in their course assessments and learner outcomes. With the proper software, they can go even further with cutting-edge capabilities that provide them access to a wide range of design, content, and delivery possibilities. Using quality learning materials and encouraging the students to bring up questions, doubts and misunderstandings ensure that the right kind of support is extended to them.

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How to Manage Employees through Stressful Change

Stress management has been a concern for the HR team and senior leaders in all the organisations. Work environments often become stressful because of tight deadlines, project demands and miscommunication. Effective communication is one of the best solutions for managing change within an organisation. How an organisation manages change and the pressure that comes with it, has become one of the critical factors in determining the success of a business in a competitive and fast-evolving world.

What is Change Management?

Change management is defined as the systematic strategy of dealing with corporate goals, core values, processes, or technologies. It also includes briefing the employees, understanding their perspectives, implementing and monitoring the steps for change and revising them as and when required. Change is required to keep up with the evolving demands and trends of the corporate world. The approach of an organisation towards change and change management is a factor that decides the success of its growth and success.

The most common types of changes that an organisation goes through are:

  • Developmental change: Change that results from the revision or improvisation of the existing strategies and policies of an organisation.
  • Transitional change: Changes such as automation and acquisition that transforms a company into a new state in order to address a concern.
  • Transformational change: Change that involves rewriting the vision, culture and values of an organisation.

Common Types of Challenges in Change Management

Change is not always welcome for various reasons. The most common challenges that an organisation is likely to face while going through change are

i. Miscommunication or ineffective communication

Constant communication is crucial for the successful management of change. Effective communication is the foundation of the smooth functioning of any organisation. Lack of proper communication is sure to pull the organisation down from making remarkable changes.

ii. Fear and disagreements

Changes can be extremely overwhelming primarily because of the fear of uncertainty. If not managed well, the distress can blow out of proportion among people and teams, creating conflicts.

iii. Resistance to change

Resistance is bound to come from all corners during the process of change. This stems from fear and uncertainty which was mentioned in the first point.

iv. Lack of human resource management

Employee engagement is crucial at all times. Especially during change, engaged employees are more motivated to navigate their ways through the process of change.

v. Poor Agility

An important quality that organisations need to possess is agility. Lack of proper agility leads to slower planning and implementation of the required steps. That makes the change management process much more challenging.

The role of leaders in overcoming change management challenges effectively

Change management is all about aligning employees with the goals of the organisation. Leaders are the main players who need to spearhead the process of change and implement it effectively. If the leadership is not strong enough, the entire organisation struggles through the process and eventually crumbles. Especially in a large organisation, change management needs to be well-planned and executed in order to implement changes. The digital, administrative and technological changes are critical and need to be managed in a delicate way.

The complex process of change management can be simplified by following a few steps.

i. Transparency

There needs to be honest communication between leaders and employees at all times. Employees who trust their leaders and management are more open and receptive to change. Trust in the system is a major factor for employees to cope with change effectively when they are assured of their well-being at all times.

ii. Clarity

Being clear about the goals, objectives and expectations is of utmost importance. Change management programs need to be well planned. The senior leaders are responsible for setting goals along with their team members and ensuring that everyone is on the same page.

iii. Empower employees

A management that educates and welcomes employees to participate in the change management process can make the whole process smooth. When employees are empowered enough to make their own decisions during the process, the engagement level is sure to rise.

iv. Open Discussions

Change management is all about learning and adapting. In an environment where everybody has access to information, it is easier for everyone to speed up the learning process making things much easier. Appropriate usage of relevant information sharing tools among employees is a fun way for knowledge sharing and enhancing learning.

v. Training and Support

Employees need reassurance and support. Managers need to provide necessary resources and materials for their team members to sail through stressful changes. Employees who feel supported and valued engage better.

Organisations need to plan well in advance and practice effective communication at all times. Along with senior management, the human resources department is a major player in the process. The strongest strategy will definitely become futile if the communication is not effective. The HR team can ensure that proper communication is in place and streamline the process to a great extent. By being empathetic and conscious, leaders can play a pivotal role in bringing about massive changes and sailing though the change effectively.

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How do hybrid workspaces help in business

Stress management has been a concern for the HR team and senior leaders in all the organisations. Work environments often become stressful because of tight deadlines, project demands and miscommunication. Effective communication is one of the best solutions for managing change within an organisation. How an organisation manages change and the pressure that comes with it, has become one of the critical factors in determining the success of a business in a competitive and fast-evolving world.

What is Change Management?

Change management is defined as the systematic strategy of dealing with corporate goals, core values, processes, or technologies. It also includes briefing the employees, understanding their perspectives, implementing and monitoring the steps for change and revising them as and when required. Change is required to keep up with the evolving demands and trends of the corporate world. The approach of an organisation towards change and change management is a factor that decides the success of its growth and success.

The most common types of changes that an organisation goes through are:

  • Developmental change: Change that results from the revision or improvisation of the existing strategies and policies of an organisation.
  • Transitional change: Changes such as automation and acquisition that transforms a company into a new state in order to address a concern.
  • Transformational change: Change that involves rewriting the vision, culture and values of an organisation.

Common Types of Challenges in Change Management

i. Miscommunication or ineffective communication

Constant communication is crucial for the successful management of change. Effective communication is the foundation of the smooth functioning of any organisation. Lack of proper communication is sure to pull the organisation down from making remarkable changes.

ii. Fear and disagreements

Changes can be extremely overwhelming primarily because of the fear of uncertainty. If not managed well, the distress can blow out of proportion among people and teams, creating conflicts.

iii. Resistance to change

Resistance is bound to come from all corners during the process of change. This stems from fear and uncertainty which was mentioned in the first point.

iv. Lack of human resource management

Employee engagement is crucial at all times. Especially during change, engaged employees are more motivated to navigate their ways through the process of change.

v. Poor Agility

An important quality that organisations need to possess is agility. Lack of proper agility leads to slower planning and implementation of the required steps. That makes the change management process much more challenging.

The role of leaders in overcoming change management challenges effectively

Change management is all about aligning employees with the goals of the organisation. Leaders are the main players who need to spearhead the process of change and implement it effectively. If the leadership is not strong enough, the entire organisation struggles through the process and eventually crumbles. Especially in a large organisation, change management needs to be well-planned and executed in order to implement changes. The digital, administrative and technological changes are critical and need to be managed in a delicate way.

The complex process of change management can be simplified by following a few steps.

i. Transparency

There needs to be honest communication between leaders and employees at all times. Employees who trust their leaders and management are more open and receptive to change. Trust in the system is a major factor for employees to cope with change effectively when they are assured of their well-being at all times.

ii. Clarity

Being clear about the goals, objectives and expectations is of utmost importance. Change management programs need to be well planned. The senior leaders are responsible for setting goals along with their team members and ensuring that everyone is on the same page.

iii. Empower employees

A management that educates and welcomes employees to participate in the change management process can make the whole process smooth. When employees are empowered enough to make their own decisions during the process, the engagement level is sure to rise.

iv. Open Discussions

Change management is all about learning and adapting. In an environment where everybody has access to information, it is easier for everyone to speed up the learning process making things much easier. Appropriate usage of relevant information sharing tools among employees is a fun way for knowledge sharing and enhancing learning.

v. Training and Support

Employees need reassurance and support. Managers need to provide necessary resources and materials for their team members to sail through stressful changes. Employees who feel supported and valued engage better.

Organisations need to plan well in advance and practice effective communication at all times. Along with senior management, the human resources department is a major player in the process. The strongest strategy will definitely become futile if the communication is not effective. The HR team can ensure that proper communication is in place and streamline the process to a great extent. By being empathetic and conscious, leaders can play a pivotal role in bringing about massive changes and sailing though the change effectively.

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How You Present Yourself Matters

How You Present Yourself Matters

The pandemic has changed our lives in more than one way. The importance of presenting oneself very well and according to the situation has been talked about many a time. How you present yourself makes an impact on how others perceive you. The attire, accessories, and how the individual carries themselves play a crucial role in career development. There may be opposing views that appearance does not matter and only talent is counted but, in any situation, physical appearance[SP1] , body language and personality subconsciously influence people.

Why presentation matters more than ever now

Presenting yourself matters as how you come across to others is primarily gauged by your appearance. In any industry, clothing and dressing styles matter as much as the image you project about yourself. When someone takes care of their appearance, it shows that they care about presenting the best version of themselves and will put their best foot forward in whatever they do. Dressing well daily helps you stand out and create an impact on your credibility. A tasteful sense of style helps in earning respect and improves the chances of getting promoted. In fact, being well-dress adds to one’s own self-confidence. When we feel good on the outside, we’re more likely to feel better about ourselves on the inside.

To present oneself effectively, one has to be more reflective. They have to decide and start working on how they want to present themselves. Here are a few ways to be more presentable at work:

i) Be well dressed: Dressing according to the situation is the key. Ditching casuals and dressing in formal attire in a professional setting is a sure way to earn some silent recommendations from superiors. Managers, colleagues, and everyone with whom interaction happens regularly will form an impression with one’s dressing.

Mark Twain once said, “Clothes make the person. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” It is not just about what you wear and is more about creating your personal brand.

ii) Be well groomed: Basic hygiene is the basis of being well groomed and applies to both men and women. Self-grooming boosts confidence. Women need to pay attention to their makeup, accessories, and nails as much as men who should always have well-kept hair, pressed collared shirts, and wear fragrance.

iii) Firm handshake: A handshake reveals a lot about an individual. Handshakes are part of the work culture and show the underlying confidence of an individual. How an individual shakes hands is a direct indication of their attitude, skills, and negotiating techniques. A handshake that is not firm portrays the individual as aloof or timid whereas a vice-gripping handshake shows the aggressiveness of the individual.

iv) Demeanour: Demeanour is your outward behaviour and includes posture, the way you talk, and facial expressions. Apart from style, it also unveils an individual’s emotional state. Proper care should be given when interacting with people as it is easy for others to pick up the non-verbal cues even when an individual is cautious while talking to them. Personal development is important to be more confident from within.

v) Self-promotion: The act of self-promotion cannot be avoided and it involves trying to present yourself as skilled and capable. It can be done through any medium like social media, blogs, speeches, or personal interactions. It is in fact a purposeful attempt to portray oneself as competent.

The way you present yourself is not just about your appearance

In addition to one’s appearance, body language, and how an individual interacts with others, all count as presentation.

Assertiveness is a quality that boosts one’s personality. Self-promotion along with an assertive attitude influences the image that an individual creates in others. Assertiveness originates from having a healthy sense of self. The higher one’s self-esteem, the more confident and assertive the individual is. Hence it is important to start working on the fundamental aspects. Personal development is an ongoing journey and one needs to constantly work on it. Personal changes bring about personality changes and that changes the way you interact with others. This forms the foundation of being presentable in the first place. Changes with regard to style and appearance need to be clubbed with a healthy and sharp attitude.

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Effective Communication: The Answer to Resolving Conflicts

Great communication is key to convincing others, having constructive debates, and resolving conflicts. Leaders understand that conflicts are bound to happen in workplaces. Managing conflicts is crucial in the smooth functioning of any organisation, whether big or small. Conflict resolution is an integral part of team management and leaders are expected to be great at it. Successful leaders have figured out that effective communication is pivotal in resolving conflict. Safe and open communication makes a workplace safer and more welcoming. Safety to openly discuss anything and creating an environment that is welcoming enough for all is one of the deciding factors that determine the success of an organisation.

How do conflicts originate

The more diverse a workplace, the more chances there are for conflicts. People come from different backgrounds, cultures and mindsets, and hence irrational reactions are bound to occur. Instead of assuming a reaction, it is always better to be transparent in your communication and leave no room for misunderstandings. Everybody carries their baggage and draws their own meaning based on their past life experiences. Managers need to be considerate enough to understand that reality is subjective and it is natural that the same experience will be interpreted differently based on each individual’s experience.

Many people come to the picture with a “blame game” mindset. If managers fail to notice this attitude in people, it becomes a “blind spot” for them. Although conflicts are natural, they originate when people are not solution-oriented. The person who can put the focus on the solutions within no time, rather than delving into the problem makes the conflict less taxing on the individuals involved.

Interpersonal conflict is something that every employee experiences at least once in their lifetime. The reasons could be anything from competition, disagreements, personal matters, or any bias. Strong and toxic personalities’ constant struggle for power also paves the way for unwanted disputes. Personality differences within a team and power imbalance among employees in similar positions are constant causes of conflicts.

Is communication really the key?

The reiteration of the importance of communication in making any situation better is slightly overused as the meaning of communication has not been understood well in general. Communication is not just openly talking about your issues and letting the listeners know. Although that is the first step, communication is a feedback system rather than a one-way street. Whether the communication is becoming effective is tested based on the outcome of the interaction. Communication becomes ineffective when the speaker and listener fail to fall on the same page, hence the tonality, body language and choice of words are of prime importance.

The role of communication and effective communication in resolving conflicts

As people from different backgrounds come together in a work environment, disagreements cannot be avoided but eventually, it is all about how well things are handled and resolved. Even though it is hard to plan ahead how a conversation will pan out, the need to be mindful of the choice of words should never be underestimated. Interpretation is equally important in a conversation. When a listener fails to understand in the same sense as it was told, the gap needs to be filled at the earliest with proper communication to avoid further misunderstandings. That emphasizes the true importance of effective communication.

How effective the communication has been in improving a situation is a vital factor. Any conversation that happened to ease the situation needs to contribute effectively to the betterment of that situation. Communication can make or break a given situation whereas effective communication of requirements brings the desired outcome. While solutions to problems are not always guaranteed, how disagreements and conflicts are managed as soon as they begin is the key here. If an individual who comes up with an issue does not feel heard, conflicts start there. If the listener or anyone else willingly steps in to support those involved, the speaker will not be in a position to escalate it and there are higher chances that things will get better.

Every individual yearns to be heard and if that does not happen for any reason, conflicts arise. Hearing what is being said and paying attention to what is being said is different. Active listening needs to be practised consciously in workplaces, which forms the foundation of good communication. If the speaker is communicating as clearly as possible but if the listener is not attentive, the conversation becomes futile. The underlying intention of promoting the importance of effective communication in a workplace is to create a safe and accepting environment for everyone to thrive.

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Manage people across generations: A trait of an efficient leader

Manage people across generations: A trait of an efficient leader

Great leadership involves bringing all people together, irrespective of their age, cultural differences and seniority. The term “emotional intelligence” is heard commonly these days and is quoted as one of the desired skills needed for a good leader. The concept of leadership has changed drastically over the years with increasing awareness of the unhealthy and toxic patterns commonly seen at work places. In the current situation, there are a greater number of Generation X and millennials at work places, with many of them having a boss younger than them.

As leaders, it is important to understand the differences and behave with empathy. It is true to a certain extent that each generation has a unique style of working but it is also important to avoid stereotyping and assumptions based on age. Learning the working styles and understanding their expectations will be beneficial for leaders in handling a multi-generational work force.

The different generations that can be seen in a professional environment these days are:

Baby boomers

Currently around the age of 60 years, the baby boomers are the oldest that can be found in any organization probably in the top management roles. They are the people who have seen the growth of technology. Experience in the real world is definitely one of their strengths but they can demonstrate a conventional attitude in many areas. In a professional environment, they could come across mostly with a “know-it-all” attitude which can be difficult for younger managers to handle. They prefer being respected for their experience and like being considered in all the major decision-making processes.

Generation X

The “middle child” generation, currently around 40 – 55 years old that introduced the importance of work life balance after the hard-working baby boomers, is often considered as independent and resilient. By being totally averse towards micro management, they expect guidance from their seniors but do not like being told what to do. They had a big role in revolutionizing the work place culture.

Generation Y or Millennials

The current work force constitutes mostly of the millennials. This generation that is around 25 – 40 years old, is often considered as unprofessional, irresponsible and not serious about work by the earlier generations. In fact, they are the biggest risk takers with an entrepreneurial mindset. Like the Gen X generation, they also prefer minimal supervision but expect feedback from their seniors. The millennials do not support the concept of working long hours, rather they are smart workers. Leaders who are more open and flexible with this generation, find them easy to manage.

Generation Z

Born in the mid to late nineties, these are the youngest in the current work force who got familiar with technology in their initial years. According to an article published on Worklife by BBC, they are quite similar to the millennials as they value stability and like to be connected all the time. They prefer instant feedback for their work and have a short attention span. As per business.com, valuing career stability is a quality that differentiates them from the millennials. Since it is highly possible that their managers belong to another generation, a proper understanding of their goals and expectations is needed for managing them better.

Benefits of having a multi-generational work force

People of each generation have unique ways of going about doing things. When it comes to problem solving, a millennial would approach it differently as compared to a Gen Z or Gen X. Learning opportunities are increased when there is generational diversity. It is not true that you get to learn only from seniors, in fact learning happens when people have an open mind. For instance, a baby boomer who is open to learning, can observe how the internal communications happen within an organization through texts. This concept may be alien to them since they joined the work force at a time when the hierarchy was more distinct and formal. Similarly, a fresh employee can look up to their seniors for their impeccable knowledge and learn how they approach their work.

Conflict resolution at workplaces

It goes without saying that conflicts are bound to arise in a multi-generational work environment. Leaders need to be mindful of where each person is coming from, their experiences and what their expectations are. Expectations are something that set each generation apart and leaders need to understand this before leading them. Work ethics, values and communication styles can clash when people of different age groups work closely together. Lack of proper communication and understanding is a breeding ground for interpersonal issues and leaders need to take steps so that everybody can collaborate effectively.

Unresolved conflicts breed resentment and affect employee engagement. Leaders can adopt measures to bring the team together by getting all the members involved. Effective leadership involves setting the objectives clear so that each member can work towards it in their own way. As an empathetic leader, it is important to give the team the flexibility to work in their own way towards a common goal. Generational diversity can be a challenge for both employees and employers but if the advantages are utilized wisely, productivity and results will go to a different level altogether.