Emotional Intelligence – Suggestion for a Self-assessment Exercise

Here’s an exercise I sometimes use in workshops, or as part of a coaching intervention.  I think that,  if completed candidly, it forms a good basis for some self-directed self-development!

Category Positive Behavioural Indicators Negative Behavioural Indicators Self-assessment
Empathy Share similar experiences

Acknowledge and respect feelings

Discuss possible solutions

Being constructive

Agreement of the situation

Dismissive of problems


Ignoring the issue

‘Pull yourself together’ approach

Positivity Flexible




‘Can do’ approach

Willing to do new things


Willing to challenge when appropriate


‘Can’t do, won’t do’



Unaware of limitations

Over assertive

Openness Approachable

Willing to listen



Willing to give people time

Receptive to new ideas

Acceptance of constructive criticism

Consistent and fair

Too direct

Risk of being taken advantage of

Taken for granted

Erosion of authority

Time management issues

Personal Self-Awareness Manage own stress levels

Home/work balance

Recognise own weaknesses and take action

Recognise strengths and use them to the full

Recognise own needs

Realistic assessment of own abilities

Recognise own influence on others

Too concerned with own needs

Unrealistic assessment of own abilities

Too self-focused

Inability to see own influence on others

Social Self-Awareness Being able to respond to others

Using own status appropriately


Sensitive to individuals’/ team workload

Overstepping the mark

Oversensitive to individuals and personal influence on them

Over-friendly and personal

Too status-focused

Confidence Accept challenge


Willingness to speak up

Accept criticism

Challenge appropriately

Too big for boots

Too overpowering

Unrealistic assessment of own abilities

Motivation Maintains focus on tasks

Engages others

‘Can do’ approach

Overcomes obstacles

Achieves targets

Little energy

Sits on fence

‘Can’t do’ approach

Puts up obstacles

Achieves little

Emotional Expression Friendly behaviour

Open to others

Good eye-contact

Appropriate body language

Puts people at ease

Appropriate expression of feelings


Closed to others

Too open to others

Wears heart on sleeve

Bottles up feelings

Temper tantrums



Inappropriate laughter


Putting people on the spot

Social Awareness Dressing appropriately

Encouraging others to have a view

Language matches the occasion

Showing consideration for others

Showing an interest in others

Dressing inappropriately

Hogging centre of attention

Using wrong language for the occasion

Lack of consideration

Bull in a china shop

Being self-absorbed

Not reading body language

Emotional Balance Acknowledging feelings appropriately

Identify appropriate outlet for emotion

Retaining control

Expressing reaction to a situation …

Constructive and positive

Overly controlled

Displaying emotion innapropriately

Assertiveness Create opportunities to put point across

Retain control where appropriate

Ability to assess right time to put point across

Ability to stand ground


Stifling debate

Not contributing on behalf of self or organization

Too assertive – may equal arrogance

Self-Reliance Sees the wider picture

Get on with the job

Being resourceful

Self organization

Manage own time

Exclude others

Don’t accept help when required

Insular – can be perceived as inapproachable

Put self in danger

Pressure Performance Responds well to deadlines

Maintains enthusiasm for the task



Maintains perspective

Thinking on feet

Lack of attention to quality

Inability to think clearly – flustered

Makes mistakes

Blames others

‘Brick wall’

My website contains further resources that may be of interest …


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The 25 Most Influential Management Books

According to Time Magazine, here are the 25 books that most significantly changed the way we think about management, leadership and organizations.

1.  The Age of Unreason (1989), by Charles Handy.

Handy’s 1989 book made a powerful case for what might then have been called, without irony, outside-the-box business thinking. Handy, then a visiting professor at the London Business School, described dramatic social changes going on in everyday life and in the workplace. New technologies and the decrease of full-time positions, among other transformations, requires abandoning the established rules and experimenting with new ways of working with one another. Handy’s book only grew in stature in the decades after its publication as the rise of the Internet, ubiquitous communication, increased outsourcing, and the explosion of social media proved his vision to be amazingly prescient.

2.  Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies (1994), by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras.

This landmark survey of 18 “visionary” companies attempts to suss out what made successful behemoths like Disney, 3M, and Sony stand out. Stanford business professor Jerry Porras and Good to Great author Jim Collins found that, contrary to popular belief, the companies that blow competitors out of the water aren’t so much driven by sexy leaders or staunch focus. Instead, what they have in common is strong corporate culture. In other words, hire bright people and allow them to thrive. Seems like common sense, but in the late 90s the book raised eyebrows.

3.  Competing for the Future (1996), by Gary Hamel and C.K. Prahalad.

Stating that their book “provides would-be revolutionaries with the tools and concepts they need to challenge the protectors of the past,” Hamel and Prahalad argued for a much broader conception of business strategy — a redefinition that has since solidified into a received truth. They show that strategic planning must happen all the time, not just during discreet breaks from a company’s regular business; that it must be emotional, meaningful, and purpose-driven, not just analytical; and that this impulse must be nurtured throughout an organization, not just among strategists and consultants. Among the key teachings is that executives need to actively nurture their company’s “core competencies” to anticipate — and not merely adapt to — industry changes.

4.  Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors (1980), by Michael E. Porter.

For three decades, Michael Porter’s Competitive Strategy has been the starting point for managers wanting to maximize profitability within a competitive marketplace. The Harvard Business School professor’s five basic competitive forces, which condense and simplify the complexity of industry competition, are as relevant today as they were in 1980. With step-by-step tools to help managers select new industries to enter, forecast how industries evolve, and recognize “market signals” from competitors, Porter breaks down the three generic competitive factors — cost, differentiation and focus — that are vital for helping managers conduct industry and competitor analysis.

5.  Emotional Intelligence (1995), by Daniel Goleman.

What factors are at play, asks the author, “when people of high IQ flounder and those of modest IQ do surprisingly well?” Those qualities, such as self-control, persistence and motivation, are known as emotional intelligence or EQ. Without them, writes Goleman, careers are often unnecessarily dashed on the rocks. There is hope, though: “Temperament is not destiny,” he writes. The author explains how a higher EQ can be developed through psychological education. The compelling ideas the author introduces have since become a means of assessing and nurturing an employee’s behavior and management skills.

6.  The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Business Don’t Work and What to Do about It (1985), by Michael E. Gerber

Gerber’s small business management guide is often called an underground success, but its passionate following has grown far beyond the usual definition of a cult. The “E-Myth,” or entrepreneurial myth, of the title refers to the common — and usually disastrous — assumption that a person who excels at the technical or operational work of a business will naturally succeed at running such a business. Gerber dispels the myth by showing that, in addition to being a technician, a successful business owner must be an effective manager (who excels at systematizing the company’s profitable work) and entrepreneur (who has a vision for the company’s future).

7.  The Essential Drucker (2001), by Peter Drucker.

Over a career that spanned nearly 60 years before he died in 2005 at age 95, Peter Drucker single-handedly invented the field of management theory. For most of the last half of the 20th century, he was the superstar CEO’s go-to guru, counseling everyone from Alfred Sloan to Andy Grove. And not in the fuzzy-headed, inspirational, bromide-spouting guru sense you see today. Drucker had no time for discussing who moved your cheese, and his insights were distinctive for being simultaneously crystalline yet deeply contrarian — and, frequently, a generation ahead of their time. Just one example: He was talking about the rise and importance of “knowledge workers” in the 1970s, when the phrase was a good two decades from common parlance. With 30 books to choose from, it’s probably best to start with The Essential Drucker, a potent 26-piece collection selected by Drucker himself in 2001 as a comprehensive representation of his life’s work.

8.  The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization (1990), by Peter Senge

Many a management manual is built around case studies and data analysis. But the epiphany that grew into this book came to Peter Senge one morning while meditating. Senge, who founded the Center for Organizational Learning at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, developed five essential disciplines of a true “learning organization,” which is one that continually improves (and stays competitive) by helping its members learn. The first four disciplines focus on developing individual focus, building a shared vision, and communicating as a team. But the heart of the book is the Fifth Discipline, called “systems thinking,” which involves analyzing the organization’s complex system of relationships and removing obstacles to true learning.

9.  First, Break All the Rules (1999), by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman

First, Break All the Rules encourages managers to personalize and break away from traditional, one-size-fits-all leadership techniques. Gallup consultants Buckingham and Coffman pull responses from more than 80,000 interviews to determine that the best managers are “revolutionaries” who cast the right people for the right roles — and leave them to do their best work. Among the tome’s other takeaways: Treat employees like individuals, set specific outcomes, but not the process, and focus on employee strengths instead of calling out weaknesses.

10.  The Goal (1984), by Eliyahu Goldratt.

The Goal is unusual among business management books for at least two reasons. First, Goldratt wasn’t a titan of industry, a b-school professor, or even a consultant, but rather a physicist. Second, The Goal is a novel. Centered on a production manager named Alex Rogo who has three months to turn around a deficient, unprofitable manufacturing plant, The Goal explains the “Theory of Constraints,” which among other points incorporates the idiom, “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link;” and focuses on bottlenecks, the great hindrances to productivity. Rogo uses the Socratic method to help fix his marriage, then applies it to his plant crew, coming up with steps to solve the plant’s problems. The Goal has been in print since 1984, and a revised third edition was released on the book’s 20th anniversary. So does Rogo achieve his goal? You’ll have to read it to find out.

11.  Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap … and Others Don’t (2001), by Jim Collins.

How does a company go from being merely successful to sustaining profits over long periods? That’s the central question of Jim Collins’ book, a deeply-researched analysis that starts with all 1,400 companies on the Fortune 500 since 1965 and narrows the list to 11 companies that sustained excellence over time — often by going against accepted industry wisdom. Companies like Fannie Mae (ahem), Gillette, Kroger and Wells Fargo have what Collins discovered to be seven characteristics that contributed to their success, including a culture of discipline, finding the right employees and harnessing technology in the most efficient ways possible.

12.  Guerilla Marketing (1984), by Jay Conrad Levinson.

In the same way that guerilla warfare changed how people thought about war and conflict, Jay Conrad Levinson’s concept of guerrilla marketing reshaped how small companies think about promoting themselves. Before Levinson coined the term in the 1980s, companies often relied upon huge, expensive marketing endeavors. Smaller companies struggled to compete on those terms, so Levinson argued for using brains over brawn. Don’t hang a banner to advertise a sale; give away products on the street. Don’t place expensive ads; pull a PR stunt for free publicity. Twenty-five years later, empires have been built using these ideas.

13.  How to Win Friends and Influence People (1936), by Dale Carnegie.

The author described himself as a “simple country boy” from Missouri, and to be sure, some of the advice in his blockbuster best seller is pure cornpone (“If you want to gather honey, don’t kick over the beehive”). But Dale Carnegie was a wizard when it came to making the public like him. Besides buying more than 30 million copies worldwide of his Depression-era book, they broke down the doors of his educational programs, which also promised professional success and happiness. Carnegie’s plain-spoken wisdom about how to advance career-wise still resonates with a sophisticated urban workforce. Perhaps that is because he was no hick when it came to understanding business behavior: “About 15 percent of one’s financial success is due to one’s technical knowledge and about 85 percent is due…to personality and the ability to lead people.”

14.  The Human Side of Enterprise (1960), by Douglas McGregor.

Before Douglas McGregor’s seminal work on management, employees were often presumed to be lazy and unmotivated. As a result, conventional wisdom held, management must goad workers into becoming productive cogs in the machine. McGregor revolutionized human resources thinking by positing two ways managers could view employees: Theory X assumes workers are inherently lazy; Theory Y assumes they are self-motivated. While not clearly on the side of Theory Y, McGregor seems to lean toward the idea that management should ultimately set the workplace conditions to allow people to not only do well at work, but to want to do well

15. The Innovator’s Dilemma (1997), by Clayton Christensen.

Unlike most business books, The Innovator’s Dilemma is about failure. Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen takes a look at why large, once successful companies with seemingly talented CEOs regularly falter or, worse, go bust. Christensen’s take is that in business success does not breed success. In fact, it’s the opposite. Large dominant companies often are blind to emerging technologies or changing market trends that will make their once-innovative products obsolete. The lesson: Adapt early and often, even if it costs you profits today.

16.  Leading Change (1996), by John P Kotter.

In business, change is perpetual and necessary. Companies that fail to adapt fail, period. So driving transformation is arguably the business leader’s primary objective — and yet woefully few succeed. Kotter’s 1996 book details an intuitive, eight-stage process, each illustrated with examples drawn from his extensive consulting experience, for implementing real and lasting organizational change. As important as the practical tips, however, is the powerful distinction Kotter draws between managing change and leading change. As Kotter vividly demonstrates, only the latter can keep a company a step ahead.

17.  On Becoming a Leader (1989), by Warren Bennis.

Leadership guru Warren Bennis’s guide to honing your inner leader tends to read more like a self-help book than a business tutorial. Bennis’s now classic take on the leadership conundrum calls the dearth of effective leaders a “societal disease” characterized by shortsighted thinking and a lack of self-awareness. The proposed solution? Pointers include honing your “inner voice,” cultivating a passion for what you do, and building trust among followers.

18.  Out of the Crisis (1982), by W. Edwards Deming.

This is the book that first articulated (without using the term) Total Quality Management, the now-ubiquitous idea that the quality of products and services, and their continuous improvement, is the responsibility of a broad range of corporate stakeholders, from managers and workers to suppliers and even customers. Deming is widely credited (along with Taiichi Ohno) with introducing systematic quality measurement and improvement techniques to Japanese manufacturing in the 1960s, and Out of the Crisis brought his revolutionary ideas to U.S. businesses. The 14 key management principles enumerated in the book directly contradicted many standard practices of the era — including production quotas, “zero defect” slogans, and management by inspection — and became a template for modern management techniques.

19.  My Years with General Motors (1964), by Alfred P. Sloan Jr.

The author, the CEO of GM from 1923-1946, was an industry titan who led the Detroit carmaker to become the largest corporation in the world. Publication of this forthright book was blocked for years by GM’s lawyers, who feared its revelations about the inside-workings of the company would be used against it in litigation. Sloan’s shrewd lessons about managing the automotive behemoth, from corporate structure to product development to finance, are still considered a business-school must-read. “A car for every purse and purpose,” indeed.

20.  The One Minute Manager (1982), by Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson.

This slim volume, with its simple (critics argued, simple-minded) business homilies, immediately became a worldwide publishing phenomenon, and spent more than two years on the New York Times best sellers list. In it, would-be effective managers are advised to “catch an employee doing something right,” and to reinforce that good behaviour with a One Minute Praising. Bad deeds are similarly to be pointed out and punished with a One Minute Reprimand. The authors themselves were accused of a bad deed by the Wall Street Journal — plagiarism, to be exact — which they denied. But by that time, the tiny tome was ubiquitous, having been distributed by FORTUNE 500 companies everywhere.

21.  Reengineering the Corporation: A Manifesto for Business Revolution (1993), by James Champy and Michael Hammer.

Adam Smith’s business dictums from the 1800s no longer apply. That’s the thinking behind management consultants James Champy and Michael Hammer’s 1994 best seller. Rigid divisions of labor — which once sped up productivity in fledgling corporate America — was now driving the sluggishness and lack of creativity holding firms back, the authors contend. They advocate for a radical redesign of the way companies process and organize their business, including regrouping multiple jobs into one. No wonder the book is credited with inspiring corporate downsizing in the 1990s. In the digital age, its insights still ring true.

22.  The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People (1989), by Stephen R. Covey.

Stephen Covey’s leadership training book is widely recognized as one of the best-selling business books of all time. That’s funny, because there is very little in it about business or management. Instead, the book is a tour de force on confidence building packaged into seven easily digestible maxims. There is good advice throughout that could help you in your professional life, but that wasn’t among Covey’s obvious intentions. The fact that the seven “habits” overlap and aren’t all that revelatory — No. 2 boils down to focusing on your goals — hasn’t seemed to blunt the book’s continuing popularity.

23.  The Six Sigma Way: How GE, Motorola and other Top Companies are Honing Their Performance (2000), by Peter S. Pande, Robert P. Neuman and Roland R. Cavanagh.

Before Six Sigma became a cultural punch line — 30 Rock’s Jack Donaghy is a green belt master — it was the gold standard in management philosophy. Developed in the 1970s and 1980s at Motorola and GE, Six Sigma-ites believe that the path to success is paved by near constant measurement of the performance of your company and workers. Instant feedback is the key. The Six Sigma Way, published in 2000 and co-written by Six Sigma guru Peter Pande, brought the management technique to the masses. The book draws heavily on the experiences of GE and other companies that successfully implemented the technique.

24.  Toyota Production System (1988), by Taiichi Ohno.

After World War II, Taiichi Ohno, an engineer at Toyota, began experimenting with the assembly lines at the Japanese firm’s automobile factories. His goal was to improve efficiency and catch up with America’s Big Three. The result of Ohno’s tinkering changed the manufacturing industry forever. Ohno and his managers devised the Toyota Production System, more broadly known as “lean manufacturing,” which gave Toyota a huge edge in productivity and quality control. The new system ensured Toyota’s position as an industry leader, and its principles were adopted within factories across sectors and countries. This little gem of a book outlines Ohno’s quest and provides insights into the crucial process of innovation that are valuable for managers of all types.

25.  Who Moved My Cheese? (1998), by Spencer Johnson.

This slender work, a parable of mice and (little) men in a maze, can be read in 30 minutes, max. Its message is simple: Embrace change because it is inevitable. Nonetheless, there is a cult of Cheese, composed of readers (some of them CEOs) who extol the virtues of this book and say that it has changed their lives and workplaces. Truckloads of books have been handed out by top executives who hope to make their employees more flexible than Hem, the intransigent character who bellows the title line when faced with changed circumstances. The book also has its share of detractors, in the form of parodies with names like “Who Cut the Cheese?” But Johnson, also the co-author of The One Minute Manager, is undoubtedly laughing all the way to the bank; Cheese is the best selling business book of all time, with more than 20 million copies sold.

My website contains further resources that may be of interest …


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Material to facilitate your reflections on leadership

This is an update of an earlier post. In the video clip tagged at the bottom of this post, Itay Talgam explores leadership styles with illustrations from great conductors.  I believe his message is deep and at times subtle.  I’m using it tomorrow with a group of senior leaders and have prepared the following discussion paper for use before and after viewing the video …

Itay Talgam creates metaphors for leadership by observing the widely differing styles of a range of orchestral conductors.  He emphasises:

  • Leadership through collaboration
  • Giving team members and teams as a whole what they need whilst getting what you need from them
  • The art of listening and reacting in the moment

Prior to and after watching the ‘TED’ video, here are some things to reflect upon:

  1. How do you experience ‘leadership’ as ‘collaboration’?
  2. What are your leadership ‘gestures’ – and what results do they produce?
  3. When a team is working really well (in ‘harmony’) and achieving great outcomes, where does the credit lie?
  4. To what extent do you model the way with your team? (the first Carlos Kleiber clip)
  5. Where does the role of ‘commander’ (one who commands!) fit into the leadership repertoire? (Riccardo Muti clip)
  6. What happens when we combine a clear instruction with a clear sanction? (Riccardo Muti again)
  7. Who are you answerable to as a leader and what are the consequences for you and others? (Riccardo Muti’s answer to the question “Why do you conduct like this?”)
  8. What do you think about the statement “If it’s hard you must be doing it wrong”? (Richard Strauss clip)
  9. What subliminal messages do you give off as a leader? (Richard Strauss again)
  10. What do you think anout the statement “The most damage you can do to your team is to give clear instruction because that disables them from becoming interdependent”? (Herbert von Karajan clip)
  11. How can/do you create the space for your team, and its individual members, to use initiative? Second Carlos Kleiber clip)
  12. Once your team has the plan (they know the score), what’s the least you can do? (Kleiber)
  13. How are you at managing appropriately the spectrum that spans the expression of disapproval to taking decisive and coercive action? (Kleiber and the trumpet player)
  14. How do you enjoy – and stay present with – the great performance of an individual? (Kleiber)

Some statements for further reflection:

  • The leader’s role is firstly to create a process and secondly to create and maintain the conditions within which the process can thrive. (Leonard Bernstein clip)
  • As we reach full maturity in the leadership of a team, the task becomes one of simply modelling alignment with team’s vision and mission – and then giving these away … to the team.

And here’s the link to the video …


My website contains further resources that may be of interest …


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Leadership Styles Explored

In this video clip, Itay Talgam explores leadership styles with illustrations from great conductors.  I believe his message is deep and subtle.  You’ll see here ‘leadership’ in many guises and I think it’s truly worth taking the time to reflect on how Itay’s illustrations can translate to our experiences of leadership, both as provider and recipient.  Enjoy ….


My website contains further resources that may be of interest …


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An overview of performance leadership

An overview of performance leadership

Performance leadership, for the most part, is an active process.  There is evidence that the most successful leaders of high performance individuals and teams spend a large part of their time in brief informal meetings.  By doing this, they can gather information, facilitate action when something is wrong, let everyone know that they’re aware of what’s happening and that they care and will help make sure things go well.  Although formal meetings and reviews are a necessity in the workplace, effective leadership doesn’t depend on them.  Effective leadership takes place between these formal sessions and consists of informal and supportive gatherings in which performance is openly discussed, positive reinforcement is given, and problems are discussed and addressed.  Here are some guidelines.

1. Keep in touch with reality

This may mean walking around, or it may mean arranging brief one-to-one or team meetings from time to time.  In any case, when people work for you it’s your job to be aware of what they’re doing, how they’re doing it and what you can do to help.

2. Explore situations and only state the facts

This is about using your observation and listening skills to best effect.  When exploring issues of performance, in the first instance adopt an accurate descriptive stance rather than an evaluative one.

3. State the variance.  Compare progress against objectives

Regularly remind yourself and your team of what your objectives are.  State them as clearly and precisely as possible using numerical measures when you can.  This helps you determine whether you have a problem and, if you have, how big it is.  It also lets you see when the work is going well.

4. Encourage input

Make sure you listen carefully to your team members’ interpretations of what’s happening and what the causes are.  You may have your own opinions, but they shouldn’t diminish your ability to hear others.  Above all, don’t take a stance before you’ve heard all sides.

5. Provide ongoing support

In many cases there won’t be any problems but you still have a job to do here, i.e. to give an honest pat on the back when it’s warranted.  Thereafter, see what you can do to ensure continued success.  You may also want to look toward the future and plan for coming changes.  If problems do exist, your support is needed.

6. If there is a problem, encourage ownership

Most people are reluctant to see themselves as a cause of poor performance.  The problem always lies with someone else, some flaw in the system, or an unlucky break.  Fortunately, however, people do usually play an important role in causing their own troubles.  This is fortunate because it’s easier to correct our own behaviour than that of outsiders.  Therefore, you need to encourage team members to see their own contributions to presenting problems and so create the conditions in which they may develop a strong motivation for self-correction.  Of course when circumstances outside of the team contribute to causes these should also be recognised and dealt with.

7. Give corrective feedback

It’s invariably helpful for team members to hear a dispassionate and external view of performance.  Unfortunately, it’s usually harder to give feedback about problem situations than to praise what’s going well.  As leaders, you’ll have an easier time if you make your feedback:

Behavioural – Remember that your aim is to make sure the work is done well.  Therefore, keep the focus on the work behaviour, not on what you imagine are the underlying personality characteristics.  For example, if James is arriving late to work, you should say, ‘James, you’re twenty minutes late.’  Don’t say, ‘James, you’re clearly not committed to your job.’

  • Specific – The more specifically you can talk about behaviour, the more helpful it is.  For example, it’s only partially helpful to say, ‘James, you’ve been coming in late for the last few weeks.’  It’s more helpful to say, ‘James, you were twenty minutes late to work last Tuesday, and fifteen minutes late on Thursday and Friday.  Today you’re twenty minutes late.’
  • Recent – It’s of little help to recount behaviour that happened long ago.  The team member has probably forgotten all about it and, in any case, can’t do anything about it.  Focus on what’s happened recently.  Don’t say, ‘James, I’ve been meaning to tell you that I didn’t like you coming in late to work during January.’  (It’s now April.)  Do say, ‘James, you’re twenty minutes late this morning.’
  • Feasible – There’s no point in berating a team member about something they have no control over. Don’t say, ‘James, you were late again today!’ if you know that there was an unexpected and massive traffic jam on the road that James travels to work.

8. Brainstorm and negotiate solutions

Once you’ve come to a consensus on the nature of a performance problem, brainstorm together with the team member for possible solutions.  By giving the team member a share in the responsibility for coming up with solutions you encourage ownership.  Negotiate something that makes sense to both of you.

9. Clarify responsibilities

Once you’ve decided on a course of action, clarify your responsibilities.  Make sure that the team member has as much responsibility as is reasonable given his or her ability and experience.  Remember that you also have a role in the solution.  It may be nothing more than monitoring to see that the situation is corrected.  Or, it may involve more substantial activity that only you have the authority or expertise to carry out.

10. Summarise

Finish the session by summarising what the problem was, what solution was chosen, and who is responsible for each part of its implementation.  Stress the positive outcomes you want, not the situation you want to avoid.

My website contains further resources that may be of interest …


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Transferable Skills Analysis

Transferable Skills Analysis


1.  Analyse your skills by listing your top ten achievements or career events that you are most proud of. You should do this by looking at your achievements, which are your richest source of information providing concrete and tangible evidence of what you have done so far. Use an active verb at the beginning of the phrase, and you’ll hear how much more powerful it sounds.

2.  Ask yourself exactly what you did. Then think about what happened next.

3.  Consider what skills you used when you did the thing you achieved. This should generate clear statements of your real capabilities.

4.  List all of your skills so you can rate them for transferability; most of your skills will transfer to another job quite easily. Think not just “How good am I?” but ask “How much do I enjoy this?” The skills that score most highly on both counts are your most transferable skills and you will be able to use them in many different settings. Use a box similar to the illustration below to map your skills against the two co-ordinates shown.  This is a 2 x 2 quadrant so admired by MBAs!

Don’t enjoy Enjoy

Good at

Not good at

At the top left we’ve got high “Good At” with low “Don’t enjoy” so this is often where we’ve developed a high level of skill to deal with a task that’s unavoidable but we don’t want to do any more than is strictly necessary. Some people who don’t manage their careers too well often end up here because their organizations push them to where they’re seen to be good.

Lower left is where too many people find themselves job wise – doing something they don’t enjoy and are not particularly good at. This is where necessity and stress sometimes come head-to-head, causing regular sick-leave. You’d be advised to try and change this if it’s you.

Lower right is where enjoyment is high but skill not necessarily so. The person who enjoys amateur dramatics may be an example or a spare-time painter or the average DIYer.

The top right is where the high scales of “Good at” and “Enjoy” end up, and this is where we all want to be. Success usually springs from enjoying and being good at something, but only if you want to repeat it. To choose your options bear this in mind and don’t start with a job title. Instead start with the ingredients of a successful role, based on your honest appraisal of what you enjoy and want to do, plus an objective view of what you are good at and can replicate.

Additional Notes

An achievement is something that you have done which has made a difference to you or to others. You may have done it on your own or with and through others. It is not necessarily momentous or world-shattering, but will be something that you feel good about. It doesn’t matter whether it comes from your “official” job or some other activity. If you’ve achieved something, you have used a level of skill which could be a valuable job skill elsewhere. For example:

  • Convinced colleagues of the need to change working practices
  • Launched the new product line in record time
  • Reduced supply costs by 15%
  • Secured a 10% increase in sales by…
  • Raised lots of money for a local charity through a new fund-raising event.
  • Completed a two year part-time MBA course while balancing work and family commitments

These can relate to unpaid as well as to paid work and also to leisure activities. Ask yourself this: do your successes tend to involve just your own work or that of others? In other words, are you most effective when in a team? Are they mostly to do with work or are there some from other parts of your life? Can you detect a theme to your achievements and if so, what is it?

My website contains further resources that may be of interest …


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Conducting a personal SWOT analysis

Guidelines for Conducting a Personal SWOT Analysis

What makes a personal SWOT powerful is that, with a little thought, it can help you uncover opportunities that you would not otherwise have spotted. And by understanding your weaknesses, you can manage and eliminate threats that might otherwise hurt your ability to move forward. If you look at yourself using the SWOT framework, you can start to separate yourself from your peers, and further develop the specialized talents and abilities you need to advance your career.

  • What do you do well?
  • What unique resources can you draw on?
  • What do others see as your strengths?
  • What could you improve?
  • Where do you have fewer resources than others?
  • What are others likely to see as weaknesses?
  • What opportunities are open to you?
  • What trends could you take advantage of?
  • How can you turn your strengths into opportunities?
  • What threats could harm you?
  • What is your competition doing?
  • What threats do your weaknesses expose you to?

How to Use the Tool

To perform a personal SWOT analysis, sketch out a template similar to that illustrated above and populate it with the answers to the questions posed.  And here are some additional guidelines …

Strengths -Think about your strengths in relation to the people around you. For example, if you’re a great problem-solver and the people around you are also great problem-solvers, then this is not likely to be a strength in your current role – it may be a necessity!

Weaknesses – What tasks do you usually avoid because you don’t feel confident doing them?  What will the people around you see as your weaknesses?  What are your negative work habits (for example, are you often late, are you disorganized, do you have a short temper, or are you poor at handling stress?)

Opportunities – What new technology can help you?  Or can you get help from others or from people via the Internet?  Is your industry growing?  If so, how can you take advantage of the current market?  Do you have a network of strategic contacts to help you, or offer good advice?  What trends (management or otherwise) do you see in your company, and how can you take advantage of them?  Are any of your competitors failing to do something important?  If so, can you take advantage of their mistakes?  Is there a need in your company or industry that no one is filling?  Do your customers or vendors complain about something in your company?  If so, could you create an opportunity by offering a solution?  You might find useful opportunities in the following:

  • Networking events, educational classes, or conferences.
  • A colleague going on an extended leave. Could you take on some of this person’s projects to gain experience?
  • A new role or project that forces you to learn new skills.

Threats – What obstacles do you currently face at work?  Are any of your colleagues competing with you for projects or roles?  Is your job (or the demand for the things you do) changing?  Does changing technology threaten your position?  Could any of your weaknesses lead to threats?

Performing this analysis will often provide key information – it can point out what needs to be done and puts problems into perspective.

My website contains further resources that may be of interest …


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