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Everyone needs stress in their life? Really? Aren’t we told time and time again that stress is bad and can cause poor physical and mental heath?

Every day you see and hear people talking about the negative effects of stress. However, stress can also be extremely beneficial. Imagine the strings on a guitar. To play at your best, the strings must have just the right amount of tension. Too little and you’re playing out of tune. Too much tension and they are going to snap. Stress is very much the same.

What is Stress?

At the most basic level, stress is our response to a situation or event and how our body prepares itself for the challenges we face.

It all starts at the base of your brain with the hypothalamus, which sets off an alarm and sends a signal to your adrenal glands, located at the top of your kidneys. On receipt of this signal, your adrenal glands release a surge of stress hormones, including cortisol and adrenaline, causing your heart rate to increase, your blood pressure to elevate and boost your energy supplies. This is also known as your stress response.

5 Reasons Why You Need Stress in Your Life
  1. It is a vital warning system

When we encounter stress, the release of these stress hormones triggers a ‘flight or fight’ response.  You can probably recall several situations where this response has occurred, and you may have even acted without giving your actions much thought. It is this reaction that helps us to respond to dangerous situations such as moving out of the way of oncoming vehicles.

  1. It can improve your immune system

When your body responds to stress it releases extra interleukins (chemicals) and provides a temporary boost of the immune system. There is also research that shows that some stress can help to fortify the immune system, for example by improving how well your heart works.  One study looked at the effects of stress on individuals undergoing surgery and found that patients who experienced moderate levels of stress before the surgery were able to recover faster than patients who had low or high levels.

  1. Increased brain power

Research shows that low levels of stress boost productivity, increase concentration, temporarily boost memory and learning scores. It is believed that exercise, a physical as opposed to a psychological stressor, is key to boosting productivity and concentration.

  1. It motivates you to succeed

Think about all the times that a deadline or pressure to meet a goal has motivated you to up your game and created a laser-like focus.

This feeling of ‘pressure’ can help you to push through situations that can be nerve-wracking like public speaking or intense physical challenges like running a marathon.

  1. It makes you more resilient

Learning how to deal with stressful situations can give you the skills, knowledge and perspective to make dealing with future situations easier.

A great example of this is the armed forces. They consistently and repeatedly expose individuals to stressful events, which develops skills of physical and psychological control, so when they face real-life combat situations, they are less likely to just shut down.

As you can see there is a myriad of benefits to stress. However, these benefits can only be realised when stress is at an optimum level. What that optimum level is, differs for each individual.

When stress becomes excessive, or it persists over a long period, rather than helping us this pressure can make us feel overwhelmed, out of control and unable to cope. Such excessive stress is often called chronic, or negative stress, and can cause both ill physical and mental health.

To successfully manage the effects of stress it is vital to:

  1. Create self-awareness around your optimum level;
  2. Learn how to avoid negative stress;
  3. Create a strategy for self-care to increase your resilience against negative stress;
  4. Gain an understanding of the physical and psychological symptoms of stress so that you can identify them early and take action;
  5. Discover the actions you can take should you realise that you are suffering from the effects of negative stress.

If you would like to discuss we can help you increase your stress awareness and develop techniques to manage stress contact us.

The post Everyone Needs Stress In Their Life appeared first on Delphinium.

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The first Monday in February has been dubbed National Sickie Day in the UK on the account that, statistically, this is the day that most people will phone in sick. It is estimated that 350,000 British workers will call in sick today costing the UK economy around £45million.

The most popular excuses given include colds, flu, back pain and tummy bugs but is this really what’s going on?

Here are the four key areas causing high absence rates on National Sick Day and some of the things employers can do in future to reduce absence.

Genuine Physical Ailments

It’s the time of the year that many people come down with a cold or flu, and office space is ripe for sharing germs. To beat the germs and help reduce sickness in the workplace make a start by tackling these five germs hotspots:

  • Desks, including phones, keyboard and mouse – research has shown that desks can be seven times more contaminated than “dirty” areas such as toilet seats.
  • Printer/Photocopier – the average photocopier is touch 300 times a day – that’s a lot of germy fingers!
  • Door handles – the most touch areas in the office and with 25% of workers not washing their hands after using the toilet, it easy to understand why they are one of the main culprits for spreading germs.
  • Fridge – as well as general germs there is a potential for the spread of food poisoning bacteria such as Campylobacter and E.Coli
  • Mugs – 1 in 5 office mugs carries faecal bacteria. Time to invest in a dishwasher?

The cold weather can also aggravate old injuries and conditions such as asthma, arthritis and fibromyalgia. Flexible and remote working make an enormous difference to employees with such ailments.

Mental Health

A poll taken by ITV in 2014 found that while colds, flu, and food poisoning were the most popular excuses for National Sickie Day, respondents divulged the real reasons they had called in sick. Of those interviewed, 46% stated that ‘feeling tired’ was the real reason and 40% also said ‘they just didn’t feel like it’.

Culturally, physical ailments are must more readily accepted than mental health ailments and therefore, it much less likely people will say that their mental health is suffering and they need a day to recharge.

More and more organisations are introducing “duvet days”, which enable people to take that much needed time out on short notice without feeling the need to make up an excuse.


Is it a coincidence that so many people call in sick the first Monday of February when, for a large number of people it is the first payday weekend following Christmas and the end of Dry January?

Whilst employees are free to go out and indulge in their own time, employers can do more to educate employees on the negative effects of alcohol on their body, their sleep and also their mental health.

Interviewing for a New Role

Hyper Recruitment Solutions (HRS) boss and Apprentice 2012 winner Ricky Martin, claims that people aren’t calling in sick because of ill health but because they are attending a job interview. HRS report that around 25% of February’s interviews will take place today.

Many people re-evaluate both their career and their lives generally after Christmas and spend much of January planning career changes and applying for positions.

If people are applying for new roles, in all likelihood they have been disengaged for some time. As an employer it is necessary to determine why people are disengaged, what you can do about it and make sure that you take action to improve engagement.

If you would like to discuss how Delphinium can help you to reduce absenteeism and presentism, and increase engagement in the workplace call us on 0161 949 9736 or email us a enquiries@delphiniumcc.co.uk.

The post National Sickie Day appeared first on Delphinium.

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Abstaining from alcohol throughout January has become an extremely popular way of starting the New Year. In fact, according to a YouGov study from December 2018, over four million of us are planning to ditch alcohol for the first month of the year. But, can partaking in dry January make you a better leader.

There are a number of reasons why people choose to go teetotal in January. For some, its part of a New Year’s Resolution to drink less, for others it’s a way to detox after overindulging during the festive period, and for some, it’s a way to support a charity and the personal benefits that come along with dry January are merely an added bonus.

Olympic athletes do all they can to ensure their bodies stay in peak condition to ensure that they can perform to their full potential. As a business leader, you need to treat your mind in the same way. Let’s consider how dry January could improve your performance in business and make you a better leader.

Alcohol and Sleep

Alcohol affects the neurotransmitters in the brain and central nervous system, making you feel relaxed. Due to these effects, some people like to have a drink to help them “drop off” in an evening.

Although having a drink or two may help you fail asleep sooner, the alcohol then prevents you from having a good quality night’s sleep:

  1. Drinking alcohol prevents the body from staying in a deep sleep and entering REM (rapid eye movement) cycles, causing you to feel tired the next day. REM sleep is also important for memory and emotional processing. Therefore, you may also have trouble recollecting information, retaining information and managing your emotions.
  2. Once the body has metabolised the alcohol, the sedative effects dissipate, and you move into a lighter sleep, increasing the likelihood of waking up in the middle of the night.
  3. The relaxation of the muscles causes the air passages in your mouth, nose and throat to narrow resulting causing them to vibrate and result in snoring or increasing the volume of your snoring. If you don’t wake yourself up, you may receive a kick or an elbow from your partner if you are keeping them awake!
  4. Like caffeine, alcohol is a diuretic meaning that you are likely to need to get up in the middle of the night to use the toilet, even when you haven’t had much to drink before bed, further disturbing your nights.
Alcohol and the ability to respond

While the effects of alcohol on the neurotransmitters make you more relaxed, they also cause you to think and respond slower. Therefore, if you pop out for a pint or a glass of wine at lunch, it is likely to impact your performance in the afternoon.

But it’s ok if you’re drinking in an evening? Unfortunately, it isn’t. The effects of alcohol can take 48 to 72 hours to disappear completely, so even that bottle of wine with your evening meal or your gin and tonic before bed could impact your performance in subsequent days at work.

How can this affect you as a leader? Decision Making

Decisiveness is widely considered one of the top 10 skills of a great leader. As a leader, you need to be able to understand how to make decisions that positively impact you, your employees, your customers and your organisation on the whole.

Sometimes decisions need to be made quickly, relying on your ability to think clearly and interpret information accurately.

To be a strong decision maker you also need to be able to recollect information, think quickly and be able to control your emotions effectively, all of which are more difficult if you are still under the effects of alcohol or a lack sleep.

Creative Thinking

When faced with making decisions, you may find yourself confronted with unique challenges for which there are no ready-made solutions, in which case you will need to think “outside the box” and come up with some real-time solutions. The skill of creative thinking is invaluable in such situations. However, you need to ensure that you can focus on the problem at hand.

There is a belief that lack of sleep or alcohol use can spark creativity among writers, artists composers and problem solvers. However, there is little research to show how creative processes change in such circumstances.

What research has shown is that alcohol and lack of sleep have an effect of your working memory that prevents you from screening out peripheral information, which may lead to some great ideas and you experiencing “light bulb” moments. Now, this sounds great if you are waiting for inspiration to hit on your latest novel or you’re involved in a general brainstorming session. However, research has also shown that because you are unable to screen out peripheral information, it makes it difficult for you to focus on the task at hand and the information you need to help you solve the problem.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence is defined as “the ability to accurately perceive your own and others’ emotions; to understand the signals that emotions send about relationships; and to manage your own and others’ emotions” and is another essential skill of being a great leader.

Regardless of how well you carry out your management tasks or how technically proficient you are, effective emotional understanding is a must to create and maintain high performing teams. Your teams will not be as productive as they could be if they do not feel valued, respected and supported.

If you are suffering from the effects of alcohol or sleep deprivation, not only will you find it more difficult to manage your own emotions, you are less likely to be pick up on changes of emotions within your team. This could be extremely detrimental if the organisation is going through a period of uncertainty or change.

Leaders lead by example

People follow by example more than they follow instructions and therefore, you need to ensure that you are leading by example. If you want your team to turn up to work engaged, highly energised and provide quality results, then you need to do the same. You can’t simply talk the talk, you need to be able to, and be seen to, walk the walk. A good leader should walk the talk.

Other reasons why you may want to ditch the juice Your Health

It is well known that excessive drinking can lead to numerous health concerns such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, an increased risk of liver problems, breast cancer, heart disease and suffering a stroke.

Your bank balance

Drinking less can also spare your bank balance. Ask yourself: If you were to abstain from drinking alcohol for the next month, how much would you save?

If you like the odd pint at lunch, a couple after work on a Friday and a big night out on a Saturday, you’d be looking at saving around £250.  If you’re a wine lover, three bottles of wine in a bar will see you £60 down!

If you are interested in calculating how much you could save, try this calculator from Cancer Research UK.

Dry January or Dry Gin

Whether you should partake in dry January or not is entirely up to you and I’m not going to dry and pursued you one way or the other? All I am aiming to do is with this article is to give you some food for thought.

Personally, I’m not a fan of fad diets, detoxes or gimmicky health regimes as I don’t believe that they are sustainable in the long term. Many people who do partake in dry January follow it by some form of binge drinking in early February.

Furthermore, if you enjoy a drink, and there is no other reason for you not to drink, there is no reason to completely deprive yourself of alcohol. However, if you do drink you may want to ask yourself the following questions:

Do I drink out of pleasure or habit? It’s very easy to automatically order that pint with lunch or open that bottle of wine with dinner as you normally If you are enjoying it and it compliments the meal, fantastic. If not, do you really need it, or would an alcohol-free alternative be just as good?

How many units do I consume a week and how often? The recommended drinking levels are 14 units a week spread over 3 or more days. How do you fare against these recommendations?

When do I drink? If you have a tipple to help you sleep at night, look at other things you can do to help yourself get off to sleep. Options include avoiding stimulant before bed, meditating, snooze foods and switching off technology in advance. If you like a glass of wine to wind down after a stressful day, how about a yoga class or gym session?

How much am I spending on alcohol per month? Use the Cancer Research to calculate how much you are spending on alcohol. Is it more than you thought? What else could you be doing with that money?

How much sooner will I reach my fitness goals if I reduce my alcohol intake? If your New Years Resolutions or goals for 2019 include fitness or weight loss, it’s important to know that you are making it much hard for your body to build muscle mass.

If you would like to discuss ways in which you can improve your leadership skills email me at gemma@delphiniumcc.co.uk or telephone me on 0161 949 9736.

If you would like further information regarding recommending drinking levels, support for reducing the amount of alcohol you drink or useful contacts relating to the consumption of alcohol support can be found on the NHS’s website.

The post Can Dry January Make You a Better Leader? appeared first on Delphinium.

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We often hear the saying: Employees leave managers, not companies, and quite often, that is true. In fact, in most cases, there is a direct correlation between high employee turnover and poor leadership within the company. However, how can we expect managers to suddenly be strong leaders without being provided with adequate training, tools and support?

We wouldn’t expect a builder to construct a house with only a hammer, nor would we seek the advice of a doctor who had never received any medical training, yet everyday individuals are continuing to be promoted into management because they are technically good at their day jobs and are simply expected to be great leaders.

Too often, managers make mistakes due to a lack of knowledge, experience and/or confidence. It isn’t down to the inability to be a strong leader, but the fact that there is a lack of investment in leadership development.

Invest in People

If you want managers that inspire and motivate your workforce to excel, it is essential that you are continually investing in their leadership development. With appropriate training in leadership and management, your managers can understand the difference between leading and managing, the different styles of leadership and the appropriate style to be used in different circumstances for different individuals or teams.

They learn how to improve and adapt their communication skills to motivate and inspire. With this increased knowledge and understanding managers feel much more comfortable when it comes to managing performance.

Improved Performance

Good performance management requires appropriate feedback, both positive and constructive, in the proper time. Constructive feedback can involve ‘difficult conversations’, and this is where mistakes often occur with managers. Some managers mishandle performance management issues, creating unnecessary conflict and demotivation. Other managers, particularly those who lack the confidence, avoid addressing the issues altogether. The latter scenario can often be worse than the first as allowing poor performance to go unchallenged not only costs the company in reduced output from the poor performers; it can also cause those who are performing to become disengaged. This then results in previous high performers becoming less effective or leaving the company to join a competitor.

When managers are given proper training, they gain the confidence and skills to carry out formal assessments, give appropriate feedback and have those conversations around it in a way that will motivate employees. 

Better Communication

One of the most important skills managers need to be a strong leader is communication. Whether it is the general management of their team, managing up, performance feedback or conflict resolution, good communication is key.

Ineffective communication between managers and their colleagues can be very detrimental for a company. Employees can misinterpret what is expected of them or struggle to understand how their role fits within the company’s overall objectives. They can become disengaged if they feel that their hard work is not recognised and they are not valued. These issues cause productivity and motivation to decrease, which in turn has a negative effect or their colleagues and customer service can also suffer.

Poor communication skills also limit a manager’s problem-solving and conflict resolution skills. Investment in communication training ensures managers learn how to communicate effectively, including non-verbal communication, prepares them for potential communication barriers and how to overcome them.

Anyone who has the desire and motivation to do so can be a strong leader. They just need to be given a chance to learn and apply the skills obtained through the right training and subsequent support.

So who in your organisation really wants to develop as a leader? Who has the potential to really make a difference in your organisation? For help in identifying those individuals and creating an effective training plan contact Delphinium to discuss how we can help you.

The post Employees Leave Managers, Not Companies appeared first on Delphinium.

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One of the most laid-back approaches to leading a group is with the laissez-faire style. The laissez-faire leadership style is more “hands-off” than other styles, where a leader will delegate tasks to the team and have no other involvement until the tasks are completed or a problem arises.

The ideas surrounding laissez-faire, which translates to “let do” in French, are focused on each individual in a group and allowing them do what they think is best when it comes to problem-solving, decision making or completing a task. This style offers a lot of freedom for group members, but like all styles, it comes with its advantages and disadvantages.

Typical laissez-faire leader traits

The laissez-faire leader will often demonstrate laid-back behaviours. They offer very little guidance and let employees get on with the task without interfering. They even allow the freedom of decision-making on their own without getting involved.

A laisse-faire leader does not let employees completely fend for themselves when it comes to problem solving. They will provide the tools and resources needed, but then expect employees to take the reins and get the job done with the resources presented in a way the employee sees fit.

For this reason, a laissez-faire leader will need to be trusting and have the courage to hand over decisions to other group members. They must be able to recognise the strengths of their employees and build a team they know can tackle the project or problem at hand. Ultimately, the leader of the laissez-faire style will depend on their team to do a good job as accountability still lies with the leader.

When is it most effective?

The laissez-faire leadership style can be effective in certain circumstances, but like other leadership styles, it also has its disadvantages and can be switched out with other styles when the need to do so arises.

Laissez-faire leadership is useful when there is a team of highly-skilled, knowledgeable and motivated employees who are capable of working on their own to complete tasks. Sometimes, this knowledge may go beyond the leader’s, so it is only appropriate to let the employees finish the task the best way they see fit to allow them to demonstrate their expertise. Team members should have a passion for what they do and be motivated enough to work without much guidance.

Disadvantages of the laissez-faire leadership style

Because of the laid-back nature of the laissez-faire leadership style, it can only prove to be effective when there is a team who are knowledgeable, experienced and determined to work on the job without much direction. If there are team members who need to be set deadlines and require guidance and supervision, then the laissez-faire approach can be very unproductive.

With this style, there is also the risk of the feeling of a lack of leadership. This can lead to a demotivated team if they feel like there isn’t much concern over the task.

Laissez-faire leaders are held accountable for their team’s outcomes, so if there are deadlines not met or a project that didn’t produce the results it should have, a laissez-faire leader may be quick to pass blame onto others, creating a negative atmosphere.

How laissez-faire leadership style can work for your business

Laissez-faire leaders can really bring out the best in their employees if they are motivated enough to let their talents shine. This is especially helpful for those leading a creative team. It allows team members to work on their own ideas and show off the best of their skills for the company.

The laissez-faire leader will need to provide all the information and resources needed to complete the task that allows the group to self-manage efficiently. A motivated team will then be left to use these to the best of their ability to get work done.

Overall, a laissez-faire leadership style is great for those groups with highly-skilled and dedicated employees who are self-disciplined enough to work without guidance. This approach may be best at the beginning of a project that allows everyone to work on their own ideas before bringing them together into something more structured. At that point, another leadership style may be more appropriate. Laissez-faire is also not suitable for when attention needs to be made to detail or there are tight deadlines.

Which leadership style will you adopt?

With different leadership styles appropriate for different situations, it is important to know which is best for your business needs to see results. Delphinium’s training workshops in Leadership and Management will help those in a leadership position identify these situations and know how to better approach them. Get in touch to discuss how these workshops or our ILM Level 3 and Level 5 in Leadership and Management can help benefit your business.

Other articles in our Leadership Styles Series

What are the different leadership styles?

The Autocratic Leader

Democratic Leadership

The post The Laissez-Faire Leadership Style appeared first on Delphinium.

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A democratic leadership style involves being the head of a team whilst involving all individuals in the decision-making process. Although final decisions are left with the leader, this participatory leadership style welcomes and encourages input from all.

A democratic leadership style is a very popular choice for workforces looking to empower their employees. It promotes teamwork and creativity, leading to an effective and efficient way of completing goals.

Typical characteristics of a democratic leader:

Democratic leaders will share common characteristics, including:

  • Encouragement of group members to share opinions and ideas, making them feel like an important part of the team
  • Showing employees trust and respect, which helps inspire them to contribute, and in turn, earns trust and respect
  • Demonstrates honesty, fairness, creativity and courage when need be.
Benefits of a democratic leadership style

Democratic leadership is often considered the most powerful leadership style. When it comes to identifying potential within a team, it’s this style that is proven to be the most effective.

This is due to the empowerment it gives employees. It makes them feel part of the team when they’re encouraged to be part of decision-making processes. Democratic leadership also promotes creativity and the input of ideas from everyone. Leaders are then able to identify everyone’s strengths and gain knowledge from their staff.

When staff feel like they are being listened to and part of the company rather ‘just’ an employee, it builds commitment and loyalty to the company.

Disadvantages of a democratic leadership style

While the benefits of adopting a democratic leadership style can be remarkable for most businesses, there are times when even this popular style can be ineffective.

For example, a democratic leader may find it difficult to be decisive during times of crisis or when a decision needs to be made as quickly as possible. While input from the team may be preferable, it may prove to be too time-consuming making sure everyone is heard, even more so if there are any disagreements within the team.

This leadership style involves creating an environment where everyone feels confident to speak up, so if an individual feels that their voice is not heard as it was not included in any decision-making, this can cause some friction. Democratic leaders want to be fair and can be made to feel bad when they cannot implement everyone’s ideas.

Democratic leaders may also find it hard working with employees who are inexperienced or not confident enough to participate in decision-making.

Overall, it is important to recognise that the democratic leadership may be one of the most popular styles in the modern corporate world, but that does not automatically make it the best choice in getting the job done. Leaders must evaluate the situation and change their style as appropriate.

Establishing this style in your business

Implementing a democratic leadership style within the workplace can sometimes be easier said than done. First, leaders need to be dedicated to open and honest communication. Trust and respect need to be established amongst everyone and can be gained by being willing to listen to all ideas and accepting them with an open mind, even if it doesn’t suit the current needs of the company. This doesn’t mean a lot of time needs to be spent on ideas that aren’t relevant, but they shouldn’t be dismissed immediately either.

There should be a proper framework in place that clearly communicates the goal or objective. Leaders will also need to ensure that conversations are flowing around these goals or objectives and discussions do not deviate away from the end goal to ensure that time is not wasted.

Finally, democratic leaders need to be transparent in their decision making, clearly explaining to the group the decisions that have been made in a way that everyone understands. It is also good practice to provide feedback, wherever possible, to those whose ideas were not realised and the reason for that.

Learn more with Delphinium

Want to learn more about the different leadership styles and which ones you should adopt? Delphinium’s training courses in Leadership and Management are perfect for further understanding and developing leadership skills in the workplace. We also offer ILM Level 3 and Level 5 in Leadership and Management certification – perfect for anyone in a leadership role with no prior formal training who is wanting to strengthen their skills. Get in touch to discuss what we can do for you and your business leaders.

Other articles in our Leadership Styles Series

What are the different leadership styles?

The Autocratic Leader

For further reading on Democratic Leadership check out this great article from cleverism.com.

The post Democratic Leadership appeared first on Delphinium.

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An autocratic leader is one that involves an individual taking control of every decision within an organisation. Those with this type of leadership style make choices based on their own ideas and feelings with very little regard for anyone else’s input. While this may seem like a negative and outdated leadership style that comes with many criticisms, there are still a few times when it can be considered appropriate.

Typical Autocratic Characteristics

Those with an autocratic leadership style will typically display these behaviours:

  • Dictates every aspect of a job, including the processes involved
  • Does not accept advice from others
  • Makes all the decisions
  • Does not give any significant power to anyone else in the group
  • Has a set of rules and expects them to be followed
  • May show a distrust towards others and closely supervise.
When is an Autocratic Leadership Style Appropriate?

Although autocratic leadership comes with negative connotations, it has its positives too, which can come in handy in different types of situations.

It is important to have someone who can make confident decisions and promptly, which tends to happen when responsibility lies solely with the leader. Things can often get done quickly under autocratic leadership.

If there are issues with employees, including management and supervisors, such as being too slack, it may be useful to have an authoritarian approach to set goals and process to help boost efficiency. Things become more regimented and coordinated.

It is also ideal in situations where others need to focus solely on the task at hand and not spend time making decisions, leaving the leader to do just that, allowing for a more streamlined process. Such situations are common in the construction industry or the military.

Disadvantages of an Autocratic Leader

The autocratic leadership style comes with a lot of criticism due to its strict and often negative characteristics. Although it can assist in streamlining processes, the style can often be off-putting, resulting in a high turnover of employees.

With an authoritarian in charge, it frequently means that two-way communication does not exist, as orders come from the leader and no further dialogue is welcome. This style can make employees feel undervalued and disrespected. It is also uninspiring to many, making for an inefficient workplace.

When one person is calling the shots without any input from anyone else, employees become dependent on that leader to guide them with day-to-day operations leaving them with very little initiative. This can be problematic when the authoritarian is absent when employees are left with a lack of guidance.

Should We Completely Abandon the Autocratic Style?

The authoritarian leadership style is considered old-fashioned, with a more positive approach now being taken in the form of teamwork and encouragement for creativity and taking the initiative. An autocratic approach may seem frowned upon. However, it is possible to be an autocratic leader, without all the negativity that comes with it, when the time calls for it.

When working in a group on a specific task, it may be necessary to have a definitive leader, otherwise different opinions and egos can get in the way of achieving the goals efficiently. If deadlines are tight, then having one person lead on the project can help it get done quickly.

Autocratic leadership is useful when working with a group of inexperienced employees as it helps employees learn their role.

Sometimes stressful situations may arise, and instead of worrying the whole team about it, a solution may be to leave an experienced leader in charge to make all the necessary decisions.

When used for specific, short-term situations, an autocratic leadership style can be effective. However, if used over a substantial period, there is a greater risk of it having an adverse effect. Evaluate the situation before deciding which approach will be the most appropriate in the circumstances.

Want to Learn More?

Have a look at other leadership styles or get in touch to discuss how we can help you further understand and develop your leadership qualities.

Delphinium are dedicated to providing bespoke training and coaching solutions to help those in management or other leadership roles obtain the skills they need in their current role or to progress, including our recently-launched ILM Level 3 and 5 qualifications in Leadership and Management. Contact us for more information on what we can do for you and your organisation.

The post The Autocratic Leader appeared first on Delphinium.

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Training and development of your employees is critical for any successful business – they are, after all, your most important asset.

There is a financial and time investment in training and developing your workforce. Organisations often feel that they cannot afford the financial investment or afford to have employees out of the office for the time it takes to attend the training. However, there is a myriad of reasons why organisations cannot afford not to invest in the training and development of their employees.

So why should you make training and development a priority?

Increases employee engagement and loyalty

Employees want to feel valued by their employer – that much is obvious. While employee nights out or other incentives go a long way in keeping your workforce smiling, investing in your employees as people will make them feel much more valued and will increase engagement. An employee who feels valued is going to be much more loyal to their employer, making them less likely to leave and much more likely to recommend you as an employer to friends and family, increasing the organisation’s employer branding.

Improves productivity (and profitability)

Engaged employees are naturally more motivated, harder working and require less supervision. Employees who are knowledgeable, given the right tools to manage their role, and feel valued professionally are much more likely to reach their maximum potential. They provide a better service to your customers, set good examples for other employees and are more effective leaders – all of which improve your bottom line.

Addresses weaknesses

Most employees have some weaknesses in their skills. A failure to address these weaknesses and support employees to develop these areas can end up costing an organisation far more than the investment of a training program.

A training and development program brings all employees to a higher level so they all have similar skills and knowledge. This helps reduce any weak links within the organisation who rely heavily on others. Providing the necessary training creates an overall knowledgeable workforce with employees who can take over for one another as needed, work on teams or work independently without constant help and supervision from others.

Henry Ford is reported to have said, “The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay.” If employees that are only performing at 40%-60% of their capability, how much will that cost your organisation each year? Underperformers are less likely to leave, and although you could manage them out, how much would that cost in terms of employee downtime of everyone involved, recruitment costs and the cost of getting the new hire up to speed?

 Recruitment fees

If you believe that recruiting an experienced employee, already trained to the level you would like is less expensive than training employees yourself, you are mistaken. You will have to pay them much more, increasing recruitment fees, and they are less likely to be devoted to your organisation, especially if you are not willing to develop them further. They will be much more likely to leave and in a shorter period. When they leave, you’ll have to go through the whole process again. Whereas, if you are looking to recruit candidates with some skills that you can develop, you can train them as is appropriate for your organisation and they are much more likely to become loyal employees.

Reduces employee turn-over

High employee turnover rates have a negative impact on your employer branding, employee engagement and profitability. While there’s no magic wand you can wave to stop good employees leaving, you can take steps to ensure that there are no incentives for them to look elsewhere.

On average, the Fortune 100 “Best Companies to Work For” provide 73 hours of training for full-time employees, compared to 38 hours delivered by others. These organisations also had 65 per cent less employee turnover than other organisations in the same sector.

 Competitive advantage

As the competition for talent is growing organisations need to continually review and improve their employer branding and employee value propositions. Offering an employee development program as part of your perks and benefits is an excellent way to stand out above your competitors, attract high-quality candidates and retain your high-quality employees.

To discuss your training needs and how Delphinium can support you in the training and development of your employees contact us to arrange your free no obligation consultation.

If you found this article interesting why not sign up for our fortnightly newsletter to receive articles in your inbox, along with details of upcoming programs and events?

The post Investing In People: Training and Development appeared first on Delphinium.

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Leadership is the social influence, which maximises the efforts of others towards the achievement of an objective or goal. For further details of what leadership is and how it differs from management read our article What is Leadership? Leadership styles, however, are the ways in which a leader uses a particular approach to lead others.

There are numerous approaches to leadership from Kurt Lewin’s framework to less well know leadership styles. In this article, we take a look at some of the most common leadership styles.

In 1939, Psychologist Kurt Lewin developed, he believed, were the three major leadership styles:

Autocratic (Authoritarian) Leadership

Autocratic Leadership is an extreme leadership style. The leader holds all the power, authority and responsibility. They make decisions on their own with very little or no input from staff and team members. Autocratic leaders make decisions, communicate those decisions and expect prompt implementation.

Democratic (Participative) Leadership

When using the Democratic Leadership style, staff and team members are involved in decision making, although the democratic leader is responsible for, and therefore, will make the final decision. Unlike autocratic leadership, democratic headship is centred on staff and team members’ contributions and features two-way communication.

Laissez-faire (Delegative) Leadership

Laissez-faire Leadership describes leaders who give complete authority to their staff or team members to work on their own and set their own deadlines. Laissez-faire leadership also occurs naturally where managers don’t have control over their staff or team members.

Lewin’s framework was very influential and provided a springboard for any other theories. Almost 70 years later Lewin’s framework is still popular and still considered very useful.

A much more modern theory is that the of 6 Emotional Leadership Styles developed by Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee. Their 2002 book Primal Leadership describes the six styles and how each affects the emotions of followers.

Visionary Leadership

Visionary Leadership involves moving people to a shared vision, showing them where to go but do not dictate how to get there. Visionary leaders will openly share knowledge and information. They recognise that great leadership developed with and through people.

Coaching Leadership

The Coaching Leadership style involves in-depth conversations with team members. A coaching leader is highly operational, ensuring that team members’ personal goals are closely aligned with the organisation’s goals.

Affiliative Leadership

Affiliative Leadership promotes harmony by creating connections between team members. It is a collaborative style with a focus on team members emotional needs. As such it helps to avoid emotionally distressing situations.

Democratic Leadership

Very similar to Lewin’s theory, Democratic Leadership as described by Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee, involves team members participation and input into the decision making process.

Pacesetting Leadership

Pacesetting Leadership is another intense style with the leader expecting excellence. They create challenges and exciting goals. Pacesetting leaders are quick to identify poor performance and having a willingness to roll up their sleeves and rescue the situation.

Commanding Leadership

The Commanding Leadership style is very similar to an Autocratic Leadership style. The Commanding leader gives clear directions and expects full compliance. It is a very much “Do as I say” or “Do what I tell you” style.

Other leadership styles include:

Bureaucratic Leadership

The Bureaucratic Leadership style involves following, and ensuring team members follow, rules and procedures rigorously. This style of leadership is particularly crucial for roles involving serious risks to people’s safety (i.e. when working in the military, with machinery or at heights) or when routine work is carried out. The use of the Bureaucratic style is less appropriate than other leadership styles where teams need to be creative or flexible.

Charismatic Leadership

The Charismatic Leadership style encourages particular behaviours through elegant communication, persuasion and evoking strong emotions. Charismatic leaders are powerful motivators, articulating a compelling vision to their team members.

Transactional Leadership

The Transactional Leadership style involves an exchange process, whereby team members get immediate, tangible rewards for carrying out the leader’s requests. Transactional leadership is one of the most common leadership styles as it occurs in almost every working situation. For example, when an individual accepts a job, they agree to abide by their employer’s policies, procedures etc. in exchange for remuneration.

Some individuals perceive the Transactional Leadership style as controlling. However, it does ensure clarity around roles and responsibilities. Due to the nature of the Transactional Leadership style, some view it more as a management style as opposed to a leadership style.

Transformational Leadership

The Transformational Leadership style is all about initiating change in the organisations, team members and oneself. The Transformational leader expects the best from everyone, and as such they motivate others to do more than they originally intended or even thought possible. As they set more challenging expectations and more stretching goals, typically they and their team members achieve higher performance.

Statistically, Transformational Leadership leads to more dedicated, satisfied and empowered followers.

When considering which leadership still to adopt, it is important to bear in mind is that the most appropriate leadership style depends on the particular situation, the function of the leader and who they are leading. In some instances, it will be appropriate to use more than one leadership style at a given time.

Delphinium provides a range of coaching and training services to support and develop leaders across all levels of the organisation. To discuss how we can support leaders in your organisation contact us arrange your free consultation.

If you found this article interesting why not sign up for our fortnightly newsletter to receive articles in your inbox, along with details of upcoming programs and events?

Other articles in this series:

What is Leadership?

The post What Are The Different Leadership Styles? appeared first on Delphinium.

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Working from home is becoming increasingly common with the increase in flexible and remote working, and it can be a huge benefit; you don’t have to worry about train delays, being squashed up like sardines in the heat, there’s no office drama and can you drop off and pick up the children from school. However, working from home can also have its challenges when it comes to productivity.

Check out Delphinium’s top tips on maximising productivity when working from home:

1. Keep your morning routine.

Simply getting up, showered and getting dressed for the day will make you much more productive than if you were to sit working in your pyjamas. Your body associates your pyjamas and daytime TV as a time for relaxing. Whereas, keeping that morning routine as if you were going into the office tells your brain that you are going to work, and it will help to kick-start your body ready for a productive working day.

Once you are ready, begin working immediately, don’t sit and have that extra cup of tea or coffee. Those few moments of sitting down and relaxing will start to undo all the good work of your morning routine. If you’re saving time by not having to commute to the office, by starting at the same time you would normally leave the house you could potentially finish your working day a couple of hours earlier than you normally would (depending on the length of your commute).

2. Create a functional and dedicated workspace.

Make sure to carve out a dedicated space for your office. The kitchen table or the sofa are not practical working environments. Not only does your brain associate these areas with relaxation; they are full of distractions such as the TV, children, pets and partners, as well as household chores calling to you.

You may not have a spare room, but you need a working area away from the household hustle and bustle as much as possible to maintain focus; even when the house is empty. Create a space where you want to work that is as quiet as possible and has plenty of daylight. Get a comfy chair, a nice desk, surround yourself with beautiful pictures and things that motivate you.

Your working environment is crucial to creating good working habits and success.

3. Set your working hours and stick to them.

One of the many benefits of working from home is working your own, flexible hours. However, it’s extremely easy to push back your start time, finish early or allow yourself to be interrupted. Setting fixed working hours (whatever they might be), will help you and your family adapt to you working at home. Some people prefer to work 9.30am-2.30pm and then again 8.30am-10pm to allow them to drop off and collect the children from school, have family time and finish those last emails before bed. It’s entirely up to you which hours you choose, but you must stick to them. When selecting your hours to ensure you are taking into account when you are at your most productive.

4. Reduce potential distractions.

One of the biggest killers of productivity is social media and when working from home people are much more likely to access their personal accounts and become drawn into the various platforms. Put your personal phones away or if you must have them out, turn off your social media notifications and only check them during dedicated break times.

The setting boundaries with friends and family is vital. Explain to your family and friends that your work is just like any other job and you need to be left alone during work hours. Hang a sign on your office door, or even the back of your chair, saying ‘Do Not Disturb’ and be disciplined at sticking to it. Once your day’s work is complete, flip it around and turn off the computer, enjoy your home and family life.

If you want to use the opportunity to get a few bits done around the home throughout the day, use dedicated breaks times and ensure that you are only carrying out tasks that take a few minutes such as hanging out the washing, putting the washing machine or unloading the dishwasher. Doing small tasks like these are also an excellent way to ensure that you are getting up away from your desk and moving around at break times.

5. Plan your day.

If you know you are going to be working from home in advance, plan your work to ensure that you get everything done, that needs to be done in the office, beforehand and plan to do the work from home that can easily and efficiently be completed without having access to people or equipment in the office.

As you would every day, create an achievable to-do list and plan to complete your most complex work or work that requires the most concentration when you are at your most productive. This kind of plan will help keep you focused, driven and on track, if you feel the urge to procrastinate, get distracted or if you ‘just don’t feel like it’. Using lists and planning out your day are common practice in the traditional working environment and should be in the home one…because they work!

If you would like to discuss how Delphinium can support you and your team to become more productive when working from home and/or in the office contact us and we will be happy to arrange a free no obligation consultation.

If you found this article interesting why not sign up for our fortnightly newsletter to receive articles in your inbox, along with details of upcoming programs and events?

The post Increasing Your Productivity When Working from Home appeared first on Delphinium.

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