When you type the phrase ‘inspiring leaders’ into Google, the results are most likely what you’d expect — images of Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. But have you ever stopped to consider why these usual suspects show up time and time again in conversations about inspiring leadership, and what they might have in common, in terms of the way they think, act and communicate?
Author Archives: Wendy McAuliffe
If you have a weakness for gadgets, you might want to look away now!
We’ve compiled our roundup of some of the most fun and quirky office gadgets to brighten up your workspace in 2015. While some may not be essential business tools, we think they may help to make the time you spend in the office each day more enjoyable and even help reduce your stress.
Let’s be honest…web conferencing can be a wonderful business tool for teams who are geographically dispersed or working remotely. But even the most experienced web conference user will have surely experienced some of the common awkward situations that are part and parcel to getting a group of co-workers to communicate virtually. It’s not always the most natural of situations, and unless web conferencing is a regular occurrence in your business schedule, it can be easy to fall down some of the technology crevices.
Many of us like to make New Year’s resolutions, such as keeping on top of our ‘to do’ lists, but very often they fall by the wayside when our old habits begin to creep back in. How lovely would it be if we could rewire our brains to a new, productive and efficient way of working, so that we can truly take control over the way we work, rather than letting our work take control of us?
Secret Santa is meant to be a little bit of light-hearted fun, to help spread some festive cheer around the office. It’s a nice way of making sure that everyone receives a gift, with no one being excluded. Nowadays most companies advise on a budget of around £5, and while that doesn’t buy an awful lot, with some thought and preparation it can be enough to cause a giggle or two.
The CBI is calling for businesses to take flexible working more seriously, following the publishing of a YouGov poll yesterday which showed that around 42% of workers would feel uncomfortable asking their employer if they could work more flexibly.
If you ask a child what they want to be when they grow up, they invariably will say teacher, footballer, nurse or ballerina. But in the entire history of time, I don’t expect many children have answered project manager! It’s one of those vocations that creeps up on you, and suddenly you’re managing multiple global projects with six figure budgets attached, potentially with little formal training in the area.
Earlier this year the UK government put new legislation into effect giving all employees the right to request flexible work. So for those who have always fancied working from home, dropping down to a four-day week or fitting working hours around school drop-offs and pick-ups, now’s the time to ask! Your employer is required to say yes or no. If they cannot say yes, they have a legal obligation to provide you with a valid reason why.
In his TED talk “The happy secret to better work,” psychologist Shawn Achor claims, “It’s not necessarily the reality that shapes us, but the lens through which your brain views the world that shapes your reality.” According to Achor, we can change that lens so that not only can we change our happiness, but “we can change every single educational and business outcome at the same time”.
‘Team-building’ is one of those business topics that will set eyes rolling. It can conjure up all sorts of images where colleagues are flung together into awkward scenarios which they would have rather avoided.
Research from Citrix has shown that 31 percent of office workers say that they can’t stand team-building activities. So why do team-building activities remain a staple of offices everywhere? Despite employee perception, there is plenty of research supporting the benefits of activities that foster healthy team culture and group dynamics.
Recently, I’ve been doing a bit of a reading challenge with a friend. There were several books we both wanted to read, so we decided to read them alongside each other. But the idea didn’t quite go to plan. While my friend devoured each book like a locust, I found myself lagging a little behind. Her secret (aside from not having the distraction of two young children) is brain training, she claims. In her own words, 20 minutes of brain training a day over the past few months has significantly boosted her reading speed, among other things.
Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, knew the importance of collaborative work. “He believed that Apple’s great advantage was its integration of the whole widget – from design to hardware to software to content-he wanted all departments at the company to work together in parallel,” writes Walter Isaacson in his biography, Steve Jobs. Jobs involved all departments in the development process. “Our method was to develop integrated products, and that meant our process had to be integrated and collaborative,” Jobs said.
But funnily enough, this collaboration took place around a big table, where various departments would thrash out ideas and offer their own perspectives. Imagine how he would receive the array of online business collaboration tools now making their way into the workplace!
When I started my first business several years ago, I found myself working around the clock to grow my client base as quickly as possible. My evenings and weekends were no longer my own. And since I worked from a home office, it just became second nature to wake up, turn on my computer, have breakfast at my desk and just stay there until almost midnight.
My mind and body never had a chance to unwind, and as a result, I hit a viscous cycle of insomnia. This crippling lack of sleep told me it was time to scale back, and while I did not reach total burnout, I certainly came close.
Time management is one of those areas that many of us struggle with. Nowadays our lives are so busy, with our attention constantly divided across an array of connected devices, that the art of focusing and managing time is becoming more and more challenging.
My brain has always functioned better in the evening than the morning, and over the years I’ve needed to find ways to manage my time more productively at the start of the day particularly. It’s taken years of trial and error, and while everyone needs their own approach,