Up Close and Personnel

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Meetings, Meetings, Everywhere

I suspect I’m unlikely to be alone with my confession that I have, on more than one occasion, found myself stuck inside a meeting which was serving almost no productive purpose. Meetings are both the saviour and the curse of the modern workplace. Saviours because, when run effectively, they can move decision making forward at a velocity which endless email trails with the world copied in could never hope to emulate. And curse because, as you will no doubt have experienced, the number of meetings which are actually run in such an efficient and productive manner can be few and far between.

Summer in the City: The Dress Code Dilemma

In this current heatwave that we’re enjoying/enduring (dependent on your view on warm weather!), my thoughts have turned once again to the subject of dress codes.

I’ve blogged previously on such a topic, and my personal reasons why I believe office dress codes are both archaic and actually counteractive to productivity. However, today I’d like to explore our obsession with dress codes not only within the office, but also outside of it.

Cast No Shadow: The Benefits of Work Shadowing

work shadowing

You have no doubt heard of work shadowing. It’s something which is typically used as part of an induction, or training process. The idea being that an employee goes and sits with another employee, to observe them working. Why? Well, the benefits are multiple. It’s a chance to observe working practises first hand. An opportunity to absorb knowledge and to learn new skills via direct observation. For new joiners to the business, it also provides time to get to know colleagues and start to build those all-important working relationships.

Keeping It Real: Being Human In The Workplace

When I first started out in the world of work, managers and directors were a distant and remote set of individuals. The less I saw of them, the more mythological features they took on. In my mind, they became strangely robotic creatures, who were able to manage teams of people and make difficult decisions without ever showing the slightest flicker of emotion. Don’t get me wrong: I had good managers, who took plenty of time to guide me and spend time on my development. But it never felt like they were truly human.

“It’s Not Fair!” – And Why It Needs To Be


Having just spent the weekend with my children, I have been left in no uncertain doubt as to their views on the fairness (or otherwise) of the way that I treat them. Over the course of Saturday and Sunday I have been subject to a continuous stream of “It’s not fair.” Whether it’s the amount of cornflakes in their bowl of cereal, or the level of water they have left in their glass, or the fact that one of them has the exact piece of Lego the other one wanted at that moment in time.

Why I Don’t Believe Job Descriptions Are Worth The Paper They’re Written On

There are few things I am more averse to in the HR sphere than a job description. At one time ubiquitous, I am now optimistic about the fact that they will shortly become a dying breed. And no one will celebrate their demise more than I will.

Getting Back To Basics: How To Be A Great Line Manager

We’ve all heard that old adage: People leave managers, not companies. While that’s not necessarily the case 100% of the time, it is nevertheless undeniable that the person managing you has a significant impact on how you feel about your role, your potential for progression, and your organisation.

Caring: An Underrated Attribute

One of my greatest frustrations as I have progressed through my career has been the experiences I have had – thankfully few and far between – of working alongside people who haven’t cared. People who just haven’t been bothered about the end result, who don’t care about where we end up.

The reason this is frustrating is twofold. Firstly, when people don’t care, we are less likely to achieve our goals. And secondly, when people don’t care, we are more likely to lose our good people. More likely to lose those people who really do care, who really want to make a difference, but gradually, over time, become worn down by the apathetic approach of their colleagues around them.

A Successful Management Relationship: The Importance Of Respect

A friend of mine has been having a rather torrid time at work recently. She has a new line manager. Unfortunately for her, it transpires that this particular individual is not the best when it comes to managing people. Quite an issue, when they have responsibility for a team of twenty people.

Employee Appreciation: Saying Thank You Costs Nothing


Last Friday, 3 March, was Employee Appreciation Day. The celebration of employee efforts and contribution to industry was started in the US, but is rapidly also being adopted this side of the Atlantic.

While the concept is laudable, for me personally I struggle with the idea that anything as important as appreciating our employees should be restricted to the confines of just one day. I recognise that the theory behind such a day is to ensure employee appreciation is front of mind but, frankly, if we need a day in the calendar to show our employees that we appreciate them, then there is something fundamentally wrong with our working practises.

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