Career And Interview Advice | Collins McNicholas

What’s the best way to manage a colleague who is also a friend, now I have been promoted?

What’s the best way to manage a colleague who is also a friend, now I have been promoted?Q. I have moved into a senior position in the medtech company where I have worked for seven years. My new role sees me managing people I have worked alongside for many years. I am confident there should be no issues with the majority. However, I have already identified that I will have an issue with one person. While I have a good personal relationship with them, their work practices need a lot of improvement. I feel I need to confront them on a number of performance issues – such as their timekeeping and productivity. How do I do this without losing the personal relationship we have? A. A workplace promotion is to be commended, so you should feel empowered and confident about your capabilities to lead, and direct a team. As a manager you are expected to know and administer company policies and procedures in order to build your credibility with your team and other members of the management team. The rules cannot be bent for certain co-workers, so this must be made clear from the outset. You need to become an authentic role model to gain loyalty and respect from your new team. Set the parameters immediately through individual conversations in order to acknowledge the recent change. The relationship has changed on both sides, so it is just as awkward for them. If you have an emotional connection you will have a hard time setting those feelings aside when needed. Friendship shouldn’t influence decisions on performance, pay or dealing out assignments. Nip the situation in the bud. You might be tempted to put off the awkward chat but everyone benefits from a timely and honest approach. Even if your co-worker is annoyed about the conversation, they will eventually respect your situation. Your position isn’t about trying to be popular; it’s about leading others to achieve results. Gather all facts. The best way to make sure that this conversation goes smoothly is to prepare. Review all of the details – then have examples ready to discuss so you have backup ready. Know your HR policies. Review all policies on the problem. If you wish to have a HR representative present then do so but that might be overkill for an initial chat. You need to know the next steps in procedures, so take charge of the situation. Measure your empathy. You have an existing friendship so you can gauge how the conversation will go and how they will react. As they are receiving negative feedback or a disciplinary action and may feel you are disappointed in them, be ready for the chat taking a more emotional turn. Don’t let empathy keep you from staying professional. Be sympathetic but remember the end goal. Agree the objectives Know what you want to accomplish from this chat – will it lead to a performance plan now or is it an initial discussion? Be ready to set clear expectations and agree the next meeting. Don’t drag the meeting on too long. Resist the urge to apologise – they are in charge of their own destiny. Let them make suggestions on how to improve their performance. Build up the Trust If your friendship is valid then a difficult conversation can be overcome and may even create a stronger working relationship. They need to feel that you trust them to make the necessary changes and that you will support them. Confidentiality rules as a manager, this is a golden rule – no matter how tempted, the discussion stays between you and the individual. If they want to discuss it with others, that is their prerogative. A difficult conversation can only make you stronger as a manager; they put you out of your comfort zone and can improve your communication, negotiation and overall people skills. For any difficult conversation, it is important to remain professional at all times and treat each and every employee fairly and with respect so your credibility as a manager can never be questioned. Michelle Murphy is Director of Collins McNicholas, Recruitment & HR Services Group, which has six offices in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Sligo, Athlone and Limerick. Send your career questions to sundaybusiness@independent.ie           Michelle Murphy Director, Collins McNicholas Recruitment & HR Services Group This article was originally published in the Business section of the Sunday Independent, June 25th 2017. The original article can be found...

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Experience, not age, is the factor that helps older candidates stand out in job interviews

Q: I am a senior manager in a telecommunications business and have decided to take the plunge and move careers. I am excited but a bit nervous. My last interview was 20 years ago, as I was headhunted for my current position. I am concerned that – as a person in my late 40s – I am going to stand out among the younger candidates for the role. Do you have any advice on how I should prepare? A: I agree that you could stand out at interviews, as employers might consider you too experienced or expensive – even a little out of touch. However, don’t lose sight of the things you do have that others might not – including excellent work experience, a valuable skill set, a strong network of contacts and a solid track record. The secret is to be prepared for all those issues that might be considered weaknesses and could be brought up during the interview process. You are experienced enough to know how to create a good business case for yourself and highlight how you can move your skill set. Demonstrate your willingness to learn, to keep growing and take risks. Many candidates I meet have the same fear about their age – but I always say age should never be a factor. Focus on your strengths around your work experience and qualifications. Ask yourself truthfully ‘What value can I bring to this new role’ and ‘Can I sell myself as an expert’? Will they think I have less energy? We all slow down as we age. However, in the workplace, sometimes the less-experienced person...

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How to successfully resolve conflict between staff members before it poisons morale

Question: I hold a senior role in a large software company and manage a team of 20 software developers. Managing a growing team can be a challenge but I enjoy it most of the time. However, I have a situation where two of my more senior team leaders do not get on. This has been obvious since the most recent hire joined the team. While neither has done anything that would cause me to discipline them, the morale of the team has definitely been affected by the tension between them. How do I resolve this? Answer: Conflict resolution is an issue a lot of managers have to face and it can be unsettling for everyone. You need to take the right approach as early as possible to ensure it doesn’t grow out of proportion. Conflict can cause a toxic environment within the workplace so you need to totally understand the situation and act responsibly. Management is not about popularity or avoiding a negative reputation but about ensuring you act in the best interest of the team and the organisation in an ethical manner. All managers and leaders must expect to have to deal with a conflict situation at some point so here are some pointers to consider. Timing is key Avoiding the situation or putting it off until another day will not wash. You need to take action where you have evidence that there is a situation, which is negatively impacting others – and that there is a pattern to it. Striking too early without proper information will lead to possible confrontation. But the other team members need to see that...

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I’m in my 50s and desperate to quietly upskill to keep up with my tech-savvy younger staff

I am a female in my late 50s and am enjoying my work at my job in the media sector. There are a lot of younger employees coming into the workplace with IT skills that are far superior to my own. While I am their manager, sometimes I feel like my lack of tech skills is putting me at a disadvantage. I wonder are there ways in which I can quietly upskill, without drawing too much attention to my own lack of knowledge to newer employees and bosses? It is important to be aware of the area you are working in, as many sectors change rapidly – information technology in particular. This requires employees not only to keep their skills updated, but also learn new ones. Upskilling is a personal endeavour, as everyone has unique interests and talents that align with certain skills. Tackle one skill or skill set at a time, instead of trying to build several skills in one go. Although many employers offer on-the-job training and the chance to take more formal qualifications, it’s still up to you to keep your skills sharp. This is particularly true for a manager or leader, as by keeping up to speed your team can see how committed you are to your role and the company will see you as a leader and expert. By refining and updating your expertise, you can ensure that you always stay relevant. It puts you in a more competitive position in your industry, makes you more valuable to your company, provides job security, and highlights your desire to learn and grow, illustrating a great...

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How Can I Best Break the Cycle of Being Constantly Passed Over for Promotion

Question: I am in middle management and have been passed over for promotion on three occasions. I am not in a position to leave the company but I desperately want to progress in my career and I feel that I am stuck in the role that I am in. Is there some way that I can approach my boss and find out where I am going wrong? Answer: I understand how frustrating it can be not to get a promotion. you are probably feeling a lot of emotions including disappointment, humiliation, resentment and, maybe, anger. It is impossible not to feel personally offended. However, it is important for our own sanity to understand why this has happened and, of course, leave you in a position to improve so you can go forward for future opportunities. It is important to organise that ‘dreaded discussion’ with your bosses promptly so you are getting fresh feedback. ask for specific things you could work on to improve your chances in the future. However, when you ask for suggestions, be ready to listen and be prepared ti make those changes. It Is Not Yours Because You Expect It Some employees feel entitled to be promoted because they have been in the organisation for a long time, but tenure is no longer a key consideration. Contribution will be the ultimate decision maker. Performance Is Not Everything Employees are often under the misconception that promotion decisions are based solely on performance in their role. Success in one area doesn’t always translate to another. You need to become familiar with the requirements and competencies needed. Could It Be Your Softer Skills?...

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#HomeForWork – National Recruitment Day to target people home from abroad for Christmas

December 29 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm FREE EVENT Home for Work’: Come back for Christmas, stay for a career A national recruitment day aimed at offering jobs to people home for the festive season is to take place on December 29. The recruitment day, which will be held in four different locations across the country, is part of the ‘Home for Work’ campaign, was launched on December 8 by its ambassador Hector Ó hEochagáin. “This is a really important campaign. After having travelled across the globe for years and met Irish people working abroad, we have to let these talented, skilled professionals know the country has turned the lights back on and that work and good jobs are out there once more,” said Mr Ó hEochagáin. “Let’s hope the country has turned the economic bend again and the road ahead looks good. We need to entice our Irish Home for Work, for their families and for their country.” Recruitment events will be held at the same time (from 10am to 1pm) in Cork, Athlone, Galway and Sligo on December 29. The free events are being run by Recruitment and HR Services Group Collins McNicholas, whose experts will be on hand to offer advice as well as job opportunities to people considering returning home. Collins McNicholas will be recruiting for a range of roles including Science Professionals, Engineers, Accountants, IT Specialists, Human Resource Professionals, Administration, Sales & Marketing. Attendees are asked to bring their CVs so they can be matched with opportunities available. There will also be advice on other aspects of settling back into living in Ireland – from tips on the property market to...

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