How can I earn respect from older staff members in my first job as a senior manager?

How can I earn respect from older staff members in my first job as a senior manager?  Question  I have just taken on my first senior management role, after moving to another engineering firm. I am really enjoying the role. However, I’m in my 30s and a lot of the staff that I manage are older and have been with the company for longer than I have. Some of these staff members don’t always follow my instructions. What is the best way to earn the respect of these more seasoned workers? Answer  This is an all-too-frequent issue that can arise when you join a new team where the members are older than the manager. But it also commonly occurs where a team member is promoted within their team to team leader. The key to becoming a successful leader is gaining trust and ensuring that you develop a leadership style that matches both you and your team. But the reality is that no one size fits all in these cases. The most common mistake someone can make when taking on a leadership role is trying to make too large an impact in too short a space of time. While this can bear some immediate results, these can be short-term gains and result in longer-term pain of disengaged employees and in turn reduced productivity. While there is no magic solution to change things overnight, there are some steps, below, which you can take to gain trust and buy-in from your team. But, don’t forget that it is important you start with your end goal in mind. You need to be clear and concise as to what you want your team to achieve, implement processes to facilitate this and measure what has been achieved. 1. Engagement: The key to success is a) to recognise the individuality of each team member and b) ensure that each person understands clearly what the team’s goals are. It is critical to engage with and listen to employees to understand their challenges; recognise their individual, and team achievements and create a sense of belonging. In doing so you will build trust, which is the glue that keeps a team together as well as developing mutual respect. 2 One-to-one meetings: These are an opportunity to learn about individual employees and build rapport with them. The most important thing is to listen carefully to what they have to say. There is a saying that: “The easiest way to look like you are listening is by actually listening… ” Find out what motivates them, understand their goals and develop a plan towards achieving these. Invite them to share what they feel is working or not working. It’s equally important to acknowledge their strengths and any areas for development or upskilling. Following this, discuss a plan on how you can use their strengths and develop their weaknesses.   3 Team meetings: When it comes to raising any issues within the team, it’s important to do this in a group session while maintaining control and ownership of the meeting. Together, identify the barriers within their environment that are preventing them from being more successful. Have an open discussion on how you, as a team, can remove these barriers to success and make the business more successful. Create a plan on how to achieve the goals that the team has identified and ensure those who are stepping up to take ownership are allowed to do so. Generally, the plan and the goals will be similar across a business, but the key to success is ensuring the team feels that it has been developed around them and the key successes will be down to the team and not personal performance. It can sometimes be beneficial to allow the team to present their findings to senior management directly, enabling the team to feel they have a voice at the table. But make sure that there is follow up in place. In summary, the key to any successful leader is the engagement of their staff: by ensuring the team have the opportunity to input, and belief that the success of a team is based on the sum of all parts. That is when you become a successful leader and not a boss. Don’t rush it, engagement is key, keep control and start with your end goal in sight.             David Fitzgibbon Mid-West regional manager Collins McNicholas recruitment and HR services group This article was originally published in the business section of The Sunday Independent on Sunday, February 11th 2018, and can be viewed...

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Disciplinary Procedures & Employer Liability

For the purpose of today’s article, I will briefly focus on disciplinary procedures as this is an area in which employers most often come into difficulty and furthermore is the area where there is the greatest potential liability from an employer’s perspective. Also, this is a topic in which some serious considerations were raised for employers following the Judgement in Lyons v Longford Westmeath Education and Training Board [2017] IEHC 272. The background to the abovementioned case is that an external investigator was appointed by Mr Lyons employer to investigate a bullying complaint which had been made against him. The High Court noted that the process implemented during the investigation (separate meetings and the taking of statements without cross examination) is one which is routinely adopted by many companies but went on to state that “the exclusion of solicitors and counsel, and the refusal to allow cross examination … is a breach of the Constitutional right to fair procedures.” This represented a departure from previous case law in that it apparently extended the right to legal representation to investigation meetings and further it extended rights to cross examine witnesses. In essence, on the face of it the Decision in Lyons means that once an employer engaged in an investigation of a serious matter that could ultimately lead to a dismissal, then every employee involved would be entitled to bring a lawyer to each investigation meeting and, not only that, the lawyer must have the opportunity to cross-examine each witness who is saying something about his/her client. As alluded to above, the decision in the Lyons Case represented a departure...

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Dealing With The Difficult Task of Making a Close Friend Redundant

Question: Last year, a promotion came up at the IT firm where I work. A colleague and close friend pushed me to put myself forward. When I got the job she was the first to celebrate with me. Now, due to budget restraints, the company is downsizing and I have been tasked with letting a number of staff go. I was gutted to see my friend’s name on the list and have no idea how to break the news to her. Can you advise me on how I can approach this situation without losing her friendship? Answer: This is no doubt a very challenging time for you both personally and professionally. Supervising a friend can have its benefits if they are a loyal follower of yours and ensure that at no time they let the side down. But it can have its challenges when tough discussions must take place such as terminations. You have to consider how to have this uncomfortable discussion with the hope of minimal damage to the personal relationship. Planning the conversation and the following pointers will help you to approach it in a more professional light. Be prepared for an emotional response. How you handle this will determine the future status of your friendship. 1. Make the conversation brief: Be brief when having the ‘manager’ conversation and offer yourself for the ‘friend’ conversation after work. Keep the actual conversation brief and isolate your friendship until this is delivered – this is important for both your own state of mind and for the way your friend perceives the action. 2. Don’t procrastinate: Be direct about the...

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I have to fire an employee – how do I approach this situation with confidence?

Question: I have been a manager of a software company for a number of years. I have successfully dealt with a number of issues, such as confronting people on their performance, etc. However, a more serious issue has arisen with one employee. We have gone through all the internal steps (including a series of warnings, etc) with this individual and the final conclusion is that we need to terminate their employment. I have never done this and the idea of having the conversation is making me feel uncomfortable. How do I approach this situation with confidence? Answer: This is a difficult situation for any manager. It’s never easy and can be stressful for all involved. It can be difficult to draw a line in the sand as emotions can run high. Some employees may have convinced themselves that they will never get terminated as they believe they have been trying to improve and that you may accept this extra effort. However, if performance has not improved dramatically or a situation has disimproved you have to deal with it. My feeling is that many companies wait too long to deliver the bad news, as managers feel they want to give the benefit of the doubt to the person. But often a false hope sets in on the part of the employee, so do not procrastinate. There are a number of steps I’d recommend: Gather all facts: Always document any problems and the company’s responses, such as discussions, verbal warnings, etc. Keep a log that includes dates, times and relevant details – it is not a crime to be specific and factual....

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7 Key Points for Payroll in 2017

I had the pleasure of attending the annual Irish Payroll Association (IPASS) conference on 11th May 2017 in Croke Park Dublin. IPASS is Ireland’s premier provider of Payroll and VAT training and certification. The conference included presentations from IPASS, the Revenue Commissioners and PWC. Here are some helpful key points that were discussed/highlighted on the day: 1. GDPR – General Data Protection Regulation – This issue is highly topical at the moment. The regulation will come into effect on the 25th May 2018. If you are a registered Data Processor or Data Controller you need to be ready to conform to the policy by this date. Please click this link for further information. This regulation will impact any information we hold on payroll, accounts, and any information on our database relating to clients, suppliers and candidates/temps. 2. New Revenue Website – During the first week in June 2017, the Revenue Commissioners will be launching a brand new website. Revenue have done research into how websites are generally used to ensure that their new look web pages are user friendly and easy to navigate. They have spent time removing jargon and converting technical speak into straight forward narrative. This should make registering employment, resolving tax queries etc. more simplistic. Revenue have acknowledged however that not everyone is IT literate and they will still need to be prepared to answer phone calls and postal correspondence. 3. Illness Benefit – There was a lot of discussion around the processing of illness benefit. The consensus is that the processing of this on behalf of Welfare and Revenue is problematic at employer and payroll processing level. Revenue...

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Becoming Better Leaders by taking a “Whole-person” Approach

Guest Blog: the following article was written by Michelle Hammond, Ph.D., University of Limerick. When did you first learn about leadership? Chances are you knew something about leadership long before entering the workplace by observing parents or teachers, taking on leadership experiences in school and sport, and even through planning activities with siblings or friends.  Leadership happens everywhere and so we should not limit our opportunities to develop leadership to experiences and training programs at work. Although definitions vary, I consider leadership to be a relational process geared towards bringing people to achieve a common goal.  Anytime you are relating to people and trying to work together to achieve something shared you’re engaged in leadership. Taking a whole-person approach involves considering connections across all areas, or domains, of our lives. There are at least three major benefits to considering a whole-person approach to leader development.  First, we gain synergies by examining transferable skills across the connections we identify.  I recently heard a great story of a leader who had been given feedback that she should work on being less emotionally reactive and defensive when her employees approach her with issues or setbacks.  She noticed a connection in her “over-reaction” to her teenage sons and took the opportunity to practice being more composed both at work and at home. This practice both sped up her development and created improvements in her relationships at work and at home (i.e. it was both more efficient and effective). In addition to transferable skills, taking a multi-domain approach helps us to grow from the ways in which areas of our lives are different. These disconnections...

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