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Are You Management Material?

Contemplating your next career move? For many experienced professionals seeking career advancement, a move into management seems like an inevitability. With better pay, increased responsibility and a chance to make a real difference, a career in management seems like a lucrative prospect… and let’s face it – a no-brainer.

“Management is, above all, a practice where art, science, and craft meet.” – Henry Mintzberg, Business Guru

However, many people take on such roles without giving serious consideration to the actual reality of being a manager. While management is typically perceived as the logical next step for any talented professional, the fact is that such positions may not be suited to everyone as they require a very particular set of qualities and skills.

Are You Ready to be a Manager? 

If you are interested in applying for a management role and are wondering whether you have what it takes, we recommend that you check out our latest infographic (featured below). A handy tool for upwardly mobile professionals, this infographic features a list of important questions you should ask yourself which will help you to assess whether your skills, values and personality are suitable management material.

Read the infographic below for more information.

Are You Management Material? - Infographic

Managing Your Weaknesses

It’s one of the most dreaded interview questions – “What are your weaknesses?” Some see this as an opportunity to humble brag – pretending to be self-deprecating but in fact using it as an opportunity to highlight an attribute of which you are proud. Common examples are “I am a perfectionist” or “I am a workaholic”. This is not what any good interviewer wants to hear.

When an interviewer asks to hear about a candidates weaknesses, what they are really looking for is evidence of self-awareness. They want to see that this person understands themselves well enough to actually know their development areas, as well as having the motivation and ability to work on improving those areas. What they really want to hear is more along the lines of “I am not naturally good at managing my time, but have become increasingly aware that this is unhelpful in my working life and so I have begun scheduling my calendar in advance, leaving adequate gaps for unexpected circumstances and setting reminders for myself to ensure I stay on track”.

Figuring out what our weaknesses are is the first step in managing them. This can be challenging, as well as extremely uncomfortable at times. Think about things that have gone wrong for you in the past week, month, or even year. Write them down, identify what went wrong and why, is there a common theme emerging?

Sometimes, even after being as self-critical as possible, you are still unsure of what your weaknesses are. This is where the uncomfortable part begins. Ask. Ask a trusted friend, colleague or mentor. Ask family, in fact ask as many people as you can, whose opinions you trust. If you ask in such a way that reassures them that you looking for honest, constructive feedback they will be willing to help. But take this valuable information in the spirit in which it was intended; to help you grow as a person, both professionally and personally.

The information you receive may be completely unexpected and you may even believe it to be inaccurate. But if you have chosen these people for a reason – because they know you well and you trust them – consider that they are being brave and honest with you and respect that. Try not to react in the moment, even if, in fact especially if the information is upsetting or angers you. Write down the key points, ask for examples of how you show these behaviours and then reflect. Even if at first you don’t agree, given time to reflect on these points may lead you to see that there is in fact truth in them.

Of course, 360 feedback is an excellent tool designed specifically for this very purpose – it involves giving a questionnaire to a number of colleagues and other stakeholders, preferably those who work with you on a regular basis and who are at different levels both within and outside your organisation. Questions such as “what do I do well”, “what could I do better” and “what would you like to see me to do more of” can elicit helpful responses. In doing this, themes will begin to emerge.

Now that you have this information, what can you do with it? How do you go about actively managing your weaknesses?

  1. Pick one area you would like to work on to begin with. Identify the steps you can take to improve your listening skills for example if that is something which has been identified as a weakness. Identify two or three concrete behaviours directly related to the weakness, that you are going to change.
  2. Ask yourself how this behaviour is visible to others. If possible, at least one of the new behaviours should be visible to those around you so that others can see that you are making an effort to improve.
  3. Acknowledge your weakness to others. Tell them that you are aware that sometimes you don’t listen as actively as you could but you are making an effort to improve on this. Knowing your development points and owning them is a sign of strength. Explain what you are trying to do and even ask trusted colleagues to call you up when you are slipping, to remind you if you’re not listening, or if you are falling back into your old ways.
  4. Keep a journal and make daily notes on how you practiced the new behaviours. Use this to identify any potential triggers which may have led you to slip back into your old behaviours.
  5. It takes an average of 66 days to form a new habit and while at first it may feel unnatural, it will eventually become ingrained in your daily behaviours. The early stages are the most important in terms of learning the new behaviour so try to be particularly vigilant in the beginning.

It takes daily practice and we, as humans can be lazy at times and slip back to our old ways, particularly in times of high pressure or stress. Practicing, developing our awareness and asking others to hold us accountable can help ward against these slips and learn to manage our weaknesses.

 

Published in The Sunday Business Post 24th June 2018

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Natural Talent Vs. Hard Work: Which Wins?

Many see natural talent as more important than hard work but is it true? In our latest infographic, we investigate which is more effective.

Sometimes we may feel that those with natural talent have it easier in life. Recent research has revealed that this is in fact true, with many of us exhibiting an unconscious bias towards “naturals.” In other words, we are often more likely to rate the performance of naturals as superior to the very same performance of hard-workers. Consequently, it can often be the case that the conscientiousness and pluck of “strivers” goes unappreciated.

“Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” – Tim Notke

While natural ability does provide a great advantage, the key to attaining real success comes down to hard work. Oftentimes, natural talent is sadly wasted because of a poor work ethic. This is especially apparent when “naturals” compete against driven, diligent hard workers.

Our infographic explores the relationship between hard work and natural talent and examines the respective benefits of both, it also offers advice on how to cultivate the best of both in yourself and others.

Natural Talent Vs. Hard Work: Which Wins? - Infographic

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How You Can Benefit from All Your Stress

 

You are stressed — by your deadlines, your responsibilities, your ever-increasing workload, and your life in general. If you are like me, you even stress about how much stress you’re feeling — worrying that it is interfering with your performance and possibly taking years off of your life.

This might sound a little crazy, but what if it’s the very fact that we assume stress is bad that’s actually making it so bad for us? And what if there were another way to think about stress — a way that might actually make it a force for good in our lives? Well there is, according to new research from Yale’s Alia Crum and Peter Salovey, and Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage.

Let’s take a step back, and begin with a different question: What is stress?

Generally speaking, it’s the experience — or anticipation — of difficulty or adversity. We humans, along with other animals, have an instinctive physical response to stressors. It includes activation of the sympathetic nervous system (“fight or flight”), inhibition of the parasympathetic nervous system (“rest and digest”), and the release of adrenaline and cortisol. But what does all of that do? In short, it primes the pump — we become more aroused and more focused, more ready to respond physically and mentally to whatever is coming our way.

Kind of sounds like a good thing, doesn’t it?

But wait, you say, can’t chronic stress make us sick? Can’t it take a toll on our immune functioning?

Yes…but there is plenty of evidence that stress can also enhance immunity.

Well then, you point out, can’t it leave us feeling depressed and lethargic?

Yes… but studies show that it can also create mental toughness, increase clarity, result in greater appreciation for one’s circumstances, and contribute to a sense of confidence built on a history of overcoming of obstacles (which is the best, most long-lasting kind of confidence you can have). So stress is bad, and somehow also good. How can we make sense of the paradoxical nature of stress?

I’ll bet right now you are saying to yourself, it’s the amount of stress that matters. Low levels may be good, but high levels are still definitely bad. (i.e., What doesn’t kill you might make you stronger….but too much stress is probably going kill you.)

The problem with this theory — which was once the dominant theory among psychologists, too — is that by and large, it doesn’t appear to be true. The amount of stress you encounter is a surprisingly poor predictor of whether it will leave you worse (or better) off.

As it turns out, your mindset about stress may be the most important predictor of how it affects you. As Crum, Salovey, and Achor discovered, people have different beliefs about stress. Some people — arguably most people — believe that stress is a bad thing. They agreed with statements like “The effects of stress are negative and should be avoided,” and the researchers called this the stress-is-debilitating mindset. Those who instead agreed that “Experiencing stress facilitates my learning and growth” had what they called a stress-is-enhancing mindset.

In their studies, Crum and colleagues began by identifying stress mindsets among a group of nearly 400 employees of an international financial institution. They found that those employees who had stress-is-enhancing mindsets (compared to stress-is-debilitating) reported having better health, greater life satisfaction, and superior work performance.

That’s already rather amazing, but here’s the best part — your mindset can also change! If you have been living with a stress-is-debilitating mindset (like most of us), you don’t have to be stuck with it. A subset of the 400 employees in the aforementioned study were shown a series of three-minute videos over the course of the following week, illustrating either the enhancing or debilitating effects of stress on health, performance, and personal growth. Those in the stress-is-enhancing group (i.e., the lucky ones) reported significant increases in both well-being and work performance.

Yet another study showed that stress-is-enhancing believers were more likely to use productive strategies, like seeking out feedback on a stress-inducing task. They were also more likely to show “optimal” levels of cortisol activity. (It turns out that both too much and too little cortisol release in response to a stressor can have negative physiological consequences. But with the stress-is-enhancing mindset, cortisol release is — like Baby Bear’s porridge — just right.)

Taken together, all this research paints a very clear picture: stress is killing you because you believe that it is. Of course, that doesn’t mean you aren’t juggling too many projects at once — each of us has limited time and energy, and people can and do get overworked.

But if you can come to see the difficulties and challenges you face as opportunities to learn and grow, rather than as your “daily grind,” then you really can be happier, healthier, and more effective. Maybe you don’t need less stress — you just need to think about your stress a little differently

Heidi Grant

March 14, 2013

Digital nomads leverage wireless digital technologies to perform their work duties while travelling the world.
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Digital Nomads & The Rise of Remote Work

“Choice empowers people and makes for a more content workforce. One day, offices will be a thing of the past.”

– Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin

We at Davitt Corporate Partners are fascinated by the changing landscape of the working world and as such, the rising phenomenon of digital nomadism and remote working is something that has captured our attention.

The past few years has seen significant growth in the number of people working remotely from all over the world. As a result of technological innovations, it is now more possible than ever for team members to easily and cheaply collaborate across cities, countries and continents.

This has led to the emergence of the “digital nomad” figure. Armed with just a laptop and a passport, this new vanguard of freelancers represents the office-less workplace of the future. For these ‘citizens of the world’, a workplace could be anything from a hut in the Gobi Desert to a café by the Seine.

Many digital nomads state that the greater flexibility and freedom of remote working means that they feel not only more productive but also happier than if they were working in a traditional office environment.

Remote working is equally beneficial to employers. The introduction of remote working means that employers can enjoy reduced overheads, smaller staff turnover and increased productivity. What’s more, flexible working policies have been shown to have a direct positive impact on revenue!

Is Digital Nomadism Here to Stay?

One in four business leaders anticipate that more than 75% of their workforce will not be working in traditional offices by the year 2020. A revolution in remote working will empower workers with the freedom to see the world without sacrificing their professional careers, meaning a greater work-life balance for all!

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The $112 Billion CEO Succession Problem

A great CEO can be the makings of a company but what happens when they need to be replaced? This infographic looks at how difficult it is to replace CEOs and the incredible cost to companies. It’s vital that the current CEO has an able successor to take his place, as if they don’t, the company will suffer. Read more now.

The $112 Billion CEO Succession Problem - Infographic

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PRODUCTIVITY FOR WORK APPS – Infographic

There’s an app for everything these days and it can sometimes be a bit overwhelming. We often download apps and never use them or find them useless. That is why we’ve compiled an infographic looking at apps that are actually good in the area of productivity. For example, Google Drive really is a no-brainer as you can use it on the go and it even has offline functionality. It stores everything on the drive for you, so you no longer need to be concerned about losing word files on your computer. Check out the full infographic now.

PRODUCTIVITY FOR WORK APPS - Infographic

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Merry Christmas

Davitt Corporate Partners would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year. Please note that our offices will be closed from 1.00pm on Friday the 22nd of December 2017, reopening on Tuesday the 2nd of January 2018. We will have very limited access to email during this period.

Should you need to contact us urgently, you can reach Adrienne Davitt on 087 242 9120 or David Keane on 086 836 1036.

This year we supported ReachOut.com, Dogs for the Blind, World Vision, Girl Rising, Avaaz, and Anthony Nolan Trust.