‘The ideal leader’ – Is there such a thing? What are the qualities of great leaders?

Leadership qualities - Sir Winston Churchill

Some people say that the ‘ideal leader’ is a myth. They argue that there are leaders that suit some situations but not others.

The notion of ‘good’ leadership is always relative to the need. There is no single ideal leader. Yet there is a common theme to good leadership: access to a particular set of energies and skill-sets.

None of us has all these naturally: becoming a leader means having to grow. But it means growing in a clear direction, acquiring certain qualities that we need but don’t have enough of.

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The real business case for inclusion

How diversity can make a better, more profitable business

As a small business owner, you may think ‘inclusion’ is an issue for big corporates, with large HR departments.

This misperception assumes that inclusion is a cost, when in fact, done properly, inclusion is one of the best free resources available to smaller businesses.

Here’s how being an inclusive business can help you succeed and how it can help you to build a more profitable company. (more…)

How finding a great mentor could help you to grow, and your business to flourish

business mentor helping business owner

If you could have lunch with any businessman or woman in the world, (alive or dead), to discuss your commercial/professional situation, whom would you choose – and why?

Chances are that you’d choose someone you admire or are intrigued by, perhaps because of their achievements, their values or their reputation/personal brand.

Most of us recognise the need to learn from the life experience and wisdom of others. We also aspire to accelerate the pace towards our own success, or at least smooth a few of the bumps in the road. A business mentor can be an invaluable asset to enable us to identify relevant principles of success and adapt them for our own situations and use.

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Interviewing job candidates – How to get it right

conducting good job interviews

Getting the recruitment process right is important for any business as employing the wrong person can have a significant impact on future success. It will also save time and costs as the process will only have to be carried out once and not repeated.

Although some employers perceive interviewing as a small part of the recruitment process, it is a vital opportunity to examine how potential candidates measure up against the needs of the business and, as such, it is important to get it right.

There are also risks of discrimination that employers should be aware of to avoid a tribunal claim, so here’s how to make sure your interviewing process gets the right results. (more…)

Getting your job adverts right

job advert in newspaper

Advertising for a new member of staff is something many business owners will need to do. Whether it’s because an existing employee is leaving, or a new role is being created, advertising for job vacancies is part and parcel of running a business.

One of the first steps for many businesses seeking a new employee will be to write a job advert. However, there are legal implications, as well as practical concerns regarding the advertising of job vacancies, that employers need to be aware of.

If you get this crucial part of the recruitment process right, the next steps are more likely to go smoothly, but get it wrong and you could get into hot water.

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How to increase productivity and positivity with an employee engagement scheme

It has been proven that the happiness of your employees can have a huge impact on their productivity. In fact, job satisfaction can lead to your workers being 12% more productive, according to a study carried out by the Social Market Foundation and the University of Warwick.

One of the best ways to increase happiness and morale throughout your business is by implementing an employee engagement scheme.

Here, Steve King, Director of Gifts International, explains how you can help your staff to be happier and more productive with an employee engagement scheme.

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When could your small business benefit from an interim manager?

how to choose an interim manager

Businesses often find themselves requiring some management resources and skills on a temporary basis.

Hiring an interim manager, or an entire management, team can ensure the business successfully fills this temporary, but urgent, business gap.

To help you understand if your business could benefit from the input of an interim manager, we asked Clive Hyman of Hyman Capital Services to explain when an interim manager make sense and how to go about hiring the right person. (more…)

People first: How to engage key talent through a great employee experience

Recruit exceptional talent

Attracting, hiring, developing and retaining the right people is crucial to the success of any business.

Staff turnover is costing businesses more than ever and recent research from the Recruitment and Employment Federations reveals that companies are reporting skill shortages across 60 different types of role including engineers, IT specialists, care workers and accountants.

Not only that but the world of work is changing so rapidly that jobs that will be essential in three years’ time, don’t even exist yet.

The stakes for many employers have never been higher. It’s vital to compete to get the right people if your business is to flourish but what’s the best way to do this? (more…)

A guide to carrying out a disciplinary investigation

Disciplinary inestigation

A disciplinary investigation is the first important step in carrying out a full and fair disciplinary process. It is one step that employers may find insignificant but, on the contrary, a proper investigation will generally lead to a smoother disciplinary rocedure.

An investigation is key as it is required by the Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures and will be taken in to account by an employment tribunal when deciding compensation awards. It is usually detailed in a company’s disciplinary policy and procedure which should be followed internally.

Here’s what every business owner needs to know about a disciplinary investigation; (more…)

How to tackle disputes in the workplace

How to deal with staff disputes informally and formally

It’s not uncommon that when an employee makes a complaint about a fellow colleague that employers wish to bury their heads in the sand and ignore the issue.

A getting on with business approach, however, is unlikely to solve the dispute and can cause the situation to spiral out of control. Employers who manage disputes and try to resolve these when raised will see the benefits of taking such an approach.

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Becoming the type of leader people want to emulate and do business with

People learn through observing others – how they act, how they react, how they make others feel. They do it so they can work out how to be successful, or to survive. They do it so they can emulate them, or avoid their mistakes.

When we are leaders, it means they are observing us and making judgments about whether to be like us, or not.

As a business leader, your actions can have a profound effect on your business. Not only does it set the tone for your company culture but it shapes how you and your business are viewed by potential customers and partners.

You therefore need to ask yourself, ‘What can I do to be the kind of person that people want to emulate and do business with?’
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Purpose, values and goals: The 3 Key ingredients for a successful business

Purpose, values and goals

Striving to find a meaning in life is the most powerful driving force in humans. Acknowledging this as the key motivator for everyone involved in your business will help you to nurture the best achievements and results.

Neuroscientific research taking place around the world is beginning to piece together connections between the brain and behaviour, especially at work. This research is providing valuable insights into how to be a more effective leader. (more…)

Restrictive covenants and contracts of employment – Advice for employers

restrictive covenants

For most employers, setting in place rules and responsibilities for employees during their time with the company is their most important consideration. This can be achieved through having effective contracts of employment, alongside employee handbooks.

Employers should, however, be putting thought in to what happens once employment ends to ensure that they are protecting their business interests. After the employee has resigned, or been dismissed, they are no longer bound by their contractual terms.

Restrictive covenants are an effective tool for restricting damaging activity by the ex-employee but employers need to carefully construct these covenants to ensure they are enforceable. (more…)

Understanding fixed term employment contracts – what business owners need to know

Fixed term employment contracts are generally seen by employers as those which “plug the gap” when their normal, permanent employees are absent for a period of time.

Fixed term contracts are useful tools for businesses who need to employ staff to cover short term peaks in business demands. But before employing staff on a fixed term contract, employers need to be aware of the rights fixed term employees have to ensure they are not at risk of a tribunal claim.

So to help make sure you don’t get caught out, we asked employment law expert, Peter Done to explain the key points of fixed term contracts for small businesses; (more…)

What Creativity Can Do for Your Bottom Line

How creativity boosts profits

If you’re running your own small business, or thinking about starting one, then chances are that you’re already creative and putting your ideas into practice.

But as any business owner knows that your initial idea is often just the start. (more…)

Why you must build on your strengths, NOT focus on trying to fix weaknesses

Positive Leader

Business owners and leaders looking to get the best out of themselves and their team will frequently spend a lot of time and effort searching for, and trying to improve on their weaknesses.

However, this is a completely counter-productive approach that can lower employee engagement and ultimately damage a business’ chance of success.

Here Jan Mühlfeit, Former Chairman of Microsoft Europe and author of The Positive Leader: How Energy and Happiness Fuel Top-Performing Teams explains why business leaders and owners need to stop focussing on fixing weaknesses; (more…)

A small business guide to employee handbooks

Nearly all employers are aware of the legal requirement to give new employees a statement of their main terms once they start working for you.

For some small businesses this may be the only documentation they give staff, after all this meets their legal requirements. However, many employers can find that well-drafted and implemented employee handbooks are essential to safeguard their business.

To help you understand how an employee handbook can help both employers and employees, here’s what every small business owners needs to know about them; (more…)

How happy employees can boost your bottom line – 5 Happiness strategy stories

Happiness in the workplace - business benefits

Today, more young professionals are making alternative choices to the standard roles assumed by their parents’ generation. As a result, the landscape of work has changed dramatically for this generation, and for generations to follow.

Why?

It’s simple. We want more from our jobs than just a salary. We also want to be happy in the place we spend 70% of our waking hours.

This may be surprising, but for small business owners and start-ups, this is actually really great news. Even if we’re not a multi-national company, we can still compete for talent by offering a happier workplace than our big business counterparts.

So how do you create a fun culture and put happiness at the core of your small business? Here are five examples of companies that are focusing on employee happiness and reaping the benefits; (more…)

A small business guide to carrying out effective staff appraisals

When staff appraisal or review time rolls around, many small business owners view this as a waste of their valuable time. This is not the case, however, and employers who spend the time and effort to make these meetings are a success will often get much more out of staff appraisals than they put into them.

In this guide, we look at staff appraisals and outline how smaller employers can reap the benefits of an effective employee appraisal scheme;

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Learning to lead your leaders

As a business owner, you’re also a business leader. And therefore, in order for your start-up to grow and develop beyond a one-man-band, there will come a time when you need to be able to lead other leaders within your business.

To do this successfully, you’ll need to develop a whole new set of skills and ways of operating because leading leaders is not simply a question of knowing what needs to be done and telling others to do it.

Instead, you will have to guide those leaders and inspire them to inspire their teams to deliver the results you need. When you can do that – you are a Super Leader.

To help you become a leader of leaders, in this article, Jean Gamester reveals 3 key steps, you’ll need to take; (more…)

How to lead inclusively

Your ability to be your most effective and successful is fueled by how inclusive you are as a leader in all aspects of your business – your supply chain, your workforce and how you take your products and services to market.

It’s likely that you have based your success to date on your intuitive grasp of key business issues, but if you rely on intuition alone, you could reach a plateau that will stunt your progress, and may well limit the level of creative and innovative thinking around you.

This isn’t a great recipe for sustainable business success, so here’s how you can avoid this stagnation and drive your business forward. (more…)

Work Experience & Internships – A Guide for small businesses

Many companies are enthusiastic about creating opportunities for younger people to gain business experience and skills in shorter placements, often labeling these as work experience or internships.

While larger businesses frequently put internship schemes in place, many smaller businesses can be put off offering these opportunities because they view them as an extra administrative burden.

Many small business owners hold the misconception that they would take up large amounts of time, money and effort but this is not always the case. In fact, providing such opportunities can bring tangible benefits for smaller employers.

Here’s what every small business owner needs to know about offering work experience and internships; (more…)

6 common team challenges – How to overcome them and grow your team

As a business owner, you will no doubt, face some of the common team challenges experienced by many businesses today. When you do face these problems, you will need to know how to overcome them if you want your team to deliver.

We all know that dysfunctional teams are not successful. They will become de-motivated and in turn deliver poor results.

So, here’s how to take the pain out of meetings, handle tricky conversations and solve those perennial communication problems once and for all. (more…)

Training and developing staff on a tight budget

‘If you think training is expensive, try ignorance’

This oft-quoted phrase, attributed to Peter Drucker, is frequently used when businesses say they ‘can’t afford’ to train or develop their staff.

So it’s worth asking yourself how much ‘untrained ‘or ‘undeveloped’ staff are costing your business – now and, potentially, in the future? (more…)

Health & Safety in Europe: which country is safest?

PROMOTED GUIDE – From QA International Certification. QAIC is an accredited certification body issuing internationally recognised accredited certificates across a wide range of manufacturing and service industries.

 

In our modern society, safeguarding employees is a priority. Despite the health and safety horror stories we hear, it’s fair to say that a large proportion of European workers can work in safety with little fear for their health.

This is largely a result of 1989’s European Framework Directive on Safety and Health at Work (Directive 89/391 EEC), which outlined the minimum safety standards at work in countries across Europe. (more…)

Respecting equality and diversity in leadership

In years gone by, equality and diversity haven’t always been at the forefront of business owners’ minds. However, in recent years more and more business leaders are recognising that respecting equality and diversity make good business sense.

So, what makes equality and diversity increasingly vital when you are setting up and running a business? We asked entrepreneur and author, Jackie Arnold to explain; (more…)

How small business owners can tackle difficult conversations with employees

Having to carry out difficult conversations is an inevitable consequence of owning a business and being an employer. When most business owners start employing staff they often haven’t thought of the reality of becoming an employer and having to tackle workplace issues as they arise.

Employers often don’t have the confidence to successfully carry out difficult conversations but avoiding these, and leaving issues to fester, is likely to negatively impact the business and, whilst this may be avoided in a larger business, a lack of productivity, capability or incidents of misconduct can have a serious effect on the business as a whole.

As a small business employer, you can avoid this outcome by being prepared, and facing difficult conversations with confidence in your ability to come to a positive solution. Here’s how; (more…)

What is workplace diversity, why is it important, and what are the benefits to businesses?

Workplace diversity is a term which relates to the people who work for an organisation. It is often spoken about with reference to equal opportunities, and the two are intrinsically linked, but have varying perspectives.

Providing equal opportunities means ensuring that no individual is treated less favourably on the basis of who they are – that all decisions taken in relation to them are based on fact and merit alone.

So what are the benefits of workplace diversity to a small business and how can you achieve it? This guide provides you with the necessary advice. (more…)

How to Design an Effective Incentive Scheme for Your Small Business

staff incentive scheme

An effective incentive scheme is an important way for small businesses to motivate their staff in order to improve performance and boost profits. Responding to incentives is part of human nature and employees like (and deserve) to be rewarded for their hard work.

For startups and small businesses who have a limited budget, designing a staff incentive scheme can seem like a real challenge. But you don’t need company cars and large annual bonuses to design an incentive scheme that has a positive impact in your workplace. Here’s how to create an incentive scheme that really works for your staff and your small business;

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Making sure staff know their position and purpose within your business

Red tape… compliance… ticking boxes… costly… time consuming… frustrating… not my job!

Be honest, when you think about HR (Human Resources) in your business, are these the kind of phrases that first spring to mind?

If you ask any small business owner what frustrates them in their company, most will include HR and talk about problems with their staff. They will tell you about people who fail to do what they are supposed to do or what they say they will do! They will bemoan the fact that people constantly ‘let them down’. This is what they relate HR with… and blame HR for!

However, HR does not have to be like this.

Imagine you could get people to do what they are supposed to do and to the standard you need – wouldn’t that make your life as a small business owner easier? Would that add value to your business? Would it free up your time so you could concentrate on other aspects of your business?

Well it is possible – not easy – but possible! (more…)

Leaders tell people what to do – don’t they?

As a leader, it’s your job to decide what kind of behaviour you would like in your organisation. But, how do you find your own style as a leader and set the tone for everybody who works with you?

Here, Kate Mercer, author of ‘A Buzz in the Building – how to build and lead a brilliant organisation’, looks at different styles of business leaders and explores the concept of partnership at work as a guiding principle…

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A Guide to calculating holiday pay

When you employ staff you must give them a certain amount of annual leave, and pay them during this time.

If your employees work a set amount of hours, and received a fixed salary, calculating their annual leave entitlement and holiday pay is straightforward. However, if staff have irregular hours, work overtime, or receive commissions or bonuses then calculating holiday pay can get quite tricky.

To help new business owners and employers understand the regulations on calculating holiday pay, we asked employment law expert, Peter Done to explain the key points for small businesses;
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First aid training at work: Why is it so important?

When it comes to first aid in the workplace, the same principles apply to small businesses with only a few employees, as they do to companies with a bigger workforce spread across multiple locations.

In both instances, there must be plans in place to ensure the day-to-day working operation complies with health and safety regulations, protecting employees from possible injuries and reacting to sudden illness.

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Why a healthier workplace is good for a small business, and simple ways to achieve it

Small businesses and start-ups are particularly vulnerable to staff health issues. If you’re a small business of five staff when suddenly one of the team is off sick with a chronic back complaint, then the business is trying to operate with only 80% of the workforce.

The increased workload this pushes on to other staff can soon create problems. The extra pressure can cause mistakes to be made, customers to be lost and staff to become stressed and a booming business can rapidly spiral into decline.

While it may not be top priority, there are several common sense health and wellbeing steps that will not only protect your small business but also pay significant dividends over time. If your staff are healthier, they’re going to have fewer days of sick leave and you could also see a boost in productivity.

With the value of workplace health being increasingly recognised, we asked Rosie Bambury of the Better Health at Work Alliance, to explain how small businesses can benefit from a bigger focus on employee health.

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A small business guide to annual leave entitlement for employees

As an employer you are required by law to give your employees a certain number of days holiday during the year. The amount of annual leave employees are entitled to depends on several factors.

This guide to leave entitlement for small business owners explains the amount of holiday you are required by UK law to give your employees, and how to calculate this for workers not working a normal working week.

Also covered are the laws regarding bank holidays, carrying over unused leave days, imposing a period of annual leave on staff e.g. over the festive season, and when you can refuse employees’ requests to take holiday;

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