** HR Leaders Talk
Together Abroad02-02-2018 5:49 AM
Leadership is essentially a process by which individuals influence the behaviours, attitudes and thoughts of others. Leaders set the direction by helping others see what lies ahead of them and rising to the challenges. They encourage everyone to fulfil their potential and they inspire them in the process. Leading by example is a trait of true leaders and when lacking, a group can quickly degenerate into conflict because everyone has a different perspective and will naturally lean toward different opinions and solutions.
Leaders are often seen in the face of those who guide nations or businesses. They can use their influence in either a positive or negative way. Imagine a dictator who has strong leadership skills but puts them to horrible uses. Conversely, a head of a charitable organization can use the same type of leadership skills to help others. Thus, ethics is a key element of leadership because it serves as an inner compass that motivates and directs leaders toward what is fair and good.
Leaders must also lead with their actions because one’s actions usually set an unspoken standard about what is appropriate and what is not. Leadership is the act of translating intention into reality by acting...
Together Abroad01-01-2018 12:01 PM
Business environment characterizes itself for being a highly complex, ever-changing and competitive space, where companies need to evolve at a high pace if they want to survive. In this context, it is the mindset of great leaders and their crucial set of skills that will determine the necessary innovation and the consequent success of their organizations.
Dutch business culture is no exception to this reality, with the particularity that their structures reflect the egalitarianism and openness that characterises Dutch society in general. Many Dutch companies, thus, show horizontal hierarchies, where a managing director and employees are considered co-workers. In this so called participative leadership, managers are not regarded as omniscient, but rather they would use the group’s knowledge before making decisions on the grounds of consensus.
Effective leadership, however, requires personal skills that go beyond a particular culture; these are the talents that differentiate leaders from managers. As famous management consultant, Peter Drucker, once noted: "Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things." According to him, effective leaders, regardless of their personality type, follow a similar set of practices, including taking responsibility for their decisions and communications, developing action plans and focusing on opportunities instead of problems....
Together Abroad02-10-2017 10:40 AM
Creativity is often associated with artists, musicians, and scientists. It is rarely recognized as belonging to the sphere of everyday life or with work – like being tied to business and economics. However, when defined as the tendency to generate or recognize ideas, alternatives, or possibilities that may be useful in solving problems, creativity can easily be applied to most aspects of our lives. There are three main reasons why people are motivated to be creative. The first one is the need for novel, varied, and complex stimulation. The second is the need to communicate ideas and values. And the third is the need to solve problems. All three needs are often encountered at various work tasks.
In order to be creative, a person needs to be able to view things in new ways or from a different perspective, amongst which is the ability to generate new possibilities or new alternatives. Tests of creativity measure not only the number of alternatives that people can generate, but also the uniqueness of those alternatives. The ability to generate alternatives or to see things uniquely does not occur by chance; it is linked to other, more fundamental qualities of thinking, such as flexibility,...
Together Abroad03-04-2017 12:40 PM
Are individual members of your team performing worse than you had hoped? Failure to get to the root of poor performance can have adverse effects on a company's commercial success. Research has shown that on almost all commercial measures, including net income and growth in revenue, the companies that perform the best also have the most effective performance management programs. For example, employees whose managers are adept at people development perform 25% better than managers who are less competent in this area. So what can be done?
The first step is to recognize poor performance and act quickly. Failure to respond can have large negative consequences further down the line. The reasons for not recognising poor performance are many. For instance, does it stem from a lack of ability, or simply from a lack of motivation? A misdiagnosis will only make things worse, both for the employee and the manager. Low ability may be associated with overly difficult tasks, a lack of improvement over time, or low individual competencies in the role they are employed in.
Define the concept of performance management. In a study of 100 midsized companies by the CEB, no two companies agreed on what the term...
Together Abroad06-03-2017 1:09 PM
Many growing companies find themselves in a situation when there are clearly two (or more) different cultures within one firm, and no one has the slightest idea how it could have happened. Everyone agrees that it has surely to do with communication, or the lack of it, but no one seems to know how to fix it. When crucial information fails to be delivered between different departments, it does take its toll on your productivity and, inevitably, your bottom line and the growth you were so proud of. Here are some simple but efficient ideas on how to avoid a common start-up nightmare.
You will surely not be surprised to hear that communication is about connections between people. Therefore, to foster communication in your company, try to be always on a lookout for ways to build connections between people. Consider team outings, group lunches and open office layouts to bring people into contact. This should help you get rid of the “us vs. them” mentality.
Open communication should be a solid part of your company culture. Make it crystal clear to the new hires that open communication is desirable, mutual and expected. Soon, they will not only incorporate it into...
Together Abroad05-02-2017 9:39 PM
In a fast paced and competitive world companies are in constant need of change. Many seek competitive advantage over their rivals and a means of maximising their resources to move ahead in the marketplace. This does not come for free, however. Goals must be outlined and people must be motivated to achieve those goals, using the company’s resources in the most efficient manner. This is where management is required. This part of a company is responsible for setting strategy and coordinating the efforts of its employees to accomplish objectives, through the application of the company’s resources such as financial, technological, monetary and human resources. The manner in which this is accomplished varies between companies.
There are generally three levels of management within a company. These include what are known as top, middle and first-level management. These are in turn tiered in numbers with more first level managers, less middle managers, and an even smaller pool of top-level managers. How a company organises its management determines its ability to handle its stated objectives. In general a company will delegate long-term decisions to its top-level management, whilst decisions affecting the day-to-day running of the company are left for the first-level managers. How...
Together Abroad11-01-2017 3:51 PM
Often, we think of leaders as the managers in our work environments. While we hope that our managers make good leaders, it isnot always the case that a manager and a leader are the same person. The best leaders are people who just understand what it is that their team needs at that moment, whether that is a hand to hold or a drill sergeant. There are different types of leaders that are needed for different goals or situations, and each has its strengths and pitfalls.
The Pacesetter- This leader, does so by example. They set the threshold and expect the rest of the team to follow suit. For this method to be effective, the team should already be motivated and ready to work. The team might just need a guiding force to get behind.
The Authoritarian- This type of leaderinspires an entrepreneurial fire in others. They tend to focus on the goals and aspirations of the team.In order for this type of leader to be effective, they need to have credibility, so this doesnot work when employees are better educated or more experienced in their craft than the leader.
The Affiliative- The affiliative leader focuses on people and their...
Together Abroad05-12-2016 12:34 PM
Many commentators and researchers often overlook the function of middle management within an institutional hierarchy. However, middle managers are often vital to the success of a company.Theymake many important decisions, often in a context in which they do not set the overall strategy themselves. Understanding the importance of this intermediary level, and its function in implementing the strategic and organizational goals of a company, is a necessity.
Middle managers are responsible for implementing policies and plans decided by top-level management, as well as the organization’s general strategic objectives, in the most efficient way possible. According to Mary C. Niles, their role involves working together with top management to accomplish a wide variety of goals. These include working under delegated responsibility, such as the day-to-day running of the organization, and to cooperate among themselves and with top and lower management to ensure the organization functions smoothly.According to research, leadership is an important competency that middle management must utilise. This involves the skills to motivate and influence subordinate staff, to demonstrate the level of work required by the organization, and in general be a good role model.
Top-level management generally has an agenda setting role, providing an overall direction for the company....
Together Abroad31-10-2016 1:40 PM
If you are a manager, you probably have a clear picture about what kind of person your employee should be, what qualities and skills they should posses and how they should perform their tasks. In the end, that is what you put in the job ad. Expectations are a two-way street, though, and although rarely advertised, there is such a thing as “qualities your employee seeks in you” or even “things your employee wants from you”. Unfortunately, the first time you are likely to hear about them is when your best talents hand in their notice.
Among many personal skills that employees appreciate is the ability to treat people fairly. Surprisingly (or not) many employees have no problem with authoritative leadership style, as long as they have the feeling that their boss is being fair. Similarly, leading by example is not only proof of your investment in the business, but inspires motivation as well.
Approachability and ability to listen are not only something your employees wish for; it is also in your best interest to posses these qualities. Otherwise you might be missing out on the fastest way of knowing what goes wrong in your business and why.
Jostein van Vliet06-09-2016 9:48 AM
Many modern managers want their team to communicate openly for its beneficial effects on learning and performance. Their ambition is supported by findings in business and science. For example, a large study at Google on the effectiveness of their work teams pointed to one critical factor explaining the performance of teams: psychological safety. In high performing teams, the participants equally contributed in conversations and were able to intuit what others were thinking and feeling from non-verbal cues.
So, open communication where people share valid verbal and non-verbal information seems a good idea. Why then, do we often experience situations where things are left unsaid? In this article we will explore how managers can stimulate openness.
Good Reasons for Holding Back
First, back to that concept of psychological safety. One way to understand it is as a shared belief that it is okay to take risks, and that others will not embarrass or punish you for speaking up. ‘Shared’ is important here: suppose I hold something back, because I think you might use that information against me. You notice something odd about my reactions and you start thinking I hold something back, and you also feel less inclined to share. I...
Together Abroad01-08-2016 1:45 PM
MBA candidates bring a myriad of good things to a company looking to hire. Amongst them, is that it shows a company’s commitment to have quality personnel. Not only does it look good for other businesses and customers you are working with, but also to future employees. MBA graduates learn a great deal in school that can be beneficial for a company. They are able to provide teams with crucial business skills such as leadership, critical thinking and contacts.
While anyone can be a boss or a manager, not everyone can be a leader. It requires an understanding of team building and knowledge of the company environment, as well as the people on your team. MBA candidates acquire a great deal of confidence to go along with their learned knowledge of basic leadership skills. In addition, working on projects and with classmates enhances skills such as cross-cultural understanding and teamwork. All of these skills can be used whether leading a small group or a whole organization.
Critical thinking is said to be the process of actively and skilfullyanalysing information in a business situation and generating an optimal solution. Graduates of an MBA program will have the skills to take a...
Together Abroad07-06-2016 12:01 PM
We are faced with many problems in our life and work, and very often we take some “advice” from a friend, a family member, a coworker, or we can read some tips in a book or online about problem-solving methods or techniques. But sometimes problems keep piling up so fast that, instead of solving the core of each of them, we take shortcuts and continuously get trapped in a never-ending cycle, where it seems very difficult to find the real resolutions.
In the work environment, problem-solving and engaging employees in it, is one of the essences of what leaders exist to do. Problem-solving usually goes through four phases: defining the problem, generating alternatives, evaluating and selecting alternatives and implementing solutions. In each of them the leader should be an active member of the process.
Leaders should be able to anticipate a problem and in that way minimize the occurrence of the problem itself. Good leaders see around, beneath and beyond the problem. Yet when it comes to engaging employees in problem solving, not every leader is successful. Giving employees the right recourses for their job demands can make them more engaged in their work. When employees are engaged in problem-solving...
01-03-2016 11:46 AM
As a company or a business grows larger and expands, it becomes increasingly necessary and essential to define an organizational structure that establishes the rules in terms of authority, policy making, responsibility and general communication throughout the organization. Put simply, these rules determine who’s in charge of whom, who take leadership and how do they interact with the rest of the company. Most commonly an organization takes up either a hierarchical (pyramid) structure or a non-hierarchical (flat) structure. Let’s explore the reasons why.
A ‘flat’ organization means that the organizational structure contains few or no levels of management between staff and their managers / overlords. In such a model all staff have an increased involvement in the decision-making process and collectively share responsibility for it, while minimizing the amount of supervision given to staff from management. Such a model is advantageous because it facilitates quick communication between employees while eliminating excess bureaucracy (and consequently eliminates the salaries of additional management).
While such a model may be advantageous for small organizations or those with an informal atmosphere (look at tech start-ups, smaller science and medical service companies for example), the model does need to be reconsidered for larger organizations as...
Together Abroad05-01-2016 11:13 AM
Today, most of industrialized countries connect their hopes for a long-term sustainable economic growth with the transition to an innovative path of development. A great choice of different practices and instruments are offered to companies that can manage the innovation processes. However, we should not forget that so many external and internal factors are defining and shaping the same practices. Therefore, an important task of innovation management is placed in the hands of leaders where they have to select the best ways to use new technologies most efficiently in accordance with specific economic conditions and company resources.
Currently, an increasing number of managers support the idea of innovations and realize the need for its incorporation into traditional business processes of companies. The main reasons for that are the desire to improve the efficiency of operations, the need to respond to the dynamic development of the market, the fast growth of the company and the will to achieve a significant increase in general indicators of company’s success and flexibility. However, in order to achieve these results the company requires a sufficient system managed by its leaders that is capable of controlling the sequence and timing of all actions performed at the...
Together Abroad30-11-2015 12:46 PM
In this day and age, businesses have to deal with an increasing amount of internal and external factors that evoke the need to continuously adapt to an ever-changing environment. There are new technologies being developed almost every day, and people are not restricted anymore to stay at one place for their whole life but can travel all over the world which gives new opportunities as well as challenges to businesses regarding their recruitment practices. Customer expectations are different now than they were some years ago, and fast growing start-ups face various problems in order to keep up with their competitors.
Companies have to make changes within their organisation to deal with the new technological, demographical, and environmental developments. So business strategy, structures and corporate culture have to be reviewed and adapted to the new situation in order to stay competitive. It is therefore necessary to enhance an adequate change management within your business. It is especially important for a person in a leadership position to get active and fulfil the tasks of initiating change management in the first place. That is why there will be five steps presented that leaders have to comply with to help manage change within their...
Together Abroad03-11-2015 9:23 AM
Titus Flapper on Leadership: An HR Director’s Perspective on How to Be a Good Team Leader
Meet Titus Flapper
Titus Flapper has worked for many years as HR manager and director in various organisations including Festo and OctoPlus. He is currently the director of his own consultancy firm called TF Business Support. However, he hasn’t always been in this line of work.
“I studied mathematics once,” Titus recalls. “I was a teacher for many years, and then I changed to HR, and now for the last 13 years, I work for myself.” He says that the career switch was “more or less of a coincidence”: while he was still teaching, he was asked to organise the training and development of employees in an organisation on a part-time basis. He ended up liking the work in HR, and the company decided to offer him a position. This meant that he had to decide between continuing his career in education, and starting something completely new. He decided that he liked the idea of fresh possibilities. He remembers thinking, “If I don’t take this step, I’ll be in education for the rest of my life.”
He hasn’t looked back since. In this article,...
Together Abroad11-06-2015 12:45 PM
Freerk Faber, director of World Trade Center (WTC) Twente says the organisation has seen great growth and it is providing a range of international trade services to local and international investors
“I became the director during the period of economic crisis and it was a hard time to start,” recalls Freerk Faber, director of WTC Twente. Though Faber took the reins in 2009 during the economic downturn, under his careful direction, WTC Twente has developed tremendously over the past six years offering a range of trade services for regional and international investors.
Faber says that WTC Twente has a fixed staff of four people while there are two staff as well as interns and volunteers working at the Expat Center of Twente. “We are a small team though there is a lot to do. A challenging part of my work is to bring together companies from different backgrounds to connect worldwide,” he says.
Developing an investment community
WTC Twente took years to develop; Faber’s extensive experience in having worked in various economic positions such as in the Economic Affairs and Planning in the municipality of Hengelo and economic change projects in Hengelo, Middelburg and Coevorden has definitely helped in the development...
Together Abroad03-02-2015 1:56 PM
The Hague is known as a region for international business in The Netherlands. Kelly Rodrigus, COO of WTC The Hague, says that she and her team are committed in promoting international trade and building a “business community” for local and international organisations
“The WTC is not just office buildings but it so much more than that,” says Kelly Rodrigus, chief operations officer of The World Trade Center (WTC) The Hague.
WTC The Hague is more than just the location that offers office space as Rodrigus pointed out. It comprises myriad services and facilities catered towards businesses such as conference space, an art gallery, serviced apartments and a hotel. It is also has a Trade & Investment Information Desk that helps international businesses set up shop or trade not only in The Hague but within The Netherlands.
Rodrigus who has been heading the helm of WTC The Hague for more than two and a half years explains that it is not an entity in itself but a cooperation between real estate investor, Bouwinvest and The Hague municipality.
She says that WTC in cooperation with its business partners is also part of WTC International Business Club, a networking organisation intent on promoting international...