Category Archives: Team Building & Leadership

How To Cultivate The Right Culture For Your Business

Finding the right company culture for your business

As the business owner, it’s up to you to define your company’s culture. It is important to create an atmosphere that encourages excellence while still promoting a sense of belonging to a team. Your employees will only move in the direction that you lead them in. Remember, the culture of your workplace starts at the top and trickles down the ladder from there.

Setting the right tone for your business can seem like a daunting task for those unfamiliar with how to go about it properly. Fortunately, there are a few simple yet powerful steps that you can take to seed your business with the right behaviours and mind-set, to ensure that it will blossom into something greater.

1) Never play favourites

You will always get along with some people better than others. It’s human nature to align better with certain personality types. That does not excuse or justify showing preferential treatment to staff. If you allow subjective factors like that to influence who you hire and promote, you undermine the integrity of your workplace by showing that competence and merit are not valued or rewarded. Violating this rule fill your business with ‘brown-nosers’ and ‘backstabbers’. Make sure that a person’s work ethic and performance is the sole dictating factor in their promotion. This ensures that focus on excellence will works it way right down to the most junior employees in your company.

2) Hold yourself to the highest standard

Your employees follow your lead. The standard you set for yourself will be the standard that your employees ultimately hold themselves to. If you ask your employees to perform a particularly dirty task, be the first to do so yourself.  If you ask your employees to stay late, be prepared to do so yourself when required. Similarly if you insist that your employees keep their smartphones off of the floor, don’t repeatedly check your own phone in front of staff. Holding your team to a different standard than what you hold yourself to is a sure fire way to lose your respect and credibility as a leader.

3) Set goals, follow up & acknowledge success

Disengaged employees never start off as apathetic and unmotivated. In most cases, it is a failure of leadership that has led a person to become disengaged with their job. Preventing that process from beginning is accomplished by setting clear goals while still empowering the employee to achieve them. People will take pride in what they do if they know that their efforts are recognized by management. Set a target for your team and hold them accountable to it, but make sure that you give them ample feedback along the way.

If your employees know that you are paying attention to what they do and  that you trust them to perform at their best, they will exceed your expectations.  A worker without focus is an unproductive and unhappy one, but one that is micromanaged will begin to doubt their own abilities and self-worth. Find the right balance between the two, and you’ll be amazed at what your employees will accomplish.

To hear more on how we can help you cultivate the right culture for your business complete the form below and we will get in touch:

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How Well Is Your Team Performing?

Well performing fully engaged team member in office workplace

Are you confident that you know how your team is performing?  For many people this may seem like a question that has a blindingly obvious answer.  After all, many business owners pride themselves on knowing  all of their team’s strengths and weaknesses.  For some it may be based on relevant KPI’s.  For many small business owners it can be more of a got feel based on observations around work ethic and attitude.

Define your company values.

It is essential to define how performance is being measured in your business. Whilst most people are aware of the importance of setting KPI’s , there is  less awareness of the importance of alignment to your company’s values.  Let’s take a look at how combining performance with alignment to company values gives you  undisputable actionable insights in relation to managing team performance.

Defining your company values is a crucial first step. It sounds obvious but is often overlooked.  It is especially relevant to clearly define what a high or low performance actually looks like  in relation to the various roles within your business.

There are four key categories into which an employee’s performance can be placed.

  1. Low Performing Not Aligned To Company Values
  2. Low Performing  & Aligned To Company  Values
  3. High Performing Not Aligned To Company Values
  4. High Performing & Aligned To Company  Values

If asking teams to self evaluate it is important to bear in mind that people tend to under score their own performance . This is due to a  common fear of being asked to justify it.

Once you have evaluated how well your team is performing and their alignment with your company values, it is time to take action.

Low performers who are NOT aligned to your company’s values.

Turning performances like this around usually requires a lot of time and resources.  Individuals in this category can be a negative influence within a team and can hold back progress. Hence, it is important to address this sooner rather than later.

Low performers who ARE aligned to your company’s values. 

It is not all bad news in relation to low performers. Those that are well aligned to company values are a different proposition.   A number of factors may cause this. The good news is that they can be easily addressed. Sometimes people in this category may have been over promoted or promoted without adequate training. Low performing well aligned staff are usually popular with both colleagues and customers.  Some additional  direction, feedback or training can be enough to improve their performance.

High performers who are NOT aligned to your company’s values.

People in this category often cause a dilemma.  What do you do with a star performer that has maverick tendencies? Perhaps they don’t gel with the wider team?  In this scenario one option is to coach somebody into alignment with your company’s values.  Another option is to allow these people to work in a way that they are happy with. They might prefer to work alone separate to colleagues.  It is important that as business owner you are happy with the outcome.

High performer  who ARE aligned to your company’s values.

Finally, these are the people you must keep highly engaged and developing. They are the future leaders of your business. They will respond well to being reminded of their importance.  Also, they will benefit from exposure to strategic planning discussions with senior management and director’s.  In an increasingly competitive recruitment market these are the people who will attract interest from eager recruiters. You don’t want to lose great people like this from your team.

At ActionCOACH Ireland, we offer a range of employee engagement, business growth and leadership programmes. Leave your details in the below form if you would like to discuss how these programmes can ensure your team realises their full potential.

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What can we Learn about Business Leadership from Irish Rugby?

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“The margins at the moment between people at high levels in sport or high levels in business are just getting smaller and smaller and smaller.” – Rob Kearney

For anyone who leads a team, learning the principles that makes a team world-class on the field in a high pressure competitive environment is key to getting your team to perform at the highest level in your industry. While the context for a sports coach is different than a business coach, the principles remain the same. Who better to learn from than Joe Schmidt?

His coaching and educational philosophy emphasises the importance of learning from pressure situations, and quotes Aristotle: ‘We are what we repeatedly do; excellence is not an act, but a habit.’ Schmidt says, “You need a solid set of values and behaviours as your foundation. Once that foundation is strong, then you can take the steps to achieve your goal.”

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When recruiting, besides observing a player’s game, Schmidt studies the player’s attitude too. He said that a player’s game can be improved by the right training but a player’s attitude or DNA cannot be changed. It is not about provinces, it is not about red or white jerseys – his foremost task is to pick the 15 best Irishmen who should represent ‘the green jersey’. “Individual leaders such as Paul O Connell, Brian O Driscoll and Johnny Sexton lead through their behaviour not their words.” According to Schmidt, a player can lead his team by being emotionally intelligent and unselfish enough to drive younger players – qualities that Paul O’Connell possessed which is why it is difficult to find a worthy replacement.

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Leadership can be about rallying those around you, but it can also be about rallying yourself to a crescendo and as O’Driscoll recalls about Paul O’Connell, “he drove that standard to another level all together. What set him apart was his constant need to get better every single year, year on year. Always trying to hone his own skills, his physical attributes, his diet; he was such a stickler for that”.

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Schmidt emphasizes the importance of investing in who the players are by giving constant feedback. “Feedback is fuel for a team; both positive and negative.” Team members feel assured that they are being noticed and that the leader is invested in them that yields better results.

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Schmidt draws on his experiences as a post-primary teacher, principal and coach, identifying 4 criteria for achieving success:

1 – Be adaptable – as change is inevitable

2 – Embrace challenge as opportunity – all business arises from an unsolved problem

3 – Lead from within – leadership is a mindset not a position

4 – Predict change – so you can adapt before it happens

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For the Irish Rugby Team winning matches and ultimately winning trophies means success, what it is for your business? To learn how to build and lead a high-performance winning team and achieve success in your field, join us at our upcoming Team & Leadership Workshop , on Friday 25th November from 10-12:15AM in the Crowne Plaza Dublin Airport. Click here for more information and to register your place or call us on 01 891 6220.

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 Or  if you would like to avail of a complimentary Business Review with one of our top Coaches to uncover ways to grow and improve your business, please fill in your details below and we will be in touch to arrange your appointment:

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Looking to Recruit? Make Your Next Hire Your Best Hire

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Seven top tips to ensure your next recruit is one of your most valuable assets….

If you are currently looking to hire or recruit new team members, you might find you have to search harder than in the past to find the ideal employee. As the job market continues to improve, competition is becoming increasingly stiff for the best people.

However, hiring bad employees can cost companies in many ways, including productivity and morale, so it’s vital for the success of your business to get it right!

Here are 7 top tips to help you find your next top team member:

1. Treat Recruiting as MARKETING

For large well-known companies, attracting top talent can be as easy as tweeting, “We’re Hiring!” and watching the applications flow in. However, smaller or lesser known businesses can often find it more difficult to get job seekers interested in opportunities.

Ask yourself, why would the best talent in the market want to work for you?

It’s a big decision moving to a new company, so just the same way you would market your products/services to potential customers in order to build brand awareness and generate sales, you must also sell both the job description and your company (it’s culture, values and mission, it’s workplace, it’s roles and advancement opportunities) to prospective candidates.

Make your company both appealing and visible to job seekers.

2. Engage SOCIAL MEDIA

Use social media to only only advertise current job openings, but also to spread your employer brand to a much larger audience over a longer period of time.

Broadcast the message that yours is a place where people want to work. The very idea of social media is to be social! Don’t just use your social media platforms to shout about your products or services. Share photos of team day’s out, birthday celebrations, charitable donations, or corporate social responsibility projects, and what’s happening in the office or on the shop or factory floor.

By helping people understand what it’s like to work for your business, you can build a pipeline of talented people who are excited to come work for your company before you’ve even posted a job opening. That makes it easier (and less expensive) for you to find job candidates.

3. Develop a great COMPANY CULTURE

It’s important to create a workplace where people want to be, and also to be a boss people want to work for. If you or your management team are Mr. or Ms. Grumpy, you have a major problem. Not only will it be difficult to recruit people, it will be difficult to retain people.

Sometimes it’s the little, inexpensive perks that can create a “cool factor” that makes yours the place to work, like pizza every Friday or team outings to an occasional sporting / music event. Be creative and create an environment where you would want to work.

4. LET EMPLOYEES KNOW you have a job opening

Any marketer will tell you that word-of-mouth is one of the best forms of advertising. The same holds true when marketing to potential employees.

Put your needs on your employees’ radars. Encourage them to share the job advertisement on their LinkedIn and other social media platforms. Ask them to recommend or keep an eye out for candidates that would be a good fit for the company.

Quality people tend to hang out with quality people. If your best workers recommend someone, there’s an excellent chance that the candidate will be a winner.

5. Make it EASY to apply

Honestly, most of the great employees that you want to attract either have jobs right now, or have plenty of options.

A lot of companies tend to make the barrier to entry too high and the reward too low by requiring applicants to fill out cumbersome application forms before they can even submit a CV. It’s important to have certain qualification metrics in place but by setting the barrier to entry too high you create a negative selection bias.

Instead, make it your goal to facilitate a conversation with the best candidates that are interested in coming to work for you. Why not include a “Work for Us” link on your website, linkedin and social media sites.

If a candidate needs to come by after normal hours, and you think they could be an ideal candidate, then make it happen.

6. Keep the FEELERS out

It’s smart to always be on the look out for talent. Keep a look out on LinkedIn, and at job fairs, expo’s and networking engagements. Sometimes it’s wise to hire a fantastic candidate before you have an opening, for the benefit of your company and to prevent the competition from snagging a real gem. Even if you don’t hire immediately, maintain contact and cultivate the relationships.

7. TRIAL an Intern or Temp Agency

A lot of top employees have started out as temps. One great quality of people willing to temp is that they aren’t afraid to put themselves out there. They want to work, and that’s the first quality you need for a great employee. Almost everything else can be taught.

An internship is also a great low risk way of seeing how much potential a student or recent graduate has in a certain field. You’ll get to see their skills and work ethic as an intern—and can choose to bring them on as a paid employee down the line if they are the perfect fit for your company.

It’s important to remember that you’re only as good as the people on your team. This is especially true of smaller companies that must leverage their people and resources to the fullest extent possible. Follow these tips and your next hire will be one of your most valuable assets.

For more information on how to recruit and manage a high performing team, or if you would like to avail of a complimentary Business Review with one of our top Coaches to uncover ways to grow and improve your business, please fill in your details below and we will be in touch to arrange your appointment:

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Small Business Edge Magazine

Small Business Edge4th Edition
This week we are delighted to share the latest edition of Small Business Edge Magazine with you.
What’s Inside…

Inside Small Business Edge you will find some fantastic articles by global industry leaders on:

  • How To Ensure Your Next Hire Is Your Best Hire
  • Putting The ‘Wow Factor’ Into Customer Service
  • The 6 Empirical Methods To Achieve Marketing Genius
  • How Great Leaders Move Mountains
  • And much more…

Just click here to read the digital magazine and comment below to let us know how it may help give you an edge in business…

If you would like one of our Business Coaches to give you a call to discuss how we can help you achieve greater success in your business just fill in your details below:

10 Ways You Can Use KPI’s To Improve Management

KPI's to improve managementActionCOACH Business Coaching Ireland

Most companies do their best to set goals for the month and the quarter. However, they don’t always do a good job tracking the results along the way. This can lead to goal deadlines being pushed back or not achieved.

One way to track your progress is by using Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s). KPI’s are predictive measures that you track on weekly basis that will ultimately drive goal achievement and keep everyone on the team accountable for their results.

Here are some ways having KPI’s in place can improve a company’s performance and management:

1. Improve Decision Making

Having accurate measurements is priceless in any business and will help the business owner/manager make the most informed decision possible.

2. Improve Business Execution

When is company is actively measuring results they are more likely to execute and achieve the results they want.

3. Help Clarify Expectations

Prioritising some numerical targets and key performance indicators enables managers to communicate their employees in a clear way.

4. Direct Peoples Behaviour

Most employees operate on the following assumption: “Tell me how you will measure my performance every week, and I will behave accordingly”

5. Focus Attention

Having KPI’s in place helps your employees focus on the right things and be less likely to get distracted on low priority tasks.

6. Promote Consistency

Activities and outcomes that are not measured regularly tend to fluctuate up and down and this can lead to negative implications for the quality of your results.

7. Make Performance Visible

You can only manage what you measure. Keeping the scores visible to the team shows how well various parts of the business are working. It will also show who is performing well and who is struggling.

8. Provide Objectivity About Performance

Have measured information enables you to manage by facts. It’s not about who is busy or working hard. More importantly, it’s about looking at what they achieved.

9. Help You To Give Clear Feedback

Holding people accountable for achieving the target level of performance is vital in ensuring the company is on the right track. You must give clear feedback about what actions need to be taken and provide support to you team to help them achieve these results.

10. Live Dashboard

KPI’s should be graphed on a dashboard to show current score and historical trends every week. The scores should be colour coded so the performance can be easily understood at a glance. Using the Traffic Light concept is easy for everyone to understand (Green = Good, Yellow = OK, Red = Bad).

As you can see there is countless benefits to using KPI’s that will lead your team and business to great success.

If you would like more advice on how you can implement KPI’s in your business complete our short expression of interest form or give us a call on 01 891 6220 as we would be happy to help.

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Do Team Building Exercises Really Work?

ActionCOACH Business Coaching Ireland Team Building

Team building is a term often associated with large corporate organisations only, but that should not be the case. Whether you are a small, medium or large business, the importance of building a great team cannot be underestimated for your long-term success. The quality of the work you do will never exceed the quality of the team behind it.

Team building exercises are one the key factors in creating a really great team, and they don’t have to be expensive! Team bonding brings people together by encouraging collaboration and teamwork.  Simply taking employees out of the office helps groups break down barriers, eliminate distractions, connect with each other and have fun.

One of the most powerful reasons for team building is to get results. By introducing team bonding events that are fun and motivational, your team will learn important skills like communication, planning, problem-solving and conflict resolution.  They will also learn to work better together as a united and loyal team with a common goal.

Heres how team building activities can help you achieve better results from your employees:

  • Networking, socialising and getting to know each other better

Making friends in the workplace is one of the best ways to increase productivity in the office. Building friendships will increase the moral in the office and help resolve everyday workplace issues.

  • Teamwork and increasing team performance

Team building activities are especially great when it comes to projects that involve teamwork. By completing team building activates together, employees get a much better understanding of each other’s strengths, weaknesses and interests. This understanding helps them to work better as a team.

  • Competition

Good, healthy competition has been proven to increase productivity. By channelling that increased productivity into a fun, inclusive team building activity, employees can bond in a way not possible by other means.

  • Celebration and Team Spirit

After any sports teams wins a major championship they celebrate and have fun. This motivates them to want to win even more.  This is similar to team bonding. After a day of fun and celebration employees are motivated to achieve more in reward for a fun day out.

  • Collaboration and the fostering of innovation and creativity

People tend to have a larger imagination when they are around people they are comfortable with. Successful team building activities not only bring people closer together but also help to lead more successful creative workplace ideas.

  • Communication and working better together

It will come as no surprise that communication and working better together is one of the key reasons for team building activity. Every employee wants a friendly work environment, where people are comfortable and happy to talk and work with anyone.

Successful team building activities will result in a more comfortable, successful workplace environment for any company large or small.

To learn more about team building, join us at our next workshop How to Create A High Performance Team, Friday 27th November. Click here for more information and to register you place today.

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How To Build A Great Business With Great People

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I recently watched an interview with Sir Richard Branson and one quote really stood out for me. He said: “A company is just people.” This could not be more true. When building a successful business, it’s so important to remember that it’s the people behind the brand that matter most. If you hire a great team and really look after your employees, they in turn will look after your customers and help build your business.

Here are some of our top tips to build a great business with great people:

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Get the right people on the bus

It is vitally important that if you’re going to succeed in business you need to have the right people on the bus, and in the right seats. In some businesses there are people who give out about the team they have, yet do nothing about it. As a business owner/manager it is your job to help improve your team and if that does not work it’s your job to move them on and go find the right people.

Team Concept

T-E-A-M – Together Everyone Achieves More

When it comes to building a great team, the acronym for team “together everyone achieves more” couldn’t be more true. When adding a new team member it’s critical to know they are the right fit for your company and will make a positive contribution to achieving your overall goal. Conversely, if you hire somebody who’s not working towards this goal, they will drag everyone back and effect the overall performance of the team. This leads back to the importance of having the right people on the bus.

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Hire Slow and Fire Fast

It’s so important that you learn how to recruit the right people. Here a few tips when it comes to recruiting.

–         Think about it…

If a team member is under-performing and you cannot get them up to speed with additional training, you need to consider their future in the organisation. If the issue cannot be resolved and the employee is not the right fit for your company, as difficult as it may be, it may be time to move them on.  It may seem hard at the time but in the long term it’s the right thing to do, both for you and them.

–         Take your time hiring…

If you interview a selection of people for a role and there are no stand-out candidates for you, don’t just hire the best from a bad bunch – continue your search until you find the right person that will make a positive impact on your business.

–         Always keep a look out…

As a business owner you never know what is around the corner and when you will need a new employee so always be on the look-out for great people to join your team.

Remember a business boils down to a team of people all working towards a common goal that they’re all excited about achieving. If you build a great team they will build a great business. It’s all about getting the right people on the bus, all with the same destination in mind.

If you would like more advice on how to to hire and build a great team for your business, join us at our next workshop How to Create A High Performance Team, Friday 27th November. Click here for more information and to register you place today.

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4 Tips To Improve Your Leadership Skills

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Technical skills can only take you so far, what you really need in order to climb the success ladder, are leadership skills. With the exception of the few who are born great leaders, the majority of us needs to nurture the right set of skills to be able to lead well. The focus of this post is to to tell you how to improve your leadership skills, and we start by listing down some of the primary traits you need to work on.

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1. Be Likeable

Most employees complain of a grumpy boss and the lack of a positive work environment. The boss being not likable has also been identified as one of the major factors for people to consider switching jobs. Being likeable is therefore integral in the corporate environment. Appreciate people’s efforts, have a sense of humour, offer advice as needed – your employees should see you as someone they want to learn from.

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2. Listening Effectively

For a leader, one of the most important skills is listening. You won’t be able to get feedback from the employees without listening skills. However, be mindful of the non-verbal communication as well. To determine what people really mean, you should be able to read gestures and body language well.

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3. Dealing with Difficult People

Disciplining your team members when they are not doing well is tricky. Resolve the problem while it’s still fresh. Speak to the responsible person alone. Even if you do reprimand them in private, do not humiliate them in public. Give them a chance to explain, and by all means avoid, getting petty and personal.

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4. Integrity

Integrity is one of the qualities you need to work upon if you want to improve as a leader. Whether or not something is in your personal best interests, should be an irrelevant factor if it doesn’t reflect integrity as a leader; you need to be a role model for your workforce.

The standard of successful leadership has shifted from exerting authority to influencing people. Think about actions you can take to be more influential if you want to improve your leadership skills.

If you would like more advice on how to improve your Leadership Skills please complete our short expression of interest form or join us at our next workshop How to Create A High Performance Team, Friday 27th November. Click here for more information and to register you place today.

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5 Ways To Manage Different Personality Types

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Here is fun little task for you. Take a quick look around your office or premises. You will quickly realise you are working alongside a wide variety of personality types. Can you pick them out? The joker, the perfectionist, the thinker, the risk-taker….

A mix is vital for balance, but as a business owner or manager, there is no doubt that dealing with multiple personalities can be challenging. It’s your job to make sure everyone on your team is being as productive as possible, and this may mean having to treat everyone a little bit differently to do so.

As a leader in your business you must learn to be versatile in how you lead, communicate and motivate your employees. What works for one employee may not work for another. The more effective you are at changing your managing style to suit your employee, the more effectively your employees will carry out their assignments.

Here are 5 Ways to Manage Different Personality Types:

  1. What personality type is each of your employees?

Using a personal assessment tool like DISC to analyse different personality types is a great way to help you understand your employee’s personalities better, and what management style they respond best to.

In DISC the are 4 personality components are as follows:
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  1. Build a relationship

To make it easier to manage people who don’t like to be managed, try building a relationship with them first. When you build this relationship with an employee you maybe be surprised at how loyal they become. With good working relationships come good results in the business.

  1. Set the bar high

Lead by example – if you set the standards high in your own work this will push your employees standards up and let them know what is expected. Use your employee’s skills to your advantage when setting out tasks and praise them for a job well done.

  1. Know what is important to your employees

When it come to your employees, knowing what drives them is hugely important to help motive them in work. For a young employee it may be to grow into a more senior position within the company. Help them achieve this goal by setting targets for them to meet and by provided training along the way.

  1. Don’t take things personally

When you are managing your team you need to remember not to take their reluctance to follow your directions too personally. Identify their personality, win over their trust and you will start to see things change for the better.

When it comes to managing a team it’s never a walk in the park, but when you figure it out it can be highly rewarding for everyone involved and for the success of the business. I hope these few tip will help you lead your team to greatness in the future.

If you would like more advice on DISC, or how to manage and lead your team call us on 01 891 6220, or join us at our next workshop How To Create A High Performance Team, Friday 27th November. Click here for more information and to register your place today!

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Business coaching from the world's #1 business consulting firm: ActionCOACH. Professional Coaching and Training for Irish SME's, Executives and Corporates