How To Tell If You Are A Creative or Reactive Leader

How To Tell If You Are A Creative or Reactive Leader

Experts say that the best leaders are creative rather than reactive. In other words, they anticipate future needs and make new products or tailor the ones they already have to suit that future.

Thanks to technology, A.I. and social media our world is changing rapidly. That’s why it’s more important than ever to be able to understand how those changes will affect your business…and establish ways to take full advantage of those changes.

Are you creative or reactive? Here’s how you can test your potential.

Are You a Creative or a Reactive Leader? Test Yourself

If you want to advance quickly in the business you work for or accelerate the progress of the business you own, you’ve got to become much better at creating initiatives, or making existing ones new and starting them.

In an article in Fast Company magazine (“The Secret Life of the CEO”), Jim Collins (author of “Good to Great”) wrote that the best leaders don’t focus as much on beating the competition as they do on making their own products and services better than they were before. (Here! Hear?)

Creative business leaders are always asking themselves the following questions:

  • What do potential customers really need, now?
  • What worries them?
  • What causes them pain?
  • What would they be eager to buy?”
  • How can I make our current customers happier?
  • How can we make the products we sell them better?
  • More useful?
  • More valuable?”

Do you ask yourself these questions? Regularly? And if you do…do you come up with not just good, rather great answers…answers that can advance your business? Test your creative skills against the following checklist printed in a recent issue of Executive Leadership.

Ask yourself…are you:

  • Internally driven
  • Focused on the work, not politics
  • Goal-oriented around, rather than crisis-centered
  • Good relationship builder

Ask yourself…do you:

  • Make full use of your strongest talents
  • Set aggressive long-term goals

The above are all characteristics of creative leaders. Here are the traits of “reactive” leaders. They generally:

  • Are motivated by external factors like money and power
  • Are focused on corporate politics, not the work
  • Allow their time to be dictated by what’s in their inbox
  • Sometimes ignore their strongest talents in favor of “good management”
  • Plan in one- to five-year increments
  • They believe nothing is sacred and relationships are expendable

How many of those reactive characteristics apply to you?

How would you grade yourself?

The best leaders are indeed long-term oriented, people-friendly, loyal, eager to provide better products & services, and unconcerned about where they stand in just about any pecking order…either in their industry or within their business.

And that’s something to think about…

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Cost of Disengagement In Workplace

Cost of Disengagement In Workplace

33% Of All  Spend On Wages Is Wasted!

Employee engagement expert and managing director of ActionCOACH Business Coaching, Marina Bleahen describes why Irish businesses cannot afford to bury their heads in the sand with regards to employee engagement:

“It is a very real issue facing every business in 2018, the global pattern is getting worse. In 2017 €3,400 of every €10,000 spent on salaries in Ireland is wasted due to disengagement”

Dismal employee engagement is a global crisis facing employers. Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report reveals that 67% of employees are actively disengaged in their workplace costing almost €6 trillion euro in lost productivity. This is symptomatic of the fact that performance is being mismanaged across the board. Businesses cannot afford to ignore the need to invest in employee engagement as the new workforce are looking for fulfilment, development opportunities, continuous feedback and a coach rather than a boss who can meet the need for leveraging strengths rather than focusing on weaknesses.
According to Marina:

“Our message to businesses is not to focus on the negative but instead focus on the opportunity to immediately boost your bottom line by creating a culture of engagement in your company which increases productivity.”

Businesses who heeded this advice in 2017 reaped the benefits as ActionCOACH Irelands clients experienced 19% average increase in sales with 66% average increase in profits.

“Whilst 2017 was a fantastic year for our economy with the recovery giving way to a surge with 6.5% domestic growth, we are extremely proud of the fact that our clients significantly outperformed growth in the wider economy creating jobs along the way with 29% increase in employment amongst our clients.”

The remarkable performance of ActionCOACH’s clients has resulted in global CEO and founder, Brad Sugars being invited to join a stellar line up of the best business minds in the world at the annual Pendulum Summit in Dublin’s Convention Centre. Brad joins business powerhouses like Richard Branson on stage to share the ActionCOACH vision of growing prosperity amongst Irish businesses through business re-education.

“We are really excited about helping Irish business owners and leaders to take all that was positive in 2017 and to kick on in 2018. 2018 is not only about coaching our clients to success. We also have opportunities for new franchise partners, ideal for people who may have returned to the rat race after Christmas, and are seeking a change; are passionate about helping people achieve their success, and would like to reap financial rewards in what I have personally found to being an amazingly rewarding experience -it’s this love of helping people succeed that is at the heart of why we are successful.”

Whilst the increase in active disengagement in the workplace is alarming, Marina Bleahen is hell bent on helping Irish business owners to buck this global pattern by helping them to build better teams, improve performance and to stop losing money to disengagement!

How To Cultivate The Right Culture For Your Business

How To Cultivate The Right 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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Looking to Recruit? Make Your Next Hire Your Best Hire


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.


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: