Leadership and Workplace Skills

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Having completed this course the learner will be able to describe the benefits of effective objectives to the individual and his or her employer. The learner will also be able to create SMARTER objectives and analyse existing objectives to confirm whether they meet the necessary criteria. This course will help the learner to improve their job performance, develop their existing skills and knowledge and work effectively towards career goals through the creation of practical and effective personal objectives. All organisations set themselves objectives which drive them towards aspirational goals. Almost all, however, rely on their human resource to provide the skills, knowledge and attitudes necessary to realise those goals and objectives. This means that it is essential all employees possess the ability to create personal objectives that align with those of the organisation, result in personal development and are a source of satisfaction for all.

Creating SMARTER Objectives

The tell-tale signs of poor time management are often apparent in the workplace; people feeling overloaded with work, working late or missing deadlines – often lurching from one crisis to another. The outcomes of poor time management are potentially harmful for both the individual and the organisation, since productivity suffers, stress takes a hold and morale crashes. When time is managed well, however, people are exceptionally productive at work, stress levels drop and they can devote time to the interesting, high-reward projects that can make a real difference to a career. The organisation also benefits from higher productivity and well-motivated employees This course, one of a series, enables the learner to understand the concept of time management, identify any issues they may have and take initial steps to remedy problems.

An Introduction to Time Management

Do you ever feel like you’re adrift in the world - working hard every day but getting nowhere? Do you seem to run out of time but wonder what you have actually done? If this sounds familiar it may be because you haven’t really thought about what you should be doing, where you should be going and how long it should take. To help you manage your time more effectively, surely it makes sense to have a good idea of what you should be doing and how long it should be taking? This course is designed to enable you to understand the importance of setting goals in time management.

Time Management: Goal Setting

Do you work hard? Do you consider yourself to be well organised and efficient, but despite your best efforts you never seem to actually achieve your objectives? Well, it could be that you are working on the interesting but unimportant tasks, rather than the ones that can have a real impact. To be effective, you need to prioritise: you need to decide what tasks are urgent and important, and focus on these. With good prioritisation you can bring order to chaos, reduce stress and move towards achieving your goals.

Time Management: Deciding Priorities

Time is a finite resource that cannot be stored or saved for later use - time poorly used cannot be retrieved. Everyone has exactly the same amount of time each day, so how well it is used will figure highly in defining levels of job performance. For these reasons, the ability to analyse how time is spent, identify poor use and then effectively plan and schedule time usage in the future is essential, especially for busy people. This course will enable you to undertake all these key time management activities.

Time Management: Planning & Scheduling

Most of us are distracted several times, if not dozens of times, every day. We get emails and phone calls; we are pulled into last-minute meetings; we are asked for information and advice. And this all works in reverse, with us having to write a quick email, make a phone call, or call an unexpected meeting. We also need to take breaks to give our brains, eyes and ears a rest. On top of all this we have non-work interruptions and disruptions – the social interactions that are all part of life at work. Everyday interruptions can be a major barrier to managing your time effectively, and, ultimately, can be a barrier to your success. Learning how to minimise these distractions can dramatically increase your productivity and effectiveness, as well as reduce your stress. This course will enable you to minimise distractions, get into flow, produce high-quality work, and achieve much more during the day.

Time Management: Managing Disruption

Most people, at some time or another, experience the feeling that another person is giving out ‘vibes’. This feeling often leads them to believe that the other person is feeling or thinking in a particular way, regardless of what he or she is actually saying. Some people are also given to feelings of ‘intuition’ when they first meet someone. For reasons they do not understand, they are able to make almost immediate judgments about likeability, attitude or honesty. The vibes projected by other people, and the intuition possessed by the individual, are almost always a result of the body language exhibited by the former, and unconsciously interpreted by the latter. This course will introduce the learner to the subject of body language, and enable him or her to explain why we frequently have intuitive reactions towards others. It will also enable them to identify why interpretive skills will improve their interpersonal communication. Understanding why they have intuitive reactions towards others will result in staff and managers being more observant of, and sensitive to, the body language of others. This, in turn, will prepare them to develop their skills in interpreting and using body language to increase the effectiveness of their interpersonal communication.

A Background to Body Language

Having completed this course the learner will be able to identify feelings and attitudes by interpreting key bodily postures, gestures and how people use proxemics. This course looks in detail and the postures, gestures and proxemics that, when interpreted correctly, provide an invaluable insight into how someone is feeling, regardless of what they may be saying at the time. This ability to interpret body language will enable the learner to flex their approach to situations according to how the other person is feeling. They will also be prepared for a reaction that might otherwise take them by surprise, and will be able to gauge how well an interaction is going. By controlling their own body language they will be able to, where necessary, avoid revealing their own feelings and attitudes. A staff member, or manager, who is able to read, and use, the ‘silent speech’ of body language is likely to seen as empathetic and a good communicator by peers, staff and his or her manager. Equally, he or she will be perceived as someone who ‘sees beyond the words’, as well as one who is able to uncover unspoken dishonesty or deceit.

Silent Speech - Understanding Body Language

Having completed this course the learner will be able to assess the degree to which he or she is currently able to use body language to improve their performance in interviews, meetings and presentations. The structure and methodology of this course is different to that of others in the series. The course is intended as both a guide to using body language in the workplace, and a self-assessment to see how well the learner has absorbed the learning contained in the two other courses, ‘A Background to Body Language’, ‘Silent Speech – Understanding Body Language’. This means that the learner will have a clear idea of the degree to which they are currently able to interpret and use body language. This assessment course will enable the learner’s manager to evaluate the degree to which effective practical application of body language skills is likely to take place.

Using Body Language in the Workplace

In sales the relationship between salesperson and buyer depends on the ability of both individuals to read the hidden messages behind the verbal interactions. Observing, understanding and interpreting body language is essential for the successful salesperson as it enables him or her to read buyer reactions and avoid giving off negative signals – signals that might ruin a relationship or damage your credibility. This course will enable the learner to direct the sales negotiation in response to subconscious messages communicated by the buyer. It will also help the learner to adjust their own body language to ensure they communicate messages and attitudes calculated to create a positive and successful sales environment.

Silent Selling - Using Body Language in Sales

Everyone likes to think they are a good listener. The fact is, however, that most people ‘hear’, but do not ‘listen’. By understanding what is meant by ‘listening’ the learner will be motivated to develop their skills in this area in order to develop and improve their all-round communication skills. Furthermore, an understanding of the human communication process will enable the learner to appreciate the part listening plays in this process, and the consequences of ineffective listening. Effective listening is crucial to good communication, and good communication is a critical element in the success of any organization.

Listening Skills: An Introduction to Listening

The failure to listen effectively comes about not because of any deliberate intention to do so, but because of certain factors that prevent its achievement. These factors are termed ‘barriers to listening’, and may result from internal, human behaviours, or the external environment. By understanding what these barriers are, and the effect they have on the ability to listen, the learner will be both able, and motivated, to remove them. During this course, we’re going to be taking a look at the barriers to effective listening - the various factors that lead to a breakdown of the reception and decoding stages of the human communication process.

Removing the Barriers to Listening

Sometimes when you are listening to a conversation, do you find yourself thinking about the answer to the question that’s about to be asked? Or, do you find yourself forming an opinion and interrupting before the speaker has even had a chance to finish speaking? If this is you, then you are not using good listening skills. Good listeners keep their ears open and their mouths shut. This course will give you the right skills to listen correctly and therefore become a better communicator.

Becoming a Better Listener

Do you often wonder what is going on around you? Does it seem like everyone else knows what’s going on except you? In business, as in many other walks of life, knowledge is power. In other words, if you know about something, you are able to influence it, change it or take other appropriate action. If you don’t know about it, you can’t have any input to its results or outcomes. Always remember that effective people value knowledge as a means of enabling him or her to perform their job better, get the results they want and stay ahead of the game. One way to gain knowledge is to ask effective questions. This course will give you the necessary skills to ask the right questions to gain the information you need.

Why Questions are Important

Have you ever felt that when you ask a question you never seem to get the answer you were looking for? Well, it’s quite possible that you weren’t asking the right type of question. In this course we are going to look at open and closed questions. Knowing how to ask open questions is absolutely vital, as they are the keys that unlock the information treasure chest! Many people believe that closed questions have no place in the communication skills set; this, however, is incorrect, as closed questions do have an important function. They are generally used when the questioner requires a commitment - either positive or negative - from the other person. This course will help you select the right type of question for the situation you need to resolve.

Using Open and Closed Questions

If you have taken the other courses in the questioning series, you will know that knowledge is power, and using the right kind of questions can help you gain that knowledge. But what happens when the questions you are asking just doesn’t get you the depth of information you are looking for? Well, maybe you should try using ‘probing questions’. Sometimes it's as simple as asking your respondent for an example, to help you understand a statement they have made. At other times, you might need additional information for clarification. This course will help you use probing questions to gain more information.

Using Probing Questions

Do you sometimes confuse people with the questions you ask, and end up getting a rather confused or inaccurate answer? Do you sometimes make people feel uncomfortable about answering your questions? If this is the case then you are probably asking unproductive questions. This course will help you avoid the types of question that are not helpful to your personal verbal communications. It will also help you recognise and deal with such questions when asked by others.

Unproductive Questions

A successful presentation requires solid preparation to ensure that everything runs smoothly and you are able to get your message across in an effective and dynamic manner. Remember the six p’s; ‘Prior preparation and planning prevents poor performance’. In this course we will look at the preparation you need to make the presentation interesting, informative and successful.

Preparing for Presentations

Being able to deliver an effective presentation is a crucial skill for many people since it can be a highly effective tool when there is a need to inform, influence or persuade others. It can also be rewarding - to you as well as to the group to whom you are presenting - as there is an enormous amount of satisfaction to be had in receiving positive feedback from an engaged and enthusiastic audience. In this course we will look at how you can ensure that your presentation is a success.

Delivering Presentations

This course overviews the key skills of negotiation as well as the structure of the negotiation process itself. The part that attitudes play in successful negotiation is also examined, enabling the learner to think about the appropriateness of their current attitudes. The importance of correct personal behaviour, such as body language, is considered and the learner is provided with practical guidance in this area. Achieving the learning outcomes of this course represents an excellent foundation for skill development which, when combined with the other 2 courses in the series, will place the learner in a strong position to become a highly effective negotiator. Negotiation is a difficult skill to master and, very often, managers believe they are able to negotiate successfully when this is not the case. The result of this misapprehension is a mixture of lost opportunity and spoilt relationships. By ensuring that all those people who need to negotiate are able to do so competently, the company will avoid these pitfalls.

Introduction to Negotiation

There are a number of strategies you can employ to help you reach the best outcome in negotiations. This course will show you how to apply good negotiating strategies to your advantage. The course illustrates the importance of understanding your ‘tradeables’, asking the right questions, making sure you are negotiating with the right person, and that they have the right level of knowledge and experience for the deal. You will also be given guidelines on the cultural and gender differences that can apply to negotiations, as well as the importance of timing and concessions.

Negotiating Strategies 1 - Strategy Basics

There are a number of psychological strategies that are often employed in negotiations, so it’s important to recognise, deal and counter them. You may not be aware that the basic human needs of security, economic well-being, belonging, recognition, and control over one's life are also at play in negotiation. Couching your proposals in terms of satisfying these and any other needs that the other party may have will make it easy for them to say ‘Yes’. It’s important to keep the negotiation human and establish rapport as early as possible. You may be surprised to learn that appearing dumb or appearing to have a weak position can sometimes be a strength in negotiation, as does using silence as a weapon. This course will teach you to use effective questioning to counter any unfair tactics used by the other party without offending them, and how to respond to psychological warfare when it is used against you. You will also be shown how to deal with negotiators using fake authority or fake reciprocity.

Negotiating Strategies 2 - Psychological Strategies

For many managers the ideas of conducting performance appraisal fills them with dread. This is unfortunate, as performance appraisal is a crucial element of the overall performance management process and, as such, generates many benefits for the individual, the line manager and the organisation. This course will enable the learner to approach performance appraisal more positively having gained an understanding of the purpose, content and structure of the process. He or she will also buy into the importance of performance appraisal having appreciated the many benefits that emerge from it. ‘An Overview of Performance Appraisal’ forms an essential foundation for all managers with line responsibility for performance appraisal, enabling them to derive maximum benefit from the other courses in the series.

An Overview of Performance Appraisal

There are a number of strategies you can employ to help you reach the best outcome in negotiations. This course will show you how to apply good negotiating strategies to your advantage. The course illustrates the importance of understanding your ‘tradeables’, asking the right questions, making sure you are negotiating with the right person, and that they have the right level of knowledge and experience for the deal. You will also be given guidelines on the cultural and gender differences that can apply to negotiations, as well as the importance of timing and concessions.

Preparing for the Appraisal

Conducting an appraisal discussion can be a daunting experience as most managers want to avoid doing anything that will upset or de-motivate their team members, but at the same time don’t want to mislead them with an overly “rosy” view that ignores needed areas of improvement. The solution is to approach appraisal discussions in an organised manner, with a firm grasp of the techniques and skills that are likely to make it a positive experience for both the appraiser and the appraisee. This course will equip manager/appraisers with the knowledge necessary to enable them to practice these techniques and skills. It will also provide a clear structure for appraisal discussions and enable the learner to understand the key characteristics of each stage of the discussion.

The Appraisal Discussion

For some managers performance appraisal is a once-a-year event that provides an opportunity to catch up with members of their team to discuss performance and career aspirations. Appraisal, however, should not be a once-a-year event. It should be the culmination of work carried out by both the manager and the appraisee over the full appraisal period – usually 12 months. This course considers why appraisal should be a continuous cycle of activity aimed at improving performance and achieving agreed objectives. It also enables the learner to understand the part ongoing appraisal plays in organisational performance management.

Ongoing Appraisal

Having completed this course the learner will be able to set and agree objectives that are effective, motivational and relevant to the organisation. This course will help the learner to understand the role of objectives within the organisation, particularly the relevance of managing by objectives. The course also looks in detail at what is meant by SMARTER objectives, why each of the criteria is important and how to create objectives that meet them. All successful organisations set goals and objectives and, in most cases, achievement of these will rely on the performance of the people within that organisation. Managers who are able to set and agree SMARTER objectives will ensure that their people are engaged in activities that are developmental and relevant to the achievement of organisational goals.

SMARTER Objectives for Managers

Effective recruitment means having the right person in the right place at the right time. It sounds easy doesn’t it? But recruiting the right person takes effort and, in the long run, is crucial to organisational performance. This is because good employees get the job done, require light-touch management and are committed to the success of the organisation. Poor recruitment can cause untold problems and serious inefficiencies, thanks to the vast amount of management time spent in problem solving, retraining and disciplinary activity. Recruitment skills, therefore, are critical - not just for HR teams but also for line managers who are increasingly involved in the selection process. This course introduces the Learning Nexus Recruitment and Selection series with an overview of the recruitment process.

The Recruitment Process Overview

Job analysis, job descriptions and person specifications sound like three pretty dry subjects! But think about it – employing the wrong person can be a costly and stressful business. Many disastrous recruitment decisions have resulted from getting just one key element of the recruitment and selection process wrong. Not getting anything wrong, of course, depends on robust processes and good skills. However, robust processes and good skills, in turn, depend heavily on effective preparation - and this crucial preparation phase is detailed within three important documents:
The job analysis
The Job description
The person specification
This course will enable the learner to create valid and effective versions of all three documents and so ensure that recruitment and selection activity is built on firm foundations.

Writing Job Descriptions & Specs

If you have completed the first two courses in the recruitment and selection series, you will now be armed with your job description and person specification. Now you are ready to think about how you are going attract applicants for the job. This part of the recruitment stage is where you spend time and resources attracting a suitable pool of candidates from which to make a selection. There are many ways of attracting candidates, some of which can be costly, so it’s important to get it right first time. This course will look at how to attract the right candidates and how to write a job advertisement.

Creating Job Ads & Attracting Candidates

Making sure you select the correct candidate to fill your vacancy is a crucial part of the recruitment process. If your job advertisement has been successful, you will have a large and unmanageable amount of candidates from which to choose. The next step in the recruitment process is to get that large number down to a manageable size. This reduction process is called ‘shortlisting’, and it lays the ground for subsequent selection techniques that aim to identify the best candidate for the job. This course will give you the skills required to shortlist and select candidates.

Shortlisting Candidates and Selection Techniques

For an organisation to operate successfully, it is essential that its employees, particularly those in key positions, are able to ‘think outside the box’, make decisions and operate independently. Effective coaching encourages those being coached to adopt a mind-set towards their own development that fosters these qualities and positive behaviours. A ‘coaching culture’, therefore, creates a workforce that is well able to support the demanding needs of a modern, constantly changing and non-bureaucratic organisation. We’ll also look at how delegation fits in as part of the personal development process, and look at its link with coaching.

The Role of the Coach

The ability to delegate is one of the key competencies of an effective manager. In this course, we’ll clarify the definition of delegation, so you’ll feel confident when describing it to the staff to whom you are delegating tasks. We’ll consider the benefits of delegation to you, the delegate and your organisation. We’ll also look at how delegation fits in as part of the personal development process, and look at its link with coaching.


Meetings are an inescapable part of business life today; whether you attend them on a regular basis, or are responsible for calling and running them, they are likely to figure highly in your everyday working life. But how often does a meeting fail to achieve anything concrete? How often do you sit in a meeting thinking your time could be better spent? If you are like most people, the answer is probably ‘pretty often’. It’s important, therefore, to make sure that meetings are held only when necessary, that their objectives are clear and that they are run effectively. This course sets out to introduce you to the subject of meetings and the different types you may encounter or run.

Introduction to Meetings and Meeting Types

In many of today’s organisations, much of the important work takes place in meetings. These meetings are organised and conducted for a specific purpose, usually to deliver new knowledge or information, discuss issues or ideas, solve problems or reach decisions. The goal of anyone calling a meeting, therefore, should be to make sure those attending have a clear understanding of why they are there, what they can contribute and what the intended outcomes of the meeting are. All this whilst feeling included, motivated and respected. On the face of it this is a tall order, but this course aims to show you how easy it can be, provided you know what steps to take and how to take them.

Organising and Running Effective Meetings

The success of a meeting depends to a large extent on the attitude and behaviour of the people attending it. Meetings in which the participants display a positive, supportive and constructive approach are far more likely to achieve their objectives than those whose participants are negative and unhelpful. Equally, meetings can become difficult if one or more of those attending simply displays unhelpful personality traits such as dominancy, talkativeness or severe introversion. It is important, therefore, for anyone running a meeting to quickly identify attitudes, behaviours or personality traits that are likely to act as a bar to its success, and then to take appropriate action designed to remove or reduce their impact on the meeting.

Understanding and Handling Meeting Behaviour

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