Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Leadership in Blue Light Services

I've been to hear Roy Wilsher, Chief Fire Officer in Hertfordshire speak today and thought I'd share his views on leadership with you.
  • Decisiveness, make decisions the worst decision is no decision -- and then take responsibility for them
  • Personal Resilience - he had what amounted to a campaign to personal abuse when he proposed shutting two stations.... even the Brownies were campaigning!
  • Visibility- leaders behind desks don't lead..he went personally to see those Brownies
  • Integrity and honesty
  • Compassion and understanding - his staff risk their lives and sometimes lose them, others still have issues that require compassion...
  • Calm- 'officers never run', model the behaviours
  • Direction - know where you are taking people
  • Don't be afraid to ask... never get so up yourself that you can't ask

Throughout his talk the need for al of those characteristics was really clear; from Buncefield, to Euro wide exercises, to LiFE courses, to budget constraints and cuts......
YES his service operates in an environment where directive leadership is appropriate but use of that style is balanced by involving staff... everyperson had a one to one to come up with suggestions for savings/efficiency.

And his final tip.... keep them fed... firefighters need lots of food.... and if that had been a metaphor rather then literal.. it would still be true! let your staff know how much you value them... in whatever the currency of your organisation is.....

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Register now for the free seminar: Understanding psychometrics

Confident Candidates - Leave less to chance!

The CIPD reports increased use of psychometrics both in recruitment and in selection for redundancy. (OK, selection for posts within the 'new structure' which if you don't get one may result in your redundancy) As part of our philosophy of supporting people to achieve their goals and helping to create confidence in candidates we are running a FREE workshop about how to overcome your fears of Assessment Centres.

This seminar is targeted at middle and senior managers and will use examples of tests exercises used in recruitment at that level, however much of the information is applicable to posts at other levels.

Date:  18 January 2011

Time:   6.30-8.30

Venue:Holiday Inn, Oxford Circus, Welbeck Street off Oxford Street, Central London, W1G 9BL

Trainers: Mary Hope FCIPD and Richard Colwell of CareerCoachZing


  • Why use testing? what are employers trying to discover? why use tests rather than other selection processes
  • Introducing most commonly used tests-
    Verbal ability,
    Numerical ability
    Abstract reasoning,
    Personality questionnaires
    Group discussions
    In tray exercises
    Report writing exercises
    Role plays

  • Improve your scores, know your enemy! What are the tricks and techniques that you can use to improve your performance on the day?

Mary and Richard have designed and delivered assessment centres for a significant number of positions across the public sector. Both are trained to BPS Level A and B and as such are qualified to administer and interpret ability and personality tests. They have a good understanding of the instruments from the major test publishers.

Cost: FREE to those who register in advance, £65 on the door

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

January...be two faced!

 In Roman mythology, the god Janus, who gives us the name for January, was the god of beginnings and endings and is famously depicted as having two faces, facing opposite directions. One face allegedly looks backwards to the old year whilst the other looks forward to future. Being able to look in two directions at once would undoubtedly be a fantastic talent. If we could see the future, how wise we would be! Perhaps we could make money on the stock exchange, win the lottery, avoid making all sorts of bad decisions. However seeing the future would only be a benefit if we had the power to act on our foreknowledge.
However there is another sense in which looking in two directions might have advantages. Being able to see a situation from range of perspectives is incredibly useful. Two sides to every story, says the saying and it is so true. Each of us sees a situation from our own perspective and interprets that situation with through our own experience.
Take this example of differing perceptions. I was at an aqua aerobics class when one of the other participants starting coughing. She made her way to the pool side and climbed out. Just a touch concerned, I followed her into the changing rooms, where she said   – through her coughing fit – ‘slap my back, slap my back’ so I obliged. After a few minutes she caught her breadth and red faced and a little shocked she was led away by the manager whilst I rejoined the class.
I thought nothing more about it, but at the next class I was presented with a fantastic gift bag of beautiful ‘smellies’ by the lady I’d helped. Well she said ‘you did save my life!’ One incident and two very perceptions; I thought I’d done a good turn, she won’t forget a stranger who rescued her in a scarey moment.
There is a native American saying which goes, ‘never judge a man until you have walked a mile in their moccasins’.  Often in challenging situations people don’t always consider how the other person is feeling or why they are behaving in the way they are. They don’t walk in the other person’s shoes.   And the more stressed a person is, the more they become entrenched in their own perspective.
 A key coaching tool is to ask the coachee to look at a situation from different perspectives or ‘four square’. What is their perspective? What is the other person’s perspective? then I ask them  to imagine an impartial observer (I often ask  them to be a fly on the ceiling)and what that observer might see and be able to tell you about a situation.  The fourth perspective is to ask what would be the best resolution for everyone in the situation, the perspective of the ‘wise mind’. By looking at from a range of perspectives, forwards/backwards/under or over; we can gain new wisdom and insights.
My story of the lady at the aqua class shows just how different two interpretations of the same incident can be. So in January, remember the god who looks both ways,  take a few seconds  to   examine a situation from a range of different angles and see things from someone else’s perspctive.