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Other elements to improve your time management in the office 1 Arrange your office or office space for ease of work, comfort and efficiency. Few people give this any thought at all. Then get used to planning for each call you make the salient points you want to make ; grouping incoming and outgoing calls usually for the end of the day when people are less verbose ; and use a timer eg an egg timer — to keep all calls to a maximum of four minutes.

Do not be afraid to put a block on incoming calls to reduce interruptions. Strive for excellence not perfection, through your assistant. For example, typical costs might be: Salary p.

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What then are the hallmarks of the successful manager of meetings? You cannot ban all meetings, so you must manage them to get the best results. Being aware of the cost of meetings will focus the mind and planning will focus your actions. Minutes to record actions agreed and responsibilities should be in a form to give ease of follow-up and subsequent checking. Delegating effectively Delegation is entrusting a job to another who is also given the authority to do it. It is vital to be clear that delegation is not abdication — to give up your power to another would be an evasion of responsibility.

The benefits of delegation are that it gives you more time to carry out your key functions and to develop your subordinates. So, what qualities must you have to be a good delegator? Managing your health Time management has to be as much about ensuring that you maximise the amount of time you have available to use as well as using the time wisely. That means taking steps to ensure you do not suffer time deprivation through illness of mind or body. It is vital to look after your energy levels — regularly to top up your batteries — to discharge efficiently in a long-life fashion.

This is a five point test: Sleep are you getting enough Guide — eight hours or slightly less with age and Holi your fu s enjo e thing ible? Bad management of one pushes the other out of control. You should always watch out for signs of stress in yourself and others… and take corrective action. Get them out of the way. Do not over concentrate on the past guilt or the future anxiety. Use this to reduce anxiety about an issue.

I have no 4. A goal is the end towards which effort or ambition is directed.


Goal-setting is a successful way to approach life-planning. An objective a word with military associations is an end towards which effort is directed. Objective and strategy are both words with military connotations and origins.

Personal goals and objectives The starting point is to self-assess and take stock of yourself in the overall context of the direction you would like to be heading. This is a really good way of focusing the mind, as is asking yourself how you would like your epitaph to read. How leads to who, what and when? Time spent on planning is crucial in the thinking, the brainstorming and the sharing of ideas, the definition of purpose, the identification of obstacles and the ways and means of overcoming them and of meeting objectives. It is necessary, of course, to get the right balance between planning and implementation.

Six-month follow-up test 1. Have you identified long-term goals? Have you set goals and objectives? It is about the how, what, why, when and where of a course of action and of how to overcome obstacles and to solve problems. Decision-making is what turns thought into action: it implies change and requires a decision to be made against a background of uncertainty and risk.

An effective decision is one that produces the goods, ie gives the desired end result. It is important to be able to project ahead, to take the expected and unexpected into account, to have contingency plans in case events intrude in such a way as will turn a good decision into a bad one. There are usually several different decisions that can be taken and pressure to decide. Decide you must, even if trial and error are then used to assess the decision, amend it or overturn it. If so, re-work decision elements A decision is only effective if it is implemented and that means getting the desired results through people.

For that, other people need to be included in the decision-making process. You need to develop your skills in appreciating when it is most appropriate to include others in the decision-making process.

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An effective decision-maker is always an effective thinker. The three essential skills are those of: 1 analysing 2 synthesising 3 valuing. An effective decision-maker knows that quick decisions are not necessarily the best ones and decisiveness only results from thinking things through. Key decisions and recognising when you are being asked to make or be involved in the making of key decisions demand that great care must go into analysing the component elements , synthesising putting ideas together and valuing assessing relative worth.

Do you make false assumptions and jump to conclusions or are you prone to faulty reasoning or to not listening to others? Clearly such approaches to decision-making must be removed from your approach!

Finally, managers need to be prepared to make time to think about decisions — to devote quality time to this crucial area of activity; to avoid superficiality resulting from performing a great variety of tasks with little time to spare because thought must be as important as action; and to involve other people colleagues, subordinates and superiors in making sensible management decisions. Key elements of effective thinking and decision-making Analysis An essential ability in analysing is to be able to break the whole up into its component parts, particularly complex matters into its simple elements.

Hence an holistic view needs to be taken in business decision-making. There is a need in business to be able to see the wood for the trees holism rather than only the trees analysis. In this sense, and in business too, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

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Managers need to take this whole view — not to see things as a marketing problem, or a production issue, or a stock control difficulty, or a people problem, or a management failure. Look at the whole to see what that can yield by way of a solutions. Particularly in assessing financial performance, a manager needs to view the figures as a whole as well as in detail. It is part and parcel of being creative in the approach to decision-making. Being imaginative is a crucial ability to develop in oneself and others: it helps to surprise the competition, to exploit the unexpected, to invent new products or services, or to solve problems creatively.

These elements of recall, visualising, creating, foreseeing and fantasising contribute to effective thinking in business as much as in the arts or scientific fields. Conceptual thinking Although a concept may appear to be an abstraction arrived at by analysis, it has a different feel because: 1 it is a whole and as such more than the sum of its parts ; and 2 it is a developing entity in its own right.

Conceptual thinking should be kept separate from decision-making, even though decisions are made on the basis of the concepts that we have. Concepts can be a way of taking your mind away from the particular and include the ideas of what ought to be as opposed to what is.

The Concise Adair on Leadership

Good quality concepts will underpin good quality business decisions. Therefore you should generate clear well-defined concepts and develop them. It is not always possible to analyse problems into solutions and intuition is the useful power to know what has happened or what to do.

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Interestingly the powers of intuition are diminished by stress and general fatigue and so your ability to be insightful in decision-making can be adversely affected by these factors. Rather it is an invaluable key to making and taking effective decisions. Originality and innovation Creative and innovative thinking can help in making decisions that develop a business so they are elements to encourage in yourself and others.

The concept of value in decision-making With analysis and synthesis, valuing is the third essential in effective thinking and decision-making. The ability to make decisions has two main aspects: 1 To establish the truth or true facts; and 2 To know what to do. Thinking first and then deciding what to do is the correct order in decision making. Getting at the truth should make knowing what to do easier. In many respects, it is better to behave as if truth is an object, that it must be discovered.

This is another form of valuing — of knowing who and when to trust to give you truth, or truth backed by acceptable value judgements. Questioning is a valid part of establishing the credentials of the adviser and the credibility of the advice. Can you trust the person to tell the truth backed by sufficient expertise or insight? Be scrupulous in establishing the truth — ask questions until you are satisfied you have it right. You are good at valuing if you can say that invariably you have good judgement and the converse is also true. Knowing the truth or reality can then be followed by deciding what to do.

Also, beware of inaccurate figures even from accounts departments!