Tricia Cunningham discusses management development, the crucial link between human resources and economic opportunity, and why it plays such a vital role in the long term success of organisations.

Tricia, why is it critical for companies to invest in management development?
Now that the economy has started to turn in a positive direction, the skills that employees currently have may not be the skills that will allow them to help an organisation grow, and maximize business opportunities that are carved out through hard work. Over the last number of years the focus for many organisations have been doing what’s needed to get ahead one step at a time, but now that things are improving and opportunities are opening up, people and organisations will need to start thinking differently and incorporating new skills to maximize those opportunities.

What business supports should senior managers and business owners consider?
(1) First, organisations should start thinking about what requirements their organisation will need over the next eighteen months, and mapping out the skills needed to deliver on those requirements. From that they can start to consider and assess their employees against those requirements. They can then determine the best way to develop a new set of required skills. There are many different approaches to developing people from formal training programmes to giving employees the opportunity to work on new projects.

(2) Secondly, over the last number of years managers have been working in environments heavily focused on cost reduction with few resources available to them. So the focus has been on the technical deliverables; delivering to the specific requirements of customers and getting paid. Now that things are changing again, managers need to understand that how they manage a team and interact and guide a team is vitally important to the long term future of the business. People skills are critical to that future so it’s not sufficient to focus only on the technical aspects of the job.

(3) Thirdly, we have to recognise that if the economy continues to grow as it is with a current unemployment rate of 8.6, having dropped from a peak of over 14, it is becoming more of an employee market. If that rate continues the organisations that don’t invest in employees and help employees to develop their skills will lose those key employees. Generally speaking, employees who work in an organisation value opportunities to develop and enhance their skills. Investment in them and developing those skills can have considerable payback in terms of commitment, loyalty and a desire to do more, deliver more and assist the organisation to grow.

So owners and leaders need to consider development as an investment. Before any training begins, they must agree with the employee the skills to be developed and how the organisation expects the individual to demonstrate those skills back at work. In this way the leader can see that development is no longer a cost but a sound investment. By focusing on developing the skills of key individuals, organisations are better positioned to grow and retain key employees who have assisted them in the harder times and are also equipped to maximize the new opportunities.

Business Effectiveness

Understanding Management Best Practices
Managers need to be supported in developing the key skills to manage people effectively; learning from their experience isn’t sufficient. It’s about understanding management best practices and determining how they can be applied in the organisation so that organisations are developing strong competent teams that can work effectively together and with the manager; a team who respects the manager and learns from the manager.

Personal Growth and Career Ambition
When an individual works in an organisation there isn’t always the expectation that by participating in management development programmes they are going to climb the rungs of the ladder, but rather they are enhancing the skills they have. They are broadening their knowledge and broadening the opportunities they have to do different types of work. That is also development and this is often very satisfying for an employee. When you work in the SME sector you know there are few opportunities to climb the rungs because there are very few rungs on the ladder to begin with.

Management DevelopmentAnd if you work in a large organisation you need to be careful not to give the impression that development is all about climbing the ladder because when an opportunity presents itself, six people may go forward for that opportunity but only one person can secure the role. What happens to the other five candidates? How are they to be managed so they don’t become deflated and believe that there are no opportunities in the business? They need to understand there are opportunities to develop skills that are still very valuable and will ensure they remain employable and valuable to the organisation. They need to know they can continuously contribute to the organisation and that’s why investment in their development is important.

Shouldn’t organisations continuously develop staff whether the economy is good or bad?
Yes but when organisations have experienced the kind of recession that we had, one of the first things that gets cut is training and development for staff, because during a downturn development is too costly for a business. Now that many businesses are in a position where they can make some investment in their people again, they need to consider the supports available out there, like government funded supports to help them develop their team. These business supports ensure the cost isn’t borne fully by the organisation particularly for those that may not yet be in a position to do so. But if they can bear some of the cost, government agencies will step in and provide further funding and support.

Can you give an example of business supports that are available?
There is a strong organisation called Skillnets that are located around the country and their remit is to provide support for organisations seeking to develop their people. Skillnets will supplement part of the overall cost of the training and development in-company, but Skillnets will also provide open programmes for people at a reduced cost per employee. These two options for the organisation should facilitate them in developing their teams further.

Larger organisations like Enterprise Ireland have grants available as part of overall programmes that focus on efficiencies in organisations. As part of that there are various LEAN programmes and training and development falls within the remit and scope of those grants and business supports.

What management development supports do LEAP offer organisations?
LEAP recognises the need for strong leadership, effective management and engaged employees in organisations. From our 15 years’ experience of working with companies we have put together programmes that focus on developing the core skills of these three groups. Additionally we look at operational effectiveness to ensure that not only are the people working effectively, but that they are focusing on the right things and doing them right.

How is your organisation preparing for economic recovery? Let us know with a comment below.

Tricia Cunningham

Tricia Cunningham is co-founder and senior partner at LEAP

 

 

 

When the New Year began many of us committed to being more organised and structured at work. We made great efforts to tidy our desks and eliminate the clutter we’d magically accumulated. We committed to using our calendars more effectively and to prioritising tasks and actions. This is all good and indeed necessary. Now it’s time to expand our focus and consider additional actions to assist us in becoming more effective and efficient.

The big complaint many have is the amount of time spent at meetings. Ask anyone about the greatest time wasters and invariably attending meetings will be mentioned. People get frustrated when they consider the time spent at meetings versus the results achieved. Too often they consider meetings exhaustive, repetitive and worst of all a waste of time! When you add up the cost of each person attending the meeting and the length of time of the meeting, what is the cost to your organisation? Can you say this is good value for money? If not, what are you going to do about it?

Take Action

To address this issue begin by looking at the meetings you have control over. Work to make these meetings as efficient and productive as possible. Consider the following:

1. Define the need for the meeting
Every meeting should have a clear purpose which is evident to all. Simply having the meeting because you’ve always had it is not good enough. Define the outcomes the meeting needs to achieve e.g. measure progress on the project versus what was planned and identify next steps.

2. Determine who should participate in the meeting
Everybody’s time is precious. Don’t include someone unless you can clearly articulate the reason why they should attend and the input you expect from the person.

3. Develop an agenda and distribute it to all involved with sufficient time for them to prepare for the meeting
An agenda needs to have structure. It is not a list of bullet points. An agenda should include a directive e.g. Agree the response to senior management on the new process for resolving customer issues. An agenda should also have the items prioritised and times assigned to each so attendees also know they key issues that will receive the greatest focus.

4. Anticipate how you will facilitate the meeting
The facilitator’s job to keep the meeting on track and ensure the issues identified are addressed. The key skill required is communication: the skill of actively listening, challenging contributions, drawing in reserved people and limiting others who are dominating. In advance consider how you will manage these different challenges and anticipate your responses to the dominant person or indeed the reserved individual.

5. Following your meeting evaluate effectiveness
Review the agenda and determine progress made in terms of achieving what you had identified. Ask others about the meeting: how was it helpful and how could it be improved? Be prepared to stop meetings if they are no longer required.

Of course when it comes to meetings in which you participate you need to consider how you can influence the facilitator to take on board your recommendations for managing the meeting more effectively. Also, query your participation on meetings. Be disciplined and consider your value to the organisation: would you be more valuable to your organisation by attending the meeting or focusing on other deliverables? Of course, when opting out of meetings you need to consider how you communicate that to the facilitator. Again, communication skills are critical.

Tricia CunninghamTricia Cunningham is the co-founder and senior partner at LEAP.

 

 

 

 

 

How do you know as a manager that you have had a good year?

Here are the 5 things that will tell you.

1. You have less to do!
Most managers do not believe that their purpose in life is to make themselves redundant! In fact managers generally behave in a way that makes them essential to the business and create work. But if your responsibility is to develop the people who report to you, delegate tasks effectively, increase efficiency and eliminate waste then the logical outcome of great management is that you will have less and less to do. The key question is…… what you do with the time you have freed up?

2. You have dealt with a poor performer.
Sorry about this, but every team, group or organisation will have people who are not making a contribution. No matter how much we focus on positivity, develop high performers and build teams there is always someone to be dealt with. It is difficult and sometimes easier to ignore it. But in my view, confronting the issue always has a positive outcome even though there may be short term pain.

3. You find the business environment is simple, not complex.
Be concise, get to the point, and make it simple. Few people can deliver the simplicity that is the foundation of superb communication. Instead they mistakenly assume that the boss or their direct reports will be impressed by long presentations to show how much they know, or that they will win people over by talking more, not less. There is a lack of appreciation that in today’s world all information is available through the internet, knowledge is no longer power! It is your ability to synthesise, to connect the dots in new ways, to ask the simple smart questions that lead to untapped opportunities.

4. You realise that the right Attitude is the most important thing in an employee.
In recent study the Harvard Business School stated that 14 of the success of an employee is related to their technical ability, their skill or knowledge but that 86 of an employee’s success is due to their attitude, intention and sense of purpose.

5. And finally, you have performed well with your Key Performance Indicators.
This is obvious, I hear you say, except for the many people who have been too busy to develop KPI’s. Or maybe you have agreed them at the start of the year but you are not sure what they are now. Many companies lack the discipline to agree meaningful performance indicators and regularly review progress. This discipline is fundamental to avoiding the “busy fool” behaviour which is all too common in business today. If we take the points 1 to 4 above seriously then we will avoid the “busy fool” syndrome.

Don’t worry, in a few weeks you get the chance to start again. Happy New Year!

 

Forget about employee motivation, it is about employee engagement. Motivation is temporary, engagement is more permanent. As usual our American friends have the statistics: 70 of US employees are dis-engaged. Dis-engaged employees cost the US economy an estimated $450bn per annum, (Gallup 2013).

Definition: employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organisation and its goals.

This emotional commitment means engaged employees actually care about their work and their company. They don’t work just for a pay check, or just for the next promotion, but work on behalf of the organisation’s goals. When employees care—when they are engaged—they use discretionary effort (Forbes). So now, with the world beginning to turn towards the sun again, and the economy improving, how do you ensure you improve your employee engagement?

What if we address some of their underlying fears? We start by recognising the 5 universal fears every human has:

• Death (our own and our families)
• The Outsider
• The Future
• Chaos
• Insignificance

(Source: Donald E. Brown in Human Universals (1991)

Managers who have a responsibility to ensure every member of their team is as engaged as possible, might respond – “addressing their fears is way beyond my pay grade.” Yes and no. Let’s keep it simple, how does an individual or a team best respond to these fears. They look for the correlated need as outlined below. Now the management team need to determine how best to tap into the universal fears to better engage the team members to everyone’s benefit. Some ideas are included in the table below:

The above sounds straight forward, but as usual the devil is in the detail. Every manager needs to take time to reflect on his current skill set, and determine what he or she needs to develop and give the time and head space to do so. Nearly everyone in business stumbles into management and the skills that got you there are the wrong skills to be effective as a manager. Like addressing fears above – the most basic question any manager needs to ask is: how would I like to be managed and act accordingly; and more importantly recognise when you did not act accordingly and learn from the experience.

Through LEAP’s structured Management Effectiveness Programme managers get the opportunity to reflect on their current performance, develop their management skillset, apply best practices and gain QQI certification in management practice.

Mike Gaffney, MD LEAP

Mike Gaffney managing director at LEAP

 

Managing conflict in the workplace is a critical skill that managers need and having a process to follow is a key factor in developing that skill. Before getting into the process of conflict resolution within work teams, let’s get a little more insight into the issue from Tricia Cunningham, business advisor at LEAP management consultants. Here are her tips for managers in resolving conflict within work teams.

First Tricia, what is meant by conflict resolution within work teams?
When we hear the word conflict many managers become fearful. The word conjures images of difficult arguments or people entrenched in views. The manager then becomes reticent to deal with the issue. Let’s put it into context; conflict is really about a disagreement that’s been allowed to escalate, where there’s a lack of focus on what the real issue is and now it has become more complex and often more personal. Disagreement within any team is healthy; it gets ideas out on the table, it challenges people’s way of thinking, and it pushes people to defend their ground or consider an alternative point of view. So disagreement is healthy.

When it escalates to the point of conflict it’s no longer healthy. So managers need to learn that whenever there is a disagreement its ok to allow it to come out. Have a discussion about it, see where it’s going but rein it in at the right time, before people become entrenched or the discussion becomes personal. It should come as a relief to the team members that when there is a disagreement it’s allowed to be discussed, and people are allowed to have different opinions and voice them, without being shut down.

How do you manage conflict?
If there is a disagreement between two employees, and one of them approaches the manager about it, the manager needs to handle the situation carefully. The first thing to do is make sure the two employees have discussed the issue and tried to resolve it themselves rather than the manager stepping in immediately. If the two employees have talked it through but can’t reach consensus then the manager does need to step in. This means organising a meeting between the two employees to hear both sides. At this point the manager is acting as intermediary between the two. As intermediary you need to be careful that the employees are using language that is not inflammatory and is non-judgemental.

Staying with intervention, what advice have you for managers in their role as intermediary?
The manager’s job is to keep things focused on the core issues and not get blindsided by personal issues. The process may take one, two or three meetings to get the employees to understand each other’s position, but at the end of the process the manager needs to make sure to track what actions were agreed. Tracking actions is vital so the conflict doesn’t raise its head again.

The manager needs to have a plan of action that the two individuals have agreed upon regarding what’s going to happen next, and it’s the manager who must ensure that plan is followed through. The plan could involve specific steps that they have to take to resolve the issue, or it could simply be that both parties agree to disagree but they also agree to respect each other. The manager needs to ensure that respect is observed in meetings, interactions or emails. In any kind of communication that respect must be demonstrated.

The Process for the Manager

1. Check that both parties have made an effort to discuss and resolve the issue before intervention.

2. Understand the real issue causing the conflict.

3. Organise a meeting between both parties.

4. As manager/intermediary make it clear that inflammatory language is unacceptable and both sides need to respect each others right to speak. Ensure respect is maintained throughout proceedings.

5. Maintain focus on the core issue at the heart of the conflict. Do not get side-tracked by irrelevant issues.

6. Develop a conflict resolution plan outlining an agreed set of actions for both employees to follow.

7. Track those actions to ensure they are being implemented in the workplace.

8. Review the situation regularly to ensure the conflict has been resolved and both employees are working effectively together.

What happens when two employees just cannot resolve their differences?
There are different approaches a manager can take. The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument does a very good assessment of different styles of conflict resolution. Sometimes the manager’s approach can be about consensus. But if the issue is simply too big or the two individuals can’t reach agreement, then the manager takes a more competitive approach and drives through their agenda and says ‘this is what has to happen.’ So there are different styles you can use in different situations that you encounter. It’s about knowing which style is right for each situation.

Sometimes employees don’t get along and it will never work. The two have to figure out how to work together while respecting that they may not like each other. They don’t have to be friends and they don’t have to socialise, but they have to work effectively together and that’s what the manager’s job is; to try and help them figure out how they can work together effectively despite their differences.

 

The Scottish writer and historian Thomas Carlyle once said ‘no pressure, no diamonds.’ When under pressure some business leaders may indeed perform better and get better results, but some leaders respond to pressure by isolating themselves. To understand how to manage pressure when you’re a team leader I spoke to LEAP’s Mike Gaffney. Here he explains how internal and external support systems are vital for helping the isolated leader to manage pressure and avoid isolation.

Mike many business owners find themselves isolated in their position as leader. How does this happen and what can be done about it?
The first thing to recognise is that isolation is very common amongst business leaders, and can be a very tough and debilitating place to be. It can become the natural habitat for the business owner, because they feel they have to make all the decisions. They have the responsibility and pressure of keeping the business afloat; they have to keep a brave face so their staff don’t worry even more. They have to deal with making sure everybody gets paid and bills are paid and banks are kept at bay. They can’t turn to the people working for them because they feel they are the leader, and they have to have the broadest shoulders in the organisation. This can create considerable pressure that can be more debilitating than the actual issues they are facing.

Should business leaders share the pressures they face with the team around them?
Yes is the answer… they should. As the owner, if you walk into the office with an angry face because you just had a meeting with the bank, and things are not looking good, you may not say anything to the team but they know that things aren’t good. If you bottle it up and internalise the problem, you are just making things worse for yourself and the team around you. There is a phrase that goes ‘people prefer the certainty of pain to the pain of uncertainty.’ If your team are not sure about the difficult situation they are in, and what they need to do to get out of it, that uncertainty creates a greater fear factor. It immobilises thinking and immobilises action on the part of the team. It’s not a new idea. Jim Collins said it in Good to Great, ‘confront the brutal facts.’ It’s important to get your team on board and the starting point is to let them know how serious the situation is. Once people are included in addressing the problem you will be amazed how quickly they commit to developing solutions, and driving those solutions through and making them work.

So the right response to isolation is to be more open with your management team?
Yes, but not just open internally with your team but also be open externally. You need someone outside the company, be it a mentor, a coach or another business leader you respect, to meet up with and discuss the issues and challenges you’re facing. Because it’s your business, you can become isolated and you’re also too attached, too familiar with it. That familiarity will blindside you about the way you think about the business. You think ‘that is how I run the business, that’s how we do things around here.’ Someone independent of the business might say, ‘hang on, that may have worked two years ago but the world has changed.’

The second thing about having someone external to talk to is they can help you to start thinking more strategically as a leader. Consider what the business can do and what opportunities are out there. In any time of significant change, be it significant growth or significant decline, there are always opportunities. But you need to have your antennas up and be receptive to what those opportunities are.

Is participation in a leadership programme a sign of the openness and external support you speak of?
It’s more focused than that. Yes they have to be open to internal and external support, but they also have to be willing to recognise their own fallibility and their own requirements. Nobody can do everything; business leaders need help to address the areas where they are not great, so really it’s about reaching a level of maturity. In the leadership programmes we deliver, it’s about helping the owner to find ways to be more effective. A big part of that is opening up and collaborating internally and externally with people who can make you more effective as a leader.

 

At Supermac’s we believe in developing our core team members as we know that they play a critical role in our success. We work hard at developing both their technical and soft skills. The LEAP Management Development Programmes have been very helpful in developing the people management skills of our newly appointed managers. The focus of the programmes is on the practical application of skills – it’s not simply about the theory.

Management training yields positive results for supermacs
Mike Gaffney MD at LEAP with Pat McDonagh MD at Supermac’s presenting the Management Development Programme certification to Saša Marjanovi? Operations Manager at Supermac’s.

Immediate Impact on Managers’ Performance

As an organisation that is expanding rapidly and working in a fast paced sector we need to make sure that any time spent away from the store is worthwhile. There must be an immediate and positive impact on the shop’s performance. The 6 sessions in the programme were designed around our needs and given the experience of the trainer we knew that exercises and case studies would focus on what it’s like working in Supermac’s.

QQI Certification

The response from our team members who participated on the programme has been very positive. There has been evidence of increased confidence and we’ve seen managers change their behaviours following training. We believe our managers are stronger and more effective as a result of the investment Supermac’s put into their development. Our participants not only attend the programme, they work hard at securing QQI certification which is important. This is a valuable tool for career progression. Our employees are proud of achieving certification and recognise that it demonstrates capability to their managers.

Management Training Workshops and ‘Positive Pressure’

I think participants find the QQI certification the most challenging aspect of the programme but that’s a good thing! It’s challenging because it gets participants to think about how they are applying learning. This means they must look at ways of using learning from each workshop and building new habits. Participants also share what they have applied with others at each workshop. Everybody has to explain what they’ve done since the previous workshop and this ‘positive pressure’ is good.

Continuous Support and Training  for Managers

We continue to provide the Management Development Programmes for our managers because Supermac’s believes in developing and investing in people. We know there are many who join the Supermac’s team who are keen to build a career and not simply have a job. This programme is an important step for a person working on their careers.

Saša Marjanovi
Operations Manager, Supermac’s

If you would like to learn more about LEAP’s management training programme and other services, then get in touch with us. Our business advisors will be happy to discuss your training and development needs.

 

Being a manager is both challenging and rewarding. Achieving results and seeing team members thrive as they settle into their roles is very satisfying. Great managers succeed in the role when they pay attention to the dynamics of team work. Great managers recognise that the technical aspect of the function needs attention. Results have to be achieved but the more challenging aspect of the role is managing people. When results are dropping, productivity nose-diving, co-operation vanishing and pressure is mounting from the leader, the role can be challenging and stressful.

In these situations the manager can experience a sense of loss of control. Natural instincts tend to push us towards pedalling harder in the hope the situation will be reversed. Actually the opposite action is required of the manager. This is the time to pause, step back and assess what is happening and why it is happening. Pausing is counter intuitive but necessary to gain control and in the process reduce stress. There is a direct correlation between control and stress levels. As we lose control we increase our stress levels. So obviously the key to reducing stress is taking control. How do managers tend to lose control?

Reacting in the moment

1. Do you find yourself constantly responding to requests and reacting to issues? Do you feel like you are always putting out fires? This type of behaviour becomes habitual and often we’re not aware of how we are feeding into it, encouraging it. It’s time to step back for a moment. Give yourself some space before reacting. Ask yourself “is this important and urgent” or is it “important but not urgent”? Of course your initial response will probably be it’s both important and urgent. However, when you dig at this question the answer is often that the issue is “important but not urgent”. If so, then take control. Figure out how and when you can work on the issue. In other words, plan.

Biting off more than you can chew

2. Break down tasks and activities to manageable sizes. Don’t be overly ambitious. Be realistic. You’ve a lot more control when managing small tasks or activities which means you’ll find the process of completing them less stressful. When the tasks or activities have been identified schedule them into your working day or week. In other words, plan.

Pushing out deadlines

3. With each deadline that is pushed out your sense of control and confidence in what you’re doing is eroded. Commit to deadlines and deliver to them. Be realistic about your deadlines and use your influencing skills when negotiating deadlines with others. People prefer when the deadline is longer than anticipated but it’s achieved rather than an ambitious deadline that constantly moves.

All of the above are small but necessary actions. As you implement these steps not only do you help yourself to manage your stress but you demonstrate best practices to key team members with the potential to be great managers.

Tricia Cunningham is co-founder and senior partner at LEAP.

Tricia Cunningham

 

What is Visual Management?

Successful teams use visual management_John RafteryHow do you go about developing a visual management system within your business? In our continuing series of visual management training articles, John Raftery delves deeper into the process of visual mapping. Here he discusses how management teams can use visual tools to help them display company goals and the actions that underpin them. Visual aids such as Gantt charts and bar graphs keep management teams focused on strategy and accountable for results.

Visual Strategy

‘I work with management teams and generally what we start with is getting the top 3 – 5 goals of the company articulated. Then under each of those goals we would discuss the strategies needed in order to achieve those goals. The strategies then have to be turned into clear lines of action. If you can imagine a large whiteboard or notice board that has lines of action, as in the form of a Gantt Chart. On the left hand side you have the lines of action, in other words the actions that need to be taken in order to achieve the top level goals. The next column will list the owners of those actions, in other words the people responsible for implementing the agreed actions.

Tracking Activities

There may also be a timeline that could be divided up into 52 weeks or 12 months or whatever is appropriate for that particular team. The chart will show when the various actions are going to occur, and you can flag the actions with a colour coded ‘traffic light’ system. Green means that the action is on target, orange indicates that the action is in difficulty or has been delayed or is still in progress, and red flags indicate the action has not been completed within the time frame agreed.

Gantt Chart_successful teams use visual management

Creating Accountability

This is a very simple but clear mechanism that allows the team to see clearly what activities are taking place within the company, who’s doing what and what progress is being made. The information is displayed on one large whiteboard, and alongside this you can display key performance indicators (KPI) in the form of bar graphs which will indicate how well your lines of action are affecting the performance of the business. Tracking these KPIs is crucial for identifying which lines of action are working and which ones need adjusting.’

 

People generally dislike or avoid conflict. It makes them uncomfortable so ignoring escalating issues is an approach adopted by many. However, when addressed early and effectively it can help clear tensions, address underlying issues and lead to innovation. So what are the signs of conflict and what causes conflict to escalate?

1. Dismissing Concerns

When employees raise an issue more than once it is clear the issue is of importance or the issue hasn’t been adequately addressed. Brushing the employee off with a comment such as “we discussed this already so let’s move on” is unsatisfactory. The person needs to fully understand the rationale behind the approach being taken and time needs to be given to discussing it. Once discussed and explored a statement closing the issue needs to be made e.g. “Now that we’ve explored this issue and understand what we have now agreed to do, we need to move to implementing our decision.”

2. Undermining Decisions

Teams need to agree the decision-making process and adhere to it. If an individual doesn’t adhere to the process then the decision is undermined and is more likely to result in conflict. Watch for signs that decisions are being undermined. Remind your team of the decision making process and the importance of sticking to that process.

3. Interpersonal Conflict

Requests for change in working habits or working teams is often an indication that an issue exists. Perhaps it’s nothing and the reasons behind the request are personal. Great. Now you can address it. However, it may be more. It may be that there is an issue between individuals within the team. If left unaddressed this will generally escalate and could possibly result in the individual claiming bullying exists. Keep the lines of communication open and make sure you regularly check in with employees that all is going well. Caught early there are many options available to you for addressing the issue. Left too long and your limited options may narrow to the least favoured one: litigation.

Tricia Cunningham is a partner and business advisor at LEAP.