Family Violence; a Workplace Obligation?

Last week I was lucky enough to be invited along to The Warehouse Group’s (TWG) talk on the inroads and steps they have made within their doors in terms of addressing family violence. It was shocking, thought provoking, inspiring, shameful and heart-warming all at the same time.

It’s the stats I found the most disturbing, a few I’ll share with you here;

  • Every 5 mins in NZ there is a domestic violence related call out (Police call out)
  • It’s estimated that only 20% of incidences are reported
  • 1 in 3 NZ woman will be affected
  • At 85% of all cases reported, a child is present

And if those aren’t confronting enough, I’m sure a lot of people out there will be surprised to discover that in Anna Campbell from TWG’s words “violence doesn’t discriminate”. Age, religion, sexual orientation, socio economic factors and the like are all beside the point when it comes to family violence.

Dr Ang Jury from Woman’s Refuge spoke also, and reiterated their support for ALL people, all victims of violence, not just woman & children. Her and her team are on hand to help workplaces and people in workplaces to deal with situations of violence.

Anna, Julie Simpson and Pejman Okhovat from TWG and their team are inspirational in the work they’ve done to date and continue to do into the future. Their critical points for workplaces looking to make similar inroads into the topic in their workplaces are to ensure the strictest of confidentiality at all stages of the process, to ensure staff payments go into bank accounts with their name on it only, to provide training and support for their staff (endorsed from the top down and ensuring they take the conversation wider.

All speakers repeated the need to ensure all victims receive the right response the first time as they may not be brave enough to come forward again, this includes everything from the language used to the resources they receive being accurate. They need the confidence that everything will be confidential, that they have ongoing support and realistic timeframes going forward. There is no one size fits all approach, but recognising the issue, responding appropriately then referring victims and users to trained professionals for ongoing help and assistance is essential.

The heart-warming part was discovering some of the unexpected positive outcomes TWG have noted as a result of their efforts including staff taking more ownership of issues, having pride in the programme and greater loyalty to the organisation as a result. Issues such as bullying in the workplace have reduced and people are more willing to have brave conversations with each other.

My key takeaway is that we all have a responsibility to do what we can to change these statistics. To change the reality for so many of our society – your friends, family and co-workers are all affected. To start with we can all make this something people are able to talk about. We can all be mindful, understanding and provide support for both victims and their supporters…and the users of violence when they recognise they need help to change.

Given this is happening all around us, and that we spend more time at work and with our colleagues than anywhere else, I think there’s no better place to start than in the workplace. There are the obvious effects on the likes of absenteeism, productivity, engagement and staff retention but also the lesser known or calculable costs to business of employees who are living under these circumstances. And given it’s these people we’re all with day in day out, we’re more likely to notice changes in a person’s demeanour, potentially indicating an issue than with anyone else.

I am now at the beginning of my part in that journey; I am 100% committed to ensuring my organisation joins the movement going forward to change the horrific family violence stats in NZ. I have had conversations both inside and outside my organisation post the event and have meetings in place to discuss with our Culture & Performance and Health & Safety teams on how we take it forward. I’m exceptionally grateful to the team at The Warehouse Group for highlighting the issue and sharing their work, knowledge experiences and findings so far. #StoptheCycle #ItsnotOK

 

Contacts / Resources:

http://areyouok.org.nz/family-violence/

https://womensrefuge.org.nz/

https://whiteribbon.org.nz/  (White Ribbon)

 

 

You’ve Got Mail

I recently spent some time out of the office, and pre heading on annual leave tried to reduce the looming experience of a ridiculously overflowing inbox on my return by unsubscribing from the multitude of sites, newsletters and updates I’ve signed up to over the years. At the same time I read a “hack” on reducing the stress of your inbox, that included the likes of mail rules and auto-filling and quietly congratulated myself on how much easier my return to work would be, given I had full intentions of “switching off” for twelve days. It occurred to me at this point how obsessed and overwhelmed by email we have all become.

How many emails a day does your inbox average? How many inboxes do you have? I confess to three personal email addresses, two work ones that filter to the same inbox and a generic work one I hold responsibility for but others’ have access to. Six all up. No wonder I’m reading hacks on filtering email and the other blogs and posts I’ve read in the past on time management, claiming back your work day and the like, largely focused on reducing your email time.

I wonder too whether we’ve come to a point where we rely far too heavily on email as our main means of communication? Are we hiding behind it? Will we lose the art of conversation simply because it’s easier and more convenient to whip out an email than pick up the phone or walk across the office? And have we utter lost the ability to write a letter, falling into the less formal speak of email?

In thinking on all of this I came across some great articles such as this Four Influential People Who Ditched Email which detailed not only the people (who will surprise you), but also their reasoning, alternatives and tips for doing the same. Most featured around work lie balance and being more productive in your working day – gaining hours of time back. However, they almost all used alternatives and usually social media, the likes of facebook, twitter and LinkedIn. I’m somewhat sceptical of this also as surely they’ll take up as much time, but block out the junk, newsletters and the like?

I’m all about social media, so don’t get me wrong here, I love it for what it is. The virtues of which I’ve written about many times over due to the networking, learning & development, true friendships and the like I have benefited from on a global scale that I would never had achieved without it.

I haven’t tried forgoing email, and given my job I can’t see myself being able to any time soon, but I’m intrigued. For right now I’m thrilled with averaging 80 emails a day in the main inbox as opposed to the 200+ I was getting before with the hacks I’ve put in place. There seriously is a lot in sending certain mail direct to folders and unsubscribing from the 101 things you’ve signed up for. But what I’m interested to hear is who else has tried something like this? No email or other hacks – and what have you found works?

Here are some examples of the reading I did in all my thinking about this:

http://99u.com/articles/7274/how-i-gave-up-email-and-reclaimed-3-hours-a-day

http://www.chrisducker.com/7-email-hacks-productive/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2014/02/05/9-email-productivity-secrets-that-will-get-your-life-back/#40b56d94c5d5

Pass the Purple Crayon!

Did you have a favourite crayon in the box back at pre-school or in your early school days? Is there one you secreted away to be able to use it every day? Or was it a favourite marker pen you used to colour everything, ensuring it ran out twice as fast as the others in the box? I’ve watched my daughter from the moment she could hold a pen make a beeline for the pinks and purples in the container. She prefers if they have sparkles or some sort of glitter shine to them as well, and these are always used first.

At work I’ve noticed people do similar things; I had a colleague obsessed with purple pens and highlighters (you know who you are!) who had a drawer full of them – and this extended to purple plastic sleeves as well. There’s another who will only write in red pen and masses of people with favourite notebooks and folders. Many of us have favourite fonts, and sizes and by the same token there’s some incredibly disliked fonts (comic sans anyone?).

Lighthearted as the subject is it got me thinking. Have you got a favourite colour now? And/or does it extend to a little something in your everyday work life that makes you feel happy, makes you smile or makes your day that little bit better? And is that all there is to it?

We recently printed branded notebooks at work and they are seriously cool – edgy, funky and useful with pockets and preprinted info on our brands & products and other useful titbits like calendars. Everybody loves them, regular beige covered notebooks lie unused in stationary cupboards throughout the building while the fancy new models are coveted. I was recently given a bound pink notebook (by a company who shall remain nameless, but I’m sure many of you will guess!), and I really like it. Now I’m not a particularly girly girl – and certainly no six year old girl (who I had to buy a sparkly pink notebook for to stop her sneaking mine) but it stands out. It’s pretty, functional and no one else at work has one so it stands out as mine if I put it down someone.

So is it colour? Is it having an individual thing or another way to express ourselves? Or is it just fluff? Or is there something more to this that could help teams and organisations come together? Is it a personality thing? Can colour affect mood, productivity and inspiration? On a subject such as this I’d love to hear what you all have to say! But to satisfy my own intrigue I googled it and here are some of my findings:

In terms of office space I found screeds of information on colour schemes in the workplace and how they affect (positively and negatively – or otherwise) the environment Entrepreneur had a basic infographic that some may find useful or relate to. Woods Bagot, internationally renowned architects have some amazing examples of pulling together data, technology and people with design to create office spaces of the future, here is an example of this and we’re seeing it a lot more in Auckland especially where Vodafone kicked off new spacial design for offices, and the likes of ASB, NZME and Fonterra have followed suit with more colour, open spaces and collaborative environments than offices of old.

BuzzFeed has this quiz to take about what your choice in colour says about your personality; and for me it was largely accurate. This article on Bustle I found interesting if only because I’ve always struggled to decide if my favourite colour is blue or yellow…and only 5% of adults claim yellow as their favourite colour! Psychology Today offered this simple exercise to assess the personality types of team members based on favourite colours. StopPress think trendier is happier – what say you?

All in all, I think Fast Company summed it up pretty well in this article, concluding whilst studies may be able to give us generalities, it’s an individual thing, humans visualise 10 million different colours; given “green” can mean or be visualised in many forms by many different people. Love to hear your thoughts…

 

Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace?!

No this post isn’t about weddings or marriage, but nobody’s perfect right? Least of all me. There have been moments in the past, and I’m thinking workplace here as outside of that could achieve a seriously long list where I’ve both put things off and done things wrong. Prime example of both would be aged 18, when the New Zealand legal alcohol consumption age limit was reduced from 21 to 18 on a Wednesday night and I was in my first job. Over excited by being able to legally drink in pubs and clubs my friends and I took to town. So over excited we were that we put off heading home until 5:30am, at which point my best friend and I who happened to work together at the time, concluded the best option was to get changed and head straight to work under the illusion that a blue Powerade would be all we needed to see ourselves right for the day. Not the best decision we’ve ever made.

The owner of the company found the whole thing hilarious and had a ball laughing at the pair of us; our direct manager however didn’t quite see things that way and even called my mother in to the office to discuss the situation, the working relationship was understandably strained and soured from that point on. Neither of these are model examples of how the situation should or could have been dealt with.

My point in divulging this misspent story of my past is that time and again I see managers who either chose not to deal with performance issues with staff or are ill-equipped to appropriately deal with the situation. The early addressing of staffing issues whether performance or behaviour based can ensure a much more satisfactory outcome for all parties.

Regular WIPs (Work In Progress) and/or coaching sessions with staff are essential for managers to keep on the pulse of their staff, gauging how staff are progressing and identifying where they may not be meeting performance and development expectations. They are also the perfect opportunity to give feedback to staff on where they may not be achieving key result areas. Similarly these sessions are also ideal for addressing behavioural issues such as repeated lateness or attitude problems. Catching issues early usually enables both parties to make amendments and adjustments for a swift resolution.

The flip side, leaving poor performance or behavioural issues with staff and allowing them to continue to a point where many managers want to terminate the employee’s employment reflects badly on all parties. Employees are often unaware of the problem at this point as this is the way they have always done things and are entrenched in bad habits, managers are at the end of their tether and want a fast resolution to the situation, other staff members are dismayed as they are often picking up the slack from said employee and there are bad precedents set and inequalities among employees affecting engagement and culture in the organisation. At this point situations become long winded and process needs to be adhered to to properly address the situation, meaning it sometimes takes months to get a resolution and they are rarely satisfactory to all parties.

As HR we need to encourage open communication between ourselves and people managers within the organisation and ensure either that they are equipped to deal with staffing situation or that if not, they consult with us on them. Have regular catch ups with them about their staff and their teams, make yourself available and keep abreast of staffing situations. Better still get out of HR and onto the shop floor where possible. We need to ensure people performance and behaviours are addressed early and that managers feel able to come to us for help and advice.

I probably should have entitled this post “The Sooner the Better” as it’s a more accurate description as something can always be done and it is possible in many instances to get a positive result, however much easier if done straight away. Though, whilst dramatic “Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace” probably creates more urgency!

Get On Your Bike!

I’ve never been one for cycling, more of a walker / runner type myself. Even as a kid – I learnt to ride and even obtained a badge for it from school aged 11, but growing up where I did on Auckland’s North Shore there’s very few if any even mildly flat areas anywhere near where our house was. Not living far from there now I still have a serious uphill battle to get anywhere.

But these summer holidays I decided it was time to take the training wheels off Miss Four’s bike. And in doing so bought bikes for the other half and I to ride along with her. My reasoning for this was threefold; a fun form of exercise for the three of us as Miss Four can ride a lot further than she can walk, a way for us to spend more time together as a family unit and thirdly so Miss Four could watch and learn from us once the training wheels came off.

It struck me as we were riding around Auckland’s waterfront together recently the analogy between this and running a team. Teams run best when they are in alignment, working together cohesively, pushing each other to go harder, faster, further than ever before.   Teams with a culture of collaboration and innovation, riding in sync will achieve much greater productivity through increased intrinsic motivation.

Putting time and effort into relationships within teams, working to build trust and open forums for communication where individuals are working towards a common goal are essential elements for success in teams.  Much like us on our bike rides, taking stock now and then and checking to ensure all are on the same path – or at least that their paths are in alignment, and that all are free to express their thoughts.

Creating a coaching culture within teams whereby members feel empowered to remove their training wheels, watching and learning – developing themselves through growth in others will further develop trust among group members. This in turn ensures individuals carry their own weight as well as supporting that of others when required.

Working as a team also ensures you can support each other when the likes of Miss Four has a spill, or the other half gets speed wobbles, and doing it together keeps it light hearted, relaxed and fun.

I can’t wait for my next ride. Get on your bike!

Consciously Unplugged

I spent the recent Christmas / New Year holiday completely switched off. I was in Tinopai. Tinopai is a tiny coastal rural town in the Kaipara Harbour of New Zealand. This is where my parents have their bach (Kiwi speak for holiday home). Theirs is a late 1800’s two storey former miner’s cottage that was shipped onto the current site sometime in the 1930’s. Whilst it’s been almost entirely rebuilt since then, albeit in keeping with its original character & charm there are little to no mod cons. No dish washer, no sky TV, no phone line, no wifi and better still the area has no cellphone reception for NZ’s largest cell network.

This is how I unplugged – it was enforced! And there are two major things I learnt from it:

  • It’s amazing how fast you get used to your phone not being an extension of you and how quickly you realise you can do without it
  • Without the constant interruptions and general noise in most peoples everyday lives it’s amazing how much clarity of thought you can achieve


Along with the first came the fear that I would miss out on something. I wasn’t sure what, but I was terrified of it anyway. Again, this passed quickly thankfully and now that I’m back online I wonder why I ever worried about it in the first place.

The second came with some much more profound revelations. Last year was probably one of my biggest yet from a work perspective. I was somewhat dismayed to finish the year with some unresolved issues and loose ends at work. But what the time out has given me is perspective; a new view of a clear path forward and a solid resolution to these situations which are now underway.

Now I’m all for starting your day with planning and thinking time and much has been written on the virtues of both, as I believe it gives perspective, clarity and priority to your day and . But to get an overall perspective of a larger work issue, project or plan I absolutely advocate a spot of conscious unplugging. I’m not suggesting you all find remote areas to get away from it all, for long periods of time, though it certainly helps when all you have to do is wonder whether you’ll swim, kayak or similar that day! But rather plan times to switch everything off and do something you love – read, walk, take the kids to the park; find your version of Tinopai.

I plan on 2015 being my best year yet in every possible way, and whilst a large amount of that will no doubt be spent communicating in a work fashion, online, and hooked up to social media, all things I love, enjoy and thrive on; I will equally be ensuring there are times where I consciously unplug to allow my mind time to rest and revitalise. 

HR blonde on Rugby Tour?

Yep you read it right, this extrovert HR blonde went on tour, rugby tour. This took the form of removing me from my natural habitat in Auckland’s North Shore and my local haunts of the central city, from shoe stores and gossips with the girls over bubbles and dropping me in windy Wellington for a bloke’s weekend of footy.

The All Blacks played South Africa; anticipation built for this game from the other half since he bought the tickets in January. Customised AB’s jerseys, TV and priceless collector’s items; attendance of more than half of the Rugby World Cup matches whilst here in NZ, and reporting on it for the nation’s largest newspaper, season tickets at Eden Park going back three generations…to say he’s fanatical is an understatement. To be fair I’m to be regularly seen by his side at Eden Park and Miss Four has already attended her first All Blacks test – albeit dressed head to toe in pink! It’s not really my thing, but there’s something quite amazing about watching a nation come together to support their team, the atmosphere at the games is incredible.

And how does a nation come together?
·         With a vision so strong it’s become a passion,
·         With backing and advocacy from the top down over years and generations of followers,
·         With a continuously honed and refined strategy
·         And near flawless execution from the team in the spotlight

The players, current, future and past are legends; aspirational characters, icons we all look up to and believe in. The coaches and management team are revered the world over for their skill, knowledge and ability to continually deliver outstanding results.

Now scale this back, scale it down if you like. If organisations’ took a leaf out of the All Black’s book and created a workplace with a unified vision, a clear strategy and the tools to execute that smoothly under leadership providing direction, coaching and development where would they be? Top of their game? None of this is new and none of it is rocket science, simply another metaphor, another reminder of getting the basics right.  

Crouch, pause, set, engage!

Ten Action points from the #hrgcnz

Almost two weeks on from the fantastic HR Game Changer Conference I’ve had more time to reflect and revise on my thoughts during and post conference. What I’ve come up with here are my ten action points. 

Strangely, I’d been thinking about this post over the weekend and prioritising my action points and how to achieve them, then yesterday I received a letter from the team at Elephant Training and HR – asking me to do almost exactly that! Their letter reminded conference attendees of how Jason Judkins, CEO of Yealands, gave all employees a self addressed letter and asked them to fill in their goals at the beginning of the year. These were then sealed and opened at the Christmas party where they were asked to explain how they had gone about achieving their goals and received a $200 bonus. The results were exceptional, both personally and professionally.
So Elephant created a letter to each of us to capture our goals and actions post conference, with the intention that we bring them along to open at next years’ conference and collectively celebrate our successes and achievements. They framed the goals as actions to transform HR in my business, and actions to transform the HR profession. 

I’ve framed mine a little differently here as my focus has been on the ideas, wins, changes and initiatives developed during conference that I could takeaway and use in my business to transform the way we do things and as HR add more value to the business. Some have been instantly actionable and are relatively small changes, others will take some time to implement and require greater effort and dedication, but here are my top ten, in no particular order:

  • Instigate walking meetings and stand ups; movement stimulates.
  • Whilst treadmill working stations may be the dream, a great start would be non-formal and/or moving work stations promoting collaboration and collective / flexible working environments.
  • Use phones to record and share company stories.
  • Boost and promote the use of Yammer for internal communications; utilise more than one platform. Drive staff use of and interaction with 
  • Strategy on a page; simplify all communications, processes and documentation.
  • Use more visuals; in training, communications, recruitment…and so on.
  • Raise the profile of culture and embed into business strategy. Change culture along the way.
  • K.I.S. = In everything ask Keep? Improve? Stop / Start / Simplify?
  • Deliver, deliver, deliver.
  • Keep top of mind “What’s in it for them?”.

changing the hr game

I was fortunate enough to attend the #hrgcnz last week, and I can’t speak highly enough of my experience. I’ve come away excited by the new ideas, concepts and thoughts, so much so that it’s taken me almost a week including two days in an isolated Kaipara Harbour bach to unravel my thoughts and takeaways. I have developed an extended network of like-minded people, some new to me others I’d previously only known via social media; I have validated and benchmarked my own thinking through shared ideas and was more than a little star struck by the calibre of speakers we heard from. The conference itself was exceptionally well run by the team at Elephant HR & Training; providing a range of learning solutions and forums from speakers through facilitation and group work.

It’s thought to be a world first that as we were closing off the NZ conference each day, there was a UK contingent kicking off the beginning of their day. Simultaneous conferences, running concurrently – both with the aim of facing the future of HR, and changing the path as we know it. And both with group members tweeting and sharing the conference content in real time. Sharing so much in fact, that in NZ the hashtag #hrgcnz, was trending in the number two spot, vying for attention against the election and the Joan Rivers tragedy.

The conference concluded with the announcement of a new HR Institute for NZ – CHRI; the Chartered Human Resources Institute. Limited details at this point as to what it means for HR in NZ, but if the conference is anything to go by, I for one am excited to see what comes next.

My main takeaways from the conference are summarised under the three headings below:

 Change the game
To be game changing you must first seek to fully understand the game you’re in, from an industry, company and team perspective. Use technology such as the likes of social media for internal communications, building team culture, development of staff and recruitment; also as an avenue for leaders and CEO’s to connect with those on the shop floor. Create environments for staff to experiment and advocate right practice, forgetting best practice. Stop doing what you don’t need to and instead link up with what the business is trying to achieve and work to add value through collaboration. Hold yourself accountable, constantly ask why of yourself, others and procedures. Stop worrying about minimising risk and instead look to maximising potential. Get rid of anything that doesn’t add value or change the game.

“Celebrate when it changes something, not because you build it” Fiona Michel, NZ Police

Blaze your own trail
Take opportunities, grow, evolve, reinvent yourself and your organisational practices – embrace and drive change. Continuously look forward and focus on developing yourself, challenge and disrupt to create and enable transformation. Lead, don’t serve. Stop worrying about not being at the top table or otherwise, deliver, deliver, deliver and the results will follow. Spend time outside HR, get out of your comfort zone and establish a fundamental knowledge of the business values, goals and strategy. Think like a business leader. Seek innovation, get over yourself and stop naval gazing.

“Become infamous, not irrelevant” – Jan Bibby, Vodafone

Make people smile
Bring in fun; find ways to introduce fun through low and zero cost means to engage employees and create employee champions. Ask staff what rewards matter to them, and similarly in all dealings ask yourself what’s in it for them, and focus on delivering this. Showcase great experiences and results, after all culture drives performance. Encourage diversity and work to break down segmentations. Communication is key, so find new and innovative ways for HR and leaders to stay in touch with the people in the business.

“Make people’s lives better” – Nigel Latta

work; without regret

For a while now I’ve contemplated the cause and effect, or reasons behind employee disengagement to the point of being performance managed out. At what stage and why does an employee go from being engaged and productive, enthusiastically contributing to the workplace to actively working against it?

In my experience very few employees arrive at an organisation with a negative outlook or intention. Admittedly it happens and I have a whole blog post on that to publish at some point. But in the most part employees begin much like we all did when starting school – you remember; full of awe and wonder and anticipation of the things you will achieve there. Usually you’ve beaten out the competition for the role, it’s something you’ve worked and strived towards. Then you start full of promise and all wide eyed as you take it in and work to understand and grasp the new role and organisation.

From there we go through the usual motions, interacting with workmates, growing and learning until comfortable in the role and the organisation, for most the settling in period to feeling really comfortable is anywhere from three months to a year depending on all the elements involved.

From there assuming all staff are treated equal in terms of opportunities from induction, through training and development, reward and recognition, where do things go wrong? From a company perspective as I say, I assume all staff are treated equal; which leads me to two possible reasons for the change in the employee.

First up, the manager. So often I’ve heard “people leave managers, not companies”. And in many cases I think this is undoubtedly what happens. Many people find themselves in management positions because they were the high achievers in their particular jobs, not because they are good people mangers or have experience in these areas. Many companies promote staff into these positions without the proper training and coaching to really be effective in the position. Like I say they may know the role inside out but do they know people? Can they relate to, work with, develop, coach, inspire, discipline and lead others? Some have natural abilities in these areas, others need to be taught, and they’ll need help along the way. Managers have the power, position and influence to make or break their staff, and this should be used wisely. Personalities should not come in to play and staff should be treated fairly and without bias at all times. Managers should actively engage with their staff and ensure they support, develop and progress them where appropriate.  Employees should feel their manager “has their back”; that they can have an open dialogue with their manager, on a regular basis, are encouraged into new opportunities and given chances to grow and work autonomously with support available as required.  All of this is to avoid the situation of a staff member either leaving of their own accord or resulting in a performance management situation. Which could result from any number of reasons or situations from disconnect through, difference of opinion or view, lack of communication and more.

The other major reason I see for this sort of situation is the employee themselves. And this opens up a whole host of possibilities also. In the early stages did they take up the help, advice and learning of the induction? From there have they made the most of the training and development opportunities offered? Have they actively sought to grow in the role? Connect with their manager, other staff and departments? Or are they all talk and little action? So often I see and hear of staff complaining about the lack of training or development opportunities, but it’s these same staff that either don’t put their hand up at all for training offered, or when they do, they don’t turn up – or worse turn up and are disruptive and dismissive resulting in a loss of learning for others. So what is the reason for this? And why are they asking for specific training, then when the opportunity arises not taking it? And from there how do they end up in performance management situations? At what point did they switch from the enthusiastic new starter to a wary, actively disengaged employee? Was the culture fit wrong? The employee / manager relationship not the right fit or properly regarded by either party? Whatever the reason, I’m adamant that employees as much, if not more than managers need to take responsibility for their own development and progression. If you can’t motivate yourself, and be responsible for taking your own opportunities and directing the course of your career, where, how or why would you be entitled to think anyone else should do it for you?

I wonder if in either of these two instances they experience regret? I hope not. Regrets are not something I have a lot of time for, being of the mind-set that you should embrace every opportunity, situation, person or otherwise with open arms. Sure there may be times when this doesn’t work out in your favour – but at least you tried, and don’t live with regret. And in either case – the manager or the employee, I’m adamant you drive the results of your efforts. If you are a manager and aren’t being entirely fair, objective, encouraging or otherwise – change it, don’t regret it. Turn the employee, the relationship or situation around now, before it even has the chance to become a regret. If you’re the employee – same advice. Seize the day, take control of your own future; take every training opportunity offered, network, stay focused, be positive – after all you drive you at the end of the day. And I don’t know who said it first – but don’t live, or work with regret.