Personal Effectiveness – Individual and Team Self Learning Resources

The resources, advice, activities and guidance listed below are taken from the University’s staff development resource bank LearnSmart .  LearnSmart is available for colleagues to browse through at any time and covers all aspects of work and personal development.  We have highlighted below a few of the resources under just some of the subjects on offer and suggested ways of using them for either individual or team development. Specific information and resources about managing and being involved in change can be found on the Change pages.

This learning pathway has been created as a ‘playlist’ around the theme of Virtual Collaboration .  It encourages participants to complete a pre and post learning assessment with suggested development content in between.  You will cover areas such as:

  • How to manage a Virtual Team
  • Virtually Perfect Meetings
  • Connect and Collaborate
  • Communication skills

And more…

Work through the playlist in your own time and explore more detail via the LearnSmart search function, should you wish to know more about specific subjects.

It is important that when we think about how we manage our time we reflect on our current and past practices.  Everyone will have different reasons for needing to review how they apportion time to tasks, how they achieve work/life balance or how to be more efficient with the time they have.  The following resources aim to help you understand your current time management approach and then suggest ways to make improvements.

Essential Time Management Skillbook : this is a great booklet to work through either as an individual or as a Team (either work through it as an individual and then come together to discuss your thoughts and support each other (self-facilitation) or approach it as a Team and consider how the department works). An alternative is the Time Management Self-Assessment tool, great for individual refection and/or some subsequent group discussions.

The ABC Time Management Method: As an individual or team you could create an ‘ABC’ list and even go one step further analysing whether ‘C’ tasks are necessary – what usually falls out from this activity is that people/teams have got into the habit of thinking of everything as an ‘A’ task and then it all becomes overwhelming. The Time Management Matrix could be used as a similar/alternative exercise.

A shorter individual or group task could be to watch this video about Six Time Management Dos and Don’ts and then reflect on or discuss your thoughts about the themes and ideas covered; could they work for you, what are the barriers stopping you from implementing them and how can you overcome those barriers? An alternative is to read through this short article about How to improve your time management which discusses the issues but also offers some solutions.

Finally if it is work/life balance that you want to reflect upon then try Life Priorities: A Time Management Exercise .  This exercise is designed to help you examine your work-life balance and time management. It will help you to identify how you would like to allocate your time and compare this with how you currently spend it. The exercise should be completed over the course of a week.

There are lots more Time Management resources that can be used in a similar way to the suggestions above (for instance How do you spend your time?; How to handle workload peaks;  Do you know when to say no? ).  The skillbooks are a great way to get thinking about the subject and to do a bit of reflection and planning, whether as a group or individual.

Prioritisation is a key skill that you need to make the best use of your own efforts and those of your team.  It helps you allocate your time where it's most needed, freeing you and your team from tasks that can be addressed later. By knowing how to prioritise you can stay on track with commitments while keeping stress at bay.

We suggest you start this subject by watching the following 2 minute video: Prioritisation Skills

And then try the How to Prioritise Skillbook . Designed to fit into just one hour, it will help you:

  • evaluate the true value of prioritisation
  • explore two important prioritisation techniques
  • consider how resource scarcity should affect your priorities

Team Activity: Try the Action Priority Matrix – watch the video together and then complete a matrix as a team.  If you have a larger team split into groups and then discuss your findings.  Discuss where your priorities should sit and whether there are activities that can be removed or reprioritised.

There are lots more Prioritisation skills resources that can be used in a similar way to the suggestions above – the skills books are a great way to get thinking about the subject and to do a bit of reflection and planning, whether as a group or individual.

Are you struggling to get started on tasks, putting off the same tasks or flitting between tasks and never finishing, you may feel as though you are procrastinating.

We suggest you start this subject by watching the following 2 minute video: Overcoming Procrastination

And then try the Overcoming Procrastination Skillbookwhich will help you to get out of the procrastination habit. In under an hour, you’ll look at how you can:

• Recognize the signs and symptoms of procrastination.

• Plan to complete high-value tasks.

• Set the stage for getting work done

There are lots more Procrastination resources that can be used either as an individual or as a team – the skillbooks are a great way to get thinking about the subject and to do a bit of reflection and planning, whether as a group or individual.

Confidence is key to success, piece of mind and wellbeing. Having self-confidence boosts your self-esteem and helps you achieve your goals.

We suggest you start this subject by reading this short introduction about the subject: Building Self-Confidence

For a quick activity watch the Confidence Hacks video and then consider the reflective questions listed under the video.  This could be done as a team activity too, watch the video and discuss your thoughts about the ‘Hacks’ suggested, would they help your team?

And then try the Building you self-confidence skillbook which will help you to understand yourself better. It takes about an hour and you'll learn how to boost your self-confidence by:

  • reminding yourself of previous successes
  • envisioning a successful future for yourself
  • reframing past mistakes
  • setting self-confidence building goals

Once you have run through the skills book consider whether a mentor might help you get to where you want to be, visit the University Mentoring and Coaching  pages to find out more.  Or maybe you feel you have lots to offer other colleagues and would like to become a mentor yourself, again visit the mentoring webpages to find out how you can sign up.

There are lots more Self-Confidence related resources that can be used either as an individual or as a team – the skillbooks are a great way to get thinking about the subject and to do a bit of reflection and planning, whether as a group or individual.

Do you sometimes feel as though you fail to get your opinions heard, or people readily dismiss your views? Maybe you have a habit of handling situations aggressively, or lack the confidence to speak up. If so, the following resources will help you develop your assertiveness skills in order to boost both your confidence and influencing skills.

We suggest you start this subject by watching the following 2 minute video: Assertiveness

And then try the Assertiveness Skillbook , designed to fit into one hour, you will learn to:

  • identify what your rights are and understand why you let others’ needs and demands encroach on you
  • practice assertive communication techniques
  • learn how to use a LADDER to get what you need

There are lots more Assertiveness related resources that can be used either as an individual or as a team – the skillbooks are a great way to get thinking about the subject and to do a bit of reflection and planning, whether as a group or individual.  The Assertiveness resources also delve into the subject of dealing with difficult situations and conflict.

Why do some people manage to go the extra mile while others struggle to get into the starting blocks? What is it that motivates us to work hard and how can we take responsibility for our own motivation? Below are some resources that will help you identify areas where you might be lacking in motivation and address the causes as well as identifying ways to boost your motivation.

We suggest you start this subject by reading this short introduction: Understanding Motivation

And then have a go at completing the How Self-Motivated Are you? questionnaire.  This will help to highlight specific areas that you might want to develop further. 

The Get Motivate! Skillbook is designed to fit into just one hour, you'll learn three key elements of self-motivation and you'll start to motivate yourself by:

  • building your self-confidence and thinking positively
  • finding your focus so you know why you need to get motivated
  • setting goals to take you where you want to go

There are lots more Self-Motivation related resources that can be used either as an individual or as a team – the skillbooks are a great way to get thinking about the subject and to do a bit of reflection and planning, whether as a group or individual.

Networking is all about developing and nurturing meaningful relationships. You might have multiple networks for different parts of your life or you might be wondering whether networking is a useful tool that you should be using. Those already engaged in networking activities might want to brush up on the skills that will help the tool of networking to be even more fruitful. The following information aims to help you identfy your network goals and objectives and to develop the skills that will help you develop a positive networking experience. 

 

Networking can be a fantastic tool for developing ourselves, gaining knowledge, skills and experience and for achieving positive outcomes in the workplace. It can however be very time-consuming and so at the heart of it we need to understand what our networking objectives are to ensure we are using the right tool for the job and to make sure our activities are focused.  

 

We suggest starting with The Secrets of Successful Networking - a 12 minute audio that provides a nice introduction and some practical guidance. 

And then have a go at the Am I an Effective Networker to review your current skills. 

And then try the Networking Skills Skillbook  which will help you to understand your networking goals better. It takes about an hour and you'll cover the following:

  • identify your network objectives
  • map your network
  • develop an effective "elevator pitch"
  • plan network activities

If you then want to go into more depth the following might help:

There are lots more Networking related resources covering all aspects of this useful tool. 

Project management is the process of planning, budgeting, co-ordinating and monitoring a series of pre-determined steps that need to be taken in order to achieve a particular goal or objective within an agreed timescale. The following resources aim to get you started on your project management journey or build some depth to current knowledge.

This infographic offers a nice introduction to some of the terms and background around project management and this Project Management Overview provides more detail about each stage of the process.  

The Strategic Delivery Unit at the University has developed an online session titled Introduction to Project Management.  This is the best resource to use for a fuller introduction to project management.

Then we would suggest working through the Project Management Basics Skillbook or the Planning Small Projects Skillbook depending on the size of your project.

If you are looking for a specific qualification or a course that sits between what has been listed and more formal qualifications have a look through the options with https://www.qa.com/training/courses/project-management/  – a majority of these courses do have cost attached which will need to be met by your department.

Beyond these suggestions there are numerous free resources on our LearnSmart hub available to all members of staff, just search under project management or something more specific if you know what you are looking for: Project management Search in LearnSmart, this include subjects such as Agile Project Management, Project Management Glossary of Terms and How good are your project management skills?