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How Educators Can Accommodate Varied Learning Styles

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Those who are educators will know that there are varied different learning styles and that to reach the understanding of your whole group; you need to be able to tap into each style equally. Whether working as a teacher, learning assistant, tutor, or a training provider in a workplace setting, it’s vital to consider how you can accommodate different learning styles.

Auditory Based Learners

Some of those in your learning setting will be auditory based learners. For these individuals, it’s essential that you put in place plenty of instances whereby they can listen to themselves and others. Such methods could include listening to task directions instead of reading them. For educators to accommodate these learners, it’s also a good idea to implement the use of podcasts in your sessions. You can use recording devices to have learners record themselves retelling vital information and then play it back. Provide audiotapes of your classes or training sessions for the same reason. Ensure that you read your students the learning material aloud and also have them read it out loud to one another. When auditory based learners have too much to read in their heads, it’s difficult for them to take it all in.

Kinesthetic Based Learners

Those who are kinesthetic based learners will absorb information better with a hands-on approach. Kinesthetic learners prefer to hold or touch to learn new things. Kinesthetic learners enjoy the principle of jumping in and trying things first! To aid these kinds of learners, you can help them to understand an idea with the use of physical objects. You could also make use of art supplies and allow students to move around and act things out. School Furniture and its layout, can help you to accommodate these types of learners. You might be able to use your furniture in a way that creates a great environment for kinesthetic learners. For example, by positioning the chairs in a circular shape facing each other or creating an open space to stand, move or create art on the floor.

Visual Based Learners

Visual learners gain the best understanding when they can observe and see things. They will produce their best work when they can look at demonstrations, diagrams, videos or pictures. If these learners can watch someone else complete the task at hand first; they will be able to absorb the information and produce their own results quickly. To accommodate visual-based learners, it’s a good idea to use flashcards, photographs, maps, flowcharts or video content. You can ask students to act out demonstrations for each other to watch and in this way, you’ll be catering to kinesthetic learners too.

When you are providing a class or a training session, you’ll always want to incorporate methods that appeal to every different learning style. By doing so, you’ll extend your reach and allow everyone in the group to reach their full potential. When your training session or class is complete, you can always ask your students for feedback so that you can make improvements ongoing. Training and education in the workplace or classroom, is best achieved by catering to every individual personally.

How to Keep Your Team Agile and Aligned Under Pressure

StrategyDriven Management and Leadership Article | How to Keep Your Team Agile and Aligned Under Pressure
 
As a leader, you are constantly trying to maximize the magical effort to effectiveness equation (a.k.a. efficiency). You can see this play out in your daily operations and ultimately in the P&L. However, there is an intangible asset that is very difficult to quantify — but without it you cannot ultimately succeed. This asset is, of course, alignment.

Alignment matters because it is an amalgamation of understanding, agreement, buy-in, engagement, empowerment, and accountability.

It amazes me how few leaders understand how to harness, measure, leverage, and ultimately achieve true alignment behind their strategies and objectives. Too many leaders assume that just because they have spoken, their teams are all on the same page with them — and everything will proceed from there. Achieving true alignment takes a significant allocation of effort. But there is a direct correlation between the extent of alignment and the results achieved.

Therefore, it is in your best interest as a leader to focus more on achieving, gauging, and calibrating alignment than almost any other executional activity. The good news is that achieving alignment is more science than art — meaning that there are tools that work nearly every time in getting people behind an idea, strategy, or mission. Below, allow me to present three of my favorites:

1. Define and Drive organizational culture. Culture is the glue that holds an organization together. It’s often the reason behind why people choose to stay with your company over jumping ship to a competitor. As a leader, it is your role to create, foster, and harness culture against organizational objectives. Conduct focus groups, one on one’s, and surveys to get a strong grip on the current state of your business culture. Then define a desired state for the values and behavior you expect to see on display daily, and embody them in everything you do.

Once you are well on your way towards your desired cultural state, you need to then define your business’s hedgehog concept. This is time very well spent because it takes your underlying culture and applies it to specific business problems. By deriving the intersection of three key questions: what are we wildly passionate about, what can we do better than anyone else, and what drives our economic engine, you set a direction for people that is easy to align with. Ask the three questions at all levels of the organization, calibrate the responses, and then package the inputs into an easily digestible reason for organizational being that relates to the majority of your enterprise. Then you can focus organizational attention on how you are doing, not on what you are doing — or even worse, why you are doing it.

2. Don’t just communicate, connect. When you give a presentation on your business strategy, key priorities, and other initiatives, how often do you check (either via polls, surveys, show of hands) what people understood from your communication, what they are taking away, and whether or not they agree? Many leaders are scared to ask these types of questions because they don’t like being second-guessed. Still, it’s better to be second-guessed than to be zero-followed! Taking the time to gauge the degree to which key messages are landing, as well as whether the audience is aligned, is probably the most important investment you can make as a leader.

Once you know where your participants are on a given issue, the next step is to connect the dots for them. Do the hard work of helping them see what you see and understand why you are making these choices. Allow them to question, build on, and enhance your ideas. And finally, move forward, together.

3. Keep it very simple. It is relatively easy to stick to one road, drive the speed limit, buckle up for safety, and arrive at your destination both on time and with all passengers on board. Once you start introducing shortcuts, detours, scenic routes, and bypasses into the mix, you are almost destined to lose some people along the way. No one (besides Forrest Gump maybe) meanders their way to success. You pick a destination based on the best available information (expected weather, road conditions, permitted speed), calculate the mileage, gas expense, and time to arrival, and then start driving in as straight a line as possible until you reach your desired location, or in this case desired mission, goal, or objective.

Leaders who jump from highway to highway, seemingly without rationale, are leaders who lose the power of an organization primed and focused on achieving results. You have to know when to forge ahead, when to change course, and when to abandon ship — but at each inflection point, the more important concept to remember is that you need to reengage the enterprise when change is afoot, and never assume that people know the key why’s and what’s and how’s behind the new direction.


About the Author

Omar L. Harris is Associate Vice-President and Country Manager for Allergan PLC in Brazil. He is the author of Leader Board: The DNA of High-Performance Teams available for purchase in ebook or print on Amazon.com. Please follow him on instagramtwitterLinkedIn, and/or his website for more information and engagement.

How to hire the best talent

StrategyDriven Talent Management Article |Recruiting Talent|How to hire the best talentMost business leaders understand they need great people working for them to make their business a success. People are an organisations most valuable asset. Build a workplace where people are valued and you have a much greater chance of attracting talent.

In the current economic climate, if you want to hire the best talent you also have to understand these four things.

  • It’s an employees’ market
  • Salary isn’t the only thing employees care about
  • It’s hard to hire great people
  • The B word (Brexit)

So why do these things matter in the world of recruitment? Let’s take a closer look.

It’s an employees’ market

Unemployment is at an all-time low, which means today’s job market is tough …. for employers! Successful recruitment isn’t easy at the best of times, but with record levels of employment, the search for talent and retention are a huge challenge for businesses large and small.

So, what can businesses do to entice people who are already settled in another job? Well “If the mountain will not come to Muhammed, then Muhammad must go to the mountain”!

Businesses looking for talent can no longer rely on job boards to attract people (these forums only reach those actively seeking jobs). Businesses must understand they need to connect with passive job-seekers. Businesses need to begin by broadening their search. Using social media marketing and LinkedIn to publicise opportunities is a good place to start.

Ultimately, it’s about improving online branding to publicise the fact that you are a great employer (Glassdoor reviews matter). Old-school recruitment methods just don’t work in the current business climate.

It’s now critical that businesses adopt more modern recruitment strategies. Study your competitors so you can figure out what makes you different. You want to be able to tell prospective employees why they should work for you.

Salary isn’t everything

A report by The Psychology of Business on what people really want from their job says that culture is the new salary. While the report refers to American businesses, this shift in company culture appeal also applies to the UK. Business culture in the UK is an important currency for prospective recruits.

According to the Government’s business statistics there were 5.7 million SMEs in the UK in 2018, which accounted for over 99 per cent of all businesses. This is an important fact to consider when it comes to recruitment because most organisations competing for talent are small businesses that don’t have big budgets for large salaries. It’s where culture comes in.

For start-ups and small businesses, talent is an incredibly important asset. Culture is the answer as to how smaller businesses can compete for top talent. A report on workplace culture by LinkedIn says 71 per cent of individuals would consider taking a pay cut to work at a company whose mission and values align with their own. Professionals today just won’t work for leading companies if they have a bad workplace culture.

But what is a good culture? It certainly isn’t bean bags and bowls of fruit. Positive culture is all about giving employees a sense of purpose, providing opportunities for growth, supporting people but holding them accountable, offering flexibility, fostering trust, acknowledging achievements, showing appreciation and more. It takes effort and investment.

However, culture alone won’t cut it. People need to be able to live with financial security. Poor pay is a problem and a fair salary is still important. Small business expert Gene Marks reflects on why SMEs are struggling to find good people. The solution he says is simple – “we just aren’t paying enough.

“Some say that small businesses can’t afford to pay their employees more. I’m not so sure about that. I have clients that insist on paying low hourly wages to warehouse workers and below-market salaries to administrative and support professionals because that’s what they’ve been used to doing for the past decade. These clients are profitable and have the money to pay more. But they don’t.”
Salary isn’t everything, but it needs to be competitive and fair.

Talent scarcity

A recent survey by global business consultancy PwC, found that 72 per cent of CEOs are worried about the availability of key skills, stating that it’s not a lack of people that is the problem, but a lack of people with the RIGHT skills and abilities.

Millennials will soon make up over 50 per cent of the global workforce. They put training at the top of their list when starting a new job or evaluating an existing employer. SMEs have to acknowledge this fact. For the SME, training staff is critical. Millennials want to be in learning cultures. The SMEs grasping this fact will ultimately gain from growing their talent from within.

Brexit and recruitment

Brexit uncertainty has, according to James Stewart of KPMG, “been sapping business confidence for months, and now it is causing the jobs market to grind to a halt. With unclear trading conditions ahead, many companies have decided to hit the pause button on new hires.”

As a result, there has been a sharp increase in the use of temps and contract workers, with businesses choosing temporary recruitment solutions rather than taking on permanent employees until the Brexit dust has settled.

There is a fear amongst businesses around recruitment, particularly in sectors where there is a reliance on EU workers. When (if?) we eventually leave the EU, skill scarcity could potentially be exacerbated once free movement comes to an end.

So how can businesses mitigate against the effects of Brexit?

Aviation recruitment specialist, Ryan Abbott, advises on the UK skills shortage “In a globally connected world where students are bombarded with choices, we need to shout louder to reach potential talent who are unaware of what our industries can offer. Business leaders and recruiters can partner with colleges and schools to directly engage with students and show them the variety of successful careers open to them across UK industries.”

UK businesses need to widen their search and open their eyes to new ways of attracting talent into their organisations, as well as invest more in training from within.

Your Bad Leaders Are Driving Away Good Employees

StrategyDriven Talent Management Article | Employee Retention | Management and LeadershipThese days, it’s hard to keep a good employee in your ranks. Messages across the web tell young workers that the only way to get ahead is to hop positions frequently, even as much as once per year. In the modern job market, frequent relocations seems to be how employees get the titles, responsibilities and perks they crave.

So, employees are already poised to leave — and they will flee your offices even faster if your leadership isn’t up to snuff. Here are a few ways bad leaders negatively impact your employee retention and what you can do to stop it.

Poor Communication

Good communication is the number-one requirement for a leader. After all, it’s impossible to lead if you don’t know how to use words to direct your workforce. Still, many poor communicators make it to leadership positions, and from there, they wreak all sorts of havoc. Poor communication can take many forms:

  • Over-inflated — using too much jargon, too many big words or overly convoluted sentence structure
  • Non-specific — failing to provide clear instructions or guidelines for a project or situation
  • Abrasive — communicating with aggressive language and/or with anger
  • Selfish — communicating only to seek personal benefits, ignoring others’ needs or desires
  • Wrong method — employing an inappropriate means of communication

Fortunately, communication is a skill like any other, which means it is possible to retrain these leaders to improve their performance. It might be wise to encourage leaders to develop their communication through advanced education, like an MBA program, or else through mentorship or coaching.

Criticism

There is a fine line between healthy feedback and destructive criticism — and many leaders stray to the wrong side too often. Leaders are meant to coach, helping employees improve their skills and thus develop their careers. Bad leaders will nit-pick, taking every chance to degrade employees and make them feel ineffective and worthless.

Many employees become so downtrodden by the constant criticism that they do not report the bad behavior to HR or higher bosses, which means it is often difficult to identify overly critical leaders. If you receive any reports of an unsympathetic, judgmental leader, you should take them seriously and take steps to effect change.

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to retrain leaders who develop this habit. Often, it is a clear and simple sign that someone is poorly suited to leadership and should be removed to a different role. However, you might also need to undo the damage of these leaders by being overly appreciative of employee contributions, perhaps even handing out employee awards to raise general self-esteem.

StrategyDriven Talent Management Article | Employee Retention | Your Bad Leaders Are Driving Away Good Employees | Office Politics | Business PoliticsOffice Politics

Office politics is an unavoidable power and social networking system that develops in any organization, big or small. The manipulation of office politics by some employees is inevitable — but that doesn’t mean it’s okay for leaders to take advantage of the political atmosphere of an office. An overly political office often breeds fear amongst the workforce; fear causes employees to resent their employer, which drives up staff turnover.

Leaders might try to leverage office politics to encourage employees to work harder — but there is a delicate balance between positive and negative outcomes from political maneuvering. Plus, office politics always comes with ethical concerns, which certainly won’t boost your brand perception. It’s much safer to discourage leaders from inciting a political atmosphere in your workplace.

Dirty Laundry

Work only amounts to so much of a person’s life, and while it’s fine (even encouraged!) to share a bit of your home life with your coworkers, no one should be divulging unseemly personal drama in the workplace. Dirty laundry, much like office politics, breeds discomfort amongst your workforce; a proliferation of dirty laundry encourages people to spread rumors, with can reduce interpersonal trust and send employees looking for less threatening work.

Leaders need to find a balance between humanizing themselves with personal details and airing dirty laundry. Human resources can help train leaders who struggle to set boundaries. It’s also wise to build a workplace culture that allows for personal bonds between workers, so information about anyone’s personal life doesn’t seem quite so salacious.

Fear, discomfort, distrust — these are things that bad leaders can breed amongst your workforce, virtually guaranteeing that no good employee stays for longer than a few months. Your business can’t grow unless your workforce is stable and capable, which means you might need to take steps to change your leadership, stat.

How Much do Software Developers Make in 2019?

StrategyDriven Talent Management Article | How Much do Software Developers Make in 2019?
 
Software developers have always been in high demand, but in 2019 the appetite for developers has just increased as new innovations and applications emerge. With this high demand comes a corresponding rise in salary expectations.

So how much can a software developer expect to make in 2019?

It’s not a simple answer. Not all software development jobs are alike; some are more specialized than others, which is reflected in their pay. But there are so many different types of software development specializations these days that it’s a challenge to keep track of them all and how much they pay.

That’s why we’ve put together a handy table below, with the most common types of software developer roles as of 2019 and what they earn.

StrategyDriven Talent Management Article | How Much do Software Developers Make in 2019?

*All figures based on Ziprecruiter estimates

Notice how in the above chart that the more specialized roles are able to receive a much higher average salary than the more general roles as they get more experience. The outlier seems to be blockchain developers, who receive disproportionately higher starting salaries due to both their rarity, the difficulty of the subject matter, and the current hype surrounding blockchain development.

AI and machine learning developers have similarly high salary prospects. The starting salaries mentioned in the chart are misleading. Actually, only a small percentage of jobs pay at this low range. Salary ranges begin to spike at $78,500 – $91,000 for AI developers (19% of jobs) and $70,500 – $100,499 for machine learning developers (17% of jobs).

The starting salary of cyber security engineers is also misleading. 30% of surveyed cyber security engineer jobs actually begin at the $83,000 to $108,499 range. This reflects cyber security’s vital role in an increasingly digital world, especially in large-scale enterprises with massive amounts of data.

Video game developer salaries in 2019 are also higher than in more general developer roles, however, there is a culture of overwork inherent in the industry which is a definite trade-off for anyone seeking a position in that field.

Note that engineering roles have slight but significant job differences from your standard developer: engineers don’t just code. Software engineers help develop processes and apply engineering principles to solve client needs, which means understanding the big picture and taking a strategic approach. It requires an additional skill set beyond mere programming and is reflected in the salary. The right software engineer will help ensure your development projects don’t fail, which attributes to their high demand and salary requirements.

So there you have it. We hope this chart will be helpful in either choosing a career in software development or switching to a different specialization in mid-career.


About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor | Shane ZilinskasShane Zilinskas is the Founder and CEO of Los Angeles software development agency ClearSummit, and the Co-Founder and CTO of TuneRegistry, a music rights SaaS platform. He also provides consulting services to startups and enterprise companies. Prior to working in the agency space, Shane built news media backends and part of the FAA’s air traffic control system. He has a B.S. in Computer Engineering from UVA. He has a passion for efficiency and combining the best tech and design to solve complex problems.

Twitter: @clearsummitapps