How to Build a Motivated Engaged Team

Happy New Year and have a great 2016.

If you are a manager, team leader or a supervisor, then you will know the challenges of motivating the people who report to you.

I was a manager for 15 years in different organisations; I’ve been there, seen it, done it and got the T-shirt.

I’ve produced this Masterclass to help you get the best out of your staff 421846_300955883305673_112891905445406_809640_348109442_nand achieve your objectives.

It’s full of practical things you can do to keep your team happy, your boss happy, and make life easier for you.

I can bring it into your organisation, or you can come along to one of our open programmes.

You will find the details here at Issuu

Get in touch with me here:

Take care


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Did Jose Get the Balance Right

Don’t know if you’re a soccer fan or not, but it was hard to miss the news that  Jose Mourinho lost his job as Jose_MourinhoChelsea Football Club manager last week.

This was just seven months after he led them to the Premier League title. But this season, they have lost nine of their games out of sixteen and are in danger of being relegated.

So, what went wrong?

Two level interactions

If you’ve ever attended one of my training sessions or heard me speak, you’ll know that I’m always on about the human/business model.

This is usually in relation to dealing with staff or customers.

In any interaction that we have with other people, be it written or verbal; it can take place on two levels.

These interactions can be between the people you work with – your staff – your colleagues. Or between you and your customers or clients. Or it could be between you and your partner, your children, or any other people in your life.

Interactions will always take place on a business level.

For example – you walk into a coffee shop, ask for a coffee and that’s what you get.

Or – you ask a member of your staff to do a particular task, and that’s what they do.

Or – you deal with a customer enquiry and give them what they want.

Make it better

These are all business interactions. However, if you can add a human level, then it will make the interactions much more positive.

You’ll have happy and engaged staff, happier customers who keep coming back, and your coffee break will be so much improved.

Is it worth it?

However, many people fail to realise the importance and the value of human-level interactions.

Some managers think it’s about being nicey-nicey and touchy-feely, and they often see it as a sign of weakness.

Dealing with people on a human level is not just about being nice.

It’s more  about – listening skills, using the right words, being aware of your tone of voice and your body language.

It’s about being empathetic and accepting that other people may see things differently from you.

Does Jose know about the business side of football; the tactics, the training, how the game must be played?

I’m sure he does.

Does he know about all the human aspects of dealing with players?

I’m not sure he does.

Perhaps he should have read this….Book cover high def


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How your attitude can make you live longer

I hate to hear older people, or even those not so old say – ‘I’m a silly old fool’ when they lose their keys or can’t find their glasses.

You might be a fool, but what has “old” got to do with it.

brainWhen some people forget things it’s – ‘Oh, I must be getting old.’

We all forget things; we lose our keys, or can’t find our glasses, no matter what age we are.

Don’t talk yourself into being old!

It all comes back to positive thinking and a self-fulfilling prophecy, which a lot of people scoff at.

But if you talk about being old then you will be.

Picture from Getty Images

I’ve heard several motivational speakers use this quotation and change it to make it their own. But it actually comes from the bible.

“As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he”

That’s why I find this article in Time magazine so interesting.

Enjoy it – if you can find your glasses!


In a new study, people who believed negative stereotypes about old age had higher risk of Alzheimer’s

How do you feel about old people? Your answer appears to be connected with how well your brain holds up against Alzheimer’s disease, according to a series of two new studies published in the journal Psychology and Aging.

The researchers, from the Yale School of Public Health, say it’s the first time this type of risk factor has been linked in a study to the development of brain changes linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

In the first study, researchers looked at data from 158 healthy people without dementia enrolled in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA). In order to find out how people in the study felt about age stereotypes, researchers used a scale with statements like “older people are absent-minded” or “older people have trouble learning new things.” People in the study gave these answers when they were in their 40s.

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About 25 years later, when people in that same group were about 68 years old, they began about a decade of annual MRI brain scans to determine the volume of their hippocampus. Loss of volume in that brain region is associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

People who held more negative thoughts about aging earlier in life had greater loss of hippocampus volume when they aged. In other words, the researchers say, people who held negative age stereotypes had the same amount of decline in three years as the more positive group had in nine years.

In the second study, researchers examined two more markers of Alzheimer’s disease: the buildup in the brain of amyloid plaques—clusters of proteins that accumulate between brain cells—and neurofibrillary tangles, twisted strands of protein that build up in brain cells. To do so, they used brain autopsies of people who also had had their attitudes about aging measured.

The results were consistent: People who held more negative age stereotypes had significantly higher scores of plaques and tangles than people with more positive feelings about growing old.

The researchers didn’t look at a mechanism by which negative stereotypes might exert an influence on the brain, but they suspect that stress is the driver. Animal research shows that exposure to chronic stress can lead to the same biomarkers examined in the new study, says Becca Levy, lead author of the study and associate professor of epidemiology and psychology at the Yale School of Public Health.

Past laboratory research on humans shows that when people are primed with negative age stereotypes and exposed to stressors, they have a greater cardiovascular response, which is linked to heart events. And research from 2012 conducted by Levy and others found that people who had more negative age stereotypes before they had reached old age had significantly worse memory performance later in life.

It may be unsettling to think that negative cultural stereotypes about age could be having such a profound effect on how our brains age. “We know from other studies that as young as age four, children taken in stereotypes of their culture,” says Levy. But the results can be interpreted a different way, too. “Positive age stereotypes seem protective of not experiencing these biomarkers,” she says—so if we can find a way to promote positive age stereotypes on a societal level, our brains may be better off once we reach old age.

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How to Look Better, Feel Better, Think Better

This article from PSYBLOG  is of real interest to me. I’m in the gym every morning by 6 am and spend about half an hour trying to keep the muscles fit.

Mainly as I’m trying to keep the brain, and body, fit as I unwillingly age.

Of course, it’s tough having to drag yourself out of bed on a cold winters morning when you’d much rather dive under the duvet for another hour.

But you’ve heard the sayings – “no pain, no gain” and “if you snooze you lose” and all that stuff.

So when you wake up, think of all the benefits of being fitter both physically and mentally. Move from pain to pleasure.

You’ll look better you’ll feel better and you’ll think better.

Enjoy the article –

When These Muscles Are Fitter Your Brain Is Also Fitter

Post image for When These Muscles Are Fitter Your Brain Is Also Fitter

The brains and bodies of identical twins were compared over ten years.

Stronger leg muscles are linked to better brain ageing, a new study finds.

It’s the first time a connection has been found between power in the lower limbs and healthy ageing in normal people.

The study suggests that increasing levels of simple exercises like walking or even standing for longer may lead to healthy cognitive ageing.

The study followed 324 identical female twins over a ten-year period.

Fitness and lifestyle habits were measured by researchers.

They also gave the twins tests of memory, learning and thinking at the start and end of the study.

Genetic factors were controlled for because identical twins have identical genes.

Leg power was the best predictor of healthy cognitive ageing out of all the factors the researchers measured.

In general, the twin which had the strongest leg power at the start of the study maintained stronger mental abilities ten years later.

The twin with stronger legs also maintained the most amount of grey matter in the brain.

The legs contain the largest muscles in the body so they are of particular relevance to fitness.

Dr Claire Steves, who led the research said:

“Everyone wants to know how best to keep their brain fit as they age.

Identical twins are a useful comparison, as they share many factors, such as genetics and early life, which we can’t change in adulthood.

It’s compelling to see such differences in cognition and brain structure in identical twins, who had different leg power ten years before.

It suggests that simple lifestyle changes to boost our physical activity may help to keep us both mentally and physically healthy.”

The study was published in the journal Gerontology (Steves et al., 2015).

Walking image from Shutterstock

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How Coffee Can Help You Live Longer

Spotted this article in Time as I was drinking my morning coffee.

Think I’ll have another cup!

But before you read the article, can you spot the man’s head in this picture?

Man's head coffee beans

New findings add to growing evidence that coffee may actually have some benefits


A new study published in the journal Circulation found that regular coffee drinkers—people who drank less than five cups of coffee in a given day—have a lower risk of dying early from a number of different causes.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that coffee is the answer to longevity. But the researchers found that those who drank coffee on a regular basis had a lower risk of dying during the study’s 30 year follow up from problems such as heart diseases, diabetes, brain conditions and suicide. The findings only show a link, and cannot confirm that coffee is directly responsible for the reduced risk of death from these causes, but the scientists report that the many compounds in coffee are known to help lower insulin resistance or inflammation, which could result in better health.

MORE: You Asked: Is Coffee Bad For Me?

The researchers studied several large groups of people totaling 208,500 men and women. They asked the volunteers about their coffee drinking habits every four years for the three decades. The connection between coffee consumption and a lower death risk was even more pronounced among people who never smoked.

The researchers admit that the self-reports of coffee consumption aren’t completely reliable, and the study was not designed to find a direct health benefit from coffee. But, they argue, the link deserves more research to understand what might be driving it, since previous studies have isolated some potentially beneficial compounds, from antioxidants to inflammation fighting agents, in coffee. Interestingly, the researchers found the lower risk of death was similar among people who drank caffeinated as well as decaffeinated coffee. That suggests, the researchers write, that “other components in coffee besides caffeine might play a beneficial role mediating the association between long-term coffee consumption and risk of mortality.”

The results are only the latest in a rehabilitation of coffee. For many years coffee was deemed unhealthy. As TIME previously reported, much of that concern came from research in the 1970s and 1980s that linked coffee to higher rates of cancer and heart disease, but didn’t account for the fact that coffee drinkers are also more likely to smoke, possibly drink and engage in other behaviors that contribute to cancer and heart problems. More recent studies that account for these factors are starting to find the opposite, showing that coffee drinkers might have a slightly lower mortality risk. As with any food or behavior, however, it’s all about moderation. As long as you’re not overdoing it, says the study authors, “results from this and previous studies indicate that coffee consumption can be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle.”

all books

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Champagne Could Improve Your Memory

One to three glasses of champagne each week could slow memory loss from ageing, recent research finds Continue reading

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Working Out Doesn’t Keep Your Brain Young: Study

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10 Steps to a Happier Life, Backed By Research

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5 Fascinating Facts About Breakfast

I would never go without it. The challenge is that your body gets used to receiving the food. By 12 noon, my stomach is empty and it wants to eat itself, making me uncomfortable. But some lunch soon sorts that out.
Enjoy this article from Time

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The Intriguing Link Between Spicy Food and a Longer Life

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