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Work Skills – are you an Office Ninja?

April 22, 2015 | By | No Comments

Lets face it, we could all use a little improvement when it comes to polishing our personal skills in the work place. You could be a black belt in time management, but a yellow jelly when it comes to communication. Or you could be a whiz on keeping your inbox tidy, but be a bit biz when it comes to staying motivated enough to see a project through.

We all want to be the ultimate Office Ninja, which is why we’ve got some top tips on helping you shore up those chinks in an otherwise impeccable armor.

Time management
“Waste is a thief” or so the corporate spiel tells us. So it’s important to manage your time effectively in the workplace. But managing your time doesn’t have to mean more work. Instead, it allows you to focus on tasks which matter, and complete the ones will make a difference to your day before tackling those less important jobs.


We asked Carol Sewell , who runs our ‘Personal Effectiveness’ Workshop for our STAR programme, what her top tip would be for managing your time more effectively:

“Always start your day by planning your time. Don’t instantly give priority to unplanned interruptions unless they are business critical. Try not to leave the tasks you least enjoy until the end of the day, otherwise they will still be on your ‘to do list’ tomorrow.”

Unplanned interruptions can seem urgent in that moment, but on reflection are not important to accomplishing your goals for the day.

Tasks can be grouped into four categories:

Urgent and Important
Urgent but not important
Not Urgent, but Important
Neither Urgent nor important

It has been said that people with good time management create time to concentrate on non-urgent but important tasks. By doing this they minimise the chance of important tasks becoming urgent – easing the pressure and making for a less stressful day. Easy.

So plan your time and allow for interruptions, but be sure to assess whether those interruptions are important enough to command your undivided attention.

Self Motivation
Staying motivated to get the job done can sometimes be a tall order. Usually it’s because our focus is being tested and we lose sight of what it is we are actually trying to achieve.

Carley Leese runs our motivational workshop for the Star Programme:

‘Motivation comes from having a clear goal, something you truly believe is achievable. It helps to break the goal down into parts, you consider the obstacles that may come your way and you are relentless at reaching it’.


We are motivated when our goals are clear and defined, because we know the feeling of satisfaction we get once we achieve them. In contrast, we’ve all had the horrible thought at the end of a hard days work where you suddenly think “What did I even do today?”. So if you want to stay motivated it is important to understand what it is you’re setting out achieve on a daily basis.

If you didn’t meet those goals then it’s time to regroup, plan your next day, and set out to smash them all tomorrow.

Another key to staying motivated is knowing how the work you’re doing makes a difference. It can be hard to carry out the same task day in day out (and to the best of your ability) without understanding the significance of your role plays in the company’s success. We depend on you. And if you don’t know why then you should find out – because you are important to us.


Understanding that everyone is different is key to being an effective communicator, in the work place and though out life.

Lynne Wood runs our Communication Workshop for the Start Programme each year:

“At work, you can’t have a ‘one style fits all’ way of communicating. You have to recognise that people react in different ways and if you are to be successful, you have to find the best way to deal with their personality, rather than expecting them to adapt to you.”

Personality types can be grouped into 4 different categories.

Amiable –Around half the population lean towards being amiable. They are calm, great team players, love family and hate hurting anyone. To communicate with an Amiable you should be relaxed and agreeable, be prepared to answer ‘why’ questions, be a good listener, don’t push, and don’t rush.

Methodical – These are the people that love lists, spread-sheets and flowcharts. They are also great problem solvers but like to take their time. A good way to communicate with Methodicals is to be systematic, focus on the task, be prepared to answer ‘how’ questions, expect to repeat yourself, and be sure to bring lots of evidence.

Upfront – Most likely to be management, very firm. They are decisive, independent, and very determined. Effective ways to communicate here include talking about expected results, discuss and answer ‘what’ questions, argue the facts, not feelings, and be sure to provide options.

Expressive – These are the motivators within the group, they are animated and quite often they are easily distracted. They are the ‘ideas’ people. When communicating with Expressives you should focus on developing a relationship, be enthusiastic, open and responsive, ask and answer ‘who’ questions, and remember to be warm and approachable.

Different personality types work better with some than they do with others. For example; Methodical and Expressives are always thinking. Expressives provide the possibilities, and Methodicals provide the solutions.

Whereas Upfronts and Amiables are the do’ers. The Upfront deligate, and the Amiable get stuck in.


It’s worth pointing out that non of us are 100% one personality or another. We each have various amounts of other traits in us as well. However when the chips are down we will usually assume one of these roles within a group in order to get the job done.

The trick, however, is identifying which personality trait is strongest in the person you are speaking to. If you are able to adapt your style to meet the individuals needs then you will be a communication King or Queen in no time.

There are many more ways to improve your skills and become more effective in the workplace. If you have any tips or tricks that you’d like to tell us about then please share them below. Maybe you have a different method of staying motivated, or a better way of managing your time? What ever it is get in touch.

Good luck out there Ninjas, and remember: Work smarter, not harder.

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