What’s the Secret to Ageing Well?

How many amazing photographs have we seen of late of older celebrities who look stunning? Joan Collins, Sharon Stone, Jane Fonda and even Her Majesty the Queen are all great examples of high-profile females who are turning the notion of twinsets, pearls and tight perms firmly on its head by looking incredible whilst being busy and continuing to achieve great things in later life.Male celebrities too are also out pushing boundaries, whilst there are regularly items in the news of older people enjoying adventurous lives. Many are studying, working, travelling and treating later life as opportunity to change path and enjoy a great time. Many of us are happy to forgo the rocking chairs as middle age gets pushed back yet another decade.Whilst we many not be privy to the financial clout or lifestyle choices of wealthy celebrities or have the genetic advantage of good looks and bone structure there are still ways we can improve our quality of life and enjoy ageing well.- Our hair style can date us. It may be an easy option to check in with the same hairdresser every time; after all, they know us so well, won’t make any regrettable errors and are convenient. But sometimes visiting another stylist can result in them seeing us in a very different way and suggesting a change in style or colour, giving our image a complete overhaul. It’s no bad thing to sometimes be seen by a fresh pair of eyes.


Advice from experts for women includes avoiding wearing hair too long or adopting solid or sharp lines, thus supporting a softer look. For men, maintaining smart, fashionable grooming helps you look years younger and feel better about yourself.- Exercise is important at any age. While we may not aim to be as energetic as we were when young, exercise in later years is almost more important. Be alert to the risk of leading too sedentary a life and consider a regular brisk thirty-minute walk as a valuable way to get some fresh air. It costs nothing and could tie in with spending pleasant time with your partner, family or friends, chatting about your days, investing in your relationships.Investigate over-50′s classes run by many local leisure centres. There may be Pilates or yoga available to attend, which also provides opportunities to socialise regularly with others. Or incorporate some exercise and stretching into your domestic routine or consider a personal trainer.- Diet and eating healthily helps manage the ageing process. It’s sensible to avoid processed foods, sugar and excess alcohol, to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated as well as eat lots of fresh green vegetables, fruit and wholegrains. All are ways to invest in good internal and external health, so helping you to age well.- Your dress style reflects your age. Keeping up-to-date with the latest fashions and trends enables you to be stylish, smart and attractive without adopting any extreme fashion trends. Many older women prefer to cover their arms and neck areas. The artful use of scarves and accessories can achieve this whilst providing an elegant, distinctive look.Whilst older men may move away from daily uniforms or business suits and dress more casually, it can be ageing to regularly dress in track suits and trainers. Get into the habit of wearing a smart-casual look, comfortable but not scruffy.


- A younger mindset means letting go of limiting beliefs, being realistic but not saying ‘no’ or ‘I can’t’ too often. Learn to deal with any stressors in your life, pace yourself, but also look forward with enthusiasm to opportunities that come along. Remember, if you choose to say ‘I can’ or ‘I can’t’ – either way you’re correct. Outlook and perspective is the key. Have a ‘yes, why not’ mentality and remember, this is your time to try new things.- Future plans should be motivational, whilst not being too daunting or stressful. Choose to leave your comfort zone from time to time and keep life interesting and exciting. It’s good to stretch yourself a little, but not lie awake fretting about things you’ve agreed to do. You could take a course just for fun, volunteer, do some consultancy work, start a small business from home or accept a part-time job.The secret to ageing well is to enjoy life on your terms. Take good care of your health and focus on living life well!

The Effective HR Manager

Winning the respect, trust and confidence of line managers and making a difference

Ask many line managers what they think of HR managers and you will get a variety of views from the positive to the most damning.

Examples are:

- “Excellent. Very professional.”

- “Very responsive, supportive and helpful”

- “Great if I can ever get hold of them”

- “Talk their own language. Not really in touch with the needs of the business. A bit flakey”

- “You mean the dead hand of HR!”

As the issue of effective HR management has grown in importance over the years so has the need for HR managers to be both responsive and proactive in meeting the needs of their developing organisations.

Clearly it’s important that an organisation’s employees are paid on time, they are able to access the benefits they are entitled to and can receive straightforward help and advice from HR when needed.

This operational piece of the HR management responsibility needs to be reliable and responsive in every respect. Getting the basics right is all important.

So is partnering with line managers in recruitment activities, performance management processes, training and personal development provision. These are all very necessary, core elements of the HR function’s role. Organisation’s have every right to expect that HR managers will be proficient in these areas.

But what about gaining the respect, trust and confidence of line managers, over and above these basics? How can HR managers really add value? Here are eight tips.

- Vision

HR managers need to clearly understand the organisation’s vision and challenge the CEO if it is not clear. They need to create an aligned vision for HR to support the corporate vision.

They need to draft a vision, share it with selected line managers, check it, refine it and communicate it both to the HR team and line managers. They need to be clear on HR’s vision for future success, and clear on how it is aligned to the organisation’s overall vision.

- Objectives

HR managers must be clear on their organisation’s objectives. They need to put clear, measurable objectives and milestones to the HR vision. They need to make their objectives concrete, tangible and deliverable with time frames attached.

They need to announce them and ‘stick’ to them. They need to communicate their success in achieving them. They need to be seen as “business like”.

- Strategy

HR managers need to understand their organisation’s strategy. They need to be clear on their HR strategy to deliver their objectives. How will HR be positioned within the organisation as a whole? How will it work alongside the business to deliver the strategy of the business? How will it marry the day to day needs of the business with the longer term development needs?

How will it operate with closer external specialists and suppliers? What short, medium and long term plans does it have to really add value to the business?

What changes will need to be made to deliver the strategy?

HR managers need to answer these questions, share their strategy and plans with the business and their standing will automatically be enhanced!

- Resources

HR is in the business of attracting, acquiring and developing the RIGHT people. HR managers will need to assess the quality of the organisation’s existing people and compare their current capabilities to the capabilities required by the organisation in the future. That’s why they need to understand the organisation’s vision, objectives and strategy so well.

They need to compare the current competency framework to a desired competency framework, say three years from now. What will be different in the requirement of the organisation’s people? How will this impact the type of people the organisation will need, where in the business, and when?

HR managers need to create a strategic HR development plan to deliver the right people resources to the organisation to meet both its current and future needs. The use of performance management, personal development and capability management systems will help them to do this accurately. They must get transparency of the organisation’s human resources to plan effectively.

- Structure

HR managers need to structure the HR function in the most appropriate way.

They should centralise those activities which are core to the whole business. This will include policy development, recruitment, compensation and benefits, performance management, personal development and disciplinary processes. Many of these are governed by legislation and need to be corporate wide, although there may have to be regional or county variations.

HR business managers should be allocated to lines of business to work closely alongside line managers to create and deliver specific interventions to meet their ongoing needs. These people need to be seen as true business partners adding specialist knowledge and skills to line managers. In a sense they are internal consultants clearly understanding the business as well as best practice in HR management and development in the market place.

- Systems

HR managers should employ “fit for purpose” systems for both HR management and HR development. This does not mean the most sophisticated, costly and “heavy weight” systems. They should choose systems that can be easily integrated with one another, are customisable and require little management time.

Systems need to be user friendly as the trend is for managers to use them to ‘self-serve’ more and more these days.

Systems should work together holistically enabling the organisation to obtain transparency of its entire human resource, to enable it to adopt the best people acquisition, retention and development process.

- Knowledge and Skills

HR managers need to ensure that they and their team members really understand the business they work for, including its:

- Market-place

- Customers

- Products/ services

- Routes to market

- Competition

- Major commercial challenges

- Threats, e.g. legal constraints

- Vision, strategy and objectives

- Plans for the future – short, medium and long term

- Culture and values

- Leadership and management style beliefs

Many HR managers fall down because they lack essential knowledge of the business and fail to use the language and terminologies which clearly show that they understand the core business and how it works.

They should avoid “HR speak” which really turns off line managers. This may be helpful shorthand to HR professionals but it is an anathema for line managers and their staff. HR managers should focus on the objective, tangible, concrete, business related issues not just the softer, behavioural and more subjective issues.

They should gain respect for their knowledge of HR issues as well as the tangible issues faced by the business. After all, human resources are just one element of tackling these issues. When handling people related problems HR managers should go back to the vision, objectives and strategy of the business before embarking on solutions.

HR managers should expand their knowledge to include strategic thinking, change management, business planning and organisation development. Oh and finally HR managers and their teams need to become very IT savvy! They are usually not!

- Leadership and Management

The HR manager’s role is to challenge where necessary the behaviours exhibited by managers, who clearly do not ‘walk the talk’. They are to a large extent guardians of the culture and values and need to be seen to be adopting this role.

HR managers should ‘educate’ senior line managers on modern management thinking, helping them to move away from a command and control approach to a more collaborative, consensual working style which truly engages and motivates employees at all levels to give of their best.

The job of today’s managers is to recognise and release talent at all levels not to overlook it or squash it. Performance management systems, personal development programs and reward systems all need to focus on the behaviors and competence required of managers to imbed the corporate values and culture into the organisation. It is the job of the HR manager to ensure that this happens.

So how well have you developed your skills in these eight areas of expertise as an HR manager? Check out how well you are currently doing by using the list below. Tick the box on the left of the statements only if it is TRUE of you.

Start each statement with the words “I..

Top of Form

Have a vision, clearly communicated and accepted, for the role of the HR which is aligned to the corporate vision.

Have short term (up to one year), medium term (two to three years) and longer term (over three years) objectives for the HR function.

Have a thought through written strategy and plan to deliver my objectives.

Am able to assess accurately the organisation’s current HR needs and its future needs, aligning its corporate development plan to strategic HR reviews.

Have a structure for my HR team which enables it to play a centralised and decentralised role in the business, catering for its daily operational needs, and its future development needs.

Have in place HR management and development systems that are fit for purpose, reliable and user friendly.

Am investing in my own and my team’s knowledge and skills in specific areas of HR and wider business related areas.

Challenge the behaviours of managers at all levels of the organisation to live out the corporate values, and my performance management and reward systems reinforce the need to walk the talk.

Am seen as a respected, knowledgeable professional in whom people can put their trust because they have confidence in me.

Continually invest in my own and my team’s personal growth and development.

Total Score:
Bottom of Form

How did you score?

8-10 – Excellent to very good. You have a few gaps to fill.

5 to 8 – Very good to fair. You have quite a few gaps to fill.

0 to 5 – Not so good. If you believe in the points made in this article you have some way to go!

You could say that these are the basics. Getting them right will in itself enhance the HR manager’s standing and reputation. However there are also issues to consider.

These include:

- Being emotionally intelligent

- Being ‘politically’ savvy

- Exercising critical judgement

- Influencing without authority

- Being a catalyst for change

- Having personal credibility

- Being culturally aware

- Conflict resolution skills

- Team building skills

- Managing upwards and managing peers

Plus a host of other soft skills!

Positive Change in the Management Will Change the Organization Positively

Management was considered a skill and art. People said leaders are born. Then people said leaders could be inspired. Now people say that leaders could be trained. It is true that we could be trained and taught to become leaders. Management is a leadership skill. The best leadership ever is the leadership by example. If the example is right then the understanding will be full. If the example is not right then the understanding will not be right.

Companies and organizations have managers and management levels. Smaller companies might have only one level of management and there might be only one individual as a manager. Larger corporations have different levels of management. There might be junior managers who directly deal with base level employees. There might be middle managers who interact between the junior managers and the senior managers. There might be a higher management team which would be at the top of the organizational structure.

If an organization is established to be bigger, the management would have been planned and structured beforehand. Most organizations that are worldwide and famous now, were not planned to be so when they were initiated. If you take any of the gigantic businesses, corporate companies or organizations, most of them were not meant to be grown into worldwide entities. In fact, some of the current successful and worldwide businesses were opened up for fun. We can consider the United Nations Organization as one of the very few organizations which were meant to be worldwide as they were established.

The change becomes necessary when the organization transforms from a small group of people having fun to a larger entity of importance in the society. When Facebook was launched, it consisted of only one manager; the founder himself. Now it has over 10,000 employees with different levels of management. Google was started with two people. Now it has more than 57,000 employees worldwide. This is the transformation that takes place when a company or organization grows.

All companies had to face the issue of transforming from a smaller stage to a bigger stage. Once they transform, the organizations which changed their structure of management accordingly were able to survive. The management of whichever organization was resistant to change had to pay the price of losing the organization. If an analysis is done on the organizations, companies or corporate businesses which were closed or sold, then the management would be held responsible for ending up in such situations.

The most effective mode of management is to lead by example. A military is a controlled system that runs by orders. One of the most important aspects in the military is that the leader who is giving an order also carries out that order. For example if a soldier is required to wear a uniform, then the chief of the battalion is required the same. If a soldier is required to carry out training exercises, the commander is required too. In other words, militaries are successful organizations not because the leaders or managers have much authority but because they lead by example.

As a simple fact, if a manager keeps his table clean all the time, he can ask his subordinates to keep their table clean. There will be no opposition. Since the subordinates know that their manager always keeps his table clean, they will have no excuse or reason to give him. The leader gets his authority through his example behavior and not through shouting at people.

Since management is essentially leadership, it should lead by example. The duty of higher management is to make sure that there are example leaders in the middle management. The middle management consists of the most sensitive links with most critical positions. The middle management of any organization is the bridge between the workforce and the managing force. If the bridge is not right, then the journey wouldn’t be fulfilled.

As organizations transform from small to big, the gap for a middle management arises. The top managers might be able to manage 10 staff but not 100. If the top management decided to manage all staff without middle management, it is like building a suspension bridge without any poles in the middle. It will work for up to a certain length. If the bridge exceeds the optimum length, then the strength would be in question.

It is the same with a growing business. There have to be changes to address the needs of tomorrow. Most organizations fail because they try to address the problems that took place yesterday and they forget to think and make a plan to avoid problems tomorrow. In the long run, this kind of organization will have problems piled up from the past and will be facing problems in the future as well.

The aspects of the management should change in a way that the management should be able to think, anticipate and identify potential problems in the future. They should then be able to get ready to face and solve the problems before the problems hit the organization. If this is not considered by the management, then the day to day problems will keep all the staff occupied in problem solving. While everyone is busy trying to solve the problems, the intended regular tasks will be missed. The missed tasks will seed for new problems in the future. Since the management is not willing to change, the same will take place in a loop.

A few managers don’t consider themselves as examples. The manager might not think that he is not supposed to be an example, but the employee will always look at the manager as an example. If the manager is not punctual, then the employee will either become like the manager or will not like the manager. If people don’t like other people, it is hard to take tasks from them. If you are a manager and your employee doesn’t want to take tasks from you, then you are in trouble.

Every single aspect of the manager is critical to the organization. If there are five different managers in an organization, all of them should be together and be leading by example. The employees who look at the managers should get an impression to become like the managers. In a few organizations the founders or the owners make sure that the staff will like the management. If someone in the management is spoiling the name of the entire management, that person would usually be fired.

Some say that the only job of a manager is to hire staff. I strongly disagree. The only job of a manager is to manage. Managing is a leadership aspect. The best leadership is to lead by example. To be a positive example, the manager has to be positive in all qualities. If the manager is positive in all senses, the employees will like the manager. If the employees like the manager, then they will listen to the manager. If the manager asks them to do something, they will do it. A positively qualified example manager is going to ask only something good for the organization. At the end, a positive change in the management will change the organization positively.