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Giving Effective Feedback

Feedback can be really tough both for the giver and the receiver. If handled badly, with poor preparation and a total lack of emotional intelligence, it can do a lot of damage. However, constructive feedback delivered with integrity and a genuine intention can be the greatest gift you can give to another individual. It can provide significant development opportunities and specific insights into an individual reaching their full potential.

Coaching and continuous feedback is listed as a key trend in the Deloitte Human Capital Trends 2017 report, and research conducted by Gallup into millennials (those born between 1980 and 1996) and reported in How Millennials Want to Work and Live highlights their requirement for continuous feedback in order to develop their strengths. Millennials are passionate about their career development and see their managers as coaches who care about it, too.

The relationship between manager and an employee represents a vital link in performance management. Communication and effective influencing is crucial for that relationship to succeed.

Regular, constructive feedback is a key facet in leaders/managers developing and nurturing the talent in their teams which drives significant performance improvement. Too often, feedback is stored up and given in an end-of-year performance review as part of the feedback sandwich – praise/criticism/praise.

Elements of successful feedback


One of the most significant elements of successful feedback is the frequency. It is so important to keep it regular – ideally on a weekly basis. It does not have to be a very formal process; a simple check-in over coffee can be very effective.

Be specific

When giving feedback, aim to be as specific as possible. For example, you might refer to an instance where they didn’t participate in a meeting or listen to someone else’s point of view.

Focus on the behaviour, not the person. Refer to the behaviour exhibited only and be sure not to make it seem like a personal attack. Using the SBI model (situations, behaviour, impact) can be really useful and keeps the feedback objective.


High levels of trust and respect must exist to give and receive feedback. Be aware of how trust is being nurtured in the overall relationship.


The intention of feedback is for the recipient to learn, move forward and become a better employee. It’s rooted in genuine concern for the person – it is not to score points!


Be aware of emotions during the conversation. Be aware of how you are delivering your message and how the person receiving feedback is taking it. Are they defensive or upset? Acknowledge your intention and the reason for the feedback. Acknowledge their emotions. When an employer feels high levels of trust and the want to develop their career further, they are more likely to receive feedback in a positive way and learn from it.

Mutual understanding

The objective of providing feedback is to get to a mutual understanding – not to prove someone right or wrong. Identify your contribution to the issue. This will build trust and your ability to influence.


Don’t use the word “BUT” when delivering constructive criticism. When “but” is used in a conversation, it negates everything that was said prior to it! Instead, try to end the conversation with positive reinforcement and a commitment to agreeing the next steps forward.

Constructive feedback handled well is the greatest gift both for the giver and receiver. It takes commitment and practice but can be very rewarding.


Does the Emotional Intelligence of leaders influence the emotional climate of the organisation?

Jo Maddocks is chief psychologist, co-founder of JCA Global and author of the Emotional Intelligence Profile. In his most recent article, he has set out to find whether there is a relationship between certain facets of leaders’ Emotional Intelligence and the emotional climate they set within an organisation.

It’s an incredibly interesting read and you can find it by clicking here.


Celebrate National Workplace Wellbeing day

Today, March 31st is National Workplace Wellbeing day in Ireland and what a beautiful day for it! Hope the sun is shining wherever you are?

The benefits of workplace welbeing are immense for both the employer and employee:

  • Increased productivity
  • Reduced Stress
  • Better working relationships
  • Improved morale
  • Improved Self-confidence
  • Reduced absenteeism
  • Increased profits over the long –term.


According to research from IBEC and ESRI – work related stress and absenteeism is costing Irish businesses Eur1.5 billion a year, with an average length of absense from work of 14 days.

Wellbeing enables employers and employees to achieve their full potential


To celebrate National Workplace Wellbeing day, we at Foresight want to give you 10 ideas that you can put into practice to improve the climate and workplace wellbeing – not just today, but everyday!

10 Ideas to improve Workplace Wellbeing

  1. Check-in with people at the beginning of each meeting. How are they feeling? What do they need to leave at the door? The more present people are at meetings the more productive and effective they will be.
  2. Take a 121 meeting outside – try having a 121 meeting outside having a walk – it will be interesting to feel and see the difference
  3. Appreciate someone today – take time out to thank someone for their input and efforts.
  4. Give a team member some positive and constructive feedback today. Notice one thing they have done really well
  5. Go to lunch with a team mate for 30 mins and don’t talk about work – What are they doing for the weekend?
  6. Observe at team meetings – appoint one of the the team to observe and feedback on behaviours that are constructive and destructive at team meetings
  7. Smile more and look people in the eye
  8. Be aware of your own feelings – if stressed or burnt out – take time out to meditate or plan a renew activity at the weekend
  9. Practise Empathetic listening – it is one of the easiest and most powerful ways to improve relationships. Giving someone your undivided attention will build rapport, gain trust and help them to problem solve.
  10. Keep your promises both at home and work

I’d love to get your feedback on practising some of these ideas. At Foresight, we work with individuals and teams to be at their best by being more aware and developing their Emotional Intelligence. Let’s make our workplaces fun and productive.

Have a great Workplace Wellbeing day.




From Command and Control to Climate Control

Employee Engagement is the number 1 HR Leadership priority for 2017 (Deloitte HC report). With Brexit and the policies promised by newly elected President Trump – we are entering a period of uncertainty and ambiguity for many businesses.   Neuroscience has proven that uncertainty and increased stress can shut down the logical part of our minds and we focus on survival. This brings immense challenges to the world of work and leadership.

That coupled with output from the latest Gallup research that employees in the 20- 36 year age group are the least engaged generation in the workplace so far, with many changing jobs and actively looking for new roles.

The Gallup study highlights how millennials are pushing organsiations to reinvent how they lead and manage. The findings highlight what all 21st century workers seek from work today.

It also tallies with a famous HBR article – Why should anyone be led by you!

The underlying principles for driving engagement among millennials and indeed all workers lies in the climate that a leader has created in the organisation. How does it feel to work around here – am I encouraged and inspired to stretch myself to my full potential?

Research has shown that leadership climate is a known predicter of employee engagement and empowerment directly relating to an organisations financial performance.

Employees are over 4 times more likely to be engaged working in an emotionally intelligent leadership climate.

The climate of any organisation is greatly influenced by the Emotional Intelligence of its leaders.

Key Questions leaders could ask themselves

  • What is my mindset? Attitude – Am I creating a mindful/sthriving climate that builds long term success
  • How am I feeling? How self-aware am I of my feelings and those around me?
  • How do I choose to behave – do I take time out to reflect on situations and prepare for key conversations and meetings – what is my objective , what fingerprint do I want to leave.

Measuring Climate 

measuring climate

The Leadership Climate indicator model (JCAglobal) measures 12 key leadership behaviours that demonstrate the prevalence of 4 leadership styles – Inspiring, Including, Controlling and Withdrawing leadership.

It explores how the tone set by the organisations leaders is felt throughout the company and measures the impact this is having on perfomance, well-being and innovation.

Advice for Building a Thriving/Flourishing climate

  • Build Self-awareness – Leaders who are aware of their own behaviours and those of their team are closer to the reality of what is really going on in the business.
  • Ensure all employees are clear on the Purpose of the organisation – Why do we exist? Why does this organisation matter?
  • Provide Regular Feedback – encourage an environment where feedback is seen as development and an opportunity to reduce blindspots and stretch.
  • Build Trust – Internally with employees, team members and externally with customers and suppliers
  • Create and atmosphere of openness
  • Stretch and Empower individuals – don’t micromanage – Encourage responsibility
  • Value and appreciate others

Make 2017 a productive and effective year, focus on creating the climate for success.

Fiona Flynn


Foresight Corporate Development



Why does Emotional Intelligence matter?

In the Mid 1990’s I was involved in developing and building out a sales team to sell internet services – hard as you might believe today – we had to proactively educate and convince people and businesses that the internet was really important!  Memories of outbound sales campaigns, field based campaigns, seminars TV and Radio campaigns.  In today’s world of smart phones, we suffer withdrawal symptoms if we don’t have access to wifi!


Today, we are in the Emotional Intelligence (EI) space and passionately believe it can help people improve their relationships and performance.  I’ve been fascinated by reactions when I mention Emotional Inteligence – it feels like the word emotion is seen as a scary word  – “we’re not going to talk about that”, “I won’t use that term with my boss”.  I have a hunch that the word emotion is just too scary for some people particularly in a business conteext.


But guess what, Emotions matter and neuroscience has proven that our EI is really important to our performance.

  • Employees are 4 times more likely to be engaged working in an emotionally intelligent leadership climate
  • Managers trained in EI deliver twice the profit than those that are not
  • Sales Teams who have developed their EI deliver increased revenue and profitablity
  • 90% of Top performers are high in EI

So, my hope is that this blog will help raise your awareness and allow you to see how your emotional intelligence is critical in your business and personal life!


What is EI?

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is how somebody manages their personality to be both personally and interpersonally effective.

EI is about Attitude

Neurological evidence shows that thoughts and feelings do not occur randomly.  They are responses to a stimulus which has been perceived, interpreted and filtered through your underlying attitudes.  It is a person’s attitude that largely influences their feelings, thoughts and in turn behaviours.  Consequently, Emotional Intelligence is fundamentally influenced by the attitudes you hold toward yourself and others.

EI is about Awareness

Emotional Intelligence involves noticing, labelling, interpreting our emotions and the emotions of others. Emotional Intelligence involves incorporating our feelings and intuition into our thinking; for example sensing risk when walking close to the edge of a cliff or approaching a difficult conversation at work.

EI is about Relationships

Emotions serve an important social and adaptive function. They increase our awareness of others, providing information on the perspective of others and an understanding of why others behave the way they do. Therefore, Emotional Intelligence refers to the capacity to adapt your behaviour within the social context.

Developing EI is about Practice

Like any skill, Emotional Intelligence can be developed and it takes practice. Noticing and managing your attitudes, emotions and behaviour in a changing social context is a continual process. Emotional Intelligence is reflected by what a person does in the present moment. Emotional Intelligence is therefore described as a verb; it is about being emotionally intelligent.


How does it link to Personality and Competencies

Personality represents who a person is and includes their temperament and innate resources (such as IQ)

EI is how well a person learns to manage their temperament and harness their innate resources (their potential)

Competencies are how this manifests in terms of a person’s work performance and behaviours.

EI is therefore the ‘glue’ or the ‘missing link’ that turns individual personality (potential) into effective performance and may be summarised as:




To  find out more and learn about your own Emotional Intelligence, email:

How are you Feeling today?

How are you Feeling today?

How often do we stop and check in with ourselves to get a sense of how we are really feeling? When you ask this question – the answer is normally an automatic response of Grand/Fine! Neuroscience research has shown a direct correlation to our feelings on our behaviour and performance.

This feelings wheel below provides a useful visual to force us to explore and be more specific about our true feelings at any point in time.

I have a copy on my desk and find it really useful to check in first thing in the morning as I launch into the activities for the day.

4 Simple questions to ask yourself

• What percentage of time do I/we spend in each zone?

• What is the impact of each zone on our performance?

• What causes me/us to be in Stress or Burnout?

• What actions do I/we commit to?

If we spend too much time in the high stress zone, this can led to long term health implications. A recent article in the Harvard Business Review quoted the World Health Organisation describing stress as the “global health epidemic of the 21st century.” With the arrival of smart phones and the always-on wifi – many of us work in constantly connected, always-on, demanding work environments, where stress and risk of illhealth and burnout are widespread. Now more than ever, we need to have a focus on building and maintaining our resilience skills to effectively manage your work and home life.


Here are 5 tips to support you in building your resilience and energy levels

Be Self Aware

Take time out to check in and be aware of your feelings and emotions. Are you constantly in the productive energise zone or unproductive stress zone ?

Manage Your State

How we feel profoundly influences how we perform. Pay attention to your physiology. Maintain your energy through good nutrition, getting enough sleep, exercise, rest and relaxation. Take regular breaks and use breathing exercises to calm down.

Control your Self-talk

Minimising negative thoughts caused by stressful situations will improve resilience. Visualise success and avoid thinking traps. E.g making situations personal, jumping to conclusions, generalizing and catastrophising. Don’t think of the worst that can happen – visualize your ideal outcome.

Boost Physcial Actvity

Regular physical activity of 2/3 times a week boosts your physical and mental health. Choose something that works for you with your schedule and preferences. The key is to build a health habit of regular exercise – running, swimming, cycling . Whatever works for you….

Build Social networks

Ensure you have a social circle separate from work, social connections are very important to maintain our positive energies, health and wellbeing.

To check out your resilience levels and avail of an Emotional Intelligence report, contact us via our website or email

How do you show up?

catlionWith the hectic pace of life in the corporate world at the moment, people are zooming through each day with their focus on completing tasks on the todo list.

Have you ever taken a moment to stop and think and reflect on your interactions with others as you go through each day. Does your haste to get an update on a project or sales pipeline etc show up to others as dismissive, impatient ?

One of my favourite quotes is by Maya Angelou – People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did but people will never forget how you made them feel!

I always find it fascinating that you can meet someone for the first time and you instantly click, it’s as if you’ve known each other forever and some other people that you know for a very long time yet you never seem to see eye to eye on anything!

What is at play here is the dynamic of different personality types. In business and life in general – it is essential that we have a high level awareness of others in order to build productive relationships and have clarity of communication.

There are a number of different personality types – How we take information into our brain, how we make decisions and how we respond to others can be very different. There are also quite a number of tools – we prefer to use the Clarity4d as it represents personality types in colour, which is very visual and easy to remember.


This is also very relevant as you build out teams and develop new roles – Do you take into consideration the personality preferences for each individual – is it a match for the role? Are they playing to their strengths?

At Foresight, we would recommend the following approach to developing your team to be more effective, which leads to faster decision making, and more effective communications.

Increased Awareness

Be aware of your own personality type – how do you show up under pressure? Do you make decisions based on thinking or feeling? Complete personality profiles for yourself and your team. This will provide a valuable insight into the team dynamic.

Adjust your Style

You have many different communications styles and personalities on your team, Don’t think you can manage everyone the same way, and don’t assume everyone likes to be managed the way you like to be managed.

Clarity of Communication

Always check in with the person you are communicating with that they understand what you are saying. It’s always amazing how someone can completely misinterpret a conversation or an email.

Give Feedback

Your Direct reports want feedback, and it’s crucial in making your team as productive as possible.

Say Thanks

People want to feel appreciated. A simple Thank-you, smile and direct eye contact doesn’t cost a thing and it makes a huge difference.

For further information on the Clarity4D profile and Team Heat Map, please contact us @ 085-1744378 or register for a Free clarity report.


How to Build your Emotional Resilience

A colleague of mine recently spoke at a Finance Directors conference on the topic of Emotional Resilience. The workshop was really full and I was keen to know what was it about the topic was so interesting for these Senior Directors to sign up and attend.

There answers were surprisingly personal.

➢ I’m fed up reading negative emails all day
➢ I want to know how my behavior impacts on others on my team and who I interact with each day
➢ I want to ensure that the example I give my team is a positive one
➢ We work in a challenging environment with high staff turnover.


What is Emotional Resilience?

Resilience is an individual’s capacity to effectively manage their energy, bounce back from stressful situations and adapt positively to adversity, pressure and change.

In business we need to be resilient. A person’s resilience will be shaped by their make-up and environment. We face challenges and get knocked all the time; it’s how you let it affect you and how you deal with it that matters. Resilience is a process that can be developed through life.

The subject of resilience is now a topical one at the board room table. – workplace absenteeism is a significant cost to business – around £600 per employee, per year. The pace and pressure for leaders is increasing. Change is constant. There is a financial cost to a business if resilience is low – if Executives and their teams cannot cope with the increasing pressures in the modern workplace – stress increases which can lead to absenteeism and sick leave. As a Senior Executive if you are finding it difficult to cope and are increasingly stressed –what message and impact is this having on your team and your health?


Here are some tips to build your Emotional resilience

1/ Manage your state. How we feel profoundly influences how we perform. Pay attention to your physiology. Maintain your energy through good nutrition, getting enough sleep, exercise, rest and relaxation. Take regular breaks and use breathing exercises to calm down.

2/ Identify your triggers. Identify what triggers you. Learn to observe your feelings as they arise and label them, Then choose how to respond. Whatever you feel compelled to do, don’t do it.

3/ Control your self-talk. Minimising negative thoughts caused by stressful situations will improve resilience. Visualise success and avoid thinking traps. E.g making situations personal, jumping to conclusions, generalizing and catastrophising. Don’t think of the worst that can happen – visualize your ideal outcome.

4/ Connect with friends – ensure you have a social circle separate from works. Social connections are very important to maintain our positive energies, health and wellbeing.

5/ Build in periods of rest – You are a corporate athlete on the treadmill. You need to build in rest periods – ensure that you take holidays and weekends away throughout the year and find somewhere that increases your energy and allows you to clear your mind of work pressures.

Leadership lessons from Cycling!

Over the last few years the Foresight team have had the honour of being involved and supporting the Cycle Against Suicide organisation. In March of this year, I had the privilege of bringing the Cycle Against Suicide SpinOff to Ashbourne in Co.Meath. Each year in Ireland over 600 people die by suicide, that statistic is frightening and it is higher than those that die in car accidents.

Each time I participate in a stage of the cycle or a SpinOff , I am struck by the passion and camaraderie of all the people involved led by the founder Jim Breen. There are many lessons we can take from this and I’d like to share some that I feel are intrinsically linked to leadership.


Common Purpose

CAS ( have a very simple yet powerful purpose that binds everyone together. It is to break the stigma associated with mental illness and to share the message “It’s Ok not to Feel OK, and it’s absolutely OK to ask for Help”

You can feel the emotional connection that everyone on the team has to this message. As I promoted the SpinOff to my local community – this message resonated emotionally with so many people and they wanted to connect to support and share this purpose.

In large organisations is there an awareness of their true purpose – what is the answer to the Why do we exist question?



In leadership teams there can be so many competing priorities it can be difficult to focus on collective goals as opposed to individual goals. Alignment and clarity are critical to the success of every organisation. Each morning during the 14 days CAS cycle around Ireland in May, in excess of 1,000 cyclists are hitting the public roads to cycle 100kms per day. They all need to get to the final destination safely with everyone going in the one direction.


Communication – clarity

Communication was critical to the successful running of the event – clarity on location, start time route etc. Communication across the support teams Gardai, Marshalls, Medical support.   We engaged with people on facebook, email, radio, press, letters to local community groups, word of mouth via key influencers. When there is crystal clear communication, things work smoothly.

How often do people leave meetings in the corporate world and all have a different view on what was discussed and actions to be taken. What is the the cost, delay and confusion associated with this?



Self-Awareness and awareness of others are 2 of the key cornerstones of Emotional Intelligence. Too often we are tearing through each day – thoughts in our heads racing along – heading from meeting to meeting – answering hundreds of emails, messages. What are we missing?

When you are cycling , your brain is forced to focus on where you are at, watching the road surface, and how close you are to the person beside you. A lack of awareness can result in a nasty injury. As a leader, how aware are you of your team and what is going on in their world. What is the impact of your actions/behaviours on your team. Are you causing a blockage or allowing them to shine?


Stretching outside comfort zone

As a novice cyclist, I started on this journey with buckets of enthusiasm and quite a lot of naiviety! I had never cycled more than 50km in my life and I was now embarking on a journey much greater than that. As we organised the SpinOff in Ashbourne , I heard a lot of comments – 50km it really far, I can’t do that, I’ll never get up the Hill of Tara. However, it was amazing to see how people developed strategies and support networks to ensure they completed the cycle. There is nothing like cycling along having the ability to chat and converse with others and the odd supporting hand on your back as you ascend some steep hills to get you to your destination.

In the working world, it is critical that we stretch ourselves to do something new and challenging – that is how we learn. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable and stretched. Develop strategies and support networks to make this possible.


Play to Talents

As you can appreciate organising a charity event, there is zero budget or resources. However to make the SpinOff happen we need to get over 300 cyclists around 50kms route safely and provide refreshments. This was possible through the goodwill of many people. Early on we identified what needed to be done and where people had specific talents – be that in marshaling, organising refreshments, support vehicles etc.

In organisations, too often some amazing talents are hidden – it is essential as a leader that you create the environment where people can reach their full potential and let their talents shine.