What does Aptimore cover?

Overview

Aptimore covers a comprehensive range of skills to do with working with other people, including management and leadership. As well as developing new skills it also builds all four aspects of emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management.

Below, you’ll find descriptions of the learning units. They are grouped here into four areas: Collaboration, Emotional Intelligence, Management and Leadership. Aptimore’s personalisation means that each learning unit adapts to each learner, so they will receive advice and guidance appropriate to their role and tailored to their development needs.

Collaboration

These six learning units cover key aspects of personality and team dynamics, as well as looking at communication from a variety of perspectives.

Extraversion – Introversion
Extraversion and introversion aren’t really about sociability – they’re actually about where people get their energy. This unit shows how this dimension of personality can be represented on a ‘bell curve’ and looks at how differences in extraversion and introversion affect they way that people experience the world. There is a fun quiz that asks people to identify introverts and extraverts from the statements they make. Learners then get feedback on their own profile and receive personalised guidance on how to apply this knowledge to improve relationships and team dynamics.

Assertiveness
We look at the dominance-compliance dimension of personality which, like other aspects of personality, can be represented on a ‘bell curve’. However, dominance is not the same as assertiveness. Learners explore the psychological meaning of ‘assertiveness’, with its focus on respect for boundaries. A range of case studies explore how differences in dominance, compliance and assertiveness can impact on team dynamics. Learners receive personal feedback on their own profile and specific advice to help them achieve the right balance of respectful assertiveness and/or encourage it in those around them.

Communication Clarity
This unit looks at spoken communication and some of the reasons that it may not be as clear as the speaker hopes. Using case studies, learners explore four different speech patterns that frequently lead to unclear communication. They practise identifying these and look at the impact they may have on someone listening. Learners are then guided to think about whether they could improve the clarity of their own communication or encourage others to do so.

Communication Tone
This short unit looks at written communication. A case study looks at the impact of poor communication, by exploring the emotional reactions of the recipient – and what the recipient would have preferred to receive. Learners are introduced to a framework which helps ensure that written communication takes into account the emotional needs of the recipient. They receive personal feedback on their profile, together with guidance – either to help them personally improve or to help others.

Communication Frequency
We look at the way personality impacts on the frequency with which people prefer to communicate. Learners explore a case study where under-communication has lead to significant issues, and look at the impact on all the people involved. They complete an exercise to design a productive communication pattern for a team. They then receive feedback on whether their personal profile seems to indicate a possibility of either over or under communication. They choose development actions either for personal improvement or to help communication in their current team.

Personality in Teams
This video unit looks at how personality differences can impact on team dynamics. Learners explore a case study where differences in style between the team leader and team members are leading to unproductive dynamics. They look at how to improve the situation by applying emotional intelligence. Learners then receive personal feedback and guidance on how to take into account people’s differences to improve team dynamics and keep others engaged and productive.

Emotional Intelligence

These five learning units cover the core emotional intelligence skills of listening and showing empathy as well as skills required to ‘read’ other people’s emotions. The fifth unit here looks at people’s underlying motivations.

Listening
This is probably the single most important skill for building good relationships. We explore how to listen in a way that encourages others to share their thoughts, and learners complete an exercise on this. A case study is used to highlight the importance of good listening in a team situation. We also look at the ways that people’s different personalities or behavioural styles may impact on the effectiveness of their listening, focusing on five common patterns. Learners then receive feedback on their own profile and guidance on how to enhance their skills.

Empathy
Showing empathy is about making other people feel that you understand their thoughts or feelings. Anyone can improve their ability to show empathy by following certain principles. In this unit learners practise their skills by deciding how to respond to people’s emotions in a series of case studies. We introduce a simple framework to decide how to respond when faced with more extreme emotions. Learners then get personal feedback about their own likely strengths and weaker areas, and are guided to choose development actions to continue building their skills.

Reading Faces
Most of us think we’re quite good at reading other people’s emotions – but it’s often very instinctive, and we’re often not as good at it as we think we are. With a little more knowledge, we can also bring analytical skills to bear to improve our ability. This unit looks at how to recognise the eight most fundamental emotions when they are shown in the face – there are lots of exercises and a quiz. Learners get feedback on their own profile and performance, as well as plenty of developmental guidance on how to build their skills in this area.

Body Language
This short unit looks at some of the essentials of reading people’s body language, starting with the idea of personal space, then interpreting the meaning of a number of different body language postures. We look at how body positioning can be used to include or show respect. Changes in body language are often even more informative, and it’s important to establish a baseline before interpreting what you see. Learners receive feedback about their profile and are guided to choose development actions to build their skills.

Motivation
Different people are motivated by different things. Working through various exercises, learners become familiar with a range of possible motivators and are introduced to a key model of motivation. They practise interpreting people’s motivation in an interview situation, based on what the interviewee says or focuses on. Learners are then guided to analyse or consider their own personal motivation, in the light of information they’ve contributed previously.

Management

The skills covered here are essential for any manager: giving and receiving feedback, coaching, delegation and handling underperformance. A couple of these – feedback and coaching – are important skills even for people who aren’t managing others directly. The delegation and handling underperformance units are particularly important for people who have people reporting to them but are also helpful for people who need to manage upwards.

Feedback
This unit looks at giving, receiving and asking for feedback. We outline key principles for giving feedback and explore how people hear feedback differently. Learners look at how to ask for feedback and how continuous feedback can be part of a learning culture. They examine the psychology of receiving feedback, which is key to judging how to deliver it. They also look at the ‘cascade’ framework for giving feedback. Learners then receive personalised feedback and are guided to choose development actions. For some, the advice may focus on receiving feedback whereas for others the suggestions may be more about giving or asking for feedback.

Coaching
Coaching is not about telling someone what to do, but about guiding them to find their own solution. Good coaches use open questions, so in this unit learners start by identifying the five key question types. We then explore the differences between telling, teaching and coaching, the impact that these approaches have and when to use each. We take a look at what happens when a coaching conversation goes off track. Learners practise identifying and categorising solution-focused questions to use in coaching conversations. They then receive personalised feedback and are guided to choose actions to take to develop their coaching skills.

Delegation 1
This video unit looks at delegation, highlighting a critical transition point reached by most managers as they take on more responsibility. Learners explore a case study about a manager whose style has led to issues, looking through the eyes of both the manager and the people who work for him. They then receive personal feedback tailored for their style and level of experience and are guided to choose development actions. For some who are not managing teams, suggestions may focus instead on general career development or upward management.

Delegation 2
This unit introduces the ‘delegation cycle’ framework, which sets out the different elements of effective delegation. Learners explore three key elements of the delegation cycle – empowering people, monitoring progress and taking action to get things back on track. They look at a range of approaches that managers may take towards meetings with their direct reports, depending on both personality and role. Learners receive personal feedback highlighting any areas of the delegation cycle that may potentially be risk areas for them if they are managing others, and are guided to choose development actions.

Handling Underperformance
Many people find this one of the trickiest aspects of management. The unit touches on the general principles of a formal performance management process, but this unit is really about insight rather than process. Working through a serious of case studies, learners practise identifying the causes of underperformance in a range of scenarios and then decide the actions to take to resolve the situation. In some cases, the right actions can get things back on track but this won’t always be possible. Learners receive personal feedback on the areas to be aware of if they’re managing the performance of others, and are guided to choose development actions.

Leadership

All of the units we’ve looked at so far build leadership skills – these three are just more directed at skills required at a senior level. Having said that, the unit on impact and influence is helpful for most people, whether they are in a position of seniority or leading ‘from the middle’. The last two units focus more heavily on the skills required to develop others and get the best from a team.

Impact and Influence
Using a case study we explore three different aspects of impact with the presence-authority-impact model. We look at using body language to project power and at ways to increase the effectiveness of verbal communication. Continuing with the same case study, we discover that there are other ways to have influence, and look at a stakeholder mapping framework. We take a look at the personality dimension of ‘openness to change’, which can be represented on the usual personality ‘bell curve’. Learners get personal feedback on their own profile, with guidance and action steps they might take to increase their own impact and influencing skills.

Developing Others
This unit begins with the concept of the talent pipeline then explores how the time spent developing others changes with seniority. There is often significant room for people get better at developing others. We introduce the motivation-competence framework and outline a wide range of different options for developing others. Learners work through a number of case studies, applying these frameworks to make development decisions in each case, and finally structuring a coaching conversation. They then receive personal feedback and are guided to choose development actions. For those not leading others, the focus may be on proactive management of their own development.

Managing Teams
We start by looking at the early days of managing a new team. Learners decide the practical actions to take to get things off to a good start. We explore the Why, What, How model, which emphasises behaviour and purpose as well as process. Using a case study of a demotivated and unhappy team, learners decide how to increase team engagement and improve relationships between team members. This unit builds on concepts from several other units. Learners receive personal feedback and are guided to choose development actions. Where people are not managing others, the focus may be on team dynamics rather than management.

Why is Aptimore Different?

As you’ll know from the descriptions of each learning unit, they all include personal guidance and next steps tailored to the profile and development needs of the individual learner. This is so important for this kind of learning – because it’s all about behaviour. When people truly connect with what they’re learning, when they understand the relevance to them, then they learn much more deeply, much faster.

It’s no exaggeration to say that Aptimore changes people. It changes how they see the world, and how they interact with the people around them… and everyone benefits.