Getting Better at something requires commitment

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Getting Better at Something Requires Commitment

Leadership Tip of the Week #103

Adapted from HBR

We all want to get better at something.

Maybe you’d like to be a more inspiring leader, be more productive, or take more risks. But ask yourself two questions.

1. Do you really want to do better? Presumably the answer is “yes,” but if you’re looking to improve because, say, your boss wants you to, be honest about that. Change will happen only if you’re committed to it.

2. Are you willing to feel the discomfort of trying things that don’t work right away? Learning anything new is inherently uncomfortable, so be prepared to feel a little awkward. You will make mistakes. You may feel embarrassed or ashamed, especially if you are used to succeeding. But if you remain committed through all of that, you will get better.

Adapted from “If You Want to Get Better at Something, Ask Yourself These Two Questions,” by Peter Bregman

3 work skills that are useful at home

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Adapted from HBR

3 Work Skills That Are Useful at Home, Too

Is your home life more chaotic than your work life? If so, you’re not alone, and some of the skills you use in your job can help.

  • Planning and scheduling. Do you struggle to finish your personal to-do list? Block out time in your calendar for the things you need to get done (even mundane tasks like laundry and errands). You’ll feel more in control and more productive.
  • Decision making. is about understanding how your actions affect other people. To improve, pay attention to how your colleagues react to things, and ask yourself (or them) what could be behind their behavior.
  • Putting people first. At work, would you idly check your phone while a client speaks? Of course not — and our families deserve the same respect. Try to give people your full attention at home, even after a long day of work. It will help you feel more connected to the ones who matter most

Keep Improving your Emotional Intelligence

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Keep Improving Your Emotional Intelligence

with a Specific, Feedback-Based Plan

Leadership Tip of Week #102

adapted from HBR

It’s not always obvious how to improve your emotional intelligence skills, especially because we often don’t know how others perceive us.

To figure out where you can improve, start with a reality check:

1. What are the major differences between how you see yourself and how others see you? You can get this kind of feedback from a 360-degree assessment, a coach, or a skilled manager.

2. Consider your goals. Do you want to eventually take on a leadership position? Be a better team member? Consider how your ambitions match up with the skills that others think you need to improve.

3. Identify specific actions that you’ll take to improve those skills. Working on becoming a better listener? You might decide that when you’re talking with someone, you won’t reply until you’ve taken the time to pause and check that you understand what they said.

Whatever skill you decide to improve, use every opportunity to practice it, no matter how small.

Adapted from “Boost Your Emotional Intelligence with These 3 Questions,” by Daniel Goleman and Michele Nevarez

Offer stressed-Out colleagues Praise & Assistance

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Offer Your Stressed-Out Colleagues

Praise and Assistance

Leadership Tip of week #103

adapted from HBR

You know the stress case — the one who’s always overwhelmed, overstretched, and overextended.

They aren’t easy to work with, but you probably don’t have a choice. Whether you regard your colleague with annoyance or sympathy, you can help them by offering praise and assistance.

Your coworker likely feels out of control, so complimenting their performance can help them form an alternative self-image as a competent, positive professional.

Cite something specific. For instance, you could say, “The way you handled that presentation last week was admirable. You were so calm and collected, and the clients were impressed.”

You can also provide support by asking if there’s anything you can do to help, which might make your stressed-out colleague feel less alone. Don’t over-promise, though. The message should be, “I’m a limited resource, but I want to help you if you are struggling.”

Adapted from “How to Work with Someone Who’s Always Stressed Out,” by Rebecca Knight

Culture is all around us

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Culture is all around us. Our shared values and beliefs are palpable in the places we visit and the people we meet. We absorb those values from the media we consume and the ideas we expose ourselves to. One of the best ways I know to witness how we can shape our culture is to take a taxi ride in a new city.

i’ve just spent 4 days in Amsterdam  speaking at a conference and had some great time walking around the city getting to know its distinct culture.

Every vehicle has a distinct culture that’s created by the driver’s posture. It starts with how the driver dresses and the conversation he or she makes. It’s heavily influenced by the cleanliness of the car and the kind of music the driver plays. And of course, it’s dependent upon his or her attitude to other motorists and how each driver finds meaning in their work. The environment can soothe or agitate, demotivate or inspire.

In taxis on every continent around the world, you can encouter zen and mala beads, negative news channels on the radio accompanied by rude hand gestures out the window. You will meet people who find dealing with passengers a chore and many more who are grateful for work and the feeling of autonomy.

In our communities and businesses, we often lament over our lack of control. We get despondent about what can’t be done to change things—all the while overlooking the endless opportunities we have to change everything.

We are the community, the business and the culture.

We are the makers and the making of the entities and places that shape our world.

We are more powerful than we think.

Put Down your Phone in Meetings

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Leadership tip of the week #102

Adapted from HBR

If you’ve ever wondered whether you have a colleague’s full attention while they’re staring at their phone, stop wondering.

You don’t.

But instead of getting frustrated that coworkers constantly check their devices during meetings, take action.

  1. You might start by sharing research that shows even the mere presence of a cell phone — much less its glowing screen and constant buzzing — is bad for productivity.
  2. Then talk with your team about the upsides and downsides of using devices during meetings.
  3. Propose ground rules like “Be totally present” and “Keep the phone in your pocket.”
  4. The team could also agree to use a simple phrase like “Tech-check” as a friendly way of reminding someone to put their phone away.
  5. Once a few rules are in place, stick to them — and point out when a colleague doesn’t.

You might get some annoyed looks at first, but over time the team will set a new norm.

Adapted from “How to Get Someone to Put Away Their Phone and Actually Listen,” by Joseph Grenny and Kelly Andrews

Culture Ripple Effect

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Leadership Tip of the week #101

adapted from HBR

By the age of six months, a baby begins to understand that his actions can affect his environment.

It’s amazing how as adults we quickly unlearn this.

As business leaders when we talk about shaping or changing company culture we sometimes forget to own the fact that we are the culture. Culture is not something that is laid down in a strategy document, or changed in the blink of an eye at an offsite event designed to rally the troops. Culture is how we act every day. It’s impacted by how we as individuals choose to behave and evidenced in the ripple effect that our actions catalyse.

When we seek change we often start by looking to see what we can change in others, forgetting that the ripples begin right where we are.

We must walk the walk and Talk the talk

Don’t Say “Change Is Hard” When You’re Asking People to Change

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Leadership Tip of the Week #100

Adapted from HBR

When a change initiative hits a roadblock, leaders often remind people that “change is hard.”  But that old saw can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Momentary setbacks or delays can be viewed as the dead canary in the coal mine, and suddenly, employees disengage en mass.

Instead, try flipping the script. In a University of Chicago study, researchers were able to change participants’ mindsets by reminding them that most people improve with a little bit of effort.

The results?

Study participants were quicker to identify the upsides of change than the downsides.

Instead of accepting that initiatives rarely succeed, remind yourself and your team that you’ve all been learning new skills and adapting to new environments for your entire lives.

And every time you feel the impulse to say “Change is hard,” make a different claim, one that is every bit as accurate: Adaptation is the rule of human existence, not the exception.

Adapted from “Stop Using the Excuse ‘Organizational Change Is Hard,’” by Nick Tasler

New Leaders: Bring people with you

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New Leaders: Bring People with you…

Leadership tip of the week #99

adapted from HBR

When you start a leadership role, there’s pressure to prove yourself by getting off to a quick start and delivering early wins. But if people sense that you’re making a change without thinking it through — or getting their input — you’re unlikely to be successful.

That’s why you need to slow down, especially in your interactions. When talking with new colleagues, repeat what you hear, both to confirm your understanding and to demonstrate that you’re listening.

Ask the group reflective questions such as, “What just happened here?” and “What could we learn from that?”

These questions force a pause, preventing a discussion from rushing to a decision.

And don’t be afraid to use silence.

Pausing before you speak gives you a chance to weigh alternatives and decide on the best way to respond. It also pushes others to wonder what’s going through your mind, which may cause them to think more creatively.

Adapted from “Why New Leaders Should Be Wary of Quick Wins,” by Dan Ciampa

Don’t let one person dominate

people

Leadership Tip of week #98

adapted from HBR

You’ve probably led one of those meetings where someone talks, and talks, and talks — and no one else can get a word in edgewise.

It’s annoying, and potentially damaging to team morale.

Of course, you can’t always expect that everyone will contribute, but there are ways you can encourage broader participation.

When you open the meeting, let the group know that you want everyone to speak up. I

f someone is speaking too often during the meeting, ask them to hold back: “Andre, let me get some others into this conversation, and then I’ll come back to you, OK?”

Whenever someone is interrupted, double back and ask them to finish what they were saying. And if you’re the person interrupted, speak up: “Marie, I wasn’t quite finished. I’d like to complete my comment, and then I’d love to hear your thoughts.”

Adapted from “5 Common Complaints About Meetings and What to Do About Them,” by Paul Axtell

anger management

Angry upset boy, little man

Leadership Tip of the Week #97

adapted from HBR

Only Express Emotions During a Conflict If They’ll Help You Resolve It

When a disagreement with a colleague gets heated, it’s normal to feel all sorts of emotions: disappointment, anger, or frustration, for example.

But should you express what you’re feeling?

It depends. If you’re experiencing what psychologists call a hot emotion — one that comes with an urgent sense of entitlement or even revenge (“I have to tell him exactly how I feel!”), it’s better to find a way to calm down first.

If the emotion is cold, meaning you can control it and use it to help the situation (“I want to tell him how I feel so that he’ll understand my perspective”), then it’s probably OK to express it.

But don’t just name the emotion; explain what’s causing it. Telling someone you’re angry is less helpful than sharing that you’re disappointed they didn’t follow through on their commitment to you.

Adapted from “Should You Share Your Feelings During a Work Conflict?,” by Susan David

Look after yourself when things get busy

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Practice Self-Compassion During a Work Crunch

Leadership Tip of the week #96

adapted from HBR

When work is intense, it’s easy to beat yourself up for letting things slip at the office or at home.

But doing so can make the stress worse.

Have self-compassion instead: Accept that you’re in an acute period of work stress and notice — don’t suppress or deny — your emotions.

Assigning a word to what you’re feeling, such as “pressure,” “guilt,” or “worry,” can activate the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for executive functioning skills.

  1. Assess your to-do list by deciding what you need to get done each day and what can wait.
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, whether it’s renegotiating a deadline with a colleague or getting family members to pitch in at home.

Having compassion for yourself will help you increase your focus and get through the crunch with greater ease and peace.

Adapted from “5 Ways to Focus Your Energy During a Work Crunch,” by Amy Jen Su

Two Questions to ask to be a role model of productive conflict

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Leadership Tip of the week #95

adapted from HBR

Conflict is a normal, healthy part of working with other people.

And yet many of us avoid it at all costs — often because it feels personal.

To get more comfortable with disagreements, and to reap the benefits of productive conflict, let go of the idea that it’s all about you.

If you model that you’re comfortable with productive conflict, you’ll show your team that it’s OK to disagree, encouraging people to raise their ideas.

To move a work conflict away from the personal, think about the bigger picture and the business’s needs. Disagreements often arise over objectives and processes, for example.

When you and a colleague have different views about something, ask yourself two questions

1. Why is this difference of opinion an important debate to have?

2. How will it help the organization or the project you’re working on?

The more you can keep a conflict focused on the business, the better chance you have of resolving it in a way that benefits everyone.

Adapted from “Why We Should Be Disagreeing More at Work,” by Amy Gallo

Solve Complex Problems by Expanding your Thinking

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Leadership Tip of the Week #94

Adapted from HBR

Too many leaders approach complex problems with either-or thinking: The answer is right or wrong, good or bad, win or lose.

To cultivate a nuanced perspective, challenge your understanding of the problem. Ask yourself, “What am I not seeing here?” and “What else might be true?” Don’t seek out answers that just confirm what you already know.

It’s also helpful to tackle this kind of challenge first thing in the morning, when your mind is fresh. Spend at least an hour on it without interruption. The dedicated time ensures that you give a complex issue the attention it needs — attention that might otherwise be consumed by less intellectually demanding tasks.

And as you work, pay attention to how you’re feeling. Embracing complexity is an emotional challenge in addition to a cognitive one. You’ll need to manage tough emotions like fear and anger and get yourself out of flight-or-fight mode so that you can think more expansively.

Adapted from “What It Takes to Think Deeply About Complex Problems,” by Tony Schwartz

Use If-Then Thinking to Change Your Behaviour

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Leadership Tip of the week #93

adapted from HBR

We all have habits and behaviors we wish we could change.

But just being aware of a bad habit isn’t enough.

To truly fix it, start by considering your goal (say, “I want my team to know that I trust them”) and the obstacles you expect to face along the way (“I struggle to delegate”).

Next, frame what you will do about the obstacles as if-then statements.

To address the delegation obstacle, for example, you could tell yourself: “If I start to feel uncomfortable about not completing the work myself, then I’ll ask for updates on it in our next team meeting.”

Eventually the link between the cue (the “if” part of the statement) and the action (the “then”) will become strong enough to help you change how you react.

By using if-then statements, you can think through what will get in your way and make a plan to overcome it.

Adapted from “Two Techniques for Helping Employees Change Ingrained Habits,” by Joel Constable

Don’t say change is hard when talking to colours

changeLeadership Tip of the Week #92

Adapted from HBR

When a change initiative hits a roadblock, leaders often remind people that “change is hard.” But that old saw can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Momentary setbacks or delays can be viewed as the dead canary in the coal mine, and suddenly, employees disengage en mass.

Instead, try flipping the script, and recognise that adaptation is a golden rule of human existence, not an exception and we have been doing it for Millions of years.  In a University of Chicago study, researchers were able to change participants’ mindsets by reminding them that most people improve with a little bit of effort.

The results?

Study participants were quicker to identify the upsides of change than the downsides.

Instead of accepting that initiatives rarely succeed, remind yourself and your team that you’ve all been learning new skills and adapting to new environments for your entire lives.

And every time you feel the impulse to say “Change is hard,” make a different claim, one that is every bit as accurate:

Adaptation is the rule of human existence, not the exception.”

Adapted from “Stop Using the Excuse ‘Organizational Change Is Hard,’” by Nick Tasler

Two Questions to Ask Colleagues

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Leadership Tip of the Week #91

adapted from HBR

Understand How You’re Perceived at Work, Ask two questions: 

It’s not easy to understand how other people perceive us. Too often, we assume that our motivations and intentions are clear, when they’re really not. To learn how you’re perceived at work, follow this process.

1. Select five people who observe you regularly in important work situations — bosses, executives, direct reports, peers, or even former colleagues — and ask to meet with them individually.

2. Tell them what you’re hoping to learn, and ask two questions:

A. What is the general perception of me?

B. What could I do differently that would have the greatest impact on my success?

3. Be clear that you’ll keep confidential whatever they say and that you’re collecting feedback from a number of colleagues.

4. Look for themes and points that multiple people agree on.

If the perceptions of you are in line with what you intend, great. If not, it’s time to change your behaviors and begin to shift people’s perceptions of you.

Good Luck

Adapted from “How Are You Perceived at Work? Here’s an Exercise to Find Out,” by Kristi Hedges

Stay in Touch with Your Friends.

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Stay in touch with your friends

Leadership Tip of the week #90

Adapted from HBR

Many people let their personal relationships fall by the wayside as they focus on their careers and start a family.

Yet research shows that we are more successful in our careers when we’re supported by a foundation of strong, stable friendships.

Don’t run the risk of losing touch with your closest social connections. Career and friendships can reinforce each other — friends can share big-picture career insights and even inspire your passion for professional growth.

Counteract the natural drift away, and make the effort to maintain your friendships. Call a close friend instead of just clicking on their Facebook page. Make plans to see them (and don’t cancel!). It’s OK to set ambitious career goals, but don’t sacrifice close ties in the process.

Adapted from “Being Too Busy for Friends Won’t Help Your Career,” by Neal J. Roese

Deliberately Encourage & Reward Collaboration

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Deliberately Encourage & Reward Collaboration

Leadership Tip of Week #89

adapted from HBR

There are a lot of reasons why someone might refuse help from a colleague.

Some employees prefer to be self-reliant, others don’t want to feel obligated to return the favor, and still others don’t trust their coworkers’ motives. But these attitudes can increase employees’ risk of burnout and hinder social connections at work.

As a leader, you can encourage and recognize collaborative efforts by calling attention to them and explaining how they contribute to the organization’s goals and mission. Be sure to demonstrate your willingness to accept help when you need it; employees are more likely to do it if they see their leaders doing it.

And be careful not to send mixed messages: If employees who go it alone advance more quickly than those who give and receive support, people will pick up on that discrepancy — and they’ll go back to looking out for number one.

Adapted from “Why We Don’t Let Coworkers Help Us, Even When We Need It,” by Mark C. Bolino and Phillip S. Thompson

How to get buy-in…

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4 Steps to Get Buy-in for Your Next Innovation

Leadership Tip of week #88

adapted from HBR

Everyone wants innovation in their organisation, but getting a new idea implemented can be a challenge, especially when office politics are in play. When you’re trying to get approval for your latest innovation, follow these four steps.

1. anticipate resistance. If you know what people might object to, you can plan how you’ll address those concerns.

2. understand what objections are truly about. For example, someone might say they object because of a publicly acceptable reason — say, the project is too costly — when their real concern is political, like they’re afraid their team will lose influence.

3. find a champion for the project. This should be a senior executive whose clout and expertise can help you move the project forward.

4. gather a critical mass of supporters. If you have a group of people who believe in the innovation enough to try it, you’ll have social proof that the idea is a good one.

Adapted from “How to Navigate the Politics of an Innovation Project,” by Brian Uzzi

Reduce distractions in your life

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Reduce Distractions by Figuring Out What’s Causing Them

Leadership Tip of week #87

adapted from HBR

Stress and distraction can form a dangerous cycle.

When we can’t focus at work, we often feel stressed about not being productive — which causes us to focus even less.

You can break this cycle by using self-awareness.

Pay attention to what’s going on the next time you get distracted: Are you bored by what you’re doing? Pulled away by a ringing phone?

Also, notice how you feel: Are you anxious because you can’t remember an important detail during a high-stakes presentation? Do you feel tense because you’re trying to find just the right words for an important email?

Your answers to these questions will help you pinpoint the source of your distractions. Before you can take steps to reduce your stress, you have to understand the underlying cause of the problems.

Adapted from “Break the Cycle of Stress and Distraction by Using Your Emotional Intelligence,” by Kandi Wiens

Invest in Positive Relationships

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Leadership Tip of the week #86

adapted from HBR

Conflict is a normal, healthy part of working with other people.

And yet many of us avoid it at all costs — often because it feels personal.

To get more comfortable with disagreements, and to reap the benefits of productive conflict, let go of the idea that it’s all about you.

If you model that you’re comfortable with productive conflict, you’ll show your team that it’s OK to disagree, encouraging people to raise their ideas.

To move a work conflict away from the personal, think about the bigger picture and the business’s needs. Disagreements often arise over objectives and processes, for example.

When you and a colleague have different views about something, ask yourself two questions

1. Why is this difference of opinion an important debate to have?

2. How will it help the organization or the project you’re working on?

The more you can keep a conflict focused on the business, the better chance you have of resolving it in a way that benefits everyone.

Adapted from “Why We Should Be Disagreeing More at Work,” by Amy Gallo

Does your Body Language Convey Confidence?

2CAFE003-6197-4A2F-B950-3F20A3462969Leadship Tip of the Week #85

ADAPTED FROM HBR

If you want people at work to trust and respect you, regardless of your title or authority, pay attention to your body language.

How you stand, sit, and speak all affect whether people are open to being influenced by you. For example, standing up straight with your shoulders back helps you come across as confident and commanding, while slouching and looking down at your feet have the opposite effect.

When meeting with someone you don’t know well, keep your arms uncrossed, your hands by your sides, and your torso open and pointed at the other person. This sends the message that you are open and trustworthy.

And try pitching your voice a little lower than you normally would, to connote power. This can counteract the effect of nervousness, which tends to push the tone of your voice higher.

Adapted from “How to Increase Your Influence at Work,” by Rebecca Knight

4 ways to build an Innovative Team

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Leadership Tip of the Week #84

Adapted from HBR

I have lead and worked in many innovative teams and found there are four pillars to creating and sustaining an innovative team:

  1. Hire for a Mission: The biggest misconception about innovation is that it’s about ideas. It’s not. It’s about solving problems. So the first step to building an innovative team is to hire people interested in the problems you need to solve. If there is a true commitment to a shared mission, the ideas will come.
  2. Promote psychological safety. In 2012 Google embarked on an enormouse research project. Code-named “Project Aristotle,” the aim was to see what made successful teams tick. The company combed through every conceivable aspect of how teams worked together — how they were led, how frequently they met outside of work, the personality types of the team members — and no stone was left unturned.However, despite Google’s nearly unparalleled ability to find patterns in complex data, none of the conventional criteria seemed to predict performance. In fact, what it found that mattered most to team performance was psychological safety, or the ability of each team member to be able to give voice to their ideas without fear of reprisal or rebuke.
  3. Create diversity. Many managers hire with a specific “type” in mind, usually people who seem most like themselves. This may be great for creating camaraderie and comfort, but it is not the best environment for solving problems. In fact, a variety of studies have shown that diverse teams are smarter, more creative, and examine facts more thoroughly.
  4. Value teamwork. superior innovators are friendly, gracious, and showed a genuine interest and desire to help me. Their behavior was so consistent that it couldn’t have been an accident. So I did some further research and found that, when it comes to innovation, generosity can be a competitive advantage. The truth is you don’t need the best people — you need the best teams.

http://www.hbr.org/2018/02/4-ways-t-build-an-innovative-team

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make Sure you take Holidays

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Leadership Tip of the week #83

It’s important to encourage your colleagues to take time off.

Make it clear to them that this is a business issue — not just a personal one.

Use a few minutes in a team meeting to share some of the research on the benefits of holidayies, such as higher productivity and less stress. Then keep track of how many holiday days colleagues have taken, and periodically update the team so that they know this issue matters to you.

When people do take time off, tell them that you don’t want them checking email or voicemail, and that you’ll keep a list of things that come up for when they’re back.

And if someone on your team isn’t taking their vacation time, bring it up during their next development discussion.

Most important of all, be a good role model: Take full, disconnected holidays so that your team will, too.

Have a great Easter break….

Adapted from “How to Get Your Team to Use Their Vacation Time,” by Liane Davey