Giving Thanks Will Make You a Better Leader

For many people, “thanks-giving” is a tradition that happens around the dinner table once a year. But research suggests that leaders should encourage gratitude in the workplace year-round.

The Science of Gratitude:  Gratitude can be defined as a positive emotion felt after receiving something valuable. And science has shown that people who are grateful feel happier. They have an improved sense of well-being, higher self-esteem, experience less depression and anxiety, and they also sleep better.

The Gratitude Gap in the Workplace:  Despite its compelling benefits, expressing gratitude doesn’t always happen at work. A recent Glassdoor survey found that 80% of employees say they would be willing to work harder for an appreciative boss.

So why is there a gratitude gap in the workplace? Wharton Business School professor Adam Grant believes it’s because people don’t like to admit they need help at work, and many believe thanking someone means admitting you couldn’t do it all on your own.

How to Be More Grateful

Ready to reap gratitude’s many benefits? Luckily, you don’t need any fancy tools or advanced degrees. Here are 3 simple exercises that have been scientifically proven to boost your gratitude levels.

  1. Send a note expressing your gratitude. Writing a letter thanking someone for the positive impact he or she has had in your life is a great way to boost your gratitude. Or, send a text, if you prefer. Take out your phone right now (if it’s not out already), and send a simple text to someone you’re grateful to have in your life and let them know that you are thinking of them.
  2. Keep a gratitude journal – or even just a list. Keeping a journal of people and things for which you’re grateful can increase your feelings of gratitude. If you’re not the journaling type, don’t worry; making a short list works, too. Just jot down 3 things you’re grateful for on a Post-It note. Stick it somewhere you’ll see it often, and refresh it weekly.
  3. Take time for reflection. Simply reflecting on the many aspects of your job — large and small — for which you’re grateful can boost gratitude levels. These might include supportive work relationships, sacrifices or contributions that others have made for you, advantages or opportunities, or gratitude for the opportunity to have your job in general. Going on a short “gratitude walk” is a great way to take time out for this reflection.

 How to Increase Gratitude in the Workplace

  1. Offer thank-you cards. During his tenure at Campbell Soup, then-CEO Doug Conant wrote 30,000 handwritten thank-you notes to his employees. This practice, along with others, has been credited with how he created a culture of gratitude and turned around a struggling company. Do 30,000 letters seem daunting? Take a page out of Mark Zuckerberg’s playbook and aim for just one a day. To encourage others to do the same, emulate Starbucks and offer unlimited company thank-you cards for employees to use.
  2. Make a gratitude wall. Create a designated space for employees to share shout-outs and words of thanks. This can be a wall, a whiteboard, a flip chart in a common area…be creative! A public, anonymous display of gratitude is a great way to introduce gratitude into the workplace culture and keep employees feeling appreciated.
  3. Start meetings with gratitude. A simple way to cultivate gratitude at work is to begin meetings by sharing a short statement of appreciation (remember the difference this made in the fundraising center study!). Or, if you want to take this approach to the next level, try having everyone in the meeting share one thing they’re grateful for — it makes a great icebreaker.
  4. When things go wrong, count your blessings. It’s easy to be grateful when things are going well. But gratitude can have an even bigger impact if you’re going through a rough patch. So, next time something goes wrong at work, see if you can find the silver lining. What did you learn from the experience? What opportunity did it offer you? Share these insights with your team. Being able to be truly grateful during times of challenge and change is a great way to stop negative rumination spirals and get people motivated and energized.
  5. Be grateful for people, not performance. Sometimes, gratitude initiatives can feel like old recognition programs warmed over. To avoid this feeling, focus on social worth and think about how people have made a difference. Give thanks for people’s willingness, enthusiasm, commitment, or efforts — not their impact on the bottom line.
  6. Customize your thanks-giving. Practicing gratitude requires thinking about how specific people like to be thanked, and tailoring your gratitude accordingly. Thanking a very shy person at the global quarterly meeting might come across more like punishment than recognition.
  7. Be specific in your gratitude. Saying “thanks for being awesome” doesn’t have the same impact as “thank you for always getting to meetings 5 minutes early to set up the projector; I know that our meetings wouldn’t go as well if we didn’t have you.
  8. Don’t fake it. Authenticity and vulnerability are key parts of gratitude. If you can’t think of anything you’re truly grateful for, don’t try to fake it. Most people can tell when thanks isn’t heartfelt, and fake gratitude is probably worse than none at all.

Lastly, research shows that whether you’re an absolute novice or gratitude guru, everyone can reap the positive benefits of giving and receiving thanks. So, get out there and start encouraging more gratitude in the workplace!

Article Excerpt from the Center of Creative Leadership 2019

10 Ways to Prevent Talent from Walking Out the Door

Many of us have those very talented friends and colleagues that are always being pursued by other organizations  – Some leave; some don’t.  Companies are often taken by surprise when the announcement comes that someone they idolized leaves for another opportunity.

In asking those that leave, many of these have rung true….“As you reflect upon the past few years, what missed opportunities did they have to retain you?”  

  1. Believe a paycheck is a retention tool. A paycheck, alone, won’t make someone stay.
  2. Act like retention is only HR’s job.  People don’t quit their company, they quit their managers and colleagues.  Retention is everyone’s job.
  3. Think you know what’s best for your employee’s career.  Employees, too, should have a say in how their career develops.
  4. Ignore the importance of culture.  If organizational values only exist on a fancy wall poster, culture isn’t being minded.
  5. Not offer professional development.  Learning doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive.  It just needs to happen.
  6. Fail to develop career paths. Career growth doesn’t mean climbing the corporate ladder.  It means helping people feel like they’re progressing in their profession.
  7. Don’t tell people they matter. Employees need to feel like they count.  Small things add up.
  8. Ignore the little things.  Every employer knows your birthday, start date, and other odds and ends about you.   If they don’t use this personal information to make you feel valued, they’re missing out on easy opportunities to engage you.
  9. Fail to keep pace with workforce trends.  If software is outdated, the dress code doesn’t make sense, and there’s not a lot of focus on the workplace experience, then your business needs to catch up with the rest of the world and develop modern workforce practices.
  10. Treat your top talent like everyone else.  If you’ve got superstars, they deserve superstar treatment.  (Not diva treatment, they just need special attention so they’re developed for future opportunities.)

We know that work is a relationship between an employer (and leader) and an employee.  For any relationship to work, both have to be committed and put their best foot forward.

List first seen in a blog post from Lead Star, September 2019

Attitude or IQ, which is more important to your success?

When it comes to success, we have often been taught the value of IQ through test-taking and traditional education focus.

Psychologist Carol Dweck has spent her entire career studying attitude and performance, and her latest study shows that your attitude is a better predictor of your success than your IQ.

Dweck focuses on two core attitudes: a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.

Fixed mindset – you believe you are who you are and cannot change. Often leaving you feeling hopeless and overwhelmed when faced with a challenge that is more than you believe you can handle.

Growth mindset – you believe you can improve with effort.   With this attitude, most outperform because they embrace challenges and an opportunity to learn.

Many believe having an ability, like being smart, inspires confidence. It does, but only while the going is easy. The deciding factor in life is how you handle setbacks and challenges. People with a growth mindset embrace setbacks as learning opportunities.

According to Dweck, success in life is all about how you deal with failure. She describes the approach to failure of people with the growth mindset this way,

“Failure is information—we label it a failure, but it’s more like, ‘This didn’t work, and I’m a problem solver, so I’ll try something else.'”

Thankfully, your mindset is something you can change and grow.  Below are strategies that will help you do just that:

  1. Move beyond helpless. After a failure or being stuck, we can feel helpless. The key is how we react to that feeling. We can either learn from it and move forward or let it drag us down and stay stuck.
  2. Be passionate.What you lack in talent, you can make up for in passion – driving your unrelenting pursuit of excellence.
  3. Take action.This helps eliminate fear and anxiety which can be paralyzing and the best way to overcome them is to take action.
  4. Expect results.  This keeps you motivated.  If you don’t think you will succeed, you may become discourages or not even try.
  5. Be flexible.Embrace adversity as a means for improvement, as opposed to something that sets you back.
  6. Don’t complain when things don’t go your way.This can become a habit!  A growth mindset looks for the opportunity.

What are some ways you encourage others (or yourself) to move from a fixed to a growth mindset?

 

The Missing Piece to Making Meetings More Effective

Meetings.  The word can solicit strong feelings about their value and level of effectiveness.  Regardless of how you feel about them, meetings are an essential part of most organizations.  Many of us practice the standard guidelines for creating a good meeting: creating a clear agenda/meeting objective, keeping time, recapping action items, inviting the right people, etc.

So how can meetings be more engaging and productive?  What’s missing? 

Knowing your audience’s personality style is often the missing piece.

 A personality assessment like EverythingDiSC® can help bridge the gap between employees and optimal workplace communication.  For example:

  • Consider that D-styles prefer meetings with minimal small talk and an agenda that everyone sticks to.
  • Allow i-styles to flourish by allowing them to express personal opinions and have open discussions with others.
  • To ensure S-styles feel comfortable, provide them with your meeting’s outline or agenda in advance so they can prepare.
  • Remember that C-styles don’t do well with making big decisions when they feel rushed or pressured.

These are some of the elements of how knowing your communication style and that of your other meeting participants can make for more effective meetings.

-Adapted from  EverythingDiSC® blog July 11, 2019

3 Key Ways to Prevent Miscommunication

A wise man once said, communication makes friends; a lack of communication makes enemies. Our words have power!  We all know communication is important, and yet effective communication can be a battle for individuals, teams, and organizations. Communication is the gateway to clarity, which ultimately gets the right things done.

As Alan Schaefer, Branding People Together states, “to ensure we have clarity, we must consider how we share and process information. Most of us have experienced a scenario where you have a meeting with one or several people. You have a robust, or at least what appears to be forward-moving, conversation. You break the metaphorical huddle and go running whatever plays you understand to be correct. You come back together and people are so off course that you have a twilight-zone moment of disbelief wondering, Was the other person in the same conversation as the rest of us?”

So how do you prevent your team from falling prey to the telephone game? Below are three ways to prevent miscommunication:

  1. Use the right format –Email? Phone?  Face to face?  We tend to default to email a lot!  Email is best used to spread information, like recapping action items after a meeting or sharing attachments others need, NOT for in-depth communication. This means no debating, convincing or critiquing via email—save that for face-to-face communication.
  2. Know Yourself and Others. The more you know about yourself and those you’re communicating with, the more effective you will be. This is especially helpful with people who are wired differently than you.
  3. Repeat and Recap.  At the end of a conversation, repeat what you heard, allowing for feedback on whether you understood the message in the way the speaker intended. You will be amazed by how many times the other person will say, “No, I didn’t mean that. I meant…”   This includes recapping next steps if applicable.

The good news is, like anything else, you can build your communication skills and become a skilled communicator that’s productive and clear.  You are what you repeatedly do.

 Are you known as a skilled communicator?

3 Simple Changes That Will Improve Your Leadership Style

Leading a team is an art and a science.

Luckily, researchers at Google and Facebook have conducted extensive studies to determine the most effective leadership strategies, allowing us to tap into their data and discover the three simple changes that will improve the effectiveness and the performance of the teams you manage.

  1. Support your team, don’t lead them

Recently, leaders at Facebook shared some really fascinating strategies that they use. It all starts with a critical mentality shift.

Managers don’t “lead” teams at Facebook, they “support” them. Here’s one thing you can do to immediately increase your effectiveness with your team…Stop saying you “lead” a team.

“Whenever you are about to say “the team I lead,”  catch yourself and shift your attention.”  – Mel Robbins

Instead, teach yourself to say you support a team. This one-word shift, from lead to support, alters how you view your role as a leader and changes everything.

Try it for one week. Whenever you are about to say “the team I lead,” catch yourself and shift your attention. Never doubt that it’s the smallest changes that make the biggest impact—even something as simple as changing one word.

  1. Encourage and welcome escalation

A study found that 85 percent of employees are withholding critical feedback from their bosses.

We only do what we feel like. And if people at work feel like they’ll get in trouble if they come to you with an issue, or that it’s futile, they won’t come.

Without open and transparent communication, there is little room for innovation, collaboration, and engagement with your employees.

A few years ago, Google embarked on an initiative to study hundreds of internal teams and figure out why some teams rock and others fail.

As Google crunched the data, a concept called “psychological safety” emerged and it is one of the most important things their leaders now focus on creating. It means you operate in a manner that people feel safe coming to you with problems, challenges, and improvements.

There are two simple things you can do that create psychological safety. First, encourage and welcome escalation and concerns by showing appreciation when it happens. Second, ensure that everyone talks in meetings.

  1. Everyone’s opinion matters

Remember, your job isn’t to lead the team, but rather to support them. And that means removing the obstacles that are in your team’s way. One of the biggest obstacles you can remove is the fact that many of your team members are holding themselves back.

You are going to make sure that everyone talks and contributes in meetings.

Whenever you hold a meeting, try this:

  • Make a list of everyone attending.
  • Place a check mark next to people’s names when they talk.
  • As the same extroverts start to speak again, engage the “quiet people” by asking them for their input.

By giving someone a push to become more visible and showing interest in their inputs, you are making them know that they matter. Through this experiment, meetings will spur collaboration and open communication.

As a leader, if you pay attention to these few things, you’ll not only increase your effectiveness—you’ll be changing the way your team works together.

 

Source:  Mel Robbins, Author and Speaker

“The 5 Second Rule”

 

Why Is Change So Hard?

We all have strengths and weaknesses. The best way to improve upon our weakness is to practice a new behavior, right? Practice practice practice. But how easy is that?

The answer is not as easy as you may think. We are creatures of habit; habits we aren’t even aware of. This is why change is so hard for many of us. We can learn a new behavior, sure, but how quickly…and when does it stick?

What steps should we take to sustain changed behavior?

  • Be VERY specific on the habit you would like to create (which may also be stopping a certain behavior).
  • Understand the reason why you want to change. What are the benefits to be derived from this changed behavior?
  • Create a plan of action and STICK WITH IT! Consistency is key. Stay committed to your plan.
  • Practice, practice, practice. Our brain creates pathways for behavior. We need to repeat and repeat and repeat to create new pathways.
  • Expect resistance from your body, from your moods, added stress. This is your natural resistance to creating new pathways. Don’t give up!
  • One day, and you won’t know when and where, your behavior change will become your new habit.

If you are interested in further readings on creating habits, here are some excellent books on the topic:

  • The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business (name one of the best books of the year by NY Times)
  • Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results
  • 23 Anti-Procrastination Habits: How to Stop Being Lazy and Get Results in Your Life

“Our actions change our minds, our minds can change our behaviors and our behavior can change the outcomes.”
–Manish Abraham

Challenge: Touch Emails Only Once – 2 Easy Tips

Let’s be honest. How many times do you read the same email message over and over again?  Guess what? The information hasn’t changed. You’re just procrastinating.

I have a personal rule: I will only read each message once, then take the appropriate action. The goal is “Inbox: 0” every day. Now, honestly, I don’t do it every day.

I do it almost every day, and I always keep my emails under a hundred. But I have met people who have thousands of emails in their inbox—with hundreds, sometimes even more than a thousand, unread. This is not helpful. Not only is it potentially bad for your personal brand, it also makes email far more time-consuming than it needs to be.

The key is not to get bogged down, to keep moving, to deal with each email message once and only once. The way you do this is to start by asking, is this email actionable? Does somebody expect me to do something with this email, or is it asking me to do something?

  • If no, there are three possibilities;
  • If yes, there are three different possibilities.

These are taken from David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done. And this summary will help you deal specifically with your email.

TIP 1: HOW TO PROCESS NON-ACTIONABLE EMAIL

If the answer to the question ‘Is this email actionable?’ is NO, then you have three options.

  • Delete it. Yes, there really is a delete key when it comes to email. My own philosophy is if it’s really important, somebody else somewhere in the world has a copy.
  • Add it to you Someday/Maybe list. If I don’t want to lose the idea but there’s nothing to do with it just yet, I can drag it into Evernote or a saved folder and return to it another time.
  • File it. When in doubt, file. Why? Because you can always get back to it if need be, and it really doesn’t take up a lot of space. Here is what’s important: I use one and only one folder for my filing. It’s called “Processed Email.” The reason I do this is because it keeps me from getting distracted and wasting time. The moment I have to start answering questions like, “Where am I going to file this? This is about Project X from Client Y, so do I file it in Project X? Or do I file it under Client Y? What if it’s about two projects? Do I make a copy and put a copy in each folder?” It can become very complex very quickly. And that means time down the drain. Instead, I just put it all in one folder and let the software do the searching when I need to find that message. I can get back to almost any message in a matter of seconds. It takes less time than me having to remember what folder I filed it in. But what if the email is actionable?

 

TIP 2: HOW TO PROCESS ACTIONABLE EMAIL

  • Just do it. Here is where I use David Allen’s two-minute rule. If you can take care of the action in two minutes or less, why even take the time to put it in your task list? You run the risk of losing it, not getting back to it, or not being as responsive as you’d like to be. So just go ahead and do it.
  • Defer it. It may need to get done, but it doesn’t need to get done now. So go ahead and put it on your calendar, create a reminder, but defer the action until a later time. You can drag the email to Processed and set a reminder in a task manager like Basecamp. You can also drag the email into Evernote or Notes and add a reminder. Email apps like Dropbox’s Mailbox let you defer emails with a swipe or place it on a todo list. However you manage it, the thing is to get it out of your email inbox.
  • Delegate it. I am preaching to myself here, by the way. I’m kind of a control freak, and I have this unspoken assumption that nobody can do it as well as I can do it. But the simple truth is that we’re not always the best person to handle every task. You probably have other people on your team more competent than you at one task or another. They may be colleagues. They could be contractors.

 

Recommended Resource: Robyn Marcotte’s note:   One of our favorite Podcasts is Michael Hyatt’s Lead to Win

Check it out here:  https://michaelhyatt.com/leadtowin/

 

Source: Excerpt From Michael Hyatt’s “How To Shave 10 Hours Off Your Work Week”

Why Keeping Commitments is Critical to Your Influence

When we think of someone with integrity, we think of someone we can count on to come through on what they promise. Unfortunately, that’s not always a safe bet today.

Over the last several years I’ve noticed a change in the way we use the word integrity. The word used to mean staying true to your word—even if it’s difficult, inconvenient, or expensive. But today I hear more and more people using the word as if it means being true to themselves—even if that means leaving someone else to clean up the mess.

This might look like a win if we’re trying to save ourselves from difficulty and discomfort, but it will come back to bite us in the end. Nothing destroys our credibility faster than bailing on a commitment.

Why is integrity so important?

  1. Trust depends on integrity. If people can’t rely on your word, they won’t trust you. They may extend some grace, but eventually, people will doubt and disbelieve.
  2. Influence depends on trust. People will refuse the influence of leaders they distrust. Just look at how this plays out in politics or the media. We follow people we trust.
  3. Impact depends on influence. You can’t make the impact you want unless you can influence others and shift their behavior.

Now think of other relationships: marriage, parenting, church, whatever. The strength of our relationships is measured by how much people can count on us. If we’re not true to our words, that means our relationships will be as unreliable as we are.

“The strength of our relationships is measured by how much people can count on us.” – Michael Hyatt, Author

Create Accountability—Reignite Your 1:1 Meetings

Great 1:1 meetings drive accountability by continuously keeping top priorities, top priorities.

 

If you feel that your one-on-ones aren’t especially useful, then it’s time to improve your process. I truly find that 1:1’s are the single most important meetings of my week. It helps me set expectations, communicate priorities, and listen to the struggles/challenges that each person on my team is having.  When done well, 1:1’s drive engagement and accountability.

 

Trap: Don’t get caught by the misconception that 1:1’s are just another meeting or that the “open door” policy is better.  I truly believe by focusing 30 min of time each week on each of your direct reports, you will free up hours of meetings by delegating decision making power, and eliminate last-minute fire drills by getting ahead of problems before they blow up while results by motive each person to stay focused on your team’s top priorities.  When done well you will also reduce email and phone calls because both of you have a predetermined weekly time to talk through or share key information.

 

How to create more effective 1:1 meetings

1-Recurring, scheduled meetings:  Weekly, bi-weekly depending on your role/business.

2-Brief – 30 minutes.  It may look like this:

15-20 min:  Progress on goals and priorities

  • Progress should be reviewed for each goal; share with your leader any issues or blockers they may need to help with to ensure that the target will be achieved.

5 min:  Share recent accomplishments – ask for feedback

  • Ask for feedback from your leader. Any good work or praiseworthy behavior should be recognized and encouraged. Be open to it. It is a gift!

5-10 min:  Development and open-ended Communication

  • Leave this open in the agenda – where does your leader need help? It may be an opportunity!!
  • What are you working to further your career development? Discuss ideas.

3-Location:  Consider having your one on one meeting outside or out of the office – the change of venue can contribute to a more relaxed session.

4-Timing:  Consider the timing for the recurring meeting.  4pm on Friday is not ideal for a focused conversation about your career development.

5-Commit to your 1 to 1 meeting – make it a priority: The first thing you need to do is make your one on one meeting a priority. It’s easy to skip meetings, so schedule a recurring calendar event each week to ensure the appropriate time is set aside.

6-Establish the 1:1 Meeting Agenda Format:  Setting a mutually agreeable agenda allows the both participants to show up prepared and with aligned expectations.

7-Prepare so you can look forward, not backward:  Thoughtful preparation. If you submit your template to your leader the day before your one on one meeting, each will arrive at the meeting knowing what will be discussed and allow you to spend the bulk of your time looking to the future, brainstorming, creating action items, and connecting personally.

8-Focus on you and your projects and development:  Avoid discussing other employees’ work during your time together, unless it’s specifically applicable to the conversation.

9 Sensational Traits of Highly Promotable Employees

What criteria do you use when promoting employees? See if your list of qualities matches this one.

One of the most common questions employees ask is, “What can I do to get promoted?”

It makes sense: Often employees assume there is a key initiative, a specific action, a high-visibility project, or a critical role they should take on…and if they do, a promotion is just about guaranteed.

Maybe that is sometimes true. Maybe that’s how you make promotion decisions.

 

 

Dharmesh Shah, co-founder of HubSpot (No. 666 on the 2013 Inc. 5000), takes a different approach. Dharmesh focuses on the employee’s attitude.

His reasoning is simple. Attitude informs action. Attitude informs behavior. Attitude is the driving force behind every achievement, every accomplishment, and every success.

Attitude, where performance and therefore advancement is concerned, is everything.

 

Click here to learn the 9 traits of highly promotable employees.

 

  1. Are humble, not arrogant.

Humble people ask questions. Humble people ask for help.  Humble people automatically share credit because they instinctively realize that every effort, no matter how seemingly individual, is actually a team effort.  Humble people are willing to take on any job, no matter how menial, because they realize no job is beneath them…and in the process, they prove that no job is above them.  Ultimately, success is not limited by how high you can stretch but by how low you are willing to bend.

 

  1. Are servants, not self-serving.

Great teammates make everyone around them better. Great leaders focus on providing the tools and training and culture to help their employees do their jobs better–and to achieve their own goals.

Great companies serve their customers first; they know that by serving their customers they ultimately serve the interests of their business.  The employee only in it for himself will someday be by himself. The employee in it for others may not get all the limelight…but the right people definitely notice.

 

  1. Are optimistic, not pessimistic.

Optimists add energy to a situation or meeting or business; pessimists drain away energy. Optimists try more things and take more (intelligent) risks simply because they’re focused on what can go right. Pessimists never get started because they’re too busy thinking about what might go wrong.

 

  1. Think execution, not just planning.

Planning is definitely important, but too many shelves are filled with strategies that were never implemented.  The best employees develop an idea, create a strategy, set up a basic operational plan…and then execute, adapt, execute, revise, execute, refine, and make incredible things happen based on what works in practice, not in theory.

Success starts with strategy but ultimately ends with execution.

 

  1. Think forever, not one day.

Real leadership isn’t short-lived. Real leaders are able to consistently inspire, motivate, and make people feel better about themselves than they may even think they have a right to feel. Real leaders are the kind of people you follow not because you have to…but because you want to.  Other people will follow a real leader anywhere. And they’ll follow a real leader forever because she has a knack for making you feel you aren’t actually following–wherever you’re going, you feel like you’re going there together.  Creating that level of respect, that degree of trust, and that type of bond takes time. Great employees consider not just the short-term but also the long-term–and then act accordingly.  And in time, are placed in positions where they can truly influence the long-term success of their team, their unit, and their company.

 

  1. Are volunteers, not draftees.

They volunteer for extra tasks. They volunteer for responsibility before responsibility is delegated. They volunteer to train or mentor new employees. They offer to help people who need help–and even those who don’t.  Why is that important? Volunteering demonstrates leadership aptitude. Leaders are proactive, and proactive people don’t wait to be told what to do.

 

  1. Are self-aware, not selfish.

Self-aware people understand themselves, and that awareness helps them understand the people around them. Self-aware people are more empathetic. They are more accepting of the weaknesses and failures of others because they know how it feels to fail.  And they can lead with empathy, compassion, and kindness because they know how it feels to be treated with disregard, disdain, and scorn. They do everything they can to help others reach their goals, because they know how it feels to fall short.

Self-aware people solve for the team, the organization, and the customer–not just for themselves.  Every organization needs self-aware people in key roles. (What is a key role? Every role.)

 

  1. Are adaptable, not rigid.

Things constantly change in high-growth companies. Inflexible people tend to grow uncomfortable with too much change and consciously–even unconsciously–try to slow things down.

 

Anyone can follow guidelines and procedures. Great employees are willing, even eager, to change. Great employees respond to new circumstances and new challenges with excitement, not hesitation. Employees willing to adapt and adjust tend to advance more quickly because that is what every company–especially a high-growth company–desperately needs. Otherwise, growth will be a thing of the past and not the future.

 

  1. Are teachers, not truant officers.

The best people like to teach. They don’t hoard knowledge; they spread it. They share what they know.  A truant officer’s job is to make sure people show up. A teacher’s job is to make sure people learn.  Besides, truant officers tend to give “advice.” Do this. Don’t do that. Go here. Don’t go there.

 

A teacher gives knowledge. A teacher helps other people gain experience, gain wisdom, gain insight. A teacher willingly and happily gives other people tools they can use.

In the process a teacher builds teams.  And a teacher advances because a true team builder is a rare and precious gem.

 

Source: Adapted from an Inc. Article By Jeff Haden

Contributing editor, Inc.

 

8 Things That Set Truly Confident People Apart

Successful people often exude confidence—it’s obvious that they believe in themselves and what they’re doing. It isn’t their success that makes them confident, however. The confidence was there first.

Think about it:

  • Doubt breeds doubt. Why would anyone believe in you, your ideas, or your abilities if you didn’t believe in them yourself?
  • It takes confidence to reach for new challenges.  People who are fearful or insecure tend to stay within their comfort zones. But comfort zones rarely expand on their own. That’s why people who lack confidence get stuck in dead-end jobs and let valuable opportunities pass them by.
  • Unconfident people often feel at the mercy of external circumstances.  Successful people aren’t deterred by obstacles, which is how they rise up in the first place.

No one is stopping you from what you want to accomplish but yourself. It’s time to remove any lingering self-doubt. With proper guidance and hard work, anyone can become more confident. Embracing the following behaviors of truly confident people will help get you there.

  1. They Take an Honest Look at Themselves

True confidence is firmly planted in reality. To grow your confidence, it’s important to do an honest and accurate self-assessment of your abilities. If there are weaknesses in your skill set, make plans for strengthening these skills and find ways to minimize their negative impact. Ignoring your weaknesses or pretending they’re strengths won’t make them go away. Likewise, having a clear understanding of your strengths enables you to shake off some of the more groundless feedback and criticism you can get in a busy, competitive work environment—and that builds confidence.

  1. They Don’t Seek Attention 

Confident people always seem to bring the right attitude.

Confident people are masters of attention diffusion. When they’re receiving attention for an accomplishment, they quickly shift the focus to all the people who worked hard to help get them there. They don’t crave approval or praise because they draw their self-worth from within.

  1. They Seek Out Small Victories

Confident people tend to challenge themselves and compete, even when their efforts yield small victories. Small victories build new androgen receptors in the areas of the brain responsible for reward and motivation. When you have a series of small victories, the boost in your confidence can last for months.

  1. They Speak With Certainty 

It’s rare to hear the truly confident utter phrases such as “Um,” “I’m not sure,” and “I think.” Confident people speak assertively because they know that it’s difficult to get people to listen to you if you can’t deliver your ideas with conviction.

  1. They Exercise

A study conducted at the Eastern Ontario Research Institute found that people who exercised twice a week for 10 weeks felt more competent socially, academically, and athletically. They also rated their body image and self-esteem higher. Best of all, rather than the physical changes in their bodies being responsible for the uptick in confidence, it was the immediate, endorphin-fueled positivity from exercise that made all the difference.

  1. They Dress for Success

Like it or not, how we dress has a huge effect on how people see us. Things like the color, cut, and style of the clothes we wear—and even our accessories—communicate loudly. But the way we dress also affects how we see ourselves. Studies have shown that people speak differently when they’re dressed up compared to when they’re dressed casually. To boost your confidence, dress well. Choose clothing that reflects who you are and the image you want to project, even if that means spending more time at the mall and more time getting ready in the morning.

  1. They Are Assertive, Not Aggressive

Aggressiveness isn’t confidence; it’s bullying. And when you’re insecure, it’s easy to slip into aggressiveness without intending to. Practice asserting yourself without getting aggressive (and trampling over someone else in the process). You won’t be able to achieve this until you learn how to keep your insecurities at bay, and this will increase your confidence.

  1. They Get Right with the Boss

A troubled relationship with the boss can destroy even the most talented person’s confidence. It’s hard to be confident when your boss is constantly criticizing you or undermining your contributions. Try to identify where the relationship went wrong and decide whether there’s anything you can do to get things back on track. If the relationship is truly unsalvageable, it may be time to move on to something else.

In summary…

Your confidence is your own to develop or undermine. It’s the steadfast knowledge that goes beyond simply “hoping for the best.” It ensures that you’ll get the job done—that’s the power of true confidence.

 

Source: Dr. Travis Bradberry’s Coauthor EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE 2.0

Article dated Dec 18, 2018

6 Tips to Deal with A Workaholic Boss

Having a workaholic boss often means working long hours and sacrificing personal time to meet all the demands. Forget about having any work-life balance — for workaholics, work is life. You can’t change your boss,  but you can take steps to deal with the demands:

  1. Avoid notorious workplaces. Do your research to find an organization in line with your views of work-life balance.
  2. Set your own boundaries… Don’t be afraid to share your work philosophy with your boss to help establish boundaries.
  3. … and stick to them. If you decide to go in over a weekend to finish up a project, make sure your boss knows this is an exception, not an expectation.
  4. Acknowledge, then negotiate. If a deadline is too tight acknowledge the request and then work to find a compromise.
  5. Find the right balance. If weekend work is unavoidable, make it part of your schedule so it doesn’t disrupt your personal and family time too much.
  6. Show your sacrifice. If you have to skip out on family or personal time for work, let your boss know and work to find a compromise that won’t interrupt your life.

The key is to coexist with your boss. You can’t change their approach to work, but you can manage your expectations to ensure a successful collaboration.

“Most people chase success at work, thinking that will make them happy. The truth is that happiness at work will make you successful.” – Alexander Kjerulf

Adapted from CNN Business.

6 Ways to Speak Like You Mean It

Repetition can be a useful communication tool, but if you find that you constantly needing to repeat yourself, your communication style may be to blame. By following the six part “speak like you mean it” framework you can spend less time repeating yourself, and more time on what matters.

  1. Be authentic. Be true to who you are when you communicate.
  2. Be clear. Think about the recipient, is your message clear to them?
  3. Use influence. What does your message mean for your team? Keep it relevant and influential to what’s going on now.
  4. Inspire. When your team member feels it, they’re more likely to be part of it.
  5. Use physical and vocal energy. Your body language and tone help you connect with your message recipient.
  6. Bring the conversation to life. Stories, anecdotes, and metaphors make the conversation more relatable.

By using this framework, you can get your message across most effectively. Staying on the same page with your team takes work, but speaking like you mean it can make things easier!

“If you aren’t authentic and people don’t feel that you’re being real, it’s a little bit like a dart hitting a dartboard, but there’s no point on it… you can’t connect with somebody who’s not real.”
— Melissa Gordon

Adapted from Leadercast.

Are Leaders Supposed to be Optimists, Realists, or Pessimists?

The answer is… Yes! The key is knowing when to be which.

In some circumstances a leader must be a grim-faced pessimist, while in others it requires being a cheery-faced optimist. How do you know which -ist to be? Here four easy guidelines to get you started!

Number 4: A leader must be a pessimist when…
… making financial forecasts in a challenging season.
Any leader who has led through tough times will tell you the first step to stop the bleeding is by taking a worst-case scenario approach to budgeting.

Number 3: A leader must be a realist when…
… developing the team.
Nothing will crush the spirit of a rising leader quite like giving them too much responsibility too soon. Effective leaders must be realistic when it comes to each team member’s potential, and design their development plan accordingly.

Number 2: A leader must be an idealist when…
… Casting vision.
Effective leaders embrace the ideals of their organization’s mission and vision and communicate them with authentic passion.

Number 1: A leader must be an optimist when
… building a healthy culture.
When the going gets tough, it’s the leader’s job to remind the team that, together, things are going to get better. The mission is worth pursuing, and success will come.

Effective leadership requires being a combination of pessimistic, realistic, idealistic, or optimistic. As a leader you can develop the skills to know when to be which!

 

“Often times success doesn’t come from strength, but from flexibility and adaptability”  — Debasish Mridha MD

3 Tips to Reduce Tension Across the Generational Divide

Generational differences are real and can result in real tension on your team. While everyone may have the same goal in mind, growing up in vastly different times means team members will come up with different approaches to the same problems. Let’s take a look at some of the tips you can use to reduce tensions and successfully lead across generations:

  1. Avoid pigeonholing. The majority of differences among employees are not driven by generation, but by their unique personalities. Get to know each team member as an individual instead of simply focusing on the year they were born. As a leader you can focus on their individual needs, rather than generational stereotypes.
  2. Examine your style vs their expectations. If you feel resistance from an employee who is much older or much younger than you, it’s possible they have legitimate concerns because your style is different from how they expect things to be done. Address these differences head-on, and help your team understand the reason you lead the way you do.
  3. Tap into your empathy. Sometimes resistance isn’t about your leadership style. An older employee might be reacting to the youth of their peers because it reminds them they have been passed on their career track. A younger employee might be responding to the perception of the organization as being slow and rigid. Be empathetic to how difficult this can be, and work with your team to handle the emotional backlash.

One thing you can count on is that, regardless of age, everyone wants to be valued. Start by engaging each person in a conversation that demonstrates you are interested in their thoughts. When most people know their voices are being heard, they will help build the bridge that crosses any divide.

“We all require and want respect.” – Aretha Franklin

7 Secrets to Leading with Gratitude

Even as the world changes at an ever increasing pace, kindness and gratitude will never go out of fashion. Science tells us that grateful people are happier, healthier, and nicer to be around. Leaders who express gratitude build a team culture that reflects their values.

How can you cultivate an attitude of gratitude? Here are seven tips to help you get started:

  1. Look for the good in everyday situations and in those around you.
  2. Make a list of what you’re grateful for.
  3. Develop a culture of appreciation for the people and things in your life.
  4. Verbally express your appreciation to those who have a positive impact on your life.
  5. Write thank you notes and letters of appreciation to others.
  6. Meditate on the things you are grateful for.
  7. Start having positive conversations with yourself and others, focusing on the good.

Remember: what you focus on gets magnified and manifested. Give yourself the gift and power of gratitude, you’ll feel better and do better!

“Gratitude is the single most important ingredient to living a successful and fulfilled life.” – Jack Canfield

3 Excuses Leaders Make to Avoid Hard Decisions

Leaders have to make hard decisions, and the further you are in your leadership journey the more tough calls you have to make. As a leader, it’s important to know not only how to make tough calls, but when to make them.

All too often leaders push tough decisions down the road.  Hard decisions get more complicated the longer they’re deferred, and delays can cause more damage than whatever fallout the leader was trying to avoid.

As a leader, you can learn to recognize when you are putting off making a decision because it seems unpleasant. Here are three of the most common excuses, and their consequences:

  1. “I’m being considerate of others.” If leader is afraid of disappointing their team they might delay a tough decision. This only puts off the inevitable emotional fall-out, and gives team members less time to process their disappointment.
  2. “I’m committed to quality and accuracy.” If a leader is uncomfortable with uncertainty they may delay action under the guise of gathering more data. This behavior sends the signal that “looking right” is more important than “doing right”.
  3. “I want to be seen as fair.” Instead of recognizing high performers and coaching low performers, leaders may fall back on treating every member of their team in the exact same way. This type of behavior can undermine performance and ultimately cause friction down the line.

As a leader, how you make hard calls shapes the culture of your team, and the culture of your organization. These excuses teach team members that self-protection and self-interest are legitimate motivations for making difficult choices. Whatever temporary pain you might incur from making a tough call should pale in comparison to building a culture of thoughtful, positive decision-making.

(Adapted from Harvard Business Review)

“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears” – Nelson Mandela

We’ve Updated Our Privacy Policy!

Hello!

This is Robyn, CEO of Aha! Leadership and this a quick update about our privacy policies.  First off, we want you to know that your privacy is of critical importance to us.  With the new data protection laws in place we’ve made sure to update our written policies:  Privacy and Terms of Service.

We also want you to know we have ALWAYS protected your privacy.

We never have and never will share your information with an outside third-party, aside from the systems we employ to optimize your experience.

By continuing to receive content and use our websites… you are acknowledging these updates and agree with the updated terms.

You are welcome to contact us if you have any questions:  aha@ahaleadership.com

Kind regards,

Robyn Marcotte and Team