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Posts tagged ‘Self-Motivation’

Adaptability- A Must

An old Chinese proverb says that the wise adapt themselves to circumstances, as water molds itself to the pitcher. Now, like no other time in recent history has adaptability been more important to a Leader’s success. Adaptability – the ability to change (or be changed) to fit new circumstances, surroundings and people mixes – is a crucial skill for leaders, and an important competency in emotional intelligence.

A 2008 study conducted by the Economist Intelligent Unit, entitledGrowing Global Executive Talent, showed that the top three leadership qualities that will be important over the next five years include: the ability to motivate staff (35%); the ability to work well across cultures (34%); and the ability to facilitate change (32%). The least important were technical expertise (11%) and “bringing in the numbers” (10%). This is one of the reasons why this blog touts relationships and motivation for the growth of a Leader! This willingness to get out of one’s comfort zone, and learn continuously as a way of adapting to changes, marks a key difference between successful and unsuccessful leaders.

Here are a few tips for developing adaptability.

  • If you catch yourself shooting an idea down, take a moment to consider what mental scripts you might have developed, which are influencing your thoughts. Mental scripts are ways you have been patterned to think over the years through experiences and life, whether voluntary or involuntary.  They are so automatic that you have to be intentional to change them and improve your leadership.
  • Do you habitually insist on going “by the book”? Is this actually necessary for every issue? You can have a great effect on your Team’s productivity if you paid more attention to the effect that this might have on the people involved. What would happen if you applied creativity to standard procedures?
  • Consider that when we push the envelope, when we intentionally put ourselves in situations that are outside our comfort zone, we grow. Are you trading on old knowledge? Do you need to update your skills? Are you relying too much on your title as the sign of authority? In today’s working environment, surrounded by highly intelligent and specialized knowledge workers, this no longer works. We can adapt by continually evolving and reinventing ourselves.
  • When we are in a position for a length of time, we may tend to become accustomed to the status quo and fail to challenge the process in order to continue to grow and improve.Here is a question to ask yourself:  “If you left tomorrow, what would your successor do to improve things?”  Now consider making these changes yourself, today!

Until next time, free yourself to accept and lose the potential of your Team!

Rod

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You Can Read Along

In today’s blog I find myself writing to myself, but you can read along with me and see if you find something to help you as you travel along your journey.

What has become of all I dreamed of doing? I have  achieved some of the dreams I had when I was younger, but not nearly all.  Now, is it worth it to continue dreaming and think that others will come true??

Indeed! I must dream on! Without dreams, passions, or desires, my life will be dim in color, less exciting, and less interesting. Although life would rather push me down and try to discourage me, I must dream on!

Even though we all have unfulfilled dreams, desires and goals within us, should we allow those unfulfilled dreams to stop us from continuing to dream ? No!

Some dare to dream and make those dreams happen. We call them, Leaders.  Others leave those dreams behind, choosing instead to ignore what could be within their reach – and they often become frustrated or give up, thinking “If only…” or “What if…” Worse yet, they spend life constantly looking at what is not “fair” that is happening to them. Leaders recognize that things will not always go their way, in fact, they seldom do; but Leaders dream on!

There’s a wonderful little book called “Jonathan Livingston Seagull,” an allegorical story about a seagull who dares to dream of a better life – and then does everything he can to make it happen. The author, Richard Bach, says, “You are never given a dream without also being given the power to make it true. You may have to work for it however.” Leaders recognize this and learn to work smarter, not necessarily harder. They empower their Team and enable greatness to rise out of great synergy. Thus they forge ahead to their dreams. and the organization’s dreams.

How could my life and my Leadership be better today, if I would believe and adopt the above statement ? If I were prepared today to take action and make my dreams a reality, what would that give me? What would it give to those around me?

Ponder this with me and until next time, DREAM ON and DON’T GIVE UP!

Rod

Say What? Part 1

Nothing irritates me more than someone not listening to what is said or the information given. Listening is one of the most important skills you can have. How well you listen has a major impact on your job effectiveness, and on the quality of your relationships with others.

Given all this listening we are supposed to be doing in a day, you would think we’d be good at it! However, most of us are not. Depending on the study being quoted, we remember between 25% and 50% of what we hear. That means that when you talk to your boss, colleagues, customers or spouse for 10 minutes, they pay attention to less than half of the conversation. This is dismal! Turn it around and it reveals that when you are receiving directions or being presented with information, you aren’t hearing the whole message either. You hope the important parts are captured in your 25-50%, but what if they’re not?

Clearly, listening is a skill that we can all benefit from improving. By becoming a better listener, you will improve your productivity, as well as your ability to influence, persuade and negotiate. What’s more, you’ll avoid conflict and misunderstandings. All of these are necessary for workplace success!

Good communication skills require a high level of self-awareness. By understanding your personal style of communicating, you will go a long way towards creating good and lasting impressions with others. The Extended DISC Profile is key to this. Contact Ascend Business Strategies for information on this economical way to turn your workplace around!!

The way to become a better listener is to practice “active listening”. This is where you make a conscious effort to hear not only the words that another person is saying but, more importantly, try to understand the complete message being sent. In order to do this you must pay attention to the other person very carefully.

You cannot allow yourself to become distracted by whatever else may be going on around you, or by forming counter arguments that you’ll make when the other person stops speaking. Nor can you allow yourself to get bored, and lose focus on what the other person is saying. All of these contribute to a lack of listening and understanding.

To enhance your listening skills, you need to let the other person know that you are listening to what he or she is saying. To understand the importance of this, ask yourself if you’ve ever been engaged in a conversation when you wondered if the other person was listening to what you were saying. You wonder if your message is getting across, or if it’s even worthwhile continuing to speak. It feels like talking to a brick wall and it’s something you want to avoid.

Acknowledgement can be something as simple as a nod of the head or a simple “uh huh.” You aren’t necessarily agreeing with the person, you are simply indicating that you are listening. Using body language and other signs to acknowledge you are listening also reminds you to pay attention and not let your mind wander.

You should also try to respond to the speaker in a way that will both encourage him or her to continue speaking, so that you can get the information if you need. While nodding and “uh huhing” says you’re interested, an occasional question or comment to recap what has been said communicates that you understand the message as well.

As important as active listening is, read tomorrow’s blog to find out how to become an awesome active listener!

Until then, Listen Up!

Rod

Grounding Beliefs

Grounding Beliefs

People’s beliefs affect their work when those beliefs hold them back. Grounding beliefs, or mental blocks, are thoughts that are not true and that damage our effectiveness. These tend to be based on ideas and norms we’ve acquired from our culture, upbringing, or peer group. We can have thousands of thoughts each day, and very many of these thoughts are repeating. That’s why, over time, we can start to believe our own version how the world is.Always remember, how we see things determines the actions we take that will result in the results we get. This is called a Paradigm. It is imperative we have the right mindset/paradigm so that we do not become a self-fulfilling prophecy at work or life.

Sometimes, what we believe is wrong. Perhaps we’ve interpreted someone’s actions or words incorrectly. Or perhaps we’ve learned the wrong lesson from a mistake in life, and, as a result, we’ve been unable or too fearful to pursue a similar action again.

Here are some examples of grounding beliefs:

  • Success is not possible. I don’t deserve to succeed.
  • I will fail.
  • Nobody likes me. Nobody cares.
  • It is impossible.
  • It’s my way or the highway.

The Leader’s job is to work with the Team to uncover and deal with self-limiting beliefs that are getting in the way of the Team Member’s job performance. The Team may be unaware of the real cause of these blocks, but may be aware of symptoms – such as lacking ambition, lacking hope, or lacking direction.

There are, of course, some deep beliefs that require assistance beyond coaching. But generally, once people recognize that one of their thoughts isn’t true and that it’s holding them back, they start to make progress and overcome the issue. A good technique for coaches to use to help deal with mental blocks is to explore the Team Member’s beliefs and thoughts, and identify the positive beliefs that are helping them progress, and the negative beliefs that are holding them back.

Adding Value

Leaders Add Value by Serving Others- The attitude of the Leader affects the entire work environment. If you desire to add value by being a resource, open and willing to serve others, you will leave a Legacy as a Leader.

 

Are you making things better for the people whom you lead???

  • If you can’t answer without a pause, then you likely aren’t.
  • 90% of all people who add value to others, do so intentionally. Humans are naturally selfish so adding value to others calls for the Leader to always be aware of opportunities to increase value in others.

 

Adding Value Changes Lives-

  • Truly Value Others– Legacy Leaders go beyond not harming others, they intentionally help others succeed. They must appreciate people for who they are, and what they bring to the mix of the work setting. This appreciation and belief must be genuinely demonstrated in ways that their Team can see.
  • Make Yourself More Valuable to Others– This takes a process of being purposeful and intentional in your own personal growth. The more you have to offer others, the more valuable you will be. Read, watch and learn!
  • Know and Relate to What Others Value– Learn what is valuable to your Team Members. This will require you to listen to their stories, hopes and dreams. Get to know the people that directly report to you, then lead based on what you have learned from them. This is not a manipulation of them, but a motivation of them.

 

 

The Story of Robert Owen:

Robert Owen (1771-1858) was an early industrialist–perhaps best known for his model textile factory and village at New Lanark Scotland. Owen developed an aid to motivation and discipline–the Silent Monitor system–which could be described as a distant ancestor of appraisal schemes in practice today. Each machine within the factory had a block of wood mounted on it with a different color–blue, yellow or red. Each day the superintendents rated the work of their subordinates and awarded each a color that was then turned to face the aisle so that everyone was able to see all ratings. His textile factory was one of the most profitable ones during this era.

 

It is important that the Leader recognize that adding value through an appraisal or an evaluation is a critical thing to do both in the short-term and at the 90-day mark. Employees will know they are appreciated and value can be added by using effective, accurate and informative appraisal systems.

The bottom line of a Legacy Leader is not how they advance themselves, but how far they advance others!

Common Leadership Mistakes, part 2

6. Misunderstanding Motivation

Do you know what truly motivates your team? Here’s a hint: chances are, it’s not just money!

Many leaders make the mistake of assuming that their team is only working for monetary reward. However, it’s unlikely that this will be the only thing that motivates them.

For example, people seeking a greater work/life balance might be motivated by telecommuting days or flexible working. Others will be motivated by factors such as achievement, extra responsibility, praise, or a sense of camaraderie. A great tool to help figure this out is an Extended DISC Profile! Contact us today to learn more!!

7. Hurrying Recruitment

When your team has a large workload, it’s important to have a full team. But filling a vacant role too quickly can be a disastrous mistake.

Hurrying recruitment can lead to recruiting the wrong people for your team: people who are uncooperative, ineffective or unproductive. They might also require additional training, and slow down others on your team. With the wrong person, you’ll have wasted valuable time and resources if things don’t work out and they leave. What’s worse, other team members will be stressed and frustrated by having to “carry” the under-performer.

You can avoid this mistake by learning how to recruit effectively, and by being particularly picky about the people you bring into your team.

8. Not “Walking the Walk”

If you make personal telephone calls during work time, or speak negatively about your CEO, can you expect people on your team not to do this too? Probably not!

As a leader, you need to be a role model for your team. This means that if they need to stay late, you should also stay late to help them. Or, if your organization has a rule that no one eats at their desk, then set the example and head to the break room every day for lunch. The same goes for your attitude – if you’re negative some of the time, you can’t expect your people not to be negative.

So remember, your team is watching you all the time. If you want to shape their behavior, start with your own. They’ll follow suit.

9. Not Delegating

Some managers don’t delegate, because they feel that no-one apart from themselves can do key jobs properly. This can cause huge problems as work bottlenecks around them, and as they become stressed and burned out.

Delegation does take a lot of effort up-front, and it can be hard to trust your team to do the work correctly. But unless you delegate tasks, you’re never going to have time to focus on the “broader-view” that most leaders and managers are responsible for. What’s more, you’ll fail to develop your people so that they can take the pressure off you.

10. Misunderstanding Your Role

Once you become a leader or manager, your responsibilities are very different from those you had before.

However, it’s easy to forget that your job has changed, and that you now have to use a different set of skills to be effective. This leads to you not doing what you’ve been hired to do – leading and managing.

Key Points

We all make mistakes, and there are some mistakes that leaders and managers make in particular. These include, not giving good feedback, being too “hands-off,” not delegating effectively, and misunderstanding your role.

It’s true that making a mistake can be a learning opportunity. But, taking the time to learn how to recognize and avoid common mistakes can help you become productive and successful, and highly respected by your team!

Until next time, Lead on!!!

Rod

Common Leadership Mistakes

Experience is the name every one gives to their mistakes.
– Oscar Wilde

It’s often said that mistakes provide great learning opportunities. However, it’s much better not to make mistakes in the first place!

In this blog, we’re looking at the first 5 of 10 of the most common leadership mistakes, and highlighting what you can do to avoid them.  Contact Ascend Business Strategies to learn effective ways to avoid these costly mistakes!!

1. Lack of Feedback

Sarah is a talented sales representative, but she has a habit of answering the phone in an unprofessional manner. Her boss is aware of this, but he’s waiting for her performance review to tell her where she’s going wrong. Unfortunately, until she’s been alerted to the problem, she’ll continue putting off potential customers.

According to 1,400 executives polled by The Ken Blanchard Companies, failing to provide feedback is the most common mistake that leaders make. When you don’t provide prompt feedback to your people, you’re depriving them of the opportunity to improve their performance.

To avoid this mistake, learn how to provide regular feedback to your team.

2. Not Making Time for Your Team

When you’re a manager or leader, it’s easy to get so wrapped up in your own workload that you don’t make yourself available to your team.

Yes, you have projects that you need to deliver. But your people must come first – without you being available when they need you, your people won’t know what to do, and they won’t have the support and guidance that they need to meet their objectives.

Avoid this mistake by blocking out time in your schedule specifically for your people, and by learning how to listen actively to your team. Develop your emotional intelligence so that you can be more aware of your team and their needs, and have a regular time when “your door is always open”, so that your people know when they can get your help. You can also use a 5 min morning rally combined with spot coaching throughout the day to stay in touch with your team.

Once you’re in a leadership or management role, your team should always come first – this is, at heart, what good leadership is all about!

3. Being Too “Hands-Off”

One of your Team Members has just completed an important project. The problem is that he misunderstood the project’s specification, and you didn’t stay in touch with him as he was working on it. Now, he’s completed the project in the wrong way, and you’re faced with explaining this to an angry client Many leaders want to avoid micromanagement. But going to the opposite extreme (with a hand-offs management style) isn’t a good idea either – you need to get the balance right.

4. Being Too Friendly

Most of us want to be seen as friendly and approachable to people in our team. After all, people are happier working for a manager that they get along with. However, you’ll sometimes have to make tough decisions regarding people in your team, and some people will be tempted to take advantage of your relationship if you’re too friendly with them.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t socialize with your people. But, you do need to get the balance right between being a friend and being the boss.

5. Failing to Define Goals

When your people don’t have clear goals, they muddle through their day. They can’t be productive if they have no idea what they’re working for, or what their work means. They also can’t prioritize their workload effectively, meaning that projects and tasks get completed in the wrong order.

Avoid this mistake by learning how to set SMART Goals for your team. Chart your course to specify where your team is going, and detail the resources it can draw upon.

Tomorrow we will look at the nest 5 common mistakes.

Until then, keep moving forward!

Rod