How To Take A Step Forward On #InternationalMensDay

I had a really interesting conversation at a networking event earlier this week.

A woman guest and I were talking about the all the different ways it is possible to be of service and to ask for support so you can improve. Here’s a big generalisation that I brought to our discussion:

Women and men have different ideas about seeking support while they tackle their working day 

Plenty Of Men Aren’t Alpha Males

I went to a Boy’s school, so I grew up knowing a bit about bullying and that some guys held more of the cards than I did (and weren’t shy about pointing that out).

For every Alpha male out there you will find plenty of ordinary guys who are trying to do the best they can with what they have got.

Where many women will reach out and work effectively together to do more than ‘get by’, many men will try to go it alone, toughing it out in isolation, without showing any vulnerability.

Perhaps (at the extreme end of the scale) that is part of the reason why three times as many men take their own lives, as compared to women.

Men Can Take Action

Keeping calm and carrying on only highlights the distance some men maintain between their inner world and the effective support networks they can tap into. 

If there is truth in the men-go-it-alone generalisation then men will keep losing out. They would be better off making time to be thoughtful, working out how they need to grow and taking action to improve their situation. The alternative is spending more time working and less time:

  • paying attention to their inner growth goals
  • deciding where their boundaries lie, so they don’t end up shortchanging their family, friends and community
  • caring about the impact they have on the people they serve, including their clients, their colleagues and the wider community

Making A Difference

I hope that today (International Men’s Day) someone reading this post will decide to set themselves a goal and take an action which helps to improve their quality of life and benefit their community, team and family too.

Share this post with someone for whom it will make a difference today or tomorrow (and comment below if it resonates with you).

Finally, if you want FREE Downloadable information to start the improvement wheels turning for yourself, or a man in your life, please visit
https://experienceyourlife.coachesconsole.com/   

Which 4 Letter Word Keeps You Moving Forward?

Sunset Framed By Hands

What Will Motivate You Tomorrow? – Picture From Unsplash.com From Mayur Gala

The biopic documenting the life of Apple Founder Steve Jobs will be on screens soon. There are plenty of lessons to take from his innovative approach to life. I like the ones which flow from the memorable commencement speech he gave at Stanford University 10 years ago. That speech included these lines:

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

I think there are a couple of key ideas in this section of the speech

  • Your inner voice reflects your history, so it is best to pay attention to what it says
  • If you set boundaries for yourself you tune out noisy and unhelpful opinions
  • Caring about your self and others helps you move forward toward your goals

There is an extra bit of pathos in those words, since Steve Jobs knew his time was limited. He was living with cancer as he spoke (he died in October 2011).

Which 4 Letter Word Is More Important For You?

Is it Need? (meaning your wisdom and inner voice tell you something is necessary)?

  • You are driven to take action because your bills need to be paid
  • You need a more senior role in your organisation

Is it Love? (your overwhelming interest and pleasure in something)?

  • Your achievements come from rising to a fresh challenge
  • You are happiest producing an outcome that exceeds expectations

Will Need Or Love Drive You Forward Next Year?

Sometimes we can get so busy with life we lose sight of our driving force.

As far as I can tell Steve Jobs was driven by his love of a challenge and a desire to innovate. What’s true for you?

The people I have coached enjoy reconnecting with their motivation to be happier in themselves as well as more productive team players. Handy attributes to have, especially during tough economic times, when they focus is producing more, quicker and with less resources.

So, which principle – need or love – will help you with your goals next year? Use the Reply space to share your thinking with this community.

Extra Help On Offer

Would you appreciate some extra help working out which of your priorities to pay attention to? Then there is a free download available via this link (just fill in your name and email details then hit the blue button on the left hand side of the page)

https://experienceyourlife.coachesconsole.com/

 

4 Steps Toward Workplace Inclusion And Emotional Intelligence In #NIW2015

Human Nature: Bringing Empathy To Work - Picture From Dantada From Morguefile.com

Human Nature: Bringing Empathy To Work – Picture From Dantada From Morguefile.com

According to recent research into artificial intelligence (AI)* by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in future there will be many jobs which will be destroyed, or at least done better, because machines have become smarter.

Emotional Not Artificial Intelligence

Luckily National Inclusion Week started today. That programme of developmental events highlights EI (Emotional Intelligence) rather than AI.

Therefore us human beings have a little more time to focus on the way we work with each other. Our goals can remain becoming more successful in delivering results and growing more skilled, innovative and service-focused at work.

Benefits of NIW2015

#NIW2015 highlights the business benefits on offer when people feel more valued, respected and listened to. Those factors help us challenge the status quo.

The benefits to organisations include:

  • More successful results for customers, provided by staff whose values are respected
  • Productive teams, where colleagues work well together towards shared goals
  • High morale, as people are engaged on work which makes good use of their skills

4 Ways To Boost Inclusion And EI

  • Ask staff what systems work well and which could be adjusted to create better results
  • Ensure that each team member has a goal which contributes to organisational goals
  • Prioritise personal development goals, which help staff grow more confident
  • Make sure that equality and diversity good practice is carried out, so that staff can flourish

Have Your Say About Workplace Culture

What is the culture like where you work? Are you able to speak up and suggest change? If you are a leader, what will you do this week to make your workplace feel a bit more human?  Use the Comment section to have your say.

Sharing This Discussion

Thanks for reading this post about National Inclusion Week. If you found it useful feel free to share it with a friend and Like it as well.

*Follow the link for information about Jobs That Artificial Intelligence Cannot Replace
http://bit.ly/Brynjolfsson_And_McAfee_The_Jobs_Which_AI_Cannot_Replace

How Does Your Community Benefit When You Act Like A #GoodWolf ?

How Does Your Good Wolf Inspire Others?

How Does Your Good Wolf Inspire Others? – picture credit to Brigwer from Morguefile.com

How often do you ‘click’ with someone and find a way to support them in their goals?

I am lucky to be connected to several professional development networks. That means I have the chance to support others quite often. It feels good to pay it forward.

You have to be in the right frame of mind yourself to help someone else out. It is easier in some ways to be focused on your own agenda. Easier isn’t always best though.

Here’s a story about helping someone focus, inspired by Cherokee Nation culture.

 

The One You Feed

A grandfather and grandson are seated in Nature, deep in conversation.

The young man is troubled.

He tells his grandfather about the feelings of anger, envy and self-pity he has.

His grandfather tells him about the two wolves we all have within us.

The wolves are always circling each other, battling for supremacy.

One wolf is mournful, holding on to bad feelings from the past.

The other wolf is bright, joyful, loving and empathic.

Puzzled, the young man asks.

 

“If they are always there within us, which wolf wins the battle?

 

The grandfather paused.

His reply?

 

“It depends on the one you feed.

 

Contributing To Your Community

I know from my own experience that feeding the wrong wolf makes life miserable.

Spending too much time looking at set-backs leaves you stuck. It makes you self-centred. It weighs you down. It means you aren’t aware of others’ needs and don’t meet them.

I first experienced coaching (as a client) in the early 2000s. I had ended up overwhelmed by a project I was involved with. The experience of being coached made the process of returning to normal (being part of a team, producing great results) much easier.

 

What did I learn from the experience?

Being connected to your community is good. Being of service to that community is better. Taking positive action to help the community move forward is best.

 

How Can You Help The Communities To Which You Belong?

Tapping into your good wolf mind-set means you are better placed to help others. Your optimism inspires others to work optimistically because you understand others’ lives.

That kind of Empathy comes easily to good wolves. You can find out more about Empathy by clicking the link below.

http://bit.ly/BBC_Can_Empathy_Be_Taught_Roman_Krznaric

 

Want To Keep This Conversation Going?

Thank you for dropping by, reading this post, following, sharing and taking action that helps you experience a more fulfilling life.

I’d love to know how you change your thoughts when they get stuck in the negative zone. What’s your secret? How do you motivate your team / community to act positively and produce better results?

Leave your comments below. Your feedback is bound to be valuable to others in the community.

Don’t forget to share this post with the wolves you know.

 

 

3 Steps To Overcome Overwhelm By Embracing #Assertion #Leadership #Responsibility

American Football

Overcoming Setbacks Is Part Of Life (Picture from GaborfromHungary from morguefile.com)

Any job can kick your butt.

If you get knocked down often enough you lose sight of your goals. Your results can nose dive. Your team spirit vanishes. You hate Sunday night (it reminds you of Monday morning). Welcome to survival mode.

If the situation continues for long enough it can have serious health implications too.

Next stop burn-out.

How Many Stressed Out People Are There In Great Britain?

You are far from alone if you have ever been so stressed out you needed time-off from work. According to Health and Safety Executive (HSE) data (1):

The total number of cases of work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2013/14 was 487 000 (39%) out of a total of 1 241 000 cases for all work-related illnesses.

From personal experience I know the costs behind the HSE’s numbers. Those costs are measured in disruption to personal and family life; the impact on team outputs; the downturn in customer satisfaction.

It is the difference between enjoying life in 3D and enduring it in 2D. So what are the elements that help you start to overcome overwhelm?

Effective Leadership

Skilled and confident senior staff help to balance workloads and they practice realism when goal setting for their teams. They are people who value people just as much as spreadsheets.

These leaders create the safe space in which team members produce excellent results; manage risks and speak up about issues that affect results.

That communication is a regular part of the flow within the team. No one wants an unexpected and stress-filled adult-to-adult conversation to kick off; leaving a manager angry and their team member acting like an upset child.

Personal Responsibility

Responsibility starts with self-awareness. How does the team / organisation feel to you? How is it serving customers? How are your values represented? Is the work flowing freely or piling up on your desk?

I’ve found that people know when a situation ‘feels’ wrong. They are the ones having sleepless nights and stress-filled days.

Your self-awareness check will tell you whether: colleague relationships are also suffering; customer feedback shows that they aren’t getting what they expected; it is time to speak out.

Responsibility involves speaking out when these factors are present and reducing the flow of ideas and energy within the team. You can suggest how a change will improve relationships and boost customer satisfaction. Why keep good ideas to yourself?

Remember to have empathy for senior managers. They are always being pushed to produce more outputs, more quickly with less resources in their teams.

Assertive Communication

From experience, research and work with coaching clients there is value in communicating assertively.

Communicate your feelings positively. Don’t turn any negative feelings in on yourself.

After all, teams with good communication and engagement channels produce better results. That is a key part of the virtuous circle: research shows that being heard and valued is a core component of engagement, which is an important part of producing great results.

Workshop Ideas

I am leading a workshop in 7 days drawing on many of the ideas above.  The event takes place in a week on 5 July (2) and before then I will share some further insights.

As a start, take the opportunity to read Rebecca Knight’s Harvard Business Review article (3). It is worth your time.

What Is Your Solution To Overcoming Overwhelm And Combatting Workplace Stress?

Add your voice to this conversation in the comments below. Your views will help another leader or staff member dealing with these issues.

Please share this post with others, where that will help someone improve customer satisfaction; create a more supportive team and experience greater job satisfaction.

Resources

(1)

http://bit.ly/HSE_Stress_Related_Disorders_GB_2014

(2)

http://bit.ly/An_Assertiveness_And_Success_Workshop

(3)

http://bit.ly/HBR_Rebecca_Knight_How_To_Handle_Difficult_Workplace_Conversations

 

 

How Does #Assertion Help Improve Your Day?

Ready To Take Assertive Action? (Picture credit jzlomek at morguefile.com)

Ready To Take Assertive Action? (Picture credit jzlomek at morguefile.com)

The quietly confident smile on Nick’s face said it all.

Nick was a middle-management colleague of mine. He led a team at work and he was a good sportsman too. He knew a lot about getting the best out of others.

When I saw Nick smiling I guessed the ‘quick word’ he had held with our senior manager had gone well.

Why was that quick word necessary?

That morning our senior manager (Sue) had chosen to brutally criticise Nick during a staff meeting. Nick’s team had been around the table.

Nick’s face had registered shock. The rest of us were embarrassed. It was one of those I’m-glad-that-wasn’t-aimed-at-me moments.

After the meeting broke up Nick sat quietly, writing a few words in his diary and looking  in the direction of our boss’s door.

Once he had fixed his goal in mind he’d walked up to the door, knocked and gone in.

What Did Nick Do To Be Assertive?

When I had the chance I asked Nick the obvious question. Making the decision to act was one thing, what had he said to Sue about the meeting? His answer?

I let her know how I felt after what she said this morning ….I told her I never spoke to my team like that and I don’t accept it either …there’s better ways to work together…she said she saw my point of view.

Nick influenced a positive change in Sue’s behaviour towards him, judging by his upbeat mood.

Assertion Means Talking About Your Feelings When You Negotiate

Nick’s real-life example shows the value of bringing emotion into assertive situations.

Use the range of evidence at your fingertips, including your feelings. Involve the other party in a conversation.

Your theme is how to make your relationship more productive. Give them an incentive to change their behaviour so it benefits others.

If they join in with that conversation and then change their approach that’s a great outcome. You have both benefitted from your honesty.

If the other person refuses to engage with the conversation you have learned something.

That knowledge means you can choose your future options wisely. Those options might include downplaying or even ending the relationship.

Want To Continue This Conversation?

Thank you for reading this post. Feel free to Comment below and share the post with others who can get something from it.

I am sharing more information that will make your day easier in my June newsletter. If you would like to get on to the mailing list for further information first head over to

www.experienceenterprisesltd.co.uk

Then fill in your email address in the field on the right hand side of the page and finally press the red Send button.

I’m looking forward to sharing more ideas with you in the weeks to come.

 

Performance Improvement: What’s Empathy Got To Do With It?

Empathy Beats Confrontation In Performance Management - picture credit Pexels.com

Empathy Beats Confrontation In Performance Management – picture credit Pexels.com

Spring is the season for reporting on performance. It seems to me empathy is the key to influencing others to help us with our performance goals during the coming year.

Drawing on an existing stock of empathy could make the difference to you, if you break out in a sweat at the thought of approaching a good team member who is suddenly producing sub-par work.

Leaders Set The Tone For Their Team

If you have already established an empathic / supportive relationship with your team you have an advantage. The door is already partly open to difficult conversations.

You can now use the stock of trust you have built up to go into potentially uncomfortable territory when speaking with team members (you might want to start being more empathic if you are starting from a low base).

3 Useful Performance Questions

From personal experience performance conversations involve being a bit vulnerable yourself. You aren’t looking to beat anyone up. You are helping yourself by accepting your feelings of discomfort and focusing on helping someone perform better.

Here are 3 discussion openers which might help you get your colleague engaged in finding solutions, as part of a constructive performance improvement conversation

  • It has been a while since our last review, how are things with you workwise?
  • I’ve noticed that X seems to be happening with your work, that’s not like you. Can you say what’s happening there?
  • What more can I do to help you produce different results?

Open questions prompt the listener to think of a full response, since a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer doesn’t fit. Empathy, Thought and Action should feed into your conversation and the ones which follow to help your colleague improve their results.

Feel Free To Continue This Conversation And Share It With Friends

Why not use the Comment section to share the approaches have you used to successfully support performance improvement.

How did you help your member of staff produce good or excellent results, after a temporary downturn?

If you were the one being helped how did your boss’s approach help you move forward? Did they offer to help you, or take a confrontational approach?

For an overview of the effects on performance of feeling overwhelmed at work please follow this link

 

http://www.experienceenterprisesltd.co.uk/