Never Argue Again… With 1 Easy Idea

Daniel Goleman, is the father of Emotional Intelligence (EI). He defines ‘Experience’ as our Senses (what we see, hear, taste etc.) + Perception (what we understand, believe etc.).

Senses + Perception = Experience
see, hear, taste + understand or believe = Experience

Think about this simple equation next time you have a disagreement.

Your disagreement will almost certainly depend on the emotion you feel (anger, disgust, fear or surprise) in response to an experience you are having versus the experience I (as an example), am having.

Let’s break that down. You and I are likely sensing (seeing) the same thing. This means our disagreement is almost 100% based on what you understand or believe and what I understand and believe. So, instead of getting into a heated argument that is emotional… and risk us both getting irrational… you and I should instead try to calmly explore what each of us believe with an open mind. For example:

  • Where did you learn what you believe? What supporting evidence do you have?
  • Where did I learn what I believe? What supporting evidence do I have?
  • Could things have changed since you and I learned what we believe? Has the software been upgraded for example? Has there been a new policy the company has adopted? Have the neighbours had another child – or moved?
  • Could you possibly be wrong, just a little?
  • Could I possibly be wrong, just a little?
  • Does our disagreement matter to the bigger picture? Is there an even bigger – more important objective to focus on?

I often think we as a society get our backs up far too quickly and put each other into ‘My Camp’ or ‘Your Camp’ far too quickly and easily. Who says we need to be adversaries Instead, by being curious, being open minded and sharing each other’s experiences we both might come up with a unique and new solution… and more respect for each other.

We hope you enjoyed this post.

Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Generational Differences, Leadership Skills, Motivation Skills, Difficult Conversation Training, Business Email Etiquette, Time Management, Mindfulness and more.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Call us at 416.617.0462.

 

Our Brains Get More Capable When We Challenge Them.

Growth Mindset versus Fixed Mindset… and what Leaders should know.

Our minds are powerful tools that can ignite sustainable change and unlock new possibilities throughout our lives… and for the organizations that employ us during our careers. Only when we are aware of our potential can we effect the meaningful positive change we are capable of achieving. This is where the concept of Growth Mindset versus Fixed Mindset is important for individuals and their leaders.

Dr. Carol Dweck coined the terms ‘Growth Mindset’ and ‘Fixed Mindset’ as she described what people believe about intelligence and their ability to learn. The key question is, “does an individual believe that with awareness and consistent effort that their own mental abilities like critical thinking, creativity and even curiosity can be enhanced over time… or do they believe intelligence is fixed?”

What Is Growth Mindset?

Neuroscientists have shown that when our brains are routinely stimulated, our mental capacity and abilities are not fixed. It is called growth mindset when people know their mental effort can have a positive physical, emotional and an intellectual benefit. Let’s look at these three benefits one at a time.

Physically, the brain has the ability to grow new neurons every day. Each of us can easily boost this process within our own minds by being curious, asking questions and thinking through challenges. In addition, scientists have found a growth mindset not only helps build new neuron, existing neuron networks are strengthened and/or build more insulation which speeds transmission of electrical impulses.

Emotionally, knowing our brain can grow makes most of us approach learning and difficult situations (challenges) differently including being more likely to take an active role in learning. People who believe in growth mindset see learning as an opportunity to develop new skills and are curious about what they might be able to accomplish as they challenge their brains.

In a study where students were taught the mind grows, three times as many students showed an increase in effort and motivation compared with the control group. In addition, when we believe our effort matters, we are more likely to choose a greater challenge rather than look for an easy win and, we are less likely to give up when we experience difficult mental (and physical), challenges. It isn’t only our belief in ourselves and our effort to learn new things from our surroundings that matters. There is also a correlation between our ability to grow new neurons and external influences like good sleep habits and what we eat and drink (saturated fat and how much alcohol we drink are harmful). When people recognize our mindset is not fixed – that growth is not fixed – it’s also likely to lead to increased intrinsic motivation.

Intelligence also improves when people believe in growth mindset. People get smarter because they practice / study / research… or in other words, because of the effort they apply to learning. Because of their effort to challenges (their perseverance), their investment will likely lead to higher achievement and success as they increase their experiences and knowledge. People with a growth mindset also see failures as learning opportunities – not ‘failures’. They see feedback as valuable information to consider and enjoy putting in effort because they know hard work pays off. They might say, “Even if I make a mistake, I can learn and/or experience something new – and if I keep trying, I will get better and eventually I will succeed.”

In a nutshell, our belief and confidence in ourselves and our ability to learn influences our actions and therefore our future possibilities / successes.

People who believe in a growth mindset understand that as they learn a new skill, that learning is difficult and their progress will likely be slow. They know they may even make mistakes, but by trying over and over the challenge (opportunity) gets easier. As we learn our brain is building new neurons and/or strengthening existing pathways.

What Is Fixed Mindset?

Fixed mindset is when people believe their intelligence is ‘what it is now’ and their ability to learn / to become good at something they are not good at now is limited. People with fixed mindset believe more in ‘natural talent’ rather in their ability to learn. Studies show fixed mindset believers tend to put less effort into learning than people who believe in growth mindset and less effort in personal practice / study / research. Fixed mindset believers often see mistakes as failures not learning opportunities and are more likely to give up when they experience failure rather than to try again. They might say, “I’m likely going to make a mistake, so I don’t want to try, I don’t know how to do it and I don’t have the natural skills, so I can’t learn.”

Every successful person has failed and… they have not given up. A growth mindset is especially important for people who are aware of their natural talents because ‘talented people’ can easily learn to rely heavily on their talent and give up (far too easily), when they begin to struggle. They must learn they can reach even greater success (and awareness), when they study and work through difficulty.

For most of us our mindset is reinforced by our social environments and especially by our parents and teachers. For adults our mindset is often reinforced by our leaders at work and mentors. For example; as a teacher or a leader do you encourage your students or employees to choose a project that will challenge them… or do you give them projects they can complete easily? As a teacher or a leader do you act as a mentor and a coach? Just as people with a growth mindset are motivated by other people (and their environment) to exercise their cognitive abilities, people with a fixed mindset (sadly) learn to conform and embrace status-quo from the people around them and their environment.

Fixed Mindset language you might hear at home, school or at work:

  • “I give up.”
  • “You can’t do this. Try this easier project.”
  • “I’m afraid I’ll make a mistake.”

Growth Mindset language you might hear at home, school or at work:

  • “I’m not good at this yet.”
  • “You can do better. Take until tomorrow to see what you can come up with.”
  • “When I make a mistake I will learn – at least what not to do.”

Conclusion

Our brains get more capable when we challenge them… when we experience new things and information.

Our mindset is a choice, it really is.

We all have beliefs about ourselves; what we are good at, what we are proud of, what we can and cannot do. The important thing to learn is that even though we may struggle at first and look like failures, the struggle is often the most important part of the road to success.

And it’s important to be clear that I am not suggesting you ignore your natural talents and strengths. I am not! Playing to your strengths is likely going to be satisfying and profitable. What I am saying is to not only do what comes easy for you – there is great benefit when you challenge yourself – including within the area of your strengths.

In today’s workspaces change is everywhere and constant. That is why today’s leaders must bring a growth mindset and language into your workplace culture; the alternative is to fall behind. If individuals and teams are not learning they are falling behind. When leaders adopt a growth mindset approach to how they lead, they apply a whole new level of motivation and excellence.

The most important aspect of a growth mindset environment (after knowing growth is possible), is to feel safe. We must feel safe to make mistakes and we must learn to learn from them. Feeling safe from mistakes isn’t a go-be-irresponsible get out of jail free card. We all have to be responsible and accountable. But when employees feel safe and experience a growth mindset environment, they begin to see every project as an opportunity to improve their skills, enhance their knowledge, make a positive difference… and as a way to show off their existing skills (all of which are especially important to Millennials and GenZ). These employees will also be more loyal.

We hope you enjoyed this post.

Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Generational Differences, Leadership Skills, Motivation Skills, Difficult Conversation Training, Business Email Etiquette, Time Management, Mindfulness and more.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Call us at 416.617.0462.

What Is A Real Leader?

Real Leaders recognize leadership is a relationship between you and your employees. You have to value their well being, their effort, their successes like you would your family.
 
Leadership is being a coach and mentor just like you would coach your grandchildren – sharing respect and security; feeding their desire to grow… knowing there is always a learning curve.
 
Leadership is knowing that even though you may be an expert, we live in a culture of change and there is always something new to learn…. or you risk falling behind.
 
Real leadership is communicating with people as they are… not as if they were you – with your goals, your knowledge, your stresses. Leaders recognize people are individuals and do not wish to be mini-clones of you.
 
Leadership recognizes everyone has emotions – they do not freeze when they (or you) walk through the door. Leaders also recognizes the relationships you need to nourish and respect are based on emotions. Trust is an emotion; so is Motivation and so is Respect… and the list continues.
 
Leaders build relationships that last… and the foundation of a leaders legacy… the foundation of a leaders personal and professional brand is their ability to build trusting, respectful relationships while motivating the people around them to achieve their greatest potential.
 
Real leaders are not perfect… but they try and are transparent of their shortfalls as well as their efforts and their successes. Leaders know their vulnerability only builds greater loyalty from others.
 
Real leaders want to make a positive lasting impact in the lives of their employees as well as their suppliers, customers and shareholders.
 
Real leaders never want to make a positive lasting impact at the expense of their employees, suppliers, customers and shareholders.
 
Bruce….

What we do every day of our lives is what matters.

We hope you enjoyed this post.

Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Generational Differences, Leadership Skills, Motivation Skills, Difficult Conversation Training, Business Email Etiquette, Time Management, Mindfulness and more.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Call us at 416.617.0462.

 

View Bruce Mayhew's profile on LinkedIn

Bruce Mayhew Consulting

I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.

 

 

31 Time Management and Productivity Tips for People Living With ADHD

People living with ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), traditionally have extra challenges at work including completing tasks on time, staying focused / feeling restless, planning in both the short- and long-term and noticing the passing of time (too fast and/or too slow). How much ADHD (also called ADD), affects a person’s work depends quite a bit on how severe their condition is and the impact of their environment. Thankfully, work-around solutions do exist that can help the approximate 4% of adults impacted (1.4 million in Canada and 12.0 million in the USA).

Should people living with ADHD be apologetic or feel embarrassed?
No. Absolutely not!

When one’s mind has a tendency to wander and/or get distracted, employees usually work late, take work home and work weekends to complete their important work. This can create even more challenges for people living with ADHD as they get less of the important down-time and rest they need.

Should people living with ADHD be apologetic or feel embarrassed? Absolutely not. People who are not morning people find work-arounds and employees who are not good with numbers find work-arounds. Why should it be different for people living with ADHD? Instead of being self-critical or judgmental, remember there are many operational and time management techniques for people living with ADHD that can help… techniques their Leaders should be aware of as well.

Here are 31 time management and workplace productivity skills people living with ADHD (and their support network) can consider:

  1. Always be fair to yourself and others.
  2. Be grateful for the 90% of your life that goes well. Don’t linger on the 10% that doesn’t.
  3. Stay positive. Think glass half full versus half empty. Self-talk like the following is helpful, “I had a great morning and even though I had to course correct twice I did finish my XYZ on time. Now, to pull that energy forward into this afternoon.”
  4. Practice Mindfulness or meditation to help yourself stay present and calm yourself if you feel triggered, frustrated or restless. Mindfulness or meditation at work can be as simple as sitting still, taking a short walk or taking a few deep breaths. It may also mean excusing yourself from a meeting to ‘go to the washroom’ if you are feeling overwhelmed and want to gather your thoughts and refocus your intention.
  5. Let a few coworkers close to you know you live with ADHD. They may be able to support your unique communication needs.
  6. Have someone who can help you be accountable – someone you can call, text or email to share your goals, successes and struggles.
  7. Keep photos of your support group close-by to remind you that you are not alone and that people are routing for you.
  8. You may need to stay away from open office concepts. In many new office structures small pods are available and these may help you as long as you don’t feel claustrophobic. Basically, you likely want to eliminate sensory distractions. When all else fails, you may have already discovered noise reduction headphones. Again, share what you need with your coworkers so they can understand and help.
  9. Try to keep meeting sizes small to reduce distractions.
  10. For large meetings that you have to attend, try to sit away from the key players and/or where other people’s attention will be focused.
  11. The Time Manager and Leader in me would love to think all meetings would end by someone creating and sharing simple minutes that summarizes important conversations and action items. This doesn’t need to be complicated, a short email written as the meeting recap happens often is all that is needed. This best practice helps manage everyone’s expectations – keep everyone working toward the same goal and timeline.
  12. Summarize conversations. Paraphrasing what a person says helps you confirm everyone clearly understood the conversation and key information, timelines and deliverables.
  13. Make a list of what you have to do today, this week and this month. Include short-term and long-term goals. Write everything down in a diary or log-book. Keep it up to date as new priorities come in so you no longer have to worry about forgetting something. Equally important, you’ll be able to see when you may be overloading your schedule… which is a BIG concern. NOTE: I like keeping a paper-based version of my to-do schedule. Find a system that works for you and stay with it.
  14. Always break work into smaller tasks spread over many days / weeks. Breaking tasks into smaller pieces can help you to feel less overwhelmed and helps you avoid procrastination.
  15. Schedule extra time you may need to complete a task
  16. Always schedule time in your day when nothing is planned. This way, when a crisis happens you don’t feel even more pressure because you have time to work on it.
  17. If you finish a task early or have to wait for an appointment, don’t fill that time by getting on social media. Try using that time for reflection and to calm yourself. Try a simple meditation technique of focusing on your breath. Use this time to recharge your batteries (and your brain).
  18. Avoid trying to multitask. Nobody can focus on two or more important things at a time so give yourself a break from trying.
  19. Use a Timer. One of the best techniques I’ve come across for anyone is to use the Pomodoro Time Manager. This timer-technique suggests 20 minute of work, 10 minutes of rest and then repeat.
  20. Another timer-technique is to set your cell phone to vibrate every 15 minutes. When the alarm goes off, use that as a cue to re-orient yourself. Ask yourself if you are working on your important work in this moment?
  21. Remove distractions – all the things that get in the way. Turn off unnecessary electronics – even background noise may be a challenge.
  22. Only you know what works best for you. Instead of absolute quiet and lack of action, background noise, white noise or music might work better for you. Take charge of what you need. Do you need to squeeze a stress-ball or hand-weight? Does sitting on an exercise ball or using a stand-up desk help? Even a gentle desk fan is known to help. Whatever you do, try not to disturb people around you – just like you don’t want them disturbing you. NOTE: Music, a metronome, tapping or a bouncing leg can be distracting to others even though it may help you. The trick is to find a balance within you and your coworkers.
  23. Have only what you are working on in your line of sight. Keep your workspace clear.
  24. Set up ‘HOMES’ for special things and make a habit of using those places… all the time:
    1. Important files
    2. Files you are going to need today
    3. File for today’s meetings
    4. Phones
    5. Keys and wallets
  25. Set a personal goal. Do something for yourself.
  26. Hire an executive coach. He or she can help you talk through any issues you face and may also be able to help you consider solutions.
  27. You know how much sleep you really need and how to get it… so be sure that happens. You have to feel rested.
  28. Work when you are at your best. For many, that means the first few hours after you wake you are at your strategic, creative best.
  29. Follow any medical plan you have that has been prescribed by a doctor who specializes in the treatment of adult ADHD.
  30. Eat sensibly. You don’t want sugar highs and low and carb crashes adding extra challenge to your day.
  31. Get regular exercise. This may mean daily for you. Again, you know yourself best.

Conclusion.

Perhaps you’ve already come to the conclusion there isn’t a single best practice listed here that isn’t good for everyone. All of these are great time management and workplace productivity skills for all people – it just so happens that they are especially important for anyone living with ADHD.

What we do every day of our lives is what matters.

We hope you enjoyed this post.

Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Generational Differences, Leadership Skills, Motivation Skills, Difficult Conversation Training, Business Email Etiquette, Time Management, Mindfulness and more.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Call us at 416.617.0462.

 

View Bruce Mayhew's profile on LinkedIn

Bruce Mayhew Consulting

I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.

 

 

Earn Your Employees Trust: Change How Your Employees Feel At Work.

You have a TRUST Situation:
  1. You are a leader.
  2. You have a new team member.
  3. The new team member is reluctant to take on responsibility and make decisions.
  4. You need him to make decisions.

Reasons:

There can be many reasons.

Possible Reason #1. They may want to relax and take it easy and therefore not take on the responsibility of making a decision. This means you didn’t hire well. I’m sorry to say, this is your fault… not theirs.

Possible Reason #2. Your new employee may be avoiding decisions because he doesn’t feel empowered… he has been burned by leaders in his past.

SOLUTION to Reason #2: 

Simply telling your new employee they have authority will not have positive impact. They likely feel scared to make decisions because they were yelled at or embarrassed or were made to feel bad about decisions they made in their past. A trauma he had in his past is influencing his behaviour to not make that mistake again… he is avoiding feeling bad by avoiding making decisions.

Your words alone will not change how he feels.

Emotions cannot be changed by reason… existing feelings have to be changed by making him feel new emotions… by having new positive emotional experiences.

You have to SHOW your new employee you trust his opinion when he makes a decision. If he makes a decision but it isn’t how you would do it BUT his decision still works, leave him alone and say nothing. You have to show him you have his back on the decisions he makes (as long as you do trust his expertise and decision-making process). And, you have to reinforce your behaviour in order to reinforce the new behaviour you want.

Changing how anyone feels – changing someone’s emotion will take time; it will take repeated reinforcement and investment on your end. Your new employee has to feel your trust – he has to learn to trust you and he has to learn to trust himself.

Real Experience

This happened to me years ago.

I had a lady who reported into me when I took over managing a department. Her previous boss made her feel stupid (literally). Whenever she gave her opinion or made decisions they were never good enough.

Reality was – she was so smart and experienced.

All any of us ever really want is to feel trust and respect and to learn from our shortcomings – not be beaten up by them.

It took a few months but in my case this employees’ trust in me grew… and her trust in herself grew. She now runs a whole department. What an amazing transformation.

What we do every day of our lives is what matters.

We hope you enjoyed this post.

Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Generational Differences, Leadership Skills, Motivation Skills, Difficult Conversation Training, Business Email Etiquette, Time Management, Mindfulness and more.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Call us at 416.617.0462.

 

View Bruce Mayhew's profile on LinkedIn

Bruce Mayhew Consulting

I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.

 

 

Every employee is a leader. Never let your leader be surprised.

Every employee is a leader no matter what level you are within the company.

Leaders are leaders of company and/or department vision and success. Leaders are also leaders of:

  • Hiring and retaining the best people
  • Knowledge / information: Making sure employees know the vision, goals and the ‘why?’
  • Employee motivation and team motivation
  • Resource allocation: Making sure the team has the resources they need to succeed
  • Project tracking: Keeping routine track of projects, goals and budgets
  • Managing expectations: Keeping everyone informed – managing up the ladder and managing down the ladder.Manage Expectations

Employees are leaders because they are responsible for what they do with the goals, opportunities and resources their leader provides. Employees are also responsible for:

  • How they use the resources provided
  • How they allocate their time – time management
  • How well they collaborate and communicate within a project team and with suppliers
  • If they do or do not meet agreed upon goals
  • Managing expectations: Keeping their leaders informed

In short, employees are leaders of their own personal and professional success, brand and reputation.

If circumstances change and new risk is introduced for any agreed upon timeline or goal, employees must manage overall project goal expectations and they must manage their leader expectations.

Employees should ever let their leader be surprised… especially by a shortfall!

Conclusion:

Employees are 100% responsible for building trust with their leader or for eroding trust with their leader. Employees are 100% responsible for their future.

What we do every day of our lives is what matters.

We hope you enjoyed this post.

Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Generational Differences, Leadership Skills, Motivation Skills, Difficult Conversation Training, Business Email Etiquette, Time Management, Mindfulness and more.

Bruce Mayhew on Canada AM

Click on the image to watch us on Canada AM.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Call us at 416.617.0462.

View Bruce Mayhew's profile on LinkedIn

Bruce Mayhew Consulting

I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.

 

 

Is your employee insubordinate or, do they just not know better?

It’s a busy time of year.

Yesterday you had an employee unexpectedly take a sick day because their child was ill. This situation is inconvenient, but managing situations like this is part of what being a leader is about. Shake it off.

Today this employee comes in at 9:30AM, about 1-hour later than their usual start time. Argh… frustrating. And now, as it pushes 10AM they still have not settled down – meanwhile you and other members of your team are running around trying to meet a few important deadlines. Not only is this even more frustrating, you are also feeling more and more angry which is slowly moving into resentment and disappointed targeted squarely at this employee – and echoed by many of their coworkers. Yikes! Time to catch yourself and be careful.

Is your employee Insubordinate?

I’m sorry to say but instances like this is where it will show off your leadership skills.

What you can do?

As a leader I believe you have to hold this employee accountable. This means you will not hesitate (for long), before you have a difficult conversation with her about her actions (or lack of), this morning.

Now, let me be clear. Having a ‘difficult conversation’ isn’t about pinning blame or doing your best to make someone feel inferior or bad. This is about managing each others expectations. Also, difficult conversations are not yelling matches. If you holler and scream you are just doing damage to your personal and professional reputation.

Difficult conversations are ‘difficult’ because they are usually uncomfortable. But what they do accomplish is clearing the air. These conversations give you an opportunity to discuss what is important… to each of you… in a respectful, honest way.  In the example above, what is important is to let the employee know her actions today (not yesterday), are letting you and the rest of the team down; no blame – just reality. On a side note, I’d suggest it would be very cool and respectful of you to not mention her 9:30AM start because her morning might have had some lingering challenges from her child being ill.

This is about managing expectations.

The reality is that if you don’t have have that difficult, uncomfortable conversation – if you do nothing about her behaviour today you should not expect anything to change – and you are setting an example for the rest of the team; and you don’t want that. At the same time, if you don’t invest in that difficult conversation you will be losing the opportunity to learn more about what may be bothering this employee and how you might be able to help her today and in the future.

Step 1 of being a great Leader

You have to talk about what is going on. As a leader you have to manage her expectations and tell her what you need… even if she really should know what those expectations are.  To make this work better in the future you may want set up a new best-practice that whenever someone is out due to illness that first thing they have a 10-minute meeting with you to check-in and to re-set their schedule.

Step 2 of being a leader

You still have to inspire and motivate her, even if she is disappointing you. So, try to have everything you do and say to have a positive twist. You will see this explained further in the examples below.

Your mindset should lean to letting her know that her contribution is important!

Step 3a of being a leader

Prepare a great first sentence. This is important. Seriously, it’s really important.

What you SHOULD NOT say. “You are disappointing me – after taking a questionable day off you are now wandering around here disturbing others and being a nuisance – perhaps it would have been better you take another day off and call it a vacation day.”

What you COULD say. “Bonnie, I’m glad you are back and I hope your child is feeling better. I really need you to get onto PROJECT A and have it done by 11:30 this morning. Can you do that? The team worked on XYZ yesterday but your experience and expertise will help us finish it. After that, let’s talk about two other priorities we need you to be part of. Please come see me at 11:30AM for a recap and status of PROJECT A.”

Sure the second approach is a bit more hand-holding and perhaps you don’t think you should have to… if only they were more like you. But as a leader it’s your responsibility to get the best out of the people you have and for now it seems clear you have to do a bit of hand-holding. Perhaps with this hand-holding they will begin to learn. I’ll assure you – some will, and some will not.

As a leader soft skills can be as much as 80% of your responsibilities. It is not your job to work work work… it’s your job to inspire, motivate, empower and to build a trusting culture within a strategic vision… all while living the company values and producing quality, competitive results.

Step 3b of being a leader

Bonnie is not settling down.

If she continues to not settle down, keep sharing how you are feeling, but be careful to still not be emotional. Keep your empathy turned on – but stay firm with your work responsibilities and dedication to supporting your ream when they need your support.

For example you might want to say something like, “Bonnie, I’m getting a bit frustrated that we have all the work I shared with you this morning that needs to get done and you are not settling down to help the team. Is there something you need or is there something going on that I need to know about?”

Talking about how you are feeling is part of being truthful. You are not pushing blame and it certainly doesn’t make you look weak. Again, it’s about managing expectations and trying not to assume why someone is… or is not doing something. Discussing feelings helps give everyone a clear picture of the impact of our actions – or inactions.

Conclusion

There is never any one perfect solution I can give you, but what I’ve shared above does work – I promise. Stay focused on your needs and your personal and professional values. They will help keep you grounded.

Great leaders have to keep adapting to new environments and more complicated situations faster than ever before. Among everything else, even employee needs are becoming more challenging and often more personal. 

This is where being more connected to our feelings and tapping into our empathy and compassion is the right solution. Learn how to work with your soft skills. Even in difficult times, great leaders still try to instil trust, compassion, support, teamwork and hope.

You may have to get outside your comfort zone… but you can do it.

We hope you enjoyed this post.

Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Generational Differences, Business Writing, Email Etiquette, Time Management and Mindfulness.

Bruce Mayhew on Canada AM

Click on the image to watch us on Canada AM.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Call us at 416.617.0462.

View Bruce Mayhew's profile on LinkedIn

Bruce Mayhew Consulting

I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.

 

 

Time Management – get more done.

Everyone says get to bed early and wake up early. And for about 90% of us that is the right recommendation. And if you are part of the 10%-night owls I’m not going to try to get you to change. And frankly, as work requirements are more flexible, adaptable and virtual of late, there are fewer challenges for night owls to get into work by 8AM… for many professions.

But, here is one truth that is important for all of us to know – no matter when you like to get up.

We are all strategically at our best from about 1 hour after to about 5 or 6 hours after we wake up. Even if we feel tired because we cared for a newborn or an aging parent, you can’t argue that we are still most rested after we wake up.

Three other amazing best practices that help early birds and moderates get more done:

1. Get to work early.

When we get to work early, it is usually the quietest part of our day. Before other coworkers, customers or suppliers get organized and begin bugging us we can get lots done.

2. Don’t plan meetings until at least 10AM or 11AM.

Meetings are often some of our most unproductive time. So, try to get as much strategic time in as possible. Remember, you are at your best up to 5 or 6 hours after you wake up so use that as your guide. Create a policy that restricts early morning meetings for your team. Try not to let meetings happen before 10 or 11AM.

If you lead a team or department and can’t get the meeting moved, check to see how critical it is that you attend. Perhaps you can send someone else from your team and then have them give you a quick update early in the afternoon. This time management best practice has two additional benefits including:

  • It’s likely a career development opportunity for a junior team member
  • A quick update will take less time than sitting through a whole meeting.

3. Use your travel time strategically.

I don’t necessarily mean work work work. Sure, getting a bit more work done may be your decision for today, but good time management also could mean giving yourself time to do some inspirational reading, or to hand-write a note to a friend, family member or an employee who has done a great job living up to the corporate values.

What I mean by use your travel time strategically is do something that is planned – even if your plan is to rest or daydream. Mixing up your routine and turning off the radio, or turning on a podcast is often one of the healthiest things we can do and is often one of the things we don’t often allow ourselves to do.

Little things matter.

Happy communicating, leading, mentoring and getting more done.

We facilitate courses including email etiquette, time management training, leadership skills, generational differences training… and more.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Call us at 416.617.0462.

I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.

The Ideal Leader

If I could be the ideal leader, I would:

  1. Have a strategic, virtuous goal that does not diminish the value of someone else’s strategic, virtuous goal.
  2. See that my goal may be part of someone else’s (or societies), even bigger goal.
  3. Be able to see reality through the eyes of many different people who would have very different perspectives than myself.
  4. Create a compassionate space where other people would be encouraged to also see reality through other people’s eyes.
  5. Build relationships based on respect and listening, and these relationships would build a foundation of trust and a willingness to collaborate.
  6. Want to have developed a reputation as being trustworthy and fair.
  7. Always keep in mind the importance of managing expectations – both mine and other peoples.
  8. Embrace creativity and spontaneity.
  9. Know that I don’t know everything and through shared trust with my collaborators, I would feel comfortable to ask questions… and my fellow collaborators would be patient with me as I would be with them. And we would all see our question and answer periods as opportunities for us all to explore the project in a new way as well as learn about each other.
  10. Remember that profits and sustainability are important, but the sustained health of people, communities and our planet are more important.
  11. Have time to reflect… and I would also know that sometimes I am confident in my goal, myself and/or my team that I do not wait for a fully developed plan.
  12. Always try to develop my team so they continue to grow and reach their personal and professional goals within our organization for as long as possible.
  13. Realize that peoples career choices and behaviours are theirs and theirs alone.
  14. See change is healthy and necessary… and inevitable.
  15. Remind myself that everyone learns and works in a way that is unique to them. Different people may need more (or less) investment… and that is OK.
  16. Remember that intrinsic motivation is almost always more effective than extrinsic motivation.
  17. Remember that if I am not learning then I am falling behind.
  18. Always be looking for an opportunity to work with and learn from other leaders.

Happy communicating, leading, mentoring and learning.

We facilitate courses including Email Etiquette, Time Management training, How To Run Effective MeetingsLeadership Skills, Generational Differences, Difficult Conversations training… and more.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Call us at 416.617.0462.

I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.

Examples of Noticing and Reinforcing Each Others Work, at Work.

One of the most effective ways to get the behaviour we want is to see in others is to sincerely reinforce that behaviour when it happens. In many ways this falls into the space of intrinsic motivation.

That said, providing feedback can sometimes feel like we are babying your co-workers. Get over it. We are not babying them or hand-holding. What we are doing is letting them know their efforts matter; that they are important and are making a difference.

One easy approach I would recommend is to focus on their effort and/or outcome and not make it too personal.

Here are some examples.

Awareness / Caring I

  • “Bob, you came in later today than usual. That’s very different for you so I just wanted to make sure everything is OK and ask if there is anything you might need?” Or
  • “Is that a new jacket? It is a great looking jacket.” Or
  • “How did your team enjoy the conference yesterday? They seemed really excited to attend.”

Awareness / Caring II

“I noticed you started the training meeting by reviewing the departments vision, values and how the training fits into us all achiving our goals. That really helped me focus my attention on how to use the training and where I needed to change.”

Appreciation I

“Thank you for your hard work. Your attention to detail made a difference.” (a focus on their effort)

Appreciation & Collaboration I

“You both found an interesting way to solve the problem and work together to complete the project even though you are in different time zones. Well done.”

Appreciation & Collaboration II

“Thanks for helping the marketing team get those financial numbers together. Having the finance departments input and suggestions helped clarify the expenses and potential ROI.” 

Being Clear – Getting To The Point

“You shared the objective and desired action item in the first sentence of your email. I want you to know this really helped us understand the reason for the detailed background you then provided.” (a focus on email etiquette / email writing technique)

Reinforce Desired Behaviour I

“Everyone is here on time and ready to start meeting. My thanks to each of you. This should help us get out on time as well.” (a focus on time management)

Reinforce Desired Behaviour II

“Before we close off today’s update meeting, I want to point out I noticed everyone gave each other the opportunity to speak without interruption and with an open, inquiring mind. Thank you – I think it is great how our team is really coming together.”

Reinforce Desired Behaviour III

“Bob, you worked really hard on this proposal outline and submitted it on time. It looks really good and gives each of the other managers a great foundation to all add their content while keeping a consistent objective and a consistent look for the company. Well done.”

It’s important to sincerely reinforce behaviour. If we are not sincere – it will show. It’s also important to say something as close to the behaviour as possible; don’t wait for their next performance review.

As with all things, practice makes perfect. When you see behaviour you want, especially if it’s behaviour that’s in the process of changing, try letting that person or people realize you see their effort and the positive impact they are having.

Reminders and positive feedback help others (and ourselves) visualize and recall expectations and the skills / actions associated with the behaviours we want to see / experience. The characteristics of good reminders and positive feedback include being:

  • Simple and brief (not a lecture)
  • Focused on the positive (what is), not the negative (what is not)

Little things matter.

Happy communicating, leading, mentoring and learning.

We facilitate courses including email etiquette, time management training, leadership skills, generational differences training… and more.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Call us at 416.617.0462.

I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.

%d bloggers like this: