Random Acts of Kindness for Leaders

Random acts of kindness are powerful ways to brighten someone’s day… help them feel visible… help them feel they matter… and are often completely free.Ramdom Acts of Kindness for Leaders

Random acts of kindness are also powerful opportunities for leaders.

We know the top few criteria that improve job / company loyalty are most often not salary… but instead aspects like feeling valued, feeling appreciated and making a difference. Translation… your random act of kindness may do far more than make someone’s day… you may also be improving loyalty, productivity and team spirit.

Improve the morale of the people at
your company even if they don’t report into you!

No matter how high or low in the company you are, I always recommend thinking about how you can be aware of the world around you and take ½ a second to see if you can improve someone else’s day while also improving the morale of the people who work at your company even if they don’t directly report into you!

Here are a few easy (mostly free), random acts of kindness at work suggestions that will have great impact:

  1. Surprise a teammate with a treat on their birthday. $ will cost a little
  2. Watch what your secretary or other administration staff drink or snack on. Bring them one – randomly. I’m sure they’ve saved you more than once and you may not even known it, so yes… they do deserve it. will cost a little
  3. Hold the elevator for someone – especially if their hands are full or if they seem in a rush. This also means you have to choose to be aware of your surroundings.
  4. Bring a coffee or lunch to a co-worker who is working hard on a deadline. will cost a little
  5. Give people positive feedback. Tell them you really appreciate what they did if they helped you and/or when you see they’ve done something great for someone else. Even consider a hand-written note!
  6. Share positive feedback you heard about someone’s work or attitude.
  7. If someone is at home sick, write a quick message hoping they feel better. Do this even if they are staying connected and are working remotely from home.
  8. Ask a team member to go for a walk for no other reason than to get out of the office and clear their (and your) head. You don’t have to talk about work.
  9. When you see a meeting that lines up with those future goals but not their current job responsibilities, ask them to come along with you as an observer. You will blow their minds and increase their loyalty and respect for you and the company 100%.
  10. Similar to #9, when you see a training opportunity or a conference internally or externally, that lines up with their future goals suggest they attend. Again, you will blow their minds and increase their loyalty and respect for you and the company 100%.
  11. If you can give them a junior role on a project team that lines up with their future goals even if it is outside their current responsibilities, again… you will blow their minds.

You can see here that of the 11 examples I have shared above, most of them are intrinsic motivators and only three might have a cost associated.

As a leader, one moment of your time can have great long-term impact.

Bruce

Conclusion

Almost nothing annoys me more or makes me feel more invisible than when someone enters through swinging doors in front of me and lets them swing shut… on me… especially if my hands are full. This happens all the time walking through Toronto’s business underground. Alternatively, nothing is quite like the feeling when someone sees me approaching and waits ½ a second to hold the door open as they go through so that the door doesn’t swing shut on me.

Little things like random acts of kindness do 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.

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Email Management / IM Management: 4 Easy Productivity Tips

Are you wondering how to increase your productivity? You are not alone.

The average business professional will send and receive between 50 and 200 email each day… or more… and IM (Instant Messaging) is quickly on the rise!  If you try to manage your email and IM without a strategy, your concentration and your performance will suffer. That’s where a few Productivity Tips will be helpful.

1. Don’t Reply Each Email And IM As They Arrive

Trying to reply to each message as it arrives breaks your concentration on your important work and likely impedes your ability to meet your other important work objectives. Replying to each message as it lands also establishes an unrealistic (and in many cases unmanageable), customer service expectation.

Question: If your train your clients and co-workers to always expect an answer in 5 minutes, what will happen when you need an hour of focused concentration, get pulled into an hour-long meeting… or decide to have lunch?

Answer: If you suddenly make clients and co-workers wait more than 5 minutes for a response, their impression of your job performance (and your brand reputation), will suffer… only because you established unsustainable service expectations. They will also likely send a harsh message to your boss – which further hurts your reputation.

Getting to your year-end review and saying that you responded to 25,000 email within 5 minutes but missed your sales or service goals will not get you the raise, bonus or perhaps promotion you want.

2. Address Your Messages Wisely

Your email and IM frustrations are only part technology challenges – part of your challenge is a psychological impulse most of us have. What I mean is that you and I instinctively want to respond when someone asks us question – or even when given the opportunity to ‘add an opinion‘.

Solution 1:  Stop asking. Too many of us add too many people to our To… and Cc… In a recent story, called Email: A psychological defence course, Tom Stafford explains four key psychological principles that hold us hostage to our email.  If you Cc… people who don’t really need you will likely get their feedback… either too early or not at all.

Solution 2: Stop answering. You are likely being sent email you don’t need to reply to… so refocusing on a favourite Time Management habit I have is to ask, “Is this important work or busy work?” If it is busy work it gets moved to the bottom of my pile because I focus on the important work first.

By being very strategic about asking and answering, you will be able to decrease the number of email and IM that come to you… and decrease the incoming volume of your coworkers. You’ll be a productivity HERO!

3. Identify Times To Send Email / Receive Email

The next Productivity Tip that I recommend is to identify times to send / receive email. This tip means you’ll be able to be strategically responsible to your inbox (clients, service providers, co-workers), as well as your other job responsibilities.

I also try to only check once in the morning – more often in the afternoon. Why? Because I’m more creative in the morning – in fact most of us are (even if you don’t think you’re a morning person). Email responses don’t often require creativity… so, I use my creativity where it matters most – for strategic client work, customizing corporate training programs and writing.

If you are tempted to respond immediately you may wish to set your contact management system Send/Receive preferences to every two hours.

4. Use Email Contact Management Alarms, Filters and Folders

Setting up alarms for your top two or three clients (or your boss), so you ‘hear’ when a message arrives is a great solution and can lower your concern of missing an important information (all other email should arrive silently). This way, when you hear an alarm you can scan and prioritize your important message. If their email does need an immediate response then you should drop everything – otherwise get back to your strategy work (important work), and answer their message later.

Using filters or rules lets you automatically file email from each of your clients, suppliers or co-workers.  You may wish to reduce your inbox clutter by creating a folder for all messages you are Cc…’d on so you can read these email later (Cc…’s should be FYI not Action items). Do the same for secondary email like newsletters, blog posts or Google Alerts. Read these messages during time you’ve previously set aside for this purpose.

Conclusion

Notice that the first three Productivity Tips are personal habits – not technical solutions. Only the fourth leans on technology to help you manage your valuable time and productivity. Business Productivity Tips will never let you down. Also, remember to always consider how your message will either enhance – or hurt your professional image and reputation of the organization you represent.

Happy communicating.

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If you enjoyed this post we think you’ll like:

Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Email Etiquette, Having Difficult Conversations, Multigenerational Training, Time Management and Mindfulness.

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

Give us a call at 416 617 0462. We’ll listen.

Bruce Mayhew on Canada AM

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I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.

How To Communicate: Communication Skills At Work

When we communicate with customers and co-workers we have to manage an almost endless list of conflicting feelings – for example: Hope and Excitement… or perhaps Boredom and Irritation. And then we’re asked to do something impossible; to leave our feelings at home in the name of productivity and organizational goals.

A clear sign of our feelings being alive and well at work is when we are speaking with a co-worker or customer and they begin the conversation with “I need….“. The “I need….” language style often translates into feelings of “more for you – less for me” which rarely evokes a desire to be creative or helpful. Does the following chart feel familiar?

Nobody wants to work with someone who makes demands. And because our feelings are not being considered guess what happens… productivity goes down because we’re not as helpful, creative, and compassionate with our co-workers and customers as we would prefer to be. We’re too busy being guarded and protecting ourselves… and this takes a lot of time and energy which is expensive in lost productivity and lost innovation.

Instead, if we considered and respected each others feelings we would all give 110% (or more), and our projects would be more likely to:

  • Succeed
  • Develop increased trust and respect
  • Create greater communication harmony
  • Be accomplished quickly and with greater creativity
  • Have fewer errors – which saves time and money

Transform Our Conversations

How do we unlearn our current habits? Lets start by learning a few new behaviours so that we can transition our conversations into positive, supportive experiences with customers and co-workers.The first step is a really easy solution that still honours and respects organizational goals.

  1. Take the opportunity to establish mutually beneficial goals.  Wow – could it be that easy?
  2. Show respect by asking people to participate – don’t take their time and effort for granted. Take a cooperative approach to our conversations / negotiations. We have to retire our (likely learned behavior), to use aggression to get what we want.
  3. Consider our customers and co-workers points of view and respect their feelings and experience.
  4. Describe in as much detail as we can our desired outcome – what will the end product look like? Include “What’s in it for them” (if possible) as well as “What’s in it for you“. This will:
    • Reduce misunderstandings
    • Establish partnerships
    • Show our communication partner how they can participate
  5. Use language that’s in line with their own knowledge. Never talk over someone, make them feel foolish or inadequate.

Imagine two people pushing against each other vs. working together. We can accomplish so much more when we work together.

When we respect our co-workers and customers they will respect us back – and cooperate more.

Listen

Learn to listen – really listen. This helps us find solutions that meet more of everyone’s needs.

One step to be a better listener means we validate what we think we hear instead of using our own knowledge and experiences to jump to conclusions about what our partner is saying (and what is needed to solve it). By turning off our ‘communication filters‘ communication becomes easier and more accurate.

When we listen we learn what’s important to each of us. We also:

  • Get clarity about our next steps
  • Inspire each other
  • Are able to collaborate on projects

Conclusion

Find out what others feel / want. Listening and asking a few open-ended questions can go a long way.

In the short-term, cooperative communication may take more effort to get what we want and when work get busy we might forget to use some of the skills we’re practicing. Don’t worry – keep practicing. In the long-term forceful behaviour damages our reputation and the willingness of people to support us. Who wants to help a bully? Nobody.

Change takes time and practice. This is one area where you will immediately start to see progress – and that progress will continue to develop the more you focus on open, cooperative communication. Do this and you will build a reputation as a great communicator.

Happy communicating.

Click here to join our priority list of people who receive our latest Business Communication blog posts.

If you enjoyed this post we think you’ll like:

Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Email Etiquette, Managing Difficult Conversations, Multigenerational Training, Time Management and Mindfulness.

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

Give us a call at 416 617 0462. We’ll listen.

Bruce Mayhew on Canada AM

Click on the image to watch us on Canada AM.

I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.

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