I believe that you can’t lead others unless you have a strong sense of who you are and what you stand for. – Denise Morrison
Mission statements come in two main forms in the work place. Firstly the more commonly known company mission statement which outlines the institution’s values and purpose and aims to provide a shared direction and belief system to guide all employees. Then secondly there is in my view the far more powerful and useful personal mission statement where an individual employee outlines their own objectives and commits to achieving them. This mission statement narrows goals down to a personal level with daily relevance. Done well a personal mission statement provides a tangible vision for individuals to improve and to push themselves towards personal excellence. Continue reading “How to help someone write a great mission statement?” →
Staff are the most important investors in any company
In Tolkien’s Silmarillion, the prelude to Lord of the Rings, Manwe is the King of the Valar, however it is Melkor (Sauron’s mentor) who is the most powerful among the 8 Gods. Manwe, despite being the weaker in powers, wins the wars they fight due to having the most important power of all, influence over the other Valar. The same can be said about leadership were the most important attribute of a great leader is not being the most powerful or having the most skills, it is rather having the most influence. This prioritizing people is one of the most important attributes of a great leader.
Influence over people is the most important power of any leader.
Continue reading “Prioritize people by putting people tasks first” →
“We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with”
John Rohn (motivational speaker)
What John Rohm first said relates to the law of averages, which is the theory that the result of any given situation will be the average of all outcomes. When it comes to relationships, we are greatly influenced — whether we like it or not — by those closest to us. It affects our way of thinking, our self-esteem, and our decisions. Of course, everyone is their own person, but research has shown that we’re more affected by our environment than we think. Whilst it’s natural to want to be closely surrounded by similar personalities who are supportive people and want you to succeed, it’s also necessary to have your critics. Average managers may have a preference for just positive feedback, but expert managers want critical feedback too, as via that they get pushed to improve. Continue reading “Why it matters who you spend your time with” →
There is no point giving feedback unless you can drive to action – Jo Owen.
Giving feedback is one of the most important skills of man-management. It is a key quadrant II relationship building exercise and an important investment managers make into the emotional bank account of their staff. Done well feedback turns demotivated staff into motivated ones and provides a success formula for your staff to develop from. However giving great feedback is difficult and few managers push themselves to learn the needed techniques but they should.
Effective feedback forms an integral part of each staff member’s professional development success formula.
Continue reading “Feedback as part of a success formula” →
Our fatigue is often caused not by work, but by worry, frustration and resentment. – Dale Carnegie
We find it relatively easy to recognize physical fatigue, for example whilst moving house we lifted boxes all day hence we are physically tired. This easy link between cause and effect makes it fairly straight forward to see and accept the way to address the situation i.e. we need to sit down and rest. However it is much harder to recognize and accept the existence of mental fatigue because it is harder to link cause and effect. Whilst it is relatively easy to gauge and judge our physical energy levels, the same can not be said for our mental energy. For example most people have some idea of how far they walk each day and hence have a gauge for what would be their distance limit they could walk in a day but we generally have absolutely no idea of what types of decisions our brain makes daily, let alone how can how many decisions are brain is capable of processing in a day and whilst still performing at optimum level. However we should as decision fatigue is real and can be a trigger for losing a sense of control and bringing on stress. Continue reading “How to manage Decision Fatigue?” →
Synergize is the habit of creative cooperation. It is teamwork, open-mindedness, and the adventure of finding new solutions to old problems. – Stephen Covey
There are many debates about how correct it is to divide the functions of the brain into two broad functions, with the left being the side which processes our logical thoughts and the right our creative and empathetic. However for the purpose of this step, I am going to avoid getting bogged down in how accurate this clear distinction of left and right processing is in favor of using this separation as a way of emphasizing that greatness lies in the moment you synergize your logical plans with creative empathetic carrying-out. Our left side to the brain is our intelligence quotient (IQ), the part of our brain that determines how we analyze info and how we plan out processes. It helps us interpret our environment in block and stages and provides us with a functional approach to issues and problems. In a work sense this “left” logical side is the part which we use to plan out our success and to structure how this will be achieved. The right side meanwhile is our emotional quotient (EQ), the part of our brain we most use to understand how we feel whilst experiencing the moment. It allows us to emphasize with individuals, flow our thoughts creatively and find human meaning in the reasons why we feel certain things. In a work sense this “right”, creative and emphatic side, is the part which we most use when experiencing a work moment, our mood and reaction (positive or negative) are controlled in this area. To get optimum results at work we should be planning and structuring our days and work with the left side of our brain but acting it out and living it with our right. Continue reading “Synergise the right and left side of the brain” →
The core of the problem is found in the roots.
In medicine, it’s easy to understand the difference between treating the symptoms and curing the condition. A broken wrist, for example, really hurts! But painkillers will only take away the symptoms; you’ll need a different treatment to help your bones heal properly. However when it is a problem at work, we often are much less prone to differentiate between treating symptoms (the results of a problem in front of us) and resolving the actual cause of the problem. Too many leaders are stuck in quadrant I management where they race from one apparent “emergency” to another addressing the symptoms of problems without making time: to stop, think and identify and then address the root of their reoccurring problems. Addressing the results of a situation is a needed short term plaster, however, quadrant II analysis to work out why it happened and what can be done to prevent its re-occurrence, is the long term solution for real leaders. Continue reading “Identifying the real root of problems” →
The journey towards gaining respect begins the moment we recognize our mistakes and have the integrity and fortitude to admit we were wrong.
From many years of interviewing candidates, I have learned that the key answer to the questions about “qualities” are not the ones that ask candidates to name what strengths they have to do the position well, but rather are the ones that ask them about their weaknesses. How well a candidate answers the weakness question tells you a lot about who they are and what integrity and fortitude they have as it takes strength of character to admit weakness and intelligence to identify it. It is thus the case that one of the biggest strengths people can have is the capacity to understand and recognize our own weaknesses. This self reflection and honesty about difficulties and struggles we have naturally leads onto the ability to work on and improve in or make up for weaknesses, a vital skill in the work place. Ownership of weaknesses and mistakes is one of the key parts of the inside out mentality.
Recognizing ones own weaknesses is one of the biggest strengths you can have.
Continue reading “The power of admitting a weakness and that you’re wrong” →
Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. – Abraham Lincoln.
Two lumber jacks agree to a race to see who can cut down a tree first. Both woodcutters start furiously sawing their equally thick trees but after 5 minutes, the second woodcutter stops and disappears. The first continues his fast pace without ever stopping and goes into an early lead. The second continues taking breaks and disappearing and over time the first lumber jacks pace slows, whilst the second renews the same fast pace each time he restarts sawing. Eventually the second woodcutter successfully cuts down his tree winning easily. The first lumberjack is amazed and asks the second: “How can you win when you spent less time sawing your tree?”, “that’s obvious” replies the second: “I spent more time sharpening my saw!”. The moral of the story that the second woodcutter benefited both from taking a break and fine tuning his skills (in form of the saw), whilst apparently obvious, is one of the most common failings of busy people. Busy people often lose track of what they are doing and bounce about from one “emergency” to another, working in quadrant I constantly. They spend so much time being “busy” that they fail to value self-renewal and most significantly don’t make time to think about how to do things better. Continue reading “Sharpen your saw: power of renewal and striving to be better.” →
Great leaders present their ideas as well as they lead people.
Great modern leaders are followed rather than obeyed. The time of command and control military style leadership in the work place is well behind us. There are many reasons why staff follow a certain leader but one of the most important is the ability to convince a team that you know best. Managers who cannot sell ideas find it hard to get their team to push in the same direction as they fail to create vital value alignment and staff buy in. Convincing people that you know best is needed both with macro factors: the mission of the company and your role as leader, as well as with micro daily attitudes of staff about their daily work. Each and every day managers are selling their opinion to staff in order to enable their team to be more productive. Continue reading “The art of selling an idea” →