Any one of us can be tempted to “go negative” from time to time. Sadly, for some, it is the way they communicate most of the time. Whether you are working to combat your own negativity or are needing to respond to negativity from others, here are a few things to keep in mind: (more…)
Posts Tagged ‘Personal Effectiveness’
“It felt like I had no choice.” These words were spoken by a successful corporate executive who managed million-dollar high-tech projects, and pioneered new ways of communicating within her organization and for her clients.
She was describing what can happen when we don’t have good boundaries.
“I resented feeling like I had to say ‘yes’ to every request, no matter what,” she continued, “I watched colleagues heading out to lunch, going home at a reasonable hour, while feeling like I had to make the client happy at any cost.”
You might think this was an expectation within her corporate culture. It wasn’t. As she came to realize, it was a question of her own boundaries — or lack thereof. (more…)
It’s a challenging truth about the world of work: we often have to collaborate with people who aren’t easy for us to be with. These are people who, in our personal lives, we’d probably not choose to hang out with – yet at work, what can we do but grin and bear it?
The real challenge comes when these people and the situations they create are so difficult that they start to impact our health, our relationships outside the workplace, or our ability to be effective and successful on the job.
If you’re thinking this could never happen to you, stop and reconsider. Is there someone at work you’re always complaining about – someone you dread having to face? Or perhaps there’s someone you like well enough, but who seems to suck all the energy out of the room, so you end up avoiding them whenever possible.
According to Katherine Crowley and Kathi Elster, the experts who wrote the book Working With You is Killing Me, everyone will encounter at least a few people like this in their professional lives. Part of the coping process they recommend includes the following five questions which, in their experience working with thousands of clients, can help you turn the situation around. (more…)
A DesignArounds poll asked learning professionals to identify their most pressing current challenge. No surprises here. 100% reported ‘time‘. Given today’s business climate and economic pressures, it’s no wonder that the training function – like every other function – is being challenged to do more with less. Fewer people. Scaled-back budgets. And a reduced investment of learning time.
Tablets with expanded capacity that can fit into your pocket and phones holding thousands of songs have established the expectation that good things (and a lot of them) come in small packages. Is it any wonder that organizations expect training to follow suit?
So, what can learning and development professionals do to respond?
Become a ruthless editor: Cut Through the Clutter
Today’s learning professionals must develop the ability to ruthlessly eliminate the non-essential, lay out the ‘critical path’ to new knowledge and skills and delete all else. Eliminating the ‘nice to knows’ allows the available time to be focused on ‘need to know’ information. (more…)
This exercise from CRM Learning gives participants a chance to use a series of questions to explore and understand the scope and requirements for a project. This worksheet can be a great guideline for ‘making sure they understand’ any future tasks they take on.
Instructions: Think about a project you’ve recently been assigned, or a task you’ll be taking on soon. Use the questions below to make sure you understand the task before you begin. (more…)
For each of us, there are tasks we’d rather not have to do. I’m confident you know which these are. What are those things you need to do that you just dread? Or that always drift to the bottom of your to do list? Which ones do you never find time for? Maybe it’s completing a project and tying up all the loose ends. Maybe it’s making sales calls. Or organizing your desk so you can find what you need when you need it.
We all have them, these least favorite tasks that we consciously or unconsciously avoid, and thus sabotage our effectiveness. Wouldn’t it be great if these weren’t a problem any longer? If it were easy, maybe even fun, to do them? Imagine the sense of relief and accomplishment if it became routine and almost effortless to do the things you currently dread or avoid. (more…)
The following guidelines will help you to set effective goals:
#1 Declare each goal as a decisive statement: Express your goals positively – ‘Implement this procedure well’ is a much better goal than ‘Don’t make this stupid misstep.’
#2 Be clear-cut: Set a precise goal, putting in dates, times and amounts so that you can gauge achievement. If you do this, you will know spot on when you have achieved the goal, and can take complete satisfaction from having achieved it.
#3 Set priorities: When you have a number of goals, give each one a priority. This helps you to prevent feeling overwhelmed by too many goals, and helps to direct your attention to the most significant ones.
#4 Write goals down: This magnifies them and gives them more force.
#5 Keep operational goals small: Keep the low-level goals you are working towards small and realistic. If a goal is too heavy, then it can seem that you are not making development towards it. Keeping goals small and incremental gives more opportunities for reward. Develop today’s goals from larger ones.
#6 Set performance goals, not outcome goals: You should take care to set goals over which you have as much power as possible. There is nothing more disappointing than failing to achieve a personal goal for reasons beyond your rule. In business, these could be bad business environments or unexpected effects of government policy. In sport, for illustration, these reasons could include feeble judging, bad weather, injury, or just plain bad luck. If you base your goals on personal accomplishment, then you can keep control over the achievement of your goals and pull satisfaction from them.
#7 Set realistic goals: It is crucial to set goals that you can reach. All sorts of people, employers, parents, media, society can set unrealistic goals for you. They will often do this in ignorance of your own requirements and ambitions. Then again, you may set goals that are too high, because you may not realize either the obstacles in the way or recognize quite how much aptitudeyou need to develop to achieve a precise level of performance.
When you have achieved a goal, take the time to benefit from the satisfaction of having done so. Bask in the implications of the goal achievement, and survey the progress you have made towards other goals. If the goal was a considerable one, reward yourself appropriately. All of this helps you create the self-confidence you deserve!
With the skill of having achieved this goal, review the rest of your goal plans:
If you achieved the goal too easily, make your next goals harder.
If the goal took a dispiriting length of time to achieve, make the next goals a little easier.
If you learned something that would guide you to change other goals, do so.
If you noticed a discrepancy in your skills in spite of achieving the goal, determine whether to set goals to resolve this.
Failure to meet goals does not matter much, as long as you can be trained from it. Supply lessons learned back into your goal setting program.
Remember, too, that your goals will transform as time goes on. Fiddle with them systematically to reveal growth in your learning and experience, and if goals do not hold any attraction any longer, then let them go.
Reference: Some material used from MindTools.com
Need more help in this area? The Who Says We Can’t Do It video program uses the story of Lance Armstrong’s triumph over cancer and his subsequent Tour de France wins to instill a strong, Can do! attitude in your employees.
For all the buzz about balance, why is it that so few people say they have it? What should balance be like? What is the difference between ‘out of balance’ and just plain busy?
“Balance is not about calculating the right equation of time and effort,” says the Center for Creative Leadership’s Gordon Patterson. “It is about having clarity about what matters to you and making sure you are taking care of those things consistently.”
People whose lives are out of balance — whose work life has taken too prominent a role — have similar experiences. Some of the warning signs that your life is out of balance include:
- You have conversations with yourself in which you say “I’ve got to make more time for my significant other.”
- You hear yourself telling others that you really wish you had time to do certain things you just don’t get done now.
- Your relationships with your colleagues are less fun, less productive and less easy-going than they used to be. From your point of view, your direct reports should be far more serious about work than they are.
- You think that your family should appreciate you more than they do. They don’t realize how hard you work for them.
- You take your perfectionist and “type A” personality for granted and have not really even thought about altering your behavior.
- You’re good — you can multitask like there’s no tomorrow. People continually marvel at how you can “do it all.” They think you are superhuman.
- You pause mentally to put on your armor and to psych yourself up each day when you come through the front door of your office.
- You want to appear interested when your direct reports tell you about their newborn children, but you don’t want them to conclude that their job responsibilities are any less important just because they’ve become parents.
“If any of these descriptions resonate with you, it may be time to reassess what you’re doing, why you are doing it and explore what your balance looks like to you,” says Patterson.
You may find you are feeling more balanced when you:
- Accept that your needs and expectations have changed over the years and will continue to change.
- Are able to make a temporary choice to place one aspect of your life ahead of another, knowing that other things will be tended to in time and you ensure that “temporary” does not become permanent neglect of other important things.
- Embrace the presence of creative tension in your life. Balance does not mean easy or perfect.
- Stop blaming your struggles with balance on other people, organizations and institutions.
- Choose how to use your resources — what to do with your time, energy and passion.
Less Can Be More
Don’t assume that putting in fewer hours on the job will cause your work to suffer. In fact, time and energy spent off-the-job can enhance your productivity and your capacity to deal with work challenges. Shifting the mix of work and non-work hours can teach you:
Strength in vulnerability. Recognize that you can’t do everything and learn to ask for help. Leaders who successfully balance competing demands in all aspects of their lives freely admit their vulnerabilities and frequently are admired and respected for doing so. It makes them seem more human and more approachable.
The upside of limits. When facing a tough challenge or a huge to-do list, human nature urges you to push harder and work more hours. While it may seem counterintuitive to stop, ease back or even shift focus, that’s exactly what you may need to do. If you’re working late at the office – fourteen hours a day, day in and day out – you are tricked into thinking that your efficiency is being maximized by your intense work efforts. In fact, leaving early a few nights a week or delegating more may be the better solution. By setting limits, you are better able to distinguish when you really do need to push and when to step back and regroup.
The benefit of recharging. Our capacity to work is not boundless, although we sometimes appear to believe otherwise. Building in enough time to relax and recharge as we work is critical for clear and creative thinking, strong relationships and good health.
Gordon Patterson is a CCL Senior Program Associate.
Content reprinted with permission from Finding Your Balance, by Joan Gurvis and Gordon Patterson, Copyright © 2004 Center for Creative Leadership