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This is the #1 question I am asked at any leadership training I do.
Team leadership is not easy!
In a recent conversation with a brand new safety officer I could hear his frustration. “I really want to work for a company where the management and workers buy-in to safety.”
“Yes. Wouldn’t we all?” I replied. “If you were working for a company like that what would you do?”
“I’d be able to do my job much easier.”
“So … anyone could do it then. Why would they need you?”
It’s one skill set to identify what needs to be done and tell people to do it. It’s a completely other skill set to get people to actually do what you ask, and still another to get them to do it well. That’s the difference between monitoring a team and leading a team.
Whether you are a seasoned leader or a brand new supervisor, it’s tough to get and maintain people’s motivation in any team, or in any task. Why? In a nutshell – Because they aren’t you.
Watch the above video for tips and strategies you can use right away in the workplace, and even in your personal life. Feel free to share this with others who need to lead teams.
Want more tips? In 20 minutes (no charge to you), I would love to walk you through a quick self-survey that will help you identify your best strategy to help you succeed in your workplace. Click http://getthrival.com/strategy to get YOUR quick, easy and free strategy session set right now.
Mark launched, wide-eyed and breathing hard, into the HR and Finance office.
“Did you hear?” he puffed in a forceful whisper.
“Hear what?” replied the CFO, suddenly on her guard.
What followed was a horror story that threatened to damaged our company’s brand and ability to continue earning the vital trust of our clients. I looked past him at a General Manager’s closed door. I had seen our Sales and Production Managers walk into that room fifteen minutes ago.
I looked at the CFO. I think she had stopped breathing. Suddenly the colour rushed back into her face, as the adrenaline kicked in. She thanked Mark and started to stand up, when that ominous door across the hall opened. We heard … laughter. Whaaaaaat?
Mark quickly escaped, our office, attempting to look casual.
Out came the Sales and Production Managers. We waited …
Jim, our General Manager, emerged. He caught our wide eyes staring at him in the hallway. He smiled, walked into our office and suggested we call a staff meeting in 30 minutes.
“Is anything wrong?” our CFO asked.
“No, everything is handled. But from the look on your faces, I think I need to take care of the rumours.”
30 minutes later, I listened in awe as Jim relayed calmly and assuringly, a story that could have brought our company to a screaming halt. He had averted danger through a strategic meeting and two very firm phone calls to the right people. Done. There was no finger pointing (though there easily could have been), no flailing around in indecision, no recoiling in fear of making the wrong moves (though no one would have blamed him), no “yelling fire” and throwing the team into panic.
Jim kept calm, mobilized the right people in the right way, and then kept the entire team from blowing the already handled situation into a productivity stunting story, through open, transparent communication.
What ran through my head the entire time? “How can I be more like Jim?” 19 years later, I train managers and supervisors to use the best of the best quick and easy strategies to overcome chaos and keep their calm.
Maybe you’ve used theses strategies too? What keeps you calm in the middle of chaos?
Pick up a quick and easy technique or two. Share your war stories or a tip of your own this Thursday, February 26th at noon on a live, interactive webinar.
What’s keeping you small? Believe it or not, it might just be your ego! Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of change, fear of making mistakes, being wrong, being humiliated, criticizism … egos are pretty vindictive. When they feel threatened, they throw everything on FULL STOP!
Watch this replay of a video I made last year (ignore the date references). You’ll gain a great way to bypass your fight or flight response, get your ego working FOR you instead of AGAINST you, and make things happen! Life is too short to play small and stay stuck, never reaching your full potential.
Yes, I know … dated. Please, ignore the references to 2014 and the holiday season. The video was worth digging out and resharing.
At the bottom of this page are the links to the two previous videos for barrier #1 and #2.
On the link above, you can submit your email address to gain one free lesson from the TYL course, with tips you can apply to your professional and personal life today!
TYL is a powerful, transformational, highly rated course that fits into your work day and your personal life. It provides easy to implement, step-by-step, practical ways to break through the tough barriers keeping smart people just like you Stuck, Frustrated and Unable to Catch a Break.
If you’re like me, you’ve felt the right decisions, thoughts and plans were just out of reach. At times, it’s like there’s an invisible wall I can’t push past. All the answers are on the other side of that wall. Everything fits together perfectly … I just can’t get there from here.
Whether it’s a promotion, a project, or the right connections, that wall looms before me every time I step up to do greater things. I have a choice. So do you.
Most people quit banging their heads against that wall. They change major life goals to fit their current box. “There’s bills to pay, deadlines to meet, people to answer to. The future can wait. Maybe it’ll all sort itself out on its own.” They sink comfortably into a world of “good enough for now”. Slowly the minds numb, and so does the sense of what all this stress and struggle called life is for, other than to keep existing.
Staying small to fit your job doesn’t guarantee job security.
In fact, if you want job security, you need to keep innovating and stay valuable. The bigger your personal and professional dreams are, the more you will stretch yourself to become the best you can be. That benefits your workplace. It boosts your ability to meet and exceed expectations.
3 Barriers that Keep Smart People Stuck, Frustrated and Unable to Catch a Break
This is an older video I released last year but it’s completely relevant as you plot, plan, agonize or dream about what you want to achieve this year (see video).
For the other two videos (Barrier #2 and #3) enter your email address below and follow the instructions to verify your email address.
Okay, this will be good … OH NO! Why did I do this … AGAIN?
Skiing through trees terrifies me! Every time I ski through “glades”, my brain launches an unconscious battle between what’s possible and what’s probable.
Maybe, just maybe, I will finally know the exhilaration people say they feel from glade skiing. Just maybe I will find deep, fluffy, untouched powder and emerge with a giant “WOO HOO!” like I see other people do.
Well … more of what I’ve experienced so far … stress, fear, and a lot of “WHY did I DO this?”
I noticed that’s the kind of thinking I slip into whenever I try to tackle my major plans and projects. I start out thinking “Maybe, just maybe, I will finally know the exhilaration people say they feel when they bring a brilliant idea into the world.” This soon turns into stress, fear and a whole lot of “WHY did I do this … AGAIN???”
Does that happen to you when
you take on a project much bigger that yourself?
you pick up the phone to call THAT potential client … you know the one?
you sit down to have a difficult face-to-face conversation that’s long overdue?
This coming week’s Carol’s Coffee Corner (NOW going to video!!!) will tackle this subject. I’d love your insights and questions! What do YOU do when that dreaded fear of the probable creeps in to kill your joy? How do you tackle what terrifies you?
Today (December 23rd) has been sited as the least productive day of the year. There’s the office celebrations and vendors dropping in with sugary offerings. More than that, our focus shifts to what is most important to us – making sure the people we love are not disappointed on Christmas Day.
Did you run errands at lunch? Where is your mind right now?
You are a manager, responsible for a certain amount of ROI (return on invenstment) from your team. What do you do with weeks like this one, where Wednesday is Christmas Eve, Thursday is Christmas Day and many companies give their employees Boxing Day off, even though it is not an official statutory holiday?
In a Christmas Carol, Ebeneezer Scrooge expresses a “bah-humbug” business-minded approach to the whole “interruption” the Christmas season causes. From that same book comes a brilliantly written perspective of why we need to take some universal time out of our business year, and why Christmas is the best time to do this:
But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time … as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.
Chances are, if you are at work right now, you are watching that clock and taking care of little accomplishments you can fire off quickly. You’re tidying your desk, sifting and sorting your email, organizing your in-box and doing items that will take you ten minutes or less and negotiating to put off those larger tasks until after Christmas.
Rather than guiltily hide behind a facade of “busy-ness”, and watch as your direct reports do the same, why not embrace Tuesday the 23rd for what it is – a day of expected interruptions, a chance to connect with fellow workers and business contacts (fellow passengers on the never ending path to “success”), and an opportunity to nurture “good will toward men”? Statistics say you and your team are not getting all that much done today anyway.
Some days, work can feel as though you’ve sold your soul for food. Had those days? Lately? … This morning?
You can view work as a necessary evil, or as a means to accomplish your quest – your personal goals. YES, you do work to live. How you want to live is up to you. REALLY it is!
You decide the lessons you want to learn, the character you want to grow, the person you want to become and the life you want to live. If you keep these goals in sight – every day becomes a worthy quest, no matter what your position, who you report to and what stressors and hiccups you face.
The key to success is to keep your head. You must avoid being taken out by the minefield of politics, communication gaps (or chasms), red tape and huge list of productivity vampires.
Sounds a bit like a video game, doesn’t it? “Personal goals” … “Quest” … “avoid being taken out” … That wee shift in thinking from “drudgery of necessary evil” to “How will I level up today?” will bring a new perspective and change your professional life forever.
“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players”
~ William Shakespeare, from his play – As You Like It
“Gamification” is a term coined by Nick Pelling, a British-born computer programmer, in 2002, but the concept pre-dates this quote from William Shakespeare. Gamification is using game principles in non-game contexts to engage users in solving problems.
Transfer that to your workday.
You are the player – the hero. In your quest toward your goal, you will be challenged, learn great lessons, experience set-backs, become stronger, more confidant, competent and resilient. Your game experience will depend on each of the tiny decisions you make, the way you choose to spend your resources and the perspective you take as you discover each obstacle, puzzle, monster or battle.
What are your resources that get “refreshed” each day, or after each break? What resources do you need to focus on and build up to take on those battles ahead? How can you approach each obstacle wisely, using your resources strategically, instead of panicking, rushing in with all weapons drawn and being cut down in one devastating blow you did not see coming? What alliances do you need to invest time and resources into in order to progress toward your goal?
In your workday, there are countless choices that can lead you to success. The choices you make will reveal your true character. How can you make sure your character develops in the right direction – one that will be helpful, not harmful, in later stages of “the game”? Most of all, how can you become the character worthy of the personal goals you are striving for? Will you stay focused? Will you keep moving forward day by day, even after major set-backs, stalls and impasses?
The true villain – Office Politics
Like it or not, wherever there are people, there are politics to navigate. Those politics get trickier the higher levels you attain. That dream “When I’m manager I won’t have to put up with this garbage.” is not even remotely reality. Yes, your current challenges will disappear … replaced by completely new ones … and a few old ones that seem to “level up” with you.
How do you tackle the politics in your office?
Very strategically. I am hosting a free webinar Wednesday, September 25th at 12:00PM Pacific Time, on this very subject! CLICK HERE to sign up for “Office Politics – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” (yes, there will be a recording and I will send it to all who have registered). OH! And share this with others in your workplace. The more people who “level up” with you, the better place your workplace will be to work every day.
Before you run for the nearest exit, here’s a sad fact – every workplace has at least one. In fact, one out of every 3 people will suffer some kind of mental illness or disorder in their life.
If you are going to be out in the world, working with other people, you are going to encounter some narcissists.
You can still do your best work and love your job, if you take the right steps to protect yourself.
Step 1: Keep that “How to Spot a Narcissist” list handy. Refer to it often. If you see 5 or more of the narcissistic traits in a coworker, subordinate or boss, chances are your team will have challenges ahead.
Step 2: Study and practice everything in “What to AVOID When Dealing with a Narcissist”. If you don’t you are asking for problems. Saying “But that’s not fair!” will not help you, when a narcissist is focused on destroying you, because you tried to teach him/her a lesson.
Step 3: Follow the steps below toproactively manage your day:
Know your “WHY” (per Simon Sinek). It’s hard to get pulled down a rabbit hole if you are on a straight, clear path. Know who you are, what you stand for, what’s important to you, and why you are here. ALWAYS take the high road in any conversation. As one brilliant person told me “Never wrestle a pig in the mud. “ (Pigs like the mud. You’ll never win.)
There is something powerful and inspiring about a person who has a clear and solid “WHY”. The narcissist won’t understand his/her inability to phase you, and will likely respect you, or at least keep a respectful distance.
Manage your expectations.Just because this person is not pleasant, team focused, or caring, doesn’t mean he/she isn’t doing the job he/she was hired to do.
When you get hooked on the idea that “Bob needs to change!”, your focus will turn in the wrong direction. Your work will suffer, and so will YOUR credibility. You cannot change anyone. You cannot expect anyone to change. That’s completely out of your control.
Actively listen. This is VERY hard to do, when you hear the usual self-promoting, manipulative “blah, blah, blah”. Most people stop talking when no one is listening. Narcissists DEMAND attention and will fester and create false stories in their heads about you when you do not listen to them. Trust me, you DON’T want a Narcissist creating stories about you. Though these stories are false, they can do damage.
Ask for more information about what the Narcissist is saying. In the process of clarifying, this person will have a chance to do the right thing, correct over-statements, give credit where credit is due and tame some “magical thinking”. Most of all, it will show you are actually paying attention and will dive into the facts deeper if needed. When catching a Narcissist in an inconsistency, be pleasant, never accusing and never excusing. Stick to the “facts” as they are presented. Be gracious, as tempted as you are to call this person out.
Give genuine praise. You may be tempted to hold back praise to create balance (this person praises him/herself constantly, not recognizing others’ achievements). Be fair! Look for the good in ALL people you work with. Do not play favourites. When you reward someone appropriately for good behaviour, you reinforce that behaviour. Make sure you ONLY praise what is truly praiseworthy.
You want to stay as far removed from this person as possible. if you work together, complete avoidance is not realistic, or healthy.
Here are two special considerations:
If YOU REPORT TO a Narcissist – It’s your life and your career. If you are in a large company, you may be able to switch departments. Basically, you will never outperform a bad manager. If you make him/her look less competent, credible or followable, expect your life to be miserable. Do you really want to walk on egg shells every work day? Know your WHY and make a decision based on the RIGHT reasons for YOU.
If you a Narcissist REPORTS TO YOU – Do everyone on your team a favour. Give this person full accountability to his/her own work, actions and non-actions. Reward good behaviour. Appropriately address bad behaviour. A Narcissist responds to authority better than to coworkers or subordinates (In fact, this person probably treats you extremely well, making you less inclined to confront him/her).