5 Tips for More Effective Meetings Meetings: people seem to love them or hate them. Some see meetings as a time waster, while others thrive on the collaborative energy that comes from regular check-ins or stand-ups. Whatever the emotions that seeing a meeting on the calendar causes, meetings are an essential tool for an effective, successful team. Crafting effective meetings takes a little time and planning, but it yields great results. Here are 5 tips for more effective meetings that will boost your team’s communication and success. 1. Craft a clear and inspiring agenda. Before calling a meeting, establish the agenda. What are the meeting objectives? These days, more than ever, we should remember to include a more personal goal. On top of “taking care of business”, we need to ask people how they are doing, show that we care and offer our support when needed. 2. Make sure a team meeting is the best approach. While meetings can resolve complex issues quickly, they also interrupt the workflow of the team. Before you schedule a meeting, ask yourself some basic questions. Is the issue best addressed in a team setting or one on one? Which people need to participate? We can inform the others after the meeting. Could the issue effectively be addressed via email or chat or via another medium? Don’t just have meetings out of habit. Meetings are time and energy consuming, and effective meetings should always add value to each person participating. 3. Inform the team of the meeting agenda ahead of time. Send a quick note to the team inviting them to the meeting and giving them an idea of the issues to be addressed. This gives team members a chance to think of questions or gather any relevant information before the meeting begins. 4. Make sure everyone is adding value and actively participating. It’s tempting to have a meeting to update people and share information, but that could be done in an email, right? In order to get the most out of a meeting, make sure it’s an opportunity for brainstorming and getting people’s ideas and input. 5. Send a follow-up reminder after the meeting. After the meeting ends, but while it’s still fresh in everyone’s minds, send a quick note to the team thanking them for their input and listing the highlights of the meeting. This list should include any questions that were raised that require follow-up and any tasks that were assigned to team members. Communicating these points to the team helps keep everyone on track and ensures that tasks get completed. Thanking the team also reinforces the value each member brings and offers much-needed appreciation. We all need that extra boost from time to time! Ingrid Kelada Owner of KCC Positive Business Psychology & Happiness Expert Join Us for a FREE Event March 23rd - How to Stay Connected While Working Apart Join us for a KCC Coffee Chat! This coffee chat will be an interactive presentation in which three of our team [...]
5 Ways a Daily Mindfulness Practice Will Increase Your Happiness One of the most effective ways to increase your happiness and reduce your stress level is to engage in a daily mindfulness or meditative practice. You don’t have to spend hours a day in order to achieve results, but you do need to do a little research and gather some helpful tools, like a quiet space, perhaps an app or video to guide you through your practice as you learn. The goal is pretty simple. Mindfulness is a type of meditation that helps you to focus on what you feel or think and accept it without judging. You can do this in really short sessions—as little as two minutes to begin. There are a number of great free apps that offer guides to mindfulness practice. My favorite is CALM. Before you know it, your daily practice will begin to bring results. Here are 5 ways a daily mindfulness practice will increase your happiness: 1. Reduce Stress Level Regular mindfulness or meditation practice lowers the levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, in the brain. A regular practice—and this can take just a few minutes each day!—can actually physically change the activity in your brain and alter your hormone levels so you feel less stress and anxiety. 2. Reduce Depression It may seem counterintuitive to think that spending more time in your head would help reduce depressive thoughts and feelings, but the science doesn’t lie. A study at Johns Hopkins found that the effects of meditation were moderate, about the same as for antidepressants. 3. Reduce Job Burnout Here’s something exciting to note: the research on mindfulness as a way to reduce workplace stress and burnout is so compelling that some companies are beginning to offer mindfulness training to their employees, such as nursing staff, who routinely experience high stress situations. 4. Increase Attentiveness Spending a few minutes quieting your body and focusing your thoughts not only has an impact in the hormone levels in your brain, but also helps increase your ability to focus. A mindfulness or meditation practice is a great way to help teach your brain not to rush from thought to thought, but to be able to pause and hold one thought at a time. 5. Grow a Happier Brain In my book, 21 Days to Happiness, I talk about some exciting studies that show how meditation and mindfulness practices can actually help you grow a happier brain. This is really exciting research, and it means that happiness really is something we can choose to pursue. Just like targeting a particular part of your body in a strength-training workout, you can target the happiness centers in your brain with a meditation or mindfulness practice of your own. Are you ready to give it a try? Ingrid Kelada Owner of KCC Positive Business Psychology & Happiness Expert Try all 21 Days to Happiness in My Book There’s never been a better time to pursue happiness with my book, 21 [...]
9 Positive Leadership Maxims Being a great leader is more than a job—it’s a way of approaching life. It can sometimes be a challenging lifestyle, and can even be discouraging. Here are 9 positive leadership maxims to energize you in your leadership role. 1. To make a difference, be the difference. Are you practicing the changes you want to see in your team? Leading your team by example is a powerful way to lead. 2. Leadership is showing people not that they MUST take a certain action but that they GET TO take that action. The way we word something can make a huge difference in perception and motivation. “I chose you for this and here’s why it’s an opportunity…” sounds and feels better than “I need you or want you to do something…” 3. To get the best out of people, embrace the best in them. What gifts and talents do your team members bring to the table? Are you leveraging those effectively? Consider making a list of each team member and what they do best, and look for new ways to use those abilities to enhance your team’s performance and success. 4. It's not so much what you say as a leader that's important; it's your ability to inspire action that matters. What are you doing to energize your team in meetings? Do they leave a meeting feeling excited to get to work on the next project? Use the last few minutes of each team meeting to inspire your team and instill some excitement for the tasks ahead. Connect what you’re doing to real life. How is your business making a difference in the world, and how do your employees’ actions directly contribute to that? 5. Half the art of listening is waiting. Sometimes just giving people that extra pause before speaking shows them you’re truly open to what they have to say. It can indicate that you’re not only listening but also processing what they share. 6. If you are always right, you are usually wrong. Nobody is perfect, and nobody is right all the time. One of the quickest ways to destroy trust with your team is by refusing to admit when you’re wrong. You may not always be ready to acknowledge it, but your team probably already knows you’ve made a mistake. The great news is that being humble enough to admit mistakes and correct course with your team will actually help build trust and better position your team for success. 7. The best leaders make use of the simplest of ideas. Complex ideas can take a lot of energy to explain and to convey to others. But a simple idea that can be explained in just a few words? It’s more memorable, more energizing and easier to pass on to others. 8. Leadership is seeing hope in any adversity. In leadership, you don't have to expect the worst, you just have to make the most of it when it happens. It might take some [...]
5 Ways to Happily Celebrate the Holidays in a Socially Distanced Season With the challenges and losses we’ve faced this year, gearing up for happy holidays may feel more overwhelming than usual. Some of our traditions may be altered or impossible this year. It’s easy to get focused on the things that are missing, to notice the empty spots on the calendar where a holiday party might once have been. It’s okay to grieve for those things. What we don’t want to do, though, is let the losses swallow up our attention and steal the possibilities of other happy holiday celebrations. Instead, take some time to reimagine your holidays. Are there things you can update or reinvent that allow you to celebrate in a socially distanced way? Here are 5 ideas to jumpstart your imagination and help you reframe your traditions and help you keep the happy in your holidays. 1. Send Videos to Friends and Family Use an app like Marco Polo or another app that lets you record a video message and send it to a loved one. Then record yourself or your family. Make it as serious or as funny as you want. A quick Internet search will give you lots more ideas. 2. Have a Holiday Movie Marathon Fix your favorite snacks and warm drinks and curl up on the couch with your household to watch holiday movies together. My favorites are Elf and Love Actually. What are yours? Some movie apps have a feature where you can set up a “watch party” and invite other households, so you can watch the movie together, even if you’re not in front of the same TV. 3. Make or Send a Gift Basket or Stocking Many families will choose to forego or postpone an in-person gift exchange this year, but you can still send something special to the ones you love. Personalizing the gifts with notes on why you chose each item or what made you think of the receiver will help bring you closer together. 4. Choose a Special Holiday Dish to Prepare Lots of holiday traditions center around food and sharing big meals together. It may be impossible to recreate those on your own, but choose one dish—maybe a favorite dessert or treat or Aunt Lucy’s famous sweet potatoes, whatever makes the holiday special to you—and ask your family member for the recipe for that dish. Serve it with whatever you want, even order the rest of the meal prepared if you prefer. Share some pictures of your baking experience with your loved ones. 5. Volunteer and make someone else happy In my book, I mention that one of the most effective way to increase our happiness is through acts of kindness. There are so many ways you and your family can pay it forward. Some people may be alone this year, why not make cards or cookies to let them know that they are special? Make These Holiday Happiness Boosters Your Own Try the ideas [...]
Benefits of Employee Appreciation We all crave appreciation, even when we already know we’ve done a job well. When is the last time a coworker or boss showed appreciation for what you do? Do you remember how it made you feel? In the 1940s, Lawrence Lindahl conducted a study on employee motivation. The results may surprise you. During the study, supervisors and their employees were asked, “What motivates an employee?” The number one answer was “appreciation for a job well done.” This is pretty amazing for a number of reasons. One is that appreciation is free! Motivating an employee doesn’t always need to come from bonuses or pay increases. Simply noticing a good job and offering praise can be a huge motivator. You might be thinking that our culture and workplace culture may have changed since the 1940s. It was a long time ago, that’s true. But these study results have been replicated in multiple studies since then. Time and time again, employees have made it clear that hearing a leader show appreciation makes a huge difference in morale and happiness at work. Here are the 5 Ideas to Create an Atmosphere of Employee Appreciation Be an Appreciation Role Model. Compliment a team member in front of others. This both boosts the morale of the employee you’re complimenting and communicates to others that showing appreciation is something they can do, too. Give Regular Coaching Feedback. Be a coach and let people know that you want to help them perform and succeed. Try making suggestions, instead of criticizing. We all prefer recommendations instead of people told what we should and shouldn’t do! Give Immediate Praise on a Job Well Done. The closer the reward happens to the behavior that triggered it, the more powerful the association between the good behavior and the reward will be. Make sure to show appreciation as soon as possible so that an employee connects those positive feelings with the job they did well. This will increase their motivation even more. On the spot positive feedback is the trend now! Forget about waiting for annual review. Remember to “catch them doing something right” as recommended in the classic must read: The One Minute Manager. Send a Thank You Message When You Notice Someone Doing a Good Job. Having an encouraging message, note or email gives your team member a tangible reminder of your appreciation they can revisit again later. Make appreciation part of your daily routine. Set aside a few minutes each day show appreciation…whether it’s to jot a quick note or to simply connect with an employee or team member who’s doing a great job. Appreciation Doesn’t Need Bells and Whistles The most effective kind of appreciation is sincere and unstructured. Resist the temptation to create some sort of complicated employee appreciation program or tie words of appreciation with other incentives, like bonus programs. Those other ways of saying thank you are great for other purposes, but if you want your employees to receive the best [...]
If you're a creative person, a pack rat, a shopper or a collector, minimalist living and the idea that fewer things equals greater happiness may feel impossible to you. It doesn't have to be! And you don't have to be a true minimalist in order to decrease the amount of possessions you own and increase your happiness. Who’s in Charge Here? If you’ve seen the movie Fight Club, you may remember the scene in which Tyler Durden talks about the paradox of owning things. “The things you own,” he says, “end up owning you.” It’s especially easy to feel this in our lives when things aren’t going well. For example, when something breaks can mean having to take time to find someone to fix it and then squeeze extra funds from our budget to cover the costs of repairs. Even maintaining and cleaning out stuff can end up making us feel like a slave to our things because we of the time it takes to care for them. Do you have things that sit gathering dust, or memberships that are going unused? Are you working extra hours or skipping other activities because your budget is tied to paying for things you’re not even using? Evaluate Your Needs and Hobbies Take a moment and try to look at your home the way an outsider would see it. Think like a minimalist as you walk room to room. What items do you rarely or never use? What things do you never have time to clean, take care of, or enjoy? Think of Marie Kondo as you walk through your home and look at what you have. Do these things bring you joy? Or have they become a burden in some way? Sometimes things represent a guilt burden as well as a financial one. If you feel a twinge in your chest every time you walk past the treadmill you’re not using, it’s probably time to come up with a different approach to your fitness. Guilt isn’t an effective exercise! Get rid of the treadmill and find a fitness opportunity that energizes or excites you instead. Take Time to Divest Yourself of Unused Things Take ownership of your things and decide what you really need. What’s taking up too much space? What’s eating up your budget that you simply don’t need or use anymore? Evaluate options besides ownership. If you love to go out on a jet ski but only find time for it a few days of the year, it may be more cost effective for you to rent one for those days when you go out on the water. That way the burden of caring for, maintaining, insuring, and storing the jet ski doesn’t fall on you, and you can be sure you’re only spending money on a jet ski when you’re actually using one! Create a place for items you’re ready to donate, like a box in your garage. Get into the habit of actually giving away items. It may [...]
“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence.” – Albert Einstein Think about children for a minute. They’re naturally curious, imaginative, and always learning, always looking for new experiences and information. They know what they want, and they chase after it wholeheartedly. Does you hear your childhood self in this description at all? There are a lot of good things about “being an adult: the knowledge and experience we gained, knowing what we want and don’t want, the discipline to stick through a task even when we don’t feel like finishing it. Those are things kids aren’t so good at doing. But what about the benefits we’ve lost? Where did that natural curiosity and that vivid eagerness go? Many motivational experts like to say that leaders are made, not born. I believe we are all natural born leaders, but some of us have been deprogrammed along the way. As children, we were natural leaders - curious and humble, always hungry and thirsty for knowledge, with an incredibly vivid imagination; and we often had the ability to motivate, inspire, and influence everyone around us to help us in accomplishing our mission. So why is this so difficult to do as adults? What happened? No, Don’t, Can’t As children, we heard the words, no, don’t, and can’t over and over again. We had to sit silently in classes at school, listening while a teacher lectured on math, history, and grammar. Boundaries are a great thing for kids, and education is important. But they don’t foster curiosity or inspire us to ask hard questions or to seek information beyond what we’re given, and those things are an essential part of a great leader. Recapture Childhood Curiosity To be a great leader, one of the things we need to do is unharness that curiosity we had as a kid. We need to give ourselves permission to ask questions, to not only think outside the box, but also to ask questions without easy answers. Give yourself permission to not know the answers. Ask for help. Consult the experts. Educate yourself. Seek new knowledge and information and give your team permission to do the same. Your openness and willingness to be wrong or to learn new things will give them confidence and inspire them to do the same. No one likes working for someone who thinks they know everything and are right all the time. So unleash your inner child. Tune out your fears and tune into your curiosity. Embrace the journey toward greater knowledge. Let it transform your leadership capabilities. Tools for Success If you’re interested in learning more about how to maximize your leadership impact, you need to try our leadership assessment and development tool, the DISC (What’s Your Color?) Leadership Assessment. Take the test today and get your personalized report detailing your leadership strengths and weaknesses as well as exercises and development plans to help you gain the greatest increase in leadership performance. Ingrid Kelada [...]
Creativity or Problem-solving One of the amazing things about humans is our constant endeavor to create or improve things. When we are inspired to create something, we demonstrate our passions or talents. When we run into a problem, we want to fix it and come up with a solution. These days it’s not unusual to complain about something and hear someone say in response, “There’s an app for that!”. Whether we are trying to express our creativity or simply improve our lives, coming up with something new seems to make us happy! Inventions are all around us. From books and music to sports and games to comfort items to technological gadgets aimed at making life simpler. Someone created every one of them! Any form of creativity is enough to fill us with happiness. Think of the joy that comes from cooking a special meal, decorating your office, coming up with a tool for your job or playing a song. The creator enjoys this happiness that comes from the pride of putting in the effort and seeing the final result. Creating is great, sharing is better But the joy goes far beyond the creator. We feel happiness and wonder when we see an amazing photograph or a winning touchdown. Creating something is an incredible way to share joy with the people around you and to fill your own life with happiness, too. Each day, develop the habit of noticing created things, from complex tools like the internet to the simple necessities so easily taken for granted, like a doorknob. Celebrate the examples of artwork or inventions you pass in your day to day life. Maybe you spot a magazine on the table with a great cover, hear a great song at the coffee shop or a colleague just shared something to improve things at work. What Can You Create? We live in an amazing world, and when we remember that, it helps boost our happiness and sense of wonder. And as part of the human race, that ability to create resides in all of us. What sorts of things are you good at creating? Maybe you’re good at cooking or organizing. Perhaps you’re a great fisherman, handy with your hands or gifted at spontaneous one-line jokes. Celebrate your talents and share them with others around you. Here’s one final thought to leave you with: “The secret of happiness is this: let your interest be as wide as possible, and let your reactions to the things and persons that interest you be as far as possible friendly rather than hostile”—Bertrand Russell. BE HAPPY! Looking for more happiness tips? Check out chapter 20 in my book, 21 Days to Happiness, in which I share how to use your talents at work to boost your happiness. You can also find out more on the power of creativity in chapter 2 which teaches how music affects our happiness. Ingrid Kelada Business Psychologist/Happiness Expert KCC Inc.
This is the perfect time of year to boost your happiness by going outside every day. What's amazing is you don't have to spend hours outdoors in order to receive the happiness benefits. Just a few minutes each day is usually enough to make a big difference in our levels of happiness and energy. Going outside is free. It's easy. And it offers some pretty significant benefits to our health. Here are just 3 of the reasons to put going outside on your daily calendar starting this week. 1-You Need Sunlight to Make Vitamin D Your body makes vitamin D while you're out in the sun. Researchers believe at least 1 billion people suffer from vitamin D deficiency. When we don't get enough vitamin D, we can begin to experience symptoms of a vitamin deficiency, such as fatigue, increased vulnerability to illness, back pain, and even depression. OMG! All those things would make it difficult for anyone to experience happiness. The great news is that all you have to do to "right the ship" so to speak is to start spending time outside. Try to spend at least 15 minutes outdoors at a time of day when the sun is high in the sky. At least 15 minutes on a daily basis is enough for many people to maintain a healthy level of vitamin D. The darker your skin is, the longer you need to be in the sun to create vitamin D. 2-Nature Brings Us Peace The sound of the wind in the trees or waves gently lapping the shore can ease tension in our bodies and help us relax and forget about daily worries. Watching living creatures like birds, butterflies, and even fish can lower our stress levels and help us remember how big and beautiful our world is. Going outside also allows us to mentally clock out and get away from our computer screens. Staring at something only a few inches from our faces for long periods of time can stress our eyes. Taking a walk outside allows our eyes to focus on objects far away and lets those muscles we use on the computer have a rest. 3-Nature Allows Us Opportunities to Connect Another benefit to spending time in nature is it allows us opportunities to authentically connect with others. Take a friend or loved one on a picnic and notice the difference in the way you connect while you're out and away from distractions like your computer and TV. Try leaving your phone in the car or in a bag where you won't be tempted to keep checking it. Be present in nature, in the moment shared with your friend or loved one. Those authentic connections also allow us opportunities to relax and ease stresses we may be feeling. They also allow us to create new memories with people we care about, which gives our happiness another boost every time we think back on those great experiences. Try This Look at your calendar for this week and [...]
We have so much to be grateful for. It's that time of year...the holidays, the parties, the excitement! You probably have a lot to be grateful for and may take some things for granted. You don't need much in order to be happy. Many people without a lot still find real happiness in their daily lives. Have an Attitude of Gratitude What you do need in order to be happy is to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Take a moment to reflect on the past year and make a list of 10 things you have to be grateful for. Note the things you tend to overlook. Think of what you do have instead of what you don't: health, family, work, home, friends... Focusing on these blessings will foster an attitude of gratitude in your life. And that attitude is like fertile soil where happiness will grow and flourish. Develop a habit of noticing good things and expressing your gratitude for them. Try it for 21 days. You will see a difference in your overall happiness and contentment. Ready to start your happiness journey? "Day one" of my book, 21 Days to Happiness focuses on gratitude, and offers additional tips and strategies for greater happiness through gratitude. Each day of the 21 day journey takes you through another area of life where you can make simple, practical changes for greater happiness. I'd love to see you start your journey today! Ingrid Kelada Business Psychologist/Happiness Expert KCC Inc.