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 [...]
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 [...]
The Difference Between a Boss and a Leader - 3 Tips! Every leader is a boss, but not every boss is a leader. What’s the difference between a boss and a leader? It all comes down to how you do it. A boss is in charge because of his or her position and title. He may be the company owner, or a senior level manager. Usually, a boss has years of experience and familiarity with the job, which are great assets to bring to a job. What truly determines the success of the team working with him or her, though, is not how much they know about the tasks to be done, but how they lead the people on their team. A leader learns the tasks and familiarizes himself with the process, but the secret he knows that sets him apart and makes him successful is that he sees his team as the most valuable resource in his workflow. Here are 3 ways a leader inspires his team and earns the respect that distinguishes him as a leader and a boss. 1. Focus on Solutions. A leader inspires the people he works with. When they face a problem, the leader focuses his team members on fixing the problem, not on fixing blame. 2. Use Your Team’s Talents. A leader recognizes the gifts and talents of his team members and assigns them tasks based on those strengths whenever possible. When a team member brings forward a suggestion, a leader listens with an open mind. 3. Invest in Their Development. A good leader mentors and trains the people he works with, coaching others every chance he gets. This not only strengthens the team as a whole, but strengthens the whole company. Being a leader is a deliberate choice, and it’s one that impacts the entire team in a positive way. People work longer for a person that they trust and respect, and ultimately everyone wins as good leadership means the team is more happy, productive and successful. Tools to Help You Build Your Leadership Skills Looking for ways to grade your current leadership ability and target growth based on your potential? I recommend the DISC (What’s Your Color?) Leadership Report. This test takes about ten minutes and identifies your leadership strengths as well as potential that’s not being leveraged and opportunities for growth. The step-by-step results show leaders exactly what to do—and stop doing—to unleash their team’s potential and maximize personal effectiveness. Ingrid Kelada Owner of KCC Positive Business Psychology & Happiness Expert
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 [...]
“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 [...]
More Work Doesn’t Equal More Productivity According to the American Dream Project, the average American works between 43 and 51 hours per week. That’s a lot of hours! One key question to consider as you plan your own workweek is, are you getting the best productivity from your work schedule? Does working extra hours actually make us more productive? The truth is, it doesn’t. In fact, the United States is ranked 5th in productivity behind countries like Norway, Belgium, and Ireland. Yet people in those countries work fewer hours than we do. So, how do we make our working hours more productive? Work Time Versus Productive Time Here are some interesting facts to consider: The average person is only productive 5 hours a day, yet our average workday is 8 hours, or more! Fewer people take breaks and vacations than ever before, which means people spend more time working than in past decades. Working more means feeling more exhausted, which also decreases productivity. Why Do We Work So Much? North Americans tend to have a higher living standard than some other countries. A lot of this comes from convenience spending, which is largely driven by our long workdays. But having more things and having easier access to food and entertainment don’t actually promote happier or more productive lives. Instead, those things can be a kind of escapism. We work hard, we’re tired, so we buy ourselves a treat—a fancy prepared dinner or a new outfit—rather than treating our bodies and minds to the things we really need, like rest and companionship. Happiness Equals Productivity Want to know how you can maximize your productivity while decreasing your stress? The answer might surprise you. Happiness! Taking time to invest in your happiness has a significant impact on your productivity at work. According to the Great Place to Work Institute, the companies with the happiest employees are also the most productive. Happy people have more energy, are more resilient, and suffer from fewer health problems. In other words, taking regular breaks and limiting your work time so that you allow yourself to rest and spend time with people you love actually makes you a better, more productive worker. Try This For Increased Productivity Set a timer on your phone to remind you to take regular breaks at work. While on your break, go outside and take deep breaths. Focus on a distant object or building to let your eyes rest, especially if you work on a computer. Listen to a favorite song or watch a funny video on YouTube. Get your mind away from your work for a few minutes. When you return to work, notice how your body feels. Do you feel more awake? Do you have more energy? Is your focus sharper? More on Breaks and Happiness For more information on how to improve your productivity by using breaks and managing your time to boost happiness in your life, check out chapters 15 “Take a Break: Life is Not a Race” [...]
A good leader provides constant motivation to his team to help them maintain excellence and quality in results. A good leader always looks for ways to improve efficiency and quality, especially if this can be done by simplifying processes or without increasing an employee’s workload. Here are some skills you can sharpen to boost your leadership skills and help your team be more effective and increase results. 1-Wander Around Do you remember M.B.W.A. aka Management By Wandering Around? It’s still the best, even if it’s a “virtual MBWA”. Observation often gets neglected due the demands on a leader’s time and schedule. Find ways to schedule regular visits to your team’s work environment into your calendar. If your office is nearby, try blocking out a few minutes before or after lunch to walk through and check on your team. If you’re far away from your team, stay connected and use technology like video calls. Also, when possible travel to their location and spend time working with them on a regular basis. When you visit, notice workflow and ask questions. Is everything going okay? Does everyone understand what they’re working on? If not, who is the best person to assist them? Observing employees work procedures and the work flow is foundational to implementing adjustments and improving results. To have credibility, a leader must be seen and trusted to be up to date with what is happening in the work place. 2-Feedback and Praise Fair monitoring helps keep the ship on course and gives employees confidence when expectations are clear. Give feedback regularly, especially when things are going well. It’s easy to fall into the trap of only confronting an employee when there’s a problem. Regular praise and feedback help raise employee morale. Everyone likes to feel appreciated. Do your best to provide quick individual assessments on a regular basis. Think of the time and energy you spend on feedback as a direct investment in your team. Set goals with your team and any leaders who work with you. Make sure everyone understands the role they play in reaching those goals. 3-Demonstrate Working Knowledge and Expertise Have you ever seen the show Undercover Boss? One common theme that runs through each episode is the way the leaders have become detached from the actual workings of their businesses. They may have lost touch with how difficult the job can be or may have inadvertently implemented policies or procedures which actually make the average worker’s job harder while not providing adequate compensation for the changes. Good leaders stay connected to their workers. If you do not possess the expertise and knowledge needed for tasks employees regularly complete, consult them regularly and LISTEN. This is important in order to maintain an accurate and informed overall picture of the business. 4-Ability to Anticipate To keep on the cutting edge in business, it’s vital to be open and curious about upcoming trends. While managing the present to ensure ongoing excellence, a good leader also looks towards the future. [...]
Did you know that... "Studies show that 70% - 80% of change initiatives in organizations fail" -John Kotter As an organizational psychologist, I can tell you that this alarming failure rate is often attributed to the human factor! Here are 3 classical myths that I frequently deal with in my practice. Myth #1 - It is important to communicate the information in groups Several organizations formulate a communications plan and focus on presenting the changes in information sessions to employees. The goal is to deliver the same message to all employees so they can hear it at the same time and in the same way, minimizing misinterpretations and rumors. Warning!! This often has the opposite effect. Within a group, many people avoid speaking and asking questions. I often say "after every meeting, there's a meeting ... it's the real meeting ... the bosses are not invited and employees really say what they think! " What to do? Alternate your modes of communication: large groups, small groups, and individual meetings. Myth #2 - Focus on the benefits of change It is clear that it is important to present the reasons that motivated our organization to implement the change as well as the benefits deriving from the change. We want this to be positive, right? Warning!! Managing change is not about selling. If we talk too much about the positive without addressing the obstacles and potential difficulties, we give the impression of not understanding or care about the impacts and people will be suspicious. What to do? Present a realistic portrait from the start. There are always pros and cons associated with a decision; if you are aware of these, then they must be pointed out. Solutions can be found by working collaboratively. Myth #3 - We must organize meetings when we have NEW information to share We all know that organizing follow-up meetings while implementing change is important. Often, we wait for new information to share before organizing a meeting so that the communication is relevant and value-added. Warning!! The less we communicate in times of change, the less we manage the information. Every day, people are discussing the changes. If we do not plan for frequent dialogue, disinformation and rumors will take over. What to do? Schedule periodic meetings and hold them regardless...whether there is something new to discuss or not. If we cancel a meeting because we are waiting for answers or because there is not much new to discuss ... people will worry. It is better to have short frequent regular meetings and ask people to share where they are, their successes, obstacles, etc. Looking for More Leadership Tools? Get started today with our Leadership Assessment and Development Tool, a test which will help you maximize your leadership impact. The test reveals your strengths and weaknesses and then provides you with a focused development plan, including exercises, which will lead to huge increases in performance. Invest in your leadership potential by taking the test today!
Having more than 25 years of practice and experience under my belt, I can share with you 2 winning strategies to have more impact as a leader.
Good Management is Key According to Gallup, a US firm specializing in management research, in a survey of more than one million Americans, "people quit their bosses, not the organization." The effect of mismanagement is widely felt. Gallup also determined that poorly managed teams are on average 50% less productive and 44% less profitable than well-managed teams. As an organizational psychologist, I can confirm that an apparent lack of commitment from employees is often the result of the absence of effective leadership from their boss or bosses! The following are 3 common mistakes that I have often observed in my practice and tips that could help you improve your performance management skills. 1 - Waiting until the end of the project or the year to give feedback We often wait before giving feedback for several reasons: lack of time, we do not want to disrupt, derail or demotivate people; it is unpleasant, etc. But without a concrete way to measure performance, and without feedback, one cannot improve. My advice: Think of "just in time". Feedback must be given quickly to be useful and have the desired impact. Especially with the new generations fueled by instant communications, I recommend using the "48-hour" principle: you have a window of two days after an event to find time to share your observations. 2 - Too much recognition can play tricks on you Managers sometimes ask me if it is really necessary to praise someone for doing a job they are paid to do. Conversely, I am also asked if too much positive feedback could make the employee arrogant or less diligent at their job. However, one of the most frequent complaints at work is the lack of recognition. My advice: There is very little risk associated with frequently highlighting our appreciation. Giving positive feedback remains, in my opinion, a simple and free way to value the members of our team while directly impacting their performance. Remember that positive reinforcement increases desired behaviors and attitudes. 3 – Getting too close to employees Traditionally, managers were recommended to maintain a "professional distance" with employees. Things have changed. In March 2015, Forbes magazine cites several studies that show that friendships at work have several positive effects. My advice: we want to work with people we love. We work harder for a boss who shows interest in us, and not strictly on a professional level. I suggest you review your position and consider the different forms of friendships. Redefine your definition of a "professional friendship." Closer interpersonal contact with people generates commitment usually followed by positive results! Improve Your Performance Management by Understanding Your Team Looking for ways to improve the effectiveness of your team? This Team-Building Assessment Tool is specifically geared for improving team synergy. Learn ways to more effectively manage your team members based on their personality and natural strengths and weaknesses. Improving the effectiveness of your team makes your business more successful. It's an investment worth making. Order your test today. Ingrid Kelada Business Psychologist/Happiness Expert [...]