Get Ready for Summer: Update Your Goals and Make Time for Joy

Get Ready for Summer: Update Your Goals and Make Time for Joy Starting the year with goals in mind is a great idea. What makes that approach even more effective is checking in periodically to evaluate what’s working, what isn’t relevant anymore, and when we need to reprioritize. With the summer approaching, now is a perfect time to sit down with our list of New Year’s Resolutions and see how we’re doing and how we feel about the goals we set at the beginning of the year. Here are 3 steps to update your goals and make time for joy. 1. Are your goals still relevant? Let’s spring clean! When reviewing the goals you chose in January, consider which ones you've already achieved. Have you finished that big project? Have you been going to the gym? Take a look at your list of goals and check off the ones you've done. Celebrate what you’ve accomplished so far. Also, think about which objectives are no longer relevant and remove them from your list. We all change our minds and that’s fine. I call this “spring cleaning my to-do lists”! Any new summer goals you want to add to the list? Family, health, nature…what inspires you these days? Remember to pick only what’s most important to you and to be realistic in order to set yourself up for success. Often, less is more…I even have a “Not To-Do List” and I love it!! 2. Acknowledge the Progress You’ve Made. Acknowledging your progress can help energize you to keep moving forward. What’s working for you? What’s going well? What’s almost done? Take a few moments to think about how you achieved progress. Perhaps you have an encouraging note taped to your bathroom mirror. Maybe you have reminders set to pop up on your phone or calendar. What tools and strategies work for you? Make sure you continue using the techniques that support your growth. Consider updating the notes or reminders with a fresh message and try some new ways to continue doing things that make you happy and successful. 3. Add Joy. As summer approaches, perhaps it’s time to shift your focus to creating time for family and friends or simply enjoying the outdoors. Think about what adds joy to your life and where that happiness boost fits into your daily or weekly life. It might be as simple as taking a ten-minute walk at the end of the day or enjoying a cup of tea outside in the morning. Make time to engage with the people and activities that help you recharge. This helps break up the fog of monotony that can come from getting lost in our daily work and life routines. Add a breath of fresh air, whether it’s from a literal walk outside, coffee with a friend, or a visit to a meaningful place, like a museum or art gallery. You can learn more ways to increase your happiness in my book, 21 Days to Happiness. Each day of the [...]

By |2024-05-21T09:07:55-04:00May 21st, 2024|Happiness Tips, Leadership Tips|Comments Off on Get Ready for Summer: Update Your Goals and Make Time for Joy

4 Steps to Introduce Change Successfully

4 Steps to Introduce Change Successfully Introducing change successfully doesn’t happen by accident. Gartner, a research and advisory group, estimates that only about 34 percent of change is successfully implemented, with an additional 16 percent reporting mixed results. Those aren’t the best odds. Using a little organization and some other vital strategies will boost your likelihood of being among the 34 percent who report success with implementing changes on their team. Here are 4 steps to introduce change successfully. 1. Acknowledge the Need for Change. The first step in introducing a change is understanding why it is necessary. What issue will a change improve? What happens if the problem remains unaddressed? Most importantly, how does the change impact the individuals on your team? Remember, people will always want to know the “WIIFM”… What’s In It For Me? Many people find themselves intimidated by big changes. Change is risk; it feels unpredictable. Giving up the comfort of a routine can be hard. Understanding the need for change helps you communicate to your team why the new idea is positive. If your team has a clear vision of how a new practice will benefit them, they will be more likely to support it. Gaining that support is a critical component that will determine whether your change is successful. 2. Create a Plan with Your Team. Once your team clearly understands the reason for the change, it’s time to craft a plan. What are you asking your team to do differently? How will they accomplish these new tasks? If support and/or training is necessary, when and how will that take place? Map out a process for implementing the new procedure with them. If you involve them in the planning, it becomes “our change” instead of “your change”. Together, consider the team’s overall calendar as you decide when the change will occur. For example, it may make more sense to postpone a change for a short time if key team members will be out of the office on vacation or are nearing a critical deadline. 3. Implement the Change. Even when we do our best to anticipate all the possible outcomes, new processes can cause unexpected ripples impacting our team or customers in surprising ways. As you introduce the change, ensure you are available to answer questions or address unexpected effects of the new procedure. Check in regularly with your team members to see what’s working and address any concerns or questions they may have. 4. Evaluate the Results of the Change. Sometimes, change has quantifiable results with numbers that tell the story of its success or challenges. At other times, you’ll have to gather information from your team and customers about how the new process impacts them and addresses the issues that prompted the change. Consider your criteria for success. What was your highest priority outcome? Did the change make it possible to achieve that outcome? What has improved as a result of this change? If not, what new information have you learned [...]

By |2024-03-27T17:02:00-04:00March 27th, 2024|Leadership Tips|Comments Off on 4 Steps to Introduce Change Successfully

4 Reasons to Be Assertive at Work

4 Reasons to Be Assertive at Work Being assertive at work means voicing your opinions and ideas with confidence. Assertiveness helps us set boundaries and ask for what we need without being rude or combative. Communicating assertively increases job satisfaction and creates win-win situations with our coworkers. It also allows us to recognize our feelings and build honest relationships with teammates. Here are 4 more reasons to use assertive communication at work. 1. Keeps the Focus on Your Idea, Not You One common problem we face at work is thinking we’ve communicated an idea more effectively than we actually have. For instance, if you share an idea in a meeting or email, and the tone is too soft, your comment may get lost in the conversation. Your teammates may not recognize that you’re asking for or proposing something. On the other hand, if you pitch an idea too forcefully, the idea gets lost as people react more to your delivery than the idea itself. Assertive communication uses clear, direct speech to explain an idea, allowing the idea to hold centerstage for discussion. 2. Gives You a Sense of Empowerment Assertive communication provides you with tools to make your needs heard. It helps you zero in on what you will and will not do so that you can state that clearly. Setting boundaries offers you a sense of control and autonomy. That sense of empowerment makes a big difference in your happiness and resilience at work. 3. Helps You Earn Respect One of the critical components governing the level of respect you have at work is how often you do what you said you’d do in the time you promised to do it. Here’s where assertiveness comes in. If you cannot ask for the resources you need to complete your work, it won’t get done. Assertive communication gives you a vehicle to ask for those resources and clearly state what you can do so the team can plan accordingly and count on your contributions. Assertive communication also helps those in leadership to set priorities and expectations so that team members know which tasks to focus on and what to do if they encounter problems. 4. Reduces Stress No one likes feeling unheard or as though their needs never make the priority list. It’s true in family relationships, and it’s true on the job, too. If you feel unheard as a leader or team member, assertive communication can help you break through that wall. Learning to speak up and state what you need firmly and clearly allows your coworkers to adjust their expectations and offer the support that helps the whole team succeed. Knowing you have a path to being heard reduces stress and ensures you have a safety net in your ability to speak up. Expert Training on Assertiveness at Work Mastering the balance of speaking assertively without being rude can be tricky, but it’s a skill worth learning. Our Assertiveness workshop teaches communication and conflict resolution styles and how to [...]

By |2023-11-24T19:16:33-04:00August 9th, 2023|Leadership Tips|Comments Off on 4 Reasons to Be Assertive at Work

5 Ways to Increase Happiness in Your Employees

5 Ways to Increase Happiness in Your Employees Happiness at work is essential to today’s workforce. What’s especially great is the fact that happiness in your employees creates benefits for the company they work for, too. Happier employees complete their work faster and are more creative. They’re also less likely to quit their jobs, even if they’re offered more money somewhere else, according to this analysis from Gallup. Having happy employees doesn’t happen by accident; it doesn’t simply mean hiring people with a positive attitude. Fostering and maintaining happiness in your employees is a deliberate effort. Here are 5 ways you can create a work environment that increases employee happiness and delivers the benefits of a happy crew to you. 1. Set the Example of Happiness Start your day on a positive note. Think about something you’re looking forward to doing or experiencing at work today. Smile and greet your team members, and be as genuine as possible. Smiles, like happiness, are contagious, foster open communication, and help to lift the mood of the people you encounter. 2. Show Appreciation Make a point to recognize a job well done on a regular basis. The simple act of saying thank you and taking note of a team member doing well not only boosts their confidence and self-esteem but also sends a message to the other team members that you’re engaged and you notice their work. 3. Be Flexible Whenever Possible Offering employees choices about where and how they accomplish their work gives them a sense of control. Allowing them to choose their hours and break times also promotes a sustainable work-life balance and means they will be more focused and productive during the time they’ve set aside to work. 4. Create Comfortable Collaboration Spaces Having a comfortable in-person or virtual break room is a significant benefit for your team. It creates a space where employees can disconnect from work for a few moments and mentally reset, and it provides a space where team members can collaborate, solve problems, and build relationships—all activities that benefit the health and happiness of the whole team. 5. Communicate with Transparency What’s your vision for your team? How do your team members contribute to that vision? What are they doing that’s making a difference in the world? Talk to your employees about your organization’s bigger picture and how their work contributes to the overall goals. Giving them this insight helps them feel significant and invested in the outcome of their work. Expert Training on Happiness at Work It is not difficult to be happy at work and foster happiness in your employees. You simply need to know the guiding principles. Our Happiness and Performance workshop teaches the variables most often correlated with happiness, including the role of work itself. Deepen your understanding of what promotes job satisfaction and dissatisfaction and what to do for team members who want to be happy or happier. Contact us today to set up a training session on Happiness and Performance [...]

By |2023-11-24T19:17:28-04:00June 30th, 2023|Happiness Tips, Leadership Tips|Comments Off on 5 Ways to Increase Happiness in Your Employees

4 Great Ways to Boost Your Interpersonal Communication Skills

4 Great Ways to Boost Your Interpersonal Communication Skills Interpersonal communication refers to the methods we use to communicate thoughts, feelings, and needs to other people. On the job, this includes things like reporting the status of a task we’re working on, asking for information for a task or job, and resolving conflict between team members. When we think about communication, we often think of the messages we’re sending out using words, such as our verbal or written communication, but interpersonal communication includes so much more than that. There are four types of interpersonal communication: verbal, non-verbal, listening, and written. We use all four types of communication daily, even in a single meeting! Here are 4 ways you can boost your interpersonal communication skills so you can more quickly understand others and be understood. 1. Practice Active Listening Active listening sounds basic, and it is quite simple: listening with the goal of understanding what someone is saying. That said, it’s easier said than done and most of us need to improve this, especially in our fast-paced world. It means listening without thinking of your response or forming rebuttals. It means using your body language to signal attentiveness. To make sure you are truly listening, make sure to make eye contact, focus by removing notifications and distractions. If possible, take notes and ask questions to show that you are present and interested. 2. Use Assertive Communication Using assertive communication means speaking in a respectful way that is clear and direct. “I” statements can help you strike the balance between being direct and respectful. For example, “I need more time to complete this task” is better than, “You didn’t give me enough time to finish.” Instead of using words like “should” and “could”, try rephrasing with more positive words like “will” and “want”. Not only is this better communication, but it will also give you more of a sense of empowerment. There’s a big difference between, “I should get most of my emails answered today,” and “I want to reply to my important emails. I will do this by tomorrow end of day.” 3. Check Your Body Language Nonverbal communication makes up a big part of our conversations, whether we consciously realize it or not. We look for clues in our listeners that show they’re paying attention, understand what we’re saying, and clues to help us assess how they feel about our ideas. We also read the body language of people as they’re speaking to us. Maintaining eye contact tells listeners that you’re speaking directly to them. Good posture communicates that you have confidence in what you’re saying. On the other hand, crossed arms or legs tend to signal discomfort or resistance to the ideas in discussion. Looking down or away from the people you’re speaking with suggests distraction or insecurity. Checking in with your body before and during a conversation can help you make sure your unspoken conversation matches the words you’re saying and signals your confidence and connection with your [...]

By |2023-03-24T12:01:30-04:00March 24th, 2023|Leadership Tips|Comments Off on 4 Great Ways to Boost Your Interpersonal Communication Skills

5 Easy Tips for Giving Employee Feedback 

5 Easy Tips for Giving Employee Feedback Giving employee feedback is one of the key ways we train, reinforce, and communicate with our team members. Effective feedback motivates employees and increases their confidence in their job performance. It’s actually something team members consistently ask for on surveys about work satisfaction. Knowing how you’re doing, what you’re doing right, and what you can improve helps us feel connected to the job we do. It helps us understand how our contributions matter. And it helps build trust with our managers. Here are 5 easy tips for giving employee feedback to boost your team’s success. 1. Feedback Matters Focused feedback helps employees. Not only does it direct them to continue doing tasks in ways that are effective and beneficial, it also bolsters their confidence about the job they’re doing. A team member who has confidence about his role in the company is a happier employee. Happy employees work harder and stay with an employer longer. I know this may sound cheesy, but I still believe that “feedback is the breakfast of champions” because you can’t improve, if you don’t know what you could improve. 2. Frequency Matters It’s tempting to focus our efforts giving feedback on annual reviews, and those may be important tools. There are hundreds of workdays between those annual reviews, though. Employees will experience more consistent growth, more energy on the job, and more motivation when they receive feedback on a much more frequent basis. The new trend is more about frequent, on-the-spot, micro feedbacks. Ideally, more positive than negative if possible. Remember the chapter in The One-Minute Manager: “Catch Them Doing Something Right”! 3. Timing Matters Giving consistent employee feedback may take some time to get used to. We tend to get focused on tasks and deadlines more easily than on the people making those deadlines successful. To build a habit of offering regular feedback, identify some key moments where feedback doesn’t interrupt workflow or embarrass a team member. For example, one great opportunity for feedback is following a team meeting. If the feedback is relevant to the whole team, add it to the meeting agenda. If it’s specific to one team member or a small contingent of the group, ask those individuals to remain behind as the meeting closes. 4. Celebrate, Don’t Manipulate In his book, Nonviolent Communication, author and psychologist Marshall B. Rosenberg discusses his approach to expressing appreciation. His concern with some forms of positive feedback is that employees can lose their motivation if they feel that a manager or leader complimented them in order to manipulate them. Instead, he recommends expressing appreciation with three specific components. First, express what specific action the team member completed that made a positive difference. Next, explain how you felt in reaction to those actions. Last, this is how those actions met a need. The order is less important than ensuring the components of the appreciation are present. Remember authentic recognition creates a powerful boost to people’s morale. 5. Critical [...]

By |2023-03-24T12:02:34-04:00November 1st, 2022|Leadership Tips|Comments Off on 5 Easy Tips for Giving Employee Feedback 

5 Tips for Energy and Stress Management

5 Tips for Energy and Stress Management No matter how positive your outlook and how zen your mindset, it’s impossible for any of us never to encounter stress or fatigue. Unfortunately, experiencing some stress and fatigue is part of life. In truth, they’re part of what make the days we have great energy or feel calm and at peace so wonderful. The best solution is having strategies for energy and stress management in our arsenal to help on difficult days. Here are 5 great tips for energy and stress management. 1. Adapt Rather than Avoid It can be tempting to avoid stressful situations or choices by putting them off as long as possible. Avoiding the most challenging task on our to-do list or postponing that meeting with a challenging person might feel good in the moment. What it does, though, is give us more time to fret over the event. Pushing a meeting or task toward the end of the day can also mean asking ourselves to tackle the task when our resources have already been depleted by other work. Instead, use your natural energy rhythm to your advantage. What time of day do you feel the most energized and sharp? Schedule your most difficult task or meeting at that time. Or, schedule it first thing in the day, so you can get it over with early and move on to easier tasks afterward. At KCC, we call this “eating the frog”…inspired by Mark Twain. 2. Schedule a Stress Session If you’re struggling to keep worries and stress from intruding into your day, try scheduling a thirty-minute block of time to allow yourself to focus on what’s bothering you. It may seem counter-intuitive, but research shows that this actually helps us table anxiety and stress at other times of the day. It means we know we’ll have a chance to process those thoughts and worries at a specified time. You might find journaling to be a helpful way to quantify the things causing you stress. Writing a list may also help you identify solutions or ways to cope with some of the stressors you encounter. 3. Sweat it Out Exercise is a great way to work through stress. It gets our bodies moving, burns some of that anxious energy, and increases blood-flow to our brains. When we exercise, we’re also focusing parts of our brains on physical activity. We’re focused on balance, coordination, and breath. This gives other parts of our brains a rest, which can break that hamster-wheel cycle we sometimes fall into. If you don’t like exercising, try finding an active hobby or class to participate in. Consider joining a dance class, community sports team, or martial arts program. The goal is to get your body moving and have fun doing it! 4. Pursue Balance Is your work-play balance off lately? When we get stressed, it’s easy to withdraw from recreational activities without realizing we’re doing so. Feeling starved for recreation? Consider taking a day or afternoon off. [...]

By |2023-03-24T12:02:58-04:00July 13th, 2022|Leadership Tips|Comments Off on 5 Tips for Energy and Stress Management

5 Components of Successful Delegation

5 Successful Components of Delegation Delegation is one of the most critical skills you can learn as a leader. Not only does it effectively train your team and give them ownership of the work you’re doing together, but it’s like adding extra hours to your day. Delegation allows you to get multiple tasks on your to-do list completed at the same time. Considering handing over tasks to other team members can seem intimidating at first. The real process of delegating goes beyond simply asking a team member to add an item to their to-do list, though. Successful delegation involves five critical steps to ensure that the work you surrender gets done correctly, on time, and without a lot of hands-on time from you. Here are the 5 key components for successful delegation. 1. Give the job to someone who can get it done. The first step in delegating is, of course, actually asking someone else to take on the job for you. The right person must have time in their schedule. They don’t need to know how to complete the task already. What you’re looking for instead is someone who has access to the resources needed for the job. They may need training or coaching first, so factor that time into your plan. If the training takes a short time and the task is recurring, making the time to bring the employee up to speed makes a great investment. Try not to stress too much about this step in the process. Think of delegating like giving someone on your team a gift. You’re offering them a chance to increase their skills and improve their value to the team. 2. Communicate Precise Conditions of Satisfaction. One of the reasons people hesitate to delegate their work is worries about the task being completed incorrectly or remaining unfinished. The best way to combat this issue is with clear communication of expectations. Be sure to outline the deadline, budget, context, deliverables and any special circumstances. Ask your teammate to summarize to you what they heard you ask for. This helps ensure that you communicated your needs effectively and that they feel confident. Also make sure you clarify how you both want to handle any questions they may have about the task. Do you want them to bring those questions to you? In person? Email? Is there a different person on the team who has expertise who would also be a good resource if you’re unavailable to answer questions? Putting all of these expectations in writing is a good idea, too. That way you can both refer back to the document or email and see specifically what was discussed. Depending on memory alone can get dicey, especially when we’re juggling lots of other tasks or projects. 3. Work out a plan. If the project or task that you’re delegating is simple, then this step may be very easy. If it’s a multi-step process, you may need to spend a little more time breaking down the [...]

By |2022-05-09T16:38:45-04:00May 9th, 2022|Leadership Tips|Comments Off on 5 Components of Successful Delegation

5 Great Time and Priority Management Tips

5 Great Time and Priority Management Tips Effective time and priority management can make a huge difference in our effectiveness and ability to achieve critical goals. Taking on too many tasks or not having clearly outlined goals can make it difficult to actually be productive. Identifying your goals and limiting your daily to do list can help you get things done in a more focused, effective way. Deciding which tasks can be delegated or postponed helps ensure that you’re spending the bulk of your time on the things you need to do today. Time management is all about how to work smarter rather than harder. It’s how to be busy for the right reasons so that you can rest and relax at the end of the day. Priority management means deciding which tasks are the most urgent & important and require your specific abilities versus which things can wait or be delegated to another team member. Having a good understanding of both techniques will help you reach your goals and achieve the work-play balance we’re all looking for. Here are 5 great tips to boost your time and priority management skills today. 1. Identify Your Goals If you don’t know where you’re headed, you’ll probably never get there, right? No matter what industry you’re in, your company and your team should have quantifiable goals written down and communicated to all team members. When you understand how your role fits into the company’s goals, you’ll know how to be most effective at your position within the organization. 2. Set Reasonable Limits on Your Daily Tasks by Picking Your Frogs! How many tasks can you reasonably accomplish in a day? A lot of this depends on the kind of job you have and your ability to manage interruptions. If you don’t already, write a to-do list for yourself each morning with a few (no more than 5) tasks on it that you want to get done in a day. At KCC, we call these your “frogs”. Do a little bit of analysis. On average, how many tasks do you finish in a single day? Are there certain days you consistently get more or fewer tasks done? Maybe Mondays are meeting-heavy, so you usually only get to 1 or 2 other things, but you notice that Wednesdays tend to be your most productive days when you get 4 or 5 things done. Adjust your limits according to your own data. If you rarely, if ever, check more than 4 items off your to-do list in a day, set a new limit for yourself of only committing to 4 tasks per day. This will help reduce your stress level and help you set realistic goals and deadlines for yourself and your team. 3. Tackle Most Urgent and Important Tasks First As you look at your goals and assigned tasks for the month, week, and day, sort them by which tasks are the most to least urgent and most to least important. There are lots [...]

By |2022-02-15T18:25:41-04:00February 15th, 2022|Leadership Tips|Comments Off on 5 Great Time and Priority Management Tips

Get a Fresh Start with These Tips for Managing a Hybrid Team

Get a Fresh Start with These Tips for Managing a Hybrid Team The new year is the perfect time to create a fresh start and update your skills in managing a hybrid team. You may have practices that used to fit your team that simply don’t work well today. We live in a new world in which employees may be at home, in the office, or some combination of both. From time to time, we all need to reevaluate our performance and change what we’re doing to meet new challenges and opportunities. Turning the calendar to a new year is a perfect time to freshen up our management approach with some new strategies for today’s agile teams. Here are 4 tips for sharpening your effectiveness as a leader and help in managing a hybrid team. 1. Communication is Key Whether your team works on site or remotely, one of the best ways to maintain a cohesive, productive team is to clearly communicate how you want things to operate. Be sure your preferences are clear as far as what types of issues or communications should be handled via an email versus scheduling a meeting. Make sure your team understands which projects have top priority, and any changes to the scope or deadline to your team’s work. Some hybrid team leaders have opted to have daily standups or check-in meetings at the start of each day. While that approach may not be right for every team, pay attention to the needs of your crew. While extroverted personalities are energized by spending time together (even virtually), introverted workers may find too many meetings to be disruptive and inhibit workflow. One approach for managing a hybrid team that fosters clear communication is to set an agenda for each meeting and send it out beforehand. If your team members review the agenda and determine they do not need to attend, they can skip some meetings and continue working. 2. Combat Natural Bias One issue faced by hybrid teams and their leadership is a natural bias toward members who work on campus. It’s sort of like the expression, “Out of sight, out of mind.”. We naturally think that team members who are in the office (whom we can visually see working) are more productive than team members who are working remotely, when this is probably not true. Managing a hybrid team effectively means you’ll need to work to correct that natural imbalance by connecting with your remote team members. Set regular one-on-one calls or video chats to briefly check in with them. Making sure they have what they need can go a long way toward making team members feel supported and valued. It also keeps their contributions to your overall team present in your mind as you lead. 3. Create Connections Leaders do so much more than herd a project toward completion by a specific deadline. They’re responsible for finding ways to pull a team of people together so that the resulting sum is greater than [...]

By |2022-01-18T13:09:29-04:00January 18th, 2022|Leadership Tips|Comments Off on Get a Fresh Start with These Tips for Managing a Hybrid Team

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