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Giving Space to Grow

A good leader knows how to strike the perfect balance between offering guidance and giving their team the space they need to grow. On the one hand, a leader needs to be able to step in and provide direction when their team is struggling. But on the other hand, a leader also needs to know when to take a step back and let their team members take the lead. The best leaders can read the situation and adjust their approach accordingly. They know when to offer a helping hand and when to let their team find their way. As a result, they foster an environment where everyone can thrive and reach their full potential.

Effective Leaders Are Behind the Scenes

Leaders come in all shapes and sizes. Some are extroverts who enjoy being in the spotlight, while others are introverts who prefer to stay in the background. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to leadership style. However, research has shown that influential leaders often have one thing in common: they let their team do the work. When employees feel empowered to take ownership of their work, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated.

Additionally, allowing team members to shine will enable leaders to take a step back and focus on the big picture. Of course, this doesn’t mean that leaders should be hands-off. Instead, they must balance giving guidance and letting their team take the lead. By doing so, they can create an environment where everyone has the chance to thrive.

Failure is a natural part of life – how you deal with it makes the difference

Failure is a natural part of life – how you deal with it makes the difference

Failure is a natural part of life, but how you deal with it makes all the difference. Think of any successful leader, public figure, or entrepreneur – they will all have experienced failure at some point in their lives. What sets them apart is their ability to pick themselves up and keep going, despite the setbacks. When you view failure as an opportunity to learn and grow, it can help to fuel your success. Instead of seeing it as a setback, use it as a springboard to reach your goals. Embrace your mistakes, and use them as a tool for learning and development.

The critical takeaway is learning and development. The mistakes of the past are not in vain if you gain a valuable lesson.

It is often said that we learn from our mistakes. Without making mistakes, we would remain stagnant, never challenged to improve ourselves. Of course, this does not mean that making mistakes is enjoyable. It can be downright painful. But if we can view our mistakes as opportunities for personal growth, we can begin to see them in a new light.

They will no longer be viewed as failures but as valuable experiences that have taught us important lessons.

We are not born with every answer. Who we are results from years of planning, growth, and failure to meet expectations. Fueling us to do better, be better, and accomplish more.

Holidays and Gratitude

The holiday season is supposed to be a time of happiness, reflection, and gratitude. But what happens when the holidays are tough, and we don’t feel grateful? For many of us, the holiday season is a time of stress and anxiety. We worry about buying the perfect gifts, attending all the holiday parties, and ensuring everything is perfect. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle and forget what the holidays are about. But even when the holidays are tough, there are still things to be grateful for. We can be grateful for our health, family and friends, and ability to persevere through difficult times. The holiday season is when we can come together and support each other. So even if we don’t feel grateful at first, let’s remember what the holidays are about. Maybe we can find some gratitude after all.

Quiet Quitting Isn’t New

Quiet Quitting Isn’t New

What it is and what leaders can do about it.

The new term that seems to be dominating the leadership world may not be all that new. Quiet Quitting, as it is referred to, has been around for many years. We used to call it “checked out.” It has also been referred to as “retired on duty,” disengaged, or a lack of ownership. Regardless, there are several reasons behind it. Don’t get caught up in learning new nomenclature for an old problem. Employees become disengaged for numerous reasons: some personal and some professional. It is the responsibility of the leader to get employees back on track.

What is engagement, and why should we care about it in the workplace

Engagement is a term that is often used in the human resources field, but it can be challenging to define. Engagement refers to employees’ level of interest and investment in their work. When employees are engaged, they are more likely to be motivated, productive, and committed to their organization. There are several reasons why engagement is essential in the workplace. First, engaged employees are more likely to be high performers. They are also more likely to stay with their organization, which can save money on turnover costs. Finally, engaged employees can help create a positive work environment that attracts other top talents. In short, engagement is essential for both individual and organizational success.

Factors that contribute to a lack of engagement

Leadership is one of the most critical factors in employee engagement. After all, employees will naturally be more engaged with their work if they feel that their leaders are supportive and invested in their success. However, many other factors can contribute to a lack of engagement. For example, monotonous or repetitive work can quickly lead to boredom, while a lack of opportunity for growth or development can make employees feel stuck in a rut. A poor work-life balance can also leave employees feeling burned out and stressed. By understanding the various factors contributing to a lack of engagement, employers can create a more positive and productive work environment.

How can leaders create an environment where employees are more engaged

Leadership has always been about creating an environment where employees can thrive. But what does that mean, exactly? And how can leaders create an environment where employees are more engaged?

First, it’s essential to understand what employee engagement is. Employee engagement is the level of commitment and investment that employees have in their work. When employees are engaged, they’re more likely to be productive, creative, and loyal to their employer. They’re also more likely to stay with the company for extended periods.

So, how can leaders create an environment where employees are more engaged? There are a few key things that they can do:

1. Create a culture of ownership: Employees who feel they have a stake in the company are more likely to be engaged with their work. Leaders can create this feeling by allowing employees to make decisions and take ownership of projects.

2. Encourage collaboration: Collaborative workplaces are more likely to be innovative and productive. Leaders can encourage collaboration by promoting open communication and encouraging teamwork.

3. Support growth and development: Employees who feel they’re growing and developing in their roles are more likely to be engaged. Leaders can support this by providing training and development opportunities and giving employees autonomy to pursue their goals.

4. Recognize and reward achievement: Everyone likes to feel appreciated for their hard work. Leaders can show appreciation by recognizing and rewarding employees for their accomplishments. This could include financial bonuses, paid time off, or public recognition.

5. Foster a positive culture: A positive workplace culture is one of the most critical factors in employee engagement. Leaders can foster a positive culture by promoting respect, fairness, and inclusion in the workplace.

By implementing these strategies, leaders can create an environment where employees are more engaged with their work and are more likely to stick around for the long haul.

Strategies for increasing employee engagement

Employee engagement is crucial for any organization that wants to succeed. An engaged workforce is more productive, innovative, and committed to the company’s success. However, employee engagement is often easier said than done. How can you ensure that your employees are truly engaged in their work? Here are a few strategies to consider:

First, it’s vital to have strong leadership that engages employees and sets the tone for the entire organization. Leaders need to be clear about the company’s vision and values and communicate these effectively to all employees. They also need to create an environment where employees feel supported and valued and have growth opportunities.

Second, communication is critical. There need to be open lines of communication between leaders and employees so that employees feel like they can give feedback and be heard. It’s also essential to keep employees informed about what’s happening in the company to feel like they’re part of the larger picture.

Finally, growth opportunities are essential for keeping employees engaged. Employees who feel stuck in a dead-end job are likely to become disengaged. But if they have opportunities to develop their skills and advance their careers, they’re more likely to stay engaged and committed to the company.

Employee engagement is essential for organizational success. Implementing these strategies can increase employee engagement in your company today.

The benefits of having an engaged workforce

Having an engaged workforce has countless benefits. For one, engagement leads to improved job satisfaction and decreased turnover rates. Studies have shown that engaged employees are more productive, take fewer sick days, and are more likely to stay with their current employer. In addition, engagement also leads to better customer satisfaction. When employees feel supported and valued, they are more likely to go above and beyond for customers, leading to increased sales and customer loyalty. Finally, engaged employees are more likely to foster a positive work environment. When people feel good about coming to work daily, they are more likely to cooperate with others and create a positive culture. In short, there are plenty of good reasons to strive for an engaged workforce. So if you’re not already doing so, it’s time to start!

In today’s workplace, it is more important than ever to have employees who are engaged in their work. Engaged employees are passionate and committed to their job, and as a result, they tend to be more productive and create better outcomes for the company. Many factors contribute to a lack of engagement in the workplace, but fortunately, there are also several strategies leaders can use to create an environment where employees are more likely to be engaged. Some of these strategies include providing clear direction, offering opportunities for growth and development, communicating effectively, and demonstrating appreciation. The benefits of having an engaged workforce are significant and well worth the effort required to improve employee engagement levels within your organization.

How To Regain Control Of Your Schedule And Get Your Life Organized

How To Regain Control Of Your Schedule And Get Your Life Organized

The demands of being a first responder leader can be overwhelming. You are constantly needed by others and are expected to be available at a moment’s notice. This leaves little room for anything else, let alone time to focus on your well-being. It’s no wonder that so many leaders burn out. But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can regain control of your schedule and organize your life with simple tips.

Wake Up Early

One of the best ways to get ahead of the game is to wake up early. Use those extra morning hours to plan your day, catch up on emails, or take some time for yourself. Not a morning person? No problem. Just set your alarm for 5 minutes earlier than you usually would and work your way up to waking up at least an hour before you need to leave for work. You’ll be surprised at how much you can accomplish when you start your day with a clear head.

Create A Daily Schedule

Another way to regain control of your time is by creating a daily schedule and sticking to it as much as possible. Of course, there will always be days when things come up, and you have to deviate from the schedule, but having one in place will help you stay on track the rest of the time. Be sure to include buffer time in your program if something arises. That way, you won’t fall behind because you didn’t consider the unexpected.

Take Time For Yourself

Remember that you can’t pour from an empty cup. To be effective in your role, you need to care for yourself mentally and physically. Make sure to schedule some “me” time into your day, even if it’s just for 15-20 minutes. During that time, do something that brings you joy or relaxes you. This could be reading, walking, listening to music, or other things. The important thing is that you make time for yourself every day to recharge and be ready to face whatever comes your way.

Conclusion

Being a first responder leader is demanding, but it doesn’t have to consume your entire life. Following these simple tips, you can regain control of your schedule and organize your life.

The Power of Sacrifice in Leadership

The Power of Sacrifice in Leadership

As a leader, you are always looking for ways to motivate and inspire your team. You want them to follow you into battle, no matter the odds. And one of the best ways to do that is by being willing to sacrifice your time, effort, and energy. You will earn their respect and loyalty by showing your team that you are eager to do whatever it takes to achieve success. And that is the foundation upon which great teams are built.

The Importance of Sacrifice in Leadership

When you are willing to sacrifice your own time and resources for the good of the team, it sends a strong message that you are committed to their success. It shows that you are not just paying lip service to the idea of teamwork; you are willing to put in the hard work and make the sacrifices necessary to make it happen. And when your team sees that, they will be more likely to follow your lead.

Of course, sacrifice is not easy. It requires a lot of time and effort and can be physically and emotionally draining. But as a leader, you must be willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. If you can show your team that you are eager to make those sacrifices, they will be more likely to do the same.

Making Sacrifices for Your Team

So how can you go about making sacrifices for your team? Here are a few ideas:

– Put in extra hours when necessary

– Go above and beyond your regular duties

– Take on additional projects

– Be there for your team members when they need you

– Offer words of encouragement during difficult times

– Celebrate successes together

– Help out with personal problems

As a leader, it is essential to be willing to make sacrifices for the good of your team. You will earn their respect and loyalty by showing your team that you are committed to their success and by being willing to put in the hard work and make the sacrifices necessary to make it happen. And that is the foundation upon which great teams are built.

The Hidden Sacrifices

Not all sacrifices made on behalf of the team are outwardly visible. Some sacrifices require more than the obvious. They require letting go while simultaneously holding on.

I’m talking about emotional vulnerability.

Each of us has a background story that shaped us into who we are. Yet, increasingly I see leaders trying to hide this part of their lives. They act as if their lives are perfect, the way we expect them to be. When was the last time that you, as a leader, were willing to show the not-so-glamorous parts of your life?

But this is not the reality of leadership today. Modern teams need leaders who can open up, show vulnerability, and demonstrate that there’s more to them than just what meets the eye. After all, genuine authenticity is only possible when you’re willing to be vulnerable.

So if you’re ready to make sacrifices for your team by embracing your vulnerabilities, don’t be afraid to let your guard down. Show them who you are, and watch as they grow closer and more connected than ever before. Because that’s when real change and growth can begin to take root, and authentic leadership happens.

Know Your Neighbor

Know Your Neighbor

Your living room and bedroom are your sanctuaries. But we all have to share our yards with the neighbors. The yard is the image we created and chose to share with the world.

Luckily, taking care of the yard can be a great way to get to know your neighbors better. You’re bound to run into your neighbors occasionally when you’re out mowing the lawn or trimming the hedges. Instead of just giving them a wave and moving on, take a moment to stop and chat. Ask them about their day or their weekend plans. You may be surprised at how much you have in common.

While retreating can be easier, parts of our lives are still forward-facing. We interact with customers and coworkers each day. Our stakeholders are what drive innovation.

How can we apply this to the workplace?

In many ways, the workplace is like our yards. We share common spaces with our coworkers and want to ensure that those spaces are well-kept and presentable. But just like with our neighbors, we often don’t take the time to get to know our coworkers as well as we should.

Leaders are different than bosses. Bosses hide in their offices and think that if they’re doing their job, everyone else should be too. But that’s not always the case. Your employees are people too, with their own lives and problems. If you take the time to get to know them, you may find that you have more in common than you thought. You may even be able to help them with their problems.

When you’re out and about in the workplace, stop for just one minute – no matter where or what task has called your attention–to chat with each person about their experiences this week; ask questions if needed! You might be surprised at how much closer you become due to taking the time to get to know your coworkers on an individual level. You’ll find that it makes working together more enjoyable and helps create new avenues where problems can quickly resolved because everyone involved knows precisely who is looking into things from different angles.

Benefits of Mentorship

Benefits of Mentorship

Becoming a mentor can benefit both the mentor and the mentee. Mentors often enjoy a sense of satisfaction from helping others reach their potential. In addition, mentoring can help keep you sharp and up-to-date on industry trends, as you constantly learn new things from your mentee. And finally, as a mentor, you develop essential networking connections that could lead to future opportunities.

Sounds great, right? Yet, I am frequently asked how to get started when discussing mentorship. Most companies boast mentorship abilities yet, have no official guidebook on where to start.

What is a mentor?

A mentor is a professional willing to offer a mentee career advice and leadership skills. The mentor’s responsibilities include meeting with the mentee regularly, providing support and guidance, and answering any questions the mentee may have. Some common yet unsurprising questions mentors are asked include:

  • – How can I change careers?
  • – Should I go to graduate school?
  • – How do I network?
  • – What are the best ways to market myself?
  • – How do I negotiate a salary?
  • – What should I wear for my job interview?

What’s in it for me?

The benefits of being a mentor are many. Mentors often enjoy a sense of satisfaction from helping others reach their potential. In addition, mentoring can help keep you sharp and up-to-date on industry trends, as you constantly learn new things from your mentee. And finally, as a mentor, you develop essential networking connections that could lead to future opportunities.

Mentors have the opportunity to develop essential networking connections with other professionals in their industry. These connections could lead to future options, such as job openings or business partnerships. In addition, mentorship relationships often result in solid friendships that last for many years. According to a study by the National Mentoring Partnership, mentored youth are 52% more likely to enroll in college and are almost twice as likely to be employed.

How do I become a mentor?

There are several ways to become a mentor. The best way to find out how to become one is by contacting your local chapter of The Association for Talent Development (ATD). They will be able to provide you with more information on becoming a mentor and connect you with other professionals in your area who are also mentors. You can also search online for resources that cater specifically to mentoring relationships. Many websites and articles offer tips on how to be an effective mentor.

How do I find the right mentee?

The best way to find a mentee is by networking with people in your industry or field. You can also reach out to professional organizations or schools that offer programs for mentor-mentee relationships. Once you have found a few potential mentees, setting up an initial meeting is crucial to get to know each other and see if there is a good fit. During this meeting, you should discuss expectations, goals, and commitments. It is also essential to ensure that you are both on the same page in terms of frequency and duration of meetings and communication style.

What to do during the mentoring process?

During the mentoring relationship, meeting regularly and discussing both the mentor’s and mentee’s goals is essential. The mentor should offer support and guidance while allowing the mentee to take charge of their career development. It is also vital to provide feedback and be available to answer any questions the mentee may have. In addition, the mentor should help the mentee develop a network of professionals in their industry.

Possible challenges of being a mentor

While being a mentor can be an enriching experience, some challenges come with the territory. One challenge is finding the time to commit to regular meetings and discussions. Another challenge is dealing with difficult personalities or situations. For example, if a mentee is going through a career transition, they may feel frustrated or anxious. Mentors must be patient and understanding while providing honest feedback and guidance.

Mentoring can be an advantageous experience for both the mentor and mentee. It is an opportunity to learn new things, gain essential industry connections, and make a difference in someone’s career. If you are thinking about becoming a mentor, reach out to your local ATD chapter or search online for resources on how to get started.

Mental Health and Mentorship

Mentorship is also an excellent way for people to gain access to mental health services. Many times, people do not feel comfortable seeking help from a professional or may not have access to mental health services. A mentor can provide emotional support and guidance during difficult times. They can also offer advice on how to deal with mental health issues. In addition, mentors can connect their mentees with resources such as therapy or medication if needed.

The benefits of mentorship are vast and diverse. Mentors have the opportunity to learn new things, make valuable connections within their industry, and provide guidance and support to those who need it most – all while improving their own and their mentee’s mental well-being in the process.

You can’t do it alone

You can’t do it alone

Years ago, I stumbled upon a book titled Dumb Luck and the Kindness of Strangers. Despite the fact that the book is primarily about fly-fishing, the title of the book has long since stuck with me.

The simple fact in life is that we need other people. We were not meant to live a life of solitude simply. In order to be the best versions of ourselves, we need a little help along the way.

That is why it is so important to surround yourself with a supportive network of family and friends. These are the people who will help you through the tough times and celebrate with you during the good times. But it doesn’t stop there. If there is anything I have learned in my professional career, it is that anything that needs to get done almost always relies upon knowing who the right person to call is.

Investment is the only way to guarantee the person on the other end will take your call. Investment in them, yourself, and the relationship between the two of you. All relationships require a give and take. At the end, keep the scorecard balanced in a way that you are always willing to give a little more than you take. When the balance begins to sway the other way, you become known as “the person who only calls when you need something.” That is not the type of person anyone wants to be.

So the next time you feel overwhelmed or like you can’t do something alone, remember that you don’t have to. There is always someone who is willing to help – you just have to be willing to ask for it. And when you are in a position to help someone else, do it with enthusiasm and without expecting anything in return.

Through a little dumb luck and other people’s kindness, we can accomplish anything.

Building a culture of command

In any organization, the ability to command and lead is essential for success. But creating a culture of commanders within an organization can be difficult, especially if the company is large and decentralized. A strong command culture starts at the top, with a clear and concise vision from the CEO and leadership team. From there, it must be communicated effectively to all company members, down to the lowest levels. Everyone will be working towards the same goals and achieving great things.

What is a culture of command?

A culture of command is a term used to describe an organization where everyone is clear on their role and responsibilities and is working together towards a common goal. It’s essential to ensure that everyone in the company is on the same page and aligned with its vision.

A strong command culture starts at the top, with a clear and concise vision from the CEO and leadership team. This vision must be communicated to all employees, and everyone must buy into it. Leadership must lead by example and be held accountable for their actions. Being held responsible sets a clear example to the organization of what behaviors will or will not be tolerated. Leaders cannot allow the “do as I say, not as I do” mentality to infiltrate the organization.

When everyone in the organization is working towards the same goal, it creates a sense of unity and purpose. This can be a powerful motivating force for employees. It can also help create a more positive work environment, as employees feel like they are part of something larger than themselves.

Build the Culture of Command

A culture of command takes time to develop, but it is essential for any organization that wants to succeed. Leadership must be committed to building this culture from the ground up and setting the tone for the organization. With a strong vision and leadership team in place, an organization can begin to build a culture of command that will help them achieve its goals.

Let Go.

The first step in building a culture of command is letting go. The C-level executives must be able to let go of control. There are numerous layers of organizational hierarchy in place for a reason. Use it to your advantage. Businesses fail when decision-making ability is removed from mid-level management teams. The executives at the top need to trust their employees to make the right decisions.

Empower your employees by giving them the ability to make decisions. Allow for creativity and risk-taking. Encourage out-of-the-box thinking. You will breed a culture of leaders who are not afraid to take risks and innovate when you do this.

Communicate

The second phase of building a culture of command begins with communication. Leadership teams cannot work in silos. Each section of an organization must be aware of what other sections are working on. Daily meetings of team leaders may seem mundane. However, the insight and experience gained by the collective group are invaluable.

During these meetings, everyone must be allowed to share their ideas openly. Leadership must be willing to listen to new and different perspectives. By embracing change and encouraging creativity, an organization can foster a culture of innovation. This is essential for any organization that wants to stay ahead of the curve.

Encouraging creativity does not mean that leadership should allow chaos to reign. There must still be structure and order within the organization. However, by being open to new ideas and ways of doing things, an organization can tap into a wealth of knowledge and experience that they may not have had access to before.

Realize the Potential

Allowing employees to own their work can have a number of benefits for an organization. When employees feel like they are part of the team and that their input is valued, they are more likely to be productive and take pride in their work.

Giving employees ownership also allows them to take risks and be creative. This can lead to new and innovative ideas that can help the organization move forward. When employees feel like they are a part of the decision-making process, they are more likely to be invested in the outcome.

Finally, allowing employees to own their work helps to create a sense of community and teamwork. When everyone feels like they are working together towards a common goal, it can help to improve morale and foster a positive work environment.

Are we on the same page?

The impact of vision cannot be understated. When we communicate to our entire workforce the vision of the organization, we keep everyone in tune with the expectations of progress. A vision should be laid out to where you see the organization in the long term. Not specifically how to get there, but the clear direction of what the outcome should be.

If you’re building a house, the elements that you want in the house should be included in the vision—the number of rooms, rough layout, size, pool, etcetera. Let the management teams, now commanders, decide how to get there. Allow creativity to foster in the environment. Continue to communicate your vision for the organization. Keep everyone locked on the outcome and push the organization forward.

Conclusion

An organization cannot achieve success without a strong leadership team in place. This is especially true when it comes to creating and fostering a culture of innovation. In order for an organization to move forward, the executives at the top must be able to let go of control and trust their employees to make the right decisions. Communication is key, and leaders must be willing to listen to new perspectives in order to foster creativity within the workforce. Allowing employees to own their work helps create a sense of community and teamwork, which can improve morale and productivity. By realizing the potential that a culture of commanders can have, an organization can tap into a wealth of knowledge and experience that they may not have had access to before.

On Evaluating Progress

In ancient Greek philosophy, Plato’s Allegory of the Cave is a story that describes people who are chained inside a cave and can only see shadows cast on the wall. The shadows represent what they perceive as reality. These people tell each other that these shadows are real things. They believe in them more than anything else. Those outside of the cave, who have seen reality with their own eyes, know better and try to convince those chained inside to come out into the light and see how wrong they are about what is true and what isn’t. But this doesn’t work because those inside don’t want to leave their comfortable place where they feel secure. After all, “they know” everything there is to know while believing nothing could be better than what they have.

The problem with this story is that it’s not just a story. It’s an allegory for the human condition. We are all like the people in the cave, perceiving shadows on the wall and believing them to be reality. And, just like the people in the cave, we don’t want to leave our comfort zone because we’re afraid of what we might find out.

What is real?

The only way to break out of this cycle is to challenge our beliefs and ideas about what is real and what isn’t. We need to be willing to question everything we think we know and be open to the possibility that we could be wrong. Only then can we start to see reality for what it is.

We can question what we think we know by examining our proclamations and asking ourselves if they stand up to scrutiny. If you think back to five years ago, there is a chance that the thoughts and beliefs you held then are no longer valid. You have progressed.

We see this routinely when we think back to our twenties or even teen years. We say things like, “I wish I would have known then what I know now.” We are not the same people we were then. We have a different perspective now.

We change as we experience more of life. Our perspectives change as we learn new information and grow in our understanding. This is progress.

It can be difficult to evaluate our progress because it’s not always easy to see how far we’ve come. We may not realize how much we’ve changed until we look back on our old beliefs and ideas and see how different they are from our current ones. But it’s important to try to do this to see just how much progress we’ve made and how much further we still have to go.

We have a habit as a species of evaluating ourselves from where we think we should be. When we think in this manner, we are thinking from the end backward. Memento Mori, which means “remember you will die” in Latin, is a way of thinking that can help us remember our mortality and appreciate the time we have been given.

It allows us to see that each day is a gift and not a right. It’s a reminder that our time is limited, and we need to make the most of it. It helps us focus on what’s important and not get caught up in things that don’t matter.

Most importantly, in the context of evaluating our progress, it eliminates us from thinking about how much further we have to go. While reading this, you could die from an aneurism where you think your endpoint should suddenly become irrelevant.

Instead, evaluate yourself on how far you have come. Not compared to anyone else. Not compared to where you think you should be. But, actual evidence is proof of the gap between where you started and where you are now.

This is progress. And, it’s the only thing that matters.

If you feel stuck or like you’re not making the progress you want to be, take a step back and look at how far you’ve come. You’ll be surprised by just how much progress you have made. And once you see it, you can use it as motivation to keep going.

On Favorite Days and Challenges

I’m sure many things made up your favorite day from the past week, but I’ll bet one of them was an activity that stuck out above the rest. Think about what activities come to mind when thinking back on a great time in the past week.

Your favorite activity from the past week was probably something that challenged you and made you feel good. Maybe you rode your bike for the first time in years or cooked a complicated recipe from scratch. Whatever it was, it gave you a sense of accomplishment and made you feel good about yourself. And that’s precisely what we need to do more to improve ourselves.

We need to be challenged.

Too often, we get stuck In the game of complacency. We sit around waiting for things to happen to us rather than actively pursuing the life we want to live. We become content with just getting by, and our days start to blur together into one big, indistinguishable mass. But if we’re going to live our best lives truly, we need to find ways to regularly push ourselves out of our comfort zones.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that we need to put ourselves in danger or do something that makes us unhappy. But it does mean that we should challenge ourselves intellectually, physically, and emotionally on a regular basis. By doing so, we keep ourselves sharp and prevent ourselves from becoming stagnant.

As Marcus Aurelius pointed out, “The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.” In other words, it’s far better to challenge ourselves and fail than it is to play it safe and never truly experience life.

When was the last time you felt happy?

Ask yourself an honest question. When was the last time you felt happy?

Chances are, it was during some period of growth. The combination of humility and eagerness to learn allowed you to accomplish something great, and in the process, you found joy.

Humility is needed to acknowledge we are still a work in progress. Eagerness to learn is needed to improve upon our position continually. The key is not to dwell or obsess about becoming happy. Arthur Schopenhauer said it best:

“The two enemies of human happiness are pain and boredom.”

Focus on the process, not the result.

The problem with constantly seeking out new challenges is that we can become so focused on the outcome that we forget to enjoy the journey. We get so caught up in our destination that we forget to appreciate the view along the way. We become fixated on summiting the mountain instead of enjoying the climb.

It’s important to remember that life is a journey, not a destination. The goal is to enjoy the ride, not just arrive at the finish line. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. Our natural tendency is to focus on what lies ahead, which can often lead to anxiety and stress.

It’s not about winning or losing.

In our culture, we tend to see life as a competition. We’re constantly comparing ourselves to others and striving to be the best. We keep score of our successes and failures, and we define ourselves by our victories and defeats.

But what if we stopped seeing life as a competition? What if we stopped trying to win or lose and just focused on enjoying the game? Would we be happier? Would we be less stressed? I think the answer is yes.

Growth is not a straight line. It’s full of zig-zags and starts and stops. But if we want to experience true happiness, we need to be okay with embracing the chaos.

The Problem With Unsolicited Advice

There’s a phrase in the English language that many people have come to despise. It’s known as “unsolicited advice.” You know what I’m talking about, right? When someone tells you something they think is important for you to know, but it isn’t asked for and can be challenging to hear. It often feels like an attack on who we are and how we live our lives.

This type of advice is most commonly given by well-meaning friends or family members who think they know what’s best for us. They see us struggling with something and want to help, but their help isn’t always welcome. It can often make things worse.

So, why do people give unsolicited advice? There are a few reasons. First, they may not be aware that their advice isn’t welcome. They may genuinely believe they’re helping and that you’ll be grateful for their input. Second, they may have your best interests at heart but don’t know how to express it in a helpful way. And third, they may be trying to control the situation or the outcome. Regardless of the reason, unsolicited advice is rarely helpful and can often be harmful.

If you’re on the receiving end of unsolicited advice, you can do a few things to manage the situation. First, try to understand the intent behind the advice. It may be easier to hear if it’s coming from a place of love and concern. If it’s coming from a place of control, it may be harder to take. Second, you can express your gratitude for the person’s concern but let them know that you don’t need or want their advice. This can be difficult to do, but it’s important to be assertive. And finally, you can redirect the conversation to something else.

Let’s be real for a moment.

None of the above should apply. Right? After all, we didn’t want the advice to begin with. So, what is the big deal if we shrug it off?

The problem is, when we get unsolicited advice, it often feels like an attack. And when we feel attacked, our natural reaction is to defend ourselves. But this defense mechanism can often make the situation worse. Even more troubling, our natural defenses may make it seem like we did something incorrectly. Trust me, that is not the case here.

When we try to understand the intent behind the advice, we give the person who gave us the unsolicited advice the benefit of the doubt. We assume that they had good intentions, even if their execution was poor. This assumption can help diffuse the situation and allow us to see the advice for what it may have been intended to be: helpful.

Similarly, we are being assertive by expressing our gratitude for the concern but making it clear that we don’t want or need the advice. We are setting a boundary and making it clear that this person’s opinion will not control us. This assertiveness can help diffuse the situation and help the other person see that their advice is not welcome.

And finally, by redirecting the conversation to something else, we are taking control of the situation. We choose how to respond and what direction the conversation will go in. This can be a potent tool in managing unsolicited advice.

Giving advice:

The thing about giving advice, either solicited or unsolicited, is that it is rarely followed.

When we give advice, we offer our opinion on a situation or problem. And while our thought may be well-meaning and helpful, it is ultimately up to the person receiving the advice to decide whether or not to follow it. Just because we offer our opinion does not mean that the other person is obligated to take it.

This can be difficult to accept, especially when we are close to the person receiving the advice. We can offer our opinion and hope that they will choose to follow it. We want them to take our advice because we think it will help them, but ultimately it is their decision.

Our life experiences uniquely shape our opinions. Offering advice of any kind to someone else shows a lack of regard for what made them who they are today. Additionally, our opinions are filled with errors compared to our colleagues and friends.

If you find yourself in a position where you feel the need to give unsolicited advice, stop and consider why. Is it because you genuinely believe that your opinion is the only correct one? Or is it because you think that the other person is not capable of making their own decisions? If it’s the latter, then it’s time to have a conversation about why you think that way. Unsolicited advice is rarely helpful and can often be harmful.

When it comes to giving or receiving unsolicited advice, it’s important to remember that the other person always has the final say. Our opinion is just that- an opinion. And while our intentions may be good, it’s up to the person we’re giving the advice to whether or not they want to take it. We can diffuse potentially explosive situations and maintain healthy relationships with those around us by remembering this.

The Power of Philosophy in Leadership: Ethical Actions

What is leadership? Many people would say that it is the ability to get others to do what you want. But what if there was more to it than that? What if leadership was about using your knowledge and understanding of philosophy to help others achieve their goals? This blog post will explore the power of philosophy in leadership and discuss how leaders can benefit from its use.

Philosophy can be defined as the study of wisdom and knowledge. It is a system of thought that helps us critically think about the world around us and make better decisions. When it comes to leadership, philosophy can help leaders better understand their values and beliefs and those of their followers. It can also help leaders develop a more holistic view of leadership, which considers the needs of both the leader and the follower.

When considering the needs of followers, leaders can set themselves apart from other individuals. Leaders who use philosophy as a tool for leadership can see the big picture and make decisions based on what is best for the group, not just themselves. In addition, leaders who utilize philosophical thinking are better equipped to handle difficult situations and innovatively solve problems.

This is because philosophy encourages critical thinking and allows individuals to question their assumptions. It also helps us see things from different perspectives and find new solutions to old problems. More importantly, it is a framework for ethical decision-making. Immanuel Kant argued that moral decisions should be based on a universal law that everyone can agree upon. This is what is known as the categorical imperative.

In short, the categorical imperative is acting upon what is deemed as a duty rather than self-interest. For example, if you give a homeless person money, what is your motivation? Did you act to do an “act of kindness,” or did you act because you feel that all people must give money to those in need? If the motivation for acting was for a self-fulfilling need, then we act outside of our ethics rules. However, if we believe that all needy persons should be given money and act upon that framework, we are considered ethical.

This way of thinking can be applied to leadership to make sure that the leader is acting in the best interest of their followers. For example, are we acting on behalf of our followers to gain their trust and admiration? If so, we are acting outside of our ethical framework. However, if we make decisions based on what is best for our followers and what will help them achieve their goals, we are leading ethically.

Philosophy can be a helpful tool for leadership, but it is not the only tool available. Leaders must also be aware of their values and beliefs and those of their followers. They must also have a clear understanding of the needs of both the leader and the follower. Acting upon the benefits of our followers to make their workdays more enjoyable, with no credit taken and no accolades received, is the philosophically moral high ground of leadership.

While the above writings are the surface level of true philosophical thinking in leadership, the point should not be lost. As leaders, we must constantly be aware of our intentions. Our actions should not be taken to serve ourselves but rather to benefit those we should lead. This is the power of philosophy in leadership. It can change our mindset from a self-serving one to an other-centric one. When we act with the needs of our followers in mind, we can develop trust and respect, which are essential ingredients for successful leadership.

The 5 Pillars of Growth

There are five pillars of growth and productivity that professionals in a leadership role should focus on. These five pillars are time management, goal setting, task prioritization, stress management, and self-awareness. While there is no one right way to achieve success, following these five principles will put you on the path to achieving your goals.

Time Management

Time management is critical for leaders. Leaders need to allocate their time wisely and make the most of every day to be effective. Time management is essential for two reasons. First, it allows you to focus on your goals. You’re more likely to be successful when you have a plan and know what you need to do. Second, it helps you to use your time effectively. You’re less likely to waste time if you’re organized and know what you need to do.

There are a few time management tips that can help you to be more productive:

  • Make a list of your goals and prioritize them. This will help you focus on what is essential and prevent you from getting sidetracked.
  • Set aside time each day for planning. This will help you stay on track and ensure that you’re making progress towards your goals.
  • Break down your goals into smaller tasks. This will make them more manageable and increase your chances of success.
  • Take breaks throughout the day. This will help you avoid burnout and stay refreshed so that you can continue to be productive.

Goal Setting

Goal setting is another important pillar for growth and productivity. Having specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals will help you stay focused and motivated. Leaders should set clear goals and develop a plan to achieve them.

Goal setting is essential for two reasons. First, it allows you to focus on what’s important and prevents you from getting sidetracked. Second, it helps you to use your time effectively. If you have specific goals you’re working towards, you’re less likely to waste time on activities that don’t help you achieve your goals.

Task Prioritization

Task prioritization is another key to productivity. Leaders need to be able to prioritize their tasks and focus on the most important ones. This involves understanding the organization’s goals and what needs to be done to achieve them.

Task prioritization is different from time management because it’s not just about wisely allocating your time. It’s also about understanding which tasks are most important and need to be given priority.

There are a few ways to prioritize your tasks:

  • Consider the goals of the organization. What needs to be done to achieve them?
  • Understand the importance of each task. What is the impact of each task on the organization?
  • Consider the urgency of each task. What is the timeline for each task?

Stress Management

Stress management is also critical for leaders. It can be challenging to focus and be productive when you are under stress. Leaders need to find ways to manage their stress to not interfere with their work.

There are a few ways to manage stress:

  • Exercise regularly. This will help to release tension and improve your overall well-being.
  • Get enough sleep. This will help you to feel rested and refreshed so that you can handle stress more effectively.
  • Eat healthy foods. This will help to improve your energy levels and mood, making it easier to handle stress.
  • Take breaks throughout the day. This will help you avoid burnout and stay refreshed so that you can continue to be productive.

Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is the final pillar for growth and productivity. Leaders need to be aware of their strengths and weaknesses and understand how they impact their work. Having self-awareness allows you to make changes to become more effective.

There are a few ways to develop self-awareness:

  • Take personality assessments. This will help you understand your personality type and how you respond to stress.
  • Observe yourself in the workplace. This will help you understand how others perceive you and identify areas where you need to improve.
  • Talk to others about your strengths and weaknesses. This will help you get feedback and see things from a different perspective.

Following these five pillars of growth and productivity will help you succeed in your career. By focusing on time management, goal setting, task prioritization, stress management, and self-awareness, you can reach your full potential as a leader.

The Solution Mindset: How to Focus on What You Can Do for Employers

Photo by Hunters Race on Unsplash

It’s no secret that the job-seeking process is arduous. But what if you could approach it in a whole new way, one that would guarantee success? According to career experts, a fundamental mind-shift needs to take place to achieve this goal. And it all comes down to one word: solution.

When you think about it, job seekers are always looking for solutions. They’re seeking a way to solve the problem of finding a job. But so often, they go about it in the wrong way. They focus on their weaknesses and what they don’t have instead of on their strengths and offer.

The good news is that there is a better way. And that’s where the solution mindset comes in. With this approach, you focus on what you can do for employers rather than what they can do for you. You think about how you can help them meet their goals and solve their problems. And when you do that, you become the solution they’ve been looking for.

So how can you shift your mindset and put the solution approach into practice? Here are a few tips:

Stop thinking about yourself in terms of “I need a job.” Instead, start thinking about yourself in terms of “I can provide solutions.”

When you go into an interview, don’t sell yourself as someone desperate for a job. Sell yourself as someone who has valuable skills and experience to offer. Emphasize what you can do for the company, not what the company can do for you.

Make a list of your strengths and brainstorm ways to showcase them in your job search.

When you’re compiling your list of strengths, think about the unique things that make you special. Maybe you have a knack for public speaking or are an expert at problem-solving. Whatever your strengths may be, make sure to focus on the ones that will set you apart from other job candidates.

Once you have your list of strengths, it’s time to start showcasing them in your job search. One way to do this is by tailoring your resume and cover letter to match the job opening. You can also highlight your strengths during interviews by giving specific examples of how you’ve used them in the past. For example, if you’re applying for a position that requires strong communication skills, highlight any relevant experience you have in this area.

No matter how you showcase your strengths, be confident and emphasize your unique selling points. By doing so, you’ll increase your chances of landing the job you want.

Stay focused on what you can do for employers, not what they can do for you.

Remember that your job search is all about what you can bring to the table, not what the company can do for you. Don’t focus on the benefits that a company can offer you, such as health insurance or a 401k plan. Instead, focus on the specific skills and experiences you have to offer.

Talk about your strengths and how they can benefit an employer. For example, if you’re a great problem solver, talk about how you’ve been able to solve problems in past jobs successfully. If you’re a hard worker, talk about how you never miss a deadline. Be specific and highlight your unique skills and qualities.

By focusing on what you can do for an employer, you’ll show them that you’re a motivated and qualified candidate. And that’s what they’re looking for!

The job search can be a long and challenging process, but you’ll be more successful if you stay focused on what you have to offer an employer. Remember that your goal is to show the company that you’re the best candidate for the job. Don’t focus on what they can do for you. Talk about your strengths and how they can benefit the company. Be specific and highlight your unique skills and qualities. Stay motivated and keep pushing forward! You’ll get there eventually.

Finding and Solving Problems in the Workplace

Most people would rather avoid complex problems. They’re hard, take time and effort to solve, and there’s no guarantee of success. But that’s where the real progress is made.

Complex problems are the ones that demand our attention. They force us to think deeply, to come up with new ideas and solutions. And if we persevere, we can often find success where others have failed.

Problems in the workplace can be a significant distraction and decrease productivity. It’s essential to identify these problems and fix them as soon as possible. Some common problems in the workplace include:

Poor communication

Poor communication is one of the biggest problems in the workplace. It can lead to misunderstandings, conflict, and decreased productivity.

There are a few things you can do to improve communication in your workplace:

  • Ensure everyone is aware of the communication channels that are being used, and make sure everyone is using them correctly.
  • Make sure all communications are clear and concise. Avoid using jargon or complex language that may be misunderstood.
  • When communicating with someone face-to-face, make sure to use body language and facial expressions to convey your message.
  • Take the time to listen to what the other person is saying, and ask questions if you don’t understand.

Confusion over roles and responsibilities

Confusion over roles and responsibilities is another common problem in the workplace. This can lead to conflict, decreased productivity, and other issues.

There are a few things you can do to fix this problem:

  • Make sure everyone is aware of their roles and responsibilities.
  • Make sure everyone is clear on what is expected of them.
  • If there is any confusion, ask questions until you understand.
  • Clarify who is responsible for what tasks, and make sure everyone follows through on their responsibilities.

Conflict resolution

Conflict is a normal part of life. It can arise in any relationship, whether with a friend, family member, or co-worker. When conflict arises, it’s essential to address it head-on and work to resolve it as quickly as possible.

There are a few things you can do to help resolve conflict:

  • Talk to the other person about what’s going on. Be honest and open, and listen to what they have to say.
  • Try to stay calm and avoid getting angry. Anger can cloud our judgment and make it difficult to resolve the conflict.
  • Don’t blame the other person for the conflict. Blaming someone will only make the situation worse.
  • Work together to find a middle ground. Life is about give and take.

Lack of trust

Lack of trust is a common problem in the workplace. This can lead to conflict, decreased productivity, and other issues.

There are a few things you can do to fix this problem:

  • Make sure everyone is aware of the importance of trust. Trust is essential for any relationship, whether with a friend, family member, or co-worker.
  • Make sure everyone understands what trust means and how it should be used. Trust should never be given lightly – it must be earned.
  • When someone breaks your trust, don’t react hastily. Take some time to calm down and think about what happened. Talk to the other person about what happened and try to resolve it.
  • Don’t gossip

If these problems are not addressed, they can lead to employee turnover, low morale, and even legal disputes. Employers must create a positive work environment where employees feel comfortable communicating openly. By doing so, employers can often find success where others have failed. Identify where you may have problems in your workplace, and don’t be afraid to spend time tackling them.

Growing through failure

Most people are terrified of failure. They do everything possible to avoid it. But if you want to achieve anything significant in life, you have to be willing to fail. Failure is a necessary step on the road to success.

In order to grow and learn, you need to make mistakes. And to make mistakes, you need to take risks. That’s why failure is essential to personal growth. Every time you try something new, and it doesn’t work out, you learn something valuable that can help you be more successful next time around.

It is said that growth comes from being uncomfortable. Why? As we get settled into our careers, we become complacent. We have what C.S. Lewis calls the curse of knowledge. We take for granted the journey that got us to where we are. We forget how learning is associated with not knowing all of the answers.

Growth is a function of a lack of knowledge mixed with a desire to improve your current position. Your current position seeks to make you comfortable, complacent, and settled. You want to be a little uncomfortable to improve your current situation. The only way to grow is not to know all the answers and move forward anyway.

But this requires a certain amount of failure. We have to take risks and learn through experience what doesn’t work to reframe our strategy for the future. This is not an easy process, but it is necessary if you will achieve anything genuinely unique with your life. Have you ever thought about how Thomas Edison invented the first light bulb? He invented hundreds of them failed hundreds of times until he got it right.

Failure Defined

You must understand just what failure means before taking on this philosophy of experimentation. Failure does not mean giving up on an idea or goal because it’s too hard or you don’t like it. It means giving up your old way of thinking and acquiring new knowledge through experience that will allow you to move forward more effectively.

Failure means trying out something new without knowing if it will work, sharing an idea with someone even though they may criticize it, or giving yourself permission to mess up and not stress about it.

When you want to achieve something in life, you will do whatever it takes, regardless of the consequences. It would help if you stopped caring what other people think and start thinking for yourself. You can’t let the fear of criticism hold you back from reaching your full potential.

Stop Worrying Yourself

IF we are going to be uncomfortable, we have to accept not having all knowledge. This humility is what leads us to actual growth. Set the ego aside and not worry if others will judge you for not having a solution for each problem you are presented with.

When you are not afraid of failure, failing is just a part of the process of reaching your goal. We have to stop worrying about what people think of us. We have to be willing to stand alone if that’s what it takes for us to keep moving forward.

If you are entirely focused on your goal and are willing to fail, you can accomplish anything. The first key is being comfortable with being uncomfortable.

A young man was walking on a beach one day when he came across a sign that said, “You cannot step in the same river twice.” This puzzled him, so he asked a wise older man what it meant. The old man replied, “It means that you can never go back to the same experience twice.”

This is very relevant to the philosophy of failure. Failure doesn’t mean giving up on an idea or goal; it means learning from your mistakes and moving forward. You can never go back to the same experience twice, so you have to keep trying new things to grow and learn.

When you are comfortable in your present situation, be it work, school, life, et cetera, you are complacent. You may be going through the motions of life. Perhaps you feel dissatisfied, stuck, and have felt a lack of meaning. To break through these feelings, push yourself. Try new things. Seek out discomfort and challenge it.

This can be a scary thing to do, but if you fail, so what? You have to stop worrying about what people think of you and worry about the facts instead. It’s only one moment in time.

The facts are that your current situation is not good enough for you, so get out there and find something better. If you keep doing the same old things day in and day out, nothing will change for the better.

In other words, never settle for anything less than everything that life has to offer; after all, if we don’t take risks, then how would we ever know where our limits lie?

When you are focused and driven, nothing can stop you from achieving your goals. Failure is just a part of the process, so don’t let it discourage you. Keep trying new things and learning from your mistakes until you reach your destination. Don’t be afraid to stand alone if that’s what it takes; after all, nobody ever accomplished anything significant by following the herd. Be comfortable with being uncomfortable and never settle for anything less than everything life has to offer.

How To Be an Effective Online Communicator

Most people would agree that in-person meetings are the best way to communicate. But what if we remove in-person meetings from the equation? Can we still have effective communication? Has the technology that allows us to stay safe at home slowed our growth as individuals?


In an online environment, communication is accessible to everyone. It also allows more people to work. In a virtual work environment, employees can get their work done from anywhere in the world that they have access to a computer and the Internet. They don’t have to worry about the commute or if there’s bad weather at home because of where they live. Some people can’t commute or don’t want to because they might be caring for family members, etc.


It’s also good for the company’s bottom line because it reduces overhead costs. Instead of needing office space and supplies, the company only needs a reliable internet connection and maybe a chat system if employees aren’t all in the same place. It also allows the company to hire people living in more expensive areas without having to pay so much. One of the impacts of COVID-19 was that it affected commercial real estate investors. For years, this was one of the best investments you could make. But now people are not so interested in buying commercial property anymore.


As we live in this new world, businesses have had to change the way they work. There are more jobs where people can work from home. Bosses are wondering how they should rate and evaluate their employees. Additionally, how do we communicate with virtual employees? This is not the same as communicating with co-workers in an office.


For example, can you tell when someone does not understand what you are saying over text? Can you hear the tone, inflections, and pauses while they are typing? How do we know if our words are being understood correctly if there is no body language to help?


The main problem with online communication is that we try to use the same rules as if we were meeting someone face-to-face. This does not make sense because people cannot see each other. We are playing the same game as before, with new rules to follow. It’s important to figure out new rules for communicating with people online.


The first rule is to be brief. We cannot use body language, so we have to say as little as possible. When we write long-winded e-mails, our readers lose interest. There is a danger that the long e-mail you just sent can be received in a negative way. The reader could interpret the e-mail as speaking down to them or dictating to someone how to do their job. We know that people want to add their own input. Give your team some space to do that.


Next, you need to distinguish cues from written or verbal content without the aid of nonverbal cues. When speaking in person, the listener takes in cues not only from what you say but also from your voice tone and facial expressions. When you use an online medium to communicate, nonverbal content is lost. The listener has no idea how you are actually reacting or feeling about what they are saying or even if it sounds like there is anger in your tone of voice. While some words carry meaning by themselves, there are other words that have different inflections, varying tones, or facial expressions, which each have their own separate meanings. Avoid using words with more than one meaning or words that can be taken out of context.


There are many social cues that are given in person but not online. For example, through the use of body language, one can see whether or not someone is comfortable with what they are saying or how they are reacting to it. The tone of the person’s voice can show if they are angry or not on board with the idea that has been proposed in a virtual meeting.


The best thing you can do is be hyper-vigilant of what people are saying and how they are saying it. If you are not sure what someone means, ask them. You can also express your point of view in writing by responding to the person’s post rather than trying to explain yourself directly to them. If your written words are too long or complicated, it may be difficult for people on the other end to understand what you’re saying and how you truly feel. (See above section about the dreaded long-written e-mail).


We also want to make sure that other people are actually reading what we say because it’s easy to ignore someone when you’re typing, but not as much if the person is standing right in front of you. One easy way to do this is by using emoticons; however, some online communication software doesn’t support them, and it can sometimes come across as unprofessional to some people.


There is also the issue of body language, which we talked about earlier. We all know that we convey information with our body language, and it helps us understand each other and what someone else is really trying to say to us. But how much does this affect online communication? Do people pick up on the same cues online as in-person?


Based on research, not much body language is conveyed in written communication. Another study showed that using e-mail decreased the odds of developing friendships. It also found that people writing e-mails were less likely to ask for favors, which can be seen as rude. This is due to the lack of body language and tone of voice when we type on a computer or phone.
Essentially, when we work remotely, we see a decrease in organizational citizenship behavior. Additionally, when people communicate in an e-mail style, it doesn’t provoke someone to act positively.


Some of the most effective ways to communicate online are by video conferencing or just talking on the phone. It’s easier for people to read your tone over video than if you’re only typing words back and forth. Another thing that can help is to ask questions instead of just constantly sharing information.


For example, instead of constantly saying “please do this,” try asking your virtual team to “can you please complete this task?” It’s good practice to read the person’s social cues, tone, and body language in-person, but online it takes more effort.
If you ask a question, the other person is more likely to respond because you’re giving them power over the situation. Interactions with others can be particularly challenging online, so it’s important to pay close attention to each of your words.
In my experience, I have found that calling people individually or doing a meeting with the whole team is a good way to keep people engaged. Instead of planning a meeting to discuss whatever the next big project is, just plan it as a weekly or daily ‘check-in.’ This gives your team members the ability to communicate their issues in a setting that isn’t directed at assigning them the next task. People can feel overwhelmed when they’re given too many tasks at once, which results in less motivation and decreased productivity. It’s almost like writer’s block where people don’t want to write anymore because they’re stuck thinking about all the other things they had to do that day.


Removing in-person meetings from the equation can reduce trust and communication quickly among employees who don’t know each other too well. You can learn about your teammates just by doing a quick Google search or visiting their Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn page. Doing so offers some insight into what is important to them, and sometimes you might find out they share the same passions as you.


In conclusion, while it is true that body language and tone of voice are not as easily conveyed in written communication, this does not mean that online communication is ineffective. In fact, there are many ways to effectively communicate online. You just need to be aware of the differences between in-person and digital communication. Additionally, it is important to remember that when people communicate through e-mail or other written methods, they are less likely to act positively or ask for help. So before sending an e-mail or writing a message on social media, take a moment to think about how your words will be interpreted.

Impacting Culture

Everyone in the workplace has a role in creating and maintaining a positive culture.

This includes you, even if you’re just one person among many. You may not change your entire company’s culture, but you can create an inspirational environment where people can thrive and grow professionally. Here are five ways that any employee can do this:

Be Kind

Your coworkers will feed off your kindness and reciprocate with respect and consideration (research shows that when someone acts like an ass, it activates areas of the brain associated with anger).

It’s important to be kind to your coworkers because it sets the tone for the entire workplace. When you’re kind to someone, they tend to respond positively. This can create a positive culture where people feel appreciated and respected. Kindness also has other benefits, such as reducing stress and improving mental health.

Show Genuine Interest

This does not mean feigning interest – instead, showing genuine interest by asking questions about their work or their interest and hobbies. This will make them feel appreciated and acknowledged, which can help to build better relationships at work.

Smile

Not only is smiling genuine but it has been shown to increase productivity by as much as 20%.

Smiles have been shown to improve our moods and reduce stress levels. A study found that they increased their productivity by 20% when people smiled. This makes sense because a smile is a natural response, and it’s contagious – so if you see someone smiling at work, you might do the same!

Be Transparent

Those who work in a transparent setting report greater satisfaction and will feel like they can trust their bosses more (often, those that think their bosses aren’t trustworthy dread coming into work).

Being transparent in the workplace can help create a positive culture because it builds trust between employees and their bosses. When employees feel like they can trust their supervisors, they are more likely to be productive and feel happier at work. Additionally, transparency can help to reduce stress levels because employees don’t have to worry about hiding information or keeping secrets. In a transparent environment, everyone is open and honest with each other, leading to a more positive work culture.

Do Your Job Well

Finally, do your job well. It’s the most essential inspirational tool you have at your disposal – people admire quality work and expect high standards from others. Doing your job well boosts your reputation and leads to increased trust and hope from those around you.

You may not be able to control the entire culture of your workplace, but by doing these five things daily, you will play an important role in making it positive and fun! American author Maya Angelou once wrote, “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel .”

In the workplace, it’s important to create a positive culture. This can be done by being kind, showing genuine interest, smiling, being transparent, and doing your job well. When you act like a jerk at work, it activates areas of the brain associated with anger. However, when you are kind and show genuine interest in your coworkers, they will reciprocate with respect and consideration. Additionally, transparency builds trust between employees and bosses while doing your job well leads to increased productivity and admiration from others. Ultimately, these five tips will help make you feel happier and more productive at work!

Scheduling Friendships

Maintaining friendships is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Friends provide social support and can help us through difficult times. However, it can be challenging to find the time to keep in touch with our friends, especially if we are busy with work or other commitments. That’s why scheduling time on your calendar specifically for contacting friends is a great way to ensure that you don’t lose those valuable relationships!

Research into human relationships shows the importance of friendships. In the everyday hustle of our lives, we become a follower to what is on our calendars. If we want to stay connected with our friends, we must schedule a time to talk and catch up. Even a 30-minute phone call with a friend can have huge, lasting impacts on our mental health.

When we make time to talk with friends, it strengthens our relationships. Research has shown that people who speak on the phone more than once a week are less likely to experience depression and loneliness. This is because talking with friends releases oxytocin. Oxytocin makes us feel good, and it helps to reduce stress levels.

Additionally, unlocking time off on your calendar allows you to have more control over what you do in your day. When you know you have the appointment time blocked out, you are less likely to schedule other activities or meetings in its place. This way, you can make the most of your time with friends and not feel guilty about taking some time for yourself.

One of the reasons people tend not to schedule open blocks of time out on their schedule is the phenomenon of negative forecasting bias. This is the idea that we tend to think negatively about the future, and so don’t bother making plans because we assume they won’t happen. Or, we dread not having an open space in the future.

For the police world, the best example of negative forecasting bias is when we dread going to or attending a training event. We think, “I don’t want to go. It’s going to be terrible.” It could be as simple as in-service training, which is nothing more than annual updates and maybe firearms qualifications. By all means, it is typically an easy day.

Yet, despite this, we dread going. We see it on the calendar and immediately get anxiety over attending. Once we attend the training, we think to ourselves, “that wasn’t so bad.” However, when it rolls around again next year, we are back to dreading it.

Negative forecasting bias can also prevent us from taking time for ourselves. We might think, “I don’t want to block out any time on my calendar because something might come up.” But by doing this, we are more likely to have something come up. Having time blocked out for you on your calendar gives you a sense of ownership over that time and shows that it is crucial.

When it comes to our relationships, we should be proactive and schedule a time to catch up with friends. This will help us maintain those valuable relationships and reduce stress levels. Plus, it just feels good to talk with friends.

In a chaotic world, it is easy to feel lost. Control what you can; schedule a time to call a friend. It’s not intrusive and can easily be accomplished. By taking some control over our lives and improving interpersonal relationships, we are preventing mental anguish for ourselves in the future.


Taking control of your life can help improve your relationships with other people. If we are busy or overworked, the best way to maintain relationships with friends and family is by scheduling time on our calendars specifically for them. This helps us avoid the pitfalls of negative forecasting bias and not having any open blocks of time in the future. This can lead to reduced stress levels and a better overall feeling.

How do you develop a personal philosophy?

A personal philosophy is a basic framework for making decisions. It describes how you view the world, your place in it, and what you value. The more thought you put into developing your philosophy, the better equipped you will be to make tough decisions in line with your values when faced with difficult situations.

Why should we bother with a personal philosophy?

Having a personal philosophy gives you a personal set of guidelines to follow when it comes to specific instances in life involving morals, ethics, and how we see ourselves fitting in the world. Do we always do what is right? No matter how painful? Do we see ourselves as independent actors? Or, do we see and understand how our words and actions directly impact the world around us?

What is our personal code of ethics? What is our personal response to adversity? What is our reaction when someone wrongs us?

Having a personal philosophy prevents us from acting selfishly. Having a personal philosophy allows us to persevere in the face of adversity. Having a personal philosophy prevents us from stooping to the level of another person who has wronged us, just for revenge.

A personal philosophy keeps us mentally resilient. A personal philosophy helps us to grow.

How do you develop a personal philosophy? What are its steps, phases, and pitfalls?

The first step is to ask yourself some fundamental questions about life: How do I see myself? What are my goals? What are my priorities? These answers should guide everything else that follows. Next, try to understand the meaning of various concepts like truth or honor or virtue or justice and how they relate to your life. A good place to start is by reading the philosophy of others who have grappled with these questions before you, such as Socrates or Confucius. Once you’ve developed a basic framework for thinking about the world, test it out in specific situations. For example, let’s say you want to know if something is virtuous; ask yourself if it fits within your definition of virtue. If not, then that thing cannot be virtuous. By applying this framework in different areas of your life – like family and work and friends and money – you’ll ultimately develop a set of values that guide how you live and what decisions you make on a day-to-day basis.

When examining personal philosophy in the modern world, it’s important to remember that your opinions and values are not something inherent in who you are. Rather, they’re a collection of decisions made over the course of your life. Once you understand this, it becomes clear that developing a personal philosophy is about taking charge over what you believe instead of just accepting it as an unchangeable part of you.

For instance, I used to get angry when things did not go my way. I would verbally lash out at anyone who would listen. Now, I understand that I may not get my way. Rather than lash out, I focus. I control what I can and improve where needed. My personal philosophy has developed me into a more emotionally stable human being, ready to tackle the world.

Personal Philosophy

Personal philosophy is defined as the system of values that guides how you live your life. It describes how you view the world, your place in it, and what you value. While everyone has a different personal philosophy, it typically reflects the decisions someone has made about his or her own identity and existence. There are many components to this framework for thinking about the world – ranging from concepts like truth or honor to attitudes toward wealth or family – but all can be tied back to an individual’s fundamental beliefs.

What are some examples of important questions to start with?

Some other questions that might provide insight into an individual’s philosophy are: How do I see myself? What are my goals? What does virtue mean? Are people inherently good or evil? What is a just society? Asking these questions might lead to answers that align with things like an ethical code, a political philosophy, or a religious faith. Each of those areas contains different value judgments about what’s good and bad, which leads to specific choices in how someone lives his or her life.

How does personal philosophy relate to identity?

Your philosophy represents the overarching view through which you interpret everything else in your life. It’s the lens through which you see truth or justice or virtue, and all of your opinions are made in light of that framework. When someone says “that’s just how I am” or “it’s just my personality,” it reveals a lack of awareness about how his or her actions reflect on their personal philosophy. People who think deeply about who they are, have a greater capacity to make good decisions because they know what type of person they want to be, beyond just being “themselves.” Additionally, having an extra awareness of self leads to greater awareness of how your thoughts, actions, opinions, and attitudes impact those around you.

Is it possible for two people to have the same personal philosophy?

People often think others with similar circumstances will hold similar positions on issues like politics or faith. They assume there must be some underlying logic that determines why someone thinks one thing or another. But two people can look at the same issue and come to wildly different conclusions while still having a shared personal philosophy. That’s why knowing someone well is often necessary to begin to understand their value system; it might take years before you even glimpse their full perspective.

How does personal philosophy relate to identities like race and gender?

It’s impossible for these identities not to affect your approach to life because everyone has some separate category they fit into based on traits like skin color, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Race and gender are obvious examples of this, but there may be others that play a role in how you see yourself – such as your nationality or family background or religion. They all inform who you think you are on the outside, which determines who you think you are on the inside. It is undeniable that the deciding factor isn’t really about outward appearances or where we grew up geographically. Our identities are shaped upon experience.

What makes someone’s personal philosophy unique?

A personal philosophy is more than just a set of values that guide an individual; it’s also about how he or she uses those values to make decisions and react to others. For example, there are some people who would put their family ahead of everything else in life, whereas others might say following your conscience is most important. Those differences represent two different ways of thinking about what’s more important, even though they’re both operating under the same general framework. Personal philosophies become uniquely identifiable when they’re filtered through specific contexts like culture or nationality or religion because these things change the lens through the world is viewed.

How do emotions affect personal philosophy?

Emotions can be useful because they help connect us to our values. If we didn’t feel anything, we wouldn’t have any reason to care about acting morally or pursuing meaning in life. Without empathy or sympathy, our grandparents would not have intervened during World War II to stop the third Reich. Without emotion, laws protecting all of us from crimes of violence would not exist.

But it’s important not to let our emotions drive every decision without thinking them through and applying some rational thought as well. People who are ruled by their feelings often find themselves saying or doing things they ultimately regret. The trick is finding the balance between rational thinking and emotional feeling so you can make decisions based on your personal philosophy.

How does someone continue refining their personal philosophy?

Ideally, you’ll constantly come back to your beliefs and ask yourself if what you’re doing matches up with them. It’s not always easy to do because you’re probably busy and distracted by all sorts of things, but it can be helpful to think about your personal philosophy when experiencing certain situations. For example, if someone gets angry with you or hurts your feelings, you can ask yourself how that person fits in with the values you want to hold dear. If they don’t make sense together, try to identify why so you can use this knowledge to make better decisions in the future.

What are some common traps people fall into when developing their personal philosophy?

It’s easy for someone’s personal philosophy to become jaded or biased because of a bad experience they’ve had or something they were taught growing up. A judgmental parent might convince a child that people who don’t believe in God are evil and deserve to be punished, and this belief might stay with the child for life. For some people, it might even lead them to reject their religion or spirituality completely because they assume anyone who’s part of a church is just as judgmental and hypocritical as their parents were. Or, someone who is mistreated by a member of a certain race might use that experience to justify prejudice against all members of that group, even though there’s no logical reason to do so. What these individuals don’t realize is they’re allowing the actions of one person to ruin everything for them and completely miss out on getting to know an entire culture or community.

How can you apply your personal philosophy?

Your personal philosophy should guide more than just what you say; it should also determine how you act on a day-to-day basis. Every decision affects not just you but others around you, so once you figure out what matters most to you and how best to use those values and beliefs, make every effort to make decisions accordingly. Even if things don’t always go according to plan, try not to let that affect your belief system. As long as you’re trying the best you can and acting in line with what really matters to you, then your personal philosophy is healthy and rewarding.

What do people find most satisfying about creating a personal philosophy?

People like knowing who they are and why they make certain decisions because it gives them an identity outside of their job or family roles. Setting goals for yourself based on what’s important is often more fulfilling than just going through life without any particular purpose in mind…most people enjoy having a reason for everything they do from morning until night. Not everyone needs a set way of thinking, but those who have carefully developed their beliefs feel confident about themselves and are happy with what they’re doing.

Life is about the journey’s and growth we take. Not the destination. After all, the destination for all of us is mortality. We all die. What we do on our way to our impending death is where purpose and meaning come from.

That same framework can be applied in almost every facet of life. Think about it. If you have ever earned a promotion, you were ecstatic to get it. Yet, within just a few short years, we are looking towards ways to advance even more. It is the quest for our continued journey that fuels us forward.

What are some common pitfalls of creating a personal philosophy?

Just like people can get caught up in their emotions, it’s easy to fall into the trap of overthinking everything. Too much self-analysis wastes time and energy limiting someone’s capacity to actually live life…people who focus too much on figuring out their personal philosophy often spend years without ever taking the leap to explore the world around them or form meaningful relationships. They might be able to fit things together perfectly into some sort of grand philosophical puzzle that makes sense on paper, but it doesn’t mean anything if they never actually put these beliefs into practice. At the end of the day, having a clear philosophy is great, but it’s more important to see if it actually changes anything in their lives.

People who are introspective spend a lot of time wondering what happens after death, whether or not free will exists, whether people are truly aware of their consciousness if there’s any way to prove God exists, if life has any purpose at all…there are so many different questions to ask, and no one person can come up with an answer for everything. The more someone thinks about these questions though, the more they realize how much is still unknown…which can actually be incredibly exciting because it gives them plenty of room to try new things without worrying too much about what might happen next.

How would you define your personal philosophy?

Ideally, everyone has a clear understanding of what they believe to be true and feels comfortable sharing this information with others. It’s impossible for one person to know everything about another person because there are just too many factors involved…although it might be nice if everyone shared the same view of the world, that wouldn’t leave much room for individuality or creativity at all! As long as people try not to judge others based on their personal philosophy, they should feel free to share whatever they think is important without constantly worrying about whether other people will agree with them.

How does your personal philosophy shape your worldview?

Someone’s personal philosophy affects their perspective on just about every aspect of life because it’s the basis for everything they believe to be true. If their worldview changes, then their personal philosophy shifts along with it…even people who are introspective enough to develop a system for understanding the world around them can’t help but learn new things and expand their set of beliefs as time goes on.

I don’t think it is an unfair statement to argue that you are not the same person you were five years ago. By that reasoning, we can assume in another five years, our growth will continue to mold us into someone different than our current state. There are always more questions to ask and answers to find, but someone’s personal philosophy helps guide them through this process without too many surprises along the way.

Conclusion

Your personal philosophy is an incredibly important tool for living a fulfilling life. It helps you make sense of the world around you and guides your decisions based on what you believe to be true. Everyone’s philosophy is different, but as long as you stay true to your own beliefs, you’re sure to find happiness and satisfaction. Don’t be afraid to share your views with others, and always be willing to learn more about what makes life meaningful to other people. There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to defining your personal philosophy, so don’t stress out too much about it! Just take things one step at a time and continue exploring the world around you.

Art of the Sidebar

We have underestimated the importance of the sidebar conversation. In the business world, people have stopped talking to each other. But it is not because they are from a different generation or have different political views. The reason is that they work from home. The precious time spent with one another before or after meetings is where ideas used to be shared. Friendships were built. Conversations were more than about the next project.

In the digital age of teleworking, is it time to re-think the importance of the sidebar conversation?

What is a sidebar?

Sidebar conversations are where relationships are built before and after meetings. They help build trust and understanding and allow for better decision-making. A sidebar conversation is any informal, unplanned side discussion during a meeting. They are frequently used in team meetings or brainstorming. They allow more ideas to be expressed than the time allocated to the regular meeting.

Sidebar conversations can become very important when people meet for an initial discussion. Sidebar conversations are the small talk that naturally occurs before or after meetings. They can be used to build relationships among people, learn about their interests, and understand their motivations. These informal discussions foster creativity and allow for deeper reflection on topics being discussed in the meeting.

When was the last time you had a sidebar conversation? Like most, it has been too long since your previous sidebar chat before a meeting, over coffee, lunch, or drinks. But now, team members are across town or on different continents. That socializing has been replaced by e-mails, instant messages, social media, and video conferencing. In the digital age, it is easy to tap into someone’s enthusiasm or thoughts from anywhere around the globe. This has led to a focus on virtual business relationships instead of personal connections.

The sidebar conversation was where we expressed new ideas. However, those sidebars are where ideas used to be shared before and after meetings. Perhaps we subconsciously wanted to vet ideas to a friend before bringing them to the entire workgroup.

It’s easy to forget the richness of the sidebar conversation when you don’t have face-to-face time. It becomes easier to jump on an idea and dissect it with a digital scalpel than the face-to-face encouragement we give one another. But when everyone is virtually present in a meeting, some of the personal creativity we all shared is beginning to wane.

This is how creative ideas die. Not because they were not great, but because we didn’t engage in the sidebar conversations where we encouraged creativity. Mostly out of fear of showing too much enthusiasm about an idea that isn’t yet fully formed.

Great ideas, just like tree seeds, need time to grow and develop through encouragement from people who care for the well-being of the overall forest. This is where empathy comes in. To encourage others to feel safe sharing their thoughts, even if they are not fully formed.

So the real question becomes, how can we build connections and safety in a digital environment? How can we build empathy for the ideas of others?

How to create a digital sidebar:

Organizations must emulate the safety of the sidebar conversation. This means providing time for people to bounce ideas off one another outside of meetings, encourage new ones and engage in face-to-face discussions without a plan.

And what better place than during office hours? Yes…office hours have a whole new meaning! Office hours can create a dialogue between staff and their peers. This is where brainstorming ideas, the sidetracking into something completely different or even uncomfortable, happens. And this is where new ideas are born! In the digital office hours landscape, schedule time on your calendar labeled “office hours.” The time signals to others that you are free for random phone calls, video conferencing, or other virtual distractions.

Create guidelines for your group that encourage the atmosphere of the sidebar conversation.

  • Create an office hours badge on your avatar or social profile to signal others when you are available
  • Make it OK to schedule blocks of time on someone’s calendar so they can be interrupted during random times
  • Leave yourself open for random virtual sidebars that could turn into something amazing

The digital golf course

Since virtual teams are becoming more common, what does that mean for business relationships? There is no digital golf course. The golf course used to be where deals were made. Not the board room.

In the digital age, it is time to re-think the importance of the sidebar conversation. We must fight for digital interactions, even if it comes down to scheduling it on our calendars just to have a relaxed chat with team members. Without that socializing and non-business conversation, we will lose something in the personal dynamics of business. If we remove that part of human behavior, we all lose, regardless of what our social media friends say. (And social media friends are not the same as your organizational ones.)

This is where empathy can come into play. The idea of empathy isn’t just about putting yourself in someone else’s shoes…it’s also understanding what we lose without those sidebars and how our relationships suffer because of it.

Having the ability to digitally collaborate could be the ‘it’ factor that drives your organization into the future, but only if you engage in conversations that matter. So let the digital age take us back to the basics of relationship building. Schedule time on your calendar that allows for random sidebars with your peers just like you would on the golf course.

Conclusion

We all need to find ways to make our lives more meaningful and fulfilling. And sometimes, that requires stepping out of your comfort zone or trying something new. Enter the digital sidebar. It provides a space for people who share common interests or goals to talk about their ideas without fear of judgment while also getting some advice from others on potential pitfalls they may encounter along the way. This type of dialogue can help us see things differently–and provide motivation when we don’t think there’s any left inside ourselves. It may seem like an odd thing to do. But, building time in your calendar in which you encourage interruption may be the very thing that sets you apart from other managers.

Developing Grit: The Best Way to Improve Your Life

You know that feeling you get when you’re at the bottom of a canyon, looking up? You can’t see anything but the sky. And it’s so quiet all around you. The only sound is your breathing and maybe some water dripping from rocks in the distance. It’s like nothing else exists because there are no other people or buildings to remind you this world isn’t yours alone. Suddenly, it feels like anything is possible – which sounds ridiculous considering how many things are stopping us from doing what we want with our lives every day. But that feeling doesn’t lie – grit breaks through barriers by sheer force of will.

Ok, maybe you’re not a rock climber, but you can relate to the symbolic context here. Because in the real world, there are barriers. There’s always something stopping us from doing what we want with our lives. Except for this time, it’s not water dripping down a rock face but real-life responsibilities like mortgages or car payments. Maybe it’s disappointment or the loss of a loved one. The point is, something is standing between where we are and where we want to be.

So, how do we get to where we want to be? The answer: grit.

Grit is a hot word in the business and leadership world. It’s a new buzzword. We want to know, what is grit, and how do we get it?

What is Grit?

Grit is defined as perseverance and passion for long-term goals. It’s the ability to overcome challenges while staying focused on success. Grit can be considered determination or courage in an objective, especially compared to IQ or talent. Some studies have found that grit is a stronger predictor of success than other factors, such as social intelligence or IQ. One study showed that students with determination and focus were more likely to earn higher grades in school. Other studies have shown that people passionate about their interests and willing to work hard to achieve them tend to do better in life.

The Gritty Formula

Is the formula for grit really that simple? Determination plus focus equal grit?

Grit is a hard thing to quantify, making it very important in the world of mental toughness.

It all starts with passion. If you’re not passionate about what you’re doing, then you won’t have the drive required to succeed.

But passion alone isn’t enough to succeed.

You need discipline, focus, and determination if you want to turn your passion into reality. And it’s these attributes that combine together to form grit. When someone is gritty, they are determined not to give up until the goal has been realized. Their determination is on their goals, and their discipline means that they will work diligently to achieve those goals. In other words, grit is the stick-with-it-ness that you need to succeed.

Now that we know what grit is let’s look at how to get it.

How to get Grit?

We saw previously that grit is a function of determination plus focus. Determination is a function of passion. So, the first thing we need to do is become passionate about something. But, this isn’t always easy because many factors influence passion. It is essential to recognize that everything requires effort and energy. For example, if you want to be passionate about reading novels, you need to make an effort to do it every day. Of course, this may not always be possible because of external factors. Sometimes you might be too tired. Sometimes you may not have time because of other activities like school and work. It is essential to prioritize these things and make an effort every day; otherwise, your determination will falter. People who lack passion also lack determination. Once your passion fades, your goal accomplishment rate drops.

The formula for passion is simple. Think about it every day. Never get tired of thinking about it. When you are not thinking about it, remember to do so. Keep doing it every day. That’s what passion is all about. It’s a straightforward concept, but many people don’t find the time in their busy schedules to think passionately even though they want that in life. Passion Comes from familiarity and expertise.

What is focus?

The second part of grit is a focus. Not regular focus, but an extreme focus. Most of the time, you will find yourself focusing on a specific skill to improve. Still, sometimes it’s just knowing what target to focus on is the most important. This is where focusing on the actual process becomes essential. Like most remarkable achievements, the real accomplishment rests in the journey that got us there. Don’t get caught up in the destination, the final product, or the goal. Get lost along the way in what you can learn and how far you’ve come. This is when the magic happens.

Be determined to hit your goals. Focus on the process to get yourself there. Be prepared to do whatever it takes. Success requires hard work and sacrifices. Take pride in your career. Bring your best every day. Enjoy the journey. One way to focus on your journey is to look to where you want to end up. Work backward to set goals from the end product. Be focused on each small task along the way. Let’s be honest. No one wants to struggle. No one wants to work hard and get little in return. No one wakes up excited for the next challenge or opportunity to make you feel like you can’t breathe.

Grit and success.

In a recent study, a research team at the University of Pennsylvania analyzed data from a large sample of university students and found that grit was the best predictor of academic performance. In another recent study led by Duckworth herself, researchers tracked 875 teenagers for two years. They found that those who possessed a combination of self-control and grit were less likely to exhibit problem behaviors than their less gritty peers—and more likely to succeed in life.

Grit is challenging. Being gritty means accepting new challenges and finding ways to master them. Grit is not a talent. It’s a lifestyle, and it can be learned. The people who tell you grit is something you’re born with are wrong. In fact, developing grit might just be the most important thing you can do to improve your life, both at work and beyond. A large body of research shows that people who stick with difficult things are more likely to succeed than those who don’t. A similar factor may also determine life satisfaction. As Churchill once said, “When you’re going through hell, keep going.”

Be Passionate

It is essential to be passionate about your goals and not get tired of them. Passion comes from familiarity and expertise, so if you want more passion in your life, spend time every day thinking about it and doing what you love. Grit means accepting new challenges and finding ways to master them; grit can also come with a lifestyle that needs self-control or willpower. Acknowledging the struggle will lead to success in life at some point! Be gritty when faced with complex tasks because it’s worth the effort. Even when challenging, there are many benefits for being determined enough to see things through.

Whether you are struggling through a difficult period in your life or stuck in your passionless job, there’s something for everyone to learn from this post on grit! Sometimes, it is challenging to find motivation and joy in life sometimes–the best way to do so is by working towards a goal.

Aritfacts and Work Culture

As I was sitting in the office of another department head, I started noticing things on the walls. The walls weren’t filled with the ‘I love me’ certificates or notes of achievement that is come to be expected in an office setting. His walls and bookcases were filled with what seemed to be a random assortment of items. There was a stufffed cat, a picture of a donkey, a replica WWE championship belt and various photos that were somewhat embarrassing for the leader to have on display.

I started asking about all of the clutter, the seemingly off placement of items. What began as a conversation about culture and productivity.

He had created a culture in which the employees honestly felt as they were a family. The office was less of a shrine to himself and more of a display of inside jokes and memories of great times. Everything in the office, even the weird stuffed cat, had a meaning to someone or a group of people within the group. The stories that were told along with each item made it clear to me why his department when performing at such a high level of efficiency.

There was a large amount of trust built into the workgroup. There were a vast amount of memories made into each random item and with it an emotional connection to the workgroup.

As the trust and inside jokes increased, so did the productivity. The employees felt safe and welcomed. Simply creating an environment in which the people were the value had effectively made the workgroup under his command stick out.

How do you create an environment and atmosphere that makes people stay safe? Value others and embrace their personalities. Their and your careers depend upon it.

Perspective (Continued)

I share this from a conversation I had with a young professional employee. A few weeks ago I wrote about the importance of understanding the perspective from which the person you are trying to communicate with is internalizing your message. A few days after publishing that, I was contacted by a subscriber whom shared with me an excerpt from a conversation they had with a co-worker.

In the story, their coworker was complaining about ‘millennials’ and their lack of work ethic. The coworker went on to degrade the generation for not being as committed to the organization as generations in the past as well as highlighting a few other stereotypes about ‘millennials.’

Politely, the younger worker, who is 29, replied with; “I’m a millennial, do you think I exhibit these characteristics?”

The coworker simply stated, you’re too old to be a millennial and continued down the path of complaining and stereotyping.

As the conclusion of this conversation, the young employee pointed out things from their perspective:

“It’s not our fault that the baby boomers pushed us all to go into college. It’s not our fault that we were told the only way to be successful was to become a white-collar professional. We have simply been over-educated to the point to where nobody wants to get their hands dirty because we have been told since adolescents that success comes from being in an office setting.”

From a perspective stance, I find this thought-provoking. There are many ways to utilize those few sentences in the workforce to lead, motivate, and inspire other people. The first step in doing so is to fully understand. Understand where your coworkers and employees may be coming from. To know how they are internalizing things and to act accordingly.

Perspective

What perspective are you using as a leader? Many times, we view the world through the lens of our experiences and we automatically assume other people see the world in the same manner as ourselves. The reality is, that could not be further from the truth.

When we deal with others, we must be certain that we make a strong effort to view the world as they see it. In an attempt to communicate a thought or an idea, we must understand how the other person receives and processes information.

We have all seen the co-worker or employee that has a struggle in their personal life bleed over into the workplace. It is a natural thing that, as much as we try not to, still occurs with regularity. As a leader, do you view how they are processing information or do you address performance deficiencies without thought?

If a person is struggling in their marriage and is beginning to have issues at work, could a simple conversation, if not handled appropriately, lead to the employee feeling as though they are being rejected in the workplace as well as at home? Simply taking the time to analyze what is going on with an employee, and understanding them to the best of your abilities can have a significant impact on employee morale as well as productivity.

While this is one example, it can be replaced with many. Is the employee in the middle of a life change, baby on the way, a new house being built, newly promoted? The list goes on.

Bottom line, as a leader, it is your responsibility to analyze the employee’s perspective and how they will interpret information presented. It is then your duty to treat your people accordingly.

Encourage Innovation

As a leader, you likely have some formal role or authority over a person or group of people within your work environment. As such, do you recognize when you are stifling their innovation?

Leaders must take into account the knowledge, skills, and abilities of their subordinates in their daily routines. While having a hand in the development of employees is an essential task of a leader. It can, however, stifle innovation within the organization. Take for example an employee who is performing at or above an acceptable level of performance. Continued intervention within the employee’s progress can stifle their growth. Simply put, at some point, we, as organizational leaders, must stop guiding and directing in such proximity. We must have the self-awareness to take a step back and allow our people to flourish.

Additionally, leaders must be so engaged as to observe a developmental struggle unfold and take action accordingly. If the employee is beginning to fail, intervention is necessary. Failing to intervene and offer guidance before failure can disrupt an employees confidence. As confidence is directly related to commitment, as confidence diminishes, as do commitment levels.

Sometimes, relinquishing control may seem hard to do. Taking a step back and allowing your people to grow in their way can breathe new life into your organization. Additionally, there are indirect consequences including increased buy-in from employees as they feel they have a say in the overall vision of the organization. Other benefits include increased commitment levels to the organization, opened lines of communication and one of the most important things, a succession plan.

3 Tips for Teaching Engagement

We have all seen the leader who seems to be checked out. Seemingly aloof and uninterested in anything from the organizational level. The leader who is possibly distracted by outside superfluities of modern life; television shows, sports, personal issues, etc. Conversely, we have seen the exact opposite. We have seen the leader that seems to know a bit about everything. They are in tune with the organization and have a healthy balance between ‘being in the know’ and knowing what and when to act on accordingly.
The age-old question of higher level management is; “How do you get supervisors engaged?
At the root of disengagement are several factors. Perhaps the supervisor is experiencing a personal stressor such as divorce, death in the family, financial strain. The list goes on. Possibly they are experiencing burnout symptoms. For the sake of this article, let’s focus on one of the most common explanations. The supervisor is either new as a supervisor or even have been supervising others for years but, never made the change mentally into supervision.
Being a supervisor and leader requires a shift in mindset from doing to getting others to do. Becoming a leader also requires the ability to think more broad scope than what a front line employee is used to doing. To think more globally, answering for others, looking at organizational consequences and being an invested party to the company is sometimes a hard thing to teach.
To teach engagement, a leader nearly needs to force the role of the supervisor. Below are three keys to getting engagement:
1 – Ask questions. Ask frequently and in-depth. In the beginning stages of developing other leaders, there is a lot of leg work and extra effort you, as the organizational leader must put in. Ensuring that items are being followed-up on and asking what the follow-through plan is an essential step in creating engagement. The idea is to get the person used to being asked a follow-up and continuing plan questions that they automatically have them in their head as their day is unfolding. As the leader begins to predict your questioning, you can start to decrease the frequency in which you ask questions.
2 – Create interaction opportunities. Find reasons for you and the new leader to interact. This can be weekly briefings over coffee to see what news they have to bring or even a daily staff meeting. Again, you are opening a line of communication. An opportunity for you to ask questions as well as them to sell their people and ideas to you.
3 – Give ownership. As often as you can, let the world see their thoughts. Let them be the owner of a solution. You are building their confidence. When an employee is confident, they will often take the proverbial ball and run with it. Let them be the leader that they need to be by empowering them at every step of the way.

Five Tips for ‘Tough Talks’

Having what it takes to be in a leadership position is more than just being able to manage resources. Being a leader involves being there for people. Sometimes, being the leader that is there for people, also means having to have tough talks. Tough talks are, at times, essential to help other people grow and develop in their personal or professional development.

The most uncomfortable moments of your career will yield the most growth of those you share those moments. The tough talks you experience, if done correctly, can set a person up for a reflective look at their performance as well as the direction they are heading. Below are some tips to make the most out of an awkward conversation.

1 – Start with a goal in mind.
When you start to have your tough talk; know where you are heading with it especially if you are addressing a performance issue. Failure to do so on your part will make it look as if you are merely attacking a person. Remember, offer solutions, not just bring up problems.

2 – Be specific with examples.
It is a very frustrating thing to endure a conversation in which someone is being critical of your work, actions, or thought process but has no specific example of how you portray the deficiencies they are mentioning. If you critique someone as having a generally poor work performance, be sure to cite what makes the work product substandard.

3 – Address the issues promptly.
If you recognize an issue developing, do not let it fester. Address it quickly, do not allow it to become either acceptable performance or a bad habit. Additionally, if you are meeting with someone to discuss an issue, jump right in. Don’t sit around and circle the issue while making small talk. Chances are, the person may already know something is up, killing time adds to their anxiety.

4 – Point out good deeds.
There must be a building phase in addition to reprimanding. Surely each member of your team has some good quality about them. Either work-related or not, there is something about that individual that got them the job. Find that quality and build upon it.

5 – Develop a plan.
As a leader, it is unacceptable for you to identify performance issues, discuss them, and dismiss the employee back to their normal routine. To grow, you must develop the plan of action for them. You likely have the experience or resources to help each employee be successful. Garner input from the person having the issue and make sure there is a plan in place to rectify any problem presented before the end of the meeting.

By looking at these five tips before having a ‘tough talk’ with a member of your team, you can maximize your chances for success after the meeting. Remember, as a leader, you win with people. Please don’t allow them to fail and the organization will thrive.

Advocate for Others

An often overlooked tactic to build trust within a team is the art of advocacy. No, not advocating for a cause, instead advocating for people. Specifically, people who are not present when you are promoting for them.

We all know that humans are social creatures. As such, they tend to share various tidbits of information. As a leader, use this to your advantage. If you are trying to build a team, make it on the accomplishments and personalities of the team.

I can think back to when I took over a new facility. I knew that my employees would probably have some relationship with different work units outside of my scope of control. As such, I knew the quickest way for me to get buy-in with a new group of employees was to brag about them to other workgroups simply. I hedged a bet that if I continued to speak positively about the workgroup outside of their immediate social circle that eventually, they would hear of how their leader spoke about them in public.

I took advantage of learning specific positive traits of as many of my people as I could. Every chance I got, I brought them up to people. Completely unsolicited. Eventually, word got back to them that their leader believed in them. With the comfort of knowing they had the support of the formal leader, they became much more innovative and more committed to the work we were trying to accomplish.

As a leader, advocate for your people. Show others you value them. Believe in them so that they can believe in themselves.

Millennials Vs. Gen Z’ers

It’s the new generation that is challenging employers to find new ways to lead. These are not the millennials we have heard so much about. These are the next generation of employees. How you interact and guide them will undoubtedly have a profound impact on your organization.

In an open group, I sat down with members from Generation Z and picked their brains about what they see in the workplace. Admittedly, I found that some of my own tactics were missing the mark. I was treating them as if they were Millennials. Quickly, I realized they were something much more than that and I could not be more optimistic of the future.

One of the biggest takeaways from meeting with members of Generation Z was that I learned just how independent they are. They are almost polar opposites of the Millennials in this regard. Millennials were the generation that wanted to do only what was asked and nothing more. They wanted bean bag chairs and safe spaces to hang out. They wanted work to fill the void of the social connections they were missing as social media exploded around them.

Generation Z’ers on the other hand want to work independently and show the world what they are capable of. They want face to face contact and frequent feedback to ensure their decisions are being made satisfactorily. They prefer working on separate projects that fit into a bigger system. A collaborative effort of individuals.

One of the biggest gripes that Gen Z’ers had was how they were perceived by their employers. The group strongly felt that in communicating with their superiors via text/e-mail they were dismissed as being young or not having value. Part of the reason they stated that they valued the face to face contact of others was because they felt they offered more to the organization than they were being given credit for. An E-mail is easily deleted but a face to face conversation created a dialogue. It created the sharing of ideas and the Gen Z’ers are full of great ideas.

To put it in their words; “Millennials were too worried about which bathroom a person should use based upon their self-identified gender. Meanwhile, we were trying to figure out how to make the bathroom more sustainable for future generations by trying to develop water-conserving bathrooms.”

If we want our organizations to be successful, we must first learn the differences in the generations and lead them accordingly. The Gen Z’ers are full of incredible ideas and should be empowered to act. Meet frequently, keep it short. With an 8-second attention span the information needs to be to the point and genuine.

With acknowledgement of their value as a generation, we can be successful in leading, guiding, and inspiring the future leaders.

The Three Sentence Rule

It all started when I noticed that an employee was in her supervisors office for far too long. Like many things in leadership, questions must be asked.

Why was she in the office for two hours, discussing a seemingly minor performance issue? She had made a minor clerical error that had been committed by numerous employees over the years. A learning mistake, not a mistake of incompetence.

Her direct supervisor was taking a coaching/mentorship role while explaining the issue to her. His heart was in the right place by taking a good employee and trying to further her knowledge. Unfortunately, a good intention with a bad execution is still a negative outcome.

When she walked out of the office, she looked defeated. I could see it on her face, low morale at its finest. She had just endured a 2-hour lecture about a small clerical error that was unintentionally made. Sure, it needed to be addressed, but how?

I watched this same interaction with two other supervisors and their subordinates. I was witnessing an outdated model of addressing performance issues with employees.

Enter, the three sentence rule.

Generation Z has been well researched to show that they prefer face-to-face contact with their supervisors. The research further shows that the generation that grew up with twitter, likes to keep that interaction brief. In line with asking questions in reflective leadership, how many sentences does it take to address an issue?

  1. State what is wrong. 2. Explain how to fix it. 3. Ask if any clarification is needed.

This brief model of addressing problems may seem impersonal but if done correctly, directly speaks to what Generation Z values most; being genuine. Gone are the days of over-explaining things. The next generation is highly educated and has a strong capacity for being quick learners. Keep it brief, provide frequent feedback and above all else, be honest.

Owning Your Role

When we think of Leadership, we often think of the boss. The one in charge. We relate everything from the perspective of some person who has been instilled a formal role of authority. In a lot of cases, that is correct. What do we do then when that isn’t the case?

When things go wrong, who do we look toward? In most leadership classes I’ve been in, the finger points to the ultimate head of the workgroup. They are expected to take all of the responsibility. Conversely, when things go right, they are expected to take none of the credit. These are basic leadership lessons taught time and time again.

Pointing fingers up works in a top-down leadership environment (think military); the person in charge is supposed to know every little thing that goes on. Further, they are responsible for every thing that happens.

What if we changed that perspective? What if everyone was a leader? What would we do then?

When we think it is easy to pass the mistakes up the chain, it creates a culture of non-compliance. In order for the organization to succeed, each person must own their part of it. If everyone cared for the organization as if their own name were on the side of the building, how much better would your workgroup run?

Do you expect your employees to ‘own it’? At the heart of success is an idea of ownership. It is not enough to pass it on to the next person and simply say; “not my problem.”

As a leader, do you encourage people to own it? In order for people to feel that they have ownership in something, they must feel a sense of control and accomplishment for it.

Simple ways to encourage ownership are:

1 – Give choices instead of mandates.

2 – Ask for input in decision making.

3 – Share information as frequently as possible.

When we share information and include our teams in the decision making process, it not only empowers our people but also develops them. When we empower and develop them, we create a culture. The culture we create is one that is based upon everyone thinking at the next level up.

We create ownership. The process becomes more important than the product. Successful teams are able to gather ideas from each member, rather than have ideas dictated from one person down.

Communication for Effective Leadership

Communication is a Cornerstone of Leadership

As a leader, communication is paramount to the success of your ability to lead, motivate, and inspire.  Merriam Webster Dictionary defines Communication – as a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior.  Are you communicating with your employees, do you assume someone is doing that for you, or worse do you assume they will just figure it out?  Depending on where you are in your organization, are you sure you are clearly communicating the vision and mission of your organization.  Do your employees and subordinates know what you stand for and where your passion comes from?  At the lowest level, do your subordinates know what your expectations are and the performance benchmarks they must meet?

These are all questions that if you have not asked yourself as a leader, you are not only failing yourself, more importantly you are failing those who work for you.  You must take a look at how you are communicating not only verbally, but also through written communication.  Emails, texts, directives, memos, procedures and policies can be confusing.  Clear, effective, and efficient communication is paramount to your ability to lead others to their full potential.  This will help you achieve your organization’s goals and objectives while assisting you in being successful as a leader.  

How is your communication?

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