Communication is a constant in your work as a manager. Are you aware of the style you use to communicate to your team and others? Do you even have time to be aware of your communication style? Perhaps not. However, it is a worthwhile endeavor, as communication is the lifeblood of organizations and deserves your attention.
There are many styles of communication: precise and to the point, well reasoned and thought out, emotionally intelligent or forceful, to name a few. There are also various methods of communication – speaking, writing, electronic, body language.
You want to find the style that is a fit and most effective for you. Start by giving thought to what outcomes you want from your communications. Are they to keep a project going, create clarity about goals or promote collaboration, for example? In a previous blog post I focused on how your communication is heard. Being aware of this will help in determining your communication style. Then, fit this all in with the culture of your organization, the realities of your work and the nature of your team and co workers. You may use varying styles in different situations. That’s fine. The key here is developing your self-awareness of how you communicate with others.
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Every once in a while, it is good to step back and take a look at what you are doing and determine if it is a fit.
Here are a few questions you can ask yourself about your current job.
• Am I using my best skills on a daily basis?
• Are the people who surround me good collaborators?
• Am I accomplishing significant things?
• Is there a flow to my work?
• Is this job leading me to what I envision my next career steps to be (gaining skills, connections and knowledge)?
• Does my work fulfill me?
You are the CEO of your career. Your choices lead you forward. Your job should be a fit with your goals and dreams.
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Discernment: the ability to see and understand people, things, or situations clearly and intelligently. – Merriam- Webster Dictionary
Many things can obscure your ability to see situations clearly. If you do not see clearly, you are acting on faulty data that can lead to faulty action.
Have you cultivated discernment as a management skill? Here are some ways that you can.
• Identify some of the “filters” you bring to how you see things. For example, if you highly value efficiency and organization and experience a person that is not so, you conclude they do not know what they are doing.
• Identify situations at work that “press your buttons” and cause you to lose your center.
• Identify any insecurities you bring to your work and how they affect your interactions and perceptions. For example, “I am never appreciated enough for all I do”.
• Identify any “blind spots’ you may have that obscure your perceptions. For example, you think that everyone has good intentions to start with. Or bad intentions!
Discernment is an acquired skill that comes with experience, observation and focus. Become more discerning and watch your skills as a manager take a leap upward!
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Spring is here and it’s a good time to get in motion. What do you want to move on? Create some focus, set a timeframe and begin. Make a commitment and you’ll generate results.
If something you want to do is stagnating, it’s best to get it done. You’ll lighten your load and make room for other things. Spring is a season of renewal. Put new energy into your work and enjoy what it brings for you.
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There are times in life when you are tired. You can be tired in a variety of ways: fed up, physically tired, out of energy for something or lacking inspiration. Usually, it does not take long to know you are tired. The problem comes when you try to ignore or override it. It behooves you to “listen” to your emotions and your body. They tell you things that your mind may be ignoring.
Are you tired? If you are, stop now and figure out what is happening. Life offers a lot more when you are in touch with yourself, than it does when you are tired.
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1) Put yourself in the other person’s place and consider what it would be like to hear what you plan to say.
2) Identify your goals for the conversation, its purpose and what you want to achieve by having it.
3) Think about the person you will be talking with and craft an approach that fits their personality, without comprising what you want to communicate.
4) Identify where you are most vulnerable in the conversation (e.g. you have fear of having it; you do not have a strong justification for your position).
5) Anticipate the person’s possible reactions to what you have to say and what you will do about them.
6) Visualize yourself having the conversation with a positive outcome or practice having it.
7) Craft the conversation to assure that what you say and what you are asking are clear.
8) During the conversation, ask the person if what you are saying is clear to them and listen to their responses.
9) Develop an effective exit strategy, in case the conversation gets out of hand.
10) Release attachment to a specific outcome and keep yourself in the present moment.
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In my coaching, I often see situations where people believe they do not have choice. You always have choice. As you make decisions, observe what choice is in front of you. Say, a project is taking a lot of your time. You are starting to neglect other aspects of your life and are feeling stress. The deadline is looming, so you feel you have no choice, but to keep going. Well, you do have a choice – several in fact. The challenge lies in what choice you make. You can miss the deadline, be a bit late on the project or push to complete it on time. As you identify your choices and evaluate them, how can you feel you have no choice?
Acknowledging that you always have choice is a way of taking responsibility for your life. When you see that your life is formed by your choices, you can consciously make the ones that are right for you. Your choices may involve compromises at first; but over time, I think you will see that life gets better, as you acknowledge choice.
The next time you have a decision to make, see it as a choice.
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It is challenging for change to occur without motivation. As you set your goals for coaching a team member, think about their level of motivation as they come into the coaching relationship. Are they motivated? Demotivated? What is their level of self-confidence in their skills and ability to perform? Determining this will inform your coaching strategy, as well as your initial expectations for the success of the coaching.
Motivation is often an inside job. However, you can still provide incentives that are intended to motivate. To develop the incentives, look back on your experience with the team member and what you think will motivate them. Engage the team member around the subject of motivation by including them in setting up the goals and approach for your coaching relationship and asking them directly what motivates or demotivates them.
Examples of motivating approaches that are a win-win for you and your team member include: training or another type of skill and confidence development, praise for work well done (past or present), bonuses for results and expressing your confidence in their ability to meet the goals of your coaching.
Without assessing motivation, there’s a chance that the coaching will stall before you start. Recognizing the importance of motivation provides a significant advantage to you and your team member.
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Sometimes, it can be very hard to let something go. Is there something you have been holding on to? You can hold on to many things after their time is up – things such as failures, relationships, grudges, anger and other emotions, destructive memories or regrets. As you hold on, you pay a price. The price can lie in distraction, emotional distress, over-thinking, inability to be fully present in the moment or stagnation. It can be a jail of your own making.
When you release something that is over or no longer serves you, you are free. There is room for something new. You can focus your attention on other things. It may take time to let something go, but it can also happen quickly, once you set your mind to it. The first step is recognition that it is time to release something. Then, you bring yourself to the present moment and a place of clarity about the situation and act – by declaring your intention to let go, doing something concrete to cut a tie or changing behaviors that support the current situation.
What, in your life, or work, is ready for release?
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My basic nature is to value honesty and transparency and to move away from game playing. When it comes to the work world, there is a fine line here between dangerous naiveté and maliciousness. Machiavelli tells us games are inherent in human nature and we must become expert in playing them. Some say they don’t like the games, so they ignore them.
When I began my career, I was given a book Games Mother Never Taught You that discusses the games many are unaware of, but must know about, in order to succeed at work. It helped me navigate through the games I began experiencing at work.
What are games, when it comes to work? I think games are manipulations of people and circumstances towards a desired (frequently self-serving) end. Often, games are played in a secretive way, with only the person playing them or a small group of people, knowing what is happening and what the “rules” are. In the course of a game, it is common that people are manipulated and treated unfairly.
My best answer to the lead question of this blog post is no, you do not have to play games in the office. However, it behooves you to be aware of them, hone your skills to know when they are being played and know how to protect yourself and proceed within them. In a perfect world, we’d have transparency and honesty in our dealings. Alas, we do not live in a perfect world. Best that you accept the presence of games in your interactions with people and learn how to safeguard yourself, and your interests, when they are being played.
Who is holding a console in your workplace?
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