When you think about managing, do you see your work as a circle or a line? A line is the distance between two points. A circle is continuous, with no end point and an equidistant center from all of its points. A line gets you from here to there. A circle is a process and flow. You know about circular and linear learning and left-brain and right-brain thinking. Try applying these concepts and assess your management style in relation to them. Ask yourself these questions and you may gain some insights on your approach to managing.
• Do you approach each of your tasks separately with a schedule and process for each one or see them as an interrelated whole?
• How do you respond when your progress is interrupted by something unexpected?
• Is logic of high importance in your managing?
• Do you go step-by-step as you manage or tend to flow with what comes?
• How do you comparatively value hierarchy and equality?
• Are you more task-oriented in your managing or more responsive to what happens along the way?
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We bring all that we are to our managing – our strengths and weaknesses, our good points and bad. There is a lot of focus on correcting our weaknesses. Today, let’s look the other way and focus on maximizing our talents. When we come from our talents, we start with an advantage. We know we are good and build on that. Our weaknesses may still be there, however we can use our talents to address them.
What are your three best talents when it comes to managing? Are they communication, organization, technical skill, strategic thinking, creativity or something else? How can you use them to your maximum advantage and to address any weaknesses you have? Are you expecting too much of yourself? No one has every talent that exists. We all have weaknesses and can deal with them by delegating, building skill or finding alternative approaches.
How can you use your best talents to maximum advantage for you and your organization?
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There are times in life when situations you have avoided, or been unable to focus on, come to front and center. Perhaps you have an interpersonal challenge with someone at work, you have not been up front about something when you should have been, you have hidden something about yourself or you have not prepared for something, you should have prepared for.
What do you do when the walls close in? A first suggestion is to breathe. Acknowledge what is happening and that you will deal with it. Accept the choices you have made that got you to this place. Then, get fully in the present moment. To do this, you may have to release some anxiety, fear or other emotions. Often your emotions make a situation appear to be much worse than it isYou need a clear head to decide what your next steps will be. Then, once you have cleared your emotions, focus and determine where to go from here.
If the walls close in (and I hope they never do) you can handle it best by being fully present, acknowledging your emotions and using your brains and hearts to determine what’s next.
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Each day, I work with clients as they navigate their work lives. Preparing to write this post, I thought about all the effort they put into creating a career that fulfills them. They focus on: keeping their skills up, interacting and communicating with others, negotiating effectively when they need to, staying motivated, maintaining balance, staying organized, keeping their emotions steady, getting to and from wherever they have to be, maintaining their self confidence and creating space for themselves and their creativity. It takes a lot!
Honor yourself for what it takes for you to make it through a day. What would you say are your strong points – where you’ve got what it takes? What are your weak points and what can you do about them? This is not a challenge, just a reflection. Recognize yourself for how well you are already doing. Kudos to you!
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There’s a lot involved in work place communication. When you have something significant to communicate, you do well to consider what you will say, how you will say it and what the impact of your communication may be. Expressing yourself in an intelligent and considered manner serves you well.
Gushing forth, without giving thought to your communications, may provide temporary satisfaction, but is bound to trip you up at some time. Holding back on communicating is warranted at times; however holding something in is not. By doing so, those around you are not aware of your thoughts and ideas and you could experience stress from not communicating.
Expressing yourself is important to your performance and well being at work. How and when do you express yourself?
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Rest and a periodic change of scene are essential parts of balance. In a previous blog post, I wrote about the power of renewal . Now is a great time for a break. What kind of break are you planning in August?
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There’s a difference between movement and activity. You can keep your day active, but how do you make sure you are moving forward? One way is to identify your goals for the week, with a deadline for each one. This is a simple and well-known approach, but goals are not always front and center during a busy day. Use your deadlines as markers of your progress during the week. Another way is to set daily priorities and order them according to their importance. At the end of each day, review how you did and set your priorities accordingly for the next day.
A day’s distractions and interruptions, as well as frustrations and energy drains, take your focus away from your goals and priorities. Identify “911” signs that you are losing focus, so that you don’t stray too far. If your day becomes unfocused, develop a ritual to refuel and regain your focus.
Keeping things going requires that you maintain your focus and attention on your priorities. Not always an easy thing to do, but a sure-fire way to keep things moving.
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When it comes to managing, whom do you listen to? Answering this question may provide insights regarding the current state of your managing skills. Who do you consider to be your “advisors” on the art of managing? What aspect of management do they focus on – teamwork, getting ahead, strategy, tools, emotional intelligence, expertise in subject matter, communication, leadership or something else? What does your answer tell you about your priorities when it comes to managing? Is your listening getting you where you want to be?
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judgment: an opinion or decision that is based on careful thought; the act or process of forming an opinion or making a decision after careful thought; the act of judging something or someone; the ability to make good decisions about what should be done
All of us spend time and effort developing our ability to judge people and situations in a manner that serves us. Sometimes, however, judgment can impede us. It is important to have the discernment to identify the nature of our judgment. Is it fair or biased? Different situations call for different types of judgment. Some require fair and impartial judgment and some require judgment that serves our best interests.
We are emotional creatures and will always have our own ways of looking at things. Too often, however, when there is a need for stepping out of our biases, we do not. We let our emotional, and not always rational, thoughts influence our judgment. Time and effort are well spent in developing the ability to discern what forms the basis of our judgment. There are cases when our personal biases may serve us well. For example, when we are trying to strategize within the maze of office politics or to decide what is best for us. There are cases when impartial and fair judgment is called for. For example, when disciplining a team member or making a decision that will impact our team’s well being.
Take a look at your use of judgment. Are you discerning what is called for in each situation where you exercise it? Do you use your judgment effectively and exercise its power well?
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The agendas people have in the work world can undo the best of your intentions. Uncovering an underlying agenda of a colleague is not an easy task. However, one thing you can do is to take off the rose-color glasses and develop your ability to “read” a situation accurately.
In my early career, I had the best of intentions and often gave people the benefit of the doubt. I wanted to get along and be a good team member. After several disappointing wake-up calls, when underlying agendas caused me harm, I worked at getting smart about agendas. I did not want to swing the pendulum to suspicion or cynicism. I wanted to balance the pendulum, by getting wiser about people and being able to spot their agendas.
I started a practice that helped me quite a bit. I first found my neutral gear in assessing people. Instead of seeing what I wanted to see in people and letting that skew my judgment, I let people show me who they were. I reserved judgment until they did. I also, when I encountered a problem with someone, would write a “What I Know” list about him or her. That list had only facts regarding a person’s actions, not opinions or suppositions. I was surprised how much this helped and how much, in actuality, people would reveal their agendas. By taking off my rose color glasses, I was much more able to see a situation clearly and determine my next steps.
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