Upside Down

ID-10045534So much can deter us from honoring our values and priorities. We have to keep them front and center. What are your values? What are your priorities for 2015? Identify them and keep them close, as you work and go through your day. With focus, you’ll honor your values and achieve your goals. Otherwise, they may end up upside down, doing no one any good.

 

photo: Bill Longshaw, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Sudden Shocks

dreamstime_xs_7392531In life and work, sudden shocks can send you reeling. Gratefully, they are not everyday occurrences. Sudden shocks can take the form of an abrupt change of course, unexpected or startling developments in your organization, significant choices posed to you that you must respond to quickly, a key person leaving an organization or your position in the organization changing in big ways. What do you do when you encounter a sudden shock?

Initially, it is important that you regain your center after a sudden shock. You need to step away, calm yourself and see the situation from that place. Even if you think there is no time for this, create the time – it is essential to your making it through. Then, you can assess what you are going to do in response (not reaction) to the situation. As you deal with sudden shocks, be true to your values, maintain your balance and know that you have choice in every situation. You can deal with sudden shocks. They ask a lot of you, but they are a part of life.

 

photo: Alhovik, Dreamstime.com

The Dangers Of Comparing Yourselves With Others

ID-10011733It’s a natural impulse to compare yourself with other managers and co-workers. It is also dangerous and seldom brings good results. Why? Because each person has unique skills, personality, values and intentions that do not support direct comparison. If you compare yourself with someone in a different circumstance than you are in, where does that get you? By comparing, you are creating a benchmark that may not represent where you want to be. For example, if you compare yourself to another manager who has had success in the organization, what if they used methods that do not honor your values? Or, what if they are aiming in another direction then you are?

What does work is to observe others, picking and choosing what you want to adopt or emulate because it fits your style, values and intentions and you think it will work for you. That way, you are CEO of your career and are not simply mimicking others who are succeeding.

 

photo: Suvro Datta, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Where Is Your Center As A Manager?

We hear a lot about balance and finding your center as essential elements of peak performance. What is this about?

Your “center” is the place where your awareness of yourself and what is around you is high, where you are balanced among the mental, emotional and physical aspects of your life and where you perform in your highest capacity. Keeping yourself in your center takes effort. Balance is dynamic; it is not a “once I get there, I stay there” type of thing. You need to work at finding and remaining in your center.

Do you have a sense of where your center, as a manager, is? Your center as a manager involves several things:

• The core values you hold for your managing

• Your style as a manager

• The balance you need physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually to perform at your peak

• Your aspirations for yourself, your team and your organization

• A strong connection to your intuition or “gut feelings”

To stay in your center, you need effective ways to deal with stress, methods or processes to regain your center when you are distracted from it, emotional intelligence about yourself and others, ways to keep your mind at its best (avoiding mind chatter and anxiety, for example) and the ability to integrate the various aspects of your life into a coherent whole.

How are you doing with keeping your center as you manage?

photo: tungphoto, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Happy!

 Last night I discovered Pharrel Williams’ 24 hour music video “Happy”. When was it decided that we would not be happy in our work? To what purpose? Work may be demanding or strenuous, but why is it okay if we are unhappy? Perhaps we need to course-correct, as a society, and value ourselves enough that we seek out happiness in our work. Employers will have to value happiness as well. It’s a great starting point to improve the condition of society and our own lives.

In November, I debuted a monthly newsletter titled Working Happy. Something’s happening here. We are hearing of Chief Happiness Officers in organizations. People are saying “enough” to bully bosses and organizations. Let’s go there and make happiness a primary value for our work. We’ll be more productive and innovative and life will be so much better.

photo: Dmytro Konstantynov, Dreamstime Photos

 

Tools For Navigating Management

A ship’s Captain would not think of sailing without navigational instruments. What about you? How do you successfully navigate managing of your team? Here are some tools that can aid your navigation:

• Identifying your top values as a manager and honoring them

• Having an ally, outside your organization, who can be a sounding board and provide support when you need it

• Doing an informal 360 review each year to receive feedback on your role as manager

• Identifying the key influencers in your organization and staying aware of what they are thinking and doing

• Designing a process for handling crises when they arise

 

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Collaborating Without Sacrificing

Within collaborations there are important nuances to be aware of. One of them is to find the line between collaboration and devaluing yourself. While collaboration is increasingly the way we work, it is equally important to honor your own individuality and values. Collaboration does not mean sacrificing yourself for a team or group. It means finding the way that a team of individuals can work together harmoniously and productively.

Here are some signs that can indicate that you may have crossed the line between collaborating and sacrificing.

• Another person(s) is dominating the conversation and your voice is stifled

• You find yourself in emotionally charged conversations with team members where you focus on what you want them to do differently, rather than focusing on what you need from the collaboration

• The project is proceeding in a way that is not going to achieve its goal and the team is not working to improve the situation. You are worried about delivering and how this might affect your reputation

• You find your stress level rising about working with the team and you have not defined clear boundaries for your work with them

• You are not honoring your values

Can you identify other signs?

You gain nothing, and often lose, by sacrificing yourself. Don’t do it. Each member of a team matters. That is the challenge of collaboration: to find a way to work together that honors the individuality and contributions of all team members, including you.

Can You Really Manage Innovation?

Thinking traditionally, the concepts of managing and innovation can seem counterposed. Innovation needs open space, not managing. What if we turn that upside down and say that managing innovation is about both creating an environment conducive to innovation and good managing?

I think managing and innovation can coexist. It is about finding a balance between open space and managing your team’s progress. Start with values. Allow for values that foster innovation – such as freedom, no wrong answer, diversity and creative time. Continue values that foster good managing – such as frequent and clear communication, maintaining focus on goals and measures, accountability and collaboration. Articulate the balance of these values to and with your team. Create “structures” to foster them. Structures can include time for open space thinking, new processes for decision making, team training to  acclimate with these structures, team-developed measures for innovation.

Once your structures are in place, observe how they are working. Are you producing innovations? Is your larger organization supporting you? Are you innovating and managing well?

Photo: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

What Are Your Values as a Manager?

Values guide us in many areas of our lives. What are your values as a manager? Here are some questions to help you begin identifying them.

• How would you like for others to describe you as a manager?

• What is important to you regarding the way others treat you in the workplace or market?

• Which of your personal values transfer to your work as a manager? How are they different, if at all, when you bring them into the workplace?

• What kind of work environment do you want to create for your team?

Values are an important foundation for your work as a manager. Know your values. Let them guide you

 

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Fair Is Not Equal When Managing

Some see fairness as equal treatment of all members of their team. Equal is often seen as “same”. I recently attended a training class, given by Mockingbird Education that focused on high risk learners. The trainer, Tamara Thompson, made a statement that fair is not equal. She said that, with high risk learners, individual circumstances are key factors in their ability and openness to learning. One student may say to a teacher,   “ that’s not fair, you didn’t make the others do what I had to do” and there may be very good reasons why that is so.

Effective management is not about uniformity. It is one-on-one. That’s a high skill: to treat all team members as individuals, with differing skill sets and circumstances, and still be fair. Fairness then becomes subjective, pertaining to the characteristics of particular situations and people. If fairness becomes subjective, your values as a manager rise in importance and become your guide.

 

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