Daily Read – How’s Your Work-Life Balance?
Somewhere in between dreaming about a 4-hour work week and the reality that you’re becoming a 24×7 workaholic is an elusive notion called work-life balance. It is possible to reach a great work-life balance – one that can create a life of fulfillment not a life filled with regret. And, the good news? It’s in your control! Here are five factors that make the difference:
- Acknowledge there is an optimum balance and this balancing point is different for everyone.
- It’s all about your goals… Life is about trade-offs. You need to make sure your goals are realistic. For example, if you want to golf all day and party all night, it’s not realistic to expect a Ferrari to be sitting in your driveway.
- …and how hard you’re willing to work to achieve them. If you want to have it all, then you’re going to have to work long and hard and be disciplined to achieve them. Be realistic about what you want and how hard you are willing to work when setting them. Remember-life is about trade-offs.
- It helps a lot if you love your work. It doesn’t seem like hard work when you love the work! Your work becomes a part of your life and if you’re passionate about what you do, your work is part of your happiness.
- You don’t have to be on 24×7. Don’t let the gadgets, tools, and toys get the better of them. Understanding it is as much about (maybe more) giving in to instant gratification, the need for attention, and the addictive qualities of our communication overloaded culture than it is about
The bottom line is this. Seeking balance in life is highly subjective. Instead of waiting until the end of your life to find out if you’ve achieved balance, think about these five factors and come up with a combination that works for you. You have more control than you think.
Read entire article at: http://goo.gl/ZIkwn
Daily Read – Make Bad News Constructive
No one likes to hear they aren’t meeting their goals and they need to step it up or worse, that they don’t fit into the company culture or that the company’s being downsized. But, sometimes bad news is inevitable, and it will affect small numbers or larger groups of employees. The key to keeping bad news constructive is preemptive damage control. Here’s how:
1. Know Your Employees. Some people will be emotionally affected by what you’re going to do and it’s best to give them the courtesy of letting them know in private, especially if a larger group is affected and an announcement will be made.
2. Keep the Door Open. After an announcement is made and bad news has been shared make sure you keep the lines of communication open to clarify any misunderstandings and answer questions. This will help avoid a mass of angry employees.
3. Be Prepared for Change. If you are asking your employees to step up their performance or goals, the management has to be ready to change too. Engage management and reassign leadership if necessary to help the change reach bottom to top. Employees need to see you are serious about change.
Read entire article at: http://goo.gl/XGFyq
Daily Read – The Lost Art of Conversation
A great deal of our lives is spent talking to people. The proportion may go up for salespeople and down for introverts, but everyone could stand to have more productive conversations. Learning how to approach conversations can have a large impact on your communication skills as a whole, which in turn should lead to better decisions, meetings and personal relationships. First, change your approach to a conversation to: ‘I have a view worth hearing, but I may be missing something.’ Then, follow these three steps to employ this new skill:
- Advocate your own position, and then invite responses. Try saying, “This is how I see the situation and why. How do you see it?”
- Paraphrase the other person’s view and ask for their take. “It sounds to me like your argument is this. Is that what you’re saying?”
- Explain a gap in understanding. “It sounds like you think this acquisition is a bad idea. Could you tell me how you came to that conclusion?”
This approach surprisingly enough will help you get your way by inquiring the other’s point of view because it leads the other person to genuinely reflect and want to hear your ideas.
Read entire article at: http://goo.gl/M5CHL
Daily Read – Are You a Crappy Learner?
Here’s a puzzle: Even though people talk about leadership all the time, and roughly eight jillion leadership books have been published, we’re still plagued with fair to poor leaders in many, perhaps most, organizations. You can’t lead if you can’t learn. And not all adults learn that well. So how do you become a powerful learner? Here are the three things most required to boost your learnability:
- Accurate self-awareness. To get better at something, you have to be clear about your current knowledge or capability and be especially aware of over-assessing your abilities.
- Curiosity. True curiosity is a very powerful thing, and it’s built into all of us. Anyone who’s ever been around a little kid can attest to that. You have to re-connect with your innate curiosity. The best learners and the most successful leaders are continually asking curiosity-based questions such as, “How does that work?” and “Why is that happening?” and “How can I….?” and “What if…?”
- Be willing to be not-good. This may be the toughest aspect of true learning, especially difficult for people who are smart and quick learners in general. Being able to keep going, and to work through incompetence, is essential to real learning of any kind. Real learning requires both being OK with our own initial ineptness and faith in our ability to get through it.
Give powerful learning a try and let me know how you do!
Excerpts taken from: http://goo.gl/eWBCq
Daily Read – Put a Lid on Your Emotions
Toxic emotions and overheated outbursts sounds like the dealings of the teenage years, but if you step inside the doors of some companies today, you will find your share of emotions running amuck. Confidence and passion are admirable qualities, but when you have a room full of high achievers, you’re bound to get some intense moments and heated emotions. Here’s the proper way to diffuse an emotionally charged environment:
Always have a goal in mind. What it is that you need to accomplish with every interaction?
Don’t make decisions when emotional. Step away, take some time to cool off and think about what you need to accomplish.
Think about the consequence before you act. Focus on the positive consequences and let those propel you to make great decisions.
Delay gratification. Remain disciplined and devise a plan of attack.
Communicate, calmly and frequently. When a problem arises with someone sit down and talk about it. Seeing where the other person is coming from, will hopefully cause your anger to dissipate and allow for a common ground to be met.
If it’s you, change. If you’re continually flying off the handle or a particular behavior is generating bad results, you may need to modify your approach or eliminate the problematic behavior.
Get to know your personal triggers. Don’t just think of the negative connotation. These triggers are “things that move you the most to make positive decisions.”
If you mess up, learn from your mistakes. If you screwed up and you’re acting inappropriately, you need to acknowledge you made a mistake and not get defensive. Remember the old saying “learn from your mistakes”. Acknowledge, change and move forward.
Excerpts taken from: http://goo.gl/qrvef
Daily Read – Be the Best by Doing the Opposite
The very best managers do the exact opposite of what the average manager does. Following the conventional wisdom usually ends in mediocrity, so why not march to the beat of a different drum? Here’s how:
Put the customer second. Concentrate on making certain your employees are happy and healthy – this will spill over to your customers.
Don’t manage the bottom line. It’s like trying to drive a car while looking in the rear-view mirror. The best way to get good numbers in the future is to keep your attention on what’s going on right now in your market and industry.
Celebrate the tough times. It’s easy to have high morale when things are going good, but, ironically, it’s when things are difficult that you’re most likely to have breakthroughs–but only if people keep their spirits up.
Have more questions than answers. Your job is not to know all the answers–and provide them to your employees as frequently as possible. When managers provide all the answers, they rob their employees of the opportunity to think and grow. Sharing your experience has value, but helping your employees use their own mind is more valuable.
Measure yourself by your worst employees. You’ve heard the saying “you’re only as strong as your weakest player”, this is true at work too. Superstar employees can make you look good, but the real measure of a manager’s skill is how he or she handles the poor performers.
Mistrust your common sense. Trusting your common sense often results in the same problems cropping up month after month, year after year. Instead, get to know your employees’ and their interests, and manage according to those interests and you will get the best results.
Read entire article at: http://goo.gl/uvUwr
Daily Read - Turn Criticism into Motivation
Yes, criticism is hard to swallow and can even hurt, but how you respond to criticism could either set you up for success or failure. The key to using criticism to your benefit is learning how to handle it. Follow these tips and turn that hurt into help:
Understand where your critic is coming from. Realizing your idea may not the best idea since sliced bread can be tough, but hearing that criticism from someone whose opinion you hold highly is even harder. Instead of looking at the information as a personal “attack”, use it to focus on improving your weak points.
Take the negative in stride. Sometimes we are too close to see our mistakes or areas that need improvement. Try not to interrupt, listen, and then ask for recommendations to fix your flaws.
Use criticism to motivate. Often times we want support and encouragement of our new ideas, but what we need is for people you respect to tear your business model apart and point out the flaws in your idea. It’ll hurt to hear it, but it will get you thinking. It may even drive you to excel so you can even debunk those doubts.
Don’t quit. Criticism is hard to take, but the worst thing you can do is give up. Instead go out and pursue your goal even more ardently. Let your passion for your idea show through the criticism and lead to your success!
Excerpts taken from: http://goo.gl/f3zQy