For Leaders: The Importance of a Monthly Review

This week, for me, ends another graduate class, of which I’m now spending time finishing up grading. One of my favorite questions for the last discussion board is their take-away’s from the course. It is very uplifting and heartfelt when you see that the material covered has ‘sunk in’ and made a difference.

For leaders, doing the same type of review is important to see what their ‘lessons-learned’ have been, and to see results the team has made and how the leader has impacted these results. These reviews can be done daily, weekly or monthly (preferable) to keep on-track with goals and results earned. It also ensures that problems have been handled well and assesses the status of relationships with their workers.

So what goes into such as review? Here are questions to use and adapt in a leader’s assessment:

  • What worked well – what were the ‘wins’?
  • What can I do more of to build on?
  • What did not work well?
  • What do I need to stop doing?
  • What has gotten in the way of being effective in my role?
  • Did I access appropriate resources to get the work done, whether in people, outside resources, or tools?
  • Have I addressed any employee issues or conflicts that have occurred? Have I met with the employee in a 1:1 meeting to get to the root of the problem and coached them for a positive resolution?
  • Have I met regularly with the team? Have I encouraged and supported them?
  • Have I maintained good relationships with my upline and other partners in the organization? Have I encouraged this with my employees?
  • How has my attitude and outlook been? Have I worked on this?
  • Have I communicated effectively, ensuring that my message is heard the same by all?
  • Have I worked on my personal development and self-care? What actions did I take?
  • What are my ‘next’ goals?

These are just a few questions to assess and reflect on, all with the intent to build off current successes and move on to the new day/week/month’s goals. We can’t go forward if we don’t know where we’ve been; self-awareness and assessment is the way to start.

If you need help or would like support/accountability in completing your self-assessment and making plans to lead more effectively, let’s talk; contact us today at http://www.cyscoaching.com

Graduation Day – A Rite of Passage

I am so proud to say that today my daughter is getting pinned as a nurse; this is a special graduation day for her nursing class, of which they all have sweated, cried, and now finally celebrate their passage into the nursing field. But I was a bit dismayed that some of her classmates will not be attending the formal graduation, which is next week. My daughter, who already has a bachelor’s degree and went through that ceremony, was not really seeing the benefit of joining her fellow classmates (she will).

graduate_diploma_800_wht_2477

I think this does a big disservice to the work one’s done over the years of study; graduation day is a rite of passage from being a student to being a diploma holder, who is now ready to take on the world. Graduation is a celebration of why you went to school to begin with; not going is not honoring that. It is a way, also, to uplift your classmates and school and honor their teachings. It also honors the people who have supported you along the way, i.e. family, friends, teachers, etc.

As one who teaches in higher education, but online, I haven’t been in the classroom in several years but I still attend the local graduations; I don’t know who the student are but I can see their appreciation and excitement when their professors are there and the traditional ceremony it brings. It formalizes the overall experience.

If you, or perhaps your children, are ready to graduate, I encourage you to attend graduation. Honor  – and celebrate – yourself, and you achievements; you will never get this chance again. Congratulations to all who will reach their milestone this year!

If you’re needing help with reaching milestones, let’s talk; contact us today at http://www.cyscoaching.com

What People Earn- Next Edition

As I’ve done the past five years, I love sharing the latest ways that people are making money these days. These are profiled in Parade Magazine (2017) and some are truly inspiring – this year is no different.

I think I look forward to this edition of the magazine is the creative ways that people are earning money, the amount of money some are earning, and they show that money is not always the end-result for the work one does. This year’s surprise, for me, was the addition of younger people making their mark and earning great income.

So here are some ways people are making their mark in the work-world:

  • a make-up artist, age 30, from Chicago makes $65,000 – she “loves helping women feel good”
  • a poker dealer from Baltimore earns $50,000
  • A 26-year old marine engineer in Connecticut, who gets paid to ‘diagnose, trouble shoot and fix machinery, makes $148,000
  • A 23-year old NY hand model earns $10,000 holding ‘everything from phones to pineapples
  • A California-based romance novel model earns $40,000, having been on over 500 covers
  • A 26-year old Etsy shop owner earns $62,000
  • A New Hampshire CEO of his own cybersecurity earns $150,000
  • A 30-year old LA YouTuber earns over $5million, which led to her own Netflix show
  • A trainer and program consultant for end-of-life counselors earns $58,000, with a goal to “bring deeper meaning and comfort to families”
  • A 24-year-old data scientist earns $100,000 to ‘bring meaning to data’
  • A 67-year old cast member in California earns $9,200, saying ‘the best part of the job are the people and stories
  • A female commercial fisherwoman makes over $100,000
  • An Oregon wine-maker/owner earns $250,000 and wants to ‘dispel the myth that wine is only for the elite’
  • A 23-year old long-haul truck drive, wanting to debunk the idea that women can’t drive a truck or do the hard labor, earns $65,000
  • An LA-based professional organizer and interior stylist earns $135,000
  • A Georgia cuckoo clock designer earns $0 but has ‘the vision to reinvent cuckoo clocks with an American aesthetic’ – she puts all savings and profits into the company and inventory                 (Parade Magazine 2017)

I love seeing the diversity of the work people are doing and the money they are making; but what impresses me is ‘why’ they are doing the work they do. They all have visions and are meaning and passion in the work we do. There were 2 million jobs added in 2016, with 7.2 million more predicted to be added in the next five years (Parade Magazine, 2017), which is great news. Finding jobs that will enhances and fulfills you should be the goal. Hopefully, you’ve gotten inspiration from these examples, as I have and will go and find/do your best work.

If you’re ready to go do your best work, let’s talk. Contact us today at http://www.cyscoaching.com

Hiring in a Leader’s Image

In looking at Trait theories of leadership, it is said that there are certain innate traits that leaders  possess, such as charisma, self-motivation, having high intelligence, being responsible and having confidence. According to Stogdill (1974) identified eight traits that leaders possess:

  • intelligence
  • alertness
  • insight
  • responsibility
  • initiative
  • persistence
  • self-confidence
  • sociability (as cited in Northouse, 2010, pg. 17)

When hiring, do those in leadership positions hire in their image, meaning do they hire people who they see in themselves? Is this advantageous, or can it be detrimental, not just to the organization but to a job seeker?

I think there are both pros and cons when a leader hires in their image. IF they are a good leader and have insights into their own behaviors and ways of leading, it can be very beneficial to having team members who are confident, responsible and intelligent; who wouldn’t want an individual who possesses these qualities?

While this seems good, if all team members were like their boss, there is a dark side: limited diversity is one – too alike gives nothing but the same; another can be one-up man-ship – egos will tend to get in the way as to who is more responsible, who is smarter, etc. One other is the leader could start to feel threatened and then wield their higher power to the detriment of their reports.

From a job seekers perspective, it could take many out of contention as the hirer, or recruiter, would discount applicants who don’t seem like an image ‘fit.’ Or, it could attract individuals who match. The bottom line is that there is no right or wrong in hiring in a leader’s image – it means that there needs to be a balance. It can make for a more robust, higher performing team.

Coaching Through “I Don’t Know”

We live in current times of “I don’t know” –

  • I don’t know what I want to do with my life
  • I don’t know what I want to do with my career
  • I don’t know how to start my own business
  • I don’t know how to deal with my relationship (or any other area)
  • I don’t know how to ____________ (fill in the blank)

What keeps coaches in business is helping individuals to answer this question; leaders also need to help their workers to best answer this question when giving work tasks or when looking at their results of the work.

But do individuals really ‘not know’? Do we think we know the answer when asking this question, essentially setting someone up to be unclear? Does this question frustrate others in your circle when this statement is made (ex: I don’t know,, what do you want to do? I don’t know, I don’t know what I want to eat? et cetera).

From my experience, we do know; we’re just afraid to say it due to a fear of some kind:

  • fear of disappointing someone
  • fear of looking poorly in another person’s eye
  • fear of getting yelled at
  • fear of rejection
  • fear of failing
  • fear of looking inadequate in some way

How questions are phrased can lead to the “I don’t know” response; when someone feels caught ‘off-guard’ or is unsure how to respond, they are more likely to answer with that statement. When emotions come into play, which they do, this answer is more likely to be said. In remembering that it all comes down to perspectives and how each party sees the situation, this will determine a positive or a vague response.

One question to never ask someone is ‘why;’ it is vague and will elicit a vague response. A better question to ask is ‘what led you to do/say/not do, etc. ….. We can make the connections to our actions, or inaction’s, but why can lead to becoming defensive and striking back, or to either being silent or agreeing to something, when you really don’t want to. The end-result is never good as, over time, defenses build and silence leads to withdrawal and other emotional issues.

Here are three questions to ‘coach’ someone through the ‘I don’t know’s”

  1. What do you need right now?:  our actions are driven by our needs – the need to be recognized, the need to feel important, the need to feel accomplished, to name a few; we are often not so good with naming these, however. If we were to probe what the person needs, it can uncover the true source of what they really need/want, which can then be discussed for meeting that need
  2. If there were a solution, what would it (they) be?: helping the person to come up with possible solutions will help their brain to go into this mode, lessening the fight-or-flight area in the brain to not activate, allowing more ideas to arise. The ‘how’s’ will start to get answered, leading to feeling more positive about the situation which then leads to taking action
  3. If this situation can be amicably resolved, what choice would you make that would lead to it?: if we knew we would have a positive outcome to any situation we face, our brain would become more idea-oriented and come up with a host of ways to deal with both our work and our life. It also leads to feeling more confident that we can deal with them, which we most likely have in the past. Another win is helping the person to create a new reality and attracting more positive thinking for any area of their life

An added benefit to coaching through this question is that it creates more positive feelings between the two parties, lessening any defensive or negative encounters. Now, one will feel they can approach others and will get a win-win result. Isn’t that what we all want?

If you struggle with coaching through this question, or other patterns, let’s talk! contact us today at http://www.cyscoaching.com

Hope for Mid-Career Workers

If you’re a mid-career worker, I’m telling you to not give up hope regarding your career. It has seemed that this generation is being overlooked, discarded and forgotten. But that’s only if you read ‘the news’ that’s out there.

Mid-career workers have an abundance of knowledge and experience to offer an employer that is lacking with newer ones, just by virtue of the years they’ve spent in the workforce. This is just a fact-of-life. Younger workers have years ahead of them to hone their knowledge and skills; it’s the path of evolution.

I was very heartened at a recent panel discussion I served on, where the topic of older workers being ‘viable’ came up. The consensus across the board is that mid-career workers are still valued and needed. It was also encouraging that one organization in the audience asked for the best way to recruit them – yeah!

Some advice that came from the panel:

  • the language to recruit mid-career workers needs to change and be more appealing in addressing their knowledge and skills, which is what they value most
  • go where they ‘hang out’ – meetings, alumni associations and the like to market your organization
  • hold open-house hiring events to encourage them to come to you
  • be open to allowing them to apply in person (the old way) and have a designated person who can speak to them, which can expedite long hiring processes that often discourage them
  • change the overall view that seems to only focus on hiring younger workers, which will encourage mid-careers to apply; this also will create more diversity within your organization
  • change the perception that mid-career workers are not technology-focused – highlight those skills you do have to change this perception with employers by highlighting skills you do have (if not, go take a class to learn more). This seemed to be one of the biggest detriments to hiring/keeping them.

Mid-career workers are, and will continue to be, vital to the work force. Their success is contingent on both sides – employer and worker. Changing perceptions and focus won’t be easy but is desperately needed as new generations enter the workforce. The viability and success of your organization is dependent on this.

If you’re a mid-career workers and need help entering or continuing successfully in the workforce, let’s talk. Contact us today at http://www.cyscoaching.com

Dealing With a Chronic Complainer

There is nothing worse than having to listen to someone who constantly complains, whether your spouse, a relative, or friend. But, to me, it’s worse when you encounter someone in the workplace who can’t seem to find anything good in …. anything.

Workplace complainers can be dangerous as their negativity can pervade all spaces in the walls of the organization and they will suck the emotional breath out of those they work with daily. Their greatest pleasure is to get others on their side and be as miserable as they are, even though they may not be as unhappy as they say they are (ironic, isn’t it).

These types of people see themselves good workers and nice people, but feel shocked when their negativity is pointed out. They’re good at deflecting their part, blaming it on an extraneous factor – the boss not being clear, the coworker, who was slow in getting them needed info, the process was too slow for me to access the data I needed, the dog ate my homework – oh, not that one but it seems as if they’ll place the blame on everyone or everything else.

These individuals don’t take responsibility for their part in what happened – they are victims. And you can’t argue with one as they will get angry, pout, and deflect back to you with the hope that you will now feel as bad as they do. Misery loves company, as they say.

How do you deal with a complainer/victim? Here are some tips to help you navigate these choppy waters:

  • listen – try to really ‘hear’ what the other person is saying; they will say words that can indicate where their hurt comes from.  To illustrate, say that John is negative about the boss and the work, making the comment that he wasn’t asked to help, and then going on with a litany of reasons why the workplace is terrible; if you listen to his words, he feels left-out and insignificant, hence his complaining nature
  • use empathy – try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes, but don’t wear them, meaning don’t take their pain on which is when we can go down the negative slope. Empathy is a skill that can be honed and helps to soften the other person when they feel understood
  • erect your boundaries, and ensure they are firmly in the ground – boundaries set the limit for behaviors or words you will and will not accept from others, as well as how far we will go. If ‘Negative John’ starts to go on complaining, then you must stop them from going on but in an assertive manner (using “I” statements). Not allowing these conversations to go on will redirect a complainer and you will feel free
  • be inclusive – complainers often feel left out or that their voice doesn’t matter, so by including them in conversations or with work tasks to be completed, this often elevates their mood and stops complaints that go beyond normal
  • put on your shield – just like a Power Ranger puts on their suit, you have to put your shield and determine you will not allow the negativity of others to affect you. It will be hard at first but, with consistency, it will become second nature. Smiling and being positive does have the opposite affect so it can spread and squelch any complaints or negativity
  • focus on solutions – when Negative John starts with a complaint, redirect by asking him how the issue can be resolved as this will create a new way of thinking  lessening further negative views; a bonus is that this will bring up some new ideas that can make a difference in the work being done

Of course, if none of these work (and they won’t with everyone), then you must decide to not interact with them, or on an ‘as needed’ basis (after all, they are coworkers); it might mean asking to sit at another work station or, worst case scenario, speaking with the boss. It certainly is no fun to listen to someone who seems to love to complain (do they love it?) but dealing with it is within your control. Keep ‘in your own lane’ and focus on your own work – you will be happier (and can lead John to want some of the water you’re drinking).

If you’re having trouble dealing with negativity, or it has invaded your workplace, let’s talk; contact us today to create happier and more productive workers at http://www.cyscoaching.com

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