01 Sep

The ‘self’ in leadership Part 2

“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold but not bully; be thoughtful but not lazy; be humble but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humour, but without folly” – Jim Rohn

 

In Part 1 of this series, we discussed the importance of both the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ in leadership, what self-leadership is, common pitfalls, and then posed some questions to consider (below).

  1. Are you living those values and behaviours – leading by example?
  2. Are you bringing positive intent to all your interactions with others ?
  3. Are you respecting other people’s values through your actions ?

In this discussion, we introduce a very simple model to help hold oneself to account in self-leadership. We use the SELF model. It is fairly self-explanatory (no pun intended!) and is designed as a quick check list for those who are developing their self-leadership and collaboration style.

SELF Model

There are 4 core actions, and 3 core attitudes to this model.

Actions

Set and meet your goals

Having professional and personal goals is what sets many true leaders apart. Goals can provide you with clear focus, help you prioritise and motivate you toward results. Leaders achieve!

Engage positively with others

As we discussed in Part 1, positive intent and respect in your interactions is key to effective collaboration. And it must be genuine! Test yourself – “What impact have I had on this person today?” If you don’t like the answer, review your approach.

Listen to your brain

The brain is the core of the behaviours we exhibit to others. If we are stressed, tired or otherwise worried, our brain tends to use it’s vital resources keeping us alive and functioning and often doesn’t have much left in reserve to moderate toward positive behaviour. This is why in stressful circumstances we might withdraw from others or emotionally ‘explode’. We are not operating with our best logical brain in action. So listen to your brain – if you feel emotional, stressed, tired – take some time out. Exercise, sleep, relax, or at the very least¬† – breathe calmly – so that you can bring your best behaviour to your leadership. Don’t ignore your brain health, it’s important.

Focus on your development

News flash – your boss isn’t responsible for your development! Sure they should support you, yet ultimately you are responsible. No matter how experienced, qualified or smart you might be, there are always areas to develop. Listen and seek to understand feedback given – both positive and constructive. Be self-aware – monitor what you do well and identify what you can improve. Look for opportunities to grow professionally and personally.

Attitudes

Empathy

The ability to empathise with others is an important leadership trait. This is most challenging when we are called on to use it with people we don’t necessarily ‘like’ or in situations that we don’t fully understand. You don’t have to agree with the person, take sides or solve problems – empathy is all about taking a moment to reflect what it’s like to walk in another’s shoes. So remove judgement, bring positive intent, listen and genuinely demonstrate empathy.

Humility

Humility is all about keeping your ego in check! It’s great to be confident, wonderful to have an opinion and important to highlight your strengths. Humility is all about knowing the right time and place to do these things, and when to take a step back. This might be to allow someone else to speak, to seek another’s opinion, to recognise you don’t know the answer, to acknowledge a team effort, or to be gracious in success or defeat.

Humour

This does not mean that leaders have to be comedians! Nor should the humour be inappropriate – obviously! A positive leader understands the importance of laughter, lightheartedness and fun in human bonding. It’s not about cracking jokes, it’s about being willing to let down your guard, and show enjoyment of the lighter side of life – it’s being human.

What does your leadership ‘selfie’ look like? ūüôā

engagingPOTENTIAL: training, team development, coaching

Specialising in working with managers to develop extraordinary teams!

© Engaging Potential Pty Ltd

16 Feb

Feeling the Feb Fade?

 

Small Cute Pet Chihuahua Having A Sleep

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar

Feb (as in February) Fade – not a technical term! It’s what happens when we are just over one month into the year and¬† one or more of the following thoughts occur:

  • “The holiday season feels like it was ages ago. I’m tired!”
  • “The year is flying by – where did January go?”
  • “Oh my goodness, I’ve fallen back into the drudgery – where did my enthusiasm go?”
  • “When’s the next public holiday?”
  • “Another year, same-same happening…yawn…”
  • “Oh yeah, New Year’s Resolutions…fail!”

‘Feb Fade’ does not happen to everyone, yet on anecdotal evidence, it is relatively common. In coaching and training sessions, we find many people who were refreshed from holidays early January and inspired for the year ahead, are slowing down and missing that motivational buzz come February. They’ve often arrived back at work to a mountain of work they’d forgotten about, tasks put off from last year, or projects being given by their boss who has just realised that the year is slipping away and there are things to achieve!

The priorities of a new year at work, the possibility that those New Year’s Resolutions have been harder to stick to than first thought, and the prospect of many weeks or months until the next holiday, can all take their toll on motivation.

While there is not a magic cure-all for Feb Fade, here are a few tips to help turn Feb Fade into Motivated March…

  • Take a pen and notebook (or mobile device) to your favourite accessible relaxation zone – it might be outside, a comfy lounge chair, or a cafe. Allow yourself 10 minutes to answer this question…“What would make this a great year?” Once you’ve done that, now ask yourself…“What do I need to do to make this happen?” It’s simple self-reflection, yet we generally don’t do it. How can we be motivated if we don’t know where we want to go/what we want to achieve?
  • Prioritise – whether work or home tasks – “What are the 5 things that need doing before the end of February?” and “What makes these tasks priorities for me?” Just taking time to identify these will often spark us out of procrastination.
  • Find room/time for exercise – your body and your brain. To motivate yourself out of Feb Fade, you MUST find the time to engage in physical and mental exercise. Find something that works for your abilities, commitments and enjoyment. Walking, doing Sudoku or a crossword, playing tennis, playing chess, going for a jog…You know what works for you better than anyone. Don’t overdo it, make sure you are checked by health professionals if that is warranted and then get started.
  • Plan something special. Like exercise, time-out is a critical and often neglected facet of our lives. Having something to look forward to often helps motivate us in other life/work areas. Plan a holiday, a short break away, a dinner party, a night out – whatever it is that you’ve been putting off because of work or other commitments!
  • Take a 5 minute break. All the latest research shows that we are least productive if we allow ourselves to be overwhelmed and drowned by all the ‘stuff’ to do. So make sure you get some fresh air, walk around the office or just get out of your chair regularly throughout the day. You’ll be amazed at how this will refresh you for greater productivity.

These ideas are not new and no doubt you would have heard them all before, we are sure! Sometimes it just takes a little reminder and gentle push into action… Only you can do something about Feb Fade… what will you do?

Here’s to Fabulous Feb!

 

engagingPOTENTIAL: training, team development, coaching

Specialising in working with managers to develop extraordinary teams!

© Engaging Potential Pty Ltd

05 Mar

“I know all of this already…”

ID-100139665“The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance – it is the illusion of knowledge.” – Daniel J Boorstin

From time to time when we run a training event, a coaching discussion or a group coaching session, we will hear someone say “I know this already”, “I’ve covered it previously in my career”, “I’ve done a lot of this before” or any number of variations on this theme. As soon as we hear such statements, there are small alarm bells going off in our heads.

These alarm bells come from years of experience in learning environments – 9 times out of 10 when we hear these comments we know that this person might just be the participant who needs the content/learning the most.

Really? Yes, really. The bells are picking up on two elements of concern:

  1. There might be a hidden reason for making such a statement
  2. Their mind-set might be limiting their opportunities

Firstly, let’s look at possible reasons that people say “I know it already”. We have no doubt that people who make these comments have indeed participated in training or workshops on the topic at hand, yet they usually don’t tell us this just so we know – there’s almost always an underlying, sometimes unconscious reason for them telling us. Some possible deeper reasons might include one or more of the following.

They:

  • believe that they do know all of the detail and there is nothing more they need to know
  • truly believe they are applying these skills already
  • want to be acknowledged for their experience
  • think we should ask them to share in the session – for the group’s benefit
  • have heard it before and don’t want to sit through it again
  • have too much work on and would love to get out of the session
  • don’t like learning in a ‘classroom’ environment
  • are actually a bit insecure about their skills and don’t want to be put in a position where they may not be the expert
  • are an experienced manager/employee and¬† don’t want others to think they need to learn more (see also point above)
  • have had a bad experience at a previous learning event and are now wary of all trainers, facilitators and coaches

Some of the reasons above may have sounded very valid to you. So why do those alarm bells go off for us then? It’s because we are concerned that their perspective may be limiting their full potential.

Our concern comes from the following:

  • Knowing and doing are two very different things: people who say they know it already might know the theory, yet in reality they might not be putting it into practice
  • Openness to learning is a core leadership attribute: great leaders are always curious, always learning; even if they are knowledgeable, they know the benefit of refreshing their skills or hearing other people’s perspectives
  • Great leaders lead by example: attending a learning event has a secondary purpose of demonstrating to those you lead, collaborate with or manage that you see investing in development as important
  • Fear is self-limiting: fears of not getting it ‘right’ and of not being the expert can hold you back from beneficial growth and development. Successful people do not let such fears limit them – they know that facing your fears could be the best pathway to ongoing success
  • Refreshing is maintaining: if you really believe you will not learn anything new, then is there really any harm in refreshing on what you know to maintain your level of ability? Refreshing is maintaining

Happy ongoing learning!

engagingPOTENTIAL: training, team development, coaching

Specialising in working with managers to develop extraordinary teams!

© Engaging Potential Pty Ltd

11 Dec

End-of-year reflection

“May your walls know joy, may every room hold laughter, and every window open to great possibility” – Mary Anne Radmacher

With just over a week to go before the Christmas holidays, things might be looking a little hectic around your place of work. We are amazed at how ‘busy’ people are at this time of year – finishing projects, writing reports, tying up loose ends. Sometimes this can be the most stressful time of the year in the office – either we are racing to finish tasks before the holidays, or we are deciding what we can postpone until the New Year. Sometimes all this ‘busy-ness’ is not overly productive.

So a few ideas on finishing the year in a good frame of mind…

1. Prioritise your remaining time. Let’s face it, there’s not much time before you go on leave. If you think you will get everything done on your ‘to do’ list before then, you are kidding yourself and creating more stress.

  • Determine what 3 things are essential for you to do before you go on leave – What will help me achieve my outstanding objectives?; What will provide the best benefit to the business?; What will help my customers/clients the most?
  • Plan these 3 actions (above) into your calendar – How much time will it take to complete each?; When will I do these things?

2. Stop procrastinating! At this time of year it can be easy to get caught up in office festivities or drawn in by the gang who are very happy to wind down and complete minimal work. So although you need to be realistic about what you can achieve, it’s equally important to make sure you do achieve something!

  • Book a meeting room for 2 hours and complete one of your action items away from distractions
  • Come in to the office 1/2 hour early to get a good start before it gets noisy and distracting
  • Stick to your priority list and hold yourself accountable – you’ll feel so much better if you achieve something in this remaining time

3. Take time to reflect. Whether it’s during your performance review with your boss, over coffee with a colleague or just quiet reflection time, it’s important to think about your achievements this year. So often we don’t congratulate ourselves for a job well done and yet it’s very healthy to celebrate true success.

  • What are you most proud of achieving this year?
  • What did you learn along the way?
  • How did you grow as a person/employee/leader this year?

4. Decide on 1 thing you will do to enjoy your break and return to work refreshed in the New Year. Life balance is important – take time out to recharge and do something you love.

  • What will you do to recharge over the holiday season?

Happy end-of-year and happy holidays!

engagingPOTENTIAL: training, team development, coaching

Specialising in working with managers to develop extraordinary teams!

© Engaging Potential Pty Ltd

03 Oct

Balance and leadership

¬†“…being successful means having a balance of success stories across the many areas of your life. You can’t be considered truly successful in your business life if your home life is in shambles.” –¬† Zig Ziglar

When coaching new and experienced managers, we have noticed a trend towards ‘burn-out’ and ‘over-load’ being discussed as serious issues in the workplace. Many people being coached are¬† feeling ‘overloaded’, with some also expressing concern for their direct reports. It is concerning to hear these managers talk about the long hours they work, the weekends lost to emails and reports and the subsequent strain experienced by their families.

Sadly, there is no easy answer to this problem. Businesses are being pushed to reduce costs and raise productivity, and the resulting restructures, budget cuts and redundancies means that people often find themselves with more work and less resources. To cope, employees are working longer, and often experiencing feelings of resentment, frustration and even anger for doing so. Many find that they strive to do a good job, yet are left thinking that they are never quite doing anything well, rather doing lots of things poorly. For the high achievers, this can be a major issue!

So if there is no easy answer, where do we start?

We must remind businesses and employees of the benefits of balance. In his book ‘The four principles of values-based leadership”,¬† Harry Kraemer¬† talks about the importance of balance from several perspectives. One such perspective is ‘life balance’ and “…the importance of diverse activities and experiences that keep you fresh, engaged and motivated.” Remember, if we focus only on work, our brains are not stretched or refreshed. How can we expect to be innovative, productive and positive if our brains are not working properly? How can we expect to solve problems and overcome challenges if we are feeling burnt-out? How can we as managers engage positively to motivate our teams if we are feeling resentful of the work piling up?

As leaders, we must be disciplined to get the balance right. It’s no good for us to tell our people to prioritise or leave work on time if we are not practicing what we preach. We must lead by example. It will take self-awareness, discipline and courage, yet what is the alternative? Some people seem to think that if they complain about the workload long enough or if they talk about the hours they work loud enough, that someone will make it all OK. This will never happen and we so often see managers spiraling on this until they spin¬† out of control – they might yell at their staff, quit their job, or worse still suffer mental exhaustion and breakdown.

When we talk about balance, it’s not just about leaving work on time or turning off the laptop over the weekend. It’s about replacing these behaviours with balanced behaviours; it’s about exploring¬† opportunities and experiences outside of the workplace. This might include reconnecting with something you enjoyed when you were younger, experiencing a loved activity with your family, or even stepping outside of your comfort zone with a new course or hobby.

If you do regain some balance, there is no doubt you will start to see benefits – feeling refreshed, focusing better at work, maintaining and growing positive relationships – the list goes on. [An aside: To be honest, when many feel overloaded at work, it is commonly exacerbated by procrastination – such as talking about how busy they are, spending hours writing to do lists (don’t get us wrong, to do lists are critical, yet they can be overdone!) or worrying about what there is to do. This post is not about time management, yet learning about some time management disciplines will help many to get the balance back.)

We all know the saying “Life is short.” well, it is. Imagine yourself at 80 – go on, visualise it! Can you see the wrinkles, the grey hair…? Now imagine yourself looking back at your life. Think not just about work, think about your LIFE. Will you be happy at 80 if you can say “Yep, I worked myself raggard and had no time for anything else…”?

  • What do you want to be most proud of?
  • What do you want to have experienced?
  • What do you want to be able to reflect on at 80?

Now, once you’ve thought those things through with your 80-year old self, consider the following:

  • What are 3 – 5 things you can do to take back control now and get a better life balance?
  • How will you hold yourself accountable when you neglect or forget the above actions?
  • Who can help you achieve these actions?
  • When are you going to start?

When you are determining actions, consider those that you can apply at work and even more importantly at home. At work you might need to reprioritise your work, talk to your boss about deadlines or aim to finish on time 3 days of the week. On the personal side, you might want to commit to learning a new language, play football once a week, take up meditation or join a book club. Whatever the actions are that work for you – the key is to be disciplined, monitor your commitment and reassess in a month or so. Once you are able to gain better balance, consider how you might help your team members do the same. But until you start with yourself and lead by example, you and your team will be left spinning on the ‘work harder and longer’ merry-go-round.

Here’s to a balanced life!

engagingPOTENTIAL: training, team development, coaching

Specialising in working with managers to develop extraordinary teams!

© Engaging Potential Pty Ltd

20 Jun

What do you expect of your team?

“The bottom line is, when people are crystal clear about the most important priorities of the organisation and team…not only are they many times more productive, they discover they have the time they need to have a whole life.” – Stephen Covey

 

How clear are your team about the expectations you have of them in their roles? If you asked them, would they be able to respond quickly and accurately?

As managers, we often make assumptions that our team members should know what is expected of them; we assume they have the same standards, work ethic, values we do. And we sometimes assume they have the skills and commitment to achieve good performance. Unfortunately, we can forget that we should never assume! Even if our team have good intent, a positive attitude and high level skills, they may not be as focussed or even performing as we would want them to be.

To make sure you provide your team with solid grounding to achieve, support them to have knowledge, resources and opportunity to learn and perform. It is also imperative that you also be clear on what is expected.

Team purpose, goals and responsibilities

  • The big picture purpose of the team i.e. why does the team exist? Ideally this is not presented in ‘corporate speak’ (you know, when lots of big, important sounding words are used, yet the message is not clear) rather delivered in succinct, every day language that is easily remembered.
  • The goals of the team breaks down the purpose into achievable actions to be carried out over a set period of time.
  • What each team member is responsible for to achieve the team goals. This should be as specific as possible, and accompanied by a clear outline of timelines and how the responsibilities will be measured.

Attitude and alignment

  • The attitude that is expected for a productive team culture is not something that is always covered, however by being clear on the expectations here, it can make it easier to praise it when you see it and call it when you don’t. Do you expect your team to be positive, solutions-focussed and supportive of each other? If you do, tell them – it helps create the framework for building your team culture.
  • Alignment is as important as attitude. A business will not succeed unless teams are aligned in their work with the organisational vision, goals and values. Ensure your team understand their link to organisational success and that their own goals and behaviour support that.

The ‘little’ things

  • There will be other professional matters that are important for different reasons to different managers/organisations. These ‘little’ things can become big issues of they are not explained to the team. For example, do you find it incredibly rude and inefficient for people to be late to meetings? does your company expect certain policies to be well understood and strictly adhered to? do you expect to have monthly catch ups with each team member? what do you expect to be updated on and when?
  • Obviously you don’t want to overload with these ‘little’ things or it will seem like a list of demands. Think through what is important for effective working relationships and performance then make sure your team know your thoughts.

Oh, and once you have established your expectations for the team, how about asking them if they have any of you? Most people appreciate being asked and generally will be reasonable and professional in response!

Happy teaming!

engagingPOTENTIAL: training, team development, coaching

Specialising in working with managers to develop extraordinary teams!

© Engaging Potential Pty Ltd

10 Jan

Is planning really that important?

“A man who does not plan long ahead will find trouble at his door.”Confucius

It is understood that at this time of year most management consultants, executives and CEOs are talking about the importance of planning. It can all get a bit much – what are we planning for and does it really help? And what does it mean to those of us who are not personally responsible for running the organisation?

Taking a step back, let’s look at this from a practical sense that relates to you. Think about the last meeting you ran that went really well – when you left the meeting feeling that you had achieved what you set out to achieve. It might have been a meeting giving feedback to an employee, a cross-functional meeting you were facilitating or a meeting where you had to challenge your boss on something important.How did you feel when you left that meeting? On a scale of 1 – 10 (10 being very high) how satisfied were you with the way you conducted the meeting? What did you do well in the meeting that led to a good discussion or outcome?

Now let’s think about what you did before the meeting – did you by any chance plan how the meeting would flow, plan what you might say, or plan some possible objections that might be raised and how you might handle them? Did you plan what your objective was and what you hoped the outcome might be?

Chances are that the meeting you are thinking of was successful (even if you didn’t get exactly what you wanted) in large part due to the planning you did before hand. Whilst planning will not 100% guarantee success or cover every likely issue that might occur, it will definitely help you feel more prepared, confident and clear-minded. You will be more focussed. You will be more likely to listen to others than if you were planning in your head ‘on the spot’. You will be more in control than if you didn’t plan.

So we acknowledge that when we plan, we generally have more successful interactions with others, especially if there is an issue to discuss or a difficult conversation to be had. If we extrapolate this thinking to longer term business planning, we may start to see some benefits that relate to us. For example, if we are really clear on our objectives for the year, we are more able to map out the steps we need to achieve, more efficient in our use of resources (especially time!) and more likely to feel a sense of satisfaction when we hit our goal. We are less likely to be distracted by tasks that don’t fit with our objectives and less likely to procrastinate because we don’t know the reasons for what we are doing. We are likely to appear to others as being focussed, motivated and productive.

So now you might be saying “that’s all very well, but I have no time to plan!” It’s true, planning does take time – be it for a short-term meeting goal or for a longer term year plan. Yet if we plan in the first place, we are likely to save time later. How many times have you started a task or project, got part way in and then realised you weren’t really sure what the point was or how to actually do something related to the task? By the time you have had a few unsuccessful attempts at whatever it is, you realise that you need to go back to the start, to get more clarity from the boss, to map out timelines or to seek training in a particular area first. This all adds time to the project and may have been avoided if you had spent a few moments planning in advance.

Planning actually saves time compared to not planning! Planning may help you predict issues or find a simpler way, even before you start.

So whether it’s planning for the year, planning for a project, or planning for a meeting, it is worth the effort. You just have to commit to doing the plan in the first place – go on, it’s not that hard and will be worth it in the end!

A few things to think about when you plan at work:

  • What am I wanting to achieve with this year / project / meeting?
  • How does this relate to the company goals for the year?
  • What will be the most important outcomes or outputs?
  • What are the steps (and timeframes for each if applicable) needed to achieve the desired results?
  • What are the resources I may need to achieve results? (people, money, time, tools)
  • What are the possible obstacles I may face and how will I handle them?
  • How do I want myself and others to feel as a result of achieving the objectives of the year / project / meeting?

Once you get into the habit of asking yourself these questions, you will find planning gets easier and often quicker. And if you are not able to answer some of these questions, you will know that you need to ask for help or do some research.

So in the next month when your executive team are talking about planning, don’t switch off – see what they are doing and what they are planning for the business, reflect on how this will impact your job and start your own planning from there. Then keep planning – projects, meetings, discussions, presentations…

Happy new year and happy planning!

engagingPOTENTIAL: training, team development, coaching

Specialising in working with managers to develop extraordinary teams!

© Engaging Potential Pty Ltd

24 Oct

3 questions to round off the year

‚ÄúMy future depends mostly upon myself.‚Ä̬†‚Äď Paul Robeson

As we again start thinking about dusting off the plastic tree and try to remember if we even sent last year’s Christmas cards, it’s a great time to reflect on the year that was and the year that will be. This reflection is a springboard for considering our professional goals, strengths to¬†build on and areas to develop.¬†Yes, it is only October, however why wait until November or even December?

In the lead up to the year-end, we are usually so frantic finishing up work projects and planning family gatherings, that we often don’t feel we have time to breathe, let alone think about our professional goals and development. We might do a last-minute rush through of our end-year review documents, but do we really give our achievements and future plans the time they deserve?

Yes, it’s a busy time of year and yes you are just waiting for the Christmas break and will worry about it all next year… However, now is probably the best time to consider this often neglected part of our working lives. It is a time to reflect on achievements from the current year, set goals for the next year¬†and plan how to make the most of future opportunities.

And really, it’s as simple as starting with these three questions:

  • What did I love most about my job this year?
  • Which of my achievements made the biggest difference (to me, my company, my customers)?
  • What do I look forward to achieving next year and how can I give myself the best chance of meeting these goals?

Of course, there are other aspects to consider for a full development plan, yet this is a positive starting point that won’t take a lot of time and is often more meaningful and interesting to complete than a ‘tick-the-box’ performance review document (especially one¬†rushed through the night before you meet with your manager)!

Start with these questions, celebrate, and here’s to a successful 2013!

engagingPOTENTIAL: training, team development, coaching

Specialising in working with managers to develop extraordinary teams!

© Engaging Potential Pty Ltd

19 Jan

2011 – the year of success (with a positive attitude)!

¬†” Two men looked out from prison through the bars – one saw mud, the other saw stars” – Unknown

Happy New Year!

What does 2011 hold in store for you personally and professionally? A brand new year, a fresh start perhaps? A new job? Renewed enthusiasm for work? Building on 2010 for even greater success?

No matter what you hope for in 2011, to make it ‘the year of success’, you must have the right attitude. A positive attitude doesn’t guarantee success, but a negative attitude will be a big barrier to achieving (have you ever noticed how a negative thought or comment can lead to another and build on itself?)

The great thing is that you have the ultimate control over your own attitude. So for all of us who are high achieving control freaks, this is a good thing! We are in control of our attitude. Granted, it’s not always easy when we come back to work after holidays to find 5,000 urgent emails, but we do still own our attitude towards those emails!

There are three things to try at the start of this year to help with choosing a positive attitude:

  • Be clear on what you want to achieve – having goals or visions for success will help you stay focused on the positive outcomes you are looking for
  • Know what motivates you – understanding what you love about your work and life will help you seek out those positive opportunities
  • Have a strategy for when the negative attitude seems like the easiest option – using simple techniques can help reduce negative emotions and thoughts

This final point is critical. Right now the year might seem like a clean sheet of paper that you will fill with new year’s resolutions and positive experiences. If we are honest, we all know that there will be times this year when we feel a little negative – a structure change at work, a busy day, unresolved issues, conflict with colleagues – all examples of when we may give way to negative emotions and thus impact our mindset for success.

There are thousands of books and experts to consult about coping with frustrations and situations where negativity can take hold. A simple Google search will give you plentyof options for resources. In the interim, here are some steps that might help on the precipice of negativity.

  • ¬†Breathe!¬†When we feel stressed, frustrated or disheartened, we have an immediate and sometimes powerful emotional reflex, which triggers many physiological responses – heart rate, sweating, headaches. The emotion can also lead us to act in a ‘flight or fight’ mode without always thinking through the consequences. Or, it can lead to a spiral of negative thoughts that lead us to build an issue into a catastrophe. So, in the heat of the moment or even during a long period of stress, we can help ourselves immensely if we just BREATHE. With that breath, we have the opportunity to calm the mind and the body before we deal with the issue.
  • Smile!¬†This is not always easy to do (and on rare occasions may be inappropriate)¬†yet¬†it can help us refocus on our positive attitude. A smile is an action that will release stress. Even if it is a determined, gritty smile to say – “I can deal with this and be positive”. Exercise those facial muscles and get the endorphins flowing!
  • Choose! Tell yourself that you choose to be positive about the situation, no matter how hard that is. This might mean that you decide on positive action – “What are our options to solve this problem?” Or that you make an effort to think more constructively – “I can overcome obstacles and achieve my goals!” Or you may choose to try to empathise with a ‘difficult’ colleague – “They are only trying to do their job, just like me.” Or you might even remove yourself from a negative discussion “It’s hard, but I want to take a positive approach, so I don’t want to spend the day talking about all the bad aspects to this.”

Whatever¬† your technique for ensuring a positive attitude, if it truly works then it will put you on the path of success. So here’s to 2011 – the year of success!

engagingPOTENTIAL: training, team development, coaching

Specialising in working with managers to develop extraordinary teams!

© Engaging Potential Pty Ltd