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Archive for January, 2015


Three Good Habits for Getting Things Done

Habits are good and bad. The bad ones keep us from achieving our goals, whether that is losing 10 pounds, exercising regularly, or meeting sales goals. Good habits, on the other hand, support our efforts and contribute to success. Unfortunately, bad habits often win over the good ones! Here are three good habits to help you be more positively productive in the New Year. shutterstock_111462038

1.    Always be on time. It’s easy to fall into the bad habit of arriving “just a few minutes late” for meetings, when returning from breaks and lunch, and in the morning. In addition to contributing to your productivity, being on time is important for your image as a professional. Leave travel time in your schedule and some wiggle room to handle unforeseen problems like heavy traffic or slow elevators.

2.    Focus on the task in front of you. As many of you know, I’m against multi-tasking because I know it actually can diminish your productivity! When you tackle two or more activities at the same time, often you aren’t actually multi-tasking; you’re switching your attention on and off and are taking longer to complete each tasks. Get in the habit of doing one thing at a time until it is completed. See my blog post Focus Produces Results for help with this important habit.

3.    Pay attention.  Letting your mind wander is a bad habit since you can easily miss critical information. Practice being present and in the moment at all times, use good listening skills, and pay attention to body language—your own and others. See my blog post Listen and Learn for more information.

Cultivating good habits is the mark of a professional. As Aristotle wrote, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.” You can find more good work habits here Five Work Habits to Help You Become More Positively Productive.



Why Empathy at Work Works!

Empathy is the ingredient necessary to facilitate healthy relationships and keep your social and professional relationships running smoothly. Empathetic leaders identify with and understand another person’s feelings, situation, and driving forces. They put themselves in the other person’s shoes, see what they see, and understand their feelings. Empathy, however, needs to be balanced with critical thinking, logic, and objectivity.Hands holding seedlings

Some people think empathy is too “touchy-feely”; the truth is far from this! It is a valued trait in leaders.  According to the white paper Empathy in the Workplace: A Tool for Effective Leadership, from the Center for Creative Leadership, “…Empathy is positively related to job performance. Managers who show more empathy toward direct reports are viewed as better performers in their job by their bosses.” In other words, showing empathy on the job contributes to your professional and career success by enhancing your performance in the eyes of your manager.

Empathetic leaders open the door to authentic communication, increase team morale and motivation, enhance customer and employee retention, and build an environment that supports positive rapport and engagement—everything an organization wants in a leader!

“Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.”

Theodore Roosevelt, 26th president of the United States


Being in a Good Mood is Good Business

Your mood has a lot to do with how positively productive you are and how effective your team functions. Everyone prefers working with people who are cheerful and positive and who make them feel good just by being around them. On the other hand, a bad mood spreads like the flu and leaves everyone feeling unhappy. Here are some tips for elevating your mood and positively influencing everyone around you.shutterstock_20301970

  • Cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Stop reading and think about five things you are grateful for. Just five things. It’s hard to be grumpy and feel thankful at the same time. This is a great tip when you are feeling blah or negative. Just stop and think of five things that you are grateful for and watch your mood rise!
  • Stay in the moment. If you have been in my Go System workshop, you heard me talk about focusing and being present. While this is a valuable tool for being productive, it also helps lift your mood. Often, we are in a funk because we are thinking about problems or worrying about the future. When we focus on what we are doing in the moment and exclude extraneous thoughts, our mood changes for the better.
  • Take a time out. A bad mood is often the result of stress and burnout. If your mood is down, take a time out. Go for a walk and get some fresh air. Stay in the moment and think about what you are grateful for in your life and work. See my blog post Finding Time for Yourself for some ideas.

A bad mood is catching, so is a good mood! If you feel blue or grumpy, try one of these tips to raise your mood and the mood of the environment around you. See my blog post Does Positivity at Work Really Make a Difference? for more information.



Why Being A Nice Manager Makes Sense

The old saying, nice guys—and gals—finish last isn’t true—at least when it comes to being a nice manager.

Being nice doesn’t mean being a pushover; it means that you communicate and manage with consideration for each team member and treat each person as an individual. Nice managers cultivate a positive work environment that contributes to a motivated, positively productive staff. shutterstock_114119455

Nice managers never blindside an employee. Always set performance standards and communicate your expectations to each employee. By setting specific goals with deadlines and metrics, you empower your team to achieve and exceed your expectations. Learn the strengths, weaknesses, and skillsets of your employees and assign them tasks that communicate your commitment to their success.

Whether employees meet, exceed, or fail to meet their goals, it is critical to provide immediate coaching and feedback that focuses on their work, not on who they are as people. Meet privately, so you can speak confidentially and without distractions.

If an employee needs to improve, provide specific direction and have the employee commit to making improvements by a deadline. Always follow up. See my blog post Discussing Problem Behaviors for Improved Performance for more information. On the other hand, make successful employees feel valued and appreciated by offering rewards and recognition for a job well done.

Being nice takes work! It requires you to proactively lead your team, support them, and help them shine! It involves teaching other people how to do their jobs effectively by giving them tools to grow and advance and helping them become successful in their careers.