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Posts from the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


Are You an Accountable Leader?

Leadership is more than having a job title or job responsibilities. All good leaders are accountable for their actions and the actions of those who work for them. The buck truly stops with you! Here are four tools to help you better understand leadership accountability. 

Accountable leaders:

  • Understand their strengths and know how to leverage them. They also are honest about areas that need improvement. When you acknowledge that you cannot do something well, you can either improve this area or delegate to someone who can do it better than you can. This powerful combination of self-knowledge and self-development is a key factor in emotional intelligence. 
  • Set clear performance expectations for themselves and their employees. This openness and transparency is important for developing the respect and trust of the team, colleagues, and management. 
  • Take ownership for everything that happens in their area of responsibility. They do not cast blame or point fingers when something goes wrong. Instead, they step up and take whatever action is necessary to rectify the situation.
  • Motivate their employees to deliver needed results by being generous with praise and rewards for jobs well done and by coaching people to exceed stated expectations.

Being accountable and having a reputation for accountability are important steps on the path to becoming a leader who is admired and respected. For more information on enhancing your leadership skills, check out my leadership programs at Organize 4 Results.


How Often Do You Unplug?

Our work lives are ruled by technology. E-mail and texting keep us plugged into the workplace long after the workday to the detriment of our peace of mind. We cannot truly relax and unwind when we are regularly checking, sending, and responding to work messages. According to an article in Fast Company, “…22% of employed e-mail users are expected to respond after hours. Half of us check e-mail on the weekends, and 34% on vacation.” 

This constant focus on work raises our stress and can actually decrease productivity. Breaks from the job are necessary to refresh creativity, resilience, and enthusiasm. So how can you unplug? Here are some tips:

  • Set an enforced time out. Turn off devices, put them in a drawer, and resist the urge to turn them on until a set amount of time passes. 
  • Limit the amount of time you spend on e-mail and texting during your free hours. Set aside 30 minutes or an hour here and there during the evenings and weekends to handle work-related messages. When the time is up, unplug.
  • Refuse to let anyone text or e-mail during meals. Some people turn off phones and pile them in the center of the table. The first one who checks their phone, pays the tab. At home, that person has to do the dishes. 

Downtime is necessary to avoid burnout and relieve the stress of your job. While technology tools are necessary, refuse to let work rule your time off from the job. Choose one of these tips and start unplugging! See my blog post Stress Busters for more information.


Cultivate Productivity Habits

Habits are wonderful productivity tools because they allow us to act using autopilot. They also can be productivity wasters! The key is to build habits that add time to your day. Here are three habits worth cultivating.

  • Habit 1: Take time to plan for productivity. One minute of planning can save 5 minutes of execution time. If you spend the first 10 minutes of your day planning your priorities for the day, you will gain about 50 minutes of time when you tackle those priorities. Don’t check e-mail or voicemail, don’t meet with your team or manager, and for those of you working remotely, don’t get distracted by what’s happening at home. These are unproductive habits. Instead, immediately go to your desk and plan what you need to accomplish that day. 
  • Habit 2: Take mini-breaks. No matter how strong your concentration skills, no one can focus for more than 50 or 60 minutes without a break. If you push yourself to keep going, your focus will suffer, and it will take longer to accomplish the task. Set a timer and at the top of each hour take a five-minute break. Get away from you desk, walk around and get outside for some vitamin D!
  • Habit 3: Complete an e-mail when you open it. When you open an e-mail, either do it and file it into a folder, trash it if you don’t have to keep it, or move it to a follow-up system. Leaving completed or pending e-mails in your in-box saps your productivity. My program Writing and Managing E-mail can help you get and stay on top of e-mail.   

Adding these three habits to your workday can help you be more positively productive and get more done each day. See my blog post Greater Tools for Greater Productivity for more tips.


Do You Work With a Constant Complainer?

It’s challenging to stay positive and be productive when you work with someone who constantly complains! Often, these people see only what isn’t working, what’s missing, what’s not right. They come across like victims at the mercy of circumstances. Here are some tips for working with this type of person.

  • Acknowledge how they feel. They believe that they have a legitimate complaint that needs airing. Avoid rolling your eyes, sighing, looking bored or annoyed, and don’t minimize their pain by saying, “Things aren’t really so bad.” Remain neutral and non-judgmental. 
  • Express sympathy. If you commiserate with them, you may be able to stop the complaining since sometimes they just want to vent to someone who listens.
  • Try focusing them on a solution, but don’t give them advice. Asking them what kind of resolution they want and what they plan to do to bring it about can often stop the complaining. Avoid giving advice because they will find reasons they cannot take it. Many complainers really don’t want a solution or to take action.
  • Be assertive. If they continue to complain, be polite and explain that you would rather not hear about what’s wrong. You sympathize with them and will support them, but you don’t want to listen to complaints.

Constant complainers in the office can undermine morale and productivity. Don’t allow a constant complainer to take over! See my blog post Being in a Good Mood Is Good Business for more information.


What’s Stopping You?

Right now, are you procrastinating about something that you need to do? 

If you’re like many people, you answered yes!

Procrastination has plagued us throughout history. The Greek poet Horace, (65 BC – 8 BC) wrote, “He who postpones the hour of living is like the rustic who waits for the river to run out before he crosses.” So, how do we cure ourselves when the procrastination bug strikes? Here are some reasons for procrastinating and what to do about them.

  • You’re waiting for the right moment to start. It is unlikely that the “right moment” will ever arrive. Most days are jammed with tasks you need to accomplish, and if some time opens up, you aren’t likely to tackle the task that you are avoiding! Be proactive and schedule time on your calendar to start the task. This will give you some momentum to keep going. 
  • You don’t know where to start. Most tasks do not require a linear approach; you can start with any part of the task that is easiest for you to complete. The key is to just start.
  • You’re afraid that the result won’t be perfect. Perfectionism is the enemy of productivity. Nothing will ever be perfect no matter how much time you spend on it. Become comfortable with an acceptable level of performance and weigh which tasks require greater precision than others. See my blog post Perfectionism for more information.
  • It’s boring! We all have to handle routine, boring tasks sometimes. Filing, completing monthly reports, and other administrative activities lend them to delaying tactics. The best way to get these things done is to do them when we need some down time since they usually don’t require a lot of attention or thinking. Spend 15 minutes a day handling these tasks.

Procrastination is the enemy of productivity. If you’ve been putting off tackling something you need to address, take time to figure out why you are delaying and implement a remedy. You’ll feel positively productive when you get them off your desk!


Happy Memorial Day Weekend

Just a quick note to say I hope you all enjoy this long holiday weekend and the official start of summer. Your vacation plans might not be what you had hoped but take this time to be creative and enjoy the outdoors. Stay socially connected, respect social distancing, stay safe and healthy!



Network within Your Own Organization

Many business people are active networkers in industry and business organizations, but they never think about networking within their own company. Informal networking is establishing mutually beneficial relationships with coworkers. This gives you access to experts in other areas of the organization, provides opportunities for finding mentors, and opens opportunities for advancement. Here’s how to form and cultivate an informal network.

  • Identify people who do your job in other areas and get to know them. Share best practices and help each other solve problems and meet challenges. Your peers can be valuable resources.
  • Reach out to those who are in positions you are interested in and ask for an informational interview. Exploring other jobs helps you with career planning and shows that you are interested in staying with your company for the long term.
  • Look for people who can mentor you. See my blog post Do You Need a Coach or a Mentor? for more information.
  • Establish mutually beneficial relationships with your connections. Make yourself available when they need help and offer assistance whenever you can. 
  • Meet frequently for coffee or a meal and get to know them as people and colleagues. Remember significant details about them by adding notes to their profiles in your contacts record. 

Networking within your organization raises your visibility so that people get to know you and your expertise. The more people who know you and what you can do, the more they will think of you when a job opening occurs.


Use Rules to Manage E-mail

Rules let you manage incoming e-mail by pre-sorting certain e-mails and sending them to folders you have specified. Every e-mail program has the ability to set rules although it might be called something different.

When you set a rule, you:

  • Identify the word or words you want the e-mail program to look for. For example, you could set a rule for your manager’s name or the name of a project or client.
  • Specify where you want the word(s) to appear. It could be the To, CC, BCC, subject line, or anywhere else in the e-mail.
  • Set up a new folder labeled with these same word(s).
  • Direct your e-mail program to send all e-mails with these word(s) to that folder. When you open your inbox, you can go directly to these folders and by-pass e-mails in the main inbox.

Rules will help you manage e-mail faster and easier and make you more positively productive.

Need more help with e-mail? Are you not getting the result you need? Check out our workshop Writing and Managing E-mail.


Save Time with Social Media

Many business people realize the value of social media as an important tool for marketing and customer service. One of the biggest challenges in using social media is finding time in your busy day to take care of it. Here are my recommendations:

  • Set goals. Decide what you want to accomplish with social media. The clearer your goals, the easier it will be to craft social media messages that meet them and reach the right audience.
  • Set specific times each day to handle social media. I recommend allocating at least two 15-minute sessions to connect with people and post updates. This helps you gain visibility, build meaningful relationships, and expand your reach. Consistency and frequency are two key factors in social media success.
  • Join pertinent groups. Find groups on LinkedIn that represent your target customers and join them. Become active and make connections with key people in the group. Share valuable information and establish relationships with those who can help your business, but avoid pitching to them. Instead, forge alliances that lead to business naturally.

Including social media in your marketing and customer service plans is a good way to grow your business. Doing it efficiently is a good way to be positively productive on social media. Also see my post Choose the Right Social Network for Your Business.


Enthusiasm is Contagious!

Today is life—the only life you are sure of. Make the most of today. Get interested in something. Shake yourself awake. Develop a hobby. Let the winds of enthusiasm sweep through you. Live today with gusto.    Dale Carnegie, Author

According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, enthusiasm is strong excitement about something. You know what it’s like when you’re around someone who is enthusiastic. They practically bubble over with eagerness to tackle life and work and have a positive attitude. Like positivity, enthusiasm is contagious. (See my post Does Positivity at Work Really Make a Difference?)

  • Take action. Enthusiastic people make things happen and inspire others to do so, too. Set goals for both your work and your life that excite you and that ignite your passion.
  • Believe that what you do is important. It’s easier to be enthusiastic when you know you are making a contribution to your job, your family, or your community.
  • Look for the positive in everything that happens. I’m not talking about being a Pollyanna! Enthusiastic people see reality, but refuse to let it derail them. Even if they don’t succeed or achieve what they set out to do, enthusiastic people view the result as a learning experience; it doesn’t stop them from trying again and again. See my post The Value of Reframing for more information.

Ramp up your enthusiasm and not only will others around you feel it, they will become more enthusiastic in turn—and enthusiasm leads to positive productivity!