Celebrating your team during the holidays

Celebrating your team during the holidays

Welcome to December, 2016- I can’t believe we’ve made it!

As your team has their last big push to the end of the year, we’d encourage you to celebrate them and what they’ve done this year!

You know, as well as we do, that choosing to honor your team and let them know they are seen is a great way to encourage morale as the “season of personal distractions” is upon us!

Need some tips on where to start?

  • Have a celebratory lunch where you highlight the biggest accomplishments you guys hit this year
  • Think about each team member and how you’ve seen them change or grow. In your next 1×1 (or team meeting) share with them what you’ve noticed
  • Leave an encouraging note on each of your team members desks with something that your proud of them for

You may think some of these are cheesy and, yet, choosing to say to your team, “I see you, I know you’ve been working hard” can be more impactful than you might think!

So, try it out and let us know what you do to celebrate your team!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

This time of year can be so interesting. Our time is filled with stuffing ourselves full of delicious foods and navigating our way through stores to try to “find the best deals”.

Often times, as we are spending more time with those in our personal lives, those who we work with see a bit of a different picture.

We are trying to get out a little early… and it can be so easy to:

  • Snap at our peer about not being able to get to the project until next week
  • Tell our direct report that we can help them later or that they are “innovative and can figure it out”

Sound a little familiar?

As we are entering into the home stretch of 2016, let’s challenge each other to stay present in each moment.

You totally want (and need) to leave early, and if you are feeling flustered or pressured, take a big- deep breath, and choose to be present in the moment.

Re-center yourself and *think* about what you are going to say before letting the words come out.

Choosing to do this may help you to keep those relationships supported while also communicating what you need to in the moment.

The Election and Your Team

The Election and Your Team

WHAT AN EMOTIONAL WEEK.

Regardless of which political candidate you supported in the recent United States election – YOU. HAVE. HAD. A. WEEK.

Your team is likely filled with extremely strong thoughts and emotions (both positive or negative or a confusing mix of both). And sometimes, it feels like tension is so high that it could explode if a pin poked it.

What is a Manager to do?

In times like these, one of the most important roles you play, as Manager, is to hold your team together.

How?

Give your individual members of your team the space to talk it out, if and only if they want.

If they want to – choose to ask and actually listen without judgment. Something that often plagues us is judging (or assuming) and not asking, and really being curious about others and their thoughts.

The goal should not be to change opinions, but to allow people to really share their opinions /struggles /thoughts /challenges. These skills can be helpful when talking about the election and in your daily work.

Need a place to start?

First, make sure this is a 1:1 conversation.

Second, ideally this conversation takes place where the person you are talking to is comfortable and relaxed. This is not the time to corner them in the crowded break room or over the water cooler with their peers!

Third, the key is to NOT to argue or ‘fix’ their opinion if you don’t agree with their thoughts. This is the place to give your direct report the space to share their thoughts and ideas. In fact, don’t even say what you think unless they ask you.

Here are some conversation starters:

  • I’ve noticed I haven’t heard your voice as often in meetings during the last week. What’s up?
  • I remember you mentioning your support of [insert political candidate here that you’ve ACTUALLY heard them mention that they support]. What is intriguing to you about them?
  • I’ve noticed recent posts you’ve made on (Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat) around the election. What’s been coming up?

Choosing to mention what you are seeing (noticing or observing) and then asking a very open-ended question inviting your direct report’s opinion is extremely powerful.

This may be a new approach for you! So, try it out and let us know what you think!

Saying Thank You

Saying Thank You

Often people go through their days feeling unseen or unheard.

We. Are. Just. So. Busy. that generally we are focusing on ourselves: where we need to be, what we need to do, and the list goes on!

Today- the United States is celebrating Veteran’s day and choosing to intentionally say “Thank you” to all those who chose the lives of others above their own.

And, we’d encourage you to do the same.

In the days ahead consider the impact of saying “thank you” to those who you work with often.

Choosing to say “thank you” is choosing to say “I see you and all the work you’ve been doing”.

Celebrating Success

Celebrating Success

There is no doubt that the city of Chicago is on day two of consistent celebration in honor of the Cubs winning the World Series.

While many of those living in Chicago are likely hoping for the fireworks to stop, there is a level of energy that is created by seeing someone celebrate an accomplishment.

As the year-end pushes are starting, take a moment (or two) each week to look at what your team has accomplished.

Need somewhere to start?

  • Have they recently finished a project?
  • Is there something that they finished early to set your team up for success?
  • Has someone been speaking up or risking more than they did 6 months ago?

When you see one of those successes, take the time to mention it in a meeting or grab lunch together to celebrate.

It may create some more of the positive energy you are wanting!

And, p.s. #flytheW

Patience for the Win

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1908.

108 years ago.

That is the last time the Chicago Cubs won the World Series.

Currently, the city of Chicago is flooding with fans who are hoping that the “curse of the goat” will finally be broken and that Cubs fans young and old can have a victory to remember.

What is fascinating about Cubs fans is that they don’t give up. Though generations (literally) have lived and died not seeing a World Series win, they still hope and wait. And, they have been quite patient.

In the midst of the culture in America where we tend to want things to be faster, better, smarter, etc. there is something special about the hope and patience that many Cubs fans have.

So, as you are rooting for either the Cubs or Indians this October, take a chance to also think about what is something you can be patient for.

Maybe it’s that you were really pushing for a deadline, but your team asked for a little more time to make it just right. Or you’ve been trying to hire a new team member and no one seems like just the right fit.

It might serve you well to take a little step back and exercise your patience – it might make the ‘victory’ that much sweeter.

Don’t forget you!

Don’t forget you!

What. a. WEEK.

Work was crazy. Personal life was crazy. And, our county has been a little crazy gearing up for our next presidential election.

When our lives (and the lives around us) are busy, it can be easy to forget to take care of ourselves.

So, as the weekend approaches, think about what you need to do for you (and this doesn’t need to be extravagant)!

Need a starting point?

  • Actually eat (read: chew!) lunch – don’t scarf it down in 2 minutes flat
  • Take 30 minutes to start a book you’ve been meaning to read (for fun)
  • Take a long shower
  • Get outside and go for a walk (even if just around the parking lot)
  • Get a Pumpkin Spice Latte (celebrate the season, right?!) and spend a few minutes at a coffee shop

Doing something for you doesn’t have to be extravagant and a little self-care can do wonders for your energy level.

ENJOY!

Managers and Meetings

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We recently watched this Ted Talk by Jason Fried.

He suggests that people need long stretches of uninterrupted time to get things done and that Managers and Meetings are the two things that really prevent people from getting their work done.

If you’ve got a 15 minute break between your meetings (ha!) and want a new theory on why you feel like your work keeps piling up- this is the Ted Talk for you!

Enjoy- and let us know your thoughts on Jason’s theory!

How to be a Great Manager if You Tend to be Diplomatic and You Need to Drive Results

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This week we have Coach Shannon Goodwin with us sharing her thoughts on how to be a great Manager if you tend to be diplomatic and you have got to drive some results!

Take it away, Shannon!

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“If you are a Manager who tends to be diplomatic, that is often an indicator that you have high interpersonal sensitivity and that you easily and effectively build positive relationships across the organization. These are valuable skills!

 

For Managers who have the strength of diplomacy, there are times when driving results and confronting performance issues can be a challenge. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind if you’re one of them:

 

Use your natural ability to build positive relationships! Understand individual motivators and match mission-critical business projects to the people who will be motived by them.

 

Learn as much as you can about your people– their motivators, career goals, skills and talents. That way, when you need to assign a project or task to drive results, you can look for opportunities to match the people on your team with the projects that will be motivating for them!

 

If the task or project isn’t that exciting or inspirational, recognize and emphasize the value that the task or requirement brings to the company, clients, or the bottom line.

 

The key here is to be genuine and not to try to put the proverbial ‘lipstick on a pig’ or over represent the excitement or attraction of the task if it isn’t there.

 

Make performance goals as clear as possible.

 

Most of us have heard about the importance of having SMART goals. Whenever possible, apply the SMART framework with your team to make sure that their performance expectations are clear.

 

When we have SMART goals, it becomes much easier to assess whether or not they were achieved.

 

When someone didn’t meet expectations, have a candid conversation with them to find out what happened.

 

Most people who are high in diplomacy are not as eager to have these conversations. Whether we’re comfortable with them or not, it is often helpful to prepare ahead of time and to use an approach that will facilitate a constructive conversation.  Below are some tips that you can use to prepare:

  • Plan what you want to say ahead of time; practice aloud and/or write down a few bullets to help you remember your key points. Stay factual and avoid being accusatory or judgmental.

 

Be in a state of curiosity and inquiry; ask open-ended questions. Listen and breathe. Reiterate what you heard.

  • “Mary, the XYZ report was due on Monday. I didn’t see the report in my inbox. What happened?”
  • “So, you wanted to get the report done and you were traveling back from China when your laptop battery died before you had a chance to send it?”

Reiterate the business need. Let the person explore and own the solution. Encourage multiple options.

  • “The XYZ reports need to be submitted by Monday so that we can accurately report the metrics to corporate and ensure all of the commissions are counted before they go to payroll.” 
  • “What could you do to avoid this in the future and ensure that the XYZ report is submitted in time?” 
  • “What else could you try?”
    • Set a time to follow up, if needed.
  • “When would you like to follow up on this?”
  • “Would you mind sending me a calendar invite for that?”

Thank you, Shannon!!

How to Be a Great Manager if You Tend to See the Glass Half Empty but Want to Inspire Your Team

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Thank goodness it is FRIDAY!

Everything that could have gone wrong this week – did!

But, let’s face it, right now – this feels like every week. Things keep going wrong. Deadlines keep getting missed. And your team, OH YOUR TEAM.

You know they’re trying – and that they need some inspiration but… when you keep seeing everything that is going wrong it is a challenge to give your team what they need!

This week we have Coach Keith Edmunds with us to share how to inspire your team when you are seeing the glass half empty.

Take it away, Keith!screen-shot-2016-09-30-at-7-36-00-am

There are many approaches to inspiring a team when your leadership tendency is to see the glass half empty. Often, inspiration will come with:

 

  1. action
  2. transparency and sharing the challenge together
  3. fun!

One of the best ways to make this real is in the form of an activity. Try to facilitate the meeting (not lead it!), where your team self-identifies the “half empties” and the “half fulls”. There, you can openly discuss the attributes, challenges, and possible outcomes of each style.

This is a great place to inspire your team not only to understand, but also to experience transparency through sharing the challenge together!

How do you add the fun in? Maybe expand the exercise by coming up with fun ways to “call it out” when negative or “half full” statements come out from anyone in the team, not just you. Practice this throughout the day, week, and month to continue the awareness journey.

Another approach is to notice the language you use. As you deliver the “glass half empty” messages, try to substitute words that are more inspirational – for example: “our poor performance “ with our “challenge” or “opportunities.”

Thank you, Keith!

Let us know what works for you or some of your best tips!