Author Archive

Authentic Communication Is Key To Building A Strong Team

Thursday, October 10th, 2019

Most team members want the same thing from their leader: authentic communication. Have you ever been working on a project and been blinded by an omission made by management? Or perhaps you’ve dealt with a sudden change in instructions or expectations. Maybe you’ve had to work on a project where the expectations were not clear and you weren’t even totally sure what you needed to be doing. If you want your team to perform to the best of their ability, you need to prioritize communication from a leadership standpoint. You need to be as open, honest, and authentic as possible to build trust and generate buy-in.

Authentic Team Communication

Everyone Wants An Honest Boss

At the end of the day, nobody wants a boss that they don’t know if they can trust. Sometimes, what causes a lack of trust isn’t a lie, but an omission. If you aren’t being fully honest with your team about what you expect from them or if you are leaving out certain project details, you could harm the trust that your team has in you. Which brings us to the next point:

When Communication Breaks Down, Trust Is Lost

When your team isn’t communicating, internally or with leadership, that causes a lack of trust. If you aren’t getting regular updates from the team, that could lead to a lack of trust in your team members. And if your team members can’t get a line of communication with you, they are going to have a difficult time finishing projects successfully. Make sure that you have multiple lines of communication open and that you don’t neglect to meet with your team on a regular basis.

Making Sure Your Team Communicates Effectively

Making sure that your team members can communicate with leadership is key. But you also want to focus on internal communication. Your team members need to be able to communicate with each other. This is more important than ever, since more organizations are making the shift to working with remote employees who may be halfway across the globe. Make sure that your team communicates through multiple channels (such as via email and by a work communication app like Slack) and has regular meetings, preferably at least twice per month. Regular communication ensures that your team members know exactly what to expect from their co-workers.

Strong Team

If you prioritize being an authentic communicator, your tenure as a leader is much more likely to see success. When your team members feel that they can’t communicate with you, or that you aren’t being honest, they are much more likely to be distrustful of management. And when there is a lack of trust in leadership, team members tend not to work as hard, and teams can fall into dysfunction. Promoting strong communication within teams and with leadership starts at the top. You have to make sure that all of your team members are comfortable communicating with you, knowing that you will address any of their concerns.


Why You Should Share Your Company Vision With Your Employees

Tuesday, September 24th, 2019

Sharing your company’s long-term vision with its employees is key to creating a positive work environment and developing a strong culture. If your employees don’t understand your long-term vision, they might find it difficult to find themselves working for you for the long-haul. They might find it hard to envision where they fit in. But when you have a solid level of transparency, that builds trust with your employees, and trust is correlated with success in the workplace. Let’s talk more about why you should share your company vision with your employees.

Company Vision Sharing With Employees

You Want Your Employees To Buy-In

When your employees don’t buy-in, they aren’t going to give their best effort. And when effort isn’t being given, your customers aren’t getting the quality that they deserve. Employees are more likely to buy-in when they feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves. Sharing your company’s long-term vision can help your employees to understand the goals that you are trying to achieve, and how they fit in with those goals.

The Best Work Relationships Are Built On Trust

Think about some of the best working relationships you’ve heard about in business magazines. The word “trust” almost always comes up. You never hear about a great partnership where trust is lacking. That is why you need to prioritize trust with your employees as well. Your employees deserve to know more about your company, since they are investing their time and effort on a daily basis with you. When you share information about where you see the business going and the rationale behind certain decisions, you are going to build trust with your employees. And employees that trust you are going to work harder for you.

A Lack In Transparency Can Derail Your Efforts

When work relationships go bad, a lack of transparency is usually the culprit. If your employees feel as if they can’t get information from management, they are likely to get frustrated. They may even check out mentally, especially if they start feeling as if they shouldn’t be invested. Don’t let a lack of transparency fester. You may not always be able to tell your employees all of the critical information about certain deals immediately. But that doesn’t mean that they should be left in the dark forever. Make sure you update your employees on business happenings on a regular basis.

Company Meeting

When you aren’t transparent with your employees, your company relationships can break down. Your employees may be less likely to trust their managers, and they may feel that the decisions being made by management are arbitrary. When you share your company’s long-term vision, your employees have a better idea of why certain decisions are being made. You don’t have to share every detail of your company with your employees–but they should have a good idea of the mission behind the business and where you want to go in the future. That may mean sharing expansion details or talking more about new partnerships.


The Importance Of Flexibility In Management

Tuesday, September 10th, 2019

When running a business or managing a team, flexibility is of the utmost importance. Failure to adapt is one of the key reasons why businesses fail. If you aren’t ready for new changes in your industry, you are almost begging to be left behind. It is absolutely critical that you understand how flexibility can make or break your organization. Let’s talk a bit more about why flexibility is so important and what you can do to improve.

Manager Learning New Things

Businesses That Can’t Adapt, Fail

Companies that fail to adapt have an extremely difficult time competing over the long-term. Even if you have a structural advantage now, that advantage may wear away over time. You need to be an open-minded manager that wants to learn about new solutions to industry challenges. If you aren’t trying to figure out new solutions, someone else in your industry is. And those new innovations could define the playing field for years to come.

You Have To Be Open To Trying New Things

Everyone has had a boss who is stringent and refuses to change their ways. In today’s fast-moving business world, this is a major liability. You have to be open to trying new things, even if it means failing a few times. Short-term failure is often the price of long-term success. Being flexible in your thinking and your management style will help you determine when to take risks and try new things.

Selecting Employees With Multiple Skill Sets

At the end of the day, flexibility doesn’t matter much if you don’t have the employees to execute. You need employees with multiple skill sets, who can execute your vision and change course midstream. These types of talented employees can be difficult to find, but they are absolutely key to your company’s success. When you have employees who are only proficient in one skill, they aren’t going to be much help if you want to change the way you approach a problem. You want open-minded employees with varied skill sets. This will give you more opportunities to take risks and to adapt to changing conditions in your industry.

Team Discussion on New Change

There are plenty of historical examples of companies that failed to adapt. The most prominent one is Blockbuster. Blockbuster had the opportunity to purchase Netflix early on in its development, but the company chose to pass on the opportunity because they didn’t see where their industry was going. By the time they had realized their mistake it was too late, Netflix had surpassed them. You don’t want to make the same mistake on a company level. Understand where your business is in its industry. Take the time to learn what new technological innovation is coming to the space. When you stay up to date on current events you are less likely to be blindsided. Staying open to change and understanding current events can help you keep your business competitive.


Make Sure You Know How To Ride The Trend

Sunday, August 25th, 2019

Everyone has heard the story of what happened to Blockbuster. The VHS-rental business was the national leader in movie rentals until Netflix came along. Blockbuster had market dominance, piles of cash, and a massive customer base. So why did they lose out? The problem was that Blockbuster didn’t understand how to ride the trend. The overwhelming majority of consumers don’t care about a company’s values, they care about the functionality of the product or service they are purchasing. Consumers ask themselves: “Is it easier to use than a competitor? Is it cheaper?” Netflix figured out how to do both. Their DVD service was both easier to use and less expensive than Blockbuster. When Netflix added streaming, the gap became an ocean. Netflix disrupted the industry with DVDs, but they truly showed they understood how to innovate when they adopted streaming technology. If Netflix resisted streaming in favor of DVDs, they could have gone the way of Netflix. But Netflix proved that they know how to ride the trend in new technology.

New Trend Study

New Trends Can Disrupt An Entire Industry

Blockbuster is the easiest example of how new trends disrupt an industry. But there are plenty more. Take the old department stores for example. You can even add malls into this category. Malls and department stores across the country have been struggling to compete with Amazon for some time now. It turns out that consumers don’t actually need to physically be at the store to shop, they can browse and pick out the items that they want directly from their smartphone.

Make Sure You Don’t Get Caught Flat-Footed

As an organization, the worst thing that you can do is get caught flat-footed. If you don’t know what is happening in your industry and what the technological trends are, you are likely to get blindsided at some point. Don’t let that happen to you. Make sure that your organization invests in new technology and the development of new products and services over time.

Happy Team

Embrace Change, Don’t Resist It

Failing to embrace change can have catastrophic results for any organization, but especially for a business. Remember, consumers do not have any ties to you personally or to your company’s particular values. Consumers are looking for the best possible deal for themselves, both from a functionality perspective and from a financial perspective. Miss that, and in the long-term it is likely that you’ll forget what your customers are really purchasing from you—convenience. That is why you need to embrace change, and not resist it. Stay up on the latest trends and don’t shy away from trying new things, even if your organization stumbles a bit at first. That is a better outcome than being caught off guard by a new trend and being unable to change fast enough to meet your customers’ shifting demands.


Learning How To Heal

Saturday, August 10th, 2019

In life, everyone faces some form of trauma. That trauma could be large, such as losing a family member, friend, or another loved one. It could be something smaller, such as losing a relationship in the form of a break-up. But there are other forms of trauma as well. Perhaps you had a tremendous job that you worked hard for and loved, only to be laid off. Maybe you were diagnosed with a physical injury that left you unable to perform your favorite hobby. All of these things are extremely difficult to deal with and can evoke complex emotions. It is important that we give ourselves time to feel those emotions, but also that we then focus on the process of healing.

Sad Lady

Understand That Everyone Faces Trauma In Life

When we go through a trauma in our lives, sometimes it can feel as if we are going through things alone. But it is critical to understand that everyone faces trauma, and that millions of people are going through something similar to you at this very moment. There are a number of groups that meet both in person and online that focus on healing from specific forms of trauma. It might help you to find a group where you can share your emotions and experiences with others.

Taking The Opportunity To Heal Is A Decision

Healing is not a given, it is a decision that you make to better yourself. Some people do not make the decision to heal from a trauma, and as a result, they often end up living a minimized version of their lives. They cannot get past the feelings of bitterness and anger. The choice to heal is usually a difficult one, but it is worth it for the long term. Healing comes in many different forms. What constitutes healing for you may not work for a friend or a family member. Some people heal through exercise and playing sports. Some people do it through writing a journal. Others may do it through creating music. For some people, it might be as simple as talking through their emotions with a close friend or a professional. But you must make the conscious decision to heal.

Man Heealing Through Music

When You Suffer Less, You Can Reach Your Full Potential

Healing from trauma is a process that is different for everyone. Some people can go through the process relatively quickly. For others, it can take months or even years. You have to learn to heal at your own pace. Healing is the step that you cannot skip if you want to get through trauma and come out on the other side with a positive mindset. Refusing to heal can leave you feeling bitter at best or broken at worst. But embracing the healing process can help you to get past your trauma and reach your full potential.


Improving Your Decision Making Process

Wednesday, July 31st, 2019

As a leader at your job or as a manager within your organization, you will have to make tough decisions. These decisions may include the need to hire or fire someone, or they could include the need to make strategic decisions about company partnerships. Having a poor decision making process can hamper you as a leader, threaten your legitimacy, and lead to unwanted outcomes. Improving your decision making is just like anything else, it takes practice. But a good place to start is by creating a framework for your success.

Leader Thinking Aboout Decision

Don’t Make Permanent Decisions In Temporary Emotional Moments

The easiest way to become a better decision maker is to stop making decisions while you are in an emotional moment. Did an employee make a critical mistake that upset you? Take a breath before making a personnel decision. Did your vendor come up short when you needed them last month? Think about it before making a change. Oftentimes we make decisions in anger without stopping to think of all the potential consequences. We don’t evaluate all of the possible outcomes. As a result, decisions made in emotional moments are more likely to lead to mistakes that cost us personally and our organizations collectively. Stop making decisions in a moment of anger, fear, or sadness. Instead, take a deep breath and think about it for a bit. Let the emotions pass, evaluate the situation, and then make a decision.

Create A Workflow For Big Decisions

In big organizations, leaders typically make significant decisions with the help of their workflow. A good workflow for organizational decisions will help leaders to figure out what steps to take and which opinions to consider before making the leap. Workflows are generally extremely detailed and used by more than one manager or leader in an organization, so it might be a good idea to create one with a team instead of by yourself.

Build A Circle That You Can Trust

This is may be the most important. Nobody can consistently make good decisions by themselves. It is a great idea to build a team of managers that you can trust and bounce ideas off of. You might not always take their advice, but hearing their concerns can help you think of situations from a different perspective. This can help prevent you from missing critical problems that you might not have thought of.

Decision Making With Team

Becoming a better decision maker takes time, just like anything else. You aren’t going to immediately make the best possible decision in every situation overnight. Decision making isn’t always easy either, regardless of how skilled you are at it and how good your framework is. It still might take you awhile to come to a conclusion about a particularly complex topic. However, improving your decision making process makes it significantly more likely that the conclusion that you come to is the right decision, and that you and your organization will be better off for making it.


Do You Have Clarity In Your Life?

Saturday, May 18th, 2019

Have you ever felt as if you were lost in your life? As if you did not have a direction and weren’t sure what the next step in your life should be? Maybe you have a vague sense of what your goals are, but don’t have a strategy. Or maybe it is the opposite, you have a strategy for how you approach problems but you aren’t totally sure what your goal actually is. Clarity in life often brings a sense of understanding and of greater purpose. By sitting down and clarifying what you are actually working towards, you can become happier and make it easier for you to actually achieve those goals.

Clarity in Life

Are Your Goals Clear?

When your goals are clear, you often begin feeling a deeper sense of understanding and purpose. Many people have a vague idea of what they are working for, but an explanation of their goals lacks detail and nuance. For example, many people say they “want a raise.” But that isn’t necessarily clear is it? Do you want a promotion? Do you want to get a raise by getting an entirely new job? Some people may say, “I want to go back to school.” But similarly, the details are lacking. What do you want to study? What job do you want to get afterwards? How many years do you plan to spend in school? How much money are you going to invest in your education? Planning out the details put you in a better position for success.

Do You Have A Detailed Strategy?

Having goals isn’t enough. You need a strategy for reaching them. If you want a promotion—how are you going to go about doing that? Job performance is a part of that, but you may also need to network within your organization. You might need to show greater leadership by helping your co-workers with their projects. Figure out what your strategy is for your goal, and then stick to it. You’ll need a specific strategy for each individual goal you have, because you can’t attack two different goals the same way.

Man Thinking About Life Goals

Clarity Brings Understanding

Think about your own life. Have you ever taken the time to sit down and think about precisely what your goals are? Have you considered what your strategy is for reaching those goals? If not, you might benefit from thinking about how you can make those things more clear. Clarity often makes life feel simpler, and makes striving for goals easier. It removes the sense of a fog that makes it feel like we are wandering blind through life, without the ability to see the path that we need to be on.


How Poor Leadership Can Kill Productivity

Sunday, April 14th, 2019

Becoming a better leader doesn’t only benefit you, it also benefits your team and its overall productivity. Strong leaders understand how to motivate their teams and how to properly allocate resources so that they can be in a position to be successful. Poor leaders can sap motivation and drive from a team, and make them less likely to give their all in any given project. If you want to get the most out of your organization, you have to learn what drives each one of your key team members and how to get them to work together as a cohesive unit. Poor leadership can be very destructive to your business and to the value of the products and services that you offer.

Leadership

Productivity Is Directly Tied To Leadership

Your team’s productivity is directly impacted by your leadership. If you are a good leader, who understands each team members’ role and how to put them in a position to be successful, then your team will likely see an increase in productivity over time. But if you are a poor leader who is constantly negative and uses fear, power or rage to drive results, then you are going to see your team’s motivation and productivity drop over time. Positive leadership inspires people by finding what drives them and helping them to become a proud member of something bigger then themselves.

Poor Leaders Can Sap A Team’s Motivation

Have you ever been a part of a sports team with a bad coach? Perhaps your bad coach never used positive reinforcement or always seemed to be in a bad mood. Maybe they didn’t recognize your successes or even reacted negatively to them. This kind of leadership probably didn’t motivate you to give your best effort. It might have even tore your teammates apart instead of bringing them together. And the ultimate result is that everyone is worse off. Poor leaders can destroy a team’s morale and limit their upside.

The Misallocation Of Resources

Leadership is about empathy and motivation, but it is also about the allocation of resources. Good leaders understand what roles to put certain team members in, and which resources and tasks to put them in charge of. A misallocation of resources can cause productivity problems even for a leader who understands how to motivate their team.

Team Productivity

Poor leadership often creates a sense of resentment that festers amongst a team. It can lead to poor productivity, but also high turnover and other negative externalities. You can avoid this by improving on your leadership skills and your empathy. You have to understand what drives and motivates your team members so that you can keep them happy and enthusiastic about coming to work every day and putting in a strong effort. Poor leadership is expensive, and wastes time, money, effort, and resources. That is why it is worth it to put the effort into become a better leader, and to take the time to hire managers who share your work ethic and values.


How Self-Forgiveness Can Be So Powerful

Monday, March 25th, 2019

When we think of forgiveness, we’re often thinking of forgiving someone else for wronging us. But we’re not thinking about forgiving ourselves for a mistake or an error. Everyone makes mistakes, but we often carry our own mistakes with us and remind ourselves of them internally. This behavior can be destructive, as the inner voice we all have is quite powerful in the way it shapes our thoughts and our behaviors. It is important to learn how to forgive yourself. That forgiveness can allow you to put your best foot forward and to move past your previous mistakes.

Inhale The Future

Most People Carry Their Mistakes Indefinitely

When you continue to carry your mistakes with you, you are holding on to a weight that is dragging you down and making it almost impossible to move forward. It is akin to wearing ankle weights and a weighted vest while trying to compete in a track meet. Holding on to your mistakes isn’t going to help you, all it is going to do is keep you living in the past, where you can’t navigate the challenges you need to address in the present. If you are someone who holds on to their mistakes, you aren’t alone. Most people have engaged in this behavior at some point or another.

Learning To Forgive Yourself Isn’t Always Easy

It is important to recognize that self-forgiveness is not easy. This is not something that happens overnight. This is a long process, where you are going to have your ups and downs. You must remain committed to improving your outlook over time.

Forgive But Learn The Right Lessons

Although it is critical that you learn how to forgive yourself, that is not the end of the journey. You also have to learn the right lessons. If you made a mistake, you want to make sure that you learn why and how it was made. Which factors led to the decision or outcome? Once you have a handle on the situation, you can determine how to avoid the mistake in the future. After you’ve figured that out, you can stop blaming yourself and move on with a clear conscious.

Self-Forgiveness

Self-forgiveness can be very powerful when it is applied correctly. You want to learn how to forgive yourself while not forgetting the lesson. That way, you can learn not avoid making the same mistake in the future. This isn’t an easy process, and it can take months or even years to learn how to properly forgive yourself for past mistakes and move on. But once you have the ability to forgive, it is like having a weight lifted off your shoulders. You can finally put your full effort into new tasks and projects without thinking back on your past mistakes. This sense of clarity and purpose can help you to focus on what is important, instead of living in the past.

* Inhale The Future image credit goes to: Toa Heftiba.

* Self-Forgiveness image credit goes to: Bryan Minear.


What is Driving You?

Thursday, March 7th, 2019

Have you ever given thought to what is driving you? Why are you trying to reach your goals? Do you want to do better for your children? Are you focused on getting a promotion or going back to school and changing careers? Have you taken the time to write down your specific goals and the steps that it takes to get there? How would you feel if it didn’t happen on your timeline, or if it didn’t happen at all? Learning what is driving you and focusing that drive and energy can be critical to your success. You want to be driven by positive emotions and feelings and not negative ones. Having a positive drive will keep you feeling good and motivated even when work gets hard. Here are some of the questions you need to ask yourself.

Free Road

Have You Written Down Your Goals?

Writing down your goals is absolutely key to success. You want to be able to see them each day. Write them in a notebook, or in your phone, or perhaps put them in a list on your wall. Seeing your goals written down will help bring your drive to the forefront. That can help to keep you motivated and energized all day. For example, if you want to change careers to better the lives of your children, write down that goal and all the steps necessary to get there. When you see that goal each day, you’ll visualize your children and the kind of life that you want for them. That will only motivate you to work harder.

Are You Motivated By Positivity or Negativity?

Some people are motivated to reach their goals by negative emotions like hate, jealousy, and revenge. Embracing that negativity can feel good for a bit after you’ve felt wronged. But negative emotions are unstable and unsustainable. You can’t rely on them for a long time, and they often just make you feel worse. But when you are motivated by positivity, such as helping others or wanting to build a better future for yourself and your family, you can achieve your goals and more. Positive emotions are easiest to draw on and use when things get tough.

Fresh Start

If you are motivated by positive energy and emotions, you can really achieve a lot. When you are motivated for the wrong reasons—negative emotions like revenge or jealousy—it gets easy to quit when the going gets tough. Make sure that you write down your goals, but also write down the reason you want to achieve them. Keep that positive drive and energy centered in what you are doing. If you know and understand what is driving you, then you’ll be able to draw on that when you run into tough situations. Your drive can help keep you on the right track when you feel down or want to give up. Make sure you put yourself in the best possible position to succeed by fully understanding your drive.

* Free Road image credit goes to: Sergey Pesterev.

* Fresh Start image credit goes to: Danielle MacInnes.