Tuesday, June 13, 2017
If you have the responsibility of managing employees, you are well aware that their performance has a huge impact on your job satisfaction and on the success of your business or department. Good leadership and management requires a number of significant skills, but today I want to review one in particular: encouragement.
You may have completed years of college and training, and you may have learned many impressive skills in order to rise to the position you are in today, but sincere encouragement is one of the most powerful tools you can use to motivate people to work hard and develop loyalty.
Wednesday, June 7, 2017
If we’re honest, we all have to admit that sometimes we can be driven by a need to be right. Whether you’re involved in a debate over politics, discussing the fuel efficiency of your favorite vehicle or arguing with your spouse about how to raise your children, there’s something satisfying about being proved right when the facts are revealed.
At times, wanting to be right is simply an outgrowth of healthy, good-humored competition. For example, if you are playing a trivia game with a group of friends, whoever gets the right answer will probably tease other players, cheer for themselves and maybe indulge in some “trash talk” to rub it in that “I was right, you were wrong!” If everyone laughs along with the winner, it’s a good indication that the friends are confident in themselves and their relationship to one another. But if one of the players becomes angry or distressed, it may be an indication of an unhealthy emotional response to being wrong.
Thursday, June 1, 2017
If you have ever gazed at the ocean for awhile, you saw it change with every wave that came to shore. Life is like that; waves of change come along, sometimes small and sometimes gigantic, and nothing is exactly the same after that.
There is a myth in our culture that promotes the notion that people hate change. The truth is – people love change! People change their clothes, hairstyle, and favorite restaurant. They rearrange their furniture, travel to new places and do things to add variety to their lives on a regular basis.
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
When a perfectly contented newborn baby hears another baby crying, it’s common for her to begin wailing as well. Now, most of us would just say, “Well, sure, I’d cry too if my ears were hurting and the noise nearby was TOO LOUD.” But studies indicate more is going on than “what just meets the ear” and that we can all learn something about EMPATHY that infants, it appears, learn very young.
When two babies begin crying in the same room, it’s not just the loud noise that causes the second baby to wail along with the first. Researchers have found it’s the sound of a fellow human in distress that triggers the baby’s crying. One New York University psychologist believes that this “reflexive” crying, as he calls it, may be a precursor to human empathy – the ability to observe the anguish or joy of another person and take it on as your own.
Tuesday, May 16, 2017
If you’re not experiencing the success you desire in your career, what moves do you need to make in order to advance? Like the game of chess, progress toward success requires focused attention, strategy and practice.
Evaluate where you are now… and why. Have you made good or bad choices to get where you are? Are you close to your goal, but not quite there yet or are you way behind?
Decide what is working and what’s not. Are you doing the best with what you have or are you sabotaging yourself with a negative attitude, poor life choices, fear, or a victim mindset? Answering these questions takes courage, but honest answers and a firm grasp of reality are empowering.
Tuesday, May 9, 2017
We all have “issues” of one kind or another. Many of them stem from fears, past experiences, misunderstanding, or lack of accurate information. Many people point to their upbringing as the source of their problems today.
The truth is, no parents are perfect, and there comes a time when we have to let go of blaming all of our problems on our childhood and choose to develop the confidence to make the best of our own lives. In some cases, this may involve forgiveness of everything from not getting the toy you always wanted, to being forced to take tuba lessons to traumatic abuse. It’s an important part of growing up to finally realize that your parents may have done the best they could with what they had and knew and to begin taking adult responsibility for your adult life.
That said, maybe you can learn a few things from your past experiences that will help you avoid some of the mistakes that can potentially have a long-term negative effect on your children.
Here are few general principles that might help your kids grow up to be mature, confident adults and possibly avoid some of the challenges you struggle with:
Tuesday, May 2, 2017
You may have heard of The Peter Principle, which states that, “In a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.” Laurence J. Peter, a Canadian scholar, author and lecturer (1910-1990) wrote a book with the same title expounding on his observations about how organizations work. In a nutshell he says if you are great at your job, you will likely be promoted to a management or leadership position with a different set of skills required and languish there with little chance for real success or job satisfaction.
Before you assume you are doomed to a lifetime of misery drowning in a job you’re not ready for, let’s look at how you can prepare for greater opportunity and success in a leadership role. Competent, respected leaders usually display the following qualities:
Thursday, April 27, 2017
In his book, Be a People Person, Dr. John Maxwell identifies some of the personal characteristics that make people more attractive. He points out that it is the charismatic quality of an individual’s personality that makes them come across to others as warm, engaging and popular.
Dr. Maxwell uses the word CHARISMA as an acrostic to identify the specific traits he believes will draw the attention of others and help you improve your ability to relate well. Each of the traits in the acrostic below can be developed no matter who you are. I have added a few thoughts to Dr. Maxwell’s list to help you apply each concept to your own interactions with other people. I encourage you to commit these traits to memory and make the effort to consistently practice them in your relationships at home and work.
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
I ran track in high school for awhile, and I loved high jumping. What excited and scared me most was knowing that I had to raise the bar if I wanted to win. For that to happen I must have cleared the previous height, but I knew the next level would be more difficult.
During a track meet the bar was set higher than I had cleared before. On my third attempt I gave it everything I had and cleared the bar but injured my ankle, forcing me to drop out of the meet.
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Spring comes every year and yet it never feels like the “same old thing.” There is something exciting about new beginnings, new growth and new birth. While all of nature gets a fresh start, you can too! Spring time is a great opportunity to take positive action in one or more areas of your life.
Sweep away old negative attitudes – For those of us who live in Southern Arizona, winter can be a welcome break from blistering hot summers, but for many people around the country it’s a season of darkness, debilitating cold and difficulty with daily activities like driving to work, loading groceries into the car or spending 20 minutes bundling up the kids so they can go outside, just to have them come in 10 minutes later because they are cold.
We all experience “winters” in our lives – times when everything is just hard. You can probably tell me about a season where you suffered loss, faced overwhelming financial strain, struggled with your health or felt fearful about what would happen next. Maybe all of the above. Maybe all at the same time. After a dark season, we can easily fall into a pessimistic pattern of assuming the worst and becoming discouraged. Sweeping out a bad attitude requires a consistent commitment to stopping negative thoughts and replacing them with optimism. I sometimes recommend that a client take action by literally saying the word “STOP!” out loud when they recognize negative thoughts creeping in. Some circumstances require a decision to make a change, but sometimes an intentional effort to reframe your thoughts can be a powerful tool to turn negativity into optimism.