The Timeline Hack

One work place challenge which occurs in so many companies is the last-minute scramble to complete assignments. People start off with the best of intentions, but other work interferes. Suddenly, a deadline emerges, and the race begins.

A basic timeline can help your team members stay focused on milestones, due dates and the ultimate deadline. It’s an easy tool and can be done on a piece of paper or plotted in different types of software . It doesn’t matter what you use; what matters is using something.

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Institutional Malaise

Responsibility without authority. Too much work and not enough time. The feeling that nothing you do is right. An environment of ongoing criticism. These are just a few of the factors that create burnout in the workplace. Any one of them can cause weariness, but when people suffer from two or more, institutional malaise can creep in.

Surprising as it may seem, some leaders choose to ignore these danger signals. They are so focused on their own agenda that they overlook what’s happening in the trenches. They put down their staff. They are quick to criticize. They strut their titles. They are the hero of every corporate success.

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Paying Attention

What gets in the way of people paying attention? A typical answer is having too many things to do and not enough time, but there’s more to it than that.

A 2015 study by Microsoft revealed that people now have an average attention span of 8 seconds, down from 12 seconds in 2000. One of the observations from this study was that humans have a shorter attention span than goldfish!

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Recognizing Hidden Biases

Everyone has hidden biases. Often we don’t recognize them because they sneak into our minds when we’re not paying attention. Similar to more overt biases, they surface when triggered by particular stimuli.

Example: I met with a new client who was convinced that feedback she had received was inaccurate. After asking a few questions, it was clear that she had some misconceptions about the person who provided the feedback. By dismissing the feedback (because of her hidden bias about the source), she missed some insight that was beneficial for her.

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Is Your Staff Demoralized?

Your leadership style has a direct impact on your employees. Unknowingly, your actions may demoralize your staff. Your best intentions can backfire if you push so hard that you leave everyone in the dust. Alternatively, if you don’t challenge them enough they may only do the minimum work just to get a paycheck.

I have clients whose philosophy spans the spectrum from “good is good enough” to “we expect nothing less than perfect”. Not surprisingly, both ends of this continuum are weak positions.

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