Change Your Perspective

It’s always good to get away to have a change in perspective. This doesn’t need to be a vacation; it can simply be a venue or environment that is different from your usual ones. By being in a different place, you’ll be able to experience things a little differently when you return to your routine.

Why is this important? We become increasingly insular with the day in, day out sameness. That’s why something as seemingly mundane as taking a brief walk can remove you from the sameness and expose you to something fresh.

The good news is that anything that is a shift from your regular routine can accomplish this. It may be driving a different route to or from work. If you ride public transportation, you can get off one stop earlier and observe what those extra blocks have to offer. You can even meander into a store that you’ve never walked into before.

These simple activities interrupt the patterns that are locked in your brain and open you up to new thinking and perspective. Even a small movement can make this happen: just getting up from your desk and moving around can be beneficial.

In fact, I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “Sitting is the new smoking,” When we’re out of our chairs, it improves our health!

Even better, take a short walk in nature. This is especially important if you’re a city dweller and concrete sidewalks are your idea of the great outdoors. Nature has the benefit of soothing your mind, so it’s a wonderful way to take care of yourself. You may not be able to do this every day, but try to fit in some nature time during your week.

Engage in these small changes to benefit from fresh perspective, which ultimately helps your mood and productivity. Share this with your staff, by the way, especially if they’re glued to their desks, day in and day out.

Have a great day!​​​​​​

“This Is Great, But…”

Discriminating leaders are often quick to find mistakes and slower to find the positives. After all, in your desire for excellence, you strive for the best outcomes. How you communicate these things, however, can make a big difference between affirming and disorienting your employees.

Example: A team member completes a large, high-profile project with a few lingering punch-list items. Praise the success of the overall project and keep the punch-list items in proper perspective. If you put your emphasis on the unfinished items and minimize the overall project, you’ll do a disservice to your employee.

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The Art of When to Jump In

When is the best time to jump in as a manager? If there was an easy answer, we’d be able to magically apply a formula that would predict the perfect moment. Nice idea, isn’t it?

Managers often struggle with this timing. If they enter too soon, they become micromanagers. If they wait too long, they may be too late and the employee may have made a big mistake. Each situation is different, which complicates this question.

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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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Are You in Your Own Way?

Sometimes we get stuck in a groove and keep doing the things that prevent us from moving forward. This is OK if you don’t need to move forward, but that’s rarely viable for a leader.

I’ve found that the biggest excuses for getting stuck range from “I have too much on my plate” to “I’m putting out fires every day” to “I’m overwhelmed”.

All are good reasons, and they have one thing in common: you!

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Make Your Own Luck

“Beware the ides of March.”
– William Shakespeare

Are you superstitious? Do the ides of March make you nervous? Are you careful about what you do whenever it’s Friday the 13th? These are examples of superstitions that have been around forever, perceptions that have no grounded or logical basis.

Silly as these superstitions may seem, plenty of people still take seriously images of bad luck, negative omens, and baseless premonitions. But any time you feel that something is bad luck, you set the stage for a self-fulfilling prophecy.

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