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Via Thrive Global : Three Ways to Improve Work Relationships and Increase Your Own Effectiveness

When confronted with people who bug the you know what out of you, do you tend to expect that they (not you) need to change? While it’s temporarily satisfying to believe that changing others is the way to improve relationships, the best approach to building effective relationships is by changing yourself first.

Follow these three practices to start with yourself first:

1. Ask for feedback, don’t just give it. If you can’t recall the time you last asked for feedback, you’re in good company. Most of us resist it because we equate it with criticism. But if we see feedback as something useful that can support us in getting better, we won’t be so threatened by it. Use these tips when asking for feedback:

Assume good intent. Most people mean well, so give them the benefit of the doubt. Those who have mustered the courage to give you feedback are feeling as vulnerable sharing it as you are receiving it. Show up with an open heart and signal that it is “safe” to give you feedback.

Ask for it skillfully. Don’t surprise people with a request for feedback on the spot. Give them advance notice to prepare. Instead of a general, “How did I do?” ask people to share specific things you could say or do to improve.

Act on It Immediately. While you don’t need to implement every piece of feedback, you do need to act on it, or share why you aren’t going to act on it. People may start to feel safe when you ask them for feedback, but they will know they are safe when they see you take action.

2. Get the Volume Right on Your Strengths. We all rely on our natural “go-to” strengths to get work done. Imagine your strengths are like a pair of headphones. Sometimes, the volume feels inadequate after a few minutes, so we inch up the level—potentially damaging our ears in the process.

Our strengths function in the same way. We grow accustomed to using them at a certain level. But without even realizing it, we dial them up—especially in times of stress—potentially damaging relationships. For example, a strength of practicality, if dialed too high, can become pessimism; loyalty can become gullibility, and passion can become dominance.

Practice getting your volume right by identifying three strengths. Describe how “setting the volume too high” in each strength would look. Then, ask a trusted friend if they’ve seen you exhibit those behaviors. Finally, brainstorm a different strength that might have been more effective in the situation, and/or if needed, which ways you might turn the volume down on the original strength in the future.

3. Identify Your Contribution, Not Just Your To-Do List. Consider the important roles you play at work and home. Don’t just think about the things you need to do in each of those roles. Think about who you want to be in each role. This will help you identify the contribution you want to make in each role and how you will show up for the people who matter most.

Identify a mix of 5-7 of your most important personal and professional roles. Write down one person you influence in each role (i.e. If you’re a manager, choose one of the people you lead. If you’re a parent, choose one of your children. Next to each name, write a sentence or two about what you hope that person would say about you if they were giving you a glowing review. Use the following examples to guide you in creating a tribute statement for each of your important roles:

Parent: He loves me unconditionally no matter what I do. He helps me see my potential.

Leader: She listens to my ideas and always gives me opportunities to grow and develop my skills.

Project Manager: He makes it safe to explore options and take risks. I’m free to make mistakes as I learn what will and won’t work.

Friend: I never feel judged or pitied by her. I always feel encouraged and understood.

Share your tribute statement with each person you identified, then ask each one: From your perspective, what do I need to start doing to make this statement a reality? Once you have everyone’s feedback, identify a few actions you will take today to become the person you want to become.

By changing yourself first and resisting the urge to try and change others, you will improve relationships more quickly, increase your personal effectiveness, and have far greater influence in the long-run.

Via UGMC : How To Maximize Personal Effectiveness & Productivity

“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” – Paul J. Meyer

Effectively managing and maximizing our time and resources are the keys to personal effectiveness and productivity. Managing our lives means managing ourselves, our tasks, our resources and others so that we can satisfy our needs, wants and the needs of others. Thus, the better we manage and use our time, the better our lives will become.

Here are some tips on how you can manage and use your time to the best.

1. Master The Psychology of Effective Time Management

  • Understand that Managing Time is actually Managing Yourself, Your Plans, Activities, Resources etc..
  • Think & Do Smarter
  • Work Hard but Smart
  • Always Keep Your Personal Life in Balance – Organize Every Aspect of Your Life
  • Enjoy Your Job – You Will Be More Effective If You Love It!

2. Set Motivating & Rewarding Goals

  • Set clear goals yearly, monthly, weekly & daily that Motivate You
  • Set SMARTER Goals
  • Set Your Goals in Writing
  • Ensure that you have all the necessary tools to achieve your goals.
  • Resolve to be a top performer.

3. Develop Plan & Strategies to Achieve Your Goals

  • Always Plan Ahead
  • Make a Productive Action Plan
  • Prepare & Use A Daily / Weekly-Planning Calendar
  • Always Work from a List
  • Schedule Essential Daily Activities
  • Commit Your Undivided Attention to One Thing at a Time
  • Be Persistence

4. Priotitize Tasks Effectively

  • Organize Activities & Execute based on Priorities
  • Establish Priorities on A Daily “To Do” List
  • Focus on Your Priorities
  • Eliminate or Drop Tasks That Do Not Benefit You
  • Start the Day with One High-Leverage Activity as The Single Priority, Your ‘Task of The Day’

The 80/20 or Pareto’s Principle says that the most important things carry the highest marks or values. Thus, if you have 10 things to do and done the 2 most important tasks first, you have achieved 80 percent effectiveness.

5. Create A Motivating & Productive Work Environment

  • Organize Your Work Space, Your Documents & Resources – Make Sure Everything Has a Place!
  • Be Appreciative.
  • Display confidence.

6. Use Time Management Tools & Techniques Effectively

  • Use an Organizer
  • Start Your Day with the Most Important Work
  • Do Tasks in Groups
  • Delegate to Accomplish More in Little Time
  • Plan Your (Sales) Calls Effectively
  • Avoid Distractions at Productive Times
  • Utilize Travel Time Effectively
  • Remember to Take Breaks
  • Perform a Weekly Review to help make sure you focus your time on important tasks.

7. Identify & Eliminate Time Wasters

  • Say No to Non-Essential
  • Stop Procrastinating
  • Give Yourself Uninterrupted Time
  • Prevent Perfectionism
  • Avoid Excessive Contact with Negative People
  • Improve Your Concentration
  • Do it quickly!
  • Simplify and automate. Build and implement simple, standard procedures.
  • Schedule your most meaningful work for times when you feel most productive.
  • Do low-value activities when your energy is low.
  • Watch the clock. It’s your time, not theirs, so stay conscious of time passing.
  • Allocate time. State how long you can spend and stick to it!
  • Be Efficient and Effective. Efficiency is getting a lot done in a short time. Effectiveness happens when you focus on activities that are important to you.

8. Look Well After Your Health, Fitness & Life-Balance

  • Resolve to be healthy, trim & fit!
  • Develop Healthful Eating Habits
  • Get Enough Sleep Every Night
  • Build A Fitness Program into Your Day
  • Manage Your Work / Life Balance

9. Reward Your Achievements

Choose the reward before you start both for small and large achievements and use it to move you forward particularly when overcoming an obstacle.

Rewarding yourself will encourage you to keep persevering and focusing on winning. This will help maximize the use of your time and productivity.

For example, you can choose to do something that you really would want to do it yourself such as organizing your room, taking a good rest or learn a new skill.

Via Mind Tools : Being Effective at Work

Essential Traits and Skills

Do you consider yourself to be effective at work? Although many of us like to think that we’re 100 percent effective, the truth is that most of us have strengths and weaknesses that impact our effectiveness.

Many of us could benefit from tweaking at least a few of our skills, in order to become even more effective. For instance, perhaps you’ve always excelled at time management. But how much time do you put into learning new skills, or staying on top of industry trends?

Or, maybe you’re adept at managing the considerable demands you face day-to-day. But, when things get really hectic, your communication skills start to suffer as stress levels begin to rise.

Being truly effective at work can pay off now and throughout our careers. Effective workers get exciting projects, win important clients, and are well respected by their colleagues and bosses. But how can you become more effective, and make sure that you don’t miss out on these great opportunities? And what should you focus on?

This is what we’ll be exploring in this article. We’ll look at the skills you can develop in order to become more effective at work, and we’ll review strategies and resources that you can use to increase your effectiveness.

Step 1: Identify Priorities

If someone asked you what your job was truly about, would you have a good answer?

One of the most crucial steps in becoming fully effective is to know your purpose at work. After all, if you don’t know what your job is there to achieve, how can you set appropriate priorities? (If you don’t set priorities, you’ll be forever buried under a mountain of work, unable to tell the difference between what’s important, and what isn’t.)

To identify your job’s true purpose and define what you need to achieve in your current position, perform a job analysis. This will help you uncover your most important objectives, so that you can start prioritizing tasks effectively.

Step 2: Adopt a Good Attitude

Effective workers have a “good attitude.” But what does this really mean?

People with a good attitude take the initiative whenever they can. They willingly help a colleague in need, they pick up the slack when someone is off sick, and they make sure that their work is done to the highest standards. “Good enough” is never quite good enough for them!

A good attitude at work will do more than just earn you respect: setting standards for your work and your behavior means that you’re taking responsibility for yourself. This admirable trait is hard to find in many organizations. But demonstrating ethical decision-making and integrity could open many doors for you in the future.

So, focus on adopting a good attitude at work, and make decisions that intuitively “ring true.” At the very least, you’ll sleep easier at night!

Step 3: Build Essential Skills

Chances are that you have a lot of competing demands on your time. One of the best ways of becoming more effective at work is to learn how to manage your time more efficiently. Other key areas include learning how to manage stress, improving your communication skills, and taking action on career development. All of these can have a major impact on your effectiveness at work.

Let’s look at each skill in greater detail.

Time Management/Productivity

Probably the most crucial thing that you can do to become more effective at work is to learn how to manage your time. Without this skill, your days will feel like a frantic race, with every project, email, and phone call competing for your attention.

Start by looking at your daily schedule. Do you know how you spend your time every day? If not, the answer might surprise you! Use an Activity Log to analyze how much time you’re devoting to your various tasks, like meetings, checking email, and making phone calls. It can be an eye-opening experience to look at this objectively, especially if you discover that you’re spending lots of time on tasks that don’t help you meet your objectives.

Once you know how much time you’re devoting to different tasks, you need to learn how to prioritize them. If you know which jobs are important, and which can be rescheduled or delegated, you’ll be able to focus on the work that brings the most value. To keep track of it all, use an organizing tool like a To-Do List or (better still) an Action Program, to make sure you don’t forget vital tasks and commitments.

Being effective at work means you use time to your advantage. Schedule your highest value work for the times of day when you’re feeling the most energetic. This increases the likelihood that you’ll resist distractions and enter a state of flow when working. Our article, Is This a Morning Task?, helps you identify your peak energy time, so that you can schedule work accordingly; and our Are you a Procrastinator? self-test will help you deal with a serious, effectiveness-killing habit.

Goal setting is another important element in working productively. Once you’ve done a Job Analysis (see step 1), you should have a clear sense of what your role is all about. Use this information to set short and long-term goals. The advantage of doing this is that your goals act as a roadmap – after all, you’ll never get anywhere if you don’t know where you’re going!

Good organization is also important for working effectively and productively. If you’re disorganized, you can waste a huge amount of time just looking for lost items. So learn how to file properly, and find out how to create an effective schedule.

Communication Skills

Think about just how often we communicate every day. We make phone calls, attend meetings, write emails, give presentations, talk to customers, and so on. We can seem to spend all day communicating with the people around us. This is why good communication skills are essential, especially when your goal is to work more effectively.

Start by developing your active listening skills. This means that you’re making a concerted effort to really hear and understand what other people are saying to you.

Don’t let yourself become distracted by what’s going on around you, and don’t plan out what you’re going to say next, while the other person is talking. Instead, just listen to what they’re saying. You may well be surprised at how much miscommunication can be avoided simply by listening actively.

Next, look at your writing skills. How well do you communicate in writing? Start with your emails. Most of us write dozens of emails every day. But there are many techniques that we can use to make sure we write effective emails – ones that actually get read!

For instance, always keep to one main topic when writing an email. Putting several important topics in one message will make it difficult for your colleague to prioritize and sort the information. If you do need to bring up several different points, then number them sequentially, or split them into separate messages, with relevant subject headings.

Of course, we do a lot more writing than just email. We write through IM, we write reports, and we create presentations. You’ll be more effective in your role if you learn how to communicate better across all these media, and your boss and colleagues are bound to appreciate your skills, since they’ll be the main beneficiaries!

Stress

A little bit of pressure can be a good thing. But when pressure exceeds your ability to cope with it effectively, your productivity goes down, and your mood suffers. You also lose your ability to make solid, rational decisions; and excessive stress can cause health problems, both in the short and long term.

No matter what you do, you’ll likely experience stress numerous times throughout your career, perhaps even on a regular basis. This is why learning how to manage stress is a key factor in becoming more effective at work.

Try to get a good night’s sleep every night, and do your best to avoid taking work home with you. It’s also important to relax when you get home in the evening.

If you’re not sure what triggers your stress, keep a stress diary for a week or two. This helps you to identify the events that cause you stress, and understand the degree to which you experience it. When you’re feeling calm, you can then analyze these triggers and come up with effective strategies for managing them.

Career Development/Learning

No matter what your field is, it’s important that you keep learning and developing your skills. To begin with, carry out a Personal SWOT Analysis to identify the areas that you need to work on.

In addition to the technical skills required to do your job, you also need to focus on soft skills. These include areas such as leadership skills, problem solving techniques, emotional intelligence skills, and creative thinking. Anything you can do to enhance these skills will pay off in the workplace.

Also, consider if there are any qualifications that you don’t have that a reasonable person would consider appropriate for your field. If so, could this be holding you back from an advancement or promotion? For instance, would it be useful to have a particular degree or other certification if you want to apply for a management position? Are you lacking any specific skills?

In some roles, keeping up-to-date with developments in your industry helps you stay relevant. It will help you do your job better, especially as you climb the ranks.

Key Points

When we’re truly effective at work, we manage our time well, we communicate clearly, and we have a good attitude.

Effective workers are often the most respected and the most productive in their workplaces, and they’re often the first to be considered for a promotion. So it’s definitely worth the effort to enhance your skills here!

Start by doing a job analysis to discover what your role is really about. Next, learn how to manage your time better, communicate more effectively, and control any stress.

Also, make sure that you devote time towards further learning and career development. You never know how or when those new skills will pay off!

Via PC Tech Magazine : How To Promote Cohesion in the Workplace Through Team Building

When you want your team to work better together, or you have a new group of people who need to get to know one another before they can really bond and work cohesively, there are a number of different ways you can help them. Offering team building in all its different forms will give them a better idea of the people they are working with, but it will also help them to realize what they are capable of themselves, plus you can see what everyone’s strengths and weaknesses are, and ensure that you use that information to your company’s advantage when giving people work to do.

Here are some of the ways that you can promote cohesion in the workplace through team building.

The Chance To Network

Everyone is busy at work, and that doesn’t leave a lot of time to really get to know your work colleagues as well as you might like to. Working with people you genuinely like helps people work harder, and gives them a good reason to come to work each day, because they are going to see their friends.

Team building that offers your employees the chance to get to know the people they work with on a more personal level, and perhaps even engage with people they simply haven’t had the opportunity to talk to before, especially if you tend to all work remotely, can make them feel happier in their work. Whatever you are doing, from ice skating to having a cook off to trying escape rooms in Cincinnati or even crafting together, as long as it gets you away from work, can be perfect for team bonding and team building.

Understand Teamwork

Although sometimes lone working is what is required, it is also just as likely that teamwork will be needed on some projects. If people aren’t used to working with others, this can be difficult, make work harder than it needs to be, and delay the completion of the project, which could even make it go over budget. By sending your employees on a team building day, you can ensure that they get to know how to work better in a team. Not only that, but they will get a better understanding of what each individual is capable of, making delegating tasks more achievable.

Healthy Competition

Team building activities can work the other way as well if you want them to. Rather than bringing a team together, you can take a cohesive team and pit them against one another. Their bond will be strong enough to withstand this so that their teamworking abilities do not suffer, but it is useful to give everyone the chance to be themselves and to try to be the best. This encourages healthy competition which can give your business the edge, and ensure that the work produced is always excellent.

Something Different

Sometimes cohesion within the workplace can suffer because everyone is doing the same thing, day in, day out. They can become bored, even carrying out some tasks automatically without thinking. This means that they don’t really interact with one another, or they become so used to being with the same people that they aren’t interested in finding out any more about them.

Taking your team out of the office and asking them to do something interesting and fun can put the spark back into their working lives, showing them that there is always more to learn and that the people they are working with are fascinating individuals.

Via The Seattle Times : When leadership and management work together, change happens

Understanding why we make decisions, who they impact and the effects on ourselves and others are all facets of leadership.

Is leadership different from management? Decades ago, these terms were interchangeable, but not so anymore. They do often share similar skill sets, says Dr. Joel Domingo, associate professor and academic program director of the Doctor of Education in Leadership program at City University of Seattle.

“Both leadership and management involve influence, people and goals,” Domingo says. “While the old adage, ‘you manage tasks but lead people’ still rings true, there are nuanced differences.”

To clarify the distinctions, Domingo suggests you think about your role when making an important decision that may benefit your organization. Those processes of working with the information you have, and decision-making are management skills. At the same time, those skills don’t exist in a vacuum and organizations are made up of people. Understanding why we make decisions, who they impact and the effects on ourselves and others are all facets of leadership.

“Too often we see that people who call themselves leaders often feel like leadership is a place you get when you are promoted out of management,” says Dr. Pressley Rankin IV, academic program director and associate professor at CityU’s School of Applied Leadership. “Leaders can’t plan for the future if they don’t understand what is happening today. They have to be able to see what the organization is doing and how they are doing it in order to help them plan for change.”

Three types of leadership skills

Trying out different facial expressions when listening thoughtfully, making eye contact to enhance authority, or rehearsing the right body language to go with a speech are all things a budding leader might practice in the mirror. But authentic leadership goes deeper and it tends to be expressed in three key dimensions – intrapersonal, interpersonal and developmental.

Honing intrapersonal, interpersonal and developmental skills is important to developing what is known as authentic leadership, Domingo says. “People long for leaders who demonstrate honesty, dependability, compassion and relatability.”

According to Domingo, the intrapersonal dimension of authentic leadership helps answers questions like, “Who am I as a leader, and do I have purpose?” The interpersonal side examines how a person interacts with others and connects with people in general. Some good questions to ask which address the interpersonal side are, “How do people respond to my leadership, and is there a sense of camaraderie and/or respect present?” Developmental questions are simply, “How can I grow through some of my deficiencies or even, can I admit that I need to learn more?”

Drilling down further, City University’s new Master of Science in Management and Leadership, which launched this fall, lets students choose from three focuses: change leadership, human resource management and nonprofit leadership. Each focus area teaches how to effectively make the best decisions, create high-performing teams, develop assured self-management, lead the execution of strategic plans and stand out when the time for a promotion comes.

“Management focuses on the process and leadership focuses on people,” says Domingo. “We wanted to incorporate both management and leadership into the degree as the two are historically seen as complementary to each other.”

Exploring the different facets of leadership to find the right fit for your own aptitudes and goals can lead to powerful impacts and results. Leadership touches all levels of society. Domingo says he sees students in business, government and even the military exploring many valuable topics including change in the school system, inequity in schools and diversity.

Dr. Heather Henderson examined the gender disparities in women superintendents when working on her dissertation in City University of Seattle’s leadership program. Now she’s leveraged the leadership ability she learned and acquired there to become a group leader in the International Leadership Association, the largest association in the world committed to leadership scholarship, development and practice.

Dr. Mary Bethune, another student who completed the same program, took on the topic of generational change in the workplace. With massive numbers of people retiring, how can their knowledge be saved and used in the future? She’s become a change leader in finding ways to preserve that wisdom.

“It is important to know that anyone can be a leader,” Rankin says. “You don’t need a formal title to lead. Martin Luther King and Gandhi are examples of leaders who accomplished great things with no official leadership title. We call this informal leadership and it is something anyone can practice and learn.”

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