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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!


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 Insight : Is leadership the missing variable in the productivity equation?

Quality of leadership is reported to be the single most important factor to impact the level of productivity in an organisation according to a new international research study. The report, The Puzzle of Productivity: What enhances workplace performance? was compiled by the Fourfront Group, The United Workplace (TUW) and WORKTECH Academy. It found that more than half of respondents surveyed (53 percent) named leadership as the most important factor in raising organisational performance. Less than a fifth of respondents named environment, technology or wellness as being the most important factor. Environment came second to leadership, but a long way behind on 18 per cent of the survey. More than half of the organisations surveyed worldwide (54 percent) said that ‘inspiring leadership’ is the best way to motivate staff to improve performance, whereas a ‘well designed workplace’ scored much lower on 19 percent with ‘a focus on wellness’ (14 percent) and ‘seamless tech’ (13 percent) even further down the field.

Aki Stamatis, chairman Fourfront Group and TUW, said, “What’s clear from our research and the interviews is that whilst leadership is conclusively regarded as a dominant factor in raising performance, not enough attention is paid to it by those of us working within workplace. We need to allow leadership to forge a deeper understanding and strong partnership with workplace design because one cannot deliver what organisations need to improve their productivity without the other.”

Jeremy Myerson, director WORKTECH Academy said, “Leadership may be regarded as the most important factor in improving organisational productivity, but it has to be integrated with other major drivers of productivity, such as environment. To achieve that integration requires key decision makers in the market to adopt more holistic and joined-up thinking in workplace strategy. That’s why we’re setting up an annual Forum on Workplace Performance. But first we want to hear reactions to the Puzzle of Productivity. This is the opening shot in a debate that is set to run and run. We invite you to join the conversation.”

Via Entrepreneur : 9 Productivity Mistakes You’re Making in the First 10 Minutes of Your Day (Infographic)

From setting goals to drinking coffee, these bad morning habits might surprise you.

There are a number of things you’re probably doing every morning that are actually hindering your productivity.

If you’re an avid coffee drinker, you might be surprised to find out that drinking coffee between 8 and 10 a.m can make you more stressed throughout the day. That’s because caffeine early in the morning interferes with the time that the stress hormone, cortisol, is peaking in your body. It’s best to get your fix between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

When you get into the office and try to jump right into the top of your to-do list, you might find yourself confused and not very productive. When you don’t let your brain empty and refresh before starting a project or task, it loses a sense of control, becomes overwhelmed and ultimately, makes you less productive. Something else to avoid is checking email or social media right when you wake up. Typically, after checking your inbox, it takes a person at least 25 minutes to get back into a productive state. If you start your day off reading and responding to email after email, it will take you a long time to get back on track.

Another surprising mistake is setting self-imposed goals. Setting goals and deadlines for yourself might seem like an obvious productivity hack, but it turns out, that’s not the case. Instead, share your deadlines with others and you’ll feel more pressure and responsibility to get things done.

Check out resume.io’s infographic below for more productivity mistakes you’re likely making in the first 10 minutes of your day.