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Posts tagged ‘office’

7 Reasons Leaders Fail

To mangle a 270-year-old sonnet written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning — How do we dislike our bosses? Let us count the ways.

Survey after survey, Americans (and everyone else) trash their bosses. Gallup reports only 12 percent of American workers are engaged. Research conducted and published by Inc. reveals 75 percent of employees say their boss is the worst part of their job. And two-thirds add a new (better) boss is even more desired than a pay raise.

Ouch!

Common Causes Of Employee DissatisfactionBus

Harvard Business Review (HBR) surveyed 300,000 workers and finds the issues workers have with leadership are almost equally divided between actions, and the failure to act.

You’re boring. This is the top complaint of the HBR sample. People look to leaders to create an environment that gets them fired up and inspired. Leaders who failed in their role were often described as being passive and unenthusiastic.

Lack of structure. While few people enjoy being micromanaged, most want structure and direction that support high performance. When goals and timelines are fuzzy or flexible, employees are thrown off balance. The result is stress, hesitation, confusion and frustration.

Image is everything. Leaders more concerned with how they look to their boss rather than their team are unpopular with their followers. These tend to be credit-hogging, under-the-bus throwing leaders whose greatest fear is being outshone by a subordinate (or peer).

Good enough is good enough. Easy to achieve goals do nothing to inspire or reward high performance and top performers. The message these leaders send is “do your job, only your job, and keep your head down.” Not a very inspiring message (see You’re boring).

Play favorites. Leaders seduced into giving plumb assignments to team members who kiss up are viewed as weak and lacking emotional intelligence by followers and peers. Playing favorites  divides followers into “in” and “out” groups and hurts team performance.

Don’t walk the talk. It is pretty easy to understand a leader who preaches “work comes first” and is the last-in and first-out of the office are sowing seeds of resentment. Leaders who fail to keep their word are not considered trustworthy by their teams.

Never change. Leaders who reject every suggestion for improving processes and performance alienate their team. Without any input on what they do or how it is done, people often disengage, which damages their satisfaction, productivity, and enhances turnover.

Leadership is never easy. But, given all the attention improving leadership skills receives, is this list discouraging to you?  If so, what can we do to help leaders succeed?

Gregory Alford, MS. Psy., is founder of Accelerated Coaching & Consulting LLC in Naperville, IL., and specializes in business, leadership and life coaching and Marcom consulting.

5 Ways You Can Quickly Boost Your Mood At Work

A bad mood not only makes you feel crummy, it drains energy and blocks creativity. It also makes it difficult to be fully present and engage with others in productive ways.

Down moods are often the result of locking onto a negative event or thought. Sometimes we needlessly create stress by anticipating worst-case scenarios for future events.

-Gratitude makes sense of our past, (1)

When I am feeling the funk, in a negative way, I have learned how to quickly move myself into a better state of mind. For me, the theme from the Banana Splits Adventure Hour, “The Tra La La Song,” is an instant mood enhancer. I can’t hear the song (especially its chorus) without singing out loud. It is slightly ridiculous, but it works for me.

You have more control over your mood than you may realize. In addition to listening to music that makes you feel good, there are other quick mood boosters you can use at the office.

Photographs. Research indicates looking at pictures is a bigger mood booster than eating chocolate. Load some of your favorite photos on your phone, an electronic picture frame, post a few in your cubicle or hang in your office. Then, take breaks and focus on those images of the people, places and things that bring you joy.

Move. Parking your posterior in a chair for hours on end is bad for your body and your mood. Instead of  grabbing a cup of coffee or heading to the vending machine for a package of Chuckles, walk around the office, take a short (or long) walk outside, use the stairs or stretch.  The goal is to get your heart pumping, and blood flowing with a dose of feel-good endorphins.

Vacation. Just thinking about your next vacation reduces stress. Whether you will escape to a warm beach in the depth of winter, spend time with far off loved ones, camp out under the stars, or hit the slopes, anticipating your next getaway will help you get through today.

Love. Shut down the computer, turn down the phone, close your eyes and bring to mind a few of your favorite things. You may want to focus on a meaningful event, such as when you met your significant other, held your child for the first time, or playtime with your pet. Gratefulness is a terrific way to reconnect to the best parts of yourself and your life, which can inoculate you from stress.

A coach can help you power through difficult times at work and create new opportunities for professionals and personal success.

Gregory Alford, MS. Psy., is founder of Accelerated Coaching & Consulting LLC, and specializes in business, leadership and life coaching and Marcom consulting. Email me at Galford@acceleratedcoachingandconsulting.com for a free hour-long Power Session.

Want A Promotion?

For decades psychology and sociology researchers have used the Five Factor Model (FFM, also called The Big 5) to study what dimensions of personality positively correlate with workplace success.

The Big 5 are (you can take a free Big 5 test here):Some people regard discipline as a

  • Openness (or intellect)
  • Conscientiousness
  • Extroversion
  • Agreeableness
  • Neuroticism (or emotional stability)

Why Conscientiousness Often = Success

The two dimensions proven to have the strongest connection to success at work are conscientiousness and extroversion. In Monday’s blog, I will cover extroversion, so the focus for the moment falls squarely on the broad shoulders of conscientiousness.

Conscientiousness is the predisposition to be disciplined, organized, goal directed, thorough, efficient, deliberative, and able to delay gratification. In the office, these are the people who have spotless desks, are reliable, and get desired results. Over time, they gain the trust of both leaders and followers. This allows them to keep stretching the goals of teams or organizations to reach goals that would have initially seemed far fetched.

Conscientious leaders excel at juggling multiple projects and priorities. The best keep team members focused on shared goals. Given the rapid pace of change and high expectations, it makes sense that people who create value and trust through goal attainment are picked for promotions or remain in executive positions.

How To Develop Conscientiousness Behaviors

If your desk is a mess and you struggle at times with projects hitting your inbox in rapid succession, there are behaviors related to conscientiousness that you can adopt to increase your effectiveness.

Find and consistently use a system to stay organized. This can be a white board, checklists, sticky notes, electronic calendar, spreadsheets, color coded filing system, or whatever keeps your mind uncluttered and tracks progress

  1. Understand the goal
  2. Understand why the goal is important to the organization
  3. Explain numbers two and three with everyone who needs to know, repeat often
  4. Communicate expectations and progress regularly

By keeping you and your team in front of projects, you are much less likely to be derailed or run over by new projects or competing priorities.

Caveats

Without emotional intelligence, conscientiousness may not move the needle of personal or organizational performance. And, when work is artistic or social (such as sales), creativity and spontaneity are often called for rather than a by-the-book approach.

Still, for most of us, behaviors associated with conscientiousness will take you a long way toward reaching your goals.

Gregory Alford, MS. Psy., is founder of Accelerated Coaching & Consulting, LLC., and specializes in business, leadership and life coaching.

Grow Your Self-Confidence

Just as there are no born leaders, no one is born born with confidence. It comes with experience and practice. As adults, we experience life events that make us feel confident. Perhaps you helped your child understand a life or school lesson, reached an important work milestone, or completed a DIY project on your home.

40% (1)While none of us feels confident all the time, cultivating confidence and living more confidently can improve our lives in many ways. A confident person feels comfortable within themselves. They live their values and beliefs, make decisions easier, respect others and are grateful.

What Self-Confidence Provides You

  • Openness to new experience
  • Positive energy
  • Calmness
  • Influence
  • Action orientation
  • Future focus

The other side of confidence is doubt. While doubt can be healthy in small doses, too much creates indecision and the loss of self-efficacy. When we remain in an indecisive mindset, our progress falters and our goals slide out of reach.

You can increase your confidence simply by making decisions. Nurturing the habit of decision making builds confidence by moving you from a state of inaction to action. Inaction drains you confidence and sense of empowerment. Action generates progress and feelings of accomplishment. Even if your decision turns out to be incorrect, simply learn from the experience and continue to move forward.

A second habit is to take a few moments each day to visualize past accomplishments that gave you confidence, and re-experience those positive emotions.

Avoid or minimize your exposure to negative people. They drain your energy and have little or nothing to add, other than why you can’t or shouldn’t take action.

Finally, develop self-care habits so you feel your best. This can include exercise, mediation, hobbies, volunteering or spending time with family and friends.

Cultivating these habits will recharge you and give you more energy to live with greater self-confidence.

Gregory Alford, MS. Psy., is founder of Accelerated Coaching & Consulting, LLC., and specializes in business, leadership and life coaching. Learn more at http://acceleratedcoachingandconsulting.com.

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