Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want by Michael Hyatt & Daniel Harkavy

In Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want, Michael Hyatt & Daniel Harkavy suggest that we define a plan for our lives. They introduce us to the concept of Life Planning and show us how to implement the process.

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What is a Life Plan?

According to Hyatt and Harkavy, “A Life Plan is a short written document, usually five to fifteen pages long“. The Life Plan is personal, describes your priorities, the steps to reach your goals and the legacy you want to leave.

It is a life long process, that can continually be adjusted and improved. A Life Plan doesn’t shield you from life challenges and failures. Instead, it will help you create intention for your life.

It is common to have a career plan but no Life Plan. The Life Plan enables you to:

  • Set priorities and stick to them.
  • Stop sacrificing yourself, to stop trading health and time for work, career advancement, accolades or money.
  • Filter out opportunities. As you get older and as you get experiences, opportunity coming your way will multiply. It is therefore important to know where your priorities lie and what opportunity to choose.
  • Avoid distractions, confront and deal with reality.
  • Avoid the feeling of being stuck and allow you to keep your eyes on the future.
  • Avoid regrets and increase your level of control.

The drift and its consequences

Most people drift away from their dreams because:

  • They are unaware that their ideas and assumptions are inaccurate and harmful.
  • There is a discrepancy between their beliefs and reality.
  • They are distracted, are spread too thin or too busy to focus on their lives and to start prioritizing.
  • They don’t understand that there is hope, that they can change and that they have more control over their lives than they think.

When you drift away from your dreams and when you don’t have a Life Plan, you tend to:

  • Lack meaning and purpose.
  • Waste your time and other valuable resources on meaningless tasks.
  • Lose opportunities and their sense of urgency. People who drift away procrastinate and are unable to discern a good opportunity from a bad.
  • Experience trouble more intensely because they are unprepared.
  • Take a passive approach to life, shift blame and live in regrets.

Designing and implementing your Life Plan

To design your Life Plan, it is necessary to outline your legacy, to set your priorities, get clarity on your objectives and to reserve one day to build your Life Plan.

Outlining your legacy

To design your Life Plan, keep in mind that everybody leaves a legacy, face your mortality and begin with the end in mind. It is critical to write your Life Plan like you are writing your eulogy, to imagine how you want others to remember you and to stay committed to the process.

Setting your priorities

Getting more clarity on your objectives will definitely increase your commitment. To do so, you must steer clear from external expectations and do what is right for you.

Getting clarity on objectives

  • Identify your purpose.
  • Project yourself into the future, picture yourself in it and imagine all the different positive outcomes. To make your vision much more compelling, write down in the present tense what you hear, feel, see, smell and taste.
  • Find and apply a quote that inspires you.
  • Make an honest assessment of your current progress.
  • Commit to specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and time-bond goals.

Devote one day to your Life Plan

Hyatt & Harkavy recommend that you schedule one day to create your Life Plan. Needless to say, the Life plan should be implemented starting the next day.

It is necessary to allow yourself to dream, to not expect perfection and to not get distracted.

Implement your plan

Implementing the Life Plan is the most challenging part. It is necessary to:

  • Include your Life Plan in your everyday routine.
  • Fight the feeling of being overwhelmed by life’s drama.
  • Don’t be afraid to say no or to disappoint others.
  • Read your plan daily and review it often.

Review

Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want by Michael Hyatt & Daniel Harkavy is an easy to read self-help book that is based on some of their traumatic experiences. It is destined to increase our focus, to helps us find out what matters most, to acquire meaning and fulfillment in our everyday life, to allow us to prioritize our lives and to contribute effectively,

This book is written for people who are looking for a better direction for their life because they are either:

  • unsatisfied with the current state of their lives,
  • lack purpose,
  • seeking more balance,
  • unable to overcome life challenges,
  • noticing that their lives don’t fit their vision or dream,
  • not reaching their full potential.

The earlier we start creating and implementing a Life Plan, the better.

Favorite quote(s)

Living Forward will heighten your sense of what’s truly possible for you in life. If you feel out of balance, aware that your current pace is unsustainable; if you are making great gains professionally but don’t want to neglect personal priorities; if you want to have better focus to succeed financially; if you have gone through a recent tragedy and suddenly become aware that life is short; if any of those are true, this book is for you.

I know that how we lead ourselves in life impacts how we lead those around us. Self-leadership always precedes team leadership. We must have a balanced approach to accumulating net worth in all of the critical accounts in our lives, not just one or two. Ultimately this allows us to make the greatest difference and adds the most value to those around us. It is possible to grow at work without diminishing other areas of our lives. Living forward helps us find and maintain our balance.

Ratings 4/5

Author

Daniel Harkavy

Michael Hyatt

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The Importance Of Effectively Improving Your Communication Skills

Leaders receive a multitude of information on a daily basis. They make hard decisions every day and expect that their employees will directly understand and precisely apply them.

Decisions become erroneous when leader fail to listen. The execution process falls short when leaders fail to communicate and clarify their vision. Subsequently, they also fail to solve problems and reach their goals.

Wondering how to hone your communication skills and create a better working environment? 

The Importance Of Effectively Improving Your Communication Skills

What is communication?

Communication is a complex and dynamic process, used to collect information. It is also a form of human interaction that always involves at least 2 people, that depends on the character of the people involved and that relies on trust.

While communicating, we receive and/or emit information through silence, facial expressions, writing, reading, talking or listening. We use these skills practically everywhere at work, for every situations.

In addition, a noisy environment, stereotypes, cultural differences, lexical differences, company culture are barriers to communication. These barriers distort what is being said and what is being received. However, being aware if them is the first step to reprogramming communication.

Why is it important?

Communication skill is the ability to effectively interact with people to influence, to convince, to mobilize people towards one goal, to unify teams.

Developing communication skills will bring success at every level, help convey a better understanding of your standards and requirements, build positive healthy relationships, avoid or work through conflicts.

Great communication skills will improve your leadership credibility, your self-confidence, your relationships with others, your feelings of belonging and will decrease your stress level. They will also drive change and increase team motivation.

Furthermore, poor communication skills can prevent you from understanding your coworkers, getting hired or getting promoted, saving time or sharing request in meetings. communication failure leads to resentment.

How to improve your communication skills?

At work, some people struggle to share their thoughts, ideas. To improve your communication skills and get ahead at work:

  1. Be self-aware and stay authentic to your principles.
  2. Demonstrate empathy. Empathy will allow you to reach people, to perceive their feelings and perspectives, to build a team that you understand. For example, start by learning your employee’s name to show that you care.
  3. Demonstrate that you can be trusted by keeping secrets, by following through on promises and commitments, by being consistent, and by not withholding useful information
  4. Even though you don’t believe it, you are a brand and must treat yourself as such. You must learn to present, to market yourself, to quantify and value your assets.
  5. Find a purpose for every interaction. Your purpose gives your communication direction.
  6. Remember that everyone is different and won’t communicate the way you do.
  7. Always think win-win. According to Stephen Covey in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, it is better to seek mutual benefits in all human interactions, believe that life is a cooperation and not a competition.
  8. Understand the corporate culture to adapt your communication style. Your communication style will influence the way others react to you. Numerous communication styles have been developed throughout the years and most often, have been equated to leadership style. Needless to say, everyone doesn’t communicate the same way.
  9. Bear in mind that appearances are important, even detrimental to success. Maintain professional decorum at all times, dress appropriately, groom yourself, be hygienic, keep your composure according to the company’s culture.
  10. Take care of your own body language by standing straight, by eliminating over the top behavior, standing still, staying focused on your interlocutor, maintaining eye contact and restraining your facial expression.
  11. Actively listen and speak less. While listening, monitor body language, evaluate the emotional intensity of the conversation, stay open-minded, and choose your words carefully not to offend. This also means that you don’t need to emit judgement during the process, that you must avoid listening to reply or to seek ulterior motives in someone, and that you must allow people to talk without interruption, even if I disagree with them.
  12. When writing and speaking, keep it succinct, specific, clear, coherent and compelling for others. Avoid using ambiguous words.
  13. Treat people as you want to be treated. Stay polite and treat people with the respect that they deserve and with regards to their culture.
  14. Have an open door policy and be approachable.
  15. Analyze your audience. Take time and analyze the full situation and pay attention to non verbal communication.
  16. When in conversation, observe what is being said and paraphrase to confirm that you have properly understood, ask probing questions to get all the information and avoid daydreaming, tuning out or jumping to conclusions. If nervous, introverted or shy, practice your conversations before.
  17. Avoid using stereotypes to categorize someone or the info that they share.
  18. Use humor to defuse negative situations to elevate any subject, to put your audience at ease. Using humor is risky but is worth-while.
  19. Reward positive behavior and hold people accountable for negative behavior.

Last Words Of Advice!

To effectively improve communication, there are also a few unspoken rules to follow. One must avoid:

  • Discounting information on the account of discrediting the source.
  • Comparing the information you are getting with your own experience.
  • Calling attention to yourself or your situation.
  • Gossiping, openly criticizing or making fun of others and their interests. Find solutions and help resolve problem instead of creating them.
  • Noisy environment to have conversations.
  • Respect silence. Silence is golden in some cultures.
  1. Finally, don’t take anything personal.

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.

Changing Career And Starting Over — 25 Tips To Make A Successful Career Change

Sometimes, we are stuck in a career that we hate or that no longer fulfills us. Other times, the commute is too long, we make long studies to end up in a career that requires too much sacrifice, that doesn’t fit us or that we struggle in.

Uprooting, starting over, reinventing your career and moving forward is difficult. Starting over from scratch feels like a failure, is intimidating, is discouraging, takes time, requires optimism, an ability to learn, an interest in personal growth, a sense of  adventure.

Wondering how to actively change career and find a job that fulfills you?

Successful Career Change

Being in the wrong job or leading the wrong people demands too much sacrifice and can lead to a serious breakdown or various health issues. Our lack of interest spills over at work and most importantly at home, especially if we are leaders. We visibly become careless, inconsistent, we underperform and are emotionally unavailable.

Furthermore, a career change is necessary when your personal needs are not met, when you get feeling of boredom, start burning out, lack of satisfaction, work for a bad boss and with toxic coworkers. Everybody has a breaking point and cannot spend a lifetime adapting to situations that are unnatural to them.

How to avoid making the wrong career choice?

Some people drift through jobs without any idea of what they are doing or without making a decisive career choice. To avoid making a bad career choice:

Actively changing careers

Changing career is daunting yet exciting. It is daunting because we might lose status, leadership position. However, it can be exciting because the future is promising. Starting over means learning from your past mistakes, applying the solutions with an open mind and with a different perspective on life.

Quitting your job and pursuing the career you always wanted is a leap of faith. The future is unknown but promising. To transition smoothly:

  1. Know that what we think we can achieve is unlimited and is not limited. Changing career requires a different mindset. Believe that ever force is on your side and attract the things you want in life. Don’t let fear stop you from moving forward.
  2. List the different careers that you wish you could have.
  3. Some people will tell you that it is a bad decision to change career. Listen carefully to what they say and understand that their opinion is not really about you. Find ways to overcome these boundaries, keep moving forward and don’t look back.
  4. Accept yourself and your character flaws.
  5. Identify your strengths and weaknesses. This will help you tap into your full potential and make your career more sustainable, make work more enjoyable and will have you jumping out of bed to get to work.
  6. Translate your strengths and weaknesses into coherent skills and avoid devaluing what you can do easily.
  7. Identify your core values. Core values are what guide your behavior and character. Make sure that what you are doing aligns with your values.
  8. Identify your skills acquired at work and make sure that they are transferable.
  9. Find out your passions, what you want and what you like to do, even when you are not getting paid.
  10. Build a visionset goals, focus or a purpose. Daily remind yourself of your dreams and goals. Then, determine the needs required for achieving this purpose.
  11. Imagine your ideal life and your ideal position. Write it down and create a vision board to specifically solidify your dreams.
  12. Measure your stage in life, how far are you in life. The consequences of changing career will be different if you are a recent graduate student or a seasoned senior professional.
  13. Meet your personal requirements at home. Your requirements can be money, recognition, trust, autonomy, performance and achievements). Furthermore, understand that your needs are personal and will not be grasped by everyone.
  14. Build strong and healthy relationships. You can do this by starting a small group, by assisting others at work and by bringing solutions to their problems.
  15. Address your past and your present experiences. Then, Estimate what you consider as a failure and as a success.
  16. Be open to learn and ask probing questions.
  17. Brush up on your interview skills, network and learn to sell yourself.
  18. If you are looking for a job at another company, remember to update your resume with accurate experience and qualifications, big or small.
  19. Take classes and trainings that will move you toward your career goal and keep you motivated.
  20. Ask for sit downs to people who are in your career of choice. During that interview, don’t directly ask for a job but avoid making assumptions, ask probing questions and take notes.
  21. Respond to advertised jobs. You can also directly apply to companies without going through ads.
  22. Rearrange your personal life before tending to the professional life. Make peace with yourself and physically declutter your space at home then at work.
  23. Learn to deal with worst case scenarios on your current job before moving on to the next one. Chances are that you will meet the same situation somewhere else and potentially end up in the same mess.
  24. Avoid passive aggressive behavior on your last days at work and develop smart strategies to handle our current job. For example, try to meet your boss requirements before quitting your job. When you meet the boss’s requirements, his trust in you will be renewed and your energy will be boosted.
  25. Start a business that is directly molded on your strengths and weaknesses.Once a leader, always a leader. It is not something you can turn off.

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.

Richard Koch

MEET THE AUTHOR

Richard Koch is a consultant, business man and author of The 80/20 Principle The secret of achieving more with less.

Building And Maintaining Healthy Relationships In The Workplace

Deep long-lasting work relationships in corporate can take your career to the next level.

In a world where technology has taken over, where interactions are made behind our computer, where misunderstandings often foster and loyalty is a luxury, building relationships is challenging but can make the difference.

Wondering how leaders build and maintain long-lasting relationships in the workplace?

relationships workplace

The benefits of healthy relationships in the workplace

Building work relationships is difficult in itself. Mostly, because we don’t have the luxury of choosing who we hang out with.

In addition, highly skilled, smart people easily lose their jobs because of their low social skills, of their poor behavior and their lack of emotional intelligence.

The quality of the work relationships has direct impact on the quality of our lives. Indeed, healthy relationships have a tendency to reduce the effects of stress, to improve job satisfaction, quality of life, to keep us motivated and enthusiastic. They are a great indicator of whether or not we love our job.

Build and maintain deeper relationships

Thinking that work relationships are not worthy is a mistake. Leaders and employees have to make quick decisions while getting along with everyone, in multicultural contexts, with people from various backgrounds.

  1. Be authentic and comfortable with yourself first.
  2. Believe that you are worthy of relationships.
  3. Believe that you are trustworthy, that people are trustworthy even though you are aware of snakes in the grass. You can demonstrate trust by soliciting people’s opinion in one on ones.
  4. Believe that relationships are important to your career and to your self-development.
  5. Be reasonable. Monitor your behavior and what you say to people on a daily basis.
  6. Be patient and wait for an opportunity to present itself. Prepare yourself in the meanwhile by taking training and becoming an expert in your field.
  7. Get to know your audience, the decision makers and the influencers in the workplace. This means that you have t identify and anticipate their triggers, their motivations, their challenges, their needs. For example, ask specific questions to discover what someone cares about. Furthermore, discreetly get their attention and align yourself with them.
  8. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Respect yourself and the people around you even though they don’t reciprocate. Also, respect their time and opinion, accept them for who they are.
  9. Expect the best behavior from people even if you don’t like them and even though their behavior is not the best.
  10. Stay positive and develop your emotional intelligence to understand your emotions, those of others and to sustain your work relationships.
  11. Increase self-awareness. Assess your people skills and seek to develop them.
  12. Be assertive and clearly set boundaries to your relationships.
  13. Stay on top of corporate opinions and make sure you align yourself with them.
  14. Work on being more approachable. For example, if you are serious, smile a little more often. If you are very private, reveal a little bit about yourself to your coworkers.
  15. Identify and adapt the corporate communication style in order to express yourself. For instance, learn how to cordially disagree with your coworkers.
  16. Avoid destructive conflicts and avoid making enemies uselessly.
  17. Keep networking and making your new-found contacts your most valuable allies.
  18. Invest time and energy into your employees. Create a sense of unity and openness and show team spirit. Don’t allow people to feel excluded or disconnected and promote collaboration.
  19. Increase your team’s self-esteem. Make people, mostly your younger workers, feel good about themselves. You can do this by giving out meaningful assignments and validating the contributions of your employees. If your employees are not able to fulfill their duties, coach them or send them to a training instead of taking away their responsibilities.
  20. Help others in their work and help them to succeed.
  21. Share purpose to gather everyone around your vision.
  22. Address important issues in the room during meetings and don’t allow them to grow.
  23. Involve your employees in the decision-making process.
  24. Listen actively to understand your teams deepest needs, to build trust and loyalty before trying to influence and persuade them.
  25. Avoid gossip and spreading negativity. Gossiping will not dissipate misunderstandings but will only exacerbate them.
  26. When a situation turns sour, identify the reasons why. Look at yourself beforehand, own a piece of a problem, avoid shifting blame and see how you could have positioned yourself differently. Also, to maintain relationships, quietly make amends, repair past damages, be accountable for your actions, without needing to ask for forgiveness or without begging.
  27. At work, we connect differently with our coworkers and sometimes take that connection outside of the workplace. With some coworkers, we are comfortable enough to talk about our private lives, families and are able to take the relationship beyond the workplace. We either think that our coworkers are out friends and families or we either don’t care to be liked by them. It is therefore necessary to learn how to discern personal and professional connections in the workplace.
  28. Show appreciation by publicly and privately congratulating your team for their great work.

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.

The Importance Of Effectively Managing Conflicts As A Leader

Conflicts happen in all workplaces, are inevitable, generally dramatic, are stereotypically painful, are often the road to failure if you don’t know how to manage them. However, contrary to common belief, they are most of the times milestones to success.

Wondering how to constructively manage or disengage workplace conflicts and how to remain disciplined and self-aware during conflicts as a leader?

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Conflicts are incompatibilities and interference between two different parties ideas, desires, goals, interests, values and principles, events and activities.

Conflict management or conflict competence is a learnable skill that should be developed by all leaders throughout their career. Conflicts are consequential, frequent and inevitable but are necessary. They occur whether an employee is expressing a dissenting view, resisting change, or whether the leader is correcting an existing problem, fighting complacency and group-thinking.

Leaders that poorly manage conflict are faced with unfortunate lawsuits, grievances, violence, employee absenteeism, employee defection, poor performance, ineffective decisions, deteriorated working relationships, distrust and other negative behaviors, attacks on reputation and careers, a toxic company culture.

As a result, poorly managed conflicts are costly for organizations that have to sometimes hire new employees, take time to train new members, bring in paid third-party to mediate disagreements.

However, the benefits of appropriate conflict management are endless. In order to approach conflict in a productive manner, it is necessary to understand that:

  • differences in points of views generate innovative solutions and breakthroughs,
  • dissenting thinking allow to make higher quality decisions,
  • creativity is stimulated among the team,
  • social relationships are subsequently  improved,
  • transparency and open communication are promoted,
  • the work environment becomes more collaborative, and the company culture healthier,
  • more opportunities surface,
  • and most importantly, people within the organization might need help or mediation during conflict.

Addressing conflicts effectively

In the workplace, conflicts generally stems from differences of control, power and influence between the leader and his or her employees. Conflicts also come from discrepancies in culture, background, monetary.

There are several steps, that you can take to understand and manage conflicts constructively, you must:

  1. First understand yourself. What are your strengths, weaknesses, blindspots? How do you interact with different people with different backgrounds? How do you cause conflicts?
  2. Identify your conflict style. There are five different conflict styles, explaining the manner in which people attempt to meet their needs while showing interest in meeting other people needs during a conflict:
    • The competitive conflict style is aggressive, seeks to win, gain control, disregards other people needs and generally heightens conflicts.
    • The cooperative conflict style is defined by a need to reach a common goal using and consensus, to collaborate and to offer innovate ideas to resolve an issue. This style is representative of a healthy work culture.
    • The compromising conflict style is defined by a unsatisfying willingness to meet the other party half way.
    • The accommodating conflict style is obliging, facilitating, diplomatic, describes a desire to put others need and interests before a sole individualistic need in other to preserve relationships. This style is the complete opposite of the competitive style.
    • The avoidant conflict style is composed of penned up feelings and of a need to sweep negative interactions and situations under the rug. Therefore, needs go unexpressed and the conflict festers.
  1. Identify your trigger. To appropriately assess your trigger, attend conflict management classes, get a mentor or a coach, take the Myers-Briggs Assessment Test or the Conflict Dynamics Profile.
  2. Develop an emergency plan to cool down and desensitize your triggers. Desensitizing your trigger doesn’t mean that a person’s behavior is right or pleasant, it just means understanding the demonstrated behavior and changing your reaction towards it. For example, take a break before responding or jumping to conclusion.
  3. Learn to control your emotional reaction to conflict. Understand, stay conscious of the strong emotions that come with conflicts then cultivate positive emotions to counteract the negative ones.
  4. Discipline your thoughts, perceptions and assumptions of other people. The interpretation of someone’s attitude does not necessarily match reality.
  5. Observe the time frame, the number of times you have to see someone at the office. The less time you spend with coworkers, the less time you will notice their flaws and the less you will harbor negative emotions.
  6. Learn to discern any conflict driven behavior on the scale of conflict intensity. The intensity level measures the level of discomfort during a dispute:
    • At the first level, there is a difference in opinions but there are no discomfort.
    • At the second level, misunderstandings sprout: what is understood by someone is different from what is really meant.
    • At the third level, disagreements occur: each party understands but disagrees with each other’s opinions, feels discomfort which can lead to damage in the relationship.
    • At the fourth level, discord transpires: each party respond to a difference in opinion and there are continual attacks on the relationship.
    • At the last and fifth level, each party is polarized, suffers from the conflict, resort to sabotage, criticism, manipulation, etc…

Furthermore, detecting a conflict early will allow to resolve them faster.

How to resolve conflict and create positive outcomes

There are generally two known responses to conflict: “fight or flight” and “retaliatory cycle”.

On on hand, the fight or flight response is a natural response to threats where one either flee from danger or fight it. The choice between fight or flight depends on how someone has been conditioned.

On the other hand, the retaliatory cycle leads to escalation, leads to destructive behaviors that fuel and trigger negative behaviors in each party. In the retaliatory cycle, someone is first triggered by a behavior, then generates in that person an emotional response to this behavior. This emotional response is perceived by others as a threat to their ideas, opinions that in return generate an emotional response. And so on and so forth, the retaliatory cycle is created.

Leaders have to acquire a model behavior during conflicts in the workplace. Leaders encourage positive outcomes by:

  1. Facing conflicts head on, standing their ground and assuming that conflicts are inevitable, frequent and are just a passing phase.
  2. Staying calm and composed under pressure.
  3. Avoiding jumping to conclusions, shifting blame or pointing fingers and relying only on facts.
  4. Separating the person from the real issue.
  5. Instilling core values and fair treatment among their followers.
  6. Encouraging open communication and allowing the other party to speak their truth.
  7. Demonstrating that they have understood every side of the issue, being empathetic to the conflict partner.
  8. Suggesting solutions to existing problems thanks to external opinions, historical and innovative ideas.
  9. Sincerely apologizing to the other person and being able to admit when they were wrong.

How to recover from conflict?

Conflict competence requires that the leader:

  • value differences,
  • almost immediately detect a conflict before it arises in a tone or in a facial micro-gesture,
  • identify positive and negative models of leadership within the organization,
  • learn from setbacks and hardships that build character,
  • solve other people conflicts and implement a conflict resolution culture.

Dealing with conflict can leave you feeling like you are in a hostile territory but practice makes perfect, and managing conflicts effectively becomes easy with experience.

Also, create a zen space and learn to leave your conflicts at work.

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.

How Full is Your Bucket? by Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton

How Full is Your BucketIn How Full is Your Bucket?, Donald O. Clifton and Tom Rath have partnered up in the hopes of helping people focus on the positive and not the negative. In his previous research and in his life experiences, Donald O. Clifton noticed that every interaction in life made a difference and profoundly shaped his perceptions.

The theory of the dipper and the bucket

To Donald O. Clifton and to Tom Rath, everyone possesses an invisible bucket and an invisible dipper. Filling your bucket would be synonymous to “boosting your well-being” and feeling engaged in your work.

An invisible bucket that can be emptied or filled depending on our interactions with others. When the bucket is full, we feel great, optimistic, energetic, renewed and strong.

An invisible dipper that can empty of fill someone else’s bucket. When the dipper is used to fill someone else’s bucket, we simultaneous fill our own bucket. When we use our dipper to empty someone else’s bucket, we empty our own bucket.

The power of Negativity

The Power of NegativityNegativity has the power to kill an individual. For most of us, negativity is common and harmless, but erodes our well-being and productivity. Negativity is also contagious and pushes us to start dipping in someone else’s bucket in the hopes of fulling ours.

In the workplace, daily multiple micro aggressions or the accumulation of negative interactions can cause people invisible and individual bucket to be emptied. An empty bucket has consequences on your well-being, on the well-being of your friends and family members, on your work performance, on your team’s productivity.

The disengagement and the negativity of employees are conveyed by “glazed looks”, counter productivity, a tendency to “stirring up trouble with whining, complaining, and even paranoia.

Fortunately, positivity is much more impactful than negativity.

As a leader or manager, how to make sure that employees individual bucket is full? How to get them to stay engaged?

Employees often lack recognition for their good work and “praise is rare in most organization”.

It takes a little initiative to create inexpensive and meaningful bucket filling experiences. For example, a short, motivating, positive conversation from leaders to increase employees productivity, alignment and engagement would suffice.

Leaders and managers have to:

  • switch the focus on their employees strengths only,
  • daily and positively interact with their team members.

Where is Negativity Rooted?

Our predisposition for either positivity or negativity is similar to our metabolism and our or disposition for weight gain. No matter how much someone eats, they will always remain thin.

Filling someone bucket should be unique, specific to the individual, appropriate to the work environment. Generic one size fits all approaches often backfire.

The american culture is to blame for the development and inclination toward negativity. In the American culture, we focus on what we do wrong instead of what we do right, on fixing weaknesses and dismissing strengths. “This focus is particularly evident in our school experiences” or at work where our natural talents and our skills don’t fit our roles. Also, we expect our employees to change their personality to fit the role.

According to John Gottman’s research on marriage, there is a magic ratio to respect in order to maintain positivity and to fill your bucket. The magic ratio is 5:1 which means that there must be 5 positive interactions for every 1 negative interaction.

This magic ratio is critical for the workplace. For instance, teams with having more than 3 positive interactions for every negative interaction (3:1 ratio) gain in productivity and engagement. However, teams having more than a 13:1 ratio lose in productivity.

That is why, Rath and Clifton recommend grounding positivity in reality, but also acknowledging negativity and weaknesses and correcting mistakes.

The Benefits of Positivity

Positive or negative encounters are highly memorable and can change your life forever. Positivity creates a mindset that:

  • becomes a buffer against adversity, depression, health issues,
  • enables recovery from traumatic, painful experiences,
  • improves mental physical well-being,
  • stands as a coping and defense mechanisms,
  • transforms and breaks down social barriers,
  • generates optimal functioning in organizations and in individuals,
  • Induced by leader, improves productivity and group performance in the workplace.

How to Increase Positive Emotions?

To increase positive emotions and positive encounters, apply the following five strategies:

  1. Prevent any type of bucking dipping

    • Stop poking fun at someone, focusing in their insecurities, chronically criticizing others.
    • Encourage this change among people around you.
    • Start pressing pause consciously eliminating unwarranted negativity.
    • Keep track of your progress by scoring your interactions.
  1. Focus on what is right instead of what is wrong

To know if your focus us centered around what is right or if you have some impact on your environment, take the Positive Impact Test from Gallup. The Positive Impact Test provides 15 statements to measure your impact and your progress. Don’t hesitate to print them, read them and encourage your friends to take the test.

  1. Develop several good relationships

    • These relationships have to be best friends quality with coworkers in order to increase your job satisfaction and productively and subsequently increase theirs.
    • Actively listen to your coworkers.
    • Acknowledge when someone is doing a great job.
  2. Give unexpectedly

  3. Reverse the Golden Rule

    • The Golden Rule signifies “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. Clifton and Rath introduced the reverted golden rule: “Do unto others as they would have you do unto them”.
    • Personalize your interactions and the way you praise and recognize others.

Review

How Full is Your Bucket? by Donald O. Clifton and Tom Rath is a brief, easy to read, encouraging and compelling book that gives tools to spread positivity in life or at work, to become a better leader, to develop values and character.

Furthermore, I found interesting that both authors share their personal adversities and explain how they have ingrained positivity in their lives and thoughts to overcome their health obstacles.

On a personal level, I wanted to read a positive book, that can stimulate everyone’s mind, inspire leaders to work on themselves and their leadership skills, to provide some tools to dilute the toxicity and the negativity in the workplace, to break the cycle of negativity in your life.

I believe that most of us can handle positive situations and encounters, but not everyone can handle difficult situations, that preparation is key and it is better to be safe then sorry, that it is better to be warned about toxicity than to be blindsided by it, and finally that knowledge is power.

In addition, Donald O. Clifton and Tom Rath are right when they claim that negativity stems from your culture and has become the norm. They are also right when they state that emptying someone else’s bucket will not make you feel better but only make you feel less then. So, you have to wonder: are you a bucket filler or a bucket dipper?

Favorite quote(s)

Most of us want more positive emotions in our lives. We want to feel like Tammy did in her brief meeting with Karen more often – and like she did after her performance review less often. Unfortunately, wanting a more positive environment isn’t enough. Most of us have grown up in a culture in which it’s much easier to tell people what they did wrong instead of praising them when they succeed. Although this negativity-based approach might have evolved unintentionally, it nevertheless permeates our society at all levels.

Recognition is most appreciated and effective when it is individualized, specific, and deserved.

Ratings 3/5

Author

Donald O. Clifton

Tom Rath

Purchase

Donald O. Clifton

authorDonald O. Clifton, Ph.D. (1924-2003) was a chairman of Gallup, was named the Father of Strengths-Based Psychology by the American Psychological Association. Donald O. Clifton is also the author of How Full is Your Bucket?.

Which Leadership Styles are You?

Leadership styles

Leadership style refers to the way that the leader interacts with his or her subordinates, influences their behavior, motivates them, makes decisions for them and for the organization. A specific leadership style can deeply influence the quality of work, the commitment, the work satisfaction of both leader and subordinates.

Throughout their career, to be successful, leaders need to continually assess and improve their leadership style, identify its strengths and weaknesses, adapt it to their environment, their organization and to their followers, and even combine them into one suitable and adaptable leadership style.

For leaders to adapt their leadership style to the context, they must get to know themselves and be authentic to their values and beliefs beforehand, get to understand their team members working style and expectations from a leader, get to acknowledge the company culture.

Wondering what leadership styles you have developed across the years or would like to acquire and which one is suitable to your work environment?

In order to determine the best leadership style, the leaders have to contextualize, consider the situations and the people that they face on a daily basis.

bo5urb867fThere are many leadership styles that are common to most workplaces, that most leaders identify with the most, that are more or less efficient depending on their personal background, their employees personalities and background, and on the organization culture. These leadership styles are to possibly be combined into one and modulated to different situations.

Democratic or Participative leadership

Democratic or participative leaders listen to their followers and consider their opinions, are generally high performers and high achievers. Even though they have the final say, they gather information from their employees before making a decision.

Democratic leaders influence their employees by:

  • including them in the decision-making process,
  • informing them about the company’s strategies and decisions,
  • sharing adequate responsibilities with them,
  • instilling trust, cooperation, values, synergy in their employees,
  • allowing them to set their own goals,
  • enabling them to improve their skills and knowledge,
  • promoting, recognizing and encouraging accomplishments.

Appropriate context

The democratic leadership style is appropriate when the leader:

  • is directing a small team,
  • has highly skilled and experienced employees,
  • desires to be transparent, keep employees informed and involved in the decision-making process,
  • wants to build up his or her employees self-worth and job satisfaction,
  • is implementing changes in work processes, job roles and organizational structures,
  • resolves conflicts that necessitate the employees input

The democratic leadership style is ineffective when:

  • gathering employees input requires time that is lacking,
  • gathering employees input is not cost-effective

Visionary or inspirational leadership

Visionary leaders share their dreams and purpose with their employees, possess an ability to inspire people, and develop drive and purpose.

Visionary leaders influence their employees by:

  • stating, defining, creating and sharing a vision of the organization with them,
  • acting on that vision,
  • being decisive,
  • winning them over.

Appropriate context

The visionary leadership style is appropriate in innovative and complex situations.

Coaching leadership

Coaching leaders align their employees’ aspirations with the organization goals and values.

Coaching leaders influence their employees by:

  • delegating challenging assignments,
  • demonstrating faith that demands justification,
  • teaching them how to manage their time and solve problems accurately,
  • giving them some authority and independence over their work,
  • promoting transparency and authenticity,
  • instilling high levels of loyalty.

Appropriate context

The coaching leadership style is appropriate when :

  • employees need to build strong long-term competencies and are willing to learn from their experiences,
  • employees are responsible,
  • employees lack motivation or faith in the project,
  • employees want to improve on their weaknesses and commit to the process,
  • a toxic workplace need a turn around.

The coaching leadership style is inefficient when:

  • employees resist change,
  • the leader lacks expertise in the field,

Affiliative leadership

Affiliative leaders bring themselves and their employees into association and create a sense of belonging. Affiliative leaders help in solving conflicts and in building teams up.

Affiliative leaders influence their employees by:

  • welcoming and valuing them,
  • providing frequent positive feedback,
  • healing rifts between coworkers and curing toxicity,

Appropriate context

The affiliative leadership style is appropriate when:

  • employees need reassurance,
  • the organization is facing stressful and volatile situations,
  • morale and harmony are low,
  • the organization is in reconstruction.

The affiliative leadership style is inefficient when:

  • employees are complacent in their work performance,
  • needing to predict the rise of conflicts and problems.

Pacesetting or Task-Oriented Leadership

Pacesetting leaders are task-oriented and directive, plan and execute assignments, make followers meet deadlines, accomplish challenging projects and reach goals, are concerned with the general effectiveness of their team. They are by the book and enforces the rules and regulations of the company.

Pacesetting leaders influence their team by:

  • defining set outcomes and means to achieve these goals,
  • using conditional reinforcement,
  • providing rewards on performance tasks,
  • differentiating employees in regards to their contributions to the team,
  • showing additional support for employees that achieve set goals
  • relying on deadlines, structured tasks, definite standards for performance and procedures,
  • making sure that their team is effective and productive enforce standardized procedures,
  • researching employee performance and behavior rather than employee satisfaction.

Appropriate context

Pacesetting Leadership style is most appropriate when the leader has to:

  • repetitively perform routine tasks,
  • reinforce procedures and policies,
  • mobilize an already motivated and skilled team,
  • deliver results quickly.

Pacesetting leadership style is ineffective when:

  • employees have ingrained certain work habits and refuse to break them,
  • employees are no longer motivated,
  • employees are burnt out,
  • employees don’t go the extra mile to meet the expectations.

Commanding or Authoritarian leadership

Commanding leaders create a fearful environment to instill respect and get quick results from followers, rely on threats and punishments as incentives, lack trust in their employees and make decisions without employees input and without giving any explanation. Commanding leaders tend to retain power and demand immediate compliance.

Commanding leaders influence their employees by:

  • disallowing any input, power and decision-making responsibilities to their employees,
  • wanting complete and blind obedience from their employees
  • using punishments and rewards as incentives,

Appropriate context

The commanding leadership style is appropriate when:

  • employees are inexperienced or lack training in a field,
  • employees are not receptive to other leadership styles and there is no other way,
  • time is lacking to make a decision,
  • employees challenge their authority,
  • the organization is facing a crisis.

The commanding leadership style is ineffective when:

  • employees do not respond to threats anymore,
  • employees are disengaged, unmotivated, fearful or resentful,
  • the rate of employees quitting is high.

Relationship building or Bridging Leadership

Relationship building leaders are generally supportive and accepting of subordinates, use communication skills to create synergy and motivation among their subordinates, foster a climate of trust, transparency and confidence, promote collaboration and inclusion.

Relationship building leaders influence their team by:

  • using unconditional reinforcements,
  • recognizing the worth of their employees,
  • building the self-esteem of their employees,
  • building quality relationships with their employees,
  • assessing how their decisions will impact their employees,
  • being concerned about the welfare and satisfaction on the job of their employees.

Appropriate context

The relationship building leadership is appropriate when:

  • the leader needs a collective response from their employees,
  • team cohesion has previously been fractured.

Laissez-Faire or Hands-Off Leadership

The laissez-faire or hands-off leader gives his employees as much as freedom, authority and power as possible. Little or no directions is given to their subordinates that are able to determine their goals, plan and execute their tasks unsupervised.

The laissez-faire leader does not manage his or her subordinates nor use his or her influence. The laissez-faire leader interfere the least possible with employees savoir-faire and jobs to increase employees pride and motivation.

Appropriate context

The laissez-faire leadership style is appropriate when the leader has:

  • experts or consultants on his or her team,
  • highly skilled, experienced, educated employees, trustworthy, prideful and driven people in his or her organization,
  • employees are well-educated and experienced, are good decision makers, feel in control,
  • need freedom to thrive on their job and to love their job,
  • plans to expand the business and to delegate leadership responsibilities to other employees,
  • employees who are in remote locations or who don’t require a lot of face to face time.

The laissez-faire leadership style is ineffective when:

  • employees are worried about making mistakes,
  • employees don’t have good communication skills,
  • the leader’s absence, lack of feedback, lack of validation and lack of recognition makes their subordinates feel insecure,
  • the leader doesn’t understand his or her responsibilities and rely on his or her subordinates to pull all the weight.

Charismatic Leadership

Charismatic leaders influence through their personality, share vision, captivate and persuade an audience, are self-confident, eloquent, have high energy and are emotionally intelligent. Charismatic leaders use their charisma to achieve their own goals and ambitions.

Appropriate context

The charismatic leadership style is appropriate when:

  • the leader has to inspire and raise morale,
  • the leader is involved on short-term projects or projects that are lacking energy and motivation.
  • the organization needs to promote its brand and expand in the marketplace.

The charismatic leadership style is inefficient when:

  • the leader believes too deeply in himself or herself and feels invincible,
  • the project is chaotic and needs immediate guidance and direction.

Analytic Leadership

Analytic leaders analyze figures, hard data to solve problems, to make better decisions, to increase in productivity. Analytic leaders are also good at controlling their emotions.

Analytic leaders influence their employees by:

  • requiring hard data from them to closely follow the execution process,
  • valuing accuracy and logic,
  • dismissing feelings and opinions of their employees.

Appropriate context

The analytical leadership style is appropriate when the organization needs facts and data to advance and make a decision.

The analytical leadership style is inefficient when:

  • there is too much emotional distant between the leader and the subordinates,
  • the organization is facing a stressful situations and there is no time for over analysis.

Reflective Leadership

Reflective leaders are introspective and often quiet or reserved, trust their insights and intuition, are emotionally intelligent, are self-aware, promote self-awareness, reflect on the impacts of decisions before taking them, and seek opportunity in failure. Reflective leaders decode observations about their organization and coworkers and excel in analyzing the behavior, body language, tone of voice of themselves and others.

Reflective leaders influence their subordinates by:

  • understanding their observations about their organization and coworkers,
  • understanding the reasons for a flow of events and connecting the dots,
  • understanding their employees, their way of thinking, their preferences, their motivations, capabilities, strengths, weaknesses and blindspots in order to achieve a specific goal,
  • being flexible in their responses, being open and sharing their thoughts and conclusions with your employees,
  • actively listening to their employees and confronting their ideas or assumptions,
  • setting goals, giving feedback, effectively distinguishing obstacles and picking out effective problem-solving approaches.

Appropriate context

The reflective leadership styles is appropriate when:

  • the workplace climate is conflictual and volatile,
  • change is needed in the organization,
  • the leader’s position is unstable.

Corrective Leadership

Corrective leaders identify the past mistakes of the organization, find solutions and apply corrective actions to set it back on an ideal track, facilitate collaboration and synergy with their team.

Corrective leaders influence their subordinates by:

  • setting clear goals and timelines,
  • communicating effectively to identify the root of the problem,
  • focusing their employees attention on the goals to correct the mistakes,
  • monitoring step by step the implementation of the solution,
  • implicating their employees in the planning process,
  • avoiding experimenting with new ideas and untested solutions,
  • keeping reports on the mistakes and the change process.

Appropriate context

The corrective leadership style is appropriate when:

  • the organization is in a state of emergency and is deteriorating,
  • impactful mistakes have been made by employees,
  • organizational procedures have not been followed.

The corrective leadership style is inefficient when:

  • employees are skilled, educated and aware of their strengths and weaknesses,
  • the organization is stable and is increasing.

Change Leadership

Change leaders embrace innovation, system alterations, problem solving. Change leaders are determined, persistent, resistant and eager to make change happen.

Change leaders influence their subordinates by:

  • explaining that change is a necessary good,
  • sharing the visions of the change process results,
  • removing their employees and organization out of the comfort zone,
  • encouraging their employees to implement the change process and to adapt to the new versions and norms of the organization,
  • sustaining the change process and incorporating it in the company’s culture,

Appropriate context

The change leadership style is appropriate to most types of situations and organizations that have plateaued because change is nowadays detrimental to any organization’s success.

Multicultural or Cultural Intelligence Leadership

Multicultural leaders enjoy ambiguous situations and see problems as opportunities, gain energy and motivation through cross-cultural interactions, encourage innovation by taking into account their subordinates multicultural differences, advocate for understanding and mutual respect, render their subordinates effective.

Multicultural leaders influence their subordinates by:

  • understanding, learning and harmonizing with the cultural backgrounds of their employees,
  • adapting to diverse cultures and encouraging their employees to do the same,
  • being open-minded and accepting of different cultures,
  • being accountable for their actions around different cultures.

Appropriate context

The multicultural leadership style is appropriate for multicultural or multinational corporations.

Servant Leadership

Servant leaders lead by example and choose to serve their subordinates highest needs first and lead afterwards.

Servant leaders influence their team by:

  • giving all the credit to their employees,
  • staying out of the spotlight,
  • involving their employees in the decision-making process.

Appropriate context

The servant leadership style is appropriate when:

  • the leader is head of an association or community,
  • employees pull their weight on their own.

The servant leadership styles is uncommon and inefficient in:

  • corporate and organizations where leader has to make quick decisions,
  • in competitive situations.

Transactional Leadership

Transactional leaders gain compliance by offering rewards for good performance and severe punishments for lack of performance or of compliance.

Transactional leaders influence their employees by:

  • working by the book,
  • encouraging the status quo,
  • compensating them for achieving goals and enforcing the company rules,
  • clarifying everyone’s role and responsibility.

Appropriate context

The transactional leadership styles is common in large administrative organizations, in urgent and conflictual situations.

Transformational Leadership

Transformation Leaders share visions and goals with their subordinates, create intense emotions in them, align them with core values, unify them with a purpose and involve them in the decision process, encourage change in others and themselves. Transformational leaders wholeheartedly embrace change, challenge the status quo and invest in the development of their employees.

Transformational leaders influence their employees by:

  • openly communicating a vision with them,
  • not using positional authority to convince,
  • encouraging them to view problems with a different perspective,
  • supporting and stimulating their innovative ideas,
  • challenging the status quo,
  • expecting the best of them and strengthening their optimism and enthusiasm,

Appropriate context

The transformational leadership style is appropriate when:

  • the organization is dormant and require change,
  • employees require optimism and enthusiasm,
  • employees are detail oriented.

In conclusion

There are several leadership styles to choose from or that you have already identified with. No leadership style is the absolute best but is relative to a given situation.

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.

Stephen R. Covey

authorStephen M. R. Covey is a cofounder of CoveyLink and the FranklinCovey Global Speed of Trust Practice, and a keynote speaker. Stephen R. Covey is also the Author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.