Overcoming Procrastination & Becoming More Proactive

Whether you work from home or go to the office, procrastination plagues everybody.

However, a leader has no room for procrastination. Leaders who procrastinate are ineffective, unproductive and unaware of their own abilities.

They are unable to make the right decisions at the right time, to take action, to bring forth their vision, to reach their goals, to effectively manage their time, to discipline their thoughts and behavior, to properly manage uncertainty.

Consequently, followers start questioning their leadership potential and credibility.

Wondering how to stop procrastinating and to become much more proactive?

Overcoming Procrastination & Becoming More Proactive

What is procrastination?

Contrary to popular belief, procrastination is not being lazy. Instead, procrastination is a defense mechanism.

Procrastination is the action of putting off an important yet unpleasant task, it is avoiding pain and pushing it back for later, it is neither starting nor completing a task.

Procrastination is ruled by fear, memories, avoidance of negative emotions, avoidance of pressure. Procrastination is often times linked to being a perfectionist.

Everybody procrastinates in different areas of their lives. You are a procrastinator if you:

  • lack motivation and resilience.
  • are often overwhelmed and frozen by tasks at work.
  • are afraid of failure or success, are afraid or paralyzed by the limelight.
  • don’t know where to start, are waiting for the right time and for everything to be perfect.
  • don’t find the time.
  • don’t feel like doing anything.
  • are waiting for all your ducks to line up in a row.
  • make excuses for your excuses.
  • doubt yourself and the task that you have to undertake.
  • don’t meet deadlines at work.
  • unable to make decisions or are motivated by the last minutes pressure.

How to stop procrastinating?

Leaders don’t have the luxury to procrastinate because it is similar to self-sabotage. However, they are all subject to it to some extent.

Indeed, the more the task is daunting , the more we push it back. The more we push it back, the less time we have, the more the task becomes daunting.

Stop procrastinating will help you gain a sense of satisfaction and will increase your chances of success.

  1. Take care of yourself first and foremost. Procrastination can affect different aspect of their lives as well.
  2. Assess your strengths and weaknesses, be confident in your own abilities and maximize your potential.
  3. Stay positive, think about your past successes and boost your leadership self-esteem.
  4. Identify your purpose, your goals and understand the 80/20 Principle.
  5. Find meaning and satisfaction in your job.
  6. Learn self-discipline and increase your emotional intelligence. This will help you monitor what you say about yourself and to yourself, make clear and immediate decisions, to fight and understand your emotions. Don’t be afraid of challenging the status quo. Don’t let fear dictate your behavior and your decisions.
  7. Avoid overwhelming yourself, overthinking or over-analyzing a task. Measuring how difficult the task is and being afraid of failure will deter you from achieving any consequential result.
  8. Our perception of pain is programmed by past society and by past experiences. To get rid of that perception, visualize your success and your task accomplished.
  9. Write down what you have been procrastinating on and why. Write down 3 tasks that you must do. Work 5 minutes on each task successively without distraction.
  10. Break down on task in smaller feasible steps. Take the first step, focus on one step at a time and create momentum.
  11. Prioritize these steps: discern urgent tasks from important tasks, use the 80/20 principle. Take care of the hardest and most important task first and focus your energy on that.
  12. Estimate and isolate the time needed to execute your task. You can set a deadline and use a timer
  13. Commit to your tasks.
  14. Measure your progress and remind yourself of your accomplishments.
  15. To manage your time appropriately, anticipate obstacles, withstand challenges and find solutions.
  16. Make sure that your workspace is organized  for the work at hand.
  17. Stay away from distractions. Stay away from internet and social media, turn off your phone, don’t check your emails.
  18. Develop a sense of urgency. It is critical to remind yourself that you will lose the opportunity, to remind yourself of the consequences of not making decisions or taking action, to remember that there is no right time to accomplish your task.
  19. Create a vision board in order to better visualize your goals.
  20. Create a routine and aim for the long-term.
  21. Don’t try to be perfect.
  22. Surround yourself with like-minded people.
  23. Watch motivational videos to get you started.

Don’t wait until you are 100% sure.  The perfect time is now.

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.

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Leaders Eat Last — Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t by Simon Sinek

In Leaders Eat Last — Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t, Simon Sinek believes that every single employee is capable of becoming a leader, of being remarkable, of exercising courage and sacrifice, of investing into the company, and of finding fulfillment at work.

Leaders Eat Last — Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don't by Simon Sinek

The General Role Of The Leader

In addition, Simon Sinek considers humans as hunters, organizations as tribes and leaders as those who put order within the tribe.

In modern days, leaders are perceived as dominant, are the ones that eat first, are the ones who make the most money, who get preferential treatment and most importantly are those who are supposed to protect. Indeed, they have more resources at their disposal and have to use it appropriately to ensure the survival of their tribe.

However, for long-lasting results, to gain the loyalty and respect of their employees, they must not consider their well-being above the well-being of the tribe. They must eat last.

It is the role of leaders of an organization to be courageous, to demonstrate empathy, to lay down the foundation for success, to show employees appreciation and to allow them to take appropriate risks.

The Circle Of Safety

The Circle Of Safety contains all the people of an organization. It is a safe space where employees feel fulfilled at work, don’t dread Monday morning, are willing to advance the company’s purpose.

It is an environment of increased commitment, fulfillment, gratitude and happiness, where employees are more relaxed, thrive, collaborate and work for each other.

In the Circle Of Safety, leaders and employees share the same values, pull their respective loads and are committed to the Circle.

Everyone feels valued by their peers, they know that their colleagues have their backs, they believe that they belong to something greater than themselves, that they can safely drive innovation, share ideas and express themselves freely.

By the same token, employees and leaders must independently weigh their decisions and ponder whether or not their decisions are beneficial to the group. It is wise to remember that working toward individualistic goals will hurt the group.

Leaders In The Circle Of Safety

Besides, leaders are the gatekeepers of the Circle. They set the standards, they decide who gets in and who stays at the door.

To create safety, leaders have to meet certain conditions and build a soothing company culture. Company culture in modern days is unnatural because they go against all natural needs, instincts, rights for safety and fulfillment.

If leaders want to create a Circle Of Safety, to establish an innovative, stable, robust, lasting, successful company, they must:

  • Understand that employees are not a means to an end and shouldn’t be exploited.
  • Increase employee cohesion and inclusion. They must no longer fear each other but must be willing to fight external challenges together. Moreover, there is power in numbers: when challenges arise, employees in the Circle Of Safety must put all their differences aside to reach a common goal.
  • Avoid placing money above people but place people above everything else.
  • Remember that they are the models for the organization. Therefore, they must define a clear set of values and beliefs for themselves and for their employees.
  • Inject empathy into the workplace culture and treat everyone fairly. This will make both employees and leaders more human, and make work more enjoyable.
  • Extend trust to earn trust. Trust also lies in the fact that leaders know when to follow the rules and when to break them in order to guarantee the safety of their employees.
  • Help people solve problems. They will in turn, help each other.
  • Listen to their employees.
  • Protect their employees internal conflicts and promote collaboration.

 

The Feasibility Of The Circle Of Safety

Making people feel safe, putting their well-being first is idealistic but impractical.

On one hand, people work out of necessity, are willing to stay in a job that they hate to provide for themselves and for their loved ones. They don’t want to selflessly commit to and invest themselves into the company. They are reluctant to put forth the time and effort because they are not in control and  might not receive the proper rewards.

On the other hand, it is quasi difficult to find organizations that genuinely care for their employees safety and well-being. Most of them tend to care more about reaching numbers and are willing to sacrifice people to get there.

The truth is most companies and leaders display poor character and induce a stressful and fearful culture. Employee disengagement, high employee turnover and health problems ensue.

Abundance and Abstraction

Finally, when leaders have everything in abundance, which is often the case today, they lose the real value of things.

As a consequence, the more their companies grow, the more they are out of touch with their employees and their consumers, the less they empathize with them. To solve this abstraction, leaders should:

  • Get to know their employees personally. Investing time and energy in them will transpire as appreciation.
  • Continually spread ideas, find people, connect with them, build real human relationships and bring them together.
  • Expand their company to 150 employees at most in order to remember everyone and to keep strong relationships.
  • Observe the real impact and results of their time and effort, alongside their employees’. This will consequently increase everybody’s quality of work.
  • Give people the time needed to trust, to find their way and place with the Circle Of Safety.

The Influence Of The Company Culture

The culture severely impacts the survival of the company. When there are no values, no principles, no particular beliefs, when the culture is based on numbers, reports and performance, the company is doomed to fail.

Moreover, leaders with poor character fabricate a bad culture that in turn breeds bad leaders. This is why, leaders are required to:

  • Rely on integrity and trust, spend time with the people they serve and shift their focus to the latter.
  • Find someone to lean on and to help them through hardships.
  • Discover their life purpose.
  • Work hard for what they have in order to value it.
  • Hold on to their responsibilities.

Review

Simon Sinek, in Leaders Eat Last — Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t, provides an innovative leadership strategy to build a successful organization, to increase employee engagement and fulfillment.

After Start With Why — How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action, Leaders Eat Last is intended for millennials and promotes leadership excellence. To develop a successful organization, Simon Sinek encourages us to discover the reasons why we do what we do, to understand people and their needs, to go beyond having good competencies and good managerial skills.

In this great book, Sinek places people at the forefront of the company and demonstrates that building a company from the ground up takes on a whole new sense. He believes that leaders have to take care of the well-being of their employees first and their employees will take care of the rest.

Besides, he doesn’t claim to be an idealist, to believe that all workers love their jobs and that all leaders treat their employees well. He understands that most people work out of necessity.

Lastly, he analyzes our biological needs and transposes them to the modern working world. Our natural needs are powerful forces that we cannot control.

Favorite quote(s)

In our modern world, advancing our careers and trying to find happiness and fulfillment are the definition of success. But the systems inside us that guide our behavior and decisions still function as they did tens of thousands of years ago. Our primitive minds still perceive the world around us in terms of threats to our well-being or opportunities to find safety.

Being a leader is like being a parent, and the company is like a new family to join. One that will care for us like we are their own . . . in sickness and in health. And if we are successful, our people will take on our company’s name as a sign of the family to which they are loyal.

This feeling of belonging, of shared values and a deep sense of empathy, dramatically enhances trust, cooperation and problem solving.

Quite often, what’s good for one is not necessarily good for the other. Working exclusively to advance ourselves may hurt the group, while working exclusively to advance the group may come at a cost to us as individuals.

Leadership is about integrity, honesty and accountability. All components of trust.

Ratings 3.75/5

Author

Simon Sinek

 

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni

Overcoming The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni defines the five dysfunctions of a team to avoid in order to be successful. He teaches us how to build a team as a leader and how to effectively be part of one.

What is a team?

For Lencioni, a team is a “relatively small number of people (anywhere from three to twelve) that shares common goals as well as the rewards and responsibilities for achieving them. Team members readily set aside their individual or personal needs for the greater good of the group.”

Why build a team?

Patrick Lencioni believes in team work and that it is the ultimate competitive advantage in a company. Effective team work being easy to attain but hard to measure, he judges effective team work by measuring its performance, its results, by its capacity to overcome obstacles and the five dysfunctions model (seen below).

Five dysfunctions of a team Patrick Lencioni.

Overcoming Dysfunction #1

Trust is an uncommon trait in life, is the most important factor in team survivals, is rare and is generally hard to instill. Being a trustful and trustworthy designates a person unafraid to be open, candid, transparent, willing to expose their weaknesses, and admit their failures.

Because of human preservation instincts, because people wear masks to protect themselves and their true feelings, being vulnerable is uncommon and unnatural. People don’t find rewarding to take such risks, to put themselves in harm’s way for other people, for an organization.

Furthermore, lack of trust is a destroyer of team work, multiplies hypocrisy, causes the team to watch their every move, monitor their every word. To overcome this dysfunction, Lencioni suggests that:

  • Building trust takes time but is not impossible.
  • Team members take various personality assessment tests, like the Myers Briggs test, before sharing their story.
  • Team members open up so that everyone can judge them fairer, understand the person that they are today, not expecting that they reveal their darkest secrets or that they get emotional.
  • Leaders create a safe space for their team to speak. Team members generally look to their leaders to show them how to build trust. Leaders have to first put themselves out there without knowing that their behavior will be reciprocated, respected or rewarded.
  • Maintain the bounding experience and pursue the relationships built.

Overcoming Dysfunction #2

In addition to overcoming trust issues, teams must learn to handle conflicts. Conflicts don’t necessarily have to be feuds, quarrels or arguments. Conflicts can also be healthy debates that lead the team to a solution, discussions where people are listening and seriously considering other people points of view. Needless to say, without trust, the debate will easily become a contest.

Conflict is inevitable but must not be avoided. It is either constructive or destructive, and anywhere along that spectrum. It has the benefit to push people out of their emotional comfort zone.

To overcome dysfunction #2, Lencioni proposes to:

  • Assess each and everyone conflict profile before hand. Indeed, everybody handles conflict differently. Therefore, it is essential that everybody knows the way they react and interact during conflict, in order to adjust their behavior in the future.
  • Establish a conflict norm for the team. Conflict norming requires laying down rules of engagement, depicting how to team members should engage with one another, and which behaviors are acceptable.
  • The leader that sets the tone by applying the rules, adapting them to the team members and holding them accountable to the rules.
  • The leader has to moderate conflict, especially in meetings, push the quiet ones out of their comfort zone and temper the aggressive ones. Lack of conflict leads to boring meetings, bad decisions, lack of clarity.

Overcoming Dysfunction #3

A lack of commitment is the third dysfunction to be overcome by teams. Commitment lies in fact that the team buys in a decision whether or not they agree with it. To create clarity and alignment, to avoid assumptions:

  • Leaders must extract every unapologetic ideas from their team. Knowing that all aspects of a situation have been studied, that all opinions have been expressed and considered, team members are more likely to commit to the leader’s decision.
  • Leaders must share their principles, missions, values, goals, purpose and their behavioral expectations, generate consistent business policies.

Overcoming Dysfunction #4

All members of the team, including the team leader, must remain accountable for their actions. They must remind each other of their respectful responsibility, of their behaviors, standards, results and performance. Otherwise, they gradually lose respect for each other, lose morale.

Leaders have to be able to receive critical feedback around their behavior and performance in order to give feedback. To encourage a culture of peer-to-peer accountability, Lencioni suggests that teams must openly:

  • identify the most important behavioral characteristics that contributes to the strength of the team and the ones that weakens it of everyone.
  • know everyone’s area of expertise.
  • in meetings, everyone should verbalize their list of priorities and measure their progress.

Overcoming Dysfunction #5

Self-orientated distractions, individualization are also destroyers of teams. To address this last dysfunction, there is no need to have completely overcome the four previous dysfunctions.

Focusing on collective results implies that team members are not self-interested and not only looking out for number one.

Results are what measure team success and keeps people focused on the priorities. Teams must commit early and openly to their expected results, keep a scoreboard and measure the progress at all times.

Reviews

In Overcoming The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni shows leaders how to build and optimize their team through practical examples, gradual exercises and valid  assessments such as the Myers Briggs assessment tests.

Overcoming The Five Dysfunctions of a Team is very insightful and dedicated to toxic environments, to self-disciplined, thoughtful leaders. In order for them to be successful, Lencioni recommends that team members become:

  • More vulnerable with each other, without being touchy-feely or emotional, in order to be successful and to understand each other. It is always difficult to share information about yourself in the workplace because there is always room for manipulation and personal attacks. However, if the exercise succeeds the team is fit to understand the decisions made and actions taken.
  • Masterful at conflicts. This requires that team members assess their strengths and weaknesses, be disciplined enough to control their emotions, be active listeners and seek understanding of others.
  • Committed to the task and to the organization. Creating employee alignment and engagement depends on the leader’s vision and mission statement.
  • Accountable for their actions and behaviors.
  • Focused on results.

Each characteristic can be worked on simultaneously. Of course, the leader has to be the facilitator as well and all expected behaviors have to be modeled on the leader.

After analyzing the 5 different dysfunctions that destroys teams, Lencioni answers additional questions that he received from clients, consultants and executives, replies to the objections of some participants, demonstrates the obstacles to avoid, the ways to convince skeptical leaders, engage uncomfortable people.

At last, Lencioni provides us with tools, questionnaires, team building exercises, road maps, steps to take in order to start and maintain the team building process.

Ratings 4/5

Author

Patrick Lencioni

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Patrick Lencioni

author

Patrick Lencioni is a speaker, consultant, founder and president of The Table Group. Patrick Lencioni is also the author of Overcoming The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.

Four Red Flags Wrecking Team Success and Cohesion

Team BuildingBuilding an ideal team is one of the most complex but also one of the most rewarding and advantageous responsibility of a leader. The leader has to select the team to ultimately create the best results for the organization, in light of the company’s culture and of the personality, motivation, commitment, values, performance, integrity level of his or her potential team members, with respect to his or her leadership style. When the team is built, the leader has to look out for red flags that can destroy the synergy of his or her team and easily create a lasting toxic climate.

Wondering how to detect these red flags, avoid toxicity on your team, how to extract the best results from your team members and to become the best team member you can?

A few years ago, I worked on a year-long project, under a boss who used demotions and other measures to punish some of his employees when mistakes occurred. For example, he would quickly and sadistically withdraw work responsibilities from someone he did not favor to give to someone else.

Four Red Flags Wrecking Team Success and CohesionAs a result, the team was a unsalvable shipwreck: every man for himself, searching for a floatation device, fighting to get on land. My former boss manipulative behavior created a toxic climate where people were continually in flight or fight mode, were mistrustful towards one another, would turn on each other, retain information and sabotage every other person efforts to succeed, were obliged to seek his “affections” and to continually prove their loyalty to him in order to feel safe in their position, were more focused on office politics than on their work, were always on the lookout of a scapegoat, were afraid of speaking up and being transparent.

The lack of trust, commitment, performance was noticeable on a daily basis. By trust, I mean the ability of the team members to admit their mistakes, acknowledge their strengths and weaknesses, stay open, transparent with one another without any repercussion on themselves or their career.

RED FLAG #1: Lack of Transparency

In Speaking Truth to Power, James O’Toole states that “In essence, trust is hard to earn, easy to lose, and, once lost, nearly impossible to regain”.

Teams must be able to understand each other, to interpret their respective behavior and to be candid with one another.

To enable transparency, leaders have to:

  • Ask their team to reveal something personal and relevant about themselves. It can relate to their failures or successes, to their worst or most embarrassing experiences at work.
  • Encourage team building to better understand one another and enable bonds.
  • Assess and apply their team strengths and weaknesses by using profiling tools to get more insights into their behavior such as the DISC assessment, Social Style model, Right Path Profiles, Insights, MBTI).
  • Define a clear purpose for the team.
  • Explain major decisions from the organization to their team and include them in the flow of relevant information.
  • Maintain trust overtime and create unanimity.
  • Consistently tell the truth to their followers, be comfortable with it and practise integrity.
  • Value openness, empower those who tell the truth and must not reward those who do otherwise.

RED FLAG #2: Fear of conflict

In teams, conflicts do exist, are raw and real, are to be expected, and shouldn’t be avoided. In addition, they occur because we were born into different generations, backgrounds, with different personalities, values and morals.
Furthermore, conflict is always seen in a negative light or as a destructive process.
However, conflicts can be healthy and productive too. And even though conflicts are uncomfortable and make you feel under attack, they are necessary for personal and organizational progress, are used to generate the best decisions for the organization and to make team meetings mire engaging. In order to establish a conflict culture, it is imperative that leaders:

  • Create a structure where it is safe for their team members to express themselves without feeling the need to attack.
  • Hold their team accountable to the conflict system established.
  • Focus the conflict on the issue at hand to avoid personal attacks.
  • Assess each team member conflict capabilities/profiles with MBTI to develop the appropriate approach.
  • Ask their team members directly his they deal with conflicts.
  • be conflict generators, define conflict resolution, ease anxious team members in the face if conflict and find courage to speak truth to power.

RED FLAG #3: Lack of Commitment

Commitment is the willingness to achieve common goals as a team, the ability of team members to align themselves with the organization purpose, values and strategies even in disagreement with the decision taken.

To enhance team commitment, leaders must:

  • Embrace conflicts, divergent opinions, ideas and perspectives.
  • Among conflicting ideas, make wise decisions and be unafraid to displease some team members.
  • Before making a decision, understand and consider all ideas.
  • Clarify their decisions with the team and write down them down to avoid ulterior assumptions and ambiguities.

RED FLAG #4: Lack of accountability

Team members must keep each other accountable for their behavior, their mistakes and lack of performance. If no one is held accountable, team members gradually lose respect for each other and moral decreases. Leaders must:

  • Lead by example, call out mishaps, low results and misconduct.
  • Make every team member aware of each other contributions and functions on the team.
  • Track everyone’s progress and accurately measure performance.
  • Measure team success using objective and liable means.
  • Measure progress with timelines.
  • Focus on areas of productivity.
  • Make sure that the collective interest in results exceeds the individual needs of the team.

How to be an effective team member?

  1. Develop your communication skills
  • Make sure that you are understood and are open to clarifying misunderstandings.
  • Monitor your non verbal communication. Keep your body language positive and opened.
  • Look at the person you’re exchanging with.
  • If a problem occurs between you and someone else, fix it before the problem festers by talking to that person as soon as possible. This shows that you are willing to work through issues, that you are a problem solver instead of being inappropriate and ineffective.
  • Give sincere and appropriate positive feedback to your team members.

  1. Develop your listening skills

To demonstrate your interest in learning new skills, to better understand the other person, you have to:

  • be willing to listen more that you speak and voice your opinion in due time.
  • Implement the conversation with probing question
  • Request other people opinion before giving yours.
  • Avoid planning your responses during the conversation.
  • Encourage the conversation with nods, smiles and eye contact.

  1. Manage your tasks and time.

Put your understanding of the team task into writing in order to clarify immediate issues and to have a reference for time and deadlines measurement.

  1. Own up to your actions.

Failing to follow through on your team assignments is synonym to letting your team down. To stay accountable for your part:

  • Keep your promises
  • Offer to help coworkers in time of need
  • Avoid procrastination and do not hesitate yo ask for help.
  • Avoid blaming others for your mistakes take the blame if you have done something wrong.
  • Find solutions to issues instead if creating them.
  • Learn from each and very situations and move on group them.
  • Avoid repeating past mistakes.

  1. Work on interrelationship skills

In the team, you have to cooperate with your coworkers and work well with your supervisor. To do so:

  • Treat everyone with respect
  • Avoid stereotypes and jumping to conclusions
  • Avoid gossip and keep confidences
  • Share your knowledge with your team.

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.