Daring Greatly By Brené Brown

In Daring Greatly, Brené Brown explains the reasons why we are afraid of being vulnerable, the different ways we protect ourselves from vulnerability, and how to become more vulnerable in our society.

Daring Greatly means being vulnerable, being engaged, being exposed and avoiding being perfect.

Daring Greatly By Brené Brown

A Narcissistic Society

Many researchers have shown that the American culture has turned into a narcissistic influenced culture, a culture of scarcity, a culture where people put themselves first, think that they are special, are always connected to social media, go after money and power, chase beauty and other vanity, compare themselves, are disengaged and concerned with the idea of lacking.

Instead of putting sown narcissistic people and showing them that they are not special, it is better to seek understanding and find the root of the problem.

Being narcissistic stems from a feeling of not being enough and of being ordinary.

Vulnerability & The Feeling Of Not Being Enough

The feeling of not being enough brings about shame and stops us from being vulnerable. Shame is a universal emotion, is corrosive, “keeps us small, resentful and afraid”.

Furthermore, we become disengaged when we are too afraid to be vulnerable, when we are ashamed, when we lack purpose, when a social contract is not met.

It is critical to speak out on your shame, to be self-aware, to know your self-worth, to ask and receive feedback because knowing your worth will help you become more vulnerable.

To eradicate the feeling of shame:

  • Identify your shame triggers.
  • Observe your self talk.
  • Practice authenticity.
  • Accept your experiences.
  • Share your experience, be vulnerable with someone who genuinely cares about you.

Common Misconceptions About Vulnerability

We are thought not to be vulnerable, not to show our emotions, to look down on those who do. There are several misconceptions when it comes to vulnerability.

Misconception #1: “Vulnerability is weakness”

The reality is vulnerability is not a weakness, is not good or bad. Vulnerable is the origin of all emotions. It therefore becomes important to acknowledge your vulnerability.

Besides, the people who think that they are impenetrable are in fact the most vulnerable.

Misconception #2: “I don’t do vulnerability”

Vulnerability is unavoidable. When we try to avoid it, we often exhibit unusual inconsistent behaviors.

Misconception #3: Vulnerability is letting it all hang out”

You cannot be vulnerable with everyone. It is important to build trust and boundaries before being vulnerable. Otherwise, more times than ever, you will end up getting betrayed and hurt.

Misconception #4: “We can go it alone”

Individualism and going it alone are highly regarded in American culture. In this case, it is essential to construct a support system, to ask for and receive help

Shame As A Management Tool

Most of the time, shame and the blame game are used as management tool, yet is ineffective.

Subsequently, the situations that we face on a daily basis, in the education system, in the workplace, force us to keep our head down and our mouth shut which doesn’t encourage innovation, creativity or the learning process.

Vulnerability & Protective Mechanism

Our protective mechanisms are survival strategies, used to shield our vulnerability. Those shields can go from foreboding joy, to perfectionism to numbing down your emotions.

To avoid shielding vulnerability, it is critical to:

  • Practice gratitude.
  • Appreciate your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Confront your emotions.
  • Live a more fulfilling life and feed your spirit.
  • Focus your time and energy on the essentials.
  • Consider how your behavior affect those around you.

Shield #1: Victim mentality

Some people go through life with a victim or perpetrator, win or lose mentally and subsequently fall into one of these categories.

Surprisingly, the people who have been through the most trauma, demonstrate the most resilience. And, people who don’t feel like victims or perpetrators, see themselves as thrivers.

Shield #2: “Floodlighting”

Floodlighting is essentially oversharing and stems from a need for confirmation and validation.

We have to be careful not to share vulnerable stories too soon with people who have not earned the right to hear them. The people on the receiving end often shut down, lack empathy or feel disconnected.

Shield #3: “The smash and grab”

With this shield, some people use vulnerability as a manipulation, sensationalizing tactic that is common in celebrity culture, as an attention seeking tool.

Shield #4: “Serpentining”

Serpentining is a draining and an avoidance behavior. It happens when people are not facing a situation head on for fear of being vulnerable, of not being present.

Shield #5: Mean-spiritedness

In this case, people use criticism, cynicism and mean-spiritedness to protect themselves. They are mean to people who dare demonstrate vulnerability.

Review

Daring Greatly is essential to leadership, parenting, relationships, finding your purpose and your passion.

Daring Greatly by Brené Brown gives insight into the corporate and the western culture where being vulnerable equals being weak and lets you open to different attacks.

Through Daring Greatly, Brown has gathered data from people from different walks of life so we can somewhat self diagnose and become more aware of some of our toxic behavior.

Brené Brown makes some pertinent point and writes exactly like she speaks. Furthermore, Brown is very open and authentic, shares her anecdotes, fears and doubt. For example, she is vulnerable with us, mindful of the stories to share, lets us into her conversations with her therapist.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Favorite quote(s)

Vulnerability is not weakness, and the uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure we face every day are not optional. Our only choice is a question of engagement. Our willingness to own and engage with our vulnerability determines the depth of our courage and the clarity of our purpose; the level to which we protect ourselves from being vulnerable is a measure of our fear and disconnection.

Vulnerability is the core, the heart, the center, of meaningful human experiences.

Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.

We live in a world where most people still subscribe to the belief that shame is a good tool for keeping people in line. Not only is this wrong, but it’s dangerous. Shame is highly correlated with addiction, violence, aggression, depression, eating disorders, and bullying. Researchers don’t find shame correlated with positive outcomes at all—there are no data to support that shame is a helpful compass for good behavior. In fact, shame is much more likely to be the cause of destructive and
hurtful behaviors than it is to be the solution.

Much of the beauty of light owes its existence to the dark. The most powerful moments of our lives happen when we string together the small flickers of light created by courage, compassion, and connection and see them shine in the darkness of our struggles.

Ratings 4/5

Author

Brené Brown

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Fast Focus By Damon Zahariades

In Fast Focus, a quick-start guide to mastering your attention, ignoring distractions, and getting more done in less time!Damon Zahariades provides tools and strategies to manage your ability to focus.

What is focus?

Focus is the concentration required to consciously block out the noise and the distractions while performing a task.

The ability to focus can be a natural talent. But for most of us, it is a built-in habit, a skill which means it can be learnt.

Why do you need to effectively manage your attention? 

Focus can positively impact your life. A lack of focus will reduce your effectiveness and your work quality.

Lack of focus or mind-wandering is not all negative. It helps us get in time with our creative side and find solutions to difficult circumstances.

However, gaining better focus will help you finish all your tasks on time, make better decisions, solve problems, become more productivity, get a successful work/life balance, embrace failure and learn  from your mistakes.

By improving your focus, you can reserve your energy for relationships, build stronger connections, become more present, increase your memory, achieve greater self-confidence, handle and overcome adversity.

Why are people so unfocused?

Nobody is impervious to distraction. People are easily distracted because they usually:

  • lack interest, are unable to commit or stay engaged to a particular task.
  • lack emotional intelligence and are submerged by fear.
  • are disorganized and don’t structure their day.
  • lack energy. They don’t sleep, eat or exercise correctly.
  • lack control or discipline.

Creating an environment to focus

Designing the proper environment is the first way to zero in on your task and to harmonize your workflow:

  1. Light up your work environment and always take advantage of your natural light. A low lighting makes you drowsy, strains your eyes and decrease your learning abilities.
  2. Some people feel comfortable working with background noises while others enjoy silence. Experiment and find out which one works best for you.
  3. Consider your level of physical comfort. To do so, you can adjust your clothes, your stationary, your sitting position, your sitting time and your sight line.
  4. Monitor the temperature of the room. For example, a too warm room will cause you to sleep.
  5. Breathe clean air.
  6. Practice aromatherapy. Some scents have a direct impact on your mood, mind and effectiveness.
  7. Avoid social situations if you want to work. Human nature makes us drawn to people but interacting with people decrease your focus.
  8. Organize and declutter your workspace. Clutter affects your focus more than you think because it decreases your processing abilities, hurts your creativity and occupies your memory space.
  9. Monitor your time to measure your progress.
  10. Write down your ideas and tasks so they don’t monopolize your thoughts.

Fast Focus By Damon Zahariades (3)

Strategies to overcome mind-wandering

There are several tactics to increase your focus, to relax and to avoid the biggest distractions in your life.

  1. As stated above, it is essential to monitor your time, to set realistic deadlines, to reward yourself and break down your tasks in smaller steps.
  2. Don’t set too many daily goals and limit yourself to 5 tasks daily or else you will feel overwhelmed and pressured.
  3. Identify the purpose for every task.
  4. Exercise first thing in the morning.
  5. Avoid ignoring the ideas and thoughts floating around in your head. Log them down quickly before you forget them.
  6. Identify “internal or external stimuli” that break your concentration.
  7. Record every task that you must undertake by putting them down via a to do list.
  8. To sharpen your focus, to enter the zone and boost your performance, listen to music or nurture silence.
  9. Take regular breaks and naps to refresh your mind, to refresh your mind and to avoid boredom.
  10. Restore your focus by taking a short walk instead of remaining at your desk.
  11. Multitasking is valued by society. However, attacking one task at a time will help increase your performance and your work quality.
  12. Pack all similar activities into one and execute them in a row while monitoring your time.
  13. Break down your day into several tasks and allocate the time necessary for each task.
  14. Stay away from internet.
  15. Spend less time in meetings or avoid meetings all together as they can clog up your day and as they hold little value.
  16. Set boundaries and expectations about your time and your focus.
  17. Turn off your phone for long periods of time.
  18. Observe how your energy fluctuates during the day and use moments where your energy is high to achieve high productivity.
  19. Mediate and take care of your inner peace.
  20. Stop checking your mails frantically. Instead, keep track of your inbox once or twice a day.
  21. Define a daily routine and follow it. Routines facilitates your life, enables ow brain processing. You can use that same brain power to accomplish your tasks.
  22. Stay away from perfectionism.
  23. Completely edit the first draft then come back to correct your mistakes.
  24. Stop “consuming too much caffeine” because it is unhealthy and reduces your ability to concentrate.

Review

Fast Focus, a quick-start guide to mastering your attention, ignoring distractions, and getting more done in less time! is a pragmatic, complete, quick and easy to read self-help book.

In Fast Focus, a quick-start guide to mastering your attention, ignoring distractions, and getting more done in less time!Damon Zahariades shares valuable tips on how to increase your productivity and your focus.

Damon Zahariades shares his preferences and also incorporates practical links  and tools to enable your productivity.

It is a step by step guide, written for leaders, for people from all walks of life, for those who are easily distracted by social media, for those who procrastinate, who daydream easily and those with low productivity.

I like the fact that this books highlights the fact that so many things, concepts and institutions in life are purposely set up to distract us from reality: from the local bully to the background music in the stores to technology and internet.

All these distractions are the reason why most people procrastinate and never achieve their version of success.

Favorite quote(s)

When we lack a specific purpose, we become more susceptible to distractions. We focus on whatever our brains tell us to focus on, rather than the other way around. We become passengers rather than drivers.

Ratings 2.5/5

Author

Damon Zahariades

Damon Zahariades

MEET THE AUTHOR

Damon Zahariades is a productivity expert, owner of the blog Art Of Productivity and the author of Fast Focus, a quick-start guide to mastering your attention, ignoring distractions, and getting more done in less time!.

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.

7 Pragmatic Principles Of Office Politics

There are laws and principles that govern the workplace. We can either ignore them, acknowledge them or abide by them.

These laws and principles are the most visible when someone has been promoted, is moving forward or a new boss is in town. Some appear to be jealous, some try to quickly affiliate with the winner, to show their allegiance. Others are quick to sabotage and to compete.

I am not one to willingly participate in office politics. However, in my opinion, because knowledge is power, the best way to avoid politics is to know the rules. I like to know what is happening, how to read a room, to always be aware of my behavior, and to prepare myself for what is coming.

This advice is also valuable for minorities who encounters western group think in the office, who need to be realistic about their situations and want to understand how to advance themselves, how to protect themselves.

Wondering how to navigate office politics and whether or not you should be interested in it?

7 Pragmatic Principles Of Office Politics

What is office politics?

Office politics is a human concept and is inevitable. It is also very necessary and will go on whether your participate in it or not.

In office politics people seek power, leadership, influence and/or control of other people, more responsibility on their job.

Office politics is a particular hard skill because it requires that you control your primitive, impulsive responses to different situations and that you stay in high alert at all times.

The Perks Of Office Politics

Political animals in the office usually get what they want, to evade conflicts and sometimes create them between different individuals. Political animals:

  • Have influence. They build healthy relationships, even with toxic individuals.
  • Recognize the agendas and powers at play in any relationships.
  • Get the best projects, get promoted, get pay raise and other rewards.
  • Are trusted for their opinions.
  • Get credit for their hard work.
  • Get their career on a positive track.
  • Have the ability and the tools to deal with opposition and usually wins in a conflict.
  • Conserve their energy and focus it on worthwhile issues.
  • Avoid being blindsided or facing unpleasant outcomes.

What We Hate About Office Politics

Office politics is often badly perceived because it can be cruel, be viewed as being calculated and manipulative.

Sometimes, office politics is a dangerous and corrosive game but it is a game. It is part of human nature, a social activity, a marathon and not a sprint.

It is often used to sabotage, to manipulate, to deflect or to create a conflict between people.

Therefore, it is not for the faint of heart. Before starting, you must make sure that you are robust, are not dependent on people or other external factors, that you are emotionally detached from your work and that you can clearly separate your identity from your job.

Furthermore, keep in mind that abusing power on the long run does not lead to success.

Principle #1: Defining your purpose

Having greater goals in life will help you sustain and overcome opposition, avoid being pushed around by people or events. Your ultimate goals can be:

  • staying at a company and getting your pay check to ensure your lifestyle and to guarantee financial stability.
  • staying at a company, evolving, building healthy relationships
  • Living the company and finding better

Either way, set realistic goals, expectations for yourself. Next, stay focus on your goals, use your goals to guide your decisions and your behavior.

Principle #2: Know your strengths, weaknesses and limits

Politics and power will challenge your weaknesses.

Understanding your strengths and weaknesses will help you assess your worth, appreciate your contributions at work and determine whether or not you can run with horses. This will also help you identify them in others, understand them, maximize their potential and forgive their weaknesses.

To be effective at office politics, don’t directly demonstrate or enunciate your strengths or weaknesses. It is best to wait for the right moment to do so.

In addition, you must seek to enhance your performance, your productivity, to develop competencies that are hard to acquire or hard to replace. and to deliver great results. Then, discreetly promote your results.

Principle #3: Maintaining your leadership capabilities

It is important to learn to keep your peace and your composure at all times by seriously controlling your emotions. This demands a lot of discipline and will help you grow as a person.

Furthermore, lead by example and take care or yourself first. Great leaders have power but stay humble and don’t abuse it.

Seek understanding

To help you manage people, conflicts, to adopt the right behavior, to estimate your position and status:

  • Understand the company culture, values and principles.
  • Understand the people who you work with, estimate their boundaries and assess their attitudes.
  • Believe that hierarchy exist and is gladly enforced in the workplace. This means that you must, at some point, show deference to your “superiors”.This doesn’t mean that your “superiors” have greater character, greater skill sets or greater vision. However, no matter who you are, you won’t be able to freely speak your mind, to make your own decisions, to control your assignments.

Discipline your words and your thoughts

  • Stay away from gossip and rumors.
  • Watch what you say and how you say it.
  • Give substance to your speech.
  • Monitor your behavior at all times.

Discipline your emotions

  • Get rid of your ego and nurture your sense of humor. If you don’t know something, say so and don’t fake knowledge.
  • Don’t waste your time and energy on useless matters.
  • Keep your wits about you.
  • When someone slights you, don’t give them an emotional reaction.

Principle #4: Behave ethically

  • Remain true to your core values.
  • Don’t expect to be treated fairly.
  • Upgrade your character in order to be unimpeachable from the start. People with low or no ethics are unsuccessful in the long run.

Poor character leads to abusive, aggressive, masochistic, sadist behavior and office politics.

When I was working for a long corporation, one person in the office was being bullied. I was asked, as a team member, to participate in the bullying and to force the person to quit.

Most of my team members, for fun or for fear of retribution, would engage in toxic behavior towards this one person, put down false complaints and manufacture false rumors as well.

Without doing the same, I realized that sadistically beating down on someone, engaging in toxic behavior were not aligning with my core values and wouldn’t allow me to sleep properly at night.

To solve the solution, I simply listened to the request, spoke positively about the person, suggested to them that they had to find a better position and found a better place to work myself.

What was your ethically questionable experience?

Principle #5: Building your network and gaining influence

Networking is an important process, especially if your are shy and introverted. Who you know will determine how far you will get.

Here are some tips below that will help you be unbothered, to gain influence and build positive relationships:

  • Protect your reputation at all cost. For instance, if you make promises, live up to them.
  • Have a positive attitude. Avoid being mean or offending people for sport.
  • Act or be confident. It is important to fake it until you make it, to dress confidently and dress for success.
  • Give your best on your job and put your best foot forward. You can even become an expert in your field.
  • Empathetic ally listen to your coworkers. This way, you will get invaluable information about the environment, be solution oriented and build strong relationships.
  • Look to be respected and not to be liked.
  • Seek to integrate the group before you seek to lead it.
  • Target people who can help you achieve your goals and let them know what you bring to the table.
  • Don’t worry what people say about you, don’t gossip or spread false rumors.
  • Avoid too much flattery. You will appear weak to  your peers, will erode their respect and the respect of the higher-ups.
  • Involve people in your decision-making process.

Principle #6: Friend or Foe?

It is detrimental to discern your friends from your enemies, your confidant from your comrade, your constituents from your compatriots.

Keep in mind that:

  • Not everybody is your friend and don’t expect your “friends” to have your back.
  • It is better to have allies than to have enemies.
  • Your enemies won’t stop at anything to block you from achieving your purpose.

In conflicts or challenging situations:

  • Always seek to diffuse tension.
  • Avoid taking sides, power struggles but don’t give in to enemies or attempt to please them.
  • Mind your business and don’t take anything personally.
  • Identify the toxic behavior and the solution for it.
  • Don’t stoop to the level of the perpetrator or please the naysayers.
  • Don’t play the victim or suffer unfair treatment.
  • Ask questions rather than giving answers or have a private chat with an enemy and try to bring them to your side.
  • If you are not in position of power or are not favored at your job, accept it and move on, especially if you don’t know how to maneuver the situation.
  • If excluded from a group, don’t attempt to fit in, just join a new one or leave the place.
  • If you are being openly criticized or insulted, don’t let that affect your self-worth or your work. Agree with the perpetrator without demonstrating emotion.

Principle #7: Change

To handle office politics, one must learn to appreciate change and adapt to it.

  • Stay present, stay resilient and robust to conflicts and change, to your own emotions, to the emotions of others.
  • Learn to deal with change and quickly recover from your blows.

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.

Empowering Your Team & Retaining Talent

Keeping a job for a lifetime at the same company is no longer a concern for employees. Nowadays, most employees are looking to explore, to evolve professionally, to grow personally and do not depend on one company to do so. 

With the amount of layoffs in the last generation, employees have learnt to mistrust leaders and corporations. They no longer feel empowered, committed, engaged, aligned with their organization or no longer think that leaders have their best interest at heart.

However, good employees are needed to reach company goals. Leaders should be concerned when several good employees leave in a matter of weeks, when employees start performing poorly, act disengaged, take too many sick leaves, skip meetings, arrive late, are unmotivated, are overworked, unproductive or underpaid.

Wondering what are the strategies and tactics to empower your team, to maintain a trust climate, increase employee alignment and retain talent?

Empowering Your Team & Retaining Talent

What is employee empowerment?

Employee empowerment is a loosely used term.

It mostly designates the way people feel about themselves at work, the ease with which they are able to use their strengths, to freely demonstrate their talents, to achieve their purpose, to find meaning and satisfaction in their jobs.

It also stems from their ability to feel productive, confident and in control in the workplace.

Furthermore, employee empowerment is a leadership style. Leaders must feel empowered in order to empower. Indeed, they must be able to maintain self-confidence, to manage their time, to gain influence, to effectively communicate, to listen, to reach their goals and to be open to learn.

In addition, an empowered employee doesn’t need permission to do his or her work, to create an appropriate process, to control the outcomes of his or her work, to develop a personal scope.

On the other hand, employees who are disempowered don’t openly critique the organization, don’t make open suggestions, don’t challenge the status quo, don’t know what is expected of them, and are often blindsided. When employees don’t feel empowered, they tend to leave.

What are the challenges of employee empowerment?

Deciding to quit is a long process that can be triggered by various traumatic, memorable and emotional events:

  • Lack of empowerment, of recognition, validation or compensation.
  • Lack of career opportunities and possibilities of growth.
  • Lack of challenge. This creates boredom, a need for a career change and a need for more responsibility.
  • Lack of purpose. In this case, employees feel like they are not operating at their maximum potential, that their strengths are not properly used, that their jobs don’t have meaning and don’t bring them satisfactionWork constitutes an important part of your life. Therefore, making it meaningful and empowering is necessary.
  • Career disillusionment. Employees feel like their career path is not as they believed it to be.
  • Workplace toxicity and leader’s unethical behavior. Workplace toxicity comes from the fact that core values and trust have not been instilled. This can result in being influenced, in spreading toxic behavior, in feelings of being marginalized or harassed.
  • Aggressive office politics.
  • Poor communication with higher-ups.
  • Work-life imbalance and lack of flexible hours.
  • Change in personal situation (health, family, …).
  • New sudden career opportunities.

Should you hold back employees who want to leave?

Retaining young employees is the most difficult because they need more care, more validation and more training.

To increase employee engagement and to compete for talents, most organizations resort to quick fixes that provide short them results. It is essential to:

  • Accept that employees are going to leave no matter what.
  • Accept that employees who are leaving are sure about their decision.
  • Accept that the decision to leave is potentially connected to your behavior, to the company’s policy and culture.
  • Hire appropriate employees for the job in the first place by directly asking them about their needs.
  • Conduct an employee exit interview and ask your employees why they want to leave. Doing so will help you fix recurring problems within the organization and reduce employee turnover.

How to empower employees and prevent them from leaving?

To decrease employee turnover, leaders must change their mindset and rethink the company culture. Empowerment can lead to higher levels of commitment, innovation, motivation, more productivity and better relationships.

  • Determine your core values. Have enough integrity to share and demonstrate your values.
  • Be an example, demonstrate the benefits of empowerment, act ethically and a teacher to your team.
  • Assess and improve your communication style.
  • Be fair at all times and don’t pick favorites.
  • Learn to cope with change. Don’t expect immediate change and the change you envisioned.
  • Build an environment that promotes inclusiveness and unity. For example, remove the traditional organizational structures to improve communication among workers.
  • Value your employees and their expertise.
  • Listen to your employees. Ask them for advice, let them speak freely and truly consider their responses.
  • Share your vision and your story with your team in order to motivate them towards a unique goal and to check if they align with it.
  • Set high but achievable expectations for your team. Let them know about it.
  • Clearly define everyone’s activities so they don’t step on other people’s toes.
  • Help your employees identify their purpose, even if their calling is not in the organization. It would be more rewarding for them and more effective for you to remove them from the team and give them some indication of an ideal career path.
  • Increase your employees awareness. Share information about organizational policies, processes, structures, standards, decisions.
  • Involve your employees in the decision-making process
  • Learn to delegate. There is nothing more frustrating than a leader who micromanages, who needs to approve every stage of the process, who doesn’t think that their team can have the workload without them.
  • Encourage people to take initiative and to solve their own problems.
  • Give your employees autonomy and more ownership of their work. Give them the freedom to reach the company’s objectives.
  • Allow people to take risks and to make mistakes.
  • Increase accountability and avoid the blame game at all cost, especially when something goes wrong.
  • Recognize, reward your employees and show appreciation for the work that your team puts in. Help them understand that their contributions at work have a real impact.
  • Request and provide feedback often. Give credit when it is due, provide coaching and training.
  • Have an open door policy, if possible.
  • Help your employees grow professionally and personally. Allow them to succeed and be the best. Make them look good and they will reward you with good work
  • Increase benefits, avoid overwork, allow flexible hours and leaves of absence.

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 Innovation In Leadership

Welcoming innovation and creating an overall innovation culture at work is not easy but necessary.

Most company cultures have very limiting unwritten rules when it comes to innovation. For the most part, innovators in corporate culture are seen as irresponsible, unmindful, nonconformist and disruptive. For instance, some organizations will not hesitate to shut down dissident voices and to punish rules breakers.

Furthermore, the longer you have been in a leadership position, the more you become complacent, the more you get stuck in your ways, the more you start believing in erroneous paradigms, the less you are willing to take risks, to change your processes and to innovate.

Wondering how to avoid complacency and to enable the innovation process?

Innovation Leadership

What is innovation?

Innovation is a natural or acquired process that is present as a core value in most organization and that can make all the difference. It is the ability to deliver new positive data, value, concepts and systems. Somewhat, innovation implies creativity but not the other way around.

Furthermore, innovation is a mindset but not everyone is able to trigger innovation. Innovative leaders are capable of:

  • Self-awareness and of assessing situations.
  • Creativity and of generating new opportunities for themselves.
  • Identifying issues, understanding them and exploring different perspectives.
  • Finding long-term solutions to problem and making strategic decisions.
  • Having a vision, short and long-term goals.
  • Performing at a higher level, effectively restructuring organization, implementing a vision and appropriately using their resources.
  • Communicating effectively.
  • Adapting to different circumstances, taking action despite the circumstances and reinventing themselves.
  • Taking charge of their behavior and their emotions.
  • Adequately handling failure and success.

Why innovate?

Leaders feel pressure to adapt to the market, to create new products, to maintain a stable work environment, stable results and still welcome innovation. Jump starting the innovation process within your organization will help you and your organization:

  • Stay relevant.
  • Gain a competitive advantage.
  • Remember that what worked in the past, will not necessarily work right now.
  • Demonstrates your effectiveness, adaptability, capacity to handle issues and to overcome challenges.
  • Pay close attention to the customers.

How to trigger and maintain an innovation culture?

Every organization has their own culture and every leader has their own norms. So, in order to avoid complacency and to trigger an innovative spirit:

  1. Live a healthy Work-Life Balance.
  2. Identify new ideas to integrate into your leadership style
  3. Keep an open mind, focus on the positive, give yourself the time and the opportunity to explore, always ask questions and always be open to learn. Pursue truth and knowledge.
  4. Challenge your own knowledge, your assumptions and your preconceived notions.
  5. Avoid using your life and work experiences to drive innovationQuestion and learn from everything: read, observe and explore more than usual. You can even look at other innovative ideas and see if they fir your situation.
  6. Get out of your comfort zonechallenge conventional wisdom and the status quo.
  7. Create a personal mission statement that measure your progress, that helps you follow through on your commitments and that incorporates your willingness to innovate.
  8. Rephrase a same issue multiple times to gain more clarification.
  9. Don’t hesitate to break societal rules to get where you want to go.
  10. Demonstrate that innovation is necessary. Incorporate it in your core values and in your actions.
  11. Listen to different ideas and appreciate other people point of views, especially if they are not related to the issue. However, this doesn’t mean that you will need to apply their point of view.
  12. Be confident in your vision and embrace change.
  13. Write down every idea that comes to you even if you don’t have the opportunity to use them.
  14. Learn to take calculated risks, to handle failure as well as success, to plan for the unknown and for failures, to celebrate success. Failure and success can inhibit your ability to innovate because you are constantly thinking of chat could go wrong. It is therefore important to see failure as an opportunity to grow and to get closer to success.
  15. Analyze the time and the cost needed to implement your innovative idea.
  16. Identify the passionate people and change agents on your team. Besides, expecting people to be passionate, demonstrate your own passion and convey it to your team.
  17. Identify the people who are blocking your ideas in the organizationIt would be wise to share your vision with them and try to convince them.
  18. Ask for constant feedback and give feedback yourself.
  19. Empower your team at all levels, trust them, allow them to speak their minds, to find different alternatives to a problem and help them achieve their goals.
  20. Encourage dissenting voices who can challenge in new ideas and analyze their every aspect, who can identify areas in the organization that need optimization.
  21. Welcome brainstorming activities and filter out ideas with potential.
  22. Set deadlines to build pressure and to get more out of your team.
  23. Train your employees to hone their skills, to appreciate change and set high expectations for them.
  24. Avoid criticizing your team when they come up with new ideas and avoid shifting blame when something goes wrong.
  25. Remove your ego and potentially collaborate with your competitor.

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.

Getting Promoted At Work — 32 Easy Strategies To Take Control Of Your Career

Getting a promotion is a long and complex process that can trigger your innermost insecurities. Therefore, it requires a lot of internal and external work. 

Furthermore, getting promoted involves being willing to take risks, changing your bad habits, increasing self-awareness, improving your behavior, being able to compete for a position, being committed to a goal and to an organization.

Wondering how to take control of your career, get a pay raise, get promoted, or move on to a new successful career?

Getting Promoted At Work

To be promoted, you have to make yourself valuable and bring success to your organization. Promotion comes from a need to:

  • Be recognized.
  • Take on new responsibilities.
  • Gain more influence, more authority, more respect and more credibility.
  • Get a pay raise.
  • Learn new skills.
  • Have greater impact on your organization.
  • Acquire a higher sense of achievement, of job satisfaction.

You must pursue a promotion for the right reasons.

Indeed, if you decide to go after a proportion for the money, for a feeling of superiority, for an ego boost, for revenge purposes, you will not last long in the position.

  • Be mindful of the impact of your promotion. Measure the changes that the promotion will brig and if you will be able to handle them, if your time and health will be jeopardized, if your priorities will be rearranged, your relationships repurposed, your commitments denied, if there will be more power plays and more politics. Establishing the pros and cons of the promotions will clarify the reasons why you are pursuing a promotion.
  • Identify your ideal position, ideal boss, career path and compare it to the promotion.
  • Do your homework on the promotion, identify the required standards of your promotion then demonstrate that you meet the requirements for the new position.

How to get promoted?

To get promoted, you must get noticed for the right reasons. It is necessary to build your brand from day one. As soon as you leave your house, you have to be mindful of your behavior, your appearance, your words and your brand.

To maximize your potential, to build your brand and to finally get that promotion:

  1. Stay prepared for success. Stay focused and competent at your job, meet your goals and deadlines, remember that experience will build up your credibility.
  2. Present yourself in the best light possible. Mind your image and your grooming. Your style says a lot about you and is your first representative.
  3. Decide what yo want to be known for and guard your reputation with your life. Remain professional at all times when at work, stay away from drama, don’t gossip and mind what you say to others.
  4. Understand that you must establish your identity and your self-worth outside of your career and your job description.
  5. Lead by example and establish a code of conduct for yourself.
  6. Learn to be patient and to slowly reap what you sow.
  7. Find out what matters most to you, keep commitments to yourself and to others, create a vision board, repeat positive affirmations if you have to, set goals and review them daily.
  8. Temper your desire to speak out, to speak first and to speak the loudest. Keep your message brief all the time. Avoid talking just to fill the silence and avoid small talk if you are incapable of handling it.
  9. Speak clearly, control your voice tone, pitch, pace, diction and intonations. Also, be careful of the words that are coming out of your mouth. Stay positive in your delivery and never use the word “no”.
  10. Listen not with the intent to reply but the desire to understand, with the desire to read between the lines, to take real interest in what people are saying and to be empathetic.
  11. Pay attention to the unspoken language, gestures. Remember that talk is cheap, that actions speak louder than words. On your side, make sure that you keep eye contact during conversation.
  12. Learn to rely on your gut, on your instincts, on your common sense.
  13. Boost your leadership self-esteem from time to time.
  14. Be confident in your abilities, know your strengths and weaknesses, be open to learnConfidence will help you develop your presence and command respect. Besides, don’t allow your strengths that have gotten you noticed so far be the reasons of your demise, of your career derailment.
  15. Stay authentic to be able to build relationships.
  16. Keep your integrity throughout the process. Don’t do things that you don’t want to do or you don’t think are right to do.
  17. Be a problem solver, taking into account the company culture and requirements. To every problem you bring to the forefront, find a solution to it. Anticipate issues, gain perspective, be responsive, adapt to different circumstances and learn to solve them before they show up. This will make you more reliable, more empathetic, will leave you two steps ahead. This will also get higher-ups to trust and respect you.
  18. Be flexible and organized.
  19. Show initiative and keep your motivation.
  20. Show that you can effectively manage conflicts and face challenge. Furthermore, learn to control your emotions to control your behavior, keep your composure in difficult times, stay optimistic and see pressure points as opportunities.
  21. Improve your communication style and learn to adapt  your style to different context.
  22. Keep the communication line open with your boss, inform him or her of your latest achievements and seek feedback. During performance reviews, mention your career goals, directly ask for a promotion or for more responsibilities for example.
  23. Take risks and don’t be afraid of failure. If you fail, turn a negative into a positive, learn from your mistakes, avoid dwelling on your past, avoid beating yourself up or blowing events out of proportion.
  24. Be accountable, correct past mistakes and avoid shifting blame.
  25. Understand the company culture, learn to deal with office politics. 
  26. Be loyal to your employer, have the best interest of your organization at heart and demonstrate your intentions.
  27. Take every opportunity to network and to build a list of contacts who can help you. To do so, master your people skills, discover how to sell yourself, treat every encounter like gold, do more favors than you ask for. Talk about your own achievements, your interests and motivations without overbearing your audience. However, don’t toot your own horn, don’t be desperate to make contact, don’t nag people, don’t focus too much on yourself  or else you will damage your relationships.
  28. Enter a mentorship program or find a mentor in your organization who can give you some advice and take your career to the next level.
  29. Volunteer for additional and interesting work outside of your position, for a position that you wish you had inside your organization.
  30. Attend training programs and seminars.
  31. Don’t try to please everyone. Respectability trumps likeability every single time.
  32. If you don’t get promoted, move on or create your own opportunities. But no matter what you do, don’t feel entitled to the promotion.

 

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.