Thursday, September 13, 2012

Slow It Down Pal

Many business leaders are just too darn busy these days. They tend to spend less time thinking about themselves and their employees, but rather use that time thinking about the bottom line, goals and strategies. You, maybe?
By spending so much time on the "work" aspect, they tend to get more physically and emotionally drained than leaders who take time to breath and build relationships. As a result, these "leaders" begin to avoid their relationships, become irritable, aggressive and close-minded.
In, Wired For Success (04/11/11), Ray Williams listed a number of key elements to becoming more mindful:
  • Pay attention: Focusing 100% of your attention on whatever you are doing
  • Be non-judging: take the role of an impartial observer to whatever your current experience is, and don't judge whether things are good or bad.
  • Have patience: cultivate the understanding that things must develop in their own time.
  • Be in the present moment: Be aware of how things are right now in the present moment, not as they were in the past, or how they might be in the future.
  • Non-reactivity: Our brains are built to have you react automatically, without thinking. Mindfulness encourages you to respond to your experience rather than react to your thoughts. Being mindful is a deliberate and intentional choice.
  • Have beginner's mind: have the willingness to observe the world as if it was your first time doing so. This creates an openness that is essential to being mindful.
  • Trust: have trust in yourself, your intuition, and your abilities.
If you're not doing at least some of these things . . . now may be a good time to take a look them.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Help Them Grow

It only happens every few years. I’m talking about leadership books that come out that I like so much that I read it with a highlighter. I use them in staff development and lend them out to others who want to improve themselves and/or their staff.

A few years back it was Creating Magic by Lee Cockerell. Then came From Bud to Boss by Kevin Eikenberry and Guy Harris. Now – I've had the great privilege of reading a pre-launch copy of Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go: Career Conversations Employees Want by Beverly Kaye and Julie Winkle Giulioni.

Help Them Grow is the type of book that makes you think, “Hmm, why haven’t I been doing that?” It’s a straightforward roadmap on how to help your staff develop without you having to take control of the reins. Let your employees grab hold of those reins and become responsible for their own growth. Wow . . . what a concept, right? Can you see your time being freed up?

Kaye and Giulioni say that “your role is more about prompting, guiding, reflecting, exploring ideas, activating enthusiasm, and driving action”. This book shows you ways to incorporate these career conversations in your everyday work life.

Notice that last sentence that says “everyday”. Leaders don’t have time to hold extended annual appraisals that package up everything from the entire previous year – and shouldn’t – heck, they don’t remember about what you’re talking about half the time anyway! You’re already having everyday conversations with your employees (hopefully), so just change the tone a bit. You don’t need a bunch of checklists and forms. Conversations and asking questions are the keys to development.

This book gives you actionable steps to “focusing on what the employee needs to experience, know, learn, and be able to do”. Too often, leaders think they have to have all the answers (and they avoid the topic if they don’t), when what they actually need most are the questions, permitting the employee to be a first hand participant in their own successful development.

There’s so much more to this embracing book than I have time for here, so my suggestion to you is to go to Amazon on September 18 (release date) to order yourself a copy or two – others are going to want their own.