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5 EASY WAYS TO BRING GRATITUDE TO THE OFFICE

This time of year is filled with swarming demands. You are juggling to-do lists, replies to investors, flittering holiday schedules. You have yearly success to evaluate and ugly sweaters to pick. It’s easy to feel like there is not enough — not enough time, not enough talent, not enough appreciation for the work you and your team are doing.

All this not-enough-ness leaves us feeling empty and depleted rather than full of comfort and joy.

Conscious leaders can gracefully combat feelings of scarcity by incorporating gratitude into the workday. Simple shifts towards thankfulness will inspire teams and provide hope and prosperity for the year ahead.

Here are five easy-to-implement ideas to inspire gratitude for your team and organization.

1. Make a list.

Take a break and grab a pen. Go sit somewhere quiet and make a list of what you are thankful for in your organization. Are there standout employees making a difference? Are you proud of new accomplishments or thankful for the light dancing across your keyboard as you type your next important email? Taking time to stop and make a list of what brings you joy at work can ground you. Then, take the time to share your responses with your team. When you lead with a vulnerable heart, this sets the stage for employees to follow, which leads to …

2. Acknowledge what’s going right.

Leaders are programmed to problem-solve. Addressing challenges and navigating unknowns probably led to your success. It is natural to jump right in and tackle obstacles with your team. A key shift towards leading with gratitude is to first recognize all the things going well right now. Start simple to build your gratitude muscles. The printer is working, and the lights are on. All members of your team arrived safely on time. Fresh coffee is percolating. Then you can move on to recognize the positive results of your team’s contributions. Last week’s demanding client is now thrilled with revision three of their blueprints. Perhaps you cut costs by changing suppliers and made five new connections leading to new sales.

Keep a running list with your team and review together at the end of each month. Celebrate your successes and confidently move forward to address new challenges. You can also…

3. Learn what your employees are thankful for in their work.

One-on-one meetings are essential to healthy workplaces. Providing space to share successes and voice concerns with a leader on a regular basis leads to better results. Rather than drag, these hours can be inspiring problem-solving sessions designed to provide insight on engagement and satisfaction at work.

Ask questions like:

  • What are you doing well?*
  • What are you working to improve?*
  • What roadblocks are in your way?*
  • How can we support you better?*
  • What about your work are you most thankful for?

These questions prompt employees to ponder which aspects of the job they enjoy and where they are thriving. They also uncover areas for improvement and perceived feelings of positive impact in their current roles. If employees struggle to identify what they are thankful for, you can work together to create a plan to make work more rewarding. Encourage them to go back to point number one and make their own gratitude lists. If they feel comfortable, invite them to share their responses with you.

4. Express gratitude for employee’s efforts.

Conscious leaders understand that people are vital to a healthy organization. With mixtures of personalities, preferences, and time available, you may feel unsure of how to express your thanks and appreciation to members of your team. Some folks love a good superlative, while others would prefer to melt away than stand on stage and accept an award. Take the time to ask what makes your employee feel special. Add a line to on-boarding paperwork to track favorite desserts or what movies they enjoy. Keep these notes in their file or their contact info on your phone. Then, when you notice a standout action, you can leave a note and a small token of appreciation on their desk. Too touchy-feely or out of budget? Jot a quick note-of-thanks email and click send. Or better yet…

5. Say thank you, in person, with an authentic heart.

My first job was a receptionist in a nail salon. I made appointments, put on jackets, and buckled folks in to the driver’s seat so their nail polish wouldn’t smear. At the end of each day, the owner would tell me, “Thank you for your work today.” No matter how many toe-nail clippings I’d swept or demanding women I’d navigated, I always felt seen and appreciated when my boss would say thanks. As an organizational gatekeeper, I’ve worked with many colleagues who say they like their work and they wish their bosses were more aware of how they navigate the frustrating parts of their roles. Employees want to be seen. Acknowledge the metaphorical toe nails and repeat the phrase, “Thank you for your work today,” with a sense of authentic appreciation as often as you can.

It takes time to see your people. When you choose to invite gratitude into your spaces and conversations, you can appreciate the positive impacts you and your organization make. Try out these ideas before the end of the year. With practice, you’ll be able to encourage your team to focus, with grateful hearts, on all you set out to accomplish.

This Article was written by Katie Huey of Conscious Company Media – Original here>

2019-06-14T11:37:38+00:00January 2nd, 2019|Culture, Emotional Intelligence, Employee Engagement, Motivation|

Making workplaces truly great: How management toxicity affects employees, and what to do about it

What matters – for employee engagement and productivity and, more important, for employee health – is the work environment and the work itself.

Two recent studies reveal that nearly half of India’s private sector employees suffer from depression, anxiety and stress. Demanding work schedules, high pressure for achieving objectives, and the “always-on” mobile phone syndrome are the top three culprits.

“Management toxicity” is affecting more and more Indians just as we see it in Americans and others around the world. Of 8 lakh suicides across the world annually, about 1 lakh are Indians. India is the world capital for diabetics; and cardio ailments are affecting people in their 30s and early 40s.

We wonder whether annual lists of “great/best places to work” have any sanctity, given that many employees from such listed companies frequently complain of toxicity in management. We question the ethical and serious bias of the agencies that do such ratings, because they try to sell their products and services to the companies they are listing. We suggested health-related data as an added criterion, and a shift in orientation of the rating agencies to “non-profit” for removing serious bias.

Chronic disease, caused in part by stress, is one reason that healthcare costs are soaring around the world. Because most stress comes from work, the workplace has become a public health crisis.

But workplaces do not have to be toxic and stress-filled. Our research uncovered two crucial elements that can build healthy work environments and that don’t cost much to implement. By providing people more job autonomy and social support, enterprises can create healthier workplaces that are less stressful and eliminate the many costs related to stress.

What matters – for employee engagement and productivity and, more important, for employee health – is the work environment and the work itself. Not having a boss who heaps scorn and abuse, because the health hazards of workplace bullying and incivility have been well documented. Having a private office or at least a workplace with comfortable temperature, good lighting, and acoustical privacy, ensures that the physical work environment does not impose stress.

A study of British civil servants revealed that the higher the person’s rank, the less likely that individual was to suffer from coronary artery disease. Why? When British epidemiologist Michael Marmot and his colleagues investigated, they found that the determining factor was the level of job control. Being micromanaged is stressful, and having more control over what you do and when you do it is positively associated with health and wellbeing.

The problem of micromanagement arises because corporations often promote people based not on their ability to manage others but for skills such as their capability with budgets or project management. Because many managers can’t manage, in the sense of coaching others to do their jobs better, one of the worst “sins” many employees encounter at work is being too tightly controlled.

As for the second element – social support – evidence suggests that having family and friends, and having close relationships have a direct effect on health, and that buffers the effects of various psycho­social stresses. People who were less socially integrated had higher mortality rates and higher rates of cardiovascular diseases and even cancer.

Changing the environment to make things better is not that hard. Just stop doing the things that create toxic work environments: Get rid of forced ranking, the “grading ­on ­the ­curve” performance review process made famous by GE; don’t pit people against each other in the guise of internal competition that results in a rat race in which people work crazy hours and travel excessively; invest in management processes where senior managers can mentor juniors; stop the transactional approach to employees by not viewing them as factors of production and trading money for work.

When people have hard times, provide them with help and support – meals, babysitting, companionship, time off and a signal that their colleagues and the company cares about them. With a supportive environment, people are healthier and more tightly integrated into the company.

Holiday and birthday parties, and events that celebrate shared successes such as product launches or project completion – almost anything that brings people together in meaningful context – helps build a sense of shared identity and belonging.

Original Article Jeffrey Pfeffer and M Muneer here: Times of India

Jeff Pfeffer is a professor at Stanford Business School; M Muneer is co-founder, Medici Institute

2019-06-14T11:48:41+00:00August 13th, 2018|Culture, Emotional Intelligence, Employee Engagement, Leadership|

Leadership Anecdotes from Rio Olympics

The Olympics is one of the most prestigious sporting spectacles of the world. An Olympic medal is the epitome of sporting achievement. Over the decades, many sports persons have gone on to become legends in Olympic history. Rio 2016 is no different. In this post,  Sanket Pai, picks and elaborates on 5 of the most inspiring leadership anecdotes from the Rio Olympics 2016.

Dipa Karmarkar – Persistence makes up for all shortcomings

When Dipa Karmakar competed in her first gymnastics competition, she did so without shoes and borrowed an oversized, ill-fitting costume (Source: BBC Sports).

In a country that breathes and lives cricket, pursuing gymnastics as a sport is a tough ask. There is a serious lack of infrastructure, resources and financial support for the sport. These factors didn’t deter Dipa from pursuing her passion. One of the few to pull off the dangerous Produnova maneuver with such ease at Rio Olympics 2016, Dipa is a true champion and has won the admiration and respect of millions all over the world.

Dipa Karmarkar
Source: i.ytimg.com

Usain Bolt – Have fun while you are at it

Usain Bolt is probably one of the most popular and respected athletes in the world today. He continues to make and break records, that too with a seemingly ridiculous ease and a smile to go with it. The recent picture of him sneaking in a smile for the cameras while sprinting towards the finish line has broken the internet. While his fellow competitors were gasping for breath, he eased past them, that too after a slow start. He has added style, glamor, and fun to the sport, without compromising on the discipline and rigor. Here is a joke that sums it up:)

Q: What does Usain Bolt do when he misses the bus?
A: He waits at the next stop

Usain Bolt Rio 2016
Source: abc.net.au

Michael Phelps – Let your failures be lessons, not roadblocks

In 2009, decorated US swimmer and Olympian was snapped smoking pot. Overnight he turned from a respected athlete to a disgrace, losing millions in endorsements and being slapped with a 3-month suspension. For most people, such public humiliation would mean a full stop. Not for Phelps. At age 30, he came of out retirement, picked up the pieces and put his energies on regaining lost glory, the only way he knew. Getting back to the pool and winning medals. With 4 gold medals and one silver, he is now the most decorated Olympian of all time with a tally of 23 medals.

Micheal Phelps Rio 2016
Source: cnn.com

Simone Biles – Excellence by design, not by chance

Simone Biles, touted to be one of the greatest gymnasts, comes from a family with a troubled history; a drug addict mother and an absent father. She has proved by action, that there are no excuses for not trying. It’s about making choices and then ensuring that the actions match the aspirations.

Simone Biles Rio 2016
Source: Reuters

Yusra Mardini – The sky has no limit, only the mind does

I saved the best for the last! Yusra Mardini, a refugee from war-torn Syria, has captured the attention of millions and has become a source of inspiration for one and all. As part of the 10 member refugee team at Rio Olympics, she made a huge impact by scoring a win in her first Olympic swimming race. There was a time when she used her swimming skills to save herself and 18 others from a capsized boat heading towards Greece. From that to being part of an Olympics team, talks so much about putting your struggles to use, use them as motivation and achieve the impossible.

Yusra Mardini
Source: Indian Express

Author: Sanket Pai, Head, Product & Customer Experience at Celoxis Original post HERE

2019-06-14T11:28:08+00:00August 22nd, 2016|Culture, Leadership, Leadership Development|

#Brexit result is evidence that we need to get the trust back.

#brexit leadership and trustI worked for nearly seven years in England after graduation and I got quite fond of your average middle English Joe and Jane. I worked side by side with some great people and played some rugby with and against some of the nicest people. This morning I am feeling somewhat sorry for our neighbours, who after #brexit have made an awful decision because of lack of trust in Leadership, unbridled misinformation, populist rhetoric, racist shield banging and outright lies.

Its been like watching a car crash in slow motion, after watching some despicable individuals throw oil on the road. Congratulations flowing in from Europes right wing 10% on a victory for nationalism are galling, particularly as this sort of thinking led to the war that caused the European Union to be set up in the first place, with England at its core.

Lack of trust in leadership and the negating of true expert opinion is a key element in this result. Similar to the causes attributed to the rise of Trump in the US. Lack of understanding of basic economics and the belief in lies written on posters and buses is also part of this. In Ireland I think we may be headed down that same road and its something we may need to fix before it gets any worse.

After this shock we need to change our mindset to WHAT NEXT. It’s happened, so how do we deal with it. In my view the biggest worry for Ireland is the expected UK recession and the resultant lack of spending power in our biggest single market. With the drop in sterling today our pricing has already risen by 5%. Other tariffs may be added, but also inflation in the UK may even things out. As for Northern Ireland, I remember well when there were borders in the north. Not just passport controls but the big black bomb proofed towers with armed soldiers, some not in their twenties, guarding them. Its not going to be as bad as then. However one has to worry for the economies at the border (both sides) and the fragile economy of Northern Ireland.

In terms of Leadership – the US and the UK are demonstrating a new kind of politics. Gone are the thoughtful, direct and trusted sources. Some would say that’s because gone are the thoughtful, direct and trusted people. I think they are still there but struggling to be heard …”‘s’cuse me… I’d like to say something…” Now we have NOISE! … soundbites, social media, trolls and clickbait.

Clickbait works by generating or taking content from any source that may or may not be true but is interesting enough or shocking enough to attract your attention so they get paid for your click. This leads to a lot of terrible content and misinformation. Take the anti-vax rhetoric for example – clickbait sites are paid to re-post and re-post that dangerous unethical rubbish.

We have also shrewd PR generating photo-ops and noise which the news media cover rabidly. Look at Farage and his poster “events” . They create an event which grabs the news-cycles and makes their point in large simple (if deceitful) images. Enough of this allows outsiders like Farage to generate more noise than anyone else in the noisy environment and win the attention of millions. In the US the rise of Trump generated by far the majority of the coverage of the primaries. It was like a Punch and Judy show and everybody wanted to know who Punch would punch next. The news channels need to wise up. They need to differentiate between real news and generated news. They are being manipulated and the tail is definitely wagging the dog.

Couple this to the short attention span being driven by our multitasking high speed lives and its more difficult to find the truth of any matter. There is also an assumption by many that every news source has an agenda and is in the pocket of some wealthy elite.

This is partly true, however even regulated news sources (such as the BBC) are not as trusted as they should be. I came across Jamal Edwards MBE recently who is a 24 year old entrepreneur with his own news channel. He founded his channel because his sister (16 at the time) and her friends did not trust the existing news sources to be unbiased. He gets his stories directly from AP and repackages them. Great news that they wanted to be informed but sad that they felt they could not trust the established feeds.

In the US we have Fox News, the most watched news channel (and exclusively watched) by Republicans. Telling their viewers what they want to hear and keeping it to the party line, its so bad as to be almost funny. I watch it sometimes to examine the subjectivity and almost for comedy relief (yes its that poor) and yet it is the main-stay of so many peoples source of information.

I am hoping we adapt by recognising clickbait for what it is – and ignoring it – disinformation for what it is and not letting it distract, and by finding a way to recognise the truth from the noise when we see or hear it – rather than content that may frighten us of which may just reinforce current opinion. We need to see our political leadership STOP claiming bias in the main stream media every time they are disagreed with, when in fact its mostly telling the truth as they see it.

We need to see leaders being more direct, espousing and living their values and leading by example. We need the serious ethical media channels smarten up, differentiate manipulation from real news while keeping our leaders honest. They need to raise the bar again and earn back the trust we need to see the unbiased truth and make informed decisions.

Aidan Higgins BE MBA of ADEO Consulting is a Leadership, Emotional Intelligence and Teamwork specialist working with Leaders and Teams in Ireland and the UK. He has over 25 years experience working in various capacities with individuals, teams and organisations of all sizes.

2019-06-14T11:32:16+00:00June 25th, 2016|Culture, Leadership, Leadership Development, Motivation|