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Stop doing, shake your globe, ponder, dream, start reaching your full potential – live on purpose and do it with a smile!

Archive for the tag “motivation”

13 ways how to become a leader and a manager


13 ways how to become a leader and a manager 

I have just read yet another article on LinkedIn about how you are either a leader, or a manager. It separated leaders being the folks that do the lofty dreaming and entrepreneurial stuff, and managers are the drones who just make the stuff leaders come up with happen. I have grown to believe that this is absolute nonsense. There is always a combination of the two. If you are the CEO you still need to possess better than average managerial skills. Conversely, as a line manager or team lead you still need to be able leading your team members by creating a purposeful and engaging work environment. Here are 13 quick tips that can make a huge difference for how well you lead and manage your team.

  • Park your personal agenda and ego: Did you ever like a boss that is only concerned about his / her own issues, but never yours? Turn that down a notch or two. Have you ever seen the movie “Saving Private Ryan”? In it there is a great line about leadership: “Never gripe down, always gripe up.” Your folks are not interested about your woes; their’s are big enough the way they are.
  • Be fair: Kick up the old golden rule to platinum level. Treat others how they would like to be treated. Never treat people differently. You will regret it in the end. The moment you lose their trust you will no longer be privy to vital people and company information. There has to be clarity about what applies to everyone.
  • Help promote your team members: Nothing shows more respect than to be a great career steward. Help your team advancing in their careers.
  • Give them a great reason to spend their time at work: Purpose and impact is what people are looking for. Especially Millennials will emphasize on this point.
  • What happens at the work place, stays at the work place: Other than the heavy hitters of employee safety, harassment, discrimination, moral, and ethical problems, no other team member information is supposed to leave your lips. Confidentiality is the keystone to how much you will be trusted as a leader.
  • Make sure having a great one on one contact with your team members: Nothing beats being able to help and assist your team members on a one on one basis. You get to know about their struggles and aspirations and you can help make a difference happen.
  • Listen, listen, and listen: Your organization can tell you anything you want to know about the state of mind of your folks and also the strategic and tactical progress you are making (or the lack thereof). Boy, did that take me a while to learn how to do this better. Asking engaging questions is the tougher but better thing to do and you get to listen to your organization’s creativity come alive.
  • Embrace transparency and collaboration: This builds trust. Trust begets creativity. Realize that you cannot and should work alone. You need all the help you can get working toward common goals. The worst that can happen in business is to have success. Success can outgrow and outspend you in a heartbeat. You need a team that is nimble and fully engaged in order to make it through the ups and downs of the economy.
  • Be humble and grateful: Nothing beats a little self-depreciating humor when you make mistakes. Admit them and make them public. No one – not even you – should be able getting away with not learning from your mistakes. At the same time you want your team to stay informed enough such that they will not have to make the same mistakes either. Be grateful for the openness your team affords you. Not allowed are intentional or pattern of mistakes.
  • Do something with what they tell you: When your team is trying to tell you that there is a systemic problem with a process, policy, people, etc. do something with this info. That is why you became the leader-manager in the first place. Do not let anyone else handle this important detail for you. This needs to come from and through you. Taking charge of difficult situations is (unfortunately) something you will to get to deal with. Do it well and people will trust you.
  • Be mindful of other people’s time commitments: Knowing when to end a conversation is tough. Sometimes it feels great speaking with like minded folks about issues you are mutually facing. Cut it short if it no longer serves the purpose. Do not fall victim to scope creep either. One issue leads to the next and then there is another one, etc. etc. Trust me, there are more challenges than you can shake a stick at. Keep it to solving one short and effective issue at a time.
  • Prepare meetings well ahead of time: Most meetings are really not necessary, or the are simply not effective. Too often leader-managers look at them as a “working meeting”, meaning that the problem, problem statement, and possible solution finding happen with the attendees hearing about this issue for the first time.
  • Start and end meetings on time: Do this religiously. Yes, there are times when it may be necessary to run over. Attempt your very best to get a reputation for beginning and ending on time. Your folks want to get their tasks done.

Do not be afraid to fail with any of the above topics. Only very few business schools are providing leadership and soft skill training – yet. I am hoping that one day leader-manager training will become a mandatory topic at graduate and undergraduate level. Plan, Do, Reflect, and Correct your future behavior and you will have made the biggest change already. Remember that you are a leader-manager. Good luck!

Ralf

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Stop to Think – How to save your career and life


Stop to Think – How to save your career and life 

Photo credit: Ralf Weiser

It was just yesterday when my son and I helped clear storm damaged trees and bushes away at our local Scout camp. I noticed the sign on the chipper: Stop to think! There are so many dangerous areas and devices on this thing and when you are busy to feed this beast you will get hurt if you do not slow yourself down to think about a safer way putting material into the hungry and eager jaws of the chipper.

It is an ingenuous sign that I wished would be affixed to the rearview mirror of your car, or even as a sign put on your desk. We get triggered so easily into actions we later regret dearly. Road rage can only happen when you let your lizard brain engage into fight, flee, or freeze mode. Same at work were we may easily get engaged into a battle of wits with a co-worker just because we don’t give ourselves enough time to think about a more thoughtful response. We duke it out with our spouses when certain trigger words or actions happen.

We are not our thoughts. A thought is a thought and we control our thoughts. We have to make an active choice how we want to think about any situation though. Oftentimes there is no right or wrong, but there is a better or best way to handle any situation. That can only work if you stop and give yourself plenty of time to think about your choices. That will save your life and limbs working with a tree chipper as it does in all other aspects of your life.

Stop to think!

Ralf

7 questions to ask yourself getting out of crisis mode


7 questions to ask yourself getting out of crisis mode 

Crisis is the catalyst of purpose. Nothing flushes out what your real priorities and values are until you are in crisis mode – and that is the ironic thing about it: crisis helps bring about change and your purpose.

The most important thing you can do for yourself when you are under duress is to open your mind, heart, and will for your purpose to develop in front of your eyes. Instead of dreading stressful challenges coming your way, embrace them instead. Journal about what happened and how you dealt with it. If need be, the best practice is to momentarily retreat from the turbulent action. Regroup and allow planning time. The fewer thoughts you have the better, because they are of a better quality.

Ponder this list of questions and really listen to your inner voice replying to them.

  • What elements really spoke to me?
  • What gave me energy?
  • What drained me of energy?
  • What were the things I learned from the experience?
  • Was there a moment when I stopped the process and changed course? Why? What worked here? What didn’t?
  • Who were my allies?

True moments of clarity do not come along easily. They either take tremendous planning and self-directed effort, or they occur during crisis. One way or the other, make good use of the opportunities that come your way. Never accept average when you could reach your full potential – we are blessed with so much of it, so don’t waste it.

Ralf

9 items that help define what success means to you


9 items that help define what success means to you 

Success. There are so many questionable definitions and ideals about it bombarding us every day from early childhood on. Very often it is being portrayed as something that has to do only with status, number and type of friends, vacations, appearance, money, happiness, education, family size, heritage, size of home, expensive hobbies, type and number of cars, etc. The more, the better. Right? Well, perhaps.

Good news is that each one of us can and should define success on an individual basis. Tough part of this is deciding what success means to you. Here are 9 ways of looking at it and I invite you to ponder this list in peace and quiet. Yes, this means that you will need to spend some time to do this, but it allows for you getting closer to living on purpose – your specific purpose.

Ponder the following 9 questions. Reflect upon which one(s) light you up the most. How is your current life aligned with your answer? You are getting closer to defining your purpose.

  • The Mind: When you are done here on Earth do you want for more truth, knowledge and wisdom to exist because you were here? Your purpose is aligned with the realm of the mind.
  • The Body: When you are done here on Earth do you want there to be more fitness, wholeness, a better way to feed and clothe the hungry and poor? Do you want to build the strength and vitality of the body? Your purpose is aligned with the realm of the body.
  • The Senses: When you are done here on Earth do you want there to be more beauty? Do you want to create something for all the senses to enjoy a sense of beauty and sustainability? Your purpose is aligned with the realm of the senses.
  • The Will and Conscience: When you are done here on Earth do you want here to be more justice, morality, honesty, righteousness? Your purpose is aligned with the realm of the will and your conscience.
  • The Spirit: When you are done here on Earth do you want for there to be more spirituality, compassion, empathy, wholeness of family, forgiveness, and faith in the world? How about a better and deeper connection with God? Your purpose is aligned with the realm of the spirit.
  • Entertainment: When you are done here on Earth do you want for there to be more laughter, joy, perspective, lightening of people’s hearts and spirit? Your purpose is aligned with the realm of entertainment.
  • Possessions: When you are done here on Earth do you want for there to be a better way of sustaining ourselves here, a better handling of our possessions, a clearer picture of what is enough versus more is better? Your purpose is aligned with the realm of possessions.
  • The Earth: When you are done here on Earth do you want for there to be a more sustainable way to live on our planet, more exploration (not exploitation) of our Earth and Universe? Do you want to find a better way to deal with finding future sources of energy, clean water, clean air, land for everyone to enjoy? Your purpose is aligned with the realm of the Earth.

Which topic excites you the most? How does your heart, mind, and instinct respond to each point? What challenge within that topic would you want to tackle? Which invokes the most passionate response within you? Which one are you drawn to the most?

I leave you with my favorite poem trying to define success:

What is success?

To laugh often and much;

To win the respect of intelligent people

and the affection of children;

To earn the appreciation of honest critics

and endure the betrayal of false friends;

To appreciate beauty;

To find the best in others;

To leave the world a bit better, whether by

a healthy child, a garden patch

or a redeemed social condition;

To know even one life has breathed

easier because you have lived;

This is to have succeeded.

Bessie Anderson Stanley (traditionally attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Remember that the simple things in life are typically the best, and they are the toughest to discern as they typically reside right before our eyes and we can often not see them. Happy pondering!

If you want to explore this further there is a terrific resource for that in the book “What color is your parachute?” by Richard N Bolles.

Ralf

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