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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 “rules to live by”

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

One of the most effective ways to make any conversation effective


One of the most effective ways to make any conversation effective 

How many friends could you make with your mouth versus your ear? Oh my, this question hit me square in the forehead quite a while back. Here you have all the technology to reach out to so many people in real time and yet nothing matters until someone starts to listen. The key to making a difference is learning to keeping your mouth closed and to just listen. You can inject your knowledge and experience etc into the dialog depending on the questions that you will be asked in the process of listening. This is the most effective way of making any conversation a win-win situation.

It remains one of the toughest things to do for me. How about you? You have so much to share. You have bundled up so much experience. You have been on an excited life’s journey that should be shared. There is a time to share all of this, but you need to scan for the best time to do so. Best practice is to park your desire to make statements and assertions – that is if you are interested in learning something new about the other conversation partner. It is takes a little exercise, but the rewards can be remarkable. Then you need to literally force your brain to think about how to switch from questions that would give you a yes/ no response to open ended ones. At first, you will not fell easy about this, but just recall that these questions had better start out with a W or an H (where, who, why, what, when, how).

Stand back and then stand by what ensues. The greater percentage of people will enrich your life by blessing you with their experience, talents and most of all they will give you two elements of human interaction that are the most scarce these days: They are now giving you their attention and a little bit of trust that if you do this well can last a life time. That is how you make any conversation highly effective.

Blessed beyond measure,

Ralf

5 ways of being better about being in the moment


5 ways of being better about being in the moment 

Social media are great. I just love using all sorts of platforms as they have really enriched my life and I can get and stay in touch with so many old and new friends. And then again, nothing beats a great warm hug – person to person. One thing that social media has not been able to do is to genuinely connect us humans the same way as sharing a moment together in person. So how do you balance the two?

The answer is surprisingly simple. Use social media and all its bounty to the fullest. At the same time scan for opportunities where you can connect with folks at a deeper level. Seek face-to-face meeting time wherever and whenever you can. Do not be afraid of personal contact like a hug either. Here are some examples where personal connection can foster a much brighter future:

  1. Moments of collaborating genius: No matter where you meet, there are tremendous opportunities getting to know new people, and / or meeting folks at a completely different level.
  2. Major disagreement: Using texts and e-mails when you are upset are mind-numbingly ineffective. Get up and meet in person.
  3. Friends in need: This is the positive version to number 3. When friends are in dire need of help, meet in person. Flush out the real back ground of the issues. Your active listening may lead to finding a solution, and you earn respect and trust.
  4. Meeting your future significant other: You may be able finding your mate online, but you had better eventually meet in person sooner rather than later.
  5. Funerals: Filled with emotions they can be really tough. As tough as it is, try making a genuine new connection or rekindle an oldvvvv one.
  6. What are your greatest moments of meeting with folks in person? Please share in the comment section.

Don’t get me wrong, I just love connect over the Internet and use whatever new tools come our way enhancing my relationships and helping other folks wherever I can. At the end of the day, I still make sure that I go out into our interesting world seeking personal contact. A truly genuine moment between two or more people can still take our breath away, and it will be with us forever. I’ll give you a hug before you can get out your smart phone…

Ralf

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