Live, Love, Learn, Light Switch​

Today one of my MBA students turned in a paper that hit me in the gut.  It was about how she never knew education was important until she was told she would never be smart enough to get good grades. There was a lot more to the story, but I came away with a better understanding of how a good teacher can turn on a light in a child or adult, even if the parenting or support structure that exists for that person does not see the value.

This got me thinking about the lessons that were passed to me by my father via my first generation American Grandmother.

“You either work hard when you’re young, or you’ll work hard when you’re old.”

“It’s not how smart you are, it’s how hard you are willing to work.”

These statements have an element of truth. But, does privilege play a part in execution? If so, what does that mean to those of us who are educators of people?

As Voltaire or Spiderman’s Uncle, depending on which generation you fit, once said:

“With great power comes great responsibility.”

How do we create life long learners: people who yearn for more knowledge.  How do we let those who may not have the advantage of educational support systems experience the joy of learning? What do we, as educators, have to give that is free, yet can still light a spark in someone? How do we build the bridge?

Here are a few of my thoughts on what to teach people so that they are empowered to learn continuously.

     1. You are the master of your own destiny, not a victim of your history.

You have a blank canvas and can paint any picture you want. Reading can take you places that you never imagined.  A book is the key to a journey beyond your wildest expectations.  The library is a community. To be a master at anything, you have to practice it and books are an amazing weapon to wield. The ability to read is a gift, the love of reading is a gift, practicing reading is an art. Practice the art.

     2.  You have tools in your arsenal.

Call on your tools when you need them.  The first is the ability to check assumptions.  We know the saying about what happens when we assume. We have got to teach people to quit telling themselves stories and ask questions.

The second is down time and relaxation; the ability to be alone with yourself and disconnect from things and people to recharge.  extroverts and introverts both need this at some point.  This can be taught in many ways: breathing, yoga and meditation are just a few. These tools are free and necessary.

     3. You can learn on your own with the right tools, once you have them share them.

Share the tools in your arsenal and keep building yours so you can help others. Here are three that I teach often.  I would like to know yours.

  • Do not be afraid of failure: make mistakes and learn from them. Grow and decide and experience things.
  • Learn how to effectively handle tense situations with words and not fists.
  • Share what you learn. Sharing your knowledge secures your own learning and allows you to gain additional confidence and skill.

     4. However high you can reach, do it and then jump up!

Keep reaching higher and higher  (see #1).

     5. Learn to connect the dots: people and things

Look at how and why things fit together and see the importance of communities of learning. Look at how things are connected to each other in multiple ways. Encourage strategic thinking and critical thinking. Encourage curiosity, teach curiosity, model curiosity.

     6. Keep learning yourself and share it, all of it.

 And now I ask you, dear reader, what have you got to add to my list?

Muddled about Mindfulness

Mindfulness: it is a simple concept but so often forgotten in this complex world of multitasking, juggling multiple priorities and otherwise being pulled in seemingly a thousand different directions.  It sounds so easy: just be in the moment.  So why is it when we try to be mindful we seemingly feel as if we are losing our minds?

This is a common problem and spans the so-called generational divide. People in my field of work often joke that we are ADD and OCD, which really is not a laughing matter. The harsh reality is that people no longer pay attention.

Think about it…when was the last time you actually gave your full and complete attention to anything? Multitasking on a conference call? Guilty! Mind wandering when your significant other is talking? Guilty! Your mind is often in a different location than your body? Guilty.

Failure to be mindful puts us at a disadvantage in work, home, and social situations. We are fast failing towards being able to recoup our ability to pay attention to anything.

WHY?

When I ask people this question they often point to Social Media as the reason for our failure to pay attention. But is it actually Social Media’s fault that many of us get fixated on other people’s lives? We love Reality TV and Gossip. Focusing on something other than what we should be focusing on gives us temporary relief from stress, from doing hard things and often (at work) from our deliverables.  Alternatively why do we focus on work to-dos when we are at home which only causes more stress?

It is because we have a self-propelled need to be needed. It is innate and the more we feel insignificant or useless the more we pile on priorities.

Did you know that the mere thought that someone does not have a work life balance is as stressful as if it were actually true? That in itself reduces overall productivity by leaps and bounds.

I recently read a study about a company that penalized its employees for working any hours outside of 8-5.  Guess what happened?  Productivity and engagement both went up. Science Alert published an article that explains how working longer doesn’t make you more productive Read the article here.

So what now?  What does that mean to me when the world is telling me to be mindful and I feel like all its doing is making me busier?

Here are some tips that can help:

  1. Stop trying so hard. Finding time to be mindful is almost as stressful as worrying about whether you are doing it right.  You won’t be for a while.  It takes practice. Be patient with yourself.
  2. Breathe no seriously I mean it.  Stop what you are doing right now, close your eyes and take a deep breath in for five seconds and then exhale for five seconds.  Do that five times. Ok you just spent a mindful moment and likely feel a little refreshed (or realize how exhausted you are).
  3. Take time to play.  What happens to us as we get older? We start to lose our appreciation for the little things. Spend some time with a toddler and watch them explore.  The pure joy of figuring something out and looking back at you to see if you notice it too is an amazing experience but you’ll miss it if your head is buried in your phone.
  4. Listen to people no really listen without judgement and without needing to respond no matter how hard that is for you.  Commit to asking at least two questions before inserting your two cents.
  5. Start a gratefulness journal do it in a notebook, on Instagram, Facebook or whatever your social media choice.  Hashtag it with #thingsimgratefulfor2018 so I can search on it and make my world a happier place.
  6. Stop making excuses for why you cannot do this.  Only you are accountable for you.
  7. You likely have 50,00000 pictures of something wonderful. Did you experience that moment or were you so busy taking pictures that you missed out on the actual memory?  Think about that.
  8. Be a life long learner.  Learn something new at least once a week.  It can be as simple as reading an article on a subject you enjoy or as complex as playing a new instrument.
  9. Put away your phone – seriously try it even for one hour a day.  No one needs you in that moment -yes again I know we need to be needed.
  10. Set boundaries, say no.
  11. Remember failures are ok because we are all learning how to do this right and every failure at mindfulness is a learning experience and makes you more self-aware.

Good Luck, I am going to go be mindful with a glass of Malbec…Cheers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breathe-yoga

Observe- as if for first time

Listen- explore w/o judgement

Appreciate

Be patient with yourself – time to develop

No excuses

Put phone/email away

Experiences not photos

Time for memories/self

Grateful

Life long learner

Boundaries

TL:DR and I am bored in class

I spend a lot of time with Millennials.  You could say they are a hobby of mine. My biggest challenge is creating a learning environment where people are not bored. In fact, after a course I recently taught, one of my Millennial co-workers explained to me the difference in our approach to things.  It taught me a lot and went a little something like this:

Coworker: “I have finally figured out the difference between our approach to things!”

Loren: “Do tell.”

Coworker: <Slams a water bottle on the table> “This water bottle is a building and it’s our job to knock it down.  I am all like where’s the bulldozer? <insert crashing and blowing up noises here> But you, you are all like: <takes a step back and a deep breath> “Hmmm, which way will it fall? Who will it impact? Where will the dust go? And I am still all like WHERE’S THE BULLDOZER?”

This was an interesting moment for me, an opening into a conversation about how much learning has changed over the past 10+ years. We spent a lot of time discussing the influence of social media, the instant gratification needs of new young learners and how to avoid the TL;DR (for you non Millenials that means too long; didn’t read).  We talked about the importance of quick hits, 10 minute modules and small bite readings (like tweets or texts). This got me thinking about the concept of the flipped classroom and how trainers, teachers and instructors can enhance learning rather than forcing people to go at  a prescribed pace, by using social media platforms to meet students where they are or to create situations where students can do more collaborative learning.

I’m just branching out with this, but here are my initial thoughts.  Feel free to add more in the comments.

Flipped Classrooms: eLearning Platforms, You Tube, Brain Shark

Lesson reflections: journaling or blogging on line (using Word Press or Black Board, or even a shared Google Doc)

Sharing project work via Pinterest or Instagram with their classmates

Collaborating with Google Hangouts

What ideas do you have? Leave a comment.

 

 

 

Stop the Train-It Won’t Make the Station

Need to know whether training will help? Check out this Blog. It will help you understand when the train will make the station and when it won’t.

Continue reading

My Child My Boss

The Millennials are coming!  The Millennials are coming…run…hide…they’ll take your job or worse…they will be your boss!

The Millennial worker is underestimated by many of their elders.  If they are not underestimated they are feared or minimally intriguing.  These “kids” born between the late 1970s and early 2000s are taking over the workplace. We fear them because of their relationship with technology and we admire them for it as well.

This generation has been exposed to technology since the day they were born.

Technology is something they don’t think about because it has always been there. They are great at technology but don’t have much leadership experience yet. It is predicted that Millennials will be half of the global workforce by 2020.  You better be ready for your baby to be your boss.

Us oldies need to get prepared by understanding how to translate the Millennial work-style into our definition of work.  In the future, there will be more focus on how work is done and not where it is done. There will be a lack of trust in the hierarchical structure that we are used to. There will be more democratic leaders who appreciate the collaborative approach to accomplishing goals. This generation will want to share the power rather than hoard it and they are much more accepting of diversity–not just of race but of thought.  They appreciate meaningful work and will focus on activities that help others find meaning in theirs.

If you are currently  developing a Millennial leader, focus on just in time training and make it specific to the work they are doing.  Classroom training does not always work, especially in group settings because this group gets annoyed by someone who is learning more slowly. While more flexible and resilient than their counter generations, they are antsy to make progress quickly.  These are innovators who have entrepreneurial mindsets and  who want to have the facts and data in real time.They value openness transparency.

They have a reputation for wanting to check the box and move up fast, which is counter to what we have been  brought up believing: the more experience you have the better you will be at your job.  We need to change our minds.  In fact, according to a Careerbuilder study, about one third of US workers say their boss is at least ten years younger than they are. These new bosses tend to value expertise over experience, and will allow someone doing a job well to work autonomously. For Boomers and Traditionalists who are focused on putting in face time but are not really producing quality work, this could be the beginning of the end.  Strong Millennial leaders want their teams to work smart!  The winds of change they are a blowin’!

In case you want to know how Millennial you are, the Pew Research Center created a quiz.  It helps determine how aligned you are with the Millennial way of thinking.  You can access it at http://www.pewresearch.org/quiz/how-millennial-are-you/

Once you know where you stand, you should probably get started on:

  • Understanding technology and social networking better
  • Starting to text (a lot)
  • Play games on your phone
  • Stop watching so much TV
  • Tweet and tweet a lot
  • Become more moderate politically
  • Become less change averse
  • Share share and share information (personal and professional)
  • Value diversity more (and when you think you value it enough….value it more)
  • Create stretch assignments for your young workers to keep them engaged
  • Create opportunities for innovation and collaboration
  • Be ready to replace young workers if you don’t value them because according to research done by Future Workplace, 91% of Millennials expect to stay in their role for less than three years.

After I took the quiz, I was relieved to find I was 89% Millennial Minded….even without a piercing or tattoo (but the tattoo is coming)

Go Forth and lead with Passion!

T*R*U*S*T – Takes Practice

“It takes 20 years to build a relationship and five minutes to ruin it.”– Warren Buffett

Trust. The word alone strikes a chord in people whenever it is mentioned. The response to discussions about trust are usually emotional and passionate. But wait a minute, isn’t trust something that is black and white? You either trust someone, or you don’t.

When we trust people we allow ourselves to be seen and thus become vulnerable and exposed. Trust in the workplace allows us to feel as if we belong.  We are part of the team and we have friends. But so often that trust is broken and then the drama begins…

I decided to ask my Facebook friends how they defined trust within the context of work relationships and want to share some of the responses: 

“I think it means (or depends upon) open, sincere, and productive communication. That’s not the same thing as unanimity, but trust certainly requires great communication.

Like relationships between a parent and a child, trust lost (in peers or supervisors) takes time to be restored. And, in fact, may never be. /rant off”

“There are many components but one thing that seems to be harder and harder to find… I need to trust that they will do their job well, meaning the job will be done on time, the material/data will be accurate, it will be presented in a professional manner, and it is error free. Too many times things are “done” only for me to find I have to re-do them.” 

“I think it depends on the person. I do not trust all of my coworkers the same way because of many factors like how long we have worked together, the behaviors they display, our positions or roles at work, my gut feeling.”

“Trust is someone who is there no matter what, who will stand by your side even when people who say they will aren’t, won’t judge you by what you say, do, or if you screw up. They will always be there and have your back no matter what.”

“To me it’s those few people you know will always be there, no matter what. The ones I trust the most I don’t even need to talk to all the time. Don’t have to. Lives are busy and it’s hard to always communicate. Thing is you do when it matters. That trust takes time to grow. Once it’s there it always will be, no matter how hectic life can get.”

Everyone has an inherent need to be liked, and by our very nature we want to be trusted, even when we aren’t trustworthy at all.  How do we work at being better with trust so that we may be trusted and build long lasting relationships that impact our work in a positive way consistently?

1. Tell the truth

Telling the truth is an important part of being a trustworthy person. Many people would rather avoid confrontation or disagreement than tell the truth. If we stick to the facts and focus on the behavior or situation rather than on the person when giving feedback, it gets easier over time and we are less likely to resort to passive aggressive non trustworthy behaviors. Tell the truth, all the time, even if you are not going to benefit from it.

2. Be emotionally intelligent

Understand what information you should share and be aware of the right time, place and context.

Never share someone’s personal information. Think before spewing judgmental statements as they do just the opposite of building trust. Understand that “I’m sorry” after destroying someone’s credibility or shaming someone in public will rarely be enough for you to regain someone’s trust.  If you are going to share information that is “just between us”, then don’t share the information with others.

3. Walk the talk

Let your actions speak. If you are trustworthy, then you act with integrity consistently.  Be who you say you are. Do what you say you will do. Keep your promises. Look people in the eye when you talk to them.  Steer clear of self-promoting behaviors. Nurture great relationships and welcome constructive feedback with open arms.

4. Be a good leader

Ask the right questions and be genuinely interested in the answers.  Live in the moment and be present with your staff and not distracted by email, phone or other priorities.  Focus on the goals and solutions rather than complaining about the people. Set your own standards high and meet them.

Trust means that people can count on you consistently to be a safe place to share and learn. Trust is an important part of a functional team environment and when people do not trust their leader, productivity, profitability, engagement and team effectiveness all plummet. People become risk averse and innovation stops.

So how, you ask, do I make changes and become a more trustworthy leader?  The answer is counter-intuitive: Let go of control. When you do not trust your team, you try to keep control of people and situations at all times. This makes you a Micromanager.  Micro-managers are the number one management type employees most often complain about.  It comes down to knowing yourself well enough to recognize the fact that you may be so risk averse that you fall into this trap.

The truth is, even if you micromanage; you are not in control of other people. You can influence them, or strongly suggest that they do things a certain way, but at the end of the day, YOU are the only person you can control.

Trust requires your investment in someone else’s success. It is a process and takes time to develop. It must be given from your heart and without restraint. It must be practiced early and often, but once you have it down, it becomes part of who you are.  I promise you will not regret it.  Go forth and lead with passion!

Everything I know about Monday I learned from my Mommy

Buzz Buzz Buzz….It’s Monday morning and the beginning of the work week.  Are you jumping out of bed ready to get the day started or are you reaching over to hit the snooze button? Your reaction likely has to do with how your office environment makes you feel and whether or not you have meaningful work.

Coming back after a weekend away can be rough. Monday sets the tone for the rest of your week, so if you can start it in a successful way, you are more likely to be productive and able to handle shifting priorities and office chaos. Want to stay in control?  Here are 10  healthy tips.

Hint hint, these are probably just the things your Mommy told you about setting yourself up for success in grade school.

1) Make your bed! This is one of the first things you have control over every day.  Advice given at a graduation speech by a Navy Seal at the University of Texas started with this directive and it went viral.  I cannot say much more about this other than the fact that the advice is great.  Here is the direct quote:

“If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right. And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made—that you made—and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.”

2) Eat a healthy breakfast!  It is yet another thing you have control of in your day.  If you eat an unhealthy breakfast, you will be sluggish and likely less motivated to get work done. I’m a coffee person so mine definitely includes caffeine but it is usually some sort of fruit and protein.  For me, a carb heavy breakfast makes me want to sleep the day away. In general, most people can handle a  high quality carb (like oatmeal, fruit or whole grain cereal) and some sort of protein. So kickstart your day with a healthy breakfast.

3) Drink water! Years of research have found that when people are dehydrated they have  difficulty with focus. Dehydration impairs short-term memory  and the recall of long-term memory. That information alone should be enough to make you grab your non PCB containing water cup and head to the water cooler.

4) Exercise! Get your circulation going and give yourself more energy by adding a little exercise into your day. If time is an issue here are a couple suggestions

  • Wake up early and do it before work
  • Walk around the outside of the building on your lunch break
  • Find an accountability buddy and keep each other motivated

5) Get to work early.  Driving to work on Monday is usually terrible if you work in a big city.  If you get to work early you can beat the traffic. Arriving early also allows you to accomplish many tasks before the rest of the work world arrives.  It allows you the time to organize, set your agenda for the day, review what you have on your calendar and to plan for unexpected priorities that may arise.

6) Smile and be nice (even though you may not want to). Smiling and being nice helps improve other people’s morale.  If you improve the morale around others, you will in turn improve your own.  Believe it or not, morale is contagious.  Think about that.  It only takes one person to turn it around for someone else.  Let that person be you.  Eventually it will come naturally. By smiling and being nice you create a sense of team and help others relax into their stressful days.  Say hello to people in the halls and elevators. Create the sunshine.

7) Make a list.  Make a list of your to dos for the week and then set goals for yourself.  Make sure you have set both daily and weekly goals.  By accomplishing and crossing items off your list you will ensure that you feel productive. Be sure to target some of the big goals for early in the week.  We have a tendency to push off the things that take more time and effort and if we continually push them to the next day or week over and over, they either do not get done or cause us to feel stressed and like our work life balance is out of whack. I like to tackle the big tasks early in the morning, before everyone is working, so that I can dedicate what I call a “Rock Block” to them.

8) Plan for Rock Block and rest periods.  A Rock Block is a predetermined period of time you spend working on a large deliverable.  During that period you promise yourself that there will be no multitasking allowed (e.g. emails, instant messages, chatting etc.). After the period of time is up you can relax for a specified period (read email, step away and get some water, etc.).  I like to plan 60-90 min Rock Blocks with 10 minute relax periods when I am working on a really big task.

9) Understand that you can say no sometimes. I will admit this is my hardest piece of advice for me to follow. There are so many distractions at the beginning of the work week that it is easy to get caught up in what needs to be done or what others need from you to do their jobs. My advice is to say no to people who need your time on Monday mornings unless previously scheduled (a directive from your boss is a different story). Offer a later time in the week to handle whatever the need is from your functional area partners or coworkers.  If you are able to accomplish the goal earlier, then you have made someone happy, rather than promising to do something on Monday and not getting it done.

10) Tomorrow, Tomorrow I love ya Tomorrow. Remember that you may not get everything you set out to do accomplished on Monday. That is ok, because you have a plan set with goals for the whole week.  Take time to reassess at the end of the day Monday and don’t dwell on unfinished goals.  Make your Tuesday list before you leave.

And remember, no matter whether you succeed or fail on Monday, your bed will still be made.

Go forth and lead with Passion.

Millennials: They’re not just our kids anymore

Managing Millennials can sometimes be challenging to traditional managers, but if we shift our thinking and embrace this up and coming generation we can become even more successful more quickly.

It is estimated that Millennials will be 75% of the global workplace by 2025 and we  have got to change the way we think about these “kids” born in the 80s and 90s.  We need to shift our leadership styles and flex toward them and not away from them. We must understand that we can learn as much from them as we can teach them. Attracting, engaging and retaining the next generation of talent will be imperative in bringing organizations to the next level and we must transform the traditional manager into to a true, intentional and mindful leader so that our organizations can thrive.

Let’s take a look at where most traditional managers see the issues with this generation

Every time I walk past his/her desk he/she is always online or playing on a phone.

This is the generation of instant information gratification.   In the olden days (did I just use that phrase) we had to go to the Library to research information.  Sometimes we actually had to talk to people (the horror). Millennials  are not used to waiting for information and if they are curious about something they look it up. All hail to the World Wide Web!  Their communication styles and methods are not what traditional business is used to.  However, this does not mean that it is wrong.  This group catches on to the latest means of communication faster than any other generation and they are driven by the need to feel connected.  In traditional business we tend to think of work life balance as a true separation of work and life.  For the Millennial, it is blended and work life balance means that they need to feel connected: connected to work and connected to life at any/all points in time. To work effectively with a Millennial you need to ask questions and listen to the motivators driving them.: in most cases it does not come down to dollars.  For Millennials the top indicator of career success is meaningful work. If their leader is providing meaningful work and direction and can get over the fact that they have to check in on their personal life throughout the day, I guarantee that they will give you more than 100%.

But they expect to move up really fast and don’t want to wait their turn

In traditional business there is a lot of focus on tenure and earning your way.  The Millennials often have different skill sets and rather than focusing on what they can bring in terms of innovation, leaders get hung up on making a millennial wait, usually because the leader had to put in their time. Since this generation is, by nature,  impatient, it is better to leverage their skills sets and let them make contributions early and often.  Give them recognition and watch what they can do. If you can’t promote them, give them a stretch assignment or the ability to use their technical or innovative skill to lead a project. Share your vision: not just the what and the why but also the impact to what they are doing and how it impacts their work and the organization as a whole.  The one thing the educational system did for the Millennials is to engage them in a collaborative culture.  They love to work in groups and showcase their talents alongside other equally brilliant innovators.  They just want recognition for their piece of the contribution and they want to contribute where they can. Making them  “wait their turn” will hinder their ability to do good work and will have them easily baited by the next recruiter.

They want a flexible work schedule

Again, work life balance means something different to a millennial, there is not really a separation.  a little flexibility on your part can mean a lot more work on theirs.  You know how you complained before that they were always checking their phone?  They do that all the time, even when they are not at work, and they are checking work email as well as personal stuff.

Ask your team of Millennials how and when they prefer to communicate. Many millennials work well into the night  and  probably check their email before getting out of bed in the morning. Embrace this  24/7 connectivity  but ensure you set  expectations and boundaries. If someone wants to go to spin class at 2:00 every day and will make up the missed time later in the day, what’s the harm? Of course flex time for one means flex time for all.  If you look at the research, people in more flexible work environments have better loyalty and productivity than people in jobs who don’t offer flexible schedules.  You can always negotiate what works for your organization and come to a mutually beneficial decision.

Why should I shift toward their needs?

The workplace is shifting and technology is a big driver . Millennials have the ability to be flexible and shift with the technological changes that other folks in the workplace may not.   Technology has been a part of their life since birth and they are a mobile generation.  They work well across cyber time and space. They turn to the internet and can find whatever they need and probably faster than any other generation. They will do research on your company and on you.  This small fact will mean that leaders must be more transparent about who they are, what they are about and what decisions they make. Truly authentic leaders will rise to the top and the Millennial will want to follow them, especially if they make the workplace fun.

Now go forth and lead with passion

R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

You must give the class a closed book final assessment of the training class, however, in the real world they can look up the answer.  Does this make sense?  Maybe or Maybe not.  Sometimes how you frame the outcome can make all the difference in the world.

Today I had the opportunity to give someone another chance based on the outcome of their final assessment from a training class and it got me thinking about how to give feedback and vet this situation out in a respectful way.

I knew this person was smart and I knew they were struggling with portions of the class and were well outside their comfort zone. After the final assessment was failed, I pulled this person aside to chat.

I know that people learn and retain information in different ways.  I wanted to give the testee the opportunity to answer the questions orally, in case test anxiety was the issue.  I made it conversational and it sparked a discussion of how the role was not really “what I signed up for”.  Yes, the role had changed, but the individual had not.  Did that make them a bad employee?  Did that make them less smart? NO!

As we discussed the situation further, I asked “Do you want to do this job?”  The answer was not really, and when we got to the root, we were able to move forward and find solutions.  It was a productive and honest discussion and it got me thinking about giving tips on sharing feedback and getting to the root cause.  Here are my philosophies and rules of the road.

1) No matter what you think of someone, they deserve respect. Be sure to focus on behavior or results and not the person.

2) Set the stage quickly, do not make people wait to hear feedback.  That is not being respectful.

3) Plan for the discussion ahead of time.  Plan for what you will say, but also be ready for possible responses. This will help you steer away from emotion and focus on facts.  Facts are what keep difficult conversations from getting personal.

4) Ask questions and listen to the answers.  Remember that constructive feedback should be building a person up and making them even better.

5) Be prepared to receive feedback in an open way.  If you are going to give it, you should be prepared to get it back.

Giving feedback the right way can keep even the worst situations from escalating and most of the time things will end on a positive note.

Just my two cents….Go forth and lead.

Leading teams- Lessons from the Todd Worrell experience

Today I had the unique opportunity to hear sports great Todd Worrell share his thoughts on functioning well in the work place.   That really was not the title of his discussion, but it should have been.  We got to hear about his life, his work, his beliefs and his future.

Whether or not the group had the same beliefs from a faith perspective as Todd, the takeaways were worth sharing with the world.  If you have followed any of my (very few) blog posts, you know I am passionate about leadership development and feel the world has too few good leaders.  My goal is to share good information and bring the passion back into the leadership world.  A lot of what Todd had to say will help you lead with tact and diplomacy, whether you are in a formal leadership role or not.  I have taken the liberty of paraphrasing and adding some comments.  Enjoy!

1) Motivation is relational-that is how God designed it.  We were designed to be in relationship with others.

2) Respect and integrity are part of a person

3) You should ask yourself if you really want to play for your manager.  If not, you will not do well, no matter how great YOU are.

4)    Stand behind the people you believe in no matter what.  This means standing behind them even when they are struggling.  Give them the opportunity to figure things out.

5) Motivation has an element of responsibility and accountability.  If someone does not have these, it’s a different issue.

6) Understand that slumps happen

7) Some people are NOT motivated by a kick in the butt.  Sometimes that shuts people down.  The leaders who do this are not relational people. This tactic works for the few but not for the many.

8) DO NOT wear out your great people

9) Do not put people in the wrong place

10) Make it clear to people that you have a vision for the team and then make it clear to each individual their role in this vision. Oh, and if YOU picked the wrong spot for them, change it so they can be successful.

11) Some people filter high pressure well and others do not.

12) Tell the truth about performance success and failure

13) Always play to the player’s best fit and help them work on their struggles

14) You do not have to like everyone in the locker room but you DO have to respect them. This means that some people will leave and that is ok

15) Real motivation comes from passion.  Is your job providing a place for you to do what you do best?

16) Never apologize for your faith- motivation is temporary and it is connected to what you believe in.

17) Do not be afraid of the underdog position because it provides opportunity for what can happen next.

Any idea what you are going to do next?  I know I have plenty to think about!  Go forth and lead with passion!