The Effective Personal Leadership programme ensured Matthew made the most of his personal skills and his valuable time.
Being able to face challenges head on, deal with problems effectively and bounce back from setbacks quickly are all important leadership qualities.
No matter how much time and attention you give to preventing workplace issues, there will always come a time when communication challenges arise. However, by reacting positively to such challenges, you can turn a potentially stressful situation into a learning curve and an opportunity to make important, much-needed change.
The method for dealing with such problems is always best decided before the issue arises. By having a go-to strategy for dealing with workplace dilemmas you can resolve problems quickly and efficiently, minimising the damage caused to your company and getting things back on track swiftly. Taking the time to anticipate possible obstacles and planning for any potential hiccups ensures that you are never paralysed by surprise, and can deal with issue at hand promptly.
Top tips for handling difficulties, challenges or problems:
- Maintain a positive attitude about people and their worth, encouraging your colleagues and not putting them down.
- Deal with causes, not symptoms and deal realistically and effectively with the issue. Spending time treating the symptoms will not resolve the issue causing the damage.
- Avoid arguments as they do not achieve anything but causing stress and they waste time and energy that could be spent dealing with the problem at hand.
Be willing to accept personal responsibility for your part in solving any problem.
Setting personal goals establishes a relationship between where you are currently and where you are aiming to be. Although the process sounds basic, many people do not follow a goal setting programme, as they do not know where to start.
Firstly, they are unsure of where they currently stand, and have no clearly stated priorities or values, so find it difficult to determine where it is they want to end up. Even if they have managed to grasp the basic concepts, there is a lack of experience in selecting the challenging goals that can help drive success. They need help and direction to put theory into practice.
Committing your plan to serious goals that you are determined to stick by is crucial. Definite plans produce definite results, without this structure there is no way of measuring progress or success. These are the benefits of putting your plans to writing:
- Focus: Written objectives serve as a reference and reminder of your objectives. They keep you on course to progress, while eliminating the unwanted distractions and interruptions from your life. A written plan also helps conserve time and energy because you always know where you are, and where you are going next – there is never a need to stop and delay moving on to the next step.
- Motivation: Naturally, writing down your goals and aspirations makes thinking a lot clearer, which in turn motivates action to achieve. Just by seeing your goals on paper lends clarity to purpose and dedication to achievement.
- Measurement: Written goals are a good indicator of success, and give individuals a target to work towards. Without goals, it is more difficult to judge progress, and motivation is lost as a result.
- Compatibility: Transferring your goals into writing assures their compatibility. Once they are spread out before you, it becomes a lot easier to check each of the goals and spot any inconsistency between goals and value. Any conflicts between individual goals in requirements for time and resources becomes immediately visible, allowing you to alter targets accordingly. This practice enables you to highlight the priority goals, and eliminate the elements that are time-consuming and unimportant.
- Stimulation: Committing your plans to writing stimulates and helps form the habit of visualisation that, in itself, lends creativity to all you undertake. Being able to visualise the end result helps self-motivation and breeds success through a self-fulfilling prophecy.
- Self-fulfilling prophecy: By clearly outlining and defining your plan, strategy and goals, your commitment to achieving them becomes firm. Over time you begin to shape a clear mental picture of who are, and who you want to become. When goals are vivid and clear they act as a magnetic force to draw you to them.
Learn to incentivise your hard-work and determination. It is important for self-motivation to remind yourself of the rewards that will be yours at the end of the journey. Detail the advantages to be gained and the losses to be avoided by accomplishing each goal – these are the compelling reasons you have for taking action. By taking the time to appreciate the rewards that you will enjoy after completing every goal, you will find the inner-strength to overcome every roadblock along the way.
As you list the anticipated rewards, include those both tangible and intangible. It is important to highlight the physical possessions you will enjoy as well as the deeper, more emotional satisfaction you will achieve by persevering. It doesn’t matter what the rewards are, if they’re important to you then include them in the list. Anticipating the enjoyment of the rewards will encourage you to redouble your efforts to achieving your goals. Visualising the rewards of your success is a concrete step towards achievement.
To qualify as an effective leader, you must first hold a positive self-image. Effective leaders have belief in their own ability, and command respect from their team by behaving as a role model. Individuals with a positive attitude combine inner strength and courage to feed the self-respect and self-confidence needed to be an effective leader of themselves and others.
Your success as a leader is largely determined by the mental image you have of yourself, and the best leaders understand the importance of positive visualisation. The more personal success you experience, the more your organisation will achieve too – it is that simple. By improving the positivity of your self-image, you can unlock more opportunities for yourself and your company.
The definition of success varies from person to person. For some, success means earning a promotion within your current organisation. Others view success as making meaningful contributions to the lives of others, inside and outside of work, while some individuals judge success on the size of their bank account. In most cases, it will be defined by a combination of all these elements, but in any case, here is a definition of success that works for everyone:
“Success is the progressive realisation of worthwhile, predetermined personal goals.”
This definition implies that success is the result of your own choice – the choice to decide which specific goals you value and want to pursue. When it comes to making satisfying choices, positive self-image is vital. By holding a positive self-image, you can set the goals that reflect your values and personality, offering the greatest sense of fulfilment once accomplished.
Those who understand the power of holding a positive self-image use their confidence and courage to overcome the challenges they are faced with. According to psychologists’ research, on average people use less than a third of their actual potential, so by using only a small portion of their additional potential, can a sizeable difference be made. This increase in effectiveness can be easily achieved with minimal effort, so it’s important to push yourself forward, motivated by the goals you have set yourself.
The factor controlling the amount of true potential you use is your self-image. Your self-image is acquired almost immediately after birth. As people in your environment reacted to you with approval and disapproval, you began to shape a mental picture of who you were, based on that feedback. If some of the messages you received implied that you were too young, immature, inexperienced or not ready in some way, there is a chance you may have internalised and believed it. You may still be limiting yourself today by believing these messages when, in reality, you are a lot more capable and experienced than you were when you were younger.
In contrast, if you were regularly praised or encouraged during your early life, with plenty of support offered from those in your environment, then there’s a good chance you are using a lot more of your potential. Regardless of your background, what you are now is what counts. In order to be the most successful version of yourself, you must first change what you are willing to believe and become, while dedicating time and effort to improving your self-image. The more positive your self-image, the more successful you become as a motivational leader – enhancing the relationship between your self-image and success.
Taking the decision to develop your self-image is the first step to making significant contributions to your team and organisation. Owning a positive self-image enables you to proactively spot opportunities for your organisation that can also benefit your personal success. You will then be ready to develop clear plans for the achievement of organisational goals. Using your strong, newfound inner belief, your team will be positioned to achieve the goals that once felt out of reach.
Choose courage – not comfort. The only way you can develop your personal and professional self-image is by embracing a courageous attitude. Courage is the state or quality of mind needed to face threatening situations with self-assurance and self-reliance. Courage is bravery, and the quality that many famous athletes refer to as ‘heart’. Courage is inner strength, moral stamina and the inherent capacity for rising to a challenge with passion and intent. Courage is having faith in yourself. Courage is self-confidence.
The process of improving your self-image, like the process of setting and achieving any other goal, is quite straightforward yet extremely effective. Once you commit yourself to adopting winning attitudes of self-confidence and courage, you will notice immediate improvements that make all the difference to succeeding.
The biggest surge of courage necessary for remarkable outcomes is simply the courage to overcome inertia and to get started. If you are constantly in rest-mode, then your body will remain in a rested state until you decide to shock the system. More energy is required to start a plane than it is to keep it moving – this is the same with human willpower. Courage is the fuel that supplies the extra surge of energy needed to initiate change. Once changes have been made, desire and motivation will ensure you generate the momentum to keep going. It takes courage to change – to change your attitudes, to change the way you organise your time, to change relationships, to change who and what you are.
Once you find the motivation to get started, the hard part is then out of the way. A body in motion, tends to stay in motion. After realising the benefits of an improved self-image, you will begin to enjoy even greater self-confidence and courage, for nothing breeds success like success. As you develop and thrive in a world with a new outlook and sense of self-confidence, you will learn that holding a positive self-image helps propel yourself and your organisation towards bigger and better things.
How does your team perform? How do you rate it on a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 is poor and 10 excellent? Is it massively successful constantly delivering way past all expectations? Is it full of positively minded people working together to achieve challenging business goals? Is it autonomous, responding effectively to challenges and opportunities large and small?
If the answer to these questions is “yes”, congratulations, you can score a 10 and don’t need to read any more of this article. In fact, as you are likely to have plenty of time for high yield activities, give me a call to discuss how your team got there.
Sadly, this isn’t the case for most of us. Your team may not be a “10” but I doubt if it’s a “1” either. Hopefully you are somewhere on the path and have the right attitudes, values and approach develop your team into a “10”.
Empowerment is a key ingredient to the high performing team
If your team feels undervalued, lacking in authority and capability, frightened to make the slightest mistake it’s unlikely to be hitting the high notes. Perhaps there are some individuals that show real potential but others are negative and unproductive?
Are you creating the right conditions for success? Does the team have a clear understanding of what is required of them? Have you a vision of what success looks like? Are the goals you have set, or been set, shared and meaningful to all team members?
Reward and fear motivation is common in business today. A common example is rewarding success with a bag of money and punishing failure with the sack. The trouble is we get used to this, we need more and more money to get the same level of motivation and become resilient to threats of the sack.
Internal motivation is far more lasting and effective
It needs more work, it needs you to really understand your people and what drives them. If you know this and use personal, meaningful goals your team will self-motivate. If you have linked their personal, meaningful goals to team and company goals you are well on the way to a successful team.
The whole team is raring to go, but have they the capability to execute? Are team members allowed to make decisions? Have you delegated effectively packaging the task with the necessary authority and resources? Effective delegation is important to team success and team growth. It is a wonderful growth tool for teams and individuals. It does, however need certain attitudes and process to succeed.
Flexibility is a good starting point. The way you do a task may not be the way a team member does. They can be innovative and bring unexpectedly good results given the opportunity. It’s worth letting people test out new ideas. Sometimes different is really good, just think of Amazon and Facebook.
How self-confident are you? Enough to release authority and responsibility to team members? Enough to heap praise publicly when they bring success? Lack of self-confidence and micromanagement are the enemy of productivity. Conquer them and you will become an indispensable profit and productivity generator both for yourself and your company.
Focus on results don’t strive for perfection
Perfect is no friend of productivity. Set standards that are right for the job and always be mindful of the Pareto principle. 80% of your results are going to come from 20% of activities. This means a lot of the work delegated will contribute relatively little to overall performance. It’s intelligent to accept less than perfect in relatively unimportant areas.
Taking credit for the work of others, not really listening to their ideas or working solo crush team morale and productivity. Some people believe effective leaders must always be in total control. They see this as the way “good bosses” should behave. Many bosses do behave this way but I question if they are good. It’s most certainly not the way a good leader behaves so, if that’s what you want to be I suggest you avoid this behaviour entirely.
Delegation develops employees into effective team members
Risk is inherent but you can balance it against the likely reward in terms of personal and team growth and overall performance. It’s also possible to limit risk by adopting a multi-level delegation process.
Tiffany is a bright, driven girl with her foot on the first rung of the marketing ladder. She is doing a great job creating very successful direct mail campaigns. She is eager for something new and looks like a good candidate for development. You have just the task and would like to delegate it to her. It’s running an event which will be a challenge for her but offers a great development opportunity.
A good first step is to her for an opinion. You might say “I’m thinking of doing things differently and wondered who you think might be able to handle this task, perhaps even you? This gives her the opportunity to express opinions but not feel forced to accept the task.
If Tiffany accepts, consider this approach. The first time the opportunity to run an event comes along you run it, let her watch you do it and ask questions. The second time let Tiffany do it with you assisting and helping out where needed. The third time she runs the event, but this time without your support unless absolutely needed, reporting at regular intervals. Subsequent times she always runs events unaided and only reports in exceptional circumstances.
One seemingly small point is very important for Tiffany’s confidence and status in the team. If she performs well, make the praise loud, long and public. If she needs coaching make it supportive, private and non-judgemental.
I hope this is look at high performance teams is useful to you and helps you build your own, but we’d welcome the opportunity to explain how we can help, so please email me firstname.lastname@example.org for a no obligation chat. You can find more advice and interesting content at www.sharoadtosuccess.com