Management Success Tip #160: Put the Ultimate Success Mind Set to Work for You: Calm, Happy and Energized!

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You may not have a sign on your desk “The buck stops here,” but that is the truth of your job. How well those who report to you perform, whether or not you meet your quotas, deadlines, or client expectations – all these are your responsibility, and certainly, you have the skill set, the aptitude for it.

But is your mind-set up to the challenge? Because research which surveyed 740 leaders nationally and internationally, found that 94% of them stated they perform best when calm, happy and energized – as opposed to (for example) depressed, frustrated or anxious.

Now that sounds like common sense, doesn’t it. After all, who’s going to perform at their peak when depressed, frustrated or anxious? And yet, ask yourself, how do you come in to work every day: worried? stressed? anxious? Uh-huh, I thought so.

So how can you get yourself into that “calm, happy, energized” place without living in massive denial or on major meds?

Simply put, start by recognizing when you’re not. Check in with yourself: if you’re anxious or frustrated, you’re not calm. If that’s common for you, take up a mindfulness practice, yoga, whatever helps you maintain calm more often. Happy is largely a matter of reflecting more on the glass half full than how utterly depleted it looks. And energized is easier to springboard off of calm and happy, than it is off of anxious or depressed. Healthy eating and exercise habits help too.

Beyond that, reflect on the wisdom of the Serenity Prayer (with or without the word “God,” whatever fits for you): “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

It’s a great re-focusing and calming affirmation.

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Management Success Tip #157: Appear Confident During Crises without Channeling Your Inner Action Hero

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If managing employees was easy, business would practically run itself. Not! Management is usually about putting out fires with brief respites in between, which is why, as one of your colleagues says “They pay us the big bucks.” Yeah, right. You wish!

Meanwhile, sometimes the hardest thing to do while in the midst of putting out another of said fires, is to do so with confidence. Yes, you know what you’re doing – for the most part – but how well it will work, over the long haul as well as the short, etc., isn’t all that certain.

And yet, according to Georgina Stewart of Lead Change Group: “If you are not confident in yourself, the plan that you have formed or the actions that you are taking – how can you expect others to be confident in your ability? At the very least we ask that you appear calm, collected and confident at all times as causing others to panic on top of the situation you are already in will simply cause more stress and will burden you further.”

No, you don’t have to channel your inner Action-Hero, you just need to appear calm, collected and confident so as not to sow further panic in the ranks. And that is largely a matter of body language.

Stand straight, walk tall. Wipe the frown off your forehead, and as best you can, keep a neutral expression on your face. Think before you speak, and speak deliberately.

Here’s the thing: even as you adjust your body language for the benefit of your employees, science tells us that adopting such postures will help you feel more confident, and that, in and of itself, is worth the effort.

Management Success Tip #143: Wanna Get Things Done While Maintaining Your Cool? Find Your Assertiveness Sweet Spot.

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As a manager, you have to get things done, yet you need your employees to think well of you.

If you’re aggressive, and demand, blame, threaten, or yell – cooperation and morale fly out the window. You may get this one thing done, but employees will sabotage and/or resist the next twenty. . .

If you focus too much on camaraderie and making sure everyone is feeling fine, well, chances are things aren’t getting done in the way or time they need to.

There is, however, an assertiveness sweet spot, according to research done by Ames & Flynn, 2007. It’s somewhere between the drill sergeant approach and the find-your-inner-guru approach. It’s where you respect the personal boundaries of others, you communicate clearly your expectations rather than demand or threaten, you ask questions you really do want answered about the feasibility of stated goals, and provide resources as needed, etc.

How to know if you’ve hit the assertiveness sweet spot? It’s easier to ask how to know if you’re being too aggressive: people will shy away from you, or be reluctant to ask for resources or support. Or if you’re being too touchy-feely: people are comfortable approaching you for anything, but goals aren’t being met, your numbers are dragging.

Interestingly enough, according to Ames & Flynn, when you’re in that sweet spot, your assertiveness isn’t even mentioned. Things are just going along fine, and that’s what your employees and your bosses want to know.

Management Success Tip #142: To Perform At Your Peak, Get Some Relief: Meditate!

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The demands on managers – let’s rephrase that – the demands on you, whether you’re running a department, a line, a team or an entire business, are intense. The explosion of technology and social media, with the transformation of how we do business, has multiplied your daily to-do exponentially. Not to mention your monthly, quarterly and annual goals and deadlines.

Somewhere in this, you need relief. Because there’s no way you can do what it takes to make your employees happy, if you aren’t enthused yourself. And you can’t possibly drum up enthusiasm when you’re tearing your hair out.

Try meditation. Mindfulness. Reflection.

It works. Just a few minutes of deliberate calm, of breathing, of internal quiet, goes a long way in producing focus and clarity, two essential ingredients to dynamic leadership.

Don’t take my word for it, here are some examples, as reported by Bill George:

With support from CEO Larry Page, Googleʼs Chade-Meng Tan, known as Googleʼs Jolly Good Fellow, runs hundreds of classes on meditation.

General Mills, under the guidance of CEO Ken Powell, has made meditation a regular practice. Former executive Janice Marturano, who led the companyʼs internal classes, has left the company to launch the Institute for Mindful Leadership , which conducts executive courses in mindfulness meditation.

Goldman Sachs, which moved up 48 places in Fortune Magazineʼs Best Places to Work list, was recently featured in Fortune for its mindfulness classes and practices.

Meditation and mindfulness are not just for full-time New Agers. On the contrary, they are powerful instruments for your well-being and success.

Management Success Tip #141: What You Can Learn from Jimmy Fallon: Respectfully Ask New Employees/Team To Get To Know You

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Most managers, when coming in to a new department, or taking on a new team, start with their credentials: “Here’s my experience, the other departments I’ve successfully managed, and why I’ve been asked to manage this department/team.” Or they dive right into their goals.

Managers often forget that the first order of business is to create relationship with those who now answer to them. Not gooey, sappy “Oh, you’re all so great and I know this is going to be wonderful” type of relationship building, but something much simpler, yet much more appropriate and powerful than that.

An introduction.

James Poniewozik commented for Times.com on Jimmy Fallon’s first Tonight Show gig as host:

“I was struck by one small, but in retrospect very important, thing that Fallon did starting out: he introduced himself.

“Not as in “Hi, I’m Jimmy Fallon, and I’m looking forward to this!” He very deliberately walked the audience through who he was, who his supporting stars were and what kind of show he was going to do. He literally, at one point, pretty much explained how a late-night show works, down to the fact that a host comes out from behind a curtain and tells topical jokes… It was simply Fallon respectfully asking his new audience to get to know him.”

Take a page from Fallon’s playbook: before you do anything else in your new position, respectfully ask your new “audience” to get to know you. And then make an effort to get to know them.

Management Success Tip #137: Don’t Fight, Flee Or Faint – Clarify For Success!

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Differences of opinion are a necessary catalyst for growth. Managers who discourage opinions that differ from their own, either overtly (“I don’t want to hear it! We’re doing it X way, and that’s that.”) or covertly (“Mm-hm, that’s interesting,” aka shining you on), miss out on the opportunities afforded by a multiplicity of ideas.

You are not the sole authority on your business. Hard to hear, I know, but often there are employees and co-workers who are more in touch with certain aspects of the business, or the economic environment, or even social media – who could add great value, if you’d only let them.

Humans have basically three knee-jerk reactions to our opinions being challenged: we fight, flee, or faint.

We fight: defend, get aggressive, deny any other possibility.

We flee: ignore the challenge, leave the room (literally), “forget” the comment

We faint: make nice, give in to “please,” go along to get along.

A compelling alternative to all three of these instinctive reactions is to follow Judith E. Glaser’s recommendation:

“Clarify the conflict by talking through each partyʼs stance. For example, “You seem to be suggesting that we really need to focus on elevating our gross revenue before we invest in a new IT strategy. Is that right?” or “It seems like weʼre envisioning two different levels of risk. Tell me more about what youʼre seeing as the downside.”

Requesting clarity is a great way to bypass defending, ignoring or pleasing and get to the real heart of the matter: what is of value in your employee/co-worker’s opinion?

Because that is what is important to your success and the success of your business.

Management Success Tip #133: Managing Your Remote Team: Keep Your Eye on the Goal

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Working remotely is no longer uncommon. Like it or not, many of the members of your team – if not all, are telecommuting.

How do you get people to work together, to collaborate, to accomplish company goals, when they aren’t even in the same country, much less the same building?

One of the keys, according to Kevin Eikenberry (Remarkable Learning, Leadership Tip, Jan. 2014), is to have clear goals:

What is the team trying to accomplish? Do they all know, and can they all consistently describe, the goals? What are you doing to remind people of these goals and keep them in front of them? While this is always important, it is especially so when people are not in consistent contact with each other. As a leader you must make sure the goals are clear and everyone is focused on moving towards them.”

Dictionary.com defines a goal as “the result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim; end.”

Which means, that you have three goal-oriented issues to define, discuss with, and remind your remote team of:

– What is the result we’re looking to achieve?

– What is the effort required?

– What is the direction/s in which we should be aiming?

Explore these questions with your remote team regularly, and you’ll have a much easier time of keeping them together, collaborating, and effective.