15 words or less.
We often communicate difficult information (or information we think someone else will not like) in a wordy message laced with rationalizations, proof, opinion and justifications. This leaves the listener left to decipher what’s most important. Focusing on 15 words or less helps to be clear about what you want to communicate. By developing a concise beginning message to start from, a discussion can easily follow.
Stop making and accepting wishy-washy agreements.
Using phrases such as I’ll try, let’s talk next week, or let me see what I can do does not provide any sort of assurance to your employees. Agreements can be easily related to trying to catch a slippery fish with your bare hands. No one wants to commit. A clear agreement has a who, what, when and can be renegotiated if someone is unable to keep it. Being clear while making agreements keeps everyone on the same page and builds trust.
Own your own role in your problems.
We often love to blame others for the difficult situations we find ourselves in. By doing so, we risk becoming ‘victims’ – unempowered people that don’t have the ability to change things. If you take ownership of your contribution to the problem, you are more likely to become engaged in the process of solving the problem, rather than wasting time and effort finding someone else to blame.
Take time for self-awareness.
The more you focus on being personally aware of what’s going on, the better situated you are to lead and manage others. Taking time to look at what factors are causing your stress, what is or isn’t working, and what areas you want to focus on (regarding those you manage and lead) during the week will set your team up for success.
Be clear about intentions.
You should always start your conversations having your intensions top of mind: why am I sharing this information, and what do I want for myself or from someone else? Being conscious of the topics you wish to discuss increases the likelihood of effective time being spent on the ‘real issues’ instead of the distractions. It’s important to make your employees feel as though their time is valuable to you and being upfront with your intentions of every meeting helps achieve that goal.
Cut your meetings in half.
Sounds drastic – right? The truth is, most meetings are centered around information-sharing and much of that can be done beforehand. If you want engaged and effective meetings, send the agenda out beforehand and use the valuable time with your audience in conversation and debate. As you find yourself looking back on the year, you are probably wondering where the time went. By implementing this best practice, you can efficiently use all hours of the day to avoid that same reflection next year.
We often lose sight of all the choices we make. When we suspect that we don’t have the power to make a choice, we end up feeling valueless and a like a victim. It’s important to note that executing your right to make a choice is crucial. Choosing to do nothing is also a choice – often the most expensive one. Being clear about the choices you are making, or not making, helps to gain awareness and be engaged and empowered.
Post your goals up where you can see them daily.
We all know this, however, many of us don’t do it. You have taken the time to brainstorm and become committed to great goals for the upcoming year. Lacking accountability can be the biggest detriment to your success of reaching those goals if you let it be. By posting your goals in clear view, it keeps them front and center and ensures the best chance of success. It takes time to make a goal a habit, and while some say a certain number of weeks turns an activity into a habit, a true habit will only stick if you implement it all year long.
Ask for feedback regularly.
There tend to be a number of people that find asking for feedback tough, time consuming, and awkward. However, we can’t deny the fact that knowledge is power. As a manager or leader, ask your peers, your team and your manager for feedback. What should you stop doing, start doing or continue doing? By gathering this input, you allow all levels within your organization to communicate openly. Once the feedback is evaluated, you can make decisions on what to change, and during the process you build trust from the top down.
Acknowledge progress and success monthly.
We often forget to stop and acknowledge progress, or we wait until we finish projects to celebrate success. By doing this we miss opportunities to recognize behaviors we like, progress and contribution. At the end of the year, you will find many reasons to celebrate, but you also might look back on your year and find goals you fell short of accomplishing. However, simply because you didn’t accomplish the final goal does not mean there aren’t reasons to celebrate. By acknowledging progress points achieved and positive behaviors and attitudes along the way, we continue to build a positive culture around working towards success.
For more career, sales, and leadership advice please contact our coaches
Joe Micallef – Sales Coach – email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (773) 329 0066
Donna Flynn – Career/Management Coach – email email@example.com, or call (630) 624-4319