Can We Be Honest? Why Character Counts

Today I am reminded of what it feels like to be honest, or rather, to be on the receiving end of dishonest behavior.  Why is it that people have a hard time being honest?  What keeps people from being honest with themselves and others?

I had an experience yesterday that bummed me out.  Frankly, it had to do with another person’s dishonesty.  As I took some time to think it all through and learn from this experience, I began to call to mind one of Michael Josephson’s “Character Counts” radio programs I used to listen to during my dark-in-the-morning commutes (well, it didn’t really matter what I was doing, I always had time for Character Counts!) While his messages on the program tended to focus on the character building of youth, they were just as applicable for adults … if not more so. They provided reinforcement of timeless truths of a life of moral character through inspiring, captivating stories. You can read more into his work here.

As I went back and reflected on my own truths and those spoken in those radio programs, I began to do a little research on the topic of honesty. Spurred by my curiosity of wanting to understand people better, here is what I found.

What it takes to be honest and what it means if you’re not:

Honesty sometimes requires risk.  Honesty sometimes means you have to put your ego in check.   Revealing yourself and making yourself vulnerable can be challenging and can come at the most inopportune times.  Honesty takes personal growth and the more honest we are the more we grow for ourselves and in our relationships.

Maybe you made a promise and suddenly find you can’t keep it.  When do you come forward?  What happens the longer you wait?  It can really become a burden and a reality that if left without taking quick action creates an even bigger problem for you.  It weighs heavy on your mind, starts to distract you from your work, your relationships, your short or even long term goals.  Some people can even find you out before you have a chance to be honest, and that leaves you with other challenges like the question of your integrity, or your trustworthiness. And can I be honest? Dishonesty downright hurts!

I could go on, but I think you get the picture.  Growth in life, relationships, work and your community takes honesty.  Among other things, an honest look at who you are, where you are, where you want to go, and how you are going to get there.  Sometimes honesty takes forethought for how you want to share a message – I put that under the heading of emotional intelligence – and honesty can take assertiveness with yourself and others.  Honesty can be scary, but more often, honesty feels good. It can really lighten your load and take pounds off of you in a second.

I am following my own advice today to see where I can be more honest.  What is sitting on your plate that requires honest communication?  Resolve to take care of that one thing today and see how you feel.  Check in with yourself tomorrow and take another step toward your personal growth.

Enjoy the journey, it’s worth it!!

 

PS: If you want more inspiration here is an excerpt pulled from the Michael Josephson Institute Center for Youth Ethics:

Trustworthiness:

Be honest. Don’t deceive, cheat, or steal . Be reliable, do what you say you’ll do. Have the courage to do the right thing. Build a good reputation. Be loyal — stand by your family, friends, and country.

See more at: http://charactercounts.org/sixpillars.html#sthash.6hBBhbnD.dpuf

 

 

Training Your Team to Work Together

If a team is cohesive and collaborate—they are more efficient and productive. It’s what every manager and executive wants for their people. But, how do you get your individual team members to take more responsibility and to rely on the team—instead of you?

It’s a question that almost every manager asks at some point. When you train your team to work together and become a true team, each member will be better individually and collectively.

Here are two things you can implement with your team to help them gain their independence.

1. Don’t micromanage. Micromanaging only perpetuates dependency and disgruntles your team members. If you aren’t giving your people full control, they will come to depend on seeking your approval in order to complete tasks, projects and assignments. Take a step back and analyze whether you are too close to the process of each project and if so, slowly begin to move away from each step along the way. You’ll need to let go of control and trust that you have the right people in place to handle the job. If you don’t have the right people, you’ll still need to stop micromanaging, but you may also need to shift people around on your team or make a new hire.

2. Show don’t tell. When delegating tasks and giving your teams new items to learn and implement, it’s imperative that they learn the knowledge that you hold. They’ll need to know everything from why the task is being completed, who to go to for certain aspects of the tasks, how to trouble shoot, and anything else that is relevant. Just asking someone to do something without giving them a complete 360 degree view is setting yourself up for a lot more questions and interaction than necessary. Show them what to do, don’t just tell them to do it.

3. Encourage independence, creative thinking and mistakes. Yes, I said mistakes. When individuals know they are allowed to make mistakes and won’t be put on the chopping block, shamed in front of the entire team, or worse—they will feel the sense of freedom in exploring what will work and won’t work on their own. And, there’s no greater teacher than true experience and figuring things out. You can bet that any team member who makes a mistake once won’t do it again.

Overall, it is possible to train your team to work together and to be more self-sufficient, however, it always starts with leadership and management. Take a look at your leadership style and even your company culture and make any necessary adjustments there, before you expect your team to become fully independent.

 

 

Keeping Energized and Staying Fresh in Your Day-to-Day

Much of our work can become routine, if we don’t make an effort to keep it fresh and new. We may have the same deadlines, reports, tasks, and assignments week after week and month after month, that’s why it’s essential to find ways to stay energized and fresh in your day-to-day.

Staying fresh and energized in your work will not only help you to avoid burnout, but it will also keep you enjoying what you do and moving up the rankings within your organization.

Here are some ideas for how you can stay energized and fresh in your day-to-day

  • Try a different routine entirely (even drive a different route to work)
  • Learn the latest tools, tips, and shortcuts in your industry
  • Stay apprised of the changing software and technologies
  • Remember the reasoning behind some of the more routine tasks
  • Intersperse the tasks you love with those that don’t necessarily excite you to keep you engaged throughout the day
  • Learn something new
  • Take breaks throughout the day
  • Brainstorm and collaborate with colleagues

The energy around your work can be what differentiates you from the rest of the members on the team. While you may not need to be too overly enthusiastic, enjoying what you do and taking pride in your work goes a long with management, productivity and efficiency. Additionally, the more excited you are about your work, the greater the chances you have to end your day on a high note and have more energy for your leisure time after hours.

Now, we’d love to hear from you. What are some things you do to keep fresh and energized in your work? Let us know in the comments below.

Letting Optimism Lead

• “That won’t work.”

• “I’ve tried that before.”

• “We’ll need too many approvals to get that done.”

• “Can’t imagine we can pull that off.”

• “It doesn’t sound doable.”

Do any of these phrases sound familiar? If so, you are likely to be an environment where people have stopped believing and where optimism has run dry.

If you’d like to infiltrate more possibilities into the workplace, we must let optimism lead. Sometimes even despite the evidence against it.

Optimism in the workplace increases engagement, promotes creativity, and fosters collaboration. When individuals look at the possibilities instead of the probabilities, new initiatives can happen more seamlessly.

If your involved in a team that gets stuck in pessimism look for a few of these factors to make shifts happen:

• Listen for the use of, “Always…” or “Never…”or “Every time…” – These overgeneralizations can be toxic. Always, never, every time show that people have bought into limited thinking. Redirect this by asking, is it true that it “always” happens that way?
• Watch the use of language—carefully. Often, people don’t realize they are using negative language to describe something. Ask people to reframe their conversations to be neutral unless something requires an opinion. What are the facts for now and we can discuss the options and opinions later.
• Be warned about labels. We can easily get in the habit of labeling people, things, situations, circumstances. It is the labels we assign things in our life that will lead us take a negative or positive spin. When people avoid labeling something, they can stay more open to the possibilities.

When we let optimism lead, especially in the workplace, there are great benefits to gain. Look to see how you can incorporate and foster more optimism among your team.

What are some other ways you spot and redirect pessimism into optimism?

How to Get Buy-In From Your Team

When it comes time to make a decision, implement a new strategy, or initiate a change, it’s critical that you get buy-in from your team before moving forward. Individuals who feel as though change is “trickled down” and they are not given a choice, often put up a lot of resistance. If you’d like change to happen more easily, then seek first to get buy-in prior to getting started.

First, gather your team together and let everyone know the objective, agenda and goal. The more informed people are, the more they understand the problem or see the need for a new solution, the more likely the are to be on board and participate allowing for a smooth transition. Ensure that each team member understands what’s at stake and what the possibilities are for going in a new direction.

When you paint the picture of the problem(s) at hand, you’ll immediately get people to recognize that something can and should be done differently. If they don’t know there is a problem or that things could be better, you’ll need to explore the possibilities with them of what it could look like. Get people excited and share the direct benefits that they’ll feel and receive. (Think less customer complaints, smoother transitions between departments, and so on.)

Next, allow all team members the chance to have their voice heard. When individuals feel that their voices, opinions and thoughts don’t matter, they are more likely to ‘buck’ the system. However, when people feel that they are really heard with their ideas, they will participate at a higher level and give crucial feedback. Many times, the people who are working ‘in the trenches’ will have innovative ideas that could possibly be more efficient and effective over the long-run.

Then, ask for feedback and help in designing a co-creative implementation process. Instead of telling them how it will be done, ask your team how it can best be done. When people come up with their own ideas and get to share their opinions on how a transition can take place, they are more likely to ensure that it does work since they helped create the process.

Finally, be sure to celebrate the success of the transition. Even if something new fails, honor and recognize all that tried, contributed, and put value into the idea. When something does succeed, give credit where it is due. The more people get recognized and valued for their contributions, the more likely they are to contribute again in the future.

If you follow these steps, you’ll be sure to get faster buy-in with team members who are on board for change!

What else do you do to get buy-in from your team?