Candid Conversations

Have you been dodging an important conversation? The kind of conversation that may be uncomfortable, in a situation that you wish would just take care of itself? Are you dancing around a subject, being less direct, less candid than you really should be because you fear conflict or don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings?

Have you been dodging an important conversation? The kind of conversation that may be uncomfortable, in a situation that you wish would just take care of itself? Are you dancing around a subject, being less direct, less candid than you really should be because you fear conflict or don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings? Preparing for candid conversations can be hard.

You know what’s going to happen, right? As a result of not being candid, we can let situations like this stew and brew until they erupt and end up causing more damage than was necessary. It’s only a matter of time before one of you gets so frustrated by what’s unspoken that you will say things that shouldn’t be said instead of having a candid conversation about what needs to be discussed.

But you’d rather risk handling a ticking time bomb than put in the time and effort and emotional risk of having THAT conversation. I know. I’ve felt the same way at times. You’ll have to weigh the stakes of speaking up versus letting this one fester. Just don’t wimp out if the stakes of doing so are greater than those few moments of discomfort required to initiate the conversation.

If you decide to go for it, to have a candid conversation, here are some tips that may make it more productive. (I didn’t say these would make it any easier, but that is a possibility. … for now, let’s focus on at least getting somewhere with the conversation.)

First, know what it means to be candid. It’s doesn’t mean you have the green light to be unkind or to go on the attack. In fact, to be effective at being candid, you have to put some real thought and objectivity into your preparation. Candor means “the state or quality of being frank, open, and sincere in speech or expression; free from reservation, disguise, or subterfuge; straightforward.” The synonyms for candor are: matter-of-fact, frank, flat-out, plainspoken, straightforward, direct. It’s all about being truthful in a way that someone else can find constructive support in what you say to them.

Preparing for a Candid Conversation: 7 Checks

To prepare yourself for candid conversations, take these seven steps before you tackle the conversation. These will boost your confidence and help you reign in your emotions. Going into the conversation with the right intent minimizes the other party’s defensiveness and means the conversation is less likely to devolve into an emotionally-charged exchange.

  1. Have clarity of purpose.
  2. Identify emotional triggers.
  3. Check your assumptions.
  4. Focus on the positive outcomes.
  5. Consider the other perspective.
  6. Organize your thoughts and back up your key points with specifics and examples.
  7. Plan for “We” and “I” (not “You”) statements.

These are simple preparations. We often shortchange their importance because we are acting on our own emotion or we feel we’re too time-taxed to take these steps. But it’s charging into these candid conversations without being thoughtfully prepared that becomes a time drain. Not only does the conversation itself take longer, but we put obstacles and hurt feelings in our relationships that may take a long time to heal. It is worth the time to think and prepare before you speak candidly.

Preparing for Candid Conversations: 4 Neutral Statement Ideas

So now you’re ready for the conversation… Be sure to open it up with a neutral statement, one that doesn’t accuse or blame. Here are some ideas for good openings:

  • “I’d like to discuss ______. And I’d like to start by understanding your point of view.”
  • “I think we have different perceptions about _______. Tell me your thoughts.”
  • “I have something I’d like to discuss with you that I think will help us work together more efficiently.”
  • “Let’s talk about what just happened.”

You’ll notice that these conversations start by being inclusive and open. You’ll be operating with an assumption that there really are two sides to every story. Rather than entering into the conversation to force your own agenda, you are seeking first to understand. To do that throughout the conversation, you’ll want to inquire with an open mind. Then you should acknowledge the other party’s position and that you’ve heard and understood what they had to say. Don’t race through these first two steps –– they are extremely important because we all just want to be heard and understood.

Once you’ve truly heard and understood, you can advocate your position without attacking the other party’s position. This isn’t about a point-for-point competition. In fact, there may be aspects of the situation where you are both right. So consider collaborating to build a mutually agreeable solution. If the conversation does become adversarial, go back to one of the opening statements and follow this process through again and again.

Maintain your own objectivity throughout. If emotions get out of control, call a time out and refocus on your preparation steps. Remind yourself that you want a productive outcome and a preserved relationship more than you want to have your emotional release. Tirades, dressings down, woe-is-me whining, and tears won’t get you want you really want from this conversation. Keep yourself in check.

Preparing for Candid Conversations: 8 Cautions

Here’s a list of cautions. You’ll know you’re going too far outside the boundaries and that the conversation is becoming unproductive if:

  • You don’t maintain objectivity.
  • You resort to blaming or shaming.
  • You use superlatives (always, never).
  • You do not offer specifics & examples.
  • You beat around the bush.
  • You minimize and apologize.
  • You “protect” someone from the truth.
  • Your message is not clear.

You can do this. You have the time, and you have the spine. All you need to do is prepare yourself and proceed.

Are you a Leaner or Lifter?

Studies show some critically important facts about the workplace. First, the number one reason people leave their jobs is that they don’t feel appreciated. Also, 9 out of 10 people say they are more productive when they are around positive people.

Leadership is your ability to lift and lead others!!!

Every single person you meet – needs to be lifted to higher level. That is leadership. Does your presence in another’s life – lift them.

Are You a Lifter or Leaner?

There are just two kinds of people on earth today,

Just two kinds of people, no more, I say.

There are just two kinds of people on earth today,

Not the rich and the poor, for to count a man’s wealth

You must first know the state of his conscience and health.

Not the humble and proud, for, in life’s little span,

Who puts on airs is not counted a man.

Not the happy and sad, for the swift counting years

Bring each man his laughter and each man his tears.

No, the two kinds of people on earth I mean

Are the people who lift and the people who lean.

Wherever you go you will find the world’s masses

Are always divided in just these two classes.

And oddly enough you will find, too, I ween,

There’s only one lifter to twenty who lean.

In which class are you?

Are you easing the load

Of overtaxed lifters who toil down the road?

Or are you a leaner who lets others bear

Your portion of labour and worry and care?

– Ella Wheeler Wilcox –

Studies show some critically important facts about the workplace. First, the number one reason people leave their jobs is that they don’t feel appreciated. Also, 9 out of 10 people say they are more productive when they are around positive people. One study found that negative employees can scare off every client they come in contact with – for good!

Answer these questions if you are serious about becoming a Lifting Leader!

  • Are you Willing to Invest in Others?

Are you willing to invest in other people? You may build a beautiful house, but eventually it will crumble. You may develop a fine career, but one day it will be over. You may save a great sum of money, but you can’t take it with you. You may be in superb health today, but in time it will decline. You may take pride in your accomplishments, but someone will surpass you.Relationships are like anything else. The return you get depends on what you invest.

  • Are you willing to be vulnerable and courageous?

Approachable people are real. They engage with others on a genuine level, and don’t pretend to be someone they’re not. They don’t go out of their way to hide what they think and feel. They have no hidden agenda. Authenticity wins every time.

  • Are you willing to focus on others?

All human beings possess a desire to connect with other people. The need for connection is sometimes motivated by the desire for love, but it can just as easily be prompted by feelings of loneliness, the need for acceptance, the quest for fulfillment or the desire to achieve in business.

To fulfill our desire for relationships, we must stop thinking about ourselves and begin focusing on the people with whom we desire to build relationships. When you stop wor- rying so much about yourself and start looking at others and what they desire, you build a bridge to other people and you become the kind of person others want to be around.

  • Are you willing to learn from other and be teachable?

Each person we meet has the potential to teach us something. All of us can learn things in unlikely places and from unlikely people. But that’s only true if we have the right attitude. If you have a teachable attitude, you will be positioned well to learn from others.  Leaders who think they know everything and shut down other peoples input, very quickly find themselves alone.

Conclusion

You are responsible for developing your talent and the team around you’s talent as well. How do you do this effectively? You do it by becoming a leader who lifts constantly, take people higher, lighten the load, keep adding value and watch your leadership compound.

Lots of Love

Ella

Autonomy

Today we learn about Autonomy in the workplace. Through this lesson, you will learn how to define autonomy and gain insight into how the concept works in personal, and organisational contexts.

Definition of Autonomy

Every day we make countless decisions about everything from what to wear in the morning to what to eat for dinner. In most cases, we never stop to think about why we’re making these decisions nor do we pay much attention to the fact that no one is helping us to make them. If you stop and think about it, though, we have not always had the power to make decisions for ourselves; rather, we are granted this power as we grow older. The power to make our own decisions without the interference from others is what’s known as autonomy, and in nearly every sphere of life, it is incredibly important.

Autonomy is a term used to describe a person’s  ability to make decisions, or speak and act on their own behalf, without interference from another party. 

The importance of autonomy at work

Autonomy, in its simplest definition, is the urge to direct your own life. It’s something we want in both our professional and personal lives, but having autonomy at work (or not having it!) has taken on a pressing new meaning. Autonomy in the workplace isn’t just about managing our actions – it’s about choice; to be able able to choose and actually create our options.

The importance of autonomy in the workplace can’t be minimized. It has a knock-on effect on productivity, creativity and the quality of work produced, as well as work satisfaction and workplace trust. Without the ability to control what, when, and how we work – and even who we work with – we’ll never be fully motivated to complete a task… Nor will we want to stay with a company for very long. People simply won’t invest in a workplace that doesn’t respect their ability to manage their own professional space.

In our new era of “employee experience”, people expect to feel empowered at work. They want to feel valued and have a sense of ownership. If they don’t, most will simply up and leave. And where people feel oppressed and unhappy, neither promotions nor pay rises will fix the problem. In fact, one study found that people were two and a half times more likely to take a job that offered more autonomy than more influence.

While most managers recognize micro-management is bad for business, few have put strategies in place to actively support its solution: work autonomy. And yet, most of us – 79% according to one study – have experienced the pains of having too little autonomy in the workplace. As expectations of what we want from our jobs and employers develop, so too does our desire for greater autonomy. Here’s why building greater autonomy at work should be a top priority for every company – and how to practically go about it.

Steps to Build Autonomy in the Workplace

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How To Be A Happy And Productive Remote Worker

Some challenges of remote work include feelings of loneliness, isolation, and disconnection. However if you get the right mix – you can become most productive as a remote worker. I truly believe that putting good learnings into place will help those working remotely for the first time—or for the fortieth time—be their best remote working selves.

This post was documented on the 15th March – 1 Month Ago!!!! Now this may become a lifestyle so a great read – Recycled!!!

Remote Working

Whether you’ve been working remotely for a decade (like me!) or are just getting started on your remote working journey, there are ways of making sure it’s a delight instead of a total drag. 

For the many that are forced to embrace our way of working now -there may be fear, anxiety and a lot of uncertainty. But to be honest its the best way to work i feel and for years i have belonged to remote organisations and have been attending church remotely, conferences remotely and have absolutely loved being connected even though i was not physically in that room. So embrace this season to become more tech savvy.

In a recent survey, 77% of respondents reported greater productivity when working remotely compared to working in an office setting. In a different survey, 82% of respondents reported feeling happier when working remotely. 

However, remote work is not all sunshine and yoga pants. 

Some challenges of remote work include feelings of loneliness, isolation, and disconnection. However if you get the right mix – you can become most productive as a remote worker. I truly believe that putting good learnings into place will help those working remotely for the first time—or for the fortieth time—be their best remote working selves.

What Is Remote Work?

I’m going to define remote work as “working from home, collaborative spaces (or wherever you choose) as a discipline.”

This means you’re treating remote work with an appropriate amount of respect and thoughtfulness at both an individual and at a team level. 

You’re constantly trying to better yourself as a remote worker, and build a balanced remote culture within your team. The next most important thing is for your team to develop a shared context. A shared context means everyone is playing by the same rules, understands the team’s rituals and practices, and feels that they are operating in an equitable environment.

A normal programme at the Leadership Academy SA.  Some people are in offices, some people are working remotely. Can you tell?

Most people who work on Leadership Academy SA activities  do so remotely. We decided to go down that road early on when we were a startup because remote work enabled us to meet anytime and anywhere, we get to hire the best people regardless of location, develop a results-oriented culture, and scale our processes digitally.

So how did we do it?

Let’s first explore what it really means to be a “remote worker” because that’s the first step to success. 

Working From Home Does Not Equal Remote Work

In a lot of companies, “working from home” is synonymous with well, not really working.

One of the biggest misconceptions about remote work is that we’re all just sitting around in our yoga pants, binging Netflix, and doing our laundry. I think this comes from a mentality that, if you can’t see someone, how do you truly “know they are working?”

That’s got to be the first cultural myth to dispel in any organization that is really, sincerely willing to give remote work a fair chance. When remote work is your day-to-day reality, and not a wink wink nudge nudge exception, it becomes imperative to figure out the best ways to work.

People have different times where their energy peaks and you will see their are extremely productive – for some its 11pm at night and for others its 4am- remote workers get to schedule their time around this productivity. the worst thing is to be stuck on a commute during your most productive thinking time. So here are some insights on how to develop a remote working plan.

LASA’s Rules For Remote Work

We’ve developed a list of rules and practices that help maintain a shared context and help our team work together no matter where they are located.

1. Assume Remote

If even one person on your team is not in an office, assume remote. This means that you should take meetings from your desk and make sure to share all context of said meeting in a recording of some sort – either written – but i actually just share the link of the actual recording as soon as possible.


2. Have A Dedicated Office Space With A Door That Closes

When you’re working remotely full time, it’s important to designate and optimize a workspace that is not your kitchen counter or living room couch. I have dedicated Home office. Which is private and very beautiful, it’s my haven for productivity.

The door that closes is about making sure you’re creating the mental space to focus. This means having dedicated childcare when you’re working, just as you would if you were working in a traditional office environment.

3. Have The Tools To Do Your Job. 

Every team needs to use a defined digital toolset and every individual needs to have a strong internet connection. For example, we use Zoom for video meetings, Watsapp for chat,  Google Docs for sharing docs. Your toolset may be different, but defining it as a team is important for developing that shared context.

4. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate 

Follow the Rule of Seven, which states that people need to hear a message seven times before they’ll internalize it. If you feel like you’re over-communicating information, you’re probably communicating just the right amount.

5. Schedule Face Time

Make sure your team has the opportunity to meet and bond in person. Having regular off-sites is key to fostering human relationships that make working remotely function better and more smoothly.

Working remotely only works in organisations where Leadership Abilities are high – like ours. The reality is we are an organisation built on trust, purpose and autonomy. These are things we have cultivated for year. I guess it true that leaders keep climbing the tallest tree and keep a good vision of changing terrains. If you haven’t been fortunate for gearing your team to work remotely, maybe now would be a good time.

Reach out to us to assist helping you develop a plan to keep your greatest asset healthy in this very tumultuous time

with Love

Ella

Workplace of the 21st Century

The Generational Melting Pot

Sam is a 22 years old, and an enthusiastic new starter at your organization. This is the career that she has wanted since high school and, now that she’s got her degree and joined your team, she’s impatient to impress her new colleagues with her ambition and creativity. But she soon finds the going tough. Some of her fellow team members don’t seem to appreciate her eagerness, and they are wary of her ideas and suggestions. But she soon finds the going tough.

The team is a mixed bunch. Some are middle-aged and others are nearing retirement, and have been at the company for years. They feel that Sam doesn’t understand the way that things get done in the organization. Her enthusiasm and energy is starting to wane as she feels worn down by their reluctance to consider new ideas. So much has changed in the way our customers engage with our products, but all Sam gets is a deaf ear, raised eye-brows and dis-engagement.

Sam isn’t alone. Around the world and across industries, more generations than ever before are working together. Increasingly, it’s younger employees who are leading older team members , turning the established order on its head. This new scenario can cause problems, but it also presents opportunities for sharing knowledge and experience. This article explores how to thrive within a multi-generational workplace.

In days gone by, it was common for just two age groups to be represented in the workplace. There were long-serving, “dyed-in-the-wool” old-timers and ambitious newcomers. Times have changed, and now you could find yourself working with as many as five generations. Broadly speaking, each one has its own set of preferences, styles, perspectives, and experiences.

Introducing the Generations

This table shows the different age groups that are in the labor force today. It describes their traits and characteristics, and how they are frequently stereotyped.

Recent findings show that Millennials  are the biggest generation in the U.S. workforce, followed closely by Generation X  and the Baby Boomers. Silents are a small minority, and the youngest generation – the Zs – are just starting to enter the workforce.

The Potential – and the Pitfalls – of Multi-Generational Workplaces

Generational diversity has great potential. People from different generations can grow and learn from one another as they are exposed to one another’s ideas and experiences. The new perspectives they gain can spark new ideas and prompt new ways of working.

However, the potential for conflict and misunderstanding is very real. Intergenerational conflict within the workplace is a growing issue. A 2011 study found that “intergenerational cohesion” is one of the top three workplace risks.

Different generations can struggle to understand one another’s values and working styles. Working together and sharing power can be problematic. And as more people delay their retirement, younger generations can feel that their opportunities for career advancement are being restricted.

Six Strategies for Multi-Generational Harmony

So, now that our workplaces are more generationally diverse than at any time in history, but at risk of conflict because of this, how do we all work together harmoniously? Here are six strategies for thriving within a multi-generational mix.

1. Establish Respect

It doesn’t matter how old or how experienced we are, we all crave respect. And, just as newcomers need to respect older generations’ seniority and experience, so long-servers need to adjust to and respect the talent and potential of younger generations. Only when each group respects the other can both thrive.

The key to respecting other generations is to understand and accept that they are different  from yours. Consider what motivates people from different generations, what experiences they might have had, and what their working styles are likely to be. The table above can help you.

2. Be Flexible and Accommodating

When you understand what makes other generations “tick,” being able to accommodate their needs and preferences, where practical, can help to prevent division and conflict.

Each generation has its wants and needs, and values different ways of working. Older generations often have fewer responsibilities and costs at home and they appreciate the opportunity to work part-time or reduced hours, so that they can enjoy the benefits and rewards of a lifetime’s work. But an increasing number of Generation Xers are part of the “sandwich generation ,” responsible for caring for both elders and children alongside their work. And for members of Generation Y, a sociable life outside of work is often just as important as their career.

3. Avoid Stereotyping

It’s easy to stereotype different groups. For example, if you’re a Baby Boomer, you may think of Millennials as tech-obsessed and lacking in people skills. To Generation Z, Boomers may seem to be stubborn and inflexible.

Everyone is unique so, instead of assuming the worst, fight your unconscious bias  and accept individuals based on their merits, rather than as “typical” members of particular generations. Remember, chances are, somebody may be stereotyping you! You can change their perceptions and attitude by demonstrating a willingness to listen to new ideas or suggestions, and, as we explore below, by sharing your knowledge and expertise.

4. Learn From One Another

The different generations have a wealth of knowledge and experience that they can share.

The Boomers in your team, for example, can pass on the knowledge, information, useful contacts, and perspectives that they have developed during their years at work. In return, a Generation Y colleague can help them to get to grips with recent innovations, such as the latest developments in social media and viral marketing.

Successful multi-generational teams identify, value and build on one another’s skills and experiences. This focus on individual strengths, rather than on generational differences, is a key part of thriving in the modern workplace.

5. Tailor Your Communication Style

The generations often have their preferred methods of communication. Silents and Boomers tend to use one-on-one, telephone or written communication, whereas Generations X and Y tend to like emails and texts. Generation Z generally prefers the collaborative interaction of social media.

Generations differ in the degree of formality they use, too. Older team members tend to be more formal, whereas their younger colleagues will more likely use colloquialisms, abbreviations and “emojis” – small digital images and icons that are used in messages to represent ideas or emotions. This is more suited to personal or less important messages or communications. Serious or important messages are probably not the best times to use smiley face emojis!

Sticking rigidly to your own favored means and style of communication  can alienate others, so, although it might not feel natural, try to tailor your communication to suit the recipient whenever it’s appropriate.

6. Don’t Overlook the Similarities

Focus on the things that unite you with colleagues of all generations, rather than dwelling on the differences.

You might struggle at first to find similarities between yourself and older or younger team members. But, however stark the differences might appear to be, research suggests that there are more similarities than differences across the generations. After all, most people like to feel engaged with their work, to receive fair pay, to achieve, to build a better quality of life, to be happy and respected, and so on. Likewise, many of us share the same grumbles, such as feeling overworked and underpaid!

Key Points

Multi-generational workplaces can host as many as five generations. Having people who were born between the 1920s and the 1990s work together creates the potential for creativity and innovation, but also for conflict and misunderstanding.

You can avoid these pitfalls and thrive through:

  • Staying respectful, flexible and understanding.
  • Avoiding stereotypes.
  • Being open to learning from others, and helping them to learn from you.
  • Adapting your communication style.
  • Focusing on similarities between individuals, rather than on generational differences.

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