We have all read and heard about the importance of taking time to reflect on our day so that we may learn from the day. However, some of us struggle to do so without some type of framework to guide us through that reflection in a productive manner.
Following are the highlights of a framework that many some of the leaders that I coach have found to be helpful and it is an adaptation of the Daily Examen.
“Some questions you might ask yourself:
From your perspective as a manager, what was the high point of the day?
The low point of the day”…Again, look for reasons and patterns.
When were you working at your best during the day?
When did you struggle to stay focused and engaged?
How hectic was the day?
Think about each of your direct reports. Imagine how he/she might have pictured interacting with you.
Investing well is important as we consider and plan for the future. Most often when we think of investing, we are thinking of our financial investments. We are planning for our children’s college plans, their marriages, hedging against unexpected expenses, and for financial security for our latter years. However, our investment plans often do not consider the non-financial aspects of our lives and when we fail to invest in these areas, the financial investing becomes a moot point.
We are relational beings who are designed for and need strong relationships. The impact of good relationships on our mental, emotional, and even physical health has been well documented. As has often been stated, at the end of our time here on earth, it is not the number of hours we spent at the office or our impressive portfolio that we think about—it is the people in our lives. So, the question is, how is our “investment strategy” when it comes to the key relationships in our lives? Are you investing time and attention into your relationship with your spouse, your children, and your key friendships? Is it a high-quality investment?
What is your investment strategy when it comes to your spiritual, emotional, intellectual, and physical health? The importance of a strong financial investment strategy diminishes quite rapidly when we have invested poorly in these other areas of our lives. Do you have an investment strategy for growing spiritually and emotionally? Are you spending time daily in quiet reflection as well as reading in a way that grows you in these areas? Are you becoming a self-managed person where you manage your emotions versus them controlling you?
How are you investing in your intellectual growth? Are you reading well and often? Do you have a plan for how often you will read and what you will read? Are you reading widely and well beyond your profession? Are you consistently challenging your own thinking and correcting it when you find that your preconceived notions are incorrect or when you realize that your thinking patterns are unhealthy?
Finally, to my favorite part (not really)! How are you investing in your physical health? Do you eat in a way that strengthens you? A friend of mine often remarks that he eats to live versus lives to eat. So, are you eating to live and live well? What about that dreaded word—exercise? Do you exercise on a regular basis? I am not talking about becoming a gym rat, but is reasonable exercise a part of your daily routine?
Investing well in our overall life, not just the financial aspect, is vitally important. It is important to those we love, those we serve, those we lead, and to ourselves. Invest well so that you leave a legacy of hope and changed lives.
What does “humility in the workplace” mean? Why is it important?
For many, the word humility has many connotations. Some are very positive and some not so positive. It seems some people equate humility to weakness and being a “doormat”. I beg to differ from that view of humility. In true humility, there is great strength.
Regarding humility in the workplace, for me it means – An objective understanding, an awareness, of the strengths a person brings to an organization as well as an objective understanding, an awareness, of their gaps – their weaknesses or gaps in knowledge – thus an understanding of their need for others to be effective.
A proper understanding of humility results in an understanding of people’s need for others to be effective in their role in the organization (and life in general). That understanding should result in someone who greatly values collaboration and understands the need to be a good teammate at work.
Humility in the workplace is not weaknesses – it is a strength and wisdom.
Do you want to be more effective – try some humility at work (works at home as well!)
One of the biggest findings of the study was, contrary to the negativity, leadership development really does work: 82 percent of managers, peers and direct reports of people trained cited higher frequency of observed positive leadership behaviors among leaders after they had completed development courses.
Time and again, the research shows that investing into the people of our organizations pays dividends from happier employees, stronger organizational culture, happier customers, to higher profits, and long-term sustainability. Yet, either we don’t ever get around to investing in the people we lead or it is the first thing that is cut if we get busy or try to cut costs.
The Crisp Meeting is a great post by Seth Godin that gives you a framework for creating meetings that enhance your work instead of them becoming a drain on your productivity. Following is an excerpt from the post:
The crisp meeting is one of a series. It’s driven by purpose and intent. It’s guided by questions:
Who should be in the room?
What’s the advance preparation we ought to engage in? (at least an hour for every meeting that’s worth holding).
What’s the budget?
What’s the deadline?
The post has several more excellent questions to be asked in preparation for a meeting and some pithy thoughts as you might expect from Mr. Godin. It is worth a read in my opinion.
Today is Friday. How do you maximize your Friday’s? Usually Friday’s tend to be days of low productivity for many people as they are tired from the week and anticipating the weekend.
Why don’t you do something a bit different? Use your Friday afternoon to not only clean up some of those pesky emails, but use a bit of your afternoon to plan out next week? Not overly detailed planning, but ensure you have your major priorities planned out and on your calendar instead of coming in Monday morning and begin reacting.
Be proactive on Monday morning versus being reactive due to your Friday afternoon planning time.
Dave Kraft is a wise man and was my former leadership coach. In an excellent post he talks about the application of ACTS in a particular situation and this post is a worthwhile read in my opinion.
So, let’s look at ACTS in a general sense and how a leader might apply it to their life.
A – ACCOUNTABLE: Are you truly accountable to someone(s) in your life? Truly accountable? Is someone willing to ask you the hard questions and pursue you until you deal with those questions? Are they willing to challenge questionable behaviors in your life?
C – CONFESSIONAL: Do you confess and own your sin or do you try to shift the blame? Mature leaders accept rebuke, confess their sin, and own their sin.
T – TEACHABLE: Are you teachable as a leader? Are you willing to receive honest inquiries from those you lead? And others? Do you realize that there are many people smarter than you and some of them are on the team you lead?
S – SUSTAINABLE: Is the pace you are setting for your team sustainable? Are your expectations realistic? Are you providing the resources to your team that they need to meet your expectations? What about your team’s work-life balance?
1. Good and genuine accountability, coupled with vulnerability and transparency. 2. A clear value in keeping short accounts, with sin being quickly confessed and owned. 3. An attitude of being teachable and open to new ideas and ways of thinking. 4. A culture of pacing that is realistic and sustainable, resulting in good morale and joy.
Following is an excerpt from an excellent article on what is really happening when we think we’re multi-tasking. Check it out – it is worth your time to read in my opinion.
“Our brains are busier than ever before. We’re assaulted with facts, pseudo facts, jibber-jabber, and rumour, all posing as information. Trying to figure out what you need to know and what you can ignore is exhausting. At the same time, we are all doing more. . . . Now we do most of those things ourselves. We are doing the jobs of 10 different people while still trying to keep up with our lives, our children and parents, our friends, our careers, our hobbies, and our favourite TV shows.”
“But there’s a fly in the ointment. Although we think we’re doing several things at once, multitasking, this is a powerful and diabolical illusion. Earl Miller, a neuroscientist at MIT and one of the world experts on divided attention, says that our brains are ‘not wired to multitask well… When people think they’re multitasking, they’re actually just switching from one task to another very rapidly. And every time they do, there’s a cognitive cost in doing so.”’So we’re not actually keeping a lot of balls in the air like an expert juggler; we’re more like a bad amateur plate spinner, frantically switching from one task to another, ignoring the one that is not right in front of us but worried it will come crashing down any minute. Even though we think we’re getting a lot done, ironically, multitasking makes us demonstrably less efficient.” (emphasis added)