This is ONE of the excellent posts of 2014. It has lots of good actionable info. Read it and apply it.
As George Matthew Adams said, there are high spots in all of our lives and most of them have come about through encouragement from someone else. I don’t care how great, how famous or successful a man or woman may be, each hungers for applause.
“Some people offer encouragement in a boisterous way. They dole out lavish and effusive praise, bear hugs, and hearty cheers or applause. Other encouragers turn to techniques that are quiet and subtle: a soft smile, a kind word, or a light touch on the hand. But regardless of the form that encouragement takes, it carries amazing potential—the potential to lift a person’s spirits while helping them to stay focused on their goals.” (Quoted Julie Exline – Psychology Today)
Encouragement does following 5 main things to people which has direct relation to success of the organization.
- fuels the passion to do better and exceed expectations
- sets expectations and helps people evaluate on their own merit
- strengthens the self-esteem
- reinforces positive work environment
- increases appetite for taking calculated risks by being creative and innovative
en·cour·age·ment – (noun) – something that makes someone more likely to do something
praise – (verb) – to express approval of (someone or something)
When it comes to encouragement, it’s either a thank you email or keep up the good work statement. So praising is good and we all like it, which happens after the action or any achievement. Praising serves as encouragement for next venture but it is only for people who have contributed towards that specific achievement. Its like
While encouragement is something done before and during any action taking place to rally our troops to the goal. Anyone can given encouragement.
When Encouraging Others, Keep In Mind:
- False praise discourages others. Praise only real and specific achievements, even if you have to identify individuals and their contributions.
- Encouragement can be a smile, a nod, a clap or a pat on the back but go beyond saying keep up the good job; if you want people to exceed your expectations.
- When encouraging be sincere and attentive, take time to recognize.
- Usually meetings end frantically because no time is left, as a leader ensure its your job to take a moment and say specific words of encouragement.
- Be consistent and ensure small snafus do not blow the sockets off
- Timely encouragement is important; a stitch on time saves nine.
- Observe for signs of discouragement – limited or no engagement / participation, don’t care attitude, body language, etc.
How to Encourage:
- Foster collaboration among teams & organizations
- Processes and disciplines are required to succeed, but they need to be refined with time and as technology changes. Be the champion of taking down the barriers in achieving efficiency & productivity.
- Trust your people and let them make decision.
- Delegate some of the work & meetings to your team and ask for information, this will help you grow them and identify star players.
- Stay engaged by recognizing people at the right time, giving clear directions and suggestions when required, asking for input and showing respect.
- People make mistakes, understand the effort and planning that went in, provide insight and help ensure it does not get repeated.
- When needed, take actions required to address the problem. Discipline of the organization must be maintained.
- Take the responsibility of your team. Understand where buck should stop.
Encouragement is a valuable gift that we can give without any expense and it rewards both giver and receiver. It builds relationships, drives positive growth, improves corporate bottom line while giving satisfaction to employees. Encouraging right people at right time in a right way does wonders.
I was puzzled for many days due to irrational behavior of someone. I was reading a book by Robert Greene called Mastery and it had a section that helped me keep my sanity. This prompted me to share the one page of info from this book (mostly as it is) for anyone who is going through it. This book is very good – for career and personal life, recommend buying it.
Author writes, ” In the course of your life you will be continually encountering fools. There are simply too many to avoid. We can classify people as fools by the following rubric: when it comes to practical life, what should matter is getting long-term results, and getting the work done in as efficient and creative a manner as possible. But fools carry with them a different scale of values:
- They place more importance on short-term matters-grabbing immediate money, getting attention from the public or media, and looking good.
- They are ruled by their ego and insecurities.
- They tend to enjoy drama and political intrigue for their own sake.
- When they criticize, they always emphasize matters that are irrelevant to the overall picture or argument.
- They are more interested in their career and position than in the truth.
- You can distinguish them by how little they get done, or by how hard they make it for others to get results.
- They lack a certain common sense, getting worked up about things that are not really important while ignoring problems that will spell doom in the long-term.
The natural tendency with fools is to lower yourself to their level. They annoy you, get under your skin, and draw you into a battle. In the process, you feel petty and confused. You lose a sense of what is really important. You can’t win an argument or get them to see your side or change their behavior, because rationality and results don’t matter to them. You simply waste valuable time and emotional energy.
In dealing with fools you must adopt the following philosophy: they are simply a part of life, like rocks or furniture. All of us have foolish sides, moments in which we lose our heads and think more of our ego or short-term goals. It is human nature. Seeing this foolishness within you, you can then accept it in others. This will allow you to smile at their antics, to tolerate their presence as you would a silly child, and to avoid the madness of trying to change them. It is all part of the human comedy, and it is nothing to get upset about or lose sleep over.
This attitude – “Suffer Fools Gladly“- should be forged in your Apprenticeship Phase, during which you are almost certainly going to encounter this type. if the are causing you trouble, you must neutralize the harm they do by keeping a steady eye on your goals and what is important, and ignoring them if you can. The height of wisdom, however, is to take this even further and to actually exploit their foolishness – using them for material for your work, as examples of things to avoid, or by looking for ways to turn their actions to your advantage. In this way, their foolishness plays into your hands, helping you achieve the kind of practical results they seem to disdain.”
You can purchase this book at Amazon.Com
(Credit – Mastery, Author Robert Greene, Published by Penguin Group, New York 10014, 2012, page 163-164)
This post talks about how processes created and implemented in hurry overlook the impact on resources, and do not help in long run. Don’t panic and trap yourself in a complicated web of rules, processes and policies to prevent future happenings when something goes wrong. It becomes quite easy to show the world how well thought and fool-proof bureaucratic system we have put in place to catch problems at each level. Management asks what checks are in place to prevent this in future, we bring up the slide that shows our safeguards, sometimes without realizing if its sustainable, what goes through such scrutiny.
The day a process failure identified in a process and gets top management’s attention, teams scramble to fix the problem immediately. All hands on decks! Its stand-down till we fix the issue. Teams become reactive and a lot of work is put in to discover what went wrong and how to prevent it from happening again. This is all good but in hurry to fix the problem and report that all is good, often processes are created that add inefficiencies and add bureaucratic layers, approval processes, workflows, checklists, etc., etc. We all know that finding the origin of the problem and fixing it there is more effective than putting a process that will catch the issue or problem downstream.
No doubt that we need to plug the hole(s), fix the processes immediately to keep our business running while ensuring it does not happen in future. Please pay attention to following thoughts & questions when developing and implementing a solution to fix the problem.
- Is team 100% reactive. Root cause analysis is there to help.
- Did we understand completely, problem might be the tip of the iceberg.
- Is it an issue or problem? What are the statistics telling? Is it recurring problem or it was a rare occurrence?
- Assess the impact on system and organization. Seek external input and consult stakeholders.
- Discover why it occurred, could it have been avoided, if yes, then how?
- Is there any strategy in place through risk assessment exercise to deal with it?
- Where does the problem exist – people, processes, technology, data or a combination thereof?
- Is new process to fix problem seems kind of bureaucratic? Are you overdoing it? What it does to efficiency / performance of people?
- Is new process stifles creativity in any way?
- Are there accountablity, attitude or communication related issues present in the teams?
Do not wait until the conditions are perfect to begin. Beginning makes the conditions perfect. – Alan Cohen (A prominent businessman from Florida)
Once you find yourself at a fork in the road, or clueless about which path to choose from – you wonder …..where should I begin this journey? I have been there many time. Sometime stuck or sometimes clueless. I ask others and choose what fits in. You will be amazed how many resources are available for help and how different perspectives let you find the right solution. Choice is always yours, some times things work out as expected, other times you find out what does not work. There is no template or documented way as we all have unique abilities and unique challenges.
You have the solution, all you are doing is uncovering with the help of others. Because it is meant to be like that.
But when should you begin asking? After doing your home work. If you do not do your home work, you will be overwhelmed by choices and might be victim of analysis paralysis. Here are some thoughts to prepare you to ask help from others, in many cases you do many of these things in parallel:
- Use mind mapping technique to put thoughts, situation and desired result on paper.
- Talk to couple of your trusted friend and seek advice who has been in the similar situation.
- Check with a life coach, a professional mentor or an expert is situation requires professional input.
- Contemplate and jot down best-case and worst-case scenarios.
- Do on-line search, check out blogs, forums, libraries or book stores.
- Join a group, attend networking event, take a class where like-minded people will gather; or take a vacation, sleep well and go for a walk or jog with all the advice, a solution may pop-up automatically.
- Do not do all thinking in the head alone, jot down your thoughts and give them shape by arranging them as they make sense.
- Put a milestone chart for action steps. Start with question mark and end with desired outcome. Then fill with monthly and yearly milestone.
- Now describe what needs to be done to achieve those monthly and yearly milestones.
- Stay up-beat and keep focused. Don’t be bothered about nay sayers. Per Nike’s tag line – just do it!
Any decision you take, remember Steven Covey’s 2nd principle – begin with the end in mind. We all do most of the things but my experience working with others is that folks do not write or do not jot down any of the plan. You got to do it.
- Strategy is not the consequence of planning but the opposite, its starting point. – Henry Mintzberg
- Run with your head the first two-thirds of a race and with your heart the final third. – Jack Daniels
- A good team is a great place to be, exciting, stimulating, supportive, successful. A bad team is horrible, a sort of human prison. – Charles Handy
- In adversity, remember to keep an even mind. – Horace
- Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers; pray for powers equal to your tasks. – Phillips Brooks
- The secret of getting things done is to act. – Dante Alighieri
- Constant dripping hollows out a stone. – Lucretius
- The first great gift we can bestow on others is a good example. – Thomas Marell