Tag Archives: employee morale

5 Communication Habits of Highly Successful Leaders

5 Communication Habits of Highly Successful Leaders

Great leaders are heard, and understood. They get the results they want. Here’s how.

When you clearly communicate your vision and objectives to your team, you have certain expectations about the outcome of that communication. Yet, I commonly hear entrepreneurs express concern and confusion over their employees’ inability to carry out a plan to the point of meeting, or exceeding, expectations. If this frustration is familiar to you, it may not be because you’ve chosen the wrong employees, but the wrong approach in communicating with them.

In his recently released book If I Can, You Can: Transformation Made Easy, business coach David Zelman talks about how to communicate so that you are heard–and understood.

“Everyone possesses a unique set of internal conversations,” says Zelman. “Outcomes aren’t based on what your employees are being told, but what they are telling themselves.” In his 40 years of leadership coaching Zelman has learned that everyone’s actions are a perfect match to their inner dialogue and correlated to what they are telling themselves, not what others are telling them. 

If you tell your team that you are slashing the price of an existing product, each person hears something different. Your sales team hears, “Great. More demand, but I’ll have to sell more units to make my financial commitment.” Customer service hears, “Better staff up for additional client base.” And production hears, “How are we going to meet the demand? We are already running at capacity.”

“When another person is speaking, we often don’t do a good job of distinguishing what the other person is saying versus our interpretation of what they’re saying,” says Zelman. “In fact, it is uncommon for us to simply hear what is being said. The point is, if you say something to five people, you are most likely having five different conversations.”

It is possible to create a shared vision within your organization, and to inspire your team to contribute meaningfully. Here are Zelman’s top five suggestions on how to help others transform their inner dialogue and dramatically alter the chance of success.

1.  Have conversations that are focused on the future, not the past.

Getting people aligned on a vision or common purpose is one of the primary roles of a leader. Too many conversations revolve around explaining or justifying why something did or did not get done. This is a waste of time and energy. The past is behind us. Build a practice of focusing on the future, of what needs to happen to achieve the vision and goals. And always establish timeframes in which goals will be achieved.

2.   Instead of issuing directives, have a dialog.

By having employees participate in a dialog that creates goals, strategy, and timeframes, you are encouraging them to have a higher level of ownership of the corporate objectives. Create a collaborative culture and people will assume responsibility willingly.

3.   Don’t assume you have been heard.

Communication requires both speaking and listening. The excuse, “It’s not my fault; I told them what I wanted,” just doesn’t cut it. Unless you ask for feedback, such as, “What’s your interpretation of what I just said?” there is too much room for misunderstanding.

4.   Create a culture of authentic communication.

While transparency and inclusiveness are important variables in establishing effective communication, maintaining integrity in communications is even more so. Organizations must build a culture where people are authentically committed to what they say. A promise is a promise. A commitment is a commitment.

5.   Acknowledge and appreciate good work.

When people are recognized and acknowledged for their contribution, they are more likely to continue to create value in the organization. If you stop acknowledging people, they lose their sense of belonging and making a difference.

Leaders who succeed in sustaining effective communication throughout their organization build high-performing teams and thriving companies. How do you achieve your best results?

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Rejuvenate Your Mind While You Work

10 Ways to Rejuvenate Your Mind While You Work

Geil Browning, Ph.D. | Founder and CEO of Emergenetics International

Geil Browning, Ph.D. 

(This article was originally written by Dr. Geil Browning for Inc.com)

In my column for Inc.com, I’ve written about how I lead groups of volunteers to work with the Kenyan Children Foundation in Africa, and how we all return home exhausted but with our brains refreshed and renewed. We take a break from our usual ways of thinking and open our minds to new ideas and experiences. But you don’t have to travel thousands of miles from home to recharge your brain or rejuvenate your mind.

As an entrepreneur, you probably work upward of 60 hours a week. Forbes interviewed 20 entrepreneurs about their work habits and found they worked an average of 60 to more than 100 hours per week. Most noted that weekdays were not much different from weekends, and that personal time off did not exist at all. One responded, “the concept of ‘work’ disappears–it is just what we do.”

As anyone who has crammed for an exam can tell you, usually the number of hours we work without interruption is inversely proportionate to how much we accomplish. So how do these entrepreneurs manage to work so many hours without suffering from brain fatigue?

Well, first of all, it is because they truly love being an entrepreneur and are passionate about their enterprise. But, I believe, part of the answer is that they wear so many hats. They never get stuck doing the same kind of work for too long.

Here are some more brain-based tips that can work wonders for rejuvenating your mind:

1. Buy a good office chair, or get a standing desk. 

Focal Upright Furniture has a brand-new chair-and-desk combination on the market. Invented by Martin Keen, of Keen shoes fame, it uses a position between sitting and standing, and allows lots of movement as you work. It also helps those who use it remain attentive.

2. Do not multitask.

John Medina, author of Brain Rules, tells us the brain cannot multitask, period. What it does do is switch back and forth between tasks very quickly. Someone whose attention is interrupted not only takes 50% longer to accomplish a task but also makes up to 50% more errors. A study in The New England Journal of Medicine found that people who talk on the cell phone while driving are four times more likely to have an accident because it isn’t possible to devote your full attention to both driving and talking at the same time. Hands-free calling offered no advantage. What’s the lesson to take away? Focus on one task at a time, and you’ll accomplish each better and faster–without killing anybody.

3. Use all your senses.

Work is more entertaining for your brain–and therefore makes you more alert–when you engage as many of your senses as possible. Use colored paper and pens. Experiment with peppermint, lemon, or cinnamon aromatherapy. Try playing background music.

4. Don’t make too many decisions in one day.

It sounds farfetched, but if you go shopping in the morning, then negotiate yourself out of eating a cookie at lunch, and finally try to decide between two job offers that afternoon, you might choose the wrong job because you didn’t eat the cookie, according to Scientific American. Making choices depletes your reserves of executive function, or “the mental system involved in abstract thinking, planning, and focusing on one thing instead of another.” This can adversely affect decisions you make later.


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Breakroom Office Etiquette

Office breakrooms are the perfect place to relax, reboot, and refresh throughout the work day. Stick with these guidelines from Gentwenty to enjoy every blissful moment of your hard-earned break:

The laws of office break room etiquette

Office Break RoomImage Credit: Jim Moore

Welcome to the real world! Maybe you have just landed your first job in the workforce (congrats!) or maybe you have been a member of the club for a while now. We imagine that you work hard and cannot wait to get your hands on that delicious lunch hour or that could-not-have-come-at-a-better-time fifteen minute break. Are you new to the office and have no idea where to put your food in the fridge? Maybe you stirred things up a bit by heating up some tuna and smelling up the entire office. Surely that was not you gossiping in the break room and getting busted at the same time. What flies in the break room and what is a no-go? We are sharing some rules for probably one of the least talked about aspects of office life: the break room.

Believe it or not, you need break room etiquette whether the rules are spoken or unspoken. Break room etiquette helps ensure that we have smooth interactions with our office mates. It increases respect around the office and can help keep overall harmony. It also helps to make sure you have a stress-free break, much needed of course.

Here are some simple, common sense and easy to follow commandments to follow when you are in the office break room.

Thou shall not be messy. Please, oh please, clean up after yourself. There are no office maids sister; you are an adult. Do not leave your trash everywhere. Do not leave your dishes to sit in the days until the next quarterly meeting. Do your part.

Thou shall not be lazy. Ever been frustrated because the last person to use the water forgot to change the cooler? We all have. If you are the last to use something, replace it.

Thou shall not gossip. Nothing nice to say? Keep it away from the break room. Gossiping is just plain mean. You never know who is behind you or who may overhear you. The workplace is not the place to vent about how lazy and miserable you think your boss is; save that for cocktails with your best friends.

Thou shall not make smelly foods. Any seafood is pretty much a winner for this category. No one wants to smell fish while they are trying to work. The biggest smelly food crime of the office? Probably burnt popcorn. We know it can be hard folks, just stand by the microwave and watch it.

Thou shall not steal. Do not, under any circumstances, take something that belongs to someone else without asking them. This includes everything from food to dishes. You would not want someone to eat your fabulous homemade cookies, would you?

Thou shall mind thy manners. If you can help yourself, try not to be nuisance in the break room. It is a time for people to relax and get their minds off of work. Do not chat on your phone loudly, chew loudly, or just do anything loud in general. Oh, and for heaven’s sake, do not bug others about work-related projects during the break. Be respectful, mate.

Thou shall enjoy thy break. You have earned it. Take the time to relax and clear your mind. Ready, break!