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Time for an Attitude Adjustment? Make These 3 Changes Today

attitudeAdjustment250x225You want to continue to grow in your career and add to your success. That means adding to your knowledge base and to your toolkit. It means that you exhibit the right attitude. Your success often comes down to who you are as a human being and how you behave. On that note and with a brief imaginary drum roll… here are 3 attitudes to help move your forward. Be Flexible – The way to the top is not always straight up. Sometimes you move sideways, and then up. While you remain in the same position waiting for that promotion, others who are more open minded are moving ahead. Before you disregard an opportunity, consider what you have to gain. Does it allow you to learn something new about your organization or industry, add new skills to your portfolio, expand your network or help you build stronger working relationships? You will be compared to others who have shown that they are not afraid to try something new. Be Likeable - Being likeable is a skillset. You have the ability to be liked. Ability is something you can cultivate it is not an all or nothing trait. Project work is accomplished through people. When everything else is equal, people choose to surround themselves with people who they enjoy. When people enjoy working for you, they are willing to go the extra mile for you and you have a better selection of the most qualified resources. How? Think before you speak. Be sincere and be kind. Treat everyone around you with respect. Be a leader whom others admire. Be Low-maintenance - Ask yourself this: “Do I make life easier for the people I work with, or do I make life more difficult, am I high-maintenance or highly valued?” If you do not know the answer, ask someone you can trust. Napoleon Hill said, "It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed." No matter how important your title may be or how high your salary is, you are serving others. When you come to the office you are there to serve others. When your actions depict service, others will take notice. There it is, 3 attitudes you can adopt right now, today, this week and from this point forward. If you already do all of this, then way to go AND how about teaching this to one of your team members?  
If you enjoyed this blog posting, then you may enjoy our bi-weekly ezine Turning Point for FREE tips and insights to discover A Path to Peace……!
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Squash the Rebellion

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image2242640What do you do when you have a rebellious team member? What do I mean by a rebellious team member? I mean the team member who does not want to follow the rules. Nothing makes this team member happier than to fly in the face of authority. If you ask her to be early for a special client presentation, she is going to just barely show up on time. If you review the company dress code with her she is going to push the limits of the dress code. “What is wrong with my blouse, it has a collar, it just doesn’t have any sleeves. The dress code says wear shirts with collars, there is no mention of sleeves.” Right, so now we need to update the dress code to remind people to wear sleeves and to have pant legs in their pants. Don’t drive yourself crazy, she is always going to find a way to get around the rules. Don’t let a rebel take up all of your time and energy. Don’t spend too much of your time checking up on your rebel to make sure she is following the rules. This will most likely trigger her to be even more rebellious. After all it is usually more fun for her if she is rebelling against someone and if someone is objecting to her behavior, well that is perfect. When necessary correct her behavior. If she refuses to follow the rules, then she must bear the consequences. Approach this in a matter of fact manner. If she decides to violate the dress code, then send her home to change or home for the day. If she does not show up at the requested time for client presentations, don’t invite her. Do not become upset. She made a decision, now she must accept the consequences. You might just be able to leverage her rebellious streak in a productive manner. Let your rebel be the one who tries to break the system or find the chaos in a process. Allow her to review policies and procedures and find flaws in them. Have her show you how easy it is to work around a specific security check. In this way you can channel what comes to her naturally. Of course this does not mean that she will stop rebelling against your requests for status reports and time tracking, but at least you will reap some benefit from her tendencies.  
If you enjoyed this blog posting, then you may enjoy our bi-weekly ezine Turning Point for FREE tips and insights to discover A Path to Peace……!
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Turn Around!

No matter how long you have traveled in the wrong direction, you always have the choice to turn around.” – Anonymous Choice-decision-planA-planB300x232What is worse than a bad decision? Refusing to acknowledge that a decision is bad and insisting on sticking with it. Even worse than that is instead of changing direction, looking for someone or something to blame when things go wrong. There is really no reason to keep pursuing the wrong path. It is actually a mark of a strong leader to be able to admit that a direction or a decision isn’t what we thought it should be. Unfortunately many people don’t see it this way. They make a decision and set a course of action and they cling to it no matter how badly it’s going. They begin to say things like ”If you just stick with it we will come out okay on the other side.” Or, “Imagine how much worse it would be if we had not used this approach.” What their teams are imagining is how much better it would be if they could just stop pretending that everything was going to work out. I hope these people change direction if they are about to be involved in a head-on collision. But you and I know that some of them would not. That is an unfortunate waste of resources. It is bad for business and bad for morale. To be fair you and I also must accept that there are some corporate cultures where admitting that anything is a mistake is politically incorrect and therefore career limiting. That does not mean you do not change your direction when you know you are going the wrong way. It just means that you come up with some valid reason for the new approach. Most people will be relieved and will be supportive of the new direction and may not even ask too many questions. Nor will they expect any type of discussion or admission that the previous direction was wrong. See, even in difficult environments there is no reason to keep heading in the wrong direction. When you realize you are going the wrong direction the sooner you enact a course correction the sooner you will get back on track. You will have plenty of time to review how you all wandered off the path later. The first priority is to stop and honestly assess the situation. Next you need to reconfirm exactly what is it you hope to accomplish. Then you can work to chart a new course or plan of action. Make sure everyone understands this new plan of action. Now it is time to change direction. Move forward confidently. Nobody selects the right direction all of the time. The smart, successful leaders understand this and are not afraid to turn around. Go-ahead turn around.  
If you enjoyed this blog posting, then you may enjoy our bi-weekly ezine Turning Point for FREE tips and insights to discover A Path to Peace……!
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Rumor Has It

rumor-has-itWell that was frightening. Two of your strongest project supporters just became your two most difficult people. Until this point, both of them had been easy to work with. They had both been very engaged and quick to respond to communications and requests for help. You had heard some rumors that they did not get along well with one another. You did not give these rumors a second thought when you invited them both to a quick meeting to discuss a minor project issue. That is where you made your mistake. The meeting started off calmly enough. Both of your stakeholders arrived. They both greeted you warmly. Oddly they did not really acknowledge one another. You gave a quick overview of the issue and then to your surprise your two best stakeholders began to insult one another and argue back and forth. Each blamed the others' group for the issue and each implied that the other was lacking as a leader. They were still your dream stakeholders, but now that dream was a nightmare. You began to think that perhaps you did not know these two as well as you thought you did. The meeting ended, but the issue was far from being resolved. How could you have known? This should have shown up in your stakeholder analysis. After all, you were aware of the rumor that these two did not get along. You might ask, "Since when do rumors become part of my professional work?" I bet you pay attention to rumors about layoffs and project cancellations and upcoming promotions. You might even rethink your plans based on the strength of some of those rumors. You should consider paying attention to information about your stakeholders so that you can use that information in order to create your stakeholder management plan. Of course you do not use rumors for the sake of idle gossip. You investigate some of them so that you can avoid situations where two dream stakeholders use project meeting time to attack one another. If you hear from enough people that your two dream stakeholders do not get along, pay attention. Find ways to determine if there is truth in this rumor. How? Ask other project managers about their experiences with these two in meetings. Pay attention to their body language when they are near one another. Listen to their tone of voice and the words they use when they discuss the other person or that other person's department. You also want to pay attention to who they get along with. Who do you see them taking lunches with or laughing with? You could have avoided this difficult meeting with these two stakeholders. You could have acted as a liaison between them. You could have invited a third party to the meeting, someone whom they both get along with who could help neutralize the situation. You also could have done some pre-work with both of them. By pre-work I mean discussing the issue with both of them in advance and allowing them to vent as much as possible BEFORE the meeting. But you didn't. Is it worth it to put this type of work into your stakeholder management plan? You have to make this decision for yourself. You might think, "So what if they do not get along, that is not my problem. They are grown-ups they can deal with it." Certainly you cannot always take an approach that keeps them permanently separated from one another. But instead of letting their encounters just happen, you can manage these encounters much more strategically. You are not just making it easier for yourself. You are making it easier for them, and they most likely appreciate this. You are also minimizing time spent in unproductive conflict and maximizing your ability to keep your team on track for success.  
If you enjoyed this blog posting, then you may enjoy our bi-weekly ezine Turning Point for FREE tips and insights to discover A Path to Peace……!
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On Being Sad

JonathanFoer-QuoteYou cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness.” ― Jonathan Safran Foer You know that I believe that happiness is a choice. You know that I am in favor of making that your long-term choice. That does not mean that I think sadness is completely bad or even unnecessary. We all have times in our life where we experience sadness. I will not go so far as to say that you cannot know happiness unless you have known sadness. “You cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness.” This is not saying you must feel sadness to feel happiness or vice versa. This is saying that to guard yourself from one emotion is to guard yourself from all emotions. If you make a pact with yourself never to feel sad you are making a pact with yourself never to feel. If you think that you can cut yourself off from one emotion without impacting your ability to feel other emotions, I would suggest that you are being dishonest with yourself. To cut off all emotion is to place yourself at a disadvantage. Emotions when recognized and properly managed are beneficial to your growth and to your well-being. Sadness is an emotion and being sad serves a purpose. I recently encountered an article that lists four benefits that can come from feeling sad. (http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/four_ways_sadness_may_be_good_for_you ) Those four benefits are:
  1. Sadness can improve your memory – A negative mood reduces the likelihood that a memory will be distorted by other factors. When we are in a positive frame of mind we are more prone to distortion. A person who is sad when an event occurs will have better recall of that event than the person who observes that same event while in a happy frame of mind.
  2. Sadness can improve judgment – When we are happy we are subject to the ‘halo’ effect, we may view everything through our ‘happy’ lens. “…participants rated the likely truth of 25 true and 25 false general knowledge trivia statements, and, afterwards, they were told if each claim was actually true. Two weeks later, only sad participants were able to correctly distinguish between the true and false claims they had seen previously. Those in happier moods tended to rate all previously seen claims as true, confirming that a happy mood increases—and a sad mood reduces—the tendency to believe that what is familiar is actually true.” (http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/four_ways_sadness_may_be_good_for_you)
  3. Sadness can increase motivation – Feeling unhappy or sad about a situation can be more instrumental in pushing you toward making a change. Frequently when we feel happy where we are, we are not motivated to make a change.
  4. Sadness can improve interactions (in some cases) – You may want to read the full article to understand this benefit. It appears that in some social interactions a happy person is more direct and assertive while a sad person is a bit more polite, giving and attentive to external behavioral cues.
This is NOT meant to pitch you sadness as a leadership tool. Please do not go out there and seek to make your team members sad so that they will remember what you tell them, and make better decisions, and get along better with others, and be highly motivated. The point is that all of our emotions exist for a reason. I wish you more happy days than sad days, but in doing so I am not implying that it is wrong or bad to be sad.  
If you enjoyed this blog posting, then you may enjoy our bi-weekly ezine Turning Point for FREE tips and insights to discover A Path to Peace……!
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