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Are high-performing teams beyond emotion?

compassion at work, workplace compassion, high-performing team,Is this you? “As a business student, you don’t want to show compassion; you don’t want to let your guard down,” she says. “You’re taught to be strong and not show emotion.” This is a quote from Samantha Serna, a business student who was drafted with other members of her class to participate in compassion training. Too often we are taught not to show emotions in the workplace. We do not want to be insensitive, but if people know that we care about them they will walk all over us, won’t they? Or they might misinterpret our feelings and we certainly do not want that. Yet we know that toxic teams decrease our ability to succeed. Time and again we read how it is our responsibility as project managers to build a high-performing team. Consider the hallmarks of a high-performing team: • Team members trust one another • Team members work toward the same goal • Team members face conflict and diffuse tension • Team members carry their own weight YET know that when they need help their team mates will jump in How can we accomplish this without caring about our team members and without feeling like they care about us? When you know that your team members will jump in to help you and you are willing to jump in and help them, it is because you care. You might argue that the caring is about team success and not about caring about people. Well then what about trust? Can you really trust someone you do not care about? Or look at it this way, why would that person be trustworthy toward you if they do not care about you? I suppose you can make a case for trustworthiness as separate from caring about others. Perhaps you are trustworthy as a matter of general principle. Let’s think about the true high-performing team. They really do go beyond being functional and although they do all focus on the same goal, it is their strong bonds that make them high performing. It is very difficult to develop a bond with team members if you think that they do not care about you. Compassion at work means caring about your team members. Team members who feel cared about have more positive experiences and attitudes. These positive experiences and attitudes lay the foundation for the creation of a high performing team.
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3 Tips for Setting Remote Workers Up for Success

Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, ‘What’s in it for me?’” Brian Tracy shy_hide_behind-computer_350x202Last time we discussed how to remain visible while working remotely. Today let’s look at working remotely from another perspective. How can you support your team members so that they are successful as they work remotely? More and more of us work remotely. Not everyone enjoys working remotely and not everyone is a good candidate to work remotely. You can build a successful team by following these guidelines to put the right people in the right places. Some people should work in the office, while others really shine at working remotely.
  1. Select disciplined and self-motivated team members. BEFORE you place someone in the position of working remotely, be sure that they are disciplined and self-motivated. Working away from the office presents a whole new set of distractions. Especially for a worker in a home office. There is web surfing and phone calls and television and errands to run. The undisciplined worker can easily get lost. If the opportunity presents itself, have your team member start in the office. See how they do with some specific assignments, set due dates and give them independence. If they have problems meeting their goals in the office, it is likely they will have challenges meeting their goals while working remotely. This is not to say that when your team members work remotely you can ignore them. Of course not. But some people who work remotely are less likely to reach out to you than they would if they saw you in the office. YOU want to make sure that you do check in with everyone on a regular basis and of course schedule regular touch base sessions and one-on-ones. YOU do NOT want to be someone’s alarm clock and you do NOT want to have to continually remind someone of his or her responsibilities.
  2. Create connection. Help to build relationships between team members who are in the office and team members who are working remotely. One of the keys to the success of a virtual team is connection. Team members need to feel connected to the work, connected to you and connected to other team members. Even the most independent of remote team members needs to feel that they are not just floating around in space alone. Set up some working partnerships or small groups that include team members who work in the office and team members who work remotely. Make sure that every remote worker has someone in the office to call for information and updates aside from you. When that contact is on vacation or out for extended periods of time make sure that there is a back up. (This is why sometimes it is good to set up small work groups.) Allow team members who work in the office to have time in their day to act as the in office liaison for remote workers. Some relationships will spring up organically, but it helps if you provide the proper environment to help these relationships grow.
  3. Set Realistic and Consistent Expectations - One of the first arguments you might hear from someone who wants to work remotely goes something like this, “But I am so much more productive when I work from home and because I do not have to commute I work even longer hours.” This does tend to be true of the truly responsible and diligent remote team member. They want to make sure that you know that they are producing and not slacking off. Doesn’t this sound great? How can you lose? Well, you lose if your remote worker experiences burnout or feels like all of his or her effort is not being appreciated. The fact that he or she does not have a commute does not mean that time should automatically go toward work. Set clear goals and deadlines with your team members and make sure those goals and deadlines are reasonable and are the same types of goals and deadlines you set for your team members who do not work remotely. If you suspect that one of your remote team members is working too hard, encourage them to relax their pace and assure them that you do not expect them to work for you 24/7. Let them know that you are aware that they are productive and valuable.
And there you have it! Three tips that will help your remote workers experience success.
If you enjoyed this blog posting, then you may enjoy our inspirational quotes and tips to get you through the workweek!
 
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Working Remotely? Three Tips to Maintain a High Profile

“When a man is out of sight, it is not too long before he is out of mind.”  Thomas Kempis
shy_hide_behind-computer_350x202Do you work remotely? Or do you want to work remotely, but are concerned that you will miss out on attention, acknowledgement and advancement?
You do not have to be in the office to get ahead. But, you do want to be smart when you work remotely. Here are three tips for you to use to work remotely and keep a high profile.
  1. Over communicate – Don’t let people wonder what you are working on, don’t let people wonder what you are up to and definitely do not let people wonder how to find you. Make sure that your management and all of your team members know exactly what you are up to. You accomplish this by providing them meaningful communications. And because you are not with them physically, you want to provide more communications than you would if you were sitting right next to them. Consider providing some type of brief but meaningful daily update. Set an auto responder on your email when you are out of the office, make sure your voicemail states your normal hours and when you deviate from those hours make sure everyone knows. You never want anyone to wonder for even one split second if you are really working productively or not.
  2. Be seen – Even though you are working remotely make sure people can match your face with your voice and your face with your emails and your texts. You want everyone to really know who you are. You might accomplish this by having times where you are in the office with your colleagues. If you cannot be in the office with your colleagues or in addition to being in the office with your colleagues use videoconferencing. It never hurts to have a team site where you can post pictures too. If you do, make sure your pictures show you at your best. Not necessarily looking like a model, but you want photographs that depict you, as you would like your colleagues to see you. You can also include a small picture or image of yourself on some of your communications. People connect more quickly and easily with faces.
  3. Change Your Method, Not Your Tone – Working remotely means sometimes it is more difficult to find people when you need them. This can be frustrating. Do not let others sense your frustration. Do not change your message so that it becomes threatening or hysterical. Remain calm polite and professional. Change your method of communication. Perhaps you start with email first, then maybe you move on to a text, then perhaps a phone call or a Skype. Be prepared to be flexible and be prepared to be understanding. It could just be that you are forgetting that back at the office there is a big meeting in progress. You might have overlooked a holiday that your coworkers celebrate and you do not. You can always ask people how they would like you to communicate when you really need them and you cannot find them. Ask how you should escalate important communications.
As you can see each of these three steps really involve you strategically leveraging communication so that when you work remotely you are out of sight but never out of mind.
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Be Powerful, Be Wise

“ Use power wisely and kindly because the human spirit is fragile.” Anonymous
UsewordswiselyYou are sitting at your desk and you just completed watching a video. The video was work related, but that is hard to tell right now because the last frame of the video (which is frozen on your screen) shows an animated character. Someone walks by, looks at your screen and then looks at you and says, “Working hard or hardly working?” Your reaction to their words just might be heavily influenced by whom it is. If it is a peer or a friend, you are probably nonchalant in your reply. You might simply laugh, you might ignore them or you might say, “Hey, I was watching a training video, on my lunch because I am not a slacker like YOU.” The exchange is all in good fun. Suppose it is your boss who said to you, “Working hard or hardly working?” If you do not have a casual, joking around type of relationship her words just might come across as harsh. You know that you were watching a training video from a reputable source, provided by your corporate training department and even though it was work related, you watched it during your lunch hour. Will she believe you if you tell her? Will she even hear you as she keeps walking by? How could she think that you are hardly working, doesn’t she appreciate all of your overtime? Most likely you are overreacting. She might actually have been kidding. And you do have responsibility for your own reaction to her words. In turn, she would be wise to remember that when you are the person in charge, your words and your actions take on a different meaning. Whether it is right or wrong or fair or unfair when you are in charge, if you walk by a team member without saying “Good morning” they just might think that you are angry or that you do not respect them. When you joke with someone be mindful that your jokes will be remembered and considered later. When you chastise someone know that you do not need to go overboard, your power and position and authority give your words enough strength. Conversely, a sincere thank you and congratulations for a job well done will also carry some weight. Use your power wisely. Use your power kindly.
If you enjoyed this blog posting, then you may enjoy our inspirational quotes and tips to get you through the workweek!
 
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Start with YOUR Corner First

40-inspiring-self-motivational-quotes-wallpapers"There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving... and that's your own self.” - Aldous Huxley World hunger. World peace. Global warming. No access to clean drinking water. No access to education. Discrimination. There are so many causes to choose from. Chances are I have not even listed your favorite cause. I am not trying to stress you out. We have many opportunities to improve our people and our planet. From a less global perspective we have many opportunities to improve our immediate communities and we definitely have team members we would love to improve as well. Whether you seek global or local improvements – or both, there is a common element. That element is YOU. You cannot help with any cause until you become the kind of person who cares about a cause enough to work toward that cause. You start by becoming aware of a need for change, then you become interested in making that change happen and then you find a way to help make that change happen. You become a person who is willing and able to bring about change. People will see this in you. This is true whether you are helping to save the polar bears or helping a team member employ better time management skills. You cannot really help someone until they see you as the kind of person who they would accept help from or until they see you as someone to be admired or imitated. When you improve yourself and others see who you are, then you can make a difference. Well, except the polar bears. The polar bears see you as lunch. Don't be lunch for a polar bear, do become the best version of you possible.
If you enjoyed this blog posting, then you may enjoy our inspirational quotes and tips to get you through the workweek!
 
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