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Looking for Career Enhancing ideas?
How about 101 Ideas?

Looking for Career Enhancing ideas? How about 101 Ideas?

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Meloni Coaching Solutions, Inc. on LinkedIn

Top Management Resource - 2012

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Gratitude is Good For You

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” – William Arthur Ward


Being grateful is good for morale. When team members report feeling unhappy or dissatisfied at work, frequently it ties back to feeling unappreciated. A sincere thank you goes a long way.  A sincere thank you is a good start, but there is more to gratitude than being polite.

Practicing gratitude is about appreciating specific things, not just the big things, small things too. And not just things or events, people. And sure there are certain times of year where you spend more time on gratitude (this is coming to you during the Thanksgiving season in the United States.) Practicing gratitude is an important part of our lives throughout the entire year. It is about finding good during difficult times too.

“It is unfortunate we missed that deadline, but now we will launch a product that is really solid and the entire team is truly well prepared.”

“If we had to go through a difficult downturn, I am glad I did it with all of you.”

“I am so appreciative that you were the team who answered the call to solve this customer issue.”

Sincere gratitude requires you to be clear and specific about what it is you feel grateful for and why.

Practicing gratitude helps positive emotions come to the surface. On a team level this improves morale, builds stronger working relationships and helps the team weather challenging situations. On an individual level practicing gratitude helps bolster your immune system, reduces your risk of depression and enhances your resilience toward stress.

Now studies are showing that a grateful brain looks different and in a good way. If you are curious about some of this research, then consider reading this study:

Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie

I am grateful that you are part of my community.

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Don’t Be Afraid of Discipline

discipline a team member, discipline in front of the team“If we don’t discipline ourselves, the world will do it for us.” – William Feather

Is it ever acceptable to reprimand a team member in front of other team members? Yes, sometimes the team needs to see that there are consequences for non-performance. If a team member is consistently not living up to his or her responsibilities or acts inappropriately in front of the team, the team needs to know that he or she is not getting away with it.

The first time a team members lets you down, you might consider speaking to them privately. Think of this as a follow-up and check-in. For example if a team member misses a deadline. Don’t ignore it, certainly ask him or her for a brief explanation and ask for a commitment to a new date. If the new date will not work, state that. The follow-up and check-in comes after the meeting. Stop by (or if he or she is virtual call), and ask if everything is OK. Ask if there are obstacles that are preventing the successful completion of his or her work. MOST people will get the point.

If that team member lets you down a second time, you want to be more pointed in your discussion. You might even mention that you notice that this is the second time that he or she has been late. Ask for a new date and make a point of saying that you will follow up with him or her later for additional discussion. In this way the team understands that you are not ignoring the situation. It is similar to when you were in grade school and you knew someone was being called to the principal’s office.

There is a situation where you should probably provide a firm response right away and that is if you really believe that a team member is being disrespectful to another team member or to you. This type of behavior should be discouraged right away. You do not have to be mean or harsh, but you do want to be firm. And you do want your team to see you stand up for them and to stand up for yourself.

What are your thoughts? How do you handle it when you think you need to reprimand a team member?

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Looking to Boost YOUR Morale? Lift Others Up!

There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up. – John Holmes


When your morale needs a boost, what makes you feel better? Hopefully you know at least one individual who helps you feel better when your spirits are lagging. That go-to person who always helps clear away the clouds and leaves you feeling inspired.  Whenever they help you, they receive a boost too. The act of helping others actually makes you feel better and the more you help to build morale, typically the more you will want to build morale. You can call that a win-win.

Consider morale building a type of mental and emotional exercise. The more you do it, the stronger you will become. As the opening quote says, this is good for your heart. Perhaps not your heart as a muscle; but definitely your heart as in your spirit. Although when your morale is high, your stress is low and THAT is better for your physical and your mental health.

What is your exercise plan this week? Will you take a yoga class or do some Pilates? Have a trainer help you with some weight training? I hope you do have time to take a walk or go to the gym or go for a run. Being a leader is about mind, body and spirit.

Be sure to include another form of heart healthy activity. The type that involves helping others. YOU have the ability to reach your hand out to others and lift them up. It is good for them and it is good for you. The opportunity for you to do this type of lifting is all around you.

  • Lift up a colleague has a career set back or disappointment.
  • Lift up that team who works non-stop to meet an impossible deadline.
  • Lift up morale when layoffs or cutbacks are announced.
  • Lift up morale when a favorite colleague leaves the team or the company.
  • Lift up morale when “Murphy’s Law” strikes and everything that can go wrong.
  • Lift up morale when a presentation goes badly or a prototype is rejected.

These are just a few of the scenarios where you can lift people up. Anytime morale is down, YOU lift people up. They will feel better and so will you!

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We Can’t Roll with Role Conflict

Role-ConflictIn perfect 20/20 hindsight, Mary Carol realized that what the team was facing was a classic case of role conflict, and perhaps role ambiguity too. Two team members had just come to her to complain about a third team member. Although at first she was surprised, Mary Carol realized that she could have seen this coming.

“Why should we bother attending design reviews if he is not going to listen to any of our ideas?” asked both team members in unison.

The design reviews in question had required some heavy facilitation and there were clearly some disagreements about the best way to move forward with the new system. Truthfully it would have been a surprise if there had been no conflict around the design. In fact it was better to have the conflict NOW before the design was solidified.

After listening to the two concerned team members, Mary Carol changed the next design review to a touch base session with all three of the team members involved. While she pondered how to handle this potentially emotionally charged conversation, she had an ‘Aha moment’.  The tool she needed to guide the team through this conversation was at her fingertips. In fact she wished she had been more formal in her approach and had created this item earlier.

What was this magical tool? The responsibility assignment matrix or RAM. Using the responsibility assignment matrix to walk each team member through their roles in the design process would make it easier to clear up role misunderstandings and address role conflict. It would also create a conversation that was less about two-team members complaining about the third and more of a conversation about shared expectations and responsibilities. It was clear that all three team members had some confusion about their roles. And Mary Carol knew that role conflict and role ambiguity created stress for project team members. She also knew her role was to resolve this exact type of conflict.  She was glad to be able to use the RAM as the focal point of this discussion.

To prepare for the meeting Mary Carol created a draft RAM, filling in the names of the team members and the work to be completed. She purposefully left the rest empty so that together they could fill it out and when team members disagreed about their roles, she was ready to facilitate the conversation.

What a relief to have project management tools and techniques that help to ease the tensions in a potentially difficult situation. That is the art and science of project management!

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What’s In a Name?

The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter – ’tis the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning.

Mark Twain

Mary Carol watched her two colleagues argue back and forth over what seemed like such a small matter. In fact their arguments began to sound the same. After she listened for a bit more, she became convinced, they were each talking about the same thing. They were debating the solution to a problem that their customer was experiencing. In a previous discussion a few different approaches had been presented and now it was time to select the best approach.

In this moment, Mary Carol saw how important names and words are, especially the use of those names and words in misunderstandings. One of her colleagues was describing what he thought was the right solution by naming it after the person who first suggested it. He called it ‘The Chuck Approach’. Her other colleague was describing what she thought was the right solution by naming it after the technology used in the solution.

They were using two names for what was probably the same solution AND they each had some bias. For example, one colleague did not always get along with Chuck. This made it difficult for her to warm up to a solution called ‘The Chuck Approach’.

Finally Mary Carol stopped them both. She asked her colleague that was promoting ‘The Chuck Approach’ to stop calling it by any name at all and to simply map out the process involved in the approach. She asked him to just list the steps that were necessary to implement the solution he was advocating. When he finished their other colleague called out:

“Hey, that is the same approach I am talking about!”

“Well why didn’t you say so?” he asked.

They all sat there in silence and then finally they each began to laugh.

What happened to Mary Carol and her colleagues can happen to all of us. Especially when we have a specific association with a word or a name. Often it is difficult to see beyond that association. Next time you have a misunderstanding with a friend or colleague, check your vocabulary. It could be that the selection of a different word or phrase is all that is needed to get back on the same page.

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