Appreciation

Appreciation – Recognition of good points, good qualities of something or someone.

What does this word inspire in you?  Does it make you feel validated?  Worthwhile?  Very rarely do we feel that others notice what we do and our contributions.  If you begin to notice others’ contributions and tell them so, it can be the beginning of creating an environment of appreciation.  Have you told your customers you appreciate them?  Your peers?  Your manager?  Your friends? Your family members?  Be creative about the way you say “thank you”.  Small things matter and are impactful.  Give someone a note or a small gift.  Tell them specifically what you appreciate about them.  Take the time to reflect on who and what you appreciate.  Say “thanks” with your words and your actions.

“Make it a habit to tell people thank you.  Express your appreciation sincerely without the expectation of anything in return.  Truly appreciate those around you and you’ll soon find many others around you.  Truly appreciate life, and you’ll find that you have more of it.” – Ralph Marston

BRH

How to be a good communicator at work

Top Things to Remember about Being a Good Communicator at Work

  1. Be a good listener. Make the effort to listen to your boss, your teammates, and your customers.  Don’t be the person who over-chats to the extent that your fellow team members begin to avoid you.
  2. Be positive. Minimize the negatives. Play up the positives.  Make sure your tone and body language match that positivity.
  3. Encourage new team members. Be welcoming.  Help the new person fit in.
  4. Give others a heads up. Tell other employees what you know.  You may know something about the work that they don’t.
  5. Be a friend. Be friendly but stay professional.
  6. Have a sense of humor. It is good to have a sense of humor just make sure your humor is not hurtful and is not aimed at another person.

“THINK before you speak.

T – is it true, H – is it helpful, I – is it inspiring, N – is it necessary, and K – is it kind?”

– Author Unknown

Top Ten Team Member Qualities

“What are the top qualities or attributes you would look for in a good employee, (whether it is someone who would work for you or as a peer)?”  During a personal survey asking this question, here is what I discovered:

  1. Dependable, reliable – you can be depended upon, you do what you say you are going to do.
  2. Honest, integrity – you tell the truth even when you have made a misstep, you are trustworthy.
  3. Hard-working – you put in your best effort.
  4. Gets along with customers and co-workers – you are pleasant and harmonious in your interactions with others.
  5. Takes initiative – when you see something that needs to be done, you do it.
  6. Willingness to learn, motivated to learn – you learn something new every day.
  7. Personable – you are sociable, but professional.
  8. Knowledgeable, educated – you know your stuff.
  9. Desire to please – you want to satisfy your boss and your customers.
  10. Straightforward – your communication is clear, honest, and easy to understand.

As I continued to ask the same question, the list did not get any longer.

BRH

Career – a job or profession someone does for a long time

The operative word in the definition of career is “long”.   You need to find, if you have not already, the work you want to do for a long time.  I know very few people who choose their career from the start.  One of the funny lines about careers – “The reason adults ask young children what they want to be when they grow up is because they are looking for hints”.

Typically careers take a meandering path.  Recently at the pool, our older grandson told a perfect stranger that he wanted to live on a ranch out west, design video games, and teach fencing when he is an adult.  The younger grandson, not to be outdone, said “I want to be a sushi restaurant owner.”  We shall see what the future holds.

You may know someone who got their degree in one thing but the opportunities took them somewhere else.  We would hope that ‘somewhere else’ sparked something in them and that they enjoy what they do.

You know your job is well-suited if:

  1. Everything comes naturally.  In other words, you know what to do next in differing situations but you don’t know why you know.  It just flows out of you.
  2. You receive consistently positive feedback.  The things you do and the results you achieve receive high praise.
  3. You find co-workers you are in-sync with.  This is the opposite of feeling odd-man-out.  Being in-sync with those you work with and your work environment is especially gratifying.  You know you are in the right place at the right time with the right people.
  4. You are passionate about what you are doing.  You are having fun because you know the work you are doing matters.  Every positive impact you have on others brings you great joy.
  5. Pay is not the most important thing.  Because you are being allowed to use the competencies and skills that energize you; the money is secondary.
  6. You can be you.  You don’t have to pretend.  It feels good because who you really are can shine through.

One story…

Kay was in the television industry.  She worked her way up to managing a t.v. station, putting in long hours and great effort to make it a success.  She was a high-achiever.  The people she was working with loved her.  But… something was missing.  After great angst, she left the industry and moved to Chile for a couple of years teaching English as a second language at an elementary school.  She discovered she loved working with children and loved teaching.  That is what was missing for her.  She completed her Masters in Education (previous degree had been in communications) while working at a predominantly-Spanish-speaking elementary school in Boston.  When she graduated, she accepted a teacher position in a 2nd grade classroom in a small town outside of Boston. Her career and path to true success was launched!  She has been happily teaching full-time for five years.

“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.  They somehow already know what you truly want to become.  Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

“It is highly impossible for you to be successful at what you don’t love.  Do what you love and love what you do.” –  Israelmore Ayiyor

It’s a Rainy Day…

Rainy days create a change in the normal schedule.  You can get things done that may have been on your to do list for a long day.  Business is a little slower, staying inside is the tune of the day, and time weighs on you in such a way that you may even be able to contemplate a bit.

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Rainy days should be celebrated.  That is a difficult thing for me to say.  Sunny days create an energy in me.  I need to learn to accept the gift of a rainy day, too. 

We have a friend who loves, loves, loves the rain.  On rainy days,  he intentionally takes a walk outside…a long walk.  I often wondered what was the appeal.  But, if you do it yourself, you will understand.  Maybe not in the rain AND wind but a soaking rain.  Put on a good raincoat and enjoy it.  It has its own beauty.

If you need to work, go ahead, get it done.  Make a to do list of tasks you can be productive in on a rainy day.  Keep the list on your desktop or laptop as your rainy-day list. Your list might include:

 -Clean

 -Get organized

-Catch up on emails

-Write a letter (yes, a letter)

– Talk to someone on the phone

-Read a leadership book or article

-Make repairs around the house or in life

-Start working on a long-term project that you can work on during other rainy days

-Take a step back for the day and reflect

These are all things you can accomplish on a rainy day. Maybe at the end of the day, you’ll see a rainbow.

“Be true to yourself, help others, make each day your masterpiece, make friendship a fine art, drink deeply from good books – especially the Bible, build a shelter against a rainy day,

give thanks for your blessings, and pray for guidance every day.”

– John Wooden

BRH

Leadership Skill: Encouragement

“The secret of leadership is simple.  Do what you believe in. Paint a picture of the future and go there.  People will follow.

                                                                                                         – Seth Godin

Encourage: give support, confidence, or hope to (someone), give support and advice to (someone) so that they will do or continue to do something, help or stimulate (an activity, state, or view) to develop

To encourage is to give active help or to raise confidence to the point where one dares to do what is difficult.

To hearten is to put one’s heart into or to renew someone’s spirit.

To inspire is to infuse with confidence, resolution, or enthusiasm.

To foster is to encourage by nurturing or extending aid.

 

 I have recently heard managers use words that make me cringe when referring to corrective action with employees, words such as:

  • punishment
  • discipline
  • write-up
  • reprimand

As a leader, you will not get very far with taking employees to the next level of performance with this mindset.  If employees use these terms, so be it, they do not know any better.  But… make every effort to expunge such words from your culture.

Instead, corrective action should be simply a means of communicating an area that a team member needs to improve.  Substitute these words:

  • performance improvement
  • redirection
  • positive reinforcement
  • coaching points

Corrective action is not punishment or discipline.  Corrective action is communication and encouragement about performance improvement.  You need to be clearly on the employee’s side until it is obvious that they can’t or won’t meet the required expectations.

 

Tips for encouraging others:

  1. Thank those who help you along the way. Give compliments when warranted.  Say, “We couldn’t have done it without you.”

 

  1. Be friendly, but professional.  Be a good listener.  Be matter of fact when giving redirection.  Say, “It may be best for you to work with Tim a little longer.  Pay attention to the order he does things.  What do you think?”

 

  1. Observe when someone does something (anything) particularly well, especially when it seems natural to them.  Let them know you noticed.  Build on the positives.  Say, “I observed you today when you re-organized the way you were doing things.  That is exactly what we are looking for.”

 

  1. Set the Tone. Distinguish yourself as a positive, “can do” leader.  Say “I am certain you can conquer the challenge.”

 

  1. Jump In. Take the initiative to help someone who is needs redirection or is overwhelmed. Ask, “How can I help?”

 

 

“There is a maxim that is indisputable: people may not remember what you say, but they will never forget how you made them feel.  You must give people your emotional commitment to enlist them in the results you want to achieve.” 

– Loretta Malandro, PhD

 

Words in the Workplace: Curiosity

Those who know me well, know that I am fascinated by words.  Thus, I have decided to refocus my blog on words that impact the workplace.  Let’s start with one of my favorite words – Curiosity.

Curiosity

  • A desire to gratify the senses with a sight of what is new or unusual.
  • Gratifying the mind with new discoveries.
  • A desire to learn about new things; inquisitiveness.
  • Anything novel, extraordinary, rare, or strange.

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

–  Walt Disney

In a work environment, if you are curious, if you are inquisitive, you will more than likely be successful as a professional and as a leader.  Being curious about people, processes, better ways, how others are doing what you are doing, etc. will bode you well.

I worked for a surgeon at one point in my career.  Every day, he was trying to discover new ways to make what he was doing less invasive, more comfortable for the patient, more effective, and requiring less healing time.  He was the guy you wanted on your side if you had to have the type of surgery in which he specialized.

When I am in a customer service retail setting where I am the customer, I am observing the many ways the company could improve service.  Is the company as curious as I am about why one line is moving and the other is not, why one customer is smiling and another is not, why customers are having to walk around obstructions in the aisles or check out areas, etc.  Are they observing anything?  Are they curious about what is happening right in front of their eyes?

Encourage your team members to be curious.

  • Bring employees together in one place at one time to hear the same message about curiosity.  Ask them to look at what they are doing individually and as a team with new eyes.
  • Tap an individual employee and ask his/her viewpoint about a specific process.  The newest employee will have the freshest outlook.  The longest-term employee may be able to tell you what is most frustrating to him/her.
  • Send reminders to employees that you want their input, fresh ideas, and suggestions.

Curiosity spurs new discoveries and employee engagement.  I am still curious; I am still learning and hope you are.

BRH