“I am not a teacher, but an awakener.”
~ Robert Frost ~
Randy is more than a little anxious. He’s been moving ahead rapidly on the fast track with his company and he knows that his C-level managers see him as an emerging leader. Now, however, his boss has just presented him with a new challenge: mentor two employees who have just joined the firm. Randy has had a few good mentors in the past, but there’s a big difference between having one and being one. And he hasn’t been one since he tutored his girlfriend in math when they were high school seniors. He needs to be ready in two weeks. What to do first?
Like all creative leaders, Randy begins to brainstorm and research. Within a few hours, he has the outline of a game plan and knows exactly what he needs to do to become a great mentor:
- Develop a servant mentality
- Ask the right questions
- Cultivate their strengths
- Model executive presence
- Put them in the spotlight
1. Develop a servant mentality. The mentee is the star of your little show, so always keep him or her in the limelight. They may not be comfortable there, at least in the beginning. Every actor has butterflies on opening night, after all. Your job is to cheerlead, comfort, and encourage. And stay in the background.
2. Ask the right questions. Robert Ridel, in his book Critical Thinking for Everyday Life, says that “to question is to understand.” Probing, open-ended questions often lead other people to discover answers and ideas that they didn’t know they had. Always approach questioning from the positive point of view:
- Why do you think that worked so well?
- What would you do differently next time?
- If you were the client, what questions would you ask?
3. Cultivate their strengths. Being in a new position, or with a new company, is challenging in itself. Fear of failure may lie pretty close to the surface. Now is the time to remind your mentee of what she or he has already accomplished. They landed this job, didn’t they? And that was based on a track record of prior successes. Get them to talk about those successes and how to translate them into the current environment. This doesn’t mean you should ignore the downside. As George Lucas said, when discussing Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones, “Mentors have a way of seeing more of our faults than we would like. It’s the only way we grow.” You can see both sides but always accentuate the positive.
4. Model executive presence. You already have the right skills and attitude. That’s why you were chosen to become a mentor. You are not only talented, you create an impact when you enter the room. You know how to influence others, and you consistently provide added value to every project you manage. Always demonstrate these traits when working with your mentees. Come from a place of teaching, not from ego.
Good approach: “We just made a really successful presentation. Why do you think it worked?”
Not so good: “Wow! That was fantastic. I just love it when I knock it out of the park.”
5. Put them in the spotlight. When your mentee scores a win, give him the credit. Let him know when he hits a home run. Don’t hesitate to brag to your peers and C-level executives about what a great job he’s doing. Then use that win as a foundation for continuing to grow.
Six months after Randy took on his first two mentees, he was asked to develop a mentoring model to be implemented company-wide. Today, mentoring is a way of life, based on the initial plan he put together.
Are you about to become a mentor? Or are you already a mentor and need some new ideas to motivate your mentees? Email Joel today for his suggestions.
Talkback: Have you successfully mentored employees or others in your industry? What tips would you like to share with our readers?
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“If [thankfulness] were a drug it would be the world’s best-selling product with a health maintenance indication for every major organ system.”
~ Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy. ~
Client Malcom Asks: There’s such a grumpy mood in the office. Everyone seems so negative… and with all the news you can’t blame them. What’s one thing I can do to add some positive energy and get us all more upbeat? How can I turn my current job into my dream job.
Coach Joel Answers: If you’re you trying to change your attitude, and feel better both physically and mentally, I have a solution. It sounds simple, but hear me out.
Scientific studies back up what I’m about to tell you. The answer is gratitude.
First, I’m going to tell you what it does for you. Then I’ll tell you how to get it… and more importantly keep it.
You see, the things we focus on, enlarge. The more you… and the office… focus on negative things, the larger and more powerful they are. With that negativity comes increased stress and all the illnesses that accompany that.
- Physical Benefits of Gratitude
When you start to fill your mind with positive things, you are happier and healthier. Amazingly, focusing on gratitude doesn’t just make you feel better, it actually makes things better. Your physical health, emotional and mental health, clarity of thought, fewer aches and pains, better sleep—all come with gratitude!
Gratitude actually changes the way your body works. It lowers cortisol and slows the inflammatory immune system. It can moderate blood pressure and blood sugar levels and adjust mood neurotransmitters. Duke University studies have measured the effects of gratitude in these areas.
Can you see the increase in workplace energy that would come as everyone felt better physically?
- Emotional Benefits of Gratitude
But there are also emotional benefits. When people focus on gratitude they are happier and more willing to help others. It can translate into confidence. People feel more valued and appreciated. They see that they are moving toward success.
This change can make your office alive with possibilities and energy. Chances are you’ll feel more creative. And studies show gratitude increases feelings of cooperation and help build stronger teams.
Why does it work?
Again, that which you focus on gets stronger. Neuropsychologist Rick Hanson says that focusing on gratitude creates neural pathways in the brain that become superhighways to happiness and inner strength.
And when the brain changes, behaviors change. You take better care of yourself. Your stress level goes down. You stay healthy. You feel better. You have more energy to accomplish more things. You create a dynamic workplace that’s fun to work in.
How can I make it work for me?
The good news is that it’s easy to get started. Start looking for things to be grateful for. When you look, you’ll see them. Here are additional ways to bring gratitude into your life and the life of your office.
1. Hold yourself accountable. Keep a daily gratitude journal and commit to writing at least three things you’re grateful for each day. Every day. They don’t have to be big things. It might be a sunset, or getting the lights all green or doing well on a presentation.
2. Say thank you. And mean it. Show appreciation for all the small things people do for you at work. Thank the person who held the door open for you. Send a note of appreciation to the co-worker who helped you with a project. You feel good and you make someone else feel good.
3. Continually look for things to appreciate. Decide to tell one of your co-workers, your spouse, or friend something you appreciate about them every day. If you believe in a higher power, spent time sending appreciation that way.
4. Give thanks for what you have. Realize you have more than 9/10th of the rest of the world according to Forbes Better Life Index. You’re even better off than the richest 10% in France, Japan or Italy. When you find yourself dissatisfied or focusing on what you lack, stop and be grateful for what you have.
While it won’t happen overnight, you can expect to feel happier and more enthusiastic sooner than you might imagine as you consciously practice gratitude. The longer you focus on gratitude the more you will find health and happiness benefits.
You and your co-workers will create a more vibrant, energetic office as they join you in strengthening the gratitude pathways of the mind.
Tired of your office atmosphere and looking to feel better about it? Contact Joel for personal help to put gratitude to work in your life and office.
Talkback: What gratitude tips have you tried and seen the impact and value it’s had on your life. Please share examples below. Thanks so much.
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“Recognize, manage and master your beliefs. They aren’t genetic. They are choices. Choose ones that serve you.”
~ Christopher Babson ~
Larry felt he was out of ideas. He put in his time at work, but he found so much to frustrate him he got to the point where he almost didn’t care anymore. He knew he needed an attitude adjustment. He wanted a way to get enthusiastic and happy with his job.
But he wasn’t getting any help from work or family, or anyone. Finally Larry decided to take action on his own. He signed up to hear a motivational speaker. Larry wasn’t sure what to expect. What he got was beyond anything he imagined.
The motivational speaker helped both his professional and personal growth. He learned things he could use at work and in all the other areas of his life.
- Real, actionable information. Larry learned things about thought patterns and road blocks he’d been putting in front of himself. This information freed him to explore new ways. It was like a door opened to new opportunities both at work and in his personal life.
- Guidance and direction. Larry recognized he’d been lacking direction. The fixes offered by the motivational speaker were things Larry could apply immediately. He felt like he left with an achievable game plan.
- Communication. Larry learned where he was failing to communicate well. He immediately saw how that was making work more difficult. He also saw how these new skills would help him with his wife and children. He knew as he made these changes he would be more effective. It was exciting to feel himself growing and changing so quickly.
- Enthusiasm. Something about the motivational speaker was contagious. As Larry sat in the room he felt his life expanding. It was such a change to feel good about life! He knew this was what he’d been missing. He felt like he was learning enough that he could maintain these feelings of enthusiasm and excitement.
- Attitude. Larry felt a personal change in attitude. He determined to stop blaming others and focus on the things he could control. The speaker helped him see how an adjustment in his attitude could change the way he viewed both home and work.
- Focus. Instead of taking a scattered approach to what he learned, Larry decided to focus on the things that would make the most difference in his personal growth. He knew if he could change some of his habits and behaviors, it would show improvement in all areas of his life.
Larry left the seminar eager to get started. “I honestly felt like a new person,” Larry said. “I knew I could not keep on this high forever, but for me it was a game changer.”
Larry listed the new skills and ways to communicate. Each week he took one of the skills and worked to master it. “It’s really made a difference in all areas of my life,” Larry said. “I expected the motivational speaker to help with work. And it did. I’m so much happier there. But I was surprised at how much I grew personally. My wife and kids really like the new me.”
If you are looking for personal growth, increased enthusiasm, guidance, direction and actionable skills, go listen Joel, a great motivational speaker. Contact Joel to learn where he is speaking next.
Talkback: Have you had good success listening to a motivational speaker? How has it benefited you?
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“Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside them was superior to circumstance.”
~ Bruce Barton ~
Client Amanda Asks: I know the face of HR is changing. It’s really important for me to be on top of the game. What competencies will insure my success as an HR executive?
Coach Joel Answers: You are right on target, Amanda. There is ongoing evaluation of what an HR executive should do or be.
Perhaps one of the most innovative is the change from task orientation to influencer. Executives no longer just apply the decisions of company management, they help create change. They strategize, and help shape the company culture.
Here are seven traits that will keep you in the forefront of all human resources executives.
1. Business knowledge. The bottom line fundamentals of business are essential for every executive, regardless of area of expertise. HR leaders are no exception. You need to understand the value of your business. You must be able to explain the value and business model to others.
And, of course, you need skills to keep you current with business technology. Know the latest in software and hardware to be efficient and innovative.
2. Company culture. In the past, you lived with the company culture. Now, you will get ahead if you help to shape that culture. You know the values that keep talent and those that push them away.
Help form a company culture that will attract and keep the finest employees. Help your people understand the culture. Assist them to apply it to advance their success as well.
3. People Management. Of course this is the traditional strength of HR. You must implement workplace policies. Know best practices for hiring, payroll, employee assessments and so on.
Understand the administrative side and oversee the day-to-day work of the people in the company.
4. Strategy expert. This is a new area of competency for HR executives. You will join with management in executing strategy. You’ll assist other managers and leaders to help them make the right changes happen. They may look to you for guidance in moving from vision to reality as it applies to your human resources.
5. Be credible. Ethics matter. HR executives may be the standard bearer for integrity. When people know they can trust you, you gain respect. Then you will be listened to.
You’ll have a chance to offer points of view. This is part of the new competencies. You may take a position and actually challenge assumptions. You are in a place to influence people and policy, but it takes credibility and integrity to make it work for you
Gain that credibility as you deliver results, share information, and build relationships of trust. Then use that credibility to influence others.
6. Organizational designer. In HR, a successful executive knows organizational theory. They do the research to tailor it to their company. They don’t just do things because they’ve always been done that way. They plan the best organization and then work to implement it.
It may be a matter of designing a motivating rewards system. You may implement successful feedback and reviews. Or design a mentoring program or cross pollination to increase your talent pool.
7. Talent management. Traditionally and always, a core competency of every successful HR executive centers around succession planning. You need to ensure both today’s quality workers and tomorrow’s talent. You’ll create systems for recognizing and developing talent. You’ll reward that talent.
Amanda, if you master these seven competencies you will be a powerful HR executive. Success will come your way. You’ll have the admiration of others and be a strong influence in your company.
Want to strengthen one or more of your competencies in human resources leadership? Contact Joel for individual help.
Talkback: What competencies have you found to be essential for your HR executives?
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“Remember upon the conduct of each depends the fate of all.”
~ Alexander the Great ~
During the past few decades, corporations have changed the environments of their workplace; they have switched from a very competitive environment to a cooperative one. Why would they want to do this? Competition sparks motivation, which means more productivity, right?
This may very well be true; however, the benefits of having a cooperative work environment outshine those of a competitive one any day.
A cooperative work environment leaves room for team building activities and personal effectiveness. In return, team building activities lead to many amazing changes at the office.
1. Increases Creativity
Often times, employees are stuck in a groove where they perform the same type of tasks in the same manner from week to week. These actions allow for little to no creativity because they create a cycle where the employee feels stuck.
Team building activities have the ability to change this because they remove employees from their regular day-to-day tasks by giving them a not-so-ordinary project, which gives them the ability to use their imagination to find a solution.
In the end, team building activities show employees that creativity is welcome at the office. Letting employees know that creativity is not only welcomed but also encouraged at work should be a goal for employers because creativity can lead to innovation, which leads to higher productivity.
2. Team Building Activities Will Boost Employee Engagement
Communicate is key to success. If you want to have a successful relationship with your family, significant other, or friends, you need to foster communication with them and the same goes for a successful workplace.
Moreover, team building activities lead to employee engagement, which leads to increased productivity. Employee engagement and effective communication go hand-in-hand. Those who feel like they can communicate effectively with their co-workers will be more likely to promote employee engagement.
Often times, firms experience the opposite of this and the result is catastrophic; co-workers end up working against each other, which puts the company in jeopardy. However, when paired into teams, co-workers work together to reach the same goals.
3. Increase Profits
The end goal for a company is to make profits, right? Most likely the answer to that question is yes; however, if a company solely focuses on that aspect, they will be destined to fall apart. Instead, firms can focus on employee satisfaction and their happiness.
When firms focus on activities that promote employee satisfaction and engagement, they are more likely to have a smaller employee turnover. Having a high employee turnover is bad news for a company; it means that they are losing thousands of dollars in recruiting and training and it also means that their employees are unhappy.
Employees are more focused on productivity when they are satisfied with their work environment. Therefore, it is key to ensure a creative and healthy company culture that promotes effective communication through team building activities.
What Are Your Thoughts?
There are tons of other reasons why team building activities benefit companies. Can you name a few? Leave your suggestions and questions in the comment section below!
Jeffrey Fermin is Officevibe’s cofounder and is in charge of all marketing efforts and business development for the company.
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