Interruptions at work are the bane of people’s lives and they see them as one of the greatest challenges to them effectively managing their time. This is why an article by Doug Conant that I’ve linked to here is so important and helpful – Why Leaders Should Embrace Interruptions. As a top CEO of large companies Doug, himself, had experienced this as a major problem and rather than let it continue to be a problem, he reflected on how he could turn it into a positive. He explains how he has done this in this article referred to here and in his book “TouchPoints”.
Discovering the work of Tony Schwartz about 7 years ago via a Harvard Business Review article, Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time, had a profound impact on me and the way I think about time management.
Tony is the President and Founder of The Energy Project, a global “consulting and training company that provides organisations with a detailed roadmap for building and sustaining a fully energised workforce”. He says that they help “leaders and managers become ‘Chief Energy Officers’ by taking responsibility for mobilising, focusing, inspiring, and regularly renewing the energy of those they lead.”
One of the key points Schwartz makes is that while time is “a finite resource”, after all there is only 24 hours in a day, energy is not. You can expand, recharge, renew, develop and enhance your energy. You can learn ways to do that. You can stop doing the things that drain your energy for starters and use that time to do the energising work that empowers you. Have you noticed how high energy people never seem to be stressed or overwhelmed? They always seem to have time for what they deem to be important to them.
In his article Managing Your Energy, Not Your Time, Schwartz gives a number of practical examples of how he has developed these energy management skills in organisations that make it quite clear that managing your energy can really result in much higher performance.
Two people look at the glass. Each person explains differently what he/she sees. One says the glass is half empty. The other says the glass is half full. The glass half empty person tends towards always seeing the negative first and focuses on lack and scarcity. That person is a pessimist. The glass half full person always sees the positive first and focuses on abundance. That person is an optimist. Which one are you?
Be a glass half full person and watch what happens when you be that kind of person consistently over a period of time.
The glass half empty person attracts negativity, emptiness and hopelessness. When you spend time around these people you can very easily feel oppressed as if there is a heavy weight on your shoulders. You feel quite dis-empowered.
The glass half full person, however, exudes positivity, fullness and a “Can Do” attitude. When you spend time around them, you feel everything is possible. You feel buoyed up. You feel very empowered.
This difference between glass half empty people and glass half full ones explains why some people get all the opportunities and other people miss out.
Everyone can be a leader today. You don’t have to have a leadership title or role. In fact, the leaders of the future are the employees who act like leaders in every situation in which they find themselves because they want to make a difference. They are the horizontal leaders. They stand out from the crowd and they attract the attention of those with the power to give them the title and the role.
If you ignore the opportunities that horizontal leadership offers, you will be overtaken by those who seize them. Leadership no longer depends on seniority or length of tenure, or maleness or technical expertise. Here is what you can begin to do right now to become the leader of the future.
There are still a lot of people out there in our workplaces who believe, that because they are of a certain age, or because they have been there some time, or because they are male, or because they meet their KPIs (even if they stomp on everyone else to do it), that they deserve to be appointed to the next leadership position.They don’t realise that it doesn’t work that way anymore. They need to stand out from the crowd as a leader before they get the title and the role. Leadership today is no longer a title or a role. It is a quality and too many have not caught up with that new reality!
A senior executive I was coaching came to me recently with exactly this issue. There had been some significant changes in his organisation. A number of management positions had disappeared and the rest were all re-advertised. He’d had a major role in the recruitment process and had focused on appointing people who were already demonstrating leadership, acting like what he wanted his leaders to be. This meant, however, that some of those who expected to gain the leadership positions missed out. He now had on his hands a number of people who, not only had disengaged, but were outwardly hostile towards him and the new leaders. What could he do? How did he manage this?
The ability to engage your employees for high performance sees you become a highly sought leader. With only 24% of Australian employees engaged, 60% neutral (just there but not engaged) and 16% disengaged, it is not surprising that the lack of productivity in Australia costs $42 billion a year. Why is this so? Your employees often can’t see, do not know, what value they are contributing, what difference they are making to your organisation. They come to work, do what they need to ensure they keep their jobs, but leave, in the car park, their hearts and minds, that part of them that has the potential to bring so much innovation, empowerment and high performance to your organisation. 70% of employee engagement in an organisation is dependent on managers, yet 44% managers have said they do not know what motivates their employees. So is it any wonder that employees are not engaged.
Here are 9 actions that you can take to motivate and inspire engagement in your organisation.
Every time you suppress some part of yourself or allow others to play you small,
you are in essence ignoring the owner’s manual your creator gave you
and destroying your design.
– Oprah Winfrey
These words really resonate with me because I believe that each of you is unique, created one of a kind, with so much potential waiting to be unpacked and explored. This is why you are here on this earth – to become truly who you are meant to be. This applies equally to your professional life.
Yet many of you suppress parts of yourselves, too frightened to take the risks that will see you shine. You take on board and believe those who play you small and keep you in your place. As a result you develop loads of limiting beliefs about yourselves that see you drive through life with your foot on the brake.
This blog is a motivational challenge to you to reflect on what your limiting beliefs are and break through to an empowered, pro-active You.
What is stopping you from reaching and living your potential?
Or should it be: Who is stopping you reaching your potential?
All day long we face this kind of stress in our professional and personal lives. Everyone reading this will identify with it. High performers, however, don’t do stress so if that’s where you are heading it’s time to learn strategies to dissipate the stress you experience. This is just one of the ways that can help you on your way.
You want to get on with a particular project, but clients want you on the phone, or emails demand responses.
You wanted to have this new project operating by now, but it is still on the drawing board.
You need to be at that important meeting, but you are stuck here at work with a client who turned up unexpectedly.
You have a sick child at home and feel you should be there, but you have a meeting with an important client so have left your child with a generous neighbour.
You are getting great opportunities to advance your career, but you are struggling to balance it with your family commitments.
The result – stress, stress and more stress!
The answer is to get greater clarity between your negotiables and non-negotiables, to make them, and the reasons underpinning them, clear to all stakeholders and to consistently act on them.
Have you ever noticed that when you are working in flow on a particular theme or issue or with a specific group of people, that it seems like the Universe vibrates with you and opens up to you, or sends your way, the very best people or inspirational information on that theme or issue? That’s happened for me too many times in my professional life for me to believe it is co-incidence.
As you know from my last blog on How To Become Politically Savvy – Rising Above Office Politics, I have been conducting workshops around this theme of Office Politics. So when Michael Chang Wenderoth’s article from Harvard Business Review landed in my in-box with such a pro-active title – Great Leaders Embrace Office Politics – I had to read it. Not only that I copied and saved it to a folder on my computer. It makes a point that is very important for all of us to take notice of.
Top executive leader, Jill, does everything right, but still misses the promotion. Why?
If you are reading this you are probably one of many people who want to just come to work, do a good job and make a difference. You find yourself, instead, caught up every day in office politics.
While you probably just want it to go away, or find an organisation where it doesn’t exist, the bad news is that is unlikely to happen. It is a fact of life in most organisations. More importantly, you ignore it and its consequences at your professional peril.
Office politics – the strategies people use to gain advantage in the workplace – is nearly always seen as a negative and the harder people play the game, the more difficult, stressful and overwhelming it becomes for all those caught in the cross-fire.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be a negative. It is a game. You don’t have to play dirty, but you do have to play. You have to become politically astute and savvy and learn the rules of the game. It’s a skill, and learning to use that skill in constructive and positive ways is essential for anyone who wants to advance their career today. If you don’t, you can very easily be side-lined for opportunities and promotions, not have your talent recognised and be taken for granted. Your reputation will suffer. You will be seen as not having the qualities to rise to leadership. You’ll get left behind, denied the success you rightly deserve.