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How to Deal with Imposter Syndrome at Work

Posted on October 15, 2018 | No Comments
Categories: Balanced Lifestyle, Business Toolkit, Career, Guest Blogger, Leadership

Porcelain Mask

Imposter Syndrome is the belief that we don’t believe we deserve the job we’re in or the success we achieve. To overcome it, become aware of what’s letting you down and allowing these intrusive thoughts into your mind. That awareness enables you to shift your perspective and start being kinder to, and more patient with, yourself.

Today’s post is by Ethan Lee of Inspiring Interns.

Imposter Syndrome is a term that was coined in the late 1970’s from research carried out by Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes. Their researched showed that many high-achieving women tended to believe they were not intelligent enough and were being over-evaluated by others. Imposter Syndrome has therefore come to describe the feelings of people who, quite simply, don’t believe they deserve their job. Those exhibiting the syndrome believe that deep down they are frauds, and fear that sooner or later they’ll be exposed.

It’s thought that most of us will feel like an imposter at some point or another in our careers, with studies suggesting around 70% of us will experience the feeling sooner or later. While it’s not necessarily harmful in and of itself, the dangers arise when these feelings make you apprehensive, and hold you back from fulfilling the upper echelons of your potential.

Like all problems in both your personal and professional lives, understanding where they may be stemming from is a great place to start. There are myriad reasons that could be causing your imposter syndrome, but here are just some ideas:

You feel inexperienced

This is a likely scenario for younger workers, graduates, career changers and generally people who are prone to a weakened sense of self-worth or self-appreciation. The notion that you’re not automatically worthy of something can be a good thing in moderation, keeping you grounded, humble, and realistic about your goals and capabilities. When these thoughts are consistent and intrusive, however, they’ll certainly begin to be a distraction, and damage your performance in the long term.

You’re a perfectionist

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How frequently do you get overwhelmed by the amount of work you have to do?

Posted on October 11, 2018 | No Comments
Categories: Balanced Lifestyle, Entrepreneur, Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: How frequently do you get overwhelmed by the amount of work you have to do?

  • All the time: 11.1%
  • Frequently: 29.3%
  • Sometimes: 36.6%
  • Not often: 19.2%
  • Never: 3.8%

We all get overwhelmed. The question is: how do you deal with it? 77% of you report you’re overwhelmed “sometimes” or more frequently. The pace of business won’t let up. Change and complexity are ever-present. Your ability to cope with stress is a key determinant of how successfully you’ll manage the chaos you deal with every day. Resilient leaders perform better and are generally happier and healthier. Do you have techniques you use to build resilience? Do you have practices to help you cope with stress every day? If not, build them into your routine. Working out, meditating, pursuing a hobby and building strong personal relationships are just a few ideas for how you can become a more resilient leader.

Do you agree with these poll results? Let us know in the comments below!

Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC

Did you enjoy this post?  If so, I highly encourage you to take about 30 seconds to become a regular subscriber to this blog.  It’s free, fun, practical, and only a few emails a week (I promise!).  SIGN UP HERE to get the thoughtLEADERS blog conveniently delivered right to your inbox!

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3 Reasons Millennials Hate Your Performance Review

Posted on October 8, 2018 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Career, Communications, Guest Blogger, Leadership, Training

Good Job Sign with Smiley Face

New research on performance management shows that the traditional performance review is failing millennials. It’s too infrequent, it’s too impersonal and it doesn’t feel valuable to them. However, when done properly, the feedback managers give to their millennial employees can promote positive change and career growth.

Today’s post is by Michael Bungay Stanier, author of The Coaching Habit (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

Millennials are now the largest generation in the workforce and, as with any generation, the ways they work and perform have been closely studied. Millennials are often considered as the generation that requires constant feedback. They are always looking to see how they’re doing — even if that means receiving criticism. Researchers for The Truth & Lies of Performance Management, a report commissioned by Box of Crayons, found that, on average, Human Resources leaders responded that 30% of managers are good at coaching and 32% are poor. That leaves 38% of managers somewhere in the middle. Whatever the generation, feedback has value and, when done properly, can promote positive change and career growth.

Because of this type of less-than-positive interaction with their managers, the annual performance review is failing the career-driven millennial. What’s the bottom line? It’s too infrequent, it’s too impersonal and it doesn’t feel valuable to them.

It Happens but Once a Year

A 2015 TriNet Perform study by Wakefield Research surveyed one thousand full-time employees in the United States who had been born after 1980. It found that while 69% of millennials relied on reviews for their career growth they considered their companies’ review systems to be flawed. When it came to performance reviews, 62% of respondents said they have felt “blindsided” by a review, 59% often felt their manager was unprepared to give feedback and 22% had even called in sick because of anxiety over their review. Clearly, the traditional model of performance review isn’t working as well for the millennial generation as it did for earlier ones.

The survey also indicated that 85% of millennials believed they would feel more confident in their work if they had performance conversations with their managers on a more regular basis. These are opportunities to check-in about the challenges facing an employee as well opportunities to hear about what’s going well. And these conversations are unfettered from the stress that comes with the yearly performance review.

It Lacks Specific Detail

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How structured is your approach to problem-solving?

Posted on October 4, 2018 | 1 Comment
Categories: Business Toolkit, Communications, Innovation, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: How structured is your approach to problem-solving?

  • Very – we have clearly defined steps and output at each step: 19.5%
  • Kind of – we generally follow a repeatable problem solving process: 50.5%
  • Not very – our problem solving is a bit haphazard: 21.5%
  • Not at all – we never solve problems the same way twice: 8.5%

A weak structure means weak solutions. Problem-solving is a repeatable process with predictable end products for most common problems. A structured approach to problem-solving ensures you fully understand the problem and are comprehensive in your search for solutions. The structured approach is also efficient. If you can be hypothesis-based in your problem solving and focus on the highest opportunity solutions, you can save a lot of time by not chasing small ideas. For the 30% of you not solving problems with a structured approach, give structure a try. You might find you’ll come up with bigger and better solutions faster than ever before.

Do you agree with these poll results? Let us know in the comments below!

Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC

Did you enjoy this post?  If so, I highly encourage you to take about 30 seconds to become a regular subscriber to this blog.  It’s free, fun, practical, and only a few emails a week (I promise!).  SIGN UP HERE to get the thoughtLEADERS blog conveniently delivered right to your inbox!

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Are You Being Too Nice as a Manager?

Posted on October 1, 2018 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Communications, Guest Blogger, Leadership, Training

Diverse Set of Smiling People

Being nice to your team members to spare their feelings can actually cause bigger issues than you might expect. You’re doing them a disservice if you’re not providing clear, actionable feedback they need to improve their performance.

Today’s post is by Janet Britcher, author of Zoom Leadership: Change Your Focus, Change Your Insights (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

With today’s workplace climate receiving more scrutiny about management behavior, it might be more tempting than ever to follow this motto as if it were good advice.

But is it a good thing?

Joyce was a nursing manager who lived by this motto, until she had a problem with a staff nurse Doreen, who provided care in patients’ homes. Doreen was a longtime employee, so she was knowledgeable about patient care as well as internal processes. However, when Joyce called her to ask her to see one more patient that day, Doreen said no, it would be inconvenient, even though she was not yet at the required number of daily patient visits, or hours in the day. Doreen’s response left Joyce stunned and speechless.

Other staff overheard the conversation, and other staff had to pick up for Doreen. In the past, even Joyce sometimes took on Doreen’s unfinished work, to be a good team player, resulting in overwhelm and resentment. The department knew Joyce was tolerating Doreen’s uncooperative behavior and lack of productivity. When a manager is too nice in this way, it does a disservice to the conscientious cooperative employees, who were beginning to transfer out of her department. This left Joyce more burdened.

When leaders are so concerned with harmony that they won’t confront poor productivity, success is sacrificed. How can a leader inspire and empower and still set clear goals and ensure achievement of them? As any sports team or music group knows, empowerment without guidelines creates chaos, not success.

The Remedy

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How do you deal with manipulative people?

Posted on September 27, 2018 | No Comments
Categories: Business Toolkit, Career, Communications, Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: How do you deal with manipulative people?

  • I cut them out of my life as fast as I can: 32.5%
  • I ignore their manipulations and do my own thing: 42.5%
  • I often fail to realize I’m being manipulated: 6.2%
  • I recognize I’m being manipulated but just let it happen: 2.8%
  • I confront them directly and ask them to stop: 16.2%

Avoiding the manipulator. The majority of you seek either to ignore or get away from the manipulators in your life. While that can be effective in many situations, in some situations your only option is to confront that person and ask them to change their behavior. Some helpful techniques for dealing with manipulators include changing your perspective to look at their manipulations from a more logical perspective and changing the rules of the game to react differently to their behaviors. In any case, something needs to be done, or you’ll be miserable in the situation. If you’re not aware you’re being manipulated, spend more time being reflective and assess your relationships more objectively. Doing so might help suss out hidden manipulative behaviors.

Do you agree with these poll results? Let us know in the comments below!

Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC

Did you enjoy this post?  If so, I highly encourage you to take about 30 seconds to become a regular subscriber to this blog.  It’s free, fun, practical, and only a few emails a week (I promise!).  SIGN UP HERE to get the thoughtLEADERS blog conveniently delivered right to your inbox!

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Great Leaders Say “Yes!”

Posted on September 24, 2018 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Communications, Guest Blogger, Leadership

The Word Yes

Making a small shift in how you communicate with others can yield big results. A simple change from “no” to “yes, and…” will reframe your conversations in a positive light and open up new possibilities.

Today’s post is by Chris Dyer, author of The Power of Company Culture (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

Back in 2008-2009, when we were all struggling with the great recession of our age, I was also struggling with my company culture. Fewer orders, and a dismal economic outlook had forced me to reflect on every part of my business. Along the way I made some important discoveries about my services, and it began my fascination with company culture. Quickly I discovered some difficult truths. Somehow, I became a bottleneck to the entire company, and had earned a reputation for saying “No.” Nothing kills innovation and enthusiasm faster!

After learning how to stop saying “No,” and making some important changes to my company’s culture, we began to see incredible results. Since “Positive Revolution,” PeopleG2 has been twice named to the Inc 5000 list of fastest growing companies, and received more accolades for growth and for the best places to work than I can even keep track of. Although I am proud of these accomplishments, what I want you to know is how many awards and recognitions we had prior to this change. Zero. None. Not a single highlight from any outside group. We were a good company, and treated our employees well. But, we were far from great. Very far!

So I embarked on a journey to radically change my company. I was determined to figure it out, or blow it all up. As I devoured business books, blog posts, and every bit of thought leadership I could digest, a clear answer on how to change my ways failed to appear. Before I started to lose hope, I found my inspiration and all the answers in the most unlikely of places – improvisational comedy. If this term is not immediately familiar to you, think of the TV show “Whose Line is it Anyway?” To my surprise, it is a regular practice to say “Yes” inside of an active routine to ensure that the momentum continues. It allows one comedian to build on what their fellow comic has thrown their way. If your improv partner said they just handed you a bomb, while simultaneously acting this out, you would immediately pretend you were holding the bomb and adjust your actions to continue that story, ideally building on to create another new story. Nothing could be worse in that comedic scenario then refusing what was just suggested. The mood would drop, the actors on stage would be unsure what to do next, and the audience would not be laughing. The best course of action is to say “Yes, and…” then work to the next logical comedic action. This is a cornerstone of improv comedy, and as I realized, unfortunately the exact opposite of what we do in our daily business work.

After learning about this concept, I found out that Jim Carrey had done a movie titled “Yes Man” in 2008. Here Carrey interpreted this idea himself, and hilariously explored what would happen when a person had to say “Yes,” to everything. If you ever watch the movie, you will discover that saying “Yes!” opened doors to things he never thought possible, made him far happier and more successful, but taught him that he needed well-constructed strategies, and the right approach to be successful. It is the actual approach that I find to be the most applicable and helpful to leaders in any organization. If you have decided to change, here is how you can start saying “Yes” to everything!

Yes, and…  

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What’s the biggest challenge in leading a high-performing team?

Posted on September 20, 2018 | No Comments
Categories: Entrepreneur, Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: What’s the biggest challenge in leading a high-performing team?

  • Dealing with their strong personalities: 25.1%
  • Helping lower performers keep up: 14.8%
  • Getting them to act as a team and not individuals: 41.2%
  • Staying one step ahead of them: 8.6%
  • Some other type of challenge: 3.2%
  • There are no challenges. I love it!: 4.8%

High performers need to be a team. Clearly strong personalities and team dynamics rule when it comes to leading a high-performing team. Getting them to gel and work together can be the difference between distinctive or disastrous performance. Building a high-performing team begins well in advance of doing any work. A few critical success factors like hiring for fit, accurately assessing talent and building trust at the early stages of team formation can get your people pulling in the same direction. High-performing teams don’t happen by accident. They require you to focus deliberately on cohesion and trust to get them to perform.

Do you agree with these poll results? Let us know in the comments below!

Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC

Did you enjoy this post?  If so, I highly encourage you to take about 30 seconds to become a regular subscriber to this blog.  It’s free, fun, practical, and only a few emails a week (I promise!).  SIGN UP HERE to get the thoughtLEADERS blog conveniently delivered right to your inbox!

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What Leaders can do to Develop a Positive, Productive Culture

Posted on September 17, 2018 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Communications, Guest Blogger, Leadership

Postivity Label on a Jar

Culture is the sum of daily actions. If leaders are able to make small daily interactions into positive moments, a positive culture can emerge where people perform better and the organization generates more impact than anyone thought possible.

Today’s post is by Marcella Bremer, author of Developing a Positive Culture where People and Performance Thrive (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

“A positive culture? This is a workplace, not a happy hour.”

For some leaders, working with culture can be a stretch, let alone developing a positive culture! Maybe you’re too busy raising the bottom line to have time for culture. Understandable, but what if you were a lumberjack harvesting wood? Wouldn’t you stop at intervals to sharpen your saw and, eventually, achieve a bigger pile?

Culture is just like that saw. It’s your cutting edge, and if it gets blunt, you’ll sweat more but cut less wood. In the nineties, Kotter and Heskett proved that an effective culture could add 20-30% to corporate performance. Today, the latest research on positive organizations shows that a positive culture makes both people and performance thrive.

Positive Deviance

A positive culture aims to achieve positive deviance (high performance). It has a focus on what is working well and what people could do even better. A positive culture creates an upward spiral. When people feel positive, they are resourceful, productive, and open to new ideas and collaboration. Thus, they achieve amazing results, and that reinforces further positivity. Instead of solving a problem and going back to normal, positive cultures move their “normal” to extraordinary. For that to happen, positivity is a must.

Positivity means seeing what is working well and amplifying that. It draws inspiration from a shared organizational purpose. It includes developing the positive potential in situations and people. It requires being authentic, building trust and positive relationships at work to strengthen collaboration. Leaders might have to “let go” so employees may develop their learning and autonomy. Giving your people more choices, even simple ones, might give them space and energy to deliver more results.

In my first job, I worked in a positive culture bubble within the Army! We found meaning and drive in the purpose of contributing to peacekeeping operations. We “worked hard and played hard.” Our leaders were too busy to micro-manage, so they trusted us to get the job done. That freedom also triggered our responsibility. What made our team rock was our mutual support. We were in this together, and we always delivered, no matter what.

Can you feel that energy? How’s that for your team or organization?

Common Myths

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How well do you handle an unexpected personal crisis at work?

Posted on September 13, 2018 | No Comments
Categories: Communications, Entrepreneur, Leadership, Poll, Sales

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: How well do you handle an unexpected personal crisis at work?

  • Very well. I deal with the issue productively and can resume work effectively: 33.3%
  • Well. I deal with the issue but it has some negative work effects: 51.9%
  • Not well. Personal crises tend to throw my work off substantially: 12.3%
  • Poorly. A personal crisis totally derails me at work: 2.5%

Moving through the crisis. It’s inevitable that a personal crisis will interfere with work at some point. Illnesses, car accidents, thefts and other challenging issues are bound to crop up and always at the worst time. Some keys to dealing with crisis involve keeping things in perspective, getting your priorities straight and getting assistance. Don’t be afraid to ask colleagues for help. We’ve all been there, and, by and large, people are understanding and supportive. There’s no need for you to shoulder the entire burden yourself. And when you see a colleague in crisis, don’t wait for them to ask for help. They may be too overwhelmed or feel like they’re imposing on others. Offer your help proactively instead.

Do you agree with these poll results? Let us know in the comments below!

Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC

Did you enjoy this post?  If so, I highly encourage you to take about 30 seconds to become a regular subscriber to this blog.  It’s free, fun, practical, and only a few emails a week (I promise!).  SIGN UP HERE to get the thoughtLEADERS blog conveniently delivered right to your inbox!

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