Thursday, October 19, 2017

Man Up

I don't know how it has happened exactly, but there seems to be an epidemic of employees who are lacking in personal accountability. I have observed it myself, and hear a lot of excuses when I ask someone why they didn't take control of their own actions. When talking with leaders, they say that finding employees who take responsibility for their behaviors or those of their team is getting harder and harder to find. So, where did accountability go and how do we increase it? First, as leaders, we must role model it, and second, we must hold people to their word. It takes some courage and persistence but remains a worthwhile focus area. Here are a few tips to assist you in your efforts.

Man Up

There is a dynamic going on in the workplace today: a shortage of people willing to step up and own their behaviors. The way it plays out is in employee's who blame others for their failures, get defensive, deflect responsibility or claim ignorance. There is a link between Self-Awareness and being accountable for our behavior. It requires self-reflection, and it requires seeing ourselves from another point of view. It requires manning up to apologize, even if not for the content of your message but for how you botched its delivery. Self-awareness helps you sense when your behavior is being disruptive and making efforts to remove yourself or use your self-control to minimize the negative impact on others.

To Increase Accountability:

  • Be a leader, role model for your team how to say, "I had no intention of misleading you, I don't think I was clear with my expectations and I am sorry it created confusion for you."
  • Stop telling people how to accomplish tasks: if they are simply carrying out your directives, it makes it impossible for them to take any ownership of its outcome or for you to hold them accountable to it.
  • Be self-deprecating.  Don't take yourself so seriously that you get defensive when given feedback. Be able to laugh at your own mistakes, especially in front of your team.
  • Any time you end up in a conflict or a difficult confrontation, really consider the part you played in it. Almost always, people's bad behavior is the reaction to something you have done (usually unintentionally). So reflect on what you did to get such a reaction from them, and own up to it with them and apologize.
  • Watch the blame game. No one wants to work with someone who is always pointing fingers at others as an explanation for their own failure. Do people let us down? Yes. Does workload sometimes feel unfair? Yes. Deal with it.

Should you apply some of these suggestions, you hold the power to change the behavior in your entire team by doing so.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

5 Ways to Be More Resilient at Work

Resilient employees adjust to unexpected change. They also remain positive after a setback. They can make the best of a situation without any special accommodation or drama. In short – they make a dream employee. This week’s blog provides 5 tips on how you can be one too.

Resilience is becoming a critical competency for employees at all levels to demonstrate. It can be seen as strength, stamina, grit, endurance, recovery, growth and hope. It is something that comes from deep within us, but it also can be enhanced and learned as you increase your EQ. Not only does being resilient help you if you are faced with a crisis, it also helps you better navigate day-to-day stress and build more risk tolerance and self-confidence.
  • Ask for stretch assignments.  How long has it been since you have taken on something new and challenging? Instead of adding more volume of the same work to your plate, ask for something that you’ve never done before. By volunteering for something small you can ease yourself in and grow the deliverables from there. You can also suggest things that you know you will be suited for or have an interest in.
  • React to new information as an optimist. Instead of allowing your first reaction to unexpected news to be negative, find ways to see the positive in change. What could you learn? How can this make your organization more competitive, thus giving you job security or new opportunities?
  • Get yourself engaged in your work. According to Gallup, over 60% of US employees are not engaged in the workplace which means they are coasting through the day without putting in extra effort or energy. Who is responsible for your engagement? YOU are. Reflect on why you might be lagging, identify what you need to do to re-engage and start a conversation with your manager. They will be happy to work with you; they want you to be engaged.
  • Build a support network.  Resilient people rely on others for help when they need it. Network both inside and outside your organization so you have colleagues who can provide advice, assistance or influence others on your behalf. Like everything, you get out of the network what you put into it, so be generous with them and they will be there when you need them.
  • Keep your perspective. Minimize the drama. Avoid gossip. Don’t worry about things that haven’t happened yet. All aspects of our work and home life have ups and downs. Hang in there with a smile and trust that nature seeks equilibrium. Don’t pass up opportunities because “the timing isn’t right.”
Resilient employees report 4 times higher job satisfaction. Building resilience doesn’t require psychotherapy (although that might not hurt!) but it does require mindful awareness and a willingness to leave the comfort zone behind. Small but consistent actions pay off in a big way! So, what are you waiting for?