We all have some sort of talent. Skills that shine relative to others.
We also have the capacity to learn. What is not a talent today can become a talent tomorrow, or next week.
What we deliver is a product or service
As leaders, our job entails teaching others new skills. Getting them the training or experience necessary to go from newbie to talented. To make their greatest contribution to the organization.
Regardless of what an individual can do, often how they do it makes the difference between success and failure.
How we deliver builds up or tears down
If leaders only focus on what people can do (their delivery), rather than how they do it, what are we motivating? Individuals and teams that are all about producing and doing more.
Yet, how our people do and deliver impacts more than the end result. It influences their own work, and the work of those around them.
Production at the expense of others’ input, cooperation, or participation does not last long.
No matter how hard we work or how talented we are, it’s always possible to be on the receiving end of a bad review.
It may not be easy to hear and we may feel like we’ve had the rug pulled out from underneath us. Yet we must keep moving forward and doing our best to deliver, or next year’s review could be the same or worse.
What do we do to ensure one bad rating doesn’t become the start of a negative trend? MARCH.
Critical feedback is supposed to be a gift. Sometimes, however, that gift can be hard to take.
If it the feedback feels unexpected in any way – we have to go through the stages of loss. While critical feedback won’t kill us, it’s important to recognize the loss of alignment between our manager’s perception and our own.
The stages may pass quickly or take a period of time, but they are consistent:
- Denial – The feedback isn’t true.
- Anger – It could be true, but I shouldn’t have been surprised.
- Bargaining – If only I had done x, y, or z differently.
- Depression – It’s true and I suck.
Until we can get through these early stages, we cannot move forward with positive change that will improve our results next year.
We have limited minutes available to us each day. However, each of us has the same amount of time. The difference is in how we choose to spend it.
If we are committed to continued improvement of our leadership performance, some amount of time each day must be directed to those activities. Luckily, improving ourselves does not have to take a lot of time, only intention and a few minutes of focus.
Whether you carve out dedicated time each day, or have an ad hoc approach to finding time when and where you can, here is a leadership development bucket list of ideas to maximize 2, 5, 10 or 30 minutes.
2 Minutes – Mental Reboot
A thank you card will take little time, but the impact is lasting.
Often, we can get caught up in what’s going on around us and lose sight of what’s important. If you only have a minute or two, focus on rebooting your thinking.
Study the past to know the future
Our brains have the amazing ability to predict the future. That’s right – we are our own crystal ball.
In order to survive our early experiences on this planet, our brains developed the ability to use past events to predict the future. We consider what we know, or trends we can perceive in past experience, to anticipate what will happen in future scenarios.
Predicting the future comes in quite handy. If we touch something hot once, we are unlikely to do it again, reducing the chance of being burned. In the past, it was knowledge of fight or flight scenarios that kept us alive as a species.
While many of our learnings have less dire results now than they would have a millennia ago, using the past to predict the future is both necessary and advantageous.
Predicting our individual futures
Our ability to predict outcomes based on historical experience is a double-edged sword. It can help us identify dangers to avoid, as well as opportunities to chase. However, for the process to work, we need the actual experience available to us.
We can be “told” about risks, dangers, or opportunities. However, until it becomes our experience, it is not real and part of our own predictions.
It was late at night, her book bathing the room in a blue glow. A knock sounds out, loudly. She screams and hears footsteps run away, quickly into the night.
No, this isn’t the start of some side gig writing novels. It’s my real-life Sunday night adventure.
The Potential Thief
I was reading, enjoying some rare quiet. The little one was in bed and my husband was on an overnight trip. Our porch lights were off, but the drapes open so someone could see me sitting alone in the dim light.
When the knock came, I yelled something less than intelligent (something like OMG or WTH), my heart going crazy in my chest. The unknown knocker ran off into the dark night with me in a panic.
I immediately flipped on all the lights, checked the porch and then shut all the drapes. I double-checked the bolts on all the doors and I called the police.
I thought it was someone casing homes over the holiday weekend to see if we were really home. The police responded immediately, circling the block a few minutes later.
After my heart rate decreased a few notches, I attempted to get some rest. However, I realized after a few minutes that something was gnawing at me.
I’m not the best at exercising. Whoever made up that endorphin myth can keep it. I have worked out for hours and the only result was sweat and energy drain…not some magical happy place.
When it comes to leading, however, it’s the complete opposite. The harder a challenge, the more energy I have for it. I also get more energy and satisfaction once the challenge is resolved.
In spite of my general distaste for exercise, I know I need it for the health of my mind and body (more on that later). If I don’t take care of myself, I won’t be able to solve those fun work challenges that I love. So, endorphins or not, I’ve got to do something.