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  1. Keeping motivated when you are a Leader

    May 19, 2015 by Jenna

    Leadership takes on many responsibilities; it can be very busy and even tiring at times and therefore motivation levels can fluctuate. However, in this role you need to be able to keep yourself motivated because in turn it keeps the rest of your team motivated and thriving in the business.

    It starts with keeping in check your own personal motivation – your passions, continuing to challenge yourself with various projects and remembering why you committed to these goals in the first place. What you are trying to achieve?

    Sometimes the quickest way to lose motivation or even exhaust your level of motivation is to spend all of your time and energy trying to motivate and please the needs of your team. The truth is motivation is personal and you cannot force it upon others. Instead, leading by example through your own motivations, you can inspire others to motivate themselves and drive them to perform better. It’s showing the way towards success.

    Methods for self-motivation can include:

    • Learning new skills – What is needed for your current role? Where can you obtain these skills? Is there anyone who you can consult with for direction or advice?

    • Taking appropriate leave breaks to relax & rejuvenate – Clearing your mind of distractions (and resting), taking the time to find out more about yourself or pursuing a personal goal or hobby.

    • Spending time developing a self-improvement plan and setting goals – Where do you see your role developing in line with your business goals? Where do you see your team going and what do you need to do to help guide them there?

    • Investing in courses and training that can lead to growth and development – Are there any conferences within your local area that are providing information on areas of development? Have you looked into local educational institutions and what courses they provide? Are there any online resources that you could review outside of business hours?

    Building your own motivation by developing our skills and abilities also provides the knowledge and insight to pass on to others. If others within your team are seeking your advice or direction, you can provide recommendations and information on what you have looked into previously, helping direct others toward their future success.

    Make sure to also keep following up on your personal progress and what motivates you, whether it is every month or six months. That way you can help keep your motivation levels consistent and on track.

    If you are currently in a leadership role, what motivates you? More importantly, in what ways do you keep your drive and motivation consistent?

  2. 4 Work Habits to Help Increase Your Performance at Work

    March 31, 2015 by Jenna

    We all want to be top performers at work. We want to work hard, achieve goals and be recognised for our efforts.

    Here are four habits that will help you achieve more:

    1. Make Yourself Accountable: While working independently is advantageous, it is also important to have someone that you report your progress to, whether it is members of your office team or a supervisor. This can often enforce more urgency and effort to complete the task when you know you need to report your progress to someone on a regular basis.

    2. Discipline yourself to set priorities: It will make it easier to focus on the important tasks. Address the higher priorities in the morning when you are freshest and save the more repetitive ones for later in the day. If you receive assignments as the day is winding down, use the last five to ten minutes to prioritise for the next day. Lists are very helpful, and checking items off as you complete them will further encourage you to accomplish more.

    3. Don’t let fear prevent you from completing challenging tasks: If fear takes control of our daily lives it can paralyse us from completing tasks. It results in achieving less and we may start avoiding commitment to tasks. The remedy for fear is planning. Start by making a list of things you have accomplished (even if it’s only two or three) and keep it in a visible place to use as self-encouragement. Then make a list of things you want to accomplish and the steps to complete each one. The best way to successfully complete a big project is to break it down into smaller pieces.

    4. Avoid Procrastination.The longer you put off a task the more it will end up haunting you. You can save a lot of time and stress if you work on the difficult/important tasks first, then the rest of the day will seem less daunting.

    What steps do you follow to keep yourself performing at your best? How do you keep track of your progression? What works best for you?

  3. Bad Habits That Erode Personal Accountability

    July 15, 2014 by Jenna

    When it comes to taking on responsibility in a team environment, you quickly realise just how important personal accountability is. Each person on the team needs to play a part, it means taking on the tasks, following through and being responsible for the outcome.

    It means that there are certain bad habits that you need to banish, these include:

    Making Excuses/ Blaming Others

    For example:

    • ‘I have a lot to manage at the moment; therefore I won’t attend the team meeting. I’ll catch up next week’
    • ‘I’ll sleep in instead of going to training and I’ll make up for it later’
    • That you are ‘too busy’ to commit to the task and put it on the back burner, falling behind.
    • ‘So-and-so didn’t finish their part of the assignment so we fell behind’

    What could happen as a result of excuses: You will be considered unreliable or the group will not be able to trust that you are capable of delivering outcomes on time. Trust in the team is very important and once it is broken, it can take time to earn back.

    Possible solutions to excuses: We are all guilty of excuse making at times. When you find that you are starting to think or react this way, it is important to reflect on the task at hand and why you were chosen for this role. Reflect on how this task contributes to your team. Understand the implications of what could happen if you do not follow through.

    Do you have someone that you report to on a regular basis? If not, buddy up with someone on your team so that you both collectively can help keep one another on track. Sometimes a simple push is all you need.

    What could happen as a result of blaming others: Blaming others instead of trying to find a solution can create all sorts of unfavorable results. It can create tension in the team, break trust, communication etc. When problems occur, teams should be collectively looking for solutions together, not turning on one another.

    Possible solutions to blaming others:

    • If you have someone sharing a task with you and find that they are not performing then you need to address this issue directly with them. Start off one on one, as often the person may not realise they are doing it. If it still continues then get a manager or third party involved.
    • If you have a problem and choose not to communicate the issue or find a solution then you won’t achieve the desired outcome. Speak up if you are struggling, ask others for advice, after all, that is what your team is there for.
    • If you are being held accountable for a result of a group task that has failed a task, sometimes the simplest thing to do is say you’re sorry and offer to work on a solution for the future. Apologising does not make you weak, it shows courage. It shows responsibility.

    Lack of Motivation

    Examples are running late, being unprepared for meetings, not focusing or listening to what others are sharing, nor contributing thoughts or ideas to the team discussions.

    What could happen as a result of this: You appear distracted or disinterested to the team activity and other members will question your commitment levels. If you are unenthusiastic, others will not feel comfortable approaching you for help or provide you with further responsibilities. They will assume that you don’t care.

    Possible solutions: Organising yourself can be the best way to keep your goals on track and set your path towards success. If you have your tasks written down in front of you, it will remind you every day of what you need to achieve and keep you focused.

    You can start by asking yourself some simple questions:

    • Are you setting daily targets?
    • Are you writing the information down on a checklist?
    • Are you following up on your own progress regularly?

    As part of the team, members also have a right to know your progress, which should in turn keep you motivated knowing that not only does your work impact you but those around you.

    I personally become motivated when I see the time and dedication that my teammates are putting into their tasks. It makes me feel excited that goals are being achieved, and it challenges me to step up my level of commitment.

    Any great leader or manager that you know will tell you that they have to go through stages of being accountable for their team. It requires making decisions for the overall well-being of your team, taking responsibilities for mistakes or set-backs and collectively working together to find solutions.

    Remember these points next time you are in a group situation so that you can let the best part of you shine.

  4. We can each set a daily goal but what is your Big Hairy Audacious Goal for 2014?

    January 13, 2014 by Jenna

    “A true BHAG is clear and compelling, serves as a unifying focal point of effort, and acts as a clear catalyst for team spirit. It has a clear finish line, so the organization can know when it has achieved the goal; people like to shoot for finish lines.” —Collins and Porras, Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies

    Many of us have heard of a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) when it comes to business, but how often are you setting a BHAG in your personal life?

    While working together to achieve a BHAG for an organisation is very important, you also need to make sure that you are setting personal goals that keep driving you – something that you will remain passionate about throughout the year. Not only will it help you build the confidence and enhance your ability to take on daily tasks but when you achieve your personal goals it will teach you more about yourself – your limits, what you are capable of, and where your goals can lead you in your future.

    You may have set goals before, and this blog may be triggering a ‘been there, done that’ response, but perhaps you need to set something bigger, more challenging, and even something more worthwhile to pursue this year. After all:

    ‘Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.’ – Martin Luther King, Jr.

    A BHAG can be different for everyone. For 2013, I learned that I was able to achieve some pretty big goals, allowing myself up to a year in advance to train and prepare, and I overcame some incredible obstacles along the way. For me it was Everest Base Camp (Nepal) and the Kokoda Trail (Papua New Guinea), and I made it back in one piece to tell the tale.

    You also need to understand that the bigger the goal, the more mixed responses you will receive from others, especially from those that have yet to step outside of their own comfort zone. For many people in my life, those types of adventures were not often considered a ‘holiday experience’ and I was often told, ‘you’re crazy’ or asked, ‘why out of all places would you go there?’ Frankly I can’t blame them, because not everyone shares the same point of view.

    Realisation 1: I knew that I was not achieving these goals to please everyone or show them that I could do it. These were my dreams, my challenges and my goals to achieve. At the end of the day, I knew that those closest to me and those who knew that I was passionate about achieving my goals would be there for me regardless of how unfathomable the idea may have seemed. You will come across ‘naysayers’ and difficult people at certain stages in your life, but do not hold grudges against them and instead use them as a stepping stone to help you achieve success.

    Realisation 2: To achieve the goal it often has to be mind over matter. I could have the plans laid out in front of me, the best resources available, and the door of opportunity open waiting for me to walk through, but I had to make that conscious decision to step forward and keep pushing myself mentally to get there. As Sir Edmund Hillary once said, ‘It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.’

    The temptation to sleep in, eat unhealthy food or make up excuses to miss training did not work in my benefit. This applies in any circumstance but the moment you realise you have done so, take the necessary measures to get back on track again and learn from your mistakes. If a similar situation arises again you can then find ways to avoid the temptation and grow stronger.

    Maybe you are already a high achiever at work and for you a BHAG for this year may be to make more time to do the little things in your life that make you happy. It can be hard to make time, but will you be a more balanced and fulfilled person as a result? I think you will be quite surprised once you start making the steps to get there!

    I found an article recently on that outlined ‘What is distinctive about BHAG-driven leaders’:

    The true BHAG-orientated leader is less interested in success. You’re more interested in the sheer exhilarating pain of the journey. You’re not going to have that immediate gratification of accomplishment. You are going to be immersed in it and working and suffering toward it for a long time–the way artists suffer. You have to enjoy that sense of extended discomfort. It’s the quest, it’s the training, it’s the growth, it’s pushing yourself. You really get off on that. If you think standing at the top of the cliff is where the joy is, you don’t understand it. The real joy is in all the pain and growth and suffering and creativity required long before you get to the summit.

    Now a BHAG goal does not necessarily mean you need to physically climb a mountain, but there are things in our lives that appear so gigantic that they may as well be the in the same ball park. And it may even be so big that it will take you past 2014 to achieve it. But what is holding you back from starting now?

    Realisation 3: It is okay to ask for help when it comes to achieving your BHAG. I have moments where I get so driven to achieve the goal that when a helping hand is offered I quickly dismiss it at the idea that ‘I must do everything on my own’. We can only juggle so much, and when I would get set back due to ‘overload’ or ‘fatigue’ it was only my pride that was bruised in the end. So what did I do to overcome this?

    • I sought out a trainer/mentor – Someone I could seek advice from and also someone that could check in on my progress so I could be held accountable. We can push ourselves, but sometimes it is great to be pushed by external forces as well. Not to mention having someone to encourage you and motivate you gives you a great amount of positive energy!
    • Taking breaks to catch up with a friend/colleague – Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the task that we don’t let our mind rest! Do something fun with someone close to you, even if it is a ten minute coffee catch up. Release, have a conversation, laugh and relax.

    Even if it seems very out of focus now, write down your BHAG and let your goals mould and form into something. Don’t be afraid to tell people about your goal, no matter how crazy it may seem! Do your research, take the necessary steps to plan and prepare as well as reach inside yourself to find out what you are capable of.

    Have you achieved a Big Hairy Audacious Goal before? If so, what did you have to do to achieve it? Where did it take you?

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