Category Archives: Team Work

Are you playing the right position

High performing teams are great, but are you playing the right position?

Are you playing the right positionHave you ever wondered why certain teams seem to work effortlessly, while others lumber along, seemingly moments away from self-imploding? What gives?

One of the most interesting theories is that of team roles: the idea that teams that work together effectively have a balance of team roles. Each member understands their strengths and how they contribute to the team’s skill set. Too many of the same role and there’s destructive competition, and if roles are missing, the team just doesn’t seem to fire.

 

Team Roles Defined

According to Belbin Associates, effective teams have a balance of nine different characteristics.

  1. Resource Investigator – Inquisitive, outgoing, and enthusiastic, the resource investigator explores opportunities. But they may lose enthusiasm once the initial excitement has passed. They may even forget to follow up on a lead or assignment.
  1. Teamworker – Helps the team to gel and complete the work required of them. While noted for their cooperative and diplomatic nature, teamworkers can also seem indecisive and avoid confrontations that may be necessary to achieving their goals.
  1. Coordinator – Coordinators are master delegators. Mature and confident, they identify talent and leverage it for the betterment of the group. But taken too far, they can be seen as manipulative and may even over-delegate the work, leaving themselves little or nothing to do.
  1. Plant­ – Highly creative free-thinkers, plants are good at problem solving in unconventional ways. However, they may even be so concerned with creativity that they forget incidentals and do not communicate effectively.
  1. Monitor Evaluator – Logical and impartial, the monitor evaluator approaches work in a dispassionate way while seeing all options accurately. As great as they are at evaluating the options, the monitor evaluator may be seen as an overly critical employee who is slow to come to a decision. This is generally because they are continuously weighing the options for every decision.
  1. Specialist – Specialists, as their name implies, are experts in their field. Dedicated, single-minded self-starters, they tend to contribute in a very narrow manner, sometimes getting hung up on technicalities. They may also overload you with information that is not necessarily pertinent to the matter at hand.
  1. Shaper – Shapers provide the drive the team needs to keep moving forward without losing focus or momentum. Challenging and dynamic, shapers thrive on pressure but can sometimes offend other people’s feelings. They may even risk becoming aggressive or ill-tempered in an attempt to complete a task or meet a goal or deadline.
  1. Implementer – Able to plan a workable strategy and carry it out with efficiency, implementers are practical and reliable. They are experts at turning ideas into action items but may be slow to respond to new possibilities that lie outside of their plans, even when the new ideas promote positive changes.
  1. Completer Finisher – Most effective at the ends of tasks, completer finishers work to polish the final product and ensure all of the quality standards are met. They are painstakingly conscientious about their work, searching out and correcting errors. However, they may be inclined to undue concern and are reluctant to delegate. Some even may be accused of extremism in their perfectionism.

 

Balance Is The Goal

Even though Belbin has identified nine different characteristics in effective teams, these groups do not need to consist of nine people. Rather, all nine characteristics are represented by the team’s members. In many cases, one person may naturally gravitate toward two or three roles, fill one or two more and prefer to avoid the rest. This allows for smaller teams to work with maximum efficiency as long as all nine characteristics are represented. The goal then becomes balance. If a team is comprised of teamworkers, who tend to be indecisive, it may be difficult for a team to make swift decisions about the direction of their work. Similarly, if a team lacks a completer finisher, the group’s work may lack polish and fail quality control measures.

What role do you find yourself naturally playing on work teams? Is there a characteristic that is missing on your current team?

Do you find yourself playing one or more roles? Are there any that are particularly distasteful to you? By asking these questions first of yourself, then of your teammates, it will quickly become apparent which characteristics are solidly in place, which are missing and which are over-represented in your team dynamic.

You may begin to see why your team is functional or dysfunctional, but moreover it can give you a language to improve and build on your successes.

Author: Pedro Diaz
Pedro-Diaz-authorPedro Diaz is the CEO of Workplace Mental Health Institute. He’s an author and accredited mental health social worker with senior management experience. Having recovered from his own experience of bipolar depression, Pedro is passionate about assisting organisations to address workplace mental health issues in a compassionate yet results-focussed way. He’s also a Dad, Husband, Trekkie and Thinker.

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Hygge

Hygge in the workplace

Hygge - Mental Health Recovery InstituteYou may or may not be aware of the ‘Hygge movement’ that is happening globally at the moment. I’ve been asked to speak on this on a number of separate occasions over the last few months, so it seems it is a topic of some interest to many people out there, and it has particular relevant to workplace wellbeing. So here are the top 10 questions people have asked me about Hygge:

Firstly, what is Hygge?

Hygge is a Danish word which most closely translates to ‘cosy’. It has been defined as ‘the appreciation of cosiness and the nice things in life’. The Danish love their cosiness!

In the space of mental health and wellbeing, Hygge offers yet another way in which people can take care of themselves and their wellbeing – whether or not they have been diagnosed with a mental health problem or not. A hygge lifestyle is a lifestyle that is aware of your own wellbeing and how you are relating to life in general.

Why do you think hygge has become popular now?

As a society we’ve never had it so good financially and materially, so we are looking more at the existential questions of happiness, fulfillment and wellbeing, as opposed to mere survival.

Our world is going through very exciting times. It also means that the rate of change we are seeing is, in many ways, unprecedented. As people, we have a desire for both excitement and security/safety. We want enough change to make things interesting, but too much change will make us feel unsafe. If we add to change the constant flood of information we are subjected to, it’s no wonder people are looking for some reprieve. I think Hygge is one method of many that can provide people with the comfort of slowing things down a little.

So how does Hygge help mental health and wellbeing? What’s the research?

Anything that helps busy, stressed, overworked or overwhelmed people slow down and take note of what’s nice & cosy in their lives can have a powerfully healthy and positive effect in people’s lives. While I’m not aware of any direct studies on Hygge it’s important to remember that Hygge has elements of well researched benefits like ‘slowing down and take note’. Or in other words it’s very similar, if not the same, as some of the core processes of mindfulness, and that has been shown in research to be extremely beneficial and have antidepressant effects. And ‘appreciating the nice things in life’, or gratitude, has also been studied extensively within Positive Psychology, elements we cover in our Resilience course and found to have not just anti anxiety and antidepressant effects, but also to build the neural pathways that make it harder to experience negativity and easier to experience positivity.

What innate human needs are people trying to address through the concept of hygge?

We have an innate need for comfort and protection. In the old experiments on baby monkeys (we wouldn’t do it nowadays), they took them away from their mothers and gave them two options – a metal, mechanical device that gave them food, or a metal mechanical device covered in soft cloth that gave them comfort but not food. The monkeys opted for comfort over food every time.

I believe Hygge helps people address their needs for closeness and love, and also for safety and certainty. But, it’s important to understand that Hygge is not the only tool that helps people do this.

In your experience how do people feel when they adopt a hygge approach to life?

All in all, the return to simplicity & connecting that Hygge encourages helps people get a greater enjoyment of life. It can have the effect of reconnecting people with life, connecting them with others, and making time for their relationships. It can help bring more joy to people’s lives and protect them from turning everyday pressures into stress. After all, we are social creatures. We need that connection in order to thrive.

These simple activities, like lighting candles, sitting by a fire, are things which can, and often do, slow down time for the person. It brings them into this time and space. That’s very useful for caring for your psychological health. If you do this exercise with a loved one, it can help reconnect with that person on a regular basis, thus creating a sense of closeness and love – very important and basic needs for us too!

What’s the most important thing to do/be aware of in making Hygge work for you?

Hygge is more an attitude, an approach to life that leads to appreciation of the little things and respecting your own way of doing things. In that sense, your Hygge will be very different to my Hygge, but that’s ok, as long as it’s leading me to really connect with the inner appreciation of the little things. So even though Hygge is an approach, a philosophy as such, the little practices you do every day are what is going to bring a deep inner shift and joy.

What are the barriers that people may face in adopting Hygge practices? How would these be overcome?

One of the challenges for people in our societies today is simplification. It’s a common pitfall for people to try to apply something as simple and natural as Hygge and make a To Do list out of it. The moment that you put Hygge as a to-do for your life, then it has the danger of becoming a source of tension instead of one of release and connection. Make sure you practice, but don’t turn Hygge into a ‘new belief system’ of sorts. Enjoy it. Have fun with it. But don’t become obsessed with it. That would not be Hygge.

In a workplace setting, how Hygge can be adopted?

Some ways workplaces can adopt Hygge are by paying attention to the physical environments they create, making them ‘human friendly’. Managers can be really useful here and take the lead. But, remember a ‘human friendly’ office will be determined by the people that are going to use it, not by the boss.

For example, I like nice clean, minimalist office spaces, with no distractions, but I have colleagues who love to decorate their working space, with pictures, poems, etc to really make it their own cosy space. So Hygge is partly finding what really works for each staff member to get that sense of peace and safety, and doing that.

Have desks for people that love desks but have relaxing couches or chairs for people that love working in a more ‘relaxed’ way. Make sure this is encouraged.Have natural light. Make sure people take breaks and move. Encourage small chit chat.

Another way is for managers to encourage their teams to recognise the small things they are grateful for each day in their workplace – whether it was that the coffee machine got fixed, or what a lovely walk they had into the office that day, or a smile and a pleasant conversation with a colleague. Too often our focus is always on ‘what’s next’, instead of appreciating the good at work, and enjoying the time spent there. After all, we do spend a lot of our lives at work. And the research is overwhelmingly clear that when we are comfortable and enjoying it we will produce more.

Are there any cons to the concept of hygge?

There are cons to everything. For example, if you use Hygge to escape from deep problems that need your attention, then that’s not a good use of Hygge. Hygge doesn’t fix things, it just helps you create some needed rest for you psyche so you can deal with the more important things after. If you don’t take your refreshed mental state and use it to come up with better ways to live life, then Hygge has been wasted.
Another thing to be cautious of is that sometimes in order to achieve something big, we need to stretch outside of our comfort zone. Living in all comfort is neither natural nor good for you. We need to stretch beyond our comfort. Think about this, possibly everything great you have in your life it is because you did something that was a little outside the comfort zone – whether it was going to the job interview for that great role, or asking your now wife out on a date. If we are not balanced in our approach we don’t achieve anything. But right now, I think we’re out of balance the other way. People are feeling over-stretched and a little hyggee brings it back into balance.

What is your response to critics who believe it’s a superficial concept that represses and ignores the dark stuff of life?

I think it’s a little harsh. Where good mental health is concerned, we need to have a time for everything. A time for focusing and addressing the dark stuff in life and a time to have a welcome break to recharge our batteries, as it were. I think Hygge, if it’s your thing, can help you do that. Of course, I’d invite you to look into more tools than just Hygge. In our Building Resilience At Work course, a course for workplaces, we teach workers and managers over 12 different powerful tools to help your psyche have a break and for people to get mastery over their emotional selves. A real smorgasbord of choice. Why so many? so you can chose what you want, according to your own liking and personality.

Author: Pedro Diaz
Pedro-Diaz-authorPedro Diaz is the CEO of Workplace Mental Health Institute. He’s an author and accredited mental health social worker with senior management experience. Having recovered from his own experience of bipolar depression, Pedro is passionate about assisting organisations to address workplace mental health issues in a compassionate yet results-focussed way. He’s also a Dad, Husband, Trekkie and Thinker.

Connect with Pedro Diaz on:
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How do I lead

How do I lead authentically in a competitive culture?

How do I leadMost Leaders I’ve met, and I’ve met thousands of them, love the idea of being an authentic, ‘real’, leader. What about you? I love it but, and there’s a big ‘but’ here, I have to say that it’s not easy in the current competitive market. Despite the rise of informal, matrixed organisations, the majority of companies are still relatively traditional and have a hierarchical structure. And in these types of companies, it’s not uncommon to have a dog-eat-dog culture where everyone’s in competition with everyone… and one mistake can sideline you.

If you’re in a leadership position in an organisation like this, you’ve probably learned to adopt a certain management style to get things done. Maybe you relentlessly pursue your objectives, regardless of employee burnouts. Maybe you run a tight ship and exercise a lot of control over your employees’ work to ensure you hit your numbers. Or perhaps you play along with company politics—because if you don’t, you and your people will be disadvantaged.

However, if you’re new to the company or if your conscience prompts you to question certain actions, there might be a moment when you realise that this autocratic, even ruthless management style doesn’t sit well with you. In the long run, it could even become destructive to your workplace mental health. Eventually, you could find yourself asking whether you can develop an authentic leadership style—one that aligns with your inner values—without risking a loss of respect and power and eventually becoming a casualty of the culture.

Fortunately, it’s entirely possible, and realistic, to develop an authentic leadership style, regardless of what your company culture is. An authentic leadership style doesn’t automatically mean that you have to become “soft” and wishy-washy. What it does mean is that you develop a leadership style in which your character and values are the most important factors.

It’s critical, however, to keep in mind that those can’t be the only factors that determine your behavior and actions. You need to balance them against your experience, knowledge, and the best interests of your company. For example, even if it’s in your nature to be open, you can’t always be transparent in the workplace. There are times when it’s best to keep certain information under wraps because it could have a demoralising impact on your employees. Or if you’re naturally cautious, there are going to be times when it’s not in your company’s best interest to hold off and instead, you’ll have to be decisive and take action.

It’s important to understand that becoming a more authentic leader isn’t going to happen overnight. It will take a lot of introspection, plus, you’ll have to become accustomed to using your own values as a touchstone instead of simply falling into old management habits. However, with time and practice, you can develop a leadership style that reflects who you are and what you believe in without sacrificing effectiveness.

Yet all things considered, it’s not in your control how your work environment will receive your change in management style. However, if you have to choose between being constantly stressed because your values conflict with your management style or having to find a new position where you can further develop your authentic leadership style, in the long run, the second option is probably better for your mental health and your overall wellness.

Author: Pedro Diaz
Pedro-Diaz-authorPedro Diaz is the CEO of Workplace Mental Health Institute. He’s an author and accredited mental health social worker with senior management experience. Having recovered from his own experience of bipolar depression, Pedro is passionate about assisting organisations to address workplace mental health issues in a compassionate yet results-focussed way. He’s also a Dad, Husband, Trekkie and Thinker.

Connect with Pedro Diaz on:
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3 tips for developing emotional intelligence

3 Tips for Developing Your Team’s Emotional Intelligence

3 tips for developing emotional intelligenceAs many as one in five Australian workers suffers from a mental illness such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, psychosis, or substance abuse. And it’s not surprising that the majority are reluctant to tell their co-workers for fear of being treated differently. Which is why it’s critical that managers promote workplace mental health by mitigating factors that could trigger someone’s symptoms and propel him or her into ill health.

The Detrimental Impact of a Lack of Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

Fortunately, most people interact professionally with their colleagues, even if they don’t always understand their motivations or moods. However, there’s one type of team member that isn’t likely to respond in a mature manner: someone who has a lack of emotional intelligence or emotional quotient (EQ). While people like this can be talented and productive, their inability to empathise with others can create uncomfortable working relationships and sometimes escalate into full-blown conflicts. This in turn results in damaged relationships, a stressful work environment, compromised performance, and even high turnover.

The Benefits of Developing Emotional Intelligence

Instead of leaders having to deal with the fallout of these kinds of situations (fighting fires), it’s much more conducive in the long run to develop emotional intelligence in those team members who have a low EQ. This offers the following benefits:

  • Better interactions with co-workers (not only those suffering from mental illness) resulting in a more productive work environment, enhanced performance, increased productivity—and ultimately reduced turnover.
  • Better people skills on the part of the formerly immature workers, which provides them with the essential soft skills to advance their careers. In the long term, this justifies the company’s investment of time and resources in them.

3 Tips for Developing a Team Member’s EQ

Admittedly, developing a team member’s EQ is easier said than done. The individual has to want to change in order to truly develop. Even so, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Integrate EQ development with the employee’s career coaching. This provides you with a relevant framework to address the issue.
  • Determine the team member’s career objective. Find out which goals are important to him or her.
  • Explain why positive relationships are crucial to achieving his or her goals. Focus on how mutual respect and strong network connections play an essential role in advancing.
  • Provide a factual analysis of what the team member needs to learn and how it will benefit him or her. This can include empathy, non-verbal cues, and self-assessment. For example, if the worker has previously sparked conflict by being rude to, or appearing to ‘ride’ a colleague, explain how this behaviour is damaging to the colleague and reflects poorly on the leadership credibility (current or future) of the offending team member. Then brainstorm alternative ways to respond and how that would benefit the team member. For example, offering to assist the colleague would get the job done while simultaneously building the team member’s reputation as a supportive team player.

Our Building Resilience at Work course is something to consider for building the EQ of your team. It’s designed to build mental strength, stamina and emotional mastery so you can get on with business.

Developing a team member’s EQ isn’t easy—but it can be done. And in the long run, creating an emotionally intelligent workforce will benefit both your team members and your organisation.

Author: Pedro Diaz
Pedro-Diaz-authorPedro Diaz is the CEO of Workplace Mental Health Institute. He’s an author and accredited mental health social worker with senior management experience. Having recovered from his own experience of bipolar depression, Pedro is passionate about assisting organisations to address workplace mental health issues in a compassionate yet results-focussed way. He’s also a Dad, Husband, Trekkie and Thinker.

Connect with Pedro Diaz on:
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4 leadership styles

4 Leadership Styles Every Leader Needs to Know

4 leadership topicsHave you ever given feedback to a team member and felt it wasn’t received well? Or communicated the outcome you want, and what’s eventually delivered doesn’t resemble what you asked for?

Giving constructive feedback and direction is a critical skill for all leaders, but it’s not always easy to do. You want to balance the need to achieve outcomes with maintaining a great relationship, knowing it’s inevitable that team members will get it wrong sometimes.

The key is to use the correct leadership style for the person you are leading. A great tool to help you do this is the Competence / Confidence Matrix, adapted from research done way back in the 70’s. But unlike your safari suit, this model has stood the test of time.

1. High commitment / Low competence: Guide and coach

This might a new person on the team – a recent graduate or even an experienced player who isn’t yet familiar with how your team goes about things.

  • Discuss and decide on ways of doing things
  • Identify and provide the training needed
  • Accept early mistakes as important opportunities for coaching
  • Give responsibility and authority for the aspects of tasks the person can do
  • Require frequent updates early in the project, but relax control as progress is shown

2. High commitment, High competence: Delegate & release

These are your proven performers. The worst thing you can do is make them feel micro-managed.

  • Involve the person in decision-making
  • Frequently as the person for opinions
  • Give responsibility and authority because the person is competent and committed
  • Ask for updates at important moments or when the person has questions

3. Low commitment, Low competence: Direct & tell

You don’t want people in this category for long. You may be able to help them increase their competence or commitment, or it may be time to break up.

  • Discuss what would motivate the person and agree on what’s possible
  • Set clear rules, methods and deadlines
  • Give responsibility and authority for aspects of the task the person can do
  • Plan tasks in such a way that ensures the person has some success quickly
  • Identify & provide the training needed
  • Require frequent updates early in the project, but relax control as progress is shown

4. Low commitment, High competence: Excite & inspire

Your mission is to find out why their commitment is flagging. Are they looking for a new challenge, or are they disengaged with you, the team, or the company?

  • Discuss why the task is important and why the person is the right choice
  • Discuss what would motivate the person and what’s possible
  • Give responsibility and authority because the person is competent
  • Require frequent updates

Thinking back on recent interactions that went well, was there a relationship between the style you used and the competence and confidence of the team member? What about interactions that didn’t go well – might a different style have produced better results?

Delegating, directing and managing performance is something we all struggle with at times. Even highly experienced leaders come across people they just can’t figure out, or regardless of how consciously they try, where any interaction with the person just ends up pushing buttons! But know that engaging and developing the skills of team members is the cornerstone of good leadership and your genuine efforts today are influencing the next generation of leaders who are currently under your mentorship.

Author: Pedro Diaz
Pedro-Diaz-authorPedro Diaz is the CEO of Workplace Mental Health Institute. He’s an author and accredited mental health social worker with senior management experience. Having recovered from his own experience of bipolar depression, Pedro is passionate about assisting organisations to address workplace mental health issues in a compassionate yet results-focussed way. He’s also a Dad, Husband, Trekkie and Thinker.

Connect with Pedro Diaz on:
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managing up

The Art of Managing Upwards

managing upSometimes, it’s easy to get too comfortable in your career, isn’t it? You come to a time where you can do everything that is expected of you easily, without a lot of stress. But, beware! you can, at this point start to feel a little less satisfaction. You may feel that you are not being challenged. Or, you can worry that you will stagnate in your career and never move up to the heights you are capable of. What you need to do then is this: get good at managing up.Managing up refers to stretching yourself in your job. Instead of focusing on just what needs to get done to fulfill your duties, look at what needs to happen to help your company as a whole and you in your career grow. It means taking on additional tasks that make your manager’s life easier and make you a more valuable part of the enterprise.

Why is Managing Upwards important?

If we just stick to our job descriptions, the people who work around us will never know our full capabilities and potential. It is too easy to get stagnated and stop moving forward in your career. By making managing up part of your philosophy and strategy, you can become more valuable to your department and the company.

It’s also good protection. If there is a down turn in your business, your industry or the economy as a whole, there will be times when cuts may need to be made. By showing that you are valuable and committed, you can increase your chances that you will be there to ride along on the next upswing.

And, more than anything else, it’s good for your mental health at work. When you come in dedicated to being valuable, you will feel more confident and happier about the work that you do. A sense that you are doing valuable work and helping to build something leads to higher job satisfaction. Since most of us spend a significant amount of our time at work, finding value there enhances every part of our lives.

5 Tips for Succeeding at Managing Up

Once you’ve decided that managing up is part of your strategy, you need to figure out how to succeed at it. If you are going to keep your efforts productive, there are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Get to know and understand your manager.

You and your manager need to be able to communicate clearly. You need to understand what their priorities are and what they want from the people who work with them. If you do not understand what your manager means, for instance, when they asks for a task to be completed, take the time to learn. And, know what your manager prefers. For instance, many people do not like to hear new ideas unless there is data to back it up. Make sure you give your manager what they need to be able to say ‘yes’.

2. Jump in where you are needed.

Don’t wait to be told that something needs to be done. When you observe a need, find a way to fulfill it. By jumping in, you show your willingness to take chances and your willingness to get things done.

3. Keep your boss informed.

Your manager is not a mind reader. Tell him regularly what you are working on and what you have accomplished. By keeping a running narrative, you can demonstrate your value to the company and begin to move up.

4. Work on building relationships.

Get to know the people in your company and in your industry. By making sure that people know who you are and the work ethic and ingenuity you bring to the job, the more likely they will think of you when new opportunities come up.

5. Keep things positive.

Sometimes, the most valuable thing you can be is someone who is easy and pleasant to work with. Stay out of company politics and drama. Keep complaining to a minimum when things do not go as planned. By making sure that you are easy to be around, you help ensure that you are the person people want to pick for new projects.

Managing up is not just doing a few extra things around the office. It’s a philosophical difference in how you relate at work. You will find that when you start looking at your career through this lens, you will feel happier, more fulfilled and more pleasantly challenged in your work.

Author: Pedro Diaz
Pedro-Diaz-authorPedro Diaz is the CEO of Workplace Mental Health Institute. He’s an author and accredited mental health social worker with senior management experience. Having recovered from his own experience of bipolar depression, Pedro is passionate about assisting organisations to address workplace mental health issues in a compassionate yet results-focussed way. He’s also a Dad, Husband, Trekkie and Thinker.

Connect with Pedro Diaz on:
Pedro Diaz on Google Plus Pedro Diaz on Face Book Pedro Diaz on LinkedIn

five ways to motivate team

5 Ways to Motivate Your Team for 2017

five ways to motivate teamA lot of employees find that motivation drags most in the weeks after Christmas holidays. To get the new year off to a positive start, you need to have powerful motivation strategies in place. For most people, this doesn’t mean pep talks; when those work at all, their influence wears off pretty quickly. Instead, use these five tested techniques:

1. Listen to the people on your team & tell/show you value them.

The relationship between an employee and their direct manager is the most important factor that influences engagement and motivation. If it is an open and honest relationship, that sets the tone for everything that goes on in the workplace. Listening to the people who work with you is a big part of that. This means listening when they have concerns as well as being open to their ideas. When the people around you feel like they are heard, they feel like they are valued, as well.

2. Learn what motivates each team member.

Some people really thrive on praise and feedback. Others are all about responsibility and freedom to get things done. Still others want a workplace where they feel that work/life balance is prized and protected. Learn what makes everyone you work with tick. By learning how they work and what drives them to do a job well, you can craft an environment that helps them be their best. Learning can come from a combination of closed-door, one on one meetings, surveys and questionnaires and simply observing people in action to see how they work best and what they respond to.

3. Make group goals.

Instead of always working to motivate each team member individually, create goals that everyone can work toward together. Make sure that everyone knows their roles and their responsibilities — remember, when more than one person is responsible for something, that can mean that no one is. Each person needs specific tasks and a way to check them off for accountability.

Goals should be broken down into milestones, short term goals and long term ones. Meet regularly to see where everyone is and what they need for the next steps or the bigger picture. Think about rewards for steps along the way. This combination of short and long term provides some reward for each step while helping keep focus on the larger, long term goal, which can help prevent fatigue. Making it easy for people to see small accomplishments help them drive toward larger ones and helps boost emotional and mental health at work.

4. Give team members responsibility.

People feel happiest at work when they know that they are important to an enterprise’s success. By giving people responsibility and the freedom to complete the work the way they want, it can help them take ownership of what they are doing. Allow different people to take leadership positions at different times. For instance, instead of a manager always leading meetings, ask different individuals on your staff to take charge. This allows different people to shape the discussion, giving you a variety of points of view. And, when this happens, people feel that their contributions are more important and are more likely to feel motivated about making them happen.

5. Show your team the bigger picture.

When people are just tasked with little pieces of the whole goal, their feeling about their importance might feel small, too. There is no value in deciding that information about the larger goals is over someone’s pay grade. Make sure that everyone knows what their contribution means to the success of the whole. Update regularly about how each of their tasks and projects works toward the organization’s bigger success.

This sort of transparency means that people know that the work they are doing means something. It helps them understand the value that they bring to the project. When people understand that, they feel more empowered and invested at work. They will do better work and feel more motivation each day to do it.

Keeping a team motivated is an ongoing task. It’s more than a few meetings or buzzwords. It comes down to a constant dedication to being the sort of leader who brings the best out of people. While that’s a big job, these are a few simple policies and actions to put into place to start. These and other tips to motivate your team can help make 2017 a productive and fulfilling year.

Author: Pedro Diaz
Pedro-Diaz-authorPedro Diaz is the CEO of Workplace Mental Health Institute. He’s an author and accredited mental health social worker with senior management experience. Having recovered from his own experience of bipolar depression, Pedro is passionate about assisting organisations to address workplace mental health issues in a compassionate yet results-focussed way. He’s also a Dad, Husband, Trekkie and Thinker.

Connect with Pedro Diaz on:
Pedro Diaz on Google Plus Pedro Diaz on Face Book Pedro Diaz on LinkedIn

Brain waves

How Will You Lead Differently in 2017?

Brain wavesThere’s no one right style of leadership. Each manager needs to make decisions based on the people who make up her team and what works best for them. However, it’s also true that there is always room for improvement. And that’ll be time well spent since good leadership is strongly associated with improved results overall. The goods news, it’s not that hard. By taking some time for some self-reflection and study, you can become a better leader in the new year.

Reflect on What Went Well

Figure out what your leadership wins were in 2016 so that you can build on them in the new year. This starts by writing down your own impressions of where you think you were successful. Think in terms of what you did that got you to a goal instead of just what was accomplished. Hint: you are looking for your own ‘pattern of success’ here.

You should also talk to employees and your manager to see what they think about the year we’ve just finished. What did they feel was especially effective? What did they find surprising or innovative?

… And on What Didn’t


None of us hit it out of the park every time. That’s ok. We are not supposed to. But we are supposed to take the opportunity to learn from what didn’t work. After writing down your wins, take some notes about what you felt did not go well. Were there times you fell short of goals? Times that you felt that you did not make yourself clearly understood to team members? Times you dropped the ball and didn’t delegate as well as you should?

When asking others for their impressions on where there was room for improvement, it can sometimes be better to allow people to be anonymous. Consider sending around a survey or putting out a box where people can drop notes about what they think could have gone better and their suggestions for 2017. One word of caution: make sure that you yourself get into a powerful state before you review feedback. Some of it will not be pleasant. Don’t make it personal even when it feels personal. Remember, you are a leader and the aim is to take what you can out of it and learn how to lead better, not to go into a pity party. If you need to vent, go and vent with someone you respect and can guide you with wisdom, such as your executive coach.

When you are looking at how you did, you should also look at metrics that spell out hits and misses in numbers. Were there more sick days in your department this year than in others? Did you have a higher average than other departments in the company? Were your rates of turnover higher than normal or about average for your company and your industry?

Look Outside for Inspiration

If there were situations that you did not feel you handled as well as possible or areas where you feel your team has untapped potential, look for ways to change or improve your leadership to bring out everyone’s best in the coming year.

Sometimes the best thing we can do is find an example of what we want to be. Modelling your style on the style of someone who you find successful can be an excellent place to start. By looking to others, you can adopt some of what gets them their great results. Who’s the leader you admire or like the most? What is it about them you like?

A leadership coach or a mentor can help provide actionable advice about how to take your current leadership strategies and tweak them to be more effective. These individuals will have the outside perspective you need to see what you are doing well and how you can improve.

Challenging yourself in the workplace is another way to make yourself a better leader, as well. When the people who work with you see you stretching, they often feel more confident about your abilities. You will also likely learn new skills that translate well into better leadership.

Communicate with Your Team

To be effective, change can’t be unilateral. If you want to change procedures in your workplace so that you are more effective, be sure to talk about this with your team. Get them meaningfully engaged. Explain where you feel you all are at the present time, what new results you want to see and what you see as the ways to get there. Make sure you ask them for their ideas and suggestions of what they feel will help you, as a team, get there. Remember – sudden changes can make people feel unsettled or even worried about their jobs. This sort of open communication makes people feel more at ease. It also helps them understand your expectations better so that they are more able to shape their efforts to fit your needs.

Better leadership is, in many ways, the result of deliberate and thoughtful choices. By making decisions based on what you want instead of being in a place where you are purely reactive, you are better able to coax and work together with your team in the direction that will be more successful for you all. Be patient as you try putting new strategies into place. It can take some trial and error to get the results you want. Over time, however, it will lead to better results from your team and a happier, more productive workplace.

Author: Pedro Diaz
Pedro-Diaz-authorPedro Diaz is the CEO of Workplace Mental Health Institute. He’s an author and accredited mental health social worker with senior management experience. Having recovered from his own experience of bipolar depression, Pedro is passionate about assisting organisations to address workplace mental health issues in a compassionate yet results-focussed way. He’s also a Dad, Husband, Trekkie and Thinker.

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Workplace Mental Health Institute