Stay Connected

I recently read an article about communication in a professional working environment. One comment struck me as an opportunity for me to improve. It was about building a personal communication plan.

It seemed so simple at the time. This week, I am scheduling time for my 2019 reflection, and it is a perfect opportunity to implement. I want to create an annual communication plan to define what actions are needed to stay connected. It is simply a plan with four elements:

1. Who. Who do I want to communicate with on a regular basis. Make a list.

2. Why. What is the purpose of the communication? Why is it important?

3. Frequency. What is the best frequency for each of these people or groups? Create a plan and get it on my calendar.

4. How. What are the best methods for this communication. Is it text messages, emails, phone calls, meetings,  or even a presentation?

Important communication needs repeated, and it needs to be conveyed in more than one manner. I usually find myself wishing I spent more time on communication. My hope is this plan will help me fill in some gaps. What is your plan to improve communication in 2020?

Make Today Your Own

Every day is unique. Although we can’t control everything that affects our day, we can impact how we approach it. Here are the three perspectives that drive me each day.

1. There is always more to do than time allows. We do not have unlimited time, so we must make the best of the minutes and hours we are given.

2. There is always some time needed to disconnect and recharge. I have a habit of disconnecting on the weekend. I stay away from work email, and I rarely do any type of work on Sunday. For me, it makes a big difference in my effectiveness throughout the week. I have had periods in my life where I worked non-stop, day after day. Recharging helps us keep perspective. If you continually work tactical actions, you will potentially lose sight of strategy.

3. Being effective with your time is also work. We like to think we are efficient. But I have found that if we rely on systems and our own tricks to be more productive, then possibly we become stuck in a routine that is temporarily effective. If we pause to evaluate all the resources we have available and adjust to take full advantage of an ever changing environment, we have the ability to become more effective.

These are three perspectives that help me stay positive and engaged every day. What attitudes help you stay at the top of your game?

Do You Struggle Working for Your Boss?

We have all probably worked for good bosses and bad bosses. Working for a good boss is easy, while working for a bad boss makes each day a struggle. How can you improve your environment if you find yourself in this situation? I recommend reflecting on these key points.

1. What does my boss need from me? First off, he or she needs you to complete your assigned tasks on time and manage your assigned responsibilities. Beyond that, he or she is normally looking for loyalty, openness, tolerance, and focus. These are traits that a boss typically doesn’t ask for directly, but will appreciate when employees embrace.

2. What do I need from my boss? The basics are clear communication and guidance on assigned tasks. If we receive the basics, we are more productive when we receive support and feedback. This take more time on your boss’s agenda, so you may have to take the initiative. Schedule weekly time to get feedback, and ask for the support you need. Your boss may want to provide it, but may never allocate his time.

If you are struggling, reflect on the difference experiences you have had with different bosses. In your current role, what is missing? What is in your control to change? What action will help today?

Does Your Team Have an Edge?

John Maxwell has said, “The difference between two equally talented teams is leadership.” Does your team leadership provide the edge your team needs? A successful team needs to put in the work, and it also needs talent and tools. But without leadership, its achievements are limited.

What does great leadership look like for a team? Leaders help develop the talents their team possesses. Leaders enable quick learning, and effectively utilizes knowledge from both wins and losses. Team members are empowered, and develop a sense of responsibility for the results.

I have been on teams where I have had to provide the leadership foundation. I have also been on teams that struggled with a lack of leadership. But what I find interesting is that as a member of a great team, you sometimes don’t recognize fully the contribution of the leader. Leadership in some environments can be subtle, but yet required.

Leadership is simply the ability to influence the outcome. Learn to build positive influence in all types of environments and you will give your team an edge.

If you are the leader of a team, are you providing the right environment to give your team the edge? What will you do differently starting this week to advance your team?