Self-Awareness

If It Isn’t Broke, Don’t Fix It

Sometimes when new leaders are getting started in their role, they feel pressure to make changes, get quick results, and prove their worth. The most successful new leaders, however, know to focus instead on building trust and relationships with the individuals they work with and lead. As a new leader emphasize:

  • Learning the organization’s pace and norms
  • Focusing on identifying short term priorities, and making note of focus areas for the next year and the following year
  • Empathy and Compassion. Change often makes people uncomfortable, avoid making sudden changes especially during your first 100 days
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Remove Service Barriers

The number one complaint customers cite is the difficulty of resolving their problems. Analyze your customer service process. Are there obstacles your customers must face to resolve their issue? How can you make it easier for customers to have their complaints resolved?

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Track Your Achievements

As you develop and progress throughout your career, it can be useful to track your accomplishments or your career achievements. This is not the same thing as your LinkedIn profile, CV or resume, although tracking your career achievements can influence those materials. Keep your mentors and advocates informed of your development and accomplishments. This can be done digitally through a saved document that is updated, a blog, or a personal website.

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Know Your Impact

What is your impact? What do you want to be known for? What are you passionate about? What are your special skills or talents? What do you want your legacy to be? Are you taking steps to pursue what is most important to you?

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Take a Break

786 million vacation days went unused for Americans in 2018. Research reveals 55% of American’s didn’t use all of their allotted PTO. Use time off to recharge, enjoy new experiences, and connect with friends and family. While many high performers may struggle internally with taking a break from work, a vacation is proven to increase productivity, energy, and optimism.

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Do You Really Need to be Doing That?

It’s common for high performers to continue to volunteer for additional responsibilities, to the point where they may become burned out. To prevent this, it’s vital to pause and think, “Do I really need to be doing this? Is there someone else on my team that would like this opportunity? or Is there a way to automate this task?” Consider whether you are delegating responsibilities as you continue to take on new ones.

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Reduce Stress by Improving Processes

As new technology becomes rapidly introduced, it’s a good idea to revisit processes you use to execute your daily work. Analyze which tasks take you the most time, or cause you the most stress, and look for ways to improve the process for greater efficiency.

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Avoid Thinking ‘Should’

Don’t focus on how things “should” be. This is a trap that can create unrealistic expectations and undermine happiness. Let go of the control over how an experience should go and enjoy the moment.

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Focus on Being Grateful

If you’re feeling grateful it should be hard to also feel sorry for yourself. One way gratitude can change your perspective quickly is by asking yourself, “Does someone on the planet have it worse than me right now?” It’s likely the answer is “yes.” To instantly change your perspective try:

  • Writing a Thank-You note to a friend or colleague.
  • Going out of your way to do something nice or useful for someone else.
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You Get To

Stop yourself from thinking you “have” to do something, and start thinking about things like you “get” to do them. This shift in perspective supports a positive and grateful mindset.

For Example: I have to take the kids to school daily. Becomes: I get to spend extra time with my children each morning driving them to school safely in my vehicle. 

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Take Pride in Your Work

Execute your responsibilities to the best of your ability. Your work is a reflection of your personal accountability. Identify ways to go above and beyond in your work to exceed the expectations of your leader and team, and positively affect the organization’s results.

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Role Model Ownership

Leaders lead by always owning the organization in good times and in challenging times. State the mission/vision of the organization early and often to employees and invite discussion about what it means to bring the organization’s mission and vision to life daily. Model owner behavior daily and particularly in times of challenge. Maintain emotional control and maintain the focus on reaching goals and achieving the mission.

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Stretch Yourself

Identify a new challenge you would like to take on or a new skill you are passionate about developing. Are you an aspiring leader who would like to gain more experience? What area could you develop that will get you closer to your career goals? Create a plan for the next 90 days to challenge yourself.

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What Have You Accomplished?

Create a list of your accomplishments since you’ve begun your career. What awards or recognition have you received? What impactful results have you reached? Use numbers and analytics to show impact when applicable.

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Where Are You Going?

If your organization isn’t providing a formal career map or development plan for you, take ownership and create your own. What do you want to get out of your career? In what areas would you like to advance your skills?

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Identify Your Impact

Remind yourself daily why you do the work you do. What is the end benefit of your efforts? You may not even come in contact with the people you impact, but your work does make a difference in their lives. Focus on finding meaning in your work.

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Build on Your Strengths

What are your greatest work successes? What are your talents and strengths? Think of one way to increase the use of your talents and strengths, that have lead to past successes, in your work now and implement it.

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Use Gratitude to Overcome Obstacles

When you are facing an obstacle it can be helpful to question yourself with a focus on gratitude:

  • What is one thing that is positive or good about this situation?
  • What is the hidden opportunity, or what can I learn from this situation?
  • Does someone have it worse than me right now?
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Daily Gratitude

Take 30 seconds out of each day to record one thing you are grateful for. You can use a gratitude journal, a word document, or even a voice or video recorder on your phone.

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Allow Time to Process Survey Results

After your initial review of survey data, allow yourself time to process the results. Take a break from the data and return to it later. Recognize your emotional reactions and shift your negative responses to positive, productive responses. This will prepare you to calmly communicate the data to your team and welcome their input.

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Listen for Understanding

Avoid the temptation of listening to others only to prepare yourself for a response. The act of listening helps us better understand those around us. Pause for 5 seconds to make sure the person is done talking before you begin your response. Consider responding with a probing question or a clarifying statement to be sure you’re understanding the message correctly.

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Accurately Distinguish Your Emotions

One way to increase emotional intelligence is to get really specific about what emotion you’re experiencing. Instead of using ‘happy’ consider if you’re really ‘ecstatic’ or ‘blissful’ or ‘cheerful’. Are you ‘angry’ or are you ‘irritated’ or maybe ‘resentful’? The more accurately you categorize your emotions the better you will become at regulating them.

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Talk Yourself Up

We can be our own biggest critic if we let ourselves. An internal monologue of negative thoughts can be detrimental to self-esteem. Even if we don’t realize it, we are in control of our thoughts. Today, focus on letting negative thoughts pass and replacing those messages with a positive statement instead.

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Keep Track of Your Emotions

As you reflect on your day, note any moments that make you ‘tick,’ or that generate an emotional response from you. Whether or not you managed your reaction, consider keeping a journal to track all of these moments. By tracking these situations, you will notice patterns in behaviors that caused you to react emotionally, and recognize what helps you remain in control of your emotions.

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Be Aware of Nonverbal Communication

During conversations with your team members, pay close attention to their nonverbal communication. If a person’s body language and their verbal responses don’t match, this could be a sign to clarify what the person is trying to say.

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What is Their Preference?

Do your customers prefer an email or a phone call? Do they prefer 1 email a week, or 1 email a month? Learn your customers’ preferences and use the information to ensure they’re engaged the way they prefer.

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Plan for the Future

Reflect on where you see the organization going in the next five years. Is that where you want it to go? What actions can you take to align the organization with your five year vision?

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Communicate Neutrally

When speaking about challenges, stop and think, “How can I phrase this in a way that doesn’t put others down – even subtly?”

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Ask Your Boss

“What is the one area in which you would most like me to place an extra focus?” and proceed to exceed their expectations.

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The Silent Communication

The most important part of communication is hearing what isn’t being said. During conversations, pay close attention to what body language is saying.

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Admit Your Mistakes

When you realize you’ve made a mistake, make amends humbly and immediately. The more time you let pass, the worse the situation can become.

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Go Where You’re Happiest

Today spend more time with people who bring out the best in you, not the stress in you.

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Keep Your Cool

Avoid adding to your pain and suffering by being overly sensitive. Don’t over-react to minor things or take things too personally.

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Feedback to Inspire

While giving critical feedback, remind the recipient that you believe in them and their abilities, the goal you are collectively trying to achieve, and the new information they need to drive to excellence.

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Question for Better Answers

Instead of asking, “Do you have any questions?,” ask, “What can I explain better?” You can probe further by asking, “Can you be more specific?,” “What makes you say that?,” “Can you give me an example?,” and “Why do you think that’s working?”

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Role-Model Pride

List what makes you feel valued. What gives you a sense of pride? Do more of those things.

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Improve Yourself First

Identify one thing you will learn this week, and set aside the time needed in your schedule. Improve yourself before you attempt to improve those you lead.

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Concentrate on Your Strengths

Make a list of your strengths and weaknesses. Focus on your strengths and let leaders, mentors and others help you with your weaknesses.

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Tough Talks

When you are faced with a tough conversation, first consider your goals. The first is to solve the problem. The second is to do so without damaging the relationship.

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Thrive in the Face of Adversity

Pause for 2 to 5 seconds to think today before you respond. Your response is always a choice, even in the most difficult situations, and sets an example for others to follow.

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Develop Yourself to Develop Others

Choose a skill you need to develop further as a leader and set aside 30 minutes each day to practice. We can only take someone as far as we’ve taken ourselves.

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Priorities Align to Values

Analyze your actions for today and determine if they are in line with the mission and values of your organization. Identify what actions will lead to the most results and spend your time accordingly.

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Get Your Game Face On

A leader must consistently display their game face. Regardless of the situation, no negative emotion or expression can show. Leaders communicate with body language. If your stomach is churning, your expression stays calm.

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Start Small

Start moving barriers today by writing down your top three obstacles. “Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” – Michael Jordan

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Leading Change

Do one thing today outside of your comfort zone. “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” George Bernard Shaw

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Authenticity Creates Followers

Make pausing a practice in your communication. By taking time to consider what we are communicating, we become more authentic and those we lead are more likely to trust us.

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Craft your character

You cannot pick your talents or IQ, but you can choose your character. You can’t separate a leader’s character from his or her actions. As you live your life and make daily choices, you are continuing to create your character.

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Lower Your Talking Time

Value your listening and reading time at roughly 10 times your talking time on the road to continuous learning and self-improvement. Estimate how much time you spend talking each day and set a goal to lower that number.

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Back Pocket Ownership

We/They is the act of passing blame to others. Increase ownership behavior and eliminate we/they by visualizing your supervisor in your back pocket.

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Prioritize for Joy

Identify what priorities will allow you to lead a happy life and let those things guide you.

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