Feeling stuck? This read will help you get promoted and turn your new manger role into a success.

Todays’ post starts week 2 of the New Manager Series.

This week I am talking about how to get promoted within your organization to a manager role. But also, once you get there how to turn it into success.

So if you are working in a position that you feel you have outgrown and want to move up, get comfortable and read these tips.

1.    Become a STAR employee

Doing your job well but “just doing your job” is not enough to be considered an A player – promotion candidate. That’s why you are getting paid – to do your job well.

You need to be excellent at what you do. Better than anyone else. Be so good, that you can train others to become as good as you are.

Like with everything, if you want to be a star you need to be hungry and have a desire for doing more than what’s expected of you. You should also be looking proactively for additional responsibilities within your current role. Don’t wait for them to be presented to you on a silver platter.

At the same time, you need to accomplish all this with humility.

What is humility you ask?

It’s the opposite of arrogance and insecurities that lay underneath it. Being humble means having self-confidence in your abilities without having to show it to anyone blatantly to prove your self-worth. It means understanding that no one is perfect and having an open mind for feedback and self-development. You need to be objective about your strengths and opportunities for growth and development.


What makes you a manager material is becoming a leader before you have the title.

Here a few ideas what it means to be a leader in a peer group:

–    Be engaged – care about the business, learn as much as you can to understand not only your role but also those of your peers and manager; understand how all these tie with a larger operation of your company;

–    Take ownership – acknowledge your imperfections and admit your mistakes. That makes you real. Being defensive when your manager gives you feedback does not help you get better and derails you from the promotion path;

–    Implement the learnings – being open to feedback is only the first step to being a leader. Nothing will get better if the teaching you were given is not actioned upon. Having a growth mindset needs to be tied together with action – this is the only way you will improve;

–    Put others first – when your team succeeds, you succeed.
Following Zig Ziglar’s advice “You can have everything in life that you want if you just give enough other people what they want.” will help you build a good relationship with your peers. When your peers trust that you have their best interest in mind, they will also trust you to do the same when you become their manager.

–    Don’t complain about things that do not work – provide solutions instead. Find better ways of doing things, improving your day to day tasks and recommend them to your manager in a constructive way.

3.    Be engaged and foster your peer’s engagement

An engaged team works much better together and make the work environment fun. You want to be at the forefront of fostering such behavior. Positivity, good energy and fun while getting things done makes for an attractive workplace.

Negativity, complaining without proposing solutions and gossip are demotivating for all. They demoralize the team, lower productivity and make the best people run away screaming. If you make yourself part of such environment or worse create it – what are you going to do when you are the one who has to manage it and take responsibility for the results?

To sum up the first three points in one sentence: be an employee you would want to have on your Team as a Manager.

Do you want to check if you are there? Fill in my self-assessment that will tell you if you are ready for a promotion. Click here to have it sent to you.

OK, so now you got the dream promotion, you are a manager, and you will realize that even though all the above still applies, there are several new skills you need to hone to be successful in the new role.

Below is the overview of 3 main ones that put you on the right track:

A.    Focusing on a big picture

Junior managers often have a hard time understanding that the urgent cannot overshadow the important. Fighting fires and solving small daily issues is what you have been successfully doing so far. It is probably something you feel comfortable with, and that gives you a feeling of accomplishment. As important as those tasks still are, they cannot overshadow important initiatives you will need to work on as a manager.

Understanding the big picture, developing strategic thinking and planning skills is indispensable in your ability to lead your new team to success.

B.    Delegating and asking for help from your Boss

Note that as a manager, your primary job is to lead a team not to do it all alone. Learning how to delegate properly will allow you to grow your people, avoid the feeling of “dumping” the work on them you do not want to do, and make you effective in your role.

Additionally, remember that your relationship with your manager is a partnership, not a “servitude.” Make it a positive one then. Understand your role and expectations of you. You can read more details on this topic in last week’s blog here.

Asking for advice and help when you need it is part of your job. Raise issues early enough before they become a disaster. No one likes to be blindsided by problems, especially in the worst possible moment. The pain you have to go through when this happens is much worse than the pain of admitting one’s mistake and raising the smaller issue the moment it happens.

C.    Giving constructive feedback to your team members

As humans we tend to avoid confrontations. It’s a natural behaviour for most of us. That is why giving feedback and coaching your team members on unwanted behaviors is something most managers are not comfortable with, especially new ones. However, avoiding to address essential issues with the staff deprives them of the opportunity to get better. If left “unattended” for too long, the problems will escalate and can become personal. It is a selfish behavior i.e.; you are not doing a favor to your employee choosing to ignore the issue because you want to avoid feeling uncomfortable having a difficult conversation. Giving constructive feedback is not about asking people to change their personalities, it’s about helping them to improve their behavior.

To sum up, managing people is real work. It requires skills that must be developed and improved on throughout your entire career. Good managers always make it seem natural and effortless. That is why very often people have these perceptions that being a leader is easy. It is very rewarding but not easy.

I was asked lately to describe in 30 seconds what leadership means to me.

For me, leadership is a lifelong journey of self-discovery and commitment to the growth of ourselves and the people we lead. Focusing outward on our people, making it all about them, forces us to look at ourselves. When we identify what we need to do to improve, our team will trust us enough to believe in the vision and mission we want to accomplish.

If you enjoyed this post and it has inspired you to invest in yourself and develop the skills you need to get promoted or rock your existing management role, let’s connect! To set up a free coaching session with me, click here😊

“Personal development is a major time-saver. The better you become, the less time it takes you to achieve your goals.” ―Brian Tracy

6 Tips for New Managers: How to Keep Out of Trouble

New Manager Series 1/3: Managing the Team You Inherited

There are three main scenarios in which you can become a new manager:

1.    You already have some leadership experience, and by moving to a new role in a different department or company, you start managing an existing team.

2.    You are a Star A-player in your team and get promoted to a leadership position within it.

3.    You are a “solopreneur” or a leader of a start-up division where business is growing, and now you need to start building and managing a team from scratch.

Starting today, over the next three weeks, I will write about all three of those scenarios covering the main mistakes that leaders sometimes make and giving you tips on how to avoid them.

All this information is an excellent source of learning to all managers and can apply to many scenarios. So don’t miss out and follow the series to get most of out it!

“When you become a leader, it is no longer about you; it’s about your team” – Jack Welch

Managing the Team, You Inherited

1. Understand the core purpose of your role

Any role has a core mission and purpose, whether it is clearly stated or not. Remember then that your organization hired you for a reason. You are a manger so that with your team you deliver specific results to the company and help solve real challenges.

That is why, as soon as possible you need to fundamentally understand what vision your new boss has for your role and what outcomes they see you achieve. 

If you are lucky you found some of that during the interview processes. Maybe you asked, or maybe whoever interviewed you mentioned the main aspects of the role and expectations.

However, you need to take the interview process with a grain of salt. Interviews are like a sales pitch on both sides. On the one hand, you try to sell yourself and get the job you have dreamed of. On the other side, the employer attempts to sell the position they are hiring for. They do that by striking a balance of setting the right expectations to attract the best candidates but also trying not to scare them off right from the start or disclose too much of confidential internal information to the public.

Now you know why it is crucial that right after the start date, you need to take steps, listen, ask questions and learn to fully understand what is going on around you and why were you hired.

This bring me to advice # 2.

2. Have a learning mindset as opposed to “I know it better” attitude.

One of the common mistakes new leaders make when coming into the organization is by having a mindset of knowing “the answer” to all the problems their teams are facing. Avoid that at all cost! Not only you definitely will not have all the answers, but also you will show up as arrogant and insecure. Such an attitude will only alienate people form you.

And because of this, instead of gaining the trust of your team and build the proper relationships, you will put yourself in a trust hole that you might not be able to get out of. I know that you do not want to be sabotaging your chances of success, especially right from the start. 

The remedy to the above is to engage in social learning instead.

Yes, reading reports, contracts and documents necessary for your role is critical. However, to get to know your new company or division, you need to talk to people. Striking the right balance of both will allow you to form your own informed opinions on the environment, people, as well as what is working and what is not.

If you have lead teams before, I am sure you know that each company or even department has a unique culture that you will want to understand and adapt to. Not venturing into the learning through connecting with people and relationship building, you will isolate yourself very quickly. So be humble, listen and ask questions first. You will be amazed at how much you can learn!

That is why, my last three tips talk about connecting with people, starting with your team.

3.    Get to know your Team Members.

Taking time to know your team members is the best investment you will make as a leader. You need to figure out quick who are your stars, your solid rock performers, and your bottom 10% that needs to be coached or find better opportunities elsewhere.

One-on-one meetings are one of the best ways to do it along with regular staff meetings.

Ensure you make at least the first couple of on-one-ones friendly and relaxed as opposed to formal and stiff. Your employees cannot feel like they are in an interrogation or a performance review right from the start.

You should definitely prepare yourself by thinking of a set of good questions to ask but don’t forget about allowing for some time for your team members to ask questions as well.

Additionally, think of introducing yourself as a professional but also a human being. Showing your personal side will make you authentic and give you credibility. Why? Because credibility is established not only by experience and technical skill but also by being vulnerable. Now, to avoid the trap of making the meetings all about you, your part should be short and sweet.

“The best minute you spent is the one you invest in people.” – Kenneth Blanchard

With the right questions, observation, and positive atmosphere, you will get to know your team members not only as employees but also individuals. This approach will help you start building trust and have your employees open to you.

Once you understand their skills and strengths, you will be in a position to assign them the tasks they enjoy doing.

In turn, it will increase the team member engagement and benefit the company the most. Knowing them as individuals will also allow you to find out what motivates them. And that will give you ideas on proper ways of recognizing and coaching your employees.

If you are finding these tips helpful and would like to receive more, for example, strategies on how to assess the qualities of your team members, then sign up for my newsletter. This week’s edition includes top-notch actionable advice that you can start using right away! Click here to sign up.

4.    Establish a good relationship with your boss.

Sometimes while learning, getting to know their team, putting out early fires, etc., the new managers forget about the relationship with their boss. Ironically, the bosses are the ones, whose buy-in and support you will need with all of your major decisions, infinitives or changes.

Building a positive relationship with your boss is one of your key opportunities to transition successfully into the new role. That is why you need to invest time and effort to understand them. Just like with your employees, find out what motivates them; what are their priorities and goals they need to achieve? What are their challenges and how you can help in solving them? What are their expectations of you and their way of working?

Answers to those questions will give you a glimpse into your bosses’ value’s, concerns and struggles. Surpassing the superficial puts you on the right path to establishing a true partnership with your boss.

5.    Build external alliances and networks.

For your team to be successful, which will make you successful, you need to form alliances and create two main networks with people outside of your direct control.

Operational – those are the relationships with other people in the company that will help you and your team, perform your daily tasks and do your jobs efficiently (ex. IT or marketing). Your role as a leader is to remove roadblocks from your team’s way so they can keep going. Operational networking helps you achieve it. 

Strategic – those are the relationships with key stakeholders, outside of your direct control,  whose support you will need to deliver on main goals and objectives.

Building alliances and networks takes time, usually longer than a month or two. However, in the first 90 days, you can at least identify the key people with whom you should form such relationships and start the process.

6.    Don’t try to save the world in a month.

 Attempting to do too much at once is very tempting, especially when you enter a dysfunctional environment.  However, striking the right balance between learning and making decisions leading to pivotal changes is key to success. Identifying and focusing on what you need to learn first, will allow you to find and secure the right early wins.

Yes, you can experiment and try different approaches in overcoming challenges and solving problems. But excessive experimentation in the beginning or starting on too many changes in a short time will only confuse and overwhelm your people. Striking the right balance is key!

In summary, stepping into any new role is as exciting as it is challenging. To be successful, you need to use your first couple of months in it strategically. Make sure you understand the core purpose of why you were hired. Come in with an unassuming and learning mindset. Take time to get to know your team, your boss and build relationships founded on trust and credibility. Lastly, identify people who can help your team and you in your journey to success and start creating supportive networks with them. If you take all those steps, you will be walking the path of success.

PS. I hope you enjoyed this post and will follow the entire series. However, starting today if you want to learn more and have access to exclusive, actionable advice that you can apply right away, click here and sign up to my newsletter.  It will take you less than 20 seconds and in turn, give you access to the wealth of knowledge on how to be successful in any leadership role!

“Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.” – John Maxwell

Short Story: The Truth About What Parenting and People Management Have in Common

More than we realize.

I have been managing people longer than I am a parent. And although I sometimes joke that “I have a daycare at home so don’t want it at work,” the truth is parenting, and people management have a lot in common.

The subject is so vast that I could write an ocean of words in here but let me focus on five main themes.

1. When you start, you have no idea what you got yourself into.

Let’s break it down from the beginning. OK, so you are in love, think you can conquer the world, and you want to start a family. Nine months later a baby is born.

At work, you are an individual contributor, a rock star, crashing every assignment you get, ambitious and working towards a promotion. You become a new manager. Or you are a solo business owner, growing your precious baby to the point when you need help, more and more help. You have so much support at some point that you realize you spend more time telling people what to do than doing – yes – you became a leader too!

That’s when you start thinking OMG – I have NO IDEA what I am doing. Why?

Because the skills that got you to become a new parent, a manager or successful business owner are not the skills, you need to deal with the new reality.

Remember when you looked at your parents and your friends and thought “Oh that is easy! I can be even a better parent than them”. Or observed other managers around you before thinking “oh, those guys’ lives are sooooo easy, they barely do any work, I wish I can do that one day.” Then you became one or both and what? Being a parent or a manager, it’s not easy at all; it’s damn difficult.

Those who make it look easy from the outside are like prima ballerinas. Ballerinas train and sweat all their lives, go through strains and grueling hard work before they shine on the stage, with a smile on their face, making every move look effortless. And unless you try to do it yourself, it’s hard to appreciate the learning, effort and time that goes into achieving such mastery.

2. Kids and employees need safety, trust, and love

With all the research and great books written on parenting, I know I am stating the obvious here that kids need safety and love to develop and bloom. They do not require expensive toys, brand name clothes or the newest cool stroller. All they need is to feel loved, safe and supported. That’s how their curiosity, learning, and development will flourish.

It is not that different for your employees. They need to be able to trust you as their leader, know that you care about them as people and have their best interest at heart. They need to feel safe to make mistakes without retribution so they too can flourish, grow, and ultimately deliver the best work they can. They also need your guidance and support throughout their careers’ journeys.

We all know that no one only works for money. Once our basic needs are satisfied, what people look for in their work is meaning, feeling that they contribute to the greater cause and having a sense of connection.

Your job as a manager is therefore similar to that of a parent. As their leader, you are there for them – your kids, your employees. Your success as a parent or manager is all about growing others and helping them become successful.

 As Jack Welch says, “It’s no longer about you but about them.”

And with the above in mind, the third similarity follows.

3. How about respect and “tough love” from time to time?

Being a parent or a leader does not mean you will be liked by everyone all the time.

Having respect for your kids and employees means also wanting the best for them.  I have talked about managing with respect in my previous post, so I will just quickly touch on it here.

Respecting your kids and employees sometimes means that you need to be “strict,” give them “tough love” and not give them everything they want. You will be pushing them to do better. It also means being candid and giving them feedback they might not want to hear. Feedback without which they will not be able to grow and reach their best potential.

For sure, it is never easy. Telling people what they might not want to hear does not come naturally to us. We often deflect from having to do it by telling ourselves that “we do not want to hurt anyone’s feelings.” But this is just an easy excuse, our selfish way of trying to avoid feeling uncomfortable.

When we are candid with respect, having the best interest of the other person in mind, we are helping them. No one can improve without being aware of what they need to work on in the first place.

I love this quote from Thomas S. Monson that describes beautifully the point I am trying to make:  

“When we treat people merely as they are, they will remain as they are. When we treat them as if they were what they should be, they will become what they should be.”

4. Days spent parenting, and leading people never work out the way you plan

How many times were you trying to get somewhere on time with your toddler and a 5-year-old? You plan plenty of time to get everyone ready and halfway through the process; the toddler throws a tantrum cleaning his nose into your shirt while the 5-year-old decided to daydream playing dolls in her room and forgetting about the need to dress up. You are running out to the car already late, only to realize you missed to take the most important tutu in the world…

Leading a team is not that different. You are supposed to have a big demo for a client or a big project closeout meeting and the day of you find out that your employee has not finished the presentation they were supposed to prepare. While you scramble trying to think of plan B, the office network is down and you cannot access anything. And the clock is ticking …. Sounds familiar?

The truth is that we can never predict everything, and life happens. And there will always be opportunities to learn from our mistakes 😊; like with everything else, parenting and people management skills can be improved.

You can learn how to handle toddler tantrums from a great book or a parenting coach and then practice with your little one. You can also learn how to coach your team member on prioritizing and time management.

In other words, the more you learn about the subject, and spend time practicing your new skills, the better you get at them.

There is a fundamental difference though between parents and leaders at work that I want to point out.

As a parent, you have your kids’ unconditional love and never-ending patience with your mistakes. Your kids’ love gives you almost inexhaustible well of credits that you do not have as a people manager.

Being a good leader will give you respect, and trust credits from your team but they can be quickly exhausted if you abuse this trust. You also do not have the same amount of time for trials and errors that parents do. That’s why investing in yourself not only by reading books or asking other managers, but also investing in training, and other forms of self-development will help you fast-track learning the skills and become more successful in your role.

5. Last and the BEST.

The truth is that both parenting and people management are probably one the most challenging “jobs” ever. As leaders, we are the roles models. We are the people that our kids and employees look up to all the time, whether we realize it or not. We are dealing with human beings: beautiful, complicated and always changing.

But with great challenges come great rewards. The fulfillment, joy, and pride you have watching your kids and employees grow, develop and succeed are second to none.

And you know what else? Whether you see it or not, you grow as well.

Thanks to my kids I became more patient than I thought I could ever be 😊. Their curiosity and wonder remind me how beautiful the world around us is every day. Every day my employees teach me how incredible courage, care for one another and true teamwork is.

That is why the best thing about becoming a great leader is that it does not only benefit people we lead or the organization we work for but above all it helps us; we become a better person.

Only a life lived in the service of others is worth living” – Albert Einstein

The Eternal Battle of Bulls: Excellence vs. Perfectionism

Why You Should Send Perfectionism Where It Belongs – Hell.

A lot of us, especially women (yes, I am one of them) struggle to lean in. We are scared to put ourselves out there and get out of our comfort zones especially in professional lives. Why? Because very often we assume that whatever we do needs to be perfect. We believe that the world at work or home will fall apart if whatever we do is not 100%.

Those limiting beliefs lead us to perfectionism. The truth is that perfectionism is paralysing and very often is holding us back. It keeps us away from growing and blossoming into our full potential.

That is why, embracing and practicing excellence is what will help us to send perfectionism where belongs – to hell.

Here are three specific reasons why we should welcome excellence and kick perfectionism out of our lives.

1. Focus on the journey

Excellence has its source from inside of us because it is about “doing the right thing”. It is focused on the journey, the REASON for a task. The end of this journey are specific results, providing us with focus and the light in the tunnel.  

Making the journey centre of attention makes it easier to overcome set-backs, treat them as learning opportunities and move on. That is how we grow!

Perfectionism, on the other hand, makes us focus on doing the thing ‘right’. We spend time thinking about how things appear to others and if others think they are done right. This is why mistakes paralyse us and stifle our development.

Excellence stems from and propels intrinsic motivation. Such motivation is rewarding, brings joy out simple fact of doing the task, and makes us feel happy.

“Striving for excellence motives you; striving for perfection is demoralizing”
Harriet Braiker

2. Want to have more energy & deliver results at the same time? Excellence is your answer!

Perfectionism is a thief of time, draining our energy. It is often paralyzing, preventing us from completing the tasks or even worse – from achieving the goals we set for ourselves. I am sure you can feel even now the demoralizing effect it can have on us.

Perfection is always out of reach. We are humans and NO ONE is perfect. It diminishes our productivity and efficiency. And worse still, perfectionism damages out peace mind and heart.

That is why EXCELLENCE is our girl!

The pursuit of excellence on the other hand, keeps us focused on what matters. It can fill us with energy and optimism. It will foster willingness to try new things and take risks. By pursuing excellence, we focus on goals that matter and as a result become much more productive. Centering our attention on the journey allows us to complete one task after another. And you know what happens next? We find ourselves surpassing the goals we had first in mind. We deliver great results!

3. Excellence grows self-confidence

It’s no secret that when we are productive, deliver results and surpass original goals, our self-confidence gets a positive boost. With that, the behaviors that got us there are reinforced by our brains and help us develop good habits. Those good habits become ingrained in everything we do, no matter how small.

To quote Colin Powell and John W. Gardner.

“If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.” Colin Powell

“Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.” John W. Gardner

Through excellence we can be proud of who we are and what we do.

It allows us to see setbacks as opportunities to learn and continually improve, creating a positive self reinforcing circle of self confidence. With excellence we meet very high standards and still leave room for mistakes because that is how we learn.

Excellence does not paralyze our minds, it helps them open and become creative, it lifts our spirits and overall well-being.

The journey from perfectionism to excellence is not easy. It’s like any journey of positive change. It’s challenging, has its set-backs but in the end, it’s sooo worth it!

The world needs your excellence, not perfection. So don’t hold back, lean into it.

Why You Should Manage with Respect.

5 Tips to Help You Become a Great Boss.

What is respect? Here is a definition I put together from a couple of sources through our BFF Google.

Respect is a positive feeling or action shown towards someone; it conveys a sense of admiration for their abilities, qualities or achievements; and it is also the process of honoring someone by exhibiting care, concern, or consideration for their needs or feelings.

Most of us were raised at home with respect as one of the most fundamental values. For me, respect came from the notion of every human being equal and having the same rights. This value was instilled in me not only by my parents but especially by my grandfather who lived by it all his life. This value reinforced in me through school and university, where some of my courses involved International Human Rights Law.

It is almost a cliché now that as a Boss you need to earn the respect of your team members as it will not be given to you. However, the way you earn that respect is more important than whether you have it or not. Demanding false respect through showing off technical skills, knowledge or leading by fear is not the way to become a leader that people will want to work for.

As R.G. Risch put it: “Respect is a two-way street, if you want to get it, you’ve got to give it.”

Below you will find 5 basic leadership rules that I have respect at their core. Should you choose to adopt and act on them, they will help you to become even a greater Boss.

1. “Treat people the way you want to be treated. Talk to people the way you want to be talked to.” – Hussein Nishah

Coming into work and checking in with your team by smiling (it works on the phone or chat too 😊), saying “hi” and showing interest in their weekend or previous evening sound like a no-brainer. However, how often do we start our days with fires we need to put out or meetings we must attend, only to realize that the black hole of busy work has sucked us in.

Then the day passed by, and we have not talked with even one of our team members. The craziness of our work lives makes us forget the most basic etiquette rules for human interaction. But the principles of savoirvivre are one of the easiest of ways to establishing a foundation of trust and good relationships with people at work.

So how about starting today, no matter whether you are grumpy, tired or stressed… STOP, SMILE say “hi” and “how are you?” and mean it. Take 3 minutes of your day to listen and show that you care about your team members whole persons not just as employees.

It will help you with the next part of this first tip, i.e., exercising self-regulation at work. Self-regulation is part of emotional intelligence, a concept that was introduced to most of us by Daniel Goleman. Studies have shown that leaders who practice and develop emotional intelligence are much more successful in their careers.

In a nutshell, self-regulation is about managing our emotions and ability to keep the disruptive ones under control. No one wants to be screamed at or belittled for making a mistake or not delivering the expected results. We all work better, make fewer mistakes, and are more innovative when treated respectfully, especially by our bosses.

2.  “Leaders celebrate (…) Work is too much a part of life not to recognize moments of achievement” – J. Welch

Recognition is a perfect way to show respect you have for your team members skills and achievements. Every day you can find things to recognize someone for.  Saying thank you, praising an individual or a whole team for a specific result gives people motivation to work even better. The more you recognize your team, the better the atmosphere you create. Don’t stretch the facts and celebrate half-wins as it will generate cynicism amongst your team members. Be specific, sincere and consistent.

Having a bigger celebration from time to time will add to the positive energy. Yes, you should celebrate big professional wins, but do not forget about personal moments, for example, birthdays, marriages or having a baby. Having fun, relaxing and creating a break from work during work, will strengthen your team’s bonds and help to increase collaboration.

Studies have shown that a positive and fun work environment can become a creativity incubator. Why? Because the dopamine released with happiness also opens our brain’s learning centers, giving us the ability to tap to more of its power.

3.    “When we treat people merely as they are, they will remain as they are. When we treat them as if they were what they should be, they will become what they should be.” Thomas S. Monson

Let me share a personal story to explain how coaching and growing your team members at work ties to respect.

When I was in high school, we had religion classes with a priest. He was quite demanding, asking us to learn a lot of things on the subjects we discussed. He was saying that his demands were coming out of the respect he had for us. At the time I did not appreciate his reasoning. Having to learn and prepare for many tests on other “more important” subjects, religion was the last thing on my mind as far as studying went.

But now, being older and wiser 😊, I understand …

When we respect and care about people (ex. our kids or best friends), we want the best for them. And sometimes that means, pushing them out of their comfort zones, teaching them “tough lessons” or telling them things they might not want to hear or are tough to swallow.

This is why… I firmly believe that as managers and leaders one of our main responsibilities above all is to coach and help our team members to grow, enhance their skills, and progress in their careers. When done right, such coaching will help your employees to improve not only professionally but also personally.

4. “We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.” Bill Gates

You will not be able to coach and grow your team members without giving them candid, constructive and respectful feedback. It shows that you care about them and want the best for them. Candid feedback also allows you to motivate your team.

Feedback on what went well reinforces the behavior’s that you as a leader and your organization value and want everyone to adopt. You can give positive feedback in private as part of coaching and in public as part of recognition and celebration of wins.

Feedback on what did not go well helps your employees improve their skills. Here more tact is required. Using things that did not go well as scenarios for lessons learned is a good practice for team learning.

“Public meeting” in turn cannot be used to point our individual’s mistakes in front of their colleagues. Coaching your employees on things they can improve on should happen in one-on-one meetings. This type of feedback should be candid and respectful at the same time. It cannot attack them as a person. Instead, it should show team members behaviors that can be improved.

Respectful constructive negative feedback also means that you hear the person; that the feedback happens in the form of discussion, not a monologue and that you are prepared to change your position as required if any new facts come to light.

5. “One of the most sincere forms of respect is listening to what another has to say.” Bryant H. McGill

Listening to understand as opposed to responding is sometimes easier said than done. It requires practice, and most of us can improve; I know I can for sure. However, it is so powerful that many of the best companies ensure that their employees have a safe environment to raise concerns and present their ideas.

Fostering open dialogue, giving our people forum to have a voice, present their ideas, will not only save us from becoming out of touch with reality but also create an innovation-friendly environment.

Companies that improve their operations with many small innovations making their process bond well together can have a more significant advantage on the market than the ones that come up with one large innovation. One thing, no matter how disruptive, can be much faster identified and copied by the competition than a myriad of small activities tightly interconnected with each other.

Take an example of Southwest Airlines flying one type of Boeing planes, between mid to small cities with no interconnections, no meals or assigned seats, extremely quick check-ins, etc. This multiple innovative actions strategy allows them to be a leader in affordable flying that others are yet to beat.

You cannot get to such a competitive advantage without the creativity and collaboration of all your team members. And that cannot be achieved without listening first.

None of us is perfect. Walking the talk means that we as leaders need to work on improving ourselves first. Leadership skills can be learned.

Leaders are made, learn to be a great one. I came up with this tagline because I believe that becoming a great boss does not only benefit people we lead or the organization we work for (or own) but most of all it helps us – we become a better person.

If you are interested in how you could grow or improve your management and leadership skills, drop me a line at maggie@stairwaytoleadership.com

The Secret to Boost Your Team’s Daily Operations.

4 Strategies to Help Managers and Their Teams to Move Mountains.

Our brains can recall about seven items in a sequence on the fly

According to the research, our brains on the fly can recall about seven items in a sequence. Seven seems to be the magic number for the capacity of our “working memory.” The working memory allows us to retain small chunks of information readily accessible for use. It facilities our planning, problem-solving, reasoning, and comprehension, i.e., our brains use it to help us perform our daily tasks.

Now, I can hear you ask: but as a manager, what all this has to do with my team and their operations?
Well, quite a bit.

No matter what team you manage or what business you are in if your plans or processes are too complicated, your people might not understand them. Simplifying as much as possible will boost their performance and deliver more significant results.

You don’t have to take my word for it but how about some advice from two of greatest achievers in the world’s history?

“Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains” – Steve Jobs

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication
” – Leonardo da Vinci

Not easy but SIMPLE.

Here are four strategies that will help your business to reach new heights.

1. Break down the goals into small attainable chunks

Do you have a big vision with audacious goals for your business and team?

If you answered yes, that is great!
Vision and ambitious objectives are essential for long-term planning.
But they can be overwhelming and even paralyzing for people when it comes to execution.

In order to help your team, break down the big goals, into quarterly ones first, and then into actionable weekly items. Small chunks of work are much more achievable as we can see the proverbial light in the tunnel. This strategy gives our actions a beginning and foreseeable end.

Short-term and attainable goals will also give you an opportunity to celebrate each small win with your team. And that is an excellent fuel for people to keep going and do better at every stage of the way.

2. Use the power of “less is more” in operating procedures

Research studies have proven that the excessive number of options and choices depletes our will power and mental bandwidth. Too much choice can corner anyone into the state of analysis – paralysis.

Take this for example.
Have you ever been lost in a new place and asked a local for directions? Have they ever given you a convoluted answer of sorts: go up then behind that sign turn right, then left then right again …. only to lead you less than 100 meters forward before you had to ask again?
I am sure you know what I mean.

Instructions that are too long and complicated lead to higher mistake rates and can turn into chaos especially in an emergency situtaion or when something goes wrong (and by Murphy’s law – something will).

That is why when you create plans or operating procedures, keep them short and standard as much as possible. The golden 80/20 rule is a good one to follow. Minimum 80% standard and maximum 20% custom to accommodate your client’s unique needs but still as simple and clear as possible.

The less “special” each process contains, the better it will be executed.
The power of “less is more” is sometimes too undervalued in our complex world of abundance.

3. Create a culture of continuous improvement

Even when you start with simple, complicated and more have their way to creep into everything in our lives. One day you think everything is working great, processes are robust in helping your business to win, only to see something going wrong and exposing issues the next day.

Remember, nothing is static. In today’s day and age, the markets change faster than we want them to. And with that the customers’ needs, competition and of course technology.

Creating a culture of continuous improvement that empowers everyone in your organization to suggest better ways of doing things will help you keep up with the times.

Once you have it, take time to ensure that changes introduced through continuous improvement are smart and well implemented. Every time you improve a plan or process don’t just add to it. Take the opportunity to review it end to end to eliminate unnecessary waste.

As William James has put it: “The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.

4. Instill good habits in your team to make room for critical thinking

We are creatures of habit. Our brains use this powerful tool to automate as many of our behaviors as possible. This way we save energy and give room to the brain to perform other functions, for example, strategic thinking or creativity.

Helping your employees create good habits in their daily work, is a simple way to get good results. Whether you use technology (there are so many wonderful tools out there) or coaching depends on what habits you would like your team to adopt.

Here are three simple examples:

–    SMILE – great habit for everyone but especially in customer service.  When your customer service representatives smile it can be felt and heard on the phone by the clients. It will also positively impact their customer interaction via other means of communication. Smiling causes us to feel happy, which in turn will affect the word choices we use when writing emails or chats. Other benefits of smiling are a reduced level of stress, boost to the immune system and elevating the mood of those around you. Can you see the ripple effect in waiting?

–    SCHEDULING – most of the teams are great at planning, but then when it comes to execution it can be a hit and miss. How about having a habit of scheduling tasks needed for the plan to materialize? Research suggests that the more specific we are about what and when we were going to do, the more likely we are to actually do it. For most of us, having something appear on our calendar has a magical effect on performance!

–    DAILY HUDDLE – a quick 10-15 mins daily informal meeting can have great benefits to any team. Whether in person or conference knowing what everyone is up can help eliminate unnecessary e-mail traffic or align certain activities. It also strengthens the bond and collaboration between the team giving them an opportunity for regular and more relaxed interaction. 

As you might have figured it out by now, I am a big fan of keeping life simple. Simplicity is, is one of my core values. Simple is not easy. It requires common sense. The benefits are hard to dismiss. Simplicity eliminates confusion and chaos that can result from it. It keeps overwhelm and stress at bay. It brings small wins, satisfaction to motivation to keep going.

Simplicity might be hard work, but it is a beautiful thing to adopt and it all pays off in the end!

Life can be as simple or as complicated as you make it be.
Chose simple, it’s a faster way to happiness.

5 Stories About Courageous Women that Will Inspire You

I am writing about Courage today because it is one of the values I have chosen to guide and define my business. Helping business owners and managers to step into leadership that is brave enough to build cohesive teams and healthy organizations is the core of my mission.

My inspiration for this post came from the books “Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls” by E. Favilli and F. Cavallo. They are one of my kids’ favourites bedtime reads.

Values guide our behaviors in personal and professional lives. No one questions the need of having a set of values in our personal lives. But, if you ever wondered why any business should define them for their operations, have a look at on of my blog posts.

Now back to Courage.

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.” 


Courage can demonstrate itself in many different ways.
And below, you will find five inspiring stories of women that defined courage with their lives.

1. Courage is Being Afraid but Acting Anyway

Dominican Republic Coat of Arms

The Mirabal Sisters, also know as “Las Mariposas” were freedom fighters in the Dominican Republic. They were opposing the regime of dictator Raphael Trujillo. The sisters organized and participated in multiple protests and movements against the dictatorship. Together with their husbands, they were jailed multiple times. On November 25, 1960, the Mirabal Sisters were murdered by the regime. Their leadership and courage became the inspiration to Dominicans to continue opposing Trujillo’s dictatorship. It eventually was abolished.

November 25th is now recognized as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
Click here for the source article by Victoria Sanchez.

2. Courage is Following Your Heart

Marie Curie-Sklodowska

Maria Curie-Sklodowska was a Noble Prize-winning scientist. Together with her husband Pierre Curie she discovered radioactive elements: polonium and radium. Marie was born in Poland in 1867, at the time when the country was part of the Russian Empire. Since women were not allowed to attend university, she attended a secret Flying University in Warsaw. Marie Curie moved to Paris and joined Sorbonne, the university that accepted women students.

Throughout her life, to be able to follow her passion for science and research, Marie had to overcome many barriers. Marie Curie was the first woman to win the Noble Prize, the first person and only woman to win twice. She was also the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two different sciences (physics and chemistry).

Marie and her husband refused to receive monetary awards and medals and they have given away most of their first Noble prize money. Curie has also intentionally refrained from patenting her discoveries so that scientific community could continue the research.
Click here for the source and more detailed information on Marie Curie-Sklodowska.

3. Courage is Keep on-going Aginst Hardships

Painter’s palette

Frida Kahlo, one of the most famous painters of the 20th century, suffered unimaginable pain all her life. As a child, she suffered from polio. In her student years, she had seriously injured her spine in a tragic bus accident. Frida started painting when she returned home from the hospital to alleviate her pain and kill time. In the self-portraits, Kahlo was expressing her physical suffering. Despite her multiple surgeries and deteriorating health Frida continued painting and being active in the Marxism inspired political movement.

In of her famous quotes, Frida says: “At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can.”
Click here for more details on Frida Kahlo’s life.

4. Courage is Standing up for What’s Right

Viola Desmond (née Davis) was a Canadian businesswoman and civil rights activist. Born in 1914 in Halifax, she built her career and business as a beautician. Through her Desmond School of Beauty Culture, Viola was an inspiration and mentor to young Black women in Nova Scotia. In 1946, Viola Desmond stood up for equality of rights. She challenged racial discrimination when she refused to leave the segregated Whites-only section of a theater. For her act of courage, she was arrested, jailed overnight and convicted without legal representation for a “tax offense”. Viola was not able to receive a pardon despite the efforts of The Nova Scotia Black Community trying to assist her.
Desmond’s brave refusal to accept an act of racial discrimination provided inspiration to other Black People in Canada. Click here for the source article.

5. Courage Is Being Different and Expanding Your Ways

Guangzhou Opera House

Zaha Hadid was an Iraqi-British architect and the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize, in 2004. She became famous for her bold building designs with many sweeping lines. The Guardian called her the Queen of the Curve. She designed the aquatic center for the London Olympic Games 2012 (UK), Michigan State University’s Broad Art Museum (US), the Guangzhou Opera House, and Beijing Daxing International Airport (both in China). Zaha was not afraid of being different. The Metropolitan Museum in New York talked about her buildings as “unconventional that seem to defy the logic of construction”.
With her drive to cross boundaries, Zaha designed buildings that everyone else thought impossible.
To read more about Zaha Hadid’s work, click here.

Courage is not an easy value to live by but we all have it inside. We show it in small and big actions, in many different ways every day. Courage gives us the freedom to do what’s right and be ourselves.

“There are so many ways to be brave in this world. Sometimes bravery involves laying down your life for something bigger than yourself, or for someone else. Sometimes it involves giving up everything you have ever known, or everyone you have ever loved, for the sake of something greater.

But sometimes it doesn’t.

Sometimes it is nothing more than gritting your teeth through pain, and the work of every day, the slow walk toward a better life. 

That is the sort of bravery I must have now. “


E-mail Communication Help: Crucial Tips Your Boss Forgot to Metion

In today’s world, e-mail has become one of the primary means of communication. Whether it’s at work or home, some of us receive hundreds of e-mails a day. Who can read and process this much, I ask?? In my workplace some people can have whole e-mail conversations lasting hours or days on a subject that could take 15 mins if someone decided to pick up the phone.

Don’t you ever feel like pulling your hair trying to keep up with e-mail traffic? Or that you have not accomplished anything productive most of the day other than responding to e-mail? Do you feel stressed by the sheer volume of e-mail you receive every day? I certainly do.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place”

George Bernard Show

So what can we do to take over the control that e-mails wield on us? To become more productive and less stressed? And to make our e-mails sources of true communication? Here are some tips that can help with that.

More productivity, less stress

According to numerous studies e-mail occupies 25% of employees’ average work day. That is 13 hrs each week! On top of that an average person checks their inbox over 30 times an hour i.e. almost every 2 mins.

You can easily see now why we feel stressed or that we have not accomplished much throughout the day. OK, so what do I do you ask?

  • First, turn off any visual and sound e-mail notification on your laptop, tablet or smartphone to avoid frequent distractions.
  • Then, set a couple of specific times in a day where you will be checking and responding to e-mails, for example, mid-morning and mid-afternoon.
  • Lastly, close your inbox outside of those times and focus on real work and your deliverables.

You will see that not only some of those lengthy e-mail conversations will take care of themselves by others jumping in but also in time people will stop expecting you responding right away. Think of this as setting ground rules and boundaries to protect your precious time.

By setting those boundaries your stress level will go down significantly. You don’t have to just believe me on this one. It’s been proven through research done by the University of California Irvine and the US Army.

And the best of all, you will now have time to work on those assignments you have been struggling to finish, meet the deadlines and get recognized!

From illusion to real communication

Studies conducted at UCLA have shown that 50% of communication happens through facial expressions and body language, 40% through voice intonation and only 10% through actual words.

As you can see, having your reader understand the e-mail you sent them in a way you intended it is not that easy since 90% of your potential success is impossible to get via e-mail.

The below tips will help your e-mail communication be more effective:

  • Before sending an e-mail ask yourself first: is this the best way to communicate? Can I solve my issue faster with a quick phone call?
  • Make sure your subject line is clear and conveys the purpose of your e-mail.
  • If you want your reader to take an action, be clear on what you need them to do and by when.
  • Keep in mind that it is tough to convey emotions just in words, for example, humor; unless you know the receiver very well, try staying away from that to avoid unintended misinterpretations.
  • Avoid exclamation marks, especially multiple in one row. I am sure your intention is not to scream at the person.
  • Don’t assume that your reader will know how to interpret the message; always proofread it before sending by putting yourself in their shoes.
  • Lastly, never hit sent if you are emotional. If an e-mail you received upset you, don’t react – you will regret it after. Before responding, step away from your computer, come back after an hour or two and then type the answer. Have someone else read it before hitting send.

Now a few e-mail etiquette tips for Bosses

As a leader, leading by example is your job.

This includes e-mail communication. Even if you don’t care about the titles and think that yours does not matter, remember that for others it does. The more “powerful” your title is, the more people feel pressed to respond to your e-mails right away and the more sensitive they are reading them.

That is why on top of the above tips that can help anyone, here are couple of others that Bosses should take to heart.

  • Don’t send e-mails when you are busy and rushing. Sending short sentences through your smartphone with no common courtesy words like “hi”, “thank you” or “please” will just upset your reader and slow them down taking time to bring their emotions back in check. It pays off to take the time to write a proper professional e-mail no matter what. You can also pick up the phone and have a pleasant conversation that will take less time, deliver what you need, and become another positive chip in your relationship with the employee.
  • When the e-mail chain you have started is turning into a “Never Ending Story”, stop the madness and set up a quick meeting. You will save everyone’s time, including yours, and clear up any misunderstandings that the chain inevitably created.
  • If you really need to send e-mails after hours or on the weekends to catch-up, be clear with your employees that they do not need to respond right away; you will reduce their stress levels and increase engagement.

“Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success. “

Paul J. Mayer

To sum up, paraphrasing Paul Mayer’s wisdom, if we want to be successful, we need to know how to communicate with others. E-mail is just one means of communication but probably the most challenging one. Let’s never assume that our reader will know how to interpret the meaning of our message. Going against our crazy busy world, slowing down, and taking the time to write meaningful and thought through e-mails will always pay off.

Any change starts with you.

Know how to communicate and you will be successful

Three reasons why any Team needs Mission and Values

You started your business our of a deep passion for something; you have a dream, a vision that you would like to reach. Or maybe you are in a managerial or leadership position, and you have an idea of what your Team can achieve and become.

That’s is amazing! 

But as Joel A. Barker puts it “Vision without action is merely a dream.” If you want your dream to become vision, action must be taken. And if you rely on others to help you with the action, you need to help them see and understand your vision by pointing them in the right direction and helping define the behaviors that will lead them there.

That’s where the mission and values come in place.

Let’s look closer at the three main reasons why your team and organization need them.

1. Mission shows the way

If Vision is “the why,” Mission is “the how”.

Vision explains the core purpose and answers question: why do we exist? The Mission is a directional sign pointing to the ultimate destination. To be effective, it must align with your vision so that you as a leader can exude full confidence in the mission and inject this belief and passion you have into your team.

The mission should also balance the possible with the impossible as Jack Welch puts in in his book “Winning.” We all aspire to be a part of something bigger than us but at the same time small enough that it feels achievable.

Let me help you with an example.

Imagine you have a vision of spending quality time with your family or friends on an amazing vacation that will be just perfect!

Once you decided the destination you still need directions and decision on how you are going to get there: by plane, train or maybe it’s a road trip in an RV? Even if you are not a planning obsessed vacationer, you would need a general idea on where you are going to stay overnight, and how you are going to spend your time.

Also “perfect vacation” is something aspirational. You know that during that time there will be less than perfect moments: cranky toddler throwing a tantrum after having too much sugar or two of your best friends having heated conservation over something that might end up in 10 mins of the awkward silence. But overall if everyone believes in the mission and is aligned, you will have the time of your life and lots of amazing memories to go with it afterwards.

OK, so where do the Values fit then you ask?

Once you have the Mission, the next step would be defining the Values.

2. Values help to shape your Culture

Values will describe how do you and your team behave on the journey. Together with the mission, they will have a significant role in defining your organizational culture and giving you a unique advantage over others.

Let’s go back to our vacation story.

Imagine you and your family or friends established some key behaviors that were important to all of you and agreed that if everyone behaved in such a way, the vacation would be close to perfect! Here are a couple of examples: maybe your vision is to have “disconnected, active vacation with nature,” i.e., no electronics, phone, internet, instead hikes in the woods, swimming in the lake, campfires, long conversations and time spent together.

But maybe better behaviors to follow would be complete laziness for a week: sitting on a beach, reading, relaxing with some screen time in the evening.

Defining the Values as a team will bring great ideas to the table, show you more creative ways to accomplish the Mission and get buy-in from all the team members.

Then, when you embark on the journey, and everyone behaves in alignment, collectively you start creating a unique culture, unique environment for your organization.

If up till now you are still skeptical about the need for mission and values, I hope you change your mind after reading the 3rd reason.

3. Alignment of all three brings the power of focus

Once you know how you are going to make your Vision reality: with the Mission that keeps directing the team towards the dream and Values that will make it clear how to behave, you can now focus on enjoying the journey!

When everyone is rowing in the same direction, you as captain can focus on working with and supporting the Team on getting there. Not having to waste time to attend to chaos all the time, you can have fun.

Our vacation example will make it clear.

Imagine you did not discuss and decide with your family or friends on the type of vacation you wanted to take or the main behaviors that were important to you all.

And now instead of enjoying the time and making vacation memories, you are trying to figure out at 9 pm where you are going to sleep, or spending 2 hrs every morning discussing whether it’s time for relaxation and doing nothing or going out to explore the area. Imagine how much stress and chaos all of you would go through, or worse how much valuable time you’d lose to come to a consensus that would undoubtedly leave someone unhappy anyways.

In short, the extreme focus you and your team get from having a clear Mission and Values aligned with the Vision is undeniable. You will be able to tap to the full potential of the time you have, grasp the opportunities that will pop up and enjoy the adventure.

To summarize, organizational Mission and Values, if supported by the leader that lives and breathes them every day have the power to create a better bond and alignment between team members. Being part of something big, having a purpose and understanding how to achieve it will help your people to feel united, work well together and tap to the potential that is much greater than a mathematical sum of individual contributions. In cohesive teams 1 + 1 = 3 or more and as a leader you have the privilege and great opportunity to facilitate that.

Mission and Values are the start, so don’t let your vision stay a mere dream, act!

5 steps on how to get ready to lead your Team to sucess in 2019

Welcome to 2019!

As a business owner, manager, executive – a LEADER – are you excited for 2019?
Do you have a vision of what you and your Team will accomplish this year? Or you don’t know how and where to start?

Here are 5 steps that can help you get going.

Don’t throw 2018 out the door just yet ...

New Year is on, out with the old! – you might be all to happy to do that.

I am like that, a forward-thinking person that likes to move on from past to the future as soon as possible.
But, hold on, someone wise once told me that there are benefits to taking some time for reflection and learning from the past.

Let’s do that first then.
I guess, no one really enjoys making the same mistakes over and over.
New mistakes are great! It means we are trying new things, being innovative and curious.
Whereas, making the same mistakes many times gets quite boring, frustrating and only reinforces Einstein’s definition of insanity.

Therefore if you have not done that yet, I highly recommend sitting down with your Team and your Boss (if you have one) and asking a few questions:

  • What worked great last year?
  • What did not turn out that well?
  • What should we be doing more off to be even more successful?
  • What should we be doing less off or stop doing all together to avoid making the same mistakes?

Once you have those answers, you are armed with wisdom to enter the gates of 2019.

So how about meaningful goals for 2019?

After reflection, second would be goal setting. We all love it, don’t we?

To set meaningful goals, remind yourself first of your mission and values.

Does your organization or department have them? If yes, awesome! You can keep reading.
If not, look out for my next week’s post that will try to convince you why you should. For now, please see below for a quick sneak peak just for you.

For me mission and values are a foundation of any organisation. They are like a lighthouse constantly showing way home to wondering boats.

“The mission announces exactly where you are going and the values describe the behaviors that will get you there.”

Jack Welch, “Winning”

Setting the goals for your Team that are directly tied to your mission and values can bring extreme focus to the business, help it to stay authentic and with that competitive.

People, myself included, look for purpose in their lives. Meaning is what makes us happy.
Having goals that are meaningful, tied to a vision, and realistic will give your Tem a sense of accomplishment when you reach them.

And once that happens, it’s time to CELEBRATE!

“Plans are nothing; planning is everything.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower 

We all know that when hell breaks lose, plans are nothing but pretty looking paper.
However, planning IS EVERYTHING and that is what you should do next.

It’s during the process of planning that we can prioritize. In today’s day and age most organizations have more to do than they can chew on.
New opportunities and urgent matters are pouring through the doors with the speed of light.

But as the old saying goes: if everything is important, nothing is.

Picking top 1, max. 3 priorities for the month, quarter or whatever planning cycle you chose to dare into, will bring further focus to your Team.

Planning time is what helps you determine what those priorities are.
During this time, you should also break them down to small attainable steps (ex. weekly goals and priorities).

As a result, you will protect your people from feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work that needs to get done.

Time for Leader’s self-care time

Now what about you? Have you thought about taking time for self-care?

I know you are laughing inside thinking what is she saying?
Who has time for that? There are so many important things to get done…
How could I possibly spare even 15 mins of “unproductive” time?
I am sooo busy ….

Let’s learn from the aviation industry then …
You know, the putting of the oxygen mask on you before you help anyone else.

Yeah, exactly … we are no good as leaders to anyone if we are running around like a headless chicken, half burned out and only putting out fires.

Sometimes we need to step back, look at our business from the eagle’s perspective, reflect and recalibrate if needed.

To be able to do that we need time to clear our minds, rest and re-charge.

Because our Teams rely on us to lead them through adventures to the safety of success not rocks of destruction.

If it’s not scheduled, it will not happen

Last but not least – how do I make all of this happen?

Well, put it on your calendar.
Take charge of your time (or at least most of it) and don’t let urgent get mixed with important all the time.

Make it a priority, to take time now, this week, to schedule all important recurring events and keep them as sacred as possible.
Then ensure you keep scheduling and planning each week ahead of time.

Yes, it takes discipline, organization skills, and drive; but that is why we are leaders, aren’t we?

If it’s not scheduled, it will not happen.

So what do I need to schedule, you ask? Here are a few ideas:

  • Monthly/ quarterly strategic meetings
  • Weekly tactical meetings with your Team
  • Daily/Weekly/ Bi-weekly project progress meetings – if you have any running
  • Regular One-on-One meetings with your direct reports
  • Daily breaks for you to ensure you have time to breathe and clear your mind
  • Time to reflect and be an eagle
  • Your top priorities for each week

In case you are not sure what to do in those meetings, look out for my posts in the coming weeks.

To summarize, leading a Team and organization to success is not easy but having a vision and a plan supporting its execution helps with taking action and getting there.