Your values and how they impact on your work

August 21, 2013

Values_1

When was the last time you considered what’s important to you / what you value?

Values are what drive your decisions and your behaviour.

Values affect how you choose your friends, what hobbies/interests you pursue, and may also affect which jobs/car you go for.

Values are important because you use them to evaluate yourself and others.

For example, if one of your values is honesty, you are more likely to hand in a wallet you find in the street to a local police station. You are also going to get a sense of satisfaction from doing so, which makes you feel good. Hence, you evaluate this action positively. On the other hand, if you see someone taking something that isn’t theirs, you will feel a sense of discomfort and evaluate their actions negatively.

bigstock-The-Conflict-Between-The-Busin-7059857

Choosing activities that align with our values results in us feeling happier, more fulfilled and more comfortable in our own skin. If the activities we engage in don’t support our values, then we find ourselves in conflict. Many work-place relationship issues can be put down to conflicting values.

Organisations often promote their own values, although these aren’t always written down! An example here could be a workplace putting a value on people who work longer hours. This can promote inner conflict if you value a good work-life balance. Nothing’s necessarily written down, but people’s behaviour suggests it!

Within organisations, leaders will often lead their teams according to their own value systems. So if they are internally motivated and don’t require regular feedback on how well they are doing, their default position may be – they don’t see the value in providing feedback to their team members. For a team member who values, and is motivated by, regular feedback – he/she is likely to become unhappy, demotivated and perhaps disillusioned.

  • How aware of our values are we?
  • Do you know what your values are? … These can be different for different areas of your life, and there can be common ones too.

Working out your values

1. Divide your life up into areas. For example:

  • work
  • family
  • friends
  • hobbies/interests, etc.

2. For each area, list what is important to you. For example:

  • companionship
  • security
  • honesty
  • wealth
  • trust

3. Examine the list(s) closely and ask yourself if there’s anything missing. Do you need to add something? For example:

  • adventure
  • success
  • freedom
  • fairness

4. Arrange your list in order of importance. Ask yourself, “Is ‘A’ more important than ‘B’?” Or “If I had to choose ‘B’ or ‘C’, which would be most important?”

Follow-up …

Score each item on the list as a percentage in terms of how well that value is being met. For example, if success is important to you in the workplace, how successful do you feel you are currently with your role/tasks? 100%? … 50%? … 75%?

Any area with a low score is worthy of the question: 

“What needs to change to ensure this value is met?”

When generalisations are unhelpful

July 30, 2013

Have you ever been on the receiving end of a comment, such as ‘Women can’t read maps’?

bigstock-Road-map-vector-29941610

Or ‘Men don’t listen’

And when was the last time you were the perpetrator of such a comment; e.g. …‘You never offer to help me with household jobs!’

Or ‘You’re always late!’

If you’re on the receiving end of such generalisations it can result in anger or frustration, and often a retaliatory comment.

But wait … Generalisations are a helpful way of making sense of the world.

As a child you would have been told the name of objects, such as door, spoon, ball, etc. … and then these labels would be given to other doors, spoons, balls, which were different but you’d work out that they shared common features. Then eventually you would be able to label other doors using this new found knowledge, without anyone telling you!

So our ability to generalise saves us from re-learning things over and over again.

It’s when we make generalisations about human behaviour that it can get us into trouble!

Some tips …

If you hear yourself making generalisations, listen out for the verbal clues that can accompany them.

For example: use of the following words … all, every, never, always

  • He/She never delivers a good presentation
  • Every time I make a suggestion, you ignore it
  • always receive negative feedback when I try to introduce something new

This unhelpful language often limits us to take action, move forward, choose something different, and see the positive actions of others.

So, whenever  you hear yourself making general statements, ask yourself the following:

  • What never? / Always? / Every time?
  • How helpful is this statement to me?

Which unhelpful generalisations have you heard or made recently?

How have you dealt with generalisations directed at you?

 

The pros and cons of being a People Pleaser!

April 11, 2013

iStock_000010736302XSmallDo you find yourself struggling to manage your time because you’re too busy running around after others?

Do you find it hard to say ‘no’ to requests for help/support and end up working late to catch up on your work?

A phrase I often hear from clients working on resolving time/stress management issues is:

“It’s because I’m a people pleaser, isn’t it?!”

Can you relate to this? There are often times when the motivation behind our actions is to help or please others, and sometimes this can have a negative impact on other things.

But being a ‘people pleaser’ isn’t all bad … it just depends whether or not you overdo it!

Here’s my take on the case for and against ‘People Pleasing’ …

PROS …

Imagine you are starting a new job or taking on a new position, and you want to make a good impression.

This can give rise to a tendency to say ‘yes’ to several requests for help, advice, guidance, etc.

It can also be a great opportunity to showcase your talents and skills, as well as show everyone how good your ‘people skills’ are!

Even in areas where you don’t officially hold responsibility, you may have experience, and this can be another opportunity to:

  • help others,
  • build rapport,
  • establish your place as one of the team (as long as you’re not stepping on someone else’s toes!)

CONS …

iStock_000018857374XSmallWithout keeping this in check you can become exhausted!

Not only are you doing things to help others, but you’re having to find time to do the things that you should be doing for yourself … leaving you very little time to unwind.

This can lead to stress and a feeling of overwhelm, because you can’t handle all the demands you’ve agreed to.

If you’re not careful, the following may also happen:

  • you gain a reputation as ‘the person who gets things done for others’,
  • you are taken for granted,
  • you feel guilty when you realise you can’t please everyone!

A SOLUTION …

Saying ‘yes’ and looking for opportunities to help others should be done in moderation, whilst being mindful of the things that are important to do for you / your role.

Learn to say ‘no’ more often, and be confident that your team colleagues will respect you for who you are and for your integrity when you need to say no … not just for your willingness to help others.

Would love to hear your thoughts or experiences on this topic 🙂

IMG_0060 - Version 2I’m Debbie Inglis and I work with school leaders, team leaders and teachers helping them to be more effective and successful in their roles. Contact me to find out how I can help with any of the areas mentioned in this or any other blog post.

Call me on o1629 734101 or email: debbie.inglis@squaretwo.co.uk

Are you a team of leaders?

February 25, 2013

You may not be a team leader in the official sense, but you may have taken the lead on something that your team has done.

iStock_000006679858XSmall

These days teams work at speed, with several things happening at once. Quite often this involves reacting to internal and external factors, many of which come in at short notice.

By taking the lead on some elements of the day-to-day (and longer-term) tasks or projects – it can have a positive and successful outcome for the overall efficiency of the team … not to mention morale!

Don’t get me wrong, a team leader has an overall responsibility for his/her team, but that doesn’t mean that they have to lead on everything.

So when might a team member lead?

Here are some thoughts …

1. When you have specialist knowledge and skills

This doesn’t just mean subject expertise; it can also include the following:

  • you’re skilled at building rapport with other teams in school or parents/families in the local community
  • you have specific knowledge of a child’s history (behaviour, medical history, etc.)

Which of your skills/strengths have you led on in the past?

2. Your experience

The team may look to you if you have experienced a similar situation to one the team are experiencing now. For example:

  • moving classrooms & resources to a newly built part of the school (or new school building). This can involve some good organisational skills, as well as identifying ‘must-do’ tasks and recognising possible pitfalls of a particular course of action
  • working with a significant number of new team members (e.g. you may have led an induction meeting for staff new to the school)

Don’t be afraid to speak up if something is being discussed about which you have some experience.

3. You can see the light!

Are you good at spotting solutions to delicate situations, challenges and problems that your team is faced with?

If so, and the team goes with your recommendation, you assume some sort of leadership role; e.g. team members may come back to you while the situation is ongoing to ask for further suggestions. If you don’t have them it’s a good idea to work with that person to help find a solution.

Remember to listen to, and debate, other possible options … don’t be blinded by your light! This will help others to take you seriously.

And finally …

Whenever you have the opportunity to take the lead on a task, and you feel you have the skills to deliver, grab this opportunity! It will help to develop leadership skills for the future, if that’s where you want to go, and if not it can certainly help build your team into a stronger and more effective one. 🙂

Types of Team Support

February 22, 2013

How do your team colleagues support you?iStock_000008062815XSmall

Support can come in all forms, and sometimes when you don’t expect it. A great team is mindful of its members, and can sense when they are ‘off par’ and either need time & space to sort things out for themselves, or need some form of support or intervention from their colleagues.

Colleagues therefore can play key roles in supporting team members from time to time.

“I get by with a little help from my friends”… famous song lyrics, as well as a possible team moto!

Here are a few of the roles team members can adopt which can support their colleagues …

1. The Cheerleader role

These are the colleagues who will ‘big you up’ when you’re feeling low. They believe in you, and are great at encouraging you. They’re good at picking you up following a setback and may do so by reminding you of your successes!

2. The Challenger role

This is when a team member questions your motives – but from a positive perspective. If, for whatever reason, you’re not focused on the job at hand, this can be useful for getting you back on track. This type of role is also useful to help you discover a new strategy when you’re stuck.

3. The Coaching role

You may be fortunate enough to have a teacher trained in coaching skills on your team. These skills can be valuable to help you identify internal as well as external resources to help you achieve work-related goals/targets. They give you time and space to think and will provide objective feedback … And, your conversation should also be confidential!

4. The Confidant role

These are team members you can really trust and are great listeners. They help you to offload, and usually have a calm approach which helps you to gain an objective perspective.

Which of these roles have you performed for your team colleagues, and which of these roles do you prefer your colleagues to offer to you?

What’s the Team Vision?

February 19, 2013

iStock_000017185027XSmall

It’s quite commonplace for a school or organisation to have a vision, and previous blog posts have discussed why this is useful and how you might go about creating and implementing one.

But what about the teams within the school? The Key Stage teams, for example. What is their vision – if, in fact, they have one?

Personally, I see no reason why teams within a school shouldn’t have their own vision, provided it supports the school’s overall vision.

Here’s an exercise that you can do with your team to develop the team vision.

Developing the smaller team vision

  • Split into groups of 3 or 4
  • Ask them the question: “What do you want our team to achieve by the end of this term / school year?”
  • Alternatively, ask: “What do we want the children in our team to have achieved by the end of this term?”
  • Tell each group to prepare a news report that will outline the team’s success at the end of the given time scale.
  • Encourage them to be creative and think wider than they’ve done previously
  • Remind them it’s not just about numbers/results!!
  • Encourage them to draw on team members’ strengths and aspirations when considering what can be achieved

Share and compare the news reports. This can prove quite interesting, as you could get lots of different reports! But what’s most useful is that ideas & strengths will come from it that were previously untapped or unknown.

This then opens up the discussion within the team about what your vision could be. At this point, you may decide to share the whole school vision and see how the team vision could support it.

I’ve had some interesting outcomes when doing this exercise with teams, as well as a lot of fun! It’s a great collaborative exercise to bring teams together, as well as build relationships with new teams.

If you try this – I’d love to hear how it went!

Thinking of developing your school teams?

Call me to find out more and discuss your options

3 Rs of a solid team

February 4, 2013

iStock_000005366886XSmall

  • How solid is your team?
  • How do you know?
  • What would you consider to be the foundations of a great team?

When I say ‘team’ – this could mean the whole staff team or, more typically, one of several teams within your organisation.

Teams are about people, and people work well together when they have developed strong relationships with each other. The following 3 Rs suggest how this might start.

1. Rules

These are the ground rules which describe the set of normal team behaviours. They may be more important for newly formed teams, but would benefit any team. Some rules may include:

  • open and honest communication
  • a team approach to solving team problems
  • acknowledging the rights of fellow team members
  • constructive debate when introducing new policies
  • using fair and objective decision-making processes

What would your team rules be?

2. Responsibility

Along with team members needing to be clear about their roles within the team, they also need to know what they are responsible for. This may seem like common sense, and if team members know their roles, it often follows that they will know what their responsibilities are.

However, I think there is a difference between being responsible for something and taking responsibility for something. The latter can have labels such as ‘weakness’ or ‘blame’ attached to it if something hasn’t gone according to plan.

I think it’s quite a strong personal trait to take responsibility for things (under your remit) that don’t go well. Acknowledging this to your team will gain you greater respect. We’re all human, and no-one’s perfect! Speaking of respect …

3. Respect

This includes respecting team members’ points of view, and showing courtesy. You don’t have to be their best friend. Also – if you find yourself thinking that someone in your team is ‘annoying’, try to separate out the behaviour from the person. If you can do this then when they change that behaviour to something ‘less annoying’ to you – you’re more likely to see it and change your opinion of them for the better.

If you show respect for others, you are far more likely to be respected in return. There’s a great parable that demonstrates this …

An uncle was sat at the side of a road with his nephew, in 19th century Ireland, when a traveller walked by.

‘Good day sir,’ he said. ‘I am  travelling to the village over the hill. Can you tell me what the people are like there?’

‘Well,’ said the uncle, ‘you’ve just been to the village on this side of the hill – how did you find the people there?’

‘Oh, they were great,’ replied the traveller, ‘really friendly and welcoming.’

‘Well, that’s good to hear,’ said the uncle, ‘because that’s just what the people are like in the village over the hill.’ With that, the happy traveller headed off to the next village.

Some time later another traveller walked past. ‘Good day sir,’ he said to the uncle. ‘I am travelling to the village over the hill. Can you tell me what the people are like there?’

‘Well,’ said the uncle, ‘you’ve just been to the village on this side of the hill – how did you find the people there?’

‘Oh, they weren’t friendly at all … very unwelcoming. I didn’t like the village at all,’ replied the traveller.

‘Well I am sorry to tell you this,’ said the uncle, ‘but that’s how you will find the people in the next village.’ The unhappy traveller headed off to the next village.

‘Uncle,’ said the nephew a short while later, ‘to whom did you tell the truth?’

‘I told the truth to both of them,’ he said. ‘The point is, people reap what they sow.’

What would the 3 key elements be for a strong team in your organisation?

2013 Goals – It’s all in the language

January 14, 2013

Popular targets people set for themselves are around what they want less of in the year ahead …

iStock_000017644187XSmall

  • I want to eat less chocolate
  • I want to lose weight
  • I want to be less stressed
  • I want less clutter
  • I want to work less evenings during the week

Have you ever found yourself phrasing your goals in terms of what you are trying to avoid, reduce or give up?

What we say to ourselves about the changes we want to make is crucial in achieving those changes.

When I was doing my coaching training, one thing I learned stuck in my mind … apparently the brain doesn’t process negative language the way we intend it to.

So for  “I want to eat less chocolate”, the brain doesn’t interpret that you want to reduce your chocolate intake, rather it focuses on “I want to eat ___ chocolate”.

Thinking about how I used to set goals it makes sense that this was happening with me on a conscious as well as a subconscious level. Whenever I thought about my goals I found myself reminded about what I was trying to avoid!

So focus on what you want, rather than on what you’re aiming to avoid – even if you start from the latter point, you can always re-word your goals to something more positive and achievable.

For example:

  • I want to eat fruit (or other healthier) snacks between meals
  • I want to be ___ kg (or stone/pounds!)
  • I want to have strategies I can use for stressful situations
  • I want to create a tidy home/work space
  • I want to have 3 evenings a week to spend with family/friends/chilling out

How have you worded your goals this year?

What do you want in 2013?

January 2, 2013

iStock_000022653233XSmall

As you look forward into 2013, allow yourself time to consider what you actually want. 

Give yourself a few days at least to think about what you achieved last year, what worked, what didn’t, and perhaps why … this will help with setting goals that are realistic.

Where to start?

3 possible starting points …

1. What things are important to you?

What do you want to ensure that you keep (or create) in your life?

2. Starting from “OK”

If everything’s OK but you want it to be better, take a more strategic approach and look at the different areas of your life.

For example:

  • family & friends
  • work / career
  • finances
  • personal development
  • relationships
  • environment
  • hobbies and interests
  • health & fitness

Review each area and give it a score out of 10 for how content you are. The lower scoring ones may point you towards areas where you want to create goals for 2013.

3. What are the main issues for you right now?

You may have some areas that are more pressing right now; things that you want to change as a matter of urgency (e.g. new job, saving money, spending more time with a family member)

And don’t forget …

  • Make sure your goals are what you want for yourself, not what someone else wants for you. Likewise, you can’t control others, so don’t set goals that are about someone else changing something, or behaving differently … it will be very difficult to ensure this goal is met! Instead, consider what changes you could make in this area to improve the situation.
  • Dare to dream a little! Someone challenged me to do this with regard to my business goals last year, and some of them came true 9 months early!
  • Send yourself a postcard!

More on goal-setting next week 🙂

How do you start the thinking process when setting yourself goals?

The 12 Stress Less Days to Christmas: Day 12

December 24, 2012

Day #12: Now just enjoy!!

iStock_000017770397XSmall

So hopefully by now – whatever your plans for the next fews days – you’ll be just about ready!

There will need to come a point, if you’re not there already, when you decide that you’ve done as much as you can.

Once you’re there, it’s about enjoying the moment! Make the most of all your experiences over the next few days. Look for the positives, rather than focusing on what’s not gone according to plan. Maximise those moments with family and friends.

Decide that your mindset is going to be a “glass half-full” one … or even one that’s brimming over!

However you are spending this holiday period, make it the best one you can 🙂

Wishing you all a fabulous Christmas and a happy, healthy and successful 2013!