Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

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

Communication: speaking the same language as your team (Part 1)

September 3, 2012

Have you ever been in a situation, either as a team leader of team member, where you feel the person you’re speaking with just isn’t really listening? … They don’t get it … They can’t see what you’re trying to show them.

Or, do you often feel misunderstood by one particular member of your team? 

What may be happening is that they are hearing you, but the way they are responding seems to be changing the meaning of what you’re saying.

For example …

Sue: “James, I’m really keen to show you how I’ve organised this data in a way that’s easier to understand. It demonstrates clearly how we’ve achieved our targets in the last few months. I think you’ll notice how the colours I’ve used highlight each team member’s contribution.”

James: “Sounds useful. Tell me more.”

Sue: “If you look at this page, you’ll see each team member’s value added data, which I think will be helpful when looking at their next targets.”

James: “Listen, I really like the sound of it … I hear what you’re saying. It would be a good idea to tell the rest of the team what you’ve done at our next team meeting.”

At this point, Sue may be feeling a little frustrated! James wasn’t looking at all Sue’s hard work. He wanted her to tell him about it instead. 

This is a classic example of someone who is more visual talking to someone who is auditory. We all have our individual preferences for learning and remembering things, and we give this away by how we speak.

In the example above, Sue is using lots of visual language:

  • show you
  • demonstrates clearly
  • you’ll notice
  • colours
  • highlight
  • look
  • you’ll see

James on the other hand is using more auditory words and phrases:

  • sounds useful
  • tell me more
  • listen
  • like the sound of it
  • hear

You may not get as many examples as I’ve given in such a short dialogue – I’ve included lots to make the point.

Do you recognise any of the phrases above as ones you use on a regular basis?

Visual and auditory are just 2 of the main styles of learning. In a future blog I’ll continue this discussion by looking at a different one.

In the meantime, pay attention to the phrases and words others use to describe events / situations.

What would you say their preferred style of communication is?

(Photo credits: Master isolated images and FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Connecting with the real you

August 1, 2012

When we’re in the thick of it at work we often find ourselves being pulled in different directions, with different demands on our time and energies. We are different things to different people. We rarely have time for ourselves.

So when your holiday comes around, who do you become? What’s your default position? And is this the real you?!

Do you prefer a more relaxing time?

Or something more energetic / adventurous?

Or is it all about quality family time?

Images: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I tend to go for a mixture of all 3! I like my “me time” – where I reflect on the past few months, what I’ve achieved, and where I want to go next (business; health/well-being). I also like to reconnect with what’s important, my values, and ensure that these are being catered for in my plans for moving forward.

I usually combine this with being out and about, going places I’ve never been before, taking photos and soaking it all up. New experiences feed the soul. Love this view we discovered recently of Chatsworth grounds from a ‘secret pond’ we’d never have discovered had we not been walking the dog nearby.

Sometimes you don’t have to go far to discover something new!

Quality time with family and friends is also high on the agenda around this time. I always enjoy my trips to visit family – spread all over the country from the NE to Poole in Dorset. Recent experiences have nailed home that life is short, and we should both embrace it and have no regrets.

I feel that I connect more with the ‘real me’ when I am having a break … I have more space to reflect and plan.

What about you?

Love what you do #3: Maximise your strengths

February 10, 2012

I’ve always found that making the most of what I’m good at ensures I enjoy my job more. Knowing what I’m good at comes from different areas:

– I get feedback from others when I coach or train them

– I feel it; I come away feeling on a high; I have that sense of self-satisfaction that comes from just knowing I’ve done a good job

– I can measure the results against success criteria I’ve set myself (or others have set)

But sometimes we lose sight of what we’re good at. We get caught up in the day-to-day stuff, and take our strengths for granted.

Key questions

  • When was the last time you carried out a SWOT analysis on yourself? If it’s been a while, try it again and focus mainly on your Strengths.

*Here’s a SWOT grid I use when working with clients. In each section I’ve included some prompts; things to consider when completing the grid.

  • When was the last time you asked others what you’re good at? Sometimes it’s easier to do it this way. My experience in carrying out SWOT analyses with people is that they find it hard to think about their own strengths, and easier to think of other peoples’. A common reaction to others telling you what you’re good at is: “but that’s just my job, that’s what I do.” As you’re carrying out your daily duties, you are building up your skill set, developing your capabilities and growing these into your strengths.

Once you’ve got your strengths list, look for opportunities to use these more often. You’ll probably find that some activities relating to your strengths give you more enjoyment than others. For example, one of my strengths is organisation, but I don’t get as much enjoyment from being organised with my quarterly accounts as I do being organised in preparing for work with my clients!

What are your strengths, and how do you maximise them?

(Photo credit: Idea go)

Love What You Do #2: Stretch Yourself

February 7, 2012

… Not quite what I meant! (I’d certainly do myself an injury if I attempted this.) Although there are definitely health benefits to regular exercise, and getting up and moving about regularly if you have a desk-based/sitting down job.

In this second post in the Love what you do series, I’m talking about stretching yourself mentally … encouraging you to venture out of your comfort zone now and again to help you grow and develop!

Tip 2: Stretch yourself!

Some people love to constantly live in their stretch zone, spending much of their time trying new things, new experiences, pushing themselves physically or mentally to do or be better. I’m not suggesting that in order to love what you do more – you should be a constant stretch-zone occupant! But if you don’t step into this area now and again you’re in danger of being too comfortable …. too ‘stale’.

By stretching yourself occasionally, and learning from these new ventures, your skills and competencies will increase, leading to you feeling refreshed, re-energised, more confident and boosting your enjoyment of what you do!

Key questions

  • Which of your current activities are in your comfort zone?
  • Which are in your stretch or panic zones? (See activity here, to help with these 2 questions, if needed)
  • What’s the balance of activities in each zone? I tend to have about 70% in my comfort zone and 30% in my stretch zone, avoiding the panic zone as far as possible! But you may be different.
  • What percentages will work for you, to ensure you love what you do more?

Interested to hear your experiences on this topic.

(Photo credits: stretch, creative mind)

Love What You Do #1: Get Clarity

February 6, 2012

To celebrate International Coaching Week I’ve put together a series of tips to help maximise what you do at work. This Love What You Do series starts today with Tip 1: Get Clarity!

[NB I write this series of tips in the context of the workplace, but you could apply most, if not all, the ideas to other areas of your life.]

One of the key factors in enjoying any job I’ve done is being really clear about my role. If I don’t have that clarity, it impacts on my motivation levels and my ability to apply myself successfully to the job at hand.

Key questions

  • So, how clear are you about the expectations of your line manager/colleagues?
  • How clear are you about your job description, and how this affects your day-to-day routine?
  • How do you know when you’ve achieved your targets? Have success criteria been set? What feedback do you get, or do you just know it inside?
  • What about when changes are brought in – are you given (or do you seek out) the clarity you need on how these changes impact on you (day-to-day as well as longer-term)?
  • What are all the different ways you could get clarity about your role?

Use these questions as a starting point to work on getting that clarity now to make 2012 your most successful yet!

(Photo credit: Jeroen van Oostrom)

Motivate me! (Part 2)

February 3, 2012

So … how do you know that you’ve done a good job? In Part 1 I posed this question and encouraged you to answer it as fully as possible, and in relation to a particular work-based target. If you’ve not read Part 1, or answered the question yet, I suggest you take a moment to do so now – before you read on!

So how did you answer it? Were your answers along the lines of ‘Style A’ …

  • I just know!
  • I feel it
  • I achieve my targets
  • I achieve what I set out to do
  • I measure my progress against my success criteria

Or were they more like ‘Style B’ …

  • People tell me
  • I get great results / earn more money
  • I get good feedback from colleagues / clients
  • I find out during my performance management / appraisal meetings
  • I can see my team members are happy / succeeding / achieving great results

Or perhaps your answers were a bit of both!

There is no right or wrong here. Your preferred motivation style just is what it is. Take a look at the language you used to answer the question. Did you use more ‘I’ or ‘me’ language, or did you refer to others / external sources of feedback?

Results! ….

Style A = Internal motivation

If you’re internally motivated – you don’t need external praise and will tend to make your own decisions about the quality of your work, rather than asking other people what they think.

Your motivation is self-generated, and you rely on your own judgment when deciding what to do.

You also have a tendency to resist others telling you what to do. As you don’t generally need praise from others – you tend not to give feedback, which can be difficult if you’re a team leader or manager, and your team are more externally motivated (see below).

Style B = External motivation

You rely on recognition / feedback from others and rewards.

You’re more motivated when someone else makes the decision (e.g. on how to move forward with a team project).

You generally make reference to external sources (other people / information from elsewhere) to make the judgment on how well you’re doing.

If you don’t get sufficient feedback you won’t know how well you’re doing, and this will have a negative impact on your motivation levels. Feedback from others can also come from non-verbal / body language sources.

Using these results to motivate your team

These results will help you to identify your own preferred style (for internal/external). The next step is to use the information from both of these posts to identify your team members’ styles.

1. Pay attention to how they respond to feedback and / or how often they come to you / others seeking approval for their actions.

2. If unsure, or you can’t find sufficient evidence, ask them the question I posed in Part 1, or ask who they involve when making a decision. If they mainly refer to others, they will be more externally motivated. If they mainly talk about being able to make the decision on their own, they are more likely to be internally motivated.

3. Motivate ‘internal’ staff with phrases such as:

– “This is the target we’re aiming for. I could make some suggestions to achieve it, but at the end of the day, only you can decide the best way forward.”

– “What do you think are the steps we could take to achieve _______?”

4. Motivate ‘external’ staff with phrases such as:

– “When you complete this project on time, others will notice / you’ll get good feedback.”

– “I would strongly recommend that you (make the changes we discussed at the last staff meeting, by Friday … etc.)”

– “Think of the results you’ll get if you do ______ !”

About 40% of people are largely internally or externally motivated; and 20% are equally both. However, in a particular job sector, you may get a higher percentage of one type, due to the nature of the job.

So how did you fair … and what steps are you going to take regarding motivating your team? In my experience, leaders tend to be more internally motivated. They need to have that internal driver and a strong sense of knowing what they want and how to get there.

Would love to hear your comments on this!

(Picture credit: David Castillo Dominici)

Motivate me! (Part 1)

January 28, 2012

Leaders beware … your staff may appear enthusiastic, driven and motivated, but is it just for show? Do your staff say what they think you want to hear, or are their responses an honest reflection of how motivated they are?

As a leader or manager it’s important to know how to motivate your team. A mistake some leaders can make is to assume, often subconsciously, that their staff will be motivated in the same way they are. After all, they all work for the same organisation and have a common goal, right? … Wrong. Having a common goal doesn’t mean each person’s motivation style will be the same.

In Staying Motivated I briefly introduced some of the different motivational styles, and discussed the towards and away from characteristics in some detail. For this blog (and Part 2) I’ll introduce a different style. But first ….. a question:

How do you know that you’ve done a good job?

It’s best to answer this question when thinking about a specific target you’ve set yourself at work, and how you’ve faired so far in your achievement of it.

Write down all your thoughts when considering your answer. Give as full and detailed an answer as you can.

In Part 2, I’ll discuss the outcomes of this little task, and the style of motivation it corresponds to.

In the meantime, feel free to share your responses to the question, in the comments section below!

(Photo: jscreationzs)

Getting the balance right at work

January 20, 2012

Thinking about some of the Christmas presents I have enjoyed most in the past couple of weeks, I’ve noticed a pattern. I’ve loved listening to new CDs, using my new phone to listen to music during down-time, and playing the piano (I got the sheet music for the theme tune to Downton Abbey and I’m aiming to be as proficient as the pianist in this link!)

The common theme is obviously music; I hadn’t realised how much I’d been missing it in my life.

Getting the balance right in our personal lives is a very individual thing. What one person needs to feel in balance is probably quite different to the next person, and even the people you live with. This applies to our working lives too.

The Wheel of Life is a common coaching tool used to measure your satisfaction with different areas of your life, seeing where there’s an imbalance, and identify potential areas for development. Looking at the typical Wheel of Life – Career is only one part of the big picture, and it’s important that we get an appropriate balance for ourselves in this big picture.

But if you were to create a Wheel of Work for yourself, to ensure there’s suitable balance in your working life, what would it look like?

Here’s a version of the Wheel of Work which I’ve adapted and used with Team leaders. They can adapt it as they see fit, changing headings to reflect their priorities and role.

So, if you were to examine your balance at work, which headings would you use?

On a scale of 1-10, how would you score yourself for each area?

(Photo credit: renjith krishnan)

Are you making the most of who you are? (Part 2)

August 24, 2011

In Part 1 we set the scene for making lists of your skills, strengths and personal qualities. I also introduced an exercise to provide you with external feedback.

So what did you find?

  • Were there common strengths that crossed over different areas of your life?
  • Were there strengths, skills or qualities that others recognised in you, which you had on your list too?
  • Were there any surprises?
  • Has this boosted your confidence in any areas?

Interpreting the results from the ‘Ask 6 People …’ exercise

So, hopefully you gained a range of responses from this. Here’s what to do with them …

1. Look for common trends / themes – perhaps more than one person said the same thing, or there were different comments but around a common theme. How can you use this to enhance or support your own list of skills / strengths?

For example, sometimes this exercise can highlight a skill others notice in you, which you don’t see as a strength … “It’s just the norm; it’s what I usually do” … are examples of how people have responded to this outcome. Changing your perception of this area as a strength can be a good confidence booster. It can also provide you with a further area to make the most of!

2. Be aware that the odd negative comment by a family member might be more about their agenda than yours. For example, a parent / sibling may say you don’t visit often enough.

3. Look at areas where you can stretch yourself. Perhaps, for example, there’s a comment that you are good at leading meetings at work, and could be even better if you just had a bit more confidence.

4. Where people have suggested what you could do less of (question 4), is this something you can delegate?

As Ellen Degeneres once said, “sometimes you can’t see yourself clearly until you see yourself through the eyes of others.” This exercise is good for highlighting this, but needs to be acknowledged alongside your own observations. So let’s turn to these.

Interpreting your list of strengths, from different areas of your life

For each item on your list, ask yourself how often you get the opportunity to show / use this. Are you satisfied with this, or could you find more opportunities?

Example 1: If your time management at work is good, could you transfer this skill-set to your home-life (or vice versa) ?

Example 2: If you’re good at writing or being creative, how often do you have time to do this? Is it enough? How else could you maximise it? Could you offer to do some writing for someone else in return for them providing something you need (skills-swap) ?

There may be some strengths, skills or qualities you have which you don’t want to do more of, as these would be more about meeting others’ needs and ignoring your own. Be mindful of these.

Philosopher Bertrand Russell said, “anything you’re good at contributes to happiness“. So what other benefits do we find when we make the most of what we’re good at? When I apply this exercise to myself the outcomes for me are:

  • I feel more confident
  • I have a more positive outlook
  • I am more motivated / more productive
  • I have more energy

For me, maximising my potential is also about developing myself, as well as others. It’s about a level of self-awareness about my personal strengths and knowing what my emerging strengths are that I could further develop. I then use this knowledge to set appropriate goals.

What are the benefits you’ve found from this exercise, or maximising your potential in other ways?

Would love to hear your thoughts / experiences. Feel free to comment below.

(Photo credit: Kongsky)