Are you among the zillions of people who seek out tips on getting organized to reduce your stress at work? I certainly am. One stressor in particular is self-inflicted: procrastination. We/I procrastinate and procrastinate and then kick ourselves/myself for unwarranted delays.

So if I know that, why am I still doing it? In my defense, I will say that I have infinitely improved in this area over where I used to be. I keep collecting new tools and tidbits and slowly over time I have become more productive. But old habits sometimes still sneak in — unbidden and unwelcome.

So what next? I just found another useful rule of thumb to help out. First some background.

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Preface: This continues the previous post, How to Reduce Stress at Work through Conscious Use of Self: Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Hudson, and the Blizzard, Part 1, in which I described how Oprah Winfrey  coped with an nerve-wracking incident at work. Superstar Jennifer Hudson was unexpectedly late for a scheduled taping of the Oprah Winfrey show, throwing off the entire day’s schedule.  The unfolding events were shown in “Episode 116” of Season 25, the highly acclaimed reality show.

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In Oprah Winfrey’s 25th and final season of her award-winning show, superstar Jennifer Hudson was scheduled to appear to discuss her amazing weight loss. Unfortunately for all of them, the taping was scheduled a day after the largest blizzard that Chicago had seen in 25 years, resulting in a textbook-like study of stress at work.

A behind-the-scenes look at what transpired that morning was shown on “Episode 116”of Season 25, the highly acclaimed reality show showing the makings of The Oprah Show’s 25th season.

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Employee motivation is a recurrent problem creating stress at work for managers, employees, and just about everyone who works with people. In this post, Professor Jeffrey Ford, an expert on personal leadership effectiveness, succinctly describes how to delegate a task to ensure clarity and increase motivation.

As an added bonus, readers of Reframing Change will recognize that these are a great set of questions for testing assumptions about expectations – whether you are the delegator of the task or the person to whom the task is assigned.

I am grateful to Professor Ford for giving me permission to reproduce this gem of a post.

 

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I am on a constant search for time management tips. I may try out a new technique and it works for a while, but eventually, the idea grows stale and I let it slide away. So when I had dinner with a friend Wednesday evening, I was ripe for more ideas to try.

My friend, Sherra Aguirre, is head of Aztec Services, Inc., an industry leader in facility services.

The company is expanding into property management and she’s committed to maintaining their high quality, environmentally responsible level of services. In a word, she’s busy. I wanted to know how she juggled her workload since I know worklife balance is also important to her.

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What happens when someone hasn’t developed good listening skills? Here are some typical conversations that create stress at work and home:

Example 1: Manuel sits down with Chris, one of his direct reports, to describe a new assignment. As he explains, the nature of the job requires that Chris weighs the quality of the project against the ultimate goal of meeting costs and timelines. When he finishes the explanation, he asks Chris if he is prepared to take on the assignment.

  • Chris:  Sure, I’m ready. I just don’t understand exactly what you are asking me to do.
  • Manuel: What part of it don’t you understand?
  • Chris:  Well, actually, I don’t understand what you are saying about costs, time, and budget. Would you please explain it again?
  • Manuel:  [Sigh!]

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Preface: It’s difficult to increase employee motivation when we don’t know how to motivate ourselves to achieve our own goals. A steady theme in this blog is about motivating ourselves to do those things that we want to do, but are finding it difficult to actually get done. (See, for example, How to achieve your goals despite yourself.) The article below by Marshall Goldsmith attracted my attention because he has an interesting take on how we can motivate ourselves — by harnessing our “mojo” or positive spirit. Learning to do this will decrease our stress at work and increase our potential for joy, or at least satisfaction.

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When you see the phrase “motivators at work”, what do you think? Most people may think of things like pay or time off from work. These are external motivators. Others may think of personal characteristics such as work ethic or drive for success. These are internal motivators.

In previous posts, I described the lessons in integrity, self-regulation, and deferred gratification that Morgan, my seven-year-old granddaughter, is learning. She is developing these internal motivators through her participation in National Lemonade Day, a national event designed to teach children entrepreneurial skills and help them develop positive character traits.

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Last year, Morgan, then aged 6, participated in the National Lemonade Project, a program established to teach entrepreneurial skills to kids. I described what happened in a previous post, Morgan’s Lemonade Day Project: Integrity as a successful character trait.

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Productivity experts say that logging one’s accomplishments is a terrific morale booster and motivator at work and home. On the days we do little, we can look and see previous days’ accomplishments and feel good about ourselves.  Consider this as another voluntary behavioral modification technique.

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Why on earth would someone change their behavior just because you said so? And what  can you do about it?

Week after week, a manager complains to her staff about missed project deadlines. Usually, only one or two completely finish the tasks they were assigned. The others make some progress toward their weekly goals or none at all. She lectures them about taking personal responsibility for the team’s success.

An instructor gently chides students in his class for not participating more in class. As he stands in front of the classroom, looking at the 20 students clustered in rows in front of his desk, he says, “This is such a small class. We could have excellent participation if only you would talk more about the readings. If you want to advance in your careers, you need to learn to take more individual responsibility.”

A parent yells at her kid for dumping his books, jackets, and lunch box on the floor right by the door when she comes home from school every day. “This is your home,” she explains with exasperation in her voice. “When are you going to learn to take responsibility for how it looks?”

The concept of “leading consciously” implies individual responsibility — people willingly assuming conscious awareness of thoughts, emotions, and actions. Yet, individual responsibility alone won’t get us where we want to go if situational factors work against us. And lecturing others about individual responsibility is equally doomed to failure if their environment is compelling them in another direction.

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Recognized by AllTop!

I am honored that Jean Latting’s Blog has been recognized by Alltop as a top website! The blog is featured in the Leadership category.

This is exciting because it means that we will become more widely known and information about how to lead consciously will reach more people. We will also be in company — the leadership blogs that we have joined there are amazing!

For those of you who don’t know about Alltop, it’s a wonderful website that takes the headlines of the best websites and categorizes them so that readers can easily find information about the topics they are looking for. It’s more like an encyclopedia of current information than a search engine. You can find information in almsot any category you want.

If you check out the Alltop website — and I hope you will — pleae let me know about other interesting blogs or articles that are relevant to leading consciously. For that matter, please let me know about relevant articles and blogs that interest you from anywhere. That way, I may be able to repost the information here for others to see.

Look at the bottom of this page and you will see our badge of recognition. It says “All the top stories” and “Featured in Alltop”.

So exciting!

3 behavior changes to increase team performance

Preface:  Martin Prouix, President of Pyxis and an organizational coach, posted this article on his blog, Analytical-Mind.com, this past fall. I thought Martin’s thoughts on team performance were worth sharing.

Jean

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Bridging cultural differences is challenging enough when people agree on the labels used to describe those differences. But when someone believes a label ascribed to them doesn’t fit, all kinds of hot buttons are pushed.

Let’s take race as an example. Most people assume that race is a biological concept. Whether this is true or not, though, is being hotly contested among physical anthropologists, the one group we would expect to have the definitive answer.

What we do know is that the meaning assigned to one’s race is what makes it significant. So how does it work when people believe that the label ascribed to them doesn’t fit?

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Yesterday morning, my niece called me. With rage in her voice, she explained that her thirteen-year-old son had received a text message from a friend saying, “You f**king n****r”. “I called his mother — they’re Mexican American,” she explained. “I wanted to know if they understood the significance of that word.”

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