19 Jan

Labelling employees can lead to negative behaviour

To get the best out of a team, to keep things fresh and to avoid the uninspiring practise of “group think”, organisational teams these days are purposefully constructed with a mix of complimentary talents, thinking styles and competencies.

Playing to your individual team members strengths is key to achieving business goals and keeping  your team motivated, however be careful not to fall into the trap of stereotyping your team players. Boxing them into set characteristics and personality styles can stunt their growth and development.

Many years ago I worked with a chap who was brilliant at coming up with unique ideas. He had the ability to dream big, motivate the team to buy into his unique concepts and get everyone charged up to turn the dream into a reality. His talents according to himself ended there.

Here’s the thing, he kept getting told and labelled by his managers that he was strong at creative ideas and big vision , but rubbish at working out the final details and follow through. He wasn’t taken to seriously in the planning phase as everyone was told where his talents lay. He then started to exclude himself from the planning sessions and follow-through phases.  He started believing he was given the green light to be rubbish at certain skills. “My boss tells me I’m poor at planning, so therefore I am poor at planning”. He stopped trying, he stopped stretching himself.  This mindset then started filtering into other areas of his life. “People tell me I’m rubbish at being a good communicator and sympathetic to my peers needs, therefore I am no good at those touchy-feely skills.” 

Constant repetition of the same action, self-talk or feedback will result in permanent results. Eventually you are totally convinced and accept that your weaknesses will and can never be changed or there is some else who can perform the skill for you. In some instances, yes we can ask a colleague to assist, as they are brilliant at said skill, but unfortunately for other skills, especially the soft skills, we are on our own. If you think that you should only play to your strengths and ignore your weaknesses then you have lost.

Our weaknesses are generally skills we don’t like to perform. We often find no pleasure in doing them and quite frankly would rather do without. That I understand and appreciate, however by telling yourself that you don’t need to work on them is foolish and limiting.

Ask yourself, “If you never tried to improve yourself and work on your weak areas, what would your life be like?”

Then ask yourself, “If you changed the way you thought and you started to work on your weaknesses. What would your life be like?”

By just trying, you never know you may find a new strength buried amongst the weaknesses.

Acknowledge your weaknesses, but don’t let them hold you prisoner. Take control.

Need assistance? Contact Nicole to book a  professional coaching session. nicole@tikumu.co.nz

12 Jan

Have you eaten your frog today?

The beginning of a new year is often filled with great optimism, big plans, bravado and the obligatory new year’s resolutions. Where we are surrounded with positive energy and “can do” attitudes, it does naturally make it easier to start setting goals and looking forward to great successes during the new year. This is also a really good time to get into the habit of eating your frog on a regular basis.

Frogs, not the green slimy webbed-foot amphibious kind, are items on your to-do list that have been there for far too long. Items that keep getting demoted to the bottom of the list and eventually take on the identity of a large, ugly, wart-infested toad that no-one wants to handle.

The problem with these frog goals is that they cannot be removed from the list, since they are tasks that do actually need to be completed. Completed tasks that could benefit your business or life. Having them on the to-do does in some small weird way makes us feel better. By just having these frogs on the list means something is being done. Right? Don’t fool yourself. Having “paint your house” on the to do list, does not make a beautifully painted living room. Learn to eat your frog! Start getting into the habit of eating your frog.

How do you do this?

  1. Start off small. Select a frog task off your list, which you know if you had to actually do it it would take you a day or a few hours to complete.
  2. Schedule that task for the following day. Earlier the better.
  3. Do it and don’t over think it.
  4. Celebrate. Acknowledge your success and use that feeling of success to motivate you to eat the next frog breakfast.

After you have finished the frog, select the next frog off the list and repeat the cycle. Eventually you will get into the habit of eating the frog everyday and you’ll probably start enjoying it. Challenge yourself. Eat the frog!