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8 Hacks for Satisfying Relationships

8 Hacks for Satisfying Relationships

People can make you feel great and soothe your soul or it can seem that they can drive you deep into despair.

Here are eight things you can give up to have satisfying relationships at work and at home.

1. Release your idea that others’ role is to make you happy

We often carry this assumption around. While we may have had a mother or a father there to make us happy as a child, as an adult it’s nobody’s role to make us happy. It’s our role to make ourselves happy.

And one way to do that is to surround yourself with people who bring you up, not bring you down.

2. Let go of your desire to make everybody happy

If you are a pleaser, you likely spend quite a bit of time focused on other people. You might even be saying things to yourself like “I hope he/she likes me.” or “I hope they like my gift.”

And, if they don’t like it, then you can justify feeling mad, hurt, and upset. A little example of how we can quickly turn a gift into some resentment goes like this. “He didn’t smile back at me…who does he think he is!”

But that’s a trap. The trap is that your happiness is dependent on whether somebody liked what you did for them…and ultimately liked you.

Now, of course, when we do things for people, we should hope that the other person benefits from our gift. And that gift could be as small as a smile, or it could be something bigger. But give up worrying about whether they are happy with our gift.

Give up trying to please and expecting something in return. Focus on your intention, your gift, and your thoughtfulness. Let that be satisfying enough.

3. Give up living your life to other people’s expectations

If we live our lives living up to others expectations, we are going to have a tough life. Our life, our happiness, and our success in the world will be determined by somebody else. And their expectations.

Far too many of us live a life like this. If you live your life according to what others think is best for you…your friends, your parents, your partner… it could even be even what your teacher or somebody spouting off on some social media platform… then you are not honoring yourself. You’ll create stress for yourself, if you spend so much of your energy pleasing others.

4. Abandon your effort to be available for everybody all the time

Now, of course, I’m not saying that you should turn into some self-centered jerk who never pays attention to others. In fact, I think that to have healthy relationships, we should care for others, a lot.

But we don’t need to be there for everybody all the time when its at the expense of our needs, values, and desires.

It’s a balance. You need to take care of yourself to be able to take care of others.

5. Surrender your willingness to put up with being hurt

Let’s face it. There are lots of people in the world who can be critical, nasty, and hurtful to you. And downright dangerous.

It’s too bad, but it’s true. People who do these things exist.

Now some of these people have little awareness of the impact their behavior has on you. But some are bullies or violent and intentionally hurt people. Both physically and mentally.

The question is…can you have a great life when living with and around people who are nasty? Can you be happy when these people are touching your soul on a regular basis?

Is it possible to conquer stress, depression and anxiety when there are people hurting you on a regular basis? Unlikely.

But let’s get this straight. You deserve healthy relationships. Now I didn’t say you deserve a fancy new car, a designer home in Hawaii. Or being independently wealthy. That would be nice. But for most of us, that isn’t realistic.

But what is realistic is not having to put up with poor treatment from others. I remember a person telling me that every time they spoke to their mother on the telephone, her mother would criticize her about every decision she made, tell her what she was doing wrong, and how she wouldn’t turn out to be much.

So she gave up letting that negative energy get in her ear. She needed to learn to keep herself safe from the negativity of others so she could nurture her own spirit.

6. Discard the assumption that people live their lives like you do

We see the world through our own eyes. Others see the world through their eyes. Some of us are blind so those people experience the world differently. But for the most part, we experience the world through our own experience. And we can make the mistake of thinking that everybody sees the world the same way we do.

If we carry this assumption, it will create a tough life for us as we will be filled with disappointment.

But you can be curious about what others want in life. What their values are. What drives them to do what they do.

It will help you have refreshing relationships.

7. Give up not asking for what you need

One person I know has made a massive difference in her life by stopping her use of alcohol.

And, while her family supports her, one person always mentions it with a half compliment or a hidden insult. It goes something like this. ”Susan, it’s been great for everybody that you quit drinking. And you look fantastic. It’s too bad you didn’t quit years ago.”

Hidden insults can drive you crazy. You might choose to give up putting up with them. Even for the family.

What about asking for what you want? Try this on.

“Hey thanks for the compliment, I really appreciate you helping me stay clean. And you’re right, I feel great. One thing you could do that would help, is when you give me a compliment, don’t tag on the little ending about its too bad you couldn’t have done it earlier. That little ending isn’t so helpful. But I do love you and your compliments!”

8. Shed the notion that you are fragile and can’t tolerate a snub or insult

Finally, the one thing that I see people assume that holds them back from having a happy life is to assume that they can’t take it when the going gets tough.

They fear standing up for themselves. In fact, we are all tougher than we think we are. Be resilient. Don’t let somebody’s ill behavior bring you down.

Start surrounding yourself with people who treat you well. Start practicing standing up for yourself even with the little things. Then standing up for yourself by giving up some things becomes easier, day by day.

You might worry about giving them up. But you can. You’ll be happier for it.

Featured photo credit: Henry Söderlund via flickr.com

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Published on September 18, 2018

17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

Have there been instances when you noted a drop in your team’s productivity or observed a behavioral change in someone who used to be an excellent performer?

Before you blame the team for not being motivated enough or worse still, choose to ignore these warning signs, look inwards and ask yourself if YOU are doing enough to keep your team motivated in the first place.

Motivating employees is extremely crucial. As the leader of the pack, it is your responsibility to ensure each and every member of your team feels valued, driven and motivated.

After all, you cannot expect a bunch of disengaged and demotivated people to deliver results and grow your business, can you?

Here are 17 surefire tactics for motivating your employees and building a productive team:

1. Show your appreciation

In the whole race to achieve external business goals, leaders often forget to value their most important assets — their employees.

The least you can do to boost performance and morale is to appreciate your employees, recognize their efforts and give them credit when it is due.

Whether it’s sending a personalized note, recognizing achievements publicly during team huddles or even rewarding top performers at the end of every month, you will be surprised to see how these small acts of appreciation can go a long way.

2. Communicate effectively

Effective communication can do wonders in motivating employees. Who is a strong communicator? Someone who knows what they are talking about and are able to convey their message accurately.

Communication is a lot more than just language and talking. Factors such as eye contact, active listening, hand gestures and postures also say a lot about a person’s communication skills.

3. Be open to dialogue

Gone are the days when leading through fear and putting on the tough, distant leader act would work.

New age leadership is all about instilling trust by being accessible and encouraging discussions. Your team needs to feel comfortable speaking to you and you need to set the tone for such a camaraderie.

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In spite of having a busy schedule, you can still show you care through simple, effective acts.

For instance, having an open door policy, showing genuine interest while interacting with your employees or even greeting your team members helps breaking barriers and projects you as an accessible leader.

4. Provide constructive criticism

Giving negative feedback is always tricky — you don’t want to hurt feelings nor do you want the feedback to be taken lightly.

So, what do you do? The idea is to offer criticism such that it inspires change and delivers results.

Firstly, take criticism behind closed doors because nothing breaks self esteem the way calling out employees in public does.

Have a one-on-one discussion with the concerned person and make your feedback very specific. Be clear about your expectations and offer guidance on how they can improve.

Most importantly, give them the chance to explain their side of the story too instead of jumping to conclusions.

5. Conduct one-on-ones

Yes, you conduct weekly meetings with the team but how well do you know them on a personal level?

While you may think this isn’t an important practice to follow, it is one of the best ways to engage with your employees and identify what drives them.

Conduct a one-one-one session every month and use it to understand how your employees are doing and if they are facing any roadblocks.

More than reviewing performances, consider this as a relationship building tool to ensure you are aligned with your team and are working towards a shared, common goal.

6. Build training programs

In this ever-changing business landscape, it is important to ensure your employees are updated with the latest, relevant skills that can help boost productivity and performance.

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From imparting technical and soft skills to offering mentoring programs – investing in training and development significantly helps in motivating employees and keeps the learning going.

While conducting training programs, remember to keep them engaging and interactive. They need to ultimately drive value and reinforce learnings.

7. Offer growth opportunities

Every employee envisions a different career path for themselves and demotivation strikes the day they feel they have reached stagnation. As a leader, you need to first be aligned with their goals and offer ample growth opportunities that constantly keeps them engaged and motivated.

Growth opportunities go beyond just financial growth. While money is a huge driving factor, what makes most people tick is making progress in the company and going up the career ladder.

Being faced with new challenges and responsibilities lets them push the envelope and broaden their knowledge and skills.

8. Reward them

Go beyond verbal recognition and reward employees for their notable work. You can start an incentive program and reward top performers. This ensures increased productivity and brings out the best in them.

If you don’t have enough budgets for that, you can also reward top performers with movie tickets, a paid vacation or something as simple as giving them the option to work from home.

Rewarding employees promotes healthy competition and motivates them while meeting business goals.

9. Encourage team outings

Employee motivation also stems from how connected the team is. Invest time in team building because a team that works collaboratively is likely to deliver better results.

From bowling nights to hosting team dinners – team outings are a great way to get to know each other and bond. Assign someone from your team to be in charge of organizing these monthly outings and make sure you join them too!

10. Involve them

Involve your employees in decision making because when they are involved, they feel more valued and part of a larger cause.

Seek your team’s opinion and encourage healthy debates within the team. This boosts employee morale and challenges them to work harder as they know they are in a position to make an impact and will be taken seriously.

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11. Set meaningful goals

In the beginning of the financial year, make sure you sit down with each employee to set meaningful and realistic goals. The goal-setting conversation is an extremely crucial one and needs to be a two-way street.

Whether your employee feels burdened or doesn’t feel inspired enough by the assigned goals – this is the time to come to a consensus and assign goals derived from business objectives that foster individual development while keeping in mind their strengths and weaknesses.

12. Empower them

You cannot expect employees to be motivated for long if you micro manage the team and do all the talking.

Trust your employees and empower them to take decisions. Mistakes will happen but that is the only way they will learn.

Be open to discussions, delegate effectively, set your expectations and give your team the freedom to do it their way.

13. Deal with conflict

A conducive work environment is one wherein there is open communication and trust, but every once in a while, you do encounter people in the team who indulge in office politics and spread negativity.

How much ever fulfilled an employee feels with their work, gossiping co-workers are bound to ruin it for them. Workplace gossip if not tackled hampers productivity and soils working relations.

As a responsible leader, you need to maintain a conducive work environment and act as a mediator in such cases. Don’t be the leader who is locked up in his/her cabin and is unaware of what is brewing within the team.

14. Implement a flexible work culture

Flexible work cultures are a growing trend and are here to stay.

Whether it is offering flexible working hours or allowing employees to work from home once in a month – a flexible work culture promotes work-life balance and aids in employee satisfaction.

It shows that the management is sensitive to employees’ schedules and is thereby highly appreciated.

15. Host engaging activities

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy and we cannot agree more! So, why not devote one day of the week to employee engagement activities?

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From hosting baking competitions to introducing wellness programs in the office – let your team have some fun beyond work. This keeps the environment engaging, light-hearted and interesting, giving them all the more reason to look forward to coming to work.

16. Maintain a positive work space

Your employees spend more than half their day at work and in order to keep them energized and motivated, it is important to maintain a positive and inspiring work space.

Have a recreation center where employees can unwind after a hard day’s work, offer free snacks and beverages and invest in an open office design that promotes socializing and conversations.

These are simple yet effective ways to create a space your employees will love coming to.

17. Avoid discrimination

Any kind of discrimination, be it due to age, gender, religion or race hugely impacts employee motivation and performance.

In order to avoid such cases, you must lay down rules against discrimination and take strict action against accused employees. Lead by example and make sure no one in the team is a victim of bias and discrimination.

The bottom line

Don’t underestimate the power of motivating employees. Understand that the more engaged and motivated they are, the better their performance will be.

It is also a good idea to send out a survey and get feedback from your employees on the company culture, work environment and their motivation levels.

This will help you be more aligned with their expectations and further improve your efforts in building a stronger, engaged team.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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