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Style Matters

Style Matters

I’ve been fortunate to have had the opportunity to lead as well as to follow. On the journey, I’ve noticed that some leaders have the “right stuff” and others probably ought to be stuffed!

Individual and corporate management style can lead to significant success or dismal failure. These are some common traits that successful managers possess that can lead to management methods that inspire subordinates and lead to increased productivity and a happier workforce. Lets examine a few traits of successful management teams. These three suggestions are simple, but often overlooked by management.

1. Management should praise their workforce often and publicly. Let your subordinates know that their efforts are necessary and appreciated. Tangible tokens of appreciation are best remembered and engender loyalty and dedication from the recipient. Theater tickets, a coffee mug, a small inexpensive gift are easily obtainable and the potential for increased loyalty, dedication and efficiency is significant. I recall a manager presenting me with a small toy wrench for my efforts in developing a successful maintenance plan. I worked twice as hard for him than anyone before or after. In fact, I am recalling it now, some 40 years after the event. I knew he appreciated me. Remember that management can not survive if their subordinates do not fully adopt a plan or work diligently to carry out the details of a decision. If subordinates are not meeting management expectations, performance counseling should be conducted in private and provide details about the undesirable work habit along with suggestions for improvement. Make sure the session ends with a note of encouragement. It is important to be aware that everyone wants to positively contribute to success. No one enjoys failure.

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2. Management should involve subordinates in decision making to the maximum extent possible. It is not uncommon for workers to identify a problem long before management recognizes it. When subordinates are involved in decision making they become a critical part of the solution. Subordinates have the opportunity to become acquainted with management issues and if involved in the decision process become owners of that solution. That ownership means that subordinates will work diligently towards success, after all it is their solution that is being implemented. I remember years ago that I had a meeting to develop a new plan to increase efficiency. I called in the members of my team and listened to their suggestions. They suggested a plan that I was not fond of, but they were enthusiastic and against my better judgment at the time, I allowed them to go forth. It was the most successful plan that I ever didn’t develop! I’ve involved subordinates in my planning ever since and it has always reaped rewards. By the way – except for this writing I never refer to subordinates as subordinates. We are all members of a team – I just happened to be the captain.

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3. Management should remember to set the example for timeliness, dedication, cordiality and the host of characteristics that are essential for a cooperative and successful operation. A corporation, office or even a very small group of individuals engaged in a common endeavor has a personality. The degree to which that group personality represents what is desirable in human nature reflects the degree of success that the group will achieve. Management determines the personality and setting the example for success is incumbent upon those leaders. We all know a happy team is a productive team.

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These are three simple steps that will reflect favorably upon management and will lead to increased efficiency and productivity from subordinates. It is not understandable why so many chose to ignore these simple techniques.

David Richards is a retired teacher and former business owner that lives in Williamsburg, Virginia. He enjoys sharing any knowledge gained or lessons learned in his life in hopes that they may be applicable to others.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

In the journey of growth, there are times when we grow and excel. We are endlessly driven and hyped up, motivated to get our goals.

Then there are times when we stagnate. We feel uninspired and unmotivated. We keep procrastinating on our plans. More often than not, we get out of a rut only to get back into another one.

How do you know if you are stagnating? Here are some tell-tale signs:

  • If you have been experiencing chronic procrastination on your goals
  • If you don’t ever feel like doing anything
  • If you keep turning to sleep, eating, games, mindless activities and entertainment for comfort
  • If you know you should be doing something, but yet you keep avoiding it
  • If you have not achieved anything new or significant now relative to 1 month, 2 months or 3 months ago
  • If you have a deep sense of feeling that you are living under your potential

When we face stagnation in life, it’s a sign of deeper issues. Stagnancy in life, just like procrastination, is a symptom of a problem. It’s easy to beat ourselves over it, but this approach is not going to help.

Here, I will share 5 steps to help you move out of this stagnation. They won’t magically transform your life in 1 night (such changes are never permanent because the foundations are not built), but they will help you get the momentum going and help you get back on track.

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1. Realize You’re Not Alone

Everyone stagnates at some point or another. You are not alone in this and more importantly, it’s normal. In fact, it’s amazing how many of my clients actually face the same predicament, even though all of them come from different walks of life, are of different ages, and have never crossed paths.

Realizing you are not alone in this will make it much easier to deal with this period. By trying to “fight it”, you’re only fighting yourself. Accept this situation, acknowledge it, and tell yourself it’s okay. That way, you can then focus on the constructive steps that will really help you.

2. Find What Inspires You

Stagnation comes because there isn’t anything that excites you enough to take action. If you don’t have a habit of setting goals, and instead just leave yourself to daily mundanes, it’s not surprising you are experiencing stagnation.

What do you want to do if there are no limitations? If you can have whatever you want, what will it be? The answers to these questions will provide the fuel that will drive you forward.

On the other hand, even if you are an experienced goal setter, there are times when the goals you set in the past lose their appeal now. It’s normal and it happens to me too. Sometimes we lose touch with our goals, since we are in a different emotional state compared to when we first set them. Sometimes our priorities change and we no longer want to work on those goals anymore. However, we don’t consciously realize this, and what happens is we procrastinate on our goals until it compounds into a serious problem.

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If that’s the case for you, it’s time to relook into your goals. There’s no point in pursuing goals that no longer inspire you. Trash away your old goals (or just put them aside) and ask yourself what you really want now. Then go for them.

3. Give Yourself a Break

When’s the last time you took a real break for yourself? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? Never? Perhaps it’s time to take a time-out. Prolonged working can cause someone to become disillusioned as they lose sight of who they are and what they want.

Go take some extended leave from work. A few days at bare minimum; a few weeks or months will be great. Some of my ex-colleagues have quit their jobs and took months out to do some self-reflection. Of course, some of us might not have that luxury, so we can stick to a few weeks of leave.

Go on a trip elsewhere and get away from your work and your life. Use this chance to get a renewed perspective of life. Think about your life purpose, what you want and what you want to create for your life in the future.

These are big questions that require deep thinking over them. It’s not about finding the answers at one go, but about taking the first step to finding the answers.

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4. Shake up Your Routines

Being in the same environment, doing the same things over and over again and meeting the same people can make us stagnant. This is especially if the people you spend the most time with are stagnant themselves.

Change things around. Start with simple things, like taking a different route to work and eating something different for breakfast. Have your lunch with different colleagues, colleagues you never talked much with. Work in a different cubicle if your work has free and easy seating. Do something different than your usual for weekday evenings and weekends. Cultivate different habits, like exercising every day, listening to a new series of podcasts every morning to work, reading a book, etc (here’re 6 Proven Ways To Make New Habits Stick). The different contexts will give you different stimulus, which will trigger off different thoughts and actions in you.

When I’m in a state of stagnancy, I’ll get a sense of what’s making me stagnate. Sometimes it’s the environment I’m in, sometimes it’s the people I’ve been hanging out with, sometimes it’s my lifestyle. Most of the times it’s a combination of all these. Changing them up helps to stir myself out of the stagnant mode.

5. Start with a Small Step

Stagnation also comes from being frozen in fear. Maybe you do want this certain goal, but you aren’t taking action. Are you overwhelmed by the amount of work needed? Are you afraid you will make mistakes? Is the perfectionist in you taking over and paralyzing you?

Let go of the belief that it has to be perfect. Such a belief is a bane, not a boon. It’s precisely from being open to mistakes and errors that you move forward.

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Break down what’s before you into very very small steps, then take those small steps, a little step at a time. I had a client who had been stagnating for a long period because he was afraid of failing. He didn’t want to make another move where he would make a mistake. However, not wanting to make a mistake has led him to do absolutely nothing for 2-3 years.

On the other hand, by doing just something, you would already be making progress, whether it’s a mistake or not. Even if you make a supposed “mistake”,  you get feedback to do things differently in the next step. That’s something you would never have known if you never made a move.

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Featured photo credit: Anubhav Saxena via unsplash.com

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