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10 Things Great Leaders Say Every Monday (Or Moan-day)

10 Things Great Leaders Say Every Monday (Or Moan-day)

You’re back at your office or business on another Monday. Your team wishes it was still Saturday. They’re staring down five long days until it’s finally Friday again. And it’s your job to make sure that they meet sales, customer service, operational, or any other goals for the week. Here’s 10 things you can say to your team that will make this week productive and fun.

1. “How’s everyone doing?”

When your team knows (not thinks; don’t fake it) that you genuinely care about them, they will be much more interested in helping you meet your goals for the week. Show you care. It’s pretty easy and goes far.

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2. “Here’s what we did well last week”

Show appreciation for and reflect on what went well last week. What goals did the team hit? What big (or small) accomplishments did they achieve last week? Your team will appreciate that you noticed, and they’ll get a reminder of what it feels like to do well and be recognized for it. Tell them what went well last week.

3. “Here’s how we can make this week better”

Keep a positive tone. They all know that not everything was spectacular last week. Make clear where the team needs to improve this week and exactly what they must do to make that happen.

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4. “This is why we need to be awesome this week”

People are purpose-driven. Purpose, however, doesn’t have to mean ending hunger or creating world peace. Sometimes it just means having a simple, rational reason for doing what you are asking. As leaders, it’s easy to forget that we usually have more information and a deeper understanding of the business than those we lead. A very simple explanation of why we must hit the revenue target or any other goals goes a very long way in encouraging your team.

5. “This is how that thing will affect you. Yes you, Jerry”

Take #4 another level further. Specify how it will affect individual team members. Will it contribute to Ellen’s profit share? Will it affect Bob’s bonus? Will it make Sergio’s job easier in the future? Will it create fewer angry customer calls for Joanne to deal with? While your team wants to contribute to larger goals, they also want to know, on a practical level, how the heck these goals affect them individually.

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6. “We can’t do this without you”

It’s true. If you could do it without your team, you wouldn’t have them. Let them know. Let them know you need them and, more importantly, that you know you need them. It requires a bit of humility and a bit of appreciation and, if you’ve also done a good job conveying #1, this will further encourage your team to reach your goals for the week.

7. “Here’s how I’m going to support you”

A huge and frequently overlooked part of a leader’s job is to provide support to those they lead. Your team will feel supported and empowered if you tell them very clearly what you are going to do to help them meet the goals you have created for them.

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8. “This is exactly what I need from you this week”

Now that you’ve outlined how you are going to contribute to the week’s goals, you have earned the right to tell your team exactly what they must do to contribute to these goals. You have shown them that you appreciate them, that you need them, that you’ve got their back and that they have a personal stake in it. Now you can ask what you need from them.

9. “What questions do you have?”

Don not say “do you have any questions?” When you ask if there are questions, it implies that you think that you have explained it perfectly and that there are only questions because people aren’t smart enough to comprehend the perfectly-crafted prose you have just delivered. No matter what your intent, it’s important to understand that everyone has their own set of filters that they run everything through. By asking “What questions do you have?” you automatically assume there will be questions, making you seem so much more human.

10. “Here is how to reach me if you need me”

You’ve already covered everything that you expect to come up, but there are always unexpected issues, problems or situations that may require your attention or help. Reassure your team that if anything unexpected comes up, you’ll be there and here is how and when they can engage you. You protect your valuable time by setting certain times, methods, or channels through which your team contacts you.

The work your team does is largely a function of your leadership. Start each week off with these ten things to improve your team’s productivity and get more done each week. Imagine the compounding effects if you were to do this every week.

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Last Updated on March 23, 2021

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

You need more than time management. You need energy management

1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

2. Determine your “peak hours”

Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

3. Block those high-energy hours

Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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