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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 September 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new:

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

The bottom line

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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