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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 August 6, 2020

Why Working 9 to 5 Is Outdated

Why Working 9 to 5 Is Outdated

Bristol is the most congested city in England. Whenever I have to work at the office, I ride there, like most of us do. Furthermore, I always make sure to go at off hours; otherwise, the roads are jam-packed with cars, buses, bikes, even pedestrians. Why is that? Because everyone is working a traditional 9 to 5 work day.

Where did the “9 to 5” Come From?

It all started back in 1946. The United States government implemented the 40 hour work week for all federal employees, and all companies adopted the practice afterwards. That’s 67 years with the same schedule. Let’s think about all the things that have changed in the 67 years:

  • We went to the moon, and astronauts now live in space on the ISS.

  • Computers used to take up entire rooms and took hours to make a single calculation. Now we have more powerful computers in our purses and back pockets with our smartphones.

  • Lots of employees can now telecommute to the office from hundreds, and even thousands of miles away.

In 1946 a 9-5 job made sense because we had time after 5pm for a social life, a family life. Now we’re constantly connected to other people and the office, with the Internet, email on our smartphones, and hashtags in our movies and television shows. There is no downtime anymore.

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Different Folks, Different Strokes

Enjoying your downtime is an important part of life. It recharges your batteries and lets you be more productive. Allowing people to balance life and work can provide them with much needed perspective and motivation to see the bigger picture of what they are trying to achieve.

Some people are just more productive when they’re working at their optimal time of day, after feeling well rested and personally fulfilled.  For some that can be  from 4 a.m. to 9 a.m; for others, it could be  2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

People have their own rhythms and routines. It would be great if we could sync our work schedule to match. Simply put, the imposed 8-hour work day can be a creativity and morale killer for the average person in today’s world.

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Productivity and Trust Killer

Fostering creativity among employees is not always an easy endeavor, but perhaps a good place to start is by simply not tying their tasks and goals to a fixed time period. Let them work on their to-do list at their own pace, and chances are, you’ll get the best out of your employee who feels empowered instead of babysat.

That’s not to say that you should  allow your team to run wild and do whatever they want, but restricting them to a 9 to 5 time frame can quickly demoralize people. Set parameters and deadlines, and let them work at their own creative best with the understanding that their work is crucial to the functioning of the entire team.

Margaret Heffernan, an entrepreneur who previously worked in broadcasting, noted to Inc that from her experience, “treating employees like grown-ups made it more likely that they would behave the same way.” The principle here is to have your employees work to get things done, not to just follow the hands on the clock.

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A Flexible Remote Working Policy

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer famously recalled all her remote workers, saying she wanted to improve innovation and collaboration, but was that the right decision? We’ve all said that we’re often more productive in a half day working from home than a full day working in the office, right? So why not let your employees work remotely from home?

There are definitely varying schools of thought on remote working. Some believe that innovation and collaboration can only happen in a boardroom with markers, whiteboards and post-it notes and of course, this can be true for some. But do a few great brainstorms trump a team that feels a little less stressed and a little more free?

Those who champion remote working often note that these employees are not counting the clock, worried about getting home, cooking dinner or rushing through errands post-work. No one works their 9-5 straight without breaks here and there.  Allowing some time for remote working means employees can handle some non-work related tasks and feel more accomplished throughout the day. Also, sometimes we all need to have a taste of working in our pajamas, right?

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It’ll be interesting to see how many traditional companies and industries start giving their employees more freedom with their work schedule. And how many end up rescinding their policies like Yahoo did.

What are your thoughts of the traditional 9-5 schedule and what are you doing to help foster your team’s productivity and creativity? Hit the comments and let us know.

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