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Great Leaders Will Say These 10 Things Every Friday

Great Leaders Will Say These 10 Things Every Friday

A good leadership tactic when working on any project is to have a weekly “wrap-up” meeting at the end of the week to assess how teams are coming together. Effective leaders use the following 10 things to encourage cooperation and success among team members.

1. “Thanks for all you’re doing.”

Great leaders express their gratitude for what a team is doing right. Instead of concentrating on the negatives, a great leader lets his or her team know what is being done correctly. In being gracious, teams are spurred forward rather than being brow beaten for that which has not been accomplished. Starting the weekly wrap-up on a positive note helps pave the way for discussing the negative.

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2. “Here’s what’s happening…”

Give an overall picture of what is happening with each team. Teams work better when each knows what the other is doing. It also prevents undue overlap of teamwork and gives focus to each team. Show the work each team is doing and the opportunities and challenges encountered. Note that units comprise the whole of the work that needs to be done.

3. “These are the challenges we are facing…”

Listing out problems as challenges keeps the meeting on a positive note. Each team needs to be well-informed of the big picture, as well as have a firm grasp on what the team’s objectives are. Note obstacles and how best to move forward. Hopefully, there is enough trust built in the teams to be able to talk about their team’s unique challenges.

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4. “These are our objectives…”

Although there is a place for the big picture, teams should remain focused on their objectives. These smaller goals should have reasonable end dates and should be checked on every week.

5. “These are our weaknesses…”

This is the time to discuss any problems that are being encountered by the team. Talk about obstacles and what needs to be done to overcome them. This is also a great time to brainstorm on ways to overcome identified weaknesses.

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6. “What do you think…?”

Keep the team on its toes by asking for their opinions on an area of their expertise. This kind of question also makes for good brain storming and may lead to answering tough challenges that are being encountered. Culling ideas from team members also lets them know that you trust them.

7. “Here’s what I think…”

The teams will be all ears to hear what you think of their work. Here is a good time to insert constructive criticism. Let the teams know, again, exactly what is expected of them and why. Team members will want to know where you stand on issues that affect team work.

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8. “This is what our competition is doing…”

As the leader you can provide insights into what the competition is doing. In those cases where your teams are outdoing the competition, make your teams aware of both the good and the bad. When comparing the competition to your teams, point out what is being done right and wrong to your team members.

9. “May I introduce…”

There may be frequent turnover as the team progresses. In such cases, always be sure to introduce the new team members or take the time to say goodbye to those who are leaving. It may be difficult to say good-bye to a teammate, especially if the person is being laid off. However, acknowledging the comings and goings of team members creates a more solid team.

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10. “Congratulations!”

Just as the session began on a positive note, be sure to end on one.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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