Recently I found this VERY interesting way to exercise for those over 50.
First, stand on a comfortable floor.
Take a 5-pound potato sack in each hand and then extend your arms out from your side horizontally. Hold that position the best you can for one minute, then relax and repeat two more times.
Each day it will get easier and you will find that you can hold this position a little longer.
After two weeks, increase your strength by holding 10-pound potato sacks.
After one month, try 50-pound potato sacks.
Eventually, you will be able to lift 100-pound sacks in each hand, holding your arms out for one minute.
After you feel confident at this level…put a potato in each sack!!
Isn’t that like teams and leadership? We think we are doing pretty good, only to find we have no substance or value to what we are doing.
Many believe they are focused on the right things only to learn that they are failing to provide any real value. Leaders may believe that they are strong communicators, but if you asked others to be honest they would tell you there isn’t really much to be inspired by. Teams may look and think they are impressive, but when they fail to execute, they simply fail to be of value to their organization.
Many teams and leaders are lifting 100-pound potato sacks with not a single potato in the bag!
A simple thing leaders can do on teams is check-in from time to time to ask if the team believes there are potatoes in the sack. How are we doing as a team? Are we truly strengthening others around us? What could we improve and how can we continue to get stronger? How are we providing value to the larger organization? What are others saying about us?
It is a simple activity and simple questions, but it is a powerful exercise when done consistently and with honest team discussions.
Doing this one thing will ensure that potatoes are regularly in your sack and your team is getting better at providing value.
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I have never really liked the term performance management. It sounds so cookie cutter and boxy. And the term makes it feel like there is more of a focus on management rather than leadership.
The label performance management instills anxiety in employees and leaders alike. It creates strong feelings and opinions and in general just feels really negative.
I prefer the term performance development. Performance Development feels like it is more targeted on doing the right thing for the employee and focused on moving people up and helping them reach their potential – one of a leaders primary roles.
Let me explain more…
Leaders have four options as it pertains “performance management.” They can move people up (development), off (fire or layoff), move to a different role or department, or do nothing (never an option).
A leader’s entire focus first and foremost should be on moving each person on their team up. When that fails, after every opportunity to move up has been provided, then they can move to one of the other options. But these decisions can only come from the heart, a place of genuinely caring for that person.
Years ago I once knew a manager who loved performance management, but for all the wrong reasons. Her concern was never the employees who reported to her. She would regularly put staff on performance management as a threat, not a development opportunity. To this day, I have never known anyone who fired as many people as she did. And quite honestly, few on her team liked her as a leader.
Another manager I knew once would simply dump his employees to other departments to get rid of his low performers. This just simply transferred his problems to another leader and demonstrated in my opinion a lack of integrity on his part.
And I have known many managers who simply chose to do nothing. They lacked the courage and/or energy to do the right thing. It was easier to just ignore the problems and hope that they would go away. The problem with this approach is that the lack of performance and work of the falling stars often falls to the superstars, who eventually burn out. And it causes a whole host of other problems on teams, such as low morale.
So what’s the solution? Let’s start thinking as leaders and not managers. Performance development focuses on leaders developing those they lead, not just managing. It focuses first on moving people up and if that doesn’t work, then doing the right thing for that person, the team and the organization, whatever that might be.
Performance development requires leaders to put the focus on people (because they truly care about them) and not just processes (management).
A new study by scientists at Queen Mary University in London has found that goats recognize different human facial expressions and discovered that they prefer happier facial expressions more than scowling.
20 goats were shown the same human face by scientist. One picture showed someone who was happy and another picture of someone angry. The goats generally went to the happy image and out of curiosity would explore and nuzzle it with their snouts.
News Flash (blinking)! Teammates are also attracted more to happy teammates. Additionally, people are attracted to happy leaders. Are you bringing your happy to the team?
How can you bring more happy? One sure way to bring more happiness into our lives is to give more happiness. If you want a team full of happy and positive teammates, than be happy and positive yourself.
Happiness starts with you and spreads because of you! You can start by serving others, smiling more, complimenting more and celebrating more.
As your team becomes happier, they have an opportunity to help happiness spread throughout the organization. Work as a team to find ways to serve others outside of your team, smile more around the workplace, compliment others frequently beyond your team and bring other teams in to celebrate successes – theirs and your own.
As your organization becomes happier, so do your customers – internally and externally. Everything you personally reflect, that your team reflects and your organization reflects makes everyone better!
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Give the gift of greater collaboration, positive energy and happiness to your team. A game changing TEAM BUILDING book that inspires every member of your team to:
*Put others and the team first
*Serve each other
*Collaborate and work together
*Tell the truth and be transparent
*Be direct and honest in discussions
*Learn from mistakes
*Seek honest feedback from teammates
*Improve personal gratitude
*Refrain from negativity and gossip
*Compliment teammates more frequently
*Celebrate teammates successes
*Extend more kindness
*Seek to understand teammates first before reacting
*Demonstrate greater empathy towards teammates
*Get it done and then some
*Improve personal focus on goals
*Bring solutions, not problems
*Invest in personal development
*Inspire and lead
Unless you follow professional tennis, you may have never heard of Jack Sock. But after a match on January 5, 2016, you might have. More than just tennis fans came to know the American tennis player after an incredible show of sportsmanship in a match against Australian champion Lleyton Hewitt.
Sock was ahead the second set of the match. Hewitt was serving to Sock when the linesman called out his first service. Pointing to the Australian champion, Sock shocked the crowd and chair umpire when he said, “That was in if you want to challenge it.”
Baffled, Hewitt stood in disbelief as Sock encouraged him to challenge it. Eventually, Hewitt did challenge the call and was awarded the point. Jack Sock went on to lose the match, but he won the hearts and respect of many by his honesty (see the actual video of this event below).
In a world where lying and deception have become commonplace and, unfortunately, frequently acceptable, it is refreshing to hear a story like that of Jack Sock. Would you trust him on your team?
How many of you would like someone like Jack Sock on your team?
James E. Faust, an American religious leader once said, “Honesty is more than not lying. It is truth telling, truth speaking, truth living, and truth loving.”
Telling the truth isn’t always easy, but it is always right. Consider the times throughout your life when you have been brave enough to tell the truth, even when it was hard. What about the times you chose to lie instead of being honest? What sort of a difference did it make in how you felt? What difference do you think it made to others? When you tell the truth to your teammates, you improve the trust on your team and strengthen the lines of communication; not being honest does the exact opposite, and teams are weakened.
As a leader and/or a teammate, you bring a uniqueness to your team. You bring a unique set of gifts and talents that no one else on the team brings. You bring a unique set of perspectives that no one else has heard. You bring a unique history and group of experiences that no one else has lived.
There isn’t anyone exactly like you who has ever lived, currently living or will ever live.
And when you, bring you, it changes everything on the team.
As a leader you must tap into the “You” of every teammate. Additionally, as a leader, you must tap into your “you.”
Here are three things you can do now as a leader to start tapping into your teams uniqueness and their “You.”
1. Hire for diversity. I’m not talking about cultural diversity here, though that might be something you consider, but I am talking about diversity in terms of talents, perspectives and history.
Many leaders, and I mean many, hire people like themselves, or even worse, people they feel won’t disagree with them or stir things up.
What happens when you hire people like you, or people who will say “yes” to every idea or suggestion you have? You get one idea, one thought and one perspective… yours!
If you are the type of leader who feels you are always right and the only ideas that have any merit are yours, then go ahead and continue to fail to tap into the power of a diverse team and ultimately fall behind.
It is far better to embrace the two brains are better than one mentality as a leader, instead of my brain is better than yours mentality.
Most meetings unfortunately include passive participants, and as a result fail to tap into all of the uniqueness of a team.
As a leader, give your team permission to participate by creating clear ground rules that create an expectation of participation by all. Even your most inexperienced team members can bring a unique talent, history or perspective that can dramatically change your team for the good.
3. Create a culture that supports and values all members of the team. Encourage, recognize and celebrate the successes of all team members.
If you see someone on the team who isn’t happy and/or isn’t completely engaged, ask why? What gifts and talents are you failing to tap into? Talk to them.
You have an important role as a leader in ensuring that you and all members of your team are bringing the “You” every day. Without the “You,” there isn’t a team, or at least a team that is very successful.