The Self-Awareness Guy

Self-Awareness Skills

Our Culture and Success

Our Culture and Success

Our culture often defines success it as having a lot of money, prestige, or power. My interpretation of success is building your self-awareness so you can be in touch with who you are inside and live in such a way that you don't need to worry about wealth or influence.

There are countless really rich and powerful people who are miserable; you can tell because they don't treat others well. Anyone who is willing to harm other people doesn't feel good about himself or herself deep inside. Happy, balanced, fulfilled people treat themselves and others kindly because their lives are centered around creating a positive world rather than amassing wealth or crushing others.

I love providing life coaching for people who value self-awareness because they tend to view success in terms of how healthy they are, not how much stuff they have or trophies they display on the mantle. Even if you don't make a penny, you can still create something of great value. How do you define success?

Cheers,
Guy

Self-Awareness and Seeing the Big Picture

Self-Awareness and Seeing the Big Picture

A lot of people think that working on their self-awareness is a selfish pursuit but they may be missing the point. When you deeply understand why you think or act the way you do, you move from being someone who lives unconsciously to someone who understands the implications surrounding their thoughts and behaviors. For example: If you get mad at friends or family all the time, you're behaving in a way that is specific and limited, whereas if you take the time to think about what you're doing and how you can move in a positive direction, you increase your ability to see things from a wider perspective.

You can choose to live life based only on what you think, feel and do in the moment but you'll be much happier and fulfilled if you pause and think about all the other options available to you. What will you do to use your self-awareness to see the big picture?

Take care

Guy

8 Ways to Improve Long-Term Morale in Your Organization

8 Ways to Improve Long-Term Morale in Your Organization

Somewhere along the way someone convinced leaders that work had to be drudgery instead of fun. We've done a great job of designing companies that are highly productive and filled with employees who are miserable. Many organizations endure poor morale as if they believe they don't have any alternatives. Resourceful leaders and organizations understand that building long-term morale is vital to the success of their people and operations. Here are some ideas to help you design a workplace with great morale.

Leaders Create the Environment

Many leaders intellectually understand that happy employees do better work when people feel good but they don't know how to reliably improve morale and keep it going over time. They might try a company picnic or employee incentive program of some kind but those are only temporary fixes that yield limited results. Meanwhile, their employees are screaming for some kind of relief and even visitors notice that the company doesn't feel very welcoming. This dynamic occurs in countless workplaces because that's what we design through our policies and actions. We get poor morale because we create workplaces where leaders and employees behave in ways that lead to unhappiness.

Implement a Real People-Centered Philosophy

Many companies say they put their people first and then them, hamper their creativity, jam them in jobs they hate, treat them like children, work them to exhaustion, look at them solely as profit-creating objects or limit their ability to think and grow. A real people-centered philosophy requires a fundamental shift from the top down as to what employees really mean in the company. The goal is to move beyond words to actually instituting policies and procedures that demonstrate that we really care for our employees. These can include opportunities for education, flexible schedules, work at home, benefits, job autonomy or creating a workplace that values people's talents and encourages innovative thinking.

Leaders Set the Example

Leaders lead by example and set the tone for the organization. Anytime you see a company with poor morale you can be quite certain that leadership creates the situation through the actions they choose to take. If they behave in stressed-out ways then employees feel it. If the atmosphere is punitive employees pick up on it. Think about the difference between a leader who is calm and balanced and one that is always panicking. Which kind do you prefer? Leaders have a great deal of power in how the people in the organizations feel. If they treat their employees with kindness and respect at all times they create a much different workplace than if they're always belittling them. To build better morale in your company think about ways you can train your leaders to practice techniques that help them create a positive work environment such as active listening, two-way communication skills, delegating and team building.

Support Your Employees Instead of Bossing Them Around

Many leaders get caught up in the idea that they have to drive their employees like a team of horses. They push and push and push until they run off a cliff and then everyone loses. Many companies seem to run on the premise that employees are expendable and it shows in how they treat them. I'm not sure where leaders learn that the best way to motivate people is by imposing rigid order and dominance but ask yourself this question: Are you happy when someone is always in your face telling you what to do and to do more of it faster? A more positive approach is to move away from continuously bossing people around to being a resource that's available to help them if they need it. Be there for employees when they ask for help and share your knowledge only when they ask for it. Trust that they know how to do their jobs and drive them less. Offer them opportunities to grow, advance and become more educated.

Use Your Employees' Talents Instead of Putting Them in a Box

People feel great when they are using their talents and are genuinely interested in what they're doing. Identify what your employees love doing and encourage them do it in the context of their jobs. The ideal situation is to let employees design their own job based on their innate abilities and work they find meaningful. You will find that people will be much more motivated to perform at a higher level and will even come up with new ideas because they feel more worthwhile and valued. To find out what your employees love doing have ongoing conversations where they tell you what they find fulfilling.

Praise Genuinely, Constantly and Consistently

There is a huge void in many workplaces when it comes to leaders and co-workers telling each other that they're doing well. We're so praise averse that we think it will make people soft when it actually builds them up. Telling people they're doing a great job makes them feel great and greatly increases the likelihood that they will repeat the desirable behavior. Praising also helps you focus on successes rather than always correcting perceived mistakes or offering the dreaded constructive criticism.

Create Opportunities for Meaningful Interaction

Give people a chance to interact in positive ways and to get to know each other on a deeper level. Set up a regularly scheduled meeting time where people can talk with each other and share stories, ideas or personal perspectives. Give your employees opportunities to interact in ways that don't focus on job tasks. When people empathize with each other and understand each other's points of view it creates a workplace where people work well together and help each other succeed.

Keep Practicing

Nothing grows unless we water it and create a supportive environment. Long-term morale improves when we make sure we keep practicing positive behaviors and keep tending to the well-being of our leaders and employees. Plan on practicing your new approach until everyone learns how to do it automatically and it becomes the standard way of doing things. It will take some time but you will be happy with the results if you stick with it.

Boosting morale requires thoughtful and deliberate action over time. You have many options to improve how your employees feel and how your company functions and all you have to do is commit to taking action. Long-term morale can be greatly improved by practicing techniques that lead in a positive direction. Try the ideas we've talked about here and you'll find that your employees feel better about themselves, each other, your company and you.

Cheers,

Guy

Leadership and Sharing in Your Nonprofit

Leadership and Sharing in Your Nonprofit

One of the earliest concepts we learn in life is to share with others, which means having the self-awareness to understand that we are not the only people on this planet. Sharing is especially important in the nonprofit world because we don’t exist in a vacuum no matter how wonderful we may be. Still, many leaders behave as if they exist on an island that is completely separate from all other organizations. They hoard information and resources and rarely collaborate with other entities. They’re hesitant to offer help or build relationships. They always seem to be fighting some other leader or organization about funding or turf. They routinely decline opportunities to combine resources.

Sharing is valuable because it helps you and your organization move from being one strong entity to being the same strong entity plus what other people and organizations have to offer. You can be immensely powerful on your own but it doesn’t matter the moment you have to collaborate with another entity or need their help. Let’s look at some of the signs that point to whether you’re sharing effectively as well as some benefits you’re likely to experience when you do.

Signs You’re Not Sharing

  • You mostly make unilateral decisions.
  • You seldom listen to outside input.
  • Things are always done based on what you think is right or wrong.
  • You guard access to information or resources.
  • You impose your will in situations where your ideas are up against someone else’s.
  • Your organization isn’t connected with many others or you view yourself as the only game in town.
  • Other leaders come to you only when all other resources have been exhausted.
  • You have a, “I’m not here to make friends,” mentality.
  • You don’t collaborate on many projects with other organizations.

Signs You’re Sharing

  • You look for opportunities to build new relationships and strengthen existing ones.
  • Other organizations know you as an entity that enjoys sharing.
  • You can call on other organizations to help you and vice versa.
  • You actively seek opportunities to collaborate.
  • You get along well with other leaders and organizations.
  • You’re happy to share information and resources.
  • You actively interact with a wide range of leaders and organizations not specifically related to the work your nonprofit does.

Benefits of Sharing

  • Positive relationships with other organizations, clients and the community.
  • You serve more people and further your mission more effectively because you’re connected with a network of other resources.
  • Clients are happier because they don’t get the dreaded, “We can’t help you,” answer.
  • You set a positive example and attract other leaders and organizations that are interested in building mutually beneficial relationships.
  • Access to fresh ideas and brain power.
  • Fewer or no struggles over turf and funding.
  • Other leaders and organizations want to work with you.
  • You don’t have to live alone on an island, zealously guarding your toys.

The bottom line about sharing is that it gives you more power, not less, because it adds to your capacity to deliver services. The myth that many nonprofit leaders function under is that, if they share information, services or resources, it will make them weaker. This guarding of resources inevitably leads to fewer links and a reduced ability to serve clients or your cause. The amazing thing about sharing is that it builds on itself and it opens new doors of opportunity. What will you do to share more?

Cheers,

Guy

Benefits of Self-Awareness in the Workplace

Benefits of Self-Awareness in the Workplace

There are many benefits of self-awareness in the workplace, including:

  • Non-dictatorial leadership because leaders aren't working out their personal issues on their employees.
  • A better work environment because people know how to manage their emotions, thoughts, and actions within themselves and toward each other.
  • Greater kindness and empathy because people understand where others are coming from.
  • Reduced conflict because people are happier with themselves and less likely to lash out at others.
  • Fewer cliques or factions because people are more secure with themselves and aren't afraid of each other.
  • Less power struggles because people don't need power to feel good about themselves.
  • Improved communication because people don't fear talking about things.
  • Greater productivity because people are healthier and spend less time on energy-sapping conflicts and misunderstandings.

When an organization commits to promoting self-awareness, they start the process of developing healthy leaders and employees who get along and accomplish more with less hiccups. Workplace self-awareness takes time and effort, but it produces results down the line because the organization simply runs better.

Cheers,

Guy