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Being a Great Leader: the fine line between Confidence and Skepticism

You’ve probably heard, over and over again, about the importance of self-confidence for a leader. Confidence gives you charisma. It makes people follow you. It makes friends trust you and enemies fear you.

It’s pretty hard to imagine Caesar or Napoleon telling their people “Well, we could try this, but I don’t guarantee that it’ll work.” So why should you, if you aspire to become a great leader?

But let’s leave confidence aside for a minute. There’s another element which most leaders of today are lacking. Have you ever had a boss who thought he knew all the answers to every question? Who never admitted he was wrong or, even more, that idea didn’t even cross his mind? Of course you did. In one word, do you know what that guy was missing? It was skepticism. Will all the praise of confidence and self-esteem, almost everyone forgot the importance of a certain dose of self-doubt.

Being a little skeptical about your own opinions is such an important factor these days. While everyone has an opinion (and everyone thinks that their opinion is the right one), those who can be skeptical about their own beliefs have a great advantage: when a problem arises they won’t take anything as given, but they will try to make up their mind, starting from zero, about what would be the best solution. That includes asking every employee’s opinion on the subject matter, because the skeptic knows that he is just a human being, fallible like any other. From this type of behaviour, two big advantages emerge: the employees will appreciate their leader for respecting them and the final solution to the problem will have a much, much higher chance of being the right one.

Well, but it seems pretty impossible to be skeptical and confident at the same time, right? Indeed, but that might not be needed. Here’s my piece of advice: whenever a problem arises, adopt this two-step approach in solving it:

Step 1– Total skepticism.
Do not take anything for granted. Search the internet for similar problems that other companies had and look at how they’ve handled them. Take notes. Now take what you’ve learned about it and present the information to your employees. If possible, ask each and every one of them how would they handle this. Finally, make a decision based on all of their insight.

Step 2 – Total confidence.

Once you’ve made that decision, stick with it until the end. At this point, you know you’ve done your best, so there’s no reason to be insecure. Your people also have to feel they they are going in the right path, so make sure you radiate confidence. Act like nothing can stop you and your people anymore from reaching your objectives.

Doesn’t look so hard anymore, does it? And while this two-step approach is meant specifically for leaders, it can be a great idea to use the same pattern in making any kinds of decisions, the results will be great nevertheless.

Great People Inside provides easy-to-use tools and processes to attract, assess, match, select, onboard, manage, develop, benchmark and maintain workforces anywhere in the world.

Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Inspiration at Work: Importance and Significance

Inspiration at work is always an added bonus. When we are inspired, everything we have to do simply clicks. We feel that our work has purpose and all of our skills are being used in the best way possible. In layman’s terms, we are doing what we are supposed to be doing. Unfortunately, inspiration can come and go as it pleases; it can vanish into thin air. This usually happens when your boss gives you a negative review on some of the work you’ve done or you’re simply content about a particular task at hand. Even if you are one the few people that have a job that they love, it’s in our human nature to experience periods of time when we have to dig deep to find some excitement about your job.

Todd Thrash and Andrew Elliot, two psychologists who have been studying inspiration in the last few decades, have spotted 3 elements which occur the moment a person is inspired:

  1. The person sees new possibilities.
  2. Receptive to outside stimuli.
  3. Energy and motivation.

Inspiration does not represent a static state of mind, which is fortunate for us because it means people can cultivate it. Although we cannot force inspiration upon us, we can create an environment that favours inspiration.

Feeling stuck is a normal reaction when you don’t feel inspired. The key here is not to wait for positivity to hit you because your inaction is your worst enemy in this scenario. Studies in cognitive behavioural therapy have concluded that people’s behaviours alter the way they feel and think. Consequently, when people act differently they feel differently. Instead of waiting for a change coming out of thin air, try and put yourself in motion somehow. You are in control of your work environment and not the other way around. This can help you discover new methods in which you can solve your duties.

Continuous learning is very important. If you have a good number of years of experience and have excelled in your field, it is somehow natural to think that you may not require additional training or learning. However, researchers have discovered that when we stop believing we require further expertise we become more close minded or as it also known ‘earned dogmatism’. If we train ourselves to always be fresh and on top of things the more likely we are to get inspired. Given the fact that nowadays it has become more and more difficult to have some time for ourselves, it is absolutely vital we devote at least a few hours a week for enlightenment purposes only in order to assure ourselves of longer periods of inspiration and engagement. For example, Bill Gates used to take a few weeks of work twice a year just to map out new ideas.

Making new friends is always a good idea. When we spend time with people they affect our mood and energy, whilst also having the same conversations with them week in, week out. It is recommended to start and meet new people. It is important you try and meet people who can challenge you mentally and do things differently from you. These types of people can stimulate new ideas with the added bonus of learning from their vast experience.
Furthermore, think about friends whose qualities you admire tremendously. Try and focus on qualities, not perfection. They do not even have to know you are trying to emulate them in certain aspects. It is actually better to be a distant observer due to the simple fact that you can extract and dissect the necessary information much easier.

When questioned, most entrepreneurs and business people say that their passion and inspiration derives from their desire to serve their customers, to lead a company in an upward direction and to support the development of a product that may revolutionise the market. Unfortunately, inspiration and passion can fade away and, of course, people start questioning themselves. It happens over the course of one’s life, to discover that their once meaningful job has become close to meaningless. It begins with the slow erosion of spirit and enthusiasm due to the fact that there is no longer any purpose in their work. People start feeling trapped, restless and they see no end in sight.

This happens because people start confusing the achievement of daily goals with accomplishing truly meaningful work. Thus, they continue to worry and set goal after goal, until they realise boredom has set in. When this happens, it is imperative that people respond to this problem through a conscious choice on how to solve it. More often than not, people don’t realise they are fed up with their job because they lose track of what is meaningful about their work. In their attempt to separate their work and personal life, some people go to such an extent that they do not bring their values into the office environment. Even more so, they engage in activities that clash with home persona.  Some people discover that their work has become their life, even though their family is what they value most, but they still work 12+ hours and miss birthdays and holidays in order to be successful at work.

Like all things in life, there is no one-size-fits all solution. There is no one method that can bring back your passion and inspiration. There is a combination of strategies that can guide you towards the path you desire, but that must be discovered on your own, due to our uniqueness. The only common trait in everyone’s strategies should be reflection – evaluate where you stand at the moment, where you’re headed and what you really want to become.

Inspiration isn’t elusive. It is within our grasp if we search for new opportunities from which we can extract new ideas and insights. Even though sometimes it may not feel like you’re getting the best deal out of a situation, it will still push you to new boundaries and experiences which will inevitably lead to something that resembles inspiration.

Great People Inside provides easy-to-use tools and processes to attract, assess, match, select, onboard, manage, develop, benchmark and maintain workforces anywhere in the world.

Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://hbr.org/2002/04/reawakening-your-passion-for-work

https://hbr.org/2017/09/how-to-rediscover-your-inspiration-at-work

https://www.inc.com/kevin-daum/8-ways-to-be-re-inspired-at-work.html

Remote Work – Better for Productivity?

Few people know that the 8-hour work schedule has its origins from the times of the Industrial Revolution and not the Information Age. During the second half of the 18th century, the standard norm was workdays of 10-16 hours due to the fact that factories required to be run 24/7. This type of schedule had become absolutely brutal and exhausting for workers, but change only started to happen with 1817 when Welsh activist Robert Owen advocated for 8-hour workdays, his slogan being: “Eight hours labour, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest.”

Close to a century later, in 1914 to be exact, the 8-hour schedule became the norm when Ford Motor Company started working on 8-hour shifts whilst also doubling workers’ wages. The result was obvious for everyone to see, a dramatic increase in productivity. Nowadays, it may seem unfathomable to work for more than 8 hours, but history offers us a lesson into how things have developed along the way. At the moment, we may witness another disruption into the workday schedule. In a recent research revolving around this issue, it was suggested that in an 8-hour shift, the average worker is productive for a mere 2 hours and 53 minutes.

It is becoming more and more obvious to many of us that the modern workplace is not the well of productivity everyone hoped for. Furthermore, for many of us, the workplace is actually filled with distractions of all natures. Combine this with the everyday hassle of commuting and you got yourself one long day of work. Of course, situations such as these can be avoided through a flexible schedule arrangement, this being an option more sought after than ever before.

In one of the most recent FlexJobs surveys on remote work, it has been discovered that 66% of professionals they’ve interviewed said they would be more productive if they could work from home, rather than the office. The most common reasons why they favoured working from home:

  • 76% wanted fewer disruptions from co-workers.
  • 70% reduce stress levels from commuting.
  • 69% wanted to avoid office politics.

The survey also revealed something incredible, only 7% of the people interviewed said that they are productive during regular office hours. If only so very few people are productive during their regular schedules, then there is something inherently wrong with our traditional workplace model.

In the past, there were fewer distractions and fun past time activities. Also, there was no internet and the sheer volume of information that we are being bombarded with. Due to these changes and shifts in programmes and schedules, there are people that don’t fit into the normal productivity ranges. There are people who are at their best really early in the morning, while others’ productivity goes through the roof during night hours. That is why it is a bit foolish to expect that all your employees to give their best during the 9-5 programme.

Your average worker gets disrupted every 3 minutes, and recovering from that is time-consuming. We need, on average, about 23 minutes to return to a task after being disrupted. Furthermore, discoveries in the field of neuroscience have all but confirmed what we were all thinking: the human brain cannot concentrate for 8 straight hours.

One of the career specialists at FlexJobs, Brie Reynolds, said that given the meteoric rise in remote work and freelancing, workers have become more aware of the future of work environment. This has risen from a simple combination of factors that encompass demographics and remote-friendly technology. Millennials have been growing up with technology by their side, so it is more than natural for them to expect they can work remotely. There are companies that now offer flexible hours to their new employees. And if your job requires the simple use of a laptop, then you can basically work full-time for any company in the world. At the moment, what we are experiencing in the workforce, is a hybrid model where people work alternatively from home and from the office.

For employers, Reynolds has a simple suggestion: “crafting remote programmes which help employees be at their productive best, whilst keeping the good parts of in-office interactions.” For the time being, the hybrid model seems to the best approach, given the simple fact that many companies are still struggling with coming up with the necessary tools and programmes in order to make remote work a success for their operations.

However, in a recent Gallup survey, it has been revealed that although remote work is on the rise the United States, employees that work exclusively from home are the least engaged. The reasons for this are isolation and ambiguous job descriptions. There are some companies that have been successful in implementing a proper remote work programme. These organisations, as pointed out by Gallup, were disciplined in creating proper plans and processes for this to work. Some of the techniques they have used include:

  • Face-to-face meetings with remote working employees.
  • In-depth training programmes.
  • Implementing a ‘buddy system’ for new employees during their first few months.

Implementing successful remote work programmes is going to require a lot of work for your organisation. However, given the fact that more and more talented workers want flexible working hours (and it cannot be negotiable), you simply cannot ignore this trend.

Great People Inside provides easy-to-use tools and processes to attract, assess, match, select, onboard, manage, develop, benchmark and maintain workforces anywhere in the world.

Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

http://fortune.com/2015/08/04/brian-shapland-productivity-at-work/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/irisleung/2017/08/31/report-only-7-of-workers-feel-productive-during-regular-work-hours/#10571760744e

https://www.inc.com/melanie-curtin/in-an-8-hour-day-the-average-worker-is-productive-for-this-many-hours.html

Productivity vs. Efficiency – What Are the Differences?

In any given organisation, productivity and efficiency are highly regarded. Most managers and employees get their feedback based on these two factors. But what exactly do we mean when we say productivity or efficiency? Apparently there are some questions around this topic that haven’t been answered yet.

In order to explain the differences between productivity and efficiency, we must first understand what they exactly mean. To put it in simpler terms, we are talking about differences between quantity and quality. It is nearly impossible to obtain 100% quality, while having productivity levels up at maximum. There should be a middle ground in order to optimise your results.

Both productivity and efficiency are absolutely crucial for building a fantastic work ethic. If you manage to learn how to handle both of them and what makes them distinctly important, you and your business will thrive. As a beginner, you may be tempted to focus too much on efficiency and although this isn’t a bad thing to do, understanding the key variables between efficiency and productivity is imperative.

Given the complexity of this issue, insight is required on what these two factors actually are.

Productivity

At its very core, productivity shows you the rate at which products are being developed or a task is being completed.  When you are measuring productivity things get a little more complex than that. You have to take into account whether it’s physical or office work, if the job requires a certain quality factor or the impact a specific industry’s requirements may have on its workers. Nonetheless, productivity is an integral part of any successful company.

Efficiency

Efficiency is all about the comparison between what is really being produced or performed with what can be produced taking into account the same amount of resources, such as: money, time and labour. In simpler terms, efficiency measures whether there is any waste in your company. Depending on the industry you work in, efficiency may be more desirable than productivity, but usually their importance is proportionate.

Efficiency vs. Productivity

Everyone wants to be as productive as possible, but there are always problems of various sorts that keep us from getting the job done. Firstly, don’t waste more time than necessary when completing a task. Try and set your own rhythm and pace and stick to it. Try and write down every step necessary in order to complete a certain task and follow that process religiously. Once you have the whole process set in stone, you will see that the amount of time you require will steadily decrease.

Many people ask if it is possible to be productive and efficient at the same time and the answer is yes. All you have to do is analyse the task at hand and try and find out what it requires more; whether it is quantity or quality.

It all comes down to the importance of the task. As an example, let’s talk about employee enquiries towards the HR department. We all know they must be dealt with in a respectable amount of time. This type of task is considered to be more on the productive side, due to the fact that it is the same process over and over again, with the same forms and documentation that need to be filled out every time. You can finish all the enquiries quickly and with complete certainty that their quality is top notch as long as you deal with them in the correct manner.

With efficiency tasks, most often than not they do not have a precise and by the book approach. These tasks obviously require more time and a high level of due diligence. In this scenario, quality trumps quantity. Of course, every task has a deadline. But if you happen to have the misfortune of dealing with it poorly, it doesn’t necessarily matter too much. You should always work at your full potential, but given the fact that the assignment doesn’t have a methodological way of dealing with it, you have some wiggle room and the possibility to improve it.

As mentioned earlier in the article, it is very important for both productivity and efficiency to be part of your workflow. It provides you with time, expertise and discipline in order to handle distinct assignments. Balancing productivity and efficiency may seem troublesome at first, but once you find it, certain tasks will stop being such a burden on you.

In conclusion, one more idea that is important to remember is this: never sacrifice your work. If you need to do good, solid work then don’t rush it by any means, and when you are looking for quantity don’t get yourself lost in too many details. With this in mind, you can accomplish anything you want. Do the work you have to do the way it was meant to be done and never compromise. It is essential you know and understand the differences between these two practices in order to ensure your work never has to suffer again.

Great People Inside provides easy-to-use tools and processes to attract, assess, match, select, onboard, manage, develop, benchmark and maintain workforces anywhere in the world.

We help you find the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. The GR8 Productivity Gap tool is excellent at showcasing the evolution of any given employee over time. By contrasting two assessments made before and after training, it allows you to analyse both your employees’ development and their involvement in the process as well.

 

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Sources:

www.smallbusiness.chron.com

www.doityourself.com

www.differencebetween.info

www.selfthrive.com