Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Ditch the Fear, Leaders Need to Create a Culture of Fun

Many people agree: a workplace culture of fear limits employee engagement, productivity, and retention—and by turns, the bottom line. But often, leaders aren't cognizant that they've created that environment. However, Gallup surmises that lost productivity due to lack of employee engagement costs U.S. companies $300 billion annually. Other studies show that happier—and therefore more engaged—employees are more likely to be more “creative, productive, and committed.” In other words, good leadership doesn't have to be with an iron fist—in fact, more often, it shouldn't include iron or fists at all.

One way for leaders to ensure that they aren't creating a culture of fear is to consciously do the exact opposite—create a culture of happiness and fun. Which can be daunting; after all, to some leaders, “fun” might seem frivolous, and other leaders might see “happiness” as the employee’s responsibility. However, just a few changes to the environment can make all the difference to an employee’s productivity.


Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Stop the Summertime Slowdown: 5 Tips to Bolster Productivity

In summertime especially, it’s easy to let the lure of everything outside the office (blue skies, birdsong, vacation plans) distract you from being productive in the office. Luckily, summer is also the best time to start taking steps to develop new habits that can last throughout the rest of the year.

To bolster productivity, try these tips:

Get up earlier. Giving yourself even just an extra 15 minutes in the morning can make a huge difference to how the rest of the day plays out. It might allow you to fit in a balanced breakfast, leave home without being in a stressed-out rush, and get to the office in time to set an attack plan for the tasks of the day. If getting up early scares you a little, try small increments at first, like five minutes earlier per week until you've gotten to 15—or more. Starting this habit in the summer is easier because of the amount of sunlight in the mornings; by the time winter (with its dark mornings) hits, you’ll already be acclimated to your get-up-earlier routine.


Monday, July 28, 2014

Taking Risks in Leadership

Thanks to the ongoing Values campaign from Foundation for a Better Life, folks across the nation have been supplied with tidbits from the lives of the famous and the not so famous—snippets that, through inspirational messaging, provide motivation to dream, to do, and to hope for what might seem like an impossible success. The billboards, TV commercials, radio spots, and videos remind us of the historic trials—and, in fact, the failures—of arguably rather successful people. Like Abraham Lincoln, whose story was riddled with personal pain, sacrifice, ups, and downs before he achieved the ultimate success of becoming the 16th President of the United States. Or Thomas Edison, who purportedly failed thousands of times before he created a successful light bulb.

In both cases, these men could have done what many human beings do: they could have shied from the risk of trying again. They could have taken the safe route, the well-traveled path, the life of complacency. Instead, both men continuously took both personal and professional risks to keep doing what they believed in. And, ultimately, through all of the risks, they were both remarkably successful. Had either been content to remain in his comfort zone, imagine what might be different for our country or our lifestyles today. Should it be any different for corporations?