Action Versus Inaction

Should we ‘do’ or should we ‘not do’?

Summer is a great antidote to long cold winters. It is the same with action and inaction. Action is a powerful antidote to the stagnation of inactivity. Being creatively alive involves abandoning a position of inaction in circumstances which have traditionally immobilized you. The name of the game is action – doing. Overcoming your inertia and acting will give you a whole new lease on being creatively alive.

Action is the single most effective antidote to anxiety, stress, fear, worry, guilt, and of course, immobility. It is virtually impossible to be depressed and active at the same time. Even if you wanted to, it is difficult to keep on moping, complaining, lolling around and wallowing in self-pity if you get active and do something. Anything!

Lack of action is not a result of depression; it is the cause. Don’t be paralyzed by the fear of making a mistake. Taking action, gives you momentum. Initiating the effort attracts opportunities and synergistic things happen.

Inactivity, on one hand, is most often a choice rather than an inescapable fact of life, while action is a definite way to avoid being victimized by yourself or others. If you decide to do something about your problem or challenge, rather than grumble about it, you will be on the road to changing things around for yourself. When you take action, you also take control. It is thinking retrospectively that can keep you a prisoner of the past. Action puts you in control of the future.

If you find yourself asking, “Yes, but what can I do,” the answer is very, very simple. Anything is a lot more effective than nothing.

This old proverb has a lot of truth in it: even when you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there. With this in mind, whenever you find yourself at a juncture in either your domestic of your work-life, make a conscious decision to take some kind of action. Upon reflection, people normally have more regrets about actions they did not take but which they could of taken, rather than those actions they actually took forward!

9 Reasons You Should Become A Mentor

There are many roles we play in our lives. We are professionals, family members, brothers, sisters, co-workers, leaders, coaches, friends, parents, and neighbours, to name just a few. While you may not wear all of the ‘hats’, you can likely add several more that in addition to those listed! Many of these roles are a given – we don’t have much choice of having the role – as they come with being a responsible adult.

As we often find ourselves having many roles and little time, it may seem absurd to write an article that encourages taking on yet another role and adding another task to your over-booked calendar. But, despite the competition for our time and energy, being a mentor is one of the best things you can do.

There are many reasons why being a mentor is valuable to the other person. They get the value of your expertise, knowledge, and experience. They get a chance to advance more rapidly and create greater success than they would have been able to achieve without your insight and advice. While these are altruistic reasons, they don’t say anything about how you benefit. And while we all like to help others, sometimes we need to see what is in it for us as well.

There are benefits to you personally in spending your time and energy, sharing your expertise with others as a mentor. In fact, there are at least nine benefits that you might derive from being a mentor. These include:

1. You will develop a close relationship with the person you mentor. We can never have enough close relationships. And chances are the person you mentor will be someone you benefit from being around. After all, they are interested in improving themselves, care about learning, and are likely excited about the possibilities in their future.

2. You will be re-energized personally.  Get around someone enthusiastic, and you naturally become more enthusiastic yourself. Some activities sap our energy while others spark it. Being a mentor is like carrying a box of matches with you. If you want to re-energize yourself to your own possibilities, be a mentor.

3. You will increase your commitment to your own career and organization. This one applies most if you are mentoring in a business situation. You can see how this would happen – as you get more enthused, you see new ways you can contribute. You see how your ‘student’ can make a difference in the organization and this new vision will increase your commitment.

4. You will learn more by talking about and teaching things. It is funny how our brains work: when we teach something or explain something to someone else, we then understand it more clearly ourselves. As a mentor you will relive experiences, teach or share ideas and when you do this, you will learn and re-learn these concepts for yourself. Often you will find yourself “taking your own advice” to your great personal or professional benefit.

5. You will expand your impact in your organization. Not only will your personal commitment grow, but as you help others to be more successful, the organization will succeed at higher levels. Think of the satisfaction you will get from knowing you are playing a part in making that happen.

6. You will enhance your self-esteem. It just feels good to help others. You will feel better about yourself and your abilities when you share your wealth of knowledge and experience with others. Your self esteem will rise because you are doing good things for someone else.

7. You will increase your skills. As you mentor others, you will become a better mentor. The skills that make you a better mentor; empathy, listening, caring, building trust (to name just a few), make you more effective in many other parts of your life.  Being a mentor is actually great training in itself!

8. You will grow more confident. The culmination of many of these other benefits is that your confidence will increase. You will be more confident in many sorts of interpersonal relationships and conversations. You will know that you can have a positive impact and that you can make a difference.

9. You will leave a legacy. Successful athletic coaches do more than grow their teams and win lots of games. The best also create a linage of coaches that leave their staff to become head coaches as well. This is an important legacy that they leave – a statement of their influence and impact. By mentoring others with care and compassion you will be adding directly to your legacy.

What are BIG’s tips about becoming a mentor?

Take a minute now and think about yourself as a mentor. Identify what you see as being in it for you. Envision how it will feel to give back to someone else. Then go out and become a mentor – you, along with your ‘student’, will be glad that you did!

Effective People Management

What is People Management?

Your employees are the biggest asset you have.  Their performance and attitude can result in the success or failure of your business.  The most difficult part of any manager’s job is people management. He or she is required to lead, motivate, train, inspire, and encourage. On the other hand, he or she is also responsible for hiring, firing, disciplining, training and evaluating. These functions seem to be at odds, but a successful manager can integrate both positive and negative aspects of these tasks to create a positive, productive work force.

People management, also known as human resource management (HRM), encompasses the tasks of recruitment, management, and providing ongoing support and direction for the employees of an organization. These tasks can include the following:  hiring, performance management, reward, organization development, safety, wellness, benefits, employee motivation, communication, administration, and training.

When managing the people within an organization, a manager must focus on both hiring the right people and then on motivating them. New personnel must provide the organization with the best talent available that meets the needs of the business.  The organization must look ahead to how a new employee can be used to their fullest. Getting the most out of an employee means a business has consistent policies and practices in place to provide its people with appropriate training and development. Employees are involved as “partners” in the business.

Workforce evaluation

When evaluating an organization’s workforce, there are several areas that must be addressed. First, the staff must have the tools and resources that they need to do their jobs effectively. Employees cannot be blamed for an organization’s inefficiency if they are not provided with the equipment necessary to perform adequately. Next, get to know each employee as an individual and make sure that they are aware of their specific role within the organization. Clarify their responsibilities and goals. Also, involve each employee in making decisions which affect their area of expertise. This will result in the employee feeling that they “have a say” in what goes on in the organization and he or she will feel a sense of ownership. Finally, make sure that employees have an opportunity to have fun with their co-workers at appropriate times.

Dealing with extremes: positive motivation v. negative conflict

Probably the most important task a manager will face when dealing with the people under his direction is that of bringing out the best in them – this partly comes down to being able to successfully motivate them. Unlocking people potential is often seen as the key to any business’ success. When an employee’s talents are not channelled correctly, their behaviour can seriously compromise the success of an organization.  Some of the roles that an employee who is not being used to his potential can take on are as follows:  procrastinator, martyr, gossip, manipulator, back-stabber, a deer in the headlights, black hole, stonewalled, bully, and predator.

Dealing with employees that develop defense mechanisms to mask their dissatisfaction with their work situation can be challenging, to say the least; let’s look at some ways to encourage effective behaviour at work. After a problem behaviour has been identified, address the employee immediately. Initially, this can be done on an informal basis but should be followed up formally if improvement seems unlikely. Discuss them taking responsibility for their ineffective behaviour, how the behaviour manifests itself, and the effect the behaviour is having on the organization; try and tease out the root cause of the bad behaviour. Next, give the employee alternatives to their current behaviour. In other words, discuss with him or her the principles of achievement:

  • co-operation
  • respect
  • self-motivation
  • trust
  • self-discipline

Now that the employee has alternatives to their current behaviour, it may be appropriate to create a performance improvement contract in which he or she agrees to specific actions to change their ineffective behaviour. After the contract is signed, a manager needs to stay involved and committed to the process of change. He or she cannot assume that the problem will be automatically fixed now that it has been brought to light. The employee will require praise and reinforcement of any progress that they are able to make. If positive change is to occur, it will be evident soon after the initial confrontation. If this does not occur, other options which may at worst case, involve a termination meeting, must be scheduled quickly. One employee’s toxic behaviour can quickly spread throughout an organization if it is not dealt with quickly and efficiently.

Empowering people

People Empowerment can be a very effective tool within the field of people management. This technique can be used to involve employees in any improvement programme within an organization. Authority, accountability, and responsibility are delegated to the employees for improving the processes which are under their control without first having to obtain permission from management before making changes. This can be successful only when employees are recognized, congratulated, and rewarded for their commitment to problem solving.