How what you say to your staff can be a great motivator (and vice versa!)

One of the guys in the Coaching fraternity shared this with me this week. A great piece to help you make your team feel like part of the family:

Leaders have a tremendous impact on their organization, because the phrases they share with their teams can either produce distrust and apathy or ignite passion and commitment. Everyone is a leader. And what you say to the people that you work with will influence their work ethic and attitude. A strong leader will recognize this, and take advantage of every opportunity to be an encouraging and inspiring flame that his people want to be near and benefit from. Yes, HOW you deliver the words are a very important part of your communication… but these are likely the 12 most inspiring things you can share with your team to ensure that they are fully invested and feel themselves to be a valued and contributing part of something larger and more significant than themselves.

1. You were right about…

Great leaders are quick to praise productive decisions or ideas. It isn’t about who is right, leadership is about deciding what is right. Instead of having to be the fountain of knowledge and wisdom for their organization, strong leadership acknowledges the contributions and comments that the people around them offer — and by doing so, you encourage future innovation and give other the gift of recognition.

2. I’m glad you are here

People don’t want to be appreciated… they NEED it. Money may be the reason they took a job, but they will leave that job when they see a chance to get more recognition and feel more valued by their superiors and peers. The simple but powerful (and FREE) action of telling your people that you are glad that they are on YOUR team can be a much more impactful phrase than you might first assume. We all want to belong, and telling your team that you are proud to have them as part of the crew can work wonders.

3. I trust you

Some people want to lead by doing everything themselves. But the more you do, the less your people feel needed or competent to manage. Part of your job as leader is to delegate and give up responsibility to those who surround you. People usually live up to (or down to) the expectations we set for them. When you trust them with something important, instead of treating them like children, you insire their loyalty and best efforts.

4. You earned it

Rewards are nice. Despite recent discussion in the media about the ineffectiveness of carrot and stick motivation, people do want to be rewarded occasionally for their efforts. The team you lead wants recognition — but only if it is sincere and valid. Don’t say it just for the sake of saying it – this will undermine it’s intended effect; sharing a nice unexpected gift after a truly deserving performance can be incredibly powerful. What gets rewarded often gets repeated.

5. Let’s have some fun

All work and no play makes jack a dull boy — and makes your workplace a dull environment. While productivity is important, it is the job of leadership to build a culture of smiles, laughter, enjoyment, and lighthearted fun. A day away from the office together, or a fun business teambuilding event can do wonders for morale. You may be surprised to see how much that productivity improves when you encourage your people to do what they do and have a little fun along the way.

6. I believe in you

People are like certain species of fish. Their growth is determined by the tank that you place them in. If you encourage them and consistently remind them of your faith in their judgment and abilities, they will grow into the person that you want them to be. Don’t treat them as they are — help them to see the person that you see them becoming, and let your words paint a picture of the skills and traits that you know they can demonstrate.

7. That is interesting

No matter how strong or impressive the employee, athlete, or coworker — at times he or she will say something that you either don’t agree with of think is completely ridiculous. It is at times like those that you need this line. Let them know they have been heard. Let them feel that you are weighing their suggestion or comment. And let them feel comfortable and safe in offering ideas in the future by not criticizing them and killing the instinct to contribute.

8. How can I help?

The single most significant role of a leader is to give your people a job and then be a resource that is available, not hovering. If you do a good enough job of removing obstacle and allowing your people the time to work on what you have given them as a project or activity, you have been a good leader. Tell them what you want and then get out of the way — but use this phrase to let them know you are there as a supportive and helpful resource for them.

9. What do you think?

Asking for opinions is one of the wisest things a leader can do. Nobody is wise enough by themselves, and the message you send by asking for the input of your team is that they are intelligent and creative and valuable members of the project instead of just hourly employees and mindless drones. You don’t have to take their advice all of the time — the simple act of asking them about their perspective, though, communicates your interest in getting other ideas and may even provide a surprising and valuable insight.

10. Come on in

Everyone has an opinion on open-door policies. Just because you leave your door open does not mean that your team feels comfortable entering the room and sitting down to discuss things with you. A great leader connects enough with his team that people feel safe sharing their situation and ideas and challenges. When you share this phrase with sincerity, and are truly interested in having a conversation and building relationships and understanding, the loyalty and commitment your people feel toward you grow exponentially.

11. Thank you for…

If you are a leader, people are going to work seeking to please you. Your team wants to feel validated and appreciated for their efforts — especially when things are tough. Sharing a short thank you can be powerful — but I would encourage you to NEVER share a simple thank you. Always share a SPECIFIC thank you. Let them know exactly what it is they did that you appreciate, and the more detailed your thanks, the more likely it s they will really feel like you noticed their efforts.

12. Have a great day!

Attitude reflects leadership. Strong leaders accept that their people often take a cue from and are at the very least influenced by the team leader’s attitude each day .Greet your team every opportunity you have, and share a smile and a positive comment to remind them that things are good. Encourage a positive attitude and perception of things by being an example of positivity and optimism. If you are determined to make it a great day, that attitude will filter down to every one in the organization. Your team wants to be inspired. No matter how gruff or self-sufficient they may seem, every one of the people on your team remember moments in their lives when someone said something to them that mattered. You can add another moment to that list of memories if you make it a point to take advantage of opportunities to share these 12 phrases with your team. They don’t cost you anything extra, other than a bit of thoughtful consideration for those that surround you — but their impact can be tremendous. And once is never enough. Motivation doesn’t last forever. Zig Ziglar says it’s a lot like showering in that respect — that’s why he recommends it often. Remember that you do well what you do often. Looking for ways to share these 12 most inspiring phrases with your team may be challenging at first, but the impact it will have on your team culture when you start incorporating them into your conversations may amaze you.

Ever wondered why is it that some people are better at achieving their goals than others

Why have you been so successful in reaching some of your goals, but not others? If you aren’t sure, you are far from alone in your confusion. It turns out that even brilliant, highly accomplished people are pretty lousy when it comes to understanding why they succeed or fail. The intuitive answer — that you are born predisposed to certain talents and lacking in others — is really just one small piece of the puzzle. In fact, decades of research on achievement suggests that successful people reach their goals not simply because of who they are, but more often because of what they do.

1. Get specificWhen you set yourself a goal, try to be as specific as possible. “Lose 5 pounds” is a better goal than “lose some weight,” because it gives you a clear idea of what success looks like. Knowing exactly what you want to achieve keeps you motivated until you get there. Also, think about the specific actions that need to be taken to reach your goal. Just promising you’ll “eat less” or “sleep more” is too vague — be clear and precise. “I’ll be in bed by 10pm on weeknights” leaves no room for doubt about what you need to do, and whether or not you’ve actually done it.

2. Seize the moment to act on your goals. Given how busy most of us are, and how many goals we are juggling at once, it’s not surprising that we routinely miss opportunities to act on a goal because we simply fail to notice them. Did you really have no time to work out today? No chance at any point to return that phone call? Achieving your goal means grabbing hold of these opportunities before they slip through your fingers. To seize the moment, decide when and where you will take each action you want to take, in advance. Again, be as specific as possible (e.g., “If it’s Monday, Wednesday, or Friday, I’ll work out for 30 minutes before work.”) Studies show that this kind of planning will help your brain to detect and seize the opportunity when it arises, increasing your chances of success by roughly 300%.

3. Know exactly how far you have left to go. Achieving any goal also requires honest and regular monitoring of your progress — if not by others, then by you yourself. If you don’t know how well you are doing, you can’t adjust your behavior or your strategies accordingly. Check your progress frequently — weekly, or even daily, depending on the goal.

4. Be a realistic optimist. When you are setting a goal, by all means engage in lots of positive thinking about how likely you are to achieve it. Believing in your ability to succeed is enormously helpful for creating and sustaining your motivation. But whatever you do, don’t underestimate how difficult it will be to reach your goal. Most goals worth achieving require time, planning, effort, and persistence. Studies show that thinking things will come to you easily and effortlessly leaves you ill-prepared for the journey ahead, and significantly increases the odds of failure.

5. Focus on getting better, rather than being good. Believing you have the ability to reach your goals is important, but so is believing you can get the ability. Many of us believe that our intelligence, our personality, and our physical aptitudes are fixed — that no matter what we do, we won’t improve. As a result, we focus on goals that are all about proving ourselves, rather than developing and acquiring new skills. Fortunately, decades of research suggest that the belief in fixed ability is completely wrong — abilities of all kinds are profoundly malleable. Embracing the fact that you can change will allow you to make better choices, and reach your fullest potential. People whose goals are about getting better, rather than being good, take difficulty in stride, and appreciate the journey as much as the destination.

6. Have grit. Grit is a willingness to commit to long-term goals, and to persist in the face of difficulty. Studies show that gritty people obtain more education in their lifetime, and earn higher college GPAs. Grit predicts which cadets will stick out their first grueling year at West Point. In fact, grit even predicts which round contestants will make it to at the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The good news is, if you aren’t particularly gritty now, there is something you can do about it. People who lack grit more often than not believe that they just don’t have the innate abilities successful people have. If that describes your own thinking …. well, there’s no way to put this nicely: you are wrong. As I mentioned earlier, effort, planning, persistence, and good strategies are what it really takes to succeed. Embracing this knowledge will not only help you see yourself and your goals more accurately, but also do wonders for your grit.

7. Build your willpower muscle. Your self-control “muscle” is just like the other muscles in your body — when it doesn’t get much exercise, it becomes weaker over time. But when you give it regular workouts by putting it to good use, it will grow stronger and stronger, and better able to help you successfully reach your goals. To build willpower, take on a challenge that requires you to do something you’d honestly rather not do. Give up high-fat snacks, do 100 sit-ups a day, stand up straight when you catch yourself slouching, try to learn a new skill. When you find yourself wanting to give in, give up, or just not bother — don’t. Start with just one activity, and make a plan for how you will deal with troubles when they occur (“If I have a craving for a snack, I will eat one piece of fresh or three pieces of dried fruit.”) It will be hard in the beginning, but it will get easier, and that’s the whole point. As your strength grows, you can take on more challenges and step-up your self-control workout.

8. Don’t tempt fate. No matter how strong your willpower muscle becomes, it’s important to always respect the fact that it is limited, and if you overtax it you will temporarily run out of steam. Don’t try to take on two challenging tasks at once, if you can help it (like quitting smoking and dieting at the same time). And don’t put yourself in harm’s way — many people are overly-confident in their ability to resist temptation, and as a result they put themselves in situations where temptations abound. Successful people know not to make reaching a goal harder than it already is.

9. Focus on what you will do, not what you won’t do. Do you want to successfully lose weight, quit smoking, or put a lid on your bad temper? Then plan how you will replace bad habits with good ones, rather than focusing only on the bad habits themselves. Research on thought suppression (e.g., “Don’t think about white bears!”) has shown that trying to avoid a thought makes it even more active in your mind. The same holds true when it comes to behavior — by trying not to engage in a bad habit, our habits get strengthened rather than broken. If you want change your ways, ask yourself, What will I do instead? For example, if you are trying to gain control of your temper and stop flying off the handle, you might make a plan like “If I am starting to feel angry, then I will take three deep breaths to calm down.” By using deep breathing as a replacement for giving in to your anger, your bad habit will get worn away over time until it disappears completely. It is my hope that, after reading about the nine things successful people do differently, you have gained some insight into all the things you have been doing right all along. Even more important, I hope are able to identify the mistakes that have derailed you, and use that knowledge to your advantage from now on. Remember, you don’t need to become a different person to become a more successful one. It’s never what you are, but what you do.

If you want to be one of those who succeed in achieving your goals consistently, e-mail me for further information.