Relate Well! Blog

Addressing the all-important and often perplexing topics and issues related to enhancing your personal growth and professional development

Sincere Encouragement Breeds Success

If you have the responsibility of managing employees, you are well aware that their performance has a huge impact on your job satisfaction and on the success of your business or department. Good leadership and management requires a number of significant skills, but today I want to review one in particular: encouragement.

You may have completed years of college and training, and you may have learned many impressive skills in order to rise to the position you are in today, but sincere encouragement is one of the most powerful tools you can use to motivate people to work hard and develop loyalty.

Encouraging your employees and teammates is a significant part of your leadership responsibility and success, whether they are digging ditches, writing complex computer code, responding to emergencies, teaching, helping, driving, selling a product or assembling parts. No matter what kind of work is being done, an employee will do a better job if they receive encouragement from their...

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Riding the Waves of Change

If you have ever gazed at the ocean for awhile, you saw it change with every wave that came to shore. Life is like that; waves of change come along, sometimes small and sometimes gigantic, and nothing is exactly the same after that.

There is a myth in our culture that promotes the notion that people hate change. The truth is – people love change! People change their clothes, hairstyle, and favorite restaurant. They rearrange their furniture, travel to new places and do things to add variety to their lives on a regular basis.

There is, however, a type of change that people don’t like: that is any change they have little to no control over. In today’s world, we no longer have a guarantee of lifetime employment and technology has revolutionized the workplace. Many of us have heard the dreaded words, “Our company is switching to a new computer system,” and all of a sudden you are fearful that you’re going to feel frustrated and confused for a long...

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The Game of Success: It's Your Move

If you’re not experiencing the success you desire in your career, what moves do you need to make in order to advance? Like the game of chess, progress toward success requires focused attention, strategy, and practice. 

Pay Attention:

Evaluate where you are now… and why. Have you made good or bad choices to get where you are? Are you close to your goal, but not quite there yet or are you way behind?

Decide what is working and what’s not. Are you doing the best with what you have or are you sabotaging yourself with a negative attitude, poor life choices, fear, or a victim mindset? Answering these questions takes courage, but honest answers and a firm grasp of reality are empowering.

Strategy:

Find out what you can do about what’s not working well. Be brave enough to ask people who know you if they see behaviors that might be slowing your success. Ask trusted advisers at work what they would recommend to overcome challenges in your job. A professional...

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Raising Mature, Confident Adults (or How to Avoid Messing Up Your Kids)

We all have “issues” of one kind or another. Many of them stem from fears, past experiences, misunderstanding, or lack of accurate information. Many people point to their upbringing as the source of their problems today.

The truth is, no parents are perfect, and there comes a time when we have to let go of blaming all of our problems on our childhood and choose to develop the confidence to make the best of our own lives. In some cases, this may involve forgiveness of everything from not getting the toy you always wanted, to being forced to take tuba lessons to traumatic abuse. It’s an important part of growing up to finally realize that your parents may have done the best they could with what they had and knew and to begin taking adult responsibility for your adult life.

That said, maybe you can learn a few things from your past experiences that will help you avoid some of the mistakes that can potentially have a long-term negative effect on your children.

Here are...

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What Does it Take to Be a Leader?

You may have heard of The Peter Principle, which states that, “In a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.” Laurence J. Peter, a Canadian scholar, author and lecturer (1910-1990) wrote a book with the same title expounding on his observations about how organizations work. In a nutshell he says if you are great at your job, you will likely be promoted to a management or leadership position with a different set of skills required and languish there with little chance for real success or job satisfaction.

Before you assume you are doomed to a lifetime of misery drowning in a job you’re not ready for, let’s look at how you can prepare for greater opportunity and success in a leadership role. Competent, respected leaders usually display the following qualities:

Integrity – Inspiring leaders put this quality first, because they know that their employees or volunteers will follow their example. No business, ministry,...

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Do You Know What Really Makes You Attractive?

In his book, Be a People Person, Dr. John Maxwell identifies some of the personal characteristics that make people more attractive. He points out that it is the charismatic quality of an individual’s personality that makes them come across to others as warm, engaging and popular.

Dr. Maxwell uses the word CHARISMA as an acrostic to identify the specific traits he believes will draw the attention of others and help you improve your ability to relate well. Each of the traits in the acrostic below can be developed no matter who you are. I have added a few thoughts to Dr. Maxwell’s list to help you apply each concept to your own interactions with other people. I encourage you to commit these traits to memory and make the effort to consistently practice them in your relationships at home and work.

Concern: What you show – You have heard the saying that people don’t care what you know until they know that you care. Ask people about themselves and genuinely...

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Raise the Bar to Elevate Your Life

I ran track in high school for awhile, and I loved high jumping. What excited and scared me most was knowing that I had to raise the bar if I wanted to win.  For that to happen I must have cleared the previous height, but I knew the next level would be more difficult.

During a track meet the bar was set higher than I had cleared before. On my third attempt I gave it everything I had and cleared the bar but injured my ankle, forcing me to drop out of the meet.

My ankle eventually healed and I started to compete again, but I never jumped as high as I did the day I got hurt. I had convinced myself that if I couldn’t get past a certain height as a member of the varsity track team I might as well not even try to compete. It wasn’t until I was in graduate school that I realized that my problem wasn’t that I had reached the pinnacle of my athletic ability, but rather I didn’t want to raise the bar for fear of suffering another injury.

To this day, whenever I...

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How NOT to Manage an Employee

As a psychologist and executive coach, I am always interested to observe the way people demonstrate either good or bad habits in the way they conduct business. I remember well a time I was shopping at a well known chain store when I witnessed first-hand how those in leadership should NOT manage their employees.

The customer service specialist who was assisting me ran into a snag while trying to complete my transaction. After having pushed almost every button, she exhausted her personal knowledge base of solutions and had to request assistance from her store manager. By this time, it was obvious that she was feeling embarrassed and moderately anxious.

When the manager arrived he had a scowl on his face and looked put out by the request for help.  Without acknowledging his employee, or me (the customer spending money in his store), he abruptly punched some numbers into the computer, made a poorly veiled critical comment to his employee and stomped away. It was quite evident that...

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Don't Let Your Thoughts Fool You!

I was reading an article on the internet called the Top 100 April Fool’s Day Hoaxes of All Time and it was very entertaining. My favorite was about BBC TV conducting a prank interview with a London University professor who claimed to have created the technology to transmit odors through television. His invention was aptly named “Smellovision.” He performed a demonstration using coffee beans and onions and asked viewers to report if they detected the aromas. According to the article, numerous people reported being able to smell the coffee and onions and some even said the onion made their eyes water!

We laugh at their gullibility, but we should also pay attention to the fact that our brains can play tricks on us. Sometimes we need to evaluate the thoughts we think and make sure they are based in truth and reality, because our thoughts direct our perceptions and feelings, which results in our actions. So, our thoughts play a primary role when it comes to our...

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Essential Communication Tips for Leaders

Uncategorized Mar 21, 2017

One of the most powerful skills a leader should strive to master is communication. He or she may have brilliant ideas and the vision to solve problems and accomplish daunting missions, but if the ideas and direction can’t be communicated effectively to others, the mission may produce weak results and fall short of the goal. When that occurs, low morale among the ranks usually follows.

I recently came across a list in New Man Magazine of nine principles of communication every leader should adopt. To be the kind of leader that not only gets results, but also earns the respect and loyalty of those you work with, you will want to learn and consistently apply these principles.

1. Dispense information freely to build esprit de corps. People are much more willing to enthusiastically participate when they know what they’re doing, why and how. Leaders who play close to the vest in order to maintain the appearance of power tend to alienate their teams.

2. Go out of...

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