Relate Well! Blog

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

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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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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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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Essential Communication Tips for Leaders

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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The Passion of Every Great Leader

Great leaders don’t often start out with a plan to make themselves great. In fact, it may surprise you how little great leaders think of themselves at all. Focusing on making an individual person great is a very small goal, but an individual with a willingness to sacrifice for something bigger can ignite passion in others and cause great things to happen.

We recently celebrated the memory of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and I was reminded of some of the ways he demonstrated great leadership. Here are five passions that drive some people to greatness and how we see them in action through the leadership of Rev. Dr. King.

 

Passion #1: To fix a problem – Some of the most significant achievements in history began when someone said, “This isn’t how things should be.” In 1955 an African American woman, Rosa Parks, was arrested for violating racial segregation laws in Montgomery, Alabama, because she refused to give up her seat on a bus for a...

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Counseling or Coaching? Getting the Right Kind of Help

A new year often inspires us to evaluate our lives, which frequently makes us want to change whatever is not working well or build upon what is. It can be helpful to bounce your thoughts and feelings off of someone else who can offer perspective and help you discover what is – or isn’t – within your power to change.

Since the 1980’s there has been a growing interest in the field of Coaching. There are several different types of coaching, e.g., Executive, Personal, Career, etc., and each serves a specific function related to helping someone achieve desired results. With the rise of coaching as a profession have come questions concerning the differences between the practice of coaching and counseling. Let’s look at these two different services in an effort to help you decide which one is right for you – counseling or coaching.

What is Coaching?

According to the International Coach Federation, coaching is an ongoing relationship between the...

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Strong People Skills = Career Success

Having trouble getting ahead at work? Research reveals that the higher you go on the career ladder the greater the likelihood that obstacles standing in the way of your performance, productivity and advancement are your own problematic behaviors and bad habits. In fact, it is estimated that 80% of those fired from their jobs are let go because of an absence of strong interpersonal skill rather than a lack of technical skill. Therefore, the higher a person goes in an organization, the more significant it is that their people skills (or lack thereof) will ultimately determine how far they will go in their career.

Below is a partial list of people skills that can help you achieve greater success at home and work. Invest in yourself, your relationships and your career by identifying the skills that may represent areas of growth for you!

Understanding others – It can be a challenge to slow down and take the time to better know and understand your coworkers, but it’s...

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Hi-Tech Communication – Use With Caution

Technology can be great. It has made communication faster and easier and become an integral part of our everyday lives both personally and professionally. Many of us remember when business was done primarily through hard copy letters and memos, or old-fashioned telephone calls that sometimes required a written message to be taken if the party you called was unavailable at the time. And if you can imagine it, the telephone was tethered to the desk by a cord!

In the last few years alone we have seen an explosion in the use of text and instant messaging with portable devices that work virtually anywhere in the world. Contracts can be signed electronically, documents can be transmitted instantly via e-mail and stored on the cloud and almost daily we are introduced to new technologies and tools designed to increase the speed and efficiency of social interaction, commerce and communication. All that is great, but let’s slow down for a few minutes to consider whether these fast and...

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1% vs. Perfection

Here are some more great thoughts from my friend and colleague, David Towne.

I’ve got a problem. Okay, I’ve got lots of issues as many of my friends and family know all too well. My singing hurts the ears of those too close to me in proximity. I don’t run anymore unless someone is chasing me. If I mistakenly eat a peanut, egg, carrot, any kind of fish, or watermelon (to name a few), my throat swells shut in seconds and I die. Yet my most frustrating problem is how, in the past, I have attempted to tackle my life goals.

Maybe you can relate. We get something in our mind and desire to make a change. It could be that we want to lose weight, eat better, spend more quality time with our loved ones, work smarter, curb our social media addiction, go to bed earlier, turn off the television and read more, get more involved at church, and the list goes on and on. The issue that has plagued me for most of my life is that I fail to effectively address the changes I want...

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