BLOG

Fri 27 January 2023
Being a busy person is a challenge in many aspects, especially finding time to develop leadership skills. Such skills are essential to making it to the top of the professional ladder. Whether you’re a business executive, entrepreneur, college student, or stay-at-home parent, having great leadership skills can open up new opportunities. 

Leadership Development

First, it is important to identify a key leadership area you want to develop. You’re already limited on time, so don’t try to tackle too much at once. Review any data or feedback that you have, such as performance reviews or results of a recent 360 survey. Identify no more than two competencies or skills you want to improve.

Second, set yourself a time limit. It’s common for leaders to make critical mistakes by trying to do too much, too fast. You will get excited, watch an hour’s worth of content in one day, get overwhelmed by too many ideas and tips, and either lose your motivation or try to implement and get discouraged by the lack of results. Instead, remember this is a long-term game. Small actions you do every day will be much more effective in the long term, than short bursts of activity. And in every busy leaders’ life, getting help to enhance and encourage leadership development is easy with Ambition in Motion’s executive mastermind groups

Mentorship programs are a great way to continuously invest in leadership development throughout the organization. The program does not have to be complicated, with some basic content it can provide both people in a horizontal mentorship exposure to valuable development content.

One highly-rated professional mentorship program is the AIM Insights Executive Mentorship program. The key part of this program is that your mentor acts as a source of guidance and coaching, customized to your individual needs.

Luckily, this mastermind mentorship program has short videos, meaning that you only need to invest three to five minutes a day. Find a course that matches a developmental area you have identified. Commit to watching one or two short videos a day. And the customized coaches that you’re paired with guide you to make physical and mental notes of key takeaways and ideas for how to implement into your day.

What is executive coaching? 

Executive coaches work with business leaders to enable their rapid development in the workplace. They also assist with specific problems that a board member, or senior manager, wants to work through outside of the normal business framework. 

This coaching focuses very specifically on the issues that an executive wants to work through. Thus it becomes a speedy way to improve skills and to achieve personal and professional objectives.

The executive coach gives the executive feedback and a new perspective that enables them to set goals and work towards them. The coaching sessions use objective feedback to drive the executive's thought processes forward through their issues.

Becoming a Better Leader

Leadership development should be recognized as an ongoing part of professional life. And while dipping in and focusing on it when time allows is great, as we all know, time doesn’t always allow. That doesn’t mean that you can’t develop your skills. All it takes to become a better leader is dedication and a small investment of time.

If this still feels overwhelming, remember this: We mistakenly think that leadership development only occurs in the workplace. However, research suggests that most effective leaders learn all the time and everywhere. 

As a manager or executive, having a support system such as an executive mentor is crucial. But be aware of your own need for support and friendship in the work environment and make a conscious effort to seek them out in the appropriate places. 


Fri 20 January 2023
Do You Have an Intentional Leadership Development Strategy?
 
As Henry Ford once said, “The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay.”
 
Henry Ford’s words have never been more pertinent as organizations struggle to hang onto their top performers in this economy. And though it’s tempting to instinctively go for that new external hire with a lot of ideas, what if there was already an internal leader poised for the challenge?
 
Leadership development strategies will not only prepare future leaders but improve talent retention across the organization. 
 
When evaluating your own leadership development programs and strategies, there’s only one approach that will set you apart and improve talent performance and retention – and it can be applied to any strategy you already have in place.
 
Why Is Leadership Development Important?
 
Leadership development is important because it helps your employees grow. It teaches them how to lead while developing leadership skills and qualities to become better leaders today - and for the future.
 
Leadership development aims to develop an individual's skills and abilities for leadership. It can be done in many ways, such as through on-the-job training, mentoring or coaching, and self-development.
 
Another reason leadership development is essential is that it helps organizations grow while they develop their employees' skill sets. In addition, it helps businesses better understand what they need to do to succeed in the future.
 
Furthermore, it helps individuals understand how they can advance in their careers, take on more responsibility, and become more successful while earning a higher salary.
 
Employees who can develop their skills and become more effective will be able to serve your organization and its customers better. They will also feel more fulfilled in their jobs, which makes them more likely to stick around longer.
 
Leadership development helps employees learn new skills and become more effective, which improves their performance as well as the performance of those around them. This can positively impact the bottom line if it leads to increased sales or improved customer satisfaction scores.
 
After all, high salaries are not the only thing that make employees want to stay. Top-performing employees want to be valued and appreciated for their hard work; relationships and continuous opportunities in the workplace to let their talent shine will motivate them to stay at a company, rather than to leave. 
 
Investing more time to tailor your leadership development strategy though is necessary to stay competitive and increase retention rates. The generic classes and training programs that have been a product of traditional leadership development strategies are not going to cut it. You must intentionally invest in each leader you’ve identified as a top talent. One way you can do that is provide them with executive coaching and metrics via AIM Insights.
 
Take the 70:20:10 Model for Learning and Development. The learning and development model corresponds to a proportional breakdown of how people learn effectively, based on a survey asking nearly 200 executives to self-report how they believed they learned:
 
●       70% from challenging assignments
●       20% from developmental relationships
●       10% from coursework and training
 
This illustrates that every leader learns differently. It’s important to customize your leadership development strategy based on how a top performer processes information. Not only will this better prepare your internal leaders for their career trajectory within the organization, but it’s also a unique benefit that will improve your organizational retention and offer them an incentive to refuse external offers.
 
Customize your Leadership Development Strategy to Fit Your Organization
 
Customizing your strategy should build on what you already have in place. For example, pair your top performers with a leadership consultant who can give real-time executive coaching in the moment, whether for general leadership development or while integrating into a new leadership role.
 
Companies often spend a lot of time, effort, and money investing into their technology, operations, and facilities. While these areas are important places to invest, these companies often end up ignoring the best investment opportunity: leadership development. 
 
Businesses that invest in their employees achieve more success more often than those businesses that do not invest consistently in their people. Studies have shown that employees who went through leadership training programs increased their capability by 25% and their performance by 20%. 
 
During the age of the “Great Resignation,” initiatives that focused on retaining employees were more important than ever. As referenced in this Cornell post, 94% of employees say they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their learning and development. 
 
Having effective leaders who invest in their people’s development is one of the best ways to reduce turnover rates and improve employee satisfaction. Happy employees are more productive, and that energy will resonate throughout the rest of the company. 
 
By training employees in best leadership practices throughout the organization, you create a culture that shows you are invested in the success of employees. 
 
Hayden Brown, CEO of Upwork, who is passionate about “re-engaging and activating the managers in the business,” especially with so many employees working remotely.
 
Upwork holds a monthly Zoom gathering called One Upwork Forum, where managers can share information with each other about changes their driving, DEI initiatives, and anything they’re struggling with. While this is a candid, peer-to-peer gathering, it’s sponsored by a rotating executive, someone “who’s willing to kind of nurture and be the voice and the champion” of the group, Brown told me.
 
As Brown put it: “I think that’s been a really great way to drive that engagement and have that group kind of helping each other as they’ve gone through so much change.”
 
Peer support, as opposed to top-down feedback, offers several benefits, including “insight into diverse perspectives,” “opportunities to practice new skills in a safe space,” and an “enduring support network.” Having managers practice their skills together is also another opportunity for professional development.
Tue 17 January 2023
What is Executive Branding?
 
As an executive of your company, you are the face of the company or business you run. You are the one that everyone first thinks of when they hear or interact with your brand, you are the one they blame if something goes wrong, and you are the one they remember. 
Executive branding is important no matter what kind of business you are in, whether it be retail, construction, manufacturing, healthcare, technology, or any other industry. 
Branding is necessary for all aspects of your business; you want everything to be cohesive and be true to who you are and what you believe. Those values and beliefs should trickle down the pipeline of your employees, and as an entire brand, you should all feel similar in how you see the workplace and the world.
 
According to Forbes, executive Branding drives sales and increases company visibility.
 
Executive branding starts with determining what you want your core message to be. Your message should coincide with what your target audience believes, and you need to use your message to grab their attention. For example, if you are the executive of an environmentally friendly packaging supplies business, your message should relate to the work your company does and how you do it. Your target audience would be business owners of all sizes who want to only use packing supplies that are eco-friendly. If you brand yourself properly and market your message to those people, you’ll have a loyal customer base in no time.
Even though you may not deal with your audience daily as other people within your company do, it’s still extremely important to brand yourself as the executive. Your branding is what helps you make connections in the business world, it helps get your name in front of people’s eyes, and it helps to boost your business more than you probably imagine.
Whether you’re in a new position as executive or you’ve been executive for 10+ years, there is always room for improvement when it comes to branding yourself.
 
 
What are the Benefits of executive Branding?
 
As an executive of a company, you barely have free time as it is. So, do you really need to take the time to brand yourself? Here are 5 reasons why it’s necessary to establish a personal brand for yourself:
 
1.     Show off your uniqueness
Executive branding is your one chance to show your audience what makes you and your business unique. What do you offer that others don’t? Why should they support your business over your competitors? What makes you unique?
These are all things you should answer when defining your brand as executive. People support those they align with, in all aspects. If someone can see who you are as a person and can see you truly care about a cause or believe in a product or service, they’ll see that and come to your business with their credit card ready. Authenticity and uniqueness are what drive people to your brand!
 
2.     Gain more relationships 
The only way to gain new clients or customers and create loyal ones is to get them on your side. Let’s go back to the eco-friendly packing supplies business example. If there is a small business owner that believes in your cause and can tell you truly care about saving and protecting our environment and they like you as a person, they are 10x more likely to continue supporting you even if your prices are higher. 
Relationships are crucial and maintaining them is an essential practice. 
In fact, 71% of consumers say they prefer to support companies that align with their own values. Why is that? Because they like you for you, not for your prices or products. You have similar values and that is what makes people loyal to one brand over another.
 
4.     Show off your beliefs and values
Going back to the stat that 71% of consumers out there prefer to purchase products or services from brands that align with their own values and beliefs, creating an executive brand is one of the best things you can do to show your target audience what you believe in and why you believe it. 
These days, people don’t just type in something online and purchase the first thing that pops up. They take time to research the company, see who runs it, and learn why they started it. If you don’t tell your story well enough or show potential consumers what you believe in and why, or what your values are in life, odds are they have already clicked off your page.
Why is that true? Because people like to see authenticity and they like to know you became an executive of a company for a reason other than to make a new income. Consumers don’t want to feel like you are using them to get a paycheck, they want to feel good about purchasing and investing in your business because your values and beliefs are the same as theirs. 
Make sure to tell the world what you believe in, what your value in both your personal and professional life, and why. If you hit this on the head, your loyal customer base is going to skyrocket.
 
5.     Less negative, more positive
Any high-up executive knows that no one is perfect, and you are bound to make a mistake at some point in your career. When you are in control of your executive branding, you can determine how people see you. Are you the nice boss that allows your employees to dress down on Fridays? Or are you the mean boss that doesn’t want to pay people’s healthcare?
When positioning your brand, you need to think about what you want people to think of you as. If you treat your employees right, you market yourself right, and your brand yourself properly, you can drown out the negative comments made. 
This can be sharing things about yourself, your life, or an experience you had with a customer. It can also be donating to a cause you believe in, or this can be showing off how you treated your employees to a team bonding experience. Whatever kind of boss you want to be, make sure you consider how people are going to see you from that. 
 
As an executive, you only want to be seen in a positive light, so make sure you brand yourself to receive only positive thoughts! Branding is one of the best business tools you can use and guess what? It costs nothing but time and energy! Branding yourself as an executive is something you should take your time 
Tue 17 January 2023
Sometimes, one of the most difficult actions for a manager to take is to understand when to take a leave of absence. 66% of managers suffer from burnout, and according to Gallup, this number is only increasing. After all, managers often are in a unique position between direct reports and executives. Not only are they assisting their team below, but simultaneously assisting a team above. In addition to that, they have their own problems to face as well, including hiring, training, and retaining employees. This quote from Harry Levinson from the Harvard Business Review sums up the quandary faced by managers:

“In my role, I’m the guy who catches it all. I don’t know how much longer I can last in this job.”

While we have explained how to manage burnout as a manager, there comes a point that it is important to throw in the towel, even temporarily. However, there are a few steps to take for the sake of professionalism and to help both your team as well as your senior leadership team. After all, a manager’s absence is a phenomenon that will have a drastic impact on the rest of the team. Therefore, planning for before, during, and after the leave will be the manager’s responsibility. 

Before the Leave

Before your actual leave, one of the most important things to do is properly notify all of your coworkers, whether they be your direct reports, your peers, or your superiors. This is extremely important. Plan on assigning a point of contact as a substitute for you in order to make the most out of this break as well. Separation from work can be extremely valuable.

Notifying an executive team or any superior of a leave of absence can be daunting at times. The key here is to provide written documentation in conjunction with the human resources department explaining the following

·       What- Is this a leave of absence? Is this a step down and a break at the same time? Be sure to clarify exactly what steps are being taken during this break.
·       Why- Explain any reasoning as to why this action is being taken. No answer is an incorrect one but explaining the rationale behind mental health reasoning can add credibility to this report.
·       When- Clarify the dates as to when any breaks are being taken, as well as a timeline approximating a return to duties. While it is okay to have an indefinite duration, adding statements such as “no less than” or “no more than” can help senior managers in finding coverage.

Leave transition paperwork behind. While your leave may not necessarily be a permanent one, it is a leave, and staff contacting you should be unnecessary. This break is meant to refresh you and help with your mental health, as opposed to being on-call support. This paperwork should include team goals, some dossiers, and current tasks. A tool like AIM Insights can be a great way to document all of this information in real time. Hopefully, someone within your team is temporarily elevated to a managerial position. However, if senior leadership promotes someone unfamiliar with the team, they need to be well equipped to hit the ground running. Therefore, thorough paperwork will be extremely helpful. In addition to that, it will assist the team chemistry by allowing the substitute manager to understand individual personalities as well as specialties.

During the Leave

Many managers will struggle with the actual leave component of their planned leave. After all, their role is such an active part of the workplace that it ends up being very time consuming. Having this much free time can be somewhat daunting. So, what should a manager do with their time off?

1)      Log out of any work accounts- This break is meant for rehabilitation, as stated before. It is not meant to transfer you to remote work. Express that employees are not to contact you, unless there is an emergency, and only if there is an emergency.
2)     Get help- Taking a leave of absence is a drastic step. Simply taking a break for mental health and not taking further action is unproductive. Reach out to doctors, therapists, and mentors to look at further action.
3)     Take some time for yourself-  During this time, explore interests, and look at activities outside of the scope of the job. The goal of this is to reduce high levels of anxiety and stress. Use this time accordingly.       
4)     Contact superiors- If you are making any changes to your original planned break, let your superiors know, so they can then pass on further instructions to your substitute. In addition to that, keep them appraised on your projected return. This will assist them in reintroducing you to the workplace. In addition to that, let them know if you plan to reduce your duties in any capacity. It is okay to say that a job entails a little too much. Smart delegation can help with this as well.
5)     Prepare yourself to return- This seems a little straightforward, but it is a fairly important aspect of the leave. Work can be stressful, especially coming back off of a break. Imagine missing a few days of school. When you came back, it was a completely different unit being covered in math, a brand new animal to dissect in science, and somehow the school lunches got even worse. Returning to work after a mental health break can be extremely similar to this. Acknowledge that there may be changes, and that you may have a bit of work ahead of you in reacclimatizing to the work environment.

At the end of the day, being a manager is yet another job which will take up time and effort.  While this position is one of support and mentorship, sometimes it is in fact a manager who needs the aforementioned things. It is okay to ask for help, and more than okay to take time off to focus on returning stronger. 

Thu 5 January 2023
A manager is a key part of the workplace in almost every company. These individuals help delegate tasks, deal with interpersonal issues, and often determine the goals of the team. However, a manager can often serve as more than just a taskmaster. Managers often boast a wealth of experience which can be passed on to their direct reports. 

               The Oxford Review referred to mentorship as “knowledge management.” Such a description couldn’t be more apt. Sharing information between both manager and direct reports can be a challenge, which can be rectified with a few different actions. 

How to be a Mentoring Manager

1)               Learn to ask good questions- good teachers and mentors don’t necessarily always give the answers to their students. Asking effective questions can lead a mentee to a solution without being spoon-fed the answer. It will allow them to become more solution oriented rather than dependent on you.
2)               Limit how much time you have available to your direct reports- This might seem counterintuitive, but an open-door policy will never be beneficial in an operations aspect for your company. This will not only leave you overwhelmed, but not allow your direct reports to be self-sufficient. However, scheduling time to meet with your direct reports can be very beneficial as well, since it can give them a feeling of loyalty and being noticed.
3)               Be smart with delegation- a good manager should recognize what tasks to give their direct reports, and what tasks they should take responsibility for by themselves. In addition to this, great managers understand to never give a direct report a task that they would avoid themselves. 
4)               Understand growth- at the end of the day, while a manager will no doubt want to retain as many members of their team as they can, they need to realize that not every direct report will want to remain a direct report for perpetuity. Foster their growth whenever possible, and they will reward you with better quality work, as well as more loyalty. And if they so choose to leave, that’s okay. More individuals will come later down the line. 
5)               Assume responsibility for your direct reports- If they do something well, acknowledge them. If they don’t necessarily do something well, help them see how they did something incorrectly, and then don’t leave them out to dry. Take responsibility as well.
6)               Grow personally as a worker as well- Every bit of knowledge you have as a manager can and should be passed down to your direct reports. 

How does a manager appeal to all age groups?

Great managers will often prove to be the best facilitators and mentors within their organization. Different age groups can all have vastly different interests and methods, but with the right helmsman, they can come together and work with high degrees of success. Here are some ideas on how to properly manage this workplace

1)     Hold regular 1:1s and foster the prioritization of communication within your workplace. For the first time ever, four generations are in the workforce at the same time. Each of these generations have different expectations and methods to use. This can easily lead to conflict when colleagues are unaware of these differences and try to work by themselves or cooperatively. Employees need to be able to communicate these differences in a healthy manner and choose how to approach a task. 
2)     Recognizing different peoples work orientations is a vital skill to be an effective manager. Just because someone has more experience doesn’t mean that they want to be a project lead, nor does it mean that they have the necessary skills and personality. Put individuals in positions that they want to be in and will succeed in, rather than positions that they have potential to be in. While learning is a part of a direct report’s job, it should be at their own pace, rather than being thrown into the metaphorical deep end of a pool and being told to swim.  
3)     Identify that different generations perceive respect differently. Regardless of who they are, no member of a team deserves to feel obsolete or disrespected within the workplace. Fostering a workforce with a wide sense of understanding and mutual respect is critical. The Platinum Rule can be enforced throughout the workplace as well. The more common Golden Rule explains to treat others as (you) would want to be treated, but this is deficient. A generation Z worker may not like to be treated in the same way that a Boomer would. The Platinum Rule says to treat others as they would like to be treated. This creates a better team dynamic and a respectful environment. 

While the workforce may be expanding to a scale unimagined before, this can be a good thing for your team. Proper communication and management can allow a team, regardless of age barriers, or any other times of barriers, to be a much more successful team.  

Thu 5 January 2023
A post-COVID effect in the workplace has been an increased prioritization on individual mental health, which has often led to a phenomenon known as the Great Resignation. The Great Resignation is generally agreed to have started in early 2021, and as of January 2023 is still ongoing. The prioritization of mental health and consequent behaviors have also left managers in unique quandaries. Employees are more likely to resign, take more time off, schedule for more flexibility, or look for a new job.

 However, what most people don’t truly realize is how managers are affected by mental health issues, and how they can combat it. As of October 2022, a whopping 76% of executives and managers have reported feeling burnt out or overwhelmed as a result of their work. Now, given the higher compensation, one might argue that the pressure is a part of their job. However, there are a few ways that a manager can not only manage effectively, but also have a better grip of their mental health. These methods are often changes to how a manager chooses to work, as well as some mentality changes. 

Preventing your own Burnout

1)     Plan for different phases of the day. Not every hour of the day should be treated equally. Now you might wonder why every hour of the day doesn’t deserve equal treatment. The answer to this is quite simple, and can be answered with a question- how do you feel after your lunch break? Some might say drowsy, or a little heavy. Just as worker efficiency can ebb and flow throughout the year, your attention and energy can change depending on the time of day. Schedule yourself accordingly. You know your body best, and if you have the power to choose times to schedule meetings, utilize that privilege. Some people use mornings for the most attention requiring work, which makes sense for them. The caffeine might have kicked in, or they might just be morning people. However, not every individual is that way. Some people feel too impatient after waking up, and something with fine details might not be the best possible thing for them.
2)     You can afford to be less reactive, and more passive. Not every issue needs to be dealt with urgently, especially by you as a manager. Sometimes, issues can be passed off to direct reports who are able to handle it with less stress. Consultant David Allen penned a book called Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. This book proposes a mindset similar to an email inbox. Think about how you organize that inbox. Some messages might be of a priority, while others simply sit in your inbox. You don’t mandate yourself to respond to every email immediately, do you? It’s a very similar concept. 
3)     Preserve your work hours, and even more importantly, your off hours. You will not be as efficient if you are always working. A brain is like a muscle- if it is taxed or worked, it needs to have time to recover. While emergencies happen, for the most part of the normal work cycle, you do not always need to be on call. Stick to the nature of the off-hours. Don’t check emails, don’t draft any, and don’t worry about getting work done. Relax, and get yourself into a mindset for the next day.
4)     Set firm boundaries with when you are accessible and when you are busy. If you keep an open-door policy, you will become overwhelmed by the amount of requests that come your way. Create a specific set of hours in which you can deal with issues brought to you, and do not keep the metaphorical door open any longer than this. While this boundary may seem harsh, you cannot help others if you have problems of your own to address. Therefore, setting this boundary will benefit you in the long run.
5)     Prioritize what you do per day. If you’ve ever meal-planned before, it’s a very similar psychology. You can’t achieve everything you want to in one day, so you have to plan the tasks you have to do per week across the entire week.
6)     Avoid micromanaging things. Your staff was picked either by you or your predecessors for a reason. Having this faith in your staff will be much more rewarding and efficient than doing it all yourself. Your primary role as a leader is to help enable your staff. 
7)     Find your anchor points. In the case that you need to take a break, or a leave of absence, you need to make sure that your team will not be left high and dry. Have a second point of communication, and don’t be afraid to make subleaders. 
8)     Finally, don’t be afraid to recognize if you need help. Plenty of managers, as well as plenty of people take extended breaks to work on their mental health. It is always more than okay to do something to work on yourself. A manager functioning at 50% is much worse than someone who is healthy and capable of making difficult decisions. Be communicative with your team and your peers, as well as senior leadership to allow for a smooth transition due to your leave.

Mental health as a manager can always be scary at first. After all, you’ve been conditioned to always put your direct reports first. And that’s completely okay, as long as you remember that you need help occasionally as well. 

 

Thu 5 January 2023
Have your team members been acting differently or producing lower-quality work? Maybe there's an increase in requests for sick days or your direct reports seem disengaged during meetings? Unfortunately, all of these could be the early signs of team burnout. 
 
Burnout is quite common in today’s workplace. Two-thirds of full-time workers report experiencing burnout on the job, and it’s a phenomenon that impacts employees across all industries and roles, not just people in senior positions or traditionally high-stress jobs.
 
However, there’s hope: as a manager, there are several ways you can mitigate the impact of burnout on your team.
 
How do you identify team burnout? 
 
It’s critical that managers identify the signs of burnout early on. However, it’s important to note that they aren’t always easy to identify. 
 
You may assume that an employee has been missing deadlines or coming into work late because they are simply lazy. Or that the unusually negative, critical team member is simply in a “bad mood.” But these actions can be signs of burnout.
 
It’s also important to keep in mind that employees can experience burnout in their personal lives, which can carry over into their work. Managers shouldn’t assume that an employee is immune from burnout just because things at work aren’t busy.
 
To help you better identify the signs of burnout, look at the common physical, mental, and emotional symptoms below:
 
Physical symptoms of burnout
●       Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
●       Loss of productivity 
●       Fatigue
●       Loss of appetite or change in eating habits
●       Lack of sleep 
 
Mental symptoms of burnout
●       Constant worry and anxiety
●       Inability to focus clearly
●       Increased mental distance or apathy
 
Emotional symptoms of burnout
●       Feelings of negativity or cynicism 
●       Irritability
●       Emotional fragility or heightened sensitivity
●       An increased tendency to start arguments or make harsh comments
 
While these signs can be used to identify burnout in individuals, the same evaluation can also be used to assess teams. If multiple team members seem to be suffering from any of these symptoms, or if your team seems to be experiencing a general loss in productivity, there’s a chance that they may be experiencing burnout. 
 
How to help your team deal with burnout
 
Once you think you’ve identified burnout on your team, how do you manage it before it becomes problematic or long-term? 
 
1. Understand the root cause 
Before you take any action, take the time to understand the root cause of your team’s burnout. This will not only help you identify how to best help your team, but it’ll also demonstrate that you’ve noticed they’re not being themselves and want to help them overcome this obstacle.  
 
There are many potential contributing factors: a heavy workload, lack of leadership, no clarity around roles or expectations, and unfair treatment are common work-related causes of burnout. Of course, there could also be other factors outside of work that contribute to your team’s burnout such as financial or family-related stress.
 
Here are a few tips to help you identify the root cause: 
 
●       Have in-person conversations. Even though your entire team may be experiencing burnout, have conversations on an individual basis. 1-on-1 conversations are a good opportunity to address your direct reports' wellbeing. Addressing the entire group can be intimidating and make it difficult for members to open up. So schedule time for every employee and try to understand what they’re going through. Each person may also be able to share their perspective as to what’s happening at a team level.
●       Ask questions. Keep in mind that it may feel scary for employees to open up about their struggles in the workplace, especially to their managers. They may fear repercussions or worry about being perceived as less hardworking than other team members. If your employee seems to have a hard time starting the conversation, approach them with empathetic questions, such as, “What’s on your plate right now that’s overwhelming?” or “Where are you feeling the most stress?”
 
Other strategies can make it easier for people to open up about their experiences, too, such as ensuring confidentiality or connecting the employee to a third-party expert (such as a coach or therapist) that they may feel more comfortable working with. Sometimes, your employee may not feel ready to open up, and that’s okay too. Don’t force them to talk if they don’t want to but let them know you’re always available whenever they’re ready. Tools like AIM Insights can help leaders accomplish this goal.
 
2. Be an advocate 
As a manager, one of your most important roles is to serve as an advocate for your team. This means making sure your direct reports are well taken care of and supported. This is especially true when it comes to burnout. Depending on the reason for the burnout, the way you advocate for your employees can take on different forms. Here are a few examples to inspire ideas: 
 
●       Protect their time. If your team suffers from a heavy workload, one of the best things you can do is protect their time. What does this look like in practice? If someone approaches you to see if your team can take on a project, push back or say no. Also, let your team know that it’s okay to turn down work themselves if they feel overworked – this will empower them to regulate their own workloads.
●       Provide access to relevant resources. Regardless of the root cause, burnout can have very serious mental health consequences. Connecting employees with resources, such as information about wellness programs or wellbeing guides can be helpful. However, as a manager, you should also know that you’re not expected to be a mental health professional. So don’t hesitate to point your employees to an external source of mental and physical health support, whether that’s in the form of a healthcare professional or therapist. 
 
3. Demonstrate compassion and empathy
Compassion and empathy are useful tools for the workplace – especially when dealing with issues like burnout. There may be times you get frustrated with your team, or they get frustrated with you as you overcome this obstacle together. This is totally normal, so remind yourself to view the situation through a compassionate and empathetic lens. This will make it easier to get through the challenging times together. Below are ideas for how to demonstrate compassion and empathy: 
 
●       Don’t take it personally. It may be tempting to view your team’s burnout as a personal failing, but that’s not the case. At the end of the day, many factors can lead to burnout, no matter how hard you try to prevent it. So, when practicing empathy and compassion on your team, make sure you’re applying it inwardly, as well.
●       Think about what’s best for the team. A useful way to practice empathy is to ask yourself: what’s best for the team? The answer may vary by individual. What’s best for some employees is to take a vacation or personal leave and unplug for a bit. Others might need to clarify work priorities or have something taken off their plate. For some, it may be to support them if they decide to quit their job. This option can be challenging, but sometimes leaving an unhealthy work environment is the best thing employees can do for themselves and making sure that you’re supportive about their decision is the best thing that you can do for them. 
Fri 23 December 2022
With changes occurring in the economy, many companies are laying people off, many times in waves. This can impact the morale of those that are left.
 
When employees are spared, they feel relieved for a little bit before they start thinking and worrying about the next wave: “Will I be next? I better start looking for a job elsewhere; What am I going to do?”
 
Thoughts like these are the symptoms of a syndrome, the survivor syndrome. The effects of this syndrome will cause a sharp decrease in employee engagement and productivity. Recent research through Velas Coaching has shown that after layoffs, employees often report reduced commitment and performance.
 
While some may feel lucky to still be employed, others may experience mixed feelings. They may be relieved to still have a job but simultaneously guilt-ridden about the suffering of former colleagues who were let go. 
 
This type of “survivor guilt” is normally associated with the emotions people experience after facing a traumatic event or accident that looks at the lives of others, but it can also happen after corporate layoffs. 
 
It’s not uncommon for the employees left standing to wonder, “Why did I make it, but they didn’t? or “How am I going to face my friends who were released knowing that they’re in a bad financial situation while I’m still employed?” Survivor guilt may be made worse by a perception that the company failed to recognize or reward trusted colleagues and friends and instead eliminated them.
 
Studies by the Harvard Business Review show that nearly three-quarters (74%) of employees retained after a layoff saw their productivity decline after it, while 69% said that the quality of their company’s product or service deteriorated. When these respondents were asked why they felt that way, they expressed feelings of guilt, anxiety, and anger. 
 
The good news is that workers who felt that their managers were visible, approachable, and open were more than 70% less likely to report a productivity drop, and 65% less likely to report a decline in the quality of their organization’s offerings. These numbers show that leaders can make a big difference in helping retained employees deal with their survivor guilt.
 
As a leader you probably are asking yourself: “what can I do to help my team go through that dreadful layoff cycle?” Here are three suggestions:
 
1- Before the layoff cycle starts – Fight for your team
 
You may have heard the story of Bob Chapman, the former CEO of Barry-Wehmiller, a family owned company. In 2008 at the bottom of the recession, the company was hit very hard, and they lost 30% of their orders very fast. The board decided that they needed to save money and pushed for layoffs. Bob refused, so he came up with an idea, a furloughs program. Everyone was going to take an unpaid vacation so everybody will suffer a little as opposed to a few who suffer a lot. Guess what happened to the morale of the employees? It went through the roof. If you have the chance, protect your team at all costs and make sure they know you are doing it.  
 
2- During the layoff cycle – Conduct them with empathy
 
As employees process the layoff cycle, they start to believe that the company they work for does not care about them, that they are pawns, merely a piece that can be easily sacrificed for the company’s sake. But it doesn’t have to be this way. As a leader, your ability to communicate effectively and regularly with your employees is invaluable in the long term. Much of how employees perceive a layoff depends on how much information is shared, and where it is coming from; it should come from you.
 
●       Listen and acknowledge their fears
●       Ask how your employees are doing and respond with empathy
●       Make sure you validate or dispel the “rumors” out there, fast
●       Make sure you are available, open-door policy
●       Don’t hide the truth
 
3- After the layoff – Lead by example
 
When you perform a layoff, you’ve probably harbored feelings of regret for having to lose members of your team and feel anxious about the light in which survivors see you. Now you are managing a team of survivors, the lucky ones who didn’t get laid off. Therefore, you need to set a positive tone but also be realistic. Good fortune doesn’t make good performance. 
 
Kick your leadership skills into high gear and focus on transitioning your surviving employees toward a new brighter future. Make employee engagement your number one priority, creating a safe space for your employees to succeed.
 
Organizations that invest time, money, and attention helping the remaining employees stay engaged are much more likely to succeed after a layoff than see diminished productivity. How your remaining employees perceive you are handling the process will set the tone for renewed trust in the relationship. If you handle it with integrity and empathy, you will minimize and perhaps eliminate adverse impacts of the survivor syndrome on your team.
Wed 21 December 2022
Generation Z, also known as Gen Z, is a term used to describe individuals born any time between 1995 and 2010.  With over 61 million of these individuals slated to enter the workforce in the next five to ten years, it is natural that many of the older workers already present in the workforce are a little apprehensive on how to work with these newer –and younger- workers. However, almost a third of the workforce by 2025 will be Generation Z. Therefore, understanding how to work with them will prove essential for any manager. The first factor with managing this younger generation is to recognize their wants and needs.

The Wants and Needs of Generation Z

            James Colino, the CEO of Sheetz, states that “(Generation Z) has been subjected to political, privacy, technological and gender issues that have shaped how they think. Rather than giving them a pass on performance, it is required that leaders take the extra time to acknowledge differences, be inclusive, and find solutions that work for both customers and employees.”

            Sheetz has been noted to be within the top 50 workplaces for Generation Z at both the entry level as well as within the corporate side of management. Colino has correctly stated how Gen Z prioritizes topics and how they’re treated. 

            Gen Z is the least inclined to plan to stay in their job. In a study made by greatplacetowork in conjunction with Pell, only 77% of workers agreed with the statement that they would plan to stay at their job. In contrast, the next youngest generation, the millennials, are of a much more resolute mind, boasting a strong 88% stating that they plan to stay in their jobs. Generation Z workers tend to prefer jobs that have some form of additional meaning, rather than just a salaried position. In addition to this, they are less likely than older generations to accept profits and pay under the opinion that they receive a fair share of profits and pay. It is important to recognize why Generation Z works, and what they choose a job for. 

            Deloitte has researched several of the top reasons that Generation Z workers have chosen their current job. 32% of workers strongly prioritized a high level of work-level balance. 29% chose to prioritize learning and development opportunities. 24% chose to fight for higher salaries. Finally, 23% of these individuals chose a positive workplace culture. Many of these workers also have hefty expectations about diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, also abbreviated as DEIB. 

            For Generation Z, work doesn’t just have to do with a way to kill time, but rather a way to support both them and their hobbies, and often satisfy some form of larger desire they have, such as philanthropy or charity. Understanding how to enable these needs can be a way to connect to these younger workers and have more loyal workers. DEI in the workplace shares great insight on how to properly foster loyalty in teams. 

What does Generation Z want within their Workplace?

            Generation Z has multiple aspects of a proper workplace that they feel is indispensable to their working career. According to Pew Research, Generation Z is more diverse than any other before it, especially in the professional working industry. One in five Generation Z workers identify as LGTBQIA and is less composed of Caucasians as previous generations. As mentioned before, this generation strongly prefers diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging within the workplace. Generation Z also has a few other things that they like to be modeled within their workplace as well.

·        A fair workplace- Gen Z has grown up with media and experiences explaining nepotism in great depth, such as in history classes, their part-time jobs, and elsewhere. Showing that promotions are awarded fairly, and that no employee is held in higher regard than everyone else for no reason can have a drastic impact on these workers’ perceptions of you as a manager.
·        A fast-paced workplace- Generation Z has been through multiple major world events as they have grown and matured. This list of events includes multiple pandemics, such as Ebola and COVID-19, 9/11, the rise and fall of ISIS, multiple natural disasters, and so much more. Generation Z has been conditioned to be extremely flexible and adaptive to trauma and occurrences. Similarly, they expect a workplace that is quick and easy to adapt to challenges. This makes them much better with problem-solving, if everyone around them is equally willing to rise to a challenge and adapt.
·        Involvement in major decision making- While not all decisions being made are ones that entry level workers should be involved in, there are certain decisions that anyone should be able to have a say in. This falls back to the Goreman Leadership styles, under the democratic leadership method. The democratic leadership styles state that any member can come in with an idea and can determine whether or not the idea is worth going forth with by using a consensus amongst other members, along with a final ruling by a leader. Democratic Leadership is particularly useful at getting team member involvement and retaining staff, but has a flaw in its speed, often taking time to come up with decisions.  However, since Generation Z is such a fast-working collective, they can overcome this hurdle easily.
·        Mentorship and Nurturing- Generation Z is by no means a “soft” generation, or unable to conduct networking. However, due to their fast paced and rapidly changing surroundings, they often need a hand in approaching certain cultures, or could be in use of a mentor. Fostering growth in these individuals can be rewarding and will make a dramatic difference to them.  Remember that your experience is a privilege that not everyone has been afforded yet. Use it to help the person who may one day help others down the line as well. 

All in all, Generation Z has a burning desire to work, but not just for themselves. With this in mind, and the resources stated above, use this information to make a workplace better suited to this younger demographic. By no means should this workplace exclude older people, but it should be a bridge between the two demographics. Understand that Generation Z will soon make up an even more significant part of the workplace, and that your actions could change the way that workplace looks. 

Wed 21 December 2022
“Work Hard, Play Hard.” We’ve all heard this term countless times. Oftentimes, it’s plastered on core value statements and repeated by colleagues as a badge of honor, supposedly as motivation for balancing work and play.  
 
There is no argument with working hard - it’s vital for any company to succeed. Without unwavering determination and an auspicious work ethic, your competition will out shadow you in a moment's notice.
 
But employees today aren’t interested in playing hard. They are interested in balance and work/life integration. The concept of play hard can have many connotations. By saying work hard, play hard, we are directly or indirectly communicating that all of our time must be at work or with work colleagues. Essentially, if we are working hard and then spending our free time playing hard with our colleagues, we are not allocating any time for ourselves to reset and recharge. On top of that, the notion of “play hard” also has many connections to partying and drug use/abuse which is not conducive to a balanced culture. 
 
The term “work hard, play hard” is a major red flag when being stated as a part of a company’s values or mission statement. 
 
“Play hard” glorifies a degenerate culture. Picture a group of suited bankers wearing loose ties, in a loud nightclub, spending a lot of money on bottle service, and making morally questionable decisions; then, showing up to work the next day hungover and reveling in party stories while “working.” These actions only work against the employees, owners and investors of the company. 
 
“I have nothing against drinking and do my share. And there are plenty of TaskUs events where we serve alcohol. However, I do not want to promote constant partying as an important part of our company’s culture, whether intended or implied,” Jaspar Weir, President of TaskUs, said. 
 
It creates social pressure to drink with your colleagues or be left out. Not to mention that being hungover and tired at work is unproductive. In general, getting wasted around your colleagues just isn’t a great idea. 
 
It perpetuates the tech-bro stereotype that startups, and even well-established companies, desperately need to change. Companies fostering toxic work environments, especially poor treatment of women, and fraternity-like cultures of heavy drinking and partying play a role in this stereotype. Employees, amplified by media cycles, are screaming that this behavior will not be tolerated. 
 
So, no more play?
 
No, we should all have fun!
 
Work Hard, Play Hard connotes that work itself is not fun, and all play happens outside of the office as a way of evening the scales between the doldrum of work and the excitement of what play can entail. We spend way too much of our waking adult lives in an office. Therefore, it’s in every company’s best interest to focus more on creating fun work environments that people enjoy, and ultimately promote employee engagement and better business results. 
 
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans spend nearly 40% of their day working - more than any other single activity in their day. Happiness makes people more productive at work, according to the latest research from the University of Warwick. Economists carried out several experiments to test the idea that happy employees work harder. In the laboratory, they found happiness made people around 12% more productive.
 
Employers must provide meaningful, quality interactions with employees where they can relate to one another on a personal level. This gives managers insight into why a normally productive teammate is falling behind due to underlying personal life stressors. It allows us to all be human together and enjoy time together at work.
 
Here are a few ideas for how to create a fun work environment: 
 
  1. Celebrate Small Wins
An essential aspect of a fun workplace culture is where people feel good about themselves and their work. While appreciating major accomplishments is necessary to increase employee morale, celebrating the small wins can be just as effective.
An employee has always been helpful to his team members. When an employee stayed late to cover a sick colleague’s work. When someone always comes to work on time. Or keeps his workplace immaculately clean. The tool AIM Insights measures this metric and calls it organizational citizenship.
Such day-to-day acts should not go under the radar and be appreciated as such.
It will indeed impart some positive vibes, laughter, team bonding and establish an overall fun working environment.
 
2. Ask employees what they want 
The best way to create a fun working environment is to ask your employees about what they want. There is usually a generational and positional gap seen between the manager and the team members.
Thus, what you may consider fun at work might not necessarily be so for the employees.
Therefore, consider it an excellent practice to ask or gather feedback from the team about what you should do to make the working environment more fun.
More often, you’ll find that they’ll be more than happy to help you since it benefits them as well. Also, it will provide an excellent bonding opportunity between the manager and the team members.
 
3. Team Building Fun Activities
Team building activities that involve some strategy, skills, and team members working together can be incredibly effective in creating a fun work environment.
Such fun activities provide a plethora of benefits, including:
 
●       Aids the team members into honing their strategic skillset.
●       Promotes team bonding through activities such as icebreaker questions.
●       Helping combat work pressure and stress.
●       Increase in creativity and confidence levels.
●       Inspires better communication between team members.
●       Such fun activities help to bring team members together and actually bond over something that all enjoy.
 
This creates a sense of camaraderie and that their colleagues can be friends. Perhaps, the most crucial benefit is that the learning and collaboration developed during such team-building fun games can help in the actual working environment.
 
Having fun without hard work does not promote good business. Ditching the “work hard, play hard” mantra and focusing more on creating a fun work environment doesn’t mean people are happy, but it is a step in the right direction to allowing employees a fun expression of their job, in a safe and responsible manner. 

Recent Contributors


Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Snehal Mantri
Snehal Mantri 3 articles

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Kayla Ambrose
Kayla Ambrose 14 articles

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Kendall Barndollar
Kendall Barndollar 14 articles

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Grace Tripathy
Grace Tripathy 60 articles

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Malhar Lakshman
Malhar Lakshman 42 articles

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Mindy Honcoop
Mindy Honcoop 3 articles

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Dolores Wuepper
Dolores Wuepper 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Brad Finkeldei
Brad Finkeldei 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Andrea Butcher
Andrea Butcher 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Susan Lindner
Susan Lindner 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Annie Meehan
Annie Meehan 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Shane Matthews
Shane Matthews 2 articles

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Nick Van Horn
Nick Van Horn 2 articles

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Megan King
Megan King 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Mike Johnson
Mike Johnson 3 articles

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Chip Stapleton
Chip Stapleton 2 articles

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Geoff McCuen
Geoff McCuen 3 articles

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Aaron Grady
Aaron Grady 3 articles

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Chaundra Covington-Rousseau
Chaundra Covington-Rousseau 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Vishal Kinkhabwala
Vishal Kinkhabwala 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Shontal Linder
Shontal Linder 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Bob Torstrick
Bob Torstrick 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Brandon Gaydorus
Brandon Gaydorus 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Dr. Colonel Solis
Dr. Colonel Solis 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Hallie Crawford
Hallie Crawford 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Evony Caldwell
Evony Caldwell 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Aseba Green
Aseba Green 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Rob Studivan
Rob Studivan 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Christy Wolfe
Christy Wolfe 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Dr. Toscha Dickerson
Dr. Toscha Dickerson 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Frank Mengert
Frank Mengert 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Janice Porter
Janice Porter 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Yvonne Heath
Yvonne Heath 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Andrea Constantine
Andrea Constantine 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Emma Kerr
Emma Kerr 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Wanda Thibodeaux
Wanda Thibodeaux 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Ashley Fontaine
Ashley Fontaine 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Mac Prichard
Mac Prichard 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by JT McCormick
JT McCormick 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Adam Posner
Adam Posner 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Lou Adler
Lou Adler 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Nick Smarrelli
Nick Smarrelli 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Jayne Fouché
Jayne Fouché 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Nicole Martin
Nicole Martin 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by David Elfman
David Elfman 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Joanna Severino
Joanna Severino 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Bree Deforest
Bree Deforest 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by John Boitnott
John Boitnott 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Andy Pham
Andy Pham 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Garrett Mintz
Garrett Mintz 90 articles

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Nicole Martin
Nicole Martin 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Ashira Prossack
Ashira Prossack 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Emilio Lorenzo
Emilio Lorenzo 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Caroline Ceniza-Levine
Caroline Ceniza-Levine 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Lexi Herrick
Lexi Herrick 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by David Meltzer
David Meltzer 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Lauren Schieffer
Lauren Schieffer 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Evangelia Leclaire
Evangelia Leclaire 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Heather Wilde
Heather Wilde 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Judith Humphrey
Judith Humphrey 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Dr. Ai Addyson-Zhang
Dr. Ai Addyson-Zhang 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Charmaine Hammond
Charmaine Hammond 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Kathy Caprino
Kathy Caprino 2 articles

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Erica Ballard
Erica Ballard 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Jordan Paris
Jordan Paris 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Marcus Wermuth
Marcus Wermuth 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Vinay Singh
Vinay Singh 1 article

Privacy Policy