leadership

8 habits of unproductive people

A little while back, I found myself engrossed in a lively chat with a bunch of incredibly inventive minds. Now, here's the quirky part – despite their undeniable brilliance, they were stuck in the unproductive maze. It was like a brilliant symphony playing out in a silent theater, where the curtain on their productivity had dropped.
These were individuals who had dazzled with their creativity, yet struggled to wrangle their productivity levels. As we delved deeper, a striking truth shone through – they had unwittingly forged intricate paths, perfect systems if you will, to thrive in the realm of unproductivity.
Their stories were so incredible fascinating, each thread weaving a unique journey into the labyrinth of inefficiency. And amidst this unconventional group, I was genuinely captivated by their accidental mastery of this peculiar art.
Again, I got curious... So I ask them to teach me their Perfect System on becoming virtuosos of unproductivity.
The outcome? An unexpected treasure trove of revelations, uncovering habits, perspectives, and strategies that often lead us astray from our full potential.
Let’s take a closer look how to become a master of unproductivity … and what to do instead. 😉
✔️ Neglect to Learning: Productive people are perpetual learners. Embrace a daily practice of learning – read, research, and absorb educational content that fuels your growth. Transform your acquired knowledge into actionable steps that amplify your productivity.
✔️ Fall for Distractions: In today's world, distractions clamor for attention. Tame distractions by focusing on tasks that genuinely matter. Slash disturbances and allocate specific periods for indulging in diversions, preserving your focused energy for what truly counts.
✔️ Get lost in strategy and planning & postpone action While strategy and planning hold value, it's action that propels outcomes. Find the equilibrium between crafting strategies and implementing them. Remember, productivity thrives on doing, not just ideating.
✔️ Don’t Plan A solid plan is the cornerstone of productivity. Meticulous individuals plot their days, weeks, and hours, ensuring each moment is purposefully allocated. Craft a roadmap that guides you through tasks, transforming your time into meaningful progress.
✔️ Never Prioritizing the Pivotal Recognize the distinction between busyness and productivity. Shift your attention to tasks with substantial impacts. Dodge the trap of investing time in activities offering minimal returns; instead, focus on those driving significant growth.
✔️ Avoid Challenges Achievers embrace challenges and persist through them. Productivity blossoms with unwavering commitment over time. Show up consistently and observe your productivity flourish as you overcome obstacles.
✔️ Get into the Worry Loop Worry is a productivity drain. Redirect your energy into constructive action. Reflect on past accomplishments propelled by concerns, realizing the limitations of excessive worry and enabling focused progress.
✔️ Embrace Procrastination Procrastination obstructs productivity. Transform it into a chance to engage in alternate productive pursuits. Channel your impulses toward tasks that propel advancement and redirect your energy towards meaningful accomplishments.
Become the Master of Your Time !

Let’s face it, we all get the same 24 hours in a day – no more, no less. Yet, those who truly succeed have a secret: they’ve cracked the code on making every second count. They’ve let go of unproductive habits that drain energy and focus. As you bid adieu to these counterproductive patterns, a world brimming with untapped potential awaits.

So, are you ready to roll up your sleeves and design a life bursting with productivity and triumph? 

But wait, I am curious:  What’s your signature unproductive habit, and how do you plan to master it?

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Affective presence

Stop Draining Your People and Energize Them Instead!

Ever had that nagging concern about how others feel about you? Are they looking up to you as their leader?  Do they feel good about you as their leader?

But guess what? How others feel about you is irrelevant. What truly matters is how people feel about themselves when they’re around you. When they interact with you, do they feel better or worse?

The way we make others feel in our presence is a valuable leadership skill. In the realm of psychology, it’s termed “affective presence.” Leaders with a positive affective presence show they care and are skilled at connecting with those around them. So, how about you? 

Let’s take a closer look on the concept of affective presence, its significance, and strategies for developing a positive affective presence to catalyze your leadership influence. Shall we?

affective presence - what?

The concept of “affective presence” was coined by psychologists N. Eisenkraft and H. Elfenbein in a study from 2010. They uncovered that some individuals exude an emotional influence that can either comfort or unsettle others. In simpler terms, affective presence is the emotional trail we leave on others through our mere presence… no matter of our own emotions or intentions. It’s an overall, lasting effect we leave on others.

Notably, there are both positive and negative affective presences. For instance, one may inspire excitement in the people around them, tends to cause their peers to feel anxious. In other words: one typically energizes people, while the other stresses them out! 

This concept is tightly linked to one’s ability to manage and communicate emotions effectively. (When investigating what distinguishes people who elicit a more positive or negative affect on others, researchers point to differences in expressive styles, such as aggressive and competitive versus kind and warm.)

4 reasons why affective presence is important

Eisenkraft’s & Elfenebin’s study (among other researchers) suggests that affective presence can have significant social consequences:

  1. People who elicit positive affect are more popular among their peers. Conversely, individuals who evoke negative emotions in their colleagues are more likely to be the target of counderproduvtive workplace behaviors, such as rudeness and taunting.
  2. Leaders who make other people feel good by their presence have teams that are better at sharing informations, which leads to more innovation! Team leaders with a negative affective presence have the opposite effect on their teams’ information sharing and innovation.
  3. Similiar, a different study also found that leaders with a positive affective presence encourage teams to communicate their create ideas. Especially, when a team leader had a higher positive affective presence, withholding of ideas was less likely in meetings where team members generated creative ideas.
  4. Leaders’ positive affective presence boosts the motivation and performance of hospitality service employees, who often work long hours with low pay and tight schedules, which can result in burnout. Service employees must posses high energy and enthusiasm to present customers with a friendly and welcoming demeanor. In this environment, the study says, “leader’s positive affective presence sends an important signal that leaders care about their employees’ wellbeing and acts as fuel to fire employees’ energy towar work”

How to strengthen your positive affective presence

Let’s face it… a positive or negative affective presence means you impact those in your presence. Cultivating a positive affective presence requires a deliberate and conscious decision to interact with others in a positive manner…. it’s a choice we must make daily until it becomes part of who we are and how we present ourselves. You see? A positive affective Presence is a habit, not rocket science! 

3 strategies for creating a positive affective presence:

1. Develop self-awareness

How to increase your self-awareness? Well, here are a few ways:
    • Understand your emotional triggers. What sets you off (emotionally)? Who are the people who get “under your skin”? These situations or people might cause you to have a negative affective presence.
    • Don’t surpress your emotions or deny the factors or people contributing to them. Instead, reflect on your emotions and  think about how you wanna manage those emotions before expressing them to others.
    • Pay attention to your emotions and your reactions. Observe and manage them (e.g.: do you ever notice yourself becoming combative/ annoyed/ angry/ competitive ?)  Awareness will help you manage these reactions more effectively, so you don’t act impulsively.

2. Tune in to others 

While self-awareness is crucial, understanding how your emotions, moods and behaviors  impact others is equally vital:                                                                                                 For example, before an important meeting, ask yourself:

  • What might people need from you in the moment? Perhaps they need support or reassurance during a corporate transition. Or they need a safe and non-judgmental environment to express their anxieties or dissatisfaction without concern for rebuke or rejection.
  • What impact do you want to make on others when you enter the room? Most people are quick to pick an emotional cues that might effect them. Don’t leave this to chance by deciding how you want to show up.
  • What is the emotional “footprint” you are hoping to leave behind? Whatever feeling you want to instill in others, you need to feel it yourself. For example, you must project calmness yourself if you want people to feel that way.

3. Exercise Self-discipline

How do you feel about the people you are interacting with? People have a knack for sensing your thoughts about them and will respond accordingly.

  • Shift your frame of mind about people you’re meeting, focus on  the positive qualities you may value in them and any positive experiences you’ve had with them. 
  • But most of all, take the high road and treat people with respect! Research shows that being treated with respect is fostering positive feelings.
  • You may experience instance of irritations, frustration or impatience throughout the day. The question is, says Elfenbein in an interview with J.Beck “ Can you regulate yourself so those blips don’t infect other people? Can you smooth over the noice in your life so other people aren’t affected?“ In short… ARE YOU GOOD COMPANY? 

The Journey to Positive Affective Presence

Imagine a coworker who remains composed during stressful situations. They defuse tension, create a positive environment, and are sought after for their calming presence. As you cultivate a positive affective presence, consider the enduring relationships you’ll build.

with much love and respect, Mrs.B.

Now, it’s your turn! How do you infuse authenticity and depth into your interactions? Your wisdom is invaluable – share your thoughts, experiences, and reflections in the comments below!

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The Anatomy of APOLOGIZING

Ever had someone apologize to you in a way that felt more like a slap in the face than a genuine admission of fault?  And, on the flip side, have you ever gotten an apology that felt like a warm cup of cocoa on a chilly day? I’ve been fortunate enough to experience both – thankfully more of the comforting kind. Growing up, my mom was all about good manners and kindness. She had this saying she’d pull out whenever my sister and I weren’t being friendly or forgot our “sorries.” “Put on a smile,” she’d say. And when we messed up, she’d chime in with, “Say you’re sorry – it’s like a magic fixer-upper.” She meant that apologizing could make things better, like sprinkling fairy dust on a mess. Oh, and if we dared to say “sorry but,” well, let’s just say we’d be in for a lecture – and not the fun kind!

Apologizing Gone Wrong

In my  leadership seminars, we give major props to apologizing. Why?  It’s a big deal because, let’s face it,  people simply don’t trust leaders who can’t apologize. Additionally, they need to apologize correctly – there’s a right and wrong way to say it. In my work with couples, I’ve heard a common complaint: “Their apologies just don’t cut it.” (Okay, the real words might be a tad saltier.) 

Whether it’s at work or in personal relationships, apologies can totally backfire if your tone and body language scream “I don’t really mean it.” And don’t even get me started on email apologies – The problem with the latter is that you can’t see the person or hear them – all you can go by is the words and the tone of the email. (Yes, emails do have a tone of voice.)

Apology Fails and Redos

While a heartfelt apology can heal hurt feelings and patch up your reputation, a bad apology can fan the flames and do even more harm than the very thing you’re apologizing for! So, let’s dive into some common apology mistakes, and how to avoid them:

Mistake 1: Apology with a “But”

Saying “I’m sorry, but” isn’t really an apology; it’s more like an excuse. “I’m sorry, but I was having a bad day” may sound like a mea culpa, but it’s really a deflection.

Rectification:  “I’m sorry for what I said/did. I was in a bad space, but that doesn’t make it right. How can I make it up to you?“

Mistake 2: Good Start, Bad Finish

An apology that starts well but ends poorly isn’t an apology; it’s an argument starter. “I’m sorry I did it. You triggered me though…” Hello, disagreement central! Can you hear the toxic cycle of a new argument being born here? I certainly can!

Rectification: “I’m sorry I said that. I didn’t like your tone, but I shouldn’t have reacted that way. How can we do it differently in future?” (We need to understand that it is a two-way street at times, without apportioning blame.)

Mistake 3: The Intent Mix-up

“I didn’t mean to hurt you” isn’t an apology. It’s not about your intention; it’s about your actions. 

Rectification: “I’m sorry for what I did and for hurting you. What can I do to make it better? How can I make amends?”

Mistake 4: Passive-Aggressive Play

“I’m sorry you feel that way” is a sneaky non-apology. It sounds like sorry but feels like sass. Here’s the problem: you can’t be sorry for how another person feels – it’s a way of using the words “I’m sorry,” but without any investment in the apology.
Rectification: If you’re truly sorry, say, “I’m sorry my words/actions had such an effect on you. I will be more aware of what I say and how I say it in future.”

Don’t forget: 

An apology needs to be sincere. It needs to show that the person apologizing is taking responsibility for what they did or said, showing remorse, and sharing how they intend to make amends going forward.

After the Apology

But here’s the hard truth: an apology is  not  enough. You’ve got to back it up with action. An apology needs legs to stand on; otherwise, it’s like a fancy outfit on a mannequin – pretty, but not functional. After the apology, it’s necessary to show, by how you speak and behave, that you’re putting in the work to change.

Being able to apologize sincerely, without getting defensive or huffy, is a sign of maturity and strength. It shows that you’re not too big or important to be vulnerable –  It shows you’re strong enough to admit your „goof“ and fix it. 

So, say you’re sorry and let’s keep the peace. (Thanks, Mom!)

What’s your distinctive approach to mastering the art of apologizing? How do you infuse authenticity and depth into your apologies? Your wisdom is invaluable – share your reflections!

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the trick is not being successful.

The real magic happens when you start being human!

You’ve probably heard this before:

“Hard things are easy; easy things are hard.”

This is called the  Moravec’s Paradox.

A short definition about hard and soft skills

Behind the term “Hard Skills” are simply our professional competences that we have learned in the course of your education and developed through our professional life. Therefore “Hard Skills” are easy to define: They include such things as finance, data analytics, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and strategic thinking. What “Hard Skills” does your position requires ?

It is harder to define soft skills. And indeed, they are also harder to measure.

Soft skills, also known as core competencies, are skills that apply to all professions. They include critical thinking, problem solving, public speaking, professional writing, teamwork, digital literacy, leadership, professional attitude, work ethic, career management and intercultural competence…. so also interpersonal emotional skills such as empathy and resilience.

They are in contrast to hard skills, which are specific to individual professions and they are really hard to train and a hell of a lot depends on them! Because they represent a tremendously large field of “faux pas” which, if committed, can be very, very expensive.

So soft skills are actually the most difficult skills.

But you already know that.

But you already know that. You’re a people person, right?

Richard Feynman once said “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself—and you are the easiest person to fool.”

And isn’t that true for all of us no matter where we stand in life?

Feyman’s 1st principle does not distinguish between billionaires and first-year students, or whether you are busy founding your first start-up or have completed your third million-dollar exit.

A psychology research paper, Unskilled And Unaware Of It, by J Kruger et al., says:

We all lack self insight some of the time. And, in particular, when we’ve strayed beyond our sphere of competence, we may lack the competence to know it.

And the follow up paper, Skilled Or Unskilled, But Still Unaware Of It, by Katherine A Burson et al., points out that on more difficult tasks, high performers are even less accurate than the worst performers in their judgments.

So what?

Smart, successful, wealthy people are at greater risk of their own errors of judgement, each time they start a new project.

So to be amongst the very best impacting leaders is to recognize that even you can’t trust the way we think. 

Which is why every great leader needs the support of a modern concierge-system. And the good news is in this so called “century of coaching” you can easily have this support. 

As Hugh McLeod once said, “The trick isn’t being successful. The trick is being human.”

the trick is not being successful. Read More »