How to Boost the Morale of Your Team

High morale is often the little recognized secret to success. Organizations and leaders that work to ensure the morale and engagement level of their people remain high, outperform those who don’t. Boosting the morale of your team is essential for maintaining productivity, job satisfaction, and overall team cohesion. High morale can lead to increased motivation, creativity, and a more positive work environment. High morale means lower turnover and far fewer personal issues, even in turbulent times. Here are some strategies to intentionally boost your team’s morale on a regular basis.

• Effective Communication:

• Keep an open line of communication with your team members. Regularly check in with them to see how they are doing both personally and professionally.

• Provide clear and transparent information about company goals, expectations, and changes. It is virtually impossible to over communicate.

• Recognize and Appreciate:

• Acknowledge and appreciate the hard work and contributions of your team members. Publicly praise their achievements, either in team meetings or through company-wide channels.

• Consider implementing a rewards and recognition program to formally acknowledge outstanding performance. People tend to do what’s required of them for pay, they do more than required for the recognition.

• Provide Opportunities for Growth:

• Offer opportunities for skill development and career advancement within the organization.

• Help team members set and achieve professional goals. Provide resources and support for their growth. If your people are not aware of their career path within your organization then they have no career path within your organization.

• Empower and Delegate:

• Trust your team members with responsibility and delegate tasks that align with their skills and interests.

• Empower them to make decisions within their areas of expertise, fostering a sense of ownership and autonomy. There is very little that can boost morale more than being trusted by the people above you in the organization.

• Work-Life Balance:

• Encourage a healthy work-life balance. Avoid overloading your team with excessive work or unrealistic deadlines.

• Promote flexible working arrangements when possible, such as remote work or flexible hours.

• Team Building:

• Organize team-building activities and events to strengthen team bonds.

• Create a sense of camaraderie and shared purpose through team projects and collaborative efforts. Remember, the deepest relationships are typically built “off the clock” so provide opportunities for those relationships to grow.

• Provide Constructive Feedback:

• Offer regular, constructive feedback to help team members improve their skills and performance.

• Focus on specific behaviors and outcomes, and provide guidance on how to make positive changes. Your people NEED to know how they are doing, without direct input from their leaders their imaginations take over and that’s usually not helpful for morale.

• Lead by Example:

• Demonstrate a positive attitude, strong work ethic, and professionalism.

• Be a role model for the behaviors and values you want to see in your team.

• Address Issues Promptly:

• Address conflicts and issues within the team promptly and professionally.

• Show that you are committed to resolving problems and maintaining a positive work environment.

• Celebrate Achievements:

• Celebrate team and individual achievements, whether they are big or small. This can include milestones, project completions, or personal accomplishments.

• Use celebrations as an opportunity to build team spirit and show your appreciation.

• Provide Support During Challenges:

• During difficult times, such as tight deadlines or challenging projects, offer your support and help your team manage stress.

• Show empathy and understanding for their concerns and provide resources if needed.

Leadership is not a part-time job. Authentic Leaders know that like creating a solid culture, boosting morale is an ongoing process. It requires consistent effort, adaptability, and a genuine commitment to the well-being and success of your team members. By implementing these strategies, you can create a positive work environment that fosters high morale and team satisfaction.

That will make your life as a leader much more rewarding and much less stressful. But as always, the amount of effort you put into the morale building process is completely up to you. I hope for your people’s sake, you choose to put in a whole lot of effort.

How to Stop Procrastinating

I was going to write this post a while back but… okay, so that’s just too easy a joke for such a serious topic. Procrastination kills a whole lotta people’s chance at success. It’s almost like an addiction. Stopping procrastination can be incredibly challenging, but with the right strategies and mindset, you can overcome it. Here are some ideas to help you stop procrastinating right now.

• Start by identifying the reasons behind your procrastination. Is it due to a lack of motivation, fear of failure, task aversion, or something else? Understanding the root cause can help you address it effectively.

• Clearly define your goals and break them down into smaller, manageable tasks. When you have a clear vision of what you want to achieve, it becomes easier to stay focused.

• Use techniques like the Eisenhower Matrix to prioritize tasks based on their importance and urgency. Focus on high-priority tasks first, and tackle less important ones later.

• Write down your daily tasks in a to-do list. This helps you visualize your workload and stay organized. Cross off tasks as you complete them to gain a sense of accomplishment.

• Establish deadlines for your tasks, even if they are self-imposed. Having a sense of urgency can motivate you to start working on your tasks sooner.

• Techniques like the Pomodoro Technique, which involves working hard for a set amount of time (e.g., 25 minutes) followed by a short break, can help you maintain focus and prevent burnout.

• Identify and remove distractions from your workspace. This may include turning off notifications, silencing your phone, or using website blockers to prevent access to distracting websites.

• If a task feels overwhelming, break it down into smaller, more manageable sub-tasks. This makes it easier to get started and maintain momentum.

• Pay attention to when you are most alert and focused during the day, and schedule your most important tasks during these periods.

• Share your goals with a friend or colleague who can help hold you accountable. Alternatively, you can use productivity apps and tools that track your progress.

• Create a system of rewards for completing tasks. This can serve as positive reinforcement and make tasks more enjoyable.

• Developing self-discipline is crucial for overcoming procrastination. This involves training yourself to stick to your commitments and push through resistance.

• Be kind to yourself. Everyone procrastinates from time to time. Instead of berating yourself for procrastinating, focus on learning from your experiences and making positive changes.

• Overcoming procrastination is an ongoing process. It may take time to develop new habits and strategies, so don’t be discouraged by setbacks. Stay persistent and keep working towards your goals.

Stopping procrastination is a journey, and it requires consistent effort and self-awareness. Start by implementing one or two of these strategies and gradually build upon them to create a more productive and focused daily routine.

You can do it, just remember, the sooner you eliminate the scourge of procrastination from your life the better your life will be.

Want more of LeadToday? I’ve changed things up on my Twitter feed for subscribers. I recently began publishing two or three videos each week focusing on an element of Authentic Leadership. I’ll post these videos each Tuesday and Thursday morning. Sometimes a bonus video pops up at other times during the week. They will be about 10 minutes long so we can get into the topic in a more meaningful way. The investment for subscribers in still only $4.99 a month. That’s for at least 80 MINUTES of quality video content on leadership a month.

If you’re interested in taking a look, head on over to my Twitter profile page. If you’re not a follower yet just hit the follow button. It will change to a subscribe button and once you hit that you’re on your way. You can cancel at any time you’ve decided you have nothing left to learn about leading the people who you count on for your success.

Here’s the link to my Twitter…

How to Deal With Worry and Stress

Dealing with worry and stress is essential for maintaining mental and physical well-being. While it’s natural to experience these emotions from time to time, chronic worry and stress can have a ton of adverse effects on your health. You likely won’t like hearing this but the truth is, most of the stress in our lives is self-inflected. We over commit, we allow others easy access to our time, and we struggle mightily to say the one little word that is a proven stress killer…no.

But sometimes no just isn’t appropriate, like when the boss “encourages” you to say yes. So here are some other ideas that can help you manage and reduce worry and stress.

• Start by pinpointing the specific causes of your worry and stress. Knowing what’s triggering these feelings can help you address the root of the problem. Looking in the mirror is a great place to start. Before anything else, make certain it’s not you who holds the unrealistic expectations of what you can and cannot do.

• Get away from the source. Even a short break from the source of the stress can make a ton of difference. That’s why it’s so important to NOT eat lunch at your desk. It may seem to be productive but it’s often the most counterproductive thing you can do. You need to recharge, even if it’s only for 15-30 minutes. You’ll finish the day with more energy and less stress.

• So, I don’t have a lot of credibility here but people who know about this stuff swear that physical activity can release endorphins, which are natural mood lifters. They say regular exercise also helps reduce stress hormones in your body. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week.

• I’m getting better at this and can vouch for the fact that a well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can positively impact your mood and stress levels. Avoid excessive caffeine and sugar, which can exacerbate anxiety.

• Prioritize getting enough sleep each night (typically 7-9 hours for adults). Lack of sleep can make stress worse, so establish a regular sleep schedule and create a relaxing bedtime routine.

• Organize your tasks and prioritize them. No one has more time than you. But if you’re constantly stressed out it’s likely because you don’t have well defined priorities. Create a to-do list and break down large tasks into smaller, more manageable steps. Do them in order of importance…this is why you NEED priorities. This can prevent feeling overwhelmed.

• Some goals need to stretch you to your limits. If they don’t you’ll never know what your limits truly are. But don’t set yourself up for failure by making every goal overly ambitious. Be realistic about what you can accomplish in a given timeframe.

• I once went to Urgent Care with a sore arm. The doctor asked me when the arm hurt. I said whenever I move it like this. He said, “okay, don’t move it like that.” I wanted my copay back. But I got his point, if something is causing pain then stop doing it. The source of the pain might fix itself in short order. It works that way for stress too. If possible, avoid or limit exposure to situations, or environments that consistently cause stress. This might involve setting boundaries or making lifestyle changes. If you’ve identified certain people around you as a source of your stress limit your time around those people as much as possible.

• I have a personal “rule” that there must be some fun in everyday. It’s a top top priority for me. It should be for you too. So invest some time doing activities you enjoy and that help you relax, whether it’s reading, painting, gardening, or listening to music. These can serve as healthy distractions.

• Regularly remind yourself of the things you’re grateful for. Keeping a gratitude journal can help shift your focus from negative thoughts to positive ones. The new iPhone operating system makes it incredibly easy to keep track of what you’re grateful for. This is unscientific but I’m pretty darn sure stress can’t find its way into a grateful heart.

• Sorry friends but booze might hide stress for a little while but it doesn’t do a thing to eliminate it. In fact, excessive use of stimulants like caffeine and alcohol can exacerbate stress and anxiety. Moderation is key, and reducing or eliminating these substances may be best.

Remember that managing worry and stress is an ongoing process. It requires a fair amount of intentionality. What works for one person may not work for another, so experiment with different strategies to find what suits you best. Consistency and patience are key to long-term stress management.

Want more of LeadToday? I’ve changed things up on my Twitter feed for subscribers. I recently began publishing two or three videos each week focusing on an element of Authentic Leadership. I’ll post these videos each Tuesday and Thursday morning. Sometimes a bonus video pops up at other times during the week. They will be about 10 minutes long so we can get into the topic in a more meaningful way. The investment for subscribers in still only $4.99 a month. That’s for at least 80 MINUTES of quality video content on leadership a month.

If you’re interested in taking a look, head on over to my Twitter profile page. If you’re not a follower yet just hit the follow button. It will change to a subscribe button and once you hit that you’re on your way. You can cancel at any time you’ve decided you have nothing left to learn about leading the people who you count on for your success.

Here’s the link to my Twitter…

Look Around

Many years ago, I’ll bet at least 30 years, I was listening to a futurist speak. If you’re wondering what a futurist is they describe themselves as “being to the future what an historian is to the past.” I’m not sure I entirely agree with that description. A historian documents events that actually happened. It’s usually easy to determine if their documentation is accurate or not. 

A futurist studies current events and trends and then predicts what will happen in the future. They often say things like “in twenty years this will happen.” They get paid for saying those things and I’m betting their paycheck is completely spent before anyone has a clue about whether or not their vision of the future is even close to accurate. 

Anyway, this particular futurist said that by the year 2010 the greatest challenge humans would face is determining how to use all the free time that would be created by technology. He predicted great advances in all kinds of technology. Truth be told he was spot on about most of what he said. 

But the “free time” prediction was a huge swing and a miss. While much of the technology has no doubt been beneficial it has also greatly increased the speed at which we work and live. We now live in a world where “Minute Rice” takes way too long to prepare. We want instant results. 

The lines that used to separate our personal lives from our work lives are very blurry these days. A quick peek at our cell phones during dinner can pull us right back into work mode. If not physically at least mentally. 

Technology has done anything but bury us in free time. It has made us busier than ever. 

But has it made us more productive?

There are an endless list of apps labeled as “productivity apps” available today. I’ve got a bunch of them on my phone and iPad. But I’ve discovered one weakness to all of them. You have to use them for them to be effective. Actually, I can’t say that for sure either since I’ve never really used them but I’m taking the app developers at their word. 

There are also a ton of “automation” type apps. Apps that claim to do things for you, like turning off your lights, and starting your coffee maker before you’re even out of bed. Some of my favorite are the reminder apps. They are effective at reminding me of all the stuff I once thought it would be good to get done. 

There’s even a brand new app that helps you “reboot you age” and help you live as if you’re 50 years younger. I’d imagine that’s not recommended for people under 50?

But not one of those apps can help anyone who doesn’t want to be helped. Not one of those apps will have the influence on you that the people you spend your time with will.

So if you truly want to be more productive and successful then look around. Who are the people around you? Who are you listening to? Who are you allowing to put thoughts into your head? Who are you modeling yourself after? 

There are likely two main groups around you, those who promote your purpose and those who pervert your purpose. The first group helps you be more successful. The second group is, frankly, an anchor around your productivity. They are holding you back. Their influence robs you of both productive time and free time. 

The people in your life who pervert your purpose do so because they have not identified a purpose for their own life. The only way they can have “friends” is to hold them back at their level. 

If you want to achieve your full potential then you need to recognize which of the people you’re hanging around with are promoting your purpose and which ones are not. When you surround yourself with supportive individuals then your productivity explodes. You accomplish more in less time. You have a chance to become who and what you were born to be. 

I don’t know if technology will ever create more free time for us but this much I do know. When your productivity increases so does your free time. You will discover you can do more in less time. You’ll discover that you do in fact have time to spare. Time to do what you wish. Maybe even time for yourself. 

It would be nice if an app could one day do that for you. But for now it’s up to you and it begins by choosing the people you allow into your life more wisely. You are very much a compilation of the five people you spend the most time with. 

Choose those five people very very carefully. 

On a another note… Everyone can use a “nudge” towards success. I’m trying something new on Twitter. It’s called “Super Followers.” For $5 a month, that’s 17 cents a day, people can follow a part of my Twitter stream that is for subscribers only. It features short videos of me discussing leadership topics, sales tips and ideas for better overall relationships. I’m assuming there will be far fewer Super Followers than the million or so people who regularly follow me on Twitter. That will give me the opportunity to answer questions more throughly than I can on regular Twitter. Most of the answers will come in the evening cause we all have day jobs, right? Think of it as ”mentoring on demand!”

My goal with SuperFollowers is to build a better connection, one where I can help more and have a greater impact. I’m hoping it gives me a chance to mentor to a wider audience. It’s still new, we’ll see how it works. It’s a $5 dollar investment that may be the extra “push” you need to get to where you want to be. I’d be honored to be able to help get you there. 

You can find more information by clicking the Super Follow button on my Twitter profile page IN THE TWITTER APP. Give it a try if you’re so inclined, and if you are, be sure to let me know how I’m doing and how I can be of even more help.

When Slowing Down is the Fastest Way Forward

Steve Jobs said, “Details matter, it’s worth waiting to get it right.”

Everyone I know is busy. Some of them are even productive. The most successful people understand that those two things, busy and productive are far from being the same. 

Surprisingly many busy people are huge procrastinators. Productive people rarely delay doing what needs to be done. Busy people are frequently masters of becoming very proficient at doing things that don’t need to be done. Productive people can tell you exactly what needs to be done and why. They specifically know the return on their investment of time for almost any activity they undertake. 

Busy people also tend to get things done faster than productive people. They are even faster the second or third time they redo something because their imagined “efficiency” causes mistakes. Busy people are the rabbits in the race. 

Productive people know that they can often finish first by coming in second. Their first effort may take longer than a busy person’s but their first effort is their only effort. They are not afraid to sacrifice a bit of efficiency for effectiveness. Productive people are the tortoises in the race and they are not a bit embarrassed by it.

John Wooden, the Hall of Fame Basketball coach from UCLA asked, “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?” 

It’s a question that busy people should ask themselves before they rush to complete a task solely for the purpose of completing it. They may find that slowing down is the fastest way to actually complete anything. They will find that doing something right the first time is alway faster then doing it two or threes times and still not doing it as well as the productive person did it. 

So which type of person are you? Busy or productive? If you’re the busy type then when you’re short on time you tend to speed up even more. That’s counterproductive. If you’re a productive type then you know that when you’re most busy it’s best to take a breath. It’s best to plan your course of action and make sure that whatever you’re trying to accomplish you can complete it on your first attempt. 

The pace of the world has never been faster. It’s perfectly okay to let some things, like busy people, wiz past you as you’re being productive. Don’t worry about the people running past you, you’ll see them again when they finally reach the finish line where you’ve been waiting for what seems like forever. 

The Remote Work Genie is Out of the Bottle

At last! Finally people are returning to their places of work. Office buildings are coming alive with the sounds of collaboration and spontaneous conversations. It’s an awesome sign that at least in parts of the world “things” are returning to normal.

“Normal” however is a relative term. It would be a terrible waste of an unprecedented time of learning if everything went back to exactly the way it was before turmoil overtook almost every business.

But some companies seem determined to return as close to pre-pandemic working conditions as possible.

It won’t be possible!

It won’t be possible because their employees won’t allow it. There will be a mighty battle for control within organizations that try to return completely to the way things were in the “before times.” Make no mistake about it, organizations that insist on having all employees in the office full time, all the time feel that is the only way they can control their people.

The truth is Authentic Leaders need neither compliance or control because they have the commitment of their people.

Employee survey after employee survey shows those organizations will be fighting a losing battle. Literally losing. Losing people by the droves. When you average out some of the bigger surveys you discover that 39% of an organization’s employees say they will consider quitting rather than returning to the office full time. Companies that have been among the first to attempt returning their people back to full time office work are discovering that half of that 39% are doing more than considering, they are in fact quitting.

If your organization is considering returning your workforce to full time office work there are a few things you may want to consider.

First, you have no control over who returns and who quits. You will lose some very talented people. The least engaged and least productive people are in fact the most likely to stay. You will negatively impact the productivity of your organization…all in the name of “control.”

One of the greatest resources a company has when recruiting new employees is it’s current employees. They can be constant “ambassadors” for your organization. Or not. Which one do you think is the more likely case if you’ve forced them to return to old, in many cases less productive ways? All in the name of control.

As you lose employees you will likely want to replace them. Good luck with that. Some surveys show over 80% of Millennial and Gen Z employees would not even accept an interview with a company that doesn’t offer flexible remote work options. You will struggle mightily to hire new employees…all in the name of control.

There are some people who, for a variety of reasons, cannot work remotely. There are some people who simply should not work remotely. But over the last 15 months most office employees have proven that they can. Their expectation is that they will be allowed to continue that at least part time.

The remote work genie is out of the bottle and no one is going to get it all the way back in.

There is no doubt about the power of collaboration and spontaneous hallway conversations. Face-to-face meetings allow people to connect and communicate in a way that Zoom and Teams never will. Every organization needs people back in the office at least sometimes.

They also need to find the balance that allows a level of flexibility for their people.

Nothing will go back to exactly the way it was before the pandemic. It won’t because it can’t. Organizations that learn to adapt to that reality will have a huge competitive advantage when recruiting new employees. They will also be far more likely to retain the talented ones they already have.

Finish Before You Start

Everybody knows procrastination is bad. What many people don’t know is that multi-tasking is one of the worst forms of procrastination you’ll ever see.

I know there are people who swear by their multi-tasking “skills.” If you’re one of those I’d like to ask you to sing your favorite song WHILE you read this post. Not AFTER you read it and not BEFORE, read it WHILE you’re singing. That’s multi-tasking!

If you’re so confident in your ability to multi-task then I have another offer for you. If you’re willing to read this while you sing there will be a test available for you online. If you answer every question right you’ll receive a check for a million bucks. (That might be fake news)

Are you still confident enough to risk a million bucks by reading this WHILE you sing?

If you are then I’ll bet you’ve cost yourself way more than a million bucks worth of productivity through the years. That’s because rather than improve your productivity multi-tasking kills it.

For the record, actual multi-tasking is impossible for a human being to do. You can have a bunch of balls in the air but you can only focus on one at a time. You cannot compartmentalize your brain to do two entirely different things at exactly the same time. You simply can’t.

So you move from one thing to another to another going back and forth and back and forth. You do none of them as effectively as if you were focusing on them one at a time. All this switching back and forth causes each task to take longer to accomplish as well.

4 tasks done singularly, to the exclusion of other distractions may take an hour. Doing those tasks all at once through multi-tasking (at least what people think is multi-tasking) will likely add at least 25% to the time it takes to complete them all. That means your one hour of productivity has consumed nearly 90 minutes.

If you don’t believe that then you have never used a time log to determine where your time goes during each 24 hour period that we call a day.

The most productive people finish what they are doing before they start something new. If it’s a big task they may break it into pieces and work on it at different times of the day or different days of the week. But when they are not working on it they put it out of sight so as to not be distracted by it.

Focus wins the productivity battle! It always has and it always will.

If you’re attempting to focus on several things at once then you have no focus. Sorry to break that to you but the sooner you believe it the sooner your productivity will soar!

Skip the multi-tasking for a week. See if you’re not accomplishing more. Prove me wrong if you dare to try. But if I’m right you won’t need me to send you a million bucks; you’ll be on your way to making it on your own.