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7 Proven Ingredients for Building Resilience
 
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Resilience - the ability to adapt and bounce back.

 

Today’s business world is constantly changing, more so than ever before. From markets to work environments, leaders now need to plan for both the expected and the unexpected. Resilience is playing an increasingly important role in a company’s ability to adapt to change and overcome the challenges associated with it.

 

We all know that no business, individual or team is perfect. There will always be challenges, tension and failure, no matter what role or business you’re in. In order to not only survive but to thrive you need to be resilient.

 

Building resilience is easy for situations where we have control, but it is far more challenging in situations where we are not in control.

 

Here are seven proven ingredients for building resilience:

 

Connectedness 

Teams with strong relationships underpinned with trust and understanding always outperform those without. This is particularly true for teams facing obstacles.

 

Engagement

Connectedness leads to greater employee engagement. Engaged employees are more likely to bounce back from setbacks because they’re more invested and want to see your company succeed. They are also more likely to tackle challenges.

 

Review

Resilience is more than simply moving on. It involves reflection and review. Resilient teams ask questions such as ‘What worked and what didn’t work?, How can we do better next time?, What have we learned?’.

 

Future Focus

Maintaining a positive outlook towards the future is a crucial component of resilience. While learning from the past is important, dwelling on it is not. A leader’s mood has a huge impact on the mood of the team. It is easy to be positive and confident when things are going well. However, optimism has a greater impact in the face of problems. A great leader should maintain their optimism despite how they may be feeling.

 

Recognition & Growth

The majority of employees feel that their importance to an organisation is the main source of their commitment to a company. Recognising employees for their accomplishments is a great way to foster a culture of recognition, growth and resilience.

 

Vulnerability 

Consistently demonstrating personal control and resolve is a well known leadership trait, however it is vulnerability that is most powerful in building team resilience. When a leader role models vulnerability and resolve in the face of vulnerability, they make it ok for their team to do the same and helps boost team resilience.

 

Identify Difficult People 

Within each team in various situations there may be employees who are more difficult or who are bringing down the overall morale among team members. The negativity of even just one employee can have an impact on the overall resilience of a team. Good leadership and a healthy company culture means identifying these people early on and intervening. Addressing the underlying issues that individual team members are experiencing can boost their morale and in turn the resilience of the team.

 

 

Taking the steps to build resilience will put your team in a strong position when faced with inevitable challenges. Building resilience is something that all organisations need to plan for before the difficult times hit. Be ready so your people and organisation will reap the rewards.


 
Active Listening for Leaders

Active Listening: an Essential Leadership Skill

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“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

Stephen Covey, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

Being a great leader is not just about what you say and do, it involves listening to the voices of others too. Active listening is an essential leadership skill and core component of emotional intelligence. How many times have employees within organisations said that they just want their voices to be heard? People want leaders who listen to them, and doing so is a very effective way to inspire and motivate them.


What does it take to be a good listener?

Active listening goes above and beyond simply being quiet and paying attention. It involves body language, participation and exploring the conversation. There are many components that contribute to this skill, here are a few major ones:


6 Components of Active Listening

1. Undivided Attention: Pay attention to what the other person is saying and avoid being distracted by your own thoughts and thinking of what you are going to say next. Ensure your phone is away so that you’re able to give the person your undivided attention. If you’re not able to, it may be able to reschedule for another time that you can. Giving someone your undivided attention demonstrates respect.


2. Body Language: Show that you are listening through your body language. This can be done through eye contact, nodding your head, facial expressions, short statements such as ‘yes’ and ‘mhmmmm’ and keeping your body turned in the same direction as the person you are listening to.


3. Withhold Judgement: Leaders need to be receptive to new ideas, perspectives and ways of doing things. Maintain an open mind while listening and avoid jumping to conclusions. While you may have an opinion, active listening involves allowing the other person to express theirs without interjections or criticism. Allow the person to have time to think and speak before responding or contributing your perspective.


4. Seek Clarity: If you are not sure or do not understand what the person is getting at don’t be afraid to ask questions. Open-ended questions are great tools for learning more about the person and expanding the conversation.


5. Restate What You Hear: Restating the underlying themes you hear in a conversation shows the other person that you understand what they are saying and are truly listening. It also allows them to realise if their point is not coming across clearly and rectify it in the event that what you have restated does not align with what they are trying to communicate.


6. Share: Active listening begins with understanding, and ends with being understood. As the conversation progresses feel free to deepen it by contributing your own perspective, experiences and ideas. This will build a rapport and positive relationship.


The Impact of Active Listening

Listening builds trust, creates transparency and fosters loyalty. Active listening also give leaders insight and makes them more mindful of the stress and tension points of those they lead. It encourages stronger communication between leaders and team members and drives engagement. It can also act as an indispensable soft skill during the conflict resolution process.

By taking the time to master this skill leaders can go from simply being leaders to being influential leaders within their respective organisations. Going the extra mile and encouraging employees to learn active listening skills or providing them with training can truly transform an organisation and team culture.

Developing Heightened Emotional Intelligence
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Our emotions drive our behaviour and have an impact on others. We respond to stimuli in our environment on an emotional level and many of our decisions are based on these feelings.  Emotional intelligence, or EQ, is defined as the ability to recognise, understand and manage our own emotions as well as recognise, understand and influence the emotions of others.

According to Talent Smart, 90 percent of high performers possess high EQ, while 80 percent of low performers have a low EQ. Increasing our EQ can have a huge impact on our relationships, careers, self-control and perspective. The good news is that your emotional intelligence can be enhanced and improved overtime so long as you have the desire to learn and grow.

While emotional intelligence is commonly treated as a quality in and of itself it is actually a collection of many traits. Here are some of the top qualities associated with high EQ and ways you can enhance them:


Self-Awareness

To be self-aware is to understand how we are interacting with and reacting to stimuli in our environment. It is the ability to understand and see ourselves and adjust our behaviour accordingly. Increasing our own self-awareness involves being mindful of how our thoughts manifest themselves in our body. Pay attention to how your feelings feel, whether it be carrying tension or an increased heart rate. By developing deeper mind-body awareness we are better able to recognise our emotions and the impact they may be having on us. By becoming more aware of our emotions we are better able to evaluate them and deal with them accordingly.


Empathy

Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else's shoes and is an essential quality of emotional intelligence. It gives us perspective and connects us to others on a deeper level. While our primary experience of empathy is simply a reaction to others, greater empathy can be learned and improved by experiences and mindfulness. Taking the perspective of another person is not something most of us do reactively. It involves taking the time to mentally imagine how they may be feeling. To become more empathetic take a moment to put yourself in the other person's shoes and then determine the best way to interact with them.


Adaptability

Emotionally intelligent people recognise that they can always change and know when to adjust their sails. Adaptability is recognizing that the current method or course is not leading them in the direction they need to be going and trying different strategies rather than giving up. Frustration or feeling as though you are ‘in a rut’ can be a red flag that you need to adapt. Leaders constantly need to adapt their leadership method in order to motivate and inspire those who follow them. If you have been trying one approach and find you are not getting the results you want, it may be time to adapt.


Prioritisation

A major part of increasing your EQ is being able to distinguish between things you need and things you want and prioritise them accordingly. This also involves an internal awareness about what we need and want in our lives versus what society tells us we should want: a mansion, luxury car and the latest phone. We all have the potential to do many things, but only 24 hours to do it in. It is easy to make a long list of things we should be doing but at the end of the day the difference lies in knowing what not to do.


The Ability to Analyse & Apply Logic

It is important to be able to look at our emotions and behaviour, and that of others, with a non-reactive, more logical lense. By thinking deeply and analyzing the information we have rather than simply reacting we are able to evaluate our habits and ways of doing things and determine how we may improve them in the future. It is when we are on the verge of losing control, take a step back and try to process your emotions in a more logical manner. This will help you regain your sense of control and move towards problem solving rather than being a victim of your own emotions.


Being Inquisitive

Emotionally intelligent people ask lots of questions because they are willing to learn and improve. A sense of curiosity is essential to personal growth. This quality also has a positive impact on relationships as it allows you to deepen your empathy and understanding of others by asking lots of questions. This is a fairly straightforward quality to cultivate, you simply need to start asking more questions and you will slowly find that you get better at knowing what questions to ask and getting the right answers.


Optimism

Developing heightened emotional intelligence means believing in yourself and others. Approaching tasks with a positive attitude tends to lead to better outcomes.

The most important part of maintaining a positive attitude is being able to manage our own negative emotions. Try to be less reactive and avoid jumping to conclusions. Look at the situation from multiple perspectives before reacting. This reduces the chances of a misunderstanding due to a negative assumption.

Another obstacle to optimism is fear. Fear of rejection can hold us back. An emotionally intelligent way to deal with fear is to give ourselves lot of options when dealing with important situations, also termed scenario planning, so that no matter what happens we have confidence in our ability to cope and choose alternatives.

Staying Calm

We all experience stress, it is how we handle this stress that makes the difference. Emotionally intelligent people know how to be assertive rather than reactive when under pressure. When faced with stress our bodies often go into ‘fight or flight’ mode. One of the best ways to stay calm is to get rid of the physical presentation of stress in the body and back into your mind. This can be done through breathing exercises, physical activity and making sure we get enough rest when under stress.


We all have varying degrees of emotional intelligence and different strengths and weaknesses within our EQs. Identify which aspects of developing heightened emotional intelligence need the most attention. This approach will help you deepen your understanding of yourself and others and allow you to be a better friend, family member, partner, parent, coworker and leader.

10 Habits of High Performers
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When we look at successful people we often think they are lucky, when in reality success is almost certainly the result of hours of work, sacrifices and learning from when things haven’t gone to plan. Although each person has their own individual path to creating successful outcomes there are several habits that are common among high achievers.

Here are some of the top habits of high performers:

1. Embracing the Morning

The easiest way to let the day slip away from you is to sleep through it. By having a healthy morning routine high performers set the tone for the day. It is far easier to optimise your time when you wake up at the same time each day and have a consistent routine. Ensure your morning routine sets your mind and body up for success.

2. Learning From Failure

Everyone fails, even high performers. However, high performers make a point of learning from failure and seeing it as an opportunity to improve. When you fail you can determine what to do in order to succeed next time.

3. Acting from a Place of Purpose

In addition to determining what we want to do we need to find the reasons why. High performers have a sense of purpose that guides their actions and decisions. Acting from a place of purpose makes our work and sacrifices more meaningful and can help us stay motivated.

4. Developing Patience

Overnight successes typically come after years of hard work. In order to become a high performer you must be patient with yourself and focus on the steps along the road to achieving the results you desire.

5. Self-Care

Performing at a high level requires a great deal of energy. In order to generate this energy high performers understand that they must take care of their mental and physical stamina. If we are too fatigued and not properly nourished it is difficult to maintain focus.

6. Task Prioritisation

Everyone has the same 24 hours in each day. In order to be productive high performers prioritise the activities that will have the greatest impact. Sometimes this means learning to say no to opportunities that are not related to your end goals.

7. Minimising Distractions

Staying focused takes a lot of discipline. Sometimes success means staying at the office and working on a beautiful sunny day. While this is not enjoyable, high performers understand the importance of getting things done and saying no to distractions.

8. Seeking Knowledge

Successful people tend to be lifelong learners who seek out new information and feedback that can guide them along their way. They read books, listen to podcasts and invest in conferences to continually extend their knowledge.

9. Choosing Positive People

Negative people have no place in a high performer’s social circle. It is crucial to surround yourself with people who have a similar outlook and are supportive. Friends that drain your energy or distract you can hinder your ability to achieve your goals.

10. Maintaining a Positive Attitude

High performers generally adopt a proactive, positive approach to everything they do. Positivity is a much better motivator than fear of failure, as fear is more likely to create inhibitions that stand in the way of your achievements.


Each individual defines success differently. It is important to define what success means and looks like for you and to determine what steps you need to take in order to get there.

Action: write down what success means to you and determine three things that you can change today in order to get you one step closer to success.





How To Turn a Confrontation Into a Conversation
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Confrontation is typically viewed in a negative light. Many of us associate confrontations with the dramatised versions we see on TV and social media that are overflowing with insults and threats. For most of us, conflict may take days - even years - to truly surface and while it may not be as dramatic it can be deeply uncomfortable.

Conflict is a part of life and depending on how you approach it, conflict can also serve as an opportunity to open up dialogue. The majority of people do not particularly like conflict and many of us go out of our way to avoid it. Avoiding conflict can be even more detrimental than having a confrontation as it denies us the opportunity to express ourselves and may deny others the opportunity to alter their behaviour. It is especially important for leaders to become adept at conflict resolution.

Ideally conversations will happen before they manifest as confrontations. However, more often than not we will find ourselves experiencing conflict with someone. Even if this is the case the confrontation can still be redirected into conversation.

Why conversation over confrontation? When in a fight people tend to take on a ‘win/lose’ mentality. When people are focused on winning they are less likely to be receptive to feedback, open to resolution or trying to come to an agreement. This is why it is crucial to transform a confrontation into a conversation to achieve the best outcome possible for both parties.

Here are 5 steps for turning confrontation into conversation:

 

1. Increase Your Internal Awareness

If you are not actively engaged in a face to face conflict you have the opportunity to increase your own awareness on the issue before confronting someone or being confronted. Doing so will allow you to better express yourself and empathise with the other person. Even in the time following a confrontation there is the opportunity to increase your internal awareness on the issues and readdress them.

 

2. Acknowledgement

When you do find yourself in a face to face conflict, begin by acknowledging the frustration the other person is expressing. This does not mean you have to agree with them. You can disagree with them but still show empathy. Even if they are asking for something that you cannot deliver you can acknowledge them and move them towards discussing alternatives. Sometimes people just need to be heard and acknowledged.  

 

3. Ask Questions

Questions are a great way to explore the underlying issues causing a conflict and move away from confrontation and towards conversation. Begin by asking an open-ended question. Ensure you are asking with sincerity rather than from your own place of attack/defend. This will make the other person stop and think and can help them move out of an aggressive, defensive, confrontational state. By asking with genuine interest in the other person and their response you are much more likely to reach a mutually beneficial resolution.

 

4. Pay Attention to Your Body Language

More than 90 percent of communication is nonverbal. Pay attention to your tone of voice and ensure that your body language looks receptive rather than defensive. Having your words directed at de-escalating the conflict is not enough - your body language has to match.

 

5. Provide Feedback

If you have had a confrontation with someone and succeeded in identifying issues to be worked on be sure to acknowledge them positively when they change their behaviour. If the issue persists be sure to acknowledge it in a timely manner. The phase following a confrontation can be quite revealing. For example, if the person is an employee and they fail to change their behaviour or address the issue at hand it may become apparent that they are not a fit for your organisation.

 

Leaders who embrace these steps become very adept at dealing with confrontation and winning respect in the process. Make no mistake, leaders who are great at conflict-resolution dislike confronting people as much as anyone else but have learned to pick and choose their battles, often anticipating conflicts before they even materialise. For example, a leader who has issues with one of their employee’s performance may wisely opt to deal with these issues as they arise rather than waiting for the problem to spread.

The next time you are in a situation where there is the potential for conflict try to open up the dialogue rather than avoid discussion. This will likely lead to much better results and prevent confrontations down the line.

 

Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset

The mind is a powerful thing. Sometimes the biggest obstacle to our success is our own thinking. Our mindset can limit us or set us free. No one understands this quite like Carol Dweck, a Stanford University researcher best known for her work on fixed and growth mindsets and her groundbreaking book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. At Mind Strength, we work a lot with our clients to help them develop a growth mindset.

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The Difference Between a Growth Mindset and a Fixed Mindset

Dweck describes the difference between a fixed mindset vs. growth mind as the following:

‘In a fixed mindset (individuals) believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that's that, and then their goal becomes to look smart all the time and never look dumb. In a growth mindset (individuals) understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching and persistence. They don't necessarily think everyone's the same or anyone can be Einstein, but they believe everyone can get smarter if they work at it.’

A growth mindset is advantageous when making your way through life. Someone with a growth mindset will not hesitate to try again where they once failed. Failures are perceived as temporary setbacks rather than permanent limits. Rather than striving for approval from others those with a growth mindset develop a passion for lifelong learning. As a result, those with a growth mindset are more likely to maximise their potential.

Transitioning to a Growth Mindset

One of the hardest parts of changing your mindset is identifying what your current mindset is. Sometimes we sabotage our own potential without even realising it. Some of our longstanding beliefs about ourselves, such as ‘I am not athletic’ or ‘I am not good with technology’, may have their roots in our childhood and be holding us back as adults. Not only does this prevent us from learning new skills in the short-term, but in the long-term.

Here are seven tips for approaching life with a growth mindset:

1. Focus on the process rather than the result

When embarking on learning anything new it can seem like we have so much ground to cover that it is intimidating. Rather than focusing on the end result break it up into a series of smaller goals to achieve along the way. Focus on learning new things well rather than quickly.

2. View challenges as opportunities

Whenever we begin to learn anything new there are bound to be challenges. Facing these challenges and framing them as opportunities is vital when taking on a growth mindset. Our fear of facing new challenges is most often rooted in our fear of failure. As much as we may want to change it feels safer to continue down our usual path, make excuses and remain in our comfort zones. Overcoming this internal resistance is essential to personal growth and success.

3. Stop seeking approval from others

Your goal when learning new things should be to better yourself for your own benefit without worrying what other people may think.

4. Acknowledge your weaknesses

Even the most successful people on the planet have weaknesses. By acknowledging and embracing our weaknesses we give ourselves the opportunity to improve on them and set more realistic goals.

5. Take criticism constructively

While criticism is often viewed negatively it is often one of our best sources of feedback. Being made aware of our faults allows us to take note and improve. When you take on a growth mindset you will not take criticism as personally.

6. Take time to reflect

Don’t forget to look back on what you have learned and acknowledge your own progress. A journal is a great way to record your thoughts and reflect on what you have accomplished.

7. View learning as a lifelong journey

You will always be learning no matter how old or successful you become. Once you have accomplished one goal you should be prepared to start on another.

 

Developing a growth mindset requires a commitment to changing your beliefs about your own talents and abilities and making room for continuous growth. A growth mindset will enable you to stay motivated by looking at the big picture behind your choices and be less easily discouraged.