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Limitless Leaders™ Connection – Building mental fitness through a culture of gratitude

Limitless Leaders Connection Building mental fitness through a culture of gratitude

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.
― Marcus Tullius Cicero

Over the last few months with many leadership teams, we have explored the topic of gratitude and how this is being expressed in the workplace. Call it recognition, praise or appreciation; what stood out is that we need to take the time to show gratitude within and across the teams, we work with.

Many organisations focus on a ‘performance culture' and not a culture built around gratitude. This can affect the level and deepness of gratitude that employees practice. I call this ‘grey gratitude‘, it may not be intentionally stifled but it’s not hitting the mark as part of what makes up the culture.

If you are looking for employees to go beyond the contractual obligation of their roles and build mental fitness, then expressing gratitude should be part of your leadership. Acknowledging the thoughts and efforts of people with gratitude shows that those people matter and this can build a culture around gratitude which I believe is vital.

Research shows that taking the time to develop an attitude of gratitude can:

  • Build a psychological immune system, making us more resilient to stressful situations
  • Accelerate positive emotions
  • Create a greater sense of achievement of goals
  • Fewer sick days and less stress
  • Greater collaboration and connection
  • Higher job satisfaction overall

What gets in the way?

Many times, people feel awkward practising gratitude and may see it as fluffy and esoteric. The leadership team may not be on board and therefore don’t foster openness and space to build this practice into the culture. Another key blocker is people may see gratitude as a weakness and may feel left out if they don't receive gratitude in return. Many simply don’t adopt the mindset. 

We spend one-third of our life at work, that's over 90,000 hours so it makes sense to incorporate the gift of gratitude into your workplace. Click To Tweet

Gratitude can connect people. It can create collaboration and anchor positive behaviour and it’s also one of the collective skills that make up resilience.

Feelings, actions and our mindset flow from the way we look at the world and how we think about the situation – to change our feelings, we can start by thinking about what we are grateful for. Often, we find our feelings scary and confusing, so we keep them at a distance. However, shutting off our feelings not only backfires, but it drains us of the psychological energy that is needed to build resilience. We need our feelings in order to find satisfaction, meaning and pleasure in life, both in and out of the workplace.

Gratitude can maximise happiness in multiple ways, and one reason is that it helps us reframe memories of unpleasant events in a way that decreases their negative emotional impact and lets in optimism. We can let challenges deepen the way in which we are grateful – it can show us not to take things for granted.

Looking back is about learning and looking forward is about progressing. Click To Tweet

Accessing and sustaining positive emotion is key to building resilience in organisations, needed now more than ever. Focusing our attention on how far we have come can provide positive reinforcement and fuel with our thoughts to overcome challenges and setbacks. It’s like looking in the rear-vision mirror of a car – what you pass goes by quickly, but it’s easy to miss a beautiful landmark or a life lesson that you could share. 

Think about how you could flip what I call “Grey Gratitude” in your workplace to a clearer vibrant practice?

We have workshopped this question in a few companies and I’d love to share a few ideas and tips:

Share 1 situation or person you are grateful for.

  • Kick off a meeting/workshop/project review with each person sharing who or what they are grateful for in the workplace
  • An option is to capture these on Yammer/Teams

3 positives to 1 negative

  • For every negative, you or the team discuss, workshop 3 positives 
  • This reinforces the face we often focus on what isn’t working instead of the things we could be grateful for

Create a Gratitude wall-virtually or in the office

  • People can leave notes of appreciation for anyone
  • Name can be shared, or this can be anonymous

Ask a question

  • What capabilities, qualities and skills have got me to where I am today? 
  • Individually of self or share as a team

Be specific

  • When we aren’t specific when expressing gratitude this dilutes the impact and intention
  • Imagine replacing “I’m grateful for that” to ‘I’m grateful for the support you have given the team and I this month”.

It is ideal to have structured forums to share as well as spontaneous recognition and ways to show appreciation. Some subtle ways of sharing gratitude every day could be as simple as sending surprise emails to others expressing appreciation or creating a forum to share internal updates and encourage people to share.

Be mindful not to do ‘gratitude’ in overdrive – this can seem false and dilute the effects of authentically being grateful.

I would love to hear how you are incorporating gratitude in your workplace!

Lead to be limitless…

Signed Reneé



PS: Want to skyrocket your success from working anywhere? We've launched our new online program and you can read more about that here.

Ever wondered what Reneé gets up to when she isn't with working with her clients? She's doing this.

If this article has resonated with you in any way – I’d love to hear your thoughts – get in touch.

Being in service to my clients is why I do what I do and your feedback, insight and any suggestions are always embraced.

Find out where you sit on the Leadership Ladder, your responses are anonymous and the results summarised to help us better understand where our market sits so that we can continue to provide, insights, tools and solutions to assist you to move up to be LIMITLESS, co-creative and stand out.

Renée is a mentor, coach, expert facilitator and keynote speaker, She is the author of ‘Limitless Leadership’ and co-author of ‘Leaders of Influence’.

Follow Renée on Facebook, Instagram, IGTV or Twitter, or subscribe to her blog here or new podcast here.

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Limitless Leadership™: Insight #3 How do you drive feedback to grow? 

eyes wide open - chicked

How do you drive feedback to grow?

Thank you for all your responses to our Limitless Leader™ Indicator Tool. This tool allows you to see where you sit as a LIMITLESS LEADER™ and how to take your leadership to the next level and be LIMITLESS!

Your responses continue to provide valuable insight into our work and how we can be in service to you, our amazing clients, and collaborate with you on your success.

If you haven't had a chance to do this simply click here.

We were shocked! 35% do not actively seek feedback on their performance

Around 35% of respondents don’t ask for regular feedback on their performance.

Seeking feedback is an integral part of development and growth to be a LIMITLESS LEADER™ and can provide insight into areas for development and also a picture of the achievements you’re making.

You can’t improve if you aren’t aware of what needs improvement – and you can’t celebrate on your own.

Do you:

  • Seek feedback?  If not – why not?
  •  Challenge yourself to ask for feedback outside of your manager?
  •  Make this a regular part of your focus and growth?
  •  Invest in the time in asking and learning in order to be a better leader?

There is no such thing as failure, only feedback

Cross Leadership™  is a concept I have been writing about and it simply means that you need to lead across to your peers, to your direct reports and to your manager and their peers.

cross leadership model leading up down across

The value of feedback…

When asking for feedback how valuable would it be to reach out and seek feedback from your peers, your team and not only your manager but their peers? This will increase your strategic agility and provide you with multi-faceted feedback from different perspectives. You will build your networks, gain different insights into you and take your growth to a new level.

Own your growth

If you are not receiving feedback don’t wait for it. Own your growth and it can be as simple as asking two questions:

  • What am I doing well?
  • What could I change or do differently?

It never ceases to amaze me when leaders I work with reach outside their normal lines of feedback and simply ask those two questions. We can’t always see what is in front of us or our blind spots. We often need others to share what they see and then we can take this on board and take our growth to the next level.

As always, we would love to hear what works for you?

For more of my tips on how change can equate to growth, get in touch. I look forward to

working with you in the future!

Find out where you sit on the Leadership Ladder, your responses are anonymous and the results summarised to help us better understand where our market sits, so that we can continue to provide, insights, tools and solutions to assist you move up to be LIMITLESS, co-creative and stand out.

Renée is a mentor, coach, expert facilitator and keynote speaker, She is the author of ‘Limitless Leadership’ and co-author of ‘Leaders of Influence’.

Follow Renee on FacebookInstagramIGTV or Twitter, or subscribe to her blog here or new podcast here.

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LIMITLESS LEADERSHIP™ Performance previews trump performance reviews

let your team interview you

The longer we keep looking back in the rear view mirror, it takes away from everything that's moving forward.

Previews focus on the future and I suggest a 90% focus on what can be changed and a 10% focus on what has been and the lessons learnt.With mid-year reviews fast approaching for many organisations I wanted to share with you a few tips to ensure these conversations cut through the clutter and maximise this valuable time.

Previews versus Reviews

Those that know me, know I am a huge advocate for ongoing feedback and performance previews opposed to reviews.  Previews focus on the future. I suggest a 90% focus on what can be changed and a 10% focus on what has been and the lessons learnt. You can’t change the past, however by looking at the future you can spend this valuable time focusing on the systems, processes and habits required to get the desired outcome.

Why focus on what you have done and who you have been when you could use the time focusing on the things that will contribute to who you will become and what you can achieve?

Open, clear, honest and consistent communication

I reckon if dialogue and communication is open, clear, honest and consistent between all parties there should be no surprises. Feedback given and received regularly is imperative and needs to be provided by you as the leader and also from your team to you and each other.

Working with a client recently, we discussed the ways the organisation she works in gives and receives feedback.

man and woman in feedback conversationMariana, my client shared with me that as an organisation they have what they have called “Stay Interviews”. These are regular, jealously protected pieces of time dedicated to giving and getting feedback. I say ‘jealously” protected as I cannot tell you how many times I see feedback and coaching sessions cancelled due to so called conflicting priorities. As a leader, people need to be an OR not an AND in our day to day function, people before progress I say.

I love the concept of “stay” interviews and as we all are well aware, happy people usually don’t leave a company. If we can know when happiness, commitment and energy drops at least we can proactively do and drive what needs to be done.

“Stay” interviews create a space for awareness and growth with time dedicated to a few structured questions and the head space for both parties to be present, engaged and ready to contribute.

“Stay Interviews” can be carried out at any time, why wait to your bi annual or annual performance review to know and grow your team.

Previews focus on the future and I suggest a 90% focus on what can be changed and a 10% focus on what has been and the lessons learnt. Click To Tweet

Success to “Stay” Interviews

Make them Regular

Don't make these a one-off event, name them and lock them in as you would with any meeting.  Consistent catch ups will breed momentum, rapport and openness. Be committed and don’t cancel or back out, people are your priority, look at what it will cost you and the organisation if you’re not all in.

Aside from regular coaching, mentoring and team catch ups I would suggest doing these every 6-8 weeks, 20-30 minutes per person.

A bit like exercise, once in the habit, these will become the way you do things.

Plan the Purpose

Make sure each person knows “why” the interviews are occurring.

Giving each other open and honest feedback to feedforward is imperative. Click To Tweet

People only buy into something if there is something in it for them.  We are the same so ensure you spend time setting the scene and expectations around this. Run a facilitated team session on the whole concept of “Stay Interviews”.  You need buy in to make this worthwhile.

 Success in the Structure

Don't dilute what could be an insightful conversation by having idle chit chat. Respect their time and expect the same back to you.

Plan out a few great questions to get the responses that will benefit all, a few examples below but remember to make these your own!

  • What is lighting you up in your role right now?
    • Are you satisfying these motivators?
  • Where are you getting the most traction?
  • What and who is frustrating you?
  • How are you being stretching and how are you growing?
  • What could you change or do differently?
  • As a team, what could bring us closer to being a “Limitless team?”
  • What’s your greatest learning to date?
    • How could you share this with the greater team?
  • Courage, capability and capacity…rate each one, 1-5?
    • What needs to change and be actioned?
  • As your manager what could I do differently or change?

“In a growth mindset, challenges are exciting rather than threatening. So rather than thinking, oh, I’m going to reveal my weaknesses, you say, wow, here’s a chance to grow.” – Carol Dweck

Flip it around

Now it’s your turn! Let the team interview you! We all know how valuable disclosure is and your team will thank you for it! From experience, you can do this 1:1 or as a team, ensuring everyone contributes.

Follow Up

The interviews leave you all with golden nuggets of opportunity and progress.  Don’t forget this and let it slip! Not only will this be a waste of time and resources, but it will also dim the commitment of future conversations.

Everyone needs to be accountable and take ownership for the actions –  what needs to be done – as part of an overall ongoing development plan.

I’d love to hear how you implement “Stay” interviews into your organisation and how you go with a more future focused conversation that cuts through and creates small changes?

To being limitless

 

 

Renee Giarrussso Director RG Dynamics Pty Limited Limited LeadershipFor more of my tips on how change can equate to growth, get in touch. I look forward to working with you in the future!

Find out where you sit on the Leadership Ladder, your responses are anonymous and the results summarised to help us better understand where our market sits, so that we can continue to provide, insights, tools and solutions to assist you move up to be LIMITLESS, co-creative and stand out.

Renée is a mentor, coach, expert facilitator and keynote speaker, She is the author of ‘Limitless Leadership’ and co-author of ‘Leaders of Influence’. Follow Renee on FacebookInstagramIGTV or Twitter, or subscribe to her blog here.

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Limitless Leadership™ – Question to create empowerment in your team

We learn about life by asking questions.

Children naturally start learning about the world by observing, testing and questioning “why.” The more open the question we ask the more we learn.

As a manager or leader coaching, the more open questions we ask the coachee the more the coachee will learn, sometimes about what they already know, but haven’t thought about.

Open questions can be challenging.  We are wired to use a lot of closed questions, offer up a solution and move on. Being time poor contributes to this as we just want to solve the problem as quickly as possible.

Asking open questions helps the coachees to think for themselves, if we stick to only closed questions, responded to with a yes or no answer, we are not facilitating the coachee's thinking.

Empowering and growing our team starts with encouraging our team to think.

 The more we question, the better answers we get

Questioning forms new patterns in the brain. The more patterns it forms, the more flexible it becomes. With flexibility, it can access more information already stored in your brain instead of reverting to the old patterns.

As we get older we question less – we settle for the few options that we have learned. The minute those options don’t work, we get stuck. Whenever we experience an obstacle, our brain goes to the fastest pattern it can find from our experiences similar to the current situation. This is why we sometimes have illogical reactions: We do not give time for the brain to find a better solution. The more information and experiences we have, the more options we have to solve our problems.

By asking questions that are open, we make the coachee more open to talk and open up to share information, ideas and new ways. It’s also a great way to reinforce the need to come up with their own solutions.  In the long term you will notice they won’t come to you as often as they will know you are only going to ask a question.

This frees up time for you to work ‘on' the team opposed to ‘i'n it and it grows and empowers the coachee.

Ask open questions

Begin open questions with the words:

  • What
  • When
  • Where
  • Why
  • How
  • Who

An easy way to ensure questions are “open” is to ask one at a time and start with “Tell me about……” as this will instantly frame the question to be open. Be mindful of starting questions with “why”, as this can come across accusatory, especially if there is little rapport.

Build rapport and connection and base the majority of your interactions and conversations moving forward by asking quality open questions.

Play with this and see what happens…

To becoming LIMITLESS

Renée

Renee Giarrussso Director RG Dynamics Pty Limited Limited LeadershipFor more of my tips on how change can equate to growth, get in touch. I look forward to working with you in the future!

Find out where you sit on the Leadership Ladder, your responses are anonymous and the results summarised to help us better understand where our market sits, so that we can continue to provide, insights, tools and solutions to assist you move up to be LIMITLESS, co-creative and stand out.

Renée is a mentor, coach, expert facilitator and keynote speaker, She is the author of ‘Limitless Leadership™’ and co-author of ‘Leaders of Influence’. Follow Renee on Facebook, Instagram, IGTV or Twitter, or subscribe to her blog here.