Tag Archives: leadership

Venn diagram showing the elements of ikigai as they merge into a wheel

Use Ikigai to improve your outlook on life and job satisfaction.

 

Many people work at jobs just so they can afford to live, eat and survive. The majority of us also experience some sort of feeling of dread in the hours of Sunday evening all the way through to the start of your work day on the Monday. The Japanese theory of Ikigai suggests that you are only dreading going to work because you haven’t got enough balance in your life. If you were to align all of the elements of Ikigai, then it wouldn’t be such a problem to go into work on Monday morning.

Craftsmen, teachers and farmers seem to have found their Ikigai. They are pursuing a career in the thing they enjoy and are passionate about creatively. Also, a lot of people have become successful in other jobs without ever finding their ikigai.

 

Let’s get started on finding your ikigai. You must first ask yourself these four questions:

  1. What do I love? (Passion)
  2. What am I good at? (Profession)
  3. What can I be paid for? (Vocation)
  4. What does the world need? (Mission)

Here is a visual representation of the concept of Ikigai and how you can fit your own answers into a balanced and happy life for yourself:Venn diagram showing the elements of ikigai as they merge into a wheel

In the book “Ikigai the Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life” by Hector Garcia and Fransesc Miralles, they state the 10 rules to follow when in search for your own Ikigai.

  1. Stay active and don’t retire
  2. Leave urgency behind and adopt a slower pace of life
  3. Only eat until you are 80% fill
  4. Surround yourself with good friends
  5. Get in shape through daily, gentle exercise
  6. Smile and acknowledge people around you
  7. Reconnect with nature
  8. Give thanks to anything that brightens our day and makes us feel alive
  9. Live in the moment
  10. Follow your ikigai

 

Many people feel that Ikigai is the secret to living for longer. This is because whilst japan has their fair share of natural disasters, their life expectancy is among some of the best in the world. Due to this it has become clear that whilst eating healthily and exercising regularly are important factors of living a long life, so it having a clear sense of purpose.

Take Jiro Ono as an example of this. At the age of 92, he is currently the oldest Michelin chef in the world. He has had the passion to create the best sushi for most of his life and each day he seeks to improve on the day before. He believes that he still hasn’t mastered it.

 

Boss business team meeting

How Valuable Is Your Job?

 

David Graeber, the anthropologist, recently published a book which stated and unraveled why up to 40% of us secretly think our jobs aren’t necessary or could easily be done by a software or mechanism.

To back this theory, a survey carried out by YouGov in 2015 found that 37% of people believe that their job makes no “meaningful contribution”.

Alongside many wonderful facts and theory’s, we are reminded of John Maynard Keynes’ 1930 prediction that by the year 2000 due to technical advances the working week would have reduced from 40 hours to 15.  The unfortunate truth is that this hasn’t happened.

If we were to reduce the working week many people wouldn’t be able to afford to feed their families. Besides, people are seriously connected to their jobs and most will spend more than the required 40 hours a week working or thinking and mulling over their work at home.

 

The technological advances that we have created have prolonged the hours we work rather than shortening them because we can now access emails out of hours and are connected to work with our mobile and desktop devices.

Some companies have invested in policies such as Zmail, where email servers are closed off out of hours and at weekends so that the staff can have separate lives from work and then be able to come back in refreshed and re-motivated.

 

london corporate job

 

But even if we do have time to shut off, many come to work and feel sluggish and slightly angered due to the fact that they don’t think their job is worth anything or having any contribution at all to the world around them. In fact, they just stay because they’ve become committed and the money is good.

People tend to go along with the majority and conform along with everyone else who feels the same way. They then pretend and mask the fact that their jobs don’t really do anything or are needed for anything.

 

Employment is at an all-time high at the moment and more and more people are seeing the likeliness that they’ll find a new job If they quit and get a new one. Smaller start-ups and roles in public service are now seen as more professional and respectable, meaning there’s a larger threat to larger multi-national companies with all of these ‘pointless jobs’.

These larger companies are working hard to make themselves seem like worthy companies with the use of an annual volunteering day or some wonderful imagery in the company report.  Unfortunately, people aren’t that gullible and it’s time to revisit and reinvent purpose at all levels within organisations for all teams and individuals.

 

For a purposeful conversation, contact us here.

calming balanced stones

3 Ways to Calm Yourself

 

When faced with a situation that causes us to become distressed, our first response is often to act irrationally. Tension hinders our mood and our ability to make good choices and take responsible actions, so for the best outcomes we should try and calm ourselves as fast as possible so that we can resurface a steady mind.

calming balanced stones

To follow are 3 ways to which you can relax and calm yourself when something or someone has caused you  an affective level of frustration.

 

  1. Cool Down

A great way to relieve tension is to use the power of cold water.  You can splash cool water on your pressure points including your wrists and behind your ears. By adding the cold water to your pressure points, you ultimately are cooling down your arteries beneath the skin and calming your whole body by reducing the heat going around it.

Another sure way is to plunge your face in a basin of cold water for 30 seconds. By doing this you hold your breath for 30 seconds and trigger a lifesaving reaction in your brain. Your blood vessels narrow, heart rate decreases and oxygen is directed to all your vital organs, the perfect distraction from external stressors.

 

  1. Breathe

Some of the most proven relaxation methods come from the use of breathing exercises. There are many methods you can try to see what works for you, here are some to try next time you become agitated.

The first exercise is to close your eyes and focus on each breath. Exhale for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 and then exhale for 8. Repeating this exercise 6 times a day is supposedly able to improve your health whilst calming you and helping your stay positive.

You may also choose to lower your heart rate during stressful situations by slowing down your breaths. Focus on your breathing so that you exhale and inhale for 6 seconds each way for up to two minutes.

  1. Take Some Time

It is completely natural for you to become agitated and disclaimed. If you fear bad outcomes of feeling distressed there is a possibility you may suppress these emotions, which would have significantly worse outcomes than if you let the anger roll.

Our emotions are like waves, or mountains and they rise and fall with a peak in the centre. If we allow ourselves to reach the peak of the emotion we can then allow the emotion to dissipate and reduce to a steady state.

By keeping in and suppressing the emotion and not allowing ourselves to feel it, we are prolonging the peak and therefore increasing the size of it.

 

We can use these ways of thinking to increase the performance of our organisations by allowing ourselves to stay calm and steady-headed, especially when complications arrive that need immediate attention.

 

 

Leadership

Be A Multiplier, Don’t Diminish Your Team.

Leadership

In most businesses, smart leaders are put in jobs to support other smart individuals. Sometimes it is clear that your own intelligence is being put down and potentially drained by a leader, Liz Wiseman in her book ‘Multipliers’ calls these people ‘Diminishers’. In other instances leaders bring out the intelligence and capabilities of their team, Wiseman calls these ‘Multipliers’.

Diminishers will often generate less effective teams, whereas the effect of a Multiplier can be significantly great.

Liz Wiseman explains that the differentiating traits between diminishers and multipliers aren’t all that many, but they are incredibly important. She explains that there are specific actions you may not even realise you do that are effecting the effectiveness of your team.

1. Environment

Multipliers create an environment that allows for flexibility. Your employees have different flexibility and creative needs and they need to be offered the opportunity to express this in order to fulfil their full intelligence.
Diminishers will create a work environment which is highly controlled and limits resources and creativity, therefore suppressing the intelligence of their employees. They limit the flexibility and encourage order because they believe success will come from them, not from creating an environment in which each individual employee can flourish.

2. Challenges

Diminishers will believe they are the driving success for their team and will push their teams in the direction they want to go in.
Multipliers will get to know their employees and their specific skills and tailor challenges to their teams that will challenge them to improve as an individual and as a team. They also provide as many opportunities for their staff as possible, believing in constant improvement and development.

3. Decisions

The way you make decisions around the office can determine whether you are a multiplier or a dimimisher.
A multiplier would include the whole group in discussions around decisions that need to be made, whereas a diminisher will make decisions solely, with little debate or input from others, dimishing team insight.

 

There are many other insights that Liz Wiseman explains in her books, and you can get much more details from reading those, but take a moment to reflect on your practices and asses where you think you fall. Most people lie somewhere in between the two, the hard part is assessing where you stand objectively and then making the changes to become more of a ‘multiplier’.

 

 

Blog1

Being The Boss: What Does It Really Take?

Up until now it has been assumed that an intelligent leader is a good leader. But new research into IQ and leadership suggests that being too intelligent in relation to your employees could have negative effects on how they perceive you.

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conversation

5 Ways To Improve Your Conversations

Most of us have a range of different conversations throughout an average working day. These can look like anything from department meetings and phonecalls with clients; to grabbing a coffee with a colleague or catching up with a friend. These conversations can be very important, as a positive conversation can have very successful outcomes. However in a world where the face to face conversation seems to have been slowly replaced by online interactions, in the words of Jim Brown, ‘technology is creating a society with relationships a mile wide but an inch deep’.

conversation

Conversation is the key to building deeper relationships, so try our 5 tips to help you achieve more fruitful conversations:

Focus

Give conversations your full attention in that moment, as allowing ourselves to be distracted when someone is speaking to us is the ultimate no-no. However good you think you are at multi-tasking, you will never be able to give your full focus to someone if you are simultaneously looking at your phone or computer screen.

Make time

Meaningful conversations don’t have to be reserved only for the times when you have hours to spare. Even when you only have a few minutes to spare you can still make the time count by giving the conversation. Ken Blanchard famously suggested that managers should spend just 60 seconds setting goals, giving praise or coaching individual team members in the One Minute Manager.

Consider your phrasing

The key to encouraging people to open up is to avoid simply asking ‘How are you?’ in a way that allows them to answer ‘I’m fine, how are you?’ Try using different phrasing and altering the emphasis of certain words, as this can help to encourage a more thoughtful response which then opens the door to a deeper conversation.

Listening

Forget advice about using eye contact, open body language and nodding to show you are listening, and don’t stress about showing you have heard them by repeating their words back to them. Focusing on these techniques could distract you from actually hearing what is being said. If you are genuinely listening with sincerity and curiosity then the speaker will know that they have your full attention.

Use open questions

If you want to keep the conversation going then try to always ask ‘why?’ rather than ‘what?’ or ‘how?’.  Open questions often lead to the best answers and encourage people to open up.

 

office

Dos and Don’ts for effective one to ones for your team

office
Feedback is crucial for teams to be able to thrive. However many of us will find ourselves avoiding taking the time to commit to regular check-in sessions with team members, even though as managers we know the benefits this would bring.

The best leaders have one-to-ones with their team members every week, whether over lunch, whilst taking a walk or even travelling to a meeting. One-on-ones don’t need to be formal but they should be clear to those involved, so that you can make productive use of your time.

However regularly you communicate with your team members, taking the time to sit down together and go a bit deeper with a dedicated one on one is worth doing.  Whether it is once a month, quarterly or even just 6 monthly, it can be a really valuable thing to do. To make the most of your one to ones, follow our dos and don’ts.

Do:

Show your interest in the career goals of your team member, beyond their current role.

Provide a welcoming space for any complaints or issues.

Be receptive to feedback about yourself too; a one to one is an opportunity to hold one another to account.

Create an action list to follow up on after the meeting.

Don’t:

Postpone one to ones or deprioritise them. This sends a negative message to your staff.

Clock-watch- allow as much time as is required depth of conversation.

Hold one-to-ones back to back in the same room on the same day- dedicate the proper time to get the most out of each session.

Spend the whole meeting talking- while feedback is helpful, you also need to listen.

 

10 tips to become a better leader

10 Tips to Help You Be a Better Leader

10 tips to become a better leader

Getting enough sleep is important not just for our health, but in order to function as a good leader. This, combined with a positive team, honesty and much more is the perfect recipe for great leadership.  Follow these 10 tips closely and you yourself could be on the way to becoming a great team leader which can improve the efficiency of both your colleagues and your business.

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