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Adapting is part of being human, so why is it so difficult? For many of us, change is not an easy thing to wrap our heads around, especially when it’s for something as important as a job. COVID-19 has certainly altered how we work–combining our homes with our workplaces–so it’s necessary to adapt along with it. As a result, the changes made right now could be in place for longer than we expect as we await a vaccine. 

In the meantime, here are 5 ways to effectively adapt to change:

Ask questions.

Digital meetings are just one example of a new widespread workplace innovation. These meetings can be hectic and confusing. When confused, the best way to figure things out is to speak up and ask questions. Asking questions shows that you’re really paying attention and that you want to do your best work. If your technology skills aren’t quite up to date, set up a meeting with your IT department to make sure your digital meetings run smoothly. 

Over-communicate.

Your employers may not know how your time is spent when you’re working from home. Communicating often with your boss and/or associates may seem like overkill, but it demonstrates your responsibility and that you’re getting work done. Keep close track of the hours you work and what you’re doing during that time to ensure you’re being accountable. 

Have ideas? Share them!

There will be a lot of uncertainty as we move forward in the midst of the pandemic. Some managers will look to employees for proposals on how to social distance when transitioning back to the workplace. Research is a crucial step to fully forming an idea. Taking initiative to research can go a long way because it saves your boss’ time. Sharing and researching ideas demonstrates that you’re invested in the company’s future AND shows you’re a leader. 

Keep in contact with co-workers.

Co-workers with similar jobs are going through the same thing you are. A great way to cope with change is to ask co-workers if they’d like to discuss what they’re going through. Associates can offer new suggestions, help you problem-solve, and provide new perspectives. Developing workplace friendships can also benefit you in the future by giving you access to new opportunities!

Be open-minded and flexible.

With everything uncertain, we can’t expect things to go back to the way they were immediately. Old tasks might take longer than they used to and can be frustrating. If you’re open-minded you can challenge your belief restraints and you can grow personally. Being flexible to new ideas also shows that you’re in it for the long haul. 

Just remember: “Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.”  -Stephen Hawking

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 
NOW LIVE: CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE.

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Work team

NOW 50% Off: MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE.

So, you’re leading a team or spearheading a project. You’re so wrapped up in what you’re doing, that you don’t even consider pausing and evaluating your leadership style. You just press forward and hope you’re doing a decent job. But…what if you’re not? Or, what if you can’t even tell?

Either way, it’s time to pause. It’s time to think about your place as a leader, and whether or not you’re supporting and empowering the people around you.

By making a concerted effort to evaluate your leadership, you are making an investment. People respond to good leadership, and when you have a responsive, engaged team, you have the potential to achieve better results with greater efficiency. Not only that, you might find that the office atmosphere improves—solid leadership has the power to make people feel uplifted, supported, and part of a healthy, communicative team.

To begin evaluating your personal leadership, you may want to work with a leadership coach. An experienced coach can help you uncover some of your blind spots and guide you in creating healthy changes. If, however, you want to begin your leadership evaluation on your own, you may want to start by asking yourself the following 7 questions:

1. Do I actively promote open communication?

Creating an open line of communication is crucial. People need to feel like they can bring forth any new ideas, complaints, or feedback. Without open communication, your team could devolve into a gossiping, afraid-to-come-forward mess.

2. Do I understand what motivates each team member?

It’s important to “get the right butts in the right seats.” If you want a motivated, enthusiast team, take the time to understand what makes people tick.

3. Do I understand what each team member dreads?

On the other side of the coin, it’s a good idea to understand what each person on your team does not like to do. It’s torturous for extroverted, sociable people (Yellow Energy on the Insights Discovery chart) to be cooped up in an office by themselves, analyzing data. And it’s not fun for an introverted deep thinker to be forced into making a quick decision.

NOTE: If you’re unsure of the communication preferences of your team members, consider tapping into a program like Insights Discovery. Ask me more about this if you’re interested—I’m a Licensed Practitioner.

4. Does my leadership brand include transparency and authenticity?

Trust is a huge part of leadership. If you’re standoffish or come across as inauthentic, people won’t place their trust in you (and it’s difficult to lead a team when there’s no trust). Instead, aim to connect with others on a human level. Don’t be afraid to be your wonderful, authentic you.

5. Do I make objectives clear?

If your team isn’t working toward a shared vision, they’re going to flounder. Establish your big-picture goals and keep them top of mind. Make sure your team feels involved in working toward your goals.

6. Does everyone on the team have a voice? Is everyone included and engaged?

If certain people on your team are falling through the cracks, you may want to consider how to bring them back to the table. During meetings, ask the quieter team members for their thoughts. Make sure everyone’s voice is represented.

Also: Be a good listener!

7. Am I willing to draw a line in the sand?

If there are people on your team who are repeatedly turning in subpar work or missing deadlines, that hurts the entire team and it makes people upset and annoyed. As a leader, you have to be willing to draw a line in the sand and take disciplinary action when it’s required. It’s never easy to do this, but my D4 feedback model can help.

How is your leadership looking? Does it need a little work? Simply acknowledging the areas in which you need to improve is a huge step! Once you know where to concentrate your efforts, you can begin making any changes that need to be made to become a better, more compassionate leader.

If you’d like to work side-by-side on improving your leadership, please let me know.

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 
NOW 50% Off: MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE.

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Woman reading

How is everyone doing? In my last post, I discussed how, despite the troubled and anxious atmosphere, this is an excellent time for deep reflection and self-improvement. This week, I want to discuss a resource we sometimes forget about: books.

Sure, you could hop online and read any number of articles on how to improve your skills, professional development, or leadership, but a book takes you to another level. It gives you the kind of depth and insight that’s impossible to find in an article AND, chances are, the book has been worked, reworked, and edited so much that the information in it is more carefully put together than your average internet article.

Plus, it’s so much easier to curl up with a book than a laptop!

So, let me share with you some of my favorite personal development books. If you have recommendations of your own, please feel free to leave a comment.

Professional Development:

Daring Greatly, book by Brene Brown

The Trust Edge, David Horsager

Daring Greatly, Brene Brown

True North, Bill George

Straight Talk for Smart Business Women, Cheryl Leitschuh

The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg

Leadership Development:

The Ten-Minute Leadership Challenge, book by Margaret B. Smith

The Ten-Minute Leadership Challenge, Margaret Smith

Love Leadership, John Hope Bryant

Start With Why, Simon Sinek

Inspiration/Self-Help:

You Are Worth It book by Louise Griffith

You Are Worth It, Louise Griffith

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, Elizabeth Gilbert

The Art of Happiness, by Dalai Lama

The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz

Building Financial Acumen:

Self-Wealth book by Heidi Helmeke

Self-Wealth, Heidi Helmeke

Think & Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill

Women & Money: Owning the Power to Control Your Destiny, Suze Orman

Happy reading!

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