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The key to effective delegation

To become an effective and successful leader, one must know the importance of delegation and focus on other areas that make a great difference for the success of the project. A delegation of tasks also helps to manage people effectively in a team. Delegation tasks not only frees a person to focus on their imperative assignments but also helps in the growth and development of other people in the team. When done correctly, it motivates the person to whom the tasks are delegated, which, as a result, contributes to their professional development.

Delegation involves:

  • Clear allocation of assignments and responsibilities.
  • Placing well-defined objectives and measures.
  • Supervising the process, progress, and outcomes.

Here are some of the points that one should keep the following in mind to delegate efficiently.

Prepare

The key to effective delegation is preparing groundwork, which requires careful planning and development of tasks that are being delegated. Designing a clear map of the required tasks will save time and provide clear objectives to the person who will perform those tasks. The purpose here is to be specific and identify responsibilities that need to be assigned, which requires clear communication of the tasks.

Pareto’s Principle 

The Pareto Principle, named after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, or The 80/20 Rule, 

Effective managers do not delegate the 20 percent of tasks that affects 80 percent of results, but exactly the opposite. Delegating unimportant tasks such as administrative work that are neither sensitive nor high-risk can be a better option than handing over key tasks. Moreover, these tasks should be delegated based on one’s potential to ensure maximum productivity and effective results.

Challenge and motivate

When deciding whom to delegate certain tasks to, smart managers take many factors into consideration such as individual’s skill sets, nature of the assignment, opportunities for growth, among others. This requires having a good understanding of aptitudes and competencies of the team members.

Clear Explanation

Managers should provide a clear explanation of tasks and responsibility including the expected outcome to ascertain that the person to whom the work is delegated is able to understand the work and is able to complete it in an effective manner.

Take a personal interest in the progress of the delegated task

Managers should provide guidance for the resources that may be required to complete the task. Requesting regular update of tasks and willing to provide assistance, if required, is valuable. However, this should be done without being intrusive, which will give the impression of untrustworthiness to the team member. This can be done by keeping an environment of open communication.

Evaluate and reward

Evaluation of results is more crucial than methods. If the assignments were achieved competently by the team, they should be informed of their success. In case of insufficient performance, the manager should analyse and provide effective feedback.

With practice, the delegation process becomes faster and seamless. As mentioned previously, not only does it help in reducing managers from getting exhausted from work, but it also helps the team to grow together. Moreover, it provides the manager with an opportunity to identify the strengths of their team members.

It also boosts team morale and enthusiasm, enabling them to dive in the challenging projects together. The saying “if you want the job done right, you should do it yourself” is no more applicable in today’s highly competitive and task-oriented era. A better approach is to “delegate effectively if you want a job well done.”

Developing Mental Strength

We all have ups and downs in life and experience some really tough times. How we handle these times is a sure sign of mental strength. Avoiding emotional times and difficult situations will not serve as well and will make you vulnerable to when the tough times come.

I remember as a young police officer dealing with death, violence and witnessing incidents that simply stay with you. I developed my own mental strength on the go. It helped me years later experiencing family bereavements and stresses in the workplace. I explore how to develop mental strength

What is mental strength?

Mental strength means that you regulate your emotions, manage your thoughts, and behave in a positive manner, despite your circumstances.

Picture a mentally strong person. Whether you imagine a real person or just think about the characteristics of a strong person, you are most likely thinking about qualities like resilience and perseverance.

This is exactly what mental strength is all about – the ability to remain calm and composed under pressure.

When a disaster strikes, mental strength helps you look beyond the disappointment and tears, quickly helping you to move forward.

Mental strength means you aren’t stifled still in the face of adversity.

You can think of mental strength as your companion. That one friend who sticks by you in good and bad times telling you to keep moving and pushing forward. It’s the inner voice of respect, trust and confidence.

Stop Negative Thoughts

Although most of us don’t spend time thinking about our thoughts, increasing your awareness of your thinking habits proves useful in building resilience. Exaggerated, negative thoughts, such as, “I can’t ever do anything right,” hold you back from reaching your full potential. Catch your negative thoughts before they spiral out of control and influence your behavior.

Identify and replace overly negative thoughts with thoughts that are more productive. Productive thoughts don’t need to be extremely positive, but should be realistic. A more balanced thought may be, “I have some weaknesses, but I also have plenty of strengths.” Changing your thoughts requires constant monitoring, but the process can be instrumental in helping you become your best self.

Increase Emotional Intelligence

Allowing your emotions to control your life will deplete your mental strength. While there’s nothing wrong with being in a bad mood sometimes, staying stuck in a negative rut can be a slippery slope:

A lot of problems stem from our desire to avoid discomfort. For example, people who fear failure often avoid new challenges in an effort to keep anxiety at bay. Avoiding emotional discomfort, however, is usually a short-term solution that leads to long-term problems.

Develop an awareness of how your emotions impact your life. Decide that you’re going to be in control of your emotions so they don’t control you. Face uncomfortable feelings head-on and take charge of your life. The more you practice tolerating discomfort, the more confidence you’ll gain in your ability to accept new challenges.

Don’t be a Martar

We tend to think that mentally strong people “power through it all” by avoiding rest and working 24/7.

Over the long-term, the exact opposite holds true.

“Resilience is how you recharge, not how you endure.”

Shawn Achor

Staying up late and avoiding relaxation has an incredibly negative effect on your brain power. You’re at increased risk for succumbing to impulsive desires, inattentiveness and questionable decision-making, amongst other effects.

To gain mental strength, know when to put down your phone or turn off your laptop, and prioritize the much-needed recuperation of your body and mind.

You have to learn to work with your thoughts, manage your emotions, and behave productively despite the circumstances. Over time with regular practice, attention, and focus, your brain will actually physically rewire itself, through a process called neuroplasticity, so that stronger and healthier becomes the default. Increasing your mental strength is the key to reaching your greatest potential in life.

 “Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher,” said Oprah Winfrey.

Striving to expand your network with inspirational people is a great stepping stone for improving your mental strength.

The Way Forward

You have to learn to work with your thoughts, manage your emotions, and behave productively despite the circumstances. Over time with regular practice, attention, and focus, your brain will actually physically rewire itself, through a process called neuroplasticity, so that stronger and healthier becomes the default. Increasing your mental strength is the key to reaching your greatest potential in life.

Nine ways to calm nerves before a presentation

Public speaking is described as one of the most common phobias around. According to a study, 75% of Americans suffer from anxiety in relation to public speaking, which means that three out of four people would refrain from speaking in public. As a matter of fact, even seasoned veterans may experience speech nervousness. Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, Prince Harry, Jennifer Aniston, and Adele are few of the examples of celebrities who feel anxious when facing a crowd. Here are some of the tops to overcome this phobia:

Practice

Rehearsing is the biggest key to become a confident speaker. Having an audience of trusted reviewers to give feedback is the most effective way to enhance your presentation skills and feel more confident in front of the crowd. You may also recording yourself and play back the file to identify and weaknesses in your speech.

Drink some water

High anxiety levels can cause dry mouth, which can make it extremely difficult to communicate effectively. Keeping a water bottle along with you when presenting can help you stay hydrated.

Positive visualization

Imagine yourself going on a stage and successfully sharing your message across the audience and receiving a good response from them.. Studies have proved that exercising positive visualization can be highly effective to calm our nerves and boost your confidence.

You may well think of some positive outcomes that can happen but if you are worrying you are almost certainly thinking of a whole range of things that can go wrong. Creating these thoughts in your imagination is like experiencing them in reality and you unconsciously create the exact reaction that you would have if these things really did occur.

Focusing on the best outcome that can happen, or on a range of possible positive outcomes can reduce your anxiety. Try asking yourself the simple question ‘What would I like to happen?’  Just ask yourself that question and imagine what it would be like if that were to happen. Maybe you could create a picture in your mind, or you can imagine what things you would say to yourself and how you would feel. You could also try writing down a description of that outcome. One advantage of doing this is that you can read it back to yourself from time to time if you get anxious again in the future.

Deep breaths

Adrenaline causes breathing to become shallow. Holding the breath in anticipation of what will follow only leads to increase in stress levels. Breathing exercises are a proven method to relax as they provide oxygen to the brain, which allows the body to remain calm and composed.

Some of us will recognise that awful moment when you are standing in front of a group of people and your mind just goes blank. The chances are, if you took a moment to notice, you are probably holding your breath. In fact if you hold your breath right now and try and think, you may find not much comes in! By starving our brain of oxygen, we are effectively preventing ourselves from thinking. If you think of the concept that a new thought = a new breath, thoughts will flood in and the deeper the breath the clearer the message to our subconscious that we are relaxed and confident.

Watch for the adrenaline to show up and don’t let it surprise you. Determine how adrenaline manifests for you—butterflies, palpitations or racing thoughts—and begin to expect these symptoms as a natural prelude to speaking. As soon as the symptoms show up, say to yourself, “Oh, good. My MOJO is here!” It’s true!  When you harness adrenaline, you command the room. Why would you want to resist this power? The challenge is not overcoming nervousness, it is turning fear into energy before you begin over-thinking the process.

Practice body language

Standing straight and holding a strong physical pose makes one feel more confident and creates a sense of self-assurance. Practicing confident body language is an effective way to calm nerves and reduce the levels of anxiety. When your body exhibits confidence in its posture, the mind follows the suit. Also, make sure to maintain a smile during a presentation as it exhibits confidence and enthusiasm.

Exercise

According to researchers, exercise can ease nervousness and anxiety by releasing endorphins, the feel-good chemicals in the brain. Exercise also increases body temperature, which causes an all-over calming effect. It helps you to reduce anxiety levels and makes you feel more confident.

Arrive early

Arriving early will give you enough time to settle down before the talk as well as adjust to the environment. Spending a certain time in the actual presentation room and practicing there will also increase your comfort level.

Know your topic

Knowing and understanding your topic minimises fear. Your audience is there to listen to the message you want to impart. Having a good command on the subject that you are about to speak will enable you to communicate more effectively, allowing you to remain calm during the presentation.

Practice the pause

Anxiety causes people to talk at a much faster rate than they actually do. A good practice is to rehearse pauses in your speech, perhaps to emphasise key messages. Training your mind automatically reminds you to slow down during the presentation and allows the audience time to process the material effectively.

You cannot conquer fear without accepting your fear. Anxiety only intensifies when one keeps wondering if others can notice their apprehension. With these tips, transform your nervous energy into positive enthusiasm.

Identifying Passive Aggressive Behaviours

Passive Aggressive Behaviours

It is easy for most people to retaliate indirectly than expressing their disagreements head-on as the latter can lead to confrontation. Expressing aggression or negative feelings is indirectly termed as passive-aggressive behaviour. A great deal of passive aggression arises from a failure to communicate, miscommunication, or an assumption that the other party is clairvoyant to being aware of the negative emotions felt by the other.

Passive aggressiveness can come in varying degrees which makes it extremely difficult to identify.  However, in a lot of cases, it’s said to be a disconnection between promises made and an individual’s actions. Such actions might not be viewed as a form of angry retribution, but rather disguised as feigned politeness or friendly agreements (which contain ulterior motives and mask deception and manipulation with well-meaning words). According to Dr Wetzler, author of ‘Living with Passive Aggressive Man”, passive-aggressive behaviour “really is a sugar-coated hostility”.  Below are some of the most common examples (but by no means all indicators) of passive-aggressive behaviours.

Silent Treatment

The most common form of passive aggressiveness is the silent treatment. This conveys a person’s anger or resentment in the form of refusing to answer the question, ignoring the other person, or refusing to acknowledge their presence. This avoids conflict by negating any verbal signs, yet makes the other person uncomfortable and may end up provoking them instead.

Masked verbal hostility with humour

Passive aggressive people use sarcasm and hostility laden humour to convey their anger, contempt, or disapproval of others. They may say something offensive and add the disclaimer ‘just kidding’ in the end to protect themselves.  They use humour and repetitive teasing to piecemeal erode one’s authority and credibility.

Subtle insults

A passive aggressive person could choose indirect methods for offending person. One such example is the use of compliments, coupled with underhanded insults or demeaning words. For example, ‘nice haircut’ is a good compliment. However, hearing ‘nice haircut, it makes you look much younger’ signifies a passive-aggressive behaviour.

Leaving things undone

Some people may remark that they might have that one colleague who accepted to perform certain tasks but didn’t finish them on time, indicating that they would not be complete by the required time. This means that they had to draft in other colleagues to get the work done in order to reach the final deadline. If such practices are frequent and not due to unforeseen or external factors, it may be a deliberate attempt to create disharmony and could be passive aggression in career, signalling resentment towards their field or job.

Complaining

Being sullen and complaining continuously to all around them could be a sign of passive aggressiveness. Individuals may go around complaining to all, except the person they deem responsible in order to avoid any type of direct conflict. When directly confronted, they may play innocent or feign ignorance of the charges that they’ve aired.

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