Work – you get what you throw in!

You always stumble upon the same problems whereever you work? It doesn’t matter if we are talking about new work or the good old way of working: everything starts with your thoughts, habits, feelings and beliefs. Your inner landscape mirrors in your (micro) reactions. Others can sense these signals and react immediately. The greatest example for this in my life was while hiking with my lovely girl friend in southern France: out of nowhere came a young boy, way behind his parents, who unasked just gave me a high five. We both had a huge smile and felt great. That was a positive example. If you radiate peace, you will probably get more peace. If you believe, that everybody wants to attack you, you will offend your peers unaware. They mostly will not be able to put their finger on it, but they will feel fear and defend theirselves. If you believe, that everybody is able to develop into something even better (have we talked about seeing the best in your peers already? A good upcoming post idea!), they will feel an open culture. The spirit of engagement can swap around and push everybody to try harder.

So whatever is inside of you, be brave, take a sharp look on it and try to see it as it is. Don’t be ashamed of unperfect things, accept them and decide to become a better version of yourself, maybe even the best version possible!

As always thanks for reading and sharing!

How to give advice

Let me give you some advice about a very complicated topic: ADVICE! It is an area where you can destroy many things or build real and vivid relationships. First of all i want to step on the shoulders of giants: stop your advice monster (a big THANK YOU again to Michael B. Stanier for this great metaphor from The Coaching Habit). Advice monster? Yes, giving advice is an art and you should not give it without permission and only if you are really forced to give it. But the most of us have a little monster on the shoulder, which is pushing us to give advice even if nobody asked for. It is our habit to give advice. Whenever you do it, the others, or better the advice recipients, will give their responsibility to you… and you guess it, you will take their chance to grow by this.

General things

Let’s dive quick into the topic: whenever somebody shows up and asks for advice, take the time for them. If it is not possible right now, make an appointment soon. Give the people the respect you would want to get and care! Step back from just saying “do this and that” towards listening and lifting up your fellows. Be flexible with the following steps – some people or situations need more, some people need less. Experiment with the process and try to find out what works best for you and in your surrounding. Be transparent about this experimentation by telling “let us try this and that”.

In my eyes it is appropriate to be happy, that somebody came to you with her problem. It is showing the big trust in you (or the arising one). As consequence thankfulness should be your attitude. This helps you later on being open and really helping.

Try to be as generous as possible. To the ones who come to you and the ones they might have trouble with. We are all humans and mistakes are human too. Even if you don’t like somebody it seems a good habit to assume always the best intents and freeing your mind towards those people.

The easy steps

Step one: Listen actively

First and most important of all: listen! But not just sitting around and waiting, be as curious as possible. Ask over and over again about more side parts or in depth. How should you be useful, if you don’t understand the full problem? And you will not understand it fully… never 🙂

Step two: Open new options

Whatever came up in the discussion till now, somehow we don’t want to stay at the problem stage (side note: in the great book Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision-Making the problem opening phase is followed by a grown zone, which should not extended to long). We need solutions! Those are made of possible options to solve the problem. Help your asker to see as much ways as you can to get out of the dark seas. Start maybe with “What do you think we could do about it?” to open space for own ideas. In my experience those are most fitting and sustained ones. If there are more solutions which aren’t found by their own, offer them in a friendly way by asking “Do you think this could work too?”.

Step three: Help deciding which option to choose

From here you will observe a wide range of possible things which could happen: from “Thank you so much, i will go this way!” to being completely overwhelmed and not able to decide. When in doubt, ask for every possible solution “What will change for now and in the future, if we go this way?”. Closely listen and note the things which come up. When you’ve talked about every useful solution, the question to answer is “Which way points to the best possible (or sometimes least bad) future?”. If there is such a solution and the advice seeker has a good feeling about it, you’ve made it. Ask again, if there is something left. Sometimes small side things are open and can be handled separated. Last part here: be thankful again and let everybody know it!

Step four (optional): Ask for feedback

If you two find a solution, that’s great! If it feels right to ask for a little feedback: go for it! Sometimes you will get the feedback anyway. Sometimes it is good to wait some days or weeks to ask how the things worked out.

Conclusion

Make a difference for the people who come to you! Don’t hurry to give advice to fast, let them stand up and go their way. This way they feel better and more responsible. They will have more self-efficacy and a boost of self-confidence.

Thanks for reading! What things came up when you gave advice? What mistakes did you make? What did you learn? Leave a comment and let the world know!

Responsibility Process

While reading and writing about Extreme Ownership i remembered, that i already heard of a similiar thing: the Responsibility Process from Christopher Avery. It also gives you the awareness, that you, and only you, are responsible for the things that happen in your life. Ok, sometimes you can not influence what is happening. But you can decide how to react on it! And there is the big power of the Responsibility Process: it just categorizes your responses to the world. You can take the responsibility or act in a irresponsible way. Those ways are obligation, shame, quitting, justifying and laying blame. And just for the entertainment: i forgot denial on purpose! Every single not responsible reaction is a way to somehow not feel the things which maybe are your part of the situation. By having this clear in your mind, it is getting easier to stand up feel responsible for the situation again. In my wallet i have printed and laminated card with the possible reactions. It reminds me from time to time to reflect in which states i am in different areas of my life. It helps me to get out of them, whenever i remind it.

How do you keep yourself responsible? What do you think about the responsibility process? Leave a comment and let the world know, what you think! And as always thanks for reading and i would be happy, if you share my posts 🙂

Book review: Extreme Ownership

In this smaller review i want to present a real eye opening book about leadership: the Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. As the subtitle “How U.S. Navy Seals Lead and Win” already brings up, those two are former Navy Seals. Only by reading the blurb made me a better guy by converting a problem at work from “we’re stuck” into “i go first, let’s have a look where we can get things”. How comes, that a book can influence your live so easily? Its success is based on many smaller and bigger principles, which are described always in the same way: a deeply described situation of the war in Iraq, a principle explanation and in the end a transfer to the business world with real life examples.

The main principle is that: you are responsible for everything what is happening in your sphere of influence. It’s really that easy! This principle is valid for everything: your private life, your business life, your voluntary work for non profit organisations. Whatever it is, you are resonsible! And not just a bit like “yes, i could do something about it”. Really like “if there is something not fitting, i can and will fix it!”. It is pushing yourself into the doing and stepping forward. It was reminding me of the Responsibility Process of Christopher Avery, which also brings up that it is you part to change the game.

Conclusion

For me the book is absolutely important, because it points out the self-efficacy of everyone of us. It is quite interesting to read, even if you’re not into the army and war things. The main principles are in the first chapters. Later the principles are a bit less powerful, but that is only since they are not for so big parts of everybodies life. I recommend this book to everybody!

Have you read this book? Or an even better one? What are your suggestions about self-efficacy and taking responsibility? What worked and what didn’t? Just leave a comment and let the world know about!

Thanks for reading, i hope you enjoyed and took something useful out of it!