How to repair your reputation
Angela told me she and one of her supervisors are not getting along. "I don't feel like she respects, appreciates, or likes me or my leadership style. She questions my decisions and actions and undercuts my authority." What's more, Angela described how the tension falls over to the rest of the team, and everyone can feel its effects.
Angela acknowledges that she's done an incredible amount of personal growth over the past few years. In the past, she wasn't always emotionally and physically available to her team. She was short with them, frazzled at times and made too many reactionary decisions. Now that she's changing, she needs also to change her relationship with her team and their perception of her. Angela said, "My reputation sucks. How do I clean that up?"
As Angela was telling me her story, I totally understood her pain. I've been there. I damaged my reputation, and I repaired it.
My team lost trust in me
In 2008, things took a turn. While my team had been able to trust me, the arrival of a large new contract changed that. Previously, I'd managed everything on my plate and did it with a level of confidence. But increased responsibility, travel, staffing, scope and budget all left me scrambling to hold things together.
Because of that:
That year's feedback on my performance appraisal indicated what the staff thought of me. They said that I lacked integrity. I was frustrated, hurt and discouraged by the feedback. Previous performance appraisals indicated I had strong trust with the team. How could things have plummeted so fast?
Without trust, my team was falling apart!
When my team lost trust in me and felt I was out of integrity, they didn't feel they had a strong leader. Therefore, as trust in our team eroded, I lost followers.
The team cohesiveness was quickly eroding, and in its place was tension, bickering, and whispering that stopped when I walked into the room. The decline culminated in a grievance filed against me. I was left fearful of being fired and, at the same time, ready to quit.
Embracing my essence: I took a good, long, hard look at where I was at
In working with my coach, I realized I lacked integrity, not just because people said I did, but because, through careful self-reflection, I saw it with my own heart.
I wasn't walking my talk. I wasn't leading with integrity; it was time to change that. I noticed what parts of how I was leading needed to change.
Pondering my potential: I looked at who I wanted to become
I knew I wanted to repair my reputation. I wanted to be not just the leader I was but an even better version of myself. By pondering our potential, we set new intentions for who we are becoming.
Engaging in continuous learning: I did the work to become who I wanted to be
To rebuild my reputation, I needed to do the ongoing work of building my character. Character in leadership refers to the set of moral and ethical qualities, values, and principles that guide your behaviour and decision-making. Your character is about your integrity, how accountable you are for your actions and decisions, and how respectful you are. You will be judged as leading with strong character if you demonstrate empathy, courage, humility, authenticity and consistency.
I decided that I wanted to lead in a way that demonstrated my highest moral and ethical standards, set a strong example and inspired trust, loyalty, and respect among my team. To do all of that, I had to work on my conduct.
People define your character by your conduct. It's your interaction with them that impacts what they think of you. But what they think about you is not the endpoint. Their opinion of you is only the catalyst for their behaviour. Your actions, your conduct, and, in essence, your character at any given moment will influence others to take positive action or negative action.
I'm not suggesting we need to be chipper all of the time. However, the sum of your actions and behaviour over time creates how others define your character. The problem is how you conduct yourself in stressful times tends to outweigh other people's memory of your conduct during smoother times. Therefore, we must be even more diligent about our behaviour during crises. That was the work I needed to do!
And none of this stopped and still hasn't. I'm constantly growing, learning and evolving, each day working to be a better and better version of myself.
3 steps to develop your character and improve your reputation
It was the above steps that I told Angela about:
Resources to help
Cultivating your character takes time
Character development is not easy work. Developing your character takes time and attention. It requires you to be vulnerable and explore some of your life's messy and painful places. Not just once but again and again.
Be intentional about developing and cultivating your character. That way, you can let go of who you think you should be and just be you. You'll be happier and a better leader!
Next week, we will discuss how to make time to do this inner work of leadership development and cultivating your strength of character.
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✏️ When you join The Training Library membership, you'll become confident in your leadership abilities, learn to bounce back when adversity hits, discover how to be your best self and find a place to belong!
Do you often wonder what you must DO to be a better leader?
While those are important components of leadership, the critical question is deeper than that. It's not what you have to DO to be a good leader; the question is: Who do you need to BE to be a good leader?
Who do you need to BE to be a good leader?
Consider the HOW of what you DO
Take a moment to consider who are you BEING when you do your job?
Have you ever considered your character?
Who you are BEING when you do your job is a description of your character. It's the essence of who you are. But we don't talk about it.
🤔 When did your manager last talk with you about developing your character?
🤷🏼♀️ When did you last consider why it might be important to develop your character?
🤨 Have you ever wondered how to build your character?
For most of us, the answer is never! It may be time to consider it.
How you are BEING is a description of your character
Your character is your unique combination of who you are:
Feeling like the imposter?
When we don't feel like ourselves while leading, we assume that's how it should be or that perhaps we aren't leading correctly. But when we are out of touch with our true selves, we feel awkward, fake, or like we are messing up. There is this enormous gap between who we believe we should be and who we actually are. That leaves us unsure of where to turn and not really satisfied.
When you develop your character, you'll be happier!
You will feel better, more fulfilled, and positively influence those around you if you take the time to cultivate your character. Instead of stepping into the role and trying to lead how you should lead when you develop your character, you will learn to lead from your character strengths.
🎭 Rather than feeling like you're putting on a persona or mask for each encounter and interaction, you will feel more authentic and more productive and impactful.
Why don't we lead with our character strengths?
Most of us are genuinely unaware of our true selves. We've lost sight of our true selves as we transitioned through our teen years, started families, and advanced in our careers. Many of us don't know what makes us tick because, quite frankly, we don't know what our best gifts and talents are. And we have no idea how to use them to lead. We've never tried to find, unearth, or awaken them.
🤨 Who are you?
Back to describing character
Once again, consider how we describe other people and how others might describe you.
Pay attention to the word character in each of these sentences👇🏻
🟪 Often, we talk about someone's character in GENERAL statements such as,
🟪 Now, think about SPECIFIC POSITIVE descriptions of other people's character traits. Consider again how people might describe your traits. These are some ways we speak in awe of certain women's characteristics:
🟪 Don't forget that not all character traits are good. Here are some SPECIFIC NEGATIVE traits
Reflect on this list below. These are times we cringe at character traits that some women exude:
I hope you are now seeing how important it is to cultivate and develop your character.
How your character is defined:
A little overview: Your character is your unique combination of traits distinguishing you from others. It is how others perceive you, not how you describe yourself. Let me say that again. Your character is someone else's perspective of you. It's not how you see yourself and wish others would see you. You certainly can impact or influence what others think about you, and you should. Ultimately, how people describe your character is their perception, which makes character development tricky.
Perhaps you wonder if character development is about getting people to like you. 🙅🏼♀️ No, that's not quite it.
Your job as a leader is to guide people to a vision 👀
by inspiring them to grow 🌱
and helping them develop 🧩
so that together, you can reach your shared vision 🙌🏻
Your influence and impact on people can motivate them to be their best selves, which is incredibly helpful to reach team and organizational goals and serve clients. Achieving that level of impact on others may be easier if they like you. But still, it's less about people liking you and more about them respecting you.
Why you should care about how people define your character
⭐️Your character is so important because it influences what people think about you and, therefore, its impact on them.
When your character is strong, you have a good reputation. It's that reputation that garners others' respect. Someone doesn't have to like you to respect you. The two do not always go hand in hand.
However, when people on your team respect you, it allows them to be patient with you, persist for you, and push themselves. They'll often respect you because they believe in you, your message, and how you live that purpose, which is inextricably linked with your character. As such, they will conduct themselves in a certain way because you've inspired them, and they are motivated by your actions, your conduct and the type of person you are.
💡 How to lead with strong character
1️⃣ The first step
Start by noticing character, yours and others.
Keep a log, note on your phone or journal entry about character words you'd use to describe your or another's character.
2️⃣ The next step
Then, choose your character traits.
Pick words that you'd like others to use to describe you. What is the type of leader you want to BE?
Finally, cultivate your character
Do the work to grow and develop those character traits in yourself.
Next week, I'll introduce you to the strategies for developing your desired character traits and how to become the leader you want to be, having the impact you desire to have.
Learn to Develop Your Character
If you want to learn more about developing your character and you are a member of The Training Library, check out the WEBINAR: Develop Your Strength of Character.
If you are like most leaders, you've been here:
You have a precious break in the day, so you look at your endless to-do list.
All tasks seem important, but you scan the list, looking for the priority items you can knock off in a few minutes. As you glance at each item, you make a mental note:
Your to-do list is like an emotional roller coaster
In the time it takes to scan down the list, your emotions move from overwhelmed to anxious, then annoyed and doubtful, ending with discouraged.
Pushing the to-do list aside, you begin scrolling through your inbox without realizing you've avoided doing anything on the list and, as a result, get further behind and more disheartened 😩
I get it. I've been there many, many times too! In fact, if you are like most leaders, you have a lengthy to-do list that haunts you into the wee hours of the morning and, honestly, will never get done.
But why is it that we will never get through our to-do list?
💥The reason your to-do list will never get done is twofold
REASON # 1
First, it's a disorganized list that is more of a holding place than a completion place.
REASON # 2
Second, we look at the list as items that need time to be completed, and we blame lack of time as the enemy 😡 ⏰
It's way more complicated than just not enough time.
For example, look at your to-do list and consider:
Without taking all of that into consideration, our to-do list becomes an impossible challenge, and time becomes the enemy. But time is getting a bad rap. ❌ It's not ⏳ time's fault.
The time available to complete tasks is only one small factor in managing our to-do list. There are other things to consider. Below are three steps to help you manage your to-do list with much greater success👇🏻
QUESTION: How do I get done, what matters on my to-do list?
ANSWER: You create order and awareness.
1) First, start by prioritizing your to-do list into some semblance of order
That way, your to-do list can become a tool working for you instead of a threat against you.
2) Next, let go of inappropriate expectations of your to-do list
You change expectations of your to-do list by shifting your mindset from believing your to-do list is a list of things that need doing to a holding place for projects and tasks.
3) Finally, move a few key items to each day's agenda, plan or priorities
When you only have three things to get done each day, you will check them off with greater speed and satisfaction.
But we are still overlooking something
That covers the tactical side of getting through your to-do list. But there is something bigger that needs addressing.
🐘 The elephant in the room is the emotions you felt when you scanned the list.
Your emotions play a big role in productivity
Many of us are unaware of our feelings, let alone how our emotions affect our productivity. We can choose our responses better by slowing down and getting a better awareness of what we are experiencing and how our emotions distract us from getting done what matters most.
If you want more help with this, read this next: Why Your Emotions Are Sabotaging Your Productivity
If you've been meaning to
NOW is the time to plan HOW you will do that 👆🏻 growth.
They would linger at my door, peek 👀 in, and ask if they could ask a quick question...45 minutes later, I'd be trying to figure out where I was on the report, which took another 15 minutes to get settled back in, only to be interrupted again.
You've been there, too, even if it is virtually. The rings, dings and pings never stop and constantly distract you. As a leader, your team relies on your guidance and support. However, frequent interruptions from team members seeking advice or addressing concerns can disrupt your workflow.
Creating an environment that allows you to focus and be uninterrupted is essential for maximizing your productivity as a leader in a nonprofit organization. Here are some effective strategies to help you minimize and eliminate distractions.
1 - Address Urgent Client Needs
Let's address this first. In small nonprofit organizations, clients in crises often require immediate attention. While it's crucial to prioritize their needs, it's equally important to establish your boundaries to prevent them from becoming constant interruptions.
Where possible, designate specific times during the day to address urgent client matters and communicate these time blocks with your team and clients.
Empower your team to handle initial client inquiries. This allows you to focus on more complex or high-priority cases.
2 - Set your boundaries
Get clear that you're unavailable and for how long ⏳
3 - Communicate your boundaries to your team
👽 BONUS: Check out the CHATGPT-generated email at the end that you can use as a draft to communicate to your team)
4 - Reinforce your boundaries
Set up your workspace in a way that discourages interruptions. Use visual cues to communicate your availability and to signal your focused state.
5 - Deal with interruptions
Not all interruptions are avoidable, so handling them effectively is important. Before allowing someone to interrupt your focused time, assess the urgency and importance of their request. This post might help you:When interruptions come, don't let them in:
6 - Be strict ---> with yourself. You are your own worst enemy.
Recognize that your internal distractions can often be more challenging than external ones. Your ability to stay focused requires willpower and self-discipline. Be mindful of your tendencies to get sidetracked and implement strategies to combat them.
Recognize that your internal distractions can often be more challenging than external ones. Your ability to stay focused requires willpower and self-discipline. Be mindful of your tendencies to get sidetracked and implement strategies to combat them.
Your lack of focus comes more often from inside than outside. Focus requires an incredible amount of willpower. Read these blogs to discover more about staying focused.
Moving Beyond Procrastination: 3 Powerful Strategies to Empower You to Take Action
3 Productivity Hacks for Leaders that are Guaranteed to Boost Your Mood
Get rid of the distractions in your line vision
Deal with your phone
Your phone can be a significant source of distractions. Take control by:
By distancing yourself from your phone, you create a physical separation that reduces the temptation to engage with it and allows you to focus more fully on your work.
Remember, creating an environment that minimizes distractions requires conscious effort and consistent practice. By implementing these strategies, you can establish a productive work environment that empowers you as a leader in a nonprofit organization.
Check out this letter to help you communicate your boundaries👇🏻
BONUS: CHATGPT Generated Email to send to your staff
Do you need help communicating your boundaries to your staff?
Use the following CHATGPT Generated Email to send to your staff as a draft to help you send a clear message.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Subject: Establishing Focused Time for Enhanced Productivity and Reduced Interruptions
As we continue our mission to positively impact the lives of those we serve, I wanted to share an important update that will help us enhance our productivity and efficiency while addressing interruptions effectively.
Recognizing the value of uninterrupted work time, I am implementing a new practice of setting aside dedicated, focused time for each of us to tackle our tasks and responsibilities without unnecessary interruptions. This will enable us to dive deep into our work, foster creativity, and accomplish more meaningful results.
During these focused times, I kindly request your cooperation in refraining from interrupting one another unless it is an urgent matter that requires immediate attention. By respecting these boundaries, we will be able to maximize our productivity while ensuring that critical client needs are met in a timely manner.
To support this initiative, here are a few guidelines we will follow:
1. Clearly Communicating Availability: Each team member will communicate their preferred focused time slots, which will be shared with the entire team. This way, we can plan our schedules and interactions accordingly, reducing unexpected interruptions.
2. Utilizing Email and Collaboration Tools: Non-urgent queries or updates can be effectively communicated via email or collaboration tools like Slack or project management platforms. This way, we can address them at a time that is most suitable for our focused work.
3. Prioritizing Urgent Matters: For urgent client or organizational matters that cannot wait, we will maintain open lines of communication. However, I encourage everyone to assess the urgency and importance of requests before interrupting a team member during their focused time.
4. Empowering Autonomy: Let's foster a culture of autonomy, encouraging each team member to solve challenges independently whenever possible. This will not only build our problem-solving skills but also reduce unnecessary interruptions for guidance.
5. Respect and Support: As we embark on this new practice, let's demonstrate respect and support for one another. Celebrate achievements and milestones while understanding that focused time is crucial for personal growth and delivering exceptional results.
By embracing these guidelines, we will create an environment that supports our collective success and allows us to meet the needs of our clients efficiently. I trust each one of you to contribute to this initiative and maintain a positive and productive work environment.
If you have any questions, suggestions, or concerns regarding this new approach, please feel free to reach out to me directly. Your feedback is always valued and appreciated.
Thank you for your commitment to our organization and your dedication to making a difference in the lives of those we serve. Together, we will achieve remarkable outcomes and continue to be a force for positive change.
Moving Beyond Procrastination: 3 Powerful Strategies to Empower You to Take Action
Are you like me? Do you delay, prolong and stretch out some tasks? We all do it. We even joke about procrastination. We tease others about it. However, when procrastination seriously gets in the way of our productivity, it hinders our ability to positively impact our team and the work our organization does.
Yet, in some ways, we seem resigned to dealing with procrastination. It's just a part of life. Right? It doesn't have to be.
Let's look at 3 common reasons why we procrastinate and three strategies to deal with three types of procrastination.
Which one of these is you?
The reasons we put off task fall into three categories. Review the following to discover which reason matches your current procrastination slump and find a strategy for dealing with it.
1️⃣ We procrastinate because: The task makes us feel uncomfortable
In this situation, the job in front of you feeds your resistance.
🟡 The Strategy for Overcoming Procrastination
If the task in front of you makes you uncomfortable, name it to tame it.
🟢 It is your emotions that stop your actions.
Naming the emotion you feel allows you to deal with your resistance to the task in front of you.
2️⃣ We procrastinate because: The NEXT task makes us feel uncomfortable
Try finishing these sentences:
What emotion did the next task bring up for you?
The subsequent feeling about what happens next has you procrastinating on the current project.
🟡 The Strategy for Overcoming Procrastination
Take time to recognize the links. Notice what is coming up after the task you are procrastinating on.
🟢 Make notes of your fears and your anxiety about the next step.
Then, go back to the first strategy. Name it to tame it. Naming the emotions allows you to get a handle on it. Being in control of your emotions puts you back into motion.
3️⃣ We procrastinate because: We are depleted
The most often overlooked reason we procrastinate is that we are truly depleted. We are like cell phones. We run out of charge. The problem is that most of us only plug back in briefly. Bumping back up to a 10% charge prevents us from functioning adequately. Before long, we are feeling drained again. When you're running on empty, it's extremely difficult to focus and use brainpower.
🟡 The Strategy for Overcoming Procrastination
If you are truly depleted, it's time to fill your cup back up!
Take time to:
The 3 strategies:
Employing these strategies to move through resistance will put you back in control.
Are you ready to transform your approach to time management? Join "The Emotions of Time Management" course designed exclusively for women leaders in nonprofit organizations. In it, you'll:
1- Master Proven Time Management Strategies:
Learn 3 powerful time management strategies
2 - Identify Hidden Roadblocks:
Uncover the emotional barriers holding you back from effective time management
3 - Create Lasting Change:
Learn practical tools and actionable steps to integrate time management practices into your daily routine
Learn more about The Emotions of Time Management here
As a woman leading in the nonprofit sector, I know your days are filled with endless meetings, tight deadlines, and a never-ending to-do list. I've been there, and I know it's not always easy to stay motivated and positive when facing these challenges.
When I get behind, I get irritable 😤 Any interruptions will annoy the crap out of me. The thing is, not only do I get short with others, but I also beat myself up.
The impact of less-than-productive days
You, too, likely feel irritated on less-than-productive days. You also know the consequences of how an unproductive day can spill into your evening. Being short with your staff is certainly not optimal, but a cutting remark with your child can leave you feeling inept in the parenting department.
I'd had enough of it!
This all-too-familiar cycle was the norm for me for years. The more determined I got in the last few years to do meaningful work, the more necessary it became to be productive. Changing a few things has made an incredible difference for me. I still have less productive times, but they are fewer and farther between. I end most weeks ticking everything off of my weekly list.
When you decide it's time to be more productive...this ↓
✅ Being more productive will help you take that weekly and daily to-do list and get them done. That way, you can shut off at the end of the day, knowing you completed what was needed.
✅ Being productive at work frees up your mind and energy to shift into the rest of your life. Feeling upbeat when you come home at the end of your workday results in a much more enjoyable evening with your loved ones!
Let's dive into the three powerful productivity hacks that enhance efficiency and boost mood👇🏻
3 Productivity Hacks for Leaders
that are Guaranteed to Boost Your Mood
1 - Prioritize Self-Care
As a dedicated nonprofit leader, it's natural to put others before yourself.
However, taking care of your well-being is essential for maintaining a positive mindset and achieving productivity because:
👉🏻 It's hard to focus when you are hangry.
👉🏻 It will take you way longer to create the document when you haven't left your desk for 3 hours straight.
👉🏻 You'll find burnout knocking at your door if you don't take proper care of yourself.
If you neglect self-care, you're more likely to be unproductive, experience heightened stress levels, and eventually face burnout, just like my client Nancy.
🙋🏻♀️ Nancy was neglecting her physical and mental well-being, feeling exhausted, and struggling to be productive.
Nancy started with wanting to carve out time each day for self-care activities that rejuvenate her, like a morning meditation or an evening walk with the dogs, but she didn't always have the motivation to do that. Many of my clients have high aspirations like this but struggle to get there. To get moving in the right direction, I encourage them, like I encouraged Nancy, to start small and work to add micro-moments of wellness throughout her day.
WHAT WORKED FOR NANCY
Nancy began working through the course Wellness AT Work and learned how to add micro-moments of wellness into her work day. She immediately found she was feeling healthier and more productive!
👉🏻 DO THIS: Add micro-moments of wellness into your day
Think about what you can do in one minute or less:
Learn more about the Wellness AT Work COURSE
2 - Master Time Management
As a nonprofit leader, learning effective time management is a game-changer. Learning to manage your energy and priorities helps you have increased productivity and allows you to maintain a positive outlook.
Here are the basics:
✔️ Take time to plan your week, determining the top projects and tasks needing to be done.
✔️ Break your projects into tasks which makes them more manageable.
✔️ Each day, identify your top priorities for the day
✔️ Create time blocks in your calendar to work on allocating tasks
✔️ Embrace technology tools such as task management apps, calendars, and reminders to stay organized and on track.
By maximizing your time and staying focused, you'll accomplish more while reducing stress, undoubtedly boosting your mood.
However, time management strategies alone won't be the simple answer.
🤔 You'll also need to manage what's happening in your head when you think about those tasks.
❗️ Just because you put "performance review" on your agenda
doesn't mean you'll eagerly jump into it at the allotted time.
If you are uncomfortable with conflict and know this review will be challenging, you may put it off unconsciously. Seeing it pop up on your list week after week requires you to start looking at the unconscious thoughts getting in the way.
🙋🏼♀️ SASHA'S STORY
Sasha knew that she was struggling with more than time management.
WHAT WORKED FOR SASHA
For example, Sasha kept putting off the annual report. It had been on her list for a month, and now the pressure was on to finish it. As she worked through the exercises...
💡 These two insights helped Sasha add some client stories to the report and ask for help with the software. She then reengaged in the task and completed it on time with a sense of pride rather than frustration.
👉🏻 DO THIS: Master your inner critic
Work through The Emotions of Time Management to help you apply the time management strategies despite your sabotaging thoughts.
Learn more about The Emotions of Time Management COURSE
3 - Make the best use of your productive times
🙋🏼♀️ MY STORY
A few years ago, I took a deep dive into productivity. As an overachiever with high expectations of myself,
🟦 Identify your most productive times
🟦 During peak times, do the projects needing intense focus
What are the things that require a level of diligence and focus?
reading over and digesting a report
WHAT WORKED FOR ME
🟦 Use your willpower wisely
Willpower is the age-old skill of self-control, restraint, strength, and determination. Willpower happens in your head.
🗣️ Our mind chatter tries to get us to avoid pain.
🗣️ That inner dialogue suggests to us, subconsciously, that doing a particular project on our to-do list hurts.
🗣️ Our inner voice says that if we do the task in front of us, it will be painful, hard or troublesome.
So instead, that little gremlin 🗣️ inside suggests we check email again, move to a different project or head to Tik Tok, LinkedIn, or your favourite social media newsfeed.
👉🏻 DO THIS: Learn to manage your willpower
Honestly, learning about willpower helped me the most with productivity. It takes resolve to push past that and get to work, especially agonizing jobs. To stay on task, get done the important work and leave feeling productive at the end of your day, you must activate your willpower. Start by:
✅ Understanding what willpower is and what it isn't
✅ Learning how to stop depleting your willpower unnecessarily.
✅ Learning how to get more willpower quickly when you need it most.
I took what I learned and put it into the course Willpower Essentials: Getting Done What Matters Most
Learn more about the Willpower Essentials COURSE
Remember, boosting your mood and enhancing your efficiency go hand in hand. Prioritize self-care, master time management, and learn to manage your willpower, and you'll find yourself accomplishing more while enjoying the journey.
Here is the thing, as a leader, you can inspire other women leaders in the nonprofit sector with your positive energy that will undoubtedly create a ripple effect within your organization and community. The choice is yours!
You may have noticed that I linked three different courses above. All of them are instantly accessible to you, plus many, many more, when you join The Training Library for $19.97/month.
🤔 How much do you pay for your Prime, Netflix, Google or Apple membership?
Is your growth and development (also your sanity) not worth that much too?
Joining The Training Library gives you the tools to lead and live your best. I hope I'll see you in there soon!
Are you a nonprofit leader who finds you intend to get a lot done each week but mournfully realize that when Friday hits, you've barely touched your to-do list? 😒
Instead, you accomplished a lot of things that other people added to your to-do list. While reacting to everyone else's demands, you didn't complete the assignments you wanted to work on. Miserably, you note that some of the unfinished items on your list were crucial tasks to move important projects forward that were truly important to you and your team.
Trust me. You are not the only one who feels like this at the end of your week.
Too much REACTING rather than responding
Leaders spend more time acting on requests from others than completing their own priority tasks. The urgency to solve everyone else's problems leaves a manager feeling like they spend their days chasing fires and never getting anywhere 😫
If you want to get off that hamster wheel and do more of your essential work, you must be more intentional about what you do with your time rather than reactionary.
⭐️ It is critical to begin with planning
You must start each week by planning your week. Before you get caught up in chasing everybody else's plans and agenda for you, you must reorient yourself to what are priorities for you. By setting aside time each week to lay out what you want your week to look like, you will have better control over what happens 👏🏻
You must get perspective 👀
Weekly planning sessions allow you to pull your head out of the sand. While putting your head down and getting work done at times is crucial, a leader's critical function is to lift their head (and their organization's head) and get a bigger picture view repeatedly. Weekly planning time is this head-up, expansive view of the bigger picture. This time allows the leader to put things into perspective for them and their organization.
You need to refocus your time and priorities
Weekly planning allows you to get projects, plans, and tasks into focus again. From this outlook, you can choose how to respond to your week rather than frantically reacting to whatever shows up in your inbox, at your door or desk. Creating a habit of weekly planning puts you back in control and moving forward rather than running around and around 🙌🏻
3 Steps to Creating a Weekly Planning Habit
1️⃣ Schedule a weekly time slot into your agenda
First, set aside time each week to do your planning. Schedule it into your agenda and stick to it. You will need 20 minutes to an hour, depending on your responsibility level and style.
Find a time that works best for you.
Set clear boundaries
❌ Do NOT book anything else in that slot.
2️⃣ Develop a list of action items for the week
A) Review annual goals
📝 Write those down as action items.
Your company is looking at reducing short-term disability. Perhaps you need to schedule a meeting with the working group for the short-term disability strategy.
B) Review quarterly projects
Next, look at the quarterly projects you have on the go.
Where are you at with each of those?
What needs to be done to move the project forward?
📝 Write those down as action items.
If you are planning your annual staff retreat, you might have to research venues.
C) Review last week's meetings
Look at the previous week's schedule and identify items needing carrying forward into this week.
📝 Write those down as action items.
You may have met with someone and meant to connect them to another person. Note the need to send a connecting email to the two on your to-do list.
D) Review your upcoming appointments
Finally, look at the upcoming week. Review your meetings that are coming up and conversations that need to happen. Once again, continue adding to your to-do list.
📝 Write those down as action items.
If you have a staff meeting on Thursday, you may need to compile the agenda to send out to the attendees.
Dealing with the big list of items ✅ ✅ ✅
You should now have a list of things you want to tackle in the upcoming week. For some of you, this feels overwhelming. For others, it might be refreshing. One way to look at it is that you now have everything out of your brain and in one place. There will be less chance of forgetting or losing things in the shuffle.
Dumping everything onto this list, from this big-picture perspective, is, in itself, helpful.
3️⃣ Creating your plan
From this list of action items, create your plan for the week.
Make weekly planning your priority
Setting aside time to plan your week puts you on track to having a more productive week. Choose when you want to do this, then schedule planning time weekly into your agenda. Review your annual goals, quarterly projects, the previous week's appointments, and the upcoming week's schedule during the identified time.
☑️ From this analysis, list tasks you want to accomplish.
But it won't work 🤦🏼♀️
If you read this and thought, that's lovely, but it doesn't work that way in the real world, I'm with you 💯
Even with the best of intentions, things have a way of getting in the way 😕
But is it things...or yourself?
In The Emotions of Time Management course, you'll learn why those strategies alone won't work for you.
✔️ We'll uncover the emotions that hold you back and help you make those strategies work for your unique situation.
✔️ You'll discover how to overcome hidden commitments that get in the way of getting done what matters most so that you can get done what matters most.
Learn more about The Emotions of Time Management here.
You can do this! 🙌🏻
You can get more organized, on top of things and get done what matters most. However, it will take a bit of intentional digging into what gets in your way, and that's often what's happening inside you. Thus, you must do the inner work!
Start with the system, then notice what gets in the way of the system working. That's where The Emotions of Time Management come into play. It's the inner work you must do to be the best leader you can be!
Are you a nonprofit leader tired of looking at your to-do list with a sense of dread? Trust me. You're not alone. We all have a love/hate relationship with those seemingly endless lists. They can be overwhelming, but at the same time, they're essential for keeping us on track and ensuring we get things done.
👉🏻 If you want to transform your TO-DO list into a truly productive tool, it's time to make it more manageable.
🤔 Are you wondering....How do you trim your TO-DO list?
The wrong thing to put on your list
To tame your TO-DO list, you must remove repetitive items. When you stop entering tasks on your list that you complete regularly, you will see your list shrink dramatically. Doing this lets you find that your TO-DO list becomes your trusted friend instead of a daunting foe.
You can do what Sarah and Maria did
👱🏻♀️ My client Sarah manages a group home. She used to have tasks like "prepare program schedule every week" and "review budget once a month," constantly cluttering her to-do list.
Realizing that these were routine items, Sarah entered them directly into her schedule. This simple change made a massive difference in how she approached her daily tasks, allowing her to focus on more pressing matters and be more productive.
👩🏻 Another client Maria, a Program Coordinator, used to dread the monthly task of compiling statistics and preparing quarterly reports. It was a time-consuming chore that she would often leave until the last moment, sacrificing her personal time to get it done.
However, after learning to treat routine tasks as appointments with herself, Maria scheduled a specific time slot every month to tackle the statistics. Not only did this help her prioritize the task, but it also freed up her evenings and weekends for personal activities.
❌ Removing the routine items
By removing routine items from your to-do list and scheduling them in your agenda, you're making a commitment to yourself to complete these tasks during designated times.
📆 Book appointments with yourself
Most leaders only use their agenda for meetings and appointments with others. They may list other things they must do during the day in their agenda, but only as bulleted points. Instead, you should enter routine items into a time slot in your schedule with a beginning and ending time. The routine task should be entered into your schedule as an appointment with yourself.
📊 The dreaded monthly stats task
Let me give you an example. Many managers need to do monthly statistics and quarterly reports. This means you pull together charts, forms, and spreadsheets every month. Laying them all out on your desk, you compile data into a report that goes off to the powers that be.
For most leaders, this data compilation is a challenging task. Leaders put it off and delay doing it until the last moment. I venture to guess that most leaders tend to get it done by either staying late or finishing it on the weekend. That's certainly how I used to get it done 🤦🏼♀️
This chore gets done on a manager's own time because the manager never prioritized it. Oh, they may put it at the top of their TO-DO list! But that didn't mean it came before other fires needing put out. Since the monthly statistical collection wasn't put in as an appointment, it was not completed during the regular daytime hours.
🙋♀️ How I do it:
I now have a standing appointment with myself to do it each 📆 Monday morning. Yes, you read that right. It's part of my weekly review that gets prioritized before anything else!
Move it from TO-DO list to your agenda
Tasks that are routine things need to be put into your agenda. Schedule a regular appointment with yourself to get done the things that need to get repeatedly done.
How to Set Routine Tasks as an Appointment
Most leaders only use their agenda for meetings and appointments with others, but it's also important to include routine tasks. Rather than simply jotting them down as bullet points, I encourage you to allocate a specific time slot in your schedule with a defined start and end time.
Treat these routine tasks as appointments with yourself.
✔️ Appointments with yourself get entered into your agenda and are blocked off as busy times.
✔️ No one else should be able to book an appointment with you during this time.
✔️ Treat those times just like you would treat any other meeting:
But what if something more important comes up?
We all know that unexpected things can arise, and priorities can shift. If you cannot complete a task during the scheduled time, don't just erase it and forget about it. As author Jay Papasan says: "If you erase it, then you must replace it."
📚 Papasan co-authored the book The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth About Extraordinary Results, and I highly recommend it if you want to become more productive.
Rebook it if you can't do it
That means if you can't do the work as planned, find another suitable time slot in your calendar to reschedule it. Don't let routine tasks pile up and follow you home as unfinished business. They are an integral part of your workload and deserve the same level of attention as anything else
⭐️Compiling timesheets, writing reports, and reviewing budgets are all part of your workload. They are not extras. You need to treat them with the same importance as anything else.
✅ Your TO-DO list taming HOMEWORK:
1️⃣ During your weekly planning, review your TO-DO list.
2️⃣ Put a ✔️ checkmark beside anything that is a regular or cyclical task.
3️⃣ Take those items and 📆 schedule the appropriate amount of time into your agenda.
4️⃣ Stick to those times and complete the task in that time slot 💪🏻
5️⃣ If you can't do it, re-book it 📆
A manageable-looking TO-DO list
This leaves a manageable TO-DO list for you to prioritize. It won't be quite as scary to look at the items left 👀
Keeping your TO-DO list manageable requires being mindful of what you enter into it. Schedule routine items into your agenda. That way, regularly occurring tasks will get done on time. This will also leave your TO-DO list smaller, more inviting to scan and way easier to keep up with 👏🏻
I'm curious. Comment below:
Need more help prioritizing?
If you need even more help to tame your to-do list and get done what matters most, start The Emotions of Time Management today and learn time management strategies and how to make them work for you!
As women leaders in nonprofit organizations, you often find yourself needing to navigate a challenging conversation. Whether addressing policy violations or managing performance issues, these discussions tend to evoke much 😩 angst and worry over how they will go.
It's your job to have difficult conversations
But having difficult conversations is part of being a leader. The problem is that often when we think about these upcoming exchanges, we're trying to figure out how to have that conversation without thinking about the how. 👈🏻Yes, reread that sentence. As we rehearse an upcoming conversation in our heads, we are trying to figure out WHAT to say rather than HOW to say it.
But you are missing a key component of preparations for these conversations
We meticulously plan our arguments, gather evidence, and outline our case.
To prepare, you:
We think less about HOW we will engage, connect, influence, impact, listen, hear, and understand.
Understanding. That's a good place to start. When we engage in a difficult conversation, we seek to be understood rather than to understand. So we gather the information but try to shut off who we are.
We want to be DETACHED in tough conversations
I often hear women say I'm just going to go in, be clear, non-emotional, or detached.
But what they're really doing is going into a conversation with lots of emotions.
😤 😡 😣They are annoyed, irritated, frustrated, and trying to pretend that they're not. Yet, when I ask my clients what happens when they are annoyed, irritated, or frustrated, they tell me things like:
🙈 And although they know they can't hide all these things, they hope the other person doesn't notice. But they are only kidding themselves.
Deep down, you know that others probably pick up on it even when you pretend you aren't annoyed, irritated or frustrated.
You need to manage your emotions so you can engage in the conversation
The truth is emotions will arise during difficult conversations. As much as we might try to conceal them, our nonverbal cues and internal experiences can be telling. Rather than suppressing or denying these emotions, you need to acknowledge and address your emotions to deal with a challenging conversation confidently.
🤔 Before the conversation:
My client experienced an ah ha
A client told me she wanted to stop being so passionate in conversations. I asked her how passion shows up during a conversation. When she's passionate, my client said she talks a lot, talks fast and gives lots of details.
🟦 I want to stop being passionate
I suggested that instead of shutting the passion off that, she manage the passion and focus on being clear and concise in her message and then pausing, allowing the other person time to soak it and respond. Passion isn't the issue. That is, in fact, what we are looking for👇🏻
🟦 Oh wait...I do want to be passionate
If I asked you how you want to feel about your job, you might tell me you want to feel engaged, excited, and eager to be there. Wouldn't you say that's passion? So when the behaviour of someone on your team is negatively impacting a client, why wouldn't you be passionate?
✅ It's how you use that passion that's important.
🟦 Ah, I have to learn to manage my passion
When my client realized this, she was very intrigued. She does care deeply about the work she and her team are doing. It's no wonder she's passionate.
🌱 Learning to manage it rather than shutting it off is her place for growth!
You need to choose the emotions you want to bring into the conversation
When you prepare ahead of time, you'll approach the discussion with greater clarity, empathy, and control, paving the way for a more productive dialogue.
Remember, the way we approach the conversation has a profound impact on its outcome. Difficult conversations are more effective when we focus less on content and more on the connection. The best way to do that is to let go of being right and understood and instead become curious and seek to understand.
Often, our natural inclination during difficult conversations is to seek to be understood. We aim to get our point across, make our case, and ensure our perspective is acknowledged. However, a shift in mindset is necessary for building strong, trusting relationships with your employees. Instead of solely focusing on being understood, cultivate a genuine curiosity to understand the other person's viewpoint. Doing so creates an environment that encourages openness, empathy, and collaboration.
Seven Mantras to Help You Through Tough Conversations
1️⃣ Curiosity is critical
2️⃣ Emotions are everything
3️⃣ Pause before you proceed
4️⃣ Connect before you continue.
5️⃣ Put the relationship before the responsibility
6️⃣ It's not just about the content; it's about the connection
7️⃣ The inner work is the work!
Your focus needs to be on WHO you will be while you are talking about the WHAT
When you prepare for difficult conversations, remember that the strength of your connection is the key part. By focusing on the type of person you are in those conversations, you can create a safe space that promotes understanding, collaboration, and growth. Remember, it's not just about the content; it's about the connection.
📗 If you need help, read this:
You may want some help to learn to dig deep and focus on how to have a conversation rather than what you will discuss if the conversation takes some work.
Fellow coach Michael Bangay, Stanier recently published his latest book, How to Work with Almost Anyone.
In it, you will learn five questions for building possible relationships with some of those people you aren't sure you will ever get along with.
I highly recommend that you grab it and do the work to focus on how to have conversations, not just the content of the conversations.
When you do, it will be incredible peace to help you manage your emotions and increase your emotional intelligence while having those conversations with difficult people.
p.s. The inner work IS the work! Where will you start today to grow yourself from the inside out?
Building Emotional Intelligence
As a nonprofit woman leader, do you ever wish that you could pause a situation, rewind and pull back what you just said or did? There are certainly days that I wish that I could reverse time and have a do-over of a conversation or situation. Sometimes words seem to fall out of our mouths, and we wish we could grab them back.
Understanding Emotional Intelligence
As a new leader, after moving up from a front-line position to a leadership position, I was suddenly supervising my peers. Feeling unsure of myself and lacking the confidence to address issues calmly, I remember yelling at my administrative support 🤦🏼♀️
As soon as I did, I regretted it😞
I couldn't take back what I'd said. However, I learned to build my confidence and manage my emotions over time. Increasing my emotional intelligence helped me and can help you!
While we can't change the past, we can slow down what is happening inside of us and positively impact what we say and how we behave, thus reducing the number of times we say or do something we regret. Doing so is all about working on building your Emotional Intelligence.
It starts with learning to be aware of your emotions
Someone high in Emotional intelligence, or EQ, is aware of their emotions and good at managing them. What we feel plays a key role in what we say and do. To be more tuned into what you are feeling requires you to slow down time and widen the gap between what happened and your reaction. Using the Inner Guidance Cycle helps you to do that.
🔄 Use The Inner Guidance Cycle
When you PAUSE, you'll create time to PONDER and reflectively look back at past situations to see the space between an incident and your reaction to the incident. That microsecond between the two is the segment of time we want to examine first after the fact, but in time, you'll learn at the moment to be more in control of what happens in that space.
When examining this gap, you want to get curious about what happened after an incident and what story you made up about that incident that caused the reaction. This is the PONDERING place where we explore thoughts, feelings and body sensations.
Understanding and often changing our story is critical
It is the story you told yourself, the thought that resulted in the feeling that caused you to say or do something you may regret. I use the word "story" for a reason. While we like to think of it as the truth, it's only our version of the truth. It is the story we make up based on our beliefs, values, past experiences and more. It's our perspective. When we start to change that story or shift our perspective, we move into the PIVOT stage of The Inner Guidance Cycle.
These are the four steps in the Inner Guidance Cycle
Exploring the Gap
Here's what is happing, often without you realizing it 👇🏻
🟦 The Incident
🟦 Your Thoughts
What we mistakenly think happens after the incident is that we react. However, this is where the gap is, after the incident but before the reaction. In that time, much transpires inside your mind and through your body.
🤔 When that thing occurred, you had a thought. Usually, it's not a conscious thought. In most cases, you aren't even remotely aware that anything happened, but it did.
During this gap, you have thoughts such as:
🟦 Your body sensations
The thought about the incident then creates the feeling. You experience fear, anxiety, or frustration. That feeling is felt in your body as a body sensation.
🟦 Your subsequent feelings
When something happens, and we have a thought about it, as our body responds, we also have a variety of feelings. Rather than simply being mad, sad, or glad, our emotions are much more granular.
We may feel:
👉🏻 Expand your Emotional Vocabulary
Understanding Reactions and Responses
🟪 Your reaction
It is the thought and the feeling about the incident that dictates the way you respond or react. This includes what you say and what you do. At that moment, we either react unconsciously OR if we've become more emotionally intelligent, we may choose a conscious response.
Those times when the words fall out of our mouths, and we wish we could grab them back, are usually reactions. When we get angry over someone's insensitive comment, we struggle to process the thoughts and feelings attached to that hot spot they just hit. Triggered, we lash back, shut down or avoid dealing with something that should have been addressed. In essence, we fight, flight or flee.
🟪 Or your response
When we use The Inner Guidance Cycle to widen that gap of time between what happened and our subsequent actions, we can first get clear on the story we are making up in our heads and our feelings attached to that story. When we do that, we have a choice to believe or alter that story.
Here's a personal example from one of my clients.
After telling me what happened when her husband came home, we broke it down like this:
After coaching, you came up with a more Emotionally Intelligent way to respond in the future.
She knows this choice to respond this way will diffuse the situation rather than have it spiral in ways neither of them wants.
Here's how you can apply it
The same could be true at work. Perhaps you feel that your boss is attacking you, and your feeling backed into a corner. The reaction might be to get angry and come out fighting. Instead, by widening that gap, your subsequent thoughts and feelings can be different.
🟢 A person with high Emotional Intelligence might notice the following:
"I'm feeling attacked and notice my body getting into fight or flight mode. Wait a minute. I know I'm a good person. Maybe what he's trying to say is more about the project and not me. It might be his fear of failure coming through. We are actually on the same side. I sure as heck don't want this project to fail at this either."
The Inner Guidance Cycle gives you a framework to use
After this thoughtful PAUSE and taking time to PONDER in our minds, we usually feel the shift of perspective, PIVOTING to a new response. PROCEEDING, we will be more in control of our emotions, words, and actions. The words that consciously come out of our mouths, rather than fall out, will move the project and the relationship forward.
You can use The Inner Guidance Cycle to prepare for a tough talk with your employee!
👉🏻 Prepare for a tough talk
Increased emotional intelligence gives you increased confidence
You can choose your response when you are more aware, mindful and conscious. Use The Inner Guidance Cycle to increase your awareness and choice of action, increasing your Emotional Intelligence. You will not only be aware of your emotions, but you will get better at managing them. This increased awareness allows you to examine your thoughts and feelings and decide if they are true. Then, you can change them if you want fewer regrets and more feelings of confident leadership!
Being more in control of your emotions helps you feel more confident as a leader. However, getting to this point takes intention, inner work, and self-reflection. In The Training Library, I purposefully create worksheets to help you do the inner work. Whether you are looking to deal with office politics, prepare for an upcoming 1-1 meeting with your employee or be more decisive, The Training Library will help you do the self-reflective work necessary to build your emotional intelligence, confidence and leadership capacity. What are you waiting for? Join The Training Library today!
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Women leaders often hit a point where they find themselves in over their heads and wondering if they have what it takes to lead.