Posts by Maree Harris, Ph.D.

What Makes A Team Great

People move in and out of teams all the time. When new people come into a team how they are helped to become part of it is important to the on-going successful functioning of the team. It is not only the team manager’s role to ensure their positive engagement, but every team member’s as well. Here is checklist for you to use to check off what kind of a team member you are and how you can contribute to making your team great.

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Turn Your Goal Setting Upside Down and Be Successful.

The great debate at this time of the year is about whether goal setting has a value or not. If you’ve been there before only to find that, in spite of your best efforts, life and “important” work gets in the way after a month or so, then you are probably not going to set any goals this year.

Let’s stop and think about this a bit.

Whatever success means to you, it is worth pursuing the actions that will see you achieve it. You feel empowered, in charge of your life when you do. You see yourself as a “Can Do” person. Having achieved one goal, you gain in confidence about achieving another. And the next one is much easier again. Your head is in the right place. You have more energy. You have fewer limiting beliefs about yourself. You are much more confident.

The most successful people, in whatever field they work, all set goals. They then bring focus to achieving them.
Goal setting is about focusing on your WHY. If you have a big enough WHY, the HOW is easy. 
So the first step in goal setting is knowing why you want to achieve that goal. Sometimes you have to dig deep to get clear about that.
So let’s turn this goal setting problem upside down.

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Videos to Enhance Your Soft Skills

Business people watching soft skills videos

One of the most rewarding thing about the world in which we live today is that we can so easily tap into the experience and expertise of people all over the world. I came across the work of Eddie Kilkelly, the Founder and Managing Director of Insynergi. 

Eddie has produced 3 videos that are worth watching and a quick way to enhance your soft skills. The videos are short, all 6-7 minutes long.

Building a High Performing Team.

Soft Skills Matter.

Emotional Intelligence.

You can access the videos here.

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What Change Have You Made In Your Life This Year?

Today is the last day of 2017 – another year is drawing to a close. While you will have no time to think today, I’m going to suggest that you find some time to reflect on some important questions before you go back to work and launch into the new year. They are all questions that cause you to reflect on what changes you have made in your life this year. Or did you set goals and then not follow through and end up a photocopy of your 2016 self?
If you had a successful year know what made it so and make sure you repeat that this new year. If you had a disappointing year, discover why and make sure you don’t repeat those mistakes in 2018.

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Soft Skills For Staying Sane Over Christmas and New Year

image of peace and serenity

If ever we needed well-developed soft skills it is at this time of the year – the Christmas New Year period. What is it about this time of the year?

Why do we all run around in circles trying to finish things when we don’t do the same at the end of most other months?

Why can’t we fit anything else into our schedules? I am going to suggest that we actually create this stress, overwhelm and sense of urgency for ourselves, that we turn it into a self-fulfilling prophecy that we’ve perpetuated over the years.

I’m going to suggest that you just STOP FOR ONE HOUR, find a quiet space for yourself where you are not going to be interrupted and just review what you want and need to do over the next weeks until Christmas. Here are some ways to stay sane, less stressed and even enjoy this lead into Christmas and the New Year.

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Why Sending Thank You Notes Makes A Difference

sending thank you notes

Some recent research by Accountemps, a Robert Half Global Company, specialising in providing business with skilled finance and accounting professionals, found that sending thank you notes to a HR manager or recruitment professional who did the interview can tip the scale in a job candidates favour.

At a time when hundreds of people are applying for the same job, writing a thank you note is a way to stand out from the crowd. It demonstrates self-awareness, that you are aware of and acknowledge the time that the recruiter or HR manager has given to interviewing you and spending time with you, that you consider others not just yourself. It also shows your attention to detail, your ability to follow through to the end of a process.
Only 24% of applicants send one, however. This is down from 51% in 2007.

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Develop a Positive and Pro-active Explanatory Style.

Motivating your explanatory style

You probably know people who are always negative and reactive. It seems to be part of their personality. Being positive and pro-active seems an impossibility for them. They don’t seem to know how. While that may not be you, we all do tend to lapse into negative and reactive thinking at times, often when we are stressed, meeting deadlines, coping with difficult people or just having a bad day. We can get stuck there, or we can quickly lift ourselves out of it. Once we used to think that we had little capacity to change that. It was the way we were and we attributed it to our parenting, our socialisation or so many other external circumstances, too numerous to mention. With our recent understanding of neuroscience and how the brain works, we now know that if we want to we can change all that. We can move from being negative to being positive, from being reactive to being pro-active. We can develop a positive and pro-active explanatory style. It will change your life.

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How To Engage With The New World of Work.

the new world of work

How to engage with the new world of work is my Monday Motivational message for you. I used to send these a few years ago. They were well received and I’m going to begin again because in the last few months I’ve talked with a number of colleagues who are very disengaged from their work. Many don’t know what they can do about it, are resigned to it being their lot and lack the motivation to do anything about it.

So if you are jaded and disengaged at work, this is for you.

I was talking with a colleague recently. I asked the usual question: “How’s everything going with you?” She replied: “Same old, same old. Do you know I’ve been with XX company now for 15 years and I’ve realised I’m here to stay”. She is 45.

Every part of her being displayed flatness and jadedness – the way she was dressed and groomed, the lack of light in her eyes, the dullness of her skin, her overweight body. It all epitomised her lack of physical and psychological energy. And as she implies, she is there to stay working in that space until she is 70, another 25 years! Who will she be then? What will she have become?
In fact, my colleague won’t be there for another 25 years unless she changes her attitude drastically. She’ll be made redundant by the exponential change that sees people like her moved on while those with high energy and drive move up. Her professional sector is being highly transformed by digital technology. Those in her sector who will thrive are those who enthusiastically embrace those changes, who become a learner, who commit to developing the skills that technology cannot replicate and who engage pro-actively with this new world of work.

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What Do Women Want From Mentoring?

Mentoring Women

I recently re-visited Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In : Women, Work and the Will To Lead”. I had 3 women approach me for mentoring in the one week. I remembered she has some excellent advice on Mentoring. While this is normal part of my work, it is always helpful to step back now and again and reflect on what I am doing as a mentor and why I am doing it.

There was one part of her Chapter 5 on “Are You My Mentor?” that really got me thinking about my initial conversations with these 3 new mentees. She believes that many women coming for mentoring want a dependency relationship with their mentor which she says is not at all helpful for women. So what she said provoked me to think about how I wanted to engage with my 3 new mentees so that the relationship was an empowering one for them. I share my 7 insights here with my readers.

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How Mentoring Can Help A Low Performer Achieve Her Goal.

Mentoring

Mike sent me an email that went like this:
I employed a 22 year old new graduate for a position in my organisation. She presented well at interview and I was very impressed with her attitude. I wanted someone with more experience but here (in the regional centre where he is based) it is very difficult to get people with the experience I want. So as everybody says: “Hire for attitude and train for skills”, I hired her.

Her 3 month probation period is almost due and I can’t see how I can keep her on. I fear I have to dismiss her. I’m quite anxious about it and the impact it will have on her. I feel responsible because I hired her knowing that she didn’t have the skills I wanted. I thought that with her enthusiasm and my support she would develop them. Now I realise that the job is way above her and it’s not just about developing skills, but having experience.
What did Mike do that was a win/win outcome?

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