How to Maintain that Back to School Feeling
How to Maintain that 'Back to School Feeling'
It’s that time again when the children go back to school, it starts getting cooler, and the next holiday seems a long way away. Despite the ongoing challenges of dealing with the impact of the pandemic, the Autumn term can provide an opportunity to break any unhelpful habits and start the ‘new term’ at work with a fresh mindset. Here are 10 simple Coaching tips you can use to address some of the issues you may struggle with on your return to work:
1. Stressed out: If you haven’t been able to take a holiday/staycation this Summer, then book one! No one is indispensable and it is counter-productive to keep working without a break; your mind gets duller, your reactions become slower, you can become negative, and can even end up with burnout. When you return from one holiday book your next one if you can and keep working on your boundaries to maintain your worklife balance.
2. Lack of Focus or Purpose: Break down your company and/or personal vision and strategy into SMART Action Plans. Identify exactly what you need to achieve and by when. Then work out how you'll do this by prioritizing key tasks and objectives. Work on no more than 5 or 6 priorities at one time, but preferably have 2 key ones. If you’re unsure what you should be prioritizing, then ask your own line manager for clarity. Stay focused on your goals and ensure your actions are aligned with the strategy by revisiting your plan every day and reviewing progress and success at the beginning or end of every week.
3. Heavy Workload: Block off time to plan and prepare more for meetings and give yourself time in-between online video calls to reflect, deal with emails, and send out notes. If your workload really is unrealistic, then create a business case for more resources. If you have a team, then delegate to them, keep analyzing your team members, checking their skills and workload to be able to empower them.
4. Message not getting through: Try being more succinct in your verbal and written communication. At the start of any meeting or email, explain the objective of the communication, then tell everyone the ‘why’ they are involved or why the organization is making changes, before you start to explain the ‘how’ actions will be carried out. Ensure that important information, dates, and deadlines are very clear. Practice Active Listening to check understanding and engagement and to make sure everyone is on board.
5. Lacking Executive Presence and Composure: Keep checking your body language and work on being more measured. Stop, think, breathe, listen, and ask an Open Question before you react to anything, especially if it is potentially controversial or critical. Ask for feedback from a friendly peer or colleague so you can continually improve.
6. Interpersonal Conflict: Try to put yourself in the other persons’ shoes and take the emotion out of any written or verbal communication. In any negotiation always aim for agreement not confrontation.
7. Managing Poor Performance: If you have any direct reports who are not providing discretionary effort, find out what they are dealing with, then address any issues swiftly, give instant constructive or positive feedback, but don’t reward poor effort.
8. Lacking Confidence and Assertiveness: Build your confidence levels by listing your key achievements and re-reading them before key presentations or meetings. If you are feeling overwhelmed say ‘no’ politely but firmly.
10. Being stuck: In order to be able to change your behaviour and stick to new ways of working and acting, you need to understand what is working or not. Ask for feedback and decide what aspects of your behaviour you would like to change and which unhelpful habits you would like to break. Take small steps, learn from your mistakes, and commit to changing one thing every day. Enlist the help of a colleague or Coach to hold you accountable.
Enjoy the new term and stay safe!
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