Self-Awareness Workshops

10 Signs You’re a Great Boss

A lot of people fancy themselves a great boss but you’ll hear a very different story when you talk with their colleagues and employees. When you’re a great boss, you do things that not only create a highly efficient and productive workplace, you also build people up and create a happy work environment. Here are some signs that you’re a great boss:

  1. Your employees tell other people that you are.
  2. You get out of the way and let people use their brains, talents and abilities.
  3. You don’t raise your voice or get angry at people.
  4. You educate when needed and lay back when not.
  5. Employees talk openly and comfortably with you.
  6. You don’t have to refer people to HR when disciplinary issues arise.
  7. Your workplace is efficient and productive and people are happy.
  8. People feel like there are opportunities for growth when they work for you.
  9. You’re not afraid of change.
  10. Employees can question you and you don’t get upset or defensive.

How many of these things do you do? If you already practice these behaviors you know that they create a productive, respectful and comfortable work environment where people feel like they matter. You can start working on these types of behaviors any time you choose to, all it takes is the desire to move in that direction. Try one skill at a time until you’ve mastered it and then move to the next one. What will you do to make sure you’re a great boss?

Take care,


Leadership Training: How to Coach Your Employees

As a leader, you can help your employees grow and succeed by coaching them.  Coaching is different from directing because it focuses on what you can do to help your employees thrive and excel instead of mindlessly completing tasks.  It’s not the standard sports model where you talk at people and push them to succeed but rather a method where they motivate and educate themselves intrinsically and you’re there to facilitate the process.

Coaching is a valuable tool to improve staff morale, increase productivity, build stronger teams and practice excellent workplace communication.   You can delegate more effectively and give your staff the opportunity to demonstrate what they can do.  Here’s some tips you can use to begin coaching your employees instead of telling them to do stuff.

  • Offer educational opportunities.
  • Praise the things they do well.
  • Support employee skills and talents.
  • Don’t discipline, teach.
  • Let employees have independence.
  • Give employees decision-making ability.
  • Use employees’ ideas.
  • Allow various points of view and approaches.
  • Brainstorm.
  • Listen to employees.
  • Problem-solve collaboratively when appropriate.
  • Help employees find their own solutions.
  • Direct less.
  • Meet regularly to listen to employee feedback.
  • Help people keep growing and advancing.

Insightful leaders know that, when their employees feel their skills and abilities are being recognized and utilized, the organization benefits.  You get to create a happy workplace environment which, in turn, reduces turnover, hiring costs, morale problems and other glitches.  You also make your leadership duties easier because people are more satisfied.

Coaching is an ongoing process that helps  an employee clarify what she wants to accomplish and helps her achieve it based on her talents and abilities.  When you coach someone you move from directing to helping them become a stronger person.  What will you do to boss less and coach more?

Take care,


Leadership Training: 10 Ways to Stop Bossing People Around

I train leaders and organizations to encourage leadership that moves beyond bossing people around. The standard model of leadership is putting someone in charge who rules above everyone and issues directives.  Our leaders tend to be people who mean well, do a lot of stuff and constantly tell people what to do.  Add to that, high levels of energy and activity which is supposed to “motivate” employees.  This leadership approach creates workplaces where employees wait for the next directive, seldom growing, rarely motivated and barely engaged.

So what can you do to promote more inspirational leadership and move beyond directing?  Here are some practical ideas to help you get started:

1. Talk with your employees, ask them what they like doing and let them do it without your “help.”

2. Create jobs that use people’s interests and talents.

3. Praise your employees regularly for their great work.

4. Allow people to set their own goals and determine how they will achieve them and by when.

5. Listen to your employees instead of talking over them.

6. Trust that your employees can do their jobs and think independently without your supervision.

7. Be available to provide support only if your employees ask you to do so.

8. Start encouraging your employees to act independently instead of bossing them around.

9. Provide opportunities for your employees to grow such as education or trying new things on the job.

10. Move away from a strict hierarchy of bosses and employees and shift to a more collegial atmosphere.

Try these key ideas for a period of time until they become second nature.  You’ll create a workplace where you don’t have to direct as much because your employees will be doing more work of their own accord.  You’ll benefit from a happier workplace, free from the pressures of constantly micromanaging and directing.  You’ll also enjoy being able to do more by bossing less and you’re employees will be grateful that you treat them like adults.  What will you do to boss less and lead more?

Take care,


Team Building Means the Spotlight Isn’t on You

I design and facilitate many team building workshops and it’s fascinating to watch how people relate to each other.  I’ll often observe everyone participating actively but deferring to the leader or looking to him (or her) for permission to participate.  The other dynamic that frequently occurs is that everyone acts very outwardly happy and bubbly but, when we probe deeper, all kinds of rifts and conflicts are exposed that reflect the kind of workplace leadership has created.

When I see these types of interactions it tells me a lot about how workplaces are run and what kind of work environments they create.  Leaders have a dramatic effect on how team building is practiced in their workplaces.  Here are two different approaches.

The Autocratic Workplace

Everything goes through the leader and everyone is required or expected to check in with the leader before anything happens.  People are tentative and dependent because they’re not encouraged to work on their own or make independent decisions.  The leader in these organizations often believes there are functioning teams but, in practice, the teams only operate based on his or her directives and limits.  Team building in this type of workplace is usually not very active because people aren’t encouraged to work together and decisions are made through one central person rather than a group.  The spotlight is firmly on the leader in this type of organization.

The Collaborative Workplace

There isn’t one central focus or source of information in this type of workplace because people are given the opportunity to share their wisdom and expertise.  Employees are encouraged to work collaboratively and share information with each other and the organization.  Leadership is available as a resource if people get stuck or actively participates as an equal partner in teams if invited.  Team building in this type of workplace is consistently positive because people are encouraged to work together.  The spotlight is on every member of the team because they all are welcome to share their insights and each person is valued as a contributor.

As a leader, you decide what kind of workplace you create.  If you value team building and help your employees collaborate you’ll enjoy the additional brainpower, idea generation, improved interpersonal relationships and morale that comes from people working together well.  If you promote an autocratic workplace you’ll create a different type of environment.  Both approaches can create productive, successful organizations but only one gives employees power and helps them feel like an important and valued member of a team.  Which will you choose?

Take care,


Keep Trying

One of the most important elements of getting to know yourself is the idea of not giving up. A lot of people embark on a self-awareness journey only to find that it’s more difficult than they anticipated. It’s hard to create change in your life because modifying your behavior requires long-term commitment and practice. It’s not a quick fix. The key to gradually building self-awareness is to keep trying even when you think it’s not making a difference.

There will be plenty of times when you feel you’re treading water but you’ll actually be making progress. Stick with it and you’ll eventually see the results.

Take care,