Blog: Navigating Team Challenges: A Boss’s Battle

Blog: Navigating Team Challenges: A Boss’s Battle

“My energy is not enough. I’m under pressure and can’t depend on my team. I get frustrated when I have to explain things over and over again to my team.”

In recent heart-to-heart conversations with bosses, a common thread emerges – a sense of overwhelm, frustration, and the solitary struggle against challenges. Simultaneously, their teams appear hesitant, lacking innovation, tethered by fear, succumbing to complacency, or adrift in ambiguity about expectations. I’ve seen teams wait for the boss to make suggestions even though they’ve got plenty of experience and ideas but they are, for whatever reason, reluctant to put themselves out there.

This misalignment creates a rift, disrupting the vital trust needed for a harmonious workplace. It’s a universal challenge; everyone, regardless of their role, grapples with challenges, expectations, and the quest for genuine happiness.

To untangle this complex weave, when working with a team, I initiate intimate one-on-one sessions. It’s a plunge into the intricate tapestry of emotions, histories, cultural-, professional-, and personal habits, and experiences that often hinder genuine understanding. In the ebb and flow of everyday busyness and emotions, meaningful dialogues are often scarce. These conversations allow us to reach into the individual and very often come back with really great ideas that they just need a bit of courage and support to put into action

Beneath the surface, the real problems are often modest issues that have stacked up over time, transforming into formidable barriers. This cycle, a vortex of challenges and frustrations, persists amidst the daily crises, creating discord in the workplace.

A Weighted Concern:

One pressing concern echoes in the minds of many bosses – the fear of wasted time and effort. Entrusting a task to the team, only to find it incomplete or not meeting the desired standard, can be disheartening. It triggers the sentiment of, “I might as well have done the job myself, doing it right the first time.”

One of the simplest places to start understanding where this systemic failure has it all going wrong is to investigate your company’s Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). Are they in place? Implemented effectively? Do they provide the clarity your team needs? SOPs are part of a solution that helps manage expectations, give understanding and guidance, and ultimately build confidence in your team, allowing you to trust that they know what they need to do and how they need to do it.

Breaking the Cycle:
    • Bosses need introspection. Do you have the support, skills, and habits needed to deal with the pressure you are feeling?
    • Take a good, hard look at your expectations. Are they realistic and communicated effectively? How can you encourage your team to actively contribute their insights and ideas, fostering a culture of collaboration and innovation?
    • Does the team possess the necessary skills and experience to meet these expectations? What proactive steps can be taken to enhance their skills and empower them to excel?
    • Is the space you are holding for your team conducive to them asking for help and guidance without judgment or retribution? How can you create an environment that not only supports but also encourages individual and collective growth?
    • Are SOPs fit for purpose, and is someone actively seeking more efficient alternatives? Recognise that well-implemented SOPs are a cornerstone in avoiding the fear of wasted time and effort, providing the clarity your team needs.

The key lies in breaking free from the loop. It involves boss self-care, recalibrating expectations, empowering and upskilling the team, and ensuring the basics are in place like efficient SOPs. Clear communication and effective implementation are pivotal.

A Starting Point, Not the Destination:

Recognise that there’s no one-size-fits-all remedy. Consider this as a guide—a launching pad on the path to a more harmonious and productive work environment. Each workplace is distinctive, confronting diverse challenges. Personalised strategies and continuous efforts are essential, tailored to the unique dynamics of each workplace.

Most importantly, realise it’s an ongoing process, much like washing dishes. Just when you’ve got everything nice and clean, it’s time for the next meal, and you have to start all over again.

Ready to revolutionise your workplace dynamics? Gain invaluable insights and expert guidance to propel your team towards success. Let’s embark on this transformative journey together—towards a more harmonious and productive work environment. Schedule your free Discovery session today for personalised strategies tailored to your unique challenges.

Book a free Discovery session here.

Navigating 2024: Taking Baby Steps Towards Change

Navigating 2024: Taking Baby Steps Towards Change

I’ve heard so many people saying that 2023 was a rough year and they couldn’t wait for it to be over.

The trouble with that is how we perceive it. We find ourselves in situations, but how we react in those situations and the stress we feel is what we take into the new year with us. It’s like having something smelling on your hands and it contaminating everything that you touch. Unless you get rid of the stuff on your hands, everything will keep smelling.

Similarly, unless you change the way you think and do things, you’ll remain stuck in the loop.

Enter resolutions! The tough love plans we make to get us out of the rut we’ve somehow gotten ourselves into.

We say to ourselves we’re going to the gym more often. We start by getting a membership and maybe get ourselves to the gym once or twice, but soon life starts getting in the way, and the next thing you know, it’s October, and you are frustrated with yourself because you’re exhausted, your body is failing, and your mind is overwhelmed.

Absolutely, think of a resolution; it’s your goal, after all. But don’t get stuck on the bigger picture. Break it down and ask yourself:

“What are the smallest possible steps I need to take?”

These steps need to be simple, easy, and easy to repeat.

You don’t decide to run a marathon and then the next day attempt that marathon.

You plan, you prepare, and you practice.

You start by running 1 kilometer, then 2, then 3, and you keep repeating until you’re ready. AND THEN you run the marathon.

What do you do if you find yourself not even able to start running?

You take a smaller step.

During our training, our instructor told a story of finding a woman walking with a stone in her hand. He asked her what she was doing. She told him she wanted to run a marathon but struggled to motivate herself. So, she got a stone and every day she would start from a specific point and walk 100 steps and put the stone down. She would then walk the 100 steps back. The next day she would walk the same 100 steps, pick up the stone she left, and walk another 100 steps more. She would leave the stone there and walk back to the beginning. Every day she would repeat this, and very soon she was running. A few months later she was indeed running the marathon.

Simple, easy, easy to repeat.

The value is in doing the small steps every day and checking in with yourself while you are repeating. By focusing on the smaller steps and working through what is happening with you while you are in the middle of these steps, you are able to see what is working and what is not, and you can make the adjustments and tweaks needed to ensure your success.

So, take those 2024 resolutions and set yourself up for success by taking a realistic bite, something that has you saying:

“That’s easy, I can do it” – Then DO IT and repeat.

If you need some help discovering what your next steps are, book a free Discovery session with me here https://calendly.com/marildawiegand/discovery-session

Monkey Mishaps: Lessons in Adaptability

Monkey Mishaps: Lessons in Adaptability

Living in Greater Kruger Park means we’re in a constant battle with those cheeky monkeys trying to sneak into the house. My husband’s love for wide-open windows doesn’t make it any easier.

Sometimes, despite our best efforts to tuck everything out of their reach, we mess up. A forgotten jar on the counter or letting the dishes pile up can lead to unexpected monkey encounters.

Lately, these crafty monkeys found a way in through a tricky window, no matter how hard I tried to secure the place. This usually ends with a mess of spoiled food and, well, some smelly and unpleasant surprises – not the ideal start to the day.

Last night, I tried to outsmart them by securing the scullery and windows, leaving only the stoep windows open. It was a scorching day, and I hoped for a cool breeze during the night.

But imagine my surprise when I heard a commotion in the kitchen just before sunrise. Rushing to the scene, I found peanut butter all over the floor, broken glass, and the lounge door ajar. It seems I didn’t secure the inner doors well, as of course monkeys can’t open doors.

Truth be told I had realized we were in for a fight. Monkeys, once they’ve had success, keep coming back.

So, this morning, I spent most of my time stashing away tempting morsels and then opened all the windows. My plan? If they don’t see any food, they might lose interest and move on.

Of course, that wouldn’t stop them from leaving some surprises, but I decided it’s better to clean up after them than feel trapped and endlessly frustrated while trying to chase them out.

This whole experience feels like a life lesson to me. No matter how well we plan and prepare, things can still go haywire, and the unexpected can throw us off course. None of us are perfect, and we all forget something as simple as closing a door sometimes.

This morning, three different monkeys visited my kitchen. They didn’t take anything, and, surprisingly, they left no bad odours behind.

Right now, this lesson feels quite fitting in my life.

So,

  • go ahead, prepare as best you can.

  • Then, open up to life, embrace new opportunities, and

  • be ready to handle any hiccups that come your way.

After all, it’s better to deal with metaphorical “poop” than feel stuck. And who knows, maybe you won’t have to deal with it at all.

Finding yourself in a real-life monkey business situation and need some help where to start the cleanup? Book a discovery session with me today https://calendly.com/marildawiegand/discovery-session

Reframing Procrastination: A Clue, Not a Disaster

Reframing Procrastination: A Clue, Not a Disaster

For a while now, I’ve been listening to my clients as they share their struggles with procrastination.

It’s a common thing, right?

I’ve often wondered if there’s more to it than meets the eye and maybe we shouldn’t be too quick to label it as a villain.

Here’s a fancy word for you: “pejoration.” It’s when a word starts off all nice and neutral but eventually turns into a bad guy. “Procrastination” seems to have gone down that road.

When someone says, “I need to stop procrastinating,” it’s typically with a sense of frustration, implying that delaying work is a big problem

But what if, just maybe, procrastination isn’t always the enemy? What if it’s our mind’s way of dropping hints? Like, “Hey, slow down, something’s up.” It could be saying we need more time to think or your sub-conscious is realising something that isn’t quite as apparent or that the task might be more expensive than we think.

Most of us know, and have experienced, that when life gets tough, we’ve got three natural responses—fight, flight, and freeze.

  1. Fight: That’s when you’re all like, “Bring it on, I’ll face this head-on.”
  2. Flight: When trouble’s brewing, you want out… fast.
  3. Freeze: You’re stuck, like a deer in headlights, not sure which way to turn.

These are just our natural reactions to life’s curveballs.

I’ve come to view procrastination as a form of the “freeze” response, although it leans toward the milder end of the spectrum. It’s like a mental pause button, telling us to dig deeper.

Here’s what I’ve gathered from this view:

  1. Understanding:
    • Take a Break: Step away from the chaos, clear your head, and figure out what’s really bugging you about the task.
  1. Planning:
    • Set Smaller Goals: Chop your tasks into bite-sized bits. It’s less overwhelming.
  1. Taking Action:
    • Start Anywhere: Don’t wait for the stars to align; just make a move. Ask yourself, “What’s the smallest step I can take?” and do it.
    • Seek Support: Share your goals with someone who can give you that gentle nudge.
    • Celebrate Progress: Even if you don’t finish the whole thing, pat yourself on the back for the little wins.
    • Practice: Keep at it, you learn best by doing.
    • Be Patient: Sometimes, the slow route gets you there just fine.

Instead of seeing procrastination as a villain or a roadblock, let’s treat it as a sign that we’re on a journey of self-discovery and growth. So, go easy on yourself; it’s all part of the ride.

It’s okay to take a breather; just don’t let it keep you stuck.

Procrastination doesn’t have to be the bad guy; it can be a stepping stone toward something amazing you didn’t think about before.

If you want some personalised help with your procrastination battles, why not book a free Discovery session here: https://calendly.com/marildawiegand/discovery-session

Taking your foot off the brake

Taking your foot off the brake

Recently, I had the opportunity to drive an automatic car. I hadn’t handled an automatic in ages, so I was a bit unsure and way out of my comfort zone. After a quick rundown on the basics to jog my memory, we were good to go.

Cruising through the Kruger National Park at a snail’s pace gave me all the time I needed to re-familiarize myself with the brake, figure out when to put it in Park, and locate Drive and Reverse.

The unexpected.

Out of the blue, I had to stop fast, and muscle memory went into action.

The car screeched to a sudden halt, we all got jerked forward in our seats. I had both my feet on the brake pedal, and that’s why we came to such an abrupt stop.

I immediately realised my mistake,  yet I couldn’t convince my left leg to budge off the brake, even as we were all kind of slumped forward. Thankfully, no one got hurt, and it was more of a “whoa, what just happened?” moment.

As I tried to fix things, I was struck by how my head clearly and simply realized what had gone wrong, gave the message to my left foot to release, but my muscles point-blank refused. It had, after all been pressing that “clutch” to stop for the last 30 odd years!

It wasn’t until my muscles caught up with my brain’s lightning-fast realization that my body finally “got” what I needed to do to get us moving again.

This whole thing got me thinking. It’s kind of like how life throws curveballs at us, and we’re suddenly in this new situation or place. Our heads are all like, “Here’s how to fix it!” But our bodies? Well, they’ve been doing things their way for ages, and they’re not about to change their tune, even if the seatbelt’s all twisted up.

The takeaway?

I learned that I have to cut myself some slack and be patient. Letting my body catch up with my brain is pretty crucial, especially when things suddenly switch up on us.

The ultimate lesson however …

“if I want to move forward, I need to take my foot off the brake.”

If you are ready to take your foot off the brake, book your free Discovery session here https://calendly.com/marildawiegand/discovery-session

New Idea? Listen, Process, Pivot

New Idea? Listen, Process, Pivot

New Idea? Listen, Process, Pivot

As a small business owner, getting sucked into a vortex of confusion is par for the course.

Starting your own business is easy. Figuring out what you’re doing while carrying the weight of not only your own hopes and dreams but also those of your clients, employees, and family is another thing completely.

One of my frustrations is that we forget that being a small business owner takes a massive toll on you as a person and your own mental fitness.

Someone once told me that one of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make is that they say yes to things they should be saying no to.

This had a huge impact on me, as I most definitely fell into that trap, where I was willing to take on any project because I needed the money, rather than being a little more focused and careful with where I was spending my time and energy.

Nobody really talks about the vortex of confusion you find yourself in when you are seeing opportunities and potential linkages, but you don’t quite know whether you should pursue it or if you will be wasting your time and energy, which is, after all, limited.

Often when you wrestle with yourself about the yes or no in a particular situation or opportunity, that vortex of confusion can seem overwhelming.

In these moments, I’ve learned to break it down into simple steps.

I’ve learned that even if I don’t know what I want, I sometimes have ideas of what I DON’T want. For me, this has become like creating a carving, where you start taking away the bits that you don’t want until you get a clearer picture of what you do want.

Inevitably, you will be discussing your situation, thoughts, and ideas with others, not only people of your tribe but also potential clients and supporters. I’ve found this an invaluable exercise to help me find my next steps, and this is how I get there.

  1. Listen

When talking to people about your thoughts and potential ideas, start by talking less and listening more. Listen not only to what the person is saying but also to what might be left unsaid or presumed. Listen with an open heart and without judgment to what the person is saying so you can understand, rather than listen to respond. Very often, people will say something off the cuff that kicks my thoughts into another path completely.

  1. Process

Take the time to process what you’ve learned. Look for what exactly their pains are and think about the tools you have to help solve their problem. After all, whatever you’re selling or doing will need to solve someone’s problem; that’s why they buy it.

During this processing phase, I take the time to ask myself some hard questions:
  • If I follow through with this idea, what will it cost me? Think about both financial and emotional costs.
  • If I say YES to this, what am I saying NO to?
  • If I say NO, what am I saying YES to?
  • What does this idea make me feel?
  1. Pivot

When you’ve done your research, you’re happy about the personal costs and benefits, and you feel energetic and excited (even nervous) about the idea, Pivot! Plan the smallest possible steps that will help you step towards making this new idea a reality.

This process is uncomfortable, confusing, frustrating, exhilarating, exciting and a whole host of other emotions that can really mess with your head. It takes time, but you give yourself that time to work through it.

The trick is to see it as the awesome gift that it is, where you get the opportunity to reinvent yourself, your ideas, and take active steps to making your own future better.

Stuck with the next steps? Set up a free Discovery session https://calendly.com/marildawiegand/discovery-session

 

 

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