Empowerment Checklist- Setting and Achieving Meaningful Goals.

This is the seventh article in the empowerment series -Setting and achieving meaningful goals. In 8 Things to Judge if you are Empowered I wrote that empowered individuals did not wait for the world to give them their next break.  They set aspirational goals and work hard against all odds to achieve them. There are many articles on the internet about goals setting, mission statements and how to guides of goal achievement.   In a nutshell it is all about setting realistic aspirational goals, breaking these goals down to smaller goals and  staying accountable for your goals. These aspirational goals emerge from knowing yourself and what motivates you. As you have seen in my previous articles, I wish to use this article to help you look introspectively. Self awareness is the key to unlocking how you operate and the basis for any changes you would like to make to yourself. Empowered individuals are constantly asking themselves what they would do differently and following this through with corrective actions. Let’s look at some common approaches that individuals use to set goals. Ask yourself these questions to understand your modus operandi. A trusted mentor/friend or relative defines your goals Some of us have the luxury of having supportive individuals like mentors in our life. Think about the decisions you have made in the last couple years. How did you come up with these decisions? Did you have any help in deciding? What was your input? What were their input? How have these decisions worked out for you? What if anything would you do differently? Responsibilities prevent goal setting We are not islands by...

Empowerment Checklist – Respond not React

This is the sixth article in the empowerment series- Respond not React. In 8 Things to Judge if you are Empowered , I wrote that “empowered individuals considered their approach to situations they faced in a calm and collected manner” Responding and not reacting is not a new topic. It is only lately that I have thought about it more deeply. Reading Stoic Philosophy helped this thought process. React and respond have similar definition. The one I like for react is interact and undergo a physical or chemical change. This is the knee jerk reaction which does not engage our rational mind. This may result in actions or words that we later regret very much. I don’t know about you, but I have got into heaps of trouble because of a mouth that loves retorts. I am trying to control this part of my anatomy and happy to note that I am gaining some success. I have not yet found a definition that I like for respond. For the purposes of this article, we can take it as thinking, saying or doing something in reply to something or someone. There are three types of responses that we can make. Responding with productive thoughts Responding with constructive words Responding with constructive actions Let’s look at some situations to reflect on how you respond or react. This way you will get to know yourself better.  Once you are aware of your repetitive patterns, you will be able to take corrective action if these patterns bother you. Treated unfairly Life has its ups and downs. It is rare for anyone not to have unfairness...

Empowerment Checklist- A Growth Mindset

This is the fourth article in this series looking at the the factors that underpin empowerment –  Growth Mindset. In my article 8 Things to Judge if you are Empowered8  I wrote that a growth mindset encouraged individuals to continuously work on their talents and select opportunities that would further their expertise and experience. What is a Growth Mindset Carol Dweck, the Stanford professor who brought this term to the world’s attention, says that “individuals believe their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work- brains and talents are just a starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment” I think the key words in this definition are dedication,hard work, resilience and the love of learning. Without these factors, we cannot continuously improve and add value to the organisation that we are part of. What is a Fixed Mindset The flip side of a growth mindset is a fixed mindset. According to Carol Dweck, a fixed mindset is “when an individual believes their talents and skills are set in stone – how God made us is basically who we are”. With this mindset, individuals are not open to more growth and learning as they do not think that dedication and hard work will increase the efficacy of their talents. For those of you who would like to go into more depth what Carol Dweck says on Growth Mindset here are some links. It is interesting that she says that we are all a mixture of growth and fixed mindsets. She also says we should be mindful...

Empowerment Checklist – Have an Open Mind

This is the third article exploring the factors that underpin empowerment- An open mind. The definition of an open mind is a willingness to try new things or hear and consider new ideas. In my previous article 8 Things to Judge if you are Empowered , I wrote that empowered individuals embrace new experiences wholeheartedly and trust they will learn from them. The things that keep us from trying new things or considering new ideas could be: Our beliefs – Growing up in the Hindu faith, I have acquired some traditions and beliefs.Nothing will persuade me to eat the holy cow! Our comfort zone  – I don’t like the cold or snow. Travelling in a winter wonderland is not something that I jump at doing. Our tried and trusted ways of approaching issues –  I like to talk things through in conflict situations.  This works out well for me, except when the other party dislikes such a direct approach. Our affiliations/loyalties – Going to the same fruit and veg shop for many years. I would not want to break my routine by checking out a new vegetable shop. Our biases- My affiliation to the underdog means I make a lot of allowances for these people. On the other hand, if I feel someone is privileged and arrogant, I am not prepared to give them the same leeway. Our belief that we are too old to change- I could never wear anything that would not be considered “respectable”for a fifty plus year old. As you can see, having an open mind can be tricky. Most of us have a range of...

8 Things to Judge if you are Empowered

The Empowerment definition that I love is “the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights”.  As this would indicate, empowerment is a continuing process.  As we work on becoming stronger and more confident, we become more in control of our destiny. The dream to be in control of one’s destiny is within all of us.  The ability to make it a reality differs from individual to individual.  I have had the pleasure of interacting with such empowered people. Some young and some not so young. What is the secret of these empowered individuals? Knew their core values They knew their core values and used them as a foundation to make choices.  As their choices  were in harmony with their values, they were at peace with themselves.  At times, the decisions they made did not yield material well being.  But they were comfortable that they had not compromised themselves in any way. Do you know your core values?  What are they? Knew themselves They knew their strengths, skills, personality and talents very well. They were very conscious of any development needs that they had. They knew their passions and aspirations.  They were clear on their internal and external motivators. They were also clear on the environments that made them flourish.   Do you know your strengths, skills and talents?  What are your passions and aspirations?  Do you know what you would sacrifice to pursue your goals? Do you know how others perceive you? Had open minds They were prepared to try new things or hear and consider new ideas.  They did...

11 Types of Challenging Staff Members and How to handle them

Over the past few months I have written about challenging bosses and colleagues. To complete this picture, I am now writing about the other part to this puzzle – challenging staff members. There is no prescriptive way to bring out the best in people. The foundation for inspiring employees is trust, a safe environment and good intent. Only with such a sound foundation will a leader be able to use practical tactics to address these challenging staff members.   Who are these challenging Staff members? High Maintenance In most cases, these employees are very good at what they do. They need validation, acknowledgement or a sounding board.  This can mean many hours of conversation which can be tiring for managers, who have many other issues on their plate. Setting up regular time slots for meetings is a good way to limit the time spent with these individuals. Bring in the routine to nudge them into the allotted time slot if they ambush you at other times. Ask them if it is a critical issue. If not, push them back to the agreed meeting time.  Make sure that you are present and mindful in the time allotted for them. They are smart enough to know when you are not engaged.  This will certainly turn them off you and you will lose them. Disorganised These individuals cannot prioritise or manage their work.  They are notorious for missing deadlines and delaying projects.  Many of these individuals attend time management courses as a remedy.  Unless there is some follow through in their jobs, these courses will make barely any difference in these individuals...