31 Day Leadership Gauntlet – Day 29 – Burnout

Scrolls Burnout

 Burnout occurs when we try to do all things and be all things to all people. When we bite off more than we can chew and much more than we can digest. When we are running 100 miles an hour and need to reduce speed and take a rest, but we ignore the warning sign and keep going. Burnout occurs when we fail to acquire the skill to shape our lips and say No.

Burnout has three definitions that I would like for us to consider. The first two are from the Oxford dictionary.

  1. the reduction of a fuel or substance to nothing through use or combustion.

  2. the failure of an electrical device or component through overheating.

The third is from http://www.helpguide.org which defines burnout asa state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands. … Eventually, you may feel like you have nothing more to give.”

Together these definitions describe a situation where an individual is physically and psychologically drained. This is not a desirable state in high performance individuals or organizations. We are more productive and more valuable to our company and families if we develop strategies to preserve our overall health.

I coined the phrase, “we will kill you if you let us.” This was spoken because I saw people with good intentions, deny their families, allow the workplace to encroach into their living rooms by failing to structure their time and priorities properly. They refused to delegate or ask for help when the workload was too high.

When the burden is great and before it is too late, we must slow down. Review the poem, Slow Down and make a list of tactics you will use to improve work/ life effectiveness. This is a phrase that many organizations use instead of work life balance, because they realize that balance may not be possible.

 

Slow down

How many signals do you need?
A mind is tired,
A body fatigued;
A heart is idling
At high speeds;
As you push harder
To succeed.

You’ve seen examples
Of careers,
That crashed and burned
In overdrive.
You’ve seen the sorrow
In your peers,
Who lived each day,
But never alive.

You better slow down
Before you go down
For the count.
You’re running red lights
And go to bed nights
With what amounts
To a weary heart.

How long have you seen
Warning signs?
How long have you been
Scorning signs?
You awake and
The morning lines,
Are unkind,
For you can’t unwind.

You better slow down
And get the low down
On your soul.
Don’t let the red zone
Lead to a headstone
On the goal.

How many signals do you need?
A mind is tired,
A body fatigued;
A heart is idling
At high speeds;
Create the balance
And succeed.

Copyright © 2001 Orlando Ceaser

Reprinted from Leadership Above The Rim

By Orlando Ceaser

Personal Reflections

  1. What can you do today to slow down?

  2. What activities can you remove from your plate as you delegate?

  3. Who do you know that has a reputation for being well organized?

  4. What books or other resources can you on time management?

  5. How do you prioritize what’s important to accomplish?

  6. How can you need more of your work at work?

  7. Do you schedule time with your family?

  8. Do you schedule time with your spouse to decompress and relax?

Working Weekend

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31 Day Leadership Gauntlet – Day 28 – Courage

Onyourside

Courage is not the absence of fear but proceeding in its presence. Courage is not necessarily acts of bravery against a life-threatening adversary. Courage can be defined as a situation where you are prompted to rise, step forward and risk something, to benefit yourself or others. You must be willing to go to the front of the line to demonstrate bravery. Therefore, Courage is not always about us. It is performed as a practice, a template, a role model to benefit others.

There are instances during a day or a season when you are being watched by your family, group, team, peers and community. How will you respond in difficult situations? When a fear generating dilemma appears, there is a courage stimulating response that is required. How will you respond? Will you be brave?

When an intimidating moment appears in the leadership gauntlet, it is a perfect opportunity to stand up, show courage and be on the front line and take the lead with your people. What does courage look like? It varies with the demand and the scale of the crisis. Courage could mean standing up for them when they are bullied by peers, strangers or management. It could be when unfair assaults on their skills, reputation and performance occurs during a meeting or performance review. Courage could occur during periods of uncertainty when patience and guidance are needed to help someone make it through a frightening predicament.

Courage could also manifest itself in the ability to show weakness, vulnerability, empathy and compassion. Courage provides the opportunity to let down your guard and connect with people. Look for opportunities to show people that you are on their side, that you can identify with them and fight with them. You can roll up your sleeves, join the fight and work with them.

Front-line Leadership

https://youtu.be/bhB6r02clVk

 

When in the clenches or against the ropes

Or in the trenches where it’s hard to cope;

When in the battle to succeed,

On the front line is where you lead.

To make decisions cowards fear to broach,

You’re on the field as player and coach;

To give followers what they need,

On the front line is where you lead.

You are the traction on a slippery slope.

Your plans and action are symbols of hope.

Momentum grows by word and deed,

On the front line is where you lead.

So, by example you show them the way.

You’ve rolled up your sleeves and joined in the fray.

For in the battle to succeed,

On the front line is where you lead.

Reprinted with permission from Teach the Children to Dance

Copyright © 2001 Orlando Ceaser

Personal Reflections

  1. How have you taken the lead to show someone that you are on their side?

  2. How can you demonstrate to someone that you have them back?

  3. Describe a situation when you weren’t there when someone needed you?

  4. Where do you need to show courage more consistently?

  5. Describe a time when you went to bat for someone.

  6. What situations are more difficult for you to show courage?

  7. What is the worst thing that can happen in most situations?

  8. Does the worst thing that can happen, consistently happen?

More leadership information at OrlandoCeaser.com

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31 Day Leadership Gauntlet – Day 24 – Curiosity

Noahcat (2)

As children we were told that curiosity killed the cat, but our response was always, but satisfaction brought them back. On one hand we accused curious people of being nosy. However, curiosity was a good thing when you were called precocious. Curiosity is a critical characteristic to possess. Cultivating the habit of being curious is a precursor to creativity and innovation. Employees who constantly approach products and practices with a curiosity lens, are an asset to you, for they will develop ideas to improve your organization.

A corporate culture saturated with curiosity is vibrant and expanding. These individuals examine the status quo to understand its origins, as they look for ways to improve design and execution to increase overall quality. One of the tools of the curious is an enhanced ability to ask questions. They know that the right question will provide them with the information they need to understand and improve overall performance. Why have we always done process, this way? Many professions depend on the ability to ask questions; lawyers, salespeople, counselors, coaches, teachers, parents, years, psychiatrists and lawyers.

Curiosity paired with questioning skills will uncover information needed in an environment of continuous improvement. Think of ways that you could be more curious and set up a process to establish a curiosity infused workplace. Have fun with it because it will be exhilarating.

 

A.S.K.

(Acquire Selling Knowledge)

 

We ask for trouble;

To be there on the double;

For affection, for directions,

For a dime.

We ask for the weather;

The shoes are they leather?

Was I blatant?

What’s your statement?

What’s the time?

Yet this three-letter word

Is forgotten, deferred,

By the greatest inquisitors of all.

We speak from our chair

With articulate flair,

But with rarely a question in the call.

In eloquent fashion

We probe with a passion,

For a date,

For a dollar,

For our due.

We ask for a dance,

A third second chance,

For advice,

For a price,

For a clue.

But we won’t inquire

To learn what inspires,

A customer to buy;

Their need, reason,

The why.

They are willing to share,

Who, what, when, how and where,

If we ask and listen to their reply.

Copyright © 2001 Orlando Ceaser

Reprinted from Teach the Children to Dance

Personal Reflections

  1. Are you creative?

  2. How do you cultivate a climate of curiosity?

  3. Since curiosity and creativity are often linked, what are you doing to grow either skill, personally or professionally?

  4. Are there certain people in your organization who are naturally curious?

  5. Have you developed the art of asking questions to seek information?

  6. Can you identify with the sentiment stated in the Ask poem above?

  7. What can you do to ensure that more questions are asked in presentations and conversations?

  8. Have you informed your people about the importance of asking the right questions?

  9. What kind of training or resources do you provide in the area of curiosity and asking questions?

More leadership information at OrlandoCeaser.com.

The ‘O’ Zone Blog: myozonelayer.com

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31 Day Leadership Gauntlet – Day 23 – Spiritual Leadership

MADEfocus (2)

New leaders, in my day, were given 3 pieces of advice. These words were to guide us throughout our business careers. These words could also be a gauntlet for any leader. They have been known to demolish the morale in an organization and destroy someone’s reputation and career. We were told to never get involved in conversations regarding sex, politics and religion.

A new leader had many areas to grow and we did not need to be distracted by these very volatile topics. We can debate the relevance of this advice today, but I would like address one of the topics in a positive way.  We frequently hear about the desire for employees want to bring their entire selves to work.  We cannot deny that spirituality is important for many people.

Spirituality is a key part of our makeup that defines who we are. Organizations may not discuss religion in the workplace, however many of them will provide space for people to reflect, study and pray at work. Organizations should be sensitive and aware enough to encourage religious expression, outside of proselytizing (recruiting) and making others uncomfortable.

Spiritual Leadership in our 31 Day leadership gauntlet refers to the way our spirituality influences our decisions and our interaction with others. It also covers how we express personal values that align with corporate values. Creating a climate where morality, respect, responsibility, integrity, caring and forgiveness are practiced, is essential for a respectful workplace.

 

The Lord is My Leader

The Lord is my Leader I shall not lack

Direction for He is standing at my back;

While in front of me He makes decisions

To meet my needs with ample provisions.

I shall not want for his abundance fills

My cup with affluence and as it spills,

As water flowing from a mountain top,

His goodness and mercy will never stop.

He mends my brokenness

And I find rest,

As He restores my soul,

He refreshes my spirit,

Changes my countenance

And makes me whole.

  

He leads me where the waters are still;

He tutors me as I study His will;

He comforts me in righteousness;

Though I walk through the valley

Of difficult times;

Disease, disasters and immoral crimes

I fear no evil for He

Protects me from my enemies

And loves me though there is sin in me,

And promises me an eternity

Of matchless splendor and serenity.

(Adapted from Psalms 23)

Copyright © 2013 Orlando Ceaser

Practical Reflections

  1. How can we address spirituality in a way that allows people to be comfortable at work while practicing their faith?

  2. Can people gauge from your behavior, the spiritual foundation that influences your leadership style?

  3. Can people of different faiths practice prayer and Bible study in your workplace?

  4. What role does God play in your decision-making process?

  5. Which spiritual values do you illustrate at work?

  6. Do you believe in the second stanza to be true? How powerful is your faith?

  7. God is making you whole as you read this. Discuss the importance of these words. The Lord is your leader.

  8. How are you resting on His promises and finding comfort in His words?

  9. God as a leader has a vision for your life. Discuss your thoughts about his vision for you.

More leadership information at OrlandoCeaser.com

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31 Day Leadership Gauntlet – Day 22 – Relapse

i believe-001

Developing new skills requires a change management mentality. New skills must be practiced and reinforced over time, with continuous application. The more powerful and experiential the training with total immersion in the new skills, will result in new behaviors that are sustainable.

However, you must deal with inertia, which is resistance to change. Secondly you must contend with the temptation to resort to previous behaviors in the face of difficulty. Observation and experience reveal that in a crisis, if the new skills are not firmly embedded in the subconscious, we revert to previous behavior. We retreat to what is known, comfortable and firmly established. We may discard the new information, new practices for the comfortable behaviors of the past.

If change is not fully incorporated into your rote memory or natural rhythms, you may easily relapse. Therefore, it is important to have powerful implementation procedures that are rapidly reinforced repetition to replace the memorized subconscious behaviors.

Additionally, you must firmly believe in your people and adhere to your leadership pledge to their success. In the heat of battle, turmoil or a crisis, remember that your long-term effectiveness as a leader may hinge upon the following. Your ability to be steady, call while refusing to relapse and abandoning new programs and practices for the old way of doing things.

 

Leadership Pledge

To value and respect you

For your accomplishments each year;

Reward your focus on the bottom line,

Elicit feedback and design

Improvements to work conditions

And ways to fight the competition.

To give clear goals, not good intentions;

Form tactics that defy convention

And set a course for the clients needs,

Sometimes at warp or breakneck speeds;

But always mindful as we advance

To keep egos intact and skills enhanced.

To value and respect you

For loyalty and candor,

For personal leadership modeled

When understaffed and at full throttle,

To praise you when change is prominent,

Receptive when stress is dominant;

And listen actively to your voice,

For you have freedoms,

You’re here by choice.

Copyright © 2013 Orlando Ceaser

Reprinted from Leadership Above the Rim

Personal Reflections

  1. How do you demonstrate to others that you believe and trust them?

  2. What new programs have you put in place to improve the climate in your workplace?

  3. Think of behavior changes successfully implemented and what you did to make them work.

  4. Give examples of old habits that you have successfully replaced.

  5. What do you do to prevent yourself from relapsing into old habits? Give an example, personal or professional.

  6. Review information on change management to strengthen the intellectual and logical justification for your new practices.

  7. The element of surprise is a strong reason for reflex behavior. When you are caught off guard you may tend to relapse into old ways of thinking.

  8. Anticipation will help you stay with your new skills and let the old habits stay in the past.

More leadership information at OrlandoCeaser.com.

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31 Day Leadership Gauntlet – Day 20 – Adaptation

Crystal Ball C

Survival is our strongest need, according to many philosophers. Abraham Maslow lists it among our basic needs, which we must fulfill before we move on to satisfying other needs on our list of priorities. Survival is dependent upon making the necessary adjustments to changes in our environment. We must include these adjustments, as a part of our evolving skills.

The quality of survival is linked to our adaptation ability, therefore our success in making adjustment to competitors in the marketplace or whatever environment surrounds us.  Our objective is to aim higher , rather than barely making it. We do not want to do just enough to get by. We want to thrive and prosper. A standard of living above the baseline of existence is a desirable goal. But to achieve this enhanced quality of life, we must make continuous adjustments to our behavior.

The poem Adaptation addresses the adjustments we need to make educationally, relationally and professionally to improve our prospects for higher earning power and fulfillment of purpose. Charles Darwin wrote about the survival of the fittest and that holds true in the development of species and in developing a personal profile competitive enough to make it in the business world. Adaptation encourages the survival of the fit; those who take the time and make the effort to anticipate challenges and respond to change. Only progress is satisfactory. Movement is essential to momentum.

Adaptation

 

This is what the world has come to,

If you’re lost, you’re left behind.

So, you need something they can’t

Take from you,

A treasure stored within your mind.

Survival has a new battle cry,

“Learn to adapt or learn to die.”

The work is becoming more difficult;

Best practices rapidly obsolete;

The business that focuses on results

Lacks tolerance for those who can’t compete.

You try to fail if you fail to try,

“Learn to adapt or learn to die.”

Distractions are greater, and times are hard,

And there are numerous reasons to quit.

Your peers may entice you to disregard

Being versatile and mentally fit.

I caution you to look them in the eye

And say learn to adapt or die.

Innovation is a survival tool;

Flexibility a requirement.

Those who survive and ultimately rule

Always adjust to their environment.

Industries and species that don’t comply,

“Learn to adapt or learn to die.”

 

There are many reasons to not achieve

But you owe it to yourself to attempt

To climb the mountain, but you must believe

The goal that was not captured was not dreamt.

Distinction or extinction will apply,

“Learn to adapt or learn to die.”

Copyright © 2011 Orlando Ceaser

 Personal Reflections

  1. How have you changed in the last year?

  2. If someone has not seen you in several years, what change would they notice?

  3. How has your business environment changed?

  4. What adjustments have you made or must make to keep up with new demands in your profession?

  5. How have you adapted to the technological demands of your profession?

  6. How do you stay on top of matters that require your attention?

  7. Alvin Toffler mentioned that technology has accelerated in this world of high tech, but we have not changed that much socially, in something he calls high touch. How are you socially keeping up with the times?

  8. How are you adapting to find time for the ones you love?

More leadership information at OrlandoCeaser.com.

 

The ‘O’ Zone Blog: myozonelayer.com

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31 Day Leadership Gauntlet – Day 19 – Purpose

The opening quote in my book the Isle of knowledge states that “I feel pressure from my purpose to align my passion with my potential.” This sentence illustrates my internal struggle to find my purpose and ensure that it is connected to my passion, so that I realize my potential, and my desire to make a difference in the world.

What is your purpose? We wrestle with the realization that we are blessed and may have talent and opportunity that is not fully utilized. We tend to go with the crowd as it relates to our careers or to align ourselves with what is popular or the most financially rewarding. Information came out recently about the top 10 jobs for the future, which indicated technology was the dominant career choice. Are you a technologically driven person? How do you align technology with your purpose?

You may be in a job that is not rewarding or fulfilling, but it is a job that pays the bills. When you determine your purpose, can you provide space to pursue it and keep your day job? Pursuing your purpose may require you to develop a ‘HIT’ list (Hobbies, Interests, Talents). This may provide the vehicle for you to address and fulfill your purpose.

Your purpose can sometimes be recognized in the things they give you the most excitement or feeling of value. Oftentimes, purpose is not about you, but what you can do for others. Through purpose you may find your significance. During your leadership gauntlet you may encounter a variety of distractions that derail you from finding and fulfilling your purpose. But you may find that within your purpose is God’s plan for your life.

God’s Plan for Your Life

YouTube narration with music 

Once you desired to be,

Who you were wired to be,

But you satisfied friends instead.

Though blessed with talent and skill,

You lacked the courage and will

To follow the dreams in your head.

Your parents hinted at times,

Since they were reaching their prime,

You should let them plan your success.

Therefore, achievements were built

On a foundation of guilt,

Which was geared to their happiness.

You were not strong enough then

To use self-discipline when

You heard the voice of the divine.

In whispers to intervene

He said he placed in your genes

The elements of your design.

Once you conspired to be,

Who you were wired to be,

To match the image of your trade.

You sought the power and fame,

The money, title and name,

In service to the masquerade.

Unplanned events played a role,

You flowed away from your goal,

Imprisoned by the undertow.

You gave into their appeal,

Although the look and the feel,

Was not what you needed to grow.

Through the influence of peers

You alternated careers,

And thus, fulfillment was delayed.

You showed an absence of nerve

And therefore, did not deserve

To prosper from poor choices made.

Now you aspire to be,

Who you were wired to be,

To do all you can with your life.

Committed to seek His will

And use your talents and skill,

To embrace God’s Plan for your life.

Copyright © 2001 Orlando Ceaser

Personal Reflections

  1. What is your purpose?

  2. How did you determine your purpose?

  3. Are you working to fulfill your purpose?

  4. How are other people helping you with your purpose?

  5. What resources are you using, or have you used to clearly define and execute your purpose?

  6. How can you help others to find their purpose?

More leadership information at OrlandoCeaser.com.

The ‘O’ Zone Blog: myozonelayer.com

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