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Entries from February 2016

Managing your irritation

26th February 2016


Managing your Irritation as a leader
How often do you find that you are irritated at work?
More importantly what do you do to manage or mask your
Do you know how you show up when you are irritated?
Do you even care?
As a leader you are on show all of the time. People are
constantly making assessments about how you are, whether you like it or not. If
you are thinking one thing and saying another people pick up on this. Therefore
you need to make every action and interaction count to have the exact impact
that you intended.
Easy right?
After all you are human and we all have our idiosyncrasies. However, as a leader you set the tone for your team and organisation so you do have to model the behaviour you expect from others.
You need to be clearer than most about your intentions and mindful as to whether the impact you are creating matched those intentions. In my experience this is usually easier when things are going well than when they are not. And when they are not you have to be a master of self-management.

Managing your state

Managing your own state is an art and far easier when things are going well and you are feeling fresh.
When you’re tired you’re more likely to be reactive – less considered.
When you’re in a new environment you’re likely to be hyper alert or stressed – looking for cues to ‘feel’ safe.
So what can you do to manage your state when you are irritated?
  1. What happens to you physically? Notice if your head tilts in any way, what happens to your shoulders? My guess is your breathing is shallower too.
  2. What’s the emotional tone? Name it and then identify what you want it to be instead. For example instead of being irritated you may want to feel calm, patient or relaxed.
  3. Now, make the physical changes that will allow you to ‘take on’ that state. We all know what it feels like to be calm and you’ll notice that you take on a different physical shape to being irritated.
  4. And finally, practice, practice, practice… The way to learn is through practice and one that interrupts old behavioural patterns is going to be longer lasting and sustainable.
Connected leadership

Observing others

Leadership is about connection and taking others with you.
You have to work at establishing good connections to create great
Do you adapt your style to your audience?

Are you clear about what you want to achieve with the various people you work with?

Are their reactions and responses what you expected?
If not what can you do to adapt and create a greater connection and understanding?
If your message isn’t getting across there is something you have to change to get people on
board, to put it across in a way that helps them.
As a leader your job is about changing the experience of life at work – making the difficult easy and the uncomfortable comfortable, to create an engaged workforce. Being irritated doesn’t allow you to operate at your best to achieve this. So next time you feel irritated, even if it’s only a
little try out what I’ve suggested and let me know what happens.
Don’t let people; places and things determine your moods. Take charge
of how you feel each and every day.
Michael Barbarulo


Attention – most scarce resource facing leaders today!

12th February 2016
Attention, impact, Leadership, presenceIn a world of 24/7 activity where there appears to be very little, if any, time to switch off it’s no wonder that we feel overwhelmed and
overloaded with information. We can find out almost anything at the press of a button.
I was recently reading an article from McKinsey claiming the scarce resource leaders have to manage today is their attention. The article goes on to lay out a set of capabilities about how to organise work to allow people to think. If you want
to read more you can find the article here:
However, in this blog I’m hoping to provide you with some insight into what you can do to
this. What can you do to take control of your attention and help your team to do the same?

Training your brain

Being overloaded with information leads to distractedness, confusion and poor decision making. We become paralysed by analysis and endless debate resulting in inefficient and sometimes ‘bad’ decisions and a feeling of standing still or worse being stuck!

Because your attention is fragmented you don’t quite know where to put your focus first. Your brain is flooded with data.
The thing is our brains are not designed to do more than one thing at once. As soon as it becomes overloaded it slows down and uses more of our energy (glucose and oxygen). Prioritising is actually one of the brains most energy hungry processes!
Your best quality thinking lasts for a limited amount of time, which is why at certain times it’s harder to concentrate, or even think straight. So, how can you organise yourself so that you do your best quality thinking at the right time and deliver better results?

Managing your attention

Here are my top 5 tips to help you manage your attention and as a consequence your energy.

  •   Make a list

As one of my coaches used to say ‘Your
brain is a thinking device not a storage device’. If you’re one of those people
who prides themselves on being able to remember everything, bear in mind you
are using a lot of your brains thinking capacity to do this. If you’ve things ‘to do’ write them down and get them out of your head so you can use your brain for it’s best work: planning, problem solving and communicating.

  •   Breathe

Take a long deep breath (or two). Breathe from your diaphragm and loosen your jaw. You can do this as you are walking and if you do you may notice you slow down a little. This is OK! What this action initiates is a kick start for your parasympathetic nervous system. This calms you down and helps you think more clearly. There is a lot more science behind this but this will do for now.

  •  Decide when your best thinking time is

I’m a morning person and I know this is when I do my best thinking, so if I have some important thinking to be done this is when I schedule it. Determine what works for you and allocate your
meetings that require your best thinking, or attention rich tasks, to these times of the day. An example of this would be anything that requires new concepts or anything you haven’t experienced before – picturing something you haven’t seen before takes a lot more effort from your brain.

I know scheduling these things to your best thinking time isn’t always possible and if you know you’re out of sync you can prepare yourself in a different way.
  •  Embed repetitive tasks where you can

Thinking about problems when it relates to things we have experienced before or seen is easy. So if there is anything that you can make a routine – do it! This helps it become ingrained in your
brain (and your body) requiring less “thinking capacity”.

  •      Remove distractions

Distractions simply add to the information and data in your brain that will send you into overload. You need to become really good at setting boundaries and saying no, or no not now. This may seem harsh, or selfish, and people will get used to it and it is about you operating at your best, so it will be a win/win on all sides in the long run.

Next steps

If you are feeling overwhelmed and know that you are not being as attentive as you know you can be try this out for two or three weeks and let me know how you get on.

If you know, like world class athletes, that additional support helps you become more aware, effective and impactful send me an email to set up a discovery call and we can explore your needs and how I may be able to help you.
“In every day, there are 1,440 minutes. That means we have 1,440
daily opportunities to make a positive impact.” 
Les Brown 


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