"Recognize employees who question the status quo. When employees take the risk of creating a productive disruption, give them positive reinforcement. If someone pushes back or raises an uncomfortable question in a meeting, back them up rather than shut them down. If possible, use it as a teachable moment to encourage others to do the same.
Set ground rules for conflict. Since everyone struggles with conflict to some degree, develop a few standards for how your team can manage it constructively. For example in one company’s review sessions, participants need to begin with at least two positive comments before anyone is allowed to throw in a criticism. Although it feels a little awkward at times, this practice forces everyone to take a more balanced view of other people’s work, which reduces the tension and allows for more productive discussions. In another firm, every meeting ends with five minutes of what’s called a “plus/delta” critique of the meeting – with quick comments about what was good about it and what should be changed the next time. Again, this more structured practice makes it easy and acceptable to openly and constructively criticize."
Not everything can be structured, but the creation of a healthy environment where questions are welcome is essential.
Learning to learn: losing yourself in passionPosted on August 30, 2013 by Ally — 14 Comments ↓
Have you ever noticed that, when we’re younger, school and learning seem like a chore, and yet when we’re older, we wish we could just spend all of our time consuming information and advancing our knowledge?
Perhaps this is because our minds have matured with age, or simply because we always want to do things once we don’t have to. Or, maybe it’s because once we’ve been through certain experiences, we’re more capable of identifying our true passions.
I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine who also happens to be an entrepreneur named Josh. (Whether he knew it or not, picking his brain was actually a part of my mission to learn more about entrepreneurship and running a business.) I was interested to hear that, once he started a company, even though it was based around his passion for social media, a large part of his work days consists of administrative and management-related tasks. In explaining this, he said the following:
“I work hard during the day, but at night I get to plan the future and expand my knowledge.”
There was my answer. As human beings, we may not always be able to spend all of our lives doing exactly what we want to be doing, but as long as there is something that we “get” to learn about in our off time, the drive will never fade.
How is it, then, that we come across this special subject? First, let’s figure out what passion actually is. According to Merriam Webster, passion is an “intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction.” When I hear this definition, a few things come to my head: social media, relationship building, and innovation, to name a few. What comes to yours?
If there isn’t anything that instantly comes to mind, try doing a few of these exercises:
Ask yourself, “What would I do with my life if money didn’t matter?”Talk casually with your friends and colleagues and observe what makes you go on for hours.Wander into a bookstore. What section do you immediately go for?
-Allow your brain to follow its own course. The things you don’t have to try to think about are usually the ones you end up giving the majority of your thoughts to.
Finding, and subsequently losing yourself in, your passion may not be easy, but when it does happen, it sure is worth it. Is there topic that you constantly find yourself coming back to in your reading and conversations? One that, once you start reading about it, the hours pass like minutes? Identify it, roll with it, and lose yourself in it.
And in case you needed one last bit of inspiration, I leave you with Josh’s words:
“Let’s say, you’re sitting in a coffee shop, minding your own business, and the person at the table over starts talking about a specific subject. You may only hear a word or two, but it’s enough. It registers. And before you realize it you’ve stopped everything you’re doing. Focusing on your own task/conversation/activity suddenly becomes impossible. Your heart beats super fast because you’re doing everything in your power not to compulsively jump in, ask questions, correct them, and find out who they are.”
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