Grow your success: what stops you?

Is this what stops you from achieving success?

We can probably identify many fears that stop us progressing in our business: maybe you worry about finances – spending too much or too little; competition from established brands; not having sufficient time or resources for production, and so on…

But a particular fear that very many people have is the fear of success

Wh-a-a-t?

Of course you are striving away, juggling your life to get clients, sacrificing many things to get your business moving on the right tracks, work, work, work.  And then you get a breakthrough, a lead for you to follow up.  Oddly, you don’t do it because it doesn’t quite fit with your business model, it’s the wrong time, you want to finish off a project first or maybe you think that they won’t be interested after you have spoken to them!

Is this at all familiar?  Perhaps you sabotage yourself in other ways by taking a back seat or not fully explaining your product when you are introduced to people at networking groups.

Well, believe it or not, this isn’t uncommon. 

What effect does this have on me?

Have a little think about what you might have done in the past where you have missed out on potential business.  What was the real cause?  What could you have done differently and, importantly, why didn’t you?

There are a number of root causes for this strange phenomenon and it is the twin to fear of failure and is also based on false beliefs about yourself.

We sabotage ourselves because:

  • We don’t want to expose ourselves to potential humiliation if it doesn’t work out – I will feel a fool
  • We may feel guilty that we are succeeding – I think there are so many other people who are more deserving
  • We fear that we won’t be able to handle success – I might lose it all, better not to have it in the first place
  • We fear that we will change in some way and lose our friends or only attract people who are false and sycophantic – I might be alone
  • We fear that being successful will mean that we are shoved into the limelight – I will feel embarrassed as the centre of attraction
  • We fear losing control – I might lose my identity

How can you stop this self-sabotage?

So what are the symptoms and how can you remedy this malady?

You will need to be very honest with yourself.  This is not an exercise in being self critical or beating yourself up. Stand back and do some self analysis: just as you would analyse areas  in your business, only this time the focus is on your behaviour, beliefs  and emotions.

  1. Set some time aside and be totally honest with yourself.  This isn’t about seeking out negative aspects but to celebrate those things that you do well and where you have succeeded in the past.
  2. Make a list of your deepest dreams.  Sometimes we don’t give our true desires enough “oxygen” to help them to thrive.  By seeing them on paper helps them to take on an identity and grow.
  3. Keep on writing about why you deserve success, how what you do and dream of doing in the future will help others.  Create this into a short mantra, a sentence or phrase and place it in a spot where you can see it every day.  Say it out loud every day and your brain will become familiar with it and it will become normal, a reality.
  4. During this exercise, you are likely to feel uncomfortable at times.  Think about why, what is bubbling away under the surface?  Write down how you feel and any reason that you can attach to those feelings.  You are now identifying your fears and confronting them.

Other indications that you fear succeeding are suggested when you:

  • Have difficulty finishing projects – just never quite satisfied with it
  • You are highly self-critical, or habitually self-effacing
  • You plunge into an area of work regardless of whether it will bring you what you desire
  • You continually self-sacrifice always bending to other people’s needs ahead of your own

You are likely to be feeling inadequate or certainly unhappy with a situation and could well think that you should just give up, that success was never meant for you.  It might be that you didn’t apply for your dream job or let a closing date pass by without taking any action and compensate yourself by thinking; well it wasn’t for you anyway.  Such self-defeat and self-deception form a spiral as we lose our self respect, burying our disappointment .

But supposing that breakthrough is just around the corner, that a friend is recommending you to a potential client right now or that someone has been searching for just the service or product that you can provide for them.  How would you feel if you had just missed such an opportunity?  Thwarted? Disappointed? Or even relieved?  Maybe all of this and more?

Why?

Consider why you feel this way.  Do you always use some avoidance tactic or only sometimes?  When did you start to feel this way?

It doesn’t have to be this way!!

Now think about the habits that you have developed that prevent yourself from succeeding personally.  You may discover some barriers that you are erecting or habits developed to avoid certain situations.

What is your inner dialogue?  Perhaps you have become so used to self-talk that originally helped to protect you in a difficult situation but is no longer useful.  It is useful to remember that you can choose how you react and you can try out different approaches.  Take small steps to do something regardless of feeling uncomfortable. 

Be brave, what do you have to lose in the face of what you could gain.  Think: I can do this; it is my turn for success!  Why not me!  Think of all the things that will go well and what it will mean to you.

Keep at it and make lots of small wins.  If you find that you drop back into old habits, shunning opportunity, start with a new goal and see it through.

One last simple but very effective technique if you are a solopreneur. We often start out selling our product/service as an extension of ourselves. We think our business depends on it.  To a certain extent your skills are what make your business viable.  But you can step away from it being all about you, and develop a mindset of working for your business rather than the business being you.  Many people are then able to feel sufficiently distanced that they can describe products linked to the values of your business rather than be put in the personal spotlight.

As always, practice makes perfect and you will have some days when you could have done better.  So concentrate on those times when you do succeed (no matter how small) and give yourself a metaphorical pat on the back.  

YOU DESERVE IT.

New to Management – it can be scary

Here’s the scene: you have just been promoted to a managerial position. Congratulations!

Does it seem scary?

But as you take over your new job with responsibilities for your team, do you feel fully prepared? Is excitement draining away to be replaced by apprehension? Perhaps that old demon on your shoulder is telling you that you won’t be able to do this. And the managerial course that you took, what does that mean for you now; how can you use your knowledge from that? How does it translate into real life?

Welcome to the world of people management, inexact and ever challenging.

There is no doubt that you will learn as you go along but getting things wrong offers the harsh experience of “dog’s law” and heartache.

But there are many managers like you who worry about managing people, balancing the needs of individuals with the company’s expectations whilst you are treading water. Why is it that many managers find it difficult to manage people? After all that should be the focus of their role.

Time to take control

Firstly take comfort in your “right to manage”. This doesn’t mean that you become dictatorial or over bearing. However, it does mean that your organisation has vested in you certain autonomy, a confidence in your ability. It is now down to you to work out how to create and enhance your working relationships, inspiring your team to perform well and attain the company aims. The good news is that whilst there are certainly a few people who seem to have an innate ability to lead and manage, it is something that can be learned.

However, it takes time and you will need to understand yourself, how you come across to others and understand that other people have emotional baggage. They may not see the world in the same way that you do. In fact it is pretty certain that you won’t be able to see eye to eye with everyone all the time.

Build good relationships – it takes time!

Good relationships are based on trust and a mutual sense of belonging. This does take time to nurture and is a delicate thing, easily destroyed. If you steam-roll your way through managing people, treating them as an extension of machinery or systems, you will build resistance and resentment instead of commitment and cooperation. It is very likely that you will lose good people.
By understanding that another person’s view on the world is shaped by their own experience, culture and beliefs you will see that the world can appear totally different from their perspective than from yours. And neither view is more right or wrong: they are both possibilities.

Listening – it’s a key skill

Listen to your team and dispense with any assumptions that occur to you about your team. You will then begin to understand what makes your people tick and find the best way to communicate with each individual. Spend time getting to know each other, respect different opinions and you will build a sense of mutual support and understanding.

Undeniably, your workplace is a social community where people interact and work collaboratively. This is so even when people work remotely and contact others electronically. They will form a “tribe” and seek to belong. In fact, people who are in contact through email or VOIP or social platforms can have more interaction with their colleagues than those who work in parallel work stations. Your team’s sense of belonging and view of you will impact on their commitment to their work and indeed the organisation.

Emotional connection links to communication

Does this mean that you will be walking on egg-shells, tentative in how you approach your team? Not a bit of it. Your evident enthusiasm and optimism mixed with transparency will grow two-way trust and respect. Be aware of how you are perceived. Remember that all eyes are on you and any slip in your integrity will be seen by and affect all.

People can be unpredictable and their emotional state is important. Resentment can build up, hurt leading to anger and obstruction over misunderstood intentions. How you communicate is as important as the message itself. Think of how you will ensure their understanding and don’t assume that everyone will grasp the full meaning and implication of your message: you will need to use different methods and check comprehension.

Your management skills must recognise adverse emotions in your team. Your frequent interactions and genuine interest in each individual will create a stable work environment, free from conflict. Enthusiasm is strangely infectious but so is damaging rumour and conjecture within a communication vacuum. Be ever on your guard against expressing negativism as this can sabotage your good efforts in building motivation.

Fairness and equity

It is important that you do not treat everyone in the same manner but that you treat everyone fairly and consistently. I hope you can see the difference. You will treat people in the way that each person appreciates, as an individual and with respect for them as a person. For example, some people like to work quietly.  However, some people need the company of others if they re not to feel isolated. Get to understand the different ways in which people want to work. Treat people with respect, transparency and honesty, seeking to include everybody.

Remember that everyone is capable of doing good work and generating ideas. Even the quietest person has their story to tell. Time spent recognising and improving your emotional intelligence will improve your people management capability immensely. This is an ongoing quest that will empower and enrich you personally throughout your career.

Grow to be a Fantastic Manager!

© all rights reserved: Christine de Caux 

5 Great Business Books Offering Insight for Success

Here are some great business books for you to read: enlightening, entertaining and thought provoking!  Interestingly, some people tell me that they don’t have time to read books.  Really, they just don’t see the value in spending the time.

Well, I recommend you to try these and then think if the time has been well spent.  I bet you will come away with some great insight and hopefully you will implement at least some of the suggested behaviours and actions that will make a difference.  Try them!

TIP (By the way you don’t have to read every word on every page.  If you are short of time, try reading the list of chapters then the first and last sections of each chapter and you will already have gained some knowledge of the subject.  Clearly, you will need to go back and read more fully those sections that are of particular interest to you.  It is surprisingly effective).

TIP (Many of these books are available on Kindle and you may be able to read them at a much reduced cost e.g. if the edition is available on Kindle Unlimited)

***

Tools of the Titan: Timothy Ferriss

Tim writes about performance and change in a  “dip in and dip out” sort of style.

“You don’t succeed because you have no weaknesses, you succeed because you find your unique strengths and focus on developing bits around them”.  I absolutely agree with this quote.

His interviews with other people and insights offer motivational and sometimes problem solving focus on self-improvement.  A fascinating book that you will want to return to.

***

The Undoing Project: Michael Lewis

So you think decision-making is about systems and logic? Well maybe and maybe not.  Michael Lewis looks at this concept through the story of two psychologists whose work discovered behavioural economics.  Their touching friendship takes you through concepts in understanding this fascinating area.

Be prepared to be both entertained and enlightened.  This story will stay with you.

***

The Coaching Habit: Michael Bungay

Most managers understand the value of coaching their employees for performance but it isn’t always something that comes naturally.  This book describes an approach to coaching that is simple but effective, a method that becomes second nature at work and indeed in everyday life.  The author’s insight enables you to manage and support your employees, creating useful habits that create impact. Curb the temptation to offer advice when active listening is the correct course.

Thought provoking and clear, this book offers transferable skills for every manager.

 ***

The One Thing: The surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results: Gary Keller

Some title to live up to, this book is the antidote to the ever increasing pressures of everyday life.  Our preoccupation with “busy-ness” actually leads to less productivity, stress and the feeling of being left behind.

The One Thing offers an alternative way to achieve success in all areas of life, not just work.  More productivity, better lifestyle, more family time: sounds too good to be true?  Well read this book and decide for yourself.  I would be surprised if you don’t find it helpful.

“What’s the ONE thing you can do this week such that by doing it everything else would be easier or unnecessary?”

Find out how to focus on what you should do.  Focus on this thing well instead of eternal plate spinning!

***

The Chimp Paradox

This has been a really popular book and although some of the concepts are not new, it is well written.  This is a fascinating read about how our minds are shaped, how our emotions and negative self-talk act against our best interests.  See if you can identify with this.

A self-help book that is easy to understand, it explains how you can see when your “chimp” is controlling you and when to use your “human brain” to push back.

This book is very helpful for introspection. It is a great help in understanding our interactions with other people, recognising when our emotions become out of control and how to take steps to change.

© copyright: Christine de Caux 2018


I have given links to Amazon UK where these titles are readily available in several formats. They can be purchased from other outlets of course.  

Blog post from Fantastic-Managers site may contain certain affiliate links for which I may receive a small commission.  However, all thoughts and opinions expressed are mine and not influenced by the developing company.  Please see Disclosure Statement on website.

Manager’s Top Tips to Delegate Effectively

Do you frequently find that you have more work to do than fits into the time available?  Are you spending more time at work or taking work home and the burden of your managerial responsibility weighs heavy?  Moreover, you often compromise family time with work overspill.  An easy pit to fall into: now it is time to climb out of it.  It is time to delegate!

Do you find yourself saying “It’ll take more time to explain, I may as well do it myself”?  Or “This project is so important, I need to be on top of it”.  These are traps formed by the belief that you and only you are capable of completing tasks.  Not true.  Sure you will need to steer the ship, but you don’t need to be in the boiler room!

As a matter of fact, one of the themes that I constantly repeat to my clients (and echo in my blog) is that

a manager’s job is to effect work through people.

Now this isn’t a work-dump scheme.  You will still co-ordinate business strategy and direction.  The difference is that you will have a much better overview enabling better decision-making.  You will develop your team, build greater capacity and resilience.  Crucially, you can reach the holy grail of planned action and optimal performance with minimal stress.

Start thinking: how can you delegate well!

Sound too good to be true?  No, it is achievable.  Just take a step back and:

  • adopt and strengthen your mindset that others are capable of doing work to the standards that you need
  • consider what should or should not be delegated
  • split out tasks according to employee capability. You will need to train up some employees and coach them but once done they will be invaluable to you.
  • encourage your team to work collaboratively to share skills and experience
  • always delegate routine work (e.g. standard reports, filing)
  • empower your team to take responsibility for areas such as scheduling, making minor decisions and answering routine questions. Empowerment is a great tool: not only does it get the job done, it is a strong motivator and gets people more involved in the business.

The Grand Delegation Plan

  • What: define the task outlining the required outcome and your expectations

Of course, you will need to retain personal control over areas such as emergency or confidential tasks, hiring people and employee relations.  Additionally, there will be some tasks where your particular qualification level is mandatory.

  • Who: decide who is dependable with the right skills and attitude and

has the right skills already

needs training and in what areas

needs detailed explanation and more supervision

can work autonomously and reliably produce the right results on time.  Can you pair up people to strengthen skills and approach?

  • Why: delegate properly explain to your employee/s what you want done and why you have chosen them for the job.

Importantly check their understanding

Listen carefully to their reactions, answer questions honestly.  Equally, ask for their commitment

If possible, let them decide how they will plan out and execute the work to enable them to have ownership of it

  • How: outline their main sphere of responsibility and authority; where your employee can get resources and help

Importantly,  let others know that your employee is doing this task on your behalf and acts with your authority.  This will swerve misunderstanding in other parts of the company

Ensure that s/he is not overwhelmed by the addition of this task by reallocating some of their regular tasks whilst undertaking your assignment

Encourage your employee by expressing your confidence in them and ensure that you are available to mentor and give back up.  Establish regular milestones and monitor progress as well.

Always, recognise and thank your employee when they have successfully completed your assignment

And finally…

Remember you have handed this task over to someone else.  Monitoring their progress does not mean micro-managing!!  Avoid being overly prescriptive about how they should do the task.  Use your coaching skills to help people to solve problems for themselvesBut you are not abandoning them; ask open ended questions to help them reach solutions.

Ensure that delegation isn’t seen as “dumping” work.  Communicate your aims and the benefits of the project to the employee.  Explain its importance and the development they will gain.  Be sure to give due credit to your employee for the success of the project.  Never assume the kudos for yourself.

Delegate well and you will start to get volunteers for the next project!

For further reading I recommend:


*This post from Fantastic-Managers site may contain certain affiliate links for which I receive a small commission. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed are mine and not influenced by the developing company. Please see Disclosure Statement on website.

Essential Tips: from team player to new manager

Congratulations New Manager!

Here’s the scene: you have been promoted to be the new manager of your existing team.  Congratulations.  I raise my glass to you.

But what’s this?  You are starting to feel nervous about managing people: after all it is now a different relationship.  Even conversations at the coffee machine may be different.  Don’t kid yourself that your relationships will carry on as they did before.  And neither should they as you now have a particular responsibility for overall performance, ensuring everyone’s welfare and not least ensuring that

learning people skills for management
people skills for the new manager

everyone adheres to the rules.  You are now under the microscope by both your former colleagues and also by your senior manager.  Perhaps you will have to make unpopular decisions, potentially be “policeman” and progress chaser.  You may even be unlucky enough to have to make staff cuts among your former peers.

Your relationship has now changed forever and understanding how you can influence your team will rest on your management style.

If you find it very hard to adopt a style that doesn’t feel natural to you, knowing your options will help you to gain confidence. Be careful not to flip-flop between styles without understanding what you hope to achieve as inconsistency in approach can make you appear ingenuous and you could lose the respect of your team.

So what styles might you adopt?  Broadly you will choose from these:

  • Direct (authoritarian) – “do as I say”.  This style is very useful in times of emergency or when your team has little experience and when there is a need to follow exact procedures.
  • Recommend – “you might want to do this…”   A very hands-off style, it passes responsibility for decisions to the team.  This works well where your people possess a high technical ability.  Often used with professional groups, you will need to have a clear vision for the final product and be sufficiently motivated to see it through to the end.
  • Affect – “this will do someone some good”.  This will play towards someone’s emotional response and in a way is carrot and stick tactics.  Encourage your team by painting a picture of how they will bring positive results (happiness) for themselves and others.  Or it could be a vision of painful negative aspects if they don’t do it.  Sometimes known as moving towards or away from method, it is useful in a sales environment where the rewards are high for big sales. However, failure to perform results in low payment or termination from the organisation.
  • Advisory- “you need to do this because it will mean (some positive outcome)…”  This style is really an amalgamation of several styles.  The manager offers guidance to the team but allows them to make the final decisions on how to proceed.  Handled with care, this can offer a level of autonomy within specified standards and parameters.  However, handled badly, you could appear manipulative or shrugging off your own responsibilities.

Consider the type of situations you face

In actual practice you will probably use a varying combination of all these styles according to the situation and environment.  Be very careful of, though,that you are consistent in the style you use for similar situations.  If your team’s looking to you for guidance, clearly you will need to judge how prescriptive you will need to be.

  • Is this an occasion where you need to roll up your sleeves and get stuck in with everyone else? Be careful of micro-managing.
  • Will you offer extra resources and practical suggestions? If so, make sure you have a good understanding of requirements and necessary skills to perform the task.
  • Will you buoy up your team, telling them how much you rely on their ability?  Be careful that you treat each member of the team as an individual so that you are absolutely certain of their support and capability; discuss with them any perceived barriers and problems.  Be scrupulously fair and consistent.  Never abuse their trust or loyalty because once gone, you will never get it back.

Above all, remember to praise highly and thank each person properly for their efforts.  It is astonishing just how motivational the simple act of saying “thank you” is.  Never take the full credit for a job well done if in fact it was done by your team (You can however, take credit for building and developing a great team!)

I hope you have enjoyed this post.  Please feel free to share it.

Why not sign up for my regular blog posts!  I am happy for you to share this content with your colleagues

© Christine de Caux 2016   All rights reserved

Why not sign up to receive news and posts from Fantastic Managers and be the first to hear about additional material, complimentary mini courses and full expert courses.

www.Fantastic-Managers.com

is the online home for CdeC Solutions, created by Christine de Caux, HR Consultant Coach

Mailing address: CdeC Solutions, The Apex, 2 Sheriffs Orchard, Coventry, CV1 3PP, United Kingdom