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When to give feedback

  • When good work, successful projects, and resourceful behavior need to be recognized.

  • When an employee’s misstep has a negative impact on you, the team, or the organization.
  • When an employee’s behavior violates company values and culture.
  • At project milestones. Establish logical points to pause for feedback—for instance, after a few weeks of a new endeavor, at the halfway point, and at the end.
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The feedback mindset

The feedback mindset is one of the many growth mindset everyone should adapt especially for managers.

In general feedback, it’s one thing managers know they should do regularly. Yet many avoid it, because for many people, giving and also receiving feedback is uncomfortable. They think it connotes judgment or criticism.

But that’s the wrong mindset.

In business, feedback is simply the sharing of observations about job performance or work-related behaviors. For example, two types of feedback include –

(1) Positive feedback, or praise, is an opportunity to recognize and build on successes.

(2) Constructive feedback highlights opportunities for improvement.

Both are tools to shape behavior and foster learning. Once you’ve adopted this mindset about what feedback is and isn’t you’ve taken the first step toward giving it effectively.

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Natural POV

Take a neutral point of view!

Typically in any difficult interaction, the individuals involved usually see the facts from two different perspectives or point of view, based on the things that each of them considers important.

But in every conflict, there are really three sides to the story:

  • How you see the problem
  • How the person you’re having the conflict with sees the problem
  • How a neutral observer might see the problem

A neutral party would be able re-frame the conflict not in terms of which side is right or wrong, but rather in terms of difference.

Therefore, in order to be able to re-frame the conflict from this natural perspective, you must or should be able to

  • Describe the problem you are having with the other person as the difference between your stories. And developed an agreement or understanding of common ground.
  • Share what you hope to accomplish through the conversation.
  • Invite the other person to join you in finding a solution.

When you take this approach, the conversation takes on a new meaning which it’s no longer about winning the conflict. Rather, it’s about working with the other person to manage your differences and solving the issue at hand.

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Anxiety linked personality traits

There are quite a few personality traits common among people who suffer from anxiety, as well as a few traits that can make anxiety worse. It can easily become a question of “which came first?” But when treating the underlying cause of anxiety, all that really matters is that you notice which traits are working for you – and which ones may be getting in the way of your day-to-day life.

“Many people that suffer from anxiety struggle with one or more or a combination of the traits listed [below] making it difficult to relax and acquire a feeling of balance,” Dr. Tarra Bates-Duford, CEO and Founder of Family Matters Counseling Group, tells Bustle.

Perhaps you’d describe yourself as a “perfectionist.” Or maybe you have an intense need for control. If these personality traits start interfering with your life, it can help to adjust your outlook, and seek balance through a healthier lifestyle. “However, if this does not work those that struggle with anxiety are encouraged to seek professional services to manage symptoms related or contributing to anxiety,” Dr. Bates-Duford says. Here are a few traits that often go hand-in-hand with anxiety to keep an eye on, according to the experts.

1. Perfectionism
“The reason [perfectionism] is associated with anxiety, is that wanting things to be perfect is usually implausible in our messy, imperfect world,” Dr. Helen Odessky, a licensed clinical psychologist and author of Stop Anxiety From Stopping You, tells Bustle. “If our expectations are perfectionism, we will often fall short and feel anxious about it.”

If you’re already prone to anxiety, wanting things to be perfect is a recipe for disaster. So if you feel like this is spiraling out of control, don’t be afraid to speak with a therapist.

2. Over-Thinking
When we overthink, we may feel stuck, EMDR therapist Colette Lopane-Capella, M.A., LMHC, LPC, tells Bustle. And when we get stuck in a pattern of overthinking, it’s all-too-easy for it to lead to “excessive worry and stress, which can evolve to anxiety.”

That’s why, when someone is suffering from an anxiety disorder, one of the first things therapists recommend is a mindfulness practice. “Practicing mindfulness is one way to slow down all these racing thoughts and overthinking, which in [turn] can actually lower levels of heightened stress and anxiety,” Lopane-Capella says. “I often challenge my clients to stop the racing and overwhelming thoughts by keeping a journal to help ground, center, and balance all their thought and ideas.”

3. Avoidance
Folks with anxiety may be more likely to avoid things that cause them stress, and can make their anxiety worse. But, in a rather annoying catch 22, avoiding these things can also cause anxiety.

“Avoidance is … a personality trait that can be associated with anxiety,” Dr. Odessky says. “Oddly enough, the more we avoid the more anxious we tend to feel; it becomes a vicious cycle. We try to reduce our feelings of anxiety by avoiding, but we inadvertently become more anxious the more we avoid.”

When that happens, speaking with a therapist can be helpful, as they can offer ways to face your fears, and get back out there.

4. Resistance To Change
“Being resistant to change is a personality trait commonly seen in those who have anxiety disorders,” Dr. Nicole Washington, a board-certified psychiatrist and Chief Medical Officer of Elocin Psychiatric Services, PLLC, tells Bustle. Those with anxiety “may find themselves with excessive worry about what the change can mean.” Or they might feel like they’re too anxious to try anything new.

So if you spot this trait in yourself, take note. Anxiety can make it easy to “focus on the potential negative outcomes,” Dr. Washington says. But with therapy, it can be possible to see the positive side of things – and potentially feel less anxious as a result.

5. Irritability
If you think about it, it makes a lot of sense why irritability and anxiety may go hand-in-hand. “Many anxiety sufferers experience irritability because it’s exhausting to be in a constant state of worry,” psychotherapist Bianca L. Rodriguez, MA, EdM, LMFT, tells Bustle. “It takes a toll on you emotionally and physically leaving you less equipped to deal with everyday ups and downs. You may find that you need ample time alone as respite from the outside world, which can feel intrusive and agitating.” And it’s definitely OK to take that time to yourself. But if it’s starting to impact your life, or hold you back, don’t be afraid to reach out for help.

6. Empathy
It’s not uncommon for folks with anxiety to also have a high level of empathy to boot. “People with anxiety are often very tuned in to what others think,” licensed psychologist Dr. Crystal I. Lee tells Bustle. “They’re very empathetic and kind, and this can sometimes contribute to their anxiety.”

Which, again, makes a lot of sense. “Their consideration of what others think and feel can cause them to obsess over social interactions, cause them to feel guilty or embarrassed related to ‘mistakes’ made, or ruminate over hurt feelings,” Dr. Lee says. “And, unfortunately, sometimes their understanding of what others truly think and feel are incorrect – they think things are worse off than they really are.”

7. Perseverance
Often times, dealing with an issue like anxiety can foster an incredible ability to stick with things – even when you feel like you can’t. “To live and function with anxiety, you have to possess grit and perseverance,” Dr. Lee says. “These individuals face their fears and anxieties day in and day out. Despite the anxious chatter in their brain and physical discomfort, they manage to keep living their lives.”

8. Conscientiousness
Folks with anxiety often possess an incredibly eye for detail, and are great employees/friends/partners as a result. “They’re hard workers and want to do a good job,” Dr. Lee says.

But, since anxiety is at the wheel, here, it is possible for this to get out of hand. “Sometimes this conscientiousness goes into overdrive and causes perfectionistic or anxious behavior,” Dr. Lee says. “They might worry that their work is not good enough and continue to revise it until they miss their deadline.”

If you notice any of these traits in yourself, it obviously doesn’t guarantee that you have anxiety. But it can help to see the connection. “If you recognize these traits in yourself and are suffering because of it, reach out to a professional for some support,” Dr. Lee says. “A psychologist or therapist can help you manage traits better so they stop interfering with you living your life to its fullest.” Also, by simply being aware of what can send anxiety into overdrive, it might be possible to keep it under control.

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Better To Bend Than To Break: How To Build Agility And Adapt Fast To Change

“For the times they are a-changing’…”

These immortal lyrics by Bob Dylan are no less relevant today than when he first sang them back in the 1960s.

The reality is, we’re living in an age of acceleration – where change is happening faster than most of us can keep up with and opportunity goes to those capable of adjusting swiftly to the shifting winds. Its usually a sink or swim suitable where adopters survived at the expense of those who don’t.

Of course just because you intellectually understand the need to be agile doesn’t mean you don’t struggle with putting it into practice. We love a plan and most of us struggle to let go and “go with the flow.” We usually are very attached to our plans and habitual ways of approaching problems. Challenging our well-practiced “default’ behaviors” can be uncomfortable. It’s why my mother’s still fumbles along with her paper diary, filled with crossed out entries, and paying her her bills via checks in the post. “Those new-fancy online calendars are just so complicated,” she argues. Old habits does die hard.

Yet when it comes to adapting to change and seizing the opportunity it holds, rigidity can be costly.  Not just in missed appointments, unpaid bills and wasted time.  As the ancient Chinese text of the Tao Te Ching says, “Whatever is flexible and flowing will tend to grow.”  To help you do just that, here are three ways to help you “limber up” and expand your capacity for agility when it matters most.

  1. Practice Non-Default Behaviors

Try crossing your arms right now. (Go on, cross them.) Now uncross them and re-cross them the opposite way. Harder than you thought, isn’t it? The reason is that we’re all wired with automatic learned reflexes, responses and decision-making strategies when faced with seemingly familiar information or stimuli. This enables us to be more efficient.

However, you can become too reliant on the same default ways of responding. In any area of life, the greater the number of ways you can respond to a situation, challenge, problem, person or opportunity, the more successful you will inevitably be.

 We all have our default style and approach of getting things done, solving problems and adapting to new circumstances. Personally, I live to dive in and figure it out as I go along. It’s why sometimes I have to be very deliberate about slowing down and working through the details. They’re not my sweet spot not attending to the can trip me up. Of course this isn’t to say you shouldn’t work from your strengths. Rather it is simply acknowledging that if you always approach your problems and challenges in the same way, you won’t always approach them in the best way. The greater the range of approaches you can draw from, the better the outcomes you’ll be able to achieve.

Take a look at the list below and note your default preferences.  Consider how responding with its counter opposite may, on occasion, be more helpful to you, enabling you to be far more effective in achieving the result you want. Just because one way of approaching things has generally worked for you in the past, doesn’t mean it will work for you now. Responding well to change requires pulling from the full spectrum of emotional and mental alternatives.

  • critical – accepting
  • sensitive – tough
  • forceful – gentle
  • cautious – bold
  • structured – unstructured
  • task oriented – relationship oriented
  • outgoing – introspective
  • planned – spontaneous
  • impulsive – thorough
  • compliant – non-compliant
  • serious – playful
  • creative – analytical
  1. Write Your “Flexi-Plan” In Pencil

While having a plan can help you be more successful in achieving a goal, sticking to it rigidly can work against you and demoralizing at times. The better approach is to create what I call a ‘flexi-plan’ that you’re willing to change as circumstances change and new information is acquired.

Professor EJ Masicampo, Florida State University did a study that demonstrated the importance of flexibility in achieving goals amid changing circumstances. He essentially broke his subjects—a group of 98 students—into two groups. One group was given a firm plan to achieve a specific goal of researching information online. The other group had the same goal but wasn’t given any plan to follow.

Within the “plan” and “no-plan” groups, half of the individuals were given ample time to complete the task while the other half had their time cut short. The “plan” group with ample time was 95.5% successful in finding the information they needed, well ahead of the “no-plan” group (68%). However, the “no-plan” group’s success rate (71.4%) far out rated the ‘plan’ group’s (36.7%) when they were both given a warning that they would have to complete the task early. When the “no-plan” group was informed their time was to be cut short, they very quickly adjusted what they were doing to find the information they needed, whereas those in the “plan” group resisted deviating from their plan and were consequently far less successful.

So go ahead, make your plans. Just use a pencil so you can change course as you move forward.

  1. Expand Your Range of Response

While many now debate the claim Malcolm Gladwell made in his bestselling book The Tipping Point that it takes 10,000 hours to achieve a level of true mastery. Yet whether it’s more or less, one thing is certain: those people who have “mastered their game” – whether it’s on the golf course or in the courtroom – are able to pull from a broad range of different responses to optimize their outcomes.

Take tennis players for example.

The world’s best don’t rely on a killer serve or brilliant backhand. They have developed mastery across the various tennis strokes. Not only must they serve brilliantly, but they must also slice, smash, lob and volley masterfully. Sure, they each still have their favorite shots, those they can execute better than any other player—Serena Williams’ power serve or Roger Federer’s one-handed backhand, for instance—but they know that a brilliant backhand or killer serve isn’t enough. To be competitive against their top-ranked opponents, they have to be strong across the board.

It is applicable in every domain of life. In reality there’s never only one way of responding to a challenge – there are many. It’s just that some responses will generate a better outcome than others. And so it’s a matter of simple logic that the greater number of options you can draw from – the more alternative ways of responding to a challenge, problem or even to an opportunity – the higher the probability that your response will produce an optimal outcome versus an ordinary one.

So, if you’re finding yourself with a recurring challenge, consider how a different (albeit less comfortable) approach may produce a better outcome.

Rigidity may be comfortable, but it can be costly. So don’t wait until you’re faced with a crisis before you decide you need to let go your usual approach. Starting today, try doing something different than how you usually do it. It may feel awkward and uncomfortable but as I’ve written before in this column, learning to embrace the uncomfortable and unfamiliar is crucial to success in work, leadership and life.

As someone once told me “Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not get bent out of shape.”


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Growth Mindset

The path to learning agility begins by understanding your attitude, or mindset, toward learning.

There are two basic kinds of learning mindsets:

  • In a fixed mindset, you assume that talent and intelligence are static and something you are born with. People with fixed mindsets see an individual’s success as a confirmation of their inherent abilities and failure as a sign of insufficient innate talent. Too rigid in fixed mindset is detrimental to growth since it belittled any effort which in turn turned the ‘fixed mindset’ into self-fulfilling prophecy.
  • In a growth mindset, you assume abilities can be improved through self-awareness, hard work, and with the help of others. People with growth mindsets don’t focus on appearing smart or gifted. Instead, they put energy into learning, accepting occasional failure as part of the process. This will in turn lead to better and more optimistic future view regardless of current level or predicament.

Everyone operates with a mixture of the two types of mindsets.

Learning agility requires recognizing when you are operating with a fixed mindset and then making a conscious effort to switch to a growth mindset. This can be done by constant and consistent honest self-reflection and internal audits.

To adopt a growth mindset:

  • Recognize when you’re avoiding a challenge or a sign of fear of failure or rejection. When you’re afraid you might embarrass yourself or fail, it’s sign that you’re stuck in a fixed mindset. Make a conscious effort to get over it!
  • Realize you have a choice. You can retreat, or you can re-frame the challenge as an opportunity to learn. There are always choices and whether we are brave enough to take it.
  • Have an inner dialogue. Use language that reflects a growth mindset—for example, instead of saying, “I’m not interested in learning how to use big data because I have never been good at math,” say “Learning about big data will help me improve my market forecasting skills, and I have coworkers who can help me if I have questions.”
  • Deliberately switch to the growth mindset. Take on the challenge, seek feedback, and learn from setbacks.
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6 Things successful people do

Everyone is familiar with that one person who is a super achiever. Having the same number of hours as the rest of us, these people have the ability to get more done in the shortest possible time, and being able to create more value is the same amount of time available for them, which also available for the rest of us. These are the people who are hundred percent invested in the task at hand and are committed to it. This ability leads them to success. Even when their mind is wandering away from the present moment, they stay focused. They adopt habits which go hand in hand with their success.

Following are the ways that help successful people boost their productivity:

  • Structured to-do list:

They create a list of the things that they can do for the day. it just not keep running with unending tasks. Instead, for them only those tasks make to the list which they think they can surely perform.

The best thing about a list is checking the off, this give you a slight rush of happiness to do!

  • They make realistic goals:

An important strategy that successful people adopt is that they break down their major goal into smaller tasks. They make effort for every task until they achieve their desired goal.

Try to digest your goal in smaller bits in order not to be overwhelmed.

  • They eliminate distractions:

Distractions surround us instantly and take us a way from our goal. Successful people when are working on a project, set everything aside to focus on the task at hand. Stay away from distraction by learning to say ‘No’ to other and yourself once i a while, you will be better at eliminating distraction in no time.

  • Focus on productivity:

Just getting things done is not a priority for successful people; their purpose is to get the things done in the right manner. They pay attention to what they are working on and try to get the best outcome.

  • They invest in themselves:

They are aware of making an investment to themselves. Successful people devote time and energy to develop their talent and learn new skills because they know this is the best and the safest investment that can be done.

Remember, work harder on yourself to be than you do on your job. This is important to be able to add more value to your time, because you can always to twice more valuable but you cannot have twice the time, time is fit but value is always changeable.

  • They help others:

Successful people are not selfish; they know that their success is tied to how they help others. They raise themselves by lifting others. They consider competition as best in a friendly environment.

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5 Stressful habits to avoid

These are the habits that you keep on tolerating for a longer period of time without realizing that they add up to your stressful experiences.

Following are few such habits that we must avoid:

(1)Lying to yourselves:

Lying in general is bad but its worst when you lie to yourself. For attaining success in life, you need to be honest with yourself because you have to take chances and risks by being completely aware of the consequences.

Being able to stay truthful to yourself is key for personal growth.

(2)Not letting go of the past:

An important factor that stops you from reaching your goals is not forgetting the past. You need to adapt to changes and start living a life in present and should have high aims for future instead reading old stories of your past.

Carrying baggage from the past never help anyone. Let them go, and move forward with your life!

(3)Running after perfectionism:

There is no such thing as perfect and trying to be perfect creates nothing more than anxiety. The real world is full of people who became successful by facing setbacks. Always set your sigh on being better, but not on perfectionism. Being perfect robs you of being able to enjoy the joy of progress.

(4)Lowering yourself from your standards:

Talking down to one’s self creates feelings of stress. There is no need to lower yourselves to your standards. Convert your small-minded thoughts to achieving high goals. Maintaining is a higher standard in life is necessary to ensure that you continue to work hard on things that matter for you. Never lower your standard, strive to be better, always!

(5)Being jealous:

Watching other people living a successful life can make you jealous. These feelings can turn into a habit and can divert your attention from your own goals. Make your success about yourself and do not compare yourself with others.

These are the habits which you keep on tolerating without realizing that they create obstacles to your own success. Try avoiding them and you will a big difference in your life.