Feedback. A simple word and yet it is frightening to most people. It is especially scary for new managers or for anyone who has to give feedback. It is also an uneasy situation for the person who is receiving the feedback. I think that it is safe to agree that feedback is just downright uncomfortable for both parties. Feedback is necessary in ensuring that growth and improvements are possible.
To help elevate some of the perceived challenges and fears, Salwana Ali and I have designed a 2-day workshop to specifically address some of the challenges and fears by providing you with tools, tips and tricks on how to give, receive and act upon feedback. The workshop is designed to be practical with everyday scenarios to help apply the tools and techniques in a non-threatening environment.
Salwana and I have a combined experience of around 50 years of working in management roles and have encountered our share of awkward, uncomfortable and awful situations where feedback is involved. Hence, rest assured we understand and know what goes into giving and receiving feedback. Our aim is help ease new managers by developing and enhancing their feedback skills.
To find out more about the workshop details, click here.
Hope to have you in our workshop.
When we view Willpower as a muscle, some of the muscle building theory applies such as:
- Use it or lose it!
- It can be developed
- It does grow stronger with usage or training
- It takes effort and time
In order for this willpower muscle to be trained an essential element is required and that is energy. Your energy level of the mind and body to initiate, sustain and endure. Remember, willpower is only needed when you desire to make changes or to create new behaviours and actions which lead to habits. A habit is formed when all that hard work results in a behaviour pattern that is now in auto-pilot and takes very effort on your part to execute.
There are 3 top components that willpower will tap into are :
- Training / Usage: Yup, we can’t get away from the hard work. If we want to achieve a desired change, we have to put the effort into it. Just like training for a marathon, there must be a goal, a plan and then the running. To grow and increase the willpower muscle needs exactly the same thing – a goal, a plan and the doing.
- Physical energy : The physical state of your body will determine the mental and emotional energy that you will have to maintain and persevere through the tough ride. Where is your current physical state? Do you know when your energy level is at its optimum? Are you a morning or evening person? All these awareness will help you to best plan and schedule the hardest task to do when it requires the most concentration and effort.
- Mental Energy: The mental energy is required in order for you to “force” your brain to consciously act and work in a new way. You are forcing it to create new processes to achieve a new goal. This forcing function is hard. It is hard because our brains are generally lazy and wants to perform as efficiently as possible. Therefore if the brain has to work, it will generally rebel. In order to quash that rebellion that is taking place in the mind, the mental energy that needs to be used is extremely high. To focus and concentrate on a new task is hard and tiring. Therefore in order to be successful, both the physical and mental energy bar needs to be high.
What can you do to increase your energy level? The formula is nothing new. It is all centers around self care. How well are you caring for yourself? Energy levels are determined by the following:
- Diet: One of the factors of a healthy lifestyle is what we consume into our bodies. What types of food we are eating will impact our energy level. There are a ton of research and articles on what is the recommended balance diet we should aim for. I dare say that consuming a well balanced diet is important to maintaining good energy level and a healthy life.
- Health: What is your current health? When you are in generally good health, your energy level is stable which leads to a certain level of productivity during the day, balance mental and emotional state to face the challenges of the day.
- Fitness: Another no-brainer here. You can increase your energy level just by how much movement you do everyday. Exercise is a critical component of a healthy self care routine. Increasing the endurance and energy level of your body will help you to focus. An increased level of focus will strengthen your willpower level when you are in the midst of creating change.
- Rest and Recovery. Just as much as it is important to be on the go, our body and mind requires time to rest and recovery. Therefore, sleep is critical along with time set aside to just reflect and rejoice. As part of this process, it is about rewarding yourself for the mini-wins. Those small steps of victory that you experienced during the day. That will help build more willpower muscles.
Perform a quick check on where you are at on those 4 areas. Think about a time in the last month, when you had tried to make a change, what was your state of health? Did you spend time for self care? What was your energy level? What was your level of willpower? Are there areas that could have been improved upon?
More often than not, one of those 4 areas above require some attention. The first step of any change is to be aware of where you are at. What is your current state? And then you can move forward with purpose.
Willpower is like a muscle. Like muscles it can be trained and developed to grow stronger. There are 3 key aspects to the development and strength of willpower:
- Energy: Your energy level plays a vital role in how you engage and persevere through changes that you are focusing on. Just like exercising, if your energy level is high, the workout is “easier” and manageable. However, if your energy level is low, even the simplest of workout feels hard. I am sure that you know and have experienced how much harder it is to focus or maintain self-control when you are tired. It requires a lot of energy to concentrate and perform a task that requires attention especially if it is new.
- Difficulty: The perceived level of difficulty will determine just how much willpower is required. If a change or new habit is perceived at level 1 of 10, the required willpower is fairly low, hence much easier to change and takes a shorter time for a new habit to be developed. Conversely if the perceived level of difficulty is 10, the required willpower is extremely high. Therefore it is important to manage the perceived level of difficulty.
- Environment: The environment that is supporting or hindering your attempts for change plays a part in either making it conducive or not for change. The environment is made up of people around you, physical location as well as structures or routines that you have. For example, if you want to make a change to your eating habits, surrounding yourself with junk food is going to make it hard for that change to take place. It would be a supportive environment if you remove all junk food and replace it with healthier options.
How would you overcome those barriers?
- Energy: What do you need to do to ensure that your energy level throughout the day is consistent? Do you know when your energy level is at its peak? When are you most productive or creative? What do you need to do to improve your energy level?
- Difficulty: Perception of difficulty is a mental challenge. It is challenge to change the way we perceive a situation or action. How would you change your perception of the change that you need to make? Break down the challenge to smaller manageable task until it does not seem so scary. What is the smallest part of the task to start off first?
- Environment: Explore areas of the environment that you could change or make slight changes to. Think of ways to support your desired change. Leverage on technology, redecorate or redesign your work environment, change a certain routine that is not working for you and so on.
For example, if you want to be punctual for your meetings, what changes would you need to do? You have tried putting your watch forward, scheduled multiple alarms and so on and yet nothing has worked. It is time for a different approach. Ask yourself
- What is the importance of being punctual for your meetings?
- How do you feel when others are late for a meeting with you?
- What is the core value that is being impacted by someone who is not being punctual for a meeting? Could it be respect, value of time, discipline or rudeness?
- Identify the value system that it is impacted to give you the inner motivation that is required to change your actions. It is that key that will give your willpower the starting fuel to get started.
- What structure can I put in place?
- How would you ensure that you start the day on time?
- What do you need to do to ensure the meetings are run efficiently?
- Do you need to put more buffer time for travel or meeting over runs?
- Be in control of your schedule else others will be in control of you.
Once you have an idea, establish the task or action that needs to take place. Then ensure that there is also a support structure to enable the actions to take place. Schedule the hardest task for when your energy level is the highest.
There is only ONE MUST do : Use it! The willpower muscle must be used in order for it to grow stronger. You must activate the Willpower muscle and to do you will need to make the decision and effort to do it.