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Greek Myths and Expectation Power

When talking incentives, a lot of leaders teeter between two sides of the management fence: Self-motivation versus Supervisor motivation.

Which is more powerful? Are people more inclined to be motivated by their own expectations or that of their leader?

Pygmalion (or Rosenthal) Effect – the power of other’s expectations. This theory states that people will perform in ways that are consistent with the expectations of their supervisors.

Galatea Effect – the power of self-expectations. If I believe I can do it, then I am more likely to succeed.

Based on the Greek myth of Pygmalion, the sculptor who fell in love with his ivory creation, Galatea, these theories show the phenomenon where higher expectations (those of our bosses, or ourselves) lead to better performance.

So, which one works better?

You’ll hear arguments for both camps. Everyone has an opinion about which is more powerful. So why can’t we use a combination of both?

As leaders, it’s our job to see the potential in our followers, not their current status. We believe that they can achieve more than they realize and we encourage them to fulfill those goals. It’s also our job to help them see themselves as victors. As individuals capable of incredible things.

The greater the confidence we show in their abilities, the greater confidence they will have in themselves.

We might not always be able to control how our team sees themselves, but we can do our best to display our encouragement (even in non-verbal cues). A nod, smile, thumbs-up, note of encouragement, and public praise can do wonders to boosting the confidence of our team members.

 

 

Christina Angelakos has a doctorate in Strategic Leadership from Regent University. She loves working with teams in both the corporate and nonprofit marketplace. Follow her on Twitter @ChristinaAngel

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70, Twenty, & 10. How to Train Volunteers Informally.

You may have already heard of the 70:20:10 Model. Originally created by Lombardo, and Eichinger at the Center for Creative Leadership, this 1980s leadership development theory suggests that individuals get 70% of their knowledge from challenging assignments (experience), 20% from developmental relationships, and 10% from formal training/education.

If this is true, 90% of our volunteer’s education is informal. Their knowledge of your organization, how to perform their tasks, and how to develop as leaders is mostly learned through observation and in-the-moment performances. They are learning as they go, taking both the good and bad experiences and turning those into informative memories to use in the future.

It makes you think…are we intentionally developing our volunteers during the hustle of services? If most of their knowledge is coming from job-related experiences, are we doing our best to make those experiences hand-tailored lessons that drive home the culture of our organization?

Since people are learning “on the floor” we have the incredible opportunity to train volunteers in an informal setting. One of the best ways to do this is through a mentoring program. The term mentoring program probably implies more formality than it should.

Basically, we want to pair a more experienced volunteer with a new one. The newbie will get the chance to connect with and learn from their experienced counterpart, and the more seasoned volunteer will have an opportunity to stretch as a leader and pass on specific lessons that the organization wants to press on their team.

This covers the 70% learned from experience and 20% learned from interactions with others. We can’t ignore that 10% of formal training though. Don’t underestimate the power of a volunteer orientation class. The formal class setting at the beginning of a volunteer’s journey sets the tone for the rest of their time with the organization and it’s the perfect opportunity to really drive home your organizational culture, verbiage, history, values, and “the way you do things.” Being intentional in the development of your volunteers will pay off big-time when you realize you have a volunteer staff who are firmly focused on your vision and continually growing into better leaders.

References

[1] Lombardo, M.M. & Eichinger, R.W. (1996). The Career Architect Development Planner. Minneapolis: Lominger.

 

 

Christina Angelakos has a doctorate in Strategic Leadership from Regent University. She loves working with teams in both the corporate and nonprofit marketplace. Follow her on Twitter @ChristinaAngel

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A Leader’s Guide to Building Trust

Leaders will need to prove themselves trustworthy before workers will feel comfortable enough to allow themselves to be led. The only way to establish trust is through time. The only problem is, time is something that leaders (especially young leaders, with no proven track record) feel they can't afford.

But as anxious as we may be to develop fantastic relationships with our followers and create the perfect team right away, the truth is great leader-follower relationships usually are years in the making.

Trust is difficult to gain but incredibly easy to lose. Here are four ways to speed up the trust-building process with your followers.

1. Showing Consistency.

It’s a steady trend over time. It’s repetitive actions. You make a promise, and you follow through. You make a promise, and you follow through. You make a promise, and you follow through. Every time. The same pattern. Until it is expected. Assumed. Until there is no doubt that your word is always supported by your actions.

2. Meeting Expectations.

In every relationship, there is some level of expectation. Whether realistic or not, these expectations are there. When we’re working to build trust with followers, we have to be ready to meet the anticipation of our followers. In the leader-follower relationship, each expects the other to perform their role (whether those expectations are vocalized or not) without being monitored. Where most people run into trouble, is when those expectations are assumed by one party and not the other. Open communication is vital to making sure all expectations are met.

3. Removing Uncertainty.

The enemy of trust is ambiguity. When people are unsure, it seeds fear which in turn leads to doubt. The best way to keep building a relationship of trust early on with followers is to remove their uncertainties. This means paying attention. Leaders should always be listening (and paying attention!) to conversations with followers to catch wind of any doubts. It's not enough to identify concerns; you need to address them.

4. Living Authentically.

The world is changing. Gone are the days of leaders pretending to be perfect or having all the answers. Followers prefer real to super. In fact, research shows that people are more attracted to competent leaders after they make a little blunder. In psychology, this is called the Pratfall Effect, and it just goes to show that people look for ways to connect. They’re looking for leaders who are relatable. Real. A hero they can look up to because although the leader has shown herself to be fallible, she has learned to overcome. Authentic leaders build trust.

Time is a necessary ingredient in any relationship, but with these four tricks, you'll be on the fast-track to connecting with your followers.

As a leader, are you being intentional in building trust with your followers BEFORE you expect them to follow you?

 

Christina Angelakos has a doctorate in Strategic Leadership from Regent University. She loves working with teams in both the corporate and nonprofit marketplace. Follow her on Twitter @ChristinaAngel

Get more great content about developing a stellar Volunteer Team!

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The 5 I’s: How to Guard Against and Overcome the Silo Mentality.

Silo Mentality is a mindset present when certain departments, sectors or programs, intentionally or unintentionally, do not share information freely. This type of mentality reduces operational efficiency, morale, and eventually contributes to the demise of productivity in the organization’s culture.

Here are 5 ways to guard against and overcome silo mentality.


1. Identity
Communicate the organization’s vision and mission to everyone. From the top down everyone in the organization should be able to clearly state the vision and mission statements.

2. Integrity
Schedule regular meetings focused on accountability and interdepartmental communication. Make sure that all stakeholders attend.
3. Intentional  
Deliberately build bridges between departments. Ensure that people, tasks, and communication flow freely.

4. Influence  
Plan special projects or activities aligned with the organization’s vision and mission. Invite all departments to take part. This will help create synergy and a culture of unity.
5. Impart
Share successes. This will encourage, motivate and inspire everyone.
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7 Ways to Change Office Atmosphere. PART II

 

We all know how stressful work can be, and it’s difficult enough with the pressure of all our actual tasks. The last thing we need is to worry about a tense office environment.

Besides, life is too short to be anything less than fun.

You don’t need a leadership position to change the atmosphere in your workplace. In fact, this is a list of the 7 ways I changed mine without one.

I talked about the first 3 tactics last week. Now, we’ll focus on the last 4.

#4 Find common ground.

It was difficult at first to connect with some of my coworkers. But pretty soon I learned that you can find common ground with ANYBODY.

“Oh, you like bowling? I went bowling once. It’s so hard! How do you manage to drive the ball down the center without going into the gutter?!”

“You collect porcelain mice? How interesting! Do you have a large collection? What made you start that hobby? I bet there’s a good story in there.”

By the way, these are REAL conversations I’ve had.

And each conversation led to the start of a great friendship. The more you know about people the easier it becomes to establish a real connection.

You don’t have to be fake. All it takes is a genuine interest in the lives of your coworkers and you’d be surprised the incredible things you learn.

#5 Be a friend.

At the end of the day it’s all about relationships.

Yes, our goal is to perform at our best and to accomplish the goals of the organization, but we are human and there are times that emotions, personal issues, and illness will impact us at work.

I wanted my coworkers to know that I cared about them and what concerned them ultimately concerned me.

If there was a problem that I could help solve, or if I could just be there for a team member, I wanted them to know they had a friend.

#6 Collaborate across departments.

I’ve always heard that competition fuels creativity, resourcefulness, and generates new ways to accomplish goals. But if that’s the case, imagine how much more we can do if we collaborate?

Just think what we could accomplish if we collaborated not only in our own teams and departments, but if we joined forces even across industries!

When we pull from people with differing backgrounds and experiences, we are opening the door to all kinds of innovation. Who knows what could be accomplished with such a large think tank.

Once I had built relationships in my immediate area I started widening my circle. I made friends in other departments and pretty soon I had built up a large network of collaborators. If I had a problem, it was much easier to solve with an army of people in different positions, than it would have been if I had been flying solo.

#7 Be interruptible.

The most difficult part of all this is that we still have tasks to complete. Sometimes we get so bogged down with work that it is frustrating when a coworker needs something.

But we have to be interruptible. Even when we’re not feeling it.

Consistency in our willingness to serve and love our coworkers is the only way we can build a culture of relationship.

Obviously, it’s okay to have a bad day once in a while. But overall we need to be showing consistent readiness to help and support our team.

In my case, I let people know that I was always available. There was never a bad time to ask me a question. If I was on the phone, in a meeting, or working on a time-sensitive project, they knew I would respond as soon as I was done. I didn’t let people treat me like a doormat (always doing their work for them) but I tried to make it clear from the beginning that my first priority was the team.

I hope this has inspired you to create a culture of relationship in your organization. There is so much more we can accomplish as a team than we can on our own. It all starts with one person being willing to sacrifice their comfort and serve the rest of their staff and the possibilities from there are endless.

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7 Ways to Change Office Atmosphere. PART I

I once worked in an office with an open floor plan. It was me and my co-workers, 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, staring across our little cubicles. My first day I nervously sat at my desk and peeked around at the engrossed people around me. Everyone sat in front of their screens, furiously typing, hunched over a phone, or angling their chairs in a way to best avoid accidental eye contact with someone else.

That first day I left the office with a bad headache and feeling more than a little deflated about my environment.

No one was rude or mean. When I talked to people they took the time to smile. Everyone was very polite. And professional.

They were just busy. And it made the atmosphere of the office feel…tense. I couldn’t imagine spending 40 hours a week in such rigid surroundings.

Something had to break. It was either going to be me or them and I decided right then it wasn’t going to be me.

So I started a little experiment.

Over the next couple of weeks I strategically began my mission to create a counterculture in the area surrounding my cubicle. The crazy thing was it worked.

Here are the 7 tactics I used to change my office’s atmosphere without having a leadership position.

#1 Be the change you want to see.

I was determined not to fall into the present culture. I behaved in the way I wished the rest of my coworkers would behave and eventually people began to notice. In fact, they eventually began mirroring some of those same behaviors.

Sometimes the only way to start a revolution is to change yourself. Is the atmosphere at work cold, competitive, and boring? Break the pattern. Smile at others, initiate conversations, sacrifice your time, build bridges.

#2 Offer to help.

You’d be surprised how often offering a hand improves the moods of your coworkers.

For my office, I realized the feeling of tension was caused by an overwhelming workload. I figured if I helped to relieve some of that stress it would ease that sense of heaviness. So I offered to help. Big or small, there was no task I wasn’t ready to tackle. I would purposely eavesdrop on my nearest coworkers to hear if they needed anything. If I heard someone complain about the huge amount of marketing emails they had to send to new clients, I would pop my head over the cubicle wall and ask if I could do the data entry while they worked on the content.

I took out trash, picked up lunches, helped push carts, and printed invoices for a coworker whose printer stalled.

Was it a little inconvenient?

Yes.

Was it effective?

ABSOLUTELY.

In fact, this ended up being the most effective weapon in my arsenal.

#3 Listen.

The reason I was able to help was because I was listening for opportunities. I’ll admit it. I was nosey.

Complete disregard for the old adage, “Mind your own business.”

I made my coworker’s issues, my business. And it payed off.

Bigtime.

I’m not talking about listening for gossip, or prying into people’s personal business. But, it’s incredible the things you’ll pick up if you’re paying attention. Little cues and phrases that are actually signals for help or a listening ear.

Sometimes people just need to vent. Being a safe person where your coworkers can voice frustration, concerns, and anxieties, without fear of you gossiping about them or making them feel bad is invaluable.

I’ll be posting the other 4 tactics next week. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your stories of how you’ve shifted the culture in your office, class, or home!

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