Articles published in October, 2013

A Mindful Minute

A Mindful Minute is a really useful tool to help you to step off the treadmill of relentless doing and thinking. Use it to help you to refocus and reconnect to your energy and creativity.

What Really Matters? Creating Conflicts Unconsciously

Creating Conflicts Unconsciously photo

I often read time-management advice about doing the things that matter first. This generally means looking at your to do list, putting the most important items at the top then cracking on with them. Don’t procrastinate just get on with it. Sound advice perhaps?

However this advice assumes that you have included the most important things in your to do list and in my experience this is often not the case. Generally we are much too focussed on getting stuff done to the detriment of, well actually, getting the important stuff done.

The overly narrow focus on achieving goals big and small can hamper relationships, wellbeing, creativity, energy and yes, getting stuff done.

Team Conflicts Are Developed Unconsciously

Sure there are important practical things to be done but very often when I work with teams to help them unravel the complicated conflicts that have developed, things will be said like:

‘We never take time to find out what each other is thinking’

‘We need to have informal chats with each other not just about projects’

‘We need to put how we are working together at the top of the agenda, not at the bottom’

Sacrificing reflection and engagement creates conflicts

The pressures of everyday work mean it is easy to forget the need for connection. Reflection and true engagement with yourself and the people you are working with is sacrificed. In an organisation I worked in recently even the leaders of quite big teams are expected to make 95% of their time billable to a client. In that and many similar situations it is easy to be on a conveyor belt that is hard to get off, but is ultimately unsustainable.

As Kenneth Cloke says: ‘Conflict is the sound made by the cracks in a system’

So perhaps what really matters is to check in with yourself and see what is really needed.

What really matters?

Is it those items on the to do list or is it a conversation with a colleague – an informal chat to help build a relationship or just to connect? Taking an interest in others can reduce your own stress and increase your resilience not to mention your own wellbeing and is essential for good leadership.

Maybe some time for yourself to help you realise what you really need? A walk in the park, a short meditation (Mindful Moments) a short nap or even a long one. Leaders have to be engaged with themselves in order to engage with others. Maybe what really matters is that you get home on time to see your family?

A lot of conflict in the work place develops from people losing touch with their own inner needs and with each other.

Relational clarity deteriorates and everybody gets on the defensive. So often what really matters is to engage with yourself, check out what is really needed, and do that first. Then if there are things on the to do list that do really matter you will be able to deal with them with renewed energy and greater ease.