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Importance of Humility

Strangely, humility is a ‘by-product’ of confidence and self-esteem – something I truly believe. Someone who has the confidence to hold their ground and be steadfast is able to remain humble, since success is not achieved in a day and one would have faced many problems and trounced a number of difficult situations to achieve heights and therefore understands the value of remaining humble.

HumilityHumility is about being thankful for whatever one has and appreciate the value of everything and everyone around you. Achieving success is never a lone journey – it is the joint efforts of a number of people who may have helped in small and big ways. A humble person is able to recognize this fact and acknowledge the importance of all those people and situations that helped them make it thus far. Humility brings about a sense of respect and appreciation for others before self.

Humble people readily acknowledge their shortcomings and accept their mistakes. They are ready to learn from others and will be happy to take on suggestions and implement them in their life and work. In direct contrast, are people with a false sense of pride – the arrogant ones – who refuse to believe that they could be wrong, are unwilling to acknowledge the contributions of others and don’t believe that there is anything ‘out there’ that can teach them. Humble people also make better leaders – their enthusiasm to learn from others, a flexible mind-set and the fact that they are completely secure in their strengths and shortcomings – makes it easier for them to guide and support people. They encourage the growth and success of those with whom they interact and do not feel threatened if another person has achieved something and receive praise for it.

In my opinion, humility is also closely connected with continuous learning. Humble people concede to the fact that it is only through consistently teaching themselves new things that they can be good and also grow in life. They would never boast about their ‘greatness’ but would rather let their work and accomplishments speak for them. Humble people also remain grounded in the knowledge that failure is a give and there would be times when, despite their best efforts, they would not succeed. This gives them the strength to persevere and move ahead with poise and self-assuredness. They refuse to let success or failure define who they are – they carve a niche for themselves and are known by their actions and their relationships with those around them. Mistakes and failures are, for them, opportunities to learn and get better!

Do you consider yourself to be a humble person?

There is a famous quote by C S Lewis – “Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.” Humble people embody this statement to the fullest. They know that they are not infallible and will not make a big deal of any failure or error – big or small. Their focus remains on rectifying the error, ensuring it doesn’t happen again and then take confident strides forward armed with the experience and knowledge they gained from the failure.

For anyone who desires to become a better person through humility, it is advisable to keep an open mind, learn from everything and everyone, accept and learn from mistakes and truly believe that humility is a mind-set that needs continuous development.

(image courtesy:www.techpolicydaily.com)

Building Trust

I cannot think of any relationship – personal or professional – that can exist or work without trust. Trust is the basis of every interaction and association and its importance should never be undermined and cannot be over-estimated. The other hard fact about trust is that it is built over time – consistently, patiently and through concerted effort. With this truth, there is a harsh reality too – trust is very easily broken and is almost impossible to re-build. Even the best intentions and long standing relationships are ruined if either side fails to make an effort to build and sustain trust.

TrustImage Courtesy: www.leadliaison.com

Let us first look at why people lose trust either in professional associations or in personal relationships. There are always reasons which if not checked can pose serious challenges to the sustenance and re-building of trust. Many times a breakdown of trust is often caused by simple miscommunication and set patterns of thinking. A perception or bias sometimes too can be the cause of breakdown in communication leading to people being alienated from each other. Sadly very often there are people who do take advantage of another person’s good nature and deep trust and use the relationship for personal gains thereby betraying the trust of the person. It is no wonder then that outside of families and sometimes within, relationships have become increasingly strained, limited and short-lived. I find people trusting each other a lot less and eyeing each other with suspicion seems to have become the norm.

What do you think are some ways to build and sustain trust? Do you use these methods in your everyday life? In my experience building and sustaining trust does take time but is worth every minute spent.

  • When you communicate with anyone, speak clearly and without prejudice or bias. State your intentions and ensure that the words used, body language exhibited and the way you speak are all cohesively linked and support each other. Speak about yourself first before expecting the other to trust you with personal information especially if you are the one seeking to build a relationship.
  • Professionally, ensure that what you say clearly defines your goal and the intended outcomes of the association and what can each party gain from it. If you are the party making the engagement effort, ensure that your communication is clear, honesty and free from ambiguity. Trust built at this stage will forge a stronger relationship that can be strengthened and energized over time.
  • Whatever the relationship or association, familiarity must never lead to disrespect or taking the other person for granted. Mutual respect fosters trust – seems obvious right? However, more often than not as relationships progress people begin to take situations and the people involved for granted thereby losing trust and confidence in each other.
  • Mistakes happen as no one is perfect. The best way to keep trust even in the face of a mistake is taking ownership of it and offering an unfeigned apology and a promise that the mistake will not be repeated. This is applicable to any relationship – personal or professional. Many relationships fail simply because the people involved refuse to accept their mistakes and the human ego takes over instead.

However, a very crucial aspect of trust is that a person must trust oneself first. Without trust in one’s own capabilities – emotional, physical, spiritual and even financial – it is, in my opinion, impossible to trust another. Are you capable of trust?


Shun Working Weekends!

The title will make more sense with these statistics – a research conducted revealed that 62% of those surveyed brought work home, even if it was only one weekend. Another 12% admitted to taking work back home every weekend and the average response to the number of hours worked every week was 47 hours. This national survey, developed by an independent research firm, spoke to around 400 employees via the phone and these respondents were a random selection from various companies.

Working weekends does not seem to be the exclusive domain of the senior leadership anymore. It seems to be the culture in a number of offices – not putting in extra hours or not working week-ends labels one as being lazy, unproductive, and ineffective. There are a number of reasons for this phenomenon – but whatever the reasons, working weekends can, over time, be the cause of burnout, exhaustion and loss of productivity.

One of the main reasons for staff working weekends is the fact that companies are downsizing in a bid to stretch their limited resources and counter the ever-increasing competition. Low staff numbers means that existing staff must work longer hours and over the weekends in order to keep their job. This is turn puts increased pressure on them and this pressure on a sustained basis could lead to physical and mental exhaustion. Worse still, people who oppose this often find themselves caught between critical bosses and sniggering colleagues. With a tough economy and good jobs hard to come by, people find it tough to take a stand and refuse to working weekends.

As companies grow and take on a global face, the cross-section of employees has changed too. While the older workers (age wise) are more relaxed with their jobs, working weekends is not something they bother with or do. The younger generation on the other hand are more adaptable but even they are not happy to dedicate all seven days of the week to their office. Work life balance is something that many companies are realizing as being important not only for high morale, but also to retain their employees since the costs of rehiring are exorbitant. The fact is that companies cannot force employees to work weekends – there is no contractual obligation of this.

Companies that are serious about maintaining a happy workforce must ensure that workloads are manageable and employee policies friendly enough to motivate them to complete all their tasks within the number of stipulated working hours and days. A company culture that support working weekends would have reduced productivity and lax employees during the week – especially since many companies pay over-time benefits to employees that do work long hours and weekends. It is a great way to make some extra bucks and goof off during the week. This is the real irony of this situation – companies are shelling out more money without actually gaining through increased productivity. To make matters worse, the employees that actually work conscientiously through the week also need to comply with the working weekends culture just to fit in. Over time, they suffer burnout through exhaustion and stress and both their personal and work lives take a beating.

  • Companies that seek to break the ‘curse’ of the working weekends must encourage employees to be creative and look at different ways to start and spend their weekends. Encourage your employees to forget work, deadlines and the frenzied life of the office and take the weekend to indulge, pick up a hobby and generally break free from the mould of working like machines. This in turn will benefit the company – employees come back to work energized and produce output and quality of work that would be far superior.
  • In order to ensure growth and success, a company must look inwards. They must treat their employees as individuals and give them the respect and appreciation they deserve. By providing them two days in a week to relax and unwind, companies can grow their relationship with their employees. The employees can focus on their personal lives, look at opportunities aimed at self-development and completely unwind before they come back to work. This in turn would encourage a growth mind-set in the entire organization, without which a company cannot expect to succeed.
  • Forcing employees to work on weekends by paying extra translates to rewarding non-performers and laggards and punishing those that work hard and effectively the entire week. Over time, the company will lose their best workers who would much rather work in a company that has structured and appreciates efficiency. It is best to do away with a culture that support late hours and working weekends and encourage efficiency and high productivity during the week.

In the rush of work and trying to achieve tough targets and deadlines, it is easy to forget that employees are people and they need time to disengage from their job for a while. A happy and relaxed weekend would serve to be the ‘recharge’ their mind and body need. Inculcate a culture of caring, delegating tasks, equally distributing workloads, providing recognition for good work and remedy lax workers. Working weekends is not the solution to increase productivity – allowing your employees time-off is.

The Importance of Focus

Not hard to understand why focus is critical to success. It may seem like we go about our daily routine chores without paying any attention – but that is not true. Even though we may have been doing these tasks regularly, they still require that we pay some amount of attention to them in order to get them done. In order to be productive, one needs focus. Focus helps a person remain in control, be creative and also save time and energy that would be spent if one was distracted. Focus enhances the quality of our actions and allows people to be known as ‘specialists’ or ‘subject matter experts’. Focus allows them to repeatedly do the same tasks thereby making them extremely proficient in those tasks over time. While companies tend to hire people who can multi-task, the really sought after people are those who outdo others each time in one particular field.

When a person is focused, be it on anything, they gain the power to say no to distractions and anything that would veer them away from their main goal. They, in a manner of speaking, set boundaries and limitations for themselves from all those things that would detract from the importance of the thing they wish to focus on. It is this single-minded approach that is called focus.

When one has focus, they are able to harness the power of their attention and channelize all their energies onto the aspect they want to focus on. Being focused requires discipline and is not something that just happens. Becoming focused is a ‘process’ – a well-thought out strategy where one examines and re-examines one’s thoughts and behaviours and eliminates all the aspects that would detract from their goal. Being focused requires passion, integrity and strength of purpose – all these traits will keep a person strong and will not the occasional setbacks, trying circumstances, difficult people and other such negatives, steer them away from whatever it is that they are focused on. They will pursue their goal regardless and will also be able to energize those around them. Are you someone like this?

Remaining focused on a set goal is definitely easier said than done. As a person’s circumstances change, monotony sets in, there are other possibilities that open up and other such highly distracting elements – it is very easy for a person to lose focus. The objectives that one set out for oneself may seem to blur and other ‘excitements’ could get the better of a person leading to the shifting of one’s focus to some other goal and starting off anew. I am not suggesting that one should not be open to new ideas – but before giving up one must ask oneself why they started off in a particular direction to start with. Is the objective no longer worth it or is the loss of focus and interest mainly due to laziness, boredom or erosion of passion? If you cannot find a suitable answer and lose focus, you will soon find yourself being pulled in different directions – some of which may not even make sense. We actually invite failure into our lives when we try to do too many things at one time – the old adage “jack of all trades and master of none” then applies to us.

Focus brings success and respect. People tend to be in awe of those who would have started out in a small way but with focus and dedication have worked their way to becoming hugely successful. We have a number of such examples not just in our country, but across the world. These focused people did not get trapped by failure, other motives, distractions or any such things, leading to them becoming examples for all who seek similar successes. Stay focused – success may just be round the corner!