virtual team

How can looking at your “Blind Spot” contribute to your virtual team’s success?

Whenever you’ve tried to pursue something – a fruitful job interview, a presentation well done, or a healthy relationship with your virtual team – you may have heard the age-old advice: “just be yourself”. Even we have said it. To be yourself, you have to recognize and acknowledge everything about yourself – even the bad stuff. You must know yourself wholly.

What does it mean to know your whole self?

Q_Your_blind_spotA person who is whole recognizes every piece of himself or herself. This may sound easy until you realize how much you repress just to get through a day.

We have talked about the shadow self before and how engaging with our shadow selves helps us gain greater self-awareness and heightens our empathy for others.

Imagine yourself driving a car; the space behind the passenger seat just outside your door that isn’t visible to your side mirror is your blind spot. Your blind spot is similar to the shadow self: it is not visible until you make the conscious effort to turn your head and see what is or isn’t there. Failing to see or acknowledge your blind spot is dangerous and can cause accidents.

Not acknowledging a car in your blind spot and risking a car crash is similar to not acknowledging the qualities in yourself you may not like and risking another sort of crash – a breakdown of a relationship with a virtual team member, for example.

How can your blind spot affect your virtual team so much?

In a face-to-face environment, body language is present along with verbal correspondence to communicate with your team. You get immediate reactions from others and you can respond instantaneously.

In a virtual team, it can be more challenging to know your virtual team mates’ reactions to you. Behind a computer screen or on the other end of a telephone line, it can be easier for a slighted team member to hide or disguise his or her disengagement, annoyance, or anger.

In a virtual workplace, without the aid of indicators like a half-smile or crossed arms, your knowledge of yourself can help you navigate through your virtual team and help strengthen your relationships rather than hurt them.

How does not knowing yourself impact your relationship with others?

Q_ImprovementcanstartIgnoring problems don’t make them go away; in many instances, dismissing real problems makes them worse. Improvement can start only if you recognize what needs improvement.

If you have a quality that causes strain in your relationships, you must identify this problematic quality and take ownership of it. Taking ownership means that you can take control of it; you can work through it, you can change it, you can stop it.

Seeing what is in your blind spot is empowering! It lets you know if and when you can change lanes to get to where you want to be.

What conscious efforts do you make to ensure you have a good handle on your blind spots?

By : Claire Sookman /August 31, 2015 /Blog, Building a Virtual Team, Performance Increase in Homeworkers /0 Comment Read More

How can self-awareness grow more effective leaders?

In our last blog post, we talked about authenticity: far from being a feel-good fad, authenticity has been found to be incredibly important to leaders, and especially to leaders of virtual teams.

Suffice it to say that authenticity breeds trust, and trust is the driving force for engagement, productivity, and results in virtual teams. Authenticity is also surprisingly hard to achieve. To be authentic is a process of learning to be self-aware.

We believe that authenticity is a major facet of the human side of virtual teams. Authenticity refers to being true to who we are.

  • How often in our daily lives do we exhibit our genuine selves by being honest with ourselves and others about what we feel and desire?
  • How often do we pursue the things in life that truly make us happy?

Authenticity breeds trust, and trust is the driving force for employee engagement, productivity, and results in virtual teams.Our authentic selves must be expressed through our actions; in other words, we must live genuinely. Living genuinely allows us to be fully present in our jobs, families, and every activity in which we are engaged in, including our virtual teams.

We can’t be fully aware of our authentic selves without being fully present. So let’s take a moment to reflect on our level of self awareness.

Evaluating your level of self-awareness

We have a series of things to consider to guide you through this process.

  • Do you respond with awareness in my virtual meetings? At your next virtual meeting, become the observer and notice how you respond to your colleagues or team members.
  • When someone offers a dissenting opinion, do you take a moment to reflect and respond in a way that values others’ viewpoints?
  • Do you listen for the intent of what is being said, not just the words that our colleagues use? Do you multitask during your meetings?
  • Do you listen for the tone of voice, the pace of their words, and notice whether your colleagues or team members are stressed?
  • Do you judge what someone is saying or do you seek to understand?

What else do you notice about yourself in and out of virtual meetings?

What do you notice about your team members?

  • Do you notice that they’re present or multi-tasking on mute?
  • Do you notice your team members respond quickly to opinions or questions without reflecting?

How to use self-awareness as a leader

One way of encouraging your virtual team to be present is to open up the dialogue to them about what it means to be authentic and present.If you are the leader, consider how you can influence your team in a positive way. One way of encouraging your virtual team to be present, be more aware, and be more authentic is to open the dialogue to them about what presence looks like in your team.

At the beginning of a meeting, have a conversation with your virtual team about what being present looks like; engage your entire team in the conversation.

Self-awareness leads to presence

The more you are aware of your behaviour, the more authentic and present you can be, and the stronger of a leader you can grow.

In our next blog we’ll continue developing our self-evaluation from an outside source: we’re going to ask how your team members perceive you.

By : Claire Sookman /July 16, 2015 /Blog, Building a Virtual Team, Motivating Your Virtual Team, Performance Increase in Homeworkers /0 Comment Read More

How Can You Make Real Connections in Virtual Teams?

How do genuine human connections built through virtual communication relate to virtual teams? In our last blog post, we talked about how it’s possible to make genuine human connections through virtual communication. Now let’s explore how it operates in virtual workspaces.

Human connection is powerful. If leaders of virtual teams ignore this power, they miss out on an immense potential for fulfilling and rewarding work. By itself, this isn’t exactly news: if you Google “virtual teams”, you’ll get an endless list of articles that talk about the need to grow human connections for virtual teams to succeed. But, these articles often don’t address what this advice actually implies. After all: what does it really mean to connect with someone in a virtual team?

Going Beyond Band-Aid Solutions to Build Human Connections

Text box about employee engagement in virtual workplaces: Real connections don't begin in classes but with presence.Unfortunately, we’ve seen many leaders try to encourage human connections by slapping on activities, much like a coat of paint, and getting back to work. And, while certain activities like ice-breakers are one helpful way to start growing connections, just using ice-breakers skims the surface of the real issues we need to tackle.

In face-to-face work, genuine human connections develop alongside our work routines. In an office, as colleagues work, they connect. They start conversations around the water cooler. They eat together. They share news of their family and get to know each other as people. This built-in “space” for bonding isn’t just something “nice-to-have”; it’s a necessity for a healthy workplace.

But in the virtual world, this space for connection isn’t built-in in the same way. Instead, we need to intentionally create and nurture connections throughout the life-cycle of the team.

Now let’s discuss how to start creating these connections. Real connections don’t begin with classes, five-step programs, or one-liners. Instead, they begin with presence.

What Does It Mean to Be Present?

Think for a moment: can you tell when someone is really with you in a conversation—even if they’re virtual? It’s a good feeling, isn’t it?

It doesn’t matter if it’s virtual or face-to-face: when someone is really paying attention to us, we feel respected, and the quality of conversation goes up. In virtual communication, when someone is truly present, they pay attention to the speaker, without being distracted by the environment. They ask pertinent questions, and they communicate through words, tone of voice, and even silences, that they are invested in you and what you have to say.

Text box about employee engagement in virtual teams: In virtual communication, when someone is truly present...they are invested in you and what you have to say. On the other hand, we can also tell when someone isn’t really paying attention to us. When someone is tuned out, they check their phones, type on their keyboards, and reply with monosyllabic huh’s, yep’s, and how-about-that’s. It doesn’t feel good at all. If you show this non-presence to your virtual team, you show that you’re disengaged from them.

Are You Truly Present in Your Virtual Relationships?

Take a few minutes to think about the following:

  • How do you currently show up to virtual meetings with your team?
  • How do you want to show up to meetings?

If you weren’t sure about either answer, don’t worry. Most of us aren’t even aware of how we show up for our colleagues or employees, or how we can improve.

Steps to Become More Present in Your Virtual Workspace

From now on, we suggest you start to become aware of how you show up, and how you prepare yourself. Before your next virtual meeting or one-on-one conversation, think about how you can prepare yourself to show up:

  • Take 30 seconds to one minute to sit quietly, take some deep breaths and be aware of the present moment before running to the next task.
  • Put away your smartphone so you won’t be tempted to check or respond to messages as they arise.
  • Ask yourself: are you focusing and listening to what your team needs, or are you absorbed in the work you need to get done?

These exercises should help you start to show engagement and presence within your virtual team. When you show that you’re engaged with your team, they’ll begin to engage with you. And out of this presence, you can start forging strong, genuine connections.

 

By : Claire Sookman /April 20, 2015 /Blog, Building a Virtual Team, Building Empathy in a Virtual Environment /1 Comment Read More

How to tell if you have a virtual team

Do you know if you have a virtual team?

It’s a ridiculous question, isn’t it? Of course you’d know if you had a virtual team.

But, would you really? It sounds strange, but we’ve seen leaders mistake their virtual teams for face-to-face ones, and we’ve seen this mistake cost organizations time and money. In this post, we’ll show how you can have a virtual team without realizing it.

Let’s start with some questions.

• Do you work more than 90 feet away from any one of your team members?
• Do you use communication technologies to accomplish specific goals?
• Do you have frequent web or tele-conferences?
• Are any individuals in your team “virtual”? As in, do they phone in, text, or email from a different location than the rest of your team?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you have a virtual team. This is important, because a virtual team is not the same as a face-to-face team.

Our image of a virtual team usually involves a small group of people dispersed across hundreds and hundreds of miles. While this is definitely one form of virtual team, it’s not the only model. What distinguishes a virtual team from a face-to-face one is how they communicate. And, if you primarily communicate with your team with technology, that makes you a virtual team. This means that you can have a virtual team that works in the same office but on different floors.

Imagine that you needed to connect with a colleague for a routine matter. You work in the same building, but on different floors. How would you do it? Would you pick up the phone, use email, messaging, or take the stairs? If it was a routine matter, you’d probably avoid the stairs and use one of the first three options. In other words, you’d use communication technology.

When you shift from face-to-face to technology-enabled communication, you shift from a face-to-face to a virtual team. And, thanks to a study by Tom Allen, we have an exact number for when that shift happens. Allen studied a team of engineers; he found that if they worked in the next office over, they had a 25% chance of communicating once a week. If they were 30 feet apart or more, they had a 10% chance of communicating at least once a week. But, if they were more than 90 feet apart, the frequency of their communication dropped. Past 90 feet, it didn’t matter whether they were in the next building, or in China, they began to act like a virtual team.

This study shows us that virtual teams are much more common than we think. Virtual teams exist in offices across the country. And with virtual teams comes a new set of problems that can’t be solved with face-to-face solutions. It is like trying to put a square peg in a round hole: a waste of time, money and resources.

You need the right tool for the right job; if you think use face-to-face solutions for a virtual team problem, you’re using a hammer when you really need a screwdriver.

In our next post, we’ll talk about the differences between virtual teams and face-to-face ones, and what you can do to start managing virtually.

Tell us about your experience with virtual teams in the comments.

By : Amir Ahmed /February 12, 2015 /Blog, Building a Virtual Team /1 Comment Read More

Tips to Avoid Burnout

A few weeks ago, we wrote about burn out and how it’s a real issue that organizations need to take seriously. To recap:

Burn out, if not recognized early can lead to physical and emotional exhaustion; cynicism and detachment, and feelings of ineffectiveness and a lack of accomplishment. As a result of these symptoms, employees productivity levels may fluctuate, they are more likely to call in sick, they aren’t present even when they are working and their creativity may come to a halt. Click here to read the full post and learn more about burnout and its symptoms.

In a virtual environment, it can be hard to identify if true burnout is impacting your employees or if something else may be going on. As well, with many employees working from home offices, some of the ways to curb burnout may not be as easy to achieve as it would be for people who leave an office at the end of the day. Here are some tips, with a touch of creativity to help your virtual team avoid burnout if it comes calling.

Take a walk or exercise break

Recently in the news, we’ve been reading about the perils of sitting for most of the day. There’s no better time to make the case for employees to ensure they’re taking their breaks, and encouraging them to be active during their breaks. One way to help foster exercise breaks with your virtual team is to lead by example; send an email letting them know when you’re taking your exercise break and what that’s going to look like for you. Leading by example helps foster goodwill and lets your employees know that you won’t ask them to do something that you wouldn’t do yourself.

To help lead activity breaks, describe something you’re looking forward to seeing while on your walk, or some of the exercise that you’re going to engage in. If something funny happened during your exercise break, share it with employees and encourage them to share the same. As you build your internal community of employees who are dedicated to getting up from their desk and recharging their batteries, encourage them to share the positive changes they are noticing due to the breaks.

Community Groups

Many organizations have community or charity groups that they support. If your company already has one, look for groups in the local areas where your teams are located. Encourage your employees to donating time to a charity (each location) by allowing them a set amount of work hours to dedicate to the charity. During a charity event take pictures/videos, and have the various locations do the same and set time aside to share them during a virtual meeting.

In addition to helping employees who may live close to each other, connect with each other, it will also provide your employees who may spend most of their time at their house an opportunity to connect with the community where they live. Dedicating time to volunteer groups and giving back to the community helps people who may be stressed and feeling disconnected develop a sense of meaning as they see the good that they are doing to help others less fortunate. In addition, the connectedness of being in the group and sharing what they are doing outside of work hours with their colleagues will help build their sense of accomplishment, therefore reducing stress.

Be conscious of the environment

As a manager, working to develop and create an environment of openness and trust where people feel comfortable sharing their ideas, concerns, reservations and dreams will help people feel more connected to the office and coworkers. An environment of trust also contributes to people’s ability to be creative and innovative, as their ideas are being validated and built upon. Share your aspirations with your team, again leading by example. As people hear you sharing your ideas, they will be more likely to feel comfortable sharing their own. In a virtual environment, this can be difficult, but if you put in the time and effort to ensure your employees feel like they are working in a safe environment, you’re more likely to head off burnout.

As well, try to think of some creative ways to help your virtual team get to know each other and the environments their each working in. Something as simple as having everyone take a picture of themselves in their offices can help to foster this type of environment. This will help people have a visual when they’re working with someone who is far away.

Don’t take it home with you

Encourage your employees to shut their office door at the end of the day and refuse to let their work come in to their home with them. Remind them that you don’t expect to hear from them during their out of office hours. Encourage your employees to be present both at home and at work. The more they are present in their day to day life outside of work, the more they’ll be able to focus on the task at hand when they are at work.

 

More and more people are not allowing themselves time to decompress outside of work. We’re all busy and we all have multiple priorities, both work related and outside of work. With advanced technology that allows us to work from remote locations, we’re more connected than we ever were before. That said, it’s important to disconnect daily and connect with our loved ones. Encourage your employees to do just that, and lead by example can help to avoid the side effects of burnout on your organization.

By : Amir Ahmed /May 27, 2014 /Uncategorized /0 Comment Read More

How to Encourage Your Virtual Team to Embrace Challenges

If you’re a virtual manager, you work in a landscape that is changing ever so quickly. New internet applications, new technology, and new social media sites pop up constantly and only add to the chaos. Working in a virtual environment means getting your team to embrace these constant demands and challenges, instead of resisting them.

This is a tricky thing to do.

You might have seen it all before. You’re ready to start a new project that you think is new and challenging—and you just know everyone else will feel the same way. After all, everybody likes learning something new that challenges their skills, don’t they?

You assign the tasks to your team, thinking they will embrace the challenge. The project may even start out well, but then everything unravels. Some team members miss their deadlines; others seem disengaged and disinterested.

What seems to be the problem?

As a virtual manger, your job is to give them work that challenges and inspires them to be their best, right?

Well, yes. And no.

Maybe.

Here’s the thing: In an ideal work environment, like at Goggle or Apple, the employees probably love trying new things and being challenged. In fact, if they didn’t, they probably wouldn’t be working for Apple or Google in the first place.

Unfortunately, not every company can hire topnotch, self-motivated and resilient workers. Actually, there are lots of people that hate learning new skills and being evaluated for their performance.

In her book, Mindset, Carol Dweck, PH.D, says that these people have a “fixed mindset”. She argues that people either have one of two mindsets: a growth or a fixed one. The person with a fixed mindset believes that intelligence, creativity, skills, and personality are set in stone—that they cannot be changed. A fixed mindset employee hates being tested and evaluated, because if they were to be judged poorly, they would feel like a hopeless failure.

The person with a growth mindset, on the other hand, believes that learning, progress and practice are the keys to success. They believe that their skills and intelligence can be developed and nurtured. If they fail at some task, it’s not because they are flawed or incapable of doing it right, it’s simply because they didn’t try hard enough.

The amazing thing about growth mindset workers is that they embrace challenges and learning new things. Sounds like the kind of worker you’d want on your virtual team!

Well, you’re in luck, because your whole team can develop a growth mindset. It just takes caring on your part to communicate that you’re behind them all the way, that you want to see them grow and learn and fulfill their potential.

So, how do you encourage your team to take on a growth mindset so that they love learning new things and embracing challenging work? Follow these two tips:

1. Let your team know that it’s okay to struggle and that nothing worth doing comes easy. Reassure them that struggling is a sure-fire sign they are learning and growing and uncovering hidden potential in themselves. Often when we struggle, we keep it to ourselves so that nobody thinks we’re unfit for the job. You want to banish all those feelings of shame and embarrassment from your work environment. Encourage your team to take on challenging tasks without making them hesitant. If your team is fearful of making mistakes, they’ll most likely play it safe rather than explore and take chances with their work. Pushing the envelope without fear of failure is how breakthroughs are made and goals are accomplished!

2. Frame criticism as something positive. When you evaluate and criticise a team member’s work, let them know you’re simply showing them where they can improve and what they should focus on. When you frame your criticisms in a positive way, your team will trust and stick up for one another, as opposed to playing the “blame game” when a project starts to derail. Your team will learn to take full responsibility for both their triumphs and mistakes, because you’ve assured them that making mistakes is a part of learning.

How do you encourage your virtual team to embrace new challenges? Let us know in the comments below! We love hearing from you!

By : Amir Ahmed /May 05, 2014 /Blog, Motivating Your Virtual Team /0 Comment Read More

7 Ways To Build Empathy and Maximize Success

Developing empathy is a great way to generate open communication, increase trust, and build a virtual team that is strong and efficient. You may think that demonstrating empathy is challenging at first because it takes time and effort to develop awareness and compassion. However, understanding and sharing the feelings of others in the virtual workplace is far less abstract than it may seem.

The building of empathetic relationships benefits much from the assistance of visual cues such as facial expressions and body language. We can gain a better sense of one’s feelings when we can see the messages being conveyed through their eyes, for example. Similarly, a certain posture may lead us to conclude that a person is angry, sad, or confused. When we consider all that is conveyed through body language we can see why the mere presence of an individual in front of us gives us a sense of the emotions running through their minds. But we do not only go about building empathy based on what we see. In fact, it is possible to build empathy in a virtual team where such visual cues are often unavailable.

There are 7 ways to build empathy within your team:

1. The first thing we can do toward becoming empathetic is to listen. The next time you are conversing with a colleague, instead of thinking about what you will say next and waiting for a time to interject—listen. This also means that when you are speaking with someone you will avoid multitasking. Be fully present with your colleague and refrain from checking your phone, answering emails, doing other work, or taking other calls. Give the person your speaking to your undivided attention.

2. Tune into non-verbal cues such as hesitations and silences. Is your colleague taking long pauses between statements? Are they sounding uneasy when expressing their opinion on a subject? Listen in and ask yourself if your colleague’s tone sounds different from how it is typical for them to sound. If a manager senses that something is “off” with a team member, they can make it a point to get in touch directly with that team member after a meeting so that they may check in with them privately.

3. Look into the words that you are hearing. If, for example, you find yourself in conversation with an angry colleague, refrain from absorbing their anger within yourself. Instead of responding to words delivered out of frustration, try to understand and respond to the underlying emotion. You will begin to see that behind a colleague’s irritation may be misunderstanding, judgment, detachment, stress, or other feelings. When you try to understand those feelings, rather than reacting to angry words, the person will begin to relax, open up, and trust. In doing this, you and your colleague will begin communicate openly as you both work through the challenge together.

4. If during a conversation you find yourself becoming frustrated with the person you are speaking to, remember the whole person. Do not lose sight of a colleague’s positive qualities. In the moment you find yourself becoming frustrated with someone, make it a point to remind yourself of one of his or her strengths.

5. Judge less and accept more. It is important to remember that what irritates you about a colleague is likely to be a characteristic that you possess. Simply reminding yourself of this point will allow you to be less judgmental of the words and actions of others. Before you react and judge a team member, ask yourself, “Is this something I do?” If the answer is ‘yes,’ then you are better prepared to address your colleague with empathy.

6. Be compassionate. We all have our flaws, and you do not have to agree with someone to empathize with them. Be open to what others have to say and how they work. In the process, chances are, you will discover a great deal about what you bring to your virtual team.

7. Mentally place yourself in the situation of the other person. Feelings of unhappiness, stress, and frustration are universal. Try to remind yourself of a time when you experienced something similar. Recall challenges you yourself have had in a virtual team. Thinking back to that situation, what would have helped you? The wisdom you gained from that experience may be of great help to your fellow colleague.

To assist you in building empathy within your virtual team, be sure to encourage everyone to contribute during meetings and acknowledge the efforts of your colleagues. Deliver genuine praise for a job well done. Additionally, take authentic interest in your team members. Show them that you care by asking them questions about their interests, challenges, and aspirations. A great way to encourage this kind of interaction within your team is by holding virtual gatherings. For example, virtual managers can hold virtual coffee breaks, pizza parties, and other casual get-togethers where no talk of work is permitted. This will allow team members a chance to open up about other aspects of their lives and create the opportunity for team members to find common ground and become more empathetic.

The process of building empathy within your virtual team takes practice. Having said that, know that if you may come up short sometimes remember to give yourself a break. As long as your intentions and efforts are in the right direction at most times, and you strive to redirect how you respond to others in difficult situations, it will all work out in the end. Remember: an empathetic virtual team is a successful team, and there are many benefits attached to fostering empathy in the virtual work place. For one, you will become more aware of how people think, feel, and react to situations. As a leader, you will become more adept at analyzing the performance of your team members, and you will be more mindful of their needs. Empathy will promote open communication and build stronger bonds of trust within your virtual team. Likewise, empathetic virtual team members will become better at resolving conflict, will deliver more effective feedback, and will make better decisions. Empathy inspires positivity and productivity in all who embody it. With a little practice your virtual team can master empathy and harness success.

By : Amir Ahmed /April 30, 2014 /Blog, Building Empathy in a Virtual Environment /0 Comment Read More

When your beliefs hold you back, reshape them to elevate efficiency

An age old adage teaches us that “there is no such thing as reality, only perception”. In other words, our thoughts and beliefs shape our experience of the external world and colour our reaction to a myriad of events and situations. For this reason, thoughts and emotions hold a great deal of power. It is up to us to harness this power for positive results in our personal and professional lives.

Firstly, it is important to recognize the way in which our thoughts and beliefs influence one another and affect our behaviour. For example, a thought, when repeated, often becomes a belief that our mind processes as an indisputable fact rather than a construction.

If one were to have thoughts such as “I am not creative”; “My ideas are not original” and “My colleagues are superior to me”, then one would be likely to believe “Other people have better ideas that I do”. When thoughts become beliefs, it is often difficult for the mind to shake them off and recognize that they are not absolute truths.

That being said, it is important to distinguish between realistic and unrealistic beliefs. If the thoughts “I am not creative”, “My ideas are not original” and the like are the results of conversations you’ve had with your manager or colleagues, it is best to collaborate with them in order to correct the issues you are experiencing in your professional life so that you may become a more productive employee.

If, however, your beliefs are not based in reality and exist solely within your mind, it is important to firstly recognize that these beliefs are unrealistic and secondly, identify the ways in which your unrealistic beliefs are hindering both your work and the productivity of your team as a whole.

If your unrealistic belief is that “other people have better ideas than I do”, then this belief is likely to influence your behaviour. For example, if you believed that “other people have better ideas than I do”, then you may be tempted to remain silent during virtual meeting, preferring to avoid the embarrassment of presenting a “bad” idea.

Further, if you really believe that you are constantly cooking up bad ideas, then you won’t be motivated to put the effort into thinking up good ones. Thus, your negative belief becomes a self fulfilling prophecy and will most likely impact your work and the rest of the team negatively.

If you don’t speak up during a virtual meeting, you are not likely to feel engaged with the team, leading to a decrease in enthusiasm for your job. Likewise, the rest of the team will not feel very engaged with a silent team member and may begin distancing themselves from that individual; perhaps not responding to emails in a timely manner or failing to put any effort into strengthening their relationship with that individual. Furthermore, a virtual manager will begin to wonder whether an excessively quiet team member is losing interest in their work or simply not keeping up to speed with their tasks due to the fact they have little to share at meetings.

Hopefully, by now, it has become apparent that our beliefs have the ability to influence our behaviour to a significant extent. When our beliefs are negative, they are referred to as limiting beliefs, and the above scenario demonstrates the reason for this label; when we allow negative thoughts to invade our minds, we are limited in terms of the contributions we make to personal and professional lives.

Another limiting belief is: “I have so much work to do. The task at hand is so large, that I will never be able to finish it”. This limiting belief will quickly diminish your motivation and increase your stress levels, both of which will lead to a decrease in productivity. Once again, the limiting belief will become a self fulfilling prophecy; because you believe that you cannot complete your work on time, you probably won’t. So, the question remains, how do we conquer limiting beliefs to become happier and more productive in our personal and professional lives?

We must:

1) Develop self awareness: It is important to set aside some quiet time to consciously examine your thoughts and beliefs. You must ask yourself: “Do my thoughts tend to be negative? Do I place an inordinate amount of blame on myself for things that don’t go according to plan?” “Do I put myself down while building others up”? The answers to these questions will give you great insight into your thought patterns.

Better yet, when a negative, disturbing thought pops into your head, ask yourself whether you are thinking realistically or buying into a limiting belief.

2) Consciously acknowledge your limiting beliefs: Tell yourself that a particular belief is limiting, but do not blame yourself for having that belief. Instead, let it pass through your mind.  Remind yourself that you have strategies for dealing with this potentially destructive belief.

3) Transform your limiting belief into something more realistic and positive.

For example, “Other people usually have better ideas that I do, so I’ll just say quiet” becomes: “Sometimes, other people have better ideas that I do. When this is the case, I will actively listen to their idea and identify what makes it good. I will do this by taking notes. I will transform their good idea into a learning experience. When someone has a better idea that me at work, I benefit because I am able to recognize this fact.  This shows me that I am learning and growing professionally. Often, I have good ideas, otherwise, I would not have been hired in the first place.”

“When I have an idea, I will share it. I will have faith in myself. Even if I think my idea is good but others disagree, my team will appreciate the fact I shared my thoughts. My manager will admire the effort I am putting forth. My team will provide me with feedback that will make my idea better”.

In the end, it is very important to recognize that our experience of reality is shaped by our emotions, thoughts, and beliefs, and that we are in control of our emotions, thoughts, and beliefs. We must recognize and acknowledge the negative and unrealistic beliefs that creep into our minds because they have the potential to negatively impact us on a personal and professional level. When we transform our limiting beliefs into positive, realistic beliefs, we become happier workers and this will impact our personal productivity and our relationship with our team as a whole.

By : Amir Ahmed /April 23, 2014 /Blog /0 Comment Read More
  • ABOUT US

    Virtual Team Builders is a training and consulting company that caters to corporations and teams who depend on effective virtual collaboration to succeed. Our training is targeted towards the unique challenges faced by teams operating in a virtual environment; challenges that are present whether members work 90 feet apart or 3000 miles apart.