Category: Leadership

EOY BUDGET NEEDS: POPULAR COURSES

If you’re examining your EOY budget and have last minute money that needs to be spent, now is an ideal time to invest those dollars in your team. Looking back on the last year, can you identify areas that need improvement? Perhaps there was a conflict that could have been resolved more effectively? Maybe communication is an area that needs improvement? Or maybe you just want a jumpstart on strategic planning for the next year and how that may look during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, LMJA has a number of courses that have changed the way offices communicate, operate and deal with issues.

Here’s a look at four of our most popular courses and how they can be a great investment in the most important part of your department – your people:

  • Effective Interpersonal Skills: Interpersonal skills are sometimes referred to as people skills, soft skills or emotional intelligence skills. Valuable interpersonal skills include: teamwork, leadership, empathy and active listening. In this course, we discuss verbal and non-verbal cues, why they matter and how to build strong interpersonal skills that will enhance both the harmony and productivity of your office.
  • Conflict Management Skills: Problems can arise on any team and you will likely need to resolve conflict at some point in your job. Our course helps you develop conflict resolution skills, deal with constructive criticism and gain important counseling, mediating and problem-solving skills.
  • Developing Inclusive Teams: While most managers believe having a diverse and inclusive work culture is critical to performance, they don’t always know the best ways to achieve that goal. Our course covers a broad range of topics, such as examining the culture of an organization, identifying current and potential problems and providing tools for change.
  • Organizational Strategic Planning: Organizational strategic planning involves setting priorities, determining where to focus energy and resources, ensuring that employees are working towards common goals and much more. Our course helps you develop an effective strategic plan that clearly lays out where your organization is going, the actions needed to make progress and a blueprint for success.

If you have money left in your EOY budget to spend and are interested in making meaningful, long-lasting change in your department, Leah M. Joppy and Associates is ready to help. Many of our courses have been reformatted to deliver in a virtual format.  We also have a half-day course delivery option.  Whether you’re a novice or a pro, our excellent course producer ensures a smooth delivery of our virtual courses.   Call us at 301-670-0051 or email us at leah@lmja.com.

COACHING FOR HIGH LEVEL ADMIN STAFF

If you’re an executive assistant, does it feel like you make the impossible happen every single day? It’s a job that requires a lot of knowledge and flexibility, along with the ability to deal with all types of personalities. With the COVID-19 pandemic and all of the changes it’s brought to the workplace, you may be dealing with more stress now than ever and even starting to feel some burnout.

Executive assistants often feel like they need to put the needs of their managers and departments first. This can lead to a number of challenges, such as maintaining a work/life balance and feeling like you need to be available 24/7. What if you had someone in your corner who’s ready to listen to YOU and help you make changes both in your job and outside the office? By assessing the unique challenges you face in a high level administrative position, a life coach can work with you on the best ways to tackle tough situations and develop a clear and detailed plan of action. Best of all, you have someone who has your best interests at heart and is going to hold you accountable. Some of the outcomes from working with a life coach include:

  • Establishing stronger boundaries (this is big one!)
  • Building a stronger partnership with your manager(s)
  • Improving communication and streamlining processes
  • Increasing productivity and feeling more focused dealing with day-to-day tasks
  • Learning tips for practicing self care and making yourself a priority
  • Reducing stress and enjoying your job (and life!) more

Whether you’re new to an executive assistant position or if you’ve been at it for years, it’s always beneficial to take a step back, look at the big picture and examine what areas you’d like to work on both in and out of the office. If you’re ready to make some meaningful life changes and looking for a life coach that can help you through it all, Leah M. Joppy and Associates is ready to help. Call us at 301-670-0051 or email us at leah@lmja.com. And take a look at our article on Why Should I Work With A Coach?

 

Shifting Priorities During COVID-19 Pandemic Part 2

shifting prioritiesLast month, we looked at how the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many of us to reexamine our priorities and how we’ve been spending our time up to this point. We also delved into some simple suggestions to get started on making change: clarifying your values and priorities, incorporating those priorities into your life and beginning to shift your routines even while we’re in the midst of a lifestyle upheaval. Perhaps you’ve started to incorporate some of these ideas into your life. Or maybe you started with the best of intentions and now you’re feeling stuck and frustrated. Don’t worry and most of all, don’t be hard on yourself! Maintaining motivation, particularly during these unprecedented times, is challenging. Let’s take a closer look at what it takes to find motivation.

The Three Ds of Motivation

Simply put, motivation is the ability to initiate and persist at a task. Finding the motivation to change means maintaining consistent effort when it would be easier to give up. It begins with the three Ds:

  1. Direction: When you’re ready to make meaningful change, consider the different directions you can go in your life. You can continue with things as they are now, make drastic and immediate change or take things slower.
  2. Decision: Based on your three choices of direction, you decide which one is best for you and the type of change you’d like to make. None of the choices are right or wrong. They’re simply dependent on what works best for you and the amount of effort and time you’re willing to put into making those changes
  3. Dedication: Once you’ve made your decision, it’s time to go all-in. This is the step that determines whether your decision to make changes is a priority in your life and if those changes will be realized.

The difficult nature of making changes and staying motivated means that you will likely be putting in effort long after the point of it being fun and inspiring. It’s hard work, but you don’t have to go it alone. That’s where coaching comes in. Having a coach by your side means that you have someone who asks the difficult questions you may be avoiding, helps with the three Ds of motivation, holds you accountable, keeps you motivated during the tough times and celebrates your victories with you.

While we can’t anticipate and plan for everything in our lives, we can decide how, where and when to concentrate our energy. It requires some motivation and problem solving, but in the end it will lead to a more balanced and fulfilling life. Leah M Joppy and Associates is ready to help you on your journey to discover what your priorities and values will look like moving forward. Call us at 301-670-0051 or email leah@lmja.com to learn more.

LIFE COACHING FOR SINGLE WOMEN

Life coachingIf you’re a single woman, it can sometimes feel like you’re part of a forgotten group. And if you’re a single woman of a certain age, it can feel like that times a thousand. Gone are the days where single women feel like they need to get married in order to feel fulfilled. Yet popular culture so often portrays them as lonely, unhappy and looking for a partner. The ways single women see themselves versus how they’re stereotyped in our culture are vastly different! So, what’s the real story?

A 2018 study by creative marketing agency Hill Holliday and its market research company Origin sought to answer the question, “What do single women really want?” The answers offered a real life glimpse into their top priorities. Here’s a look:

  • The number-one priority of single women was living on their own. Nearly half (44 percent) said it was what mattered most to them.
  • Another top priority? Establishing a career. About one-third of single women (34 percent) listed their career over everything else.
  • The third most popular priority among single women was financial security with 27 percent of respondents saying it mattered most to them.

The study states that, “on the whole, today’s single women have a strong sense of self and reject the outdated notion that they’re missing out on all that life has to offer.” More proof? Here’s a look at some of the characteristics single women most often use to describe people like them:

  • Independent: 77%
  • Confident: 54%
  • Responsible: 49%
  • Ambitious: 43%
  • Strong-minded: 42%
  • Adventurous: 32%

Perhaps as a single woman you see yourself in the characteristics listed above, but you’re feeling like you could use some assistance in reaching out and grabbing all of the opportunities in front of you. That’s where coaching comes in. Leah M Joppy and Associates can work with you to help identify your priorities, create a realistic action plan and set you on a course for living the life you’ve always wanted. Call us at 301-670-0051 or email leah@lmja.com to learn more.

And please take the time to read our article on the reasons why people seek out a coach.

Unlocking Employee Engagement

How do you keep employees engaged? And especially now, in this time of crisis, how do you keep employees focused, while understanding the impact of these unprecedented times on their very lives? It’s not easy. Most people will take any tips they can to realistically move projects along. And knowing how to lead beyond work takes some creative initiative.

Leah M. Joppy & Associates recently hosted a webinar titled 5 Tips to Unlocking Employee Engagement in Crisis – And Beyond. The purpose behind this webinar was to explore ways we all can use to keep employees engaged, active and interested.

Obviously, this subject was a hot one! During the highly interactive webinar we informed each other. Creative ideas were tossed around. Each participant could absorb the information and ask questions. Everyone came away from the webinar with insights into what they could do given their individual situation.

Here are some of the takeaways from the webinar.

  • First, lead by example. We learn from each other. How we react is often an extension of how our leader deals with the situation.
  • Encourage virtual collaboration. For some, this may seem silly, or scary. Technology is often puzzling. But showing how easy and effective it can be puts everyone at ease.
  • Get to know your team on a social level. We’re not robots, rights? Getting to know your team as individuals, with specific needs, helps you appreciate more fully exactly what they’re going through and will help to identify resources needed.
  • Offer honest feedback regularly. Think about what we hear on the news now – don’t we all appreciate honest assessment rather than vague direction?
  • Recognize team members using their Appreciation Language. Everyone wants, and needs, appreciation, but you have to know how THEY want to be appreciated. People are different and they have a preference of method in which they like to be appreciated.
  • Mindfulness. How do you feel about the current crisis? Whether your glass is half full or half empty, it is refillable. Taking care of ourselves today will determine our tomorrow, post-crisis.
  • Practice empathy and flexibility. People have a lot going on – loss of job, homeschooling kids, personal health issues and maybe elderly parents who may live in another state – all of which is only made more complicated by the crisis. They need someone to be able to talk to and understand – to LISTEN. This is a new situation for most of us.
  • Stay connected. There are so many ways nowadays – through phone, messaging, Zoom, Skype, GoToMeeting, and more. Staying connected keeps us occupied and engaged.

All in all, the webinar left us all energized. See the additional resources we sourced below. And stay tuned for the next one. If you want to make sure you don’t miss it, send me your email so I can include you on the next announcement. 

Additional Resources:

Be safe, be well everyone!

Navigating Through A New Normal


As we all try to adapt to the changes going on in the world right now and establish new routines, one of the biggest challenges is feeling disconnected from our team and working from home in solitary. As a manager, you’re trying to stay calm and positive. You’re checking in with your team and helping them with prioritization and staying focused on achievable tasks. It’s a daunting undertaking and can make you feel more than a little overwhelmed and stressed. It can also feel a little lonely. You’re focused so hard on helping your staff that you can start to neglect your own goals and well-being. That’s why coaching can be just the answer. Working with a coach provides you with the partner you need while you’re trying to navigate the new normal of life. Here are a few areas where a coach can help right now:

Establishing routine. Just the act of having a coaching session once a month can start a new routine. And that time is yours to discuss goal setting, planning for the future, whatever you like! Having a concrete action plan with a sense of accountability can also jump-start a new routine and will carry you into well into the future.

Encouraging self-care. So much is out of our control, but one thing within our control is how we take care of ourselves. As a manager, you may be so focused on your team that you forget to make yourself a priority. However, maintaining a sleep schedule, taking time to exercise and eat properly are just some of the activities that encourage calm and rejuvenate the mind, body and spirit.

Looking to the future and establishing a path forward. We all have a little more time on our hands right now. Rather than thinking about what you can’t do, it’s an ideal time to think about what you CAN accomplish, both for yourself and your team. What were some of the goals you had in mind before we all needed to adapt to a new normal? Was it working on conflict resolution? Or perhaps learning how to manage multiple tasks and priorities more effectively? Now is an ideal time to set a strategy for the future with the help of a coach.

If you’ve thought about working with a coach, but have been setting the idea aside for a more convenient time, now is the perfect time to start. At Leah M Joppy and Associates, we’re here to help you find a newfound focus during these challenging times. Call us at 301-670-0051 or email leah@lmja.com.

MANAGING CONFLICT

managing conflictWhen you get a group of people working together in an office day after day, conflicts are going to happen. Workplace conflict is a major issue that needs to be effectively addressed by leaders before it creates a toxic environment. If left unaddressed, it can lead to a lack of productivity, increased absenteeism and eventually higher employee turnover. There are so many reasons why conflict occurs in the workplace, including: poor management, unclear job roles, personality clashes, inadequate training, lack of opportunity and so many others.

While it’s a natural human tendency to avoid uncomfortable conversations with others, that strategy won’t work in the long term. It’s up to managers to give high priority to handling conflict in the office and ensure all employees are committed to solving issues. Managers need to instill in their staff that disagreements happens, but mutual respect is key. If handled correctly, conflicts can result in growth and greater understanding within the workplace. Here are a few suggestions to make sure that happens:

  • Tackle issues early. Waiting until a conflict escalates and turns into an unmanageable issue only makes problem solving more challenging.
  • Find out the root cause of the problem. Ask open-ended questions that provide people a chance to talk and feel valued. Dialog is key!
  • Take a look how you manage. Before you can manage others, take a look at yourself and how you handle conflict. Do you act defensively? What kind of body language do you use?
  • Act as a referee rather than a judge. As a manager, it’s important to remain impartial when conflicts arise. Meet with employees individually and then together in an uninterrupted space. Once employees are talking through their differences, let them work it out and don’t get drawn into taking sides.
  • Consider conflict resolution training. Many managers don’t know how to effectively resolve conflicts because they simply haven’t had the proper training. It can really go a long way towards making conflict resolution more effective for all parties.

Conflict is an unavoidable part of workplaces, but it’s how these conflicts are handled that counts. Leah M Joppy and Associates has worked with many organizations to teach them how to effectively handle conflicts. We give you the tools to diffuse issues quickly and effectively in a manner where all employees feel valued and heard. For more information, contact us at 301-670-0051 or email leah@lmja.com.

SETTING GOALS

Setting goalsA new year is upon us and it’s a time that naturally lends itself to reflection and thinking about what we want to achieve in the future. Setting goals are an important part of this process. Goals give us a sense of purpose and meaning, point us in the direction we want to go and help us become more interested and engaged. All of this adds up to greater overall happiness in our lives!

Aristotle said, “Well begun is half done.” In terms of goals, he’s absolutely right. That’s why we need to pay careful attention to how we set our goals and move towards accomplishing them. Here are few ways to get started:

Set A Goal That Motivates You

Goal achievement requires commitment, so it’s important that you set goals that you’re actually motivated to accomplish. These are high priority areas of YOUR life, not your spouse, children, co-workers, etc. Start by writing down why your particular goal is valuable and meaningful to you. If you were to share your goal with someone, how would you convince him or her that it’s worthwhile? This is a good exercise to help you if you start to doubt your ability or lose confidence.

Choose a Goal That Emphasizes Your Value

It’s easy to beat ourselves down and not recognize our assets. Especially at the beginning of the year, we should think about making ourselves a priority. Think about how your friends and co-workers appreciate you – is it for your calmness? Your thoughtful consideration? Whatever your strengths, try to create a goal that works with that strength. Not only will it make you wiser and stronger, but more fulfilled.

Choose A Goal To Create a Journey, Not Just A Destination

Instead of setting a life goal, think about setting a life direction. Determine the things that would create a compelling and fun journey. Ask yourself some questions like: “How do I want to spend my time?” “What do I want to learn?” “What daily activities make me want to get out of bed and get moving?”

Set Goals In Writing

There’s something about the physical act of writing down a goal that makes it real and tangible. Frame your goal statement positively. Use the word “will” instead of “would like to” or “might.” Then post your goal in a visible place to remind yourself that you’re working towards this incredible accomplishment!

Make An Action Plan

You know what you want. Now, how are you going to accomplish it? Don’t get so focused on the outcome of your goal that you forget to plan all of the things that you need to tackle along the way. Write out the individual steps and cross each one off as you complete it. That way, you see that you’re making progress.

We adopt goals for one reason: to change our lives. The path toward our goals may not

always be easy or run smoothly, but having goals is part of what makes life happier and more meaningful. Leah M Joppy and Associates can help you make 2020 your best year yet by helping you identify and achieve the goals that really matter to you. Call us at 301-670-0051 or email leah@lmja.com.

EFFECTIVE TEAMS

effective teamsBuilding and maintaining an effective team is not something you should think about in between all of your other day-to-day activities. Projects come and go, but the teams behind them drive the results. Leaders play an important role in team development, from facilitating communication to mediating conflict to setting standards for accountability. But all too often, it’s easy to forget to check in and make sure teams are running smoothly and efficiently. The beginning of a new year is a great time to step back and take a look at what’s working, what’s not and make necessary changes. To do so, let’s take a look at a few characteristics of effective teams:

  • Having a common goal and shared objectives
  • Creating a positive environment around the objectives
  • Maintaining open communication
  • Establishing clearly defined team roles
  • Focusing on time management in order to meet deadlines
  • Implementing practical problem solving tactics
  • Encouraging differences in opinions and not suppressing alternative ideas

You can have all of the checkpoints listed above, but the foundation of any effective team is trust. Team members need to know that everyone will deliver on their promises, support shared goals and maintain open communication. Patience, transparency and providing mutual feedback are a few ways to cultivate trust. Team building exercises and problem-solving activities are also effective ways to build team trust.

Effective teams are the foundation of every successful organization. If you feel like your teams could use some help in the New Year, Leah M. Joppy and Associates can help. We’ve helped a wide variety of organizations assess their current team structure, determine where changes can be made and develop a course of action to get everyone on the same page. We also specialize in team building activities that promote bonding and trust. For more information, contact us at 301-670-0051 or email leah@lmja.com.

Strategic Planning For The New Year

strategic planningLike most of us, you’re probably consumed with all the holiday hoopla right now and finishing out the current year on a strong note. But don’t forget that 2020 is just around the corner and you can’t put off strategizing for the New Year. Now it the time to clarify your goals for next year and beyond, think about how you can meet those goals and when you should meet with your team to get everyone on board.

You can make an argument that your annual strategic planning session is one of the most important things you’ll do all year. It’s a chance to move your team’s long-term strategic goals forward and make sure you’re all on the same page. It gives you an opportunity to step back and look at the bigger picture. For example, what are some of the biggest challenges facing your department over the next year and beyond? What your strengths and weaknesses to meet those challenges?

No pressure, right? Strategic planning takes effort and preparation, but it doesn’t have to become a stressful exercise. Here are a few steps to get the ball rolling:

  • Define your department’s vision: This is the first and most critical step in creating a long-term plan. This statement should answer the key questions that drive your department. Where are you headed? Where do you want to be? Get it down on paper!
  • Establish short-term goals: This should include everything you want to achieve over the next 12-36 months. Remember to keep them “S.M.A.R.T.” (specific, measurable, actionable, reasonable and timely).
  • Outline your strategies and create an action plan: Strategies are the steps you’ll take to meet your short-term goals. Your action plan is all about the specifics – what you’re doing, when you’ll do it, what resources are needed, etc.
  • Review and modify on a regular basis: Don’t create a strategic plan and leave it at that. Check in regularly to make sure you’re progressing toward your goals. Foster strong communication with your team to ensure everyone understands your direction and what they should be doing to achieve strategic goals.

Planning in advance is one way effective leaders avoid the stress of being behind the eight ball. Leah M. Joppy and Associates has worked numerous firms to draft annual plans that align and inspire teams to reach their goals for the coming year – and beyond. Then we help you put it all into action. For more information, contact us at 301-670-0051 or email leah@lmja.com.