Category: Professional Development

Pivoting To A New Way Of Business

For the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic forced many workplaces to upend traditional office environments and pivot to a new way of doing business. These changes looked different across various industries, but one thing is certain: work life will never be the same again.  Many of the workplace changes that became necessary because of the pandemic will likely impact the way we work for the long-term. This month and next, we’ll look at a few of the workplace trends you can expect to see. Here’s a look at 3 of the biggest:

  1. Continuation of remote work or moving towards a hybrid model: According to surveys from the IBM Institute of Business Value, 83% of people want to continue working from home in some capacity. Many organizations have seen the light and have determined that some degree of remote work can be a win-win for everyone. It’s a retention tool for present employees, as well as a recruitment perk for future talent.
  2. Bigger focus on employee wellbeing: The pandemic has required organizations to rethink what it means to have a healthy and safe workplace. Many are improving benefits related to employee mental and physical health, childcare and paid time off. Workspaces will be reimagined to maximize both safety and employee collaboration.
  3. Improving schedule flexibility: Prior to the pandemic, flexibility was seen as a perk. For many, it’s now a necessity. Employers are finally understanding the need to accommodate families who have school-aged children at home, particularly those who will continue with some form of online learning. After a year of working from home, many employees have grown accustomed to more flexible working hours and are going to be resistant to going back to more rigid hours. Now is the time to look at present policies and implementing changes to accommodate your team members.

Have you started thinking about how your workplace will look moving forward? Now is the time to rethink your old systems and habits and create a better environment for your team. Leah M. Joppy and Associates can help you take a look at your old ways of doing business and where you can make improvements – all while continuing to maximize productivity. Call us at 301-670-0051 or email leah@lmja.com.

A NEW MINDSET FOR 2021

Typically at the start of a new year, we think about big goals and resolutions. But this year feels a little different. While we’re all grateful for a fresh start, we’re probably feeling a little tired and overwhelmed as we come off of 2020. If the past year taught us anything, it’s that:

  • We thought we were ready for anything, but it turns out that our resilience and fortitude were put to the test.
  • We thought we had everything planned (or at least attempted to), but the last year tested all of those plans.
  • We thought we had a positive mindset, but learned that when that mindset is challenged, problems may seem bigger than they really are.

So yes, we’ve had some hurdles thrown at us. How do we navigate the coming months with a refreshed mindset and add more doses of positivity in our lives? Here are a few basics to start you through the process:

  1. Start your morning with a consistent, positive routine that will set the tone for the rest of the day.
  2. Focus on the good things happening throughout your day, however small they may be.
  3. Surround yourself with positive friends and mentors.
  4. Become aware of self-sabotaging behavior and negative self-talk.
  5. Focus on the present because we can’t change the past and we can’t predict the future.
  6. Try to find humor, no matter how challenging it may be!

No matter how much you want to hit the refresh button, it can feel challenging to make changes on your own. The past year has been isolating for so many of us and it can feel like we’re stuck on autopilot waiting for the world to return to some sense of normalcy. But you don’t have to go through this journey alone. Working with a coach will help you build the core skills and habits to propel you forward – not just through the coming months, but well beyond.

There are still many things that may still feel up in the air as we’re entering the New Year, but we do still have power and influence within our own lives.  What will 2021 hold for you?   Leah M. Joppy and Associates is ready to help you move forward with renewed energy and focus. Call us at 301-670-0051 or email us at leah@lmja.com.

Re-focusing On What Matters

So many of us go through the motions when it comes to our day-to-day work, but 2020 truly changed all of that. The way we work, the way we manage, and the way we interact are just a few of the areas that were turned upside down for so many of us. It tested our resilience, our patience and most likely, our mindset. Usually the New Year is a time to hit the reset button with refreshed energy. However, after the events of the past year, you and your team are probably feeling burned out and overwhelmed. This can lead to a negative mindset that doesn’t help any department move forward.

How can you help your employees start the New Year with a fresh, focused mindset when everyone is still reeling from the challenges of 2020? If there’s one area you should focus on in 2021, it’s relationships. Employees need connection, support, and guidance from management and peers in order to feel engaged and valued. Here are a few commitments you can make in the coming months to refocus and improve mindset:

Reconnect with your team. To effectively manage your team, it’s important to understand their values, interests and strengths. Make it a goal this year to get to know them better and develop a plan to have team members connect with each other more effectively going forward.

Make goal creation a shared task. We’ve all dealt with feelings of isolation during the past year, so including team members in the goal creation process makes them feel included, valued, and part of the organization. It gives everyone a chance to reflect on what worked last year, what didn’t, and how to move forward with renewed energy.

Share more performance information. No one wants to feel like they’re being kept in the dark. Team members are much more likely to be engaged and focused when they receive clear feedback. If this is an area that you neglected over the past months, now is the time to start reengaging with team members.

The past year has challenged us all, but if there’s one lesson we can take from all of this, it’s the importance of strong relationships for building a positive team mindset. This year, commit to enhancing employee relationships through observing, listening, and guiding. Leah M. Joppy and Associates is ready to help you start the New Year off strong by offering coaching seminars that focus on developing a productive, postive mindset. For more information, contact us at 301-670-0051 or email leah@lmja.com.

RENEWED FOCUS ON THE FUTURE

Renewed FocusIt’s safe to say that 2020 hasn’t exactly gone how we’d planned. All of those goals and plans we made when we rang in the New Year kind of went out the window. However, despite its disappointments, the year has given us some valuable opportunities for growth and learning. So, how do we walk into 2021 with renewed focus on the future while also keeping our expectations in check? Here are a few suggestions to think about:

  • Let go of expectations and focus on what you can control: It’s challenging, but so important to accept situations that are out of our control. We need to let go of how things “should be” and focus on how things are. Rather than spending your time thinking about all the things that have gone wrong, shift your focus on possibilities and opportunities as a way to move forward.
  • Don’t make so many assumptions: We often go into a new year hoping that it’s going to be our best one yet. While it’s great to be optimistic and hopeful, we also need to stay flexible and willing to adapt to changing circumstances. Otherwise, we set ourselves up for disappointment and have difficulty dealing with these changes.
  • Set goals: Definitely continue to set goals, but maybe don’t get too overly optimistic (that long European vacation might have to wait!). Break your goals into a combination of two categories: ‘achievable’ and ‘desirable’. Accept the circumstances of our current situation and determine your goals within those parameters.
  • Mental and physical health are everything: Despite the challenges, 2020 was definitely a good time to start cultivating a mindset of gratitude. It’s so vital to continue this practice into 2021. Mental health is strongly influenced by physical health, so if you started an exercise and wellness practice over the past few months, keep it up. If you didn’t, now’s a great time to start taking small steps (ie: a meditation practice, daily walks, etc.) that will add up to big changes over time. And keep up those Zoom happy hours!

The past year has definitely thrown us a major curve ball. But perhaps it’s given us some time to think about personal changes we’d like to incorporate. What do you like and dislike about your life right now? What would you like more of or less of in your life? Leah M. Joppy and Associates is ready to help you tackle any of these questions. Let’s get started! Call us at 301-670-0051 or email us at leah@lmja.com.

PLANNING FOR THE NEW YEAR

Planning for new yearWhat a long, strange ride 2020 has been and it’s safe to say we’re all ready to see what 2021 has in store. If 2020 has taught us one major lesson, it’s that plans can get derailed and we must be willing to adapt. It’s also given us an opportunity to assess our way of doing business within a new framework. For example, what are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned this year? What are some of the biggest challenges facing your organization over the next year and beyond? What are your strengths and weaknesses to meet those challenges?

You may have already developed a strategic plan for 2021, but if we’ve learned anything, it’s that plans can change quickly. That’s why it’s important to consider the following when drafting a plan for the next year:

  • Embrace Reality: While we’re all ready for the pandemic to be over, we’re still going to be doing business differently for a while. You may want to keep some of the changes you made over the past year. Or based on what you’ve learned over the past several months, you may need to make additional plans based on existing conditions.
  • Be Adaptable: Organizations that were able to pivot quickly when the pandemic began experienced less impact than those who struggled through the process. Flexible processes and adaptable strategies are your best course of action if things worsen before they improve.
  • Make Your People A Top Priority: People are the core of your department and now, more than ever, you need to take care of them. This includes physical and mental health, as well as work-life balance. With so many people working from home, communication should be a priority. What’s worked well over the past several months? What areas could use improvement?
  • Plan For The Unusual: A long-term strategy that includes various scenarios helps you navigate challenges. For example, additional equipment and tools for remote workers, plans for employees who may be out due to the coronavirus and workers who need flexibility due to school closures are all issues to consider.

Planning in advance is one way effective leaders avoid the stress of falling behind, particularly during times of uncertainty. Leah M. Joppy and Associates has worked with 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.

Happy Mindful Monday!

Last week was indeed a privilege for us as we continue to facilitate a variety of  leadership development opportunities for our customers.  Enlightening discussions were had around managing the challenges, stress and anxiety this pandemic has created. We explored how to strengthen resilience; how to create successful virtual communication; leading in times of crisis; holding on to our personal values; managing blind spots; and dealing with isolation – just to mention a few. Most importantly, we talked about the importance of checking in on each other from time to time.

We were also privileged to have a peek into the participant’s other world. You know,  the roles that makes them SUPER!  We got to see Dads braid their daughter’s hair, clean up spills and provide snacks to their little ones. We heard Moms directing home improvement projects and where to put the new microwave. Every once in a while a little face would appear in the corner of the monitor, trying to see where all the commotion was about. Carrying out these responsibilities while focusing, engaging and sharing their workplace successes and challenges in a 8-16 hour span of training! That gives the definition of multi-tasking a whole new meaning!

Our public servants are “getting it done,” “moving and shaking,” helping our brothers and sisters all over the world during these very unpredictable and stressful times.  LMJA is so honored to be a part of their story; to support our customers in any way we can. Whether it be ‘staying after class’ to provide guidance on a pressing career decision or helping to create ideas for ‘fun food’ for their kids, we are here for our customers. We hope to return to some level of normalcy soon.

In the meantime, be MINDFUL of your team mates and loved ones and most importantly, BE MINDFUL OF YOU! We are all in this together.

Be safe.

Leah Payton

Coaching For Mid-Level Managers

Coaching mid-level managersMiddle managers are often dealt a difficult hand. They’re expected to play the dual role of both boss and employee and the balancing act that accompanies this type of position can be tricky to navigate. If you’re in a middle management position, you’re probably required to deal with day-to-day issues and complaints from your employees, while also understanding and implementing big picture goals from upper management. It can really make you feel like you’re caught in the “middle”!

Many middle managers can feel like they’re thrown to the wolves, particularly if they were promoted to the position with little to no training. Mid-level managers must build their soft skills in addition to so many others. Here are a few skills needed to be an effective mid-level manager:

  • Proficiency in Hiring Top Talent
  • Excellent Communication Skills
  • Strong Delegation Skills:
  • Collaboration Skills
  • Strong Decision-Making Skills

Working with a coach can really help with honing these skills. By assessing the unique challenges you face in a middle management 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. You can also learn the best ways to advocate for yourself and what you need to perform effectively in your position. Best of all, a coach is someone who has your best interests at heart and is going to help you achieve that balancing act – both in and out of the office.

Whether you’re new to a mid-level management position or you’ve been in one for a while, it’s always beneficial to take a step back 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 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.

EOY BUDGET NEEDS: POPULAR COURSES

It’s been a long, strange year (to put it mildly!) and your team may be feeling the stress of working from home and isolation from the day-to-day routine of the office. It may feel more challenging than ever to communicate effectively with your staff and teamwork may be lacking right now. Or you may feel like you want to do strategic planning for the future, but it’s hard enough to just deal with daily tasks. LMJA has a number of courses that can help with the challenges you’re experiencing during the crazy year of 2020. Courses are now VIRTUAL.

Here’s a look at four of our most popular courses and how they can be a great investment in your team. These courses can be tailored for a half-day session. Courses can also be spread out into 2 half-day sessions. A variety of self-awareness assessments are used in all of our courses.

  • 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 are interested in making meaningful, long-lasting change in your department, Leah M. Joppy and Associates is ready to help. Call us at 301-670-0051 or email us at leah@lmja.com.

LEADERSHIP COACHING

leadership coachingWe’ve all had at least one job where it felt like leadership was lacking. You probably remember what it was like – a lack of communication, no clear expectations or defining of roles and difficulty handling conflict. Add it all together and it makes for a less than pleasant work experience and likely one where you didn’t want to stay long-term. Strong leadership matters and it’s the backbone to every successful work team. Team leaders are responsible for more than just delegating tasks and monitoring employees’ progress. To be effective in this role, true leaders must understand each staff member’s overall goals, strengths and weaknesses and then use this information to build a strong team.

What do you need to do to be an effective leader? There are many lists out there outlining what it takes, but when it comes down to it, they all focus on these 6 core strengths:

  • Communication
  • Cultural Competence (the ability to work with people from other countries and cultures)
  • Flexibility
  • Vision
  • Empathy and Emotional Intelligence
  • Personal Skills (areas such as authenticity and trustworthiness)

When you look at your leadership style, how would you rate your strengths in these areas? Whether you’re new to a leadership role or been in the boss’s chair for years, it’s important to take a step back and look at how you’re leading your team. Frequent changes in focus and conflicting priorities can leave staff feeling stressed and anxious. That’s certainly not the environment you want. Working with a coach can help you identify areas where you need improvement, develop leadership skills that you can begin using immediately and learn techniques to develop a stronger, more cohesive team. The benefits are numerous: happier, more loyal employees, increased efficiency and greater productivity. And who doesn’t want that?

There are so many differences between being a boss and being a leader. Bosses command, while leaders influence. Bosses discipline, but leaders act as a mentor. That’s just the beginning. If you want to improve your leadership skills and be a team leader who inspires, Leah M. Joppy and Associates is ready to help. Call us at 301-670-0051 or email us at leah@lmja.com. And if you’re wondering if you should be working with a coach, check out our article on Why Should I Work With A Coach?

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.