Category: Posts

Become a Coach-Leader

Counteract negative results of believing people are incapable by becoming a coach-leader / manager.

Business Managers have of late realised that compliant employees may get the job done, but committed ones do it better. They make greater contributions to the organization and are more productive, more creative, and, in general, more fun to work with. The difference between the leader who gains commitment and the one who only gains compliance lies in something as simple as: coaching. The most effective leaders we know see themselves not as managers or supervisors, but as coaches.
To try and implement change within your employee can only be done through transformative conversations allowing the employee to make the changes themselves. Coaches need to change the way they think about their employees. Stop focusing on the lack – rather focus on the capability. You achieve engagement when you focus on what you have rather than on what you don’t have.

10 negative results of thinking people are incapable:
1. Low expectations.
2. Praise for marginal effort.
3. Avoid conversations. “I don’t want to be bothered with them.”
4. Provide less information. Incapable people don’t need information.
5. Act with impatience.
6. Interrupt while “incapable people” are talking.
7. Supply less help. Why bother?
8. Criticize more frequently.
9. Give less feedback.
10. Less smiling. More frowning.

10 questions coaching-leaders ask capable people:
1. What would you suggest?
2. What are you trying to accomplish?
3. What have you already done to address this issue?
4. How have your efforts worked so far?
5. What would you like to try?
6. What would you like to do next?
7. Who might need to be involved?
8. What can you do while you’re waiting?
9. When can you take the next step?
10. When will you be done?

Coaching-leader tips:
• Try approaching employees as capable. If they aren’t capable you hired the wrong people.
• Stressing and pressuring are unnecessary and counter-productive.
• Become a coaching-leader by relaxing with people while holding high expectations.

by Tony Restell
Preparing for the job interview questions you might face has to be one of the more stressful aspects of changing jobs. Here we share insights you can put to work in your interview preparation right away.
What does your job interviewer want to uncover about you?

The starting point for success in responding to job interview questions is to understand why those questions are being asked. So what reassurances is your interviewer looking for during your interview?

– Can you do the job?
– Are you someone who’d fit in and be a good addition to the team?
– What risks are being taken by employing you?
– Will you take the job?
– What would be your motivations for taking the job?

Can you do the job?

Sounds obvious right? Yet unless you are moving between two competitors to perform the exact same role, your ability to do the job needs to be established. Your challenge in preparing to face job interview questions on this topic is to understand the job as thoroughly as you can.

Firstly this means revisiting the job advert and picking through the key requirements specified. Try to play detective and figure out why those criteria are important. What can you infer by reading between the lines? What contacts do you have who may be able to shed additional light on the role and the company? Have you researched the LinkedIn profiles of people in similar positions at the company, their descriptions of what they do – and their recommendations – may prove very telling. Who can you find who has recently left the company and who you could reach out to for insights?

What you’re most interested in identifying are i) the factors that are of greater or less importance than at your existing company (so that you know which strengths to play to in the interview) and ii) the differences that exist between you performing strongly in your current role and in this potential new role.
Examples would be there being greater political infighting to deal with; poor morale to contend with; different systems than you’re used to working with; different sales challenges to overcome; organisational challenges or deficiencies in capabilities that you’ll need to learn to work through.

In all respects that the role is similar to the one you already hold, your answers should pretty much take care of themselves. It’s the aspects that differ from what you’ve shown you can do that need to be bridged.

Are you someone who’d fit in and be a good addition to the team?

One key function of job interview questions – and the hiring process more generally – is to establish that there would be a good personality fit between you and the company. This takes two forms. Firstly companies have characters and an ethos that your earlier research may well have uncovered. It may be a very goal-focused business; innovative; focused on work-life balance… Whatever it is, you being a fit rather than a clash with that culture is a key hiring consideration.

Secondly – and no less important – you will be slotting into a team somewhere within the company. That team will have its own personality and traits that are a function of the existing team members. How you are likely to blend with them is another key consideration.

The topics so far are best addressed by doing your research before the job interview; and by asking as many questions as you can during the interview to fill in the gaps in your knowledge. As far as possible, you want to know the answer the interviewer would like to hear before you answer any question or show your hand.

What risks are being taken by employing you?

Everyone involved in the hiring decision is taking a risk with their careers by rubber-stamping you as the best person to hire. The candidate who looks best for the role may not always be the least risky hire. The most talented candidate may be likely to become dissatisfied in the role (and leave for greener pastures). They are more likely to be in the running for other openings and drop out of the recruiter’s interview process altogether. This explains why those willing to take a demotion and paycut to get back into work are often left frustrated. They’re considered overqualified precisely because they could become dissatisfied or receive a better offer once hired.
Similarly, those with inconsistencies in their application or unexplained developments in their careers can generate anxiety that undoes an otherwise strong performance. That’s why you need to think carefully about your shortcomings and how best to handle any anxieties these may cause. It’s better that you address these concerns directly than leave your interviewers to stew on them behind closed doors. And related to this point you also need to address…

Will you take the job?
Come the final stages of the hiring process, your interviewers probably have a number of candidates they’d be happy to hire. What they’ll be loathe to do is offer the role to someone they think may well not accept it. In doing so, they risk losing all the other candidates in the running. This doesn’t reflect well on the interviewers and could be a serious setback for the company if they find themselves without a key hire for an extended period as a result.

In answering job interview questions, I’ve seen good candidates come unstuck if they’ve left the interviewer with the impression that they might not accept an offer. It’s fine to challenge an interviewer on why you should think their role is more compelling than your other career options. But unless you’re the only candidate in the running, you probably don’t want the interview to come to a close without having made your interest in the position clear.
What would be your motivations for taking the job?

Your reasons for being interested in the role can also be very telling – and make you a better or worse fit for the position. During your research you may have uncovered what makes employees in this organisation tick; or when asking your own questions you may have gained some insights. Be wary of revealing motivations that are not consistent with what you have learnt about the organisation. They could be your undoing.

So now you have a better understanding of what your interviewer may be trying to uncover with their job interview questions. You know how to tailor your answers for a better chance of achieving a successful outcome.

Dressing for Success

When you are preparing for a job interview, everyone knows that you don’t just need to prepare yourself mentally; you also have to prepare yourself physically. You want to make a good impression, right from the first moment your interviewer lays his or her eyes on you. Naturally, you will want to look sophisticated, smart and well-groomed.

Dressing to suit the Company Culture:

Ensure your Clothing Style Reflects what is Appropriate for the Job and the Organisation.  If you’re not sure what to wear to your interview (and you’re not comfortable calling the organisation to check), it’s best to dress too formally than too casually.  If you’re being interviewed for a corporate or professional role; or in a conservative business environment, it’s best for men to wear a suit and for women to wear a jacket and skirt or dress trousers.  Make sure that your grooming is immaculate even if you’re applying for a role that doesn’t require customer or client contact.  If you’re a smoker, don’t smoke within half an hour of the interview. If you walk into an interview with the smell of cigarettes on your breath or your clothing, it could leave a bad impression. To be sure, it’s a good idea to take a couple of breath mints just before going into the interview.  Wear an outfit that you’re comfortable in so you’re not distracted by your clothing during the interview.

The 5 WORST Things to Wear in a Job Interview

If you would like to make a good impression during your job interview, then here are the 5 things that you should avoid wearing at all costs.
1. Cleavage-Bearing Top:
In general, do not show skin. You are going to an interview, not a date! So if you would like to be taken seriously, skip the push-up bra and the plunging neckline. It will turn off your interviewer, and it will minimize your chances of getting the job, without you even saying one word. If you are male, then button up that shirt! Your interviewer would never want to see your chest hair or lack thereof. If possible cover tattoos.

2. Wrinkled Clothes:
Nothing says “unprepared” more than a set of obviously wrinkled clothes. You don’t need to wear designer clothes to your interview, but at least make sure that they are clean and neatly pressed. In general, avoid unkempt clothes. Hem those slacks; don’t let it drag along the floor while you are walking. Make sure your jacket fits you well. Avoid looking lousy, as if you had no thought or effort at all in going to this interview.

3. Red Lipstick:
Put the seductress act away. You do not want to intimidate your interviewer; you want to show him or her that you are capable. If you want to wear make-up, tone down the lipstick. Again, this is not a date.

4. Sneakers:
Unless you are applying for a creative position, ditch the sneakers. Don’t attempt a GQ model style and wear sneakers with that suit. While it may look stylish and quirky, it does not do much for your interview prospects. It just seems immature and trying too hard when you come to a job interview in sneakers. It also looks lazy, as if you could not be bothered with putting on a nice pair of shoes for this interview. In the same vein, women should try to avoid wearing flat and open-toed sandals. It looks unkempt, and too casual for a job interview.

5. Unnecessary Accessories:
Keep it simple – even if this is your form of expressing yourself, it can be distracting for your interviewer, and might deviate them from focusing on your capabilities for the company. Skip the bangles as well. While these may be fashionable, it will be extremely distracting and annoying, as it clatters and jangles while you are speaking with your interviewer.

Some Basic Interview Advice

When it comes to hiring staff, there are a number of signs that are incredibly important to pay attention to but are often missed. Here are some interview tips to help you as a hiring manager learn more about the person you are interviewing than meets the “CV”.

Make them comfortable.
It’s a person’s job to sell themselves to you when interviewing for a position. It’s your job to understand though who they really are and to cut through the sales pitch as quickly as possible. One of the best ways to do that is to make them as comfortable as possible by creating a very casual environment and acting like the interview is no big deal.
You might be interested in a candidate based solely on their previous experience, but that doesn’t mean they are a fit for your team. Keep the questions coming, they should be able to talk at length about nearly anything and keep you engaged. If getting them to freely answer questions is like pulling teeth, the interview is over. Don’t waste your time or theirs. You can learn a lot about motivation and work ethic from their backgrounds and past experience.

Find out if they need to work and be successful to live? You don’t want to hire a person who doesn’t have to work, as their ‘need’ is non-existent. You do want to hire people who have the drive and passion for success, particularly when their failure means that they can’t pay rent.

Don’t go through their CV in front of them.
Sit back in your chair and casually chat for at least ten minutes about their non-working background. Ask simple follow-up questions to their responses and you will be amazed what people will openly divulge when they get comfortable. One can go through work related past experience after you have gotten them comfortable.

Now make them Uncomfortable.
Ask them direct and pointed questions about the wealth of information you just gathered from their rambling. Do not be abusive, but don’t hesitate to be abrupt and even interrupt them to throw them off track.

There are two reasons for this: The first is to put them on the spot and get honest answers about their past and abilities, the second is to see how they operate when they’re under pressure and flustered.

Do you have employees who, in your opinion, think they are more proficient than they are or think they should advance faster than you believe is realistic?

How you handle the situation will make a huge difference in whether your employee:

1. Listens to and respects your feedback now and in the future.
2. Stays within your employment.
3. Remains engaged if they stay.

Suggestion – don’t use the phrases:  “It takes time” and “be patient”, as this will only douse the flame of enthusiasm and ambition, and leave you with a disheartened, disengaged employee. You will end up with an employee who believes:
1. You don’t understand their ability.
2. You don’t value their enthusiasm and ambition.
3. Your organization doesn’t provide opportunities for advancement.
4. Growing professionally will require looking for a new job.

You need to first shift your employee from Unconscious Incompetence to Conscious Incompetence.

Unconscious Incompetence is when an employee doesn’t know what she doesn’t know.  She doesn’t realize what knowledge is lacking and still needs to be learned.  She isn’t aware of what necessary skills she doesn’t possess. In other words, as a Manager you need to help your employee develop Conscious Incompetence. Helping your employee develop Conscious Incompetence also stimulates motivation. They now see a gap between where they thought their current ability could take them and their new understanding that it won’t take them to where they want to go.  With this understanding, they’re more open to hearing what they need to do next. This sense of “I don’t know X and I need to know X to get to where I want to go” provides the fuel to power self-directed learning. Therefore, as a manager and coach, you need to make a list of the specific skills and knowledge that your employee doesn’t yet know, but needs to, for them to progress.

  • Give Specific, Crystal-clear Examples
  • Don’t be vague when describing the areas you believe they need to develop.  By being crystal-clear with your feedback, you help the listener feel a sense of control: “Ah … I know what he wants, what he doesn’t want, and what I can do to fix it.”
  • State Explicitly How Much You Value the Employee’s Enthusiasm and Ambition

This approach doesn’t just increase your ability to get commitment to change from your employee, it also helps to build a stronger, more productive relationship. This stronger, more productive relationship will make future conversations easier and more effective. Because they can see you care about them and want to understand their perspective, they will care more about you and your perspective.  Also, because they feel respected, valued, and heard, they will most likely care more about pleasing you in the future.

As a hiring manager, one should perceive an interview as an open dialogue and not a test that requires prescribed answers. Any intelligent person will know that any question in any conversation can be perceived in many fashions and so there can often be different responses that are valid.

An interview should not be an exam disguised as behavioral questions. It’s not the particular questions that are important in an interview; it’s how the person thinks and if they know what they are doing. An interview should be a conversation, not a test.

The idea that an interview should be an open dialogue or conversation might scare some managers.  Some might wonder how to have a conversation with someone they have never met and so end up falling back to a list of standard questions with expected answers. The fear lends itself to making a “test” and in turn avoidance of an interview.

It is the interviewer’s job, not to have a test planned, but to be able to listen and react intellectually. If the applicant didn’t give the response wanted, it doesn’t mean they have failed.  If it were a test – yes, but this is a conversation run by the interviewer, which means one can delve deeper into the response via an open dialogue. Sometimes an applicant could be thinking a test question meant something else.  If the interviewer just accepts the response as wrong, both the company and the applicant could lose out a great opportunity.  The interviewer should be able to create a follow up question on the spot to dig and see if the person knows their craft.

It’s the same with how one reads a CV: Some people just don’t make good CVs. Maybe it just takes the slightest effort to clarify a few things between the lines.There is more to a person than their most recent job title, where they went to school, or companies they worked at. If you don’t get the exact response you are looking for, then don’t think, “They failed the test.” It is your job to find out if they know their job.

As a hiring manager, you know that the recruitment process can be tedious and time-consuming. On average, it takes about 42 days to hire a new employee when you hire the traditional way. And up to double that time should candidates not accept the offer.

Why would a candidate not accept your offer?

It may be them, but it also may be you. Even though the job market is still in the gutter, it’s picking up slowly and job seekers aren’t as quick to accept a job offer as they may have been before. Here are four reasons why job seekers may be refusing your job offer.

The Position
You may think this position is awesome, but the candidate may not think so. If the job doesn’t offer the employee a chance to learn, grow or use their skills in some way then it’s likely that no one is going to want this position. It may also be the way you are presenting the position in a job description or in the interview. Are the guidelines and responsibilities of this position clear? Make sure that candidates understand what their role would be and what their day to day responsibilities will entail.

Your Strategy
How are you offering this position to your chosen candidate? Are you emailing them or are you calling them? If you are offering a job to a candidate over email then it’s time for you to change your strategy. Emailing someone is very impersonal. If you truly want this candidate to work for you, then take the time out of your day to call them directly and offer them the position. Starting your working relationship off with an email isn’t the way to go.
You Took Too Long
Yes, it’s very difficult to decide which candidate is best for the position- that’s a given. However, if you leave a candidate waiting for weeks they will likely think that you found someone else and they will move on. If they are looking for a job then chances are they have had other interviews as well. If they were the best for your position, then they may be the best candidate for someone else as well. If you know that this is the candidate you want to have on your team, then move fast. If you know this is that candidate for you then offer them the position the day of their last interview. Deciding between two candidates? Take a day after the last interviews to decide. Don’t wait much longer.
Move fast and snag that stellar candidate before someone else does.

Are you offering fair compensation for this position? If your offer is lower than the average for the position, then candidates are going to turn you down. And why not? If they can receive better pay for doing the same job elsewhere, then why take your position at a lower pay? Make sure you are offering a competitive salary and one that is on par with the average.


If a company is considering investing in you by offering you a employment opportunity, there’s a good chance they’re going to type your name into Google or search for you on Facebook and Twitter.

A crucial step of the job seeking process is social media maintenance – and you need to be aware of what settings you can use, what buttons you can push, what steps you need to take to cleanse your digital footprint.  Here are some tips to help you clean up your online presence:

1. Profile clean-up – Facebook

There’s a vast amount of privacy settings on Facebook, designed to help users control who can see what, with specific settings for posts, pictures and comments. If you have any concerns about anything you might have posted, and how that might reflect on you professionally, its best to control who sees what on your Facebook profile.

The first thing you need to do is check your privacy settings – from the main drop-down menu at the top right of screen (the arrow pointing down to the right of the padlock) go down to ‘Settings’ then click on ‘Privacy’ on the left menu panel. From here, you not only have the option to restrict your future posts, but you can also lock down your previous posts and any posts you’ve been tagged in.

Once you’ve checked through these settings, click through to your profile and click on the ‘…’ tab, up next to ‘View Activity Log’ in the main profile header.

The drop down here will give you an option to ‘View as…’ – click on that and select ‘View as: Public’ to see what anyone who looks you up on Facebook will see (if they search from inside Facebook). You should also log out and look yourself up outside of Facebook to see what people get if they click through to your Facebook page from Google. You might see that some of your interests and other categories are showing up – you can go to each one individually and lock them down (there are privacy options on each section).
Make sure you read through all your posts and updates, see what information you’re revealing about yourself. If you’re in any doubt about anything, best to lock it down and restrict it to just friends. You can also restrict any future Facebook posts from within the ‘Status Update’ field – if you click on the button that says ‘Public’ below the box, you can select whether this update is shared with ‘Public’, ‘Friends’ or a range of other specific settings.

Also remember to check your photos – go through your photos and de-tag yourself from any incidents you’d prefer not to be associated with. This is done photo by photo, with a pen icon coming up when you hover over each image – click on it, then select ‘Remove Tag’ at the bottom of the drop-down list.

It’s important to conduct this audit so you’re fully aware of what info you’re making public, and what that data might say about you. If you’re ever in any doubt as to how your Facebook profile might reflect on your professional standing, err on the side of caution and lock it down.

2. Profile clean-up – Twitter

Twitter is less complex. As you can only share posts of 140 characters, there’s likely to be fewer incriminating tweets attached to your name, but you still should check it off and ensure you’re presenting your professional self in the best light.

The first thing you should do is view your profile by clicking on the ‘Me’ tab at the top of the screen. This is how you’re presenting yourself to the world, how anyone who looks you up on Twitter will see you. Worth noting too that quite often your social media profiles, particularly Twitter, will rank high in Google results for your name, so there’s a good chance anyone looking you up is going to see this profile, as it’s presented in front of you.

Update your photo and background image to professional images – if you’re still using the generic background, definitely find something else to put up there that will better reflect your personal brand. It doesn’t have to be amazing, just a simple image that looks professional and clean – anything is better than not updating at all.

Your bio is also important, and needs to be an accurate reflection of who you are, professionally, and what you do. It’s worth reviewing this and clarifying your own branding statement, what you’d like to present to prospective employers. Focus on your mission, what you bring, as opposed to your skills and experiences alone. Your Twitter bio can be the difference between a person contacting you or clicking onto the next candidate, so worth taking the time to get it right. You should also add in a link to your personal blog or, if you don’t have one, your LinkedIn profile (you can create a customised LinkedIn URL to use for this).

And the last stage is review – start with the photos and videos you’ve shared. On the left-hand pane you’ll see a selection of the last six images you’ve shared. These are particularly important, as they appear on your front page, so you need to ensure there’s nothing controversial there. If there are any you’d like to remove, go through your tweets and delete the offending tweets (deleting tweets is simple – there’s a trash can icon at the bottom of each tweet, press that, then confirm when the pop-up prompt appears).
Your images are more likely to be searched than all your tweets, so you need to go through all of the pictures you’ve shared and take out any that don’t fit into the image you want to present.

3. Profile clean-up – other platforms

Images on Pinterest and Instragram from big nights out, posts on Google+ which could be taken the wrong way. Also review what groups you’re a part of, as these will show up in your profile.

4. Google yourself
Once you’ve cleaned up all you can, put your name into Google and see what comes up. Some of these matches will be things you’ve already changed – Google’s results don’t update instantaneously, it may take days or even a couple of weeks, before all your changes are reflected.

Sourced from:






Do you wake up every morning dreading the commute to work? Do you count the seconds until your lunch break? Are you jealous of friends who are happy with their jobs? Do you ever wonder what life would be like in a parallel universe?

Yes? Then the chances are, you’re stuck in a career rut.

Career ruts are like quicksand, easy to slide into, difficult to get out of.

Whether you started a job and subsequently got swept away with the tide, or stagnated in what used to be in your dream position don’t despair, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
Even if you hate your job, the good news is that the fact that you’ve already got one will work to your advantage. It’s a sad fact of life, but recruiters are more attracted to the employed than the unemployed.

Lesson #1 – Figure out why you hate your job:

Is it the work or the dress code? The commute or the unreasonable deadlines? The uncomfortable office chair or your manager? Identifying exactly why you’re in a career rut will help you find out what you’d be better off doing.
The issue here wasn’t the work itself, and if that’s your case then a career overhaul probably isn’t the best solution. If you don’t feel challenged enough, ask for more responsibility. If you’re conflicting with a colleague, resolve it with a superior. If you hate your job and everything about, it’s time to look for a new one.

Lesson #2 – Work out your strengths and weaknesses:

I used to see a therapist who had spent the majority of his twenties managing a hotel restaurant. He began to notice that as well as running the place, he spent a lot of time listening to his staff and helping them solve their problems and this rapidly became his favourite part of the job. Eventually he quit the restaurant, went back to university and emerged years later as a trained counsellor.
Now, I’m not suggesting that everyone quit their jobs and go back to school to train as something new. The point I’m making is that it’s ok to do something different. Try and pinpoint exactly what it is that you do best, and work out what career would be most suited to your strengths.

Lesson #3 – Do your research:

Unless going to work every day is akin to sticking needles in your eyes, it’s ok to take your time to do some research. I’m not implying that you spend your office hours searching job boards, although that’ll have you out of the door quick enough. Simply assign some spare time each day to browsing what’s out there, and if you’re ready for it, applying for positions.
Getting a grasp on the job market will help you assess what’s achievable, and what’s not. You’ll get a better idea of the skills you need for certain jobs, or if you don’t have them, what positions you could apply for to get a foot in the door.

Lesson #4: Be prepared:

It’s realistic to say that our job market isn’t exactly thriving and the likelihood is, that it’ll take a while to find your dream position. With this in mind, it’s important to stay positive and have confidence that you will achieve your goal. Which you will if you keep at it.
Being prepared mentally is half the challenge; the other part is making sure you have a killer CV and an impressive LinkedIn profile. Don’t underestimate the importance of LinkedIn and your other social networks. The chances are, that the companies you apply to will spend more time researching your online presence than reading your CV. So remove any inappropriate tweets and lock down on your Facebook privacy settings pronto.

Lesson #5. Don’t be afraid of rejection:

Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Walt Disney and Elvis Presley are all famous examples of people who were rejected early on in their careers. Elvis’s granddad told him to go back to driving a truck, Steve Jobs was notoriously fired from Apple, before rejoining and later becoming CEO. Did it stop them from striving toward their goals? No.
Michael Jordan famously stated “I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
The bad news is, you will face rejection. The good news is, it will make you stronger and every step you take will bring you closer to your goal. Whether it takes 5 job applications or 50, it’ll all be worth it when you land your dream job, and finally escape that career rut.

By Anne Fisher, contributor

Eight out of ten employees now gulp a quick lunch at their desks, says a new survey. But not taking a breather during the day, even for just a few minutes, is a recipe for burnout.

FORTUNE — Only 21% of people now regularly leave their workstations for a midday meal, according to a poll of 1,023 U.S. employees by talent development consultants Right Management.

These days, “far fewer employees are feeling comfortable enough with their work loads to take time away” for a quick bite, notes Michael Haid, a senior vice president at the firm. Haid adds that many companies’ cultures make people feel they need to apologize for stepping away from the grindstone even for 30 minutes. “One has to ask if such pressure, without any let-up, actually benefits the individual or the organization,” Haid says. “I mean, does it really improve performance? We are definitely not talking about a return to the days of the three-martini lunch, but have we gone too far in the other direction?”

He thinks so. Employees fearful of being seen as slackers “begin to sacrifice their own break times in order to keep up with their workloads.

Tony Schwartz, head of New York City-based productivity consulting firm The Energy Project, says more and more companies are starting to recognize the problem. “What’s at risk, when employees are overworked and stressed out, is their capacity to do great work,” he says. Avoiding burning people out is critical to success, both for companies and for individual bosses.”
A big part of keeping burnout at bay: Encouraging employees to take a break now and then. “When demand in our lives intensifies, we tend to hunker down and push harder,” Schwartz observes. “The trouble is that, without any downtime to refresh and recharge, we’re less efficient, make more mistakes, and get less engaged with what we’re doing.” The paradox here, he says, is that “by pushing people too hard, you actually make them less productive. But if employees learn to manage their energy better,” partly by taking short respites from work throughout the day, “they get far more done, and add much more value, in far less time.”
Curious about how well (or how badly) you, or your employees, are managing energy? The Energy Project has devised a quick 20-question quiz, administered to thousands of employees over the past decade, to help people pinpoint whether they might be headed for burnout. The results, Schwartz says, are usually “depressing but eye-opening. The average score is 14, meaning that, out of 20 behaviors people regularly engage in, 14 are energy-depleting.”
One of those behaviors is — you guessed it — skipping lunch breaks. “Letting employees recharge at midday is a tremendous competitive advantage,” Schwartz says. “Look at Google. Everyone goes to lunch there. The food is great, and it’s free. And people are having terrific conversations in the dining room.  “Facebook and Twitter now offer the same thing, that chance to connect with colleagues and share ideas over a relaxing meal,” he adds. “Obviously, these are highly successful companies, with forward-thinking management. Look at what’s happening there, and you’re seeing the future.” One can only hope.


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