Why You Need Sleep and How to Get More of It

Why You Need Sleep and How to Get More of It

Why You Need Sleep

Many professionals strive to find a balance between work and home life. In an attempt to find balance, far too many people sacrifice a vital biological necessity—sleep. The average adult needs a full seven to eight hours of sleep to give their body time for full rejuvenation. Some may see that much rest as indulgent, but when you look at the facts, you’ll see it leaves the mind and body working at it’s best, which means you’re at peak performance.

Importance of Sleep

Sleep is more than time for your body and brain to relax. It’s when your energy reserves go to work repairing, restoring, and rejuvenating your body.

The Brain

The brain uses sleep to clear away the old connections you don’t need and strengthens the ones you do. With less than seven hours of sleep, messages from the brain start to slow down. The less sleep you get the slower your brain goes all in an attempt to get the body back to a resting state. You may think you’re okay with five or six hours of rest, but reaction times, decision-making skills, and reasoning abilities all begin to suffer.

Appetite

Your appetite and metabolism change during sleep deprivation as well. Hormones like ghrelin, which controls hunger, and leptin, which makes you feel full, get released in different amounts.  The result—you eat more. When you’re tired, you tend to eat more and crave high-fat, sugary foods that lead to weight gain.

Immune System

The immune system also suffers when you don’t get enough rest. Have you ever noticed that you feel achy and sore when you haven’t gotten a good night’s rest? It could be an old mattress, but it’s more likely you didn’t give your immune system enough time to do its work. Without enough sleep, inflammation increases and the immune system slows down, which means you can’t fight off infection as well.

How to Get More (and Better) Sleep

Many people struggle to get a full night’s rest because of stress, medical conditions, or a changing work schedule. Good sleep hygiene can help establish healthy circadian rhythms and let you get the sleep you need despite the challenges you may be facing.

Keep a Consistent Sleep Schedule

Go to bed at the same time every day, even weekends. The brain releases hormones to start the sleep cycle, and keeping a regular sleep schedule helps to regulate the release of those hormones. To further support better your circadian rhythms, try to wake up at the same time every day.

Create the Right Environment

While multipurpose rooms are efficient, the bedroom needs to be solely devoted to sleep. That way when it’s time to lay down for bed, the brain automatically begins to settle for the night. A comfortable mattress that supports your preferred sleep position, temperatures between 60-68 degrees, and a dark, quiet atmosphere can help you to not only fall asleep faster but stay asleep longer.

Eat Smart and Healthy

Avoid stimulants like caffeine at least four hours before bedtime. A light, healthy dinner eaten three to four hours before bed will prevent any discomfort that could keep you awake. If you need a light snack, try eating foods that support good sleep like dairy products rich in calcium or bananas, which are high in potassium. Both aid in the production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin.

Sara Westgreen is a researcher for the sleep science hub Tuck.com. She sleeps on a king size bed in Texas, where she defends her territory against cats all night. A mother of three, she enjoys beer, board games, and getting as much sleep as she can get her hands on.

Communicate Your Vision

Communicate Your Vision

Leading Change the Kotter Way

Communicate your vision is the fourth step in the Kotter model.  This is part of a series on the Kotter approach to leading shining light 2change. I am in process of revamping my original Kotter model series. This post is about communicating the vision that you created in the last stage. Links to all the earlier Kotter posts are in the next paragraph.  You should be working with a vision that people will be able to understand, get on board with and remember.

The Kotter model is based on research which showed that there are eight critical steps an organisation or service needs to go through to ensure that change happens and sticks. This series of posts will consider these steps in greater detail. We have already reissued; Step One: Creating Urgency and Step Two: Forming a Powerful Coalition  and Step Three Creating a Vision for Change.

Step Four: Communicate Your Vision

So you believe you have an overall vision that people will be able to grasp easily and remember. Now you need to get your vision out there to the people who need to understand it. Believe me, how you communicate it, will determine whether your change works, or not.

Your message is likely to have lots of competition. It will have to stand out from all the day-to-day communications within the company. As well as that, if your change is really significant, you can expect the rumour mill to be at work already. It is more likely to be spreading bad news than good. So you need to communicate your vision frequently and powerfully.

But, communicating your vision is not all about words. You and your guiding team need to walk the talk. You need to show that you believe and embed message in everything that you do.

Don’t just call special meetings to communicate your vision. Instead, talk about it every chance you get. The guiding team need to be visible and let people see you as the embodiment of the change you intend to make.

The top team should be using the vision daily to make decisions and solve problems. And so should all those who are actively engaged. Challenge those who do not. Keep the message fresh and on everyone’s minds.  Then they will begin to remember your vision and respond to it.

What you do is far more important – and believable – than what you say.

Make sure the whole guiding team demonstrates the kind of behaviour you want from others.

  1. Talk often about your vision to make it real.
  2. Be authentic – openly and honestly address peoples’ concerns and anxieties.
  3. Be prepared to answer questions but when doing so keep your vision in mind.
  4. Apply your vision to all aspects of operations – from training to performance reviews.
  5. Tie everything back to the vision.
  6. Lead and manage by example.

If you would like some help thinking about how you are going to communicate your change and how you reflect your vision in what you do, please get in touch. I’ve been there myself.

Meanwhile …

Here is a Kotter Reading List for you;

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

Creating Vision for Change

Creating Vision for Change

Leading Change the Kotter Way

Creating vision for change is the third step in the Kotter model.  I’ve written quite creating visiona bit here about the Kotter approach to leading change and I am in process of revamping my original Kotter model series.  This post deals with creating a vision that people can understand, get on board with and remember. Links to my posts on the earlier stages are in the next paragraph.

The model is based on research which showed that there are eight critical steps an organisation or service needs to go through to ensure that change happens and sticks. This series of posts will consider these steps in greater detail. we have already dealt with; Step One: Create Urgency, Step Two: Form a Powerful Coalition and Step Four: Communicate Your Vision.

Step Three: Create a Vision for Change

When you first start thinking about change, there will probably be many great ideas and solutions floating around.  You need to link these concepts together into an overall vision so that people can grasp them easily and remember.

A clear vision can help everyone understand why you’re asking them to do something – even when it is uncomfortable. When people see for themselves what you’re trying to achieve, then the directives they’re given tend to make more better sense and they can commit to them.

They will expect you as the leader to have a sense of the direction of travel. Something about the vision needs to catch their imagination and help them to stay headed in the same direction.

Here are some steps to help you create your vision:

  • Determine the values that are central to the change. What are the values of your organisation and how do you want to reflect them in the future and in creating vision.
  • Develop a short summary (one or two sentences) that captures what you “see” as the future of your organisation. Make it colourful. How will it have meaning for others?
  • Try your vision out on a colleague – can they see the big picture?
  • Create your strategy so that it executes your vision. What are the big steps on the way?
  • Ensure that your change/guiding coalition (see the links below) can describe the vision in five minutes or less.
  • Practice your “vision speech” often. Make you can feel as well as see your vision when you practice
  • Listen carefully to the responses as you share your vision and consider making adjustments

Next in this series I am going to write more about sharing your vision. Stage 4 in the Kotter model is  about communicating the vision.

Meanwhile…

Here is a Kotter Reading List for you;

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

6 Habits of True Strategic Thinkers

 6 Habits of True Strategic Thinkers

This is an interesting post on http://www.inc.com from Paul J. H.Schoemaker

Paul is Founder and Chairman of Decision Strategies Intl.  He is also a speaker, academic and entrepreneur.  He is Research Director, Mack Ctr for Technological Innovation at Wharton, where he teaches strategic decision-making. His latest book is Brilliant Mistakes: Finding Success on the Far Side of Failure,

Here is an introduction and link to the post,

6 Habits of True Strategic Thinkers

You’re the boss, but you still spend too much time on the day-to-day. Here’s how to become the strategic leader your company needs…….

After two decades of advising organizations large and small, my colleagues and I have formed a clear idea of what’s required of you in this role. Adaptive strategic leaders — the kind who thrive in today’s uncertain environment – do six things well…More at the link below.

6 Habits of True Strategic Thinkers | Inc.com.

Working with a coach really can make your career zing! Get in touch at the email email address below.
Wendy Smith, Career, life and Business Coach

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in organisational development, management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find all her books on Amazon at this link

         

BBC News – Money Box Live: Small businesses

BBC Radio 4's Money Box Live Wednesday, 4 April 2012 at 1502 BST On Radio 4 and Online

Are you an independent contractor or a manager in a small business or perhaps you are involved in a business start-up? If so, you will be interested in today’s edition of BBC Radio 4’s Money Box Live

You can find the BBC Podcast at this link

Despite the challenging economic conditions, the number of small businesses in the UK continues to grow.

A number of Government initiatives were launched earlier last month aimed at helping small firms.

The National Loan Guarantee Scheme will aid businesses with cheaper finance by reducing the cost of bank loans under the scheme by 1%.

Key announcements for business in last month’s Budget include:

  • A cut in the main rate of Corporation Tax from 26% to 24% next month;
  • The Enterprise Management Incentive scheme will provide additional help to start-ups;
  •  The Government is consulting on how to make it easier for sole traders and small businesses to calculate their taxable income.

Topics considered include;

  • Are you starting a small business and want advice on the best way of going about it?
  • Do you run a small business and want help on calculating your tax?
  • If you are approaching your bank for a loan what must you bear in mind?
  • What are the biggest issues facing your business?
  • Are you struggling with unsecured or secured debt?
  • Is the Government doing enough to support small business?

Vincent Duggleby was joined by:

Iestyn Davies, Federation of Small Businesses

Mike Warburton, Grant Thorton

James Henry, Business Debtline

Peter Ibbotson, Natwest/RBS

Presenter: Vincent Duggleby

RELATED INTERNET LINKS

HMRC

HMRC Budget 2012

DWP

Federation of Small Businesses

Business Debtline

National Loan Guarantee Scheme

Businesslink

WiseWolf Talking and the BBC are not responsible for the content of external internet sites

via BBC News – Money Box Live: Small businesses

Leadership and Emotional Intelligence

Robert Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions

Using emotional intelligence can help you succeed as a leader. But what is emotional intelligence, and why is it that success in life sometimes seems unrelated to intelligence and how hard you are prepared to work?

In 1996 Daniel Goleman wrote his groundbreaking book “Emotional Intelligence“. His exhaustive research had confirmed that success in life is based more on our ability to manage our emotions than on our intellectual capability or our physical strength.

Dr Goleman describes five main elements of emotional intelligence:

  1. Self-awareness.
  2. Self-regulation.
  3. Motivation.
  4. Empathy.
  5. Social skills.

The ability to call on these five qualities can help you to succeed as a leader.

  1. Self-awareness means you are in touch with your own feelings and emotions. You understand how they affect your behaviour and how they influence those around you.  You can strengthen your self-awareness by keeping a daily journal where you record how you feel each day and then reflect on what you have written.  Take time during the day to monitor yourself, your feelings and how you are reacting to things.
  2. Self-regulation means you don’t let fly with negative emotions or make rushed judgments about things or people.  Successful leaders stay in control of themselves and they are prepared to be flexible while being accountable. To help you do this, you need know your values and where you are not prepared to compromise. Spend some time thinking about what really matters to you.  Make a commitment to be accountable for what you do and practice staying calm. A relaxation technique can help – try this technique on our sister site WiseWolf’s Your Happiness Factor.
  3. Motivated leaders have a clear vision and work consistently towards their goals. Do you have that clear vision and is it still appropriate to you and your organization?  Find out more about developing the right vision at this link. If you get to the point where you are responding to events, rather than being proactive, then take action because your lack of motivation could put your organization at risk.
  4. For leaders, having empathy is critical to managing a successful organization or a successful team.  Empathy means you can put yourself in someone else’s situation. Leaders with empathy help develop their teams as they develop themselves. They make sure that people are treated fairly, and they listen.  As a result they earn respect and loyalty. Practice imagining yourself in someone else’s shoes – put yourself in their position.  Listen carefully to what people say and pay attention to body language – respond to feelings!
  5. Leaders with social skills are good communicators – they communicate well and often. They’re just as open to hearing bad news as good news!  Leaders who have good social skills have the confidence to resolve conflicts before they threaten the team or the organization. Learn to talk to your team and if necessary do some formal training in communication skills and conflict resolution.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage both your own emotions, and those of the people you lead.   Having a high EQ means  knowing what you are feeling, what this means, and how your emotions can affect other people. For leaders, having emotional intelligence is essential for success. Take time to work on self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills.  They will certainly help ensure that you succeed as a leader.

If you would like to know more about emotional intelligence and how it can help you in job search go to our sister site WiseWolf Leaving the Public Sector.  If you would like to know what emotional intelligence might mean for you in your life outside work then please visit WiseWolf’s Your Happiness Factor.

If you would like to read Dr Goleman’s book click on the picture link below

You can try out an EQ test at this link http://testyourself.psychtests.com/testid/3038

Wendy Mason is a Life and Career Coach.  She helps people have the confidence they need to be successful at work and to change career. You can email her atwendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com or ring ++44(0)2084610114 

Confidence and the Passionate Leader

confidence

If you wish to be a successful leader, you need confidence!

Passion, communication, and empowerment all contribute to successful leadership but without confidence there is no sound basis from which to lead.

The ability to make good decisions quickly is fundamental to leadership.  But if you are diffident and afraid to make, and commit to, decisions, skills in communication and empowerment will not make up the difference.

I’m afraid leaders cannot get away with “well, maybe but I’m not really sure”!

Those lacking in confidence often agonize over decisions and end up making the safe choice.  Confident leaders take the information that they have and then take action.

Not only does confidence allow you to make the tough decisions that people expect from a good leader but confidence is reassuring to those following. It allows you to lead with authority and to accept constructive criticism and open communication.

Think about it, as a leader, how well you deliver speeches and presentations?  If you deliver with confidence, you inspire your hearers be they your team or potential clients. But the same material delivered with doubt has the opposite effect

How confident are you delivering a presentation that sets the direction for the organization in the future? Will people rally behind you in these difficult times or will they be frightened by your lack of certainty? This is the difference between a confident leader and one who going through the motions!

All kinds of factors contribute to a lack of confidence; some of them may go back to your childhood.  Luckily confidence is something that you can work on with a business or career coach and the results are usually very successful.

Any discussion on leadership without first addressing the confidence of the leader really will not be soundly based. Passion is important but no one will follow you with passion unless you first inspire them with your confidence

Wendy Mason works as a Coach, Consultant and Blogger. She works with all kinds of people going through many different kinds of personal and career change, particularly those wanting to increase their confidence.You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com  or ring ++44 (0)2084610114

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Successful Leaders Need Mental Toughness And This Is Something Anyone Can Learn

Unit cell of the diamond cubic crystal structureImage via Wikipedia


My last post said that with practice you can learn to think positively and confidently about making changes.  You   can develop a resilient mindset.  This post takes this further and offers help!

People with inborn talent may be good at what they do—but experience shows that only the mentally tough reach the highest plateaus in their field.

Mental toughness is something anyone can learn.

Director of mental training for the St. Louis Cardinals and a top-tier executive coach, Dr. Jason Selk knows everything there is to know about developing mental toughness!

Inspired on the vision of legendary basketball coach John Wooden, Dr Selk has developed a program that is as simple as it is effective.

But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

You will have to put effort in if you are serious about being successful.  
But this is a great way to build up your mental “muscles.” 

Dr Selk provides hands-on daily exercises for breaking old, self-defeating patterns of behaviour.  You can replace them with the can-do attitude and positive behavior that would make Coach Wooden proud.

ExecutiveToughness outlines the three fundamentals for attaining high-level success:

  • ACCOUNTABILITY—admit to mistakes, correct them, and, most important, learn from them
  • FOCUS—on your strengths, on winning, on reaching your goal . . . for only 100 seconds per day
  • OPTIMISM—don’t just believe you can succeed, know you can succeed

Executive Toughness takes you through the steps of making these critical behaviours part of your everyday routine.

Practice your accountability, focus, and optimism!

Then,you’ll be on the path to attaining your goals!

Make them part of your mental “DNA” and there will be no turning back—ever.

ExecutiveToughness could be your workout for success in your career and in your life.
US Link

UK Link

Wendy Mason works as a Coach, Consultant and Writer. 


She works with all kinds of people going through many different kinds of personal and career change, particularly those;

  • looking for work
  • looking for promotion or newly promoted
  • moving between Public and Private Sectors
  • facing redundancy
  • moving into retirement
  • wanting to do a mid-life review

You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com  or ring ++44 (0)2084610114


Related articles

  • Becoming A Leader Today – What to give up! (wisewolftalking.com)
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  • Business: Change Your Performance Mindset (psychologytoday.com)

When things go wrong! Giving criticism and negative feedback! Seven Ways to Be!

When things go wrong

Sometimes in leading or managing a team we need to give criticism or negative feedback.  Not everything can be perfect every time.  Sometimes things go wrong.  And sometimes that something is down to an action or lack of action by a person or a group of people.

First and most important be sure of the facts.  Try to find out exactly what went wrong and why.

To do this properly you need to have won the confidence and trust of your team.  They need to know that you will deal with them honestly, fairly and with compassion.  That does not mean that you will never give criticism when it is due.

Make sure that your criticism is constructive – it should be about getting things right in the future not about punishment or about scapegoats.  It should not be about the personal qualities of people.  You are not a parent, a school teacher or a judge in a Court of Law.

Dealing with discipline

If you think there has been a disciplinary offence then deal with it in line with your HR Policy. If necessary, take advice and if you are an SME don’t be afraid to have a word with an Employment Law Adviser.  Getting it wrong can cost you a lot of money.  If your team includes contractors be clear about the contract and where contractual responsibilities lies.

Giving Criticism!

Seven Ways to Be

How you sound, look and behave when you give the feedback often matters as much as the words you use.  But the words are important.

Here are my eight ways to be when giving criticism.

  1. Be direct! Get to the point and give the feedback in a simple straight forward way.
  2. Be clear! Set out what you are criticizing, the change you want to see and why.
  3. Be sincere! Say what you mean and mean what you say.  Sincerity mean you speak with care and respect. Don’t send a mixed message – for example “I think you are all wonderful but there is just this little thing I’d like to mention”.  This usually means the real purpose of the message gets lost. Putting the “but” in the middle just creates contradictions
  4. Be serious! Express concern but do not become emotional.  Getting angry and showing frustration will distort the message.  Again remember you are trying to create awareness and improve performance not to create noise, vent or make yourself feel better.
  5. Be objective! State what you have observed and the evidence you have gathered.  Do not reinterpret the facts and add your opinion beyond stating the gap between what happened and what should have happened according to the standards set by you or your organization.
  6. Be live! To have impact, feedback needs to be direct and person to person; not through someone else or through technology.  Talk live to people face-to-face when you can or by phone if there is no alternative.  If talking to a group be with them either physically or by a direct line.
  7. Be on time! No I don’t mean don’t be late for the meeting, although you never should.  Give feedback as close as possible to the event.  When everything is fresh in people’s mind your comments will have far greater impact than further down the line when many may have forgotten exactly what happened.

Those are my Seven Ways to Be when giving criticism and negative feedback.  Do you agree?  Send me your thoughts and observations by commenting below.

 
Wendy Mason works as a Coach, Consultant and Writer. 

She works with all kinds of people going through many different kinds of personal and career change, particularly those;

  • looking for work
  • looking for promotion or newly promoted
  • moving between Public and Private Sectors
  • facing redundancy
  • moving into retirement
  • wanting to do a mid-life review

You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com  or ring ++44 (0)2084610114

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Leaders versus Managers – I think not!

Leadership versus Management?

On a LinkedIn Group that will be better not named, I saw the following subject suggested for a blog post.

“Leadership vs. Management: Highlights the differences between the task orientation of managers and the inspirational orientation of leaders.”

Now I know what they mean, but I thought how sad! Is one really to be set against the other and is there the difference in value implied?

Yes, at its core, leadership is about creating a vision for the organization and inspiring people to march out into the world to achieve it.

Leadership has fascinated people for many hundreds of years.

As soon as we could organise ourselves into groups we needed a leader. Someone had to decide in which direction to go for the hunt – democracy doesn’t appear to be in-built!

By the time of Plato and Socrates, the qualities required for leadership had become something of an obsession.

Leadership depends on a process of influence through which people are “inspired” to work towards common goals.

So the leader has the vision and inspires us to work together towards something.

So what of management?

Well management too has been around for millennia – try Sun Tzu’s The Art of War written in the 6th Century BC.

Management gets the job done – it gets us safely to our destination.

Management takes the vision and turns it into a blueprint – something we can create and a real vibrant destination. Management plans, organizes and resources!  It creates and nurtures the team for the journey.   Management ensures that what is delivered is of the right quality and that we get to our destination intact.

The verb manage comes from the Italian maneggiare (to handle — especially tools), which in turn derives from the Latin manus (hand). The number managed (handled) can range from one person in a small firm to hundreds of thousands in a multinational company.

Managers are artists and craftspeople creating with the most volatile material known, the human spirit.

So next time you think about the task orientation of managers and the “inspirational” orientation of leaders remember this.  A president of the United States had the vision that man would go to the moon but it was managers, lots and lots of talented managers, that got us there.

A question!

In my view, managers and leaders need each other.  They should not in some way be set against each other. In my experience excellent managers are as scarce as excellent leaders in this world.

Well that is my view, but what do you think?

Wendy Mason works as a Coach, Consultant and Writer. 

She works with all kinds of people going through many different kinds of personal and career change, particularly those;

  • looking for work
  • looking for promotion or newly promoted
  • moving between Public and Private Sectors
  • facing redundancy
  • moving into retirement
  • wanting to do a mid-life review

You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com  or ring ++44 (0)2084610114

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