All Eyes Are Watching You

By Annette Pieper

I was riding on the back of an all-terrain vehicle through a forest of quaking aspen in central Utah a while back, enjoying life in the outdoors, kicking back and taking in the scenery. As we drove along through the quaking trees, I noticed how the knot holes in the aspen trees look like eyes. Suddenly, it felt as if a million eyes were watching me. It was kind of eerie.
It dawned on me that in business, as you put yourself out there and market yourself; a million eyes are watching you. You have much greater influence than you realize, especially with social media and web based presence. As your exposure grows, so does the amount of eyes watching you. Even if people are not in direct contact with you, as in signing up for your newsletter or becoming a client or customer, they are still watching. They may be spreading the word about you and your business as well in either a positive or negative manner.
Is that a spooky thought for you? Exciting? Here are a few tips to make sure that you stay on the exciting side of the equation and not the spooky side.

Social Media:

Do not air personal family, friend or business conflicts on twitter or Facebook. There are approximately 350 million users on Facebook and even if you have only 30 friends, your posts show up with those friends, they have the opportunity to share your post on their wall so your post may end up being viewed by thousands of people. Furthermore, anyone that you have unfriended can still see your posts and anyone who has sent you a friend request, even if you have not accepted it can see your posts. And what about twitter threads. Whew…that could add up to a lot of people.
Keep your complaining to a minimum if at all. It’s ok to write about a frustration but add the upside or silver lining at the end. What did you learn? What’s good about it? Inspire people rather than expire them. There’s enough negativity out there, do not feed that fire.
Make most of your posts value added or as a positive connection point. Social media is about connection. It gives us an opportunity to add value and support to others and to receive it in return. It gives us the opportunity to connect with people outside of our local community so keep it on the positive side.
Networking:

How you show up at a networking event has a great effect on how you are perceived. I was on a tele-class for professional speakers the other day and the teacher said that people make 11 assumptions about you in the first 11 seconds of seeing you. WOW! Eleven assumptions, probably before you even blurt out a word. Be sure to dress how you want to be viewed. If you are a plumber and you want your potential market to view you as a hard working individual, then nice jeans and a polo shirt with your company logo on it may be the right combo. If you are a Real Estate professional or accountant, probably office/casual would suffice. Watch the shoes, people notice worn out shoes. Sure, they may be comfortable but seriously, make sure they send the right message.
Grooming is important. Hair, nails, teeth, breath, body odor, they are all important. Many times we don’t think people will notice the small details. Wrong! Sometimes the small stuff stands out like a big sore thumb.
How you speak is important too. Speak with confidence and passion about your business. Focus more on the other person rather than throwing up all over them about your business. Have you ever experienced that? The person you are talking to is not really interested at all in creating business relationships, they are just interested in letting you know about their business and not interested in yours at all. It’s all about them and they just throw up all over you. Gross! Let that not be you.
Videos:
Be sure that your videos are relevant to your business. Don’t post your personal family videos to your business channel unless you are tying it into your business.
Make sure that your videos portray the image of you and your business that you want people to perceive. Remember the eleven assumptions in eleven minutes can happen on video too.
Don’t film in a disorganized environment such as a messy office. Clean it up or find a better spot to film, unless it is relevant to the message being shared.
These are just a few ways that we show up in front of people. If you have a website, eyes are watching you there too. Pictures that you are tagged in may just show up in Google images. When was the last time you Googled yourself? Just for fun, Google your name or go to Google images and type in your name and see what shows up. It may be eye opening.
As you market your business online and off, keep in mind the people who are watching you and the assumptions they may be creating about you. Set your intention to show up as positive and inspiring others. To quote from the Spiderman movie “With great exposure comes great responsibility”…oops that’s my quote.

social media

Check Annette Pieper’s training at Curious Mondo

Does Your Back Ache From Bending Over Backwards for Your Employees?

Being the boss is tough. With all the information available on how to motivate and engage employees, without being a micro-manager or a bully, it can be a bit confusing trying to determine what exactly an effective boss is like today. A big part of becoming a good boss is understanding and creating healthy boundaries.

What is a boundary? A boundary is an imaginary line that exists between you and your employees. It marks the difference between your organizational role, authority, responsibility and status, etc. and theirs. And by virtue of this, it defines acceptable behaviors in a given situation, and it gives you permission to tell others what to do and what to expect of them as they do it.

How do you know if you have unhealthy boundaries with employees? If your boundaries at work are non-existent or too loose, you’re probably the type who is very concerned about whether your employees like you. That is, your primary desire, motivation, and basis for your decision-making centers on making your employees like you. And because you want them to like you, you believe if you take care of them and even protect them, they will like you more and work that much harder. After all, it’s all about relationships, right?

Yes, it is about relationships – healthy ones – with good boundaries. Boundaries that recognize and communicate that you are not your employees’ equal at work and that it’s your job to tell them what to do and to provide them information about why they need to do it and how well they did it. If you are overly concerned with being liked, you’re focusing on you and not on the company’s goals and interests (which is the job of management). (This is called co-dependence or “letting the tail wag the dog”.) In short, you are not fulfilling your role as boss and are bending over backwards too far.

If you find yourself walking on eggshells around employees in the pursuit of their happiness and at the expense of the company’s interests . . . . If you balk at requiring/asking your employees to do the not so fun parts of their jobs . . . . If you are avoiding a conversation about performance or conduct issues because you’re afraid you might upset an employee. . . . here are 4 things you can do to create healthier boss/employee boundaries:

  • First, consciously step into your role as boss with no apologies. This means, you are the “decider”. It’s your job to set expectations and sometimes to have difficult conversations: that’s what you’re paid to do. You don’t need to be a jerk about it. Just be as clear as possible. Your employees already expect this by virtue of your role as the boss. The authority and permission to tell others what to do is built into the boss/employee relationship. (Repeat: you don’t need to be a jerk about it.) They’re waiting for it because even they know when they are pushing boundaries. They are probably surprised you haven’t already addressed certain issues with them.
  •  Second, strive to be respected instead of liked. You might be able to do both, but garnering respect first and foremost forms the basis of a healthy boss/employee relationship. To gain respect, you must be firm, fair, and consistent, so your employees know what to expect of you on a regular basis. And yes, your employees won’t like everything you hold them accountable to, but they’ll understand it and expect it.
  • Third, don’t actively seek to be friends with your employees. They might be great people, but to maintain a healthy leader/employee boundary, you shouldn’t see each other tipsy at happy hour or know minute details of your current or past relationships. Concentrate on the work  with occasional superficial chit chat.
  • Fourth, get better at handling conflict and hard conversations. Being the boss means you will deal with situations where most people don’t want to change the way they do things. Conflict abounds. When you shy away from conflict, you’re trading the possibility of something new and full of potential, for staying stuck in the present situation that you may think is safe but which reflects your inability to adapt and your lack of faith in others to do the same.

To better cope with the discomfort of being the boss, find peers – other managers, business owners, CEOs – to commiserate and celebrate with. It can be lonely being in charge, and these peers can relate to the trials and tribulations of being a boss and offer advice and support.

Your employees were hired to accomplish work in your company. They don’t mind doing the job – they applied for it. And healthy, defined boundaries will create clarity, making your work together easier and more productive.

Beth Stratman

Beth Stratman is an author, speaker, consultant, podcast host and one of the instructors at Curious Mondo. Check one of Beth’s training on Creating a Distraction Proof Workplace

Teaching Millennials

According to some predictions, by 2020 half of all classes will be taken online.

Firstly, eLearning engages students into personally relevant experiences. Moreover, it encourages development of essential skills for the 21st century: creativity, critical thinking, meaningful collaboration.

Finally, it enables simulation. In other words, eLearning creates authentic atmosphere and deepens the understanding of real-world issues by fully engaging students.
More so, this is the way Millennials want to learn