5 Things Confident Women Never Do Guest Post by LARAE QUY

One of the first things I learned as a new FBI agent was how to set the tone for success when interviewing suspects. At the top of my list was conveying confidence to the person across from me because—and this is crucial—confidence sends the message that you are in a position of authority.

I walked into the interview room with shoulders back, head up, and making eye contact. I prepared for the interview by looking at the facts of the case and thoroughly going over the analytics, assessments, and witness accounts.

This process removed all doubt of my competence in my own head, and what followed was confidence that I could find the truth and make draw reliable conclusions.

Confidence should never be confused with arrogance. Arrogance is thinking you are better than somebody else. Confidence is knowing you are competent and expecting to be treated as such.

Lack of confidence can strike both men and women, but females struggle with confidence issues more often for several reasons. One of the primary culprits contributing to this phenomena is the fact that women are picked apart in many more areas of their life than their male counterparts.

The media and slick advertising promote the image of thin, beautiful women dressed in designer clothes and wearing stiletto heels. They are assaulted with images of the perfect mom and family at Mother’s Day. There are few areas of a woman’s life that is not targeted for improvement—and with that, the implication that she is far from perfect.

Some areas of low confidence include: not worthy of a promotion, too fat, wrong skin color, not educated enough, not worthy of love, not athletic enough…the list goes on.

No wonder women lack confidence! In truth, confidence has nothing to do with beauty, height, weight, skin, clothes, relationships, or intelligence.

Confidence is a gift that only you can can give to yourself. If you have it, no one can take it from you. On the other hand, don’t look to others to give it to you, either.

Confident women LaRae Quy

Here are 5 things confident women never do:

1. Take Their Day For Granted

Confident women never forget to start their day with gratitude. Gratitude puts your life into perspective. Start and end each day with at least 5 positive affirmations about what you are thankful for about yourself.

Gratitude is a powerful emotion for mental toughness because it reminds you to be confident in yourself and your abilities. Confidence is about progress, not perfection. Positive things happen to positive people.

2. Avoid Making Eye Contact With Everyone They Meet

Confident women never avoid any opportunity to flex their confidence muscle during their day in the world. They make eye contact with everyone they meet because they have the confidence to initiate conversations and spread their influence. They know their thoughts have the ability to make a valuable and impactful contribution to other people.

Women with confidence can look a man in the eye and control the situation, and not trivialize the encounter by allowing it to turn into flirting.

3. Stay Inside Their Comfort Zone

Confident women never shrink inside their comfort zone. Instead, they are curious abut the world around them and look for ways to explore it.

Women with confidence believe in their ability to gain knowledge and solve problems. Self-esteem is believing in your competence—learn from your failures and mistakes so you do not repeat them going forward.

Past failure does not predict future failure— develop the mental toughness to stick with it because when you do succeed, that experience will give you more confidence.

4. Speak In Quiet Tones

Confident women never fade into the background by speaking in low tones. They know how to crank up the volume so their opinions and views are heard.

This does not mean they are loud and boisterous; I have a soft voice, but it can also be very strong. When I have something to say, I say it loud enough and enunciate clearly so people both hear and understand.

Tip: If you don’t have anything of value to say, keep your mouth shut. Don’t lose credibility by blabbing just so you can stay in the conversation.

5. Offer Limp Handshakes

Confident women never offer a limp wrist or dead fish handshake. They clamp down and shake hands with authority. Women, in particular, can be bad about this and it sets a weak and feeble message from the very beginning. Practice your handshake if need be, but get it right.

Confidence is believing that we are a person of value. We are ultimately responsible for everything that goes on in our lives. People who are confident keep building on their self-worth, and when they do, they convey the competence and authority they need to be successful in business and life.

READ MORE: http://www.businesswomenexperts.com/5-things-confident-women-never-do-2/ utm_content=buffere56e7&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

6 Ways Vision Will Inspire Your Employees And Culture A Guest Post by Meghan M. Biro

Even as kids, we developed radar on leadership. Consider the classic schoolyard game, Follow the Leader. Everyone has to do exactly what the leader does, or they’re out. Growing up, I remember watching that game dissolve time after time. The leader would start doing scary climbs or huge leaps, and the followers felt put at risk. The leader would make seemingly pointless changes in direction, the followers got frustrated. Finally someone would yell, What are you doing? You’re a terrible leader! And set off a culture mutiny.

Since we left the playground for the workplace, what’s changed? Not much. Though these days, vision’s become a buzzword — to the point where She’s a leader with a real vision can simply mean Nice marketing strategy. But still: effective leadership, particularly at the juncture between the old ways of working and the new, requires far more than a charismatic, alpha personality, and far more than a good PR team.

Here’s how to hone its critical ingredient, Vision, To Stay On Pace With The Future of Work:

1) Vision Is Mission Plus Tech Strategy

True vision involves a clear mission that informs every strategic action and decision. Bring that into a talent management context for a moment. If a CEO’s vision includes attracting the best and the brightest minds to the organization on a global scale, a visionary talent strategy will include a platform that’s social and mobile, agile and timely, shaped with this clear target group in mind. If it doesn’t, the strategy isn’t supporting the vision.

2) Vision Should Come From Within

Consider our iconic leaders. They appear to be so filled with their vision that they’re incandescent with it; lit from within. Steve Jobs is a great example: he lived and breathed his vision; such a part of Apple’s mission that “Think Different” could have had a black turtleneck as a flag. Such distilled strength gives a brand coherency and momentum. But to transmit your vision to others and inspire them, you first have to be filled with it yourself.

3) Vision Is Creative

What makes a leader stand out is that their ability to conceive of an objective that may not even exist: stores serving nothing but fancy coffee, cars a working family can afford to buy, a system of storing data without physical form or shape, yet nearly infinite capacity and capabilities. Then, when it comes to problem solving, where one person sees a dead end, the leader sees a road ahead. Bolstered by an unshakeable faith in their own vision, leaders see obstacles as opportunities.

4) Vision Takes Tenacity

It takes tenacity to adhere to a vision and defend it against the prospect of failure. But leaders roll up their sleeves and the world throws in behind them. Consider the recent news that insurance giant Aetna and retail mammoth Walmart are both raising wagesis bound to cause ripples in the pond, as businesses are forced to similarly act in order to keep pace and attract employees — that’s one of the byproducts of a firmer job market. But the cost of these decisions is immense: Walmart, for once, has 1.3 million U.S. workers. It’s not hard to imagine the resistance such a strategy could come up against within the organization, and how hard fought the battle to get it done.

5) Vision Takes Vision

No, it’s not a typo: vision requires a sense of the big picture and a laser-sharp view of the future. This kind of foresight takes practice, but it’s part of what keeps the train on the track. Leaders need to be able to look at past performances, whether successes or failures, and be able to use that to predict future outcomes. Further, a leader can envision more than one possible outcome, and still have it adhere to their stated objective.

6) Vision Requires Communication

None of this will go anywhere if a leader doesn’t also have the tools to convey that vision to the organization, and inspire them to get the job done. That may also be why marketing has taken such a hold on the term: marketing is about creating the most engaging expression of an idea. Implicit in our ability to convey our vision is that vital compact that leadership needs to have with employees: one of consideration, and inclusion, and respect. Together, we can do it, as the slogan goes. And that, drives employee engagement and helps talent attraction and retention across the board.

13 Approval Seeking Behaviors You Need to Stop Guest Post By Carthage

Approval is like a killer drug. It becomes addictive and you quickly develop a need for more. When you have a need for approval you value the beliefs, opinions and needs of others above your own. Their opinion of your is far more important to you than your own view of yourself. Receiving disapproval becomes a painful experience. Your entire decision making processes are eventually taken over by your need for the approval of others. You cannot take any decisive action without their approval. You sacrifice your own dreams and ambitions in order to have their approval.  The negative consequences of approval seeking behavior are:

  • Lack of achievement
  • Lack of personal fulfilment
  • Low self-esteem and confidence levels
  • Reduced performance
  • Increased stress

You may argue that you do not engage in approval seeking behavior. However, there are common behaviors which you may fail to recognize as approval seeking. Sometimes these behaviors are used as a tactical compromise, to keep the peace, or because the situation is not really that important to you. In some instances, as long as they are not too frequent, it may be useful to allow others to have their way. However, when these behaviors occur too frequently, or are motivated solely by a need for approval, you are adopting an unhealthy behavior which can lead to severe problems.

Approval seeking behaviors

The following are some of the most common approval seeking behaviors. This is not an exhaustive list.

  1. Changing or softening your position because someone appears to disapprove
  2. Paying insincere compliments to gain approval
  3. Feeling upset, worried, or insulted when someone disagrees with you
  4. Expressing agreement (verbally or non-verbally) when you do not agree
  5. Doing something which you do not want to do because you are afraid to say ‘No’
  6. Failing to complain when you have received poor service or a product not fit for purpose
  7. Spreading bad news and gossip to gain attention
  8. Asking permission when it is not required
  9. Consistently apologising for your words and deeds whether others have expressed disapproval or not e.g. ‘I’m sorry but..’
  10. Pretending to be knowledgeable or an authority on a subject because you are afraid to admit that there is something you do not know.
  11. Attempting to coax people into paying you compliments and/or getting upset when they fail to do so.
  12. Behaving in a non-conforming manner in order to draw attention to yourself.
  13. Any behavior which is contrary to your identity and purpose, or conflicts with your core beliefs, is generally done to gain the approval of someone else.

The world is not black and white. You are entitled to your own thoughts, beliefs and opinions. Just because you think differently to someone else does not mean that one of you is right and one of you is wrong. It is important to be able to respect the right of others to have their own opinion but to do so; you must first be able to respect your right to have your own opinion. If someone makes a convincing argument, it is perfectly acceptable to change your opinion; however, if they fail to make a convincing argument, you are just as entitled to stick to your own opinion and agree to disagree. Respecting your own views requires you to avoid approval seeking behaviors. Failing to tackle approval seeking behavior can lead to passive aggressive behavior. You can learn to deal with approval seeking behavior and passive aggressive behavior with our guide to Tackling Passive Aggressive Behavior.

The biggest irony with approval-seeking behavior is that it usually produces the opposite results to those which are intended. If you take a moment to consider those people whom you respect most, you will find that one of their strongest traits is their ability to be true to who they are.  They stand up for what they believe in and live by their own values. Approval seeking behavior is intended to get more approval and respect from others, yet what people generally respect is the very opposite i.e. people who are true to themselves. It is nice to have the approval of others but the way to get it is to have self-approval and self-respect. While modern life conditions people to seek approval; familiarizing yourself with the approval seeking behaviors, listed above, will help you to identify when you are seeking approval, allowing you to take corrective action.

One of  the easiest ways to avoid approval seeking is to live a life that is true to your own values. Values Based Living can help.

10 Signs You’re in the Wrong Job Guest Post by Jo Davidson

So you don’t like your job, but hey, who does? And, it pays the bills, so you can’t complain, right?

But what if your job is making you miserable, negatively impacting your health, wellbeing, relationships and more? Maybe it’s time for a rethink. Here’s ten signs that indicate you should consider a change…

1. You have a burning desire to do something else
You might know exactly what you’d what you want to do, but just don’t know how to turn it into a reality.
It could be that you feel you don’t have the qualifications or the experience to go after it. Or maybe you’ve decided that you’re not ready, or the risks are too great. Alternatively, you may have some ideas about what you want, perhaps to work in a particular field, or to run your own business, for instance, but haven’t figured out the specifics of what you’d do.

2. You’re not challenged enough
You don’t feel like your skills are properly utilised or that you’re given enough autonomy. Or perhaps, the things that you’re doing are just plain boring, and don’t inspire any of your passions. You spend 8 hours a day doing things that mean nothing to you, just so you can pick up a paycheck.

3. You feel uncomfortable with the tasks you’re asked to complete
Your boss demands you handle things in ways that you disagree with, or you’re asked to operate in ways that don’t meet your standards of integrity. You feel like you’re being used as a pawn, or perhaps you question the ethical practices within the organisation or even the products or services you provide.

4. You take things really personally
If your boss makes a suggestion you get defensive. You feel she’s attacking your capabilities or your judgement. Every email you read seems to have an offensive tone, and you might even type rapid fire responses which end in tit for tat email tennis. It almost seems as if everybody is out to make your life difficult.

5. You feel like you’re stuck on a treadmill
Life just feels like a never ending hamster wheel of putting one foot in front of the other. You feel like you never have any time for you, as you fit in the needs of your family and friends, around the demands of your work. You’ve already spent 8 or more hours of your day stuck in a job you hate, and now you begrudge the time you have to spend sorting things out for everyone else, when all you want to do is rest. Every day feels like groundhog day.

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6. Sunday night blues are like a black cloud of overwhelm

You’ve managed to relax a bit during Friday evening and Saturday, but the dread of Monday is already looming when you open your eyes on Sunday morning. You push it aside and get through the day trying to be chirpy for your loved ones, but you’re becoming irritable and withdrawn. By teatime, you’re checking emails and worrying over the week ahead, and all the chores that need doing before Monday morning become a huge headache. You might even turn into Mumzilla!

7. You long for illness or accident
In the mornings, you find your mind is transfixed on circumstances that might give you the opportunity to not go to work. You hope the nausea you feel will turn into a full on bout of salmonella, or wonder if you might pass out. Perhaps your child will be sent home from school poorly, or maybe your car will breakdown, or you’ll be in an accident. At least, if nothing else, you hope the building will be a smoking pile of ashes when you get there.

8. You don’t look after your health 
You rely on vending machine coffees, crisps and sweets to get you through the day. You struggle to motivate yourself to cook dinner or to go to the gym or even out for a walk. Perhaps you’ll have a glass or two of wine, and it might be becoming a 7 night a week habit. You stay up far too late, trying to make your evenings last as long as possible, even though you know you’ll be shattered in the morning. The things you spend those last precious minutes on are meaningless, as you surf social media or flick channels on TV in an attempt to shut off your mind.

9. You don’t sleep well
When you finally do hit the sack, you’re over-tired. Your brain doesn’t want to pipe-down and you lie awake dreading tomorrow. Things you forgot to do suddenly show up to point out where you’ve failed today. Any situations that didn’t play out as you’d have liked, are re-enacted in your mind as you slowly torture yourself for not handling things better. When you finally do get off, you find yourself plagued by dreams about work, or sleep fitfully, waking up every couple of hours. The only time you seem to hit deep sleep is the last 10 minutes before your alarm sounds, at which point you are completely exhausted.

10. You’re always tired
From the minute you get up you’re knackered. You regularly hear yourself saying, or thinking, I’m tired. The workday feels like one long, hard slog, as your tired body and mind aches to curl up and sleep. You go home and exhaustedly make food, spend time with your family, get chores done, and so on. In fact, the only point at which you can go and lie down and get your rest, is the only time you don’t want to.

How many of these apply to your situation? How is your work impacting you emotionally and physically? What is it doing to your ability to be a good mum, a good partner, a good friend, a good daughter or sister? How long can you keep going before you burn out? Eventually, you’ll realise that it has to stop, but for many that happens to late, when their hand is forced by circumstance. But, what if you decided to take control now, before you’re at rock bottom, and designed your route out? It’s a challenge, but it can be done, and I can teach you the easy way to do it. My fantastic programme, Quit Your Job and Get a Life is a four week coaching programme that will take you, step by step, from the job you hate, to the life you’ve only dreamed of.

It’s only available until the 13th of November, and there’s a special half price offer on right now, so sign up quick, and make this Christmas, the last you ever spend in the wrong job.

 

My name is Jo Davidson, and I’m the GET A LIFE coach, helping women to create incredible lives for themselves, by shedding their fears and limiting beliefs, breaking the mould, and taking consistent, determined action in the direction of their dreams. Subscribe to my free newsletter and get a fab free cheat sheet as a thank you.

Share your time saving tips, blogs, recipes, and ideas for better living with Getting Balance’s community of women seeking happiness and wellbeingtoday.

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How To Prepare For And Survive A Layoff Guest Post By Lisa Chatroop

As of last month, the U.S. unemployment rate had decreased to 5.8 percent, the lowest it’s been in years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s good news, but don’t get complacent—nothing is secure when it comes to the economy. Get your finances in order while times are good, so you won’t panic if you’re handed a pink slip down the road. These tips will help you prepare for and survive a layoff in the unfortunate event that it occurs.

How to prepare for a layoff

1. Boost your cushion:  Finance expert Dave Ramsey suggests having a $1,000 emergency fund. Start with any extra funds you may have at your disposal. And going forward, any windfalls or unexpected income goes directly to this fund. Also, slash variable expenses to free up more cash in your budget, and start paying yourself first. A set percentage of your income each pay period will suffice. VisitDaveRamsey.com to learn more about setting up an emergency fund.

2. Pay down debts:  The last thing you need is interest on credit cards spiraling out of control, a wrecked FICO score and creditors breathing down your neck. Think of ways you can raise the cash to help pay down debt. If you receive regular payments from a structured settlement or annuity, you may be able to sell your future payments for a lump sum of cash now. Visit JGWentworth.com for more information about selling your future payments.

3. Understand unemployment benefits:  If you’re eligible for a severance package or unemployment benefits, retrieve the estimated amounts and formulate a plan to make the funds stretch.

4. Start considering freelance work:  Do you have a hobby or skill in your arsenal that can generate a little (or a lot of) cash flow? Now’s the time to put your creative juices to work to rake in cash that can be contributed to your rainy day fund and replace lost income once your employer cuts the cord.Forbes.com has tips on getting freelance work.

How to survive a layoff

1. Less is more:  You should’ve gotten into the habit of reducing variable expenses by now. But if the layoff came as a surprise, the frequent dining out, visits to the spa and fancy phone plans just to name a few, must come to a halt. Simply put, if it’s not a need, it has to wait.

2. Closely monitor your spending:  Before you commit to any budget, determine where your money actually goes each month. Doing so will help you obtain a realistic idea of which areas you excel in and others that desperately need improvement. In essence, you won’t be setting yourself up for failure.

3. Incorporate a realistic spending plan:  It should at least cover bare necessities and account for benefits, cuts to expenses and improved spending patterns. For help creating a monthly budget, visitBankrate.com.

4. Contact creditors:  If you foresee monthly obligations or due dates becoming a problem, don’t wait until the last minute to reach out to creditors. Immediately notify them of your situation and inquire about payment arrangement options that may be available to you.

5. Find a part-time job:  Until you land your next career position, any income is better than none, especially if you don’t have a side hustle.

Finally…

Soak up all the knowledge you can about financial literacy through books, live seminars and online resources. Also, check with your financial institution to see if they offer workshops or one-on-one assistance. And don’t forget to continually invest in yourself through free continuing education until you secure the next position.

READ MORE: http://www.good.co/blog/2015/01/02/how-to-survive-a-layoff/

The Uncomfortable Truth Of What Is Keeping You From Success Guest Post by Linda Coussement

1. You’re Not Clear On What Success Really Is

I’ve been interviewed for a popular magazine in the Netherlands when I was a student and it was all about what we wanted out of life after our studies. I’m caught on print that all I wanted was to have an amazing, well-paid job, a big house and a car to go with it. 6 Years later I find myself in a big fancy office filled with highly achieving consultants where I drove to in my big fancy car from my big fancy house being incredibly jealous of the guy who waters the plants because he’s obviously a lot more HAPPY with his life and work than I am.

Having a clear vision on what success is to you is a basic necessity; how else are you going to know that you’re heading in the right direction and if you indeed ARE successful?

But make sure your vision grows and evolves along with you in life.

2. You’re Not Listening To Your Gut

Us human beings are a fascinating bunch; instinctively we almost always know what’s right or wrong for us but we hardly ever listen to those instincts and do the wrong things anyway. The reasons for this could fill an entire library but the effect of it is that we waste our time and energy on things that are not in line with our core vision and are therefore keeping us from success.

Listening to your gut and acting on it demands you to be very brave. It means that you’ll have to say no to opportunities and people even when that puts you at risk of being unpopular or even not profitable in the short-term. But it’s authentic, and in the end, that’s the only way to success.

And not listening…that will keep you nice and safe in your comfort zone. You know, the place where you’ll very likely NOT achieve the things you want to.

3. Your Ambition Is In The Way

Who is your big hero, entrepreneurial or otherwise? Do you just look up to them and learn from them or do you want to be exactly like them?

There’s a big difference! It’s great to have people to look up to and learn from, especially in this day and age where so many inspirational stories are shared. We learn that we’re not alone in our struggles on the path to success and we learn how to recognize and not fall in to the pitfalls these people have.

But what if you want to be exactly like them? What if you’re not happy until you’ve achieved the same as they have?

Personally, I can’t seem to shake the ambition of being a combination of Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama and Angelina Jolie and am not happy until I get the same recognition they get…

Yeah, that’s never gonna happen!

Not because I don’t deserve that recognition or am anything less than they are but simply because I’M NOT THEM.

But it does limit my behavior and level of courage at times…

We all have our own lives, paths and characters and can be extremely successful in our own rights, but we’re keeping ourselves small if we keep comparing ourselves to others.

4. You Can’t See What You’ve Already Achieved

At what point will you be able to look at yourself and your business and be happy with what you’ve achieved?

Most of us can’t. Most of us have this continuously lingering thought in the back of our heads that tells us that it (and we) are still ‘not good enough’…

It’s both the comparison of ourselves to others and an ancient imprint in our brain that compels us to always be something bigger and better than we are. It’s evolution and simply in our DNA.

But it’s not really useful is it? What’s the point of working this hard and actually achieving all this success but not enjoying it for what it is?

Rand Fishkin, founder of Moz wrote this beautiful post about his depression. He says that he feels guilty for the mistakes he’s made and that he has put his company at risk. But facts are that they’ve never been at any real risk, at least not more than any other business. Another fact is that pretty much everyone responding in the comments, including his colleagues, disagrees with him and tells him there’s no guilt necessary.

I think Rand is a superhero for sharing his story but it goes to show how deep these self-deprecating thoughts go even when someone clearly IS successful.

Sometimes…there’s nothing keeping us from success. Sometimes, we’re already there but just not able to see it.

Not sure if you’re holding yourself back in any way? Answer these questions:

–       Do you really know what success looks like for YOU?

–       Do you always listen to – and act on – your instincts?

–       Does the awesomeness of [insert name] keep you from even trying?

–       Could it be that you’re already there? Hint: listen to the people close to you!

Dreaming big, having huge ambitions and always aiming for growth and improvement are all essential for success and great characteristics for anyone that thinks of themselves as a personal leader.

But don’t let them become their own pitfalls.

 READ MORE: http://addicted2success.com/success-advice/the-uncomfortable-truth-of-what-is-keeping-you-from-success/

Developing a Problem Solving Mindset Guest Post by By Carthage

Whether you are trying to improve your productivity, improve the quality of your relationships or, resolve conflict; there is one critical factor which is often overlooked – a problem solving mindset. A problem solving mindset is essential in almost every area of life. Even with the best planning and preparation, things will go wrong for you. When this happens, your problem solving mindset will enable you to find the best path forward. You will be able to achieve your objectives quicker, help others to find solutions to their problems and, reduce conflict and stress. When you have an effective problem solving mindset, you become a valuable resource for friends, family and colleagues. Even in the most pressurised of situations, you will be seen as an ally rather than a threat.

Critical aspects of a problem solving mindset

The following skills are critical aspects of a problem solving mindset. As you start to implement these skills, and improve your ability with them, you will see large improvements in the results that you achieve.

1. Responsibility

Responsibility is both a skill and an attitude. When you encounter a problem in your life, you can either bury your head in the sand or, you can choose to do something proactive about the situation. Sadly, many choose the first option butavoidance is not an effective problem solving skill. When you choose to ignore a problem; it doesn’t go away. Instead, it builds up in the background until eventually; you are forced to deal with it.

With a problem solving mindset, you know that if you do not attempt to deal with the problem; you are creating a bigger problem which, when you are eventually forced to deal with it; it will be more difficult to resolve successfully. Therefore, when you see a problem, you are eager and willing to step up and attempt to resolve the situation.

2. Emotional intelligence

When things go wrong, it is easy to lose control of your emotions. You may become angry or distraught due to things not going as expected. It is important that you feel and experience your emotions but it is just as important that you do not choose your next action based on these emotions. Your emotions are so powerful that they can influence you to take decisions and actions that you would not otherwise consider. An essential component of an effective problem solving mindset is the ability to take ownership of your emotions and then, centre yourself and regain your composure, prior to choosing your response to the situation.

Dr. Steve Peter’s excellent book ‘The Chimp Paradox: The Mind Management Program to Help You Achieve Success, Confidence, and Happiness’, will give you an excellent overview of this.

3. Goal identification

You would be amazed at how many people I have met over the years who, when faced with a problem, rush straight in to trying to solve the problem before they have decided on the outcome they desire. When you are trying to solve a problem, you must first understand the true nature of the problem. Then, you must decide what solution you would like to achieve i.e. what is the end goal of the problem solving process. If you have no idea of the outcome you are trying to achieve; you will not solve the problem, you will merely change the problem.

Once you have developed a problem solving mindset, you will realise that you need to stand back and analyse a problem before you rush in to solve it. You will then enter the problem solving phase with a clear understanding of what is wrong, what it is costing you and, what you would like to achieve as a result of your efforts. With this approach, your chances of success are greatly elevated.

You can learn more about idenitifying and setting effective goals with theUltimate Guide to Goal Setting.

4. Descriptive and objective detail

One of the biggest obstacles to problem solving is the apportioning of blame. When you use the language of blame, others take offence and go on the defensive. They are then less likely to engage in any attempts to resolve the situation. To prevent this from happening, it is imperative that you be able to give an accurate, detailed account of what has occurred. If you are unsure of some of the details, say so. Do not try to fill the gap with assumptions as somebody is likely to offer a contrary view, thus leading to an unnecessary argument.

5. Active listening

When I first entered the working world, the term ‘active listening’ was really taking off. However, the teaching on this area seemed to focus on the need to let the other person know that you are listening; with verbal and physical gestures e.g. nodding your head. However, I have always found that there is a simpler way to practice active listening – listen.

When you genuinely listen to people, and take an interest in what they say, this communicates itself to the person speaking. You will naturally begin to do verbal and physical gestures. You will also find that you are inclined to ask questions and reflect. When you listen actively, the speaker feels valued and appreciated thus encouraging them to be more open, trustworthy and helpful as you try to resolve the problem.

6. Probe and reflect

So, active listening is not just listening. It is listening and, supporting that listening with questions and reflections, with the purpose of gathering as much information about the problem as possible. When you are listening, you may be confused about something that you have heard or, you may wish to learn a little more about something which was mentioned. This is the ideal time to ask a question or two, so that you may probe a little further.

When you develop a problem solving mindset, you realise that there is thinking that you understand and, ensuring that you understand. You don’t settle for thinking that you understand. Instead, you use reflection to tell the speaker your understanding of what they have told you. This is important because it provides them with the opportunity to correct any misunderstandings. This ensures that you can pursue a solution based on facts rather than miscommunications.

7. Desire to find the most appropriate solution

Too often, when trying to solve a problem, people jump at the first solution that comes into their head. In my experience, the first solution is rarely the best or most appropriate solution. It is best to take a period of time to generate as many potential solutions as possible. Invite all of the relevant stakeholders to offer their thoughts. Then, together, you can evaluate each potential solution to determine which one is most likely to bring about the conclusion that you are seeking.

Effective communication skills are an essential part of a problem solving mindset. You can learn more with How To Talk So Others Will Listen.

A problem solving mindset is crucial in every walk of life. When you have a problem solving mindset you understand the difference between actually solving the problem and, merely changing the nature of the problem. When you have a problem solving mindset you have a range of skills and attributes which enable you to find the most appropriate solution to implement, in order to bring about the desired change. As you implement these skills and gain confidence in your ability to use them, you will deal with any problems that may arise, quicker and more effectively. As a consequence, you will improve the quality of the results that you achieve in all areas of your life.

READ MORE: http://www.coachingpositiveperformance.com/developing-problem-solving-mindset/