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Why Volunteering in the Community Can Benefit the Business

by Coaching Out of the Box

Most people nowadays lead very active lifestyles and fitting in extra, non-income generating activities can be a stretch. This can, however, help to distinguish a business from its competition, especially in the eyes of the immediate community. The large percentage of consumers who research and consider corporate responsibility when choosing products or services should be an influencing factor on every business, but apart from just the increase in the bottom line, giving back is a great way to increase employee satisfaction as well as personal satisfaction for business owners. Giving back in the community builds a sense of purpose, responsibility and connectedness, which is important to every individual’s well-being as well as that of their community. Making a difference to make the world a better place does bring a certain unique sense of self, which could otherwise be difficult to find. Here are some things to consider when choosing to bring community service into the business plan:

  1. Choose an important cause in line with the values of the company or ownership, such as animal welfare, education, healthcare or another cause employees can get on board with easily and customers can relate back to the business.
  2. Use what is at the company’s disposal, including employees and even company time, to better support the cause. This will help build relationships in the community, especially if they are drawn into the business location or can interact with employees directly. Volunteering can visibly demonstrate the commitment a business has to its local community.
  3. Provide opportunities for employees to grow leadership skills by allowing and encouraging them to participate. Outside of the office environment, some employees may find their other skills useful and may even engage on a more positive level with each other and their superiors. This can help build office morale and employee engagement in the workplace.
  4. Let customers and potential clients know what the business is doing to give back. The costs of the program or volunteer hours provided are a great start, but also promote the cause internally to show the company’s commitment.
  5. Provide employees with a way to share feedback on their experiences as well as any other causes or events that might benefit from the company’s support.

Being a socially responsible company, even as a small business, can have long term benefits including new customers, free publicity by the organization and a sense of trust from the community at large. As another benefit, the community will benefit, which can lead to a stronger community and even economy and that is a win-win for everyone.

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Learn How to Properly Delegate and Free Up Extra Time

by Coaching Out of the Box

Whether the endeavour is a successful wedding or a successful business, no one person can do everything required to make a big plan succeed. This is why delegation is important, especially once there are trustworthy people available to help delegate to. The problem comes in with letting go of the control for any part of the plan. A leader, business owner or even a bride may find it difficult to hand over their vision of success to someone else to guide, even if it is in something as small as organizing the food for a get-together. Keeping control of every little thing means that nothing gets the full attention it requires, especially the major components of any plan. Even if there is no enjoyment in doing the task, the simple idea of not being there to oversee it might throw some people into a panic.

Here are some guidelines to letting go of smaller tasks to free up time to focus on larger ones: 

  1. Choose trustworthy people to assist in the tasks. If there is any concern about their abilities, discuss this up front with them and ensure both parties understand what is expected.

  2. Communicate the desired outcome of the task. Whether it is handing over the accounting system or just the mailing list for advertisements, it is important to let the other person know exactly what the expected outcome is. If there are deadlines, sensitive information or just quirks to the process, these need to be outlined in the beginning to help avoid issues down the line. Don’t set up someone for failure by not clearly noting what is expected.

  3. Clearly identify the responsibilities of each delegate. Does one person need to handle a specific task? If so, let everyone else know that this person is in charge of that piece of the puzzle. This will help alleviate gaps in communication or stepping on toes. No one can say they didn’t know they were responsible for something if it was identified early on as their responsibility.

  4. Empower those people to make decisions themselves. Give them authority to act on their best instincts and not have to run everything by someone else first. If this poses a problem down the road, address it and make any necessary changes but always trust team members to do their best.

  5. Provide support where required. If there are questions or concerns, or something unexpected comes up in the process, let everyone know they can ask questions or for assistance without repercussions.

  6. Look at results more than to-do lists. There will always be more on the list to do, but focusing on what has already been done and how well it was handled can help encourage the team.

  7. Check in periodically as a team. Depending on the final deadlines, this may be a weekly event or a monthly event. Have everyone give a brief update and use the time to brainstorm any solutions to issues that may have come up.

At first, delegation can seem like a daunting task; finding the right people, learning their skill sets, handing over assignments suited to them, reviewing work, ensuring things are running smoothly, etc. However, once the process is in place, these items will no longer be consuming large portions of productive time and this frees up that time for more important matters. So much more can be achieved once delegation becomes a part of normal practice.

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How to Improve Cognitive Function & Increase Longevity

by Coaching Out of the Box

It is well known that taking care of the body can create a healthy, happy lifestyle and improve longevity, however, brain power isn’t always given the same consideration. Cognitive function isn’t just a term used for babies and children, it is also essential for adults to develop as well. Although there is some crossover between healthy lifestyle and improved cognition, there are certain other habits that can be formed to better assist in this endeavour, such as:

  1. Keep active. This goes for both the body and the mind. Exercising physically can help, however, it is also essential to keep the mind active. There are many apps and games available that can challenge and test the mind, which helps to sharpen it.
  2. Choose more educational programming on television. It is nice to occasionally zone out with a fluff piece on TV, but to help the brain stay active, throw in some interesting documentaries or educational programs.
  3. Practice recall. When something is read or observed, it isn’t necessarily stored. Practicing recall can not only help store information better, but it can build up pathways.
  4. Learn a new skill or hobby. Even something as simple as learning to write with the opposite hand can help create new connections in the brain, which may be a step towards preventing Alzheimer’s and other brain conditions later in life.
  5. Attend classes, workshops or conventions. This also helps the brain to form new connections and may even help with building new social connections.
  6. Work on reducing stress. Stress is a killer, especially of cognitive function, so make sure to practice stress reduction to prevent cell loss over time.
  7. Pick up a book, or an ebook, and read it. The more the brain is required to remember a storyline, characters and events, the better it functions over time.
  8. Practice creativity. Problem solving and thinking outside the box are additional ways to improve cognitive function.

Although some of these activities can be done from the comfort of home, or even the couch, it is also important to engage full brain activity by interacting with the real world. Both brain hemispheres need to be interactive, so ensuring the use of a broad range of tactics will ultimately garner the most success.

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Why it’s Important to Keep Learning New Skills

by Coaching Out of the Box

It is a fact that the world is always changing; there are new discoveries regularly in almost every industry and the way people view the world changes with each discovery. Without adaptation, people and businesses can be left behind. Take for instance the impact the internet and social media have had on communication and marketing in recent years. The bulky fax machines have been replaced by efficient fax to email or simply emails with attachments alone. This type of drastic change can greatly impact how a business is viewed by its clients and peers. Here are some of the main reasons that learning a new skill regularly is an important concept to stay ahead:

  1. Learning new skills adds to the value provided to clients and the marketability of the business. For every new credential earned, a business has a new marketing tool and can offer greater incentives to clients who use them.
  2. Doing the same thing the same way will get the same results. If what is offered never changes, neither will the clients. Stagnant businesses are set to fail, although this may take some time to realize.
  3. Discoveries are made regularly in the industries of health and psychology, among may others, which impacts how one might deal with a given situation. Take for instance the increase in understanding and utilization of coaching in a corporate atmosphere.
  4. Learning can help with achieving and creating new goals. Knowledge breeds an excitement for more knowledge and this can lead to a more ambitious outlook. This can help motivate an individual to seek greater challenges.
  5. It can help broaden the scope of available clients. For instance, learning a new language can bring in additional clients who may not have been able to communicate previously.
  6. Keep up with new trends and developments in the industry. Be on top of the game with the latest insights and provide clients with more confidence in the business’s efficiency.
  7. Advance problem solving skill sets. This can also benefit in a greater sense of accomplishment and confidence.

No matter what industry is involved, continually learning new skills and developments can improve performance and profitability; the key things businesses are looking to achieve. To do this, of course, requires an investment of time and money but in the end, good investments are well worth the sacrifices.  

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The Importance of Empathetic Leadership

by Coaching Out of the Box

Empathy is an important part of human interaction. It is the ability to relate to others experiences, thoughts and emotions on a personal level. It goes further than simply sympathy and allows the person to create a deeper connection with other individuals. Leaders of today can show a new level of caring for their teams, employees and others by simply working to improve their abilities to empathize. Having empathy and displaying empathetic behaviours are not the same thing, however. Displaying empathetic emotion means understanding the feelings of others, sharing in their emotions and even experiencing the feelings of others. The direct correspondence between empathetic leaders and their leadership performance has been shown in studies. This is especially true in management positions, as employees are more likely to positively respond to management they see as empathetic to their issues. These employees show a greater positivity in their jobs and a higher satisfaction in their positions, which leads to an improvement in work performance.

Empathy can be an innate trait for some or learned by others. Most leaders and managers fall into the category of sometimes empathetic. Improvement in this skill requires time and dedication, but the payoff can be worthwhile. Here are some ways to improve empathetic responses:

  1. Read more literature – specifically literary fiction, which has characters that people can relate to. The ability to build a connection with these characters allows the reader to feel for them and empathize with their situations, even if they are not real.
  2. Practice active listening – showing an interest in what others are saying and taking the time to properly process their words will help eliminate misunderstandings and build stronger bonds.
  3. View the situation from the other person’s viewpoint – how would they feel about this as opposed to selfish responses.
  4. Validate others thoughts and feelings honestly – try using positive, supportive responses truthfully. Validating others shows a level of empathy that people will connect with.
  5. Allow pain and injustice to make an impact – don’t turn away from the suffering of others, but at least occasionally embrace it. This will likely make a positive impact in future interactions since it can be referenced as a point of personal understanding.
  6. Encounter the world outside the comfort zone – talk to strangers, ask questions, learn, understand what makes them unique. Everyone has a story and truly empathetic people are curious about each story.
  7. Be vulnerable when necessary – in addition to listening, providing insight from deep inside can help others open up. This creates a unique bond with those individuals and strengthens empathetic responses for both parties.

No matter the stage or job title, everyone can benefit from becoming more empathetic. Human interactions would increase in quality and quantity if people worked on being more empathetic and less self-involved. It is a necessary trait to a happier and more meaningful future.

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