Be Proactive - Covey Habit #1 -part a

Written by Steve Wright

The first Covey Habit is to "be proactive".

Now when I first heard this I thought this basically meant "do stuff". Proactive people to me were people who simply did things rather than sit and watch, they tookrepparttar initiative. So to me this was going to be an easy one, and beingrepparttar 142831 first I thought it should be. WRONG!

Proactivity here is about choice. It's about takingrepparttar 142832 initiative to stop - think - choose. The biggest hurdle for most of us is realising we have choice. Covey separates what happens around us from how we react to it. I'll say that again another way, as it is extremely core torepparttar 142833 chapter andrepparttar 142834 rest ofrepparttar 142835 book: Covey separates what happens to us from how we decide to react to it. At first this sounds like a nice concept, but will it work in reality?

Can you believe it, as I try and write this, my son has set two electronic keyboards to continually play random tunes, it is so loud I can hardly think! So what is happening? There is a lot of noise and I am struggling to concentrate. How am I reacting? I could use my power as a parent to tell him to stop it 'daddy is working' or even go over and unplug it. Onrepparttar 142836 other hand I could accept he wants to do something with me, talk to him about making a time that works for both of us and ask him to let me finish so we can play together sooner. Maybe he does not realiserepparttar 142837 impact ofrepparttar 142838 noise on my concentration. WOW! - would you believe it, he foundrepparttar 142839 noise annoying also and has just turned it off himself.

Let's look at this as Covey would. My initial response of "TURN THAT DOWN!!!" is completely reactive. It'srepparttar 142840 second response that Covey would describe as proactive. I took what was happening around me and chose for myselfrepparttar 142841 response that best worked for me. Initially I felt I had no choice, it was so loud and I just wanted it to stop, my initial reaction was to stop it using whatever I had - in this caserepparttar 142842 authority of beingrepparttar 142843 parent. How much better would have been my second choice?

Proactivity is about accepting that there is always a choice of how you react to things around you. Ok, I can hear you "But surely some things are so basic there simply is no choice". You may not believe me now, but because we can only see through our own eyes, what we perceive as our reality, is often notrepparttar 142844 reality of others.

Is Your Workplace Suffering from Contagious Stress?

Written by Graham Yemm

We wonder how many of you might recognise this scenario? Although it happened with a male manager, it could apply to men or women. The manager we worked with had been promoted to a more senior role and was experiencing demands from all sides. He became increasingly tired, was working long hours and spending less time with his family. His overall energy dropped, anxiety levels increased, sleep was disrupted and concentration and focus diminished. He no longer took time to exercise, found himself snatching meals of dubious quality and kept himself going with constant fixes of coffee and Red Bull. Apart fromrepparttar impact on him – what do you think wererepparttar 142526 effects on his family andrepparttar 142527 people who worked for and with him?

Imagine what it was like working for him. How supportive was he as a manager? How clear was his direction and communication? Was he just seeingrepparttar 142528 errors and problems? Were his team, and colleagues, starting to feel stressed because of his behaviours?

What about someone working in a customer facing role, who has had trouble getting to work, pressures at home, a sudden increase of customer complaints and problems? The pressure gets to them and they start to become irritable with colleagues – and then with customers. What will that do torepparttar 142529 colleagues andrepparttar 142530 business? The colleagues may be understanding for a while, butrepparttar 142531 longer it goes on,repparttar 142532 risk is that they catchrepparttar 142533 disease! Communication and team support disappear and morale goes down. Suppose it gets worse and our person feels they cannot face it and so take some time off. Now who bearsrepparttar 142534 brunt of this? Oh, and what happens withrepparttar 142535 customers? What would it be like to visit this workplace? Imagine what you would see, hear and feel.

Stress rarely happens in isolation or to one individual. (Although it may feel that way!) When someone begins to get stressed there will be a ripple effect spreading out from them. Those closest feelrepparttar 142536 effect first! Whether it isrepparttar 142537 person atrepparttar 142538 top who cascadesrepparttar 142539 problems down and throughrepparttar 142540 organisation, a line-manager struggling to cope with their job (especially when promoted into it) or a person with loads of pressures in their non-work life – they are contagious!!! The spread will be insidious if nothing is done about it. It becomes a vicious spiral and creates more work for those still there to do it.

Many of you reading this are aware that you have pressures on you from all sides, possibly from your family, your friends, colleagues, your own teams and direct reports – and yourself! Juggling your time and attention across these is a difficult challenge! What makes these pressures worse can be your own expectations of yourself and what you believe you should be doing. This could be concerned with demonstrating how capable and professional you are in your role. It could be because you feel you should be giving your family or friends more of your time and attention.

A consequence of this could be that you start to feelrepparttar 142541 pressure mounting and begin to react to things differently. Maybe you become less patient with some colleagues,repparttar 142542 department who missrepparttar 142543 deadline,repparttar 142544 people in your team who do not communicate inrepparttar 142545 right way for you. If you are not careful you may berepparttar 142546 originator ofrepparttar 142547 “virus” and before long it is spreading to those you interact with and they start to act in a stressed way!

Why does it matter? Stress is likely to lead to problems withinrepparttar 142548 business. These will effectrepparttar 142549 bottom-line, directly or indirectly. The most obvious impact can be loss of business, maybe through poor service, or poor quality. Your costs certainly rise, whether because of lower productivity or having to correct or rework mistakes. Then there isrepparttar 142550 “human cost” of low morale, probably leading to absences (eventually long-term) – and possibly leaving. This results in increasing staff turnover, with allrepparttar 142551 ensuing costs and pitfalls.

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