Your Employees Have a Voice, and You Should Listen

If the title of this article made your eyebrows shoot up skeptically, then maybe that’s all the reason you need to read it.

It would be a horrible mistake on the path of any employer or business owner to think employee feedback is unnecessary or irrelevant. More often than you realize, your employees have something to say, and every feedback you get is valuable. So maybe it’s high time you listened to them!

There are several stages at which employers can create a feedback loop; strategic points where feedback is of immense value. Here are 3:

  1. Entry Survey: It’s a good idea to find out what your new hire needs and expects from you. What do you need to provide for them to hit the ground running? What systems do you need to put in place to help them fit right in? Does your business culture encourage them to blend in? Or do you inadvertently have them sticking out like sore thumbs?
  2. Satisfaction Survey: Once in a while, you gotta take the temperature of your office; check in on your people. Are they fine? Is the workplace choking them? Is creativity flowing well or are there some bottle necks you don’t know about?
  3. Exit Survey: How’s your turnover rate? Are a lot of people leaving at once? Why are they leaving? Is it something with the culture? Is there some factor frustrating your staff? Are there things that need to be adjusted?

Of course, there are a lot of other stages/ points where feedback would be valuable, but here’s a good place to start. Now to the question of the day. Just why do you need this feedback, anyway?

Glad you asked!

  1. Dissipate Tension: When employees hold back opinions for whatever reason – fear of losing a job or getting queried, or perhaps and exhaustion that comes from not being listened to – tension tends to build up, because tension has to be dealt with, sorted out. And keeping it in causes it to fester
  2. Relationship Building: Knowing that you’re being listened to is probably the fastest, most effective way to build relationships. Same thing happens in the work place. When employees feel listened to, there’s a stronger relationship between management and workers
  3. Adjustment is Easier: When people are carried along every step of the way, it makes it easier to introduce a new idea. Because the people feel valued, treasured, like they are real people and not just a bunch of statistics, they would tend to be more pliable, less resistant to change. This is a more effective idea than attempting to push your staff around!

Getting feedback is great and everything, but you have to set the atmosphere. You must show that they’re being listened to, you should make sure emotions are controlled, and that you create a safe space where grievances can be aired without bad blood!

Travel

 

My favorite channel on DSTV has to either be BBC Lifestyle or Food Network, and for one singular reason; to get a feel of people, of places, of diversity. One really great way to get exposure is by traveling. And we cannot speak enough about travel.

 

Traveling is an absolutely amazing way to gather experience an exposure – to try new things, see new places, eat foods you’ve not eaten before, learn about cultures and lifestyle of people outside of your bubble, and really just live. If you’ve never traveled before; whether because of funds, time, or whatever other limitations you might have had, it might just be time to add “travel” to your bucket list!

 

As amazing as traveling is, budgeting for it is probably the least fun part of traveling. Watching the figures grow as you add more things to the list of stuff you would need to have a great time. Traveling doesn’t have to be expensive though. I know that might be a little hard to believe, and your eyebrows have probably shot up already, but there are certain guidelines to traveling, and if they’re followed, traveling would be a lot smoother and less expensive:

 

  • Plan to Travel: Like every endeavor worth embarking on, travel should be planned for. This includes doing research, deciding where exactly you would like to travel to, and then doing your findings about the place. Do you want to take a plane or a bus? Do you need a visa to go? What activities would you like to do when you get there? Where would you be staying? About how much would you need? Be careful to make your budget as realistic as possible, preferably leaving extra money for miscellaneous expenses. It is advisable to make the plan about a year or a couple months before the trip, so you can open up an account and begin to save up for it.
  • Travel with friends or with a travel club: Traveling with friends is multipurpose. You get to share the pleasant moments with people you care about, you have something to laugh about much later, you have people to take your bomb pictures, and you get to save money. Think about it. Splitting 700,000 among 7 friends is a lot more economical than having to shoulder 350,000 all by yourself.
  • Do your research: This cannot be overemphasized. When going to a new place, no amount of research is too much. This includes knowing the language, or at least enough to get around, finding out what their food is like, what the weather condition is like, general etiquette, and pretty much every other piece of information you can lay your hands on.
  • Start local: When planning to travel, it is often very easy to chalk up places like Dubai, Kenya, Zanzibar, Canada, Russia, Santorini… all those exotic places. But traveling to these places are super expensive. So here’s an idea. Why don’t you start traveling within Nigeria? There are a couple beautiful places in Nigeria you could start from, Click here to see, and then gradually work your way to other African countries. It saves cost while you save up for the much grander travels, and no travel experience is a waste!

 

I hope this is enough motivation to get started on your travel plans!

Creative Visualization

If there is any movie I think is under appreciated, it would be “Lucy”. You know, the movie about the lady who had some stuff ingested into her system that made it possible for her to use up to 100% of her brain? Remember all the amazing things she did – changing her hair color, modifying herself and all those other cool stuff we low-key wish we could do? Now here’s a thought; What if we could do those things? No, this is not a joke. What if we could?

The human brain is not given the credit it deserves, not by a long shot. That, or we underestimate it. It is a masterpiece! For example, a study carried out by scientists discovered that you can actually tone your muscles and grow stronger just by imagining yourself working out; simply picturing yourself working out stimulates your muscles and works on your body the way actual exercise would. Dear people who want to work out but are too lazy to get up and get to it, are you seeing this?!

So then, if the brain has so much power over the body, do you now see why it just might be possible to do the things portrayed in that movie? What if all you have to do is picture it to become it? This would beg the question “What do you see?”

This is not just some attempt to be philosophical; it is a real question. One we don’t seem to ask ourselves very often. The law of attraction states that you attract whatever you allow your mind to dwell on, and that goes for everything from your body goals to career goals, to basically whatever it is you feed your mind with, which brings us to creative visualization.

Creative visualization is a very powerful thing; it can be used to expedite healing, to minimize physical pain, to reduce anxiety, and to increase your productivity. The simple truth of it is, you cannot become what you cannot picture. Visualization is key in becoming, in achieving. So I’m asking again. What do you see?

HOW TO: Tips to Managing Anger

Do you have that one colleague that just makes you want to drive your fist into a wall? That teammate that makes you want to scream into your pillow at night when you are far away from the office?  Or maybe it’s a boss that just drives you insane, until you feel like you want to pull your hair out? Well, I would have you know that anger is a perfectly natural emotion.

 

 

Like every other emotion, anger is a pointer to something – to tell you something’s wrong. The thing with anger, though, is that it has such a wide range, from mild irritation to full-fledged rage. And when not well managed, anger can be completely destructive, whether it’s at home, with family, or in the workplace with colleagues.

Poorly managed anger is toxic, and could either lead to messy outbursts, or equally toxic withdrawals. Either way, the only healthy way to get along with that “annoying” person is to understand how to properly manage anger.

 

Here are some tips to anger management:

 

 

 

  1. Get away from the situation: The feeling often comes with a surge of adrenaline, a surge of energy that urgently needs expression. Taking a walk is a great way to let out this trapped energy, as well as a perfect avenue to keep you from punching the wall… or that person’s face.

 

  1. Count: This is one of the oldest tricks in the anger management books. But it’s still relevant in managing anger. The trick is to count slowly under your breath, taking your time to focus on each number for a couple seconds while counting. Here’s a simple guide: if the offender is a junior, count to 15. If the person is an equal, count to 20. If the offender is a senior, count to 30, and feel the anger dissipate.

 

 

  1. Mental yoga: Yoga is one of the most relaxing things ever, but you might not be able to do yoga right there in the general office, or your boss’s office, so a good substitute would be to do the yoga routines in your mind. Breathe deeply as you move from downward dog to cobra to the warrior pose in your mind, at the same time repeating calming phrases like “take it easy”, “calm down”

 

  1. Use the “I”s instead of “you”s: Try to swap blames for expressions. For instance, say things like “I don’t like that you’re leaving all the work to me” instead of “you’re always leaving all the work to me! I hate that!”

 

 

 

  1. Pause: Things hardly ever look the same when time lapses. Try not to react immediately, giving yourself and the other party time to review the situation so that the ensuing conversation is objective rather than reactive.

 

 

Dealing with anger the right way helps your health, and creates better relationships with your teammates. It is best to manage anger effectively, to keep from disruptive outbursts. And if all these don’t work, you might want to consider therapy