Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A New Year's Wish For Leaders

Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbours, and let every New Year find you a better man or woman.”

~Benjamin Franklin

Oh, if we could all just follow Benjamin Franklin’s advice, what a wonderful world it would be. Why must we all find fault with each other while carrying anger and hatred into the world? Why do so many of us want to see others fail so that we can succeed and why do we defend our lies as if they are truths?

Why are human beings so flawed, and why is each one of us so tragically human?

During the Christmas season the world is full of love and goodwill toward all mankind. Almost immediately after that, the New Year comes along and millions of folks make resolutions that most will never comply with. For those two days of the year we practice universal love and make conscious decisions to be better men and women.

For the rest of the year, most of us simply go back to being the people we are and have always been with the inevitable consequences…wars rage on, crime rates escalate, court room waiting lists get longer, people die in alcohol related accidents, ordinary people die from substance abuse, others die from lung cancer, strokes, heart disease and violence; obesity levels grow and we all continue our race to self-induced oblivion.

It seems that most of us cannot sustain a conscious effort to be better men and women for more than a couple of days each year.

This year, why not become a leader to everyone in your life?

Why not set the example by overcoming your vices, putting aside your anger, adopting an attitude of pure positive thoughts and actions and by making a concerted effort to be a better person?

Can you do it? Can you be the one person who will make a difference? You probably cannot change the world single-handedly, but you can make a difference in your environment and you can make improvements in your own life that others will notice.

Forget about societal, cultural, employment related, success driven, peer pressure-induced urges and just do what you know is right. Resist the vices that you know are not helping you succeed, always put on a smile for everyone you meet, reach for positive thoughts in every situation and always do your best. Most importantly, make a deliberate effort to be a better person. If you do that, you will never suffer from guilt of any kind and you will be a model for everyone you meet. In some way, large or small, you will be a leader of mankind.

Benjamin Franklin lived from 1706 to 1790 and yet he observed the same human behaviour that we all live with in 2011. Take a page out of his book and be someone who leads others to a better world.

It is never too late and it will always be noticed and appreciated.

All the Best!

Wayne Kehl

Saturday, December 17, 2011

We Should Honour Christmas All Year Long

"I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year."

~ Charles Dickens (1812-1870), English author. From, “A Christmas Carol”

I was quite taken by this quote from Charles Dickens. This line from “A Christmas Carol” reminds us of the fact that for most people, the true spirit of kindness and giving is with us for only one day of each year. As much as we might like to honour the spirit of Christmas throughout the year, it is not long after December 25th that we return to our old habits and vices…we return to being normal, flawed human beings.

People of many lands have chosen Christmas as a reason to be kind, generous, and warm to all others.

Large scale wars all over the world will have cease-fires during the Christmas holiday. People who seldom speak take the time to write and send greeting cards to each other. Everywhere you go people of all races, creeds, colours and genders can be heard shouting, “Merry Christmas!” to almost anyone they come into contact with. Despite the commercial implications of it, Christmas genuinely brings peace on earth and goodwill to all men and women. Smiles abound and anger is put on hold for two or three glorious days. Everyone seems to want to impose the best part of mankind on everyone else during the few days surrounding December 25th.

How sad it is that we cannot carry those good feelings, thoughts, emotions and actions with us 365 days of every year.

If we could just remember the deep seated emotions that flood our hearts, souls, and minds on Christmas morning; if we could only treat everyone the way we treated our friends and family during Christmas dinner; if we could just feel that way and treat everyone with that much kindness all year long, the world would be a glorious place indeed.

Like Ebenezer Scrooge, try to honour the Christmas spirit all year long. You will be rewarded with the gift of joy and the precious present of a peaceful mind.

Merry Christmas to one and all!
Wayne Kehl

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Hey Leaders, "Life Is A Balancing Act!"

Do you have some amazingly energetic, hard working, loyal employees who work long hours and never complain? Do any of your staff members handle additional roles in the community, on non-profit boards, or with service clubs in addition to juggling work and family duties? Do you have some folks working for you who never want to take holidays and even when they do, they continue working from the beach or airplane while their families are forced to amuse themselves without the presence of their breadwinners for hours at a time?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, trouble might be just around the corner!

Every person on earth needs a reasonable and suitable work/life balance. While they might impress you with their industriousness and loyalty and your firm might be reveling in the fruits of their labors, they are probably working toward an eventual, total meltdown.

Every person has a different level of stress that they can comfortably absorb or disregard before they hit an emotional wall.

• Some people love their work so much that they do not even consider it work. Those are the people who are constantly smiling while they do their jobs.

• Others simply press the outer edges of their emotional control because of insecurity or fear. They are afraid they might let someone down or fail altogether.

• Some employees just look stressed-out, weary, or frustrated at all times. These people are on the edge and close to a complete collapse.

You might think that those folks who energetically ply their trade with smiles all day long because they love what they do, don’t need or want down-time or an actual holiday. You might think those hard workers who apply themselves with dedication to everything they do are well adjusted and simply more capable than the average human being. You might think that the weary, frustrated people are just lazy or ill suited to their work. In each of these cases the bottom line is that all of these people needs reasonable work/life balance and time off to get their minds, and more importantly, their emotions off of their work.

It is up to managers, supervisors and leaders of all kinds to recognize the symptoms of poor work/life balance and find ways to deal with them.

Leaders must always keep track of over-work situations and must never make any employee feel bad or negligent for taking their fair share of time off. Not only will they be doing their employees a favor by assisting them with this chronic, twenty-first century problem but also in many cases, they will be saving themselves and their companies a lot of lost time and lost revenue.

Even those happy, smiling people who love their work and never seem to tire out need time off.

They might be energized by their work, but their total dedication to their jobs is often damaging to the health of their family and personal lives. Without a happy, healthy life away from work, human beings become unfilled and ultimately, unhappy or depressed. Sometimes the pressures placed on them by their neglected families and friends might be more than their psyche’s can handle. If you ignore a happy, hard-worker you might suddenly be faced with an unexpected sick leave, performance dip, or even a resignation from them. The toll taken by total dedication to work has proven to be the undoing of many a potential superstar employee.

Companies of all types and sizes should insist that employees at all levels work reasonable hours and that everyone take the holidays they are allotted each year.

If employees want to work additional hours on a special project, they should be granted additional time off at a more convenient juncture. If they are doing community work that enhances the image of their employer in the community, they should be allowed time during working hours to do it. If they are on holidays, they should be prevented from taking work home with them or from communicating work-related information back to their place of work.

Time off should be considered as important as “time on” in order to assure that employees are happy and healthy well into the future.

If you haven’t spent some time reviewing the down time of your employees and you want to keep them on staff and working to peak performance, you should do so now. Have a staff meeting specifically to discuss the human need for time away from work. Emphasize the fact that there is very little honor in diligence that goes so far beyond the norm that it becomes hazardous to future performance. Let everyone know that it is not only the right, but also the responsibility of every employee to take the time off that they are provided. Tell them there will be no extra credit for time-off-not-taken. Most importantly, let all of your employees know that you care about their emotional and physical health.

Good work/life balance is a predictor of longevity and good future performance.

Help your employees to stay emotionally fit by assisting them in finding and retaining the balance they deserve.

All the Best!

Wayne Kehl