Take Care with Self Care

As a manager or someone who works with people you are in the business of taking care of projects and the people. You should also encourage, treat and teach others to take care of themselves. You endure long hours and demanding schedules. But do you forget the importance of taking care of yourself? Self care is all about balance.

Self Care is not self love, it is not narcissistic, and actually I just love myself when I say that word!
Self care is about taking care of yourself first, so that you can better take care of others.

One of the dangers of being under excessive stress for long periods of time is that it can weaken us and allow our boundaries to blur, allowing us to fall into bad habits. Instead of falling prey to some of these destructive habits, develop healthy ones such as exercise, the enjoyment of friends, a healthy diet, and getting enough sleep.

When stress interferes with your ability to perform and manage your life and work, it is time to take care of yourself and prevent this from going any further. The healthier you are physically and emotionally the better equipped you will be to manage the pressures and stresses at work and in your personal life. In short, the better you take care of yourself, the better you will be able to take care of others, both on the job and at home.

One way to combat the negative effects of stress and practice self care is to have a hobby, especially one that does not involve a lot of contact with other people. If you work intensely with people, it is healthy to take a break and take a break from them. For this reason I love the solitude of skiing.

What do you love to do to take a break?
• stamp collecting
• gardening
• yoga
• cycling
• fishing

Once engaged in these kinds of activities we are in ‘another world’ and we lose our thoughts on our problems and stresses only to return to deal with them refreshed and with a new perspective.

You are most responsible for taking care of yourself. Do yourself and everyone you live and work with a favour and do it.

Mirth up your Management

A manager called a meeting for the various members of his team. He sent out an email and told everyone where and when it was. By mistake he entered the wrong date into his PDA and showed up 24 hours early. Before he realized this, he emailed everyone and asked them where they were. To his great surprise he found out that he had the wrong day.

The learning for the team here was how the manager handled his mistake. Instead of trying to cover it up. He acknowledged it and made light of it. He called himself the Panasonic manager – one who is slightly (24 hours) ahead of his time. He proved that he had a sense of humour about it. He discovered the invaluable lesson to take what you do seriously and yourself lightly. Humor after all is a sense of perspective.

Any manager can relate to this story. The leadership question is how would you respond to it?

Managers and leaders who can laugh at some of the things they do are not weak. Rather they are strong enough to poke a little fun at themselves once in awhile. This helps them look human, personable and relatable and this leads to being more trustworthy. We like to follow those who we can relate to and those with whom we can share a laugh. I like to say of myself that I live very near where I was born and raised. All those who said that I wouldn’t get very far in life were … right!

Your healthy sense of humor is a people skill. Having a sense of humour enables you to develop a creative, productive and fun loving, work environment. It is a management skill that can be learned. Dwight Eisenhower once said that “a sense of humour is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done.”

7 Perspectives of Healthy Humour

 Laughs with people, not at them
 Is not rude, crude or lewd
 Bonds people together and doesn’t put anyone down
 Pokes gentle fun at some things you do
 Takes what others and you do seriously and yourself lightly
 Opens you to new thinking, relationships and possibilities
 Sees the lighter side of life

The safest humour that anyone can use is self-directed. It is humour that pokes some gentle fun at what you do. This reveals not only that you are a human being, but also a humorous being.

As a result, people will identify with you more. Laughter is a sign of agreement that bonds people together. It is a way of communicating without words.

Your Presentation Skills

You have been asked to present a proposal at a team meeting, to lead a briefing session with clients, or to make a speech at a community event. Speaking in public is inevitable, and you do it more than you think. The most important quality you can bring to your speaking (or anything else) is a positive approach.

The purpose of speaking is to clearly communicate your ideas.  Your goal is to help change people’s thinking or actions.  In your talk, your aim is to educate, inform, or enlighten; or to convince, persuade, or sell something – an idea, service or product. An effective talk combines all three. The difference has to do with how much of each element you choose to use, what subject you are talking about, and who your audience is.

In over 25 years as a professional speaker and trainer, I have made thousands of presentations to diverse audiences. My speaking has ranged from interactive workshops, leading retreats, facilitating meetings to after-meal keynotes. The one thing that they have had in common are the components. There are three components or parts to effective public speaking. I like to think of them as a menu in a restaurant.

They are:

  • The Beginning: Start with an appetizer – a soup or salad. In speaking, we start with being introduced or opening with an introduction.
  • The Middle: This is the entrée, or the meat of what you are going to say – your points and sub points.
  • The End: This is the dessert – your conclusion, summary and requested action.

The next time you are asked to make a presentation be it an informal one to your project team or a formal one in front of a potential client make sure that it has a discernible beginning, middle and end to maximize your effectiveness and help you overcome any fears by knowing that you have a solid structure.

The most popular question I get asked is: am I nervous when I speak in public? The answer is YES! But, over the years I have learned to change my perspective and see this stress as an energizer to excite me rather than an enemy to cause me fear.

It is commonly believed that people fear public speaking more than they fear death. This means, according to comedian Jerry Seinfeld, that at a funeral you would rather be in the coffin than doing the eulogy! The best way to reduce your stress when you are public speaking is to breathe deeply. This does two things for you. It will help you to relax and slow down your presentation and make sure you take a deep breath between the three components of your talk.


Teamwork Skills at Work

There is no i in Team – but there are two in teambuilding!

Life is a team sport. As human beings, we are interdependent, not independent. This means that we must work with and interact with people. We all play on teams, especially in the workplace.

Teamwork has been defined as coordinated efficiency. The point is that people can achieve much more by working together than they can as individuals working alone. It has also been said that teamwork makes the dream work. But, what do you do when this dream becomes a nightmare? When this happens you need to rely on your people skills more than ever.

The greatest challenge you face at work is working with other people. This is where your people skills are most needed. They are used to manage how you respond to people and situations and are the skills you use to be more productive and successful.

Collaborative or Competitive?

 The key to having great teams is building them great first. Using your people skills can make this a lot easier. Regardless of where you and your team are in the team building process, the skills of communication, relationship building, attitude, conflict management and humour are paramount.

To build successful teams, attention needs to be focused on team skills.

Team skills are people skills.

How are you and your team members communicating and getting along with each other?

Do they trust and respect each other?

Is there a spirit of cooperation between them?

Have you ever worked on a team with a group of individuals who were more concerned about protecting their own budgets, elevating their own profiles, and protecting their own staff and turf than they were about achieving the organization’s goals?

In order to have successful teams you need to first nurture successful skills and attitudes which will contribute to an elevated team spirit and develop a high morale work culture.

They are being:

  • Constructive – positive & helpful
  • Collaborative – synergetic & respectful
  • Cooperative – mutual & trusting
  • Communicative – open & transparent
  • Creative – resourceful & innovative

Teams are more than just a group of different people working together. They just don’t happen by accident. To be successful, they need to be intentionally built using your people skills.

Leadership Skills

Leadership is about influencing others in a positive, constructive and helpful way. This helps to ensure that leaders get the best from the people they seek to influence. Leaders with effective people skills do so assertively and are not aggressive, passive or dictatorial. Leadership is an art, requiring that the organization’s mission, vision and values be communicated and worked toward. If you influence others you are a leader. What skills do you need to develop to be a better leader?

People Skills School

You probably know the School of Hard Knocks where we learn from painful and negative experiences. The School of People (Soft) Skills teaches us from positive experiences, ones that are constructive and productive. More important, it teaches people skills such as communication, humor, stress management and creativity. Skills that can help you shift your perspective and go from negative to positive.

Either Or, or Either And?

Life and business are about options. How we choose them helps to determine if we are productive and successful. Either Or thinking is limited. We have only 2 choices – either it is this way or the other way. This thinking helps to get us stuck. The next time you are stuck try Either AND thinking. It is the creative 3rd alternative.


I just led a leadership retreat. The whole idea was to withdraw. At retreats we withdraw away from something which can lead us towards something else. This helps to change our perspective. A renewed or new perspective can result. BTW, we had fun and lots of laughs making it a re-Treat and a reward for the leadership team!

Tip #3 Where to include Humour

It is not always possible to begin a presentation with something humourous. If possible it is best to begin with a humourous story. If not, include some humour before you begin to speak in your introduction read by someone else to get your presentation off on the light foot. Use some humour at mid point for some comic relief, or to bridge points and at the end to summarize and leave them laughing.