30"Oh my God, this could be bad, what have I done now?" This might be your employee's reaction to the statement in the title, especially if your relationship is weak and trust is low or missing altogether. And with all that going on in your employee's head, his thoughts create a chain reaction; he is likely to start producing signs of stress, cortisol will rise and his mind begins to shut down as he prepares to defend himself. In other words, he is not likely to listen, even if the feedback you want to share is positive.
 
But it doesn't have to be this way, because when trust is strong, you know that he is going to be receptive to feedback, and that he will act on it in the most constructive way. Likewise you know that you have his interests, well-being and professional development in mind and that you are not simply using your position to build yourself up and to put him down at the same time.
 
Feedback, when used by leaders in the right way, helps to build trust and to build a culture of organisational learning, and you can use it as a way to recognise and build on strengths, as well as to point out areas for improvement. Feedback is also a great way to start a conversation that leads to growth in the employee's skills and abilities, it can lead into a coaching conversation, and you as the leader need to prepare for it. Here is a model that you can use – SBI – which is simple and effective;

29Last week I've shared with you why Trust brings real business value. I truly hope that it made sense and for those of you whom it actually did here are a few practical steps that can be taken in order to improve the trust levels in your team and organization.
 
Of course – this can't be a step by step guide. After all each organization and team are different, with their unique situations, culture, environment and challenges. Another thing you need to realize is that it takes time. Rome wasn't built in a day and Trust will not be either. It takes effort and a lot of work, consistency of messages, behavior and actions.
 
Sounds like a lot? Yes – it is! But at the end it all pays for itself.

28I'm writing this sitting on a bench facing the Pantheon in Rome, marveling at this glorious mausoleum built more than 2000 years ago. The building, commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus, was restored to its current appearance by Emperor Hadrian about 126 A.D. According the Roman legend it is a place where the founder of Rome, Romulus, at his death was seized by an eagle and taken off into the skies with the Gods. The temple is dedicated to all Roman Gods although its real purpose is not yet revealed. Hadrian himself possessed enormous enthusiasm for architecture and the Pantheon with its unique unsupported 43.3 meters wide interior ceiling remains the biggest brick dome in the history ever created.
 
There are hundreds of stories like this one in Rome. Great cities, as great companies have an in-built tendency to reinforce past success. Stories about bold and audacious achievements that capture the imagination of large or important audiences. Stories about the past are easier to be told – there are tangible proofs and palpable artefacts.

27In our posts we often mention that trust is an essential building block of whatever vision or result you'd like to achieve personally or with your team. At the same time in today's competitive and individualistic business environment, where strong individualities collide and politics are at constant play it is hard to imagine that trust can be found somewhere else besides the list of official corporate values, slogans and posters around the office. We often hear advice like "trust no one", "never let your guard down" and so on. We also see the "sharks" around us – those who will not hesitate to do whatever in order to get to the next promotion, bonus or any other gain. Those people appear to be quite successful and often progress in their careers quite fast...This is the century of the ego and of the "I"...
 
So, the question is – why are we at Lead Up Minds so naïve? Or maybe we are not to be....trusted?

26 1We are often seduced by overstating. We believe doing busy presentations will make us look smarter; sophisticated action plans – self-motivated; endless reporting sheets – more analytical, and long speeches – more visionary. It provides us the comfort of playing it safe, avoiding being vulnerable by hiding behind numbers, graphs and bullet points.
 
But the truth is that people usually have way more choices and way less time or attention span for all of these. Usually they need just a clear one-page description of what you have to share with them. After all, there are a few things, if not a single one, that are more important than everything else. And even if there are multiple big priorities, ultimately one of those has to be at the very top. The point here is that if you want to create a sense of alignment and focus, you must have a very limited number of top priorities within a given period of time. It is very evident in case of crisis. You aren't going to find two nurses debating to which cost center to allocate the bill while a patient in the ER is hemorrhaging blood.

25 1Our previous article was focused on some general mindset factors that will help you deal with stress. Today we want to examine some of the possible long-term changes in your lifestyle. These are practices, which will increase your overall stress resilience... and will make your life a lot more pleasant. :-)
 
Meditation: there are many articles, speculating that you can effectively meditate at your workplace. However, I don't believe this to be true for most modern organizations and if you're reading this, chances are that you work at one of them. Just try to imagine the speed and energy of the usual workday and all the colleagues rushing around the office, chasing after their next accomplishment. And now imagine a poor soul focused on their navel, trying to meditate in the middle of all this. It's absolutely impossible to find the right level of solitude and it will make them look like a sociopath. Yes, there are many practices that can help you focus and regain your energy at work, but none of them is a true meditation. Therefore I'm convinced that this is something better left for one's free time before/after work.

24In our last article from the stress management series we discussed some practices that can help you get through a rough day at work. Now let's examine some of the most important mindset factors that will make you stronger when dealing with stress.
 
Attitude of gratitude – I'm placing this one first, as I personally believe that this is the mindset that can change our entire life! Nothing is 100% black or white and what we choose to focus on is what will shape our whole world. I'm not saying that we should foolishly close our eyes for all the wrong things going on around us – no, that's stupid. What I'm saying is that we shouldn't forget that there are also many beautiful things happening all the time and they are the ones that will give us the physical and psychological strength to handle all the challenges, to fight for what's right and to win the toughest battles. Unfortunately there are many people out there, who sink deeper and deeper into their negativity and turn their lives into hell, alienating the ones around them and projecting nothing but misery and despair. No one wants to become one of them, so we have to be careful not to fall into the negativity trap. Develop a genuine attitude of gratitude – remember all the things that are great in your life and channel their power to overcome the problems that come up every now and then. Discipline your mind to focus on the things you are grateful for, the ones that motivate and inspire you and you will wire your mental filters to keep finding the positive. Remember that you choose how to view and shape your world. If you manage to build and sustain this general state of gratitude you'll radiate energy and positivity, you'll attract similar people with a can-do spirit, who will be able to aid you in critical situations and yes, you will manage to build a strong mental defense against high levels of stress. Because when you consciously look at the solutions and opportunities, at possible accomplishments and wins, you won't be left defenseless panicking about the hazards and threats. Additionally, on biological level the negative thoughts cause chemical reactions in the body that weaken our immune system and stress resilience, while positive thoughts do exactly the opposite: they cause the central nervous system to produce specific neuropeptides that strengthen the body. Much like the next factor:

23Coca Cola doesn't sell soft drinks. It sells happiness!
 
More often than not managers focus on goals, execution plans and implementation actions.
 
But people commit to causes not plans. To get real engagement you need to win their hearts.
 
Motivation is an internal emotional state of bonding with a unique, meaningful and reviving purpose that resonates with personal values and strives. No leader could impose motivation. Instead, the leader builds engagement around a compelling mutual cause, a reason for existence that is important enough for people to strive collectively to fulfil.

22As we mentioned in our previous article about stress, the people management career is one of the most stressful paths possible. Therefore it's vital to know the Do's and Don'ts of handling stress.
 
But let's begin with some important factors you should consider:
 
· First, let us mention that not all stress is bad! Moderate levels of it are absolutely necessary to maintain the right sense of urgency for accomplishing important tasks (and to keep you from falling asleep at your desk). The high levels of intensive stress, especially if chronic, are the ones carrying a potential health threat.
 
· There are a number of internal and external factors contributing to the feeling of anxiety and one of the most fundamental ones is the personal perspective (or mindset). The same situation might cause completely different responses – it can be perceived as highly stressful by some people or business as usual by others. It is very important to remember this when dealing with the next "crisis" in the workplace.

The key to unlocking potential in a conversation.
 
21
 
If asking questions sometimes makes you feel stupid, then join the club. And if you ever say to yourself: "I should know the answer to this, but I'll just have to ask Dave...Doh..", then you are in good company. The important point here is that the questions you feel you must ask are concerned with your own world, your own trials and challenges, and you seek to add to your knowledge and understanding by receiving the answers from Dave, (or Presyan, or Violeta or Nick).