From Mentor to Colleague by Kimberly Wiefling (Wiefling Consulting)

Ladies Using Laptop by stockimages

(This article is first published in www.svprojectmanagement.com. Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Some mentoring relationships last a single meeting, but others last a lifetime. Sometimes a mentoring relationship will turn into a long term relationship. (No, I don’t mean that you sleep with your mentor, or marry them.) I mean that they will come to value and enjoy the mentoring relationship as much as you do. This has happened in several of my mentoring relationships. Because we enjoyed our mentoring sessions so much we continued them beyond the point where I was seeking advice and guidance from them. Eventually they started to ask me for advice. Mentoring turned into co-mentoring, and eventually friendship. (I sometimes have joked that they were the mentor, but I was the tor-mentor!) Continue reading

Communicating with More Experienced Team Members by Kimberly Wiefling (Wiefling Consulting)

Business Team Discussing Work by Ambro(This article is first published in Japan in the English Journal by my agent ALC Global Leadership and Talent Development Division. Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

QUESTION:  “I’ve just started to manage a new department and I don’t know how to communicate with my more experienced subordinates. Some of them have worked for this department for more than 5 years and they know much more than me.  It’s not that they make light of me, or put me down or anything, but I’m very worried about what they think of me. What can I do?” Continue reading

The Power of Positive Comments by Kimberly Wiefling

iStock_000018879751XSmall

(This article is first published in Japan in the English Journal by my agent ALC Global Leadership and Talent Development Division.)

QUESTION:  “I have trouble making positive comments to my subordinates. All of them are so lazy and slow, and don’t achieve the results we need, so I have to outsource all of our work! Obviously there is nothing in their work to be praised, so I don’t feel it’s necessary to say good things to them.  And my boss has never said good things to me, so why should I praise others? What should I do?” Continue reading

Working Remotely … Face-to-Face! by Kimberly M. Wiefling, M.S.

Business Team Meeting by Ambro

(Originally posted on ProjectConnections.com)
Image courtesy of Ambro/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Globalization in today’s business world is rapid and inescapable. As a result, many projects these days involve geographically dispersed teams comprised of members from a wide variety of countries and cultures. While language barriers, decision-making style, and time zones are well-recognized challenges, the positive benefits of global teams continue to drive this trend.Continue reading

Being Great Project Leader with a Mortgage and Kids in College by Kimberly Wiefling, M.S.

Happy Family w older children by photostock (Originally posted on ProjectConnections.com)
Image courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

One of the strong beliefs that I have about effective project leadership is that it cannot be done by someone who has a mortgage, kids in college, or a spouse who doesn’t work. I don’t have kids, my spouse does work, and I am totally open to living in my car, if necessary. In my experience, a project leader must often operate in an environment where the very people who sign their paychecks are also the biggest obstacles to success. That’s why I developed Scrappy Project Management, a take-no-prisoners approach to getting the job done no matter what, with little or no regard for your own professional future beyond the end of the project.Continue reading

No, We Can’t “Be Like Steve”! Learning From One of the World’s Most Admired Leaders by Kimberly Wiefling

431459_522085357813472_268713462_n(Originally posted on ProjectConnections.com)

In my endless pursuit of becoming the kind of leader I admire, and helping others do the same, I review scads of research on what makes leaders admirable. Recently I came across a shocking ad hoc study where people were asked “Who is your most admired leader?” What was so startling was that the most frequent response was . . . wait for it . . . nobody! That’s right, these people couldn’t think of a single person whose leadership had earned their admiration. It gets worse, though. The second most frequent answer was a cartoon or fictional character, such as Harry Potter. I guess that shouldn’t surprise me since my #1 response to this question is Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the starship Enterprise, mostly because he has enormous power at his disposal combined with the wisdom to use it with great restraint.Continue reading

Silent Exercises That Speak Volumes

Nuns-Shhhh(Originally posted on ProjectConnections.com)

How do the people on your team feel? Mind reading is difficult, and only about 30% of people are in touch with their emotions enough to tell you how they feel even if you ask them. (Don’t believe me. Do the experiment. Most people just stick with the socially acceptable reply “I’m Fine.”) Here are two quick exercises intended to take the emotional pulse of a team and inspire their hopes and dreams for the future. Both can be done in less than an hour with up to 20 people.

Team on a Journey: Break people into groups of 3 – 5 people sitting around a big piece of flip chart paper. Equip each team with a set of markers. Then ask them to imagine that they are, metaphorically, traveling on a journey in some sort of vehicle. Ask them to draw this vehicle and the journey together – each group collaborating on a single picture – SILENTLY.Continue reading

Which Dog Will You Feed? Choosing Our “Reality”

(Originally posted on ProjectConnections.com)

In 1995 I decided to embrace optimism as a strategy for creating possibilities. It wasn’t a rational choice, it was an intuitive leap of faith. My many years of education as a physicist had taught me to ignore my intuition, but logic was insufficient to overcome my exuberance. You see I’d just had my eyes opened by a truly gifted coach who’d helped me discover that the person holding me back my entire life had been myself. Once I recovered from the shock of that revelation I made a decision to use my enormous power to shape reality to create a more hospitable environment, starting with my own attitude. Continue reading

Too Tired to Care? Regain Your Perspective with 5 Proven Practices

(Originally posted on ProjectConnections.com)

Somewhere around the spring of last year I started to forget to take care of myself. Maybe it was brought on by the shock of repeatedly watching the video of the March 11 tsunami sweeping away tens of thousands of lives on the east coast of Japan, a country I travel to on business nearly every month for the past five years. Or maybe it’s just an old habit resurfacing, like a recurring rash. Either way, I started ignoring my need for balance in my life, and focused single-mindedly on the enormous pile of tasks and projects I had accumulated.

By December, I was a mess! As I said my end-of-the-year goodbyes to my colleagues in Tokyo, I bellowed (only partially jokingly), “I know you’ve all been working just as hard as I am, but frankly I’m too tired to care!” And I truly was. In exhausting myself, I had lost my ability to care about my teammates. What a pity!

This is a place that a leader cannot afford to end up. And yet, in the demanding, deadline-driven business environment, it’s all too easy to exhaust ourselves to the point that we’re ineffective (and not much fun to be around).Continue reading