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How Poor Leaders Are Killing Us

Alexandria Joy - Friday, November 28, 2014
"Our jobs are killing us and the people who are responsible are our leaders."

I recently heard Simon Sinek say this in a YouTube video and it really struck a chord. How did you feel when you read that? Harsh reality? Don't believe me? Or perhaps you have had an experience yourself or heard someone say "my boss is busting my balls" or "my manager is killing me!"

These might be throw away comments around the water cooler but sadly they are a reflection of reality. 
In my view and experience leadership is not a rank or position – it is a choice. It is a choice to be of service and support others. Since first reading Robert Greenleaf's powerful book The Servant Leader when writing my thesis paper for my master's degree in my late 20's, to working for the General Manager of a large teaching hospital with 3,000 staff who clearly cared about his staff and how they cared for their patients, I began the journey of studying servant leaders.

Some of the most powerful lessons I learnt came from working in toxic environments where there was a clear container manager culture of restrictive, measured and fear based decisions that created a dog eat dog, dobber mentality amongst staff. Here I saw how even one container manager at the top could have a negative impact on people's self-esteem, health, wellbeing and relationships both at work and at home.

Almost as bad as the container manager was the disinterested manager where I witnessed people shrivel and lose their spark as they became undervalued and invisible.

And the research proves working for these poor leaders is a problem for individual employees as well as for the organisation. Studies from Europe and the US are showing that when people say “my boss is killing me”, quite literally this could be the case - around 25% of people who have worked for a poor manager for a short period of time and 38% of the people who have worked for a poor manager for a longer period of time are more likely to have a stroke or heart disease later in life as a product of working with them.

Biologically working with a manager who makes us feel paranoid and anxious and unsafe creates too much cortisol in our body which compromises our immune system, will make us self-interested and stressed, and makes us less empathic and considerate of others.

In addition, being ignored by a manager results in a 4 in 10 chance you’ll be actively disengaged in your job on a daily basis. If your manager tells you what you’re doing wrong – there’s a 2 in 10 chance you’ll be actively disengaged at work.

On the other hand if you are fortunate to work for an expander leader who focuses primarily on your strengths – there’s only a slim 1 in 10 chance that you’ll be disengaged at work.

So what is it that expander leaders do differently to poor leaders or container manager? Expander or servant leaders:
  • create more leaders – they are of service
  • see possibility in every individual employee and seek to find the Uniqueness (I call it the UQ) in every single person
  • are more likely to sacrifice self for the good of the many and the organisation
  • take care to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served.
  • focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong.
  • give control, not take control.
Of the company's I've studied over the past two decades, those with an expander leader driven culture experience:
  • less staff turnover
  • less OHS issues, disputes and claims
  • increased productivity
  • increased profit
  • increased stakeholder and employee engagement.
Creating a positive, productive and mentally healthy workplace culture is one of the important issues businesses face today. A recent Price Waterhouse Coopers report identified that ignoring it costs Australian businesses around $10.9 billion a year in lost productivity. And with stress, anxiety and poor mental health likely to affect one in five employees, by taking action the benefits can be profound.

The benefits are clear. Business leaders need to make a long-term commitment to a creating positive, mentally healthy workplace, not killing their people. By taking the initiative, you'll not only make your company a better place to work where people feel respected as unique individuals, you can help make it more productive and profitable. And that's just good business.

Want to change the world? Become an Expander Leader and #StartwithU
If you're sick and tired of working for a container manager and are at your wit's end you might like to watch my video "How to tell your boss they suck".


Alexandria Joy - Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Inspiration is an incredible thing. It can provide the juice and stimulation that make life worthwhile, it can be the spark that lights the fire or provides a platform for our transformation. 

Marie Forleo, the Jersey girl who coined the term multi-passionate entrepreneur, was one of the many sources of inspiration for our own creation UQTV. We had been looking for a vehicle to spread the message that people's unique strengths are the key to unlocking their potential. We wanted to challenge managers to break with tradition and how they had always done things because rules stifle the originality and uniqueness that enable people to achieve their highest performance. 

We saw how Marie was providing a platform to inspire and uplift solopreneurs and online entrepreneurs to create a life and business that they loved and it dawned on us that there is a real gap in similar inspiration for workers and their managers in corporate land. Our ideas had sex and UQTV was born. Our main goal in creating UQTV was to help managers find new ways to lead and to create the architecture of their company culture so that their people are excited to volunteer their best work, every day.

And so this recent episode of Marie TV where Marie interviews idea D.J., speaker and host of National Geographic's hit show, Brain Games, Jason Silva blew our minds. His thoughts on philosophy, creativity, technology and human potential opened us to new possibilities and ways of seeing our world and our co-creation of company cultures. 

What inspires you? Is it your work, art, movies, children or science? We'd love to know - share your inspirations below.

PS: If you don’t know Jason Silva, watch his video below before diving into Marie's interview with him. 

Business Innovation on a Shoestring Budget

Alexandria Joy - Friday, May 09, 2014

It's true – innovation is a huge buzzword and we are all aware. Craig Lambert describes it as being "...bandied around a bit like a Miss Universe contestant talking about world peace." While the idea of innovation is tossed around and misused, it doesn't mean businesses can't or shouldn't be innovative, but rather the opposite: businesses need to embrace creativity and exciting new ways to connect with customers.

It is important to know the two relevant types of innovation in order to start thinking outside of the box and reaching your business potential.

The two main types of innovation are:

1. Sustained: Innovation that maintains and evolves established markets.
2. Disruptive: Innovation that creates new markets and fresh values.

How Can Your Business Succeed With Innovation?

In order to be successful as a business, your business must have a clear and focused 'Power House.' Think of your business's house as having four rooms that are the key foundations of a successful business. These four rooms include:

1. Vision – a clear strategy.
2. IQ – a smart intellectual focus.
3. Body – a physical energy and presence.
4. EQ - its interpersonal connections.

These four rooms are critical to building a sustainable, commercially viable company – when they are all working together they provide a strong profit power loop. For example:
• If you have a clear vision and stick to it you should eventually reach your goals. Without clarity of vision of a phone that also played music and allowed you to surf the web, Apple would never have created the iPhone.
• Intellectual focus involve taking small but crucial improvements to your products or services that can win over customers and keep your company fresh. Dyson failed over 5,000 times before he and his vacuum cleaners reached huge success.
• The physical energy that your business creates in visual forms such as branding and marketing is essential to make a positive first impression. If you can win over eyes, you can win over customers.
• Finally without emotional intelligence and having the ability to connected with staff, customers and stakeholders on a personal level you will not enjoy repeat business and good will. You should want to connect to your customers and this is the biggest reason you are being innovative. Serve your customers and find success.

Innovation is About the Big Picture

Once you've got your house in order you can start building upon your solid foundation you can begin to focus on raising your roof to become more and more successful. Your focus is to find ways to improve your product or business practices in such a way that serves your customers and keeps them connected with you as a brand. Innovation isn’t about innovating for the sake of innovation, nor is it about throwing money at the latest trend, gadget or radio advertisement, rather innovating should always be focused on helping your end-customer and servicing their needs and wants. With the foundations in place you then have the clear air space to create some really unique and memorable experiences that will ensure your business is remembered, respected and referred.

Want to know more about how you can create a culture of innovation in your team or business? Contact us to ask about our affordable, fun workshops support@uqpower.com.au

How to master any skill

Alexandria Joy - Sunday, December 29, 2013

When you want to learn a new skill, how do you usually go about it? Learn first and then practice?  If that’s your method for becoming a genius you’re on the right track, but you’re only half way to becoming a Legendary Master.

Psychologist, Dr Anders Ericsson did a study revealing that those who practiced a skill for at least 10,000 hours were more successful than those who didn’t. No surprises there as “practice makes perfect” right? Well… to a point.

Emotional Intelligence expert and Psychologist, Daniel Goleman explains the problem with this single method:

 “Ten thousand hours of practice may or may not bring you to the top of your game, and the reason is this: if you are a so-so golfer and you have a so-so golf stroke and you practice that golf stroke in a so-so way, in 10,000 hours you are still going to have the same poor golf stroke,” Daniel Goleman

Here at UQ Power, we believe that success is driven by four keys: Vision, Body, Intelligence Quotient (IQ), and Emotional Quotient (Emotional Intelligence or EQ). (We call this the UQ Power House). And when it comes to powering up your IQ muscle, it takes more than repetition to build strength.

Focus is key to boosting your IQ

As we’ve become more digitally connected, we’ve also become more distracted. We suffer from multi-tasking and undertake it with a matter of pride. Even when we’re performing just a single action, our brain remains in multi-task mode; distracted by other thoughts, sensations, and mental to-do lists. 

Continual multi-tasking has led our brains to reconfigure its neurons (the “hardwiring that sends messages”) to cope with only that sort of thinking. So when it comes time to focus… well… we simply can’t.

To become a true master of any skill, you need to focus when you practise. No distractions, no mental checks of what you need to do afterwards – full, present focus.

“Learning how to improve any skill also requires top-down focus. Neuroplasticity, the strengthening of old brain circuits and building of new ones for a skill we are practicing, requires our paying attention. When practice occurs while we are focusing elsewhere, the brain does not rewire the relevant circuitry for that particular routine.

Daydreaming defeats practice; those of us who browse TV while working out will never reach the top ranks. Paying full attention seems to boost the mind’s processing speed, strengthen synaptic connections, and expand or create neural networks for what we are practicing,” Dr Goleman.

Feedback makes perfect

When your golf swing is consistently causing the ball to veer left, it’s time to get expert feedback. A skilled golfing coach can tell you that you’re stance is affecting your swing and that you need to practice standing with your shoulders in alignment to your feet.

While you may learn a new skill quickly and easily, it’s likely that you’ll plateau. To get past it and to continually improve, you need feedback to help you see where your opportunities are and how you can strengthen your game.

In business, a team that performs well consistently still needs feedback. Progression and continual improvement will only happen if the team has an objective view of opportunities and strengths from which they can leverage.

How is your game? Is it time for you to get some feedback and guidance?

Here’s a story of how UQ Power helped McCulloch Robertson lift their game, increasing their cash flow by half a million dollars within a month.


Ridding your vocabulary of the "F" bomb

Alexandria Joy - Thursday, December 26, 2013

Everybody uses the “F” bomb. It’s a word that we attach so much negative emotion to – ego, pride, fear. Too many people connect their self-worth to the word – failure.

Failure is not an end point

If scientists saw their first attempts at creating cures for disease as a failure, we would not have any known cures in the world. If you think about it, we would be living a VERY simple, primitive lifestyle if everyone throughout history saw their mistakes as an end point – a time to give up on curiosity and discovery.   

 Replace “failure” with “lesson”

When an infant learns to walk, she has to find her centre of gravity by trial and error. She will wobble and stumble and fall for some time before she walks on her own two feet without support. When she leans to the left too much, she learns that it will tip her sideways. When she leans too far forward, she learns that she’ll tumble to the ground.

People who have all four quarters of their UQ Power House in balance, in particular their IQ quadrant, understand that failures provide lessons by a process of elimination.

When you’re mentally strong, you know: what not to do, what chemical compound doesn’t belong in the cure, leaning to the left will make you stumble, and what success doesn’t look like. So you try again with a more informed foundation of knowledge.  

The saying “Success never comes without failure” should really say “Success never comes without a lesson to be learnt”.

A leader with a strong IQ also knows when it’s time to call it quits. The difference with this leader is that he takes with him is a better idea of how he can succeed.

A recent Forbes article that went viral with popularity also pointed out that mentally strong people know when it’s time to move on.  

We all know the definition of insanity, right? It’s when we take the same actions again and again while hoping for a different and better outcome than we’ve gotten before. A mentally strong person accepts full responsibility for past behavior and is willing to learn from mistakes. Research shows that the ability to be self-reflective in an accurate and productive way is one of the greatest strengths of spectacularly successful executives and entrepreneurs.”

The end of year is a great time to reflect. Today, power up your IQ quadrant by contemplating all the wonderful lessons you’ve learned throughout the year.

 Please share with us below how your past “failures” have helped to move you closer to your goals (because that’s exactly what they do!).

Is Your Body Making You Stupid?

Alexandria Joy - Monday, October 07, 2013

How are you today? Any niggling aches and pains that you’re trying to ignore? If your body needs a bit of TLC, it’s likely you’re not performing at your best.

It’s a known fact that a healthy mind = a healthy body. The hormones that run through your body as a result of feeling joy and peace or stress and anxiety affect your physical health – for better or for worse.

The reverse also holds truth; are you aware that the state of your body can affect your IQ? Think back to when you last suffered from a toothache and how it affected your ability to think clearly. What about when you last suffered from something more severe? How sharp was your mind and were you able to perform at home or work at all?

A number of things need to align for us to perform at our absolute peak. I call this the UQ Power House. It’s made up of your Body, IQ (intelligence quotient), EQ (emotional intelligence), and Vision. To find out more about the UQ Power House watch this video.

The science behind it works similarly to a company’s Bottom Line. If any of the four areas of corporate performance suffer, the overall result of the Quadruple Bottom Line is affected. If your body is not in top shape, it affects other areas of your Powerhouse.

When you’re not feeling well, your mind also doesn’t function at its peak. As obvious as this is, many companies continue to ignore the fact and create environments where “presenteeism” is expected – staff must turn up to work and push through the discomfort of that cold or flu. (Not a formula for productiveness).

When you let your Body or IQ slide due to the stresses of work and life, you end up in a vicious cycle of poor health and poor performance. You are prone to falling ill or suffering from aches and pain because of the continuous level of stress hormones throughout your body. As a result, you are unable to work in your zone of genius; your intelligence is affected by your suffering body.

You want to perform at your best – right? You want your people to perform at their peak to help your business thrive – right? As business owners we need to look at the underlying human health of the organisation – it's people.

So how are you feeling today? Does your UQ Power House have all of its four walls in tact? Is it time to work on your MOST valuable asset – yourself?

An OX with a high IQ

Alexandria Joy - Wednesday, June 26, 2013

There are four key qualities needed to be a successful leader or business in today's modern marketplace and boost your Uniqueness Quotient (UQ) Power - I, EQ, Body and Vision. One of the qualities in particular is IQ or your Ideation Quotient - the ability to innovate and generate new ideas.

We love seeing examples of IQ muscles being flexed and we think this unique innovation is no exception. Meet the OX Truck - a new flat pack truck that could be suited to our own mining, resources and agricultural industries here in Australia.

It's a truck that arrives flat packed for assembly, just like a piece of Ikea furniture. It takes 3 men approximately 5 hours to prepare the fla
t pack in the UK and on arriving at its destination takes 3 people about 11.5 hours to assemble the vehicle from the flat pack. 

The OX has been designed specifically for developing countries where water and food are often a long journey away. It is the same length as a normal car, has a payload capacity of 2,000kg but weighs just 1,500kg. It can carry 13 people or 8 x 44 gallon drums of oil. 

The brain child of Sir Torquil Norman, this innovation out of the UK could change the face of transport globally. Although designed for developing areas, the OX has also had a lot of interest from farmers, estate owners and people on the land who need capacity and agility over rough terrain. This incredible feat of engineering will certainly take the eye of not only people who have the need for a vehicle like this, but certainly from its competitors. 

Thanks for sharing it www.garybertwistle.com

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