The National Learning Institute

Monthly Archives: February 2013


Procrastination can be good for you

February 27, 2013 No Comments

Putting things off gets a bad rap. We often hear of all of the downsides of procrastination. Most leaders I know are wired for action, but what if we take procrastination to heart and intentionally think of it as a verb (look it up, it’s true). Yes, it’s an action word. Is it possible that there are some upsides to procrastinating?

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3 Biggest Things Hurting Your Productivity

February 25, 2013 No Comments

There’s one thing every leader needs to have to be great: time management. Struggling? Take a look at what may be hurting your leadership.

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Managing your boss

The most challenging job? How to manage your boss!

February 22, 2013 1 Comment

If a person’s boss doesn’t seem to like them, how could the employee go about trying to improve the relationship for a happier work environment?

Funny, but its true.  You have to manage your boss.  Every manager makes assumptions about what a good employee should be (this includes how they look, talk and act).

Do you like your boss?

Do you like your boss?

Rightly or wrongly, our managers (and let’s face it, all of us) use these assumptions to assess people. So, if there’s something about you or the way you act, that doesn’t match your boss assumptions about what a good employee should look like, these can work against you.

The trick is to find out what these assumptions, let’s call them unwritten expectations, are. Most organisations have performance reviews where the manager talks about the formal expectations (goals, objectives, etc.).  In addition to these stated objectives (expectations), if you are going to have a good relationship with your boss, you must find out what are his or her unwritten expectations.

One simple way to do this is by asking, “Boss, you’ve probably had some very good people working for you in the past. What was it about them that made them so good?”

You could also ask the opposite, “No doubt you’ve also had some very poor performers what was it that made them so poor?

Your Boss’ answers to these questions will give you a very good list of the things they assess people on.  Its then up to you to work out how you can best meet or at least manage, your Boss’ expectations.

Watch out for Bob Selden’s e-book coming shortly on this very important topic – how to manage your boss

Having a meeting? Walk!

Holding a meeting? Take a walk!

February 20, 2013 No Comments

Sitting is the new smoking.  As we work, we sit more than we do anything else.  We’re averaging 9.3 hours a day, compared to 7.7 hours of sleeping.  Sitting is so prevalent and so pervasive that we don’t even question how much we’re doing it. And, everyone else is doing it also, so it doesn’t even occur to us that it’s not okay.  In that way, I’ve come to see that sitting is the smoking of our generation. How does this relate to meetings?

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Extraordinary bosses

13 Habits of Extraordinary Bosses

February 19, 2013 No Comments

Extraordinary bosses use these habits to bring out the extraordinary in those around them.  How do you measure up?

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Working from home

Can you really work from anywhere?

February 19, 2013 2 Comments

Google’s Chief Financial Officer ruffled a few feathers recently when he said that he believed working from home is not the best way to generate ideas and innovation. But is he right?

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Negative people

Listening to negative colleagues, can be draining

February 15, 2013 No Comments

It’s very hard to totally avoid negative colleagues. There are two things you can do to manage these negative colleagues – change their language, then change yours.

Firstly, change their language.

  • For example, when they say things like “It can’t be done”, respond with,
  • “Tell me how I could do it” and if they say,
  • “I don’t think you could, in fact nobody could do it”,
  • you could respond “That may be so. For the moment, just humour me – suppose that I could do it. Tell me how I could do it.”

This approach is getting the negative person to act as your coach. You are forcing them to explain positive processes and outcomes. You can even use the words “coach me”, “show me”, “explain to me”, etc. The aim is to constantly ask the negative person to explain the positive. The ultimate result is that they will either change their words, or leave you alone more often – either way you’re on a winner!

You’ll find that people who are positive talk in the present and future, whilst negative people constantly talk about the past. So, building on the first step of changing their language, you should always steer the conversation to talk about the future. We can always change the future (because it hasn’t happened) but we can’t change the past.

Of course, you should also look at yourself. Are you encouraging negative responses from others by using negative words yourself? The most common negative words are “don’t” and “can’t”. For example, using the word “don’t” only puts negative images into your head and that of anyone who is listening.

When someone says “Don’t drop it” the only image we get in our mind, is the picture of the object being dropped and falling. Better to omit don’t altogether and say “Hang on to it carefully”. Now we have a mental picture of the object being held, rather than dropped.

Getting rid of the word don’t from your vocabulary, will automatically make you a more positive person because you are always talking about what and how things can be done, rather than why they can’t. That’s not as easy as it sounds it took me about 12 months to get rid of don’t from my vocabulary, so good luck!

Two hats - leadership and management

When to Manage and When to Lead

February 13, 2013 No Comments

By Thomas J. Lee © 2013 Minding Gaps

All too often the terms leader and manager are used interchangeably.  Is there a difference?  Most importantly, does this difference have an impact on management performance?  What does it mean for the everyday manager?

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20 questions: Are you ready to be a manager?

February 12, 2013 No Comments

Are you ready to move into management? How effective do you think would you be in this role? On what are you basing your self-assessment?

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How green (really green) is your office?

February 7, 2013 No Comments

by Andrew O’Keeffe, Hardwired Humans ©2013

A recent study investigated the academic literature to assess the link between office environments that reflect our ancestral setting of the savannah plains – including sunlight, greenery and physical movement – and found a positive influence that these factors have on employees’ physical and psychological health and on productivity..

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