Monica Mathijs | Developing People. Developing organisations
“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker
“Management is about arranging and telling. Leadership is about nurturing and enhancing.”Tom Peters
When we leave the world of education to enter the big world or
work, this can be a defining moment which impacts who we are and our behaviours
in the workplace. Whether it is a positive or not so positive experience, we
have a role to play and choices to make on how we take these experiences
We often speak with clients who believe that the way their
first manager treated them, or comments made by someone of seniority moulded
their views of the world. Whether a manager creates a positive impact or a
negative one, the manager must be cognizant of this impact. Why? Because as a
personal sense of responsibility, every manager and leader plays a role in
defining their staff members’ work experience from their growth, sense of
safety to the feeling of belonging.
The time we spend in the workplace is the greatest time we
spend in any one place. Five days a week and 8 hours a day (averagely speaking)
and why wouldn’t we all want to feel a sense of belonging, the knowingness that
we are supported and are in an environment where we are given a platform to
learn, grow and develop.
We work with clients who have a low level of confidence because a manager would shout them down, females who believe they are being overlooked in career progression to people who feel so privileged to have worked with bosses and leaders who took the initiative and made the commitments to grow their people.
What kind of manager do you want to be? What kind of manager
do you want to work for?
Here are some things management can think about and reflect upon:
Self-reflecting as a manager
- Assess what kind of manager and leader you are and want to be – there is a need for self-reflection and assessing your own emotional intelligence.
- Become aware of the body language and non-verbal cues you are receiving and giving your staff. Are they engaged and involved or defensive and unsure – the non-verbal signals can show so much.
- If you are too busy for your staff members, is this a problem and how are going change this? What can you do to ensure the communication channels are open?
Roles and responsibilities
- As a manager, is there enough clarity and details available to the team of their roles and responsibilities? If you explain something in a rushed manner, then are you aware of the impact of this?
- Is the language being used reflecting a sense of progress and integration? For example, the use of language which is reflective of all genders and cultural backgrounds sets the sentiment and values of a team and organisation.
- As a manager, do you know what others think about you and your team? Traditional feedback models focus on a top-down process, a bottoms-up approach has value whereby a wider pool inputs into the process and a fuller picture is provided. Using methods such as formal 360 degrees feedback processes or online feedback tools can support this.
Team dynamics and purpose
- Do your team members feel part of something bigger? Have you instilled a purpose and sense of belonging to the vision set and know how to get there?
- What kind of activities, initiatives and off-site activities are implemented within the team and organisation to create a sense of team belonging and team building? Taking staff outside of the traditional working environment and encouraging interactions creates a platform for this.
As a manager and leader, doing the day job of managing
working is simply part of the role, the ability to build and grow teams and
people who deliver your vision and feel a sense of fulfilment is greater than
managing tasks. What kind of leader are you and what kind of leader do you want
Monica Mahi Mathijs is
the CEO and Founder of Our Stillness– a corporate development consultancy based
in the UAE offering immersive training programs, executive coaching and more.
She is a change agent and works on delivering programs and projects in the
Katie Maycock | Anxiety and Digestive Health Specialist
are times when stress can benefit you in the workplace. There are times when
stress will limit you. There are times when stress will destroy you.
I do a lot of corporate
talks. There is always a divide whether stress is good or bad for you.
Here’s what I know.
I’m absolutely a believer that stress can play a role in business. For instance, attending to customer needs and driving towards goals and targets.
It can also feel great.
It can drive motivation for a lot of people. It plays a role in concentration
If stress is managed
correctly, it can be used as a tool!
1) Increasing How Alert You Are.
True story. When you are in times of acute stress, you are more alert. Now, why is this important? Because when you are more alert, you are able to focus and concentration at higher levels. This alertness allows you to function at your mental peak.
2) Increasing Mental Performance.
with me on this one.
I want you to think back to a time where you were studying for an exam or test. A time when you had to hit a target or deadline. That stress increases how alert you are, which increases your mental performance. Mental performance is incredibly important for success. Being able to think clearly and accurately is going to lead to more success.
3) Increase In Energy
increases your energy! This increase in energy can help you work harder, faster
and longer. Becoming more productive.
However, sometimes we
need that extra energy to be able to achieve our goals and targets.
Not only can it help with increasing energy and endurance at work, but it can also help with our physical activity. This is because of the adrenaline and cortisol that is produced by during stress.
Note: For all you high achievers and Type A Professionals, continue reading. This isn’t permission to keep burning the candle at both ends.
4) Increase Memory
know, I know, I have harped on (and will mention later in this blog) how stress
However, there are times
when stress can increase memory. This can be hypothesised due to an increase in
alertness and becoming more aware. Or even if the acute stress is changing the
development of brain cells.
However, recent studies
have been able to show an increase in memory after a period of acute
Being able to tap into
“good” stress and harnessing it, will definitely help you become
However, there is definitely a dark side to it.
Stress is not a limitless pool you can use to drive you forward every day. Like any resource, it has to be used appropriately. Otherwise, it will hinder you.
Stress increases a sense of urgency. If used correctly, it can be a very beneficial tool.
Put into context, if one
of your clients or customers has an issue, clearly, time is of the essence. A
sense of urgency can lead to a speedy resolution. Which is important!
However, if used
incorrectly, it will really limit your success.
1) Making Appropriate Decisions
can all agree, making decisions is a part of everyday life, not just running a
Making appropriate and
clearly thought out decisions, just as important. Especially when you are
running a business. It means you can solve problems quickly. You prevent the
possibility of mistakes and it realistically it can save time in the long
If you’re stressed or
have a feeling of a sense of urgency, this can be difficult. You’re more likely
to make to rash and knee jerk decisions. Which may lead more hassle in the long
Otherwise, if you have
been stressed for a while and your stress has turned into anxiety, it could
potentially leave you unable to make a decision at all.
Not making a decision is
just as bad (if not worse) than making a rash decision.
Either way, you’re limiting yourself.
2) Making Frequent Mistakes
lot of the time, when we are stressed, we are rushing. Whether that’s reading
an email, going to a meeting or simple having a call with someone.
If we feel rushed, we
are more than likely going to miss details.
How many times have you
skim read or not proofread an email and sent it realising that there are typos?
Or sent an email to the wrong person?
Yeah, mistakes are never
Usually when we are
stress and rushing our attention to detail is limited.
There is a simple
Slow down, read that
email properly, pay attention in meetings and remain focused. Don’t think about
the twenty things you need to do. Stay in the moment.
Making mistakes is wasting your time. It could also be wasting your customers or clients time.
It also reduces credibility.
3) Damaging Relationships
want to put this into context.
Think about a time when
you felt as though someone hadn’t listened to you.
A time when someone
didn’t hear you and responded inappropriately.
How did it make you
feel? Did you feel heard? Did you feel important?
I’m going to take a stab
in the dark and say no.
When clients, customers,
manager or employees feel that way, they aren’t going to stick around.
If employees don’t feel
heard, they will feel under-valued and leave.
If your manager feels as
though you can take direction or listen, you may miss out on growth within that
If your customer or clients don’t feel heard they will take their business elsewhere.
There is absolutely an ugly side to stress.
Stress is damaging to
the body. It doesn’t just limit you in regards to success, it also limits you
Three significant ways it is damaging you:
1) Increasing Your Likelihood Of Burnout
have spoken about this at lengths. However, it really does increase your
likelihood of burning out.
For a lot of people who
have burnt out, a lot of them will say it started off as a positive. Which then
turned into a very detrimental negative.
Burnout isn’t easy to
overcome. It takes time, its something that changes the way you work and
Preventing burnout is the best way. Seriously, don’t think it can’t happen to you. Waiting until you drop down from burnout is not very practical.
2) Increasing Digestive Issues
you are increasing the likelihood of developing IBS, allergies, intolerances or
even worse an auto-immune disease.
Having prolonged stress
has an immense effect on the way the human body digests food. It limits the
blood flow to the digest tract, reducing the way we absorb nutrients and
increasing inflammation in the gut.
Fun fact: 70-80% of your immunity is linked to your gut.
3) Increasing The Likelihood Of Lifestyle Disease
as diabetes, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, obesity and the list
inflammation throughout the body, which then increases the likelihood of
Stress can be a vicious cycle on health, if not managed.
What can you do?
The first step is to admit that you are in fact stressed. A lot of people don’t realize they’re stressed. Or they perceive stress in a different way that leaves them living in denial. Never a good place to be.
The second step, look at
how you work. Do you constantly work under a sense of urgency or agitation? Ask
yourself, is this a good time to have a sense of urgency? Become more aware of
appropriate and inappropriate times to work from that space. For instance, skim
reading an email or rushing through a call to get to the next task, may not be
the right time to have a sense of urgency.
The third step, start
looking for tools and techniques that you can implement every day. If
meditation doesn’t feel right, don’t force it. Go to the gym instead, go for a
walk. Even taking a moment to step outside is beneficial.
Not all tools and
techniques are created equally. Find what works for you and utilise them.
For more blog and videos on burnout, stress and health and
wellbeing in the workplace, head over to my website.
If you want to reach out
and see how I can help you or your organisation, reach out.
Simon Alexander Ong | Life Coach & Business Strategist
1. Read every single day. The diet you feed your mind is just as important as what you feed your body.
2. Take care of your wellbeing. Both your mental and physical health.
3. Plan your day the night before.
4. Focus on progress over perfection.
5. Stop comparing yourself to others all the time (I call this “comparisonitis”) and focus more on being better than who you were yesterday.
6. Focus on possibilities over problems.
7. Surround yourself with extraordinarily inspiring people.
8. Reflect on how to grow and contribute more.
9. Be accountable to someone for your visions.
10. Get more sleep and renewal periods during the day. Sometimes we need to slow down in order to speed up!
11. Embrace positivity and cultivate an attitude of gratitude.
12. Worry less about what you can’t control and focus more on the present, and what is in your control right now.
13. Embrace an experimental mindset such that you are overthinking less and taking action more often on those ideas that pop up in your mind.
14. Do more of what makes you feel most alive.
15. Listen to understand instead of just listening to respond.
What else would you add to the above based on your personal experiences?
Contact Information & Social Media links:
Katie Maycock | Anxiety and Digestive Health Specialist
Taking responsibility for a
situation or scenario isn’t always comfortable. Especially if the outcome was
negative. However, being able to take full ownership of your choices is a huge
Here are three ways how:
1) It Empowers You.
Yes, my friends, you have
heard me correctly. Owning your actions and taking responsibility is incredibly
Initially, it doesn’t always
feel good. You can feel as if you are a really big screw up.
However, after that initial knee jerk reaction, you feel empowered. You realize you have options. It opens the door for other possibilities. It helps you to get into solution based thinking.
2) It Provides An Opportunity For Positive Change
Instead of feeling like a
victim or playing the blame game (which is incredibly negative). You can
clearly see the actions or behaviours that led you to a certain situation or
outcome. Once you’ve accepted that, you can choose to change.
You can stop reacting and start becoming more proactive.
3) It Leads To Better Outcomes.
Once you can see how your
actions and behaviours played a part in a scenario, you can see HOW to change.
You can clearly see the consequences of your actions. Helping you to make
better decisions and choices in the future. Instead of feeling like bad things
are always happening to you, you can start to take a more direct approach.
Taking responsibility for
your actions and choices can completely change your life. You will make better
decisions. You will feel more in control.
Now we know why it’s important to take responsibility and fully own it, but how to achieve this super-power?
Look at situations and see
how you could have handled them differently. Look at what role you played to
create that specific outcome. Ask yourself questions. What could I have done
differently? What steps could I have put in place?
Don’t dwell for too long on
the past. Look for the potential solutions and move on. Don’t beat yourself up,
this exercise is there to help you learn.
Taking responsibility and
fully accepting it can be really confronting. It can be uncomfortable, however,
lean into the discomfort. Learn from the experience and how you can change in
If you want more information
about stress, burnout or anything related to health, head over to my website. There are
loads of videos and blogs! If you
want to chat about any of the above, let’s connect!
Katie Maycock | Anxiety and Digestive Health Specialist
Burnout is something that changed the way I work, relax, exercise, eat, drink… It has changed nearly every aspect of my life.
Burnout is becoming more common within the workplace. A
new Gallup report mentioned that 2/3 of employees have felt burnt out.
That’s ridiculous. Not only that, it’s frightening.
For a lot of people, burnout is not at the forefront of
their minds until they are in fact burnt out. This is why I am here, to help
anyone that maybe walking (or sprinting) down the path to burnout.
Here my Five Things I wish I Knew Before Burning Out.
1) You Can’t Sprint A Marathon.
That’s right my friends. You absolutely cannot sprint a
Trust me I tried (figuratively… Not literally).
Goals, deadlines and targets is not a sprinting race.
more people I speak to, the more I realise the sense of urgency is taking over.
This is creating situations where people feel pressured to
rush absolutely everything. Quantity over quality is now the reality for many
It doesn’t have to be that way. It also doesn’t equate
success a lot of the time.
Setting goals, targets and deadlines can be achieved at a moderate (dare I say, calm) pace. You don’t have to be a bull at the gates. In fact, you’re more likely to be more successful when you, in fact, slow down! True story.
2) Slowing Down Is Not A Sign Of Weakness.
This is a follow on from You Can’t Sprint A Marathon,
however, with a little twist.
I remember thinking that if I slowed down for whatever
reason I would not be successful. I saw it as a weakness. How wrong I was.
This is common practice for a lot of high achievers and
Slowing down can feel counterproductive. However, slowing down doesn’t mean stopping. That’s the part a lot of people miss. I definitely did. For a lot of top performers and high achievers, they have the “all or nothing” mentality. So it can be seen as though slowing down is stopping. However, slowing down can give you a better perspective. It gives you the ability to refine your skills and re-think how to do things. It creates a space for reflection, bringing you closer to success.
3) Celebrate Your Wins.
This is HUGE for any high achievers or top performers.
It’s okay to celebrate your wins. I remember NEVER and I mean NEVER celebrating
I didn’t take the time to reflect on how well I had done
or how well I was doing. I was crazy, I just wanted to be doing more. It was as
though I would tick the achievement off and move onto the next thing. Without a
breath. Thinking back, that is an exhausting mindset.
This is not a good place to be. Celebrating your wins is really important. It provides space to not just BE successful but to FEEL successful. Very different. Otherwise, you end up feeling empty and chasing goals that have zero meaning or purpose.
4) “No Rest Days” Makes ZERO Sense.
“No rest day’s” and being proud of it grinds my
gears. Probably because I believed this for a very long time and ended up
severely burnout and disgruntled.
There are a lot of business owners and motivational
speakers who talk about grinding every second of every minute of every single
day to be successful.
This does not make sense.
We are humans, not
We need rest to not only regain physical strength but also
to regain mental fortitude. We do not have a limitless pool of energy and
resources that we can tap into without replenishing it.
That’s plain crazy to think that. Rest is just as important as the work you put in.
5) Listen To Your Body.
Our bodies will tell us when we’re not coping. All we have
to do is listen.
Simple right? Not so simple if you have tunnel vision.
This is something a lot of high achievers and top
performers learn the hard way.
Being fatigued, tired, grumpy or becoming sick is our
bodies way of saying “hey, I would really like some rest please”. It’s not the
signal to work harder.
Most people that end up burnt out, get those little
reminders but choose to ignore them. Why? Because they can’t see the long term
damage. They don’t see those little reminders as a sign that something much
worse is on its way.
Not listening to those gentle reminders will lead you to
My advice, listen to your body it does know best! If it’s
telling you to take a step back and take a little rest, do it. If you need the
afternoon off, take it. If you need to switch off your phone, do it!
They are the Five Things I Wish I Knew Before I Succumbed
I hope this helps all those top performers and high
achievers. If you’re a manager that has someone in your team that has those
traits, come up with an action plan to help them.
It may sound counterintuitive, however, doing so can
prevent your top performer being signed off work or even worse, having to quit.
any of this rings true to you and you don’t know how to re-direct that
mentality, let’s connect. Or
check out my website for more blogs and videos.