Articles and Resources - Leadership


The Resiliency Factor - How to Bounce Back When Life Hands You Lemons

Mike and Bill graduated with PhD’s at the same time from the same University.  After hundreds of applications, they started their first real jobs in a one year contract position with the same organization.

Unfortunately, after the year was up, both were not renewed due to major cutbacks and reorganization.

Both of them took the news hard and were extremely disappointed.  Over the next 2 weeks they were feeling lost and unsure of their next steps. Mike immediately updated his resume and started to connect with his network. He told himself, “This is not about me.  The economy is down and the government is making massive cuts.  I am very well qualified in my field.  I just need to look for opportunities.”  He ended up getting 3 interviews and 6 months later, moved into a full-time positon.

Bill was bitter and held a grudge against his past employer.  He blamed himself and thought he was let go because he could not perform under pressure.  He said that it would take years for the economy to rebound and felt hopeless.

Nine months later he was depressed and lost hope of ever finding work.

He had gained over 40 pounds, was turning grey and looked 10 years older than his real age.  He struggled in short term jobs and 3 years later secured a position in another province.

Why are these people so different?  It is their ability to be resilient or bounce back.  Some people are able to get over major hurdles in life such as job loss, major change with work, loss of a loved one or serious illness, while others have difficulty coping.

Generally, over time, most people can adapt well to changing situations.It involves resilience and a series of steps which include a strategy to keep going.  The following are some bounce back strategies. 

  1. Change is Life – Get over it and go with the flow.  We cannot control what is happening.  Change is like the seasons.  We can fight the cold weather and complain or take up winter sports or if we are fortunate, go for a winter vacation somewhere warm  It is important to understand that change and resiliency is part of the natural process of life.  Learn to accept it and move on. 
  2. Reach Out and Seek Support - Resilience studies show that people are more resilient when they have strong support networks of friends and family to help them cope with a crisis and also support each other in the workplace.  But you can get an even bigger resilience boost by giving support. In a 2017  study of psychological resilience among American military veterans, higher levels of gratitude, altruism and a sense of purpose predicted resiliency. “Any way you can reach out and help other people is a way of moving outside of yourself, and this is an important way to enhance your own strength,” said Dr. Southwick. “Part of resilience is taking responsibility for your life, and for creating a life that you consider meaningful and purposeful. It doesn’t have to be a big mission — it could be your family. As long as what you’re involved in has meaning to you, that can push you through all sorts of adversity.”
  3. Perceptions – We may start out by looking at a situation, from our own point of view and may not see the complete picture.  But as we examine the situation more closely and have discussions with others, we can begin to see things differently.  Keep in mind that perceptions can be difficult to change after our first impression, so flexibility comes into play. By being open to perceptions, or ability to be resilient becomes easier.
  4. Setting Goals with a Specific Purpose – By consciously setting purposeful goals, it gives us direction and focus.  It gives us a reason to move forward.  When faced with a difficult decision, think about what is most important to me?  What am I moving towards?  Does this action take me closer or further away from my goal?
  5. How Significant Will this Event be 5 Years from Now?  Consider what you are going through.  Will this event be a mountain in your life that had a major impact, or will it be a small mole hill?  Will you even remember this event 5 years from now?  While some people tend to dramatize, and overreact to the mole hills in life, we can learn to be more resilient by thinking about its relevancy.  Rather than viewing this problem as an unsurmountable scenario, think about some creative ways to deal with it.
  6. Use Visualization – Close your eyes and visualize what it be like when your goal has been achieved. Make the goal as clear as possible.  What do you see, hear, feel, taste, and touch?  Athlete Peter Vidmar practiced his gymnastics routine in the gymnasium for years as if he was performing in front of the 1984 Olympic judges.  He visualized 13,000 people in their seats and another 200 million people watching on television.  He lived and breathed this scene each day.  However, when the actual Olympics took place, he pictured himself practicing his routine in his local gymnasium like he had done hundreds of times before.  It is not surprising that this athlete won gold!  What does your big life goal look like when you have accomplished it?
  7. Discover yourself – What activities are you interested in or attracted to?  Make a list.  This exercise will give you a chance to figure out what you need to focus on.  Does this change in life help or hinder your movement towards your focus?  When driving a car, we are told to focus on where we want to go to avoid an accident, rather than the object in front of us. By discovering ourselves, we are better able to put our attention on what really matters and bounce forward towards this direction.

By practicing these 7 different strategies, it will help you bounce back even after the most difficult situation in your life.

More details on the application of the Resiliency Factor strategy can be learned during the half day workshop on this topic.



Productivity Boost Model

Mary was frustrated. Each morning she came in with a work plan, but within the first 20 minutes she was pulled in different directions with urgent requests and a constant barrage of disruptions.  Mary knew that she had to do something.
Then Mary adapted the Productivity Boost Model as a daily habit. She became more organized, focused on the most important tasks and shut the computer off at night, knowing that her day was productive.
Do you want to save time? This model will help you become more productive, reduce time wasters and get the most important things done.
The 5-Step Productivity Boost Model:
1. Triage (like a hospital ER) what needs to be done

  • List the items on your “to do list”
  • Determine what really matters
  • Establish your work requirements
  • Decide on what is most important

2. Schedule it

  • Determine how long the task will take
  • Order and prioritize the most important tasks

3. Focus on getting it done (think of Maxwell Smart’s cone of silence)

  • Maintain laser sharp focus
  • Collect the information by doing research, attending meetings, and checking e-mails
  • Avoid distractions
  • Stay away from multi tasking

4. Analyze what happened, after the work has been done

  • What worked well?
  • What could have been done differently?
  • Were there any people or process problems?
  • How could time be saved, if you had to do it again?

5. Take Care of Yourself

  • How is your energy level?
  • Are you getting enough rest, exercise and eating properly?

By following the 5 steps, you can get more done and feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. 

Other tips to save you more time and energy are available in the Time Management Essentials Workshop: How To Save Time – When You Don’t Have The Time. Learn how to better organize, plan and manage your time, increase productivity, and reduce stress.

7 Ways to Increase Trust in the Workplace

During a management training session, the question was asked, "How important is trust?" Several responses agreed that trust was overwhelming important to the success of an organization. "Without trust, I have nothing. I have complete trust in my employees," said one experienced manager.

Personal experience has shown that trust has a direct relationship to productivity. With high trust, productivity soars, and with a low level of trust, productivity goes down. 

Trust takes time to build, but it can be quickly broken in a matter of minutes. Some indicators of low trust are excessive red tape, extreme bureaucracy, and intense office politics that result in low morale, absenteeism, fraud, disengagement, and staff turnover. So, how do organizations build trust?

Seven ways to increase trust are:

  1. Model Trust - Trust starts at the top with senior leaders and funnels down to managers and supervisors. Senior leaders must have integrity and demonstrate sound values and ethics. They must model trust. Employees will observe and practice the examples set by leaders.
  2. Trust is Reciprocal - In order to build trust, you must trust others. As difficult as it may sound, take a risk (within reason) and place trust in your manager, co-worker or even a teenager! Every time they follow through, your trust will increase. They will take notice and build their level of trust with you. Then the circle of trust will expand.
  3. Communicate, communicate, communicate.  This is crucial, especially when units are going through change.  According to most employees, the most important thing that they need is the uncompromised truth. Even if the news is bad – they want to know. Tell others what you know and what you don’t know. People cannot get enough information, especially when change is imminent. Don’t hold back, tell them the way it is and you will build trust.
  4. Follow through – Do what you say that you will do. Every time you have a conversation, it will either build or erode trust. 
  5. Ask for help – Admit it, there are times when you need help from others – so seek it out. Encourage others to share their ideas and experience, remember the saying, two heads are better than one. By placing trust in others, it shows that you trust them.
  6. Support – Provide support to others when they need it, but without taking away responsibility. Step back and watch others learn and grow, but step in and respond to their needs when they need encouragement.
  7. Listen with empathy – Be present when listening. Try to understand their feelings and where they are coming from.  

To see how well your team practices trust behaviors, take the Reina team trust quiz at

Develop Your Management Skills: How to Give Positive Feedback

A question was asked to a group of managers in a training workshop, "In what circumstances should you give positive feedback to your employees, co-workers or clients?" The responses were, "When they have met a major deadline or learned a new task. We also need to provide feedback when a behaviour or positive performance requires reinforcement." Keep mind that we need to recognize the efforts of the hard working, good solid performers. These are the folks that come to work and do their very best, day after day, week after week, and month after month. 

In a coaching role, some people may be uncomfortable with providing feedback, while others are uncomfortable with receiving it.  They just shrug their shoulders and say, “It was part of my job,” and keep their noses to the grindstone.

These are two main steps to follow when giving positive feedback.

1. Statement of Behavior  (What did they do?)

This is an objective, concrete and precise statement of the work done by the person. What did they do that has caught your attention, in a good way?

Impact  (So what?)

This is a brief description of the impact or benefit of their behavior to the other employees, team, organization or client.  


The progress report that you completed was accurate, well presented and completed on time. It made our team look professional and our organization came across as efficient. The client was happy with the results.


Think of one person in your organization that you want to give positive feedback to. Who is the person? What is the behavior statement? What is the impact?

The next step is to share it with the individual. Some people prefer not to say it directly to the person. Here’s a suggestion. Instead, make the object (what they did well) the subject of the positive feedback. Say, "This report is sick, it was very well done, made our team look professional and gave a positive reflection of our unit."

By giving positive feedback, you will be acknowledging the good work performed and motivating them to continue onward. As a management training skills expert, I have experienced many situations in which positive feedback increases job satisfaction and production, and a better use of organizational resources.



9 Tips To Motivate Staff When The Going Gets Tough

Develop Your Motivational Skills

In some organizations, April can be a difficult time of the year. The Easter break has passed and it is a few months before summer vacations begins. Staff are working hard to meet deadlines and can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel. But in the process, they are getting stressed, worn out and just plain cranky. So, how managers create the right kind of environment to motivate and keep them motivated?

There are two types of motivation; extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic motivation is when someone else tries to make you do something. These actions do not work in the long term and staff will leave an organization. Intrinsic motivation if when you want to do something. The motivation comes from within.

9 tips to create the right environment that enhances intrinsic motivation:

  1. The Future - Find out the interests of your employees. What are their career aspirations? What motivates them? Where do they see themselves 5 years from now? This will help them focus on their career, seek out meaningful work, and help managers point them in the right direction.
  2. Choices – Give employees choices, such as their hours of work and conditions.
  3. The Work – I worked on projects for many years. At the beginning of each year, our team brainstormed and planned the upcoming projects, based on the goals, objectives and priorities of our organization. Then each team member selected the projects they wanted to work on and its timing.  Employees appreciated the ability to work on areas of interest, within the broader mandate of the organization.
  4. Challenge – Work needs to stimulate their intellect. Employees wants to learn and have daily successes. Goals need to be tough but attainable.
  5. Interpersonal relationships – Development of good working relationships with the boss and other co-workers makes the work place an enjoyable place to be.
  6. Work life balance – Employees need to have a balance between their personal and professional lives and feel that they have a sense of control over how much time they spend in each area.
  7. Trust – When employees trust each other and their managers, work becomes easier. Employees do not have to watch their back, because they know that others will look out for them and they will do the same.
  8. Thank you – Show appreciation and recognition for a job well done.
  9. Create a happy, positive working environment where employees can self motivate and have fun doing it!

Be using these 9 tips, employee engagement, retention and motivation will be enhanced.

We would love to have your feedback! Tell us what you have done and the positive results that were achieved!!


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