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Success at Work

Contrary to popular wisdom, playing to your strengths is not always a good idea. For example, managers who are good problem solvers could fail to engage employees in problem solving by playing to this strength.

We stay where it's safe for fear of failing, feeling humiliated and looking bad. Self-limiting beliefs are a self-imposed prison, walls we build and maintain to protect ourselves. How can we break out?

If you enjoyed Questions for Success, here are some more engaging questions useful for a variety of purposes. They are all open questions, designed to stimulate others to open up.

Recent research suggests that a sense of making progress is a powerful motivator. Unfortunately, setbacks knock us down much more than progress drives us forward.

We think of assertiveness in adversarial terms: how to defend ourselves against someone using strong-arm tactics to influence us. How about a more constructive, win-win approach?

As a manager you're in the spotlight. Who is watching to see if you will fly or flop? How's your confidence in this fishbowl? It's hard to be sure of yourself in a complex, rapidly changing world. Much easier to feel uncertain, to duck key decisions or to blame slip-ups on others.

We lead by example whether we mean to or not, thanks to the old saying "actions speak louder than words." But how do we know what sort of example we're setting?

Celebrating our successes is a much neglected way to boost our confidence. Doing so gives us a sense of making progress. Instead, we beat ourselves for mistakes and unachieved goals.

People are quiet in meetings because they can't think of any content to offer. Suggesting solutions is the only form of contribution they recognize. Why not contribute as a catalyst instead?