Tag Archives: building

Confidence Building Activities: 3 Easy Ways To Build Confidence And Self-Esteem

It’s natural for us to be overcome by shyness or insecurity every once in a while. But if you’re the kind of person who’s terrified of everything, then you need some help. In this article, you’ll learn about a few confidence building activities that are guaranteed to improve your way of life.

Why do you have to suffer through extreme shyness when you know you can do something about it? These confidence building activities, while not the “end all, be all,” can help you get past your wallflower syndrome and help you get your life back.

Confidence-Building Activity # 1: Start a Journal.

Coming to terms with your insecurities will greatly help you boost your confidence. Sometimes, all that holds us back is fear. When we allow fear of embarrassment or fear of what may come stand in our way, we will not be able to function well at all.

However, when we confront our fear – even explore it – through writing, it becomes easier to handle. Writing about little triumphs will also have a significant impact on your ego.

Confidence-Building Activity # 2: Fix the Physical.

Nothing encourages confidence more than a makeover. Most of us have trouble with activities to gain self-esteem because we don’t even like how we look like. Our self image is poor and basically self-destructive.

While a make-over won’t make you a showman overnight, it can give you the boost of confidence you need to take the first step. The physical is but one aspect of the process of course. There are a lot more self-esteem activities out there that really sink their teeth into the problem.

Confidence-Building Activity # 3: No Harm Trying.

If you want to build your confidence, you can try out different contests and join different organizations that appeal to you. Taking baby steps is completely normal.

For example, if you’ve always wanted to be a newscaster, why don’t you start practicing in front of the mirror? You have to be able to watch your own reflection first before you try news casting in front of a million home viewers.

From solo performances, you can try speaking up more during a community forum or gathering.  These small gigs will help you grow your confidence, as well as improve your craft. By the time you have the opportunity to audition to become a real newscaster, you’ll be thoroughly prepared.

Everyone needs a shot of confidence. Whenever you feel your own dwindling in stock, look back at these confidence building activities and practice them.

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A Few Important Considerations For Building Self Esteem In Children

Our children are our future, so it is important for you to mould them in their formative years and ensure that their self esteem needs are met. Studies have shown that children who suffer from traumatic events in their formative years tend to have several self esteem issues later in life, and as they become adults these problems may exacerbate into something worse. Nipping this problem in the bud is imperative, and this article will show you some of the more important considerations you should note when building self esteem in children.

Parents should know that children tend to learn and absorb the things they see around them. In their formative years, a child’s brain is like a sponge, constantly taking in every experience he encounters. It is important to fill that mind with positivity rather than negativity, as positivity tends to build a strong sense of self worth as the child matures.

In order for you to help build a positive sense of self esteem in your child, you should be aware of your interactions with your child. Show them your own positive traits and strong self esteem. Tell your child that it is perfectly fine for them to be proud of their own abilities, and any shortcoming is only a step towards success. Build upon their past successes by praising them and giving them positive feedback. Show your child that you love seeing the little things they get up to, express your love for your child in the best possible manner you can think of.

If your child shows a certain displeasure or sadness, you need to have an open channel of communication. Speak to them honestly and positively. Reserve your judgment and criticism to yourself. Your child may not be emotionally mature enough to understand whatever it is that is going on with them, so it is your duty as a parent to guide them along and sort through the difficult circumstance with a positive outcome. Encourage certain positive behaviours or traits whenever they encounter a negative circumstance. If your child is at the stage where he may be emotionally mature enough to come to his own conclusion about certain matters, ask for their input, get them more involved in the brainstorming of solutions for their situations. This will make them feel worthwhile, as you would have acknowledged his input as being important.

Also, if your child is mentally mature enough, get them to start setting goals for themselves. Help them along when necessary, but always ensure that the goals they set for themselves are not too lofty for them to achieve. It is fine to “dream big”, but keep in mind failure to achieve big dreams will also result in big downfalls. Do not make the goals too complex. Do not only give praise at the end of every achievement, but praise them even if they fall short. Dust them off and get them running once again. Always acknowledge their strength and ability, as it will go a long way in building their self esteem.

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Team Building

BUILDING SUPERVISOR TEAMS:

A CASE STUDY


BACKGROUND TO THE PROJECT


In June 1999, I was contracted to lead a twenty-four hour team-building intervention with a group of twenty Managers, Supervisors, Lead personnel, and journeyman production employees of a major truck body manufacturer. This privately held company was founded in 1971 and is guided by its President and a General Manager who began as a shop floor laborer, and worked his way up the organizational ladder to his present position. Operating in three shifts, the 200-person company has 150,000 square feet of manufacturing, warehouse and office space in Southern California, and is the largest service body company in the western United States. Its clients include Ford and Chevrolet. My involvement was requested because of the need to design and deliver training in both Spanish and English. Audience characteristics are discussed in more detail, below.

This effort was a partnership between the California Manufacturing Technology Center (C.M.T.C.), based in Hawthorne, California, the Center for Economic Development at West Los Angeles College, and the Employment Training Panel, State of California, which funded the project. This author and C.M.T.C. identified the client’s main needs to be:


-Significant growth in production capacity and financial performance, especially during the last 2-3 years. This rapid growth has given rise to thousands of hours of overtime to meet customer demand; an increased accident rate; difficulty in recruiting skilled workers, particularly in the Fabrication Department; a “firefighting” approach to problem-solving and decision-making by management, which is mirrored throughout the organization; and unexpected stresses on equipment, machinery, and work processes. These stresses, in turn, have generated production bottlenecks and contributed to the “management by crisis” atmosphere of the plant.

-A stable workforce (see Table 1, below) who were reluctant, according to C.M.T.C., to adopt the new technology and work processes required by Lean Manufacturing. For example, a manufacturer’s representative who regularly services the plant as an account, reported that “veteran” workers resist learning new requirements, processes and materials, because of they feel their present their present technology and methods for painting truck bodies technology and processes they know well are adequate.

-A lack of reliable means to measure the actual amounts of scrap and re-work produced.

-Unpredictability of job scheduling associated with changing customer requirements and sporadic Company use of reliable scheduling tools.

-Re-occurring production bottlenecks on the shop floor, particularly with regard to the line producing their standard (vs. custom) products.

-Organizational “firewalls” between certain units and departments (e.g., Standard vs. Cargo vs. Sport production lines) that result in production and organizational inefficiencies. For example, the customized jigs and fixtures designed and built by a company Engineer for the particular requirements of one production line, could be effectively adapted for use on other production lines. However, production inefficiencies resulted from employee resistance to adapt or combine this customized equipment with the older equipment, used on other production lines.


Given these issues, management decided to act. Seeking to grow market share and to continue to build its long-term customer base, the company contracted with C.M.T.C. to prepare for the formation of a cross-functional (e.g., Production, Purchasing, Accounting, Engineering, etc.) team of 5-6 people. This team, to be selected from the group of 20 training participants, would lead continuous improvement efforts at this company. More particularly, the team would use Lean Manufacturing technology to identify and resolve issues associated with one particular product line. This core team would, in turn, guide the formation of other teams from the shop floor, whose representatives were participating in this training.


Successful implementation of Lean Manufacturing depends on building effective work teams. My role in this process was to design and conduct a series of six, four-hour team-building workshops, over a three-week period, that would lay the groundwork for subsequent Kaizen events. Following my work, a bi-lingual Kaizen consultant from the C.M.T.C. would follow-up with sixteen hours of intensive training in Lean Manufacturing. At the conclusion of the six-week training, the client would begin working together in using newly acquired skills to identify and resolve issues for continuous improvement.


THE AUDIENCE


The outstanding characteristic of this training group was its cultural and linguistic diversity. Of the twenty participants, only four were native English-speakers. All other participants were native Spanish-speakers, from Mexican ancestry. The plant Manager and two other Supervisors, who are of Mexican decent, speak and read English fluently. The remaining 12-13 Spanish-speaking participants were uncomfortable with both written and oral English. An estimated 20% of these Spanish-speakers experienced difficulty in reading and writing Spanish.


There were also important differences in cultural values and assumptions that were reflected in the training design, and training materials. These related to such issues as: how time at work should be used, how power and authority should be exercised, how day-to-day relationships between peers should be carried out, the appropriate exercise of discipline, perceptions about the formal and informal reward systems, how much participation in decision-making and problem-solving is appropriate and desirable for hourly employees, etc.


For example, many hourly wage-roll participants in these team-building meetings openly expressed reluctance to “intrude” on the decision-making responsibilities of their bosses a common feature of work relationships in Latin American cultures. To become involved in decision-making and problem solving is perceived as a management role, and sharing power and authority was commonly seen by most participants as a sign of weakness, and undesirable. The openness and trust that productive work teams require was frustrated by a Latin cultural perspective that emphasizes the solitary nature of the human being, and his or her essential and necessary isolation from non-family members. For a definitive discussion on this point, the reader may wish to consult the work of the Mexican author, Octavo Paz, in his seminal work, The Labyrinth of Solitude (1).


LESSONS LEARNED


Training design and materials needed to reflect these data. Therefore, the training design and presentation of the material emphasized these points:

1.Build trust. In Spanish, the word “‘confianza'” is loosely translated as “trust.” Velásquez’ New Revised Spanish-English Dictionary (1974) also translates this word as “honest boldness, ” “assurance,” “firmness of opinion,” as well as describing a relationship that permits a certain secretiveness and privacy. As is generally well known, it is normative in Latin America for “confianza” to play a large role in shaping interpersonal relationships. It is also an important mitigating factor in working and organizational relationships. This certainly extends to the training arena: if ‘confianza’ is not earned and present – both among training participants and between trainees and instructor – trainees will “shut down” and learning will dramatically suffer. The usual repertoire of training tools to elicit participation and involvement will likely fail when ‘confianza’ is not present. This is particularly relevant for interpersonal communications skills training where such concepts and skills as providing relevant feedback, active listening, and self-disclosure are not only highly valued as elements of training design and delivery, but indeed are deemed by most training practitioners as fundamental to this type of training.


Therefore, the instructor’s ability to gain and maintain ‘confianza’ with the group is critical, and he or she should avoid behaviors that participants may interpret as confrontational. In virtually all Hispanic cultures, interpersonal confrontation is considered negative and potentially destructive – it is likely to be viewed as a personal challenge and an exercise of power and dominance. It does not have an “up” side, and is not valued for its own sake. U.S trainers, however, are much more accepting of confrontation, who see it as tool that can be brought to bear to resolve conflicts and differences.


Among the most effective ways to bridge the gap between these two worldviews is to consistently “model” trust-building behaviors during training, and to avoid situations, at least in the beginning, that participants consider confrontational. This often means that training is at a “slower” pace than it would be with non-Hispanic audiences – in other words, it takes a little longer to accomplish training goals. This author’s experience is that a typical “soft” skills training program is lengthened by a factor of about 20% because of these factors.


2.Stress basic skills. The training design provided many opportunities to practice new skills (e.g., active listening, conflict-resolution, problem solving in teams, decision-making approaches, etc.). Where in another training situation I might give two to three practice opportunities to learn a concept or skill, here I used anywhere from five to six or even seven opportunities to teach active listening skills, for example.


3.Minimize reading and writing. While each participant was provided a workbook of materials relevant to each training module (i.e., managing change in the workplace; interpersonal communications skills; team-building; and problem-solving in teams), it became apparent on the first day of training that most participants were struggling to understand workbook materials. Therefore, written materials and exercises were subsequently used only to reinforce concepts, case studies, role-plays and other exercises that could be verbally presented, demonstrated, and practiced.


4.Formalize Discussion. Hispanic cultures generally value politeness and formality in interpersonal relations, compared to North Americans. These values permeate virtually all facets of daily life. For example, whereas North Americans tend to generally appreciate frankness and openness in interpersonal relationships, it is safe to say this is not generally the case with Spanish-speakers who view directness as potentially confrontational and disrespectful. Therefore, training presentations, role-plays, simulations, group discussions and all the other tools available to the trainer should reflect and demonstrate these differences in cultural views. This is probably best accomplished by: (1) verbally acknowledging these differences, with the training audience; (2) making clear to participants the training objectives of the course, and what particular challenges may be posed by training.


5.Aim for clarity. The circumstances outlined above reinforce the importance and utility of being unambiguous and clear in giving directions, setting-up classroom practice opportunities, asking for participation in exercises, etc. I found that this audience required that the objectives and methods for each exercise, each small group discussion, each training intervention be discussed beforehand, and in more depth than otherwise might be required with a group of monolingual English-speaking participants.


6.Teach a common “vocabulary.” Participants had no shared sets of effective interpersonal skills that they could apply to working together. Cultural and language differences exacerbated this situation. Orders, requests, memoranda, and indeed virtually all other communications from management first had to be interpreted from English to Spanish and “filtered” down to the non-English-speaking employees on the shop floor, through bilingual supervisors and lead personnel. Inevitably, communication effectiveness suffered. This interpreting of data and communications resulted in loss of efficiencies and effectiveness that, in a monolingual work environment, would likely not have occurred.


7.Practice-practice-practice. Use many real-life examples to make a point and teach a skill. While using examples to train is recommended for virtually any training situation, in this circumstance it was advisable to minimize the use of analogies or examples that participants would probably consider to be too abstract; that is, the examples used were all from manufacturing and production, and were situations involving production Leads and Supervisors.


8.Reward performance immediately. It was particularly important to be on the lookout for and immediately reward participants who made honest efforts to learn. Because most participants were unsure of and naïve to this training material, any trainee performance that approximated or that accurately reproduced the desired behavior (e.g., effective listening) was promptly rewarded by verbal prompts and specific expressions of approval. For example, when John, a Foreman, accurately demonstrated active listening with others in the group, I said to the group, “John, you really summarized Joe’s point very well. That’s a great example of using active listening;” or, “Did anyone notice how Justin used ‘clarification’ to better understand what Juan was saying? Justin, can you repeat exactly how you used the clarification technique with Juan just now?”


9.Mix it up. Depending on audience readiness, mood, level of interest, and expressed desires, I used both Spanish and English interchangeably during training sessions. For example, I wrote key points on the flipchart in English, and summarized them in Spanish; or, I conducted one role-play in English, and another in Spanish. Other techniques were to:

produce key workbook materials and job aids in both languages. Encourage bilingual participants to summarize key points for their monolingual colleagues, and;

10. Invite trainees to participate in either English or Spanish, with the proviso that either they, a colleague, or I would immediately translate the substance of their remarks to others.


RESULTS FROM TRAINING


Was training successful? Impacts of this program should be measured after implementation of the total package including the Kaizen interventions. At that point, it will be possible to indirectly evaluate the extent to which these training sessions resulted in application of these skills to shop floor situations. Why only indirectly evaluate impacts? Because, to draw causal relationships between this training and improved workplace behaviors, the effects and influence of the Kaizen events would have to be eliminated, or considered. Given the present state of evaluation technology this does not seem possible now.


Written evaluations of each session asked to what degree trainees learned new skills. On average, eighty percent of trainees responded that they had acquired the targeted skills and knowledge in that training session. The training group, the Kaizen instructor and C.M.T.C. independently agree that this first effort has given the necessary impetus forward for Kaizen to begin and to be successful.


REFERENCES


1.López Aqueres, Waldo, Ph.D., “Business Traits, Market Characteristics, and Employment Patterns of Large Latino-Owned Firms in Southern California.” 1999: Tomás Riv4era Policy Institute: Claremont, CA

2.Macmillan Visual Almanac (1986). Woodbridge, CT: Blackbirch Press

3.Paz, Octavio (1961). The Labyrinth of Solitude. New York: Grove/Atlantic Press.

4.Riverside, Press-Enterprise, October 21, 1999.

5.U.S. Bureau of the Census. 1999. Population Estimates Program, Population Division. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office.


IV.AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY

Anthony C. Griffin holds a Master’s Degree in Adult Education and has worked as a Training Manager and Director of Training for the international operations of Ray-O-Vac Batteries, Hospital Corporation of America, Technoserve, Inc., and ITT Industries. Since 1994, he has headed his own consulting firm, Teamworks, in Riverside, California. He is a member of the American Society for Training and Development, the Association of Professional Consultants, and the International Association of Facilitators. Phone: 951-784-9330. Fax: (951) 784-5003 Email: training@teamworks1.com. Web site: www.teamworks1.com.

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Building High Self Esteem Requires A More Intelligent Perspective

Building high self esteem is one of the key jobs of positive psychology practitioners. In my line of work, I often come across stressed students, erratic employees and burnt out business people. One of the common themes I see in such people is that they are too critical of themselves and frequently judge themselves harshly in comparison to others. I know that building high self esteem in such people will require me to become aware of a range of low self esteem signs such as beliefs of inadequacy and teach them how to overcome fear of failure.

Do you know a person who often feels inadequate in comparison to other people because those other people never have to try as hard as them, and yet they always seem to do better than them? Now let me assume that that person at times is you. Part of these inadequate feelings may be due to your negative perception of yourself and they don’t actually always do better than you. But let’s say for arguments sake that they do. You are completely accurate about this scenario. What is likely to happen? You beat yourself down. You say things like ‘I’m not smart enough’, if I was smarter than I should be able to learn it quicker and produce better results. Some will even go so far as to say I am a failure. Because I didn’t produce a grade or result as high as this person, then I am a failure. And you know what, you’re right. You are a failure! A failure in regards to how you are looking at the situation.

Let’s take a different perspective. You have worked twice as hard as this other person and your grade or result was a little bit less. Now, if you gave everything you got and produced a great result for you, and they didn’t try very hard at all and they obtained a reasonable result in comparison to what they could get, who should be more proud? Who do you respect more in this scenario? And if the person who has to work harder has the right attitude, they will actually enjoy the process more than the other person. While the other person is bored, as you reach your potential you are much more likely to move into states of flow which is where you become enjoyably engrossed in the activity.

Building high self esteem requires developing the correct perspective. I believe that the most important factor in building high self esteem is learning how to focus on your effort, not success. With continued effort, your own individual success will increase. If you are focused on success without a true understanding of effort, then you will fail.

Furthermore, this is only one side of the coin. This person has more ability than you in this particular area, but there are other areas where you will have more ability than them. During my studies, I was surrounded by brilliant people with much greater strengths in certain areas than I. Rather than feel inadequate; I would use the opportunity to learn. Rather than be disdainful of those kind of people, I would be respectful and create friendships so I could learn from them. (Though I do admit, that at times, those kind of people can be very, very annoying, especially if they boast about not needing to try). By learning from them, they would pull me up with them. My results would improve, I wouldn’t go as high as they would, but I would go higher than I could before. I would genuinely ask about their skills (their brilliance) and thank them for sharing some of their insights with me.

That being said, what about the ways I (or you) may have helped others. A lot of the contributions I made did not increase any of my marks. I was good at using metaphors, simplifying ideas and concepts, helping others feel more confident and less burnt out, joking and playing at times. Out of all these things, none of them were assessable or gradable in an objective sense. There was no test telling me how important any of these attributes were! However I know these factors are incredibly important and I know that you too have incredible talents that are not measurable or recognized, but are essential for building high self esteem.

Aleks Srbinoski is a Clinical and Coaching Psychologist, Company Consultant, & Professional Speaker. He is the Director of Aleks inPsychology, a self-development training company with a mission to guide as many people as possible towards a life of Fulfilling Happiness.

Learn how to increase your emotional intelligence and find happiness with extensive FREE techniques at http://www.FreeHappyNewYear.com

To access numerous FREE self-development and happiness resources, and find out more about the range of other professional individual and organizational coaching services Aleks offers, go to http://www.AleksInPsychology.com

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Building Self Esteem in Your Preschooler

Virtually any preschool in Boston offers curriculum that includes activities involving creation of something. Common examples could be art projects, science experiments, “writing” a story or building a structure. Beyond the initial task, these works serve many more purposes.

This type of activity within your child’s Boston preschool program is an important part of the learning process. It also helps develop school readiness and builds self esteem. The importance of helping students feel pride in their work and themselves should not be overlooked.

Tips for building self esteem
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The most effective way to build self esteem in preschoolers is to set and recognize realistic goals. Reaching these goals is a concrete way preschoolers can develop feelings of pride and accomplishment. On the other hand, valuing perfect performance over effort or creativity, can be a source of frustration and actually lower self-esteem. Family and parents are the most important people in a young child’s life. How they view projects from their child’s Boston preschool program is important to the development of self esteem.

Show interest in your preschooler’s work – When children return from their Boston preschool program, it’s a great idea for parents to invite their kids to show the day’s project and describe the process of creating it. A parent’s interest in schoolwork helps children to also place value on their efforts. Focus on their effort – By focusing on effort, parents convey that creativity and imagination are more important than making a ‘perfect’ project. For example, asking children to describe the work they did at preschool in Boston and how they feel about it, rather than noting whether or not they stayed within the lines builds self esteem. Share your preschooler’s pride – The importance of a parent’s attention is critical in building self esteem. Actively showing pride in work your child creates in their Boston preschool program is priceless. Parents can display projects from their child’s Boston preschool throughout the home, for example, or share digital copies with relatives living elsewhere.

Children follow their parent’s example when it comes to placing value. When parents show that effort, imagination and hard work are important, children learn that their work at preschool in Boston matters. In turn, they come to take pride in their efforts.

When parents ask an open-ended question like ‘Tell me about your picture…’ children are invited to explore and value their creativity. In turn, youngsters feel valued. They learn that their work, rather than a perfect result, is always good enough. This lesson is the cornerstone of building self esteem at home and at preschool in Boston.

Jane Bartlett is a retired educator who spent much of her career in leading Boston preschool programs and training others to provide preschool in Boston. She now writes extensively on early education issues and remains active locally in Brookline’s preschool community.

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