Saturday, February 2, 2013

Pomodoro Technique - Brief Introduction

1. Work 25 minutes without interruption 

Basically, this is all you need to know to use Pomodoro technique. Set a timer to 25 minutes and work on any task until the time is up. The 25 minutes work unit is also called pomodoro. If you are interrupted by yourself such as sudden urge to do other things, just write down the thing on a paper and keep working on your original task. If other people interrupt you, ask them to call or visit you later and go back to your work. In any case, you should not stop the timer and go back to your work within 15 to 45 seconds. What if you cannot ask other people to come back later, for example if the person interrupting is your superior? In that case, you just reset the timer. Work done until the interruption does not count as a completed unit or pomodoro. When you go back to your work, you just start a new pomodoro.

 2. Repeat pomodoros until the whole task is completed. 

 Suppose you write an article, just like I am doing it now, with a timer ticking in my computer. You write for 25 minutes and only the half of the article is done. Now, you don't work on other task but keep repeating 25 minutes work until the whole article is completed. In the past, I tried doing different tasks for each 5 or 10 minutes to increase productivity and fight boredom. However, the pomodoro technique of repeating 25 minutes until one task is done seems to work much better than the old system. Maybe it is a human inclination of trying to get unfinished job done the does the trick here. 

 3. Five minutes' break after one pomodoro and longer break after 4 pomodoros 

For every 25 minutes of work, you should have 5 minutes' break. I usually leave my desk and have a cigarette and come back for the next pomodoro. When you had 4 pomodoros in a row meaning you worked for 100 minutes, you should have longer break like 15 or 30 minutes. It is totally up to you how to use the break. During the long break, you should forget about what you did during pomodoros and do OTHER things. 

4. Make a todo list for pomodoro system

  At the beginning of a day or on the previous day, you should make a list of todos that you will work on based on pomodoro technique. Just list all the tasks you have on your mind. Mark tasks that you want to for one day and make notes beside each task. 

The notes you need to write at the end of a task is an estimate of pomodoros necessary to get it done. For example, I write at the end of a task called "write an article for EzineArticles" a number 2. The number means I will need 50 minutes to complete the article. When you are done with the task, write down a sign X for one pomodoro you actually spent on the task. By doing this, you have an accurate record of time estimated and time actually spent on doing a task. 

Pomodoro system is one of the most effective task management systems I have ever seen. Try it for yourself to see if it works for you. By the way, if you wonder why the technique is called pomodoro, the creator of the technique was an Italian and he used a kitchen timer in a shape of tomato which is called pomodoro in Italian. 

From Ezine articles

Monday, October 3, 2011

10 Leadership Qualities +1

10 Leadership Qualities +1 Article Author:Karin Syren

Great Leaders are optimists first and foremost. Their tendency is to interact according to Henry Ford's observation, "whether you think you can or think you can't - you are right." Because the buck must stop somewhere and because the dynamic of authority dictates that all delegated authorities are themselves subject to authority, they understand that being a leader is far more than a title. The ten qualities listed herein are based on these assumptions and are just the beginning of developing the character of a great leader. Here's to a great beginning!

1. Great Leaders are mission inclined and ensure the survival of the vision. By making certain that the principles of that vision are daily implemented, the Great Leader indicates a firm grasp of the mission and visions of the organization and is in agreement with them, making a conscious choice to submit to and support them.

2. Great Leaders are providers, oriented to whatever the individual or team cannot supply for itself. The leader is often called to provide for needs the group is virtually unaware of. It becomes the role of the leader to first identify the need, and then to provide a means of fulfillment.

3. Great Leaders are motivated by the welfare of the team. The motive is never self-promotion, self-aggrandizement. The great leader self-checks frequently. The welfare of the team will always be in line with the greater mission, if integrity is at the base.

4. Great Leaders are always ready to provide the tools necessary for achieving the goals of the team. Individual and team achievement furthers the purpose of the organizational mission. Great Leaders must assess the needs and provide the tools, as well as the instruction necessary to attain and maintain optimum productivity.

5. Great Leaders have great integrity (wholeness, soundness) and assume the role of keeper of ethics. Leaders must articulate the ethical expectations necessary to maintain the wholeness and soundness of the team, as well as the individual members. The two are inseparable.

6. Great Leaders are consistently teachable. Information flows from the top. Zest for information and knowledge will do the same. An eager to learn leader will generate followers enthusiastic about the process as well.

7. Great Leaders are always willing to step aside rather than compromise the team. We have established that the Great Leader is motivated by the welfare of the team rather than his or her own agenda, and as a result, will step aside if necessary to insure it. The same is true of the Great Leader's dedication to team unity and productivity. The leader will never play one member against another as a tactic, realizing that unity of purpose, when grounded in the integrity of the vision, will always lead to increased productivity and progress.

8. Great Leaders do not take control, but accept surrendered control. Seized control will ultimately end in rebellion and insurrection. Conversely, cooperation always follows surrendered control, the voluntary submission to authority. (Note: sub=under, and mission=vision, i.e., a voluntary stepping under, in a supporting capacity, to the mission of the team, the reason for its continued existence.)

9. Great Leaders understand the awesome responsibility of guiding human beings. At any level - - in any organization - - for any reason - - without reservation

10. Great Leaders understand the difference between passion for excellence and passion for power. Passion for excellence is fervor and zeal for fineness and quality. Passion for power is lust and greed for control, at any cost. These two highlight the enormous variance between Authority and Power.

Plus One...

Great Leaders always lead by example. The Great Leader is always willing, at any point, to walk out in front of the group. The Great Leader is never merely an observer. All other qualities will flow naturally from this characteristic at the very heart of Great Leadership.

Karin Syren is a certified coach specializing in Effectiveness-coaching. She has over 25 years business experience and has played key roles in independent creative enterprises, non-profit and Fortune 500 companies. Karin has helped leaders at all levels to increase their effectiveness through increased awareness.

Visit her website at to arrange for your complementary EffectivenessCoaching consultation.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Four Communication Styles: A Key to Leadership Success

Master the Four Communication Styles: A Key to Leadership Success

Master the Four Communication Styles: A Key to Leadership Success

By Astrid Baumgardner

Think about the last time you were at a party and had the opportunity to observe a lot of people in action:

  • Who dominated the conversation and put a premium on being right and convincing others to go along with his solutions?

  • How about the serious person who rather cautiously talked in precise detail?

  • And how about the person who was bursting with enthusiasm and could not wait to tell you her great idea?

  • Who walked into the room and began by introducing herself to others, spending time with each person to establish a connection.

These are examples of the 4 communication styles:

  • Driver: the person who takes charge and wants solutions;

  • Analytical: the person who values accuracy and details;

  • Expressive: the idea person; and

  • Amiable: the person who prioritizes relationships.

While we all have characteristics in more there one area, we each have a default style-the style we go to first. These are tendencies and should not make you feel limited in the way you communicate.

Moreover, no style is better than another. Any style can be effective depending on the circumstances. A strong team will leverage the strengths of each type so that you can work together the most effectively.

In order to be a powerful and effective communicator, it is important to understand each style and figure out how to adapt your default style to the circumstances at hand.

So let's start by understanding each style. Figure out your style as your read the following descriptions:

What are the four communication styles?

1. Driver

Hard-working and ambitious, drivers tend to be the group leaders who value getting the job done with excellent results. Drivers are apt to be decisive, competitive, hard-driving and good at delegating to others. They like to be where the action is and are likely to enjoy taking risks. Their focus is on winning, being successful and making things happen. They need options and prefer it when others are direct.

On the downside, they can be pushy, demanding, dominating, tough and exclude others from decision-making. Under stress, they become autocratic and order others around.

2. Analytical

Quick to think and slow to speak, the Analytic person values accuracy in the details and likes to be right. This is a person who plans thoroughly before deciding to act, is persistent, highly organized, cautious and logical. The Analytical prefers to work alone and has a tendency to be introverted.

The Analytical person is focused on process, tasks and doing things the right way. They prefer a rational approach, logical thinking, solid documentation and careful planning. The down side is that they have a tendency towards perfectionism and can be critical, picky and stubborn, as well as indecisive. Under stress, they are likely to avoid others.

3. Expressive

The Expressive person loves to have fun and enjoys helping others. This person is full of ideas and can't wait to share them with others. Talkative and open, he asks others for their opinions and loves to brainstorm. This is someone who is flexible and easily bored with routine. The Expressive is optimistic, intuitive, creative and spontaneous and may have a tendency to be flamboyant.

Expressives are focused on the big picture. They love ideas and concepts and thrive on bringing visions into reality. They need innovation and look to others to handle the details. On the downside, they can be overly dramatic, impulsive, a tad flaky and undisciplined.

4. Amiable

Amiable is the relationship style. Amiables focus on the feelings of other people and effective collaboration. People with this style are intuitive and care about how situations "feel". They like consensus, avoid confrontation, and tend to be timid about voicing contrary opinions. Amiable people are good listeners, friendly and sensitive and build networks of friends to help them. They are likely to be slow with big decisions and need a lot of input. They thrive on involvement, participation and inclusion.

On the downside, the Amiable person can be hesitant, unsure of himself and dependent on others. Under stress, they acquiesce or yield to the decisions of others.

How to Use Communication Styles to Maximize the Effectiveness of Your Communication

Knowing about the communication styles is helpful in two ways. First, when you know your own default style, you can spot the best opportunities to use that style and build up your strengths. You can also see where you have gaps and where you can improve by learning from the other styles.

Second, once you know about the styles, you can spot someone else's style and adapt the way you communicate in order to get that person on board with you. Eventually, you can learn how to use each style comfortably and maximize the chances that others will follow your suggestions. This is at the heart of great leadership and it is why knowing about the communication styles is a powerful element of great leadership.

Here are some suggestions on how to communicate effectively with each of the four communication styles.


When you communicate with a Driver, be sure to tell her about progress to goals, the actions to be taken and solutions to problems. Avoid chitchat and focus on the bottom-line. Be clear, concise, focused, relevant, decisive and efficient. When working with a driver, here is what you would say if you encounter a problem that may interfere with getting to successful results:

"I know you are pushing to finish this by tomorrow with great results. Based on my research and investigation, I think there might be a hitch. I have some ideas on how to solve that. Would you like to discuss this?


The Analytical person asks for data, information and facts. Therefore, it is important to be precise, specific, thorough, prepared, accurate, rational and orderly in dealing with her. If you want to get the Analytical person's attention, you might say something like this:

"The research and data seems inconsistent with our initial concept. I have two ideas that would improve the quality and timeliness of the project. I need 15 minutes of your time. Can we meet today at 4:00?


Expressives thrive on vision, stories and analogies and love to have fun while working on projects. Therefore, when communicating with an expressive person, be sure to focus on the big picture. Deliver your message in a way that is enthusiastic, expressive, friendly, flexible and open to possibilities. Avoid getting bogged down in too many details!

"I've got a fabulous idea to make our project fabulous and knock it out of the ball park. Do you have a minute to talk?"


Your amiable friend or colleague cares deeply about the relationship. He is interested in information about others' skills and interests, valuing input from others and welcoming feedback. In dealing with the Amiable person, be sure to be warm, relaxed, involving, caring and inviting. This is the person to go to if there are tensions on the team, whether that is a string quartet or a work group! A way to get his attention is to say:

"I have a strong feeling that there is something bothering you about the team. Would you like to hear my thoughts on how we might help everyone out here so that we can make sure that everyone is on board?

With a better understanding of each style, see how you can master these styles and become a dynamic and powerful communicator and leader!


Astrid Baumgardner, JD, PCC is a Certified Professional Life & Career Coach and Lawyer working with musicians, lawyers and creative professionals to help them achieve authentic success, life balance, better time management and productivity. Sign up for her free newsletter with tips on how you can achieve authentic success at

(C) Astrid Baumgardner 2011

Article Source:

Thursday, July 28, 2011

360 leadership surveys... Final thoughts

Management guru Peter Drucker said "Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things." The best leaders are highly effective at executing. They make important things happen and they get things done.

Well-designed Leadership Surveys include questions about both the management and leadership roles of your organization’s leaders, from executive management down to first-line supervisors. 360 leadership surveys assess leadership effectiveness from the perspective of your organization’s employees. Successful, highly profitable companies have highly effective leaders, from the top to the bottom of their organization. No other factor can substitute for weak leadership.

Some organizations only conduct a 360 survey occasionally for one individual leader at a time because the leader is highly ineffective and the perception of the leader is low. For more forward looking organizations, 360 leadership surveys offer a significantly greater opportunity to understand organization-wide leadership strengths and weaknesses, and to elevate leadership effectiveness across their organization.

Organizations that want to learn about their leaders and what needs to be done to strengthen company leadership at all levels of their organization can conduct 360 leadership assessment surveys for many or all of their leaders at the same time, or over a narrowly defined timeframe such as a quarter or two.

These organization-wide 360 leadership surveys provide companies with two critical types of leadership effectiveness information and insight:

1. Each leader receives anonymous feedback from their direct reports, their peers and more senior-level leaders including the leader's manager. The 360 leadership feedback is for a comprehensive list of leadership criteria using the same criteria for all leaders. This is important because it enables comparison of leadership strengths and weaknesses across your organization. Leaders receive ratings on their leadership effectiveness along with comments and perceptions based on first-hand experience of the people providing the 360 feedback. Leaders become aware of how they are perceived, providing them with useful information and insight that enables them to strengthen their leadership effectiveness.

Leaders also complete a self-evaluation, enabling them to compare how they see themselves with how others perceive them.

2. Senior management and HR receive comprehensive leadership effectiveness information and insight that identifies leadership strengths and weaknesses by demographics across the organization.

360 Leadership Assessment Surveys typically include feedback on 20-35 leadership and management effectiveness criteria. Following is a sample of the leadership criteria included in 360 leadership surveys: integrity, respect for others, charisma, vision, fairness, consideration for others, leading diverse employees, intellectual stimulation, courage, loyalty, dependability, self confidence, flexibility, judgment, perseverance/tenacity, mentoring and developing, decision making, communications, negotiation, delegation, empowerment, decisiveness, goal setting, assessing risks and execution/getting things done.

Organization-wide 360 Leadership Surveys provide the following benefits for your organization:

  • Increasing organizational effectiveness, employee satisfaction and engagement, and reduced voluntary employee attrition as a result of having stronger, more effective leaders
  • Providing leaders with anonymous feedback for increasing effectiveness
  • Creating and maintaining an organizational leadership competency database
  • Identifying training and development needs for each leader and the organization overall
  • Identifying high-potential leaders for new assignments and to lead or participate in projects
  • Focusing recruiting and hiring based on organizational leadership needs
  • Gaining information for increasing leadership effectiveness at all levels of your organization
  • Identifying weak leaders that need to significantly increase their leadership performance or be replaced
  • Having the ability to evaluate and rank leaders based on their leadership competencies
  • Using 360 leadership survey data for succession planning
  • Using leadership to create a competitive advantage

Final thoughts about 360 degree leadership surveys:

At most organizations, people are their most important and most costly asset. Strengthening leadership across the organization significantly elevates the performance of all employees, boosting the bottom line. For organizations that want or need to become significantly more competitive and profitable, one of the best and most cost-effective things they can do is to conduct organization wide 360 leadership surveys.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Top Qualities to Be an Effective Leader

Due to the increasing number of businesses and organizations today, it is actually a big query to us all exactly how particular individuals started to be efficient enough upon creating their own approach to the corporate world. These people were not just privileged, despite the fact that good fortune offers participation upon achieving their dreams. These people have certain characteristics as well as attitudes which assisted them along the way and it was these kinds of attributes that led all of them to surpass each difficulty and problems. Stated below are essentially the most common and incredibly crucial qualities a particular person needs to have so that he can certainly be a great leader and manager.

Management: This is the primary component to become a successful person. Having excellent authority is highly respected by his colleagues. Management skills include your character of being organized and stable upon doing any kind of work.

Decisions: He is the type of person to look for whenever it involves creating healthy choices. He is the kind of person which analyses almost everything first prior to making a choice.

Determined: This individual doesn't permit anything or even any person to interfere with their method. Being a good leader demands a lot of guts and courage to beat all the difficulties that can come on his organization.

Competent: Great skills is a must to be capable of maintaining as well as controlling a business especially if it's an insurance company, because this requires more skills and proper planning.

Socially Motivated: He isn't timid to deal with different types of individuals. He should be agreeable as well as friendly neighbour type.

Persuading Power: This is among the qualities that are not easy to get. It takes significantly practice and only a few has this particular gift. The power with regards to convincing sets a vital function upon generating the people's trust and causing them to be convinced.

Being a manager or leader is basically one of the toughest things that an individual could be. It takes a lot of exercise, skills and imagination. One of the things that you can do to be one is to obtain books with guides and pointers upon developing your skills. Among the best methods for understanding is simply by attending training courses upon self-development so that you will be able to have knowledge upon all your capacities and skills. It is then that you would know if you are qualified to be an effective leader or not.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Characters of Leadership

Daryl dela Cruz

Managing a business is not as simple as it looks. It requires a lot of training, capability and creativity. Having knowledge about these facts, there are several of those who even purchase books and magazines along with tips-and-tricks on how to end up being a highly effective leader. One of the best methods for you to do to discover what skills you have and lack is by going to workshops and surfing the net. Here are a few of the most basic qualities that you need in order to be a highly effective manager and leader.
  1. Gift of Speech - This is considered to be one of the characteristics that are not easy to acquire. It takes a lot practice and courage for an individual to become a highly effective speaker. The persuading power performs an extremely important role upon receiving a client\'s trust, closing deals and making agreements. Searching for great insurance leads, for example, demands skills and excellent convincing power to have their set goals.
  2. Skilled - Great management skills is required to be able to maintain and handle a company. This requires more skills and strategic planning.
  3. Decision Making - You should be very reliable upon producing the best decisions. He\'s the type of person that researches and studies every thing prior to making choices.
  4. Determined - He does not let anything or anybody run into their method. Being a manager requires a large amount of fighting spirit to overcome all of the tests and problems that come on his organization. He or she should have a strong heart along with a great control of their emotions.
  5. Socially Inspired - He is not timid to cope up with different types of people. In fact, he is an amiable and boy-next-door type.
  6. Leadership - This is probably one of the main factors to be an effective leader. A person with good management is well-respected by everybody especially by their friends and anytime he or she talks, he or she talks with authority and power.
Due to the continuous growth of businesses today, it is really a big question to us on how certain people became effective enough and made their way to the business world. Well actually, these individuals weren\'t just lucky, although luck also has participation to their achievement. These people have particular characteristics and attitudes which helped them in their whole journey and these are also the factors that guided them upon each and every hindrance and problem that they came upon. The qualities listed above are the most typical and very essential qualities that a person should have in order to be a great leader and manager.