Pause to Acknowledge the Accomplishments

Last week’s column recommended turning your attention to your remaining 2016 goals. I hope you came up with some concrete ideas that will move you forward to complete them by year end.

Although it’s important to tune into what you haven’t yet accomplished, it’s equally important to take time to acknowledge what you have achieved and commemorate those triumphs.

Leaders who are achievers are always pushing to the next goal…the far-off target…the “blue moon” project. I see this in most of my clients: they complete something awesome, and then plunge right into the next aspiration without pausing to acknowledge the great work they’ve done.

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Transitioning to Fall

The autumn equinox arrived today at 2:20 pm UTC (10:19 am EDT). For those of us in the northern hemisphere, it is marked by shorter daylight hours and cooler weather. It’s still summer-like in New York, so the only real indicator of change is that it gets light later in the morning and gets dark earlier in the evening. But that will change soon.

Different cultures commemorate the equinox with various customs. So does the workplace, although it’s more subtle and much less obvious. I always notice a shift at this time of the year when the looser environment of summer transitions into a more settled and focused environment. It’s “back to school” in the workplace.

It’s a time when back-burned projects come to the forefront and leaders become more keenly aware that only about 100 days are left before the end of the calendar year. This becomes particularly sobering when you realize that you have limited time to complete your 2016 goals.

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Whose Work Are You Doing?

One of the traps that some managers fall into is when they step in and bail out lower performing employees. When certain staff members aren’t doing their jobs satisfactorily, a knee-jerk reaction is to jump in and do it yourself.

This isn’t a good idea. Not only do people not want to be micromanaged, snatching work from them (because you’ll meet the deadline or think you can do it better) is demoralizing. Over time, they will think, “Why bother? The work will never be good enough for my boss and she’ll just do it anyway.”

Your employees don’t learn from this and over time they lose motivation to do their jobs at the level you expect.

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Orchestrated Teamwork

The windows in my apartment were replaced recently. This is a huge project in my community as the contractor is replacing windows in some 550 apartments.

I had some prep to do leading up to “the big day”, which included emptying and packing up two bookcases and a china cabinet to allow smoother access to certain windows. Additionally, I was responsible for a neighbor’s apartment, which was done on the same day.

Let’s just say that doing this during typical August weather in New York had a level of stress attached to it….

I was completely surprised by what actually occurred, that is, it was an amazingly positive experience.

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The Labor of Leadership

Labor Day in the U.S. occurs on Monday, so it seemed timely to ruminate on the subject of work, in particular, in your role as leaders. Undoubtedly, your work extends way beyond the official office hours, so it’s important to take the time to hit the pause button and ponder.

Do work and play coincide for you? Do you feel energized by your work or does it drag you down? Do you enjoy what you do so much that you’d do it for free?

Your leadership role has an impact on how you view your work based on the challenges you face regularly. You may have loved your work while you advanced as a “doer” of the work, but as a leader, your perspective may have changed.

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