Overcoming Emotional Obstacles

When you’re stuck, emotions often take over your otherwise rational approach to problem-solving. You may think that a particular task or initiative may be the obstacle, when in reality an underlying emotional hindrance is the real culprit.

Your ability to reframe the emotional issue will help you break through to a solution. The key is identifying the what is really getting in the way. Here are a few of the more common emotional obstacles:

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Being Prepared

Remember the Boy Scout motto, “Be prepared”? Are you? Is your team?

How do you handle it when someone on your team is unprepared for a meeting or a presentation? This can happen as innocently as an honest oversight or it can be because the person intentionally let it slide. People who feel entitled do the latter, that is, they are unconcerned about their contribution to the overall team.

When you’re not prepared, you can derail an initiative just because you didn’t do your job. Even worst is the implication that you don’t respect to your co-workers, by signalling its lack of importance.

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Summer Musings

Summer has officially arrived, and many people are revving up for some well-deserved time off. There shouldn’t be a need to say this, but my hope for you is that you take advantage and enjoy the season.

If you wake up 10 weeks from now and wonder what happened to summer, it will be too late. So, for all of you dedicated leaders, here are a few thoughts.

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Why Clarify?

The ability to clarify your thoughts is an important leadership characteristic. Many effective leaders can be even more successful if they not only zero in on the subject (focus) but crystalize their thoughts to create better clarity.

This is especially important when you’re trying to make a decision. The more clarity of thought, the more likely you can be firmly decisive. Here is a simple formula to follow for achieving greater clarity.

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The Attention Conundrum

Attention is possibly our most important currency today. You need to pay attention to both the big and little things. Even if you are not detail oriented, when you pay attention to details it can make a difference between an average job and an outstanding one. The expression, “it’s all in the details” takes on fresh meaning in these situations. Consider these examples:

The executive who isn’t clear in his instructions but expects his assistant to know precisely what he has in mind. The assistant books his travel and then he reprimands her because it wasn’t the exact schedule that he wanted (which he, of course, never mentioned).

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Remembering D-Day

This year marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day, June 6, 1944, when more than 160,000 Allied troops invaded Normandy at Omaha Beach, marking a huge step towards the defeat of Nazi Germany.

Very few of us will ever face the task of strategizing something the scale of the D-Day invasion, let alone leading such an event. It’s worth learning about or refreshing your memory on D-Day to envision the scope and understand how everything converged.

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Be Careful Where Your Attention Goes

I was in a ride-sharing car with a timid driver (not a pretty sight in New York City!) in heavy traffic. I heard a siren closing in on us, and we were pulled over by a policeman. He admonished the driver for running a red light, took the driver’s license and registration, and disappeared into his patrol car for 17 minutes.

He gave the driver a ticket, as was totally predictable, but on lesser charges which should have been good news for the driver. But for the rest of the ride, the driver obsessed over the ticket and didn’t pay attention to doing his job. He behaved like a victim and spewed anger for the rest of the ride.

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Do You Have a Plan for Vacation Coverage?

There is nothing better than planting yourself in the sand with the sun beaming down and waves crashing against your feet. Until of course, your email dings, your phone buzzes, and your head is filled with worries about how work is going in your absence.

As Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer, this topic is top of mind. Many leaders are reluctant to take off a few days or even a week for vacation because they fear what might happen in their absence. Here are some tips for effective coverage so that you can enjoy your time away.

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Have You Asked for Feedback Recently?

As a leader, you may find yourself giving feedback as frequently as every day. Letting members of your team know about areas of their work that they could improve on is integral to your role.

How often, however, do you find yourself receiving feedback? The likely answer to that is very rarely outside of any performance review that you may receive. When you are in a leadership position, people might find it uncomfortable or out of place for them to give you feedback.

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When a Curveball Comes Your Way

Sometimes life throws you a curveball, and you need to react quickly. Of course, these curveballs usually catch you off guard, so you need to be ready for action.

Curveballs can be anything from the loss of a major client to the news of a downsizing or restructuring. They can also be personal, such as coping with a serious illness or the loss of a loved one.

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