Extraction from Spin

High growth business environments can morph into chaotic messes when you least expect it. As exciting as it can be to be part of rapid growth, leaders who spin around in these situations can lose perspective and tend to focus on the wrong things.

One tendency is to grasp at less important issues because they are easier to deal with than more strategic and essential issues. Those less significant matters are often ones that are in your comfort zone rather than the new challenges that arise with growth. Here are some tips to manage yourself during these times.

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Are You Dragging?

It seems like people go through phases where they drag around, and their normal fervor all but disappears. Their energy is low grade and, simply put, they’ve succumbed to a malaise.

I’ve observed this more than usual recently, and if you’re seeing this with your team, it’s time to reboot to a more energized, positive state of being. If you’re doing well but your people are down, the same message applies.

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Hack Your Brain

This topic was inspired by a conversation during a long ride with a Lyft driver. We were talking about the importance of a good attitude and he commented, “Yeah, I hack my brain every morning to make sure that it’s in the right place.”

I then learned that in addition to driving to make a living, Randy is a full-time college student (graduating next month) and cares for a seriously ill hospitalized parent. He almost flunked out of high school, was considered a loser by counselors, and against all odds got admitted to college several years after high school and is now graduating with a 3.5 average.

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Put on Your Game Face

You’re sailing along and things are going well, and out of nowhere – POW! – something happens that knocks you over. As you pick yourself up and regain composure, though, it’s important to manage your emotions. As a leader, you’re subject to scrutiny.

The courage you demonstrate at times of distress can even define you as a leader. Think about times you have observed this in others. An angry executive makes it uncomfortable for everyone else. People start to tiptoe around this leader, not wanting to trigger an explosion.

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When Delegating Backfires

Last week’s topic was on the importance and value of delegating. I received a comment from a client who raised the issue of what to do when the person to whom you delegated messes up.

Great question, but tricky answers.

Managers don’t want to get burned, so of course they avoid getting too close to fire. But if you’re in a management or leadership role, you are responsible for overseeing work assigned to others. Here are some thoughts on why delegating can backfire and some solutions to minimize future episodes.

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The “Whys” of Delegating

“I’ll just do it myself.”

This is a common refrain among managers, whether directly stated or inferred. It’s more common with newer managers and micromanagers for essentially the same reason: by the time I explain exactly what I need, I could have done it myself.

The new manager is fearful that the project won’t be done correctly, while the micromanager thinks that no one can do it as well as she can.

Regardless of the reason, the outcome is the same. When you do it yourself instead of delegating to a team member, over the long term it will backfire on you.

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Spring in the Cloud

Spring has arrived, bringing with it the many metaphors we associate with the season. Sunlight occupies noticeably more of the day and things seem more hopeful after long winters. And, everyone’s favorite, spring cleaning, comes into our mind.

Admittedly, most people probably don’t do the kind of spring cleaning that our grandmothers did. But it’s as good a time as any to think about a contemporary variation, “reduce, reuse, recycle”. I don’t think we’ll ever see a completely paperless work place, but our need for using paper has changed.

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Think Before You Speak

Do you know people who blurt out whatever is on their mind without thinking first? Obviously, this is rhetorical – everyone knows people like this. Even when co-workers know – and expect – these people to act this way, it doesn’t diminish the hurt, anger, or frustration that can come from their unfiltered comments.

This is not a flattering or aspirational leadership trait. It’s characteristic of someone who either doesn’t care about their impact or is so insecure that unfiltered language is an easy way to bully others.

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Congruent Impressions

You’re always making an impression, even when you’re not thinking about it. Have you thought about what others may notice if they see you outside of your usual habitat?

For example, a motivational speaker with a wonderful reputation was seen rudely chewing out a hotel clerk on the day of her presentation. The audience members who happened to see this were startled by the disappointing contrast from how she portrayed herself from the platform.

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Leadership Reflections

I recently was a guest on The Hollis Chapman Show, talking about Leadership. More info and link to the show below.

Dr. Lisa M. Aldisert ask-Do you think of yourself as a leader? Leadership starts with a mindset, not a title. Leaders influence. They share keen insight. They command respect without demanding it. Leaders inspire achievement of successful outcomes, whether leading people, projects, or processes. You’ll relate to the real-world vignettes in this book as they represent typical challenges leaders face as they navigate the wilds of the workplace. This book is a collection of short essays on leadership and relationship management written by Dr. Lisa M. Aldisert, a seasoned management consultant. Not only has she advised hundreds of clients on these issues, but she has faced these situations directly in her businesses. This book will provide you with anecdotes and examples that you can apply on the job every day.

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