Are You Settling for Less?

We all compromise from time to time. The problem with compromise, though, is that someone gains a little and someone loses a little, so often it’s not a win-win scenario.

But what about compromising with yourself? The same thing can happen. Of course, there are times when you may need to do so, but when it morphs into a longer-term proposition, it can turn into the “settle for” syndrome.

When you settle, you give up something. If it happens repeatedly or when it lingers, you may even forget what you gave up.

Settling can create a slow seepage of spirit, which can be demoralizing. Your energy and enthusiasm can drop perceptibly, and if unchecked, this can be the beginning of a downward spiral.

Finding the Joy at Work

My mastermind group had a discussion about what has given us the most joy in our work since the beginning of the year. For some, the answer was top of mind, while others needed more contemplation.

Some of the answers related to meeting and exceeding goals, and others recognized the ease with which new opportunities have emerged.

It’s a great question and one that cause you to think. The timing of this conversation was especially interesting to me as I have a few clients who aren’t experiencing joy. One new client has built a successful business over the past twenty years and has no joy or passion for what he does.


Pause and Prioritize

I’m a believer that there isn’t one correct way to organize your priorities to meet your goals. Many great organizational systems are on the market, and it’s up to you to choose what works best for you.

One critical factor is that your system needs to align with your goals. Leaders who have specific departmental goals that link directly with profitability, for example, know that one major glitch can trigger a nasty ripple effect when one important deadline is missed.

Be mindful that the system that got you to where you are now isn’t necessarily the one that will serve you best as additional complexity seeps into your world. When this happens, it’s probably time to make modifications that will help you stay on top of your objectives.

Let Go to Grow

George hired a mid-level manager, Robert, a couple of months ago. Since that time he has does nothing to support Robert’s integration and growth in the company. The excuses range from “he’s not ready” to “the clients expect my level of expertise” to “he has to earn respect”.

All of these excuses are ridiculous.

You don’t make this type of a hire without a plan to integrate the person into your organization in a meaningful way. In this particular case, George has an inflated sense of himself and as a result, Robert’s future in the company is practically doomed.

Digital Mitzvah

I was about to get out of a taxi last week when I felt a faint vibration from the seat. My instinct was to look for my phone, concerned that it may have fallen out of my bag. What I discovered was not my phone, but someone else’s.

Rather than give the phone to the driver, I made the executive decision to find the owner. I knew that if it went into the Taxi and Limousine Commission’s lost and found, the owner would have had days of frustrating search ahead, and frankly, may have never seen the phone again.

I looked at the screen and there was a message saying that this phone was lost, and please call the number below (I found this very high tech and cool).

Managing Emotions When You’re Under Stress

One element of emotional intelligence is self-regulation, which is your ability to control disruptive impulses and moods before you act. In effect, it’s the ability to think first before acting or reacting.

Outcomes from self-regulation range from spewing whatever you’re feeling in the moment (without regard to your effect on others) to remaining poised during emotionally charged situations.

Staying calm isn’t easy to do, especially if you’re in a high-stress job where emotions flare regularly. Some of my clients suffer as they try to manage this. On the surface, they keep their emotions in check, but not too far below the surface, their emotions wreak havoc.

The Value of Constancy

Information overload affects all of us, all the time. Not a day goes by where you don’t have at least a fleeting thought about how you’re going to get everything done.

The good news is that you’re not alone. The bad news is that you still have to get everything done. As a leader, you’re torn in even more directions, in part because of the expectations and demands of your employees.

One way to approach this is to decide that every day you will do two or three things consistently, regardless of what else is on the day’s agenda. For example, you might review your goals and deadlines daily to make sure that the important things are top of mind.

Next, you may identify your top three priorities every morning and schedule enough time to complete them.

Is Your Office Always Open?

Spring is here and grumblings related to work/life balance are spewing out of employees like pollen out of blooming trees. After all, who wouldn’t want to leave the office at a decent hour to enjoy a beautiful spring evening?

This week I heard a mouthful from Stella, a professional staff member who is upset when she has to work more than 40 hours a week. After all, she explained to me, she has a wedding to plan and wants to start a family.

Really? You’d think that someone at this level wouldn’t say something like this to a consultant in the first 90 seconds of a get-to-know-you staff evaluation meeting. What concerned me more, however, is the impact she is having on her co-workers. And Stella’s managers expect more from her, but don’t clearly communicate those expectations.

Meeting Madness

Do you have too many meetings in a typical week? It happens often and you can suffer from “meeting madness” as a result. This is an affliction caused by too many meetings that aren’t focused, take too long, and accomplish a tenth of what you expect.

If you’re tired of the madness, here are some practical tips to create some sanity.

Start and end on time. This may seem obvious, but it’s often breached because people are late. That isn’t fair to those who are on time, especially if it means that you’ll run late. Stay true to the end time even if you aren’t finished. It will help build the discipline to begin and end on time in the future.

Do People Really Matter?

I had an advisory conversation with a young graduate student, Vanessa (not her real name), about her career aspirations. She’s an intelligent person who knows what she wants, and frankly, has little interest in the opinion of others as she establishes and achieves her professional goals.

Her behavioral style is direct to the point of bluntness, factual with little feeling, and ambitious with inconsequential concern for others. Vanessa could benefit from enhancing her emotional intelligence, especially given the brusqueness of her communication style.

Vanessa feels that none of this is important. If she gets a job where her drive for results is rewarded, how she goes about it doesn’t matter. She views revealing her personality on the job as a liability to avoid. Just the facts, ma’am.