One milestone in professional development is knowing when to leave behind old ways and take the leap to adopt new approaches. Of course, no one can tell you the best time to make such changes, but you can prepare yourself by taking inventory of some of your leadership habits.
This is one of the chronic problems in today’s work place: too much to do and not enough time. Leaders may feel especially pressured by this issue with the myriad tasks and projects that fall on their plates.
Leaders, however, need to tackle this issue a little differently than those who work for you. People are relying on you and are going to interrupt your day almost always at the most inconvenient times.
There are times when you’re running fast and furious, and your team is doing a great job. But how are the people holding up under the pressure? When you see great results, you may not see fraying around the edges. If unravelling has begun, though, you need to jump in and be on top of it.
You’ll know about your lower performing employees early on. They’ll complain about the work and grumble to their co-workers about how difficult everything is. These aren’t the people to worry about because odds are you aren’t relying on them for the most important deliverables.
My friend Andrea recently gave performance reviews to her staff. She was pleased with their responses, and I offered kudos on how she delivered these reviews.
She replied, “You owe the people below you as much as you do those above you.”
What a great comment! Andrea provides regular feedback and treats her team with professional courtesy and respect. Her statement embodies these values. The positive response from her team is a consequence of this ongoing, regular dialogue.
Time magazine recently reported on an American Psychological Association study that a third of U.S. teens haven’t read a book for pleasure in over a year. This struck me as a combination of sad and a little scary.
Reading is important for young people for so many different reasons. Aside from the obvious ones, such as building vocabulary and their own writing skills, it helps build their critical thinking and even their social skills.
The time spent reading has been replaced by time spent on social and other digital media, which doesn’t have the same impact on their intellectual development. This will become our problem as today’s teens are our future employees.
What happened to summer? Do you realize that next weekend is Labor Day? Aside from most people enjoying a three-day weekend, Labor Day is bittersweet because it marks the unofficial end to summer.
So. Have you taken vacation?
Americans still leave millions of dollars of unclaimed vacation benefits on the table. According to Project Time Off’s State of the American Vacation, 52% of Americans had unused vacation at the end of 2017. This translates to 212 million days of forfeited vacation, or $62.2 billion in lost benefits.
Have you ever dreaded having conversations with some of your employees? We’ve all had this experience and unless it happens frequently, you’re probably not an expert in handling these.
Challenging conversations run the gamut from delivering difficult feedback to firing someone. When you aren’t comfortable conveying a difficult message, it’s likely that your delivery of the message will reflect that discomfort.
Sometimes when you’re managing people it can seem like you’re speaking two different languages. One of my clients, Marcus*, experienced a classic example of this. His employee, Cyndy*, was working on a client-intense project and basically abandoned the rest of her work while this was occurring.
Cyndy felt that while she was tied up with this client, how could Marcus possibly expect her to do more? Marcus felt that he had made it clear that although she would put most of her effort towards that one client, the rest of her work needed to be done (whether directly by her or delegated).
When you do things the same way all the time, activities become automatic. You drive the same way to work and don’t think about the route. You know what you want to order in your favorite restaurant. You have a weekend routine that’s, well, routine.
By making some small changes in what you do habitually, you awaken your brain simply because you’re thinking consciously.
Do you know people with awesome accomplishments who rarely seem satisfied with their achievements? They complete one thing and move right on to the next without pause. The expression, “stop and smell the roses” isn’t in their vocabulary.
If you’re never satisfied, you’re missing the experience of recognizing milestone moments. Successes come and go, you keep plowing away, and the memory of what was successful drifts away.