How to Help Yourself When You’re Helping Others

A colleague of mine recently attended an educational conference. She met a teacher during a session about working with students who have experienced trauma. The teacher said that she knew how to help traumatized students but asked wonderingly, “How do I help me? You have to get into their lives in order to teach them. And their trauma is deep. It stays with you. So, here’s my question: After I go over the line to help them, who pulls me back?”

Sadly, traumatic situations do not only affect students and their teachers. Many working professionals have also experienced workplace trauma, which can be categorized as follows: (1) stressful events (death, grief, suicide, accident or injury), (2) organizational stressors (bullying, threats, harassment, betrayal, maliciousness, extreme isolation, chronic pressure, toxic work environment, uncertainty, fear for the future, downsizing or fear of unemployment), (3) physical stressors (noise, chaotic environment, sense of no control over space, fear for physical safety, harsh or flashing lights, extremes of heat or cold, working amid construction) and (4) external threats (evacuation, lockdown, fire or robbery).

Read More
The Risk of Staying in the Safe Lane

For our recent family road trip, my wife and I went with our children for two days of sightseeing in nearby cities. In total, we spent around ten hours in the car, mostly on 3 lane highways and predominantly at night, with little roadside scenery to take in. This gave me, the sole driver, plenty of time to observe my road-mates.

For the most part, the other drivers on the road followed the standard script. Those in the right lane were the slowest, with lots of folks occupying that lane temporarily to enter or exit the road. Drivers in the center lane were the majority. They maintained a healthy, predictable speed and were largely content to keep their place in line. Then there were the left-laners. These folks were the most aggressive, clocking in at the highest speeds. They would also weave in and out of lanes in order to improve their position and arrival times.

Read More
Negotiating Tips from a Parent's Perspective

Probably the hardest morning for me is Monday.

It's the day that my wife drives carpool and I am responsible to get our little one out the door.

As you can imagine, it's not always so simple.

He's got his own agenda, isn't the quickest to get up in the morning, certainly doesn't love to get dressed.

Giving him breakfast is a challenge.

Helping them decide on what he wants for lunch is a challenge. In general, it's a challenge.

Actually, a lot of the key things that we do when we want to negotiate with our kids, we also need to be thinking about what we want to negotiate with adults too.

Read More
Are our phones to blame, or are we?

I used to think that our phones were making us antisocial. Go on a train or walk into a room with lots of folks and you'll see almost everyone trained on their screens. This is so disheartening. And so common. But then I see pics of folks 50-100 years ago going off to work or waiting in line, each with a newspaper open before them. No conversation. No connection. Times, they really haven't been a 'changin.

Read More
How to Get Your Mojo Back

As a coach, it is relatively common to be contacted by individuals who feel stuck. Often, these people are mid-late career and struggle in their current position.

Their challenges often include, but are not limited to:

  • Long, grueling workdays

  • Insufficient pay

  • Lack of passion for their work

  • Managers who mistreat them

  • Working in industries, such as tight-knit community businesses, in which “everyone knows everyone”, limiting their ability to make lateral career moves

Ironically, when we unpack their situations and identify pathways forward, they are often unprepared or unwilling to take the kind of action necessary to break free.

Read More
Tips to Help Your People Become More Independent

The transition from dependence to independence exists in many arenas, including the workplace. As leaders, we want to quickly help our newly employed or repositioned personnel move from needy and dependent, requiring lots of direction, to confident self-reliant, and thus capable for being delegated to.

Here are some steps that can help expedite the process of making your people more independent.

  1. Avoid micromanaging – It is very common for managers and supervisors to want to ensure that their newest additions feel properly supported. They also want to avoid early mess-ups. So, they micromanage and insist on being involved in every step. While this is understandable, it is also detrimental to the new person’s growth. Find ways to allow them the space to work without constant direction, so that they can spread their wings.

  2. Be willing to let them fail Jon Brodsky of Finder.com takes the approach of letting his newly-appointed managers fast and forward. This does not mean that they get tossed into the deep-water section with the hope they quickly figure out how to swim. Instead, the goal is to give them space and permission (if not encouragement) to fail in controlled, low-stakes ways. This will allow them to learn from the process and start self-correcting. In the long-term, this learning will be far more valuable and lasting.

Read More
What Kind of Cop Are You?

Can you be nice and still get things done? Is it possible to be pleasant and still respected?

The short answer is yes. It is possible to balance the two, to set high expectations and yet find ways to be giving, demonstrate care, and go the extra mile. (For more about leaderships styles and how to best leverage your style with others’ needs, clink here.)

Leading others is less about choosing a persona (changing who we are at our core can be awfully difficult and can lead to all sorts of unwanted side effects) and more about finding a way for your inner self to balance against what your people really need.

Read More
From Resolution to Achievement: 8 Tips for Making Your New Year’s Commitments Stick

If you are like most people, you will take some time on New Year’s Day to reflect on the outgoing year and set some resolutions for the year ahead.

Maybe you’ll decide to make a lifestyle change, such as eating healthier and exercising more.

Perhaps you’ll determine that it is time for more work-life balance or to travel more often.

You may set some business-related goals, such as making more sales calls or taking other action steps that will improve your bottom line.

These, or any other constructive goals, are the first step in living a better, more fulfilled life.

Read More
Making the best of a down market

How can we stay positive when the "weather" that surrounds us is bleak?

Here are some tips:

  1. Find the positives ➕ - In every situation, there are positives and things to be grateful for. Despite the rain, the weather is quite warm. Actually, the warmest we're had in weeks. A down market offers opportunities to buy on the cheap. Reduced volume gives us time to think and strategize about how to grow when the trends reverse.

  2. It's all pointing up ⬆️ - Starting tomorrow, the day will begin to lengthen. It will be a long climb, but it will happen. The rain will clear out as well. We can't predict when we've hit bottom in our personal lives, but past experiences tell us that better days are ahead.

Read More