Life Gets Busy

Life gets extremely busy at times. Deadlines at work clash with activities at home, and you run out of time to get things done. It is stressful, but we must admit it is unavoidable. Like most things in life, it is how we react to a situation that defines us and our ability to cope. Here are a few things we should remember.

1. Keep your perspective. When you don’t have time to think or plan, and your day is tightly packed with specific activities, it is easy to lose perspective of the overall day. Make sure you have at least five minutes in the morning and five minutes in the evening to reflect and plan. Keep your focus on the bigger picture.

2. Don’t stress. This is easier said than done. The truth is that most of what we do is not a life or death emergency. If you remain calm, you will actually achieve more. Taking time for a smile instead of a grimace will yield results. You can be a positive example for your team.

3. Don’t give up on what’s important. When time is limited, you will miss a few deadlines. When you can least afford it, the unexpected will steal even more time.  Know your priorities and allocate time. You may miss the initial target, but you will be able to charge back strong if you make small continual progress. Don’t give up.

If we never experienced life without challenges, how boring would life be. Embrace the busy times. Enjoy the ability to slow down and share a positive attitude. Never forget to find fun in what we do.

A Leader’s Daily Checkup

If we want to improve our skills as a leader, we need to evaluate our current environment. Here is a simple list of attributes to check your conduct as a leader.

1. Consistency. Are you providing a consistent approach that allows your team members to function at their best? Is the environment you created conducive for excellence?

2. Courage. A leader needs the courage to provide breakthrough success. This means doing things differently. Does your team recognize you as courageous?

3. Unwavering. Are you unwavering in your leadership? Are you decisive when it is needed, and yet patient in letting the team provide options?

4. Committed. Does your team feel your commitment to excellence? Are you setting the example for your team?

5. Humility. Do you approach challenges with humility? Are you capable of listening and evaluating fairly all contributions?

6. Passionate. Does your passion for your project, your team, your goals shine through daily?

Sometimes our view is not enough to test our abilities. This week’s challenge is to sit with someone on your team and have them help you review your actions in these six areas. It may enlighten you, and reveal opportunities to improve.

Do You Struggle Working for Your Boss?

We have all probably worked for good bosses and bad bosses. Working for a good boss is easy, while working for a bad boss makes each day a struggle. How can you improve your environment if you find yourself in this situation? I recommend reflecting on these key points.

1. What does my boss need from me? First off, he or she needs you to complete your assigned tasks on time and manage your assigned responsibilities. Beyond that, he or she is normally looking for loyalty, openness, tolerance, and focus. These are traits that a boss typically doesn’t ask for directly, but will appreciate when employees embrace.

2. What do I need from my boss? The basics are clear communication and guidance on assigned tasks. If we receive the basics, we are more productive when we receive support and feedback. This take more time on your boss’s agenda, so you may have to take the initiative. Schedule weekly time to get feedback, and ask for the support you need. Your boss may want to provide it, but may never allocate his time.

If you are struggling, reflect on the difference experiences you have had with different bosses. In your current role, what is missing? What is in your control to change? What action will help today?

Time to Move On?

I recently observed a situation where a person was promoted into a new role, but was struggling because they were stuck in their old role. Not that they needed to fulfill their old role, but because they didn’t want to give it up.

I have had many working assignments over my career, each one presented new challenges, and opportunities. Some of my success has come from determining the skills I needed at the particular moment and focusing on being better at them.

I started my career in an assignment writing software even though my degree was Industrial Engineering. I eventually moved to an Industrial Engineering role, and I took my software development skills with me. However, within a year, those skills were no longer relevant to my success. I had to learn new skills.

That pattern repeated itself over the next 30 years. I learned skills, moved, adapted, and repeated. The adaptation is what can be difficult if you are not aware of the need to adapt.

When you transitioned into your current role, what skills became more important? What skills became less important? Have you adapted? Are you continuing your learning?

We build experience and skills over a life time. You don’t have to give up what you learned to move to a new role, but you probably will benefit from shifting your focus to the new skills needed for success.