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Creating Successful Leaders

Category Archives: Thrive at Work

It’s no secret that our nation (and world) is going through some tough times right now. We are dealing with deep political divides, spiking violent crimes, wildfires and other natural disasters, and a pandemic that doesn’t seem to quit. Though these events are no laughing matter, it doesn’t mean you have to give up your humor entirely. The opposite is true, in fact. Humor has the power to uplift us and carry us through our days, no matter how grim things seem.

Psychology Today reports that, “Science shows that dwelling on worry, disappointment, and loss only increases unpleasant feelings. What you focus on expands.” That’s absolutely true. If you dwell on difficulties, you’ll find yourself being sucked in and overwhelmed by them. If, on the other hand, you choose to divert your attention to life’s little bright spots and humorous moments, you will be better equipped to trek through tough times.

Additionally, when your attitude is better and you’re feeling better, you will be in a healthier frame of mind to problem solve (and potentially work toward a solution for some of life’s troubles). Naomi Bagdonas, co-author of Humor, Seriously, says, “Studies show [laughter] makes us more resilient, creative and resourceful.”

How can you incorporate a good dose of humor in your day? Try these 4 methods:

Look for the funny side

Maybe the cat walked across your keyboard and switched off an important Zoom meeting. Perhaps your briefcase broke and you were forced to walk into a meeting carry all your things in a plastic bag. Or your young child found some scissors and decided to give themselves a haircut.

All of these moments might be stressful or embarrassing in the short-term, but when we look at them in retrospect, we tend to laugh. When we have a terrible day or experience an awful stroke of luck, look for the bits of humor that bubble up. And, if you can’t find any humor, at least look for ways to be grateful (that car may have sideswiped me, but at least I’m not hurt; I’m sick, but at least I have the means to pay for healthcare). Gratitude can be just as powerful as humor.

Seek out comedy

Instead of turning on another true crime episode or a drama show, seek out a comedy show or movie, or watch a bit of standup. You could also try out a humorous podcast while you’re at the gym or pick up a funny book to read.

Intentionally incorporating bits of humor into your life can make you feel a little lighter and improve your mood. Use comedy entertainment as a way to escape and to fortify yourself to face upcoming difficulties.

Don’t take yourself too seriously

Too often, we take ourselves too seriously. Life would take on a different tone if we learned to laugh at silly mistakes, if we didn’t feel the need to constantly prove ourselves, and if we put things into perspective. If your brain blanks out during a team meeting, it’s not the end of the world! Laugh about for a moment, and move on.

Find a humor partner

Laughter is better when shared. Go to a comedy show with a friend, watch a funny movie with your significant other, or swap funny social media posts with your sister. Find bits of humor and pass them on. Together, we can bring some levity to the world and, hopefully, become better equipped to face life’s difficult moments.

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 

HER NEW EBOOK IS CALLED A QUICK GUIDE TO COURAGE
CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE.

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If you’re like many ambitious individuals I know, you work hard and follow that old axiom: “If you want something done right, it’s best to do it yourself.” This, however, is flawed thinking. By taking on everything yourself, you’ll get bogged down and caught up in work that may be ill-suited to your talents (and, perhaps, better suited to others). Instead, it’s better for yourself and your career to delegate.

Delegation isn’t lazy. It’s an essential tool for propelling your career, improving results, developing your personal brand, and keeping your workload under control.

The fact is, there is only a limited amount you can do, no matter how hard you work. Because we are not super-humans, it’s essential that we learn to let go and trust others to take on certain tasks. If you’re a perfectionist, you may be thinking, “How can I possibly entrust others with work that I know I can do better myself?”

For one, you don’t know you can do something “better” unless you let others have a fair shake. Secondly, don’t confuse “better” with “different” (others may take a different approach, and that’s definitely not a bad thing). Third, skillful delegation may take a bit of training at first. You might have to teach someone else how to do a certain task, but that’s part of the process. Share your insights, know-how, and expectations. Make it clear that you’re available to answer any questions or provide feedback.

To Delegate, or Not to Delegate: That is the Question

When faced with a new task, don’t just jump into it right away. Instead, ask yourself, “Would this task be a worthy use of my time?” If you continue to accept projects that don’t align to, or properly utilize, your skills, you’re diluting your brand. Perhaps there is someone else who has the skills to do the task better, or who would be eager to develop skills that the task would involve?

Strategically delegating tasks to others allows you to focus on the tasks that reinforce your most vital skills—those you want to be known for as part of your personal brand. (If you haven’t yet considered what your personal brand is, now is the time to start!)

How to Handle the “Who?”

When considering who to delegate to, take into account the following questions:

  • What are this person’s skills and knowledge?
  • Does this person currently have space in their workload?
  • What is this person’s preferred work style?

Once you have decided on the best candidate, don’t forget to document the process. When practicing delegation, it’s extremely important to keep track of your processes to save time in the future and develop best practices that promote clarity and efficiency. Just as you, say, develop practices for hosting a BBQ—send the invites, clean the house and yard, prep the food, etc.—creating processes for sharing tasks at work will cut down on confusion and clutter, and will save you time in the long run.

Your Challenge:

Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed by your workload, fight the urge to dive headfirst into your pile of tasks. Instead, assess these projects and consider whether or not some can be delegated to another member of your team instead.

Do you have any helpful tips for delegating effectively? Please share!

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Quick-thinking and the ability to command attention in a crowd–it’s no surprise that when people mentally assign roles in the workplace, they often place extroverts at the top. Introverts, however, have their own set of unique strengths that can allow them to become exceptional leaders, their natural listening and observation skills offering a peaceful and inclusive environment. Despite the positives of the introverted personality, sometimes the line between the “quiet-listener” and the “disinterested and imperceptive wallflower” can become blurred in the eyes of colleagues, so here are a few tips to remain at the top of your game as you excel in your field.

SCHEDULE ONE-ON-ONE MEETINGS

Large meetings with multiple voices can feel overwhelming for many introverts, but workplace leaders need to ensure they’re actively building genuine, solid relationships with each member of their team. Consider scheduling semi-regular, individual meetings with colleagues to affirm that you’ve heard, processed, and had time to reflect on their ideas while preparing feedback and new ideas to share with them in a more casual, relaxed environment.

PREPARE AHEAD OF TIME

Whether it’s an all-staff meeting or an important presentation, advanced preparation can make a huge difference in the way you come across to your audience. Asking for the meeting agenda in advance can allow you time to gather your thoughts and write them down! Introverts tend to struggle with on-the-spot thinking, so going into engagements with key points already established can help to ease the anxiety you may feel with being the center of attention.

BE ACCESSIBLE AND APPROACHABLE

While it may be tempting to retreat to your office and shut your door after a particularly taxing meeting, finding a balance between accessibility and personal time is necessary. With leadership comes the necessity for open lines of communication between you and other members of staff, so finding a healthy balance is important. Try communicating about when your door is open and when you’ll be unavailable.

EMBRACE YOUR STRENGTHS

There are many positive traits introverted leaders possess. Insightful and empathetic, introverts have the ability to stay calm and step up and gain control in a crisis situation. The observant and introspective nature of introverts allow them to be great problem-solvers when needed and creates space in group discussions for all voices to be heard.

BROADEN YOUR COMFORT ZONE

Stepping outside your comfort zone can be difficult and uncomfortable, but there is value in challenging yourself to expand your skills. In most leadership positions, public speaking and managing conflict are largely unavoidable, so lean into them! Set a goal to speak up at least one time during team meetings or finesse your public speaking prowess by taking courses designed specifically to help people in your shoes; best of all, you’ll likely learn alongside people with similar struggles and find that you’re hardly alone.

SELF CARE IS KEY

Commit to setting personal and professional boundaries to maintain your physical and emotional health. Block out some space in your calendar throughout your week where you’re unavailable to take meetings and phone calls, and focus instead on recharging and getting your work done. Remember to leave work at work; maintaining a strong work/life balance and practicing self-care rituals will make a world of difference.

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 

HER NEW EBOOK IS CALLED A QUICK GUIDE TO COURAGE
CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE.

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