What is your oxygen? What are the “must-haves” that you cannot live without? Good to know what they are. Here are some of my “must haves” – the “oxygen” I need to live and breathe.
• Balance – the ability to stay centered, as I face my day
• Challenge – opportunity to use my intellect and creativity
• Movement – a flow of energy through my life
• Basic Sustenance – so I can live
• Interaction – people I connect with, in a variety of ways
• Beauty – a source of my inspiration
• Purpose – meaning and direction for my life and work
What is your “oxygen”? Know what you need to live and manage well!
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Sometimes, we fail to ask ourselves the simplest questions. Circumstances lead us into situations and we ride along with them. In organizations, we can easily find ourselves managing people or projects, almost by default. There’s merit in asking, “Do I want to be a manager?” “Do I like what I am doing?”
Excelling at managing asks for a set of skills that may differ from why we chose our field in the first place. When we become a manager, all of a sudden, the core skills we have developed are not enough. We need to be adept at interpersonal communications, supervising, organizing data, project management, judging performance and spotting good talent, leading a team, and “managing up”.
Is managing for you? It’s a good question to ask yourself, if you want to be happy and fulfilled in your work and career.
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Sometimes, in the course of your day, you receive requests from others that have no basis in reality. Your first response may be incredulity, but then you realize they are serious. What do you do in the face of this?
Here are a few ideas:
• Ask them to repeat the request, just to ground it
• Ask them if they think the request can be done in the time they want or if there is a compelling reason why it must be done
• Ask them what help they can give you and tell them what you think is needed
• Tell them whether you think it can be done or not
• Tell them the extent to which you think you can be held accountable for getting it done, considering the circumstances
The purpose of these suggestions is to ask the question “Really?” in a thoughtful way and bring the conversation to a place of reality, rather than fantasy.
photo: Stuart Miles, FreeDigitalPhotos.net
When you think about managing, do you see your work as a circle or a line? A line is the distance between two points. A circle is continuous, with no end point and an equidistant center from all of its points. A line gets you from here to there. A circle is a process and flow. You know about circular and linear learning and left-brain and right-brain thinking. Try applying these concepts and assess your management style in relation to them. Ask yourself these questions and you may gain some insights on your approach to managing.
• Do you approach each of your tasks separately with a schedule and process for each one or see them as an interrelated whole?
• How do you respond when your progress is interrupted by something unexpected?
• Is logic of high importance in your managing?
• Do you go step-by-step as you manage or tend to flow with what comes?
• How do you comparatively value hierarchy and equality?
• Are you more task-oriented in your managing or more responsive to what happens along the way?
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We bring all that we are to our managing – our strengths and weaknesses, our good points and bad. There is a lot of focus on correcting our weaknesses. Today, let’s look the other way and focus on maximizing our talents. When we come from our talents, we start with an advantage. We know we are good and build on that. Our weaknesses may still be there, however we can use our talents to address them.
What are your three best talents when it comes to managing? Are they communication, organization, technical skill, strategic thinking, creativity or something else? How can you use them to your maximum advantage and to address any weaknesses you have? Are you expecting too much of yourself? No one has every talent that exists. We all have weaknesses and can deal with them by delegating, building skill or finding alternative approaches.
How can you use your best talents to maximum advantage for you and your organization?
photo: Stuart Miles, FreeDigitalPhotos.net
There are times in life when situations you have avoided, or been unable to focus on, come to front and center. Perhaps you have an interpersonal challenge with someone at work, you have not been up front about something when you should have been, you have hidden something about yourself or you have not prepared for something, you should have prepared for.
What do you do when the walls close in? A first suggestion is to breathe. Acknowledge what is happening and that you will deal with it. Accept the choices you have made that got you to this place. Then, get fully in the present moment. To do this, you may have to release some anxiety, fear or other emotions. Often your emotions make a situation appear to be much worse than it isYou need a clear head to decide what your next steps will be. Then, once you have cleared your emotions, focus and determine where to go from here.
If the walls close in (and I hope they never do) you can handle it best by being fully present, acknowledging your emotions and using your brains and hearts to determine what’s next.
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Each day, I work with clients as they navigate their work lives. Preparing to write this post, I thought about all the effort they put into creating a career that fulfills them. They focus on: keeping their skills up, interacting and communicating with others, negotiating effectively when they need to, staying motivated, maintaining balance, staying organized, keeping their emotions steady, getting to and from wherever they have to be, maintaining their self confidence and creating space for themselves and their creativity. It takes a lot!
Honor yourself for what it takes for you to make it through a day. What would you say are your strong points – where you’ve got what it takes? What are your weak points and what can you do about them? This is not a challenge, just a reflection. Recognize yourself for how well you are already doing. Kudos to you!
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There’s a lot involved in work place communication. When you have something significant to communicate, you do well to consider what you will say, how you will say it and what the impact of your communication may be. Expressing yourself in an intelligent and considered manner serves you well.
Gushing forth, without giving thought to your communications, may provide temporary satisfaction, but is bound to trip you up at some time. Holding back on communicating is warranted at times; however holding something in is not. By doing so, those around you are not aware of your thoughts and ideas and you could experience stress from not communicating.
Expressing yourself is important to your performance and well being at work. How and when do you express yourself?
photo: Stuart Miles, FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Rest and a periodic change of scene are essential parts of balance. In a previous blog post, I wrote about the power of renewal . Now is a great time for a break. What kind of break are you planning in August?
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There’s a difference between movement and activity. You can keep your day active, but how do you make sure you are moving forward? One way is to identify your goals for the week, with a deadline for each one. This is a simple and well-known approach, but goals are not always front and center during a busy day. Use your deadlines as markers of your progress during the week. Another way is to set daily priorities and order them according to their importance. At the end of each day, review how you did and set your priorities accordingly for the next day.
A day’s distractions and interruptions, as well as frustrations and energy drains, take your focus away from your goals and priorities. Identify “911” signs that you are losing focus, so that you don’t stray too far. If your day becomes unfocused, develop a ritual to refuel and regain your focus.
Keeping things going requires that you maintain your focus and attention on your priorities. Not always an easy thing to do, but a sure-fire way to keep things moving.
photo: Tom Curtis, FreeDigitalPhotos.net