“You’re overly critical and don’t reflexively care for others’ needs.” I was reading the results of my personality assessment at work, and these were key takeaways. Upon reflection, they were quite accurate. I tried to think of practical steps toward change. My office layout was low hanging fruit. At that time, my standing workstation was […]
“The truth changes.” The first time I heard that sentence, my inside voice pushed back. It was a reflex from my belief in absolute truth. (Perceptions of it may be flawed, but it exists.) My friend wasn’t talking about absolute truth. Instead, he was describing the rapid-even-sudden way that reality “on the ground” changes, leaving […]
I had just asked a leader about his “self-care.”
Whether humor or unfamiliarity with the term, his response highlights a common leader challenge: Self-care is sometimes pushed to the bottom of our priority list.
Even more so in crisis.
As COVID-19 crashed into your reality, you rapidly made changes. Some were practical, some strategic, some were externally imposed and some you decided. Entire workforces have “new normals,” whether working from home or working within imaginary 6-foot cubes that follow a person around.
The Iraqi night was particularly dark. I climbed the stairs to the roof and eased my way into the heavily sandbagged position in one corner. A lone Soldier peered over his machine gun into the night.
“It’s going to feel like a combat deployment.”
We were talking about medical leaders and the strain of the COVID-19 crisis. My friend observed that a year’s worth of daily life-and-death crisis at the hospital – with people you may-or-may-not get along with – will feel like a 12-month deployment to a war zone.
Feedback is great. But when it comes out of nowhere, it can feel like a punch in the face.
If you haven’t had the experience, Mike Tyson summarized it well before his 2nd bout with Evander Holyfield, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” (Incidentally, Tyson lost the match, Holyfield part of an ear.) It goes like this:
I used to work for a company that hired a lot of translators. But they weren’t linguists.
The role was one of “forward support representative.” A former soldier would serve as liaison between the engineers designing new technology and the soldiers using it.
Why was this job even created? Because engineers and soldiers do not speak the same language. Sure, in the U.S. they’re all speaking English, but they are not speaking the same language.
“Just tell me how I can improve – I don’t need hugs or campfire songs to do my job!”
Ever hear a seasoned team member say something like that? Or said it yourself?
I’ve seen the value of both critique and encouragement. But what’s the right balance?
Are you a good delegator?
As leaders, our tasks are endless – and range from crucial to trivial. A few are things only we can do. What if we delegated the rest?
Here’s 6 helpful actions: