Donna's blog on coaching, leadership, and life

Archive for June, 2016

When personal problems affect us at work . . .

Sometimes we’re on a roll at work. We’re at our best. We’re focused, sharp, and managing our workload effectively. We’re gaining respect and recognition for our contributions. We thrive on the demands of the day. Yet, there are those times when life hands us some tough issues at home, or within our extended circle of family or friends. We might be heartbroken for a loved one who is ill or suffering. We might be stretching ourselves thin as we strive to be there for those we love. We may be ill ourselves or dealing with loss, or stress, or internal struggles.

If this post finds you in a funk because of personal distractions, give yourself some slack. Tough times are a natural part of the human condition, and no one is exempt.

Figure out what you’re able to maintain and manage during this time, where you may need temporary support—professionally and personally—and reach out for help. Then plan and manage your workload and personal demands accordingly. One more thing. Ask yourself what you have to be grateful for. It can serve as a great interrupter and it may help, in the moment, to shift your thinking and mood.

If you’re in the midst of the good stuff of life right now, it may be a good time to consider when you might choose family or friends over work, when all’s going well. Whether it’s attending a child’s or grandchild’s sports event, or tending to a relationship that may need some special attention, or simply taking off a little early to spend time with a parent or loved one, we have opportunities every day to revisit and keep straight, our most valued priorities.

Consider choosing your “arguments”.

I was listening to talk radio in my car last week, as I often do. The host of the radio show was interviewing a journalist who has been closely following a US Senator who has received a great deal of attention over the last couple of years from her supporters, her opponents, and the press.

The host asked the journalist why he thinks this particular Senator’s outspoken views are getting so much focused attention. He said that what he’s learned about her is that although she hasn’t hesitated to address tough topics, she has established a reputation over her career for sitting back, listening, and considering ideas, way more than she’s spoken out. Therefore, when she does speak up, people listen.

I immediately took his words as food for thought.

Multiple and simultaneous issues may be causing high levels of frustration at work. Addressing concerns professionally and respectfully is crucial to success, and it’s highly recommended in most situations. However, if we’re approaching management, colleagues, or subordinates too often about multiple issues—however valid—we might be drowning out the power behind our feedback and/or recommendations.

If you want to speak up and have an impact,  you may want to consider deciphering which issues are most important to address promptly, which might be best to let go of for the time being, and where you will have the most influence.