Category Archives: Thoughts

Sooner or later, the critics move on

Sooner or later, the ones who told you that this isn’t the way it’s done, the ones who found time to sneer, they will find someone else to hassle.

Sooner or later, they stop pointing out how much hubris you’ve got, how you’re not entitled to make a new thing, how you will certainly come to regret your choices.

Sooner or later, your work speaks for itself.

Outlasting the critics feels like it will take a very long time, but you’re more patient than they are.

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How To Manage People Who Are Older Or Have More Expertise Than You

You were just promoted into a management position or asked to lead a project team – and you’re the youngest person in the group. Here’s what you need to know when it comes to managing people who are older or have more expertise than you.
Forbes – Leadership

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How to Stop Micromanaging Your Team

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Micromanaging is a hard habit to break. You may downplay your propensities by labeling yourself a “control freak” or by claiming that you just like to keep close tabs on your team, but those are poor excuses for excessive meddling. What can you do to give your people the space they need to succeed and learn? How should you prioritize what matters? And how do you get comfortable stepping back?

What the Experts Say
If you’re the kind of boss who lasers in on details, prefers to be cc’ed on emails, and is rarely satisfied with your team’s work, then—there’s no kind way to say this—you’re a micromanager. “For the sake of your team, you need to stop,” says Muriel Maignan Wilkins, coauthor of Own the Room and managing partner of Paravis Partners, an executive coaching and leadership development firm. “Micromanaging dents your team’s morale by establishing a tone of mistrust—and it limits your team’s capacity to grow,” she says. It also hampers your ability to focus on what’s really important, adds Karen Dillon, author of the HBR Guide to Office Politics. “If your mind is filled with the micro-level details of a number of jobs, there’s no room for big picture thoughts,” she says. As hard as it may be to change your ways, the “challenge is one that will pay off in the long run,” says Jennifer Chatman, a professor at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. “There may be a few failures as your team learns to step up, but ultimately they will perform much, much better with greater accountability and less interference.” Here are some pointers on how to let go.

Reflect on your behavior
The first step is to develop an awareness of why you micromanage. “You need to understand where this is coming from,” says Dillon. “Most likely it’s because of some insecurity—you’re afraid it will reflect badly on you if your team doesn’t do something exactly the way you would do it or you’re worried you’ll look out of touch if you’re not immersed in the details, so you overcompensate,” she says. Wilkins recommends “asking yourself: what excuses am I using to micromanage?” Common justifications include: “It will save time if I do it myself.” Or “Too much is at stake to allow this to go wrong.” She advises focusing on “the reasons why you should not micromanage”—it’s bad for your team as they don’t learn and grow—“and the benefits you’d derive if you stopped,” chiefly more time to do your own job.

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After you’ve done your best work

And it’s still not enough…

After you’ve written the best memo/blog post/novel/screenplay you can possibly imagine writing, after you’ve contributed your pithiest insight or gone on your best blind date…

and it still hasn’t worked…

You really have no choice but to do it again. To do your best work again, as impossible and unfair as that seems.

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Happiness Isn’t the Absence of Negative Feelings

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Happiness feels intolerably elusive for many of us. Like fog, you can see it from afar, dense and full of shape. But upon approach, its particles loosen and suddenly it becomes out of reach, even though it’s all around you.

We put so much emphasis on the pursuit of happiness, but if you stop and think about it, to pursue is to chase something without a guarantee of ever catching it.

Up until about six years ago, I was fervently and ineffectively chasing happiness. My husband, Jim, and I were living in San Jose, California, with our two-year-old son and a second baby on the way. On paper, our life appeared rosy. Still, I couldn’t seem to find the joy. I always felt so guilty about my sadness. My problems were embarrassingly “first world.”

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