What Keeps You Up At Night?

You’re Not Alone If Work Impacts Your Ability To Sleep

Have you ever experienced the inability to fall asleep and stay asleep? Are you thinking about work and are there “things” bothering you? Or could it be you’re excited about a new venture and your mind is racing with thoughts, ideas, or questions? You’re not alone in either case.

A University of Michigan study shared that there is a “global sleep crisis” and equates working while sleep deprived to working while drunk. Not exactly at one’s best!

There are many suggestions to improve sleep patterns such as establishing a relaxing bedtime routine, removing electronics from the bedroom, avoiding caffeine after noon, exercising, meditating, and more. These are all helpful but we’ll approach it from another perspective.

Whether there are issues/concerns, or something new and exciting, do a deep dive and assess how they impact or support your vision, mission, and goals. This will help prioritize any actions you may want to take and the following may help with making your “to do” list by categorizing what’s:

IMPORTANT – items that contribute heavily to your goals and objectives and have high value.

URGENT – items that require immediate attention but may or may not contribute to the success of meeting your goals and objectives.

You can also break-down tasks into 4 categories:

CRISIS – Important and Urgent

WORK TO DO – Important but not urgent

TRIVIAL WORK  – Urgent but not important

TIME WASTING WORK – Neither important nor urgent

A last suggestion is to keep a notepad by your bedside. When a wonderful idea or solution comes to mind during the night, capture your thoughts. This will help you go back to sleep and ensure you won’t forget your brilliant idea.

Work stress is inevitable, but it doesn’t have to get in the way of a good night’s sleep.
—Rebecca Zucker

Overusing A Strength

Overusing a Strength Can Be Detrimental

Does the concept of overusing a strength make sense?

Last week we recommended using a checklist to help track what you want to accomplish.

This week we want to recommend that you create a checklist of your strongest skills and behaviors and assess where you may be over-using that strength.

We’ll use “communication” as an example.  Let’s say you’re a strong communicator.


  • Are there times when you provide too much information?
  • Have you been known to dominate conversations or highjack meetings?
  • Do all email recipients have a “need to know” or are you over communicating?
  • Does the receiver of your message “get it” yet you ramble on?
  • Do you talk more than you listen?
  • Is your message too lengthy and as a result not read in its entirety?
  • Are you disregarded for talking too much?

Other considerations:

  • Are you mainly fact based and lacking empathy in your delivery?
  • Could you do more to minimize discomfort when communicating a difficult message?
  • Do you take into account how others may feel from your message?
  • Do you ask others for their perspective, views, and interpretation of your message?

Over-communication can have negative consequences and consequences for under-communicating can be even worse. Be aware of your audience and don’t over-use your communication skills.

This applies to all strengths; be aware that when over-used they can be detrimental.

An incoherent email is like a puzzle that people have to solve before they can take any significant action.—John Rampton

Do You Know Your Team?

Don’t neglect getting to know your team on a personal level.

How well do you know your team? If you’ve invested in your staff professionally, perhaps sponsoring the Leadership Journey™, you may be familiar with things like Myers-Briggs Type, Listening Style, and preferred Conflict Mode. You also know how well they support goals, levels of accountability, and hopefully desired career paths.  This is all good, but how well do you know them personally?

Investing time to know about life outside of work builds trust and strengthens relationships. We suggest building in perhaps 5 – 10 minutes in team meetings (team size is obviously a factor), but start the meeting with something fun, interesting, and informative.

Here are some ideas for questions:

  • How many siblings do you have?
  • What’s your favorite family tradition?
  • What’s your favorite holiday?
  • Do you have a favorite vacation destination?
  • How do you like to spend your time outside of work?
  • Do you have a bucket list? What’s your priority?
  • What was the first concert you attended?
  • How do you feel about country music?
  • Are you married?  If yes, how did you meet your spouse?
  • Do you have children or maybe even grandchildren?
  • How many states (or countries) have you lived in?
  • How many countries have you visited?
  • Do you have any pets?
  • What movie have you seen 5+ times?

We all need to be viewed as people, not just as an employee or consultant. There’s a constant need to keep people engaged and for team members to have a sense of belonging. Gallup reports that 33 percent of American workers are engaged at work, 52 percent claim they just show up, and 17 percent say they are actively disengaged.

As a leader we can influence these numbers. What are you doing to learn more about your team members and help the team learn more about one another? Don’t neglect getting to know your team  on a personal basis, it makes a difference!

A leader is someone who creates infectious enthusiasm.
— Ted Turner

Roles, Expectations and Challenges

Clarity is the pathway to solid results.
–Victor Lipman

We frequently talk about the need for clarity. We need to excel at clearly communicating our message, ensure others have a strong handle on desired results, know what’s expected of them, and share accomplishments as well as challenges. Would you say you do this well?

If you were hesitant in answering that, you’re not alone. More and more is expected of leaders of all levels despite not always being clear on what’s expected of us. We’re still in recovery mode from Covid-19, and most of us experienced change and challenges with daily operations, maintaining relationships, and keeping our staff and colleagues engaged.

  • How has your role changed in the past 2 years?
  • What about the roles of your team/colleagues?
  • Have talent needs changed?
  • Can you adequately assess individual and team strengths and gaps?
  • Are there obstacles impacting effectively supporting goals?
  • What about with changes for daily operations?
  • How have your team or organizational vision, mission and goals changed?
  • Assuming they have, have the changes been well received or even accepted?
  • Is there a need to rethink how you connect with clients?
  • What about how your team is evaluated?
  • Former “best practices” may no longer apply; what needs changing?
  • How are you doing as a leader? Has your relationship with your boss changed in any way?

This list of common challenges is not inclusive by any means. The point is that whatever challenges we, and our team are facing, need to be addressed before pain points escalate.

We think the times of change (and stress) will continue, which makes it even more critical to have clearly established roles, clearly defined expectations, and the commitment to face and lead through the challenges with transparency.

Wishing you success!

Clarity of expectations is perhaps the most basic of employee needs
and is vital to performance.
–Galllop’s State of the American Manager Report

Build Leaders, Build Success

Your competition can copy every advantage you’ve got – except one. That’s why the world’s best companies are realizing that no matter what business they’re in,
their real business is building leaders.–-Geoff Colvin I

Building leaders builds success. Simply stated, without strong leadership you won’t have a strong company, you won’t consistently achieve your goals, you won’t have a content workforce, and you won’t grow your bottom line. Yet, how many of us make it a priority to invest in ourselves and members of our leadership team? How many of us even know what to invest in?

We’ve talked a lot about the need for trust in leaders and it’s no coincidence there’s a link between trust and ideal companies to work for. Trust is the #1 factor.

Secondary factors include:

  • Job satisfaction
  • Camaraderie
  • Pay/benefits
  • Hiring practices
  • Communication
  • Training
  • Recognition
  • The work culture

Additional wants include:

  • A sense of inclusiveness
  • High morale
  • Community spirit – local volunteering and helping other employees during a crisis
  • Smile and have fun
  • Diversity and reputation
  • Hardworking, honest, ethical
  • Flexible work schedules

How do you think you, your company and your leadership team would get rated in these components? Some of the items on the list  may be out of your direct control, but minimally you can impact credibility, the work culture, morale, communication, training, consistent recognition, and levels of honesty and ethics.

Remember, building leaders builds success! How are you contributing to building success?

No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself, or to get all the credit for doing it. – Andrew Carnegie

Decision Making Factors

In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.
You’ll never have all the information you need to make a decision.
–Theodore Roosevelt

Did you know our style, preferences, and personality impact how we make decisions? One example is how our Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) impacts our decision-making process.

Those that are Type E (Extraversion) are more likely to: 

  • Want to talk it through first
  • Respond in an energetic way
  • Start with external data
  • Crave breadth
  • Consider impact on environment first
  • Share thoughts and feelings freely

Those that are Type I (Introversion) are more likely to:

  • Want to think it through first
  • Respond in a measured way
  • Start with internal data
  • Crave depth
  • Consider impact on self-first
  • Share thoughts and feelings carefully

Those that are Type J (Judging) are more likely to: 

  • Want a decision now
  • Expect to make progress
  • Invite closure
  • Demonstrate commitment to the agreed upon solution
  • Feel discomfort until a decision is made
  • Desire certainty

Those that are Type P (Perceiving) are more likely to:

  • Want to postpone making a decision
  • Expect time to process
  • Invite new information
  • Stay open to changing the solution
  • Feel discomfort rejecting decision options
  • Desire flexibility

What’s your comfort level with decision making? Do you think your “type” is a factor? Let us know!

The risk of a wrong decision is preferable to the terror of indecision.
— Maimonides

We’re All Different

Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.
—Stephen Covey

Chances are your work culture is comprised of individuals that are not from the same “mold”; we’re all different in a variety of ways. What matters is how we embrace and leverage those differences.

As a leader, how and what are you doing to help others create and support an environment comprised of a variety of work styles and differences?

A few weeks ago we talked about a multi-generational workforce. Did you feel there were noticeable differences in styles and behaviors? Some feel yes, others say no.

We’ll add to those differences. Consider values, practices, traditions, race/ethnicity, religion and gender in addition to age. Now think about preferred styles such as Myers-Briggs, DiSC, Listening, and Managing Conflict. The differences are endless!

We all have biases and filters. What we suggest is taking the time to examine those biases and recognize the impacts on our relationships and mindset. Studies show that differences enhance learning; growth occurs when we listen, process, and understand things from a different perspective. We also have to understand that our way isn’t the only way!

We like to use leadership assessments that identify preferred styles and find this invaluable for teams and colleagues. The first step is becoming self-aware, and then we need to be cognizant of the styles of others.

Take the time to learn about teammates, colleagues, your boss, and others within your workplace. Share your background and what’s important to you and learn what’s important to others.

Listen to one another, openly exchange opposing perspectives, and treat all views respectfully and with an open mind!

We’re all different! Appreciate those differences and watch individuals and teams achieve more.

Our differences are our strength as a species and as a world community.
–Nelson Mandela

Are You In The Position To Accept A New Job?

Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it.
–Katharine Whitehorn

You like the company you’re currently working for. There are great benefits, your skills are adding value, your work ethics are a good fit, and now you’ve been recognized for your contributions and are being offered a promotion.

You say “yes”, and your boss says “not so fast”.  What?

If you are offered a job change internally (could be a promotion or a lateral move that suits your career plan), could your boss hold you back? What if there’s no one to fill your position and the work must be done? It does not happen often, but it does occur, and your move could be held up.

As a leader, if key members of your team are aspiring to do more, (ex. get promoted or enhance their skills by joining another team), are you prepared to replace them?

It’s a good idea to have serious chats not just related to development planning, but also about career desires and succession planning.

As a leader, start by assessing:

  • What are the critical skills that each team member possesses? Are any unique to that person
  • Who could fill those positions when movement occurs?
  • Is cross training an option?
  • Would delegating differing roles test out and strengthen the pool of candidates?

Before a team member does indeed move on, engage your high performers and your colleagues and obtain their thoughts about possible internal candidates.

  • Who could be a good fit for your team?
  • Do they have an attitude and mindset that aligns with that of the team?
  • Can they relate well with others?
  • Do they listen and are they collaborative?
  • Will they put the needs of the team before their own needs?
  • How will the work culture be improved?

If one of your key team members is given a career opportunity, are you prepared for them to accept that new job?

Opportunities don’t happen, you create them.
—Chris Grosser

Are Workers Today Different?

Your workplace is its own unique culture. It is a community made up of people with many different backgrounds, perspectives, work styles and expectations. Each generation is valuable to your team for different reasons just as their values often differ from each other… or do they?
–Balance Concierge

When we ask “Are workers different today”, we’re not addressing changes made due to covid, but rather changes in the work culture and the transition from the Baby Boomer population to the Centennials.

If your workplace consists of a blend of multi generations, do you believe there are noticeable differences in styles and behaviors? 5 generations have been identified with the approximate associated years below. (Note: different studies show differing ranges)

  • Silent Generation – born during the Great Depression and WWII (1925-1945)
  • Baby Boomers                        (1946-1964)
  • Generation X                          (1965-1980)
  • Millennials or Generation Y   (1981-1996)
  • Centennials or Generation Z  (1997 – )

The intent is not to label people, but rather share the perceptions of what each generation is known for.

The Silent Generation was considered hard working, optimistic, accountable, financially savvy, and optimistic about the future.

Baby Boomers are considered to have strong workplace and family ideals and traditions, are relatively active, have adapted to changes in technology, and generally do not change places of employment.

Gen X folks are thought to live in the present, like to experiment, desire immediate results, may question authority, and have embraced the internet. They also like teamwork and strive for harmony and trust in the workplace.

Gen Y / Millenials are considered a global generation with connections around the world with shared values.  They are self-confident and committed, are tech savvy, and are not afraid to change jobs.

Gen Z / Centennials are the youngest in the labor market. They prefer the digital world and remote work, are considered innovative and pragmatic, and may be hard to retain as employees.

Do you think workers today are different? Has your leadership style evolved over the years? Knowing the strengths and preferences of those you lead, regardless of the generation, will help your workplace thrive and grow.

Every age group contains people who are different, people who are
extroverts, introverts, over achievers and underachievers.—Allessia Musso

Leaders Developing Leaders

To succeed in life, become a leader and help others become leaders, too.
–Noel M. Tichy

Effective leadership entails many components and one of the most important ones, sometimes overlooked or not viewed as a priority, is committing sufficient time to develop and inspire others to strengthen their leadership skills and abilities.

Think about it – what organization or workplace would not benefit by building bench-strength, with the side benefits of increasing satisfaction levels and employee engagement while increasing results?

If the majority of your workforce feels their position is career related and not just a job, there’s a great likelihood they want to develop and grow. Jobs and careers differ with one of the major differences being that those viewing their position as a career often have professional goals. They want more!

As a leader, hopefully you share yours and your organization’s vision, mission and goals annually and also request them from your team members. What are the gaps that need to be filled? Is development planning jointly determined? Do you provide the time and financial resources to address them?

A Gallup poll reported that “opportunities to learn and grow” was one of the top three factors in retaining millennials and for attracting new applicants. In today’s work culture, the ability to hire the right person for the right job is becoming increasingly difficult. Competition is stiff with an abundance of opportunity. It’s up to us as leaders to:

  • consistently provide growth opportunities
  • address skill gaps so company productivity is not hindered
  • increase employee/team engagement to reduce attrition
  • encourage mentor/mentee relationships
  • invest in our people!

By investing in development, we as leaders create a culture that inspires new ideas, instills a desire to grow professionally, with an increase in results. How are you supporting the concept of “Leaders Developing Leaders“?

Could you do more?

The single biggest way to impact an organization is to focus on
leadership development.
–John C. Maxwell



Not To Be Repeated

Concerning mistakes, follow three simple rules.
Firstly, correct a mistake that you made whenever it is possible. Secondly, don’t repeat the same mistakes. Thirdly, learn from past mistakes.
― Eraldo Banovac

We make mistakes, we experience failure, and hopefully we learn from both. It’s learning from them (and not repeating them) that increases our ability to succeed.

Dr. Henry Cloud, clinical psychologist and author shares what successful people do not do:

1. Return to what hasn’t worked.

2. Do anything that requires you to be someone you are not.

3. Try to change another person.

4. Believe you can please everyone.

5. Choose short-term comfort over long-term benefit.

6. Trust someone or something that appears flawless. (Everyone has imperfections!)

7. Take your eyes off the big picture.

8. Neglect to do due diligence.

9. Fail to ask why we are where we are.

10. Forget that our inner life determines our outer success.

And he sums it up nicely:
We don’t need new ways to fail….the old ones are working just fine! Our task, in business and in life, is to observe what they are, and never go back to doing them again.

How successful are you at not repeating past mistakes?

Analyze and correct your past mistakes before they paralyze your future.
― Israelmore Ayivor

Is It Time To Return To The Workplace?

During all phases of reopening, employers should implement strategies for basic hygiene (e.g., hand hygiene; cleaning and disinfection), social distancing, identification and isolation of sick employees, workplace controls and flexibilities, and employee training that are appropriate for the particular phase.–OSHA

As we all know, COVID-19 created massive changes to the work culture and the global economy. From a work perspective, immediate impacts were realized especially related to the loss of jobs and entire businesses, and we will also experience long term impacts yet to be defined.

Many companies are beginning to make plans for “non essential” employees to return to an in-person work environment; as a leader, how are you managing (and communicating) if/when/how you and your colleagues will be impacted?

There’s much to be considered, and there are arguments to almost every decision that needs to be made. Here are a few starter questions:

Q1. Are you/your organization preparing to bring employees back?

Q2. Do employees want to come back?  What if they don’t?

Q3. Are changes required for floorplans/office space?

Q3. What were the benefits for working remotely? The downside?

Q4. Will vaccinations be required?
If yes, what will happen to those that refuse?
If no, how will positive covid tests be managed? (For
the sick and those exposed).

Q5. Do salaries or benefits need to be revised?

Q6. What key positions function best in person versus via teleconferencing?

Q7. Did any roles experience a loss in productivity?

Q8. What were the financial gains for minimizing office space and usage?

There are many, many more questions that need answering as we return to an in-person work culture. We encourage open and honest lines of communication and frequent status updates; wishing you well as we go through times of change (again!).

Businesses can start with a granular analysis of what work can be done remotely by focusing on the tasks involved rather than whole jobs.