What you think about me is none of my business.
What I think of me is ALL my business.
How I think about both is good for our business.
Last week I met with a CFO for her sixth executive coaching session. Each time we meet, we discuss a variation of the same topic: her role as a practiced fretter and worrier. She worries about what everyone says about the organization, about her boss, and about her colleagues. She worries about what everyone is feeling and about how the employees and her peers perceive her. She worries that she worries so much!
Two weeks earlier, in a meeting with another CFO at a different organization, I noticed a different personality trait that pervades his entire workplace; he is so brash that he alienates everyone. No one includes him in their project meetings because he is so harsh, even though having an ally close to the budget would be helpful. Rather than take on anyone’s issues and help solve them, he actually creates more, and as a result, everyone avoids him.
And yes, I do know one baby bear CFO, Lenora, who is “just right.” Lenora might not be perfect, but she is highly competent and her co-workers seek out her opinion and advice. Best of all, Lenora goes home from work, most days, without being a bundle of worries.
The emotional health and balance of the senior executive team creates the workplace culture. What is your organization doing to promote a healthy leadership team?
I met with a manager yesterday and she relentlessly told me all the things her department “should” be doing. Frustration and anger were oozing out of her. I had to wonder how all these “shoulds” were manifesting themselves when she spoke to her employees:
You should get here on time.
You should have proofread more carefully.
You should have done more research.
And “should” turned inward is also a big problem:
I should eat less sugar.
I should clean the office.
I should save more money.
Some ways we can change our self-talk which will in turn change how we speak to others are:
I eat healthy foods most of the time.
I organize my office a little bit every day.
I cut out the afternoon Starbucks to save money.
Talking in positive, concrete actions is helpful self-talk. And once we are kind to ourselves, we can be kind to others. For example:
Would a change in your morning routine be helpful?
Would an additional proofreader make sense?
Have you considered doing more research?
Your self-talk is ALWAYS on and ALWAYS with you. I hope yours is an encouraging voice, “You got this.” “Way to go.” “I’m on fire!”
Tell yourself kind and supportive things. Over and over again. If you aren’t nice to you, how do you think you come across to others?
This is Part II of the series I promised you.
Last week I shared some of my thoughts on supporting your boss and being a dream employee. Here are some more universal truths:
- Offer solutions, not problems. My first boss after college, Fred Pfannenstiehl, taught me a valuable lesson. He used to say, “Come to me with your problems, and I expect you to have at least three reasonable solutions along with the problem.” A lot has changed in all these years, but Fred’s advice is still excellent.
- Do what you say you will do. Let me repeat that. Do what you say you will do. If you say you will call, call. If you say you will follow up, follow up. If you have a deadline, meet it. Everyone has extenuating circumstances: illness, family emergencies, weather, and colleagues not honoring their commitments, but most of the time, you need to find a way to honor your work-related obligations. By most of the time, I mean 99% of the time. This is how you are judged. If your boss, colleagues, or organization can’t depend on you, then you aren’t a great employee to have around.
- Keep it light. Smile a lot. No one wants to be around a curmudgeon.
- Say positive things about your workplace, your colleagues, and your products. What if you can’t? Well, then that’s a clear indication it’s past time for you to get a new job. You are getting paid to represent your company. If you can’t represent your company well, find a new company.
- Know your boss’s and your organization’s goals and strive to meet them. Think not only about your tasks, but about advancing the organization as a whole.
How do you help make your manager successful?