This is supposed to be fun

This is supposed to be fun

I took a break from work and went to Portland for a few days. It’s amazing how a change in your ordinary routine can allow serendipity back into your life.

This Is Supposed To Be Fun t-shirt

You can buy this shirt from Tender Loving Empire at http://gen.rs/Tnqy

I randomly walked into Tender Loving Empire and loved this shirt enough to buy it. For me, it’s going to be a visual reminder at work that it should be fun. Yes, really.

You can earn a living while being miserable just about anyplace. Discovering a fun occupation and workplace is one of life’s great challenges. Read more

Workplace lessons from my personal trainer: Part 3

Workplace lessons from my personal trainer: Part 3

Cartoon personal trainerThis is the final part in a series of 3 posts. Here are Part 1 and Part 2.

Often, lessons we learn in one area of our life have relevance in other areas as well. This has proven to be the case for me with some lessons I’ve learned in the gym from my personal trainer. In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, I wrote about the first five workplace lessons I’ve learned from my personal trainer:

  1. Be productive, not just busy.
  2. Learn to tell when something doesn’t feel right.
  3. Work smart: push yourself but respect a healthy balance.
  4. Don’t rest on your laurels.
  5. You have to push yourself to grow. Sometimes you need somebody to push you.

Here are the two remaining workplace lessons in this series that I’ve learned from my personal trainer at the gym. Read more

Workplace lessons from my personal trainer: Part 2

Workplace lessons from my personal trainer: Part 2

Personal TrainerThis is part 2 of a series of 3 posts. Here’s Part 1. After you read this, check out Part 3 (the last part in the series.)

Lessons sometimes get taught in unexpected places. You just have to be aware and willing to learn them. In Part 1 of this series, I wrote about the first three workplace lessons I’ve learned from my personal trainer:

  1. Be productive, not just busy.
  2. Learn to tell when something doesn’t feel right.
  3. Work smart: push yourself but respect a healthy balance.

Here are two more workplace lessons I’ve learned from my personal trainer at the gym. Read more

Workplace lessons from my personal trainer: Part 1

Workplace lessons from my personal trainer: Part 1

This is part 1 of a series of 3 posts. After you read this, check out Part 2.

Personal trainer with megaphoneSeveral years ago, I decided to start lifting weights as part of my workout routine. After muddling my way through it at home (and seeing minimal results), I decided to work with a professional and hired a personal trainer. I was amazed at how quickly I saw results. Years later, I still see him every few months to tweak my workout routine and push me further.

Dave, my personal trainer, used to compete in bodybuilding competitions. He knows how to get results. He also understands how much psychology is responsible for being able to push yourself. Over time, I’ve observed that much of Dave’s advice doesn’t just apply to fitness and weightlifting. The psychology and coaching he uses to push me to achieve more than I could alone can also apply to being successful in the workplace.

Here are some workplace lessons I’ve learned from my personal trainer. Read more

Share the mood you want your team to have

Share the mood you want your team to have

This is the final part of a two-part series on how a leader’s mood impacts their team, and how you can better manage your mood at work. The first part of this series is “Mood is contagious. Which one are you spreading?”

Eeyore and TiggerI’ve read articles before that say you can choose to be a Tigger or an Eeyore in life. Personally, I don’t entirely believe that. I think my regular mood, like most people, is in between. Great days pull me to a Tigger mood and bad days pull me to Eeyore mood. But, if you ever see me being either Tigger or Eeyore 24/7 for weeks at a time, I think something has gone wrong. 🙂

I don’t believe you can always just “choose” to stop being unhappy, angry, or upset at work. I also don’t at all agree with wearing a mask all the time and pretending to be thrilled when you are upset. But, there are definitely things you can do to start breaking a sour mood when it hits you.

You don’t like being in a bad mood, and you’re hurting your team the longer you remain that way. So, here are some tips to break the funk. Read more

Mood is contagious. Which one are you spreading?

Grumpy CatThis article is Part 1 of a two-part series. Part 2 is “Share The Mood You Want Your Team to Have,” which explains what you can do to put your best foot forward even when you’re not in a perfect mood.

I recently had a rough day at work. The stress and frustration got me down, and I was wearing it all over my face. At dinner that evening, my partner remarked, “You look like somebody killed your puppy!” Even the next morning before work, my Grumpy Cat face was broadcasting my mood. My partner put this in perspective for me when he commented that people were going to interpret anything I said that day based on my demeanor. Looking unhappy and frazzled doesn’t convey confidence, and people would respond to me at work accordingly.

Uh oh. It was time for an attitude adjustment. Research does indicate that a leader’s mood impacts their team and people they interact with. Leaders must have self-awareness and develop skills for better self-management of their own bad moods. Read on to learn how mood is contagious. Read more

Multitasking: kill it to improve leadership!

Multitasking: kill it to improve leadership!

Multitasking man juggles office suppliesIt’s time to start a new support group: “Hi, my name’s Kevin, and I’m a multitasker.” During my team standup meeting, I may jot down items on my to-do list that I need to accomplish later. When attending meetings, I sometimes reply to emails while also trying to contribute to the meeting. Despite knowing that it actually decreases my productivity in the long run, I try to multitask anyway. I need help! And, I’m not alone.

Despite our misguided notions on the benefits of multitasking, research actually shows a significant mental decline when we multitask. Learn some of the facts about multitasking, why it can be harmful to you as a leader, and some ways to kill the multitasking habit when you need to. Read more

Reflection: The Power of Introspection

Mount Hood reflected in Mirror Lake, OregonAs a leader, it’s imperative to assess what’s working and what’s not, both for you individually in your day-to-day job as well as in the teams you manage. Believe me, I know how difficult this is! We’re undertaking some massive initiatives at work with some pressing deadlines. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day running of a team and go on autopilot. For me, this is especially difficult when I’m feeling overwhelmed. When you feel like you’ve been thrown into the deep end and are struggling to stay afloat, it’s hard to pause and reflect on your approach. (I’m too busy swimming!) But, paradoxically, this is the most important time to take a step back and figure out whether there’s a better way to do things.

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Success strategies for the introvert manager

Success strategies for the introvert manager

Hello, my name is Introvert.Introverts have a bad rep as socially awkward, shy, people-haters. That’s not exactly a good match-up of attributes for being a successful manager. I’ve spent most of my career as a computer programmer, a field that is not exactly known for being filled with gregarious extroverts. Before becoming a manager, I really questioned whether I would be happy and successful in a role that requires so much interaction with others. Thankfully, I’ve learned over time that there’s a big difference between the common myths of being an introvert and the realities. And, once I understood the realities, I learned how to better manage my energy levels to be a better manager. Here are some strategies for an introvert to keep their batteries charged during the workday to help be a great manager.

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