Managing Distressed Workers & Friends


Most industrialized cultures have become increasingly sensitized to the
impact of stress on workers and the workforce.

Let’s face it, distressed people are bad for business; Productivity, Morale, Health, Safety and more can be compromised. And, these liabilities are equally problematic outside the workplace.

Trauma causes stress that may be PHYSICAL and/or MENTAL. It may affect an Individual or a Group.

Whatever the source, I believe there are THREE (3) Golden Rules in dealing with Distressed Individuals:

  1.   Address the issue in a timely fashion.
  2.   Determine appropriate Action/Assistance, then
  3.   Implement and Follow Up.

Ignoring or delaying unnecessarily is imprudent. Failure to Recognize, Accept and Address problems usually allows them to ferment.

Correspondingly, rushing in like a bull in a china shop is usually unwise. Judgement is required.

It is important to first consider the nature of the distress we might be addressing…

I have seen people (Adults and Children) react to Physical Trauma in vastly different ways. Within these TYPES of response, some cry, others complain incessantly, some go into a shell (even sleep) and others become loud or outwardly vocal.

Even very similar traumas can illicit strikingly varied responses from different people. We react differently to the same problem; the variations can be surprising.

Similarly, the response you might see from a particular individual to PHYSICAL harm will generally be quite different to their response to MENTAL Trauma. Differing stimuli effect different reactions.

Responses to a specific TRAUMA can vary by Age, Personality, Fatigue, Health, Strength, Experience and more. It’s never certain what response you might witness. And, with each general type of response there are innumerable, personal variations.

When dealing with distressed individuals, it’s important to first recognize Clues alerting us something is wrong. These may be subtle changes in Attitude, Behavior, or perhaps even flagrant Mood Swings and Outbursts.

Whatever the situation, something tips us off; we become Aware.

A person who’s upset or out-of-sorts should only be approached by someone they can trust and do respect. If that is not you, channel a discrete alternate to intervene.

Approaches to distressed individuals should be private and not-too-invasive. Allow the person (s) to open-up or back-away if they must. But there should be an approach, whichth occurs in a safe, neutral place. And, always begin by establishing rapport.

It’s typical to open the discussion by generally noting an individual doesn’t seem themselves, or appears troubled by something.

Next, asking if everything is OK, or is there something I can help you with is a simple, open-handed introduction to identify and address the problem.

Be sensitive to the person’s distress. Downstream you may consult, advise or even direct the individual concerned, but not at the outset. Job one is to LISTEN and LEARN; so, be authentic, empathize.

Once the root of the problem is clearly understood, get the best expertise necessary to help resolve the issue(s). You may be the right person, you might not; recognize your limits.

If third parties are brought in, make sure they are acceptable to the distressed individual(s) and offer no further threat or complication to the existing problem(s). Such outsiders must be appropriately discrete and confidential in their dealings.

When the person is on a recovery path, check in on them. Do this regularly and as non-invasively as possible. Again, offer authentic, appropriate support; never be an unnecessary crutch or that person who interferes inappropriately.

People are traumatized by so many elements of life. Small things to some are life-changing to others and vice versa.

Correspondingly, something traumatic to someone one day might be only a simple annoyance at another time. We each react differently and in sometimes inexplicable ways; the dynamics can be complex and varied.

People in the workplace and your personal life are constantly barraged with challenges and difficulties. Sometimes they suffer set-backs from these impacts.

Even though we should not stick our noses into everyone’s affairs, there’s often times when it’s our job or responsibility. Then, we are the ones who need to make a difference and ease the load.

And note, when in any doubt about the underlying seriousness of someone’s trauma, we should ALWAYS seek professional advice.

So, take a look around. Has someone’s behavior changed? Are there subtle or obvious symptoms of Stress, or Distress?

When people are in trouble, address the issue. By all means take a moment to prudently consider the appropriate approach, but don’t ever fail the person; step up to your responsibilities.

END

Post Script: For purposes of brevity the clinical meanings of Stress, Distress and Trauma have been applied loosely in the most generally accepted terms.

Ian R. Mackintosh is the author of Empower Your Inner Manager Twitter @ianrmackintosh

 

Enjoy Business, Work & Life: Choosing Buckets and Balloons

Image result for choose your attitude quotesWhen it really matters, you choose your mood. At some level, everybody does.

We put on the face/front for that meeting, party or social event. We are already choosing our demeanor.

And, given a level of commitment and practice we can similarly start, or reset each day to the tone we’d most prefer.

Rather than drag ourselves out of bed and run into the turmoil of the day we can set ourselves up for a happy daily entre and even recover crisply from (seemingly inevitable) emergent setbacks.

Most folks carry around their personal, “bucket of troubles.” It seems we all choose how many woes and problems we’ll take on.

Some carry larger buckets than others; that’s a choice. And then, we allow those buckets to fill till they spill over. Only in this way do we limit what we take on.

By analogy, the larger the bucket, the heavier is the load. The weight (burden) is determined by what we are prepared to accept.

What if we simply chose not to allow deposits into that bucket? Just shrug things off (responsibly), don’t let them weigh in immediately and only fully embrace troubles when we choose.

Simply put, take on the issue later when preferred and only drop a note to address the problem into the bucket, for now. (SIDE NOTE: truly immediate issues are just that, so act accordingly. But, most things are not).

This doesn’t mean we ignore problems, concerns or issues. It does mean we should not burden ourselves with unknowns until we’re ready to focus.

Such an approach is truly Zen-like. We should “eat when we eat,” just attending to that of immediate concern to us. In this case, it is the simple, need-to-address-later note.

This unburdens us nicely. No rapid-fill of that bucket.

We might even soon learn to reduce that bucket’s size as our skills develop. Why leave room to potentially unnecessarily burden ourselves with things we often can’t address till later, anyway?

Buckets weigh us down. Similarly, balloons can buoy us up. So why not carry a few of those around?

Happy thoughts, good news all serve to lighten our footsteps.

Image result for colorful balloonsWe begin each day with a host of blessings to enjoy. Our relationships, work, family, friends, even possessions can boost happiness, enjoyment and self-worth.

So, reflect on a few of these positives to start each day and renew yourself throughout. Carry a few happy balloons around and offset the weight of that essential bucket.

Realistically, we cannot expect to exist in a bed of roses on a flat, stable and worry-free plane. Yet too much volatility in our ups and downs is ultimately wearing, dulls our judgement, exhausts the ability to enjoy life and often harms our health.

Daily routines and encounters can be a grind. Things can wear on us and beat us down.

Life is not all smiles, happiness and positive events. It’s pretty tough for everyone. We need to both reduce our burdens and lighten our steps. So, a handful of balloons and a less substantial bucket can serve us well.

How is life wearing on you? Need to downsize that bucket and lighten the load?

Make life more enjoyable: every morning grab a few balloons, choose a smaller bucket and enthusiastically greet the coming day.

 

Ian R. Mackintosh is the author of Empower Your Inner Manager Twitter @ianrmackintosh

 

 

How Sharp are YOUR Mental Skills? Important Insights

Image result for brain gamesI’ve always personally enjoyed mental exercises and games.  They can be great time fillers, keep you alert and in the moment. I believe they offer some level of personal improvement and improve mental acuity.

It turns out the research and writing around this subject area offers some useful additions to my personal perceptions.

A whole industry surrounds the training of the brain. It’s generally accepted that improvements can be made in personal function for Flexibility, Speed, Memory, Problem Solving, Learning Power etc. Progress can be measured on these fronts and dozens of exercises and games can be readily found in books or on-line.

Healthy lifestyle advocates promote Brain Fitness, which includes Proper Nutrition, Sleep, Physical Exercise and Stress Management.

Similarly, it’s accepted that cognitive skills are harmed by Stress, Anxiety, Depression, Aging, Air Pollution and internal Chemical Imbalance (both hormonal and drug induced).

Cognitive Training (aka Brain Fitness) promotes the idea that skills can be developed or maintained by exercising the brain in much the same way physical condition is improved by body exercise.

Scientific material rarely supports or advertises the concept of brain fitness, but personal development materials have promoted the idea with products and books since the 1980’s.

In practice, mental exercises can have measurable benefits; even more so the lower the starting base of the trainee. Any way you look at it, you can improve your brain function to some degree by practicing and training appropriately.

There’s recent evidence that mental training leads to a decrease (33% reported) in the risk of dementia onset. And, training children for academic improvement only appears to have benefits where the specific training is obviously and directly applicable to the specific area of study involved.

So, there is no silver bullet here where one approach fits all needs.

Certainly, some games and puzzles are fun and I personally enjoy a sense of accomplishment taking on new challenges and becoming more skilled and proficient over time.

Many people turn to outlets such as Crossword Puzzles, Sudoku, Solitaire, Bridge, etc. as a more productive use of otherwise dead time. It’s common to see people engaged in such activities in waiting areas, when travelling etc., even where other (such as TV) entertainment is present.

There is undoubtedly an increasing cultural search for alternative occupations that often more directly physically engage and personally challenge us. And there is a huge proliferation of available options.

Whatever our reasons for doing a little personalized brain-training (or self-entertainment), it typically provides us an enhanced sense of accomplishment and is usually a lot more fun than the other immediately available choices.

So, as another alternative suggestion, let me offer you a brain teaser to consider over time. You may solve this in a few minutes or be working on it many weeks from now. Either way, consider this…

There are twelve (12) natives stranded on an otherwise deserted Island.

Eleven (11) of the natives are the same weight, but one (1) weighs slightly less (or more) than the others.

Also, on the island is a see-saw (teeter-totter) that you may use in your investigations, but only three (3) times.

Your challenge is to discover which Islander has the different weight AND if that weight is more or less than the other eleven Islanders.

End of Challenge.

Whatever your predilection for cognitive development, let me recommend its benefits to both your practical personal development and self-esteem. Wishing you the best on your chosen path!

 

Image result for brain games

Ian R. Mackintosh is the author of Empower Your Inner Manager Twitter @ianrmackintosh

 

That Comment: Real or Delusional?

Image result for self delusion

I was sitting at the dinner table during a recent event listening to people’s tales of their lives, relationships and work-related activities. It was a full-spectrum gathering.

When later reflecting on this occasion and myriad other recent and past daily interactions I again became starkly aware just how self-flattering individuals can be and what delusional façades most people will present.

In fact, I believe most folks are frighteningly self-delusional when reporting insights to their lives.

This is not surprising, as in practice, self-confidence is closely linked to self-deception, self-delusion and success.

Indeed, to quote

“…, people in positions of great authority are, and perhaps must be, capable of enormously high levels of self-delusion.” (Health-care Hypocrites, Paul Campos, 3/22/10).

And, the Definition : Self-Delusion (Noun)…

The act or state of deceiving or deluding oneself.

The common scientific belief today is that most people lie to themselves; this done to aid them in considering themselves above average and to help them justify even their unjustifiable actions.

Relatedly and ironically, I suspect many of us attempting to present a truly realistic, unbiased opinion have, at one time or another been criticized as being negative or pessimistic. It appears a more rose-colored account of events is usually better appreciated, too; upon reflection, a very troubling reality.

Oddly, it seems that self-delusion is necessary. One writer (Fine) even mentions that a group of individuals truly capable of seeing reality as it is are the clinically depressed.

So, it appears most of us actually need to delude ourselves to make life bearable. This is a disturbing dynamic and a frightening insight to our suppressed, internal views.

People typically resent being referred to as delusional. It is normally perceived as a human flaw.

Yet, given the apparent role of self-delusion in stabilizing our psyche, perhaps it should be considered an asset?

It is true that great shows of bloated self-importance can be ugly to hear, but they are also just a sad measure of, and insight to, an individual’s insecurities.

In any event, the next time you catch yourself or others making enhanced or exaggerated claims, empathize a little. Sometimes it can be wiser to understand and accept the underlying challenge and then just move on.

Unfortunately, on some occasions it is appropriate or even essential to set the record straight with deluded individuals. This is often better done privately, but perhaps sometimes damaging falsehoods must be challenged immediately and publicly. In either situation, be as discreet and sensitive as circumstance warrants.

The stark daily realities we all face can often prove extremely harsh unless portrayed through a biased, tinted lens. So, if such assertions truly do no harm at the time, let the self-deluded enjoy their peace of mind behind that colored glass. Gracefully allow people their space to feel important or avoid their unnecessary embarrassment.

Have you noticed the self-delusion of others? Perhaps you recently caught yourself making exaggerated claims? Take a look behind those stories. It’s amazing the sensitivities and insecurities that come to light.

Above all, don’t fear those delusions. They’re often what’s keeping us grounded and balanced.

 

Ian R. Mackintosh is the author of Empower Your Inner Manager Twitter @ianrmackintosh

 

 

When Bad Behavior Goes Unaddressed

I believe Bad Behavior must always be addressed. Delays in redress should be as minimal as discretion and practicality allows.Image result for bad behavior in workplace

So, what is bad behavior? For our purposes here it is actions or inactions that directly or indirectly impact the well-being of yourself or more commonly, others.

Bad behavior can be as small as a look, roll-of-the-eyes or malicious comment. It can be as extreme as criminal activity or even violence.

We see signs of these problems throughout our daily lives; from the workplace to the home and often in social settings.

When we ignore the hurtful or harmful doings of others we inadvertently condone. Such ignorance invariably acts as endorsement or reward, often causing the action to be repeated and worsen. In this way we become enablers.

Those who ignore are an integral part of the behavior.

Intriguingly, leaving matters unaddressed can itself be bad behavior. And of course, all bad behavior is based in insecurity. So, our own inactions say much about us as individuals.

Of course this doesn’t mean we should immediately jump on every minor incident we see or perceive. Sometimes, discretion truly is the better part of valor. But even then it’s always possible to discreetly enquire later about a troubling event and highlight a concern.

How we address behavioral issues can be a matter of opportunity. Some problems are immediate; an errant child might often be corrected quickly, yet an adult will usually respond better to a delayed, private discussion. Greater crimes demand more time and process, but even then the unacceptability of an action can be noted early on.

Why do we insert ourselves in the process of correction? As moral individuals we normally feel the need to both constructively teach/guide/mentor protagonists and protect current or potential victims. Also, it behooves us to establish acceptable norms and define the culture we endorse.

In the case of Justice Systems the goals are more centered on punishment and the suppression of recurrence. Even so, cultural norms are also inherently established through Law.

When I witness behavioral infractions (say) in the Workplace it’s easy to envision the offender in his/her past as a young child behaving badly and not receiving supportive and corrective guidance from an adult. Poor parenting abounds; the arguments are often that life moves quickly, time is scarce and so things get overlooked. Realistically, these are poor excuses.

In practice there is always time for correction and improvements, even if belatedly or later in life. And, if things are important, have future or long-term impacts, time should always be allotted.

As adults we do not live in cloistered, protected environments. Humans communicate and collide with one another all the time. They need the (largely learned) ability to directly defend themselves and take

proactive action. However, it’s generally less chaotic and more civilized for everyone concerned when the most moderate and reasonable actions possible are taken during personal interactions. Sadly, this is not always what happens.

So inevitably, behavioral problems occur frequently. And, as a result we need to address the protagonists and correct the behaviors. The most popular corrective process favored today is somewhat hands-off, less emotional and non-confrontational. For example, the individual addressing a problem behavior might say to an offender:

“When you did ABC it caused DEF as a result. It made me/us feel XYZ. I am disappointed, as you’re better than that.”

There are a great number of people (in business, social settings and private life) that follow and believe strongly in this type of approach. They report it’s highly effective and works wonders in correcting minor behavioral issues. Certainly it is quick and easy; in most all cases likely much better than inaction.

Sometimes we are fortunate (and unfortunate) enough to catch ourselves exhibiting behaviors the world would be better without. Just our awareness of this reality can move us productively along the traditional path of recognition, acceptance and then hopefully on through to appropriate correction. As a consequence, it’s often surprisingly informative to reflect upon our own actions with this in mind.

Now, are you seeing behaviors in others they’d be well-advised to cease? Know anyone who’d benefit from some guidance? Are you responsibly developing others by addressing their bad behavior?

Perhaps it’s time to become a little more active with your counselling. And, enhancing your own actions in this way will make you part of a solution, not the problem.

 

Ian R. Mackintosh is the author of Empower Your Inner Manager Twitter @ianrmackintosh

 

Insecurity Invades: Take Back Control!

Every day we rise, step into the day and interact with others. The people we meet can be colleagues, clients, friends, family or casual acquaintances.

And, our dealings with others are profoundly influenced by their (and our own) intricate personalities and foibles. So, in this regard, which human characteristics might give us cause for concern?

Well, I believe most people to be generally insecure. In fact, I have found that many are very insecure.

Is there really great significance to these observations? Does this significantly affect our interactions with others? Might Insecurity profoundly influence the outcome for many of our dealings?

I believe the answer to all these questions is a resounding yes.

So, it is important we can recognize Insecurity in all its forms.

Indeed our ability to spot this human characteristic empowers us in dealing with others. We are better able to adjust and manage the situations we encounter.

To better understand the nature of Insecurity, consider the following (not prioritized) collection of insights:

Secure Human is an oxymoron.

Humans are petty, frightened, Insecure Creatures.

People are amalgams of insecurities invisible to the Self without Introspection.

All Bad Behavior is based in Insecurity.

Were it not for Insecurity we could not justify our Bad Behavior.

Others would feel less Inferior were we not Insecure.

Self-Importance grows with Insecurity.

Real Self-Confidence is inversely proportional to Insecurity.

Watching someone Control their Insecurities is like watching a balloon squeeze.

Insecurity inflates the Self.

The Showcasing of Accomplishments increases with Insecurity.

Acceptability declines as Insecurity grows.

Boastful Humility is symptomatic of Insecurity.

The need to Control Others grows with Insecurity.

Insecurity drives Importance to Diminish others.

These pointers better help us identify when insecurity is in-play.

Our first step should be to recognize our own insecurities. It’s not easy to do, but the more self-aware we become the more readily we recognize tell-tale behaviors in others.

Ever consider where such issues are already affecting your relationships and dealings? Further, where might they be affected in the future?

I recommend you take a close look at potentially problematic situations and even those that might already seem fixed or established. The better your ability to identify what factors are in-play and then make appropriate adjustments, the more success you’ll achieve in your business and private lives.

Enjoy the investigation. It’s amazing what you’ll uncover.

Ian R. Mackintosh is the author of Empower Your Inner Manager Twitter @ianrmackintosh

 

 

Someone Needs Help: When, Where and How To Support

thIn life we frequently come across those who need assistance.

These can be people we know well or folks wholly unknown to us. We see such needs at work, home and in the street; indeed, almost everywhere we look.

It’s generally accepted we should help those in need. I believe that in many ways our ability to offer help actually defines our humanity.

So when do we offer our assistance? Certainly, opportunities exist as others are Failing; this may be Physically, Emotionally, Financially or, perhaps they’re just not getting things done.

Next, consider the question of why we help others. Often we are motivated to:

Resolve a Problem Situation

Bond or Rebuild relationship(s)

Show Willingness

End Suffering

Improve Ourselves

Expand Awareness

Teach

And, so on

These goals are both diverse and frequently interdependent. They represent generous and also sometimes self-serving purpose(s). The intermingling of our objectives and motivations is almost inevitable.

And yet, when assistance is rendered wisely, it should rarely be perceived overtly Machiavellian.

It is greatly important how we render assistance. Generally it’s wise to do so with no:

Expectation of Repayment

Taint of Condescension or Charity

Coming to the aid of others in an appropriate manner is a personally healthy practice. It’s typically indicative of a good life-style balance, perspective and self-confidence. Certainly it can demonstrate sensitivity, consideration and the abilities to both empathize and sympathize as applicable.

For those recipients, discrete and more invisible action and assistance is usually most appreciated.

And remember, not everybody truly wants our help. So, be open and willing to back-off gracefully

 when the situation dictates.

Eventually, we all need help. At some time, place and in a particular circumstance the best of us are laid low and need an outstretched hand. This is seemingly one of life’s certainties.

So, are you rendering the service to others that you might? Have you offered the assistance that you should?

Take a look at your Work, Home and general Environment. There are invariably situations where you should step-in. Consider the opportunity; why not give it a try.

Ian R. Mackintosh is the author of Empower Your Inner Manager Twitter @ianrmackintosh

Beware of Sending the Wrong Message

communications-300x197Brevity in communications has become both an Asset and Liability.

Over the last decade we have accelerated our embrace of tech-driven means to speed and multiply our information access and personal interactions.

Texts, Tweets and many more vehicles service these needs, but at what price? The fewer words or characters employed in a communication, the greater are risks to clarity and precision.

Often vagueness truly is better than invisibility. Many times awareness is more important than ignorance. But frequently, there is real liability in lack of clarity or obscure intent.

“Get out, now. There’s fire,” is not the same as, “I see smoke. Anyone called 911?”

As a young graduate I recall being roasted by a Senior Engineer for imprecisely describing a technical hitch. My vagueness showed inexperience, lacked thought and useful recommendations. I recognized the problem and upgraded my commentaries, thenceforth. Truly this was a life-lesson.

Clear communications are normally essential, be they in personal, business, subjective or factual situations. Clarifying exact meanings later is all-too-often a part of consequential damage control.

“I thought you meant…,” or, “what did you mean by…,” are phrases regularly seen when things have already gone awry.

Realistically, can everyone always make sufficient time to optimize what they say or write? Probably not, but when items are Serious, Urgent and/or Important we should always take more care.

Highlighting a problem poorly or making inherently misleading comments can carry a heavy price. Perhaps simple qualifiers (I think that…,” “I believe this…,” etc.) could often be used to offset many liabilities. Certainly this would mitigate a pet peeve of mine exhibited frequently by professionals who freely proffer statements, yet avoid offering the clarification of whether their points are opinion or fact.

I regularly see people write and/or say things that highlight their insensitivity to the importance of words and how they are used. The simplest statement can be massively changed by:

Word Selection

Different words can carry vastly different meanings and cultural implications: “torrential rain” is not the same as “steady rain.”

Word Ordering

Switch the words and change the meaning: “Will I,” is radically different from,” I will.”

 Word Emphasis

What’s important might change dramatically in the same message: “I must go now,” differs significantly from, “I MUST go now.”

Communication Vehicle

Written Texts, Tweets, emails, letters, books etc. all constrain the author to communicate quite differently. Often adjustments are made to mitigate the liabilities (LOL ).

Intriguingly, the voice (eyes and body, too) offers almost infinite intonation and cultural opportunities. Thus the power of F-2-F discourse is obvious.

Imagery

The pictures we both convey or provide usually carry great weight.

And, more

Culturally, it seems to me that we now more necessarily accept communication errors and often willingly sacrifice quality for quantity. In many cases this is a great trade-off, particularly where some insight is markedly better than ignorance. This approach feeds our inquisitiveness and piques our awareness. It also recognizes and accommodates our inherent physical separation from others.

However, when things really matter it’s generally better to momentarily reflect on WHAT you say, WHEN you say it and HOW. After all, if we get it wrong it often returns to haunt us.

How well are you succeeding with your own communications? Do you ever trip yourself up? Do your people cause you heartburn with some of their messaging? It’s probably time to reflect upon both your and others’ communication behaviors.

Ian R. Mackintosh is the author of Empower Your Inner Manager Twitter @ianrmackintosh

Making a Career Move

In the recent past I read a piece reporting Stats on Millennials’ opinion regarding job tenure. The results proved intriguing, surprising and alarming at the same time.

thIt seems >25% of Millennials believe workers should change jobs within a year and only 13% in the same group thought employees should stay more than 5 years.

Likely the layoff purges and job insecurities from the last (now almost) 8 years have changed perspectives. It’s a sad fact that 20% of American workers were laid off at some point in the last 6 years. Isn’t erosion of loyalty and trust inevitable in such a situation? Perhaps the flood of part-time-only jobs has popularized such thinking?

Whatever the cause these are troubling perspectives with which to approach a career and as such will likely cause us to frequently consider position moves.

Yet, it IS possible to change jobs too often. Similarly, staying in the same role for too long can be a real and perceived stagnation problem. But generalities are NOT useful foundations upon which to build a future.

When you have a choice, NEVER leave a job unless it’s ceased to meet your needs. And, always move TO a new role, rather than AWAY from the old.

Your needs are unique and will encompass some, all even all of the following (un-prioritized):

Personal Growth

Promotional Opportunity

 Learning

Career Direction

Compensation

 Flexibility

Company Outlook

Culture

Social Fit

Hours/ Vacation

Independence

Physical Location

Travel Opportunity

Reputation

Stability

Commute

Housing Market

Schools

And, much more

When you LIST, PRIORITIZE and WEIGHT your own relevant factors you’ll have the unique perspective of what you need from your job. Review these with both short and long-term outlooks.

If your current position is not ideal, you should consider looking around. Perhaps a search will open your eyes to a new set of possibilities? Often your needs from one job are surprisingly different from those of another. Certainly, every position and company offers different Pros and Cons.

Also, our perspective itself changes, grows and evolves over time.

If your needs ARE being met currently, why would you move? Often it is important to NOT succumb to the grass is greener (elsewhere) perspective. Similarly, an innate fear of change is no good argument for job longevity.

It is easy to convince yourself things are better (or worse) at one place than in another. This is an inevitable result of the wanton rationalization from which we all can suffer. So, it’s generally better to review your alternatives and needs with a trusted colleague, friend or mentor. Detached and sound perspective is essential.

There is no universally applicable rule about when to voluntarily change jobs. In fact the notion of this is almost absurd.

A job-hopping individual can be a godsend in some roles as might be a stick-to-it career veteran in another. Certainly your track record in this regard is an important part of what you bring to the table. Your value to any future employer is directly affected by this history.

There is much to be weighed objectively when making career changes. So, don’t blindly follow canned beliefs or opinion; rather, carefully consider your unique personal needs and objectives.

Ian R. Mackintosh is the author of Empower Your Inner Manager Twitter @ianrmackintosh

 

 

 

A Leadership Challenge: Engaging Unmotivated Workers

Recently ran into a Silicon Valley Exec at a local party.

A very bright, well-educated guy, but particularly frustrated right now. His root problem is thvery familiar.

Given a hire everyone you need mandate, he’s been running into both unmotivated candidates and similarly challenging existing employees. This is leaving him disillusioned with the outlook.

In himself he is particularly driven, focused and accomplished but really doesn’t understand what he is seeing, culturally.

Admittedly he’s not in an obviously sexy product area, yet most companies on the planet (from initial looks) face exactly the same reality.

So, how do you fix these problems? What’s the issue?

Sorry to say but the problem here is on the complainer, our Exec. Many folks are at the bottom end of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs; working for a paycheck and not wanting to be hassled. It’s sad, but true.

Moving folks to self-motivation with resulting excellent performance is a Leadership problem. People often need to be INSPIRED to get them jumpstarted in this direction.

Great leaders Inspire, Empower and Engage those they meet, their reports and coworkers. This is traditionally accomplished by:

  • Motivating
  • Communicating
  • Accomplishing major Results

They typically share a clear Vision and possess a truly Positive Outlook.

Such traits emerge as the leader grows in confidence and capability. They additionally evolve as a result of careful and specific learning.

In this specific case our Leader has great energy, is highly motivated and self-directed. He needs to project his (already existing) vision of why he himself is inspired, to help get these other folks going in the right direction.

Our particular Exec is actually extremely skilled at explaining his own great fascination in, interest for his work and company technology. Luckily for him he is also naturally articulate.

Leadership takes great energy and enthusiasm. Constantly supporting your people and promoting your Vision is the key to energizing a workforce.

Some employees will never strongly engage in the workplace. Deal with them, as necessary. Most people prefer to be engaged, are more highly motivated as a result and typically enjoy their much work more. So, Enable them, accordingly.

If you’re looking at demotivated workers and uninspired candidates, take a look in the mirror. That’s the first guy who must perform to turn this around.

Ian R. Mackintosh is the author of Empower Your Inner Manager Twitter @ianrmackintosh