Thursday, October 3, 2013

How to Find Your Bliss as a Manager

Are you happy? Such a simple question, and yet often it’s a complex one for managers.
Managers spend much of their time putting out fires, going to meetings, trying to keep a team productive and answering to higher-ups. Asking themselves “am I happy?” isn’t something they may have time to consider or even want to think about.
After all, managers often have worked hard to get where they are, and confronting their own job satisfaction may be like opening a can of worms.  It may force them to consider all kinds of issues, such as their work/life balance, whether their career is on course or whether they feel alone, frustrated and stressed.
What many managers need to realize it that they need to ask themselves the question about their own happiness on a regular basis. If they don’t, they could find themselves in  jobs that make them so miserable and stressed their personal life suffers, or they physically or emotionally break down.
Recently I asked a couple of managers on Twitter to respond to: “I keep myself happy as a manager by….”
Here are the responses:
  • “I keep myself happy as a manager by going for a walk every day. It’s essential for managers to stay clear headed, and it’s very easy to get bogged down in the everyday things we deal with (office politics, client requests, project deadlines, etc.). Personally, going for a brisk walk once per day helps me relieve stress by staying focused. It doesn’t have to be a long walk, as long as it’s brisk, though I shoot for a minimum of 20 minutes or more, time permitting. I’ve also found that going on walks often helps me think about issues in new ways. There’s something about getting a little exercise and fresh air that does wonders for creativity!” — Daniel Waldman, president of Evolve Communications (@danieldubya)
  •  “I keep myself happy as a manager by doing three things:
1.  Focusing on good communication
2.  Focusing on developing potential in people (as important as meeting outcomes)
3.  Focusing on creating loyalty and trust.  With loyalty and trust, you can do about anything.
“When there are communication breakdowns, outcome-driven-only processes, and no loyalty or trust, everything is a struggle.  And struggle does not lend itself to happiness. “ – Tamela Lewis, an entrepreneur  (@MattersofSmart)
So if you’re a manager, how can you find your bliss? How can you keep your spirits up while holding down the fort?
Here are some ideas:
  1. Scrap routine. Meetings, meetings and more meetings are often the bane of every manager’s existence. They can often be boring, but necessary. Before you call another one,  think of a way to make it a little more enjoyable, whether it’s bringing in some healthy snacks, meeting outside on a nice day or setting a timer and rewarding employees with a half hour off early if they conclude the meeting before the timer goes off. The point is to identify even small ways to make your job more enjoyable.
  2. Invest in your career.  Just because you reach the management level doesn’t mean your career development plans should come to an end.  Listen to the latest management book during your commute or attend a seminar (even better if it’s somewhere fun so you can also enjoy a spa day or round of golf.) Think about investing in a leadership coach who can give you positive feedback and help you keep your perspective.
  3. Keep your sense of humor. While most managers don’t want to come off as goof balls, that doesn’t mean you can’t inject some fun into your workday. Have a silly hat day, watch “Who’s Line is It Anyway?” while hosting a pizza gathering for lunch or challenge workers to see who can tell the worst knock-knock joke for a free latte or slushy.
  4. Get moving. As mentioned above, taking a walk or getting some kind of exercise can be one of the easiest ways to keep yourself emotionally fit. Try joining (read more here)
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