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4 posts from August 2011

August 23, 2011

Characteristics of Ineffective and Harmful Bosses (Part I)

IStock_00angry boss I can’t tell you the horror stories I hear about work environments.  It’s shocking that so many people are working for such difficult bosses or in unhealthy work environments.  The bottom line, when it comes to work environments, is that the atmosphere always starts from the top and trickles down from there.  If you’re a boss running a company where there are mean co-workers, stressed out employees, ongoing back-stabbing, fearful employees and/or controlling managers, then you are not leading effectively.

Below are five characteristics of ineffective and often harmful bosses:
1.    Immoderate leading.  Bosses go awry when they either lead with an iron fist or don’t lead at all.  Being a dictator is no more effective than being conflict-avoidant and hesitant.  Use your knowledge to skillfully lead without squashing the creativity, spirit or enthusiasm of your employees.
2.    Believing in the bottom-line at all costs.  When a boss is only concerned with the bottom line, s/he misses the mark.  Having tunnel vision around money leads to over-worked employees, high turnover and a stressed out work environment.  Focus your concern on developing a high quality product and creating a relational company that takes care of its employees and customers.  Nothing will increase your bottom-line more than these actions.
3.    Temperamental.  A boss who is chastising and yelling one minute and then cheering and bringing in food the next is crazy-making.  Doing a kind thing one day does not erase the punishing outbursts you delivered the day before.  Pull yourself together and stop being so temperamental.  You’re a leader, not a toddler.
4.    Turning a blind eye.  It is the boss’s job to notice the backstabbing in the office, rude comments in the meetings, hurtful gossiping or covert or overt undermining of individuals or groups within the work place.  Step up and step in when there are unhealthy interactions going on in your company.  You are responsible for creating a safe work environment and your employees are watching your example.  Don’t laugh off a rude comment by your favorite employee, a sexist joke by your top manager or a caustic dig by your vice president.  Healthy work environments are created by the moment-to-moment interactions of its leaders and employees.  Don’t duck.
5.    Egotistical.  The worst bosses are so full of themselves that they openly berate their employees for being inept while simultaneously pumping themselves up for being the sole smart one in the company.  Do not for a moment think that your company is alive and kicking solely because of you.  If all your employees are inept, it doesn’t say much about your leadership.  Why would you hire such incompetency?  Get off your high horse before you destroy your employees and your company.

If you are a leader in your company, remember to be the leader you would want to work for.  Don’t become the boss you used to hate having.  Become the boss you wish you had.  It takes very little talent to blindly lead through force and reactivity.  Be thoughtful about all concerned, not just you or the bottom-line.

Challenge: Look at the characteristics above and objectively rate yourself on each one. If you struggle in one area, work hard to change in that area.  Notice the shifts you see as a result.

August 16, 2011

Why so Many Relationships are Failing…and What to do About it

IStock_00distantcoupleSmall(2) With so many divorces, failed dating relationships and increasing friends with benefit couplings it’s a wonder any couples survive.  So what’s the magic that makes one relationship work while ten others fail? Is it karma, luck of the draw or plain old coincidence that leads one relationship to succeed while another fails? 

The truth is—it’s none of these.

Successful relationships happen when two healthy people decide to bring their best selves to the relationship.

With the daily pressures of finances, work, children etc., it becomes all too easy to allow relationships to take a back seat. It’s common for individuals to get lazy, take their partner for granted and to continue to think and act like a single person while in a committed relationship.  A bad day at work, leads to snapping at home.  Financial strains lead to shutting down and tuning loved ones out.  Children acting out lead to working longer hours outside the home to avoid the chaos.  Slowly but surely these pressures create greater distance between couples who spend so much time trying to bring their best selves to the office that they have nothing left to bring home.

Continue reading "Why so Many Relationships are Failing…and What to do About it" »

August 08, 2011

Five Tips to Fair Fighting

IStock_00angry womenl When it comes to disagreements, too many people are so invested in their story that they end up putting up a figurative wall that blocks solution.  Below are 5 tips to let down your walls and actually engage in a healthy conversation.
1.    Listen to the other person’s point of view.  Stop trying to be so invested in proving your point of view that you ignore the other person’s.  Listen to their message in the same way that you would like them to listen to yours.
2.    Do not assume intentions.  Have the humility of knowing that you do NOT know why someone does something. Almost without fail when we assume someone’s intentions, we assume they’re negative.  Common intentions people think is that the other person wanted to hurt them, meant to undermine them, purposely tried to get them mad etc.  Seldom does anyone know what’s going on in the head of someone else so stop assuming you know. Instead ask if your assumption is correct (“Are you trying to get me mad?”)—Don’t assume it is.
3.    Stop interrupting and allow them to speak.  If you’re constantly interrupting another person’s story than you’re not listening.  Instead, you’re trying to argue your case.  Just listen.  Allow the person to say what they need to say and calmly take it in.  After they’re done, then you can share your side and ask that they give you the same respect you gave them.

Continue reading "Five Tips to Fair Fighting" »

August 03, 2011

10 Tips for Creating a Successful Family Vacation

IStock_0familyvacationll This summer has reminded me once again of how important the little things are.  Regarding vacations, it’s the little things, in fact, that make the biggest difference. Below are 10 tips to help make your family vacation a successful one for all involved.
1.    Tune into your family.  Be present, not distracted.  Sit back and enjoy your family without the stresses of work or other distractions.  Enjoy their hugs, jokes, off-the-wall comments, etc....and allow them to enjoy you.
2.    Tune out of work.  Do not sprinkle work throughout your entire vacation.  If you must work, do so for a predetermined pocket of time and then tune out of work and into your family.  Do not be constantly answering calls, responding to messages, etc.  That gets really old really fast…and annoying.  It also sends a message to your children that they come second—even on vacation.
3.    Listen.  Children often speak the truth.  Be courageous enough to hear their message without dismissing it or defending yourself.  If they’re hungry, feed them.  If they’re tired, let them rest.  Don’t be so determined to follow a schedule that you take the fun out of having fun.
4.    Laugh.  Have fun and be playful.  There’s nothing like a good hearty bout of laughter to bring a family closer together.  Moments of laughter are often some of the fondest memories for children and grown-ups alike—lighten up and laugh.

Continue reading "10 Tips for Creating a Successful Family Vacation" »

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