September 10, 2013 / Stress / Work-Life Integration

How to Keep Up

Sandra asks: I’ve been in my new role for about six months and have been working at a frenetic pace. I have global conference calls late at night and early morning with my team and am working long hours so I don’t miss aggressive deadlines.  I’m not eating the way I used to, and not sleeping well either.  By the time the weekend comes, I’m so tired, I barely see my kids.  How can I better manage my time and still keep up?

Tawny Lees, COO, responds:

The demands of a fast-paced environment can be stressful enough without considering you’re also in a new role.  Working long hours to meet these demands ends up taking a toll, as you’re already experiencing.  Our advice is to focus on managing your energy.  Why?  Because energy is renewable, but time is not. Engaging in practices which recharge your energy will help you meet the demands of work more effectively. We love Tony Schwartz’s advice in this arena.

Everyone has four energy centers.  Here are some tips you can engage in to renew each energy center:

  1. Body/Physical Energy:  SLEEP is most important. Working while continuously sleep deprived is like driving drunk. Seriously. Make 7-8 hours a night a priority. Try to engage in some kind of regular exercise routine – short bursts of intense is best, doesn’t have be long.  Eat high-protein nutrient-dense foods on a regular cycle, not letting your blood sugar and energy crash.
  2. Emotions/Quality of Energy: Try deep breathing exercises, 5-6 second exhale in the abdominal area.  Express appreciation often.
  3. Mind/Focus of Energy:  Carve out time to get your work done without distractions – shut off/down email and phone, for example. Focus in increments, take breaks.
  4. Human Spirit/Energy of Meaning & Purpose:  Determine what you do best and enjoy most at work and figure out how to do it more often.  Create rituals that allow you to allocate time and energy to an area of your life that’s important to you, such as your kids.

Read more about this in Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time, by Tony Schwartz (2007), Harvard Business Review.

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July 9, 2013 / Ask Mariposa / Stress / Work-Life Integration

Ask Mariposa – 6 Keys to Effective Delegation

James asks:  I am working long hours and am starting to feel burnt out. My manager says I am a high performing manager but I should be delegating more. So, I did.  Things are not getting done right or in a timely fashion.  I’m worried this will affect my own performance. What’s the secret to delegating effectively so as not to diminish results?

Barbara Baill, Executive Leadership Coach responds:

Effective delegation is a challenge for many high performers who are responsible for managing others.  Delegation is not a simple of task of tossing an assignment to one of your people on the way to a meeting and waiting for the final product. It does take time and attention initially, but, over time, you will find your employees growing in their capabilities and feeling more challenged and empowered. Eventually, the investment will pay off for all.  Here are some key elements of effective delegation:

  1.  Choose the right person who has the skill sets for the task. Discuss with the person why s/he has been selected for the assignment.
  2. Articulate the assignment carefully any specific timelines, requirements, performance standards, checkpoints and other expectations. If you have any sample outcomes (reports, slideset, etc) from previous projects, share them. Point the delegatee to other resources that can be helpful.
  3. Solicit questions, comments and suggestions from the delegatee. Gain commitment to take on the challenge.  Ask what support he/she will need from you and others.
  4. Empower the individual by informing others that the delegatee is leading the effort.
  5. Establish and conduct regular check-ins and monitor project progress. Ensure the individual knows how much communication you need to keep you well informed and in what particular circumstance immediate contact is required. Be encouraging and offer feedback and support but don’t take back the project.
  6. Ensure the person is recognized for successful completion of the work. (Don’t inadvertently take the credit – common mistake.)

These steps can help you become a master at delegating which will help you and your people continue to grow and will magnify the output of your entire team.

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July 3, 2013 / Ask Mariposa / Stress / Work-Life Integration

Ask Mariposa: One Powerful Way to Reduce Stress at Work

Stuart asks: I am feeling increasingly unhappy at my job. My stress level is so high that it is affecting me physically and mentally. How do I manage my stress without burning out?

Anne Loehr, Executive Leadership Coach responds:

“Bad stress” is an ever increasing problem at work and it is essential to find ways to reduce it. “Bad stress” causes us to worry, experience fear and feel anxious. Any form of stress that makes us perform below our potential is considered bad stress. Bad stress increases the cortisol levels in our blood, which can lead to many problems such as high blood pressure, early onset diabetes, heart problems and central obesity (bulging belly).

There are many ways to reduce bad stress at work. I’m going to discuss one way now, so I don’t stress you out with too much info! 🙂

More and more people are using email, text and instant messaging as their chief communication tools for daily work life. It’s instant, it’s easy, AND it creates lots of stress! Researchers have identified three major problems:

  1. This form of communication lacks cues like facial expression and tone of voice. That makes it difficult for recipients to decode the meaning. It is the poorest form of communication because it only uses words.
  2. The prospect of instantaneous communication creates an urgency that pressures online communicators to think and write quickly, which can lead to carelessness.
  3. Finally, the inability to develop personal rapport over online communications makes relationships fragile in the face of conflict. Online communication is great for confirming meetings, getting an address or sharing a short piece of data. Unfortunately it is used for a lot of other communications which should be done in person.

Here are some tips:

Never argue by email. Save discussions, especially on controversial topics, for when more direct forms of communication are possible. Pick up the phone and/or set a time to discuss issues.

Keep it short. We’re talking less than 50 words. We have about 15 seconds of attention span to offer any incoming email. If you can’t get the message across in that time, either attach a separate document with all the details, or pick up the phone for the discussion. Or use the email to set the time for the discussion.

If you want to lower your stress levels, limit your email communications and switch to phone and face to face conversations for better results. It is more meaningful, more effective, and can generate new relationships in an already tense world.

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November 27, 2012 / Ask Mariposa / Stress / Work-Life Integration

Ask Mariposa: The Impact of Social Networking and Web 2.0

Saul asked:

Can you explain the impact, if any, that social networking and Web 2.0 has made on your organization or you personally?

Eric Nitzberg, Senior Leadership Consultant responded:

Social media is a new reality where people live and work. It’s as if someone discovered a new continent, and everyone is buying a home and opening up a branch office there. This new world will never replace face-to-face interactions for human relationship building, but it’s here to stay. For Mariposa, it means we have to be active in this space to stay relevant and connected with our community (our clients). For me personally, it means letting go of biases I’ve had against digitally-based ways of building relationships.

Share your thoughts on this response in the comments section below, and ask us anything here: http://blog.mariposaleadership.com/ask-mariposa/

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July 18, 2012 / Articles We Like / HR / Talent Management / News / Stress / Work-Life Integration

Follow Up Exchange: Why Women Still Can't Have It All

Read this exchange on Twitter between Anne-Marie Slaughter, author of the controversial article, Why Women Still Can’t Have It All, and Mariposa Leadership’s CEO and founder, Sue Bethanis, for a thought provoking discussion and article.

Newly appointed CEO of Yahoo!, Marissa Mayer, acts as the focal point of the discussion to tackle the question of if women really can have it all.

Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below, and don’t forget to follow both @suebethanis, and @SlaughterAM.

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June 29, 2012 / Articles We Like / HR / Talent Management / Stress / Work-Life Integration

Why Women Still Can't Have It All

Perhaps you have already seen The Atlantic article by Anne-Marie Slaughter that has touched a nerve across the country. My take: It’s a much bigger issue than women/moms trying to have it all. This is a work-life integration issue that affects everyone; men/fathers need to have flexible scheduling, too, and until it is okay for a dad to say to his co-worker or boss, “I can’t be at the 8am meeting because I am taking my kid to school,” then things really aren’t going to change that much for women or men.

What is your take?

Read the article here: Why Women Still Can’t Have It All

We welcome your thoughts in the comments section below.

– Sue Bethanis, CEO
@suebethanis

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