stressors

Your Top 5 Stressors (And How to Send Them Packing)

Jen Roberts Engagement, Stress

How do you feel most days at work? If you’re like many executives, your first reaction to this question was probably, “Stressed.” That’s unfortunate. And, unfortunately, it’s incredibly common. Where does your stress come from? Usually, we feel that stress comes from out there, and is caused by people and situations. Pressure exists for everyone. We all have deadlines, workloads, and responsibilities to others. It’s not really pressure that causes the pain you feel every day. It’s what your mind does with that pressure that turns it into stress. The truth is that much of your stress is self-inflicted. Yes, you read that right… I hate to break it to you, but you’re probably bringing a lot of this on yourself. You certainly don’t do this to yourself on purpose. Nobody wants to have more stress in their life! It’s often just the byproduct of trying to be a good …

3 common time management mistakes leaders make—Which one is yours?

Jen Roberts Leadership, Productivity, Stress

Do you constantly struggle to manage your time, lead your team, AND complete all of your other work without feeling exhausted? You’re not alone! The reason this problem is so prevalent is because the corporate environment is notoriously reactive in nature. The speed of business today often makes people feel as if an immediate action or response is required. Leaders often get stuck in a continuous loop of putting out fires instead of making real progress which can lead to frustration and burnout. This cycle is perpetuated because of three common time management mistakes that many leaders—regardless of level or type of industry—make every day. The traditional approach to time management equates task completion with productivity, but To-Do lists alone won’t help. The most effective among us know the secret: you have to learn to manage yourself and your energy to get the best results. Time Management Mistake #1: Being Reactive …

performance reviews

Performance Reviews: From Transactional to Transformational

Jen Roberts Communication, Engagement, Leadership, Productivity, Stress

As a leader, how do you usually feel when the time for performance reviews rolls around? Let’s be honest. Most leaders don’t enjoy the performance review process for several reasons. Usually, they feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of meetings they have to hold in a short period of time. Often these conversations are also tied to employees’ compensation. With many companies making budget cuts these meetings can be tough when you don’t feel like you have much to offer beyond praise. The result is that many leaders end up viewing the performance review process as tedious and time consuming (and it shows). Employees, on the other hand, can fall on both sides of the fence when it comes to performance reviews. Mostly, employees just want a chance to sit down and chat with you, offer up some ideas, and walk away feeling like it’s worth getting up each morning. …

Build Mental Resilience

5 Ways to Toughen Up and Build Mental Resilience

Jen Roberts Leadership, Management, Stress

Truth: stress and adversity can pop up anywhere, any time. Just when you think you have it all under control when–BAM!–you get hit with something that derails your best intentions and sends you into a tailspin. You got up early and are walking out the door on time and ready for your day, then you spill your coffee on your lap in the car. You spent the week preparing for a big presentation at work and are ready to rock their socks off. At 9am the meeting gets pushed out for 3 more days! Seriously?! You get the drift… Things change, pressure exists, stuff happens. What you do with that pressure and how to move forward are the keys to success. Why is it that things seem so easy for some people? They go about their daily lives seemingly without a worry, while others around them struggle and muddle through …

Monday

How to be Super Productive (Even on a Monday)

Jen Roberts Balance, Productivity, Stress

It’s Monday—the day that many of us begin our workweek—and I’m already tired. I don’t know about you, but my days off are often just as packed with activity my workdays, which can leave me feeling sluggish at the start of the week. Don’t get me wrong: I love days off just as much as the next guy (maybe more). But a weekend full of soccer games, outdoor play, cooking, cleaning, and late night movies can lead to diminished concentration and motivation when Monday morning rolls around. If this sounds familiar, it’s no wonder you’re dreading the alarm clock that signals the start of another hectic day ahead! The typical work environment can be best described in one word: REACTIVE. With so many distractions pulling your attention in different directions, it can be difficult to focus and be productive. This is the “norm” in most work environments, so it is …

leadership actions

Leadership Actions Speak Louder than Words

Jen Roberts Leadership, Management

You’ve probably heard the phrase “consistent action leads to consistent results,” which makes logical sense. The more important, and perhaps unspoken, truth in this statement is that the quality of our results depends not on merely doing something, but on taking intentional action that fits our end goal. In other words, you get out of something what you put into it. Consistency, or lack thereof, can be the defining factor between failure or success. If you have children (or know anyone who does) you’re probably aware of the importance of consistency. Children learn how to behave through reinforcement and punishment and also through observation. To feel secure, children need parents to be consistent with them and are trusted not to send conflicting or confusing messages. Consistency as a parent can be difficult and exhausting, but it is of paramount importance. The same is true in business. One of the most …

meaningful work

3 Key Ingredients For Meaningful Work

Jen Roberts Engagement, Productivity

Nothing feels worse than getting to the end of a crazy day and wondering, “What did I actually accomplish?” My clients often need coaching to deal with the stress and overwhelm of their jobs. People seem to run on a never-ending hamster wheel yet often feel as though they have nothing to show for all their hard work. We all want to feel as if our work is meaningful and serves a purpose—typically to help our companies succeed. Yet many of my executive clients report not even having their official goals for one quarter at the beginning of the next. If you have no structure to your work, you might be in for a frustrating experience. Let’s fix that! First, a mindset shift may be in order: Working harder or longer hours does not necessarily create better outcomes. Working on purpose does. “Success takes intention, clarity, and commitment to proactively create …

the happiness factor

5 Regrets of Leaders (and How to Avoid Them), Part 3: The Happiness Factor

Jen Roberts Balance, Leadership

You’ve likely heard the phrase, “The grass is greener on the other side.” While it’s normal to strive for the next best thing, that type of thinking probably doesn’t lend itself to helping you feel happy or satisfied. We’ve all fallen into this tempting trap before at some point or another. It’s hard not to look around and compare yourself and your life to others. These types of behaviors, however, often leave you feeling unhappy and frantically scrambling to stay ahead in the game of life. It’s much easier to think, “When I get X, then I’ll be happy.” Thinks like: When I finish school and start working, then I’ll be happy. When I get a promotion, then I’ll be happy. When I can finally retire, then I’ll be happy. That list can go on indefinitely. What you think will make you happier becomes a mere stepping stone to the …

busy

Think You’re Too Busy? 5 Ways to Break Free

Jen Roberts Leadership

I’m probably going to upset a few readers with this confession: One of my biggest pet peeves is when people tell me how busy they are. These days, when you ask anyone how they’re doing you’ll likely hear things like, “Oh, I’m sooo busy,” or “It’s been crazy!” I don’t even think they realize what they’re saying; it’s just a habit. Being “busy” has become a badge of honor in our society. Somehow, we have come to believe that if we aren’t constantly doing something (or telling others everything we’re up to) that we’ll be viewed as lazy. (Related: Are You Promoting a Workaholic Culture?) The work/life balance dilemma that’s affecting our society may be less about busy-ness and more about effectiveness (or ineffectiveness, as the case may be). I help leaders like you take back control of your time and energy and view time in a completely different way. Being busy is an …

engaged leader

Are You an Engaged Leader?

Jen Roberts Engagement, Leadership

This  post will be short and sweet. Why? Because if you’re like most people, your attention span is pretty short (so I included a video). After all, you have a lot going on! We all have our own unique way of viewing the world. Everything you experience passes through this filter, and your perceptions shape how you think and feel about, and behave in response to situations. We tend to attract into our lives what we focus on and pay attention to. You’ve probably heard of the self-fulfilling prophecy: If you expect something to happen and focus your energy on it, you’re more likely to get the experience you expected (whether positive or negative).  We also have a tendency to selectively look for data that supports our belief systems–this is called a confirmation bias. That’s the reason that we choose to pay the most attention to the things we care about and are …

saying no

The Courageous Power of Saying No

Jen Roberts Communication, Leadership

Many people struggle with saying no for a number of reasons. Thinking you have no choice, wanting to please others, or fearing you’ll be seen as uncooperative are among the many reasons you may feel uncomfortable saying no.

Micro-Management Creates Macro-Problems!

Jen Roberts Engagement, Leadership, Productivity

Micromanager. Just that word alone might make you have a visceral reaction. Along the path of our careers, we’ve all probably encountered the dreaded micromanager. You know, the boss who always seems to be looking over your shoulder, inspecting, controlling, or criticizing everything you do. But have you ever stopped to wonder if you’re one, too? Yikes! Leaders micromanage for lots of reasons, not all of which are to intentionally make your work life difficult (I know this might be hard to believe!) Some of the most common reasons for micromanaging are often well-intentioned but leaders fail to see the negative effects these behaviors bring about. For example, leaders might micromanage because of: Concern about the details of a project (and ultimately feeling responsible) Feeling like they’re the only one who can do a particular task (or perform it best/fastest) Time or performance pressures from others Insecurity about his/her own …

Culture of Recognition

5 Ways to Build a Culture of Recognition (Without Salary Hikes)

Jen Roberts Engagement, Leadership

I have two elementary-aged children who are great students and also play sports. At their age, recognition is a given.  Parents, teachers, and coaches recognize their accomplishments like getting good grades on a test or report card or scoring a goal at the game. Why? To build their self esteem, boost their confidence, and to simply celebrate. Something shifts, however, as we become adults and enter “the real world” and suddenly all that praise comes to a screeching halt.  Do adults not need recognition anymore because they earn a paycheck?  Does your job ever seem like a thankless endeavor? Your employees may feel the same way.  Oftentimes, leaders feel that “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” In other words, as long as everything is going well, there’s no need to point anything out to employees. It’s when problems arise that employees hear about it and the challenges begin. It can certainly …

employees

5 Clues Your Employees Aren’t Buying In

Jen Roberts Engagement, Leadership

We all have things we’re “supposed” to do. Sometimes we want to do them, sometimes we don’t. This is just a fact of life. In the workplace, we label these as tasks or objectives. The basic premise is the same, however. Employees are either engaged and bought-in to completing these tasks to the best of their ability or they’re not. Have you really ever stopped to think about what holds people back from being completely engaged in a task or activity? When it comes to engagement and buy-in, there are four main approaches to work: 1) Resistant to engaging The employee won’t take positive action. Maybe they don’t feel like it’s worth it, or they’ve tried before and failed. The chance of success is low. 2) Engaged, but through effort or force The employee is enthusiastic about the activity, but they feel unprepared somehow to effectively complete the work. Success …

Inspiring Leader

Are You an Inspiring Leader?

Jen Roberts Communication, Engagement, Leadership

Inspiring. It’s a word most people think of as an important leadership quality. But what does being an inspiring leader really mean? Oftentimes when leaders imagine inspiring, they think of standing up in front of their team during a challenge and having the ability to motivate the masses; saying just the right words to make a powerful impact and move people into positive action. This is about them. On the flip side, what would happen if leaders shifted their awareness to inspiring for the benefit of others? My son came home from school with a handmade bookmark that captured several statements about “Luke’s Super Star Qualities” written by his classmates (not all of whom were close friends). I was so moved to read some of the things that were written. Among them were… “Luke is helpful!” “Luke is strong.” “Luke is a great writer.” “Luke makes people laugh a lot.” …

workaholic culture

Are You Promoting a Workaholic Culture?

Jen Roberts Leadership, Productivity

Do you consider yourself a workaholic? How many hours do you typically work each day? Each week? Be honest with yourself. Don’t exclude the time you spend in conversation during your commute, or reading and answering emails on evenings and weekends, or working while on vacation. When you look at that number how does it make you feel? If you’re like many corporate leaders, your answer might be “exhausted” or “stressed-out” or “overwhelmed.” These descriptors are commonplace and have become the norm, but are they necessary? Some research shows that we’re working harder than ever, and there’s a cost to be paid in the way of productivity and engagement. Did you know that there are Workaholics Anonymous groups popping up everywhere?! On a recent coaching call, my client mentioned that a co-worker proudly told her he worked upwards of 14 hours per day. Some people believe that if they are …

habits to build awareness

Three 5-Minute Habits to Build Awareness & Enjoyment at Work

Jen Roberts Balance, Engagement, Leadership

I went shopping the other day while my car was being serviced. I decided to go into a home and craft type of store where I can get lost for more than an hour. I couldn’t believe my eyes; there were Christmas decorations lining the aisles. “Christmas decorations in June!?” my disgusted inner voice shouted. Ridiculous! As I stood in that store, frozen in place for more than a minute, I wondered when we started getting so ahead of ourselves. What ever happened to enjoying the season we’re in? This, of course, made me think about my corporate clients and the workplace equivalent of “Christmas decorations in June.” It occurred to me that many leaders I coach struggle with being present in the moment. The typical corporate environment supports—even rewards—futuristic thinking. Don’t get me wrong: strategic planning serves a great purpose in guiding work, and I love a good plan. …

encourage fun

Encourage Fun in the Workplace: 5 Tips for Leaders

Jen Roberts Engagement, Leadership, Productivity

What words would you use to describe your work environment? My guess is that FUN probably isn’t one of them. It’s called work for a reason, right? Should work also be fun? My vote is yes! Here’s why… You spend as much or more time with your office mates as you do with your significant other, and you wouldn’t stay in that relationship if it didn’t make you happy. Imagine waking up each day and actually looking forward to going into work! Making fun and enjoyment a part of your work culture can drastically impact how you feel about going to work, how you behave when you’re there, how you interact with others, and how well you perform. Happy people are more motivated and engaged. When people have fun and enjoy what they do, they are more motivated to work harder and to put forth their best effort. People who …

Kill Engagement

[VIDEO] 5 Leadership Behaviors That Kill Engagement on Your Team

Jen Roberts Engagement, Leadership

This article originally appeared on Forbes.com. As a leader, what do you expect from your direct reports? Most leaders want employees who take the initiative, get involved, make decisions and generate ideas. In fact, because your team is likely made up of educated, competent, seasoned employees (some of whom you may have hand selected), it’s natural to expect that they would need little direction to take the proverbial ball and run with it. You have a vested interest in their success because, when your team performs well, everyone wins. Likewise, employees of all generations share a desire to work autonomously toward the communicated vision. No one wants to feel as if they’re operating under someone else’s thumb, especially team members who are smart, ambitious and motivated. If autonomy is an essential ingredient for promoting employee engagement and motivation, and given that both leaders and employees desire empowered environments, what keeps leaders from encouraging …

taking care of business

Taking Care of Business: The Importance of Time Off

Jen Roberts Engagement, Leadership, Productivity

Recently I did something I rarely do. I took a sick day. I pride myself on being a good listener for my coaching clients, but I guess I haven’t been listening to myself very well lately. For the past few weeks I’ve been pushing myself to keep going despite feeling sick-ish, knowing how much I have to do. Finally, my immune system gave in and I had no choice but to slow down. When is the last time you took a full day off because of an illness? And I’m not talking about just not physically going to work—I mean not working. I’m guessing it’s been a while. That day, I did nothing. And I discovered something… It was difficult to keep myself still and quiet to get the rest I needed to get well. I felt a wide range of emotions: guilt for not working on the myriad things I …

Winning leadership brand

3 Factors to Create a Winning Leadership Brand

Jen Roberts Communication, Engagement, Leadership

When you think of a typical career trajectory, most people start out as individual contributors—the doers of the office—and aspire to getting promoted one day. However, many people don’t CHOOSE to be a leader with intention (they take on the role because it’s the next logical step). Once in a position of power, they often feel they’ve arrived. In leadership, there is no arrival. You’ve probably heard the famous Woody Allen quote, “Eighty percent of success is just showing up.” Have you ever stopped to wonder how you “show up” as a leader? I hear people all the time complaining about their employees’ behaviors: they can’t be trusted, they aren’t good communicators, or they just don’t perform up to par. Here’s the reality: Much of what you see in your environment is a reflection of how you lead, both good and bad. Remember that employees often model the leadership behaviors …

Evolved or old-school

Are You Evolved or Old-School? 5 Questions for Leaders

Jen Roberts Engagement, Leadership

Ever wonder how you’re “aging” in your corporate environment? How do your employees see you as a leader? You probably don’t want to consider yourself an “old-school” leader. To most, that makes it sound like you’re behind the times, inflexible, or stuck in a rut. Most leaders I work with want to be seen as creative, supportive and innovative, and most of them are just that. Some people, though, might be sending the wrong signals that can turn off their employees. The most successful leaders are adaptable, and able to flex with the changing times. With today’s speed of business it can sometimes be difficult to keep up with all of the emerging trends and technology, not to mention the generational differences in the workforce. Tweet: The most successful leaders are adaptable, and able to flex with the changing times. Don’t think that sounds like you? Well, here’s a quick …

Protect Your Time

3 Easy Ways to Protect Your Time and Energy

Jen Roberts Communication, Stress

Many leaders I coach pride themselves on their approachability and having an “open-door policy.” We often want to be available to others to answer questions and support their needs. What you might not be considering is how not setting or honoring boundaries is creating extra stress that affects your energy and productivity. My office is in the upstairs of our house. I have two kids, ages 10 and 8. About a year ago, I had an important coaching session with the CEO of a prominent IT company (unluckily, my kids happened to be home from school because of an early dismissal). I told my kids about the important phone call and that I couldn’t be interrupted unless it was an EMERGENCY. Knowing how kids are, I used all my best coaching skills to help them identify what constituted an emergency and they had some great answers so I felt confident. …

Gratitude

Gratitude: The Secret Ingredient to Inspiring Leadership

Jen Roberts Communication, Leadership, Management

What inspires you? When we’re asked that question it can be tempting to focus on big, momentous acts. In business, leaders imagine standing up in front of their team during a challenge and having the ability to motivate the masses; saying just the right words to make a powerful impact and move people into positive action. When it comes down to it, however, employees don’t need for you to be the Master of the Universe to inspire them on a daily basis. In fact, it can be as simple as taking the time to share your appreciation for their hard work. That’s it. Really. A truly inspirational leader sees the best in each individual and the gifts they possess. Inspiring, in this sense, is a way of stimulating and lifting people to a new level of creativity and energy. It’s about seeing the greatness and value in someone and going …

leader worth following

Higher Standards: Be a Leader Worth Following

Jen Roberts Leadership

Sometimes being a leader can feel like a thankless job, am I right? All those dreams about “what you’d do if you were in charge” often get replaced by negative, self-destructive thoughts about your efficacy and success once that dream becomes a reality. I’ve joked with my kids that being a parent isn’t as much fun as it looks like. The same can be true of leadership in business. Being in charge and making decisions that affect others can be frustrating and even intimidating at times. Leaders often share their doubts about whether they’ve made the right decisions or whether they’re doing a good job of leading their teams. My mission is to build leaders worth following. I want to work with people who understand that motivation through force and fear is an outdated and unappreciated style. It also doesn’t work if you want to create long-term results. Leaders who …

strengthen your team

Predictable Success: Creating Routine to Strengthen Your Team

Jen Roberts Communication, Leadership, Productivity

Would you describe yourself as a consistent leader? For many of us, one of the most difficult parts of leadership is learning to become immune to the ups and downs of a typical workweek. Especially when our natural reaction when tensions run high is to succumb to reactivity and panic. As someone who leads others, it is important that you behave consistently in all types of situations. Consistency is the key to establishing and maintaining trust with your team. If your reactions are unpredictable or if you give conflicting directions, employees might be unwilling or even afraid to approach you. Unpredictable leaders create feelings of fear and nervousness in the people they lead. While you might think it’s motivating to keep the people around you on their toes, creating a work environment full of anxiety is one of the best ways to crush your team’s ability to innovate and create …

Boredom

Boredom Is Actually Good For You

Jen Roberts Leadership, Productivity

This article originally appeared on Forbes.com. Click here to read the full story. Leadership can include periods of nearly overwhelming activity followed by gulfs of quiet, where you can catch up on paperwork and plan your next move. Sometimes, though, those periods of quiet last a touch long, and boredom sets in, leaving your mind to wander. Saying we’re bored is our unimaginative way of labeling a lack of stimulation. The pace of our world today is astounding, and we’ve gotten addicted to being entertained or busy 24/7 year-round. “Boredom” allows time to quiet the mind and body, and replenish our energy stores. Click here for all Seven Ways Boredom is Actually Good For You, by members of the Forbes Coaches Council. — Want to learn more about managing your energy at work? Click here to schedule a Discovery Call.