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 …

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. …

Why Multitasking is a Myth

Jen Roberts Productivity

Think you’re good at multitasking? Think again! Most people feel that they have so much to accomplish there simply never seems to be enough time in the day. So, how do we typically handle that? Trying to do 8 things at once (AKA Multitasking). I’ve heard many leaders tell me how great they are at multitasking. They’re convinced that this is the only way to accomplish all their myriad demands in the span of the workday. The thing is, I coach leaders on this type of behavior all the time. I’ve even heard job applicants brag that one of their strengths is multitasking. The reality is, we don’t multitask very well. Research on divided attention shows that it’s not technically possible to do more than one thing at a time and get great results but we continue to try. Here’s an example conversation that might sound like some of yours. …

Make time work

How To Make Time Work For (Not Against) You

Jen Roberts Balance, Productivity, Stress

How do you feel about time? Do you feel like time is on your side? Or, are you constantly rushing around but have no results to show for your frenzied efforts? Is time flying by leaving you feeling depleted, rather than fulfilled? I recently took some time off work to celebrate my 15th wedding anniversary. Two weeks to be precise. (I know—don’t hate me!) A trip of this length is a huge luxury and not one that many people feel they can afford. While visiting the Galileo Museum in Florence, I was struck by how long we’ve been obsessed with attempting to measure and control time. At the museum, I came across this quote next to a display of antique astronomical timepieces: “Since antiquity mankind has been fascinated by time, viewed as an enigma on both the philosophical and the physical level. Without succeeding in explaining what time is, astronomy …

advice

The High Cost of “Good” Advice

Jen Roberts Balance, Leadership, Management

Think back to your early days in leadership when well-meaning bosses, mentors and co-workers shared their personal opinions and advice to help you quickly advance up the corporate ladder. While I learned many valuable lessons from seasoned corporate leaders, I got a few really bad tips as well. The worst piece of advice I ever received sounded something like this: “If you want to be successful—be seen as ambitious; someone who really cares about the company and your career—you need to be the first one in the office in the morning and the last one out.” The idea, of course, was that if I demonstrated my undying commitment to my job that I’d be rewarded in the future. And, being an eager young career woman, I wanted to do whatever it took to be viewed as a committed and competent employee. In those formative years, I tried to follow this …

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. …

Stress by Proxy

Stop Suffering from Stress by Proxy

Jen Roberts Stress

The boss walks into the conference room and slams down his notepad on the table. Startled, nearly everyone around the table jumps. As he sits down, he angrily demands to know why the project is so far behind schedule. The tension in the room is palpable. The person to my client’s left starts tapping her pencil nervously. I notice that people are fidgeting, rocking in their chairs, and breathing shallowly. This is a classic stress reaction. When you walk into a room and notice a negative “vibe” that makes you feel anxious, you’re not imagining things. Other people’s emotions can have a huge impact on us, especially those of our co-workers and family members. This happens in part because of mirror neurons. Our brains are actually wired to understand and mirror the feelings and actions of others. For the same reason that you yawn when you see someone else yawn, …