So, the promotion finally came through. You’ve joined the management ranks. You’re excited, apprehensive, and itching to get started, all at the same time. Succeeding at getting that promotion is just the first step. Succeeding at being a good boss is another thing altogether.

You don’t just want to be a boss — you want to be a great boss. But if you stumble out of the starting gate you may never have that chance. Here are four major pitfalls most new bosses face and how you can avoid them.

Pitfall No. 1: You don’t know your boss’ expectations.

How to avoid it: Set up a meeting, and do it sooner rather than later. Even a week of being headed in the wrong direction can do some serious damage to your image. Remember, one of your first tasks is to make your boss’s job easier. The first question I often recommend is, “If we sit down together three months from now, how will you know that I’m being successful?” The answers to this question can make sure you and your boss are on the same page from Day One. (read more…)

For the majority of people, time spent at work far outweighs time spent with friends and family. Deciding whether to accept a job offer is an important decision that will ultimately have a significant impact on your happiness and well-being.

Most job-seekers confine their evaluation of a company to factors such as salary, job title, and benefits, but research suggests that other, more intangible factors better predict your likelihood to thrive in a job.

As you go through the interview process and research the prospective employer, pay attention to whether the company meets these six universal human needs:

Do employees feel respected?

A company where employees are respected as human beings and not treated as human machines will have a happy, engaged workforce. A company where employees are not respected will have low morale and high turnover. Look at what employees who have left the company say on websites such as Glassdoor.com. (read more…)

When I started in the field of leadership development (when gas was 89 cents a gallon), the model we used looking like this:

  • When someone got promoted to team leader, supervisor, or manager, they were sent a memo (no e-mail yet) from HR informing them that they have been registered for a mandatory four-week supervisory training course.
  • When they showed up, some (or most) of them kicking and screaming, HR told them everything they had to learn, showed them step-by-step details, made them practice (role plays), and then sent them off to do good and no harm, never to be seen or heard from again.

Sadly, there are many organizations that are still using this outdated method of leadership development. While this model is inherently flawed in a number of ways, the biggest problem with it is that people won’t grow or change unless they want to. They need to be intrinsically motivated to change, and in order to be motivated, they need to have a sense of autonomy, or control. (read more…)

9781118910665.pdfThe stress of having too much to do and too little time to get it all done is a wonderfully modern problem. After all, it can mean you wield great authority, are working on big and important problems, and, in many cases at work, you are well-compensated.

But being “Overworked and Overwhelmed,” as Scott Eblin named his latest book, is not just some problem we’d all love to have. Being overworked and overwhelmed means you are risking your health, your relationships and — despite your endless hours of work — your ability to be productive, to lead and to make smart decisions. You’re probably not prioritizing, not setting boundaries. You’re almost certainly rushing from one task and thought to another so quickly and so often that you aren’t listening to or focused on any of it. When’s the last time you took a deep breath (or three, as he recommends)?

What is this problem caused by? (read more…)

An article this summer in The New York Times quoted extensively from a research study conducted by Silicon Valley psychologist Stephanie Brown which refers to our collective fear of slowing down. Brown found that people who are alone with their own thoughts for more than a few minutes become agitated and seek any kind of stimulation they can find in order to avoid thinking.

“There’s this widespread belief that thinking and feeling will only slow you down and get in your way, but it’s the opposite,” she said.

Case in point: A study by Benjamin Baird and colleagues at the University of California, Santa Barbara, shows that daydreaming and fantasizing unleash fantastic amounts of creativity and allow people to problem-solve because they feel free to look at problems and challenges without deadlines and outside pressures.

Have you had a creative daydream lately? Would you like to? Here’s how to get started. (read more…)