SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 210,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

How well do you manage the ups and downs of your busy and slow periods?

  • Very well — I ride the ups and downs easily: 33%
  • Well — I do an OK job balancing the busy and slow times: 52%
  • Not well — I struggle frequently with going up and down: 14%
  • Poorly — I dislike the ups and downs and don’t do well with them: 1%

Enjoy the slow times. Generally folks are pretty good at managing the busy times. The times that are problematic are when things are slow. We get used to being busy so when a slack period hits, it can be unnerving. One of the worst things you can do when that happens is spin up a bunch of new activity to fill the void. (read more…)

You can learn a lot about thriving in your job from a poet.

I know that, as a savvy businessperson, that might seem incongruous. After all, what can someone who dabbles in words and the elegant turn of phrase tell you about revenue growth and bottom lines, about market penetration and innovation, or about slogging through the tortuous political landscape of a company that’s reducing headcount? You’re right. Absolutely nothing!

Yet a recent re-reading of David Whyte’s book “The Three Marriages” reminded me of just how much art informs life. In the book, Whyte posits that we all have responsibility for three marriages in our lives: with our inner selves, with our loved ones and with our work. Separating those marriages, he says, destroys the foundation of the happiness we deserve. But, when we embrace those marriages in an integrative way, we can bring our best selves to each of them. (read more…)

You can show someone a better way to do something, but they will not adopt your approach until they trust you.

Never is this more true than when trying to lead peers. Colleagues may resent or even fear assistance from a peer. Peer-to-peer leadership is seldom easy, but it is not impossible.

Leading colleagues rests upon two principles: understanding need and delivering value. You must understand the situation a peer is facing and you must have the skills to help him or her succeed. So, it’s important to consider what the need is and what value you can offer. So let’s define our terms.

When you deliver for others, they begin to trust you and become receptive to what you have to offer.

 

John Baldoni is chair of leadership development at N2Growth, is an internationally recognized leadership educator and executive coach. In 2014, Trust Across America named him to its list of top 100 most trustworthy business experts. (read more…)

This post is adapted from “Are You Fully Charged?: The 3 Keys to Energizing Your Work and Life,” by Tom Rath (Silicon Guild, May 2015)

“If you want to make a difference — not just today, but for many years to come — you need to put your health and energy ahead of all else.”

Some of the most caring people also tend to be the least healthy. This is what I observed, time and time again, while spending the last few years focused on health and well-being. After writing the book “Eat Move Sleep,” I heard from thousands of people who were struggling with their personal health and a general lack of energy.

Surprisingly, workers in the professions I admire most, such as nursing, are often the least healthy. One study found that 55% of nurses are overweight or obese. If there is any group that needs to be healthier and set a good example, it is people working in healthcare. (read more…)

One of my clients once had a cardboard cutout of himself made to “sit” with his team. Why on Earth would he do this? Because he was the leader of a dispersed team — he was based in the US and his team was half a world away in Singapore. If he couldn’t physically be with his team, he wanted a tangible reminder that he was there, at least in spirit.

Virtual, or as I prefer, “dispersed” teams are almost more common than not these days. According to the 2013 Global Workplace Analytics Survey, between 2005 and 2013, the number of employees who worked virtually grew by 80%. There are plenty of reasons for this rapid growth: extended market opportunity; increased efficiency, productivity, innovation and synergy; access to a wider pool of talent; better effort, performance gains and job satisfaction; and cost savings.

But for all the positives, there are a lot negatives that come with not sharing a physical space with your team and colleagues. (read more…)