DayQuil®, Musinex, Kleenex®, orange juice and bottled water – check! These are your Corporate Warrior’s weapons of choice against the dreaded cold or flu. Throw them into your brief case and you’re ready for another day at the office.
What if you didn’t go into the office?
What if you looked at the cold or flu as the “gift of a pause”?
A gift that gives us the time that we, as Leaders, can use to get to those to-do’s that we can never get to because of the relentlessness of everyday work.
I certainly wished I had used this “gift of pause” more often when I was in the corporate world. Here are 4 to-do’s that’ll tip the outcome of the corporate battle into your favor and your team’s as well. Plus, you can do them all while you are in bed at home.
1. Let Your Lieutenants Fight the War Games – Test Your Succession Plan!
Let your people fully exercise their leadership muscle. There’s no better time to see whether your succession plan works or needs some tweaking.
- Have your team own your calendar. If you have a briefing scheduled with your boss or a critical meeting with a client, why not have your managers or key staff attend in your place? Let them engage in your daily operations.
- Have your team own your issues list. Let them follow through and make the decisions needed. Give them your trust.
- Have your team own those unexpected challenges you face. If a client problem pops up or a production down situation occurs, let your team take the lead and decide on the maneuvers.
p.s. #TakeThisMoment to develop your succession plan, if you don’t have one.
2. Motivate Your Troops!
Pam Wyess (@PamWyess) of Workplace Results tweeted: “Small connections add up to big relationships. A smile, a thank you, a cup of coffee, a shared laugh. Go connect today.”
While it’s not a good idea to connect in person with that nasty cold/flu of yours, you can still connect and show your appreciation from the quarantine of your bedroom.
Say “Hello” via phone or Skype.
You might even take Joe Baker’s challenge and ask the “Three Dangerous Questions Leaders Should Ask Employees to Improve Engagement”:
- What do you like most about your job?
- If you could change one thing about your job, what would it be?
- What do you want your career to look like 5 – 10 years from now?
And to get to know your team members more deeply and personally, select a few from Mark Sturgell’s (@pdncoach) post, “The Right Questions”. And close the conversation with: “How can I help you move forward?”. I like this closing question very much. When a friend of mine, Julio Zuverza, asked me this very question; it perked me up, got me back on track and gave me a warm feeling of support. (Thank you, Julio!) — and hopefully, it will do the same for your troops.
Schedule coffee or lunch.
Your calendar is your playbook. So, get that coffee or lunch on your calendar now. Emphasize in your meeting invitation that this is a “get-to-know” you chat. No need to cause a panic among the troops due to mis-assumptions.
Write “thank you’s”.
Do it as an email or better yet, write a handwritten note. If your company has an official recognition program, like a “Stars Award” or a “Night on the Town”, go ahead and use it. There’s no excuse to put these off any longer.
When you’re done, you’ll feel the positive energy through “Building Engaged Teams Through The Power of Appreciation” as Tanmay Vora (@tnvora) affirms in his post.
3. Study “The Art of War” and Then Some…
If you need any motivation to get to your reading list, read John Coleman’s Harvard Business Review post titled: “For Those Who Want to Lead, Read”. The benefits are myriad. Through reading, you improve your emotional intelligence, leadership and management ability, organizational and personal effectiveness, and innovation and insight.
With your “gift of a pause”, you have the time to dig in! And you may find it so enjoyable and productive that you will turn reading into a habit.
If you find your bedside table bereft of reading materials, don’t fear. Check out these suggestions from some leaders who I respect and who will stretch your perspectives:
Anne Perschel (@bizshrink):
“The Soul’s Code by James Hillman is a treatise on our life’s calling. Hillman teaches us how to hear what we are called to do in this life we are given to live. How does this relate to leadership? The leader is called to lead, but the question is “On behalf of what?” I believe we are called to lead humanity to its own evolution. Some lead through science, discovering ways to live better lives, while others lead through art, creating ways to live richer lives. All leaders lead people and through people. Regardless of the medium, the leader helps people contribute to the world by way of their own unique calling and talents.
A second leadership book, Willful Blindness, addresses why it is so important for leaders to see what is real and true and why they often don’t. The author points to Enron and other companies led astray by leaders’ blindness. Telling stories about see-ers, Margaret Heffernan offers insight into how we might see more clearly more often.”
Rick Ross (@rickross10):
“I owe so much to so many, I can only reluctantly narrow down the list. Qualifiers aside, there’s one person whose continuing contributions stand above the rest: Tom Peters. I’d recommend any of his books, presentations or posts. I also recommend Rework, by Jason Fried. Unique and invaluable, this book offers “pull no punches” practical advice for leaders challenged with the head-spinning pace of change.”
Petteri (Peter) Tarkkonen (@ptarkkonen):
“Classics are great to read. Those have a lot about life and common sense. To me leadership is life & common sense. To name a few: “The Count of Monte Cristo”, “The Old Man and The Sea” and all Coelho’s. Btw, have you ever made this test: Take a paper and write down characteristics (10-20) of a good leader. Then take another sheet and write down characteristics of a good human being. Let me know what you got.“
Tanveer Naseer (@TanveerNaseer):
“…there’s a number of books that I find cover certain aspects of leadership that are noteworthy and pertinent to be effective and successful in this role. For now, though, I’d recommend two books:
- “The Progress Principle” by Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer. …Readers not only learn about why supporting small wins is important to increasing productivity and engaging employees in an organization’s shared purpose, but they are given research that shows what happens when leaders celebrate small wins and when they don’t.
- “TouchPoints” by Doug Conant. Doug not only encourages leaders to see everyone encountered, every interaction as an opportunity to connect and learn about the realities of your employees, but he also facilitates the reader in building their own leadership model for how they show up in those moments and engage with those they serve.
- There are other books I have in my reading list and which I’m in the process of reading now that also deserve mention – books like “Multipliers” by Liz Wiseman and Greg McKeowan and “The Leadership Challenge” by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.”
Remember, with access to the internet, you can download a book in a matter of seconds and get started reading right away.
If you have a favorite book you’d recommend to your fellow Corporate Warriors, please do share in the comments below!
My next read will be “The Character Based Leader: Instigating a Leadership Revolution … One Person at a Time”, written by 21 authors who are part of the Lead Change Group, including my friend, Will Lukang (@Will_Lukang). I have an additional incentive to get to my reading list since I’ll be writing a review of this book shortly. 🙂
4. Take The R&R You’ve Earned!
R&R, rest and relaxation, is a military term — and the take-away is even the military knows that all warriors need to make time for this at some point.
Yet, as Corporate Warriors, we can still feel guilty. We’ve been instilled with responsibility: “I’m here doing nothing while my team at the office is working crazy. I need to be carrying my load.”
To ease the guilt, reframe your position.
- Your team has got your back, just like you have theirs. In a culture of “teamness”, we need to graciously let others help us.
- You know you wouldn’t let one of your team members get out on the battle field, when he/she isn’t 100%. Apply that rule to yourself, too.
Let the guilt recede, drink plenty of fluids and get lots of rest. Focus on getting healthy and leave the battles for another day. Listen to your body. Even dispense with the to-do’s in this post in favor of needed rest. Don’t delay getting yourself to the medic if your body tells you to. You’ll be back to active duty before you know it.
Your Assignment, If You Choose to Accept It
- Why wait for the cold or flu to get to these to-do’s? Incorporate these into your regular Corporate Warrior routine and you and your team will definitely be “winning”.
- Corporate Warriors aren’t typically shy. Please give me your thoughts in the comments. Let me know what you think about these to-do’s. What do you do as a Corporate Warrior who gets the cold or flu? Do you feel guilty for taking R&R? Please share what has worked for you ~ and please share your favorite leadership book.
Love to hear from you and learn from your tactics. And remember…
#TakeThisMoment and give yourself the gift of a pause! ~ Jackie Yun
Jackie – Congratulations! You’re out of the blogging gate with a terrific practical post and well-written post. I think it will give leaders pause about taking pause. I like the idea of not waiting for a cold or flu to strike and simply taking leave for a few days, every now and then. It gives the troops an opportunity to step up for a dress rehearsal. What better way to practice?
Glad you like the idea of practice! Succession planning is one of the most important tasks for a leader to fulfill. How else can we, as you say, “help people contribute to the world by the way of their own unique calling and talents” if we don’t consciously put our people and their skills to practice? When I incorporated succession planning into my organization’s daily operations, it made such a difference in our culture, productivity, and resiliency. I hope leaders will turn succession planning into a living/breathing routine, instead of completing a one-time paper exercise just to address HR requirements.
Now let me get off my soap box and express my gratitude to you! Langston Hughes wrote: “What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?… Or does it explode?”. Your patient support has allowed a dream to explode. Thank you. ♥
Well your maiden post has hit close to home for me. Yes, I have the flu, and yes, I lack the “patience” to be sick. Can’t you tell as I am online, not much of a pause here!
Your post truly offers sound advice, like delegating the calendar. No. 3 and all the books mentioned are super, too. My addition: Leadership and Self Deception, published by The Arbinger Institute.
Once I recover, I may be tweaking your title and topic to help PR pros in my circles. We need to hit the collective pause button, too.
I am looking forward to following your blog.
Speedy recovery & get-well-soon wishes to you. So glad this post resonates. Appreciate your book recommendation, too!
And may I list your new Kindle e-book here? I just downloaded “The Badass Book of Social Media and Business Communication” and am eager to start reading. Good for leaders to get comfortable and smart with social media.
Please let me know when you get your corollary blog post out for PR pros. Love to read it and am honored to be the “seed”. 🙂
First of all, welcome to the blogging world, Jackie!
As I read Point #1, the the 2 words that kept surfacing were control and trust. A good leader needs to relinquish control and trust that his/her team can manage to do what they were hired/trained to do.
Regarding your fourth point and the army: during WW 2, it was noted that initially, stress enhanced the performance of soldiers. However, as time went on, the benefits rapidly dropped off, leading to burn-out and break-down.
As you point out, it is so important to take those breaks, lunches and vacations for other R-words – re-energization, restoration and revitalization.
Congratulations on a well-knitted post!
Definitely feeling your warm welcome to the blogging world! ~ and am so appreciative of your support.
I’m liking your R-words: re-energization, restoration and revitalization. They feel powerful and would be quite impactful used in a reflection question for leaders. A question such as, “What can I do to re-energize, restore, and revitalize myself, my people, and our organization?”, could lead to a variety of positive actions.
Thank you for helping me to kick-off my blog. I hope everyone will visit you at “Auntie Stress ~ It’s in you to change”.
I also hope everyone will visit your “A Rheumful of Tips” and go out to Healthline to cast their vote for your blog as the best 2012 Health Blog. You have my vote already!
Hugs to you,
You have provided a deep, rich list of resources in your inaugural “JackieYun.com” blog post! Love it!
This line particularly grabbed me: “Let your people fully exercise their leadership muscle.” It’s so strong and empowering to the leader, and to their ‘people!’
I am excited to follow your further leadership and career musings!
Congratulations for ‘hitting the ground running!’
Appreciate you stopping by here. I’m so thrilled to come up with something that grabs your attention, given that you “translate value into words” for a profession. You’ve made my day!
Speaking about words, I like the three words approach for 2013 you wrote about in your Career Trend blog. Your three words — deliberate, revive, relationships — could easily be adopted by leaders to their benefit and that of their team.
And reading your posts at Career Trend and US News would go a long ways toward that, too. 🙂