Tips and tools to help you thrive at work.
Breaking News: Work sucks.
Okay, so maybe that's not exactly breaking news, and allow me to apologize for starting off on such a cheeky note. The truth is, this is a tough time for employees and employers alike. But, of course, you already know this. You've seen the headlines. Layoffs abound. Quiet Quitting. The Great Resignation.
We can unpack the causes behind each of these at another time, but the effects have been unmistakable. Employees are stressed out, and with good reason. Inflation has reduced the value of their paycheck, and childcare is harder to find than ever before. Layoffs and turnover have stripped teams of years' worth of institutional knowledge and left fewer, newer hands to do the same amount of work. In some cases, the work has even increased. Scope creep, or "quiet hiring," is becoming more and more common as managers ask their top employees to fill gaps by taking on more responsibilities without any...
Effective leadership arguably involves a certain amount of love. Not of the romantic variety so much, but certainly the type that involves showing respect, affirmation, and positive regard for others. Like the love of a coach for her players or the dedication of a staff sergeant to his squad. As Joel Manby, author of Love Works so aptly stated, "Treating someone with love regardless of how you feel about that person is a very powerful principle. It can make us great spouses, great parents, and great friends. Great leaders too."
To his point, the more we separate our temporary feelings for someone (the noun version of love) from our decision to treat them with value and respect (the verb version of love), the more effective we can be in any of our relationships and roles, leadership included. And to be fair, many of us have experienced a relationship or two that has required an extra dose of intentionality for us to lean into the...
Just a few short weeks ago, our family got a little bit bigger as we welcomed Mackenzie Hansen into the world. We were blessed with a healthy, happy little girl who has brought great joy to our home. Two months later, it amazes me how much this tiny little human can teach me. Here are just a few leadership principles Mackenzie has helped me realize in her first few weeks on the job:
Any parent can relate to this. If you have ever cared for an over-tired child, you know how they can reach new levels of emotional distress. And the more upset they become, the more they resist the call of sleep. This cycle can be hard to break, and an absolute nightmare for anyone around when it is happening. While it's easier to spot in an infant, I found that the same principle holds true for me. Even though I don't always need to be sleeping to get some rest, taking time for myself can offer similar relief. Already, I have...
Have you ever had one of those managers who just can't seem to stop? It's not that they don't seem to stop - it's as if they can't. For them, the day consists of bouncing from one project to another, from one problem to another, of answering questions and sorting out issues before they become crises. They don't have a minute to talk - or perhaps they have precisely one minute while they're walking from one meeting to the next. Sure, they start the day with an agenda, but other priorities crop up and demand attention.
You can spot this manager in their natural habitat. You'll see him or her hustling from one meeting room to the next, or half-jogging to a bathroom between conference calls. Their team members say things like "Have you seen Sarah?" and "Hey, if you talk to Chris would you ask him to get back to me about that proposal?" Reschedules are a fact of life for these managers;...
This post was originally part of our Finish Strong Challenge, which emphasized components of modern resilience to help participants finish the year on a high note and build positive momentum for 2021. Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for the latest on future challenges and updates from Alloy!
How many times do you think about why you do what you do?
It's a simple word, but it can be a complex question. Let's ask the same question a few different ways:
Many of us get so caught up in the day-to-day grind of our work that we eventually stop focusing on the overarching purpose that makes our work important and necessary.
As we take a closer look at Finding Your...
Leaders always get stuck with the hardest decisions. It can be a blessing and a curse, but every conundrum, every dilemma, and every head-scratcher makes its way onto the desk of the person in charge.
We have seen a lot of leaders making hard choices this year, and some leaders have done better than others. For the sake of learning and growing together, I thought it would be beneficial to analyze a recent situation and recognize the leadership lessons we can take from it. I picked out a scenario that has made monumental waves here in Nebraska, but the lessons within are relevant everywhere.
Let's start with some background. As with everything else, COVID-19 threw a major wrench into the plans for anyone hoping to see college football this year. The outbreak in March canceled spring practices across the country, and fans...
For all the disruption 2020 has dealt most of us, this year has been a boon for the podcast industry. The medium was already on the rise, but circumstances have combined to boost its popularity to new heights. A hiatus from movies, sports, tv shows, and most social gatherings make podcasts an easy choice - you can find a podcast on any subject under the sun, and new episodes are never farther away than your smartphone.
Growth-oriented leaders can leverage the availability and portability of podcasts to soak up lessons from the greatest teachers on leadership and professional development. With that in mind, our team put together a list of our favorite podcasts to fuel your fire and make you the leader you want to follow:
The John Maxwell Leadership Podcast
John Maxwell has been called the world's most influential leadership expert by Inc., and we are proud to call him one of our mentors. Maxwell hosts this podcast...
This is Part 2 in our Reading List series. Click Here for Part 1!
Perhaps the best part of being in the business of developing people is that you come across some truly outstanding resources for personal development. Scratch that - the best part is sharing those resources with others and watching their growth.
With that in mind, the Solutions Team has compiled the following list of our favorite books on personal growth and professional development. You can see the list for yourself, and if anything catches your eye, grab a copy for yourself on Amazon (links included below).
The Infinite Game - Simon Sinek
As Simon Sinek explains, most of us approach business goals like a series of finite games: short, defined periods with expressed goals and a clear endpoint. We chase quarterly sales goals and annual quotas. We know the rules and we know who else is playing, and we do anything we need to do to win THIS game. Then...
I am at a loss for words this week.
The last several days have been filled with hurtful words, painful scenes on unfolding in city streets and TV screens, and challenging - but heartfelt and important - conversations with friends and family. I find myself struggling to find the words to support and lead through days like these.
If you are leading people right now, you have probably found yourself in a similar place. Every day brings a new challenge, so how can we know what our people need from us? When they look to us for leadership, will we be prepared to answer? Great leaders are forged in crisis, and we are certainly in the middle of a leadership crisis right now.
The simple truth is this: in a crisis of humanity, the solution is human values. We need to connect with each other as people, more than as coworkers. Many of us have spent careers learning and perfecting every intricacy of the modern workplace...
Former U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt said, "A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor." After the last few weeks, I suspect we're all starting to feel like Ferdinand Magellan, the Portugese explorer who sailed all the way around the globe in 1519. Perhaps some days you feel more like the famous castaway Robinson Crusoe.
Whether you're feeling like an accomplished mariner or still finding your sea legs, rest easy knowing that you are facing down the same challenges as millions of other leaders around the world. That's really overwhelming, isn't it? Millions of leaders, all trying to solve the same set of problems. I have good news for you: millions of leaders are all trying to solve the same set of problems.
The global scale of our circumstances means that there are global truths in our circumstances. We're all stressed. We're all uncertain. We're all adjusting to new routines. Once again, the good news: when we all face similar problems, we can all...
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