Search This Blog for Past Topics

Monday, September 30, 2019

Crisis Management, Career Change and Counseling Needs in the Workplace: Oct 2019

Greetings! It feels like September blew by in the wink of an eye. I find myself in conversations with clients about year-end planning and I am slowly setting some 2020 dates in my calendar.  Yikes.

Before I get ahead of myself, I want to share some recent resources that stirred the pot for me and some clients.

Crisis Management 101. I shared last month that sometimes it feels like when I am not talking about how to develop leadership in employees, I am talking to clients about interpersonal conflict in their office. Often I am invited to assist my clients when there is a "crisis." More than anything, I try to remain a non-anxious presence to remind them that no one is bleeding and that "hair on fire" panicked leadership only worsens the anxiety in the system. This article builds on that in some ways, and provides a good baseline of reminders.

4 Ways to Manage a Needy Employee.  I loved the opening paragraph of this article:
These days, there’s lots of discussion about the importance of leaders being more vulnerable and creating psychologically safe work environments in which people can share their feelings. But what happens when someone takes that too far?
I am encountering this issue more and more with clients. Perhaps it is because some people do not have work/life balance, because work IS life? Also possibly, because I find that many younger adults are more free to share about their personal lives in the workplace. Regardless of the reasons, this article has some excellent reminders about how to manage that team member that over-shares and brings their stuff to the office. I found another brief (but good) article related to this issue as it pertains to maintaining professional distance.

6 Fears You'll Have as an Older Career Changer (and How to Overcome Them). I made a major career change at age 47. I discovered MANY things in that process. First of all, "mid-life crisis" is a thing! Secondly, technology is causing the workplace to change at an exponential pace. I had to learn new skills (video conferencing, 1099 income, "branding"?? to name a few...) and have walked friends through these changes as well. This article gets REAL about the many fears one faces in such a transition. Read it and pass it along to others.

Managing Distributed Teams. OK, so this one doesn't fit into the "C" words in this month's post, but it's really valuable if you work with others around the country and around the world, like many of my clients. It's only half an hour ~ set aside work for a brief bit and take notes.

Recipe of the Month: Traybake Chicken. This is for sure my favorite go-to meal in a pinch. Almost every vegetable possible can work.  I made it last night with squash, zucchini, onion, mushrooms, cauliflower and broccoli. The best part of that that all is that you only have the sheet pan to clean.

Final thoughts ~ on leadership.
“The leader is the guardian of unity. He or she must thirst for unity and work for it day and night. For this, the leader must not fear conflict, but rather accept it and strive to be an instrument of reconciliation: the leader must be in contact with all the different elements in the community, and particularly with those who are in pain or who are angry with the community.”
–Jean Vanier, “Leadership,” Called to Community
Please feel free to forward this to others, and contact me with questions or feedback at Thanks for reading!

Monday, September 2, 2019

Setting Up for September 2019: Reading, Race, and Rallying the Troops

As I write this I will admit I have one eye peeking at US Open Tennis. Though I was never any good, I played on my high school team for three years, even being the captain my senior year. Tennis is one of those perfect sports to watch on TV because you can really take in the whole court. I am so amazed and encouraged by some of the young players rising up, along with some of the long-term champions #queenserena #teamcoco #osakarocks

I had an interesting August: half of it I was out of town either at a conference are on vacation, and half of it I was deep in the weeds with clients. In the midst of it all I was able to read  quite a bit and find some good resources. Here goes.

Reading.  It is hard to know where to begin! One of my goals on my vacations, apart from being outside as much as possible in the sheer beauty of nature (see a photo from my time in Maine), is to read A LOT. I love to catch up on past issues of the New Yorker magazine and read at least three books. All of these goals, I am happy to say were accomplished! Here are some good options for you:

  • 13 books from high school worth rereading as an adultGranted, I went to high school a really long time ago, but I have only read five of these 13 books. Looks like I need to add some books to my wish list. How about you?
  • New Fall Books on Behavioral Science, Leadership, and LifeThis list comes from Adam Grant, whom I find to be a trusted resource on the topic of leadership and the workplace. Check these out.
  • This is WaterIn terms of everything I list on today's post, if you only have to pick one thing, make it this. It is only about eight pages. It is a commencement speech by David Foster Wallace, an extraordinary writer. It is truly a game changer. It is something that should be read at least once a year, if not once a month. It is epic, and really kicks my butt. Do not miss it.
  • The 1619 ProjectI have barely dipped my toe into this, and I'm already finding it to be humbling, mortifying, and spectacular. There is also a companion podcast that goes with it. Bookmark this and chip away at it. Related to this, I'm about halfway through How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram Kendi. Very thought-provoking and provocative at the same time. The New Yorker also did a fascinating article about it as well.
  • Beloit College Mindset List. This is something produced every year that I got hooked onto a few years ago. It gives some fascinating nuggets from history and trivia related to what shapes the newest Freshman Class entering college this fall. To give you a taste, here  are   the first three: 1) They are the first class born in the new millennium, escaping the dreaded label of “Millennial,” though their new designation—iGen, GenZ, etc. — has not yet been agreed upon by them; 2) Outer space has never been without human habitation; 3) They have always been able to refer to Wikipedia.
Workplace Woes and Workarounds. OK Wow, buckle up. What follows is a lot of good stuff. Pay close attention to each one!
  • Walk Toward the Barking Dog (addressing conflict before it happens). Sometimes it feels like when I am not talking about how to develop leadership in employees, I am talking to clients about interpersonal conflict in their office. This one gives some good insights.
  • Leadership Development & Nudge Theory. I know I know, what the heck is Nudge Theory? And while we're at it, what is behavioral economics? All these terms are flying around now and they are a bit confusing. This link won't sum all of that up, but it will give you some good tools in terms of how to use strengthsfinder iin leadership development in light of some of the new research coming out around what motivates people.
  • Dealing with anxiety in high-performance contexts. Two names in this interview caught my attention:  DeMar DeRozan and Kevin Love from the NBAIt's incredible. Every single minute. Raw and honest conversation about vulnerability, counseling, support, asking for help, you name it. While you're at it, listen to this one next with Meb Keflezighi, long distance runner.
  • Workplace Woes Q&AThis is a regular podcast for me, and I found this episode especially useful. It's a speed round of commonplace issues: how to best manage an intern; how to advance one's careers through corporate & non-profit board involvement; how to deal with an annoying co-worker; and last but not least, how to find a job when pregnant. Listen up!
  • 8 office icebreakers that won’t make you cringe. Several of my clients want to kick off the fall with a longer staff meeting or breakaway retreat. One of the main goals of these times is to build connection and community among employees. Yet we can all think of a time where we had to do a mixer that we absolutely hated. I thought these provided some good ideas that were more than bearable. If you need even more ideas, go to my resource folder at
Favorite Recipe o' the Month: Winter Squash and Chicken Stew with Indian SpicesEasing into fall means that there is more squash to be had! As a grown up, I have absolutely fallen in love with all types of gourds. Here is a great recipe and the use of the word "winter" in the title is a little deceptive. You can make it now. Enjoy.

Final thoughts.

“All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability
 to sit quietly in a room alone.”
— Blaise Pascal

As always, feel free to forward this blog to your friends ~ contact me with feedback or comments at Happy fall!


Hearty Bread for the Whole Journey? aka, "What's with the vague subtitle?"

If you have sat through (endured? enjoyed?) one of my Strengths Finder presentations, you know that I often refer back to my life as an eter...