Between college bowl games and the start of pro football playoffs shortly after that, football is on many people’s minds this time of year. Do YOU have a favorite college or pro football team? What goes through your mind when they win – or lose? Perhaps ABC’s Wide World of Sports said it best, “The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat.” There’s no getting around the fact that sports is a BIG deal to many of us.
Sports can generate a high rush of adrenalin, especially when your favorite team is playing an important, long-awaited game. For many sports fans, the adrenalin rush can span through the course of many days prior to the big game and then, leave a feeling of depression or melancholy when the game is over. This is commonly referred to by mental health professionals as “sports depression”, or atypical depression.
In fact, after a favorite sporting event is over, sadness, anger, crying, and even disinterest in usual activities is common in the day or two after the big game.
For men, in particular, the onset of sports-related depression may suddenly turn to feelings of anger and this can lead to poor outcomes in your interpersonal relationships – even affecting the ability to work or socialize normally. If the depression does not seem to improve following a few days after the game, mental health services may be needed. In most cases, short-term counseling with a therapist – such as an EA professional — is effective as is sleep, exercise, and an improved diet.
That’s not all. It’s been my experience that keeping the fact it’s still a “game” in perspective can help a LOT, too. Many of us are going to be bummed when our favorite football team loses its bowl game or playoff, and that’s okay because the finality of a promising championship season being over can be tough to take. But is it REALLY the end of the world? Consider: Do you have a loving family? Good health? A job? I’ve found that keeping positive thoughts like these in the forefront of your mind really helps. As the saying goes, “there’s always next year.”
Are you a CEO or do you work closely with one? Or perhaps you’re a self-employed entrepreneur who, for all practical purposes, also serve as a “CEO” of sorts. Leaders of organizations need to have a broader range of skills than ever before, according to Stephen Miles, CEO of The Miles Group (miles-group.com), which advises global organizations, their boards, and leadership teams. The following, Miles says, are among the many hats a CEO needs to wear in 2016.
* Futurist. “We have entered a world in which even the best and the brightest cannot predict the biggest things happening around us: crude oil dropping below $40, the Arab Spring, currency fluctuations, what Russia and China will do next,” Miles says. “Even if CEOs cannot predict events and trends, the market still demands that they react immediately and opportunistically in the face of incredibly complex and surprising events – and to be prepared before they happen.”
* Tech CEO. “Tech pundits have been saying for at least the past ten years that every company is a technology company, and this is now becoming a reality,” Miles states. “Every CEO is now a ‘tech CEO,’ or at least must act like one. Just look at Domino’s today: it is a tech company that happens to deliver pizza! General Electric is running ads that it is the ‘digital industrial company.’ Whatever sector you’re in, technology is the future of your business.”
* Crisis manager. “As a CEO, you are going to be constantly stress-tested by events inside and outside your company, and how you respond to that stress will define you as a leader,” Miles explains. “You can look at the contrast between BP’s Tony Hayward and General Motors’ Mary Barra. Fortune called Barra 2014’s ‘crisis manager of the year,’ while Hayward complained ‘I would like my life back’ (and he got it). People’s response to a stress event is typically binary: you are either good at it or you are not. It is important for a leader to understand their response to a stress[ful] event so they can define their leadership in a strong and powerful way rather than being run out of the company.”
* Information seeker. “The days of being a high-performing company that is focused internally are gone, as are the days of being led by a CEO who stays too inwardly focused,” Miles says. “The world demands a CEO who is always looking outside and bringing new insight and ideas back into the company – and challenging everything the company is doing every day. Many of the most successful companies that ultimately run into problems are inwardly focused; this starts with the CEO and becomes a model for the culture as well. And undervaluing or discounting the external perspective – no matter how foreign it may seem – often ends badly for a CEO and/or the company itself.”
Space precludes me from citing all of the roles that Miles says a CEO needs to play in 2016. Contact me and I’ll send you a list and brief description of each.
Is this really “the most wonderful time of the year?” That depends. Certainly all the tinsel, decorations and office parties CAN be fun. But there are still deadlines as well as trying to get everything done in less time so we CAN have off for the holiday with our loved ones. Stress is inevitable, but I have several ideas that can help:
1. Make sure your boss’s expectations are realistic. When I was a reporter it would amaze my editor when I’d tell him how unlikely I was to get a hold of people during the last few weeks of December. So while we all have certain tasks that have to get done, any manager needs to recognize what can realistically get done. Many things can wait until after the holidays.
2. Do something at the office, but recognize it needn’t be big. Due to tighter budgets and liability concerns, many workplaces have done away with big office parties. Other businesses hold them in January after the holidays. Neither approach is bad, but it’s been my experience that any office needs to do something. A small white elephant exchange (say a $10 limit) is one idea that works. Make the exchange between employees who wouldn’t normally interact with each other as opposed to the colleague that Jim or Sue is chummy with all the time anyway. Potluck lunches in which everyone brings a dish to pass also promote camaraderie. Yes you’re busy, but you need to MAKE the time or your workplace will seem like you’re working for Scrooge, and a glum atmosphere like that isn’t good for anyone’s morale or productivity!
Aside from the workplace, a German academic claims that Yuletide leaves more or less everyone depressed, unless they are highly religious Christians. Michael Mutz of Georg-August-Universität Göttingen poured over European Social Survey data from 11 countries including Britain, Ireland and Spain to find that many people are choked by the consumer culture which has now engulfed Christmas.
I think Mutz’s statement about being depressed overstates things a little, but it’s certainly true that the commercials never stop coming, and between all the ads, parties, trees and hustle and bustle, you’re made to feel like there’s something wrong with you if you’re not this super happy, cheery person this time of year. “Get in the Christmas spirit!” someone may tell you. It’s no wonder that the Yuletide season is left wanting for many. But what to do? I have a few suggestions for reclaiming our sanity and actually enjoying the holiday season.
* Dial it down. Many people’s expectations are too high, so it’s no wonder so many suffer a letdown. As it’s been said, what is the point in spending money on things we don’t need, with money we don’t have, and to impress people we don’t know? Spend LESS and enjoy what YOU DO give and receive more. Something more heartfelt than materialistic is often a good start. My wife, for instance, is an avid scrapbooker, and she gave her folks and two siblings a personalized scrapbook several years ago. It was something that meant a lot more than a gift that would have been quickly forgotten, especially now that her mom is gone. Quick: What did you get last year for Christmas? See what I mean? It’s not about the “stuff.”
* Enjoy the reason for the season. Whatever your spiritual beliefs, SLOW DOWN and take time to just “be.” In a fast-paced society in which too many of us are go, go, go 24/7, taking time to pray, meditate or even just letting your mind wander and think of treasured Christmases past, can help you remember the things that are truly important like family, friends and your health.
All in all, count your blessings, don’t take your loved ones for granted, and learn to enjoy the simple things, and that includes less lavish gifts at home and realistic expectations at the office. That’s my take anyway. What’s yours?
When thinking about workplace perks, would employees rather hit the gym or take a day off? It depends on whom you ask. Chief financial officers (CFOs) interviewed for a Robert Half survey said health and wellness benefits are what current and potential employees prize most, but workers cited additional vacation days as their most coveted perk.
Despite the discrepancy, the research suggests companies are increasingly willing to negotiate non-monetary perks versus a year ago. Forty percent of CFOs said they are more open to discussing these benefits, compared to just 6 percent who are less open. This shift is not lost on workers: 43 percent think perks are on the discussion table more often at their company, while just 5 percent think the opposite.
“Non-monetary perks can serve as a differentiator when trying to attract top talent in today’s competitive hiring environment, especially for smaller companies,” said Paul McDonald, senior executive director for Robert Half. “It’s important for businesses to ask employees what perks they value most and clearly promote the firm’s offerings. Many companies undersell these benefits.
It would appear most workers, thankfully, have come a long way since the days of Dickens’ Bob Cratchit (pictured) and Ebeneezer Scrooge!
Ever had a boss who was a micromanager? Boy I sure have! Micromanagers, it seems to me, have real control issues. They think because they know the job best they might as well do it, as opposed to training someone else how to perform the given task. It’s true that it WILL take someone longer to train someone to do something than it will for you to simply do the job, but consider:
1) How can a micromanager keep from getting burned out if he or she is not delving out at least some of their work?
2) How can the employee learn if he or she isn’t given some new tasks from time to time?
3) If the micromanager feels he/she simply HAS to do the task, isn’t that essentially saying the employee isn’t trusted to do it? And if so, why was this person hired in the first place?!
I worked for a micromanager at a newspaper in northern Wisconsin many years ago, and since he took on so much, my workload wasn’t bad… but it proved to be a little too easy as I just wasn’t learning anything new. That leads to boredom, which meant looking for a new job.
But I’ve found the opposite isn’t necessarily a good thing either. Compared to being second-guessed and overruled at every turn, even after you know your job enough to do it well, the autonomy a hands-off manager gives you is pretty darn nice. You’re largely free to do your job as you see fit, and the boss tends to leave you pretty much alone. Terrific, right? For a while, yes it sure is! The problem with this type of manager is that by being a little TOO hands off, he or she really has little idea what goes into your job and that isn’t good either. You’re not likely to get the support you need because this type of boss is so removed from day-to-day tasks that he or she just doesn’t “get it.”
Hands-off bosses are also less likely to conduct regular staff meetings, place phone calls to see how you’re doing, etc. Since so many managers are “meeting happy” not wasting time in weekly gatherings seems to be a good thing … at first. But when you don’t hold them AT ALL these type of bosses quickly lose track of what’s going on, and all sorts of miscommunication and misgivings arise. In fact, without regular communication, certain jobs may not get done!
So the moral of the story is: While you might have a micromanaging, extremely “hands-on” type of boss and you crave for more autonomy instead of having to have every letter “I” dotted and every “T” crossed, be careful what you wish for…… because hands-off managers have their drawbacks, too. The best bosses give you the tools you need to do your job, and do it well, but they also check up on you periodically to make sure things are still working, and assist you in areas where that might not be the case. The worst hands-off types leave you to sink or swim on your own (either because they don’t care or are clueless). Again, chances are you’re looking for a new job.