When You're Frustrated at Work, Choose a Different Circle

Posted by John Rutkiewicz - Guest Blogger on Apr 9, 2020

At work, we all have times when we get frustrated by what’s going on around us. Our frustrations and concerns can negatively impact our workplace satisfaction and productivity.

Take Harry, for example. Harry is a leader I coach. He manages a six-person team.

Harry is struggling these days. He has three key concerns that have been coming up in our coaching conversations:

  1. He has an open position on his team, but the organization (his boss and boss’s boss) may be shifting the headcount to another area of need.
  2. Harry is unclear about the objectives his boss wants him to achieve this year. He can’t seem to get concrete definition or metrics from his boss.
  3. Harry recently got feedback about his own leadership. Senior leaders in the organization don’t see him having the “strategic vision” needed to move to the next level.

These concerns are causing frustration and unhappiness for Harry. They’re valid concerns, yet as concerns, they’re keeping Harry stuck. He’s feeling like a victim.

But there is a way out....

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Hagen's Hikes: Weekend Warrior Goes Trailside with Old Man Winter

Posted by E.V. Thompson on May 20, 2019

Once again, we follow Lemberg Service Manager as he treks his way across the Ice Age Trail on his quest to complete the 1000-mile trail, one segment at a time. As you might imagine, weather can make or break a hike. Here we follow Hagen’s first few months of 2019 as he went trailside with Old Man Winter.

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Hagen's Hikes: The Thousand-Mile Ice Age Challenge

Posted by E.V. Thompson on Apr 12, 2019

The invitation is always open: join the weekend hike!

But, if you're going to tag along, make sure you wear good shoes and bring water because this is no casual hike. Lemberg Service Manager Tim Hagen has a goal to be recognized by Wisconsin's Ice Age Trail Alliance (IATA) as one of the few who have hiked the entire 1,000+mile Ice Age Trail -- and he's happy to have company along his journey, as long as you show up prepared.

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4 Ways to Make Positive Feedback More Meaningful

Posted by John Rutkiewicz - Guest Blogger on Apr 8, 2019

Recently, after facilitating a leadership workshop, I received this question on an evaluation: “Recognition and thank you’s can come across as insincere. How do we overcome that?”

It’s a great question. Giving positive feedback in the workplace is important, especially when you’re the leader. Recognition, appreciation and gratitude for good work has motivational power. It also enhances employee engagement.

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3 Elements Of A Great Scoreboard For Team Productivity

Posted by John Rutkiewicz - Guest Blogger on Feb 25, 2019

Brian Tracy, famed self-development author and speaker, once wrote: “Time management is really life management, personal management.”

Productivity ultimately relies on you and me; what you do, what I do. Time management is an element of self-leadership.

In organizational life, however, it’s also about the team. When you have projects and initiatives that you’re responsible for, most of the time, you’re responsible for some parts, and others are responsible for other parts. Right?

And so, it’s not just what you and I each do as individuals – it’s what the team does as well. How it interacts, how it works together, how it tracks its progress.

That’s where a scoreboard comes in.

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Want to Be Productive? Block Time for Your "Big Rocks."

Posted by John Rutkiewicz - Guest Blogger on Feb 1, 2019

Recently I wrote about a productivity principle I call, “Think 20%.” 

It’s a strategy for focus to help you tame your whirlwind. It involves focusing your activities around the top 20% of things you need to do – those things that are most important, like key projects, goals and initiatives. What Stephen Covey called our “Big Rocks.”

But what about focusing your time?

If you identify your most important projects, goals and initiatives, but you don’t make time for them, nothing changes. You’re still trapped in the whirlwind of too much “stuff” to do and the feelings of exasperation, futility and stress that often come with it. So…

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Your Boss Just Gave You an Objective. Now What?

Posted by John Rutkiewicz - Guest Blogger on Jan 25, 2019

The other day, a leader I coach – we’ll call him Jim – said to me:

“My boss gives broad direction about what I’m supposed to accomplish, but she doesn’t give details about what she wants to see. At the end of December, she said, ‘Next year, I want you to increase distributor sales.’ What am I supposed to do with that?”

I asked Jim some questions to learn more about his story. Then we discussed these five suggestions….

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Focus Your Team for Powerful Productivity -- "Think 20%"

Posted by John Rutkiewicz - Guest Blogger on Jan 21, 2019

As I’ve traveled across the country through the years, working with leaders in organizations of all shapes and sizes, I’ve recognized what I think is the greatest risk to our organizations.

It’s not a lack of strategy, or a lack of passion, or a lack of commitment.

The greatest risk to our organizations is…a lack of FOCUS.

We lack focus on the most important initiatives and activities that drive our organizations forward to growth and prosperity.

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5 Rules for Being a Person Others Want to Follow

Posted by John Rutkiewicz - Guest Blogger on Sep 10, 2018

In his book, The Art of Possibility, renowned orchestral conductor Benjamin Zander shares a simple idea he calls “Leading from Any Chair.” He writes:

“A leader does not need a podium; she can be sitting quietly on the edge of any chair, listening passionately and with commitment, fully prepared to take up the baton.”

I believe the same is true for all of us who work in organizations. Anyone in the house can lead. We don’t need special authority or a title. We don’t need a certain technical expertise. Heck, we don’t even need permission. We merely need the desire to engage others in moving the ball.

The real leadership question is: Will other people WANT to follow you?

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4 Ways Leadership Involves Change

Posted by John Rutkiewicz - Guest Blogger on Jul 13, 2018

The distinction between management and leadership has been debated for decades. Great minds – such as Warren Bennis, Stephen Covey, Grace Hopper, and John Kotter – have argued that management and leadership are different. I've argued the difference, too.

  • Bennis: “Managers do things right, while leaders do the right things.”
  • Covey: “Leadership deals with direction. Management deals with speed.”
  • Hopper: “You manage things. You lead people.”
John Kotter of Harvard Business School put it this way:

Management is about coping with complexity. Leadership is about coping with change. -- J.Kotter, Harvard Business School

I like Kotter’s thinking. A defining distinction about leadership is its focus on change. After all, in the work-world, change is all around us.

As I’ve reflected on this idea over the years, I’ve come to realize the most effective leaders focus on creating change in four key ways.

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