The holiday season is upon us, and for many this also means the onset of constant stress. Maybe it’s the thought of spending a lot of time with family and in-laws or maybe it’s coordinating travel. It could even be the stress of a tight budget with a growing list of holiday expenses. Whatever the reason, the holidays, while often one of the most joyful times of year, often cause significant stress.
If success isn’t only defined by status, power, and money, then what does it mean to be successful, and how do you know when you’re there? It all comes down to having a clear picture of what success looks like for you. Think about the times in your life you have felt like your best, true self.
By all external measures, I was very successful: my bosses loved and trusted me, my team thrived under my supervision, and my colleagues saw me as a capable leader who got things done. But internally, I was miserable -- miserable to the point of barely functioning, with clinical depression levels of burnout.
So what happened?
More and more, you hear stories of people who achieve what they think of as markers of success, only to find themselves thinking, “Is that all there is? This is what I busted my butt for?” or “Now what?” We all know people who have high-power jobs or great salaries but they’re miserable, overly stressed and unfulfilled. So why don’t they feel successful?
Last but not least in my BBC binge review is the sweet, slightly sad sitcom The IT Crowd, which can serve as a cautionary tale about what happens when you neglect the very employees who keep your business up and running.
Despite all the hilarious mishaps and shenanigans in each episode of the BBC sitcom W1a, the scenes that I found most painfully to watch were the management team meetings, usually in response to a totally avoidable PR crisis. These scenes help me put together a series of tips you can use to ensure productive and painless meetings every time!
To TV audiences who automatically associate reality television with manufactured drama, outlandish antisocial behavior, and cruel criticism bordering on abuse, The Great British Bake Off is a breath of fresh air – or more accurately a breath of healthy competition and good sportsmanship. And while the judges, Mary and Paul, have to provide critique and make an elimination in every episode, they do so in a way that demonstrates utmost respect and consideration for the efforts and skills of the contestants.
This winter I was on a big BBC kick, and a few series left me with more substantial takeaways than just their pure entertainment value. They’ve also inspired some interesting insights into honest communication, strategies for productive meetings, and beneficial management practices.
Books, movies, television shows, and advice columns have provided endless examples of pathologically bad managers – sometime played for laughs, sometimes played for horrors. Most bad managers are ineffective for far less dramatic reasons: they were never taught or mentored on how to be a manager, or they never wanted to be a manager in the first place.
Learning to delegate is a critical skill for anyone who seeks to increase professional responsibility and authority, or serve in any sort of management or leadership position. While it is not an easy skill to master, I do have some tips for making it a less painful and more productive transition for everyone involved.