February 07, 2012

Managing Your Grumpy Days!


Lately, all the managers of the Employment Programs in BC have been on my mind. I have been wondering how you are doing, how you are taking care of yourself and how you have been managing all the extra demands on your time and energy. I know you have current contracts to run and new contracts to get ready for and that there are lots of people wanting something from you these days.  That can’t be easy and that added stress and pressure can make for some grumpy days.

When things are busy it is easy to forget some of the things that keep you and your teams going.  Recently, I re-read one of my favourite books, How Full Is Your Bucket, by Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton.  It is one of my favourites because 1. It is short! and 2. It reminds me just how simple things can be when it comes to taking care of ourselves and our teams.

This book gives 5 easy strategies for building a positive environment despite the conditions you may be facing. I will give a very short highlight of each:

  1. Prevent Bucket Dipping.  Think twice before uttering the negative thought you might be having. Every negative thought spoken dips from our bucket and makes it hard to get the work done.
  2. Shine a Light on What is Right. Focus on the positive rather than dwelling on the negative. This will re-energize and make us more productive.
  3. Make Best Friends.  Be the person that everyone goes to for a kind word. Get to know those around you; listen to them with unconditional positive regard. Be a mentor.
  4. Give Unexpectedly. Unexpected gifts or sharing have the most impact. Have you brought someone a coffee recently or shared some of the fabulous cookies that you made the night before?
  5. Reverse the Golden Rule. Do unto others as they would have you do unto them.  Know your staff and co-workers and what works for them.  This is the time to remember that “bucket filling” is not about what you like, but what they do.
What struck me the most when reading this again was the following quote:

“Everyone has an invisible bucket. We are at our best when our buckets are overflowing – and at our worst when they are empty. Everyone also has an invisible dipper. In each interaction, we can use our dipper either to fill or to dip from others’ buckets. Whenever we choose to fill others’ buckets, we in turn fill our own.” (pg. 25).

In thinking about all this, I stress that this is relevant to everyone in an organization but I think about it when thinking about you as a Manager because it starts with you.  Lead the way and I am sure you will be thrilled with the following you will receive!

What have you done today to fill someone's bucket?

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