Simple Strategies to Run an Effective Meeting

How many meetings have you been to where no decisions were made, no agreements, no next steps, no assigned tasks? A few? A bunch? Most of them? I have attended a lot of meetings over the years. I would say most were run pretty poorly. Just last week, I was in a meeting where there was no leader, no agenda, and no one taking notes. It was no surprise that after and hour the only thing that got done was to schedule another meeting.

meetingsBad meetings kill productivity. Humorist Dave Barry put it best: “If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be ‘meetings.'”

The good news is that it’s relatively easy to create action-oriented meetings. Just follow these must-dos Continue reading

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Why We Should Stop Judging Our Coworkers

Judging Others

People have been judging each other at work since we were prehistoric hunters.

Cave Dude 1 – “What was up with Grog today?”
Cave Dude 2 – “Yeah no kidding, he was all up in our faces all day telling us what to do. Like it was our first mammoth hunt.”
Cave Dude 1 – “Seriously, who made him King Caveman?”
Cave Dude 2 – “Please, he’s the last person that should be in charge. He still thinks fire is a bad idea.”
Cave Dude 1 – “And did you see what he was wearing? Open-toed mocks on a hunt, really?”

While I wasn’t there, I know a form of that conversation probably happened, because judging others is just part of our DNA.

It is almost impossible not to do it. Even great spiritual leaders report having trouble not judging. However, it’s in our best interest to cut back. Here are a few reasons why it’s better not to judge others: Continue reading

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How to Start a New Job

Over the years, I have had the chance to work with a lot of new employees on their first day. I coordinate new employee orientation so I have witnessed the good, the bad, and the ugly. Some just nail it. They’re receptive, interested, open to new ideas. Some, well…to use an old cliché, start off on the wrong foot. I’ve seen many start a new job unprepared, disengaged, or even bringing a lousy attitude.

How to Start a New job

I recently welcomed a new employee to the organization and she did all the little things right. She was present, engaging, remembered names, and at the end of day, the team talked about how she was going to add a lot of value to the organization. And then there was the other new employee. He Continue reading

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Maximize Your One-on-One Supervision Meeting

If you’re lucky to get one-on-one meetings with your boss, you need to treat this time as if it was treasure. Even if your boss is not a treasure, this is time when you have his or her full attention. Now is the time to move things forward and advance your career.


To make this meeting productive, it’s important to understand that this is “your” time and you need to own it. Don’t expect your boss to organize these meetings so they are productive. Some will, but most are busy and don’t do the prep work they should. So it’s really up to you to come with an agenda. I f not, you will end up just telling you boss what you did for past two weeks. Or worse, they might do what I use to do as a boss: fill the time by giving you idealistic worldly advice (now I use this blog to give out my idealistic worldly advice).

To maximize this time, do some prep work , and come up with an agenda. Be focused during the meeting, and follow-up. Here’s the breakdown:

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A New Way to Manage Your Worries

So your boss sends you an email asking: “Do you have time this afternoon to chat?” If, in this scenario you simply reply and say “sure,” and aren’t worried about what she wants to talk about, you can probably stop reading this post. If you reply and say “sure,” and then break out in a sweat, you probably should keep reading. If you say “sure,” and then become absolutely convinced she’s going to fire you,  you will have to collect unemployment, and be forced to move in with your parents­, then this post is for you.

Just about everything we worry about never happens.

We all worry, but some more than others. It wasn’t too long ago when my own worries totally owned me. I would be going about my day and then something would trigger an anxious thought, and my mind would tell me a crazy story. I remember hearing a Bob Marley song on the radio and remembering Continue reading

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How to Handle an Angry Coworker

Not too long ago, a fellow coworker was having issues with some software and was struggling with it. I was responsible for implementing the software, so when he reached his breaking point he lashed out at me. It was hard to take, as I didn’t feel like I was to blame. I could hear my Irish ancestors whispering to me, “Jimmy, just knock him on is ARSE.”  Thankfully, I realized that option was totally unacceptable.  I did what I do best in these situations – I said nothing and quietly beat myself up.

Angry Coworker

When someone gets angry at us (coworker, boss, friend, spouse), we usually react by getting defensive.  Sometimes we fight back, and maybe ruminate on it for days, think of all the good responses…..

But there is a better way. Continue reading

Posted in Dealing with Difficult People, Emotional Intelligence, Personal Development | 1 Comment

Dealing with Overwhelming Emotions

We all have moments when our emotions run wild.  For example, when we get really bad news, or have a major conflict with a coworker or even something as relatively minor as losing that document we spent 3 hours working on and we were sure we saved it (dammit). At that moment, (something hits us and our emotions go haywire). We also know what it’s like to make an impulsive decision driven by those strong feelings, only to have to clean up a mess later.

Unfortunately, we can’t really avoid experiencing deep anger, extreme frustration, crushing sadness, or screaming fear. These emotions come with life and it’s how we are designed. We may not be able to control having such emotions.  The good news, however is Continue reading

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Let go of the Entitlement and be a Rocking Employee

My first job was at a summer camp. I was a counselor for boys aged 6 to 12. A week before camp opened, we counselors had to show up to get the camp ready.  After the first day, one of the counselors let out a huge sigh and said “Why didn’t they just hire someone to do ALL THIS WORK?”  My friend looked at her sideways and said “They did…they hired us.”


It was a long and difficult summer for that counselor.  Since then, I have met lots of people like her. They are the kind of employees who feel they are above the work they were hired to do, or feel Continue reading

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Don’t Toast Your Staff! Make a Reprimand Sandwich.

Got to give some one tough feedback? Here’s a strategy for you: it’s called “The Reprimand Sandwich.”  I got this idea from John Felkins , an Entreleadership Coach for Dave Ramsey.  Felkins mentioned this in Entreleadership’s monthly podcast.  He says that the best way to confront a staff member is to do the following: Start by telling them something you value about their work. Then, explain what you need them to work on or what needs to change. Finish by emphasizing that they are important to the organization, and why.

ToastGiving negative feedback is a necessity.  Reports that are underperforming need to Continue reading

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How to Deal with Mean People at Work

Mean people stink. Mean people at work are a nightmare. Having to deal with them five days a week can ruin your job.

Mean people, bullies

I once worked with a woman who was meaner than mean. She (let’s just call her Lizzie) could take you apart piece by piece. For example, if I pointed out something she did wrong, she would find 10 things I did wrong and make sure everyone knew about them. She was a master at making your life miserable. It got to a point where my stomach would be in knots Sunday night just thinking about facing her the next day.  I stuck it out for quite a while because I thought justice would prevail and she would eventually be fired. I finally quit when I realized she wasn’t going anywhere. In hindsight, I wish I had taken charge of the situation.

Being exposed to chronic meanness at work can be very similar to being in an abusive relationship. They can be all about control and power and Continue reading

Posted in Dealing with Difficult People, Management, Personal Development | Tagged , | 1 Comment