Posts Tagged ‘leaders’

How Successful Leaders Manage Worry


At every waking moment, multiple concerns run through a leader’s mind. The larger the team, the more numerous those concerns — which then, turn into worries. Defined as a state of uncertainty over actual or potential problems, worrying is not necessarily a bad thing, but letting anxiety take over is never good. So, how do successful leaders manage worry and everyday challenges? They accept that problems will come up. Instead of worrying, they get to solving and preventing. Below are a few of our best tips to help leaders manage worry better and keep a more balanced life.

Sharpen Perception and Get a Big-Picture Perspective

Root out perceived problems from real problems. Focus on the second, forget the first. But how do you know if a problem is not a real problem in the first place?

  • A quick cause-and-effect or action-consequence analysis can reveal the true nature of your worries. For instance, a manager reprimanded someone in your team for coming in late. But that same person actually had his shift changed yesterday. It’s all a misunderstanding.
  • A broader perspective from colleagues and even clients can reveal if there are actual negative consequences to a situation. You worry that ongoing renovation work on the floor above yours will disrupt your team. But the Engineering and Housekeeping department of the building your company is leasing wisely coordinated to schedule noisy work when the offices and commercial spaces are closed. If you mention renovation work to your clients and employees, they’ll probably say, “What renovation?”

Attend Promptly to REAL and On-Going Problems

Among real problems, prioritize actual problems over potential problems that may or may not happen in a few days. Yes, that includes the presentation you’re dreading tomorrow.

Give actual problems prompt attention so you can get them off your list of concerns. Otherwise, new problems will pile up onto your current problems. That’s when anxiety rears its scary head. Jim Folk, founder of www.anxietycentre.com writes that anxiety also persists when the underlying reasons aren’t properly addressed.

Tackle actual problems by breaking them down into manageable segments. Is it equipment failure, procedure flaw, human error, insufficient time, or a communication lapse? Communication is almost always part of the problem. Strive to continuously improve the quality and flow of information within the team and between departments. Once a problem is solved, put steps in place so it doesn’t recur.

Make Preventive Planning a Habit

Potential problems are a major source of worrying. Preventive planning anticipates possible negative outcomes from current ongoing action. But how do you prevent your brain from making away with unending worst case scenarios?

Base preventive planning measures on past problems and their triggers. For instance, a potential client is supposed to meet you at a golf club a few miles away. Do you have a back-up venue ready if it rains? Will you be prepared to talk business if the winds are too strong for a good game? A preventive mindset allows you to set up a plan B and C to avoid foreseeable problems and mitigate unexpected ones.

Practice Delegation to Mentor Others

Are you worrying over problems that others can handle? Assigning someone else to solve a problem is downright hard for high-performing managers. Do it anyway. It frees you to focus on other tasks that ONLY you can really perform. It’s also a good opportunity to groom potential “understudies.”


Meditate, work out, watch a sitcom, or nap to snuff stress and renew your spirit. You’ve covered your bases and ticked off all checklists. There’s little room for worry. You’re now ready for that final step–letting go. When Murphy ’s Law occurs, as it often does, you’ll accept you can’t control everything, and then laugh about it. No worries.

Michelle Riklan is president of Riklan Resources and an instructor for The Leader’s Institute® in the Northeast region. She is based in Trenton, NJ but she also can conduct a team activity in New York, Boston, Philadelphia and other Northeast cities.

A Leader’s Guide to Profiling the 5 Common Trouble Makers in the Office

It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle— Sun Tzu, Art of War

trouble makers in the officeThere will always be difficult employees in any organization; even Fortune 500 companies have rotten tomatoes in them. As a leader, your job is to lead a team. Encourage them do their work, do their performance reviews, and talk to them when things go wrong, but how can you do that when you don’t even know who you’re dealing with? This applies to everyone in your team, but more so to the trouble makers. This Leader’s Guide to common trouble makers in the office was designed to help you understand your team members — especially the trouble makers.

1. The Competitor

This type of employee just won’t let go until he has won and another employee has lost. Rather than being a team player, The Competitor works for his personal gains.

The easiest way to work with a competitor is to convince him to focus on the big picture, a long term goal where he’s not in direct competition with anyone in the team. This way, it’ll be easier for him to forget short-term goals or deadlines that were given to his teammates.

2. The Rebel

Rebel employee thrives on negative attention that comes from putting down people in authority. These are the “bad ass” employees who like talking back, defying orders and coming in late.

Difficult employees under this category miss deadlines on purpose just to make a point that they don’t need to follow the rules. They also love to make fun of things. Sometimes they do it deliberately; sometimes they’re unaware of hurting other people’s feelings.

The solution here is straightforward: tell Rebels bad behavior won’t be tolerated. Let them know that the trouble they’re causing isn’t unnoticed. Make it clear that failure to improve has consequences, which may lead to dismissal.

3. The Procrastinator

This type of employee always says “Yes” and accepts projects, but is not able to follow through.

When the deadlines start approaching, he can’t be found or reached by any means. Then, when the work is finally completed by someone else, he will resume his normal work routine as if nothing happened.

Dealing with these people can get frustrating, especially if you have tons of work due. The best way to work with this type of difficult employee is to micro-manage them, at least for a few weeks. Set due dates for things to be done, and create specific and hard to ignore consequences for missed deadlines.

4. The Drama Queens and Drama Kings

These employees turn everything into drama. They cry, wail, whine, and complain about everything, even the smallest of things. Got no milk in the pantry? Well, they might whine about that, too.

They draw energy from the drama, all the while draining the energy of others.

Prevent drama by setting up boundaries, so that everyone is aware of what is acceptable as professional office behaviour. Let them know how their actions and attitude are affecting others. Employees that act this way must be taken out of meetings, especially when their actions are becoming obstructive.

5. The Volcano

These people explode whenever things don’t turn out the way they think it should. They end up screaming in meetings, yelling on the phone, and getting in your face.
In any organization, it is important that everyone treats each other with respect. If you end up dealing with an employee like this, then you need to speak with a certain intensity as well to ensure that you are heard.

Let that employee understand that unprofessional behavior is not okay and will not be tolerated in the workplace.

Know Anyone Who Fits these Profiles?

Know any Volcanoes? What about a Drama King/Queen? Try these strategies in dealing with them.

If you know of another trouble maker profile, let us know in the comments.

Michelle Riklan is president of Riklan Resources and an instructor for The Leader’s Institute® in the Northeast region. She is based in Trenton, NJ but she also teaches in New York, Boston, Philadelphia and other Northeast cities.
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