Are you having fun doing what you are doing? Too often folks associate “fun” with “lightweight” or "not earnest." We even throw around the word “serious” as if it is a compliment, as in, “She has a serious job.”
There are certainly times when humor and/or a lighthearted approach simply don’t feel appropriate, but my sense is that there are a lot of folks who are suffering from, well, a serious need of lightening up a bit. We need to make a habit of looking for more fun in our days—asking how we can “make it more fun,” or at least feel better in more life situations—especially at work. After all, are we more productive and of the most value to others when we are “grinding,” or when we are in in the midst of inspired action?
Certainly neuroscience supports this argument! In fact, this entry is an expansion on my comment responses to colleague, Jesse Lynn Stoner’s excellent post on rewiring your brain for leadership. Jesse’s advice includes guiding our thoughts toward the pleasant and the positive, especially during periods of high-demand on our personal resources.
This blog is focused on self-leadership, so let’s expand on our personal mental models of what is fun. My idea of fun includes inner life fun, and “inspired action” fun. A partial list…
Free Download, "Leadership as Connection" (Link at the End of this Post)
I’ve always thought that there was more to work than the work. We give our work meaning. Without the meaning we give to it, work seems like just “moving stuff around.” This is true whether that "stuff" is ideas or services or widgets or widget parts. When we get too serious about the moving stuff around part, and don’t balance that with the human-value part in the equation, well, work’s not as fulfilling or fun (and make no mistake, fulfillment and fun are big parts of employee engagement).
What’s love got to do with it? Love makes a leader a leader.
~Lucira Jane Nebelung
Sure, whatever we do serves others, and creates new opportunity, and creates value.
Nevertheless, that value is quite literally undeliverable unless there is a “someone” to perceive it, and receive it.
When I’m working with clients, I like to coach them toward both bringing more of who they are to their work, while appreciating the rich diversity of personality and value among those with whom they share the workspace. This sort of mental/emotional practice can add a dimension to our business lives that makes more engaging and rewarding. Within the space of this approach, it is easier to both deliver and receive value. Yes, “who we are” matters in our work, and some companies are stretching to transform their practices and culture to encourage this awareness, and invite greater employee engagement, performance, and work satisfaction. Still, it’s a strange thing how many of us cling to rather antediluvian, mechanical, management practices—approaches that in the best cases, invite mediocre engagement, and in worst cases, are quite dehumanizing. Now, against this backdrop: is the business world really ready to talk about love in leadership?
Enter my colleague, Lucira Jane Nebelung, who has made a well-researched, and eloquent case for doing just that: Read More...
Because I'm teaching a course called "Keeping the Emotions in Check" later this month,
I'm very interested in what's going on out there on this topic. In fact, after reading a lot of what's out there, I can tell you that the content I deliver will provide more perspective than the title of my course suggests, and will go beyond what many recommend as "control."
The course is aimed at folks struggling with, or interested in, ways of regulating and managing emotions in the workplace. You might guess that the no one would enroll in a course like this if everything were working out for them on all fronts without a hitch—emotional challenges are alive and well wherever we earn our living.
The natural reaction to things not working so well on the emotional front, is to "take more action" and "exert more control." True, some emotional situations call for immediate action and control, and even special training to handle. But the vast majority of emotions in the workplace are best treated long before they reach a crises point—or even an uncomfortable point.
I believe that thinking in terms of "taming" and "controlling" emotions is an approach that is mostly necessary and applicable when we don't have an overall emotional strategy.