What a day! On the ones when nothing seemed to go right this is a cry of exasperation. On those when you checked off everything on your list, it is a cheer of victory! Most days are somewhere in-between. Whichever way, you want to leave the day ready for the next one: not discouraged by the negative, and ready to meet the challenges of the next that are bound to face you as manager. Also, not everyone’s day at your work might have been like yours, good or bad, and as leader you are, of course, a resource to others. Take stock of each day by following these 3 tips:
Ask, ‘What went well today that will have a positive effect on the clients?’
This reminds us about the ‘big picture’, going back to the purpose of our organization and our values. If you had picked 3 key goals initially for the day (as suggested in the previous blog post Good Morning Tips for the Manager), or for those goals you ended up focused on, are there any you can check off as being complete? What more work is to be done on the others? What are the 3 most important things to work on tomorrow, and which of those will you start with?
Ask, ‘How did I support my staff so they could make their best contribution?’
Did I remind them about why our organization exists? Did I encourage them to take initiative, recognize their achievements? Was I clear on any direction I provided? As you prepare to leave the building, consider who you might need to check in with on how their day went. If you feel you need to bee-line it out of work to make a meeting or do an errand, be prepared to let people know you have another appointment and to check-in the next day. (If they are in a crisis, or there is an emergency, that is another matter!)
Ask, ‘How did I help myself today?’
Considering your own well-being is like putting on your own oxygen mask before helping others to find theirs. During the day, my self-care included taking frequent short breaks to walk-around, snack and drink water. I once supervised a manager who would go out on her daily run at the end of the day to clear her head (and stay fit) before going home to be with family. I used to drive by a lake on the way home and would stop for a minute to enjoy nature and take a couple of deep breaths. When my children were very young, on the other hand, I couldn’t wait to get home to hug them and prepare for the evening routine.
Asking these 3 questions will lift you from the daily ‘to do list’ to think about ‘why’ and ‘how’ we do things, the impact on and support to others, and to sustain ourselves, physically and mentally. Some people find it helpful to start a journal so they can chart their progress from day to day. Doing so can also help you look back over a period of time and reflect on personal growth.
“Over 90% of people go home at the end of the day feeling unfulfilled by their work, and I won’t stop working until that statistic is reversed – until over 90% of people go home and can honestly say, ‘I love what I do.’” Simon Sinek. For an interesting perspective on fulfillment at work see Simon’s video on The Importance of ‘Why’.
Do you have routines at the end of the day that work for you? Please share your ideas in the comment section.