My Bad Days – A Guide to Help Manage Through Them

I think most people can relate to bad days.  As a manager, I get to have a few more (or maybe I am just plain lucky). Not everyday is a great day or even a good day – there are those that while you are driving home you just wonder whether I have accomplished anything or maybe you feel like you have taken a few steps in the wrong direction.

To jog some memories; sorry some maybe nightmares… But here are a few of those wonderful leadership moments:

  • Your top team member, someone that you feel you have invested a lot of time in, decides it is time to more on, leave, exit stage left.
  • We are just coming out of Plan cycle, so this one maybe fresh for some – you spent the whole day justifying your team’s existence or the workload that needs to get done.
  • You know better, but you lost it. You raised your voice, snapped at someone that did truly did not deserve it (well, let’s be honest, no one deserves that).
  • An oldie – you spent the day in SET Redeployment skills assessment.
  • One of your team’s projects just failed and you spend the day getting hammer by every organization within the org food chain.
  • Since we are getting close to focal time, I have a couple.
    • You receive some feedback from your manager – from your partners – that you have more than a few opportunities to improve.
    • You are providing feedback to your people and you have a couple of them cry in your office. Not a pleasant feeling, so you naturally turn it to yourself (what did I do wrong).

How do you survive these moments? I have two lists that I refer to, to help me move forward.  List one, is the stuff that I have heard, learned or witnessed over the years that are a bit humorous at times. Humor is good in some cases, but list two has the ideas that you can really sink into to survive.

Somewhat Humorous Survival List:

  • “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” How many times growing up did you hear that one. I used to think it was stupid, but overtime – I got it.
  • “Surrender is not an option.” Many folks want to just throw up their hands and give up. I never really saw how that helps out. For me, there is no give up.
  • Spend some time thinking about maybe another job or bad time – that is worse than this one. I have heard from many “that the worse day here is far better than the day I hard at XXXX.”
  • If the first three don’t get you moving forward – then this one will.. “This too shall pass.” Another one of those that I never understood early one.

Now, that you have eased the tension and cleared your head – it is time to take those real ideas to survival.

  • Opportunities! Every situation (crisis or problem) is an opportunity to build your skills and improve your confidence/credibility.
  • Within those opportunities – you as a leader have teachable moments. Don’t waste them – use those opportunities for your team and peers.
  • Make a memory.. Every challenge seems to bring folks together stronger – and the challenges usually turn out great – make it truly great.
  • Be thankful for feedback, that shows that people care.
  • Over time I have come to see this one – the work that you put in today, will pay dividends later on. I have been lucky enough to see some of the folks that I had a small part in, reach their goals. I like to think that my small part helped. Drives me to continue to work through those bad days – and apply my learning’s. I truly will see it later on!

If you were looking for that silver bullet that was going to fix those bad days – there is not one. I see the bad days as a reminder that we all are human – stuff happens. You attempt to control every situation, but you can’t. Best thing I believe you can do – is stand strong, work hard and build for another day.