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PUTTING HAPPINESS TO WORK: STICKY SITUATIONS

My wife, Becca Labbe Karpinski, and I tackle your real-life awkward, difficult or challenging situations. Have a situation you’d like advice on? Message @EricKarpinski or @Becca Labbe Karpinski on LinkedIn.

Sticky Situations: Handling a Martyr

Question: My co-worker constantly talks about how late she stays and drops hints that she’s the one doing most of the work. It makes me crazy. Please help.

Answer: Listening to martyrs moan about their workload and claim to be the only ones who care is inherently annoying. That vague annoyance is a necessary…

Sticky Situations: Are You Being Forced Back to the Office?

Question: How can I make them see that many of us actually do better work at home?

Answer: Remote work has put employers in a pickle, as my grandmother would say. On the one hand, the stay-at-home requirements of the pandemic have proven…

Sticky Situation: Sharing Personal Challenges with your Team

Question: In the last month, my wife had major surgery for cancer, my dad had heart surgery and my child came out as transgender. It’s been a lot and I know I’m not at my best for my team right now. But to be a good leader, what — if anything — should I share?

Answer: Wow. First, please honor and congratulate yourself for simply putting one foot in front of the other through the past month. Life has thrown a…

Sticky Situations: One of My Direct Reports Is Just Okay

Question: One of my direct reports is just okay: not bad enough at her job to performance-manage out, but not really contributing the way I’d like her to either. Do I just put up with her?

Answer: Putting up with profound mediocrity is definitely an option. Many of us have bought into the idea that all our team members should be A-level…

Sticky Situations: Do I Have to Play by the New Rules?

Question: Typically pre-COVID, I met in person with shipping or IT people, and everything was very casual. Because of COVID, we’re on Zoom and my sales peer joins. There is a very different “being presentable” standard. I feel like I have to dress up and make sure my background looks a certain way. I hate it and I feel like it gets in the way of my relationships. Do I have to play by these new rules?

Answer: I’m curious whether these new standards are “real” rules or just a change in the social script. “Real” rules are explicit and official guidance, often…

Help! Someone’s crying in my office!

Question: How should I handle a person crying in my office when I’m trying to provide feedback? This situation always completely disarms me. Do I stop the session? Offer a tissue? Just keep talking?

Answer: Traditional (Western/white/male) office cultures have indoctrinated many of us with the belief that emotions are “unprofessional.” We’re supposed to hide all our normal, messy human…

Forced back to the office?

Question: Our organization is planning to require us all to return to our offices once the vaccines are more widespread. Company leaders say we haven’t been as “productive” working remotely, but I disagree. How can I make them see that many of us actually do better work at home?

Answer: Remote work has put employers in a pickle, as my grandmother would say. On the one hand, the stay-at-home requirements of the pandemic have proven…

Goodbye party for someone I fired?

Question: I have to fire my VP of sales. People love him but I need better results. Should I throw a goodbye party, or is that too painful and awkward?

Answer: There are few things more uncomfortable than the farewell party for someone who folks know — or suspect — isn’t leaving of their own volition.…

One of my direct reports is just okay: not bad enough at her job to performance-manage out, but…

Question: One of my direct reports is just okay: not bad enough at her job to performance-manage out, but not really contributing the way I’d like her to either. Do I just put up with her?

Answer: Putting up with profound mediocrity is definitely an option. Many of us have bought into the idea that all our team members should be A-level…

Tap into your Big Potential with Shawn Achor’s New Book

I was blessed to receive a preview copy of Shawn Achor's new book. And it is AWESOME!!!! I posted a review on Amazon and wanted to share it with all of you as well. Here it is: Shawn Achor has done it again! As he did in The Happiness Advantage, in Big Potential, Shawn shines light on a commonly held myth that limits us: that our individual skills, attributes and…

My Favorite Positive Psychology Book This Year!

I’m back from my 6 month sabbatical in Colombia.  It was a great trip, full of self-learning, recharging and family time.  Lots more to share on that in another post... Today I want to talk about one of my favorite positive psychology books I’ve read in a long time.  It’s called ‘Broadcasting Happiness’  and it is everything a positive psychology book should be. The author, Michelle Gielan, summarizes sixteen years…

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Copyright 2021– by Eric Karpinski

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