6 Tips to Help Your Team Burn Bright Instead of Burning Out

Organizational leaders may say they are committed to employee well-being, but unintentional messages and behaviors can signal otherwise, leading employees at all levels to default to their draining routines. How we leverage time and calendars can be a powerful, reinforcing message around valuing resilience and recharge.

Six ideas to get started are:

  1. Create a daily ‘away from the office’ routine — for example, during lunchtime — to set boundaries and manage expectations.
  2. Send no email after 7 p.m. local time or opt to use “delay send.”
  3. Walk as part of your meetings. If possible, skip the video in exchange for an old-school phone call and walk while talking. Build movement into your meetings, pausing every 60 minutes or so for everyone to take a brief stroll or stretch.
  4. Consider no-meeting Fridays. If that’s too bold, start with no-meeting Friday afternoons.
  5. Schedule shorter meetings to allow for a rejuvenating “commute” between video calls and meetings. For example, 25 instead of 30 minutes…or 50 instead of 60 minutes.
  6. Surprise and delight! Give a Friday off, an extra PTO day, or another reward that makes sense for your organization.

Sustained, peak performance is achievable when individuals and organizations prioritize intentional recharging. Burnout is not an inevitable phase of our work life, nor a badge of honor to wear. With intention and attention, we can create the conditions for ourselves and our employees to burn bright.

What are ways you help your employees burn bright?  I would enjoy reading.  Email us at aha@ahaleadership.com

Excerpts from Chieflearningofficer, February 2021

5 Damaging Effects Micromanagers Have On Your Team – Do you have one on your team?

Leadership is an action that empowers people – not micromanagement.  Are you or your managers leading in a way that creates a culture of trust?  Often some managers believe they must have a hand in everything or they will lose control.   Yet it is counterproductive.  This behavior breeds mistrust among their direct reports and trust is the foundation for successful relationships, employee engagement and boosting the bottom line.

 “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do. We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” ― Steve Jobs

As Brigette Hyacinth, author of The Future of Leadership: Rise of Automation, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence, shares micromanagement results in 5 damaging effects to your team:

  1. Decreased Productivity – When a manager is constantly looking over their employees’ shoulders, it can lead to a lot of second-guessing and paranoia, and ultimately leads to dependent employees.
  2. Reduced Innovation – When employees feel like their ideas are invalid or live in constant fear of criticism, it’s eventually going to take a toll on creativity. In cultures where risk-taking is punished, employees will not dare to take the initiative. Why think outside the box when your manager is only going to shoot down your ideas and tell you to do it their way?
  3. Lower Morale – Employees want the feeling of autonomy. If employees cannot make decisions at all without their manager’s input, they will feel suffocated. Employees that are constantly made to feel they can’t do anything right may try harder for a while, but will eventually stop trying at all. The effects of this will be evident in falling employee engagement levels.
  4. High Staff Turnover – Most people don’t take well to being micromanaged. When talented employees are micromanaged, they often do one thing; quit. No one likes to come to work every day and feel they are walking into a penitentiary with their every move being monitored.
  5. Loss of Trust – Micromanagement will eventually lead to a massive breakdown of trust. It demotivates and demoralizes employees. Your staff will no longer see you as a manager, but an oppressor whose only job is to make their working experience miserable.

Micromanagement sucks the life out of employees, fosters anxiety and creates a high-stress work environment. If you hired someone, it means you believe they are capable of doing the job, then trust them to get it done. A high level of trust between managers and employees defines the best workplaces and drives overall company performance. When you empower employees, you promote vested interest in the company.

 If you want results:  Select the right people, provide them with the proper training, tools and support, and then give them room to get the job done!

Interested in learning more about how to build trust?  Email us at aha@ahaleadership.com

Challenge: Touch Emails Only Once – 2 Easy Tips

Let’s be honest. How many times do you read the same email message over and over again?  Guess what? The information hasn’t changed. You’re just procrastinating.

I have a personal rule: I will only read each message once, then take the appropriate action. The goal is “Inbox: 0” every day. Now, honestly, I don’t do it every day.

I do it almost every day, and I always keep my emails under a hundred. But I have met people who have thousands of emails in their inbox—with hundreds, sometimes even more than a thousand, unread. This is not helpful. Not only is it potentially bad for your personal brand, it also makes email far more time-consuming than it needs to be.

The key is not to get bogged down, to keep moving, to deal with each email message once and only once. The way you do this is to start by asking, is this email actionable? Does somebody expect me to do something with this email, or is it asking me to do something?

  • If no, there are three possibilities;
  • If yes, there are three different possibilities.

These are taken from David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done. And this summary will help you deal specifically with your email.


If the answer to the question ‘Is this email actionable?’ is NO, then you have three options.

  • Delete it. Yes, there really is a delete key when it comes to email. My own philosophy is if it’s really important, somebody else somewhere in the world has a copy.
  • Add it to you Someday/Maybe list. If I don’t want to lose the idea but there’s nothing to do with it just yet, I can drag it into Evernote or a saved folder and return to it another time.
  • File it. When in doubt, file. Why? Because you can always get back to it if need be, and it really doesn’t take up a lot of space. Here is what’s important: I use one and only one folder for my filing. It’s called “Processed Email.” The reason I do this is because it keeps me from getting distracted and wasting time. The moment I have to start answering questions like, “Where am I going to file this? This is about Project X from Client Y, so do I file it in Project X? Or do I file it under Client Y? What if it’s about two projects? Do I make a copy and put a copy in each folder?” It can become very complex very quickly. And that means time down the drain. Instead, I just put it all in one folder and let the software do the searching when I need to find that message. I can get back to almost any message in a matter of seconds. It takes less time than me having to remember what folder I filed it in. But what if the email is actionable?



  • Just do it. Here is where I use David Allen’s two-minute rule. If you can take care of the action in two minutes or less, why even take the time to put it in your task list? You run the risk of losing it, not getting back to it, or not being as responsive as you’d like to be. So just go ahead and do it.
  • Defer it. It may need to get done, but it doesn’t need to get done now. So go ahead and put it on your calendar, create a reminder, but defer the action until a later time. You can drag the email to Processed and set a reminder in a task manager like Basecamp. You can also drag the email into Evernote or Notes and add a reminder. Email apps like Dropbox’s Mailbox let you defer emails with a swipe or place it on a todo list. However you manage it, the thing is to get it out of your email inbox.
  • Delegate it. I am preaching to myself here, by the way. I’m kind of a control freak, and I have this unspoken assumption that nobody can do it as well as I can do it. But the simple truth is that we’re not always the best person to handle every task. You probably have other people on your team more competent than you at one task or another. They may be colleagues. They could be contractors.


Recommended Resource: Robyn Marcotte’s note:   One of our favorite Podcasts is Michael Hyatt’s Lead to Win

Check it out here:  https://michaelhyatt.com/leadtowin/


Source: Excerpt From Michael Hyatt’s “How To Shave 10 Hours Off Your Work Week”

4 Positive Changes for 2017

Step to success

Have you made your New Year’s resolutions?

Are diligently sticking to them? (Or do you already need a nudge…)

We do encourage you to seriously consider the “new year, new me” mindset to all aspects of your life.

“One key to successful leadership is continuous personal change.  Personal change is a reflection of inner growth and empowerment.”                                 – Robert E. Quinn

It’s important to have goals for your personal life, fitness, family, and finances and it’s also important to rededicate yourself professionally in the New Year.

                1. Reflect on Your Habits
                2. Set Goals
                3. Ask for Feedback
                4. Evaluate on a Regular Basis

This is the time to audit yourself and make steps to become your personal best this year. Take this seriously, follow these 4 key steps and you will be off to a great new start!


  1. Reflect on Your Habits

Be your own critic and go through your typical schedule, whether it’s daily, weekly, or monthly, and identify areas of strength and weakness. Maybe you come in Monday mornings feeling ready for the week, but by Thursday you’ve hit a slump. Try to brainstorm ideas on how to help yourself when you’re feeling unproductive, such as treating yourself to a latte, taking a break and stretching, or creating a small, but manageable to-do list to get yourself pumped up for other tasks.

Read through your emails. Are you getting lazy about replying, not reading the whole way through a message, or replying with vague or easily-misinterpreted wording? Commit to better communication this year.

Be kind to yourself and take note of things you do well. If keeping Post-it reminders on the wall helps you stay organized, commit to continuing that habit this year. Maybe you see yourself as the motivator of your team. Give yourself a pat on the back for being such a good team player and keep it up. Although self-criticism is necessary for improvement, so is self-kindness.

  1. Set Goals

Realistic, measurable goals are essential to making a change in the workplace. The formula for writing a goal should include what you want to achieve, a quantification, and a time period. For example, if you want to contribute to your company blog more often, your goal might be to write one entry for the company blog every other week.

After you’ve solidified your goals, save a list of them on your computer for safekeeping; also write them down and display them in a visible place so you can reflect on them daily. Identify small steps you can take each day to achieve your goals so you are always moving forward.

  1. Ask for Feedback

When you have identified your strengths and weaknesses and set goals, ask your supervisor if you can meet to discuss your objectives for the coming year. Talk about your strengths and weaknesses, and explain how your goals will help you focus on the kind of worker you want to be.

Your supervisor may have comments and suggestions, so be sure to keep those thoughts in mind. Remember though–these are your personal goals, not anyone else’s.

  1. Evaluate on a Regular Basis

Once you have set your focus for the new year, you need to periodically evaluate yourself to see if you are on the right path. Every other month, carefully read through your goals as a reminder. Maybe you’re doing really well with one and need to make it a little harder, but another goal needs some adjusting because it is too far out of reach.

It’s okay to edit your goals as long as you leave yourself something realistic to strive for. Evaluation is essential because it shows growth and helps you determine a direction for the future.


Courtesy of Emily Moorehead – www.AllBusiness.com


“Success is…knowing your purpose in life, growing to reach your maximum potential, and sowing seeds that benefit others.” – John Maxwell

9 Easy Ways to Improve Your Day

Many of us begin our day feeling rushed and stressed- feelings that persist throughout our busy days. Being better organized, prioritizing, and just taking care of yourself can lead to a more successful and focused day. Here are nine easy steps to reducing stress, improving your mood, and feel more organized:

  1. Prepare your things the night before: Decide what you are going to wear, make your lunch, and pack a snack. By taking a few minutes to plan ahead, you can start your day less rushed and stressed.  Having a routine for basic tasks, leaves margin for more creative thinking in other areas.
  2. Make a list of things you need to do and prioritize them. Do your most important tasks first every day and get them over with. “Eat that Frog” by Brian Tracy is an excellent book on this subject.
  3. Learn to say “no”. Acknowledge that you can’t do everything. When you say yes to everyone, you will leave yourself trapped with little time. By saying no, you will have more time to focus on your top priorities and obligations.
  4. Make your bed every morning. Not only can making your bed create a calm environment, it can help you start the day feeling productive and organized.
  5. Wake up 15 minutes earlier. Give yourself time to make a good breakfast or take a longer shower, reflect, etc.
  6. Listen to music that makes you happy. Music can not only boost your mood, but also reduce stress and help lower your blood pressure.
  7. Turn off your electronics for at least an hour or two a day in the evenings. You may also consider using the “Do Not Disturb” setting so you can check emails and texts at your leisure, rather than feeling as if you must address every notification that comes through your devices.
  8. Organize and declutter your desk- at least the surface. Clear random papers cluttering your work space to help increase focus and concentration.
  9. Do something nice for others. Whether you hold the door for someone or offer a sincere compliment, you can boost you own mood by boosting the mood of others.

 “What you do today can improve all your tomorrows” –Anonymous

5 Tricks for an Efficient Morning at Work

Do you have trouble being productive in the morning? Eva Wisnik shares her advice on how she gets more done before lunch than most people do in a day! Here’s how you do it:

  1. Get your head in the game. Some people keep their brain shut off until the moment they reach their desk. However, you’ll be more productive with some morning forethought before you start working. It is helpful to sketch out your plan either the night before or on you morning commute. If you’re going to be chained to your desk for 8 hours, treat yourself before work. This will give you an energy spike and help you start your day in control. This could be wearing your favorite shirt or stopping for your favorite morning treat.
  2. ID your to two. Identify the two most important things that must get completed that day. Write out small manageable steps for completing these important tasks and get to work! Aim to complete these tasks before lunch.
  3. Do the worst things first. Avoiding dreaded tasks from the beginning can lead into a day filled with procrastination. Completing these tasks first will allow you too move through your to-do list rapidly.
  4. Focus on critical emails. On average, only 30% of emails require an immediate response. Flag these important emails and work your way through them before lunch!
  5. Stop interrupting yourself. When distracting tasks pop into your head such as, text messages, appointments, or online orders, it feels as if they must be completed at that moment so they won’t be forgotten. However, these interruptions will eat up your morning. Keep a piece of paper handy where you can jot down these non-urgent personal to-dos and complete them at a later time. Minimizing these interruptions will increase efficiency in your morning.


Source: Yelena Moroz Alpert

300 Daily Emails is YOUR fault!

Ever feel overwhelmed with an overflowing inbox? Do you spend more time navigating a cluttered inbox than you should be? Have you ever considered that it may be YOUR fault? Don’t worry, there are some easy tips you can follow to take control of your inbox and no longer feel it is controlling you.

  • “Reply to All” does not apply to all situations. Be careful to use this feature only when it is absolutely necessary. Replying to all can create lengthy email chains that are not always needed. This can contribute to an overflowing inbox.
  • Make sure you address each question in an email reply. The way you respond to emails can also affect the size of your inbox. If you diligently respond to each question asked in an email, you prevent further emails asking the very same things.
  • Share your calendar!  Sharing your calendar with your team is another effective way of communication and planning. By sharing your calendar, your team members are able to check your availability and use meeting requests instead of emails to plan meetings or conference calls. This feature removes these types of requests from your, already cluttered, inbox.
  • Set parameters with your team. By this simple task of designating tasks within your team, members will know whom to “cc” on which emails.
  • Have a good email signature.  Your email signature is a very important feature. It should contain all of your contact information so no one will have to ask for you phone number, email, website, mailing address, etc. This information should be presented in a clear and concise way and be easy to copy/paste.
  • Use subject lines wisely. By using specific subject lines that directly reflect the content of your email, the recipient’s attention can be obtained sooner. This allows for a quick response to emails and helps when you are searching through your inbox for a particular set of information.

Success Magazine -November 2015

Rev Up Productivity and Your Communication Superpower!

Are you working effectively as a leader with your team? With your peers? With your leader? These key relationships don’t just happen…effective relationships are built over time. Let us help you improve your impact with others.


Using a customized Everything DiSC® assessment, a research-validated learning model, participants learn to understand and appreciate the ‘styles’ of people they work with. The result…is more effective and productive working relationships, communication and business results.

You can use Everything DiSC® to:

  • Build Strong Teams – Understanding each team members’ communication preference and work better as a team.
  • Communicate More Effectively – The tool provides customized strategies for approaching others you want to develop or deepen a relationship, when problems need to be solved or when things get tense.
  • On-board New Team Members –Understand the communication style of your new leader and to learn about how to work effectively with your new teammates.
  • Improve Communication Between Two Very Different People – The Everything DiSC® comparison report provides a direct comparison between two team members that may not see eye to eye.
  • Motivate, Delegate to and Develop Team Members – Leaders learn specific strategies for working with each person on their team.
  • And so much more….

WHY is it so effective?  Click here  to watch a video (4 minutes).


It’s Impactful…What Our Clients Say

  • “Gives great insight as to what makes others tick and to help understand how to work better with
  • “I will be more observant of others attributes – I will learn to communicate better with others.”
  • “Good things come from knowing more about people surrounding you.”
  • “I will adapt my interactions based on the other person’s style. Focus on increasing workplace effectiveness.”
  • “Very helpful to understand how people think in order for us to efficiently achieve our common goal.”
  • “Wow! This was really eye-opening!”

 To learn more about customizing a development program for you…

Contact Robyn Marcotte at 248.882.2354 or Robyn@ahaleadership.com.