Tip of the Month, May 2019 – Engagement Tips for the Individual

In our latest blog titled Engagement Survey, Oh My! read here, Rory (1) challenged the practice of ineffective annual engagement surveys (they are really disengagement surveys, often going nowhere) in favor of flexible and ongoing processes for creating an engaged workforce. Managers need to be really connected and involved with their people all the time in order to make the engaging workplace come alive. Since employee engagement from the organization’s perspective was addressed in the blog, let’s take a look at what fuels engagement from the individual’s perspective. Though these tips are written with the employee in mind, they apply equally to managers/leaders as employees themselves.
How do you show up daily as an engaged and engaging manager? Here are a few tips to consider.

  1. Take employees’ ideas seriously, having a conversation and giving feedback. It is not enough to simply listen and be a conduit. Or worse still, offer all the reasons their idea won’t work. If a staff member brings a suggestion to you, such as having an onsite daycare center, rather than pass it along channels, spend the time to find out more. How do they envision it working? What ideas do they have about location? How many staff members would use it? Are there other ways to provide a daycare benefit without a dedicated space and staff? This time spent in conversation with thoughtful questions shows your relationship with the employee; you have the perspective about some of the questions that need to be addressed in order for their idea to have a greater chance of success. And you are offering yourself as a thought partner, which is empowering.
  2. Ask employees about their goals, daily goals as well as longer term ones. “What are you hoping to accomplish today?” Having a goal for your time is one way for the individual to be more engaged at work. Model the way by having a plan for what you want to accomplish, and share those goals of yours. Help staff see the value of contingency planning for when your plans go awry, as they often do. What happens if you can’t get the new proposal finished today? Can you send just part of it? Does something else need to be taken off your task list?
  3. Collect stories about meaning and contribution at work to share with others, and ask your staff how they know they have made a difference in their work today. Or how would they like to make a difference? Share your personal stories to get the conversation started, but make the conversation about them. Find out what gives them a sense of value and purpose in the work they do with you. Then ask if there is something you can do to further their experience of meaning and purpose at work.
  4. Have regular conversations about their strengths, noting them when possible, and suggesting ways for them to apply and BUILD ON those strengths. Gallup research tells us that an important employee satisfier is the regular opportunity to use one’s strengths at work. Perhaps a staff member is naturally skilled in diffusing difficult customer situations . . . You could suggest they share their tips with newer staff members, and/or offer them the opportunity to to take a class on de-escalation techniques and bring back the information to share at a department meeting. If you have an employee who has a background in visual arts, and has won awards in local contests, you might invite them to submit (or take) photos for your department’s report, newsletter, or wall art.
  5. Surround yourself with engaged people at work and in your personal life, understanding that positive attitudes can rub off, creating an atmosphere of more positivity. Listen for their examples. Nothing succeeds like success, the old adage tells us. And having an environment where you interact with engaged people regularly can help spark your own enthusiasm for whatever you are doing.
  6. Understand the reality of what you can control. Nothing is more disengaging than viewing the “whole world’s problems” and being disheartened or discouraged about a lack of progress. Engaged people have the ability to reframe situations they have control over, even though it may be limited, and finding the lens that focuses on what they CAN influence.

We hope you find these tips useful, and that you are privileged to work every day with employees who say, “I want to work in this organization, for you!”

  1. Rory Gilbert is a Thunderbird Leadership consultant who is the primary author of TLC’s blog, and contributor, collaborator and partner in Blog and Tips posts.
  2. https://www.hr.com/portals/hrcom/events ShanklandHandout_Gallup%20Q12%20summary%20-%20what%20is%20engagement.pdf (accessed via web 5/2/19)
  3. https://blessingwhite.com/4-steps-to-improve-your/ (accessed via web 4/29/19)
  4. https://brain-smart.com/change-and-resilience/increase-personal-engagement-work/ (accessed via web 4/29/19)

Engagement Survey! Oh my!

Jill[1] and I were brainstorming about topics for this year’s blog posts. It helps to have a roadmap because the deadlines do catch up to us fast!  We both agreed that we love the topic of employee engagement.  Jill is passionate about the danger of the annual engagement survey.  I get excited about the importance of ongoing and personal supervisor – employee communication to real engagement.  And then we found two thought-provoking articles (see below) about engagement surveys and what to do instead.
So, let’s talk about employee engagement.  Engagement is the intrinsic motivation that an employee feels – that what they are doing is important, valuable and valued.  It is the internal driver that allows for discretionary energy expenditures, going above and beyond, being innovative, and caring about the outcome.
Engaged workforces demonstrate increased productivity and innovation and reduced risk. And engagement is imperative for customer service excellence…you can’t care about the customer if you don’t care about the organization, and you can’t care about the organization if you don’t feel cared about by the organization.
The challenge is to understand the attributes that go into creating an engaged and engaging work environment.[2] And then, in this critical age of accountability, our next challenge is how do we measure it?
We’ve all heard the phrase, “what gets measured, gets done.”  Therefore, if we measure engagement, we should be creating an engaged workforce.  In her article, “The 5 Stages of Employee Engagement Survey Results,” (2019)[3] Elizabeth Williams compares how companies respond to the annual engagement survey results with the five stages of grief: denial, bargaining, anger, sadness and acceptance.  She does a wonderful job of describing how companies go through the process without ever really finding meaningful ways of creating an engaged workforce.  Essentially, the results are discussed, made meaningless and shelved until the following year – except for the poor person or committee that is assigned to fix it all on top of their regular jobs.
What Williams suggests and what is validated in Liz Ryan’s article, “Ditch the Employee Engagement Survey…,”[4] is that engagement is the responsibility of all levels of leadership and is a year-round job.  Ryan describes predominantly low-tech, high-touch strategies to assess engagement levels. She suggests creating easy avenues for people to inform management about the pulse of the organization…and then encourages that management actually listen.
Ryan talks about the difference between content and context in how we gather information. Words are only a small part of the message.  Non-verbals and paraverbals become the context for the meaning and intent of the words.  She sees the survey itself is a disengagement tool.  She describes the context of the survey (what it says about the relationship of management and employee) as follows:
Thanks for completing our survey. We want your opinions, but only in a very specific format and only in answer to certain questions that we have already developed. Our biggest concern is the tabulation of the survey…We’re not trying to develop a relationship with you or anything!…
While her context description sounds somewhat harsh and cynical, her message is clear.  If you want to talk genuinely about engagement, you (managers and leaders) need to be engaged with your people.  Ask them how they are doing, how they like working with the organization, what they need in order to do a better job.  Then listen to their answers and follow-up.
Ryan describes ten formats for gathering this information from informal chats, strategic lunch room visits, and scheduled 1:1s to town halls and suggestion boxes.
And then, there has to be a timely and thoughtful way to respond to the information that is gathered.  For too many employees, sharing their insights is like speaking into a black hole.  It feels like the information is going nowhere.  “Thank you for sharing” is not enough. And of course, this fosters disengagement.
How do you get back to folks and when? I have taken your idea/concern/suggestion to x meeting.  We are discussing it.  Please know that it will take time to implement.  I will keep you posted on progress in y weeks/months – please don’t let it be years! And put that date on the calendar, keep it on the meeting agenda…
If the idea/concern/suggestion is not going to rise to an agenda item, then what do you do?  You can still go back to the employee and let them know.  Discuss other ideas or strategies to address the idea or concern…and/or explain why it won’t/can’t happen now.
And thank them for their suggestion…ask them to continue to bring ideas forward even if every suggestion isn’t acted on.  Remind them that often just asking a question generates a whole new line of thinking.
[1] Jill Bachman is a Thunderbird Leadership consultant who is a regular contributor, collaborator and partner in TLC’s blog and Tips posts.
[2] See http://thunderbirdleadership.com/2018/02/16/power-tools-work/ as well as references in that article that discuss engagement attributes in more depth:
Forbringer, Louis R. (2002) Overview of the Gallup Organization’s Q-12 Survey, O.E. Solutions.
Wiseman, Liz and McKeown, Greg. (2010) Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter. New York: Harper Collins.
Pink, Daniel. (2009) Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us. New York: Riverhead Books.
[3] https://www.business2community.com/human-resources/the-5-stages-of-employee-engagement-survey-results-02161015
[4] https://www.forbes.com/sites/lizryan/2016/09/18/ditch-the-employee-engagement-survey-here-are-ten-better-ways-to-listen/#44a453f52779

Tip of the Month, April 2019 – Coming Unglued in a Good Way

Rory Gilbert addressed a common and frustrating problem in last month’s blog, Getting Unstuck (read here.) I’ve had lots of stuck moments in my personal life and in helping others with their moments. Whatever the situation, staying stuck is unpleasant at the least, and unproductive/unhealthy at its most. We can be stuck short term and long term, from a couple of weeks to years. What are your stuck examples?
Rory outlined a starting point and 4 strategies in her suggestions, and in this Tip of the Month, we will see how these points apply to two situations.
Start by acknowledging that you are stuck. Then

  1. Step back and reflect.
  2. Ask challenging questions.
  3. Separate fact from fiction.
  4. Enlist a thinking partner.

Michelle had a long-standing job as a middle manager, and she felt she enjoyed good relationships with the people she supervised, her boss, Diana, and her peers. Diana was direct and clear, to the point. There were no doubts about what was needed, but Michelle was also free to do things her way. She was secure in her role, and imagined retiring from this position in another ten years. Nine months ago she had a change in bosses, and her new boss John doesn’t give her much direction at all. . . he’s pleasant enough to work with, but his management style is all over the place. John is a talker, and Michelle finds herself having to use a lot of energy to interpret what John is saying, and listen for the tiniest bit of direction. Because Michelle was so happy with her job before John came on board, she has decided to just do her own thing and ignore John. Consequently Michelle is less and less engaged in the business, basically just biding her time. You are Michelle’s friend at work in another department and it distresses you to see her so disengaged. You guess her direct reports are seeing it too.
Acknowledge that you are stuck. In talking with Michelle, the topic of John comes up easily. Michelle readily admits that she feels stuck. Just the relief of admitting that to you turned out to be a trigger for taking the next step.
Step back and reflect. You ask Michelle to reflect on the situation. Looking at things objectively, what does she think is going on? Is Michelle struggling with change, or style differences? Is this new for her? Has she ever felt stuck in a personal or business situation before? How uncomfortable is the situation for her?
Ask challenging questions. As you continue with your friend, you ask if it is possible that John’s differences have upset Michelle’s plan to take it easy until retirement? How long is Michelle willing to stay stuck? How much is she willing to do to change the situation? How would she know when it might be time to leave the position, before her retirement? Ask Michelle what she thinks she is contributing to keeping the situation going. Has she asked for clarification from John? Does John really understand how Michelle likes to receive direction? How about setting aside time with John for just socializing? What does Michelle think her employees are seeing in her lack of engagement? How does she think it is affecting them?
Separate fact from fiction. What does Michelle tell herself about a boss who is “just a talker”? Does John need to be exactly like her in order to do a good job? Can Michelle accept direction from a person with a style she finds difficult to connect with, or to respect? Is it really possible to “take it easy” until retirement in 10 years? That’s a long time. What could happen in that period to change things?
Enlist a thinking partner. Ask Michelle what she wants from you as a friend and colleague. Consider suggesting that she find a coach or a mentor to listen objectively and help her through this phase. Does she know anyone else outside of work who has faced a similar situation?
Imagine yourself in this situation.
You are worried about your weight. At a recent doctor’s appointment, you were warned about the likelihood of developing Type 2 Diabetes, and you are already taking medication to lower your blood pressure. You saw the word OBESE written on your encounter summary. What a blow! You have struggled with your weight for years, and tried every diet and program that showed promise, but just when you begin to lose a little weight, you let your guard down and slip off the path.
Acknowledge that you are stuck. That word on the chart did it for you, as well as the diabetes scare. When you came home from the appointment, your first call was to a good friend, who knows your weight loss journey. He has weight issues of his own. You tell him that you really are committed this time. You need help.
Step back and reflect. What do you think is going on? Why are you wanting to take steps now to lose weight? Besides your health, how is your weight affecting your relationships and quality of life? Why have your prior attempts not worked long term even when you were losing weight? Were you bored, tired of the regimen, anxious about whether you could really do it?
Ask challenging questions. What are you doing to keep the situation from improving? What is your weight a symbol of? How bad do things have to get before you take permanent action? What is your vision for your life at the weight you want to be?
Separate fact from fiction. You think losing the amount of weight you need to lose is too hard. There’s just too much. . . The number is so big. The reality is that it will take awhile, but it is a one-day-at-a-time experience. And you are capable of losing weight. You have done it before. You decide that you need a plan to keep the weight off, not simply to lose it. You admit that you feel like a failure at this and maybe deep down you wonder if you deserve to be happy. In discussion with your friend, you figure out that you are not your weight. . . nor an ideal body image either. You are much more than what you look like, or even, what you do for a living.
Enlist a thinking partner.  Sharing weight loss stories and plans with your friend hasn’t been very helpful. For support and ideas, you decide to join a group at work who is helping each other with healthy lifestyle choices. You also decide that seeing a therapist could be a good idea, and you start the process of finding someone to work with.
Admitting that you are stuck is the important first step on a journey to create momentum and change a situation that seems to be going nowhere. Being stuck can be a sign that says it’s time to take action, IF we pay attention, and follow through with reflection, great hard questions, separating fact from fiction, and having the support of a thought partner. Thunderbird Leadership Consulting offers executive and leadership coaching, and is available to assist you with situations in which you, or your workplace, feels “stuck”. For more information, contact us at info@thunderbirdleadership.com.

Getting Unstuck!

We all have issues in our lives, professional and personal, that seem to just persist on and on and never get resolved.  How do we manage the “no-solution” situations?  What do they look like?

  • An employee who you like, who tries really hard, is not succeeding in their role.
  • A staffing problem that just doesn’t seem to resolve – resulting in overtaxing valued employees who have to fill in.
  • A process that gets stuck over and over again in the same place delaying necessary action.
  • A position that was fulfilling that has changed because of new leadership.

You’ve tried so many interventions! But nothing seems to work.  You are dissatisfied, folks around you are dissatisfied and yet the problem just won’t go away.
How do we approach these sticking points? My partner-in-blog, Jill Bachman, reflected, “think of getting stuck in the physical world, like lost on a hike, and the first thing to do is stop, stop the struggle, breathe and take stock.”  So, the first thing to do is to step back from the situation and reflect on what is going on.  We tend to do this on our commute, in the shower, doing physical labor (sweeping the front porch, gardening) or when we are away from the office at a concert, on vacation, on a hike.
Reflect on what is really going on.

  • How would you describe the situation?
  • What values and beliefs are at play?
  • What role do you have in sustaining the current “stuck” place?
  • What influence or decision-making power do you have?

Noushin Bayat, one of Thunderbird’s coaches, suggests separating fact from fiction – identifying what we know (observable facts) from the story we are creating about the situation (fiction, beliefs that may or may not be true) and challenging ourselves to consider other possible stories (other possible beliefs?).
For example, with the employee we like who tries really hard but does not appear to be making progress, what do I know?

  • I like the employee.
  • I care about the person as an individual.
  • They are trying.
  • We’ve tried to help.
  • They are not succeeding.

What values are in play?

  • Loyalty
  • Commitment
  • Supervisory responsibility and accountability
  • Organizational success
  • Others?

What role do I have in sustaining the situation? (How do these ideas relate to the fact/fiction dichotomy? What other ways of seeing things are there?)

  • Taking responsibility for their lack of success.
  • If I provided better direction, guidance or coaching…
  • If I advocated for the employee better…
  • Valuing loyalty and caring over organizational success. I don’t want to be heartless!
  • Believing things will get better time after time after time…
  • Not wanting to hurt this person that I like…
  • I am accepting substandard performance and hoping it will get better.

What decision-making power or influence do I have?

  • I can help the individual assess their own ability to be successful.
  • I need to be clear about expectations and goals for success.
  • I have the power to terminate employment.

So how do I decide I have tried hard enough, and they have tried hard enough? How do I know when it is time to act?  How could the following questions help?

  • What will happen if I continue doing what I am doing?
  • How will I know when it is time to act? (Chip and Dan Heath[1] describe this as establishing a trip-wire.) It can be a particular event that would have to happen – e.g. a specific failed project, or it could be a lack of progress by a certain date.  If nothing changes in three more months, I have to act.
  • What would I tell my best friend if they had this problem?
  • If I were leaving tomorrow and someone was taking my place, what would I advise them about this situation?
  • Are there possible solutions outside of the binary: continuing the way things are or termination?

What do you think the answers would be in the above situations?  What will happen if action isn’t taken?  What would you advise someone else to do?  Are there more solutions than the simple binary?
Some of us can do this analysis on our own.  Many of us work better with a thinking partner.  Who do you have in your world that you can be vulnerable with? Who will listen to you? Who will ask you the hard questions? Who is far enough away from the situation not to be stuck inside it?
In Vital Friends: The People You Can’t Afford to Live Without[2], Tom Rath describes how important it is to have people in our lives who support us, encourage and motivate us and help us navigate decisions.  He references Gallup research that stresses the importance of having “a best friend at work.”  Having someone we trust, can confide in and be vulnerable with at work increases our engagement, satisfaction and success enormously. Rath identifies various roles friends play in our lives and emphasizes that no one person can do it all.  Our vital friends can be at work and at home, colleagues, friends, family, coaches, mentors and sponsors.
When we get stuck, it is not uncommon to turn inward instead of reaching out.  By being aware of our vital friends (what I consider my “kitchen cabinet), we have the human resources to help us get unstuck.
So, how do we get unstuck?

  • Step back and reflect
  • Ask yourself challenging questions
    • About your role in the situation
    • About what you would tell someone else in the same situation
  • Separate fact from fiction
  • Use a thinking partner

And first and foremost, recognize that you are stuck and need to get unstuck.
“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” – CG Jung
[1] Heath, Dan and Chip. (2013) Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work. Currency, New York.
[2] Rath, Tom. (2006) Vital Friends: The People You Can’t Afford to Live Without. Gallup Press.

Tip of the Month, March 2019 – More on Managing Up

In Jill Bachman’s February Blog Post (link here), she referenced Mary Abbajay’s definition of managing up. “Managing up is about consciously and deliberately developing and maintaining effective relationships with supervisors, bosses and other people above you in the chain of command.”[1]  Jill further clarified that managing up is the “how” of doing your work so that you can most successfully align with your boss(es).
For Tips this month, we’ll focus on her first general principle, “Communicate. Communicate some more.”  How do you know what to communicate, when to communicate and how to communicate?
Jill provided some ideas which we will revisit here – and then explore a really uncomfortable one: if your boss has been unhappy with an aspect of your work, how do you help him/her notice the changes you are making?
So, first the basics.

  1. Learn your style and your boss(es)’ style.
    1. Find out if your company uses a personality type inventory for training and development. If so, take advantage of the opportunity to take it, learn about it and find out more about the people you work with.
    2. If the company does not use a specific inventory, research and find one that is relevant to the work environment.[2]
  2. Big picture or detail? How do you know how much to share?
    1. Ask. How do you prefer to get information?
    2. Observe. What do you notice about his/her response to information you have shared?
      1. Have they read it? (And if not, take it as data not an insult.)
      2. Do they just ask you to give them an idea of what is in the detailed report you have prepared?
      3. Do they ask for bullet points?
    3. Cover all your bases.
      1. Send highlights and/or key points within the body of the email.
      2. Attach a more comprehensive report for further reference.
  3. How quickly do they expect you to respond?
    1. It would be really nice if your superior would tell you.
      1. It is confounding when you have a superior for whom everything is an emergency.
      2. It is also troubling when a request is not clear – is this a “nice to have” suggestion or a requirement.
    2. This is a great opportunity to “manage up” by taking the initiative to ask for the clarification you need.
      1. Is this a priority?
      2. When do you need it?
      3. Explain if something else will have to be delayed.
        Especially if you have been having some communication and expectation challenges, do not assume anything.  Your boss may not know or remember your work load, your other assignments, your planned family vacation, etc. if you do not share that information.You might try to find an agreed upon “default” expectation if no other date is given.  I acknowledged to my staff that I don’t always remember to give a due date (awareness of my own imperfections) and said that in the absence of another due date, the default expectation would be one week.  If I needed it sooner, it was up to me to convey that.  It would also have been nice if I could have said, when appropriate, “this is not a priority – can you get to it within the month?”
  4. How do they prefer to communicate? This is a major challenge if you and your boss have different needs/preferences and styles. In the best of worlds, you have a conversation to better accommodate both your needs because as much as you might adapt and manage up, if your communication needs are not met, you will struggle to succeed.
    1. Face to face v. electronic (text, email, etc.)
      1. If you need face time and your boss just wants electronic notifications, you will struggle.
        1. You may need to find a way to explain how much a face to face meeting will contribute to your effectiveness.
        2. And, you need to honor what information and updates can be sent electronically to ensure timely and time-efficient communication.
      2. If they prefer face to face meetings and you see them as a waste of time, propose a format or structure that will help meet your efficiency needs. What can be written up v. what needs to be discussed.
    2. Drop-in or scheduled — Every boss tries to say they have an open-door policy because it is the right thing to do. Some people do really well with interruptions. Others really get derailed from their focused work. As much as possible, know and honor their style.
      1. Try to clarify when “drop-ins” are appropriate – what is really time sensitive?
      2. Keep a list of questions, topics, discussion items for a scheduled meeting.
      3. Text first if something does seem time sensitive – and/or will stop you or your team from hitting your time lines – to see if you can drop in.
      4. Keep the conversation focused and brief.

So now, to the second question.  How do you manage a situation where your boss has expressed concern about your work, and you are making an effort to correct it?  This can be a major challenge where efforts to improve are not observed but any misstep is immediately noticed and reinforces the original concern.
If it is possible, create a written action plan for change with your boss. Describe what you will do, what change will look like and how you and your boss will know it is happening.  Frame this as development and accountability not correction or punishment.
For example, suppose your boss is concerned that you are not staying on top of your employee’s work assignments. He or she has asked you for updates on projects and you were not able to answer – saying you have to check with staff.
You see your boss looking annoyed or frustrated.  They may or may not say anything…but you know…  You can either address it right there or you wait until he/she finally brings it up to you. (Consider the benefits of addressing v. waiting.)
What does an action plan look like?
What is the issue?  Boss expects me to know the status of all projects for my direct reports.
(You may have been a more laid-back supervisor who just counts on things getting done.  Boss is not that way.)
What can you do? Propose a plan. Pick choices that make sense for you:

  1. Have more frequent 1:1 update meetings with staff.
  2. Have stand-up meetings daily or weekly as needed to be sure you have all updates.
  3. Use or create a reporting system that keeps you updated and sure that timelines are being met.
    1. Be sure your reports use it.
    2. Be sure you review it regularly.
  4. Make sure to notify your boss if anything is causing delays, problems, etc. before he/she hears it from anyone else.

Build in accountability. This is critical to your successful relationship with your boss and ensures changes and effort are noticed.

  1. Clarify how you and your boss will communicate about the implementation and impact of the new plan. What does he/she need to know?
  2. Clarify how you and your boss will assess the results and/or identify any other needed changes.

If you do not use a written plan, it still helps to bring it to the boss’s attention if it is a subtle thing, like a soft skill. “I heard what you asked, and this is what I did about it.” And you can help focus your boss’s attention on the requested change by asking them to give you feedback when they notice you meeting the new expectation.
We often assume that our work will speak for itself. We worry that these efforts at communication will be seen as self-serving or manipulative.  And yet, without effective communication, we are relying on other people seeing what we are seeing.
Jill concluded her article by saying, “The bottom line is that managing up involves straightforward approaches, based on assessment and intention, rather than subtle manipulation. Managing up helps you be more effective in your work. The question is, if your boss asked you what you are doing differently in your approach with her, could you comfortably tell her how you are managing up? If the answer is yes, you are good.”
Here’s to “good.”
[1] Abbajay, M. 2018. Managing Up: how to move up, win at work, and succeed with any type of boss.1.Wiley.
[2] Options may include:

  1. Abbajay’design: see note above.
  2. DiSC (which Thunderbird uses quite a bit) – note that one of the features of Everything DiSC is a comparative report providing insight in how two people will work together. Contact us at Thunderbird for more information or go to: https://www.everythingdisc.com/Home.aspx
  3. Myers Briggs Personality Type Indicator (MBTI) https://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics/home.htm?bhcp=1


Managing Up Is No Accident

From our inbox:
Dear Thunderbird Leadership Consulting,
My boss can be a difficult woman. She tells me one thing in a face to face meeting then changes her mind. I had geared myself up to support a new policy about time off and when she announced exactly the opposite in public I didn’t know how to react. I’m afraid I said something to my staff that made them think I couldn’t support her. What should I do?
Help! I can’t seem to satisfy my supervisor, no matter how hard I try. He has talked about the importance of having a comfortable workplace, but when I make a joke in a meeting, he shoots me a glance that says I shouldn’t have, and it was a clean joke! He asked for a report that took me a long time to pull together, and when it wasn’t on his desk in 2 days, he was all over my case about it. Then when he found me taking a break with the guys I used to work with, (I’m their boss now), he raised his eyebrows as if to say I shouldn’t be friendly with them anymore. We seem to be in agreement about what I need to be doing, and I am definitely on board with his goals. But things seem kind of tense a lot of the time. Any ideas?

I come to work every day dreading it. I am terrified of my boss. I have tried being nice, asking him how I can do my job better, taking classes, asking my co-workers for advice. We are all afraid. I have had this job for almost a year, and I dread my annual review. . . if I ever get one! I really need this job as my position is very specialized, and I would have to make a significant move to get a comparable one.

Hello, I just learned about managing up in a leadership class, and someone suggested that you can use managing up when things are going well, instead of thinking just about fit and style. Here are 2 positive situations. One of my employees came up with a brilliant idea for tracking a problem that has plagued our department for the past 2 years. My boss received an award for outstanding financial performance at the regional level. I have said thank you, and congratulations to the individuals, but as a good manager, should I be doing something more?
These issues all have a common theme, that of managing up, a concept that shows up in business advice a lot these days. It has a number of definitions, and one that I particularly like is Mary Abbajay’s . . . “Managing up is about consciously and deliberately developing and maintaining effective relationships with supervisors, bosses and other people above you in the chain of command.”[1] Managing up is a set of familiar skills that most of us will need at one time or other in our careers, because most of us have someone we report to. . . even CEOs have Boards of Directors or shareholders to consider. The managing up skills require us to be great followers, and in so doing, we also develop our leader muscles. But there can be a downside when managing up is misunderstood or misapplied. “When the practice of managing up gets confused with promotion of self-interest, brown-nosing, manipulation, the gymnastics of corporate climbing, or other mind games, a good theory rapidly becomes twisted resulting in a false and dangerous reality.”[2] The bottom line is that managing up involves straightforward approaches, based on assessment and intention, rather than subtle manipulation. Managing up helps you be more effective in your work. The question is, if your boss asked you what you are doing differently in your approach with her, could you comfortably tell her how you are managing up? If the answer is yes, you are good.
So how does someone manage up appropriately? Some would argue that managing up is nothing different from ‘doing your job’. I call that the ‘what’ of your work . . . what your job description says. But to be most effective, most satisfying and most likely to result in you staying in the job as long as you want, you need to consider the ‘how’ of your work. . . especially how you interact with people; peers, your staff, customers, and your boss. Rare in the workplace is the perfectly synchronized boss and subordinate relationship. Most of the time there are glitches and rubs, and sometimes there are extremely difficult bosses and situations. Most of us have relationships in the vast middle.
In order to manage up better, you need a roadmap. According to Abbajay, you only have 3 choices when managing up; 1) change your boss (never gonna happen, she says), 2) leave your job (may be necessary in extreme cases), and 3) you guessed it, change YOUR approach. Changing your approach may feel unfair at times, or frustrating, but it’s the only way to make a difference, AND you will likely learn a lot in the process. So, take it as a personal growth and leadership challenge.
The first thing to consider is style. What is your boss’s style, strengths and weakness, and what are yours? How do these styles fit together, and what are the natural, BUILT-IN, conflict spots? What are your boss’s hot buttons? In her book, Abbajay identifies 4 workplace personalities (Energizer, Advancer, Harmonizer and Evaluator), and ten difficult boss styles, (Micromanager, Narcissist, Impulsive, etc) with proven strategies to manage up to them. There are a number of good behavioral style assessments (DiSC, Myers-Briggs, etc) available, and your organization may use one of them. If so, take advantage of the information it provides to guide your interactions for the best possible outcome.
Rather than go into detail on a specific assessment method here, consider for example, whether you and your boss are introverts, extroverts, or both. We know that, in general, introverts move at a slower pace, prefer a quieter environment and need alone process time. At the opposite end, extroverts move quickly, prefer a busy and energetic environment, and often process in a talking out loud manner with others. If you work with an extroverted boss, you need to account for pace. . . when does she need the report? Can you lump your project related questions into one meeting? Does your boss know your timeline for getting the report into him on time? If your supervisor is an introvert, give him a draft report first with time to think and respond. Don’t expect to drop in and socialize. And if you and your boss are the same on the introvert-extrovert (I-E) scale, beware of the false sense of security that a possibly easier relationship brings. I-I may not move quickly enough for a project, and E-E may have task completion problems.
Here are a few more general principles to help you manage up successfully.
Communicate. Communicate some more. Tell your boss where you are on the project before she asks about it.Take the initiative to find out when and how your supervisor wants reports, feedback, information, updates. . . is time of day important to them? What about method? A paper trail of emails, texts? Phone call, face to face? Don’t assume that just because she hasn’t asked you for something, that it is not due. It’s always better to be early than late with a report.
Honor your boss’s time. This goes for all boss types. And if you are a chatty, conversational type, take steps to reduce your wordiness. Figure out the main point first. . . Use bullet points, and separate actionable items from background information in written formats.
Provide solutions, not problems. This is not to say that you should never bring a problem, but focusing on what you think it will take to fix the problem brings a lot of value to your boss. Rather than making your problem his, you become partners in a solution. This approach directs the conversation to a higher level, for example, anticipating together what will happen if option A is followed instead of option B.
Never let your boss get blindsided. If you are aware of factors that could affect your timing on a project budget, for example, let your boss know that as soon as you can, NOT when the budget is due.
And finally, NEVER go over the boss’s head or behind his back unless your project is on the line, and there is an urgent problem that continues to be ignored, or the boss is doing something illegal, has a serious illness, (including mental illness, substance abuse) or is doing something that could result in a lawsuit. [3] Hopefully none of our readers has a situation like this.
And now, back to our inbox.
Donna, how you support your boss in front of others is a crucial part of managing up. If you disagree with your boss, never say it in public. Bring it to the boss first, respectfully, and let them know of your objections. Then if the disagreement is not at the level of making you quit, keep your thoughts to yourself. Or share with an objective outsider, such as a coach. You could consider saying something to your staff about your surprise at the policy, and your willingness to follow it. Something like this: “I was thinking about the policy discussion at the meeting yesterday, and I may have given you a wrong impression. I know I was surprised, but I am on board with it, and am supportive of the boss.” Then no more discussion. . . the less said the better.
Andy, there’s a lot to comment on in your note. The first thing is to evaluate how well you are matching your work style to your boss’s style. Is it possible he takes a more formal approach, and you a more casual one? Do you know how he wants information from you? Have you made a meeting to discuss how the two of you can work together in the smoothest way? Does he know that you are totally on board with his goals? Finally, consider asking him what he thought about you taking a break with your staff. . . don’t ever assume, but take steps to understand his perspective and clarify where he is coming from.
Jennifer, you made a great point. Managing up is not just for difficult situations, but for celebrations as well. As a middle manager, one of your roles is to promote the actions of one level to the other, because you are all working together to advance your organization and its mission. Do your staff know about your boss’s award? Is there an opportunity to have both your staff and your boss together to talk about the award? And, how about recognizing your employee in front of your boss about the fine work he did with the tracking system?
Jackie, what are your specific issues with your boss? How does he terrify you? Do you know what is motivating this behavior, why he is acting the way he is? What managing up principles have you tried, in particular, flexing your style to accommodate his?  Working with more difficult bosses is certainly a challenge, but your situation suggests that some more time, and more intentional actions on your part could be worth it.
Managing up has limits, however, especially when your sense of integrity and values are threatened. Sometimes leaving a situation is the best solution. Working with a boss who creates a toxic workplace is full of problems. No one wants to walk on eggshells and wonder how they will be received. It is very stressful, not to mention unproductive, to be in a position where you can’t predict from one day to the next if your boss is going to be agitated, friendly, upset, or moody. You may find that a move is a great new start for you, or work at a different level or role has more benefits than you first thought. The bottom line question is this: what can you live with, and feel good about? Only you can answer this question for yourself. Carrying the burden of stress has a big and negative impact on our health, and, life is short. Good luck!
[1] Abbajay, M. 2018. Managing Up: how to move up, win at work, and succeed with any type of boss.1.Wiley.
[2] Wyatt, M. 2012. “My Advice on Managing Up: Don’t.” forbes.com Accessed online, 2/6/2019.
[3] Turk, W. 2007. The Art of Managing Up. Defense AT&L. Accessed online 2/5/2019. www.uthscsa.edu.

Tip of the Month, February 2019 – Creating a Safe Environment

In this month’s blog post, “It’s Your Job!” we reviewed the book, Radical Candor[1], which emphasizes the importance of honest, timely and useful feedback in order to ensure quality results. Most of us would agree that doing this would be a great thing…and yet we often choose not to.
One of the main reasons we opt not to speak honestly and directly is because we fear how the message will be received.  We do not trust our colleagues or superiors. We do not feel safe.
And the result is lost opportunities to improve a product or project, to correct or avoid a mistake, or to retain a valued employee.
So, how do you, as a leader, create an environment that encourages clear, direct and helpful communication? Here are some tips combining ideas from some of my favorite authors as well as my own experience.[2]

  1. Publicly affirm your desire for honest, timely communication. If this will be a change or adjustment from the way you have been doing business, you’ll need to explain why and what this type of communication looks like.
  2. Don’t expect anyone to believe you at first. Be sure to manage your responses to efforts at honest, timely communication. If you are committed to the change, be gracious, accept effort, even if awkward, abrupt or bordering on rude.
  3. Have a discussion with your team about their comfort level with how these communications proceed.
    1. Set some team agreements including things like no personal attacks (it is about the work), not interrupting (depending on your group culture), taking the time that is needed to come to the best solution, etc.
    2. Commit to creating an environment where everyone’s input is needed and valued.
    3. Interrupt behaviors that violate the team agreements and remind everyone of the agreements.
  4. Capitalize on opportunities to identify and celebrate examples of this type of communication.
    1. If two people begin having a discussion (a disagreement) in a meeting related to a plan or outcome, stop action long enough to point out what is happening, that this is exactly what you are hoping to see more of and invite them to continue.
    2. If someone gives you clear and courageous feedback, thank them for their honesty and courage. You may or may not have an immediate answer for them, but definitely consider their feedback seriously and ensure they receive a timely reply.
    3. If the feedback above was given to you in private, share what happened and your answer in a group setting so people have that example as well.
  5. Tune in to non-verbals in your group.
    1. Can you see that there are people who look puzzled, uncomfortable, concerned, etc. who are not speaking up? Invite them to share what they are thinking…and leave some silence while they collect their thoughts. (Then, of course, thank them for sharing, acknowledge their opinion or ideas, and reflect on a strategy to integrate their thoughts into whatever decision-making process is occurring at the time.)
    2. Is there a silent leader in the group who keeps others from speaking up?  Watch for facial expressions, eye-rolls, etc. that indicate some form of negative control.  This may require some additional strategizing to overcome.  You may need to do some investigating to find out what is going on. (We might need another blog article to address this issue…let us know if you’ve had this experience and how you managed it.)
  6. Summarize meetings by reviewing what was agreed upon and identifying time lines and responsibilities.
    1. This is a great way to find out what people were hearing and what they are really committed to.
    2. Let the group share what they heard. You scribe. Let them do the work – it is amazing what will come out of this conversation.
    3. Be sure to leave enough time to re-explore issues that finally come out when the work is assigned. It is one thing for “someone” to have to do x, but when it is assigned to me, I may suddenly realize I have to speak out.  This is a critical moment when you are changing the culture.
      1. Do not get mad because they didn’t say anything before.
      2. Do not say, this was already discussed and cut off the conversation.
      3. Do not say, we don’t have time for this.
      4. Instead, go back to “tip # 3” and celebrate the fact that concerns are being brought up. This is what you want to see! Hopefully, your team will see that you mean it and bring up concerns earlier next time.
  1. Take a risk to give some feedback (use radical candor) privately with a member of your team or a colleague.
    1. Remind them that you are trying this new way of addressing issues and after you discuss the issue, you’d like feedback on how this worked.
    2. Then provide a balance of care and challenge in giving the feedback. “I know working toward excellence is important to you, so I wanted to share that ….”
    3. Ask for their thoughts about the issue, what they might need, etc.
    4. Once the issue is addressed, ask them what they felt about the conversation itself. Is there something you could do better next time?
  2. And ultimately, be consistent in your way of being. If your team is not sure what mood you are in, or how you are reacting “today,” they will not trust that your proposed changes are real.  You will not be creating a safe environment.  You need to model the behavior you want to see in your team…and then some.

[1] Scott, Kim. Radical Candor.  …
[2] Kim Scott, Patrick Lencioni, Kouzes and Posner and others…


In Kim Scott’s introduction to her book, Radical Candor[1], she describes a frantic time at work where she was confronted with back to back, high emotion, high stress demands and interruptions. She called her coach and complained, “Is my job to build a great company, or am I really just some sort of emotional babysitter?” Her coach’s response is the most honest and difficult thing that a coach has to say, “This is not babysitting…It’s called management, and it is your job!”
Managing people is the hardest and MOST Important part of the work we do. In almost all work environments the cost of “human capital” is the largest part of the budget and yet we prefer to skirt the techniques that produce optimal results. We make sure the automobile fleet gets oil changes, brake checks and lube jobs on schedule, we change the air conditioning filters regularly and schedule a repair call as soon as we hear a funny noise. But when it comes to people, we postpone performance conversations and avoid or couch feedback that would improve an employee’s results because we don’t have the time.
The truth is, even with the myriad of management books, training programs and seminars on the market, we avoid dealing with our employees because of the emotional toll it takes – and the more we avoid addressing issues, the harder it gets.
What I appreciate about Kim Scott’s book is she clarifies the types of responses we make to employees on two axes – “caring personally” and “challenging directly,” and allows us to reflect on the outcomes of each of these approaches.

When we combine caring personally and challenging directly we have radical candor – which is telling people what they need to know in a way that is kind, compassionate and above all, clear.
When we challenge directly without caring personally, we move into obnoxious aggression.  I think about folks who pride themselves on “telling it like it is,” or “brutal honestly.”  The truth is more important than you or your feelings.  Now the plus side of this approach is that at least you know where you stand and what’s going on.  However, as you can imagine, it does not create an environment of trust and safety.  If you need to be ready for the two by four to the back of the head at any moment, you will be keeping energy in reserve that could be better used for creative, productive oriented work.
On the other hand, if we care personally but do not challenge directly, Scott describes a way of engaging she calls ruinous empathy. In this case, I am so worried about your feelings (or perhaps concerned about my own discomfort?) that I only share positives, hedge about any issues or concerns, and never tell you what I really think or what is really needed.  Scott shares a story of having to terminate an employee who was producing poor quality work over ten months. During the termination interview he asked, “but why didn’t you tell me?”  How much do we invest in failed hires that could have been saved with more clarity early on?
What is significant about ruinous empathy is how much damage it does under the guise of being nice: loss of trust, loss of relationship, loss of quality work, loss of time, loss of employee morale.  There is nothing nice about it.
And finally, in the fourth quadrant we have manipulative insincerity, engagement where the individual doesn’t care and doesn’t challenge.  They avoid the truth, say what needs to be said to get through the moment and move on without any relationship or feedback at all.  At least with ruinous empathy there is a sense that the person actually cares and is just stuck in “nice” mode.  Here we’ve got nothing.
Scott challenges us to assess our own actions and responses whether as a manager or a colleague.  Few of us get it right all of the time, but by being cognizant of what we are doing and the impact our actions are likely to have, we have the opportunity to change and improve.
And that is where the book gets even more interesting! Because in amongst the stories and examples, Scott provides useful recommendations on how to begin to implement radical candor in the workplace.  It is solid people-management best-practice!
She discusses strategies for both formal and just-in-time performance feedback, team development, addressing bias, structuring meetings and getting results. And, she provides time frames and time lines to address the anxiety about how to do all that and “my real job!”
Ultimately, it is about creating an environment where employees can “bring their best selves to work.”
Check out her book and go to her website: radicalcandor.com
[1] Scott, Kim. (2017)  Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity. New York: St. Martins Press.

Lessons Learned – 2018

By: Rory Gilbert with much input from Carla Rotering!

December is a wonderful time to reflect on how we have grown and what we have learned in the past year.  As a leader, time for reflection is critical to our overall effectiveness – it keeps us engaged, mindful and humble. I hope you take some time to consider what has changed and what you have learned this year.
What have I learned for myself?  The biggest learning for me has been very personal.  I’ve learned to accept the kindness and support from my friends and colleagues and to reach out in support as well.  My focus in the past has been on success and achievement. This year I’ve really seen how important my relationships are for my life.  In fact, after this year’s Summit I was inspired to write to a few of my colleagues in appreciation.
I’ve asked Carla Rotering’s permission to share what I captured from her Summit presentation on Belonging.
Carla’s premise requires a change of mindset from understanding belonging as something that comes from other people, to belonging as a way of being.  Belonging is about how we approach the world.  She shared her own story of feeling like an outsider, of “longing to belong.” Her childhood story resonated with my own story of feeling different, like an outsider, waiting and hoping to be included.  Somehow, we believe we are separated based on our “worth,” and our own beliefs: believing ourselves less than and too small banishes us to a solitary experience. She shared a poem by Creig Crippen (also known as Prodigy) to capture this mindset shift.

Do not chase love,
Choose love.
Do not need love,
Share love.
Do not fear love,
Embrace love.
Do not seek love,
Become love.

While we thirst for connection, to be part of something greater than ourselves, we assume that it comes from out there. Here’s one way I’ve come to think about it. Imagine you are at a party and you do not know anyone.  It is not your party and you see everyone else having fun, talking to each other.  You wait, hoping to catch someone’s eye, someone’s interest. And you wait.  Now, imagine the same party where you see yourself as a host – still don’t know anyone, and yet, now you feel a sense of responsibility to make connections, to introduce yourself to others, to introduce others to each other.  You see yourself as a necessary participant in the success of the party.
For some people, this experience of engaging is natural.  For others of us, it is a new and different way of being.  Think about how different this feels!
Carla states, “We are not exiled by divine design.  Our busy thinking and our formed beliefs create doubts and fears, insecurities and cautions meant to keep us safe. When we believe those thoughts, we live in the feeling of isolation and separation – a misunderstanding.  You are not required to believe those thoughts.  The door to belonging opens from the inside. Be liberated. Be free. WE ARE BORN INTO BELONGING.”

it was when I stopped searching for home within others
and lifted the foundations of home within myself
I found there were no roots more intimate
than those between a mind and body
that have decided to be whole
~ rupi kaur

This way of thinking, separating ourselves from the whole, may in fact be a product of our western culture that celebrates the individual.  Carla reminds us that other cultures and societies believe differently.  She shared the concept of Ubuntu, a Nguni Bantu term meaning “humanity.” It is often translated as “I am because we are.” It “is often used in a more philosophical sense to mean ‘the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity.’”
She shared Desmond Tutu’s view of Ubuntu, “A person with ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs to a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed.”
Ubuntu, a sense of belonging, a way of being, is a choice for us. It requires us to challenge our often unexplored beliefs about how we are and who we are in the world.  And then it challenges us to act from those beliefs, not in grand gestures, but in small invitations to bring others in.
As we approach the new year, it is a wonderful time for us to step back and think about what we value and how we live those values.  Carla asks,

What are the invitations you are extending to the world?

What invitations are being offered to you that you may not be seeing?

Greet the new year by embracing the gift of connectedness that each of us can orchestrate from where we sit in this world.
And finally, to my dear colleagues (Carla included), I think this captures how I feel and what I’ve learned.  I am printing it here to publicly profess how important my colleagues are to my professional life and my personal well-being.
Of all the wonderful parts of this year’s Summit, I was most touched by Carla’s work on Belonging.  I think I share that sense of being an outsider — lingering on the edge of a group. Carla’s description about Belonging coming from within really resonated with me — that I realize what is most important right now to me is my connection to others.  And you all are such important pieces of my world.  While we mostly connect through shared work experiences, we have also shared life experiences, support and care.  I am so grateful for the space you make for me in your lives. You are such extraordinary colleagues and I am honored to be with you in this world.

2018 Leadership Summit Summary – Being on Purpose

Wow! Where did the time go?  Isn’t that how we feel about this time of year?  Suddenly Halloween has come and gone, Thanksgiving is past and the days just count themselves to the end of the year.
On November 9th, Thunderbird Leadership Consulting and BoxCar International hosted its twelfth annual Leadership Summit.  Dorothy Sisneros, Carla Rotering and Amy Steinbinder had the vision to bring leaders together for a special day designed to strengthen and renew us. Unlike other leadership programs, it is about turning inward and honoring and learning about ourselves to make a difference in our personal and professional lives.
This year’s program, Being on Purpose: Small Enough to Manage, Big Enough to Matter, was an amazing exploration of what matters and how it matters.  We modeled the day on Emily Esfahani Smith’s work, The Power of Meaning[1]. Dorothy Sisneros welcomed everyone and shared the process used by the Planning Team each year to create these amazing programs.  We listen, we observe, we read and we sense throughout the year and then share our insights and ideas to build the program.  The Planning Team nailed it again this year.
Amy Johnson[2] was our first keynote speaker.  Her role was to set the stage for the day and to explore Purpose in our lives.  She challenged us to listen deeply to ourselves and not get caught up in what we should be doing.  She quoted Einstein and challenged us to differentiate “the intuitive mind which is a sacred gift, and the rational mind, a faithful servant. We honor the servant and forget the gift.” What we learned and heard from Amy was to trust our inner voice, our intuition, and not feel pressured to constantly do, to constantly force ourselves forward.  She said, “finding purpose is not about proving our worthiness, purpose has to find us, like finding love.”
What a way to start the day – to step back, to allow life to speak to us instead of feeling compelled to force our way through the dense forest.  She quoted people like this quote from Tony Bennett to Amy Winehouse, “life teaches you how to live it if you slow down long enough to listen.”  That is a powerful message especially at this time of the year.  Dustin Fennell lead the group through several activities to build on Amy’s messages.
Carla Rotering spoke next about Belonging.  In a concise and powerful presentation, Carla changed the way we think of Belonging.  It is not so much about others as it is about my “way of being in the world.”  She encouraged us not to wait for invitations for connections but to recognize that we have the capacity to reach out and connect because we already come from a greater whole.  Ruth Ballard took the group through activities to reinforce the messages.  Carla and Kevin Monaco teamed to offer a music meditation to set the stage for the rest of the day.
Then Sat Kartar Khalsa-Ramey spoke to us about Transcendence.  Sat Kartar is an ordained Sikh Dharma minister and a certified ACPE Educator Emeritus with the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE). Her presentation was personal, current and moving as she shared her story and we sat rapt on her every word.  Transcendence was about how we deal with what life gives us, the choices we make, the connections we maintain as we travel difficult, unexplored highways.  We were privileged to share her yet-unfinished journey interwoven with Soul Collage[3] activities – that transported us from her journey to our own. Rory Gilbert helped us focus on the final pillar around Storytelling.  We found meaning and belonging and understanding of the power of Storytelling to make sense of our world.
So many people shaped the Summit.  Our wonderful planning team made everything possible.
We particularly want to thank three remarkable contributors to our day.

  • Kevin Monaco (composer and musician) – Kevin’s music wrapped meaning around the day, connected us to belonging and transcendence and created an atmosphere of significance to all that we did. Learn more about Kevin and his music at: https://kevinmonacomusic.com
  • Heather Marie Paslay (massage therapist) – Heather provided chair massages throughout the breaks in the day. For those who were able to benefit from Heather’s healing way, the day was that much more enjoyable and fulfilling.  Heather can be reached at paslaymaire@yahoo.com
  • Steph Martini (graphic artist) – Steph recorded the day as it enfolded. She captured the what, the why and the feel of our shared experience and walked us through her masterpiece as a summary to the day. To connect with Steph about her work, please connect with her at stephmartini63@gmail.com

In keeping with Summit tradition, we held a Silent Auction that raised over $3,000 for three deserving charities: Hospice of the Valley, Homicide Survivors and UMOM.
The Summit was an extraordinary day to connect with members of our Thunderbird Leadership and BoxCar community, to enjoy a deep and meaningful experience with new and old friends and colleagues.  More information about the day will appear on the Thunderbird Leadership Consulting website and we are already beginning to think about what will happen next year.  Tentatively hold November 15, 2019 on your calendar for “a spa day for the soul.”
[1] Smith, Emily Esfahani (2017) The Power of Meaning: Finding Fulfillment in a World Obsessed with Happiness. Broadway Books, New York.
[2] Johnson, Amy (2013) Being Human, Essays on Thoughtmares, Bouncing Back, and Your True Nature. Self-published.
[3]For more information:  https://www.creativepilgrimage.com/soulcollage/