Whether an individual, team, or organization,
increase your value by developing the voice of a leader.

Liz Trocchio Smith

Liz Trocchio Smith
Certified Executive Business Coach
and Trusted Advisor

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Schedule Regular Check-ins with Your Direct Reports

Even if you think annual performance reviews should be abolished, it’s unlikely that you can overhaul your organization’s approach to appraisals. Fortunately, you’re in control of the way you manage the performance of your team. If your organization requires reviews — whether they are annual, semiannual, or quarterly — you should, of course, do them. But take additional steps throughout the review period to ensure that your employees are meeting…

Set Clear Boundaries with Needy Employees

As a manager, you probably wish you could give all the people on your team more attention. But sometimes certain employees seem to need more than their fair share of your time. Maybe they repeatedly ask you to review their work, or regularly show up at your desk with questions. If one of your employees is demanding too much of your resources, try setting clearer boundaries. The next time the…

Use If-Then Thinking to Change Your Behavior

We all have habits and behaviors we wish we could change. But just being aware of a bad habit isn’t enough. To truly fix it, start by considering your goal (say, “I want my team to know that I trust them”) and the obstacles you expect to face along the way (“I struggle to delegate”). Next, frame what you will do about the obstacles as if-then statements. To address the…

Perfectionists, Think About When You’ve Succeeded Imperfectly

Being a perfectionist isn’t easy, especially if your desire for everything to be just right causes you to put off decisions, worry over sunk costs, or ruminate over failures and weaknesses. To help yourself ease up, try focusing on and learning from your successes. Ask yourself: Have I always done everything flawlessly? (Probably not.) Have I always been certain of success in advance? (Unlikely.) Remembering times when you succeeded despite…

Get More Sleep. Starting Tonight.

It’s no secret that most of us don’t get enough sleep — or that sleep deprivation can hurt our logical reasoning, focus, and mood. But do you know how to get the seven to nine hours you need? To start, you should go to bed when you’re just starting to feel drowsy. For many people, that’s usually between 10 PM and 11 PM, when melatonin, a natural hormone that makes…

Build Moments of Silence into Your Day

We all need moments of quiet — research shows that silence restores the nervous system, helps us sustain our energy, and conditions our minds to be more adaptive and responsive. To build these quiet moments into your day, start small. For example, you could: Punctuate meetings with five minutes of quiet time. Close your office door, retreat to a park bench, or find another peaceful hideaway. Try “fasting” from news…

Don’t Let One Bad Experience Stop You from Giving Feedback

It can be tough to get up the nerve to give a colleague — or your boss — constructive feedback, even if they’ve requested it. And if the person becomes defensive, it’s easy to shut down and tell yourself that offering your thoughts is a bad idea in general. But overgeneralizing from one experience is never a good idea and your reactive thoughts in that moment — “I’m never good…

Make Delegating Easier

All managers know they’re supposed to delegate, but too many of them are still doing too much themselves. What’s an overburdened manager supposed to do? First, pay attention. If you’re swamped, and especially if you find yourself having to say no to new work, this is a sign that you may not be delegating enough. Come up with a process that lets you delegate something and be done with it….

Get More Out of One-on-One Meetings with Your Direct Reports

Good managers know it’s important to regularly check in with each of their employees, but too often one-on-one meetings feel hurried and disorganized. To make the most of these meetings be more deliberate about how you structure them. First, schedule them. It doesn’t matter how often they occur — every week, every other, or once a month — but they should be repeating events on your calendar. And honor these…

Get More Sleep. Starting Tonight.

It’s no secret that most of us don’t get enough sleep — or that sleep deprivation can hurt our logical reasoning, focus, and mood. But do you know how to get the seven to nine hours you need? To start, you should go to bed when you’re just starting to feel drowsy. For many people, that’s usually between 10 PM and 11 PM, when melatonin, a natural hormone that makes…

Having a Tough Conversation with a Coworker When You Both Hate Tough Conversations

If you’re having a conflict with a coworker, talking about it together might help. But that can be tricky if the two of you tend to shy away from conflict. While both of you may prefer to do nothing, it’s dangerous if you end up tamping down feelings that could explode later on. One of you needs to take the lead — you might say to your colleague, “I know…

Allow the Other Person to Vent During a Difficult Conversation

During a tense discussion with a colleague, it can be hard to remember that you’re not the only one who’s upset. When your counterpart expresses anger or frustration, don’t stop them. Let them vent as much as possible, and remain calm while it’s happening. Don’t interrupt the venting or interject your own commentary. While you’re doing this, you can either be completely quiet or indicate that you’re listening by using phrases…