Why You Get Irritated Easily was an article I published last March that hit a collective nerve. It has 37,158 views; 2,205 likes; 537 shares and 148 comments—only 10,000 less than Richard Branson’s post that day! As the author, the experience was thrilling, shocking, and a little nerve-wracking.
Moreover, I was tempted never to post again.
Why? Most of my previous posts had fewer than 100 views, and a few likes or shares. I did not want to come down from the mountaintop of recognition back to the valley of obscurity. However, eventually, my editor convinced me after a few months to publish again. I am glad she did because it led to some great things for my business.
My first LinkedIn post was on October 30, 2014.
It received 70 views, six likes, four comments.
With that first post, I held my breath as I clicked “publish.” Then, I waited and watched. Well, to be totally honest, I checked on the post about every 15 minutes for two days! I was not exactly thrilled at the response, but my faithful editor kept encouraging me and helping me edit (my least favorite thing). I worked up to two to three posts a week and worked down to only checking the number of views every other day.
This post was my 100th post on LinkedIn. That does not make me an expert on anything but prolificacy, but I am having great fun and learning a lot. I have some thoughts to share with you about it:
Lesson #1: Write something and post it!
Thinking about writing is not enough and that took me awhile. The more LinkedIn posts I published, the more, I realized what incredible freedom this forum provides. The publishing I have done before was mostly professional articles that required extensive research and accurate, detailed references. With LinkedIn, I could pick any topic that came to my head and share my thoughts and opinions without substantial research or even footnotes. In my case, the more I wrote, the more ideas I had for future posts. Why wait like I did? Decide what you want to say, and say it.
Lesson #2: Learn from other LinkedIn writers.
Read posts of influencers and other LinkedIn bloggers. Study their titles and graphics. They give you a splendid idea of how to communicate on the site.
Thinking about writing is not enough…
Lesson #3: Find an editor.
The key to good writing? A good editor. That may be you if you have the skills. If not, the editor might be your spouse (although caution advised here), colleague or savvy neighbor. Whomever you choose to be your editor, decide on your focus, your style, and your strategy. Draft your ideas and then let your editor do their job. However, be sure you pick someone who has the courage to tell you when your idea is good and when it is best to let that idea develop more—or scrap it.
Lesson 4: Try new things and learn new skills.
Don’t be afraid to try something new. Every post taught me something different about writing for LinkedIn. I found out about all the resources to find the right graphic to draw the reader’s attention. When I used one of my cartoons, the views, comments, likes and shares went up. From choosing graphics to writing titles, to using new tools, I found that by learning something new I opened new areas of creativity.
Lesson 5: Respond to every comment.
An unexpected bonus was the fun of receiving and responding to comments. I loved engaging with total strangers around the world, and many of the conversations led to inquiries about my coaching and workplace assessment services. Respond to every comment. Connecting on the site is an important way to engage with your readers. Many times, I use comments as ideas for future posts.
There was another unexpected bonus. I also reviewed all the leadership-related writing I have done over the years for ideas (well over 100,000 words) and decided that there might be a book in there somewhere. The outcome? My new book, Intentional Leadership, published by Motivational Press.
Let me be clear: Posting takes effort and time. Pieces of it were even a chore. Moreover, I learned that regular posting was a must, so missing a week because I did not have any new ideas made me feel a little guilty.
Posting takes effort and time. Pieces of it were even a chore.
I work at home, have a thriving international coaching and assessment practice and a new book. Also, I just became a member of the Forbes Coaches Council, an invitation-only, national group of about 400 coaches. Why was I invited? My 30 years’ experience as a CEO and my ten years as a professional coach did not hurt, but the clincher was “My exceptional LinkedIn profile”!
After almost two and a half years posting on LinkedIn and thousands of words later, was it worth all the effort? No question.
What can blogging on LinkedIn do for you?
Leaders must manage emotional confidences tactfully.
A leader carries a broad mantle of actual and ascribed roles. Boss, teacher, colleague, friend, listener, visionary, and problem-solver are the most prevalent. Frequently, an employee will turn to the manager as mother/father confessor—someone he or she feels can be trusted to keep a confidence.
Frequently, it’s a complaint about a co-worker or seeking advice on how to be a better manager. Sometimes the confidence they seek concerns a family member—such as an impending divorce, or the need to care for an elderly family member. Other times it might be about financial problems. Many leaders are formal and informal mentors and provide valuable growth experience to those who report to them.
However, when the person starts to cry, figuratively or literally, the leader has some decisions to make. If the individual just needs a sympathetic ear for a few minutes, this may be an opportunity for the manager to give needed support—and that will be the end of it.
On the other hand, if this is a regular diatribe about a non-work-related situation, you might provide a referral for counseling or other assistance. Becoming the go-to person to unload on is ill-advised at best.
How to Manage Emotional Discussions Tactfully:
- Limit the conversation. Make a decision about how much time you will allow for what’s coming at the beginning of the conversation. “I can spare ten minutes, Mark, but then I need to make a call.”
- Listen with a third ear. Are there any indications of potential harm in what you hear—to the person in the chair or to those around them?
- Decide where to sit. When you usually move to a less formal place for conversations but stay behind your desk for this one, it can subtly (or not so subtly) convey the idea that you are not welcoming an intimate conversation.
- Remember your role. Keep a sign inside your eyeballs that reads “I am not a trained therapist” (even if you are!) Have a stock of phrases ready to gently but firmly end the conversation, steer it in another direction and/or send clear messages when needed; e.g., “I’m sorry to hear how much you are hurting Janelle, but I’m not the person who can help. I’d like to suggest that you seek professional help.”
- Be careful how much you probe. There are some things people have on their minds that you don’t want to hear. Many new leaders are shocked to learn what highly personal, inappropriate topics some of their employees choose to bring them.
- Have an established procedure for alerting others, not only for possible assistance but also as a witness—particularly if this is a male to female encounter. It’s rare, but it could happen that someone loses control in your office and threatens you. Some would advise never to close the door when the two people are of the opposite sex. I disagree unless you are dealing with an unstable person; that seems like overkill and an enormous barrier to trust.
Sooner or later, every manager will encounter an emotional situation with a direct report or a peer. There is no harm in being a good listener—to a point. Being prepared to manage the outcome as tactfully and as strategically as possible is an important tool in the leader’s toolbox.
How do you handle tricky emotional situations?
If you are over 40 and haven’t read John Bogert’s column in The Daily Breeze (Thursday, September 20, 2007, www.DailyBreeze.com), stop reading this and check it out, now. It is just too good to be missed.
Mr. Bogert, like Art Buchwald, has a wonderfully wry sense of humor and a knack for giving words to the ridiculousness of life. Of course, the funnier columns are those that hit home–and this time, he has hit the ball out of my park.
His term “creeping cluelessness” has kept me laughing for days. Because you are over forty, you know what it means without even reading the article. It’s how you feel when you watch the Emmy’s and don’t recognize any of the nominees or when you hear any person under forty talking about their gadgets, their music or their virtual networks. It’s that condition we all experience of feeling out of it and, well, OLD. It’s being the recipient of the barely-tolerable contempt we felt for our parents when they couldn’t understand our hairstyles, our language or our need to do the goofy things “everybody else” was doing. Even more, it suggests our rapid approach to the world of the out-of-it: of being dismissed, disregarded and denied admission to “the club.”
Thank you, John, for giving me a term I can use with my over-forty friends and colleagues to give us a shared laugh and an instant bond. What those generation x-ers (or is that y-ers? z-ers?) don’t know is that we have our own of club of creeping cluelessness colleagues to which the xyz-ers cannot get entrance. They have not paid their dues nor can they understand that this club has the wisdom they seek, the wiles they don’t know they’re missing, and the weariness that makes staying home on Saturday nights sheer joy.
The most fun is knowing what those younger folks will discover eventually, and that is that Cluelessness is the freedom to do what we want to do, think what we want to think and to enjoy the bliss of no longer needing to care. If that’s the case, then perhaps we should start enjoying the creep and face the inevitable: we are becoming our parents–and I, for one, am loving every minute of it.
Judy Nelson, JD, MSW
Certified Professional Coach