When the best thing, as a manager, is to stay away

Edited excerpt from Adam Bryant’s interview of Lew Cirne, chief executive of New Relic:

I can get emotional at work, and there have been times that I’ve said something in a moment of frustration that can ruin someone’s week. I’ll totally underestimate the impact of me saying something that deflates someone.

One of the lessons is that, as a CEO, sometimes you can do a lot more harm than good coming into the office that day. So I try to be aware of where I’m at emotionally, and I ask myself whether I’m really going to be able to contribute energy to the company. If all you can do is criticize without offering solutions, maybe it’s best to just go for a long drive.

You have to be able to resist that feeling that if you’re not at work, then you’re not contributing. You have to remember that sometimes you can be a negative.

(1) Staying away entirely is a fairly extreme option. An alternative is to come to the office and work quietly while limiting your interactions with other people.
(2) Another alternative is push yourself to think positively, for example by going out of your way to give genuine praise.

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