How To Recover From A Bad Day

bad day

“I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and now there’s gum in my hair and when I got out of bed this morning I tripped on the skateboard and by mistake I dropped my sweater in the sink while the water was running and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.”
Judith Viorst, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Face it, we’ve all have those days where:

  • We accomplished nothing
  • We put out fires and moved nothing forward
  • Interruptions occurred at every bad moment
  • Urgencies trumped the priorities
  • Everyone else’s problem somehow became ours
  • Accidents occurred that took every bit of effort and attention
  • We feel like our plans have been picked off (like a runner at first base)

Those bad days are those “unintended consequences” of many internal and external forces. It’s on those days that, in spite of our best efforts, we struggle to:

  • Get our priorities done
  • Have the right attitude
  • Advance the vision forward
  • Keep everyone engaged

So what is a leader’s response to a bad day? Here are some strategies to help:

  • Take it in stride – these interruptions happen and are a part of life and business
  • Showcase a good attitude – be thankful for the opportunity to serve
  • Take time to learn a new skill or growth lesson from them – these are opportunities to grow and become a better leader
  • Look at methods or systems to minimize or eliminate certain urgencies from cropping up – by learning you will find ways to streamline workflow to ensure many distractions are resolved before they occur
  • Take a daily “plus-minus” check (+/-) – don’t look at just the negative, but what are the positive (there’s always something) things you did today (attitude, successful crisis management, new contact, learn skill, etc)
  • Set the example – as a leader, you’re always being watched. Be the behavior you want your people to have during these (and any) times
  • Ask for help – talk to those you work with and for, get feedback to help spread out the load or to identify how to better manage and mitigate these bad days from occurring
  • Resolve – make your mind up to be proactive, yet allow the flexibility to have a necessary positive reaction for those instances when circumstances are out our of your control

Any manager can get through a bad day. It’s leaders that minimize them and turn those days into opportunities to grow, move forward, and continue their influence in the right direction.



(image courtesy of


About Paul LaRue

My goal - To encourage you to lead & influence others with positive impact.

Posted on August.6.2014, in Leadership. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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