Archive for the ‘Career Advice’ Category
So, you are doing great, you say. Terrific, now what about your unit, group, subdivision, department – the people who need your leadership? Take a careful look: do you pay enough attention to their needs and problems? It’s natural to be proud of one’s achievements – the results of your hard work and administrative talent. Yet, you are not alone; you need those people around you to get the job done. Be sure not to make it all about yourself – appearing self-centered in the eyes of your co-workers can hurt feelings, cause withdrawal and inertia and lead to loss of productivity, damaging your team’s performance and, by extension, your own career.
In my recent article for Psychology Today I offer employees tips on how to stand up for themselves (diplomatically) when they feel neglected by a preoccupied manager – four ways to manage up and save one’s job satisfaction and success. Be sure to read it so you see the potential problem from your team’s perspective.
Holiday time is a time for joy, cheer, and perhaps you may feel some adult version of “separation anxiety” — fear that not everything at work is going to be done before the holidays.
As a manager, have a plan ready and decide what can wait until after the holidays. Too much pre-holiday workload may result in employee burnout and tarnish your reputation (you don’t want the name “Scrooge” brought up!) To avoid being a TOT, read my Psychology Today blog to learn about boss holiday separation anxiety. . . before you start seeing long faces at the holiday party!
Remember, a little break now will translate into a happier, more productive 2012.
If you’ve recently been promoted to a management position or just wavered at times in your career—you may be asking yourself, as a good manager and coach, should I be liked or feared to be effective? In my latest BloombergBusinessWeek article I posted the fact that instead of vacillating between being a feared power player or a well-liked pushover, leaders should try to earn respect.
A recent LinkedIn discussion I led supported my premise that respect is really the goal. Most members of the Human Resource Management group felt that in order to garner respect, being liked is indeed better than being feared—but that at times some fear of authority is necessary to get the job done.
In the business world, the greater good of the company sometimes necessitates unpopular decisions. But managers can’t execute them without a foundation of respect. Please take a look at BloombergBusinessWeek for a perspective on how real power thrives on respect.
If you’re a senior manager or in Human Resources, you know that Terrible Office Tyrants (TOTs) wreak havoc in your business. You want to mitigate the behavior as much as possible. You also want to ensure that your staff is TOT-free.
TOT-taming is reaching out to more beleaguered office workers this month with articles appearing in Forbes, CBS/MoneyWatch and Media Bistro. Forbes highlighted Seven Ways to Tame an Office Tyrant — don’t let them see you sweat, listen actively, be a role model, be a problem solver, harness strengths and weaknesses, use humor and show empathy. Of course, in my book, there are many more tips. Check them out!
At CBS/MoneyWatch you’ll find suggestions on what to do When Your Boss Acts like a Toddler, which included my favorite acronym: CALM—Communicate, Anticipate, Laugh and Manage. Communicate with your boss openly, honestly and frequently. Anticipate problems before they become larger problems and have solutions ready. Levity helps break tension, diffuses issues and punch through barriers. Managing up doesn’t mean kissing up. It means speaking the truth and setting expectations with your boss.
In Media Bistro’s Dealing with the Terrible Office Tyrant (TOT) I told public relations professionals that the onus was on them to spot a TOT and put some real teeth behind that great PR reputation. With some behind the scenes TOT-taming they can increase those moments of agency euphoria.
Try some TOT-taming techniques in November, as the holidays and a short month create a fertile environment for more stress!
After a job interview, you need to follow up to stay visible—without becoming a pest. I discuss this issue in my new Business Week article and offer my perspective on how to find a perfect balance based on a number of factors.
I start with an example from my personal experience – of two excellent and equally qualified candidates competing for the same job. One was virtually silent after the interview and thank-you e-mail. The other one sent the thank-you and also checked in about every 10 days with interesting links and industry information. Eventually I had to go with my gut: Since Candidate B went out of his way to demonstrate his interest for the job, I selected him. He remained part of my team for years until he had to relocate for personal reasons.
So Candidate A lost out in large part because he failed to follow up with enthusiasm. But over the course of my career, I’ve also had to exclude candidates from the running because they made pests of themselves after the interview.
It is obvious that candidates who can manage just the right amount of contact are the ones most likely to succeed. So how do you know what the right amount of follow-up is? Every other week is a good general rule, especially if you’re getting a positive response from the interviewer. But every situation is different, and there is a number of things to be factored in. For the complete picture, read more on BusinessWeek.com.
Often a job interview is like playing poker. Both sides are like careful players, deciding how much to reveal, how much to conceal, or when to call for all cards on the table. If the job seeker doesn’t play his hand right he may loose the opportunity, no matter how well he’s qualified. If the interviewer can’t “read” the opponent properly, he may end up giving the job to the wrong person. And what to do if your counterpart has the world’s best poker face?
In my recent article on PsychologyToday.com I offer job hunters some advice on how to excel at “job interview poker.” I think it’s a useful read for hiring managers as well. A position is only filled properly when both the employee and the employer attempt to be as forthcoming as possible. Granted, a hiring manager certainly may not know if the candidate going to make the cut until the process runs its course. And there are often other decision-makers. But if the match is not even close, managers should be careful not to set unrealistic high expectations at the very least. Read on for an employee’s perspective of the job interview “poker game.”
Today many people are forced to look for jobs below their qualifications. In the current tough economic climate even “settling for less” often presents a challenge and needs to be done right. What advice would you give to candidates seeking “survival jobs” – or use yourself in a tough situation?
Megan Malugani, a contributing writer for Monster.com, quotes opinions from a number of workplace experts (including yours truly) in her recent article: “A survival job should be something you enjoy,” says Lynn Taylor, a workplace expert who is CEO of Santa Monica, California-based Lynn Taylor Consulting and author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant. “Your likelihood of landing even a survival job is greater if you demonstrate genuine enthusiasm, so don’t waste anyone’s time with a job you dislike from the start.”
You’d also need to tone down your resume to avoid being perceived as overqualified. Focus your resume and the interview on the actual job at hand.
Above all, stay positive and remember that any experience is an opportunity to learn.
For more tips, read the complete article at Monster.com
Workplace Expert, Author, Provides Career Tips for 2010 and Beyond
SANTA MONICA (January 13, 2010) — According to a new survey released today by national workplace expert Lynn Taylor, author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant –TOT (John Wiley & Sons), U.S. employees spend 19.2 hours a week (13 hours during the work week and 6.2 hours on the weekend) worrying about “what a boss says or does.”
The national study was conducted by an independent global research firm and commissioned by Taylor’s firm, Lynn Taylor Consulting, which offers workshops on how to humanize the workplace for increased productivity and profitability.
Taylor said, “The study illustrates the tremendous drain that a manager’s words and actions can have on the minds and work product of its most valued asset – people – at a time when companies can least afford the loss. Particularly during this period of high unemployment, bad boss behavior can go into overdrive – distracting employees from the work at hand.”
“Conversely, the survey suggests that greater interpersonal sensitivity can significantly boost morale and help a company thrive,” Taylor said. She advises managers to go the extra mile by showing interest in the team’s well-being. “Employees’ careers are not on hold, even if major corporate initiatives are,” she added. Taylor said that spillover anxiety on weekends of 3.1 hours a day further underscores how critical the boss/employee dynamic truly is.
“Employees should take the initiative in 2010 to build their own human relations skills,” Taylor said. She added, “Tackle issues early on with diplomacy and deploy good ‘parenting skills’ in the office – without patronizing. Use positive and negative reinforcement; provide positive role modeling; humor; and set limits to unreasonable demands with tact, showing the benefits of an alternative compromise.”
The U.S. study was based on telephone interviews conducted with 1,000 respondents 18 years of age or older. For more information, visit www.LynnTaylorConsulting.com and www.TameYourTOT.com or call 1-800-454-0083.
About Lynn Taylor Consulting
Lynn Taylor is the founder of Lynn Taylor Consulting, which advises companies on how to humanize the workplace. A nationally recognized workplace expert, dynamic speaker and acclaimed author, Taylor is the author of the book, Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant™(TOT); How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job (John Wiley & Sons, July 2009).
In Psychology Today.com, I talk about how it’s time to shore up your career and managerial skills for 2010. I’d like to address that here, and wish you much joy in your career and life in the coming year.
Many had to settle for a less-than-agreeable situation at work in 2009. But 2010 is upon us, and here’s a brief metaphor: 2010 is the Chinese Year of the Tiger, and the tiger is known for its strength and strategic skills in getting results. Without being a predator, you can be aggressive about achieving your career goals in the New Year.
First, decide what your heartfelt objectives are, then set your own rules. You do possess needed skills and company know-how. Your leadership skills are hard to replace. So if you like the job you’re currently in, but not the terms, now is the time to fine-tune them and dial up your satisfaction level.
Assess your weaknesses. Clarify what you want more, or less of. How can you better control office challenges by through reading, training and professional development? If fear has held you back, consider if it’s time to move on to the “great unknown.” Design your career objectives based on what would bring you the best long-term happiness. Then, pounce.
Regardless of your choice, the macro environment we’re in dictates a few requirements that will keep you at the top of your game:
• Make human relations skills your priority for 2010. Just because it’s a tech world on steroids doesn’t mean we must lose our humanity. In fact you can counter this trend by increasing yours. Even if those around you regress to virtual toddlers (Terrible Office Tyrants, or TOTs, as I call them) in the pressure cooker recession environment, ratchet up your “interpersonal intelligence” to set you apart from other managers in 2010. You will help “TOT Proof your company” in the process.
• Take the initiative. Like so many aspects of achieving success, maintaining an objective, healthy perspective and being a proactive problem solver can make all the difference. Learn how to role model calm, clear thinking, positive behavior with those around you – this is a transferable skill. The practice will be contagious to top management, too, and benefit those across the organization as well.
• Keep Your Eye on the Prize. Despite the prevalent “sky is falling” mood in corporate America, stay focused and positive on fulfilling your career dreams. When things are in flux, chances for advancement can unfold before you at any time – if you allow them to.
• Reach Out – With Precision. Regardless of whether you’re making job move, networking is essential to career success, and who you know does make a difference. However, choose your venues wisely; time is a non-renewable resource. Master social networking tools, such as LinkedIn groups, blogs and Twitter, as well as targeted trade groups in your area. Reach out to contacts who are helpful, but also be of value to others in return.
• What Are You Saying? With text messaging, e-mails and hurried memos, your writing skills can deteriorate into a terse, nonsensical mess. Recipients may spend needless time trying to decipher what you mean, or worse, take it the wrong way. Take classes in writing and public speaking so that you can better sell your ideas and put your best foot forward in business.
• The 2.0 You. No matter how much experience you have, you can always become more tech savvy. Now is the time to not only upgrade, but to learn skills outside your comfort zone. Jobs are becoming increasingly specialized over time, and so is software that supports those positions. The willingness to learn continually is an invaluable asset.
Make 2010 the year of bold decision-making that you may have been putting off. (Just be careful to sharpen your skills, not your claws, as you set your sights on your goal.
A sunny, helpful, open and positive disposition – combined with a thirst for knowledge – are the real “killer” skills that will last beyond 2010. They will last a lifetime.
Many leading experts are emphasizing the importance of a psychologically healthy workplace for a company’s success. This may be more difficult to achieve now than it used to be.
National surveys commissioned by my company, Lynn Taylor Consulting, and conducted by an independent global research firm show that bad and childish boss behavior rose 50% in the period from 2004 to 2009.
This kind of behavior can increase stress in the workplace and lead to employees’ distraction, decreased motivation and even long-term health problems, the ultimate result being drop in productivity and profits. Readers’ conversation on my BusinessWeek blog shows it to be a matter of great concern among employees.
This study and other extensive research encouraged me to write a book, Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant™ (TOT); How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job (John Wiley & Sons, July 2009). The book offers tips on “parenting” unruly managers who resemble tots in their Terrible Twos. Even more importantly, the book advises CEOs on how to “humanize their workplace.” Senior management has the most power to implement change that would establish an employee-friendly corporate culture with management/employee relationship based on trust, understanding, and mutual respect, creating a better workplace climate and improving overall performance.
Rather then managing an assorted collection of people united just by material interest, CEOs could be leading a tight team united by a common purpose where everyone is motivated to contribute their maximum. TOT-proofing a company would be a major step towards achieving that goal.