Archive for the ‘Career Advice’ Category
You’re a professional woman job-hunting while pregnant. Your pregnancy may not seem like the ideal time to job search, but you can turn that thought around and make your new job perfect for you, baby and your new boss.
Take the time to plan out your strategy. Carefully consider the type of schedule you want at work before and after the baby arrives. Before you launch your search, consider what would be the perfect fit: flexible schedule, daycare benefits, short commute and the ability to work from home are all possibilities. Identify employers with a desirable maternity leave and prenatal, medical and daycare plan. You may also want to consider contract work for maximum flexibility if you can handle the medical expenses as an independent contractor.
Dress your best
Then, for the all-important interview, dress your professional best. Whether your baby bump is showing or not, this is a critical time to look professional. First impressions count, so choose your wardrobe carefully. If you’re early in your pregnancy, choose comfortable wide belts that conceal the classic open pant button on your favorite business pants. When you look your best, you feel your best and when you feel your best you project confidence.
In my latest Psychology Today article, How to Look for a Job While You’re Pregnant, I suggest more wise steps to take to land a new job and the perfect ideal work/life balance that will leave you feeling empowered to go for it.
And if you already have a job and must break the maternity news to your boss, there are some helpful hints in a related article, How to Tell Your Boss You’re Pregnant.
You only get one chance to make a first impression – is a comment I made recently in Business Insider. First impressions count with your interviewer, new boss and co-workers. How you conduct yourself in the first few minutes – or even seconds — of meeting someone can have a profound impact. And when you’re interviewing, meeting your new boss and co-workers, you’re being evaluated with a microscope: your handshake, eye contact, smile, professionalism, how you dress — all make a difference.
But the first impression is not the only impression you need to make . . . how you look and act on a daily basis can make or break job opportunities.
To make a good impression at work:
- Arrive on time — Or ahead of time if it’s an interview. Arriving on time shows commitment (and respect for others).
- Introduce yourself — And learn everyone else’s name.
- Listen — Don’t do all the talking. Listen to what’s being asked and mirror back what’s said as appropriate to make sure you’re on the same page.
- Take interest in others — Whether it’s your interviewer, boss or coworkers, a core rule for success in business and life is, if you want others interested in you, be interested in them.
- Dress for success — no matter the corporate style, well groomed and professional is always “in.” Keep a blazer handy if you’re not sure. Accessories can take your professional wardrobe up a notch without fuss (scarves or pocket squares, belts, etc.)
Remember: It’s easy to let your guard down once you’re on the job. But the truth is that your work and performance is still under some level of scrutiny until you’ve really proven yourself. It takes time to earn the trust of your boss and coworkers. Do your best work and avoid becoming complacent.
For more of my tips on making a good first impression read:
The workplace can be a breeding ground for conflict because when you get two or more people together in any situation there are can be disagreements. My book, Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant™: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job deals with conflict resolution in the workplace, but the fact is, I find the points I make in the book on how to resolve conflict can be used in any tense situation.
Unfortunately, workplace conflicts can overflow at home, too. It’s a common problem for many as it’s natural to want to vent with your mate as a sounding board. In Business Insider’s “15 things to do when you realize your job is destroying your marriage” I give advice on what to do when you realize that your job is ruining your marriage. By recognizing the early symptoms and being proactive, you can better learn to separate work from your personal life — and be successful in both.
To learn how to handle this all-too-common situation click here.
The interviews went well; you like the applicant – he seems to have been born for the job. Now there comes a point in the application process where you are going to tell him how much you actually like him – through the numbers of his proposed salary. If the prospective employee is happy with that, there is nothing else to do but shake hands and show him to his new office.
But what if the applicant has a different idea of what he’s worth, and the number you offer make him feel undervalued? The hiring manager doesn’t want to go overboard on the salary; the applicant would like more but is afraid of letting the job slip through his fingers.
Salary negotiation can be a touchy subject for any job candidate. They would like to be paid what they feel is fair, yet don’t want to appear greedy. Settlling for less could hang like a heavy shadow in the new employee’s mind. In my article on PsychologyToday.com I tell job seekers not to shy away from this delicate matter, and list 23 tips on negotiating a higher salary counteroffer in such a way that both the applicant and the employer are happy.
On the manager’s side, you need to strike a balance between saving money and being fair. Fully understanding your candidate’s value on the job market and bringing it up during salary negotiation will help you strike that balance – while making the new employee feeling appreciated. “Money talk” also gives you a chance to observe your counterpart’s negotiating skills and diplomacy in a delicate situation. For more detail, read the complete article.
Tyrannical bosses can do a lot of damage in organizations. In particular, there are two types of bad bosses I hear the most about in the workplace – bullying and overly demanding. Both types can make subordinates fearful. When people are in a protective mode, it interferes with the company’s ability to generate innovation. As a senior manager, you must take action when you see these behaviors or “TOTs” running amok in your organization.
As I describe in the Forbes article How to Deal With a Bullying Boss, there are many types of bullying bosses. They can run the gambit from the covert, fear-provoking bully to those who throw tirades and intimidate employees continuously. You may see him as a high performer — as is the overly demanding boss — but your clue that something is wrong with his management style is too much employee turnover.
As I point out in the article, “Bullying in the workplace is similar to the school playground in that people are being demeaned or exploited. But in the office, bullying is far more subversive and challenging to overcome. These grown bullies are adept at finding non-assertive victims and staying under the radar.” There are 10 tips on how to handle a bullying boss plus an interesting list from the Workplace Bullying Institute of the 25 most common tactics adopted by bullies. Take a look at the article and then examine employee morale.
An overly demanding boss — one who sets unrealistic or extremely high standards — can make employees feel as if they work constantly under the gun. In 10 Tips For Dealing With An Overly Demanding Boss, I explain to Forbes readers how an overly demanding boss doesn’t empathize or understand what’s required of his staff to deliver results, and he will keep pushing them until they take action — which as a senior manager, you want to avoid. The easy path for senior management is to think: “It will work itself out” — but it rarely does.
Besides mitigating TOT behavior, as I explain in 14 Things You Should Do at the Start of Every Work Day (Forbes) “Having a good start to the day where you have greater control is critical in achieving better results, and ultimately greater career [and organizational] success.” How you end the day is equally critical, as it has much to do with how you start the next day. In 16 Things You Should Do At The End Of Every Work Day (Forbes) I mention: “It’s half of the puzzle of being productive. Both pieces are like bookends that carry extra weight relative to what happens in between. They’re like first and last impressions that hold tremendous impact on your view of your work, attitude and productivity level.”
In a recent Forbes blog by Jacquelyn Smith, titled10 Tips For Dealing With An Overly Demanding Boss, I offered some thoughts and suggestions to help mitigate this type of bad boss behavior. I’d like to share them with you.
Here are some observations I made in this very useful article:
“An overly demanding boss doesn’t empathize or understand what’s required for you to deliver results, and he will keep pushing you until you take action,” says Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant; How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job.
…“Demanding bosses give you unreasonable deadlines, are not in tune with the hours it takes to meet objectives, won’t take the time to find out in advance what’s reasonable, can display little interest in your well-being, have trouble prioritizing, and give you little recognition when you do complete Herculean tasks,” (Taylor) says.
…“They may not take the time to see if you have the tools or information you need to accomplish your assignments, and can make themselves unapproachable so that your only option seems to be: just do it.”
If a demanding boss is affecting you at work, please see:10 Tips For Dealing With An Overly Demanding Boss at Forbes.com. You’re not alone. More importantly, you can take steps to increase your job satisfaction – and stay sane!
With the employment picture showing some signs of life, you may be weighing the pros and cons of looking for a new job – especially if your current bad boss is causing you to “sizzle” with anger. However, it’s a good idea to really look thoroughly before you leap or you may jump right from the frying pan into the fire and end up with a TOT boss worse than your current one.
In my Psychology Today article, Is Now the Time to Leave Your Job? I examine some practical risks associated with quitting. The article also discusses some changes you can make in how you’re relating to your boss and gives some overall steps to consider before taking the plunge.
Naturally, I give some humorous suggestions of what NOT to do along with what to do. If you’re thinking that now is the time to cut and run, then take a little time out to read Is Now the Time to Leave Your Job? and carefully weigh your options (and have a few chuckles while you’re at it).
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.