Part 1: Assess your Career Status–Reflect on Where you are and where you want to go.

Take responsibility for Your Career and Challenge the Myth that “job hopping or explore other opportunities” is bad for your career”

Daily quote: ‘First they welcome you, then expectations are pinched, then they break promises, then they take you for granted, then you assert your rights and ask for fairness, they fight you, and then you leave to find a new challenge and win… Peter Newport, Career Counselor

To keep growing as a professional you must have a clear goal of building your talent and experience portfolio. To be “stuck” in a job that has had broken promises or missed expectations because organization interest come before employees is a missed placed loyalty and potentially damaging to your long-term goal of wanting to run your own company or being a CEO. The quiet loyal workhorse who never makes demands or keeps the organization honest in its broken promises for promotion, bonuses or other perks will get bounced around like a bottle a float in the ocean. You won’t get what you want by just bending to an organization first philosophy. Being out for number one doesn’t mean you are not a team player or disloyal, it means you are engaged in assessing how the present job experience is fulfilling your need to be always growing and learning as a productive person. If you are in charge of your career as everyone has been saying for years, you can’t sit back and wait for the company or your bosses to recognize the contributions you are making because they are usually busy and focused on their own success. To take this career responsibility seriously I recommend a yearly company and job assessment by you just like the company makes annual performance reviews.

You may avoid this personal career review and reflection but do so at your own peril. This self-directed career approach may not always be greeted with enthusiasm by bosses and spouse but to keep fresh and developing as a fully functioning and responsible person you must be clear on what you need and want to do with your life because that is the essence of being responsible.

In this new economy, moving from job to job every 2-3 years means you are being responsible and pro-active in your career. Part of this pro-active approach to career building means you must stay connected to colleagues and keep your network activities vibrant and up to date and in your profession al development you must be visible and attuned to market place opportunities because you never know when they be presented. Don’t get to comfortable making a nice salary or benefits because that made be the wrong focus for expanding your skill set and broaden your experiences to move to a more challenging and rewarding job. This method of career management where you stay alert to opportunities and updating your career portfolio through new experiences has been mislabeled by some career experts self-centered “job hopping”. The fact these days, is that talent is scarce and employees who stay in a job just to be loyal or are worried about their security or that they maybe labeled a “job hoppers” or disgruntled employees is nonsense because surveys report that employees who stay for longer than two years earn 50% less over their lifetimes. So yes, be engaged at your work place and be respectful to each and every one of your employers, but certainly don’t stay in a position for fear of being labeled “a job hopper or an unloyal employee. It is your perfect right and responsibility to manage your own career and life not your employers responsibility.

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Daily Quote, Reflection and Self-Coaching Challenge: Sorting Out the Strengths and Blind Spots of Your Leadership Style

Daily Quote: “Leaders are people who do the right things; managers are people who do things right.” Warren Bennis – “The Dean of Leadership Gurus. 

” Leadership is the lifting of a man’s vision to higher sights, the raising of a man’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a man’s personality beyond its normal limitations.” – Peter Drucker

 

Reflection: Searching for answers about Leadership

As an up and coming manager and leader in your organization, you have just received feedback on your leadership style. Some of the feedback rings true for you, while other feedback, especially on your blind spots doesn’t fit the picture you have as yourself as a leader.

Searching the internet and web on Leadership can be confusing because of the large  amount of writing and theorizing on  the concept of leadership. I have found a resource from Korn/Ferry research center that will save you time and money on helping you identify your leadership style. Korn Ferry writers and researchers J. Evelyn Orr and Guangrong Dai found that four primary patterns of leadership account for 70 percent of managers and executives. Each type has its own strengths and weaknesses that play out in different ways on the job. Matching leadership type to job expectations and role assignments can help you make more reflective career planning choices and proactively choose to build a plan for development that is based on increasing self-awareness through self-directed career coaching.

The authors begin their article with these profound questions, that I hope you will answer. will inspire you to explore as you read and reflect on the concept of Leadership Styles. They ask you to reflect on whether you are: “Task-oriented or people-oriented? Democratic or autocratic? Hands-on or laissez-faire?

They go -on to say  that often descriptions like this are artificially dichotomous (black or white, right or wrong). ” These types of classifications do not identify the shades of grey that is the reality for most of us. An analysis of managers’ and executives’ actual skill profiles reveals four real-world leadership types that are not so black-and-white. Seeing the gray is a good thing. Here’s why: People identify their strengths fairly accurately, but gloss over their weaknesses. The four leadership types that Korn/Ferry research has uncovered reflect leaders as they are, warts and all. So those who recognize their strengths in one type can then spot
their probable corresponding weaknesses. Simple self-awareness of the 4 patterns can help leaders improve and
with work on overcoming some of the limits of their leadership type and thus improve their leadership skills and practices.”

Want to read more:

1. http://www.kornferryinstitute.com/sites/all/files//documents/briefings-magazine-download/The%20leadership%20reality%20check%20.pdf

2. A review of the literature on many significant Leadership Theories and Models  http://www.valuesbasedleadershipjournal.com/issues/vol3issue1/gurus_on_leadership.php

 

 Self-Coaching Challenge: 

1. Read the above article written by Korn Ferry researchers and select the one style that fits the image of yourself as a leader.
2. Match-up from data from your 360 feedback or select three colleagues to read the article and provide feedback on which style of leadership fits or describes you the most accurately.
3. Is there a mismatch between you self-perception and how others see you? Reflect on the gaps and determine what needs work to bring your perception and others view of your leadership style into alignment.
4. Develop a thirty-day plan to work on the areas needing improvement or your blind spots.

 

Self-Coaching Challenge–How can you get more engaged in your work this coming Monday

Engagement at work; what does it mean and is it important? My definition is that it is a commitment to invest time in accomplishing something that is meaningful and important to me. It involves expenditure of energy, time and emotional commitment to a cause or issue that matters deeply to your values and purpose in life.  Does the work you do get your juices flowing?

What do surveys mean when they try to measure engagement? After seeing the 2013 Gallup State of the Global Workplace Report that only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged in their work. I wondered what that means in regard to employee satisfaction, recruiting and retention of talent in the workplace. Another study the 2014 Deloitte Human Capital Trends research shows that 78% of business leaders rate retention and engagement as important issues to solve in the coming year. These trends by the way have remained essentially unchanged for a decade. So this raises the question of whether the concept of engagement matters when it comes to managing and developing a positive and effective workplace culture that ultimately impacts the “bottom line”  of productivity, profitability and of successful companies. Or does this struggle to measure engagement a windmill that matters but we don’t know how to define it and track its impact on “quality of worklife” and organizational success.

So that led to ask what does engagement really mean to people—commitment, loyalty, max effort, doing your best…or does it mean a willingness to put-in discretionary effort… to go the extra mile… or give 110%.

Challenge: Reflect on what engagement means to you. In the next 24 hours pick an engagement activity to try out at work tomorrow.

What is the new behavior you are going to try out?  What were the effects you experienced in trying out this new behavior?

Daily Quote, Reflection: Belief in Self…Yes, I can.

Daily Quote: “If I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.” Mahatma Gandhi

Reflection: Support and stability are the corner-stones of self-belief.  Think about the people you know who seem to bring out the best in you whenever you talk to them: You feel comfortable talking to them and could go on talking forever. They could be old friends or someone you just met, but the conversation just seems to flow smoothly and naturally.

If you wish you had the natural ability or strengths to perform at a higher level of excellence, don’t despair. Having meaningful and successful performances is something that can be learned, and with focus and deliberative practice, like the Smart-Steps process you can become better at it. The key is belief in your self to perform in difficult situations.

According to Albert Bandura, self-efficacy is “the belief in one’s capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to manage prospective situations.” In other words, self-efficacy is a person’s belief in his or her ability to succeed in a particular situation. Bandura described these beliefs as determinants of how people think, behave, and feel (1994).

Self-Coaching Challenge:  The right fit at the right time.

Negative Self-Fulfilling Prophecy– don’t get stuck in a negative environment or pigeon whole as such and such like you are negative person or not strong in task implementation or follow-up through or what ever the negative characteristic that has been put on you by others. The key question is whether you want to try to change that prevailing perception…  Everyone has an opinion, and some of them matter and some are inaccurate. And the moment you start believing and worrying about what other people think about your strengths or potential, you’ll be too caught up in defending yourself to find your strengths and positive energy for being successful and reaching your potential. Of course there is value in feedback and constructive criticism but if the overriding view of you is negative and you start to believe it, then failure is almost guaranteed

Unless someone is giving you feedback that’s going to help you grow, ignore it. Some people give “advice” with the result of causing you to stop believing in yourself this can cause harm and almost impossible obstacles to overcome, whether it’s intentionally or unintentionally. You maybe battling an uphill battle of miss-perceptions. Pick and choose who you listen to very carefully, then create a personal development plan for change in the next thirty days.

 

Importance of Empathy on Employee Engagement and Satisfaction

Empathy is a building block of one’s interpersonal connections.—for people to cultivate empathy skills, it helps if they can stop and take the time to put themselves in someone else’s shoes. It is also a key ingredient of successful relationships because it helps us understand the needs, priorities and desires of others. Here are some of the ways that interpersonal communication research has testified to the far-reaching importance of empathy. 

  • Empathy is good for bonding and team development: Managers who demonstrate empathy have employees who report greater job satisfaction and engagement 
  • Tied closely to empathy is the concept worker engagement and positive work climate this  recent trend towards positive psychology, where the concern is positive aspects of employees’ behavior. According to Maslach and Leiter (1997), when there is a person and positive job match, employees experience engagement with their work, characterized by high energy, involvement, and positive efficacy. As per Schaufeli et al. (2002), employee engagement is a positive, work-related state of mind characterized by vigor, dedication and absorption. In this regard, attention is paid to human strengths, optimal functioning, and positive experiences at work (Seligmen and Csikszentmihalyi, 2000; Schaufeli and Bakker, 2004) not on negative feedback or focus on weaknesses. While, disengaged employees display incomplete role performances and task  behaviors become effortless, automatic or robotic (Hochschild, 1983). According to the author, disengagement may be result of employees who lack positive social interaction and support, who experience little autonomy in work roles, or who feel their work and contribution is unimportant to others.  

So the question is -How often do you stop to listen to and engage your fellow workers? Or Do you focus on the task and getting the job done? 

Want to improve social-emotion connections cultivate empathy in your relationships.

1 Model empathy. Show people what mens to appreciate them. Observe and show interest in the lives of others. Listen to other people’s experience and opinions. Talk about your experiences practicing empathy, and about the times you forgot to act with empathy.

2. Start with safety and security. Fear and self-centeredness interferes with the development of empathy. Learn to stop and demonstrate consideration and toward others.

3. Practice self-regulation skills. Self-regulation skills are the foundation for empathy. By learning to calm yourself, regulate emotions, delay gratification, persevere, and stay focused on the right things, fellow workers and family members develop the skills which allow them to look beyond themselves.

4. Notice other people’s feelings without judgment or put downs. Talk about these feelings and assure the other person they are okay to share and have these inner experiences. Learn to use words that focus on the so-called “soft things” in life and avoid only the “hard stuff” like project schedules, profit, or task activities.

5. Follow the Golden Rule of relationships and empathy  “ Treat others in the same way that they themselves would like to be treated because relationships matter. Relations emphasizing empathy are built on focused attention, active listening and demonstrated caring and trust. For example, most of us would like to be listened to and understood by others.

Daily Quote and Reflecting: Coping with Losses and Transitions in Life.

Daily Quote: ” Chaos is the primal state of pure energy for every true new beginning…living during these turbulent times of rapid and unexpected change is one of the most difficult tasks a person will face in the 21st Century. In adapting to new realities, people need a map  to chart a course through chaos. William Bridges

It  may just mean doing a better job at whatever you’re doing or trying new things that are more fulfilling . There are men and women who make the world better just by being the kind of people they are –and that too is a strong commitment to living life “on purpose. They have the gift of kindness or courage or loyalty or integrity. It matters very little whether they’re behind the wheel of a truck or a country doctor or bringing up a family.

Interesting discussion about athletes on ESPN sports talk by Mike and Mike a few days ago–They talked about how professional players have an attitude that does not help them get through life transitions. For example, I am going to do this thing I love forever, I don’t need the help, I am bullet proof and  will play forever. These are false ideas and significant obstacles to dealing with reality when it hits and their career is over. They setup a difficult and sometimes painful situation for getting through life’s transitions.

Another difficult area in losses or transitions is whether the unfortunate event is an on time and off time loss–I am 65 and it is time to retire (on time) or I am 25-year-old soldier and I loss both of my legs or a rookie all-star football athlete who sustains a career ending injury, or you are 44 and get fired because of circumstances or incompetence…etc. If you want more information on how to handle these situations see the National Best selling book called  Transitions by William Bridges. This book discusses the many scenarios and struggles people confront when facing loses or in the need to start over in life because of tragedies or just circumstances.   Finding one’s way is difficult so we need support and education to cope with losses and find new opportunities for creating a stable life and new identity.

Let me summarize some of the questions that Bridges and others have raised that you might ask yourself  that you can face the many transitions life:

  1. Are you being honest with yourself about the situation or circumstances you are facing?
  2. What challenges does this life transition present? What is changing? What are up and downsides to this change?
  3. What will actually be different because of this challenging situation?
  4. What losses might I experience? How can I prepare or get out ahead of these possible changes?
  5. What strengths do I have and what are my weaknesses or voids that have been created by this loss?
  6. What does success look like once I have confronted and overcome this transition or loss?

One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living or don’t ask for help when we need it. We are all dreaming of some magical time over the horizon instead of enjoying the moment and using the time right in front of us to prepare for the expected or unexpected events that confront us all at some point in life.

Part III: Overcoming Negative Thinking: Case Study On Pete Carroll of Seattle Seahawks

Daily Quote: “Treat each day as if something positive were about to happen”. Pete Carroll’s Mom  

Why I am pulling for the Seattle Seahawks to win the Super Bowl. They are are already winners. Pete Carroll has instilled a philosophy based on John Wooden’s theory of Leadership called The Pyramid for Success. 

During his year out of football the following year, Carroll did some serious self-reflecting. He asked himself what he could do better and how he could successful use his positive philosophy work in the ultra competitive world of pro football. He would often repeat and reflect on the words of his mother, who often told him to “treat each day as if something positive were about to happen”. This mindset and mental toughness was considered nonsense and  “too soft” for the tough guy culture of the NFL, where people tend to focus on things that could go wrong. Carroll would no longer focus on the negative. He would create a culture of respect and “positivity” by focusing on the unique strengths and contributions of everyone in the organization.

He also read Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court, the powerful memoir by the former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden. It resonated with Carroll not only because Wooden needed 17 years before winning his first national championship, but also because he believed in being positive and nurturing.

Ultimately he formulated a blueprint based on Coach Wooden’s Pyramid of Success. He simplified Wooden’s approach by focusing on fun, fundamentals, positivity, team caring and competition. Carroll’s approach was underpinned by taking advantage of the uniqueness of each individual and challenging them to be more than they thought they could be. He would have themes for each day of the week—Tell the Truth Monday, Competition Wednesday, Turnover Thursday. He would have the first-string offense and defense face off in brief unscripted scrimmages so they would be ready for things they hadn’t prepared for. He would blare music throughout practice to raise the energy level and force his players to focus and refocus to eliminate distractions and focus on the “here and Now” moment.

“I didn’t know I’d get another chance in the NFL—I didn’t think that—so that’s why I went the college route, to try to see what would happen if we applied these philosophies,” Carroll says. “Fortunately, going into SC, I was so ready to go in there. I had had a big change in my thinking and had adjusted things, so that was like the proving ground, and it worked out great. We’ve come here to Seattle and we haven’t done one thing different. It basically comes down to taking care of the people in your program and making them the best they can be—not giving up on them and never failing to be there for them. They don’t even totally know that’s how we are with them, because we do it so completely.”

Self-Coaching Challenge: I challenge you to read more about both Coach Wooden’s and Carroll’s philosophy and develop over the next month your personal Philosophy for Living a More Meaningful and Fulling Life.