ED EVARTS is a leadership coach, team coach, strategist, podcast and author of Raise Your Visibility and Value: Uncover the Lost Art of Connecting on the Job and Drive Your Career: 9 High-Impact Ways to Take Responsibility for Your Own Success. Ed is also the host of the successful podcast, Be Brave @ Work: Stories About Courage in the Workplace. Ed works with senior leaders in large organizations to help them build their self-awareness on how others experience them so these leaders can manage their strengths and weaknesses more effectively. Visit Ed at www.excellius.com
In our fast-paced work environments, you find little time to polish your most valuable asset – yourself. In my new book, Drive Your Career : 9 High-Impact Ways to Take Responsibility for Your Own Success, I share nine recommendations for how you can ensure you are the driver of your career, not just a passenger. What are these ideas? Here is a quick overview.
You don’t need to be best friends with your boss and go out for margaritas every Friday night. Yet, as you work for your boss, you need to ensure that your bosses’ quick thoughts about you, when asked, are positive and demonstrate the value you bring to your organization and industry. While I am not a sociologist, 85% of my clients would tell you they could have a more positive relationship with their boss. Some folks have really bad relationships with their boss. That is not a good place to be. Here are three quick tips of things you can do to enhance your relationship with your boss.
Wouldn’t you rather go into a tough discussion knowing all of the facts and how your colleague feels about something before sharing your thoughts? If you do, you will come to better conclusions, faster.
Life is like a bell curve – some colleagues will love our ideas, most colleagues will be okay with our idea, and some colleagues will hate our idea. You need to be prepared to navigate all three of these areas if you want to drive your career in the direction you want to go.
Yet, your colleagues are often experiencing what you are experiencing and can provide you tremendous assistance in navigating challenges you are facing. Talk to your human resources department to see if there is a person in your organization who could be of help to you.
Some of you may be in a workplace that is not allowing you to grow and drive your career. While you should try to be successful at work, at some point you may decide to move on. You might be like most of my clients, who bluff year after year. They pretend to like their boss, or like their place of employment, yet don’t. While bluffing may be a great idea for a day or two, it is a terrible long term strategy.
You should always try to make your place of work a better place in which to work by taking action. If, after taking action, your workplace and the opportunities that are being provided to you are not helping you driver your career, you can revisit folding and moving on. Regardless of your choice, the hand you have been dealt is the hand you have been dealt and your goal is to play it the best you can.
Yet, I have seen organizations do and redo work because it was not done correctly the first time. In fact, I have seen this often. You can be a more effective leader and ensure your career is going in the right direction if you pause more often to ensure that what you need to do, is done the best it can be done, the first time.
Feedback typically comes in two fashions – in-the-moment and annually. In-the-moment feedback can be highly effective as the behavior in which you are giving feedback just happened. Annual feedback is a little different and should be more long-term focused. Regardless of the type of feedback you are providing, you are ahead of the game if you are giving it at all.
Actually, It’s All About Empathy
The number one skill that you are not using on a regular basis, and most leaders with whom you work, fail to use on a regular basis is demonstrating empathy. In order to drive your career, you need folks to know that you care about them first. As I said in the first bullet, you do not need to be best friends with your bosses and colleagues, but your bosses and colleagues need to know that you care about them.
The best way to show folks that you care is to be empathetic. Showing empathy is not always easy, yet here are some quick steps you can take to demonstrate empathy – notice a behavior in another person, get permission to chat about the behavior, be clear about what you are observing, offer to help your colleague in any way that you can, acknowledge that you understand how your colleague is feeling, and reiterate your offer to help. Practice these steps and observe how your role as a good colleague and leader grows exponentially.
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