Knowing how to plan and direct your way through your workplace culture is essential to your success. “Doing your job” is not about performing tasks alone. You have to navigate personalities, emotions, workplace values, hidden agendas and rules, as well as assure your own path to career success.
When you widen your focus, you can see all the elements at play in your workplace. Tunnel vision or putting on blinders will not benefit you. You need to navigate obstacles, changes, threats and surprises, at the same time that you get your work done. Successful navigation is aided by developing your emotional intelligence, keeping your eyes and mind open, observing workplace culture and the actions of others, building your skill base and finding the root causes of any problems or setbacks you encounter.
See yourself at the helm of your career ship and set your course in the direction that best serves you!
photo: garrett parker, unsplash.com
Dissonance: lack of agreement, consistency or harmony; conflict.
Experiencing any dissonance in your work lately (or forever)? Though work may not reach perfection, too much dissonance is unhealthy, unnecessary and inhibits your productivity. Best to minimize dissonance in your work and life.
Sometimes, you can become accustomed to dissonance or even encourage it, towards your own aims. Do so at your peril. To maximize your performance and work happy you need a work life that feeds you. Do an inventory of your work life (relationships and interactions, nature of your work, noise, expectations and time) and estimate the percentage of your time in which you experience dissonance. Is the percentage acceptable or unacceptable to you? If unacceptable, see what’s possible in terms of creating more harmony in your work experience.
photo: Derks24, pixabay.com
There are many circumstances and times in your career when it behooves you to ask, “How far can I go?” By asking this question, you assess your chances of success in what you are doing. Say a co-worker or manager has crossed a boundary with you. When you ask this question it helps you consider what reactions and responses you could receive as you protect your boundaries.
This question also has relevance in relationship to your independence and creativity. What are the lines you cannot cross in your organization’s culture? If you find yourself restricted and are not able to go as far as you like, perhaps some reflection is called for on whether the culture you are in is right for you.
It would be great if you lived in a world with no limits. However, limits do exist – some are imposed arbitrarily and some with good reason. Ultimately though, you are the one who answers the question, “How far can I go?”
Our culture reveres winning. Not a bad thing if winning is done fairly and well. However, winning alone has become a common pursuit. We have to go back to core societal values of truth, mutual respect, ethics and the greater good. Winning alone has its problems. It does not have to be based in facts, ends are more important than means and the desired outcome is self-serving.
When a culture reveres winning alone, winning is pursued at all costs. It harms societies and the organizations we work in – people are harmed, truth is not revealed and future actions and perceptions are often based on falsities.
What do you think about winning alone?’
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Many of us want to be appreciated for our work and talents. Do you feel appreciated by those you work with and for? This is not limited to a yes or no answer. There are more things to look at here:
• The reasons appreciation matters or does not matter to you.
• How you want appreciation expressed – possibly in words, action, money.
• What you want to be appreciated for.
• Whether you feel you deserve appreciation.
• How your organization’s culture shows appreciation.
Your emotions and mindset can play a part in this, either positively or negatively. Getting clear on how you want appreciation expressed and what’s possible in your organization can go a long way in avoiding the quicksand of feeling unappreciated. Find a way to reach clarity on both what you want and if your organization is willing to or can give that to you.
photo: Tumisu, pixabay.com
Sometimes, your playing field shifts. It may be a change in upper management personnel, a new policy, a major change in culture or significant changes in funding and resources. When a playing field shifts, you must shift as well.
The first step is to notice that the playing field has shifted – sometimes there is not an announcement; the change just happens. Then, step back and look at how the shift affects you and your team. It is a non-negotiable that you make changes in response. If you ignore the change, you’ll be out of step and suffer consequences. Assess what is in your and your team’s best interests and adjust to the new playing field. Maximize your advantage.
In the long run, it is easier to respond to change, then to pretend it is not there. When the playing field shifts, create your own shifts, too. That way, you’ll remain a winner, no matter what field you playing on.
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photo: Stoonn, FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Fear can show its face at work and often does. It finds its way within uncertainty, dysfunctional cultures, self doubt, power plays, edges of comfort zones, unexpected outcomes and aggression.
The best way to deal with fear is to go right through it. Pushing it down, pretending it is not there or convincing yourself it doesn’t matter, only increases fear’s hold on you.
photo: Ivosar | Dreamstime.com
This year I did a presentation for an organization that was undergoing major change in both their culture and their operations. My focus in the presentation was on three steps to successfully navigating change: embracing change, teamwork and communications and staff empowerment. As part of the presentation I included the video below, titled Navigating Change, which I would like to share with you (the organization works with children, thus some of the smaller figures). As a manager, what are your best practices for successfully navigating change?