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!
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You may not link gratitude and work together, but gratitude has its place there. Gratitude expands your mind and heart and often lifts you up. You may already see the role of gratitude in your personal life. You can benefit from gratitude at work, as well.
What are three things you are grateful for in your current work? Try each day to identify one thing at work you are grateful for and see what happens.
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Sometimes things are hiding in plain sight; however, you fail to see them. There can be many reasons: an expectation or strong emotion like anger clouds your view, what is there creates fear for you, you have not experienced anything like it before and therefore fail to recognize it, you are not fully present to what is going on, you are avoiding seeing it or a need to please prevents you from acknowledging what is there.
Being asleep to something is human. It’s not hard to find yourself there. Key is to will yourself “awake” to what is happening around you in your workplace. The benefits are obvious. By seeing the truth of a situation you can assess it appropriately and decide how to respond in a manner that is best for you and your career.
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You have a right to a sense of meaning in your work. That sense of meaning can be hindered by things such as: a wrong fit with the work you are doing, values not being honored, a dysfunctional workplace or a lack of resources or skills to do your job.
When you find yourself asking, “What’s the use?” take a look at the source of your frustration. Once you discover it, do what you can to remedy the situation. In that way, you assure that your work fulfills you. It’s better for you and for the world.
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Where are you working? Is it the “place” where you want and are meant to be? With the year ending, take some time to answer these questions. If the place you are in now is not working for you, make some intentions to change that. You do your best when you are happy and fulfilled.
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As a teen, this was a phrase I used often thinking I was so nonchalant. Actually, today, it may have some relevance to your career and work life. All workplaces have expectations of the organization as a whole and of individual people within the organization. Some of these expectations relate to what you are supposed to be excited about – possibly a new mission, behaviors within the organization or your contribution to the organization.
Perhaps, in adult life, this is not a nonchalant question. What are you excited about in your work life? What do others expect you to be excited about? What are you not excited about that may be an indication that changes are needed?
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.
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A bias is a partiality that prevents objective consideration of an issue or situation. Often, biases are unconscious. They can come from direct experience, or vicarious experiences (e.g. experiences of other people, stories, culture).
In the workplace, your biases and those of others can be harmful. It behooves you to be aware of yours and to be able to identify those of others. An example of a workplace bias may be: men (or women) are better leaders. If you or someone you work with has this bias, it’s easy to see the havoc it can cause.
What are your biases? Do you know? If not, give some thought to the perceptions and beliefs you have about the people you work with. Then, come up with actual interactions you have had with them and determine if they confirm your perceptions and beliefs. If they do not, you may have a bias there that is best to be aware of.
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Recently I listened to an episode of This American Life titled In Defense of Ignorance. In the episode, they discussed The Dunning–Kruger Effect, a cognitive bias wherein unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their ability to be much higher than is accurate. The theory was developed in experiments conducted by Dunning and Kruger of the department of psychology at Cornell University in 1999. The study was inspired by the case of McArthur Wheeler, a man who robbed two banks after covering his face with lemon juice in the mistaken belief that, because lemon juice is usable as invisible ink, it would prevent his face from being recorded on surveillance cameras.
Have you seen the Dunning-Kruger Effect in action in your workplace? You deal with all kinds of personalities in your workplace and need to use your emotional intelligence to remain effective. What do you do when you run into people with an unshakable sense of superiority? How do you keep doing your work well amongst them?
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As you work, have you ever encountered a situation and thought, “this is absurd”? It may be a cynical reaction to the situation. However, it also may be a reaction worth paying some attention to. Absurd means wildly unreasonable, illogical, or inappropriate. That’s not too far out considering what you can encounter in your work, is it? You may dismiss an absurd situation as out of the norm, let it go or try to explain it away.
Looking carefully at a situation that strikes you as absurd, could give you some valuable insights about your workplace, let you see things as they really are or help you assess whether your organization is a match for you.
“If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.” ― Albert Einstein
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