Unhappy at work

Unhappy at work

Unhappy at work – the sad fact is that very few of us are lucky enough to be unhappy at workhappy all the time at work. For some though, sadly, they are not happy for most of the time. When that happens to you, you may need to spend a little time thinking through exactly why you are unhappy. And then you  can decide best what to do about it.

Most of us have days when we get up not excited about the prospect of going to work. It might be because we know we have something ahead that is very challenging. I mean the kind of challenging that checks the box that says “this challenge is really exciting and it is motivating me to do well”. But, even when you feel confident and competent in the job, some challenges will feel daunting.

There will be some challenges where you feel you really do not have the competencies needed to do well. In those circumstances, it is wise to seek help from your line manager, a mentor or a friendly colleague. It is better to have the strength and humility to seek help than to race on towards possible failure and more unhappiness.

If your unhappy at work is a question of confidence, then again training and support are available. There are lots of coaches like me who would be very happy to work with you. Most of us will work with you as a one off to help you to prepare for a special event and we’ll certainly work with you to resolve deeper issues. Plus, you can find lots of books to help you work on strengthening your confidence.

Of course there are all kinds of unhappiness at work. Here are just to few things that can make you unhappy at work;

1. The Job Itself

a. May be over and sometimes under-demanding
b. May have turned out to require a different skill set to that advertised or it has changed over time.

2. The people

a. The person we work for may be unpleasant to the point being a bully or perhaps pleasant but just not very good at managing
b. The team we work with may be poorly led, unpleasant or simply dysfunctional in some other way for example without clear terms of reference

3. The Environment

a. The location, accommodation or commute may be unpleasant.
b. The company may be failing or in difficulties for some reason
c. The culture of the organization may be one in which we can’t feel happy, fulfilled and appreciated

What really matters when you are unhappy is to try to be very clear about the reason. Until you are clear, it is quite difficult to define your options for putting things right. Too often the first response is simply to think I just need to get out. And in the present climate, that isn’t realistic!

Never be afraid to ask for help. There are lots of us out there who be pleased to talk to you!

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

Anchor the Change

Anchor the Change

Leading Change the Kotter Way

Anchor the Change is the eighth and last step in the Kotter model. Real changeanchor the change runs deep, takes time and needs to be embedded. It has to become part of the core of your organization! Your corporate culture often determines what gets done, so the values behind your vision must be shown in day-to-day work.

This post is last part of a series on the Kotter approach to leading change. I am in process of revamping my original Kotter model series. Links to all the earlier Kotter posts are in this paragraph. The Kotter model is based on research which showed that there are eight critical steps an organisation or service needs to go through to ensure that change happens and sticks. This series of posts will consider these steps in greater detail. We have already reissued; Step One: Creating Urgency Step Two: Forming a Powerful CoalitionStep Three Creating a Vision for Change Step Four: Communicate Your Vision , Step Five: Handling Resistance , Step Six Delivering Short-Term Wins and Step Seven Building on Change

Step Eight: Anchor the Change in Corporate Culture

This is the last step. To make any change stick, it has to become part of the core of your organization! Your corporate culture often determines what gets done. So the values behind your vision must be shown in day-to-day work.

You should make continuous efforts to ensure the change is seen in every aspect of your organization. This will help give that change a solid place in your organisation’s culture.

It’s important that your company’s leaders continue to support the change. This includes existing staff and any new leaders who are brought in. If you lose the support of these people, you could end up back where you started.

What you can do:

  • Talk about progress every chance you get. Tell success stories about the change process, and repeat other stories that you hear. Give everyone a clear picture!
  • Include the change ideals and values when hiring and training new staff.
  • Publicly recognise key members of your original change coalition, and make sure the rest of the staff – new and old – remembers their contributions.
  • Publicly reward people who demonstrate the change in their behaviour – even if it is just a word in the office at their desks.
  • Create plans to replace key leaders of change as they move on. This will help ensure that their legacy is not lost or forgotten.

Meanwhile …

Here is a Kotter Reading List for you;

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

Building on Change

Building on Change

Leading Change the Kotter Way

Building on Change is the seventh step in the Kotter model. Real change runs Building on Changedeep and takes time. Quick wins are only the beginning of what needs to be done to achieve long-term change – make sure you take enough time!

This post is  part of a series on the Kotter approach to leading change. I am in process of revamping my original Kotter model series. Links to all the earlier Kotter posts are in the next paragraph. The Kotter model is based on research which showed that there are eight critical steps an organisation or service needs to go through to ensure that change happens and sticks. This series of posts will consider these steps in greater detail. We have already reissued; Step One: Creating Urgency Step Two: Forming a Powerful CoalitionStep Three Creating a Vision for Change Step Four: Communicate Your Vision , Step Five: Handling Resistance and Step Six Delivering Short-Term Wins

Step Seven: Build on the Change

Kotter argues that many change projects fail because victory is declared too early. Real change runs deep and takes time. Quick wins are only the beginning of what needs to be done to achieve long-term change – make sure you take enough time!

Launching one new product using a new system is great. But you may need  launch 10 products to ensure that the new system is well embedded and really working. To reach that 10th success, you need to keep looking for improvements.

Each success provides an opportunity to build on what went right and identify what you can improve.

Building on Change – What you can do:

  • After every win, analyse what went right and what needs improving.
  • Set goals to continue building on the momentum you’ve achieved.
  • Learn about the idea of continuous improvement
  • Keep ideas fresh by bringing in new change agents and leaders for your change coalition.

Meanwhile …

Here is a Kotter Reading List for you;

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

Do you have empathy?

Do you have empathy?

Empathy is the ability to walk in someone else’s shoes for a while and to see the world though their eyes! It means being able to suspend judgement. So, you share their empathyvalues and see things from their perspective. Empathy is different from sympathy. And, it doesn’t mean feeling sorry for people. Though, it does mean being able to understand what they are thinking and feeling. You are able to establish trust.

The four different levels of empathy

There are four different level of empathy;

  • Level 0. This is when you no show evidence that you understand the other person’s thoughts or feelings. This can be despite the person trying to explain what they are thinking and feeling. So, it is shown most obviously by callous and unthinking remarks
  • Level 1 is when you show some understanding but at a very superficial level. You have only partial understanding. And the other person can feel confused and lack trust as a result.
  • Level 2. This when you show you understand and accept. But you do not completely understand or accept.
  • Level 3 is when there is complete understanding. You accept the other person’s feelings and thoughts.

When you accept that that someone thinks and feels in a particular way, you don’t necessarily approve of all their behaviour. No do you necessarily that behaviour is justified as a result. But it does mean that you can communicate with them. And may be able to influence them in a positive way. You have a basis for trust.

Empathy and relationships

You cannot truly empathise with someone without listening, as well as observing verbal and body messages. And you show through your own voice and body language that you have understood. In other words you have to listen actively.

Empathy is key skill required in building strong relationships, It requires an open mind and the ability to accept difference.

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

 

Job Search: The Keys To Success

Job Search: The Keys To Success

Job search – over the last couple of years I’ve worked with a number of clients who have been very successful in their job searches.

Here is what I think the common job search factors have been.

  1. You are more likely to get a job if you have solid evidence you can do the kind of job searchwork you seek.  Don’t think you can bluff your way through in this climate. If you do get lucky and find yourself appointed you and then can’t do the work, you are likely to be sent on your way pretty quickly. This will make job search harder next time. The sad fact in the present market is that few employers are likely to give you more than induction training at best. Use the time you spend without work to refresh your knowledge and gain qualifications if you need them.
  2. Being able to build relationships pays dividends. Yes, we can talk about networking all day – I often do.  But here I’m talking about learning to build rapport and establish relationships quickly with recruiters and potential new employers. If it doesn’t come naturally then go and work on your communication and relationship building skills.
  3. Successful job seekers do their homework; they research the market and keep up to date with new developments. They know who the key players are and what the culture is like in the organisations they want to target.
  4. Be ready to prepare. Successful job seekers prepare thoroughly at each stage in the process. They leave as little as possible to chance, work on being confident and practice their presentations and their interview technique.
  5. Above all, successful job seekers work hard to keep up energy and motivation. This means looking after themselves physically with diet and exercise.  Also keeping themselves mentally alert and interested in what is going on around them. This may be tough but you need to make a commitment to staying positive despite the inevitable set-backs. The energy and positive approach that you project at interview can make a real difference to your likelihood of success. 

You can do all these things on your own.  Though, as you would expect, I think it is much easier with the support of a career coach. If there is anything I can do to help you please get in touch.

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

 

Adjourning and Mourning: Tuckman Part 5

Managing Team Performance: Team Work 101

Form, Storm, Norm, Perform and Adjourn.

Tuckman Part 5 – Adjourning and Mourning

Adjourning and Mourning is the last part of the Tuckman model of how groups/teams Adjourning and Mourningdevelop.

Most groups go through a formation process like that described by Dr Tuckman. And, this includes a fourth and main stage when the group actually delivers the task. So, understanding the Tuckman model can help you lead, manage and facilitate teams and work groups more effectively. Some group leaders find the stages uncomfortable – they can be challenging to handle. Unfortunately, stages can seem slow and a waste of precious work time. But going through them means a more cohesive and efficient working group is formed

This short series of posts is about how you can lead your group through the Tuckman stages to achieve a good result. My post on  Stage 1, described how the group will be looking for some ground rules. In Stage 2, they set about testing what they think those ground rules might be. Stage 3 meant people began to experience a sense of group belonging. Stage 4 was about managing team performance.   Now, in Stage 4 Adjourning and Mourning,  the group breaks-up with its purpose, hopefully fulfilled.

Adjourning, and mourning

If the team leader has taken the advice set out for moving from Stage 4, the group will now have delivered the task.  The members can move on to new things carrying forward learning from this experience into their new work. But for that to be done successfully there is a change to be managed.

The break-up can be hard for members who have come to enjoy team routines or who have developed close working relationships with other team members.  People may feel very insecure and anxious about finding a new role.  It is important to celebrate and document what has been achieved and to make sure that all have a chance to share the learning from this group experience. Some group members may need particular support in moving forward. It can be a stressful period, particularly if the group is being broken up before its task is complete.

Leading the group through Stage 5 

What is the role of the leader? With a group in Stage 5, there is an opportunity to use a whole range of management skills.  You are dealing with conflicting emotions in yourself as well as in the team. These can include happiness and pride in a job complete, sadness at the dissolution and, even, anger if the group is being disbanded for less than noble reasons.

There may be some mundane but important tasks to complete. These may include archiving and record keeping for governance purposes. But team members may find it difficult to find the motivation to complete them,. Also encouraging honesty and sharing around lessons learned by the group during its lifetime, means you need to keep the members’ trust. A positive outcome means you lead them to acknowledge the task is complete, accepting the best and worst of the process. Then you help them let go and say goodbye

What could be problems in Stage 5 Adjourning and mourning?

Team members may well have feelings of dislocation and loss.  People deal with their feelings in different ways.  You may find some lose motivation completely and start to avoid the necessary work.  Others may argue over minor details and you find them reverting to storming – old arguments re-surface.  Others may deny or try to pretend that isn’t really the end and find excuses to prolong the process. Leading/managing means being vigilant, identifying what is happening and intervening with understanding and support.

This is the last in this series on the Tuckman Model – Forming, Norming, Storming, Performing and Adjourning.  But I’d welcome your thoughts and your questions. If you need advice on implementing the model, please get in touch.

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

Re-applying for your own job

Re-applying for your own job

Re-applying for your own job – far too many organisations now are asking their Re-applying for your own jobstaff to do this  Sometimes, this is because there has been re-organisation after, say, a merger.   And quite often it seems to happen during downsizing on the pretext of re-organisation. Whatever the reason, it usually causes anger, frustration and just plain fear among employees. It is certainly not the best way to keep up morale.

If it is your job on the line, how do you go about surviving the storm?

Well, first, telling the company exactly what you think of what they are doing isn’t going to help your application. Instead, it is better to vent in private with someone who you really trust.  While at work try to stay positive to make the best of a difficult situation.

Don’t make assumptions about your value to the organization. Now is the time to prove your worth.  Don’t assume that all the good things you have contributed have been registered; you need to make sure you get them on the record.

Recognise the reality of the situation

Your job is on the line and you are in competition. Do not start to play dirty tricks. But do recognise that in this kind of climate others might feel free to do so. Keep your wits about you while still trying to be a good team player. (Nobody said this was easy).

Work on polishing up your CV/resume to show the value you have added and the contribution you have delivered. Quantify your results and include hard facts about delivery.  Make sure you show your competence and contribution fully.

Target you CV to the job as it will be, just as you would when applying from outside the organization.  If you need to offer a cover letter make sure you enthuse about future possibilities – don’t be tempted to whine.  If it is a completely new role show how your skills are transferable and say why you want that role in particular even if it is the only one available. Show how you can meet their needs.

It may be hard to do but work on your relationship with managers who are going to be part of the future organization.

At the end of the day, if you can’t come to terms with this all this,  it might be better to move on. It might be time to seek new opportunities in a new organization. But even If you decide to leave, it is still in your long-term interest to stay on good terms with your managers.

Sorry, this isn’t the pleasantest topic to think about! Some of the advice above may be uncomfortable.  You have to make your own judgement about just how important having this job is to you and how far you are prepared to go to stay around.

If you need support in this or a similar situation please get in touch.

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

Networking Tips to Help Your Job Search

Networking Tips to Help Your Job Search

Networking – if you are a new job seeker it might surprise you to learn that 60% networkingof jobs are never advertised.  That means that most vacancies are filled by word of mouth. There are filled through networking.

Why are so few vacancies advertised?

Advertising costs a lot of money.  And then it takes a lot of time to sort through application forms and CVs and even more resource to interview candidates. All this can be avoided by promoting from within the organisation or by employing people who are known to them. Some organisations actively encourage their staff to refer friends with suitable skills and most are happy to receive introductions to, or approaches from, good people.

How do I begin?

Most people are anxious about networking if they’ve never done it before. Taking an organised approach and working to your plan can help you feel more confident.

Steps to networking!

  1. Make a list of the people you know – including the sector they work in and who they might know.
  2. Look out for contacts and networks that relate to your own sector – check out industry conferences, events and forums.
  3. Exploit the possibilities of social networking. Join business networking sites such as LinkedIn. Look for relevant groups and organisations on social networking sites including Facebook. You could consider establishing your own networking group on LinkedIn or Facebook.
  4. Plan your approach. Have a clear idea of who you want to talk to or make contact with at events and online. Think about why you are interested in the organisation and why you’re approaching them.
  5. Do your homework. When approaching an individual or organisation try to research what they do. LinkedIn and Facebook are great tools for researching people. Get to understand their culture and the language of the sector they work in.
  6. Focus on what you can offer. Before setting up a networking meeting, think about what you can do for them. Could you suggest a contact that might help their business or offer to help out with a busy project they are involved in? Do you have specialist advice to offer?
  7. Tailor your communication. Don’t send out the same version of your speculative application letter or CV to all organisations. Make sure they are tailored to the organisation and show how your skills are relevant.
  8. Keep records.  Keep an excel spreadsheet or a notebook listing contacts,to whom you’ve spoken or written.  And include their contact details and their position as well as how you are going to follow up. This record can be invaluable if your contacts get in touch at a later date.
  9. Be yourself. The most important parts of networking are to be yourself and to treat other people with courtesy and respect. You don’t have to have overwhelming confidence – just remember other people at networking events may be feeling just like you. Show a real interest in other people and start a conversation, and then follow up; you will become a good net-worker and it will pay dividends.
  10. Remember, networking is 60% about giving (your time, interest and energy) and only 40% about getting

If you need support in developing the confidence to network please get in touch.

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

Taking A Career Break: Quotes and Resources

Taking a Career Break

Taking A Career Break: Quotes and Resources

Taking a career break! Lots of us think and may be dream about the idea of taking some time out from the daily grind. Here are some quotes on the experience. Plus I’ve included below details of two books to  help you on your way. And now the quotes…

  1.  It is energizing and liberating to turn down a road you have not traveled before. To reach toward what you cannot yet touch brings new passion and strength to your life. Ralph Marston
  2. Disconnect with your work self on a sabbatical, and you’ll reconnect with who you really are.  Corbett Barr
  3. It’s a time to immerse yourself in a different environment, try new things, reassess your priorities, and look at your life from a different perspectiveMarelisa Fabrega
  4. Give yourself the priceless gifts of new experiences, new skills, new knowledge and the confidence of knowing how quickly you can grow. Expand your horizons, again and again, and discover that every limit is there to be transcended.  Ralph Marston
  5. Getting away from it all might be the only way you can really reset or change course. If you continue around the day-to-day, making significant changes is tough. Taking a few months off will give you the space you need to figure things out. Corbett Barr
  6. Taking a sabbatical is the first step towards discovering whether or not I can take the leap of faith and do something fully on my own.  Do anything for a while, and it becomes increasingly harder to cut the cord. Sam Dogen
  7. Of Fortune’s best 100 companies to work for in America, 21 of them have paid-for, formal sabbatical programs. It’s a competitive advantage with regard to recruiting talent. Jaye Smith
  8. Almost everybody got back to some form of better eating and exercise, and they keep that up. And they say, “I didn’t realize what stress I was under. Now I can go back for my next five years with some balance” Rita Foley
  9. My sabbatical didn’t really recharge my batteries as I hoped it would.  Instead, the sabbatical helped realize my preference for freedom over a steady paycheck at this point in my life.  I’ve experienced what life could be like if I worked for myself and I must say that I’m extremely excited about the prospects. Sam Dogen
  10. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed in the things that you didn’t do than in the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Mark Twain

Books on Taking A Career Break

Escape 101: The Four Secrets to Taking a Sabbatical or Career Break Without Losing Your Money or Your Mind by Dan Clements and Tara Gignac  

“What’s your dream escape? Relaxing on a palm-studded beach? A year off to write your novel? Missionary work with the needy? Exploring ancient ruins or saving the rainforest?

Whether you’re an adventurer, a poet, a volunteer or you just need a break, Escape 101 provides you with a step-by-step system to take as much time as you need from your job, career or business, without losing ground.”

A Gap Year for Grown Ups by Susan Griffith

“A guide for grown ups wanting to take the trip of a lifetime, containing information on specialist schemes and opportunities for professionals and mature travellers. Covers everything from what to pack to paying the mortgage when away, as well as advice from adult gappers who have been there and done it.”

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link