Values, Authenticity and Your Career

Values, Authenticity and Your Career

Advice from Wendy Smith; Life and Career Coach and author of The WiseWolf Job Search Pocket Book – Wendy’s books on Amazon

Values, Authenticity and Your Career – I looked up a dictionary definition of authenticity and it referred to being worthy of trust, reliance or belief; not counterfeit or copied.

An important part of my work as a coach, whether as a career coach and as a life coach, is to get clients to identify and reflect on their own, personal, values. And reflecting on my personal values is something I do periodically. To live authentically is to live in accord with your own values.

Of course, getting to know your own values can be quite hard work.

Many of us seem to have imbibed values from others, mainly from our parents, when we were very young. They are not necessarily things that we have thought that much about. They are just the “rules” we try to live by and we usually assume that everyone else shares them.

Values, Authenticity and Your Career – Values vary widely

In reality, values can vary very widely between cultures and even quite a lot between people within the same culture.

Think about the difference in values between someone focussed on making as much money as possible, as quickly as they can, so that their children can have the best opportunities that money can buy. Then think about those sacrificing to help others in the world’s disasters and emergencies. Both are doing what they think is right according to their own values. And in a modern “mixed” economy, we need them both.

Knowing your own values is important

Knowing your own values is important if you want to live a happy and fulfilled life.

But they do need to be your own values. You don’t have to accept all you have inherited. In fact, just accepting them without reflection can lead to much unhappiness. Think about the price put on physical beauty in our society and some of the misery to which it has led.

You have choice to make about the values by which you live your life.

Once you have decided what your values are going to be, you may have some work to do to shake off some of the values that you inherited. You need to do this, if you are not to live in conflict with yourself. Sometimes working with a life coach can help you do the work necessary to make the change.

Values and your career

So what has this to do with your career?

Well, if you wish to feel happy and fulfilled in your work, where and how you work needs to be in harmony with your values. It can mean making some hard choices. But it will mean your career is on a solid foundation for success and you can be truly authentic in all parts of your life; at work as well as at home.

Resources to help your job search and career development

In the job market, there are always lots of useful techniques to learn or to refresh. As a career coach and life coach there are lots of ways I can support your job search and your career development. And from writing a modern CV to wooing at the interview, you’ll find lots of tips in my handy little pocket-book.

Stress-free Job Search
A concise and practical little workbook. For all who have the courage to go out and learn the new skills necessary to find a job now.

A concise and practical little work book, it is for all who have the courage to go out and learn the new skills necessary to find a job now.

Find this and my other books on my Amazon page at this link; http://ow.ly/BRSAL

Remember working with a career coach can really help both  job search and career resilience. Get in touch at the Facing a mid-career dilemmaemail address below – I offer a free half hour trial session by phone or Skype.

Wendy Smith, Career, life and Business Coach

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in organisational development, 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. 

Need help finding work, with problems at work, at home or with relationships? Book your free 30 minute, no obligation, trial coaching session with Wendy Smith now at this Link 

Values, Authenticity and Your Career

Values, Authenticity and Your Career

Wendy Mason is a Career Coach and Life Coach helping you to solve difficult problems at work

I looked up a dictionary definition of authenticity and it referred to being worthy of trust, reliance or belief; not counterfeit or copied.

An important part of my work as a coach, whether as a career coach or as a life coach, is to get clients to identify and reflect on their own, personal, values. And reflecting on my personal values is something I do periodically. To live authentically is to live in accord with your own values.

Of course, getting to know your own values can be quite hard work.

Many of us seem to have imbibed values from others, mainly from our parents, when we were very young. They are not necessarily things that we have thought that much about. They are just the “rules” we try to live by and we usually assume that everyone else shares them.

Values vary widely

In reality, values can vary very widely between cultures and even quite a lot between people within the same culture.

Think about the difference in values between someone focussed on making as much money as possible, as quickly as they can, so that their children can have the best opportunities that money can buy. Then think about those sacrificing to help others in the world’s disasters and emergencies. Both are doing what they think is right according to their own values. And in a modern “mixed” economy, we need them both.

Knowing your own values is important

Knowing your own values is important if you want to live a happy and fulfilled life.

But they do need to be your own values. You don’t have to accept all you have inherited. In fact, just accepting them without reflection can lead to much unhappiness. Think about the price put on physical beauty in our society and some of the misery to which it has led.

You have choice to make about the values by which you live your life.

Once you have decided what your values are going to be, you may have some work to do to shake off some of the values that you inherited. You need to do this, if you are not to live in conflict with yourself. Sometimes working with a life coach can help you do the work necessary to make the change.

Values and your career

So what has this to do with your career?

Well, if you wish to feel happy and fulfilled in your work, where and how you work needs to be in harmony with your values. It can mean making some hard choices. But it does mean your career is on a solid foundation for success and you can be truly authentic in all parts of your life; at work as well as at home.

Wendy Mason  is a Career Coach and Life Coach helping you to solve difficult problems at work
wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com 
http://wisewolfcoaching.com

  • Career Development – When Panic Becomes the Norm at Work!
  • Career Development: Setting Career Goals That Reflect Your Personal Goals
  • Do You Enjoy Your Work? Does your team enjoy their work?

The Dalai Lama's thoughts on Dr King's Dream!

The Dalai Lama’s thoughts on Dr King’s Dream!

The Dalai Lama’s thoughts – His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaks from his The Dalai Lama's thoughtsresidence in Dharamsala, India. He talks about his hope and dream in honour of the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. This was recorded as part of NBC News’ DreamDay coverage on August 28th, 2013.

How do you plan to reflect the thoughts in your life at home and at work?

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

         

 

How will you reflect Dr King's Dream? Here are the Dalai Lama's thoughts!

How will you reflect Dr King’s Dream? Here are the Dalai Lama’s thoughts!

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaks from his residence in Dharamsala, India, about his hope and dream in honour of the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech recorded as part of NBC News’ DreamDay coverage on August 28th, 2013.

How do you plan to reflect their thoughts in your life at home and at work?

Acting with integrity at work

Acting with integrity at work

Acting with integrity at work – here is a dictionary definition of integrity

1. Steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code.

2. The state of being unimpaired; soundness.

3. The quality or condition of being whole or undivided; completeness.

“I have found that being honest is the best technique I can use. Right up front, tell people what you’re trying to accomplish and what you’re willing to sacrifice to accomplish it.” – Lee Iacocca


The most effective way to behave in work and business (including large banks), as in life, is to act with integrity.  Note the definitions above which talk about wholeness, soundness and completeness – this is a definition of health?

That means being as honest as you can and being fair.  As Lee Iacocca says, tell your team the truth and tell them what you are doing about it.  Be a model for honesty, openness and fairness and show that you expect all in your team to follow

Be as realistic as you can about the risks    When you can, help your staff prepare for bad news.  But combine all of this with being scrupulously fair.  They will know if you play the favorites game or, for example, take the opportunity to pay off old scores if you have to  lay people off or reduce hours.  You will lose good will and that extra contribution you need from those who stay.

In the good times share bonuses fairly and for good reasons – nothing is more de-motivating than seeing a colleague who doesn’t really deserve it, getting a bonus. If the bonuses you pay will not stand up to public scrutiny – don’t pay them.

There are major advantages in acting with integrity in all parts of the business in  terms of competitive advantage.

  • The public, and that means your customers, are increasingly concerned about ethical standards
  • Customers and good staff are more like to be attracted and retained
  • Shareholders are more likely to invest in those they trust, now more than ever
  • Staff and your own morale will be higher
  • Your reputation will be something you can be proud of
  • (At its crudest) You stay out of jail and believe me in old age, the money will not make up for the shame.

Here are some ideas for acting with integrity! If you can’t get your head round it, hire someone to advise you on good governance – there are plenty of us around and it isn’t hard to put it in place.

Some principles for making decisions with integrity!

  1. Make sure those in management know how to step back from every critical decision before they make it and look at it objectively.
  2. Understand the risks in your own culture.  Monitor those likely to get swept along by excitement or urgency to the point where they lose judgment .   Personal power, ‘winning’, strategic plotting, high drama, etc. feel good – they are exciting – but they rarely lead to real long-term business advantage
  3. Strive for fairness and the long-term, and not short-term polarized ‘winner takes all’ outcomes that threaten the organization’s long-term survival.
  4. Learn from history and earlier situations. Reviewing how previous situations were handled, reduces the risks of making daft mistakes:  Also history is a superb store of already invented wheels, which can often save you the time and agonies of trying unsuccessfully to invent a new one.
  5. Understand the long-term consequences.  You need to build in time, and structures, to think through what these might be. Try to make sure there are no unforeseen consequences which work to your, and other people’s,  detriment. Ask;
    1.  What do I get out of this? If you directly address how you benefit it’s easier to spot biases and blind spots.
    2. If we do this, what will happen? Play out the effects of the  decision. Be alert to the impact on stakeholders you may not have considered.
  6. Make sure what you do is legal, but think about the spirit of the law as well as the words.  No one really respects or trusts someone who is known to “bend” the law and that includes your customers and share holders
  7. Consult widely –  not just your staff, but your customers, if you can,
  8. Above all, resist the delusion and arrogance that power and authority tends to foster. This is especially important to guard against if you live and work in a protected, insulated or isolated situation, as many large-scale leaders and decision-makers tend to do. Being a leader for a long time, or for any duration in a culture of arrogance, privilege and advantage, provides great nourishment for personal delusion. Many unethical decisions come from arrogance and delusion. Guard against becoming so dangerous.

Acting with integrity doesn’t just help you to sleep at nights but you also stand a chance of leaving a real legacy – someone who is remembered and respected in your community and beyond for a very long time!

Wendy Smith, Career, life and Business Coach
Wendy Smith, Principal Coach, WiseWolf Life and Career Coaching

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in organisational development, 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 all her books on Amazon at this link

         

LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT; ACTING WITH INTEGRITY

Integrity

Integrity

Dictionary Definition;

1. Steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code.

2. The state of being unimpaired; soundness.

3. The quality or condition of being whole or undivided; completeness.

“I have found that being honest is the best technique I can use. Right up front, tell people what you’re trying to accomplish and what you’re willing to sacrifice to accomplish it.” – Lee Iacocca


The most effective way to behave in work and business (including large banks), as in life, is to act with integrity.  Note the definitions above which talk about wholeness, soundness and completeness – this is a definition of health?

That means being as honest as you can and being fair.  As Lee Iacocca says, tell your team the truth and tell them what you are doing about it.  Be a model for honesty, openness and fairness and show that you expect all in your team to follow

Be as realistic as you can about the risks    When you can, help your staff prepare for bad news.  But combine all of this with being scrupulously fair.  They will know if you play the favorites game or, for example, take the opportunity to pay off old scores if you have to  lay people off or reduce hours.  You will lose good will and that extra contribution you need from those who stay.

In the good times share bonuses fairly and for good reasons – nothing is more de-motivating than seeing a colleague who doesn’t really deserve it, getting a bonus. If the bonuses you pay will not stand up to public scrutiny – don’t pay them.

There are major advantages in acting with integrity in all parts of the business in  terms of competitive advantage.

  • The public, and that means your customers, are increasingly concerned about ethical standards
  • Customers and good staff are more like to be attracted and retained
  • Shareholders are more likely to invest in those they trust, now more than ever
  • Staff and your own morale will be higher
  • Your reputation will be something you can be proud of
  • (At its crudest) You stay out of jail and believe me in old age, the money will not make up for the shame.

Here are some ideas for acting with integrity! If you can’t get your head round it, hire someone to advise you on good governance – there are plenty of us around and it isn’t hard to put it in place.

Some principles for making decisions with integrity!

  1. Make sure those in management know how to step back from every critical decision before they make it and look at it objectively.
  2. Understand the risks in your own culture.  Monitor those likely to get swept along by excitement or urgency to the point where they lose judgment .   Personal power, ‘winning’, strategic plotting, high drama, etc. feel good – they are exciting – but they rarely lead to real long-term business advantage
  3. Strive for fairness and the long-term, and not short-term polarized ‘winner takes all’ outcomes that threaten the organization’s long-term survival.
  4. Learn from history and earlier situations. Reviewing how previous situations were handled, reduces the risks of making daft mistakes:  Also history is a superb store of already invented wheels, which can often save you the time and agonies of trying unsuccessfully to invent a new one.
  5. Understand the long-term consequences.  You need to build in time, and structures, to think through what these might be. Try to make sure there are no unforeseen consequences which work to your, and other people’s,  detriment. Ask;
    1.  What do I get out of this? If you directly address how you benefit it’s easier to spot biases and blind spots.
    2. If we do this, what will happen? Play out the effects of the  decision. Be alert to the impact on stakeholders you may not have considered.
  6. Make sure what you do is legal, but think about the spirit of the law as well as the words.  No one really respects or trusts someone who is known to “bend” the law and that includes your customers and share holders
  7. Consult widely –  not just your staff, but your customers, if you can,
  8. Above all, resist the delusion and arrogance that power and authority tends to foster. This is especially important to guard against if you live and work in a protected, insulated or isolated situation, as many large-scale leaders and decision-makers tend to do. Being a leader for a long time, or for any duration in a culture of arrogance, privilege and advantage, provides great nourishment for personal delusion. Many unethical decisions come from arrogance and delusion. Guard against becoming so dangerous.

Acting with integrity doesn’t just help you to sleep at nights but you also stand a chance of leaving a real legacy – someone who is remembered and respected in your community and beyond for a very long time!

Wendy Mason is a Life and Career Coach.  She helps people have the confidence they need to be successful at work and to change career while maintaining a good work/life balance. You can email her at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com

On dressing, distressing and the dangers of group think!

I watched the Weakest Link last night.  Anne Robinson was clearly in good form!  I missed most of the opening round but I did see the first departure and that made me wonder.  Dave was voted off mainly, apparently,  for his rather flamboyant shirt and the distraction it caused for others.  He hadn’t got any of the questions wrong.  For me his response to going was confusing!   He had a fairly fixed smile on his face as he commented that no one would be surprised as he was expected to have ago at things and fail.

For me this raises a number of challenging issues:

  • Dressing for the programme/part/job really does make a difference! For this group, certainly how you dressed mattered.  When faced with making a choice, even when all other things were equal, the shirt was the deciding factor.
  • Believing you are going to fail usually means you do! If you don’t see yourself as a success, and don’t have the confidence that flows from that vision, then you begin to behave as if failure has already happened.  The energy level drops  and, guess what, down you fall from your tightrope!
  • Standing out from the crowd is risky!  Choosing to stand out from the crowd is always brave but to some degree it is usually required for real success.  It is risky! You put yourself apart from the group and that can mean they turn on you!  If you are already reconciled to failure this can be very risky indeed!  It is very easy to slip into the role of victim and that can lead to bullying – see the point below!
  • Group think can be damage. I doubt these nice middle class contestants would have commented so publicly on someone’s dress, in a group with different values.  In a group it is very easy for us to take on group values and sometimes even slip into the habit of criticising to the point of bullying and destroying someone else’s confidence.   Do the groups you belong to reflect your own values? As a manager – what steps do you take to monitor the values of the groups you lead and how do you intervene to protect potential victims?

I would be very interested in your views on the issues raised here.  Have you been in a group that regarded you as ‘different’?  What happened and how did you handle it?  Have you found yourself managing a group that developed values different from those you would of chosen? What did you do?

Leading With Kindness: How Good People Consistently Get Superior Results By William F. Baker, Ph.D. and Michael O’Malley, Ph.D.

“By now, many leaders have realized that when it comes to business, nice guys often finish first. Old-fashioned images of corporate callousness and greed have been replaced by a gentler, more human conception of great leadership. But how does one define “kindness” in the context of business? And what is the best way to “use”this deceptively complex notion as a guiding principle to lead an organization successfully into the future? Far from presenting a naive idea of kindness, this eye-opening book identifies the surprising attributes successful “kind” leaders share. This realistic book shows leaders how they can use sincerity, honesty, and respect for the good of their organization……  For more follow this link

THE DELICATE ART OF GIVING BAD NEWS

This is post is going to be concerned with, what John Nettles’ character described in a recent edition of Midsomer Murders as, ‘the delicate art of delivering bad news’   We covered giving feedback in a recent post and this is closely related, so you may wish to read that as well.

On most occasions when you give feedback your hearer is expecting a message of some kind – good or bad.  Where as bad news often comes as a shock! Even if is it expected in principle – the reality and the details may be hard to bear!  There is, and should be,  a lot more  to it than just saying or writing the words!  If you want to ensure there is the best possible out come then you will need to prepare and to follow-up, as well as delivering the message well!   The advice given here is based on that usually given to medical students in the UK as part of their training.  But it applies equally well if you are giving seriously bad news at work,  for example,  about redundancy!

Preparing

Preparing to give bad news is almost as important as actually giving it. For instance, where are you going to  have the meeting?  Where you’ll sit or stand in relation to the hearer and even what you will wear is important if the news is seriously bad.  If you are going to write, then you need to think about the medium – this is not the time for a very brief email!

When choosing a place, you should make sure it’s quiet with little or no chance of interruption. Make sure it’s some place you can make the person feel as comfortable as possible.  If possible, sit close to the person at eye-level with no barrier between you.  Studies have shown that many people feel isolated and alone if you sit behind a desk or some other barrier. They may also perceive you as cold and uncaring if you sit too far away.  Knowing how you should comfort really must come from what you know about the person!  For instance,  if you’ve found they don’t like people sitting too close this may make them feel uncomfortable rather than at ease.

One thing that is important is for you to be very clear about the facts, the explanation behind a decision, for example, before you begin.  You also need to know the options open to the person.  In case of redundancy, what support can the person expect from HR?  In this example, identify an HR contact that you can pass onto the individual?   The worst thing you can do when giving bad new is to give the individual the impression that you didn’t even care enough to find out the facts.  Know your material and don’t work from notes,  if you can, on this occasion!  Notes can provide a barrier and you will not be able to fully judge their reactions so well!

Work out what your own feelings are about the situation and how to deal with them before the meeting.  You want the person to know you are sorry but it isn’t fair to overwhelm them with your own grief!

Giving the news

Watching the person’s reaction and listening are very important while actually while giving bad news. Just from body language or the extent of eye contact, you can tell if they understand and accept what you’re saying and what emotions they are experiencing.   Be prepared for anger or despair with serious news.    It is really important to remember to speak clearly and slowly.  Don’t jump straight into the news – go through the usual courtesies at the beginning of the meeting.  In a letter warn them that you have bad news and say that you are sorry about it!

Throughout the meeting, ask them if they have any questions and if they understand what you’re telling them.    Your own feelings should be dealt with before the meeting and should not weigh on them!

Following-up

After you’ve given the bad news, don’t end the meeting abruptly. Ask again for questions or if they need any information repeated. Offer additional sources of information like pamphlets or the names of support groups if they are available. Make sure to pass on the name and  contact details for HR.

Most of us feel somewhat lost after receiving very bad news.  One way to deal with this is to schedule  another meeting shortly afterwards or to ring them to discuss how they are going to manage the time ahead.  At the very least you will want to make sure  they processed what you told them. Then you may want to allow them some time alone!. Just don’t rush them out of your office or wherever the meeting is taking place.  Take time to be kind – compassion costs us nothing!

HAVE YOU DONE YOUR DECEMBER LIFE STOCKTAKE?

Taking stock of your life to see if it is on track is a bit like going to see your dentist for a regular check up! We all know we should do but lots of us don’t!  We find lots of excuses for not actually getting on with it.  For some of us we put it off until it’s forced on us, for example, at redundancy or some kind of personal tragedy.  But most of us would probably gain from a simple check up periodically may be once a year!  December is a superb time to take stock on where you are both on a professional and a personal level.  You can then begin to  think through your plan for next year and how you are going to make it brilliant!

So get your pad and pen – here are some thoughts to speed your on your way!

Most of us will probably find it easiest to start with work!  What is your work all about?  Why are you doing it now?  Why did you choose it in the first place?  Has it got meaning for you and is it fulfilling?  Be specific and very honest!  Think through how you would really like to spend that one third of your life. How does that match up against what you are doing?  Identify the gap between the career anchors you aspire to and what you have –  autonomy, expertise, security, creativity, the ability to use your professional knowledge!  But be realistic about financial reward and how important that needs to be!

Identify what is  non-negotiable for you!  The factors in your work and personal life that you’d never contemplate compromising. This might include the type of work you’d consider doing and within what industries.

Be realistic as well about the present climate! Having a job is a great plus, so don’t immediately think you need to move.  See what can be changed where you are now!  Are there other ways of doing your work?  Are there new challenges you can take on and new skills you can acquire?  Does your boss know what you would really like to do – are there opportunities that your boss can give you access to?  But don’t let your unwillingness to move from an existing comfort zone hold you back.

On a personal note, the “non-negotiable” factors could include things like the relationship with your partner, where you live, the house you live in,  the friends and family about you, your willingness to travel, and the quality of life you enjoy.  But again think about your relationships and how you manage them!  Is there work you need to do to improve them? How could you make your life outside work richer for you and those about you?

Understand your strengths, your flaws and your fears.   Be honest about who you are! What are you good at?  Write it down and be proud!  What do you think you can’t do and why?  Where is the evidence?  Decide what you are going to work on and decide what you are going to give up trying to do!   Are there things you think you should be good at rather than things you want to be good at or need to be good at?  Do you really want to waste your precious time on them?

Now make your Action Plan for next year!  How are things going to change? What are you going to do?  Above all don’t let lack of self confidence hold you back!  Dream you dream!  Believe in you and what you can achieve.  And next year come here again and do another stock take!  Reach higher and higher until you reach the star right at the top of your own personal Christmas Tree!