Night, night – my poem of Remembrance

I have a new poem on my Dreaming in Purple and Grey poetry site. It is written in remembrance for the 100 years’ anniversary of the First World War armistice.  You can find it at this link.

I wanted this poem to sound like a nursery rhyme despite the gruesomeness. For us growing up in the fifties, the First World War was not very far away. My Grandad was a wagonner when the war began. He was called up with his horses. My Mum could remember those horses being dressed in horse ribbons to be paraded through the village before they made their journey to France. Grandad drove a water wagon at the start of the war and a water truck by the end. I don’t know what happened to the horses. I know he lost a brother and, I believe, a brother-in-law, on the Somme. All they told us kids about his experiences in the war was about the lack of clean clothing. And,how each night in the trenches, Grandad and the other soldiers would kill the lice in their vests by running a candle flame up the seams. Each night Grandad would send us to bed with the words, night, night, sleep tight, mind the bed bugs don’t bite. For me as a young child, the memory of killing lice and the poem got mixed up.

Sunday Reflection – Just Listening

There’s a new post on my Lifestyle blog, Your Happiness Factor. It describes how to meditate on sound.
Your Happiness Factor: Sunday Reflection – Just Listening:   When you think about it, it seems strange that so many people use sound to help them sleep. Surely most people prefer silence. But d…

 

Wendy Smith is a  Life Coach helping you find fresh perspectives on your life including your career. She helps people lead happier lives and feel more fulfilled. Need help finding work, with problems at work, at home or with relationships? Book a FREE coaching session with Wendy or find out more at this link

You can find Wendy’s books on Amazon at this link

Happiness is When the Cat Purrs

Happiness – a new post from me on my lifestyle blog; Your Happiness Factor.

Here it is,  Happiness is When the Cat Purrs 

Wendy Smith is a  Life Coach helping you find fresh perspectives on your life including your career. She helps people lead happier lives and feel more fulfilled. Need help finding work, with problems at work, at home or with relationships? Book a FREE coaching session with Wendy or find out more at this link

Contemplating Not Ruminating

Contemplating Not Ruminating – there’s a new post on my lifestyle blog, Your Happiness Factor, at this link.

Saturday Reflection – Contemplating Not Ruminating.

It talks about the difference between contemplating and ruminating and how ruminating is often a sign of stress.

Stress is a very common experience. Often, I work with clients who feel stressed. Learning how to bring themselves wholly into the present helps them a great deal. In this other post on Your Happiness Factor I explain what I teach them.

Feeling stressed? Learn to be present!

Coaching can help when you feel stressed. If you are thinking about coaching, I would love to talk to you. You can book a free discussion  here.

In the meantime I wish you a very happy weekend

Wendy Smith is a  Life Coach helping you find fresh perspectives on your life including your career. She helps people lead happier lives and feel more fulfilled. Need help finding work, with problems at work, at home or with relationships? Book a FREE coaching session with Wendy or find out more at this link

You can find Wendy’s books on Amazon at this link

How to get on with people at work

How to get on with people at work

Advice from Wendy Smith.  Wendy is a  Life Coach helping you find fresh perspectives on your life including your career.  You can book a FREE coaching session or find out more at this link

How to get on with people at work
Few of us like everyone

How to get on with people at work –  getting on with people is important in all parts of your life. It is very important at work.

One the hardest lessons we have to learn in life, is that we will meet people who don’t like us. Sometimes this will be for reasons that we understand.  But sometimes, it won’t! And, of course, sometimes we may find ourselves not liking someone and it may be very hard to know why.

How we respond depends very much on the circumstances.

For example, imagine yourself sitting next to someone on a plane for a journey that lasts an hour. It make very little difference whether you like each other or not.  Very soon you will part, never to meet again. But, suppose the person you can’t get on with has a much more significant role in in your life. Suppose the person you are having difficulties with is your new boss, a colleague or an employee. Not knowing how to get on with people at work matters. It matters a lot! So what can you do about it?

How to get on with people at work

First, if you are dealing with your own feelings of dislike, try to work out why you feel like that.  What is it about this person that you find so difficult?  Take some time to think about the issue.  Is it how they look? Is it something they have said or done? Sometimes, we dislike those who remind us of people or experiences in our own past. Take time to reflect and then be completely honest with yourself. Honesty with yourself really matters here.

If you have a sense of mistrust, then try to work out why? Is there any evidence to support how you feel?

Be very honest about your own prejudices. If the way you feel is about their race, their age or their sexual persuasion or their disability, then you have some hard work to do. This problem is yours to resolve, not theirs, and you cannot ignore it!

When you have feelings of dislike, start to work on valuing the individual and the contribution they make. Think about the good things about them. There will be something if you look hard enough.

If the issue is to do with your bad memories, then don’t be afraid to seek the help of a coach or counsellor. If the real problem is your own prejudice then again seek out support from a trainer or coach. Be honest and brave enough to seek help. You will lead a much happier and more fulfilling life without that issue.

If someone dislikes you, then again, see if you can work out why. Try to put things right. How much impact they have on you depends on their role in your life.

When the problem is the boss

If the person is the boss, for example, a new boss; you may have to take your confidence in both hands and start a discussion. Be prepared to hear some criticism and respond positively to it.  Try to make sure the boss really does understand how you are contributing to the work. Then work hard to turn yourself into an asset – share you knowledge with your boss.

Above all, keep the lines of communication open.  Never fight with the boss!  Find the middle ground. At the end of the day, though, if you really can’t get on, consider a move. Fighting the boss is rarely successful and generally leads to misery.

How to get on with people at work – is the problem a colleague?

If the problem is with a colleague or an employee,again work hard to find out why you don’t get on. Talk to them and try to get to know them better. Then find the middle ground. Be scrupulously fair in your dealings with them. At the end of the day, have a professional approach and focus on the work. That way you should be able to find a way to work together even though you may not be best buddies.

How to get on with people at work – you don’t owe those you work with undying affection. Nor do they owe that to you.  But you do owe them a fair chance to do their work well and a fair hearing if they have a problem.  You should be able to expect the same in return.

If you need advice on a relationship at home or at work, then get in touch with me. I can help.

Wendy Smith is a  Life Coach helping you find fresh perspectives on your life including your career. She helps people lead happier lives and feel more fulfilled. Need help finding work, with problems at work, at home or with relationships? Book a FREE coaching session with Wendy or find out more at this link

Managing People – Is Your Performance Review Really Necessary?

Is Your Performance Review Really Necessary?

Advice from Wendy Smith.  Wendy is a  Career and Life Coach helping you find fresh perspectives on your life particularly your career.  You can book a FREE coaching session or find out more at this link

Performance review – lots of organizations carry out “performance appraisals.” Most people consider them a “good thing!” And there is lots of information around to help you do them well.

But there is more to encouraging and managing good performance than carrying out the annual performance review. Some people even question whether carrying out annual performance reviews does actually impact on the quality of performance.

Performance review – what the person being assessed usually thinks about

Let us think a little about what the person being assessed usually thinks about when a review is due.  Here’s what it likely to be

  • How is this review going to affect my bonus/performance related pay?
  • How am I being assessed and is it fair?
  • Is my contribution really going to be recognised and acknowledged?
  • How does this review affect my chance of promotion?
  • How well am I doing compared to my peers?

Performance review – what the manager thinks about

A manager thinks about the performance review in a different way;

  • How will you help the person understand what you think of their performance?
  • What evidence is needed to support your view?
  • If they are not meeting the standard, what advice should you give?
  • What action should follow on from the review?

If you are the manager, you are looking to do an assessment that helps your member of staff become more committed to your objectives. You hope they will feel more motivated, accountable, reliable, creative, dedicated, and, yes, happier in the job!

On-going and constructive review

Given the difference in perspectives, holding just one annual performance review doesn’t really seem to meet either sides expectations, does it? Surely what you need instead is a relationship that includes on-going and constructive review?

No, you don’t want spend every day discussing performance. Although there is much to be said about commenting very quickly on exceptions in performance – be they good or bad. Giving praise is as important as giving criticism.

Having a performance stock take once a month works for many! Certainly, having a more formal review quarterly where the question of the bonus isn’t part of the mix has worked for me. And then, at the end of the year it is an agreed summary of those quarterly reviews that feeds into the financial reward system.

Developing an effective relationship and an open discussion about the quality of performance is much more likely to help you and your staff member achieve your goals, both corporate and personal.

Remember, performance management is the process of creating a work environment or setting in which people are enabled to perform to the best of their abilities. Performance management is a whole work system that begins when a job is defined as needed. It ends when an employee leaves your organization.

With a performance management system that works and a well developed relationship, it becomes much easier to discuss career development and the opportunities for progression.  And guess what, in this climate potential threats to good performance can be seen off before they become real issues and so everyone benefits.

Good luck with your performance review and get in touch with me if you would like more information about how to succeed at work and as a manager.

Wendy Smith is a  Life Coach helping you find fresh perspectives on your life including your career. She helps people lead happier lives and feel more fulfilled. Need help finding work, with problems at work, at home or with relationships? Book a FREE coaching session with Wendy or find out more at this link

Tips For New Managers

Management: 6 Simple Tips For New Managers

Advice from Wendy Smith.  Wendy is a  Career and Life Coach helping you find fresh perspectives on your life particularly your career.  You can book a FREE coaching session or find out more at this link

Tips For New Managers – all managers have a first day in the job.  And it is never easy!  So here are some tips to help you on your way;

  1. Understand your organization; its rules and culture.  Your team is part of a wider organization and you need to understand that wider context. How do people behave – what are the rules (written and unwritten)?  Spend some time finding out and talk to your HR department about what they expect of you as a manager
  2. Understand the work requirement.  What are you there to do and by when do you have to do it? Be clear about the objectives of your own manager and their expectations of you.  If you don’t have anything written down yet, try to agree a time to do that.  What do your team, and each member of it, think they are there to do?  Does it line up with what the organization needs and the team objectives?
  3. Tips for new managers – be consistent – firm but fair.  Don’t have favorites and treat everyone in the same way.  Try to be consistent in how you behave – don’t let your bad mood or your “off day” be reflected in how you behave. If you do it will confuse and de-motivate your team.  Above all reward or penalize the same things over time. Do your team understand the standards set for their work? Does your behavior reflect them?
  4. Kindness goes a very long way – kindness engenders kindness – show and encourage appreciation.   Being kind doesn’t mean you become a “soft” manager that people can take advantage of.  Kindness is an extension of being fair.  Do you treat people as you,  yourself, would like to be treated?  You will be surprised what a difference to your life as a manager it will make when you have your team’s support. Kindness will help gain you that support.
  5. Work on you own confidence – confidence inspires others.  Learn how to look and sound confident even when you don’t feel it.  This will hep your team to feel more secure and able to give their best work.  Do you have a problem maintaining your feelings of confidence? If so work with a coach to learn some techniques to help – my contact details are below.
  6. Learn to make quick and effective decisions – dithering bosses lose the confidence of their teams.  Do you know how to identify relevant information quickly and then to weigh evidence to help you make a decision. Be willing to take risks – making decisions means being prepared sometimes to take a risk.  Giving someone the benefit of the doubt or even delegating effectively requires you to take risks.  Do you understand risk and how to take it? Learn about risk and how evaluate how much of it you are taking and how to manage the consequences.  At the end of the day,  as the manager, you “carry the can” and that is something that good managers learn to live with.

Good luck with your new role and get in touch with me if you would like more information about how to succeed as a manager.

Wendy Smith is a  Life Coach helping you find fresh perspectives on your life including your career. She helps people lead happier lives and feel more fulfilled. Need help finding work, with problems at work, at home or with relationships? Book a FREE coaching session with Wendy or find out more at this link

Delivering Feedback – Constructive Criticism

Delivering Feedback – Constructive Criticism

Managing People – Delivering Feedback – Constructive Criticism

Advice from Wendy Smith. Wendy is a Career and Life Coach helping you find fresh perspectives on life and your career.  You can book a FREE coaching session or find out more at this link

Delivering Feedback – Constructive Criticism – even the most positive and fair minded manager finds they need to criticize sometimes.  How can you do it in a way that is constructive, maintains the relationship and leads to improvement?

Here are some tips.

  • Check the facts very carefully before you begin!
  • Don’t judge the person, judge the behaviour.  A person’s behaviour is not who they are. And who they are, is not your responsibility. Deal only with what you have seen and have evidence for!
  • Be clear, specific and factual in what you say.  And, focus on what is happening now and how changes will affect the future. Dwelling on the past is unlikely to influence future behaviour.
  • Listen very carefully to the response. Pay attention to explanations and objections – treat them with respect even if you can’t accept them. Be alert to difficulties the person has experienced; listen out for training needs and follow them up. Watch body language for extra clues about how they feel.
  • Acknowledge the response. Make it clear that you understand what has been said! You can do this by summarizing. Be honest enough to admit it, if you got things wrong and apologize.
  • Express yourself assertively – not with diffidence, nor with anger or aggression. Focus clearly on the change you wish to see. Illustrate with examples, if possible.
  • Hear the response and respond to it.
  • Give the person a fair chance to demonstrate that they are really trying to make change.
  • Make sure you follow up on any underlying cause – for example, working conditions, health issues or a need for training.

Remember constructive criticism always has a positive goal and that is to make a change for the better. Keep this in mind all the time when you are giving feedback.

If you would like further advice on this please get in touch at the link below.

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in helping people lead happier lives and feel more fulfilled. She has worked in management as well as coaching and personal development, as well as starting up her own businesses. That means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up a new business or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. 

Need help finding work, with problems at work, at home or with relationships? Book a FREE coaching session with Wendy or find out more at this link

 

Unpleasant and Demanding Managers

Unpleasant and Demanding Managers

Management: Is exploiting your team in your long-term interest?

Advice from Wendy Smith. Wendy is a Career and Life Coach helping you find fresh perspectives on life and your career.  You can book a FREE coaching session or find out more at this link

Unpleasant and demanding managers – as a life and career coach I often work with clients who are unhappy at work. This can be for all kinds of reasons.  They may be in a job that doesn’t give them an opportunity to use their knowledge, skills and experience and they feel frustrated.  Or, perhaps,  they have been promoted to a new role that is a stretch too far and they are struggling.  Having too much to do and feeling stressed is a regular..  And of course we have all encountered difficult colleagues, to say nothing of unpleasant and demanding bosses.  But there is a point when an unpleasant and demanding boss can slip over the boundary into something much worse; the boss becomes just plain cruel.

Most of us have read about the vile over-seers in the factories of the industrial revolution. Certainly, in the UK, employment law has made their kind of cruelty a thing of the past.

No, what I’m referring to here is a new kind of callousness!.

The economic conditions of the last few years have put great pressure on organizations. For many, the ability to survive in the market place has become the overriding priority.  And the values of the organization become the values of their key employees.

Hard decisions have had to be made!  It can be difficult to hang on to your finer feelings when you have to grapple daily with who to keep and who to let go. For some, feelings for the staff they manage have coarsened.

 Unpleasant and Demanding Managers and Personal Survival

Treating the team as something to be exploited to ensure your personal survival sounds pretty outrageous when put into words.  And there are lots of ways you can avoid facing up to what you are doing . But that is what I am hearing about from some of my clients.

People are being asked to cope with larger and larger workloads in often more unpleasant conditions.  For example, what started out as poor but passable accommodation for a call center now houses as well much of company administration including HR.  For some, natural light is becoming a luxury!

When you complain or ask for help, the manager or supervisor doesn’t want to know – they have their own problems keeping senior management happy.  You risk finding yourself on next week’s hit list of people about to leave.

But it is short sighted really! Bad times will come to an end. When the good times come, what do you, oh mighty manager, think those employees are going to do? Well, they are not going to hang around when they have other opportunities, are they?

At the very least give your employees a hearing and if you can’t do anything right now, have the grace to apologize. And next time you are about demand something from  an employee you know is outrageous, stop and think!  Is the short term gain really in your long term interest?

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in helping people lead happier lives and feel more fulfilled. She has worked in management as well as coaching and personal development, as well as starting up her own businesses. That means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up a new business or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. 

Need help finding work, with problems at work, at home or with relationships? Book a FREE coaching session with Wendy or find out more at this link

 

How to Deal with a Passive-Aggressive Colleague

How to Deal with a Passive-Aggressive Colleague

Dealing with Difficult People – Three ways to deal with a passive-aggressive colleague

Advice from Wendy Smith. Wendy is a Career and Life Coach helping you find fresh perspectives on life and your career.  You can book a FREE coaching session or find out more at this link

Realising you need to deal with a passive-aggressive colleague can make you feel uncomfortable. It can be very frustrating when someone you work with agrees with a plan of action and then goes off to do their own thing. Or you sense that someone really doesn’t agree with what you just said but they say nothing. Sometimes they just make you feel subtly undermined.

Passive aggression can have a number of results including eroding confidence and not being good for harmony in the team.  But it is frequent and it can mean that you do not achieve your own goals. When you have to deal with someone who says one thing and does another or shows some other signs, try this approach.

Three ways to deal with a passive-aggressive colleague

  • Talk to them. Find a quiet private space and explain to your colleague what you’re seeing, hearing and experiencing. Describe the impact of their behaviour on you. Listen to their response and then make your suggestions for how they might change.
  • Focus on work, not the person. You need to get the work done despite your peer’s style. So don’t waste time wishing they would change. Concentrate on completing the work instead.
  • Ask for commitment. At the end of all meetings make sure you ask everyone (not just your difficult colleague) to reiterate what they are going to do and by when. Sometimes peer pressure can keep even the most passive-aggressive person on task.

Passive aggression usually means someone doesn’t have the confidence to assert themselves clearly. It usually reflects an unhappy state of mind. If you get to know this person a little better you just might be able to help them feel more confident at work.

Career coaches and life  coaches like me are around to help you thrive and succeed in challenging times at work or at home. Get in touch at this link – I would like to discuss how I can help you.

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in helping people lead happier lives and feel more fulfilled. She has worked in management as well as coaching and personal development, as well as starting up her own businesses. That means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up a new business or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. 

Need help finding work, with problems at work, at home or with relationships? Book a FREE coaching session with Wendy or find out more at this link