The future of work is here today, and the nature of both manufacturing and knowledge jobs will never be the same. Leaders today must be prepared to help employees deal with the death of the single skill set, recognize the power of digital technology to disrupt their industries, and begin the work of helping their employees develop the multiple skills they will need to remain employable and contribute to the success of the organization.
Posts tagged ‘career management’
Today’s guest post is courtesy of our board member, China Gorman. China is a consultant, speaker, writer, and former CEO of the Great Place to Work® Institute.
If you read any business publication – print or online – you’ll know that organization culture has become a critical advantage when competing for talent today. If the CEO and her C-suite commit to organizational values that promote the value of purpose, the building of trust, and the meaning of work, as well as the commitment to create real, personal relationships with colleagues – human-to-human rather than boss-to- subordinate – there is virtually no downside from an organizational performance perspective.
The tremendous productivity gains and culture-enhancing benefits promised by putting technology to use are huge. But using technology to create more human relationships and cultures at work is irony at its finest. Is there really an app for that?
Here’s where we need to focus: if we allow technology, Big Data, and predictive analytics to make it harder – rather than easier – for us to relate to each other on a more human level, we’ll have abdicated our responsibilities as leaders and missed an epic opportunity to improve our business outcomes.
If we miss this opportunity, it will most likely be because we neglected to set our first line supervisors and middle managers up for success. We’re notoriously ineffective at equipping these folks to be good relationship builders, behavioral leaders, and approachable partners with the human business of our businesses. We focus, instead on “hard” skills development, if we invest in their development at all.
As we maximize the benefits of technology, Big Data, and people analytics, we also need to invest in developmental opportunities for all of our managers – with a special emphasis on middle managers and first line supervisors. If these critical leaders aren’t focused on creating more personal relationships with their employees – including being equipped with skills, abilities, and attitudes to relate on a human level – if they aren’t approachable, if they aren’t trustworthy, if they aren’t human, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. My belief, though, is that what you’ve always gotten won’t be enough in 2017, 2018 or beyond. Bringing humanity into your culture through your first line supervisors and middle managers is a critical next step. But to do that will require focus and investment. Perhaps one of the most important investments in your 2017 plan.
What’s your organization doing to enable your first line supervisors and middle managers to become more effective leaders? Are they able to coach and develop your employees? Do they make the time to do so?
Today’s post is part 2 of a 3 part series on the career myths that can hold you back professionally. Part 2 focuses on managing yourself at work.
Myths About Managing Yourself at Work
You need to be outgoing and liked by everyone to succeed.
- True: It may be easier to forge productive working relationships if you are outgoing and people like to work with you.
- False: It takes all kinds of people to help an organization be successful. Not all successful people are outgoing and likeable– but they advance by earning trust through their contributions. It is important to be aware of how YOU are perceived and manage your behavior accordingly. You don’t have to be Little Mary (or Johnny) Sunshine all the time, but you do need to ensure that your personal brand conveys reliability and quality. Getting too personal with too many co-workers can become problematic. Building relationships with your coworkers is a positive. Just be sure that there is not a clear distinction from life inside the work environment and life outside the work environment.
You need a mentor to be successful.
- True: A mentor who is interested in helping you develop can be important to your success.
- False: Your success at work comes from your ability to consistently deliver a great performance, and from making it clear you’re able to take on more by doing so without waiting to be asked. That being said, mentors (plural) can help accelerate your progress. Some organizations have formal mentoring programs – which often entail a 1:1 relationship with a more experienced mentor. That’s great if you have that, but it’s not the be all and end all. A long time ago, I heard a senior female executive talk about her personal board of directors, and I’ve leveraged that concept ever since. You change and your job changes over time. Building a network of advisors over time who take an interest in your career and can serve as sounding boards is very useful.
Networking is most useful when you’re looking for a job.
- True: Networking is one of the best possible ways to find a new job.
- False: Successful people are continually networking. And they understand that you need to give to get. If you only reach out to people when you’re looking for a job, without having some relationship collateral in the bank, your network won’t be as effective. There are lots of ways to network.
- Familiarize yourself with professional associations – national and local – where people in your field get together.
- Talk to your manager about paying for your attendance at these professional conferences as part of your development plan. If you can’t attend in person, you may still be able to access conference presentations in online forums connected to the event.
- Make sure you’re a member of online communities that are active in your profession. This can be a great way to “meet” people. I’ve made some great connections by complimenting people on their content in forums then connecting with them by phone or in person later.
- SOCIAL MEDIA! You have LinkedIn – you can find your way to just about anybody you’d like to meet. Twitter is another way to connect with people. Share interesting information on your feed. Compliment others on theirs.
- Actively look for ways to contribute back to your network – send people information you think will be useful to them, make introductions for them.
You need to focus on becoming the best functional expert possible. Success means knowing all the answers.
- True: Growing your career does depend on others’ perceptions of you as reliable and competent. Knowing your stuff is part of being competent. Investing in expanding your expertise in your field will make you more valuable to your colleagues and managers.
- False: No one knows all the answers all the time. One of my favorite tips is from Stephen Covey’s book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”. In it he says, seek to understand before you seek to be understood”. By asking questions of others and making sure you understand the fullest extent of a situation before you offer solutions, you’ll be more effective. Most things that happen in organizations require teamwork. If you’re the smartest person in the room, but unable to work effectively with others, your path will be a lot harder.
Taking risks can be bad for your career.
- True: Taking uninformed or unnecessary risks can be bad for your career.
- False: Since nobody can predict the future, there are risks associated with most of the decisions we make in life. The difference between good risks and bad risks is the diligence you perform in understanding the pros and cons of these decisions. Attitude also plays a part in determining the difference between good and bad risks. Most of us have qualms when it comes to making changes, yet change is what propels us to learn and grow. Expanding your career means you are going to take on new responsibilities without knowing exactly how to perform. You need to learn to prepare, then trust yourself to learn and respond. Taking risks is one of those areas where having built your network of advisors comes in handy – not just to help you decide when to make changes, but also to help you be successful once you make a change.