TOP CHALLENGES AT WORK
Todd Dewett | September 20, 2021
I receive questions from around the world on a regular basis and the questions cover just about everything. Topics include how to change careers, how to get promoted, learning to say no, dealing with integrity issues, gaining confidence, building communication skills, supporting innovation, and many more.
However, three are by far the most common. Here is my quick take on each.
#1 Time Management
People are busy. They have big workloads and lots of fires to put out every day. Very often this leads to reactionary behavior instead of strategic behavior. To start getting more strategic, remember these three rules.
Prioritize brutally – 80/20 everything. Identify the tasks, people, and projects that are most important for your growth and progress. This is about 20% of the things (tasks, people, projects) around you. The other 80% you get to when you can, delegate, automate, or outsource.
Identify your Einstein window. This is the 2-4 hour window during the day when your brain functions at its peak. Choose to focus on the 20% during this window.
Protect that window! Learn to say no. Close the door. Put up a sign. Leave and work where they can’t find you. Make sure you never easily conceded chunks of time in your window.
#2 Lack of Opportunity
Sometimes there are new roles and growth opportunities, other times – even if you’re a strong performer – there are not! Your options are to leave, shift, or create.
Leave. There are serious risks and costs if you leave your job. However, if you’re demonstrably great at what you do, seek your fortunes elsewhere. Be a little patient and be very kind on your way out the door. If you’ve been spinning your wheels for a year or more with no opportunity in sight, leaving is an option.
Shift. If your current path has no real opportunity, shift paths, a little or a lot. You’re in sales? See if you can shift products. You’re in HR? Instead, try a role in training, sales support, or some other place. Do your homework and be sure any new focus affords growth opportunities. Just know that sometimes opportunity comes to you and other times you have to go find it.
Create. This strategy is all about earning new advancement. Ask for the new role, title, and or pay, and tell them what you’ll do to earn it. Huge sales, costs cut, customers brought on board, processes measurably improved, etc. When you show them the money, they are more likely to show you new opportunities. Get it in writing.
#3 Dealing with a Bully
It makes me sad, but this remains an issue in far too many workplaces. If you face a bully, or just someone consistently and problematically negative, think through the following options.
Do nothing. This is a good choice if you have reason to believe the behavior will not last or if you have significantly lower power relative to the other person. It cannot, however, be a habitual response or you may be inviting more bad behavior.
Avoid. Try not to cross their path. Don’t engage them in conversation if you don’t have to. Never enable or enflame anything they do that is inappropriate.
Address. Speak up – kindly and privately. Share the behavior in question, how it made you feel, and your expectations for the future. Be very clear about the risks of this type of encounter. You need similar status and a generally strong reputation, otherwise, this approach can backfire.
Seek help. If you’ve tried doing nothing and avoiding, and don’t feel it’s possible to address the person, consider getting help. If the behavior is persistent, causing heavy stress, breaks rules/regulations or laws, and is hurting your productivity – get help! Document the situation very well and go visit human resources. You do not deserve to be subjected to this behavior.
If interested, I have many courses that address aspects of these topics: https://bit.ly/3CqPqsr.
WHAT’S UP WITH DR. D?
My team just finished the video for my fifth TEDx talk and submitted it to the event organizers. It will drop later this year. I’ll let you know more soon!
I just finished another chapter in a new book I’m writing. Taking some risks with this one… Tentative title: KILL THE MONSTER. It’s about a team of colorful people who work together in an office and the challenges they face.
I’m excited to deliver a leadership-related virtual talk this week for a team at Draft Kings. Even though the speaking business has changed a bit, at least virtual opportunities are still happening. Lights, camera, action!
Most teams profess the need to be better at communication. Communication is a skill you can learn! It starts with learning how to share clear messages succinctly. One vital part of this process is listening. However, even if you’re a good listener, that doesn’t mean the other person is clear and understandable.
As needed, one great tactic is to use quick comments to encourage them to further explain or elaborate. Consider the following possibilities. Tell me more. Can you help me understand what you mean by… Can you elaborate a bit more about… So are you saying…
These phrases help you show interest. They are affirming. Most importantly, they might just help the other person explain themselves clearly enough to be understood!
Until next time – stay safe, go learn something, maybe help someone, or at least do something interesting!
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All of my links in one place: https://linktr.ee/drdewett.