Focus on Common Ground

More people are terminated because of interpersonal insensitivity than job incompetence. Better said, at a time when everyone who has a job wants to keep it, mind your manners. Think before you speak. Words have meaning well beyond what you intend when you say them.  Words live on beyond apology; your belated ‘what I really meant to say”, your attempt to diffuse the sting by telling the one stung, ‘you’re just too sensitive”, doesn’t undo Continue reading →

Sometimes What You Need to Know is Hard to Hear

How open are you to receiving feedback about your work and workplace behavior from a perspective different from your own? How aware are you of other outlooks, viewpoints that collide, values that contradict, and standards that differ from those you envision to be right and just? If you want to lead the team or just stay on the team, ask for input and listen to what you hear. Employers and co-workers are paying attention. And Continue reading →

Layoff Survivor: How I See It

I know it’s tough to be laid off, and scary to be without a paycheck. The market’s tight and the competition’s stiff. It’s hard on the person getting the news and the family that has to deal with the aftermath.           I’m a layoff “survivor”. That means I’ve lived through several organizational cut backs, deep and shallow, and I’m still here, working, until they cut me loose. Before you tell me how lucky I am, Continue reading →

Feeling Unglued by Gremlins?

Are you feeling a little unglued? If you’ve been looking for a job and you can’t find your car keys, you may have a few gremlins messing with your mind. Let’s take a look at what they’re up to and what you can do about them. The Fear gremlin can keep you stuck to the place you’re standing, particularly if you haven’t had much experience job hunting. The Anger gremlin can fight your desire to Continue reading →

Two Sides to the Story

There are many sides to a story. Here are two: Her side: He’s disrespectful without cause, arrogant without reason, and opinionated as all get out. I don’t know what I did to deserve him but I‘ve had it with his attitude. His side: I’ll tell you what she did to deserve me. She hired me. She needed someone who knew what he was doing because she didn’t have a clue and she wanted someone who Continue reading →

The Double-Edged Nature of Generosity

He’s a great supervisor and the nicest guy you can meet. But he’s got this problem with his emotions, and if he’s not careful, it might do him in. Here’s the deal:  He’ll do anything for you. In fact, he does too much for you.  He’s forgiving of errors, patient with absences, does the work of others when they don’t have time, and seems to have an unending supply of goodwill.  Until, and it seems Continue reading →

Stability Isn’t an Opinion

Although employment figures are looking better, employees would like to feel better about the stability of their jobs and the places where they work. When fear runs rampant and emotions run high, opinions based on viewpoints can overwhelm logic based on fact. Opinions are built on personal experiences, and those shared with us by individuals whose perspectives we value – either because we’re told they ought or their ideals, education or life experience suggests we Continue reading →

Reinstate Your Confidence

Just how open are you? Open to new ideas, to different ways of thinking?  To allowing that someone other than you can have a plan that works as well as yours and how you’ve always done it? If it’s a struggle for you then you’ve found a place you need to dig in and do some work. Now more than ever before, things are changing; processes are changing, structures, strategies and tactics are changing and Continue reading →

An Old Attitude Wrapped in a Bad Attitude

I’m going as fast as I can and apparently that’s not good enough. What do you mean? I’m all about efficiency. I’m always looking for smarter, better, faster ways to get things done because we’re measured by our results. I can’t take time to check my employees’ temperature and ask,’ Are you happy? Do you like me? Are our customers nice to you’?  I don’t care how they feel, I just want them  to get Continue reading →

Keep Your Venting Offline

If you’re anything like callers I’ve heard from lately, you’re making too many mistakes when you’re sitting behind that computer, churning out emails. They’re going to unintended places. Here are a few examples of how certain folks are slipping up and finding themselves in a serious fix: “I was sitting in a big meeting, no one’s listening to the speaker, half the group is asleep and the other half is checking email and I’m online Continue reading →

Struggling Through Good Times and Bad

Dave Duckit lost his job because he wouldn’t fight to keep it. Hannah Highway lost her job because she valued being right more than she valued doing the right thing. Larry Leeway lost his job because he needed more room to maneuver than his company had space to give him. What are the stories behind the headlines? Dave Duckit: Dave acts laid back and appears to be a get along, go along person, but don’t let Continue reading →

Constructive Feedback

Getting a job is half the battle. Keeping it is other half. When you’re an entry- level employee you’re evaluated on what you’re able to produce. If you’re accurate, effective, and efficient and demonstrate a proactive desire to achieve more, it’s likely you’ll be awarded more responsibility. As you advance it’s also likely that you’ll be expected to transition from being hands-on and tactical to becoming hands-off and strategic (a transition, that for some, is Continue reading →

Stuck at a Career Crossroads

Two people are stuck at a career intersection. Each wants more than he has and doesn’t know which way to turn. Sam is quick, spontaneous, and always in motion. He’s bright and loves a challenge, particularly if it combines mental and physical dexterity. He won’t stay with something long, so once he gets what he’s after, he moves on to whatever’s next. Sam is dutiful and respectful; absent minded and inattentive. He’s always apologizing for Continue reading →

Over…Under… Just get out of the way

You are driving us to distraction. You are the people who over-promise and under-deliver. You fall short of our expectations because you created and inflated them. You disappoint, frustrate, and spend more emotional capital then you have, and then you’re surprised when there’s nothing left in the Bank of I Trusted You. You’re optimistic and well meaning, that’s for sure, and in your effort to please us, you agree to meet our demands and objectives Continue reading →

What Works Works

What works is what works. Enough of that ‘you’re broken, I’m not’ stuff. It’s de-motivating and it’s counter-productive. Employees and job seekers don’t want to hear what they should stop doing, they want to know what they should start doing. They want to be more self-aware; they want training and development; not detailed descriptions of their personal warts and professional deficits. When you perseverate on what’s gone wrong in your career, or the choices you’ve Continue reading →

What Should I Include?

“I’m confused. What’s more important to include in a resume: an objective or a summary? Is it better to include references or say they’re available upon request? Is it smarter to name prominent people (I know a few) as my references or list people who really know me? It is wiser to include all my years of experience or just my best years?” No wonder you’re confused, you’re all options and no answers. Let’s sort Continue reading →

The Best of Intentions

The best of intentions can result in unintended consequences. For example: Mister Fixer: You may be their manager but they think of you as the company handyman. You encourage them to come to you with their problems because you can fix anything. You wear your tool belt to work, at home, and in public gatherings. No matter the situation, you have the solution. What can go wrong? It’s not much fun when your co-workers, friends, Continue reading →

I Can’t Leave — Part 2

Last week’s column focused on an unhappy, conflicted employee who feels unappreciated and undervalued. She wants to quit her current job, hoping to get more of what she needs somewhere else and she’s afraid that if she leaves, she won’t succeed. She dislikes being invisible even as she stands in the shadows. She wants more pay and promotions yet is satisfied with a no-risk job in a low risk setting because it allows her to “not Continue reading →

I Can’t Leave – Part 1

“I’ve had it with this company. They don’t appreciate me. This may be a dumb thing to do because I don’t have another job to go to, but I’m leaving here and everyone knows why.” It may be a dumb thing to do. Before you get all riled up at my response, I didn’t say you’re dumb. I’m just repeating what you said to me. Here’s what else I heard you say: You give considerably Continue reading →

Focus on What Works

When preparing for interviews, focus on what works: Research works. Going on line, reviewing web sites, learning content, outlining questions, works. Reading business news and trade papers, learning who’s expanding and consolidating, hiring and firing, competing and winning or falling behind are essential need-to know because research works. Practice works. Field questions from anyone willing to help. Answer questions that come out of left field. Answer out loud, from your head and your gut, and Continue reading →