Climbing the corporate ladder requires more than hard work, good judgment and a little bit of luck. It also requires expertise in the fine art of handling people.
1. Take 100% Responsibility
If you want to influence the outcome of your relationship, you have to take responsibility. For example, if your boss is too pressed on a project to develop interim goals for your work, develop them on your own and present them. In other words, recognize your boss’s problems and pressures and pick up whatever slack you can whenever possible. Waiting for your boss’s direction can ultimately hurt your chances for advancement.
2. Solicit Feedback Regularly
Request regular feedback from your boss. If you don’t, you risk critical communication gaps. It’s easy for your boss to assume you’re “in the information loop”. However, priorities and expectations change often. Frequent communication ensures that you don’t get blindsided.
3. Value “Face Time”
It’s wise to spend regular time with your boss. Relying on email or voicemail may be more convenient, however, these do little to cement a relationship. Too much reliance on technology keeps your boss from feeling that he “knows you”.
4. Avoid “Pet Peeves”
Everyone has idiosyncrasies. Find out what your manager’s “pet peeves” are and avoid them like the plague. Regardless how you feel about incorrect grammar and spelling, being late to meetings, or putting your feet on the desk, if these issues are significant to your boss, ignoring them can amount to career suicide.
5. Ask WIIFH?
Understand your boss’s goals and priorities, so that before you present your ideas you can answer “What’s In It For Him/Her?” Think about how your activities further your boss’s objectives. When you can link your activities to benefits for your boss, you are more likely to get support for what you need.
6. Prioritize Your Boss’s Goals
Your boss’s opinion about you is critical. Learning about and attending to their priorities and goals makes you more valuable. This doesn’t mean that you need to agree with everything your boss says. When handled diplomatically, disagreements can build your credibility and gain you greater support.
7. Don’t Focus Exclusively on Problems
Yes, your boss is busy. But just because you’re lucky to get a few moments, doesn’t mean you should focus only on difficulties. Include discussions of plans, goals, and achievements. Whenever you do bring a problem to your boss, make sure you can offer at least two possible solutions. And always try to begin and end your conversations with something positive.
8. Complement Your Boss’s Strengths
Is your boss a reader or a listener? For a reader, offer a memo before you meet. For a listener, have a face-to-face discussion of the major points, then follow up with a memo. Don’t expect your boss to tell you how they works best. Learn their strengths and do everything you can to complement them.
9. Tailor your Approach to your Boss’s Style
Is your boss a “big picture” thinker or does he prefer knowing all the details? Are they a visionary thinker or a logical, fact-based analyst? Invest some time in learning your boss’s style. Once you understand it, package and communicate your ideas in a way that your boss will find most appealing.
Don’t agree to something that you’re not sure you can deliver or a project that’s overly ambitious. Remember, part of your job is to offer your boss alternate perspectives on what can be done and how best to accomplish it. Unless both you and your boss buy in to the plan, your chance of success is limited.
11. Under-Promise and Over-Deliver
Always be conservative in your commitments. There’s a natural tendency to want to impress and please others by making big promises. But no matter how much you actually accomplish, if you don’t meet the expectations you set, you can’t help but damage your reputation. When you deliver or over-deliver on your promises you build credibility in the eyes of your superiors.
12. Give Your Boss Positive Feedback
Remember to thank your boss for support, feedback and anything else that furthers your relationship. Compliment his or her professional successes. Like everyone else, superiors frequently feel underappreciated. When you show genuine appreciation, you’ll stand out more than you can imagine.
Chances are, at some time in your life, you’ve made a New Year’s Resolution – and then broken it. This year, stop the cycle of resolving to make change, but then not following through. Here are 10 tips to help get you started.
1. Be realistic
The surest way to fall short of your goal is to make your goal unattainable.
2. Plan ahead
If you wait until the last minute, your resolve will be affected on your mindset that particular day.
3. Outline your plan
Decide how you will deal with the temptation to skip that exercise class or have one more cigarette. This could include calling on a friend for help, practicing positive thinking and self-talk.
4. Make a “pro” and “con” list
Develop this list over time, and ask others to contribute to it. Keep your list with you and refer to it when you need help keeping your resolve.
5. Talk about it
Don’t keep your resolution a secret. Tell friends and family members who will be there to support your resolve to change yourself for the better or improve your health. The best case scenario is to find yourself a buddy who shares your New Year’s resolution and motivate each other.
6. Reward yourself
Celebrate your success by treating yourself to something that you enjoy that does not contradict your resolution.
7. Track your progress
Keep track of each small success you make toward reaching your larger goal. Short-term goals are easier to keep, and small accomplishments will help keep you motivated.
8. Don’t beat yourself up
Obsessing over the occasional slip won’t help you achieve your goal. Do the best you can each day, and take each day one at a time.
9. Stick to it
Experts say it takes about 21 days for a new activity, such as exercising, to become a habit, and 6 months for it to become part of your personality. Your new healthful habits will become second-nature in no time.
10. Keep trying
If your resolution has totally run out of steam by mid-February, don’t despair. Start over again! There’s no reason you can’t make a “New Year’s resolution” any time of year.
General time management – or lack thereof – is central to the business day. Time can either prove to be your biggest ally or biggest foe.
Here are 9 fast tips that can help you make the most of your business hours:
1. Create a to-do list that goes one step further
Whether the night before or first thing in the morning, make a list of what you want to accomplish that day. But make the list useful by prioritizing it according to what has to be done and what can wait. Experts suggest using a letter system – A for things that are absolute musts, B for chores that are less so but still important and C for duties that, should things go as planned, would be nice to get out of the way.
2. Work through the ABCs
After laying out daily tasks, look after the A list first, then move on to B and so on. Doing so targets the most important items up front, and if the list is unfinished by end of day, you’ll have a reminder that it’s not always possible to follow through on a schedule. That can make for more realistic time planning and management later on.
3. Bundle your tasks
Depending on how you’ve prioritized your day, you can bundle certain chores together, such as earmarking an hour after lunch for making all your phone calls. That can help you avoid jumping from one task to another, and back again (sound familiar?).
4. Take advantage of technology
Find out which programs are available that can help you save time and automate more of the time consuming activities during your workday.
5. Play to your strengths
Are you a morning person? Then earmark that time for more creative duties, such as brochure writing or business plan work. By contrast, if you come back to the office glassy-eyed after even the lightest of lunches, set that time aside for stuffing envelopes and other less-cerebral tasks.
6. Carry work with you to take advantage of time gaps
If you’re out making sales calls, bring more than sales material with you. That way, if you have to wait 10 minutes before an appointment, you can punch out a quick thank-you note to a customer on your laptop, or even just update the status of all your current projects. It may sound like a nickel-and-dime tactic, but you’ll have one less task hanging over your head.
7. Don’t be shy about being a hermit
Unexpected phone calls and visitors can ruin even the best laid out schedules. So, if you need to set aside an hour or two for focused, concentrated work, let the answering machine screen your calls and ignore unscheduled interruptions. You can always catch up with them later.
8. Include relaxation or activity break
Unless you happen to have a large red “S” emblazoned on your chest, it’s not likely that you’re going to function on all cylinders from daybreak to dusk. Don’t overlook some down time as part of your overall time management strategy.
9. Make sure your time management actually works
After you’ve built up a plan, how do you know you’re hitting your time management goals? That, like so much to do with mapping out your workday in an efficient fashion, is really quite simple – if you come to the end of the day with time to relax and unwind; your time plan is doing its job. As Norman Scarborough points out: “That’s the best sign that you’re controlling your time and not the other way around.”
Do you find yourself waiting until the last minute to finish a critical document? Do you schedule and announce meetings just in the nick of time? Do you take work home on the weekends, every weekend?
If so, procrastination may be sneaking into your life, stealing valuable time and eroding your productivity.
Here are 4 tips to plan ahead and avoid procrastination:
1. Try to think of large, complicated or time-consuming project as a series of small, manageable parts. Smaller tasks are attractive because they are short, easy, and produce immediate gratification. Keep in mind that all projects, no matter how massive, are only a series of small items reassembled.
2. Make a voluntary commitment to someone else. Allowing others to become involved in your efforts by reviewing your progress, helping you set deadlines or evaluating your results can be very helpful. Your concerns, fears and anxieties become secondary to fulfilling the expectations of the people you respect and trust.
3. Reward yourself for good behavior. Punishing yourself for goofing off is not nearly as effective. Reward yourself at milestones in the process, not just at the completion. Rewards can be as simple as reading for pleasure, relaxing, visiting friends, or going to dinner – as long as they are things you like to do. If you regularly work overtime, go home on time, or take a lunch break instead of eating in a rush at your desk.
4. When you find yourself blocked, ask yourself: “Is there anything, no matter how small, that I am willing to do?” When you find that small thing, you are no longer procrastinating.
1. Use the Internet
The Web is an invaluable research tool, especially for job seekers and entrepreneurs. Visit any popular web directory to find out more about the fantastic resources available; from expert business advice to new contacts, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for.
2. Assess your attributes
Make a list of your strengths and weaknesses. Then ask people who know you well — and who will be honest — to modify it. Finally, think about how you can use each attribute for your benefit. For example, if you are always restless, consider finding a job that includes travel.
3. Overcome your fears
To reach your potential, it’s critical that you conquer any fears you might have. Start by forcing yourself to tackle something unrelated to work, something that you’ve never dared to do. After accomplishing this challenge, your old phobia will seem silly, and you’ll have more self-confidence. Use this to face your fears at the office, such as public speaking, one by one.
4. Declutter your life
Getting organized will let you free up your mind and gain clarity. In addition to clearing out your desk and files, clean your computer desktop by trashing old emails and documents. To eliminate paper pileup, use an electric organizer. Also organize personal things, like your wallet, bag and clothing closet.
5. Be true to your values
Ask yourself: How do I want to live my life? Then think about whether your company allows you to do this. If it doesn’t, consider a job change.
6. Don’t trust blindly
Not everyone you work with is necessarily on your side. Be careful whom you rely upon and whom you confide in.
7. Protect your sanity
Being stress-free is key for warding off burnout. Try doing at least one physical activity a day. Also, create a quiet space in your home where you can relax; go there for at least five minutes each day.
No matter what your job or where you work, at some point your motivation will flag. Lack of motivation may be caused by anything from a slower-than-average work week to serious job burnout.
The key is to get to the source of your feelings and take immediate steps to boost your motivation:
Following are some suggestions:
1. Expand your skill set
With ongoing learning you will nurture your talents, remain intellectually challenged in your job and improve your compensation in the long term.
2. Seek new challenges
Volunteer to take on a demanding task at work, even it falls outside your job description. If you feel you have reached a plateau, consider pursuing a lateral job move or transferring to another department.
3. Take a break
When was your last real vacation? Make sure to schedule time off to recharge after an especially intense period of peak activity.
4. Make a subtle change
If the job has become routine, look for ways to break up the monotony. For example, you can rearrange your workload so tasks you once handled in the morning are now completed in the afternoon. Overhaul your filing system, and try out new time-management software or look for more efficient ways to work.
5. Get moving
Exercise delivers mental and emotional as well as physical benefits. A brisk daily walk during your lunch hour will boost your energy level and allow you to organize your thoughts more clearly.
6. Strive for your personal best
Try to excel at whatever you’re doing. Being confident in your abilities will increase your motivation as well as raise your employer’s and coworkers’ confidence in your abilities.
7. Seek feedback
Avoid being overly critical of your performance. If you’ve made your best effort, take pride in it. Likewise, if there are ways you feel you could improve, seek constructive criticism from supervisors. Then take steps to improve your performance.
Take a breather, and check out Thornton’s suggestions for thinking better and stirring up our creative juices:
1. Time it right.
Figure out your own best “thinking time” and reserve it for your most challenging brain work.
2. Listen to Confucius.
The number one “memory aid” used by memory researchers themselves: Write it down.
3. Anchor new memories to established ones.
Think of your existing memory as a scaffold upon which to fit new information. Don’t isolate new information, always relate it to something.
4. Pay attention.
Do you sometimes find yourself “forgetting” a person’s name seconds after meeting her? The problem isn’t memory; it’s concentration. We must consciously remind ourselves to put information into our memory banks.
5. Practice, practice, practice.
Learning and repeatedly practicing new skills appears to change the brain’s internal organisation.
6. Give your ideas a chance.
Many of us are rewarded for our abilities to quickly evaluate facts and make a quick “go or no-go” decision. Creativity demands a much more leisurely approach — a willingness to give “absurd” ideas their due.
7. Expose yourself to multiple experiences.
Creativity often boils down to the ability to adapt solutions from one domain to another. Velcro for instance, was inspired by burrs that stick to your clothing!
8. Exercise the body to improve the mind.
Researchers believe exercise can increase everything from work performance to nerve conduction velocity.
9. End distractions.
If you’re bombarded with irrelevant stimuli, it’s hard to focus. When you absolutely must do something (complete a report, for instance), try closing your door or working somewhere you can unplug the phone and concentrate.
10. Try something new.
A study found that the chief difference between creative people who burn out and those who continue to create, was that the latter were constantly exposing themselves to new knowledge, and in the process giving themselves a fresh start.
And don’t forget to follow your passion! Passion and commitment are the keys to creativity and success.
Computers provide physios with an alarming amount of work. Minimise your visits with a few basic rules to make your desk posture-friendly.
1. See eye to eye with your screen
The height of your computer is crucial. To avoid craning your neck, adjust your screen so the top is at eye level. Working on a laptop is particularly bad for your posture, it is recommended that you raise your laptop on phone books and use a high-density foam cushion as an armrest.
2. Don’t twist your head
Turning your head to look at your screen is bad news for your neck. If you’re absolutely unable to position your monitor directly in front of you, make sure you have a chair on wheels so that you can turn to face it.
3. Check your angles
Ideally your thighs should be at 90 degrees to your hips in the sitting position, your feet flat on the floor, and your legs bent at a right angle.
4. Take a break
Every 20 minutes, break your seated posture by turning your head and rolling your shoulders, or going for a 30-second walk.
5. Clear away your clutter
Remove any objects from under your desk as they restrict leg movement and prevent you from moving in close to your desk. Clear the desk top as much as possible so you’re not working in a confined space.