Do You Struggle Working for Your Boss?

We have all probably worked for good bosses and bad bosses. Working for a good boss is easy, while working for a bad boss makes each day a struggle. How can you improve your environment if you find yourself in this situation? I recommend reflecting on these key points.

1. What does my boss need from me? First off, he or she needs you to complete your assigned tasks on time and manage your assigned responsibilities. Beyond that, he or she is normally looking for loyalty, openness, tolerance, and focus. These are traits that a boss typically doesn’t ask for directly, but will appreciate when employees embrace.

2. What do I need from my boss? The basics are clear communication and guidance on assigned tasks. If we receive the basics, we are more productive when we receive support and feedback. This take more time on your boss’s agenda, so you may have to take the initiative. Schedule weekly time to get feedback, and ask for the support you need. Your boss may want to provide it, but may never allocate his time.

If you are struggling, reflect on the difference experiences you have had with different bosses. In your current role, what is missing? What is in your control to change? What action will help today?

Time to Move On?

I recently observed a situation where a person was promoted into a new role, but was struggling because they were stuck in their old role. Not that they needed to fulfill their old role, but because they didn’t want to give it up.

I have had many working assignments over my career, each one presented new challenges, and opportunities. Some of my success has come from determining the skills I needed at the particular moment and focusing on being better at them.

I started my career in an assignment writing software even though my degree was Industrial Engineering. I eventually moved to an Industrial Engineering role, and I took my software development skills with me. However, within a year, those skills were no longer relevant to my success. I had to learn new skills.

That pattern repeated itself over the next 30 years. I learned skills, moved, adapted, and repeated. The adaptation is what can be difficult if you are not aware of the need to adapt.

When you transitioned into your current role, what skills became more important? What skills became less important? Have you adapted? Are you continuing your learning?

We build experience and skills over a life time. You don’t have to give up what you learned to move to a new role, but you probably will benefit from shifting your focus to the new skills needed for success.

Creating Positive Momentum

As my friend John Maxwell has written, “Momentum is a leader’s best friend”. Positive momentum makes everything easier. Negative momentum makes everything more difficult.

So when we are faced with slowing momentum or even negative momentum, we need to focus some energy to get things moving again. Here are some ideas that I use.

1. Find a small win. Take advantage of some small wins to get yourself moving in the right direction. It helps you pick up speed.

2. Review your bigger goal, and set interim milestones to achieve. Define a goal that you can achieve now, this week. Then set one for next week. Then the week after. Achieve those goals every week and you will find your momentum building towards the bigger goal.

3. Find new support or resources. If you are working within a team, swap some members with another team. Add talent or ideas to rejuvenate the team’s passion  by finding a new spark in additional team members or other types of support.

4. Increase your learning effort. Getting stuck can sometimes be triggered by not having enough knowledge, or by being reluctant to act on the knowledge you have. Which is affecting you? Figure it out and then move past this stumbling block.

5. Find and reflect on the positives. Momentum slows when your team is challenged and you feel like you are not making progress. Make it a regular habit to celebrate the achievements. It can be the fuel that keeps your team moving.

Momentum is your friend. When you can harness the energy, everything becomes easier.

Get Out of Your Head

We have a story that is always playing in our mind. It is like a theatrical play, but it is real. It is our life. When we are thinking, we are creating that story. We fill in the blanks between what we see, hear, taste, feel, and smell with our thoughts.

If we are only listening to our own story, then we are not able to understand fully what is happening around us. Because all those people in the same room as you, they have a story as well. We have to force ourselves out of our own story and into the moment. When we grasp their story, we see a different perspective.

We can relate someone else’s story to our own. We can connect. Before you shift the story back to your perspective, think about the possibilities for collaboration. Take time to truly listen.

When we work in a group, we want to have the answers. But it is more powerful when we can help others find their own answers. What may be right for us, is not always right for someone else. When we step out of our head and connect, we usually find a better solution. When we listen, we build influence. Only when we have influence, will people truly listen to our ideas. Then true collaboration can begin. Today, take a moment to get out of your head.