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?

Where Is Your Team Spirit?

With a new team, morale takes time to develop. Two key factors influence the growth of team spirit, shared experiences and communication. If you want to build team pride or maintain the momentum  you have, these are the areas in which to focus.

1. Shared Experiences. Shared experiences is what brings people together. There are many types of shared team experiences: challenges, creative, discovery, learning, entertaining, winning, and losing. A workplace team is also strengthened through different type of events. As a leader, how can you create shared experiences that will strengthen your team? Don’t wait for these to happen by accident. Plan them and follow through. Teams that lack team pride are easily spotted because they tend to work in silos unaware of how collaboration could increase their results.

2. Communication. Communication is a process. Being an effective communicator is one of the most important skills that will help your team. Without communication, you have no team. Yet many leaders fail to communicate adequately. To build a capable team you must communicate effectively to every team member. Not all people receive a message the same way. A message can be delivered through the written word, through spoken words, through visual messages. Some people only need to hear a message one time, other may require hearing it multiple times before they understand its importance. As a leader, you must discover how to communicate to your team members. It is not easy. It takes effort and practice.

What can you commit to this week that will improve your team’s communication, or create a shared experience?

A Friend at Work?

Friendships at work can be difficult. But research also shows that having a friend at work can greatly enhance the work experience and results. So how can you be a better friend at work? If you want to make better work friendships, I suggest looking at Tom Roth’s book, Vital Friends.

Friendships fill many needs in our life. Our friendships at work are the same. But in a work environment, we are more effective in our strength zone. So if you learn how you can be a better friend at work, you can focus on your strengths as a friend.

Here are, according to Tom, the roles friends fulfill:

1. Builder. Builders motivate their friends.

2. Champion. Champions stand up for their friends and sing their praises to others.

3. Collaborator. Collaborators work closely together with their friends on shared interests and goals.

4. Companion. Companions are always there for their friends. They are there through the good and the bad.

5. Connector. Connectors are bridge builders for their friends. They help them achieve by connecting them to people and resources they need.

6. Energizer. Energizers are fun friends that always provide a boost. They can change their friends attitudes by walking in the room.

7. Mind Opener. Mind openers challenge their friends and open their minds to new ideas.

8. Navigator. Navigators are friends that provide their friends advice and guidance.

As a friend, you do not fill all eight of these roles. You are probably very good at a few of them, especially in a work environment. If you know the roles that provides the basis for your at work friendship, doesn’t it follow that, you can strengthen your friendships by strengthening yourself in the roles you play?

5 Steps Towards Being a Better Mentor

Maybe you were assigned a person to mentor in your job, or you just decided on your own to mentor someone. Either way, congratulations! Of course you want to be a great mentor., but how? Practice. Here are five steps that I have learned in my experience as a mentor that you can apply:

1. Get your mentoring sessions on the calendar. Put your mentoring sessions on your calendar and stick to them. It is easy to cancel a session when you are under a time crunch, but to be successful, make mentoring a priority. Follow through on your commitments to mentor.

2. Get out of the office. Mentoring is best done in a neutral environment. Get away from the stress of the office, and dedicate time to focus on the conversation.

3. Have an agenda. Mentoring is more than a conversation. Make sure you have goals for each session, actions between sessions, follow up, and feedback. Put your discussion plan in an agenda. You don’t need to print it or email it, but it helps to organize your thoughts. An index card with notes may possibly help you on stay track. Don’t go to the meeting unprepared.

4. Coach, don’t tell. It is tempting to relate your experiences to your mentee to help them navigate their challenges. The truth is your challenges are different than theirs. It will be more helpful to listen and ask questions. Coaching provides a process for them to clarify their options and select their own solutions.

5. Care about your Mentee’s success. You should mentor for one reason. You must truly care about your mentee. Your desire to mentor must be founded in the desire you have to see them succeed. It has nothing to do with you, but all to do with them.

Following these five steps have improved my mentoring, and can hopefully help you. Take time today, to plan your next successful mentoring session.