Five ways to change negative perceptions at work

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”
~ C.G. Jung ~

Cassidy had overheard some snide comments. She knew people were making snap judgements, based on gossip, about her that just weren’t true. How could she change negative work perceptions and get her co-workers to think more positively about her?

She knew she was a good team player and worked hard for the company. What did she need to do to help others see her in this light? In her mind, she reviewed the negative comments.

  1. No backbone. Hadn’t she stood up for the idea in the meeting? But the person who said that wasn’t at the meeting. He had seen her agreeing with the boss on several other positions.

    Cassidy thought of herself as a team player. She collaborated well with others. She decided she would be more visible in both the collaboration and the support she gave others. In her written communications— that would certainly go to her critic— she would be clear with her reasoning both when she agreed and when she disagreed on a topic.
  2. Doesn’t speak up or share. Cassidy recognized that she often was the quiet one at meetings. As an introvert, sometimes it took time to think about an idea. She didn’t want to speak until she’d considered all the angles. By that time, others had already said what she planned to say.

    Again, Cassidy felt her written communications could help change that negative perception. She also decided she could go to meetings better prepared. She could consider possible ideas and processes and come up with opinions she could share to generate the discussion.
  3. Dominates the meetings. On the other hand, Cassidy thought Jerold talked way too much. She didn’t get room to share her ideas. As she considered, she realized those negative feelings weren’t 100% true. Jerold thought he had great ideas… and he did.

    But she would have a better perception of him if he would pause longer and give others a chance to add their voice. Or better yet, if they had a system of going around the table and letting each person add to the discussion.
  4. Doesn’t really add value to the company. That one hurt! Negative perceptions like that could push her out of her job. Cassidy though of herself as modest. She didn’t go around bragging all the time.

    However, she realized she needed to be more open about what she was accomplishing. It was important she let her boss and her co-workers know exactly what she was working on, the effort she was putting into it and the results she was producing.
  5. Narrow perspective. Cassidy had been with the company long enough to know how they wanted things done. Maybe it did look like she didn’t think outside the box. But to her it made sense to stay focused on what had worked successfully in the past.

    Cassidy decided to be more open to looking at other ideas. She could be open to reviewing their merits and see how they meshed with the companies goals.

Cassidy worked hard to change the negative perceptions she’d heard in the office. She was pleased to hear more recently some very positive comments about her work and presence in the company.

If you want to change your perception in your workspace, connect with Joel for his career advancement coaching. He has a proven method for success.

Talkback:
Have you had to deal with negative comments or perceptions? How did you handle it?

3 Major Factors Affecting Employee Productivity and Overall Impact

Nothing is less productive than to make more efficient what should not be done at all. ~ Peter Drucker ~

Kevin had been hired to turn the company around. He arrived to find a sluggish, apathetic staff. Most were warry of the change and unwilling to stick their neck out for anything.

Kevin moved immediately to work on the three things that would most affect your employee’s productivity. He knew he had to energize the workforce. He had to learn who could rise to the top and which employees are worth letting go.

The PVI Model— Perception, Visibility, Influence— seemed designed to empower employees to take back control of their careers. Keven felt sure once they saw the impact they could have in influencing those around them, they would become energized and increase productivity.

  1. Perception. Kevin started educating his workforce on both how he perceived them and what he knew they were capable of. He encouraged them to look within themselves for their strengths and talents.

    “Sharing what you know and can do is not bragging,” he said. “It helps us use your strengths in key places. You can enjoy your work more and we can produce more when we match your strengths to our needs.”

    Kevin was quick to value employees who spent the time looking at how they were perceived and then acted in a way to increase positive responses.

  2. Visibility. Sometimes it was hard to see who really had the greatest talents. It wasn’t just those who talked about it the most. But it was essential for Kevin to find the rising stars. So he deliberately cultivated a culture of people willing to increase their visibility.

    Workers sent in a weekly report of their accomplishments. They created a large “brag board” for employees to pin “atta-boys” for themselves and co-workers. They took a few minutes at meetings for attendees to tell their greatest accomplishment of the week.

    Soon, Kevin had a firm grasp of those employees who were contributing to productivity.

  3. Influence. Kevin saw the influence of the more confident employees rub off on the apathetic ones. He encouraged team work and mentoring. Open discussions allowed employees to influence decisions made at higher levels.

    As the workers saw their increasing influence, they began to feel empowered. Kevin felt the energy increasing week by week. Workers took more responsibility for themselves and their projects.

    Friendly competition and rivalry made each team seek to do their best. Kevin cross- pollinated the teams so the best influencers could enrich weaker teams.

“The pay-off for the organization was huge,” Kevin said. “This PVI Model had a major effect on the employee’s productivity, motivation, and staff retention. After just a few months, it feels like a completely different company.”

Kevin commented on the tone, the buzz of the office. Workers came up and thanked him for making such a difference. “They even told me they’d recommended their friends come work here.” Kevin said. “That’s such a contrast to the brain drain I faced when I arrived.”

“Perception, visibility and influence just make the company run better— on every level,” he concluded.

If your company needs to increase productivity and your employees motivation, Contract Joel for executive coaching. You can buy Getting Ahead to learn more about the PVI Model.

Talkback:
What parts of your company culture affect your productivity? What makes your employees most productive?

Four Solutions If You’re Feeling Overworked and Underappreciated at Work

“Phrases like ‘overworked and underpaid’ perpetuate that feeling.” ~ Lena Bottos ~

Steven put in extra-long hours on the project at work. It was highly technical and exceptionally difficult. When he was done, his boss offered no praise and Steven found himself feeling totally underappreciated.

He felt upset and bitter. How could they not appreciate all the work he was doing? He fumed for a few days. Then he stopped to figure out how he could get back on even keel. He really liked the kind work he was doing. He needed to find ways to be happy again.

Steven started working on a list. What could he control?

  • Enjoyment of work. Steven decided he could focus on his enjoyment of the work and the satisfaction it brought him. He could savor the tough solution to the problem and acknowledge that he did a great job. Even if others didn’t see it, it didn’t diminish his work.
  • Praise yourself. Write down what you accomplished each day. Tell yourself you did a good job. Even say it out loud, “That was GOOD work!”
  • Reward yourself. Steven decided that after each project he accomplished, he would reward himself with a nice dinner out or an extra round of golf.
  • Expect less. In truth, people seldom get praised for doing the job they are supposed to do. Bosses are busy. Getting paid and lack of criticism are implicit signs you are doing a good job.

As Steven worked on these tasks, it seemed to help a little, but he still felt overworked and underappreciated at work.

He talked to a friend to get more suggestions. His mentor asked a deep question. “How long have you felt this way? Is it the job, or have you felt undervalued for a long time?” Steven through back to the last jobs he’d had. Yes, it was a common problem.

His friend suggested this deep-seeded feeling could come from childhood rejection or lack of validation long ago. The friend suggested journaling to reveal the source and work to overcome it. Steven also considered counseling to quickly overcome this and move forward.

The counselor talked about “love languages” and suggested there are “appreciation languages” as well. “What does appreciation look like to you?” he asked. The boss may send a “Good job” email, but if you expect a promotion or public accolades, you may still feel underappreciated.

Steven decided to talk to his boss about the kind of validation he was looking for. At the same time, he worked to make it clearer to his boss exactly what he was doing. He realized the boss could not show appreciation if he didn’t understand exactly what Steven was doing.

Finally, Steven decided that if he valued appreciation he should extend it to others as well. He made a plan to praise his co-workers for the good work they were doing. Then, he decided even those below him and his boss were pretty overworked and deserved praise as well.

He found that when he praised others he felt better. He also noticed they seemed quicker to offer affirmation to the work he was doing. Three months later Steven looked back. He realized he no longer felt overworked and underappreciated at work. These seven solutions had helped him feel more valued and more included. His enjoyment at work had increased.

If you are struggling with feelings of overwork or being underappreciated contact Joel for executive coaching. He can guide you in further ways to get the recognition you deserve.

Talkback:
What have you done when you’ve felt over worked and underappreciated?

3 ways to self-promote without self-promoting

“Heroes must see to their own fame. No one else will.”
~ Gore Vidal ~

Nathan felt it was time to raise his visibility. He knew he needed this just to keep his job in a tight market. He especially needed to get recognition if he hoped to advance. But no one likes a show-off or a know-it-all. So Nathan struggled with how to accomplish good self-promotion in the workplace without coming off in a negative way?

He decided to use three simple ways to let other in the workplace know of his good work. It’s self-promotion without sounding like your tooting your own horn.

  1. Share your accomplishments
  2. You’d love to have your work speak for itself. After all, it’s good work. But merit is determined by people— by human judgement. That’s a blend of information, viewpoint, and emotional filters. In order for the person who determines merit to appreciate your work, several things have to happen, including sharing of your accomplishments.

    • They have to know about the work.
    • They have to know that YOU did the work
    • They have to understand the time, effort, intelligence, and skills it took to accomplish the job
    • They need to see how it benefits the company

    They can’t get all this by osmosis. Someone needs to at least get them the “Cliff’s Notes” of your involvement in the job. You can do that several ways

    • Send a brief report to your boss or the influencer about the job. It could be in the form of a question. “I did this, and this and this…am I on track? What would you like next?”
    • Ask a mentor or senior in your organization to publically or privately pass on recognition of your accomplishments.
    • Request a co-worker write a letter of recommendation about your efforts on the task.
  3. Make your competence visible
  4. Nathan read that studies show it’s not the most competent that gets promoted, it’s the most visible. No one likes a boss that is less competent than they are. It’s not good for you or for the company. In self-defense, Nathan needs to have his competence shine. Decision makers need to know of your abilities.

    • Speak up in meetings
    • Offer to present material
    • Check with your boss or others and share what you are working on
    • Come to your review process prepared to show and explain your part in the work and in strengthening the company’s bottom line
  5. Educate others on your value

When you promote others, you often promote yourself as well. Nathan has been producing excellent results for his company. But he had not done a very good job of self-promotion. He hadn’t been sharing wins and accomplishments in his workplace.

He decided to write an email that outlined five specific things his team had done in the past month. He made sure each point had measurable results. He said, “I’m very proud of the work this team has done and wanted to take a moment to highlight their accomplishments.”

Notice it does not look like self-promotion since Nathan is giving accolades to his team. Yet it still reflects well on him.

The CTO wrote back, “Thanks for pointing this out and congratulations to the team. The quiet success of these accomplishments from you and your team has not gone unnoticed. The CEO and senior leadership were much appreciative.” He encouraged Nathan to keep them informed about their work and the value they bring. The CTO recognized that sometimes work that goes well goes unnoticed, yet, he said, “It is important we educate the business on the value we bring.”

Self-promotion, well done, can build your visibility and lead to advancement. It helps management do a better job of recognizing who are their truly skilled workers. It also helped Nathan feel more valued and gain more satisfaction from his job.

If you need to increase your visibility and promote yourself in your workplace, first evaluate your visibility.

Talkback:
What have you done for self-promotion? Has it worked? Has it come off brash, or confident?

6 Books Leaders Read to Become Stand-out Leaders

“If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.”~Ralph Waldo Emerson~

Damion’s goal was to become a great leader. He’d been under some mediocre leaders and wanted to do a better job than that. He looked at other leaders in the company and got some ideas of leadership skills from them.

But he felt there was more than what he was seeing. He wanted both the “why” and the “how” to become an outstanding leader. So he started reading. If you want to help yourself become a better leader, books are an excellent resource.

Damion’s created a list of leadership books that had the greatest impact on his career success. Damion offered to share them with you so you, too, could become a stand-out leader.

  • On Becoming a Leader by Warren Bennis. Forbes magazine called Warren Bennis “the dean of leadership gurus.” This thought leader book resonated with Damion because Bennis affirms that leaders aren’t born, they are made. He lays out how to release the leader within us. He offers a valuable list of leadership attributes.
  • The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You by John Maxwell. Damion said, “This legacy leader book left me inspired. His examples of great leaders helped me grasp the intangibles of leadership and helped me see behind the scenes of outstanding leadership in action.” Then he distills these traits into his laws of leadership.
  • The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make A Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell. Damion wanted to see some changes in his company culture. Gladwell’s book gave him great insight into how to use the connectors, mavens, and salesmen within the company to make those changes. It also showed how important it is to stop a problem early on before it gets to the tipping point.
  • First, Break All the Rules (1999), by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman. This book cuts through the theories and tells what leaders actually DO. Do successful leaders live by the rules? No. Gallup polls helped Damion understand the value of management along with leadership.
  • Getting Ahead by Joel Garfinkle. Damion started out as a “do-great-work-and-it-speaks-for-itself” kind of guy. Garfinkle’s book helped him see that his work would never speak loud enough. Advancement involves getting others to see you and your work in a positive light. What’s more, we can control how others think of us, how we are viewed, and how we influence. Powerful stuff.
  • How to be a Great Boss by Joel Garfinkle. Promotion doesn’t automatically confer leadership ability. This e-book talks about 7 key qualities of a good boss— from an employee’s point of view. What makes you the kind of leader employees want to work with? Garfinkle helped Damion see places to improve.

Damion found that reading books on and about leadership improved his confidence and the quality of his work. It gave him access to the brightest minds and a broad world of ideas and techniques. Then he pulled out the ones that best fit with his situation, his abilities and his personality and added them to his set of skills. There are many tools to help you grow as a leader. Books are one of the easiest and least expensive leadership development tools.

If you’re ready to step up your leadership skills to the next level and see major results, contact executive coach Joel. He can help move you forward faster.

Talkback:
What books have you read that have had an impact on your job and your leadership skills?