Is My Boss Blocking My Career Advancement?

I’ve never been one for conspiracy theories but this one may ring true for some of you. Yes, it is possible your boss is actually the one standing in the way of you getting that promotion you deserve.

There are many reasons a boss might do this. But more importantly, here are a few ways you can fight back.

  1. Stay calm

Acting defensively or accusatory won’t get you very far. If your boss as blocked your promotion without discussing it with you, you have a reason to feel upset. But acting upset will only make the situation worse. Stay professional and try not to jump to conclusions.

  1. Ask questions

Whether you meet with your HR representative or your boss directly, ask all of the questions that you don’t know the answer to. Included in this should be “how can I improve my performance so that I can be considered for the position?” Taking that approach might get your questions answered while you still appear to be curious and determined. This is the best approach for long-term success.

  1. Dig a little deeper

If your questions are being answered vaguely, it’s okay to probe a little more. If you were told you didn’t get the job because someone else had more experience or a stronger skill set, ask for specifics on what kind of skills you’ll need to acquire before the next opportunity.

  1. Take action

If you were given specifics on skill sets and experience that you are, in fact, missing, make an action plan to acquire them. Attend any training sessions that may be available or seek office mentors that you may be able to learn from.

  1. Consider timing

Does a current project depend on you? Perhaps your boss can’t run the risk of losing such an important part of the team at such a volatile time. If you think this may be the case, have a one-on-one with your boss and ask him or her for a time frame that would be more appropriate for your potential promotion.

  1. Stay calm (still)

If you’ve done all you can do and it still seems your boss is blocking your promotion, it may very well be for selfish reasons on their behalf. As always, it’s important you remain calm. This would be a great opportunity to make an appointment with your HR representative and explain everything you’ve done; acquiring new skill sets, attending trainings, even setting up your future replacement for success. If they notice the patterns and realize things don’t add up, this may be when they intervene. If not, it may be time for you to look outside the company.

It can be a frustrating experience to be shut down for a deserved promotion by someone you thought was in your corner. But take the calm and logical steps to getting it sorted out and you may very well find your success.

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Do you need help increasing job visibility or prioritizing your career goals? My executive coaching services can help you hone your communication skills and clearly define your goals and objectives.

What You’re Doing That May Be Preventing Your Career Advancement

DON’T wait to be asked

DON’T wait to be asked

Previously, we discussed the importance of a good work ethic and it’s impact on your potential career advancement. But what if you’ve tried everything and you’re still not being considered for that internal promotion you want so badly.

You know what you have to do, but maybe there are things you need to make sure you’re not doing. Take these DON’TS for example.

DON’T be envious

Are you constantly comparing yourself to others at work? It’s not a bad idea to know your competition and enact a competitive spirit, but if you find yourself wondering things like “what do I have that he doesn’t?” or “well I do that too, why do they pay attention to her and not me?” you could actually be setting yourself up for failure. Creating pressure to be someone you’re not simply will not help. You have your own skills and personality, your own strengths and weaknesses. Trying to match someone else’s won’t get you anywhere.

DON’T fall victim to stress

The more you feel you aren’t getting ahead, the more frustrated you may become. It could make you irritable or impatient and maybe even rude with customers, coworkers or employers. You could start to feel like you can’t do anything right or you’ll never be good enough. It’s important that you not take it personally, difficult as it may be. Everyone faces challenges when trying to reach their goals, don’t let the stress change your relationship with the job you already have.

DON’T wait to be asked

All of your hopes and dreams are riding on someone asking you to take an opportunity, but perhaps you need to prove yourself instead. If the job you want requires certain skills, acquire them and show them off. If the job you want requires certain ideas, come up with them and share a few. Surely you’re familiar with the quote “dress for the job you want, not the one you have.” Take that idea and apply it to your work. Still be sure to get your job done but put in the extra effort so they can’t say no.

Feeling stuck in a job that no longer challenges or motivates you can be underwhelming and trigger a whole domino effect of bad emotions and behaviors. At some point you’ll have to make a decision, maybe this internal promotion isn’t for you after all. But you won’t know until you try so put your best effort forward and keep moving forward.

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Do you need help increasing job visibility or improving your relationship with your boss? My executive coaching services can help you hone your communication skills and clearly define your goals and objectives.

5 Steps to Ease Difficult Conversations with Coworkers

1.Include Them

1. Include Them

Everyone has faced workplace tension at one time or another. With different personalities trapped in an office all day long, disagreements and competition are sure to arise every now and again. You might even be forced to work on projects with someone you simply don’t get along with. The key to being professional is learning how to work with people despite your differences.

You can’t change your coworkers and you can’t change their actions but you can change how you interact with them. Here are some ways to ease communication with those pesky colleagues.

  1. Include Them

Your actions and communications should show your coworkers that you find them to be an equal and valuable member of the team. When meeting to discuss a project or brainstorm ideas, be sure to ask them to offer their thoughts. Speak of the group or pair as “we” instead of an “I” to let them know you see them as a partner, not an enemy.

  1. Give a Pat on the Back

If your colleague does a good job or has a particularly useful strength, congratulate them on it. Be sure your compliment sounds sincere and not patronizing.  If offered correctly, the compliment can go a long way to bridging the gap between you.

  1. Don’t Brag

If your boss gave you praise or a customer wrote a great review of your work, be modest. This is especially important if the person you have most tension with is particularly competitive. When communicating with this person, try to focus more on company or team successes and less on personal ones.

  1. Listen

Your input is not the only thing that matters in this scenario. Making it clear you’re interested in what someone else has to say is crucial to easing tension. If you don’t take an interest in their thoughts or, worse, interrupt or ignore them, you are most definitely not helping matters.

  1. Scale it Back

It’s true that even the people you think you can trust might not be trustworthy after all, so this is a good general stance to take with anyone. But easing tension between coworkers means protecting your own interests and that includes not sharing too much. If something you say can be turned around and used against you, be sure to keep it under wraps.

It may be difficult easing the tension with your coworkers but there are easy steps to take that can ensure you’ve taken the high road to success.

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Do you need help increasing job visibility or improving your relationship with your boss or coworkers? My executive coaching services can help you hone your communication skills and clearly define your goals and objectives.

Is Your Work Ethic Up to Par?

How high on your personal priority list is this job?

How high on your personal priority list is this job?

So you’re wondering why it seems every time there’s a promotion in your grasp, you’re overlooked and it’s given to someone else. You’ve put in a lot of time with the company and you know you’re ready but you seem to be the only one who thinks so.

In the past I’ve given you some tips on how to put your best foot forward in the office, keeping things positive and making yourself more visible. But those aren’t the only ingredients to continued work success. One of the most basic things you need is a solid day-to-day performance, the willingness to buckle down and get the job done. You need a great work ethic.

You’re probably thinking that’s no problem because you’ve always prided yourself on a great work ethic. But consider that over time, you’ve loosened up. There are several reasons your work ethic could have taken a hit over the years or more recent months, and being overlooked for a promotion could be one of those reasons. Getting too comfortable at work could be another one.

No matter the reason, it’s an easy thing to fix because you’re 100% in control. Find out if you have a great work ethic; next time you’re at your desk in the middle of a work day, ask yourself if you display these characteristics:

Willingness to learn – Sure you may be experienced, but that doesn’t mean you know it all. If you act like you do, this doesn’t bode well for your work ethic. Continue to grow, always learn new things and be open to what others have to share.

Commitment – How high on your personal priority list is this job? If it’s not high, you’re not committed. That may be alright but understand that others do notice. If you’re not willing to stay a little longer to get the job done but someone else is, who do you think is more likely to get the promotion?

Dependability – If you start something, are you there to finish it? If someone needs your help on a project do you show up or make excuses? Do you get to work late? Do you call out often? If you’re not someone people can trust, your bosses may not be eager to give you that promotion.

Honesty – If you have a reputation around the office as being dishonest about anything from small work gossip to important work matters, you might want to address it.

Ownership – So you missed a deadline or made a mistake on a task. Have you owned up to it and worked to fix it? Or have you denied it was your fault? Finding others to blame instead of taking responsibility for your own contributions may be what’s holding you back.

If you’re looking to advance at work or even just make a good impression, your work ethic is a crucial element. Don’t let frustrations at work make you stop working as effectively. If you really feel you deserve to move to the next level, you have to continue to prove it.

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Do you need help increasing job visibility or improving your relationship with your boss? My executive coaching services can help you hone your communication skills and clearly define your goals and objectives.

Problems vs Solutions: 5 Tips to Change Your Workplace Thinking

Avoid trying to fix what isn’t broken

Avoid trying to fix what isn’t broken

We’ve discussed obstacles and failures at the leadership level, but one critical way to improve your response to obstacles and failures at any level is to ensure your attitude is positive.

There are several ways to turn your workplace thinking away from counterproductive negativity. You know the very value of this because you’ve had that conversation with the office complainer. The office complainer is the person at work who is never satisfied and loves to say how dissatisfied they are without ever offering a positive way to fix the things they’re dissatisfied about. They’d rather complain and rev up your engine so you’ll complain with them. Not only is that person not helpful, they bring down office morale and leave you questioning your own positive outlook. There’s no room for that in a successful business.

If you’re a manager or director, you should use these 5 techniques to lead your team to success through your words and your actions. If you’re not a manager, exhibiting this type of thinking and positive approach will make you a viable managerial candidate in no time.

  1. Avoid trying to fix what isn’t broken

Don’t look for things to be mad about or ways to break down existing systems. Only attempt to improve a situation if it’s proven to have a negative impact to you, your coworkers, your customers or the business.

  1. Update your language

Whether communicating via email, phone or in person, avoid using dooming words like “fail” “problem” “mistake” “impossible” and “loss.” Replace those terms with more hopeful ones, such as “progress” “challenge” and “improve.” While on the topic of language, be sure to apply it outside of business chat as well. It should come as no surprise that it doesn’t set a good tone when you speak in a derogatory manner about your coworkers, customers or boss, so be sure to steer clear of that.

  1. Comply with the office dress code

When you decide you want to skirt around the office dress code, you’re showing signs of disrespect to management and the overall collaboration of your work community. While it may not be your intention, your actions speak loudly on your behalf. Stick within the structure to show you’re happy being a part of the team.

  1. Apply The Golden Rule

It’s called the Golden Rule for a reason and it will never stop being relevant. If someone has an idea you don’t agree with, put yourself in their shoes before you respond. Would you want someone jumping down your throat and belittling your thoughts? Or would you prefer someone offer to work with you to improve the base of your idea?

  1. Help Out

Your relationship with colleagues, employees and employers is vital to tipping the scale of the office atmosphere from negative to positive. Are you communicating? Are you being kind and pleasant? Are you offering to help when others could use it? If you finish your project while someone else is struggling, offer assistance for the good of the team.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of negativity at work.  But with the right thinking and minor actions, you can start to notice a turnaround not just in your mood, productivity and reputation around the water cooler, you’ll also start to get some of that positive attitude back from your colleagues.

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Do you want to motivate and lead your staff more effectively? My executive coaching services can help you hone your leadership skills and clearly define your goals and objectives.

More Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Quit Your Job

How will I explain this on future interviews?

How will I explain this on future interviews?

There are several reasons you might think about quitting your job. If you’re suffering from career-induced stress, a lack of financial stability or are feeling undervalued, you could be looking eagerly toward the exit.

But there are several things to factor in to such a big decision. In our last batch of quitting question suggestions, we recommended that before you start contemplating your exciting and bold exit strategy, ask yourself these questions:

  • Can I effectively address these issues with my boss first?
  • Can I see myself as the boss?
  • Do I have a financial backup plan?
  • What are my other options?

If you’ve worked through those answers and still aren’t sure, here are some more things to examine.

How will I explain this on future interviews?

Everyone knows that a hot topic on any job interview is why you left your last place of employment. If you feel uncomfortable having this conversation with a potential future employer, it might be because your reasons to leave aren’t quite enough. In addition to your reasons, your interviewer will consider how long you were at this company, and even the one before it. If they notice a tendency of job-hopping, they won’t be impressed. Take a look at your resume and see if you sense a pattern. Notice it before someone else does.

Am I considering all of the benefits?

It’s easier to be disgruntled about work than it is to appreciate it. Not every company offers the same incentives, benefits and even pay as the company you’re with now. This includes amenities, flexible schedules and commute ease and time. You may feel unmotivated but it’s possible once you compare what you have to what else is out there, you may suddenly feel very grateful. If not, once you see where you are compared to where you could be, you can determine how much it’s all worth to you. Do you dislike your job so much you’re willing to give up a shorter commute and steeper benefits?

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

This may seem like a silly question to ask at a time like this, but it can serve you well in two ways; 1. You’re already prepared with an answer for any potential upcoming interviews and 2. Truly understanding these things about yourself will give you the clarity you need to make a choice.  Consider that the reason you’re not getting the most out of your job is because you’re not putting the right kind of focus and effort into it. If that sounds about right, now is the time to try to change that. Express a desire to your boss about different projects that you can work on where your strengths can best benefit the team and company. If that’s not possible, your new-found self awareness will lead you where you want and need to go next.

Quitting a job is complicated yet often necessary. There are many reasons to desire the change, but for every reason, there’s a serious factor that needs to be weighed before making the decision.

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Do you need help assessing your career anxiety or improving your relationship with your boss? My executive coaching services can help you hone your communication skills and clearly define your goals and objectives.

How to Increase Your Job Visibility

job visibility, career advancement

Pat yourself on the back.

You might agree that to ensure job security, you need outstanding job visibility.  Making it clear to your managers that you’re a valuable asset to the team can go a long way to securing a promotion to the next level.  But that begs the question: how do I stand out at work?

Increasing your job visibility may seem difficult and overwhelming but results will come by taking a series of small steps.

  • Ask for more responsibility, challenging assignments and leadership roles on team projects. Propose specific suggestions on ways the team can improve and then offer your personal strengths as contributions.
  • Pat yourself on the back. If you did great work individually, share it with your boss. If a customer expressed great satisfaction with you, share it. If you contributed greatly to a successful team effort, share that group success too.
  • Take initiative. Asking for challenging assignments is good, but finding a niche and filling it conscientiously shows built-in leadership. You’ll want to be careful not to step on anyone’s toes but if you see an opportunity to show independent problem solving, take it.
  •  Keep honing your skills, even if the job doesn’t require them. Well-rounded thinking is crucial to problem solving and creativity – Thomas Edison didn’t create the light bulb by staring at a candle.
  • Make yourself memorable when meeting others within the company, including upper management. Be well spoken, positive and knowledgeable while showing respect and appreciation for the others in the room.
  • Get involved on high-profile projects and accounts. If an opportunity arises for you to contribute to a VIP client, offer your assistance. A job well done on an important case will give you name recognition with management.
  • Request an opportunity to attend seminars and training sessions. Your boss will appreciate your enthusiasm and willingness to learn and then when you return, you can pass along your newfound information by holding your own training sessions for coworkers.

Being noticed at work is an important component of career success with great potential payoffs. When you take initiative, show interest and leadership and are able to toot your own horn, you become a memorable part of you work environment which can get you climbing to the top in no time.

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Do you need help increasing job visibility or improving your relationship with your boss? My executive coaching services can help you hone your communication skills and clearly define your goals and objectives.

What Are the Benefits of Working with an Executive Coach?

What Are the Benefits of Working with an Executive Coach?

Hiring an executive coach is a valuable and substantial investment in your professional future. But before you get started, you may have questions. Let us answer the most pressing one: what are the benefits?

There are a number of advantages to expect while working under the guidance of an executive coach, whether you are an individual executive or an organization seeking to improve your company talent. An executive coach like myself will work with you to establish a clear vision of your goals and help you implement an action plan to reach them.

If you are an individual seeking a promotion, higher compensation or improved leadership skills, working with a seasoned executive coach can help you become confident and productive in your approach. Here are just some of the personal results you may expect:

  • More effective leadership and communication skills
  • Boosted career planning, development and advancement
  • A positive approach towards office politics
  • Improved people management skills
  • Enhanced decision-making for you and the company
  • New approaches to managing that build upon your current strengths and style

If you are an HR or C-Suite executive in need of support or are looking to develop a valuable contributor to your business, seeking the assistance of an executive coach can pay off by creating the following affects:

  • Reduced employee turnover
  • New leaders thriving in larger roles
  • Enhanced communication skills
  • Control over recurring workplace challenges

A customized and comprehensive executive coaching program tailored to the growth of an individual will strengthen the core of your organization and improving client relationships.

The professional expertise of an executive coach can help you, as an individual, gain back control of your career and land that promotion you’ve been working toward. As a business leader, it can help you to mold your executive staff and improve company impact and productivity.

Having a partner to keep you on track to your goals is critical during this phase. Of all the benefits you may reap from the process of working with an executive coach, the most important is that you will develop an insight to the hidden potential of yourself or your business, and there’s no stopping how far that can take you.

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Do you want to motivate and lead your staff more effectively? My executive coaching services can help you hone your leadership skills and clearly define your goals and objectives.

 

 

How to Respectfully Disagree With Your Boss

Disagreeing With Your Boss

Have I considered this issue from every perspective?

Every workplace holds a myriad of personalities and work styles, so it’s not implausible to find yourself disagreeing with your employer from time to time.

Your distain can run the gamut of opposing a new plan to contesting a written warning you received, but no matter the issue, there is a right way and a wrong way to approach the situation. If you take certain things into consideration, you can turn the uncomfortable conversation into a constructive one.

Before you speak up, ask yourself these questions.

Have I considered this issue from every perspective?

Before verbalizing your thoughts, take the time to put yourself in the shoes of others that will also be impacted. If your qualm is about an assignment or unrealistic expectations set upon your team, consider how others may feel too. Most importantly, try to understand why your boss has asked for this in the first place. While you still may not agree it’s in the best interest of the company or employee morale, your boss might show some appreciation if you treat his or her concerns as reasonable ones.

Is this the right time and place?

You’ll want to make sure you address the challenges you’re facing privately and in-person. Avoid typing your frustrations in an email, as that is not the most effective way to get your message across. When you set up your meeting, ensure you have the adequate time and space needed; a time and place where you don’t expect any interruptions.

How can I turn this around into a positive and productive conversation?

Hopefully when your boss comes to you with concerns about your choices or work performance, he or she makes sure to let you know that aside from needing improvement in a particular area, you are doing a great job. Return the favor by ensuring your disagreement is delivered in a positive light. Avoid being accusatory or using negative vocabulary. Instead of merely batting down your boss’ ideas, be sure to prepare your own suggestions for solutions as a possible replacement strategy.

Don’t be discouraged if your boss doesn’t go for your suggestions. If you’ve handled yourself professionally and respectfully, you will close that meeting having left your mark. Remember that speaking up can actually improve your relationship with your boss and help your career.

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Do you want to improve the relationship with your boss? My executive coaching services can help you hone your leadership skills and manage up, across and down more effectively.

 

Outsider to Insider at work: Turnaround Tips

Executive Coaching

Building Rapport in your New Job: Turnaround Tips

You’ve recently started a new job with a larger role.  The position sounded ideal because it promised growth and the opportunity to showcase your skills.   You were thinking of this as the next logical step in your career.

But it’s not turning out the way you had anticipated.

Your new co-workers are a tightly knit group and clicky.  Moving your agenda forward requires their cooperation and support.  Frustratingly, your initiatives are being stalled because you can’t get traction from the influencers on your team. The ideas you suggest are met with “that’s not the way it’s done here.”

Worse, you can’t seem to insert yourself into conversations or take part in inside jokes.

You wonder what the heck is happening?

And you are feeling like an outsider.

Take heart my friend; you are experiencing the transitional pains of fitting into a new culture.

Here are steps you can take immediately to pave the way for receiving more cooperation on your projects while building better relationships with your coworkers:

  • Don’t put the cart before the horse.  In the example above, the new employee hadn’t built the bridges or relationships with co-workers that would make them inclined to help.  First and foremost, you need to launch a sincere effort to build good will.

  • Starting Over — So how do you build rapport after coming on like gangbusters?  Begin with saying you’d like to start fresh by pushing the reset button.   Invite them to coffee/lunch and approach the conversation as a friend…what would you ask a new acquaintance to get to know them?  Questions about their family, interests, motivators, etc.?  Do not attempt to bring up business or your goals.  These first chats are about them.

  • It’s not all about you or your objectives.  Once you sense you’ve created the groundwork for a discussion with the influencers, ask them their opinion of your projects and how you might be of help to them?  Ensure that they are aware that this is a two-way street.   And you need to mean it.  Ultimately it may require more effort on your part to deliver on your promise to help them.  However, in the long run, it’s the only way to be successful when you need other people’s support.

  • Make it a habit.   Being hard driving and goal oriented is all well and good but you need to earn the loyalty and commitment of your team. That means becoming a leader that people trust and want to follow.  Working well with others requires understanding what motivates each person and helping them become successful.   Incorporate these leadership skills into your everyday approach and you’ll go from an outsider to an insider at work.  More importantly, you’ll have developed expertise that you can put to good use in every future position.

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Need help in defining exactly what you can do in your new job to become successful?  That’s why people hire an executive coach.  Working with a coach you will receive support, accountability and a blueprint for action steps to become successful and comfortable in your new role.