Q&A Friday – September edition

On the last Friday of each month, Real People, Real Q&A will be featured as a recap of the lessons learned and coaching notes given to individuals with a career question.

September edition index

In this issue: Office politics, Finding your passion and Should you keep your job hunt a secret?

Professionalism & Office Politics: Develop your skill to Managing Upwards

How do you best handle not arguing with your superiors?

This is a really frustrating situation. The more you want to explain yourself, the more the boss dismisses you because he’s not available to hear your answer.

That’s tough to hear I know. Everyone wants a boss who is supportive and helps your growth instead of makes you feel stuck and lacking confidence. However, getting defensive is not working. While it may be style/personality that causes friction between you two, from what you said, there a need to justify your position which is not helpful to your career long-term. Since it’s been going on for some time now, you may be starting to react in a fight or flight response as if you’re being attacked.

Give these tips a read – it will take practice and self-discipline to change your approach when interacting with your boss.

  • If you know his reaction is going to be “x” then prepare by anticipating it.
  • Get in front of his reaction by a) gathering necessary data available to make an informed decision (not necessarily only the data to support your proposal); b) communicating in a more fact-based way which shows you are not attached to your solution, but finding the best solution overall for the good of the project or company; c) Being flexible and open to new ideas or clarifications.
  • If your boss is dismissing your ideas because they are off the mark, practice asking more clarifying questions of him. Leverage lessons learned from the past, advisors and strategic direction with big-picture vision where applicable. True, it’s not fair if he is making decisions with information that would have been helpful to you, but that happens all the time. Do what you can to start to see things from his perspective with the pressures and answers he needs to provide his superiors.

I would recommend looking at The 360 Degree Leader book by John Maxwell which will provide you with ways to manage upwards.

Job Seekers: Be transparent in seeking another opportunity.

Give me some proper and pragmatic excuses for my boss when I go to interview in another company without her Knowing?

Why not tell the truth?

Can you see any benefits to keeping this from your boss? See if there is any middle-ground to make a stand for what you want (perhaps this new job, working conditions, etc.) and also leave this company on good terms.

Career: Insights on how to find your passion and best career advice.

How did you figure what you love to do?

Everyone I know goes through a period in life where the grass is greener on the other side. For me, since you are asking about our personal story and profession – I was burned out in my previous career. I worked too much, too fast and was driven by making good money. I felt the gap widening between what I wanted to do and what I was actually doing. I started to feel large spans of time where I was engulfed in work, and not able to enjoy vacations, family time or even restful sleep due to the constant stress of work in my life.

I went back through my various jobs and responsibilities, thinking about those times when I was really passionate and when work didn’t seem like work at all. What I realized was that I was pretty good at several jobs, but that didn’t make them a good fit for me. So I did some soul searching and recognized what most of my jobs had in common. I found many examples of my abilities to teach, motivate and work in teams. Once I found the “key,” I was able to match that to my new and current career.

Everyone’s career path is unique, and when you find your true calling, then you feel as if you’re no longer swimming against the tide, but riding with the wind at your back.

What is the single greatest piece of career advice you’ve ever gotten?

“No one can ever fault you for trying to improve yourself” – for those times that you may feel vulnerable and insecure. This advice comes from a deep place of self-reliance and ignores the fear associated with taking risks.

Ask the Coach!

Do you have a specific career question that you didn’t find the answer to? Simply ask your question for a free consultation! Send me a message

For a complete Q&A archive, visit the Q&A section.

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