In this title, I am using the word "she" as a representative of any woman in the workplace and not at all thinking of any one woman in particular. However, at times I may bring to mind a certain woman (including myself) to make my point. So what made me write such a post? What do I think the answer to this question is? Why should we even care?
Well the other day a person I would consider to be one of the nicest college friends I ever had posted a quiz on Facebook titled "How Bitchy Are You?" At first, I thought now why would she do that? She's not even close! Although, her score was 52% which said she was a "Balanced Bitch". So a couple hours went by and without thinking much about it except to laugh to myself because I thought for sure my result would be much higher, I took the quiz. Now let me just say, as an educated adult, I do know there is not a lot of research that is behind these silly Facebook quizzes, but what the hey. My theory was correct and I did score higher by 10%, achieving the "balanced bitch" entitlement as well. Then another friend who scored only 23% took it. Honestly, I would have ranked both the friend that took it initially and the latter friend in the same category of friendliness (not bitchiness) due to my own personal experiences with them. Thus negating my trust in the quiz even further.
All this got me thinking of the use of the word "Bitch" in general and more specifically in the workplace. I remember as a young professional (YP), I was invited to join a ladies group called "Bitchin' Broads" and I was offended that they called themselves that and refused to be part of the group, because as a professional I didn't want to be associated. I felt at the time it gave women a bad name in the workplace. Little did I know at the time that in reality, if you simply spoke up, shared what was on your mind, refused to do something ridiculous, called others on their laziness, or anything that others might consider "crossing the line," that is what they called you (and still do). Why is that?
If you are passionate about something and convey that in the workplace you can kiss your reputation as the nice lady goodbye. Take on a supervisor, manager, director or above and actually not be afraid to do the job...life as you know it is over. Matter of fact, your most likely counter supporters are typically other women. I have had several women tell me that they preferred to work for a man than woman. With more women entering the workplace decade after decade and still not joining the numbers at the top as a majority like their male counterparts, is it because of this mentality? Are women holding women back just because they are too nice to appreciate bitchiness as a necessary competency for getting things done? Please note: I am not condoning bullying in the workplace. I consider that to be totally different and definitely inappropriate in the workplace. A bully is a downright jerk regardless of gender.
So, I know for a fact, I have been a bitch at times both in the workplace and in the volunteer roles I have held related to the workplace. When I posted my score and comment in Facebook "life can be a bitch at times and so can I. I'm sure many of you would agree! Ha! Ha!" not many responded and I know why. The truth hurts. It's not intentional and it's not something I look back on and am proud of all the time. However, it has been essential at least 75% of the time. Many do take it a compliment. Just look at these articles I pulled a quote or takeaway from related to my thoughts on the topic.
"The more of a bitch I am the more successful I become" http://www.forbes.com/sites/
"Stop saying I'm sorry - there is a time and place for apologies"http://m.contentfac.com/?url=
When it means making 18% more than your agreeable counterparts why not earn the bitch title? http://jezebel.com/stop-being-
And just in case you missed the Facebook Bitch Quiz, here's another you can take to see if you are one of the workplace "she's": http://www.gotoquiz.com/are_
Is the "she" in your workplace a bitch? My answer is "yeah, maybe" but is that a bad thing? Maybe not!
About the Author: Donna Rogers, SPHR aka @DonnaRogersHR. Donna is a full time Instructor at University of Illinois at Springfield, owner of Rogers HR Consulting and the immediate past Director of the Illinois State Council of SHRM. She has over 20 years in the HR field and currently teaches Human Resources Management, Organizational Behavior, Organizational Development, and Strategic HR Management. She practices what she teaches for almost 100 clients in the central Illinois area.
With great power comes great responsibility, said Spider Man.
A good leader embodies a number of highly-desired traits. He or she is focused, flexible, empathetic, ethical, and is engaged in a strong pursuit of success. There are different types of leaders and many leadership styles. Each might approach a situation or a problem in a different way but the outcome should always be the same: success or solution to a problem. Being able to get things done is the sign of a good leader.
Leadership has been much discussed. Thousands of books, articles, and blogs have been dedicated to studying different and efficient leadership styles. So how is it that despite such a wealth of information available on being a good leader, every organization has its own set of bad leaders? How come every employee has at least once endured that dreaded thing called “bad boss”?
No one starts off with the goal of becoming a horrible boss, but one picks up undesirable qualities along the way and gets stuck in self-defeating patterns of words and actions that earns one the label of ‘the boss from hell’.
So what are the things that lead to people getting this not-so-coveted title? Here are some of the qualities that we absolutely do not want in our leaders.
Credit Snatcher Alert!
This is for all those bosses who can never appreciate the fine work of their juniors and waste no time in making it their own. So your juniors may be less experienced and less skilled than you but when they do a good job they do deserve appreciation.
While taking credit for someone else’s work could be unintentional at times, especially when you feel that you came up with an idea which your subordinates simply executed, the least you can do is give them the credit for their part of work. That is what a good mentor does.
Is an Opportunistic Communicator
Being a good communicator is one of the key qualities needed to become a good leader. But good communication is not limited to conveying what you want from your employees and giving them their targets unambiguously.
It is about keeping them motivated and positive at all times. You cannot be an aggressive and empowering communicator only when you need your subordinates to work for you. To be a good leader you should be an informative, enthusiastic and encouraging communicator at all times.
Many leaders do not let beneficial and important information trickle down to their juniors as they fear that access to such information may help their juniors outshine them. This is bad practice. Such leaders never earn the trust or willing support of their subordinates. You cannot lead a team with a need-to-know-only attitude towards your juniors.
Lacks Vision and Focus
Leading through action and direction is the mantra for most successful leaders. Nobody can trust or rely on a leader who does not have a vision for himself or for the growth of his team. A leader needs to be clear about his goals and be meticulous in his approach towards attaining these goals.
Such a leader is focused and leads through example. On the other hand, a leader who lacks vision and focus will not set long-term goals. He cannot induce passion or commitment towards work in his or her subordinates. The best leaders are those who inspire others to go ahead and achieve their dreams. Such leaders infuse positivity, discipline and focus in their subordinates.
A bad leader lacks vision and fails to plan properly. They are not connected to their employees and remain clueless about the goings-on at work. They also fail to remain accountable and often blame their juniors when something goes wrong. Most people don’t stick around for long under such leaders.
Lacks Empathy and Flexibility
Kindness and humility go a long way. A leader that always says ‘NO’ to all that a junior asks, refuses to accept any innovation put forth by young blood, and is dominating and dictatorial in his approach gets a thumbs-down form us.
One becomes a leader only when he or she has followers. A boss that does not empathize with his workers is a bad boss and won’t win any hearts.
When your subordinates feel that you care for them, they want to give you their best. On the other hand, if they only receive indifference and coldness from the boss, their productivity will decline and understandably so.
These are bosses with excessive ego, pride and arrogance. They usually possess all of the above mentioned qualities. In addition to that, they are bad listeners. They believe that they know everything and will discourage you to speak up or express your views. And if you do manage to do so and rub them the wrong way, be ready for some serious payback. Yes, they are vindictive too.
Engages in Favoritism
Now this is the boss who irks us the most. They will shower favors on those they like. They love people sucking up to them and if you don’t, you are in deep trouble. By now you might have guessed that they play an active role in office politics and deliberately underplay your talent and hard work. They also pit employees against each other and create a bad working atmosphere.
If you are a leader and have been deliberately or unintentionally exhibiting any of the above behavior, check yourself now. A good leader brings out the best in all his followers; he is fair and unbiased and gives wings to his followers’ dreams. If you are working under a leader who does not inspire you to give your best, you need to recognize the signs and find a way out to receive guidance from a better boss.
About the Author: Lura Peterson is a freelance writer for Topmobility.com and loves to write on mobility. Besides writing, she also enjoys shopping, traveling with her family to far-off places and time spent with her husband.
Much has been said and written about the Millennial Generation, much of which is untrue or highly exaggerated. This group has often been criticized for being lazy, entitled and self-obsessed, but that’s not quite right. And, anyway, isn’t that always how the older generations describe “kids these days”?
The truth is that the notorious Millennials, or members of Generation Y, are more socially aware, innovative and worldly than any generation that came before, and they’re up against a lot more. This group is entering an extremely competitive, slim workforce with huge amounts of student loan debt, yet they’re highly optimistic about their futures.
Instead of thinking of ways to “deal” with Millennials who enter your company, you really ought to be coming up with ways to attract more of these creative thinkers – after all, in 10 years, Gen Y will make up three quarters of the workforce.
1. Be Different
Today’s college grads are not satisfied with their parents’ workplace. They take one look at a staid, old-fashioned office with its bland cubicles and depressing break room, and they run the other way. Millenials are turned off by the idea of working at the same, isolated desk all day.
Tim Buchenberger, designer at Whitney Architects, a firm that designs many modern workplaces, said, “We encourage companies to choose designs that promote flexibility and allow people to easily move in and out of different work environments. The spaces need to encourage personal and professional connections – they should create a sense of belonging.”
If you really want to attract the best and brightest young people, you have to build a physical environment that suits their work preferences and reflects the way technology has changed the way we communicate. Hip, modern companies eschew the culture of private offices and closed-off cubicles of yore in favor of open-concept spaces and meeting rooms that are conducive to collaboration.
2. Be Flexible
Millenials view the traditional work day in the same way they see the traditional office: outdated and irrelevant. Technology has completely transformed the way we work, and Gen Y understands that more than anyone, especially considering the fact that they don’t remember a time before the internet. Much of what necessitated the classic 9-5 schedule no longer applies.
If it was up to this new generation, all companies would allow workers to be flexible about when and where they work, as long as the work was getting done. They also prefer more casual dress requirements, which helps them feel like they can be themselves. An MTV study called No Collar Workers, found that 81% of Millennial employees think they should be able to make their own work hours and 79% think they should be able to wear jeans to work.
The point is that this generation is looking for a workplace that breaks down the strict barriers between work life and home life. The benefit to you is that, by creating a more inviting and flexible work environment, you get employees who actually want to be in the office and who thrive in an environment that encourages personal freedom and expression. It might all sound a bit foreign and new-age, but this is where things are headed and early adopters will find themselves ahead of the pack.
3. Mentorship Matters
Critics accuse Millennials of being dependent and in need of hand-holding, but these nay-sayers may just need to shift their perspective. In the past, many companies would essentially throw new team members into the deep end – their ability to learn to swim was their first test. This generation, however, works better with nurturing mentor relationships and frequent feedback. And is that so bad? Why shouldn’t we do everything we can to assimilate and educate new employees in order to help ensure their success?
You can make a Millenial feel right at home in your company by assigning them an official mentor from the start – this person would be responsible for showing them the ropes and facilitating regular check-ins where the newbie would be allowed to ask questions and seek feedback on their performance. This kind of system will not only attract workers of Gen Y, it will increase new employee retention and help decrease the inevitable learning curve that slows down productivity.
4. Raise Responsibility
This may surprise you, but Millennials are not motivated by money. Sure, money matters, but not as much as opportunities for growth, leadership and influence. Ultimately, today’s young workers would rather have a lower paycheck that comes with greater satisfaction than vice versa. And they want their voices heard and their input valued – 76% of those surveyed in the No Collar Workers study said that they believed their bosses could learn from them.
Perhaps because of the fact that they’re more in touch with technology than their older superiors, Millennials don’t prescribe to the belief that a strict hierarchy should dictate whose ideas matter the most. Your company can accommodate this belief by doing things like holding group brainstorming sessions that let all team members contribute equally. You can also tap young employees to train older team members on technology – this makes logical sense and it allows them to feel useful and valuable.
5. Make a Difference
Despite the bad rap they’ve gotten for being self-involved, Millennials are actually quite socially conscious and look for employers that are doing their part to give back or improve the world in some way. A 2014 Deloitte study on Millennials in the workforce concluded that this generation believes that a company’s success is not just measured in profits, but in contributions to the world at large. This was based on the fact that large percentages of them volunteer their time and money to charitable organizations and sign political petitions.
This is an easy and beneficial change for any company to make. Not only does company-wide philanthropy help those in need, but it also does wonders for building team morale and creating a more solid company culture. Taking the whole team to a food bank or an animal shelter for a day says, “We are a company that cares and values giving back to the community.” This makes all employees, not just Millennials, feel good about the place where they work, which in turn, creates more loyal and productive team members.
Millenials will soon take over America’s workforce. When that happens, companies won’t be asking themselves whether or not to adapt in order to suit their preferences – the adaptations will simply happen out of necessity.
The companies that choose to begin evolving early will be the ones that rise to the top, while the stragglers will find themselves running to catch up. As Bob Dylan sung in his epic ode to the power of youth, “Your old road is rapidly agin’, please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand, for the times they are a-changin’.”
Want to see where you fall on the Millenial continuum? Take this quiz, developed by the Pew Research Institute.
About the Author: Rod Miller is the Head of New Program Development of Corporate Award Source, an online supplier ofcustom corporate awards. Rod is also a frequent contributor to several career blogs and is passionate about educating professionals on workplace morale and leadership. For more information, visitCorporate Award Source or connect with Rod on Google+.
The old Mars versus Venus debate is back and this time it’s in the business arena. Traditionally, men have always had an edge over women in running businesses- more men own businesses and high revenue businesses are mostly controlled by men. So why ask this question? With many women rising to break the glass ceiling and proving that gender has nothing to do with success, it is indeed a valid question. Women are showing that they can handle business as well as men, if not better.
The rise of women in business: Why women are better at calling the shots
The last few years have seen a steady rise of women-owned businesses in the country. From startups to corporate giants, a number of women CEOs run companies. Business is no longer male-dominated. According to a 2013 report by American Express OPEN, women own 8.6 million businesses in America. Moreover, women-owned businesses have grown by 59 percent between 1997 and 2013 and this trend is set to continue in the next few years. As more women step into the business game, it brings us back to the question: Are women better at doing business? Here are five areas where women fare better than men, research has confirmed. All of them are important in the task of running a successful business. The findings may just about convince you!
Women were rated as better leaders than their male counterparts in a 2011 study carried out by Zenger Folkman Inc., the Harvard Business Review reports. Women score higher than men in most of the competencies critical in leadership, scoring high in qualities like taking initiative and pushing hard for results.
2. Decision making
The fairer sex lives up to their name. Research shows that women bosses are fairer than their male counterparts when it comes to making critical decisions in the company. A study by the International Journal of Business Governance and Ethics found that women leaders involved others in the decision making process and companies that had female board members were more successful, reports The Daily Telegraph.
3. Financial emergencies
A 2013 HSBC study has found that men are more likely than women to touch their retirement savings when faced with a financial crisis. More women also considered economizing as a possible means of dealing with financial crisis, the study adds. Going by this study, women seem to be better financial planners, a quality that is vital in business.
4. Credit management
A study by the American Association of University Women shows that women may just be better at handling debt than men, says a report by CBS News. While men and women are equal in terms of average credit scores, men tend to have bigger mortgages and higher incidents of late payments.
5. Social responsibility
Women leaders are more likely to contribute towards activities that have a societal impact. The 2013 U.S. Trust Insights on Wealth and Worth reveals that female entrepreneurs love to give back to their community, Forbes reports. Philanthropy plays a big part in the financial portfolio of women leaders, more than men.
An article by American Express further makes the case for women, citing five reasons on what makes women more effective bosses than men- they are better at communication, better at fostering relationships, have got stronger business ethics, they are more patient and better at triggering passion in employees.
Women have always excelled in the corporate sector, but their numbers in top positions have been dismal. But these studies show why women may be better business handlers and how they make more successful leaders as compared to men. Some of the findings may have come as a surprise- traditionally men have been more driven and forward in taking the initiative but women outscore them in these two areas!
It’s not just in the big businesses that women are thriving. Driving for growth is also one of the characteristics of women who own small businesses, the Hartford small business report shows. The 2013 study showed that when it came to small businesses, women displayed more desire for growth than men owning similar sized businesses.There’s also increased optimism in women owners who operate small businesses, the study adds.
As the future for women-owned businesses seems bright, one thing is clear: In a tough business environment, women are no less and the numbers are out there for all to see. Can women handle business better than men? I think you know the answer!
About the Author: Elvis Donnelly is a father of two who works from home. He is a voracious reader and like to keep abreast of current affairs on personal finance, technology and innovation. In his spare time, he loves taking on home improvement projects and considers himself a closet chef.
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I had the opportunity recently to participate in an employer and student roundtable discussion at a local college. The purpose of this project was to connect business leaders and HR professionals with college students to discuss the perceived and actual gaps in college level curriculum in preparing students for jobs and careers after graduation. In other words, as business and HR leaders, what did we wish students knew, or what skills did we wish they had upon graduation that would make them more valuable contributors to our businesses much more quickly?
The concept of this roundtable was great, and the discussions enlightening for both sides for the most part. But one part of the discussion bothered me, and still does several weeks later; that was the discussion about “business etiquette.”
You see, there was a belief in the room among many of the business professionals that students come into the workplace ill prepared for the realities of the workplace, that they don’t understand how to act in a professional setting. I do think this can be true to an extent, and there’s nothing wrong with setting expectations about dress code, or providing guidelines or reminders that it may be inconsiderate to take a conference call on speakerphone when you’re working in a cubicle situation. There are many appropriate and helpful things that we can do and steps that we can take as employers throughout the onboarding process to help them to acclimate. However, rather than a discussion about learning to navigate corporate culture and/or politics, it became a discussion that I could only describe as a lack of adherence to “work rules.”
The example was raised of a new employee who was found wearing headphones at his desk (presumably listening to music as he worked), and the discussion became a little heated with strong convictions about how new employees need to learn that this is not acceptable. But I question….why this rule in the first place? Are the headphones truly inhibiting productivity? Unless this employee was working in a call center, or the headphones were preventing him from hearing his phone ring, is there really any harm? Is it possible that he does a lot of independent work (writing, coding, etc.) and music motivates him? Maybe his work requires a great deal of concentration and the headphones/music blocks out the distractions around him?
What was particularly bothersome to me is that the professionals who were in the room represented some very highly respected companies. They were all obviously very successful, and offered a multitude of excellent advice in other aspects of the discussion. Yet when it came to work rules, the opinions were clear.
Too often, we as HR professionals get so fixated on the rules or the policies that we lose sight of why those rules are even in place to begin with, and fail to question whether or not they should be. There is absolutely a place for workplace guidelines, and some policies need to be in place to protect our employees (workplace violence, sexual harassment, etc.) Burt why do we continue to be fixated by arbitrary work rules? Because that’s how it’s always been? Because “our” way of working is right and “theirs” is wrong? Why aren’t we talking about teaching and coaching our new employees on the importance of building relationships and internal networking? About how to assess a corporate culture and learn how to navigate politics….and not politics in a bad way, but politics in the sense of learning who knows what, and who your best sources are when you need information, help, etc? Why are we so worried about who is following which arbitrary rule, instead of learning how to get the best and most productive output from our new employees?
My contribution to this discussion and advice to the students was the following: not all cultures are the same. Some will allow certain things, some won’t. Some will be more rigid, some will be more flexible. Not every culture is going to be like Zappos or Google, but don’t think every workplace with be rigid, either. Figure out the level of rigidity you think you would be able to tolerate, and then learn how to research company cultures to find employers where you know you’ll be comfortable and be able to do your best work.
About the Author: Jennifer Payne, SPHR has over 16 years of HR experience in employee relations, talent acquisition, and learning & development, and currently works in talent management in the retail grocery industry. She is one of the co-founders of Women of HR, and is currently the Editor of the site. You can connect with her on Twitter as @JennyJensHR and on LinkedIn.
In today’s fast paced world, life on-the-go is part of the job for many HR professionals. Getting the job done entails so much more than simply sitting in an office and pushing paper. Because technology has become such an integral part of so many offices and positions, it’s important to be able to stay in touch and accomplish your daily tasks no matter where you are. Here are a few must-have apps that can help make life a little less hectic for HR managers.
If you travel to a number of hiring fairs or conferences, keeping track of business cards can be an issue. Losing a card can lead to a missed opportunity. With CamCard, it’s no longer an issue. This app allows you to digitize a business card and store a prospective employees’ contact information in your address book.
When you are on the fly, you may not always have access to a printer. With HelloSign, you don’t need one. This app allows you to sign documents without having to print them out first. This includes any kind of document you would like, such as employee contracts.
While social media is all the rage, it isn’t always what it is cracked up to be. If you do plan to utilize social media for work purposes, LinkedIn is one of the best options for HR teams and professionals across the board. This isn’t a platform that is used to update your friends on what you had for dinner. This is a place for true professionals to make real connections and share valuable insights. It’s also a great place to announce new job openings, connect with clients, former (and future!) colleagues.
Performance reviews comprise a key component of an HR professional’s domain. The Small Improvements app aims to make the performance review process easier. This app allows both management and employees to provide feedback in an anonymous setting. This makes for a continual process over time and not a one-time snap shot of an employee’s performance. Goals can also be set for the employee and recognition given when warranted. Information can be viewed in chart form as well as other formats.
Mail+ for Outlook
If you use Outlook as your organization-wide email program, this app is a must. It allows you to read your emails and update your calendar on any electronic device you use such as your smartphone or tablet. It’s a great way to stay accessible on-the-go and keep your team apprised even when you’re not physically present in the office.
There are hundreds of human resource apps available. Take a few moments out of your busy schedule and see what is out there. Without a doubt, you will find a few HR apps that can make your job easier and save you time.
About the Author: Beth Sager is a web copy specialist who writes B2B copy for large and small companies alike. She has two degrees in writing, as well as a degree in business and accounting. She has been freelancing for a number of years. In her spare time, you will find her taking walks with her two dogs, playing tennis, or painting abstract pictures. This article was provided by Drexel University Online, an accredited university that offers online master’s and bachelor’s degrees, perfect for professionals looking to move to the next level of their careers.
Despite remarkable progress in the workplace and society over the past few decades, women still seem to have more trouble being assertive, overall, than do their male counterparts. For instance, women tend to be more apologetic than men are, even when the situation doesn’t necessarily warrant an apology. Some women seem to be constantly apologizing, and even their nonverbal communication leaves the impression that they are apologizing for taking up space. Some women are so apologetic that, when called on it, they apologize yet again. That’s an extreme example, but the tendency to be overly apologetic is a problem that many women need to correct.
Not convinced? Then here – without apology – are 5 reasons a woman should curb that apology impulse in the office, particularly if she’s in a position of authority or has ambitions in that direction.
1. Being constantly apologetic makes you appear submissive. Continually and unnecessarily apologizing is submissive behavior. Even if you have a subordinate role in the workplace, you don’t have to be submissive. You’re less likely to be taken seriously, either by superiors or subordinates, if you’re continually saying you’re sorry for everything you do or say.
2. Being overly apologetic can erode your self-confidence. This goes hand in hand with number 1 above. Constantly apologizing can not only lessen others’ regard for you, it can also make you doubt yourself and your own capabilities. And if you’re aiming for a position of authority, being too apologetic can sabotage your efforts at advancement, as it reinforces your submissive behavior and thought patterns.
3. Being overly apologetic clouds the real issues. Maybe you apologize to keep peace or to be diplomatic. But there’s such a thing as being too diplomatic, to the point of being dishonest. If you keep letting others get away with boorish behavior and cover it with an apology and a smile, the problems will continue to fester and may blow up in your face someday.
4. Being overly apologetic is ineffective anyway, due to overuse. A recent study showed that because women are more apologetic than men, their apologies are generally less likely to be taken seriously.
Apparently it’s the unexpected apology that makes people sit up and take notice. While the same study indicated that, statistically speaking, an apology from someone in a managerial position is more significant than the gender of the person making the apology, women in general are still taken less seriously, so apologies should only be made when the situation truly calls for one.
5. Apologizing can seem like an admission of guilt or liability. This could be especially important for women in HR, particularly when dealing with an employee’s complaint. Even a well-intentioned expression of empathy can backfire if it seems to be framed as an apology for the company’s wrongdoing.
Nobody is suggesting that women adopt an arrogant attitude and never apologize when an apology is indeed appropriate. Moreover, as many women have discovered, female assertiveness also carries risks. Both male and female employees are more likely to classify a woman as “bossy” when she is even mildly assertive, though they wouldn’t blink an eye at the identical behavior from a man in the exact same situation. Your best bet is to strive to be as reasonable and balanced and fair as possible, keeping in mind that in the workplace it’s generally better to err on the side of assertiveness – even if they do call you “bossy”.
About the Author: This is a guest post by Sarah Brooks from people search. She is a Houston based freelance writer and blogger. Questions and comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Politics can make or break your career. If you are working really hard and want to get ahead, you certainly don’t want to be passed over or pushed aside, right? Well then, let this be a wake-up call for you. You need to get “real” when it comes to how you fit into the current culture of your organization. You need to take a good hard look at whether or not you have the political savvy to thrive in such an environment.
The reality is that you cannot afford to ignore the politics if you have any aspirations for advancement. Yes, hard work is important. Yes, performance is important. That being said, once you reach a certain level of technical competence, politics is what makes the difference for your career success. This is especially important for women to understand. To our detriment, we continue to avoid workplace politics and set ourselves up to being blindsided and passed over for promotions.
Every organization has unique political dynamics. You have to be willing and capable of adapting in order to not only get ahead, but stay ahead.
So, how do you become politically savvy? You need to observe, listen, and ask questions.
Who is getting promoted and why?
With whom do they have relationships?
How are people rewarded in your organization?
What did they do to get noticed?
What types of behaviors are not rewarded?
Who can be your champion?
Who seems to be in “favor” and why?
Are there certain people who have access to the leadership team?
The willingness to accept the importance of workplace politics for your career advancement opens the door for you to learn how best to navigate the political landscape. It prepares you to learn the political skill necessary to thrive in your organization.
Here are the five things you must do to master the political realities of the workplace:
- Self-promote. You need to identify your value proposition; the unique way you do the work that contributes to successful business outcomes. This is the foundation of savvy self-promotion. Knowing your contribution to the business helps you to build relationships of trust and influence by aligning your value proposition with what others want and need.
- Observe the work environment. You need to develop keen observation skills to see beyond the organizational chart and identify who really has the power and influence.
- Build a strategic network. An expansive and strong network helps you to do your job better and also avoid blindsides. Relationships with influencers helps position you for success. Build and nurture relationships with people who can have a positive impact on your career.
- Find a sponsor. This is the fastest and most efficient way to navigate the politics and get to the top of your organization. A sponsor will protect you and promote you within the organization.
- Hire a coach. A coach helps you to understand your unique value proposition and shows you how to promote and position yourself across the organization with a sound strategic plan.
You must ask yourself where you would be today if you were more savvy and tuned into the way decisions are made in your company.
And most importantly, what is possible for you in the future if you are willing to learn how to effectively navigate the realities of the workplace?
About the Author: Bonnie Marcus is an executive coach, international speaker, writer and award-winning entrepreneur. Marcus runs the online platform “Women’s Success Coaching,” which Forbes listed as one of the top 100 websites for women three years in a row, and is the long-time host of the CBS syndicated radio show “GPS Your Career: A Woman’s Guide to Success.” A regular Forbes contributor, Marcus has also been featured in The Wall Street Journal, CIO Magazine, Diversity MBA and WomenEntrepreneur. For more information visit www.womensuccesscoaching.com
Three things needed for a long term relationship are commitment, caring and communication. Just as partners in a successful marriage, who are committed to one another, understand the benefits they receive from one another, employees and employers require the same. Employees need to achieve results and employers to provide stability.
Caring is not a word used often in employment agreements but love has a place in the corporate world. The best employers treat their employees well by providing competitive salaries and benefits, training supervisors to manage effectively, giving employees the tools that they need to do their jobs, and, most important, letting employees know how they are doing. Employees show that love back by being passionate about quality and loyal to the companies for whom they work.
And then there is communication. In order to sustain a long term and healthy relationship with employees, smart companies provide job descriptions, mission statements, vision, goals, and frequent performance feedback. And smart employees, who understand where the company is headed and what they need to do, offer innovation.
Just like a successful marriage takes work, the relationship between employers and employees requires the same commitment, caring and communication, not just offered once, but provided continuously over the long term.
About the author: Judy Lindenberger is the President of The Lindenberger Group, an award-winning human resources consulting firm, located near Princeton, NJ. They are experts in career coaching, customized training workshops, online training programs, mentoring, 360-degree assessment and feedback, HR audits, employee handbooks, and more. Learn more about them at www.lindenbergergroup.com.
There are numerous different schools of thought out there when it comes to how employees should be paid. Some employers prefer a flat salary because it draws high-end staff members that want assurance they’ll be paid what they’re worth. Others opt for performance pay because it encourages workers to become more productive in order to achieve higher levels of income.
In recent years, performance pay has become the more popular option in many companies, especially those that are small or just beginning to see substantial growth. This pays off sometimes because employees are more motivated to meet business goals since they’re in-line with the income-garnering goals they set for themselves. To determine if performance pay is a wise move for your company, it’s important to look at both its pros and cons:
How Performance Pay Boosts Productivity
If you ask any economist out there, they’ll surely tell you that the ability for an employee to earn more through hard work will encourage them to strive to do their best. This relationship is the basis of capitalism, and can be a powerful tool in your business. Performance pay often serves as an incentive for your workers to raise performance in order to earn a bonus or reach the next pay bracket. For some positions, oftentimes those in sales, performance pay can make up most, if not all, of an employee’s salary. For other jobs, it could be a significant bonus at the end of the quarter or year. By and large, employees work because they want to earn money. By correlating the amount earned with the results they provide, the end product is often a win-win situation for both the business and the worker.
The Downside Of Paying Based On Performance
In theory, performance pay seems to be a practical way of compensation for many positions in the workplace, but in real life that is not always the case. Even when there are quantifiable benchmarks for the employees to reach such as a certain level or sales or low number of customer complaints, performance pay can encourage less-than-honest workers to falsify or otherwise manipulate the figures. When there aren’t quantifiable benchmarks to measure an employee’s performance against, formulating compensation in this manner can be quite subjective to the managers handling the employees’ performance appraisals. This can result in not only discontent among workers, but also potentially open your business up to legal action by those who feel their performance review, and in turn their paycheck, was unfairly calculated.
When deciding whether to pay your employees based on a flat-rate salary or performance pay, the smartest option is often a combination of the two. There are pros and cons with each option, so incorporating the strong points from both methods can result in acquiring the best human capital for your organization. Offering employees a competitive base salary will help attract and retain top-notch employees who are guaranteed pay, free from the effects of situations out of their control, such as an overall weak economy or problems further up the corporate ladder. At the same time, offering a meaningful, yet reasonable, bonus or performance pay based on comprehensive and measureable criteria will encourage your already highly-performing workers an incentive to grow your business even further.
While putting an emphasis on performance pay is great for some positions such as sales where there is a direct financial gain to the organization for every dollar earned by the employee, it is not always the best choice. When goals cannot be directly measured, or do not necessarily benefit the company’s bottom line and future growth, performance pay can actually stunt an organization’s development. For most situations, the ideal compensation plan is a carefully calculated combination of a fair base salary and the potential for an attractive performance-based bonus.
About the Author: Edd Rennolls is a passionate freelancer who enjoys the ability to work from home promoting Wrangle.ca and being able to spend time with his family. Edd enjoys sharing his HR knowledge with business owners and other HR professionals in the industry.