Topic of the Week The Change Up: Getting Unstuck at Work
• DON'T get cocky
• DO one bite at a time
• DO find outside motivation
• DO collect mentors
Everybody gets stuck at work. Some people might not look like they do, but trust me everyone who doesn't have the last name of Gates, Rockefeller or Gosselin does. Which reminds me of when snowmobilers fall through thin ice each winter because the ice's thickness is difficult to determine, especially at night. That I can understand. But what it tougher to fathom is why the snowmobilers who attempt to rescue the sinking snowmobiler drive so close to the accident scene that they get wet and need to be rescued also. At one pond near Holyrood, Newfoundland four people ended up falling in the water.
Is it any different at work where we watch our colleagues fall into trouble but somehow assume that it could never happen to us? That's why it's so important to pay attention to what goes on around you and to never assume that you're immune to workplace challenges or politics. That's why I've included three Do's and one Don't for getting unstuck at work. For more, check out "More Time for You" by Taylor and Watson (Amacom, 2011).
DON'T get cocky. Like those snowmobiler rescuers, you've got to stay humble at work. Because most workplaces have a way of sensing when someone starts getting too big for his or her britches or too overconfident at work. Humility is tough to practice but there are tricks of the trade for keeping you honest. Keep in touch with all levels of your organization, not just the executives above you. Assume that any success that you've had isn't all because of you, there were lots of other fingerprints all over it. And listen to everyone.
DO one bite at a time. My seven year old regularly jams as much food as possible into her mouth. And that's exactly what I see many people do at work, they just dive from assignment to assignment. I think that it is important to take time to reflect on what you've learned. To debrief with people. To strive to not just to get faster, but to make the commitment to get smarter too.
DO find outside motivation. Even though recognition consistently appears at the top of lists of what employees want the most at work, most companies do a terrible job of recognizing their employees. That's why it's so helpful to not rely on recognition from others, but to supply it to yourself. Regularly. Find healthy ways to reward yourself to charge up your battery and to acknowledge a job well done.
DO collect mentors. I've had mentors since my early twenties. My current mentor is remarkable. I could be working on something for months, and in just a few minutes he'll find the Achilles heel and then offer a few strategies to strengthen my case. I can't begin to tell you how much he has bolstered both my ideas and my confidence.
Follow these tips and you won't fall through the cracks at work, you'll be able to thrive at work, not just survive.
About the Author: Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning workplace911.com. Check the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best seller, "The Boss's Survival Guide." If you have a question for Bob, contact him via firstname.lastname@example.org.