Information and insight
about your career and the workplace at large
News and Views
"Blogs will soon become a staple in the information diet of every serious businessperson," writes tech
info expert John Battelle in Business 2.0, "not
because it's cool to read them, but because those who
don't read them will fail." Blogs offer business people a
way to get and to understand the kind of information
they need to make business decisions. With nearly
10,000 new blogs coming online each day, Battelle
says, there's little time to waste. More
Care Bear or Weedwhacker — which label
your at-work communication style?
way, do your actions make you seem approachable, or
ready to attack? To improve communication and reduce
negative perceptions that hamper person-to-person
interaction, Booz Allen hired a career coach who
trained workers on how to monitor their body language
and tone. Later, in a study to determine the
effectiveness of the coaching, the company found that
more than half its workers said the coaching changed
how teams worked together and that coaching
improved their own development. Booz Allen estimated
program benefits at $3.3 million for 2003.
Have we gotten so leery of micro that we've
stopped managing altogether?
Maybe so, says
Fortune writer Anne Fisher. In a study,
workplace guru Bruce Tulgan
(www.rainmakerthinking.com) and his team of
coaches found an "epidemic of undermanagement."
Tuglan says that employees want these five
management basics: (1) clear statements of what's
expected of each employee, (2) explicit and measurable
goals and deadlines, (3) detailed evaluation of each
person's work, (4) clear feedback, and (5) rewards
out. Yet only 10% of managers provide their
reports with all five of the basics at least once a week.
Only 25% do so at least once a month. And about a
third of managers fail to get around to the basics even
once a year.
Maybe it's a holdover from "back-to-school" days,
but I've always found September a good time to take
stock of where I am with respect to the personal and
professional goals I've set for the year. Maybe this is
true for you, too.
So here are some self-assessment tools that might be
useful as you take stock of where you are and
where you're going.
A career coach can help you discover how to create
the future you want
— even in uncharted
Take the Discovery Cycle assessment
Test your cultural sensitivity
before landing a
Sooner or later you'll face an ethical dilemma on the
How do your ethics measure up?
Making It Work for You
Readers, this is your space—for tips on how
you've solved a problem on the job, "gotten over"
not tooting your own horn, or anything else related to being
your own best advocate in the workplace. Special Offer: Get a complimentary copy of Mentor Me when your
story is selected for publication in WaterCooler . Send your story
to email@example.com and watch for your byline in
a future issue.
This month's story is from my "dream employee," a
young woman who worked with me and who later in her
career shared a story about how "reframing" a situation
with a difficult boss actually strengthened her career.
For obvious reasons, she wishes her contribution to be
Mentoring My Boss: How I
Influenced My Boss by Changing My Behavior
My team and I were working on a project that my boss felt was unsatisfactory. The boss called me into her office and got very angry at me, her usual style when confronting those whose work didn't measure up to her standards. But instead of matching her emotion and continuing the fight, I was able to react calmly. "OK," I said, "what is it about this project that's disturbing to you so that we can learn not to do this in the future?"
The boss reacted beautifully—she calmed down,
and later even
apologized to me for getting angry in the first place! My
boss had never
apologized to other people, the people who typically
got emotional with her.
I surprised myself by my own ability to react calmly
under those circumstances, but learned that the best
way to influence others was to change my behavior.
The contrast between my behavior and that of my boss
was "outrageous" enough to stop the anger cycle, and
resulted in an expected and more pleasant outcome.
Workshops and Book Signings
Meeting Planners International—Rochester
Chapter September Dinner Program, Rochester, NY,
September 23, 2004. Contact:
Jan Van Harssel,
Meet the Authors,
International Women’s Writing Guild, New York, NY. October
10, 2004. Contact: Hannelore Hahn, 212.737.7536; http://www.iwwg.com