Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
The river of work is often a fast current – the movers and shakers are in the rushing waters. If you find yourself in the shallows how did that happen? Illness (yours or someone in your family), underemployment, qualifications issue, somehow just not the “flavor of the month”? Any or all of these situations could have prompted a detour out of the faster waters of your work.
Some of us thrive in the shallows. I want to learn how, now that I’m semi-retired. Still, the rapids call me back…for many reasons.
If you, like me, are in the shallows and you are bewildered rather than refreshed by them, think why that might be.
The rushing waters are where the action is. They’re here and gone, but they carry along whatever is happening in the river.
Occasionally something interesting and important will pop out for you from the current – and you tackle it with excitement – and when you finish it, then it’s gone. Taken back up by the river as if it never visited the shallows, as if you never touched it.
The shallows are a lovely place to visit…especially when you’re exhausted from the rapids. Especially when you need a new vantage point…a new view of your work. The shallows provide that. Being long in the shallows is a strange experience…if you’re used to the rapids.
How does one push back out into the current?
OK…enough metaphor. Here are 5 super useful resources to help us push back into the running river of work…if that’s where we want to be. Choose which fits the most right now, and dig into the article:
He gives a hardy review of John Brubaker‘s book Stadium Status: Taking Your Business to the Big Time. From the book, Prichard covers such topics as how to use affirmations, dealing with critics, rising above the noise, leaving our comfort zones, avoiding comparing, and not repeating others’ mistakes. Until you can read the book, catch Prichard’s article to get started toward the main stage.
2) Bouncing Forward After a Big Fail – One of my favorite writers on leadership and the workplace is Adam Grant . He takes a very different view of failure at work in his article When You Get Fired Or Fail Big, This Is How You Bounce Forward. Photo Credit: Pexels
Quoting Grant here:
“Most of the time, when someone fails, it’s not because there’s a bad apple spoiling the barrel. It’s because the barrel is a bad relationship.
In other words: It’s not me. It’s not you. It’s us.
That doesn’t mean shirking responsibility or failing to hold others accountable. It means realizing that in many of our struggles, the biggest problem lies not in individuals but in relationships.
It helps to remember that in most failures, relationships are a major factor. We just have to make sure we don’t pull the wool over our own eyes.” – Adam Grant
Team alignment is often “leader dependent. Followers depend on the leader to make decisions on direction and tell them what to do.
Team members [in this scenario]. . .
. . . should not act independently.
. . . have little need to communicate with each other.
. . . are following the leader, with no idea where they are going.
We need teams composed of individuals who are able to make quick decisions on how to respond to what comes their way, who are able to use their good judgment to solve problems, who coordinate their efforts with each other, and who come up with fresh new ideas.
A compelling vision (that includes common purpose and shared values) is a more powerful way of unifying your team than trying to align them through structure, policies and procedures.
When a team is organized around a unifying vision, the vision becomes the glue that holds your team together.” – Jesse Lyn Stoner
4) Excellence in Execution – Strategy thinker Robin Speculand writes on what it takes to effectively implement change. In his blog (guest post on Skip Prichard’s website), Speculand talks about the role of the leader in driving strategy forward. To effectively execute change, leaders must demonstrate their own commitment to the strategy. How visible they are to the rest of the company’s employees attests to how valuable the execution of that change is to them personally. Speculand talks about how to carve out time and energy from a busy schedule in order to be fully available to those most impacted by the strategy change. Photo Credit: All Hands
Intriguing ideas, especially for any of you in the shallows. To be a person who executes well is a valuable employee. Don’t lose sight of that.
5) Becoming More Likable – Work is not a popularity contest. However, likable people are just a whole lot more fun to work with than folks who insist on being controlling or contrarian. Marcel Schwantes lays out 6 qualities of folks we would all like on our teams…
- Be curious and ask interesting questions.
- Describe other people in the positive.
- Make an immediate good first impression with your face.
- Listen. Really listen.
- Choose every opportunity to experience joy.
- Don’t pass judgment.Photo Credit: Flickr
Bonus: a Critical People Skill with Kate Nasser
When others ask you to change a behavior that rubs them the wrong way, what is your response? They will remember how you reply to this critical people skills moment.
Do you …
- Give a list of reasons why you do it?
- Ask them to explain why it bothers them?
- Suggest that they are being demanding, irrational, unprofessional, or childish for asking?
- Take offense and avoid these people whenever possible?
- Stop doing it?
Check out Kate Nasser‘s lightning fast read on looking seriously at the 5th response above. We want our preferences…we want things done our way. We want “me” to win, not “we” to win. Something to think about.
Let’s push out into the fast water of our workplace…we’ve had enough time in the shallows.