While the importance of a good reputation is not new, the environment in which you are working to build a good reputation is. Here are some suggestions for what to do if you think you may not have a positive reputation at work.
Take a moment to think about a key activity/project in which you are currently engaged. An activity tends to be smaller and completed on a recurring basis, while a project tends to be larger and done only once. An effective strategy in completing your value identification exercise is to find a colleague who can help you think through this important information. Think about the following:
In order for an organization to obtain value from you and for you to raise your value within your organization, you must capitalize on either an existing way of creating value or identify new ways to create value. You can create value in your organization in the following ways:
After working in large corporations for twenty years and providing leadership coaching for ten years, I have come to a conclusion that virtually every organizational leader needs coaching at some point in his/her career.
This is not speculation – this is evidence that I have accumulated through my own experiences and the experiences of my clients. Whether my client is new or experiencing a change to his/her role, building a new relationship with his/her boss, or struggling is his/her role, all of them need a coach.
I am working with a client who does not like the relationship she has with her boss. Not having a great relationship with your boss is a very common experience and this is important because the most important relationship you have in your workplace is with your boss.
In many ways, your work experience is like a poker hand. In a poker game, you randomly get a hand of cards, whether you like them or not. In the work environment, you get a work experience, whether you like it or not. Similar to a poker hand, you have three options to change your work environment:
- Fold. Make a decision that this is not the place for you and you cannot make your work experience any better. Fold and move on.
- Bluff. Make a decision that you want to stay, yet you are going to use valuable energy to make your work environment appear to be better than it is.
- Act. Make a decision that you want to stay and you need to take action to improve your work environment.
Some of you will decide to fold. You believe that your work environment cannot get better and you prefer to put your energy in a new workplace. Some of you are bluffers. I don’t like this strategy as you are avoiding the inevitable. It may feel good short-term, yet bluffing takes too much energy and bluffing will fail long-term. When I work with clients, we work on taking action. We identify conversations you can have and next steps you might take in order to improve your work environment. This is tough, yet, if you want to take action to improve your work environment, it is worth the effort.
Changing your work environment for the better is a great way to add value to your organization. Not only is your work experience better, it is better for many others.
I would estimate that 90% of my clients are avoiding a conflict-based conversation. Who can blame them? Not only are conflict-based conversations uncomfortable, these individuals have experienced ZERO training in how to effectively manage conflict in the workplace.
Most successful leaders would tell you that conflict is good. Respectfully discussing opposing opinions or deficient performance in proactive and healthy ways are good for an organization. Some clients (although only a handful) love conflict! They see conflict-based conversations as a great way to make significant progress in resolving problems and building relationships.
One of the best strategies to manage a potentially conflict-based conversation is to follow Steven Covey’s fifth habit of highly effective people – Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
Most folks go into a conflict-based conversation with their guns blaring. They believe they have an argument to win and they intend on winning it! In reality, the more you know about how your colleague feels about a situation, the better position you are in to handle your differences respectfully.
Next time you have a difficult topic to discuss with a colleague, start the conversation with the following questions:
- Can you tell me why you feel this way?
- Why do you believe this is the best way for us to move forward?
- Are you open to hearing other options that might work equally as well?
I guarantee you will have a better conversation, your colleague will be very surprised by your strategy to understand before being understood, and your will raise your visibility as a leader who manages conflict proactively and respectfully.