Don’t Hire a Friend?

Try and avoid hiring a friend into your company: Can a personal relationship coexist alongside a professional one? If you approach the situation carefully, it’s possible to work with each other while preserving the friendship. 

First, set their expectations about whether they’re likely to get the job. Say something like, “I want to explore the possibility of our working together — but I want to be clear that it might not be a good idea.” 

Next, make sure you’re comfortable saying no to the person. If you do become your friend’s boss, you’ll need to have confidence that their emotional maturity can make the dynamic work. 

Last, think together about how you’d deal with difficult situations that may arise on the job. This will help both of you set the psychological boundaries you’ll need if you’re going to be coworkers in addition to friends.

I have a Negative Relationship with My Boss…

Everyone wants to feel respected by their manager, but over half of the employees say they don’t. What to do if you’re in that unfortunate majority? Try these three things:

Manage your energy. 

Sleep, exercise, good nutrition, and stress management can help to ward off the harmful effects of being disrespected by your boss.

Thrive outside work. 

If you’re happy in your non-work life, you’re more likely to thrive at the office, no matter what your boss thinks of you. This is because enjoying outside work increases your emotional reserves and gives you a sense of growth and learning. Think about what will make you happier outside the office, and start doing it.

Seek positive relationships. 

Negative, draining relationships affect your sense of thriving which is four to seven times the effect of energizing, positive ones. To offset the drain of people who pull you down, surround yourself with a small group of energizers — the people in your life who make you smile and laugh and lift your spirit.

Help Out Introvert(s) on Your Team…

Chances are, more than a few of your employees are introvert(s) and sometimes feel out of place—regardless of how competent they are. They are part of your team and they high performing employees. But sometimes being introverted comes their way to perform. As a manager, how can you help them?

Watch for red flags. 

Unsustainable work habits, such as constantly working long hours, can be a telltale sign. To prove themselves, introverts will work long hours, as they feel they’re not contributing enough. So can disengage work habits, such as withdrawal from a social group, and hesitancy to ask questions or speak up. In either case, start an honest dialogue with your employee early. Proactively ask if a sense of self-doubt might be underlying their behavior.

Focus on their work. 

Acknowledge high-quality work and signs of development. Positive feedback builds confidence and helps dissipate insecurity which is sometimes the cause of being introverted. If they make mistakes, emphasize that this is an integral part of learning.

Be vulnerable. 

Share some of your own professional or personal insecurities and failures, particularly those failures that you overcame in a meaningful way. This will remind them that what they’re feeling is normal—and that they can overcome it.

Be an Active Listener to be a Good Manager…

If you are managing a team, the ability to listen, effectively break down, and analyze an issue in order to find a solution — will be core to your success. Whether it is an internal team issue, a technical issue, or an external dependency. 

Being an active listener and ability to formulate effective questions to get others to open up is crucial. Here are a few ways to boost your ability to do this.

Hold your hypotheses loosely, Don’t be defensive.

Approach any problem with an open mind, and hold any of your hypotheses. Asking good questions can lead you to fundamentally reconsider your assumptions — but you have to be willing to do so without defensiveness.

Listen more than you talk. 

Active listening allows you to fully grasp another point of view, making it easier to question your own assumptions and biases.

Leave your queries open-ended. 

Avoid asking yes-or-no questions. Instead, try to get the respondent to open up at length.

Consider the counterintuitive. 

Every group has someone who’s unafraid to challenge the status quo, sometimes he/she is the right person to discuss any approach or any conclusion you are formulating.

Sleep on it. 

A good night’s rest can actually help your brain see a problem more clearly, be more attentive to others, and hence be able to resolve any issue faster.

I forgot to ask this question in my first job…

Build skills or Build relationships?

If you build skills it goes a short way. Skills change, skills need an upgrade otherwise will make you obsolete.

If you build relationships it goes long way. You know people, you know how to use skills thru them, and you can build a future with them.

Choose wisely – You cannot build relationships later but can build skills.

Ask this question at every job and every step in your career.

Build Your Emotional Courage…

In today’s environment, it’s imperative to handle things that make us feel uncomfortable. Maybe you have to say no to a noisy colleague or avoid going to a party with friends, or say no to a family friend. You may also need to raise a challenging issue with your manager or peer. 

To improve the way you deal with uncomfortable situations, build your emotional courage. Start by thinking of what kind of skill you want to get better at, giving feedback, listening, being direct — whatever you want to grow in. Then practice that skill in a low-risk situation. For example, let’s say you want to get better at being direct. The next time there’s a mistake on your phone bill, call customer service and practice being succinct and clear. Notice how you want to react — Get angry? Backpedal? — and focus on resisting those impulses. 

In summary, practice your emotions in low-risk situations and get used to them. These are the same feelings you’ll encounter in higher-risk situations at work, so learn to push through them. Continue to practice until you feel comfortable and can respond the way you’d like to.

Feeling insecure, make yourself valuable…

In today’s environment where job security is a big concern whether you are in FAANG (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google) or a startup or any other tech company. It feels insecure to be in the current situation and nudges us to somehow make ourselves indispensable.

At the same time making ourselves indispensable in an organization might bite back. By making yourself too irreplaceable you could get stuck in the current role and stymie your career development. Which could become scarier.

So what steps you should take?

Focus on what you can control. 

Start with small steps. First, understand your strengths and reevaluate where they can be applied at the individual level, team level, and current organization level. Be frank with yourself and your manager (If you have a supportive one). Maybe volunteer for work which excites you even though it is beneath your grade or level. This will help you build confidence and reduce stress.

Team-first growth mindset.

Instead of trying to make yourself irreplaceable, focus on making yourself a valuable member of your team. In other words, rather than becoming a gatekeeper or the only go-to person for a specific process, search for new opportunities to help everyone. Be proactive about adapting your responsibilities—and adopting new ones—to meet the team’s changing needs and goals. Don’t wait to be asked. You might notice, for example, a leadership gap in certain meetings, or a process tweak that would make everyone’s lives easier. Step up to help fill the void. 

Look for opportunities within the company.

Also, look for opportunities to contribute that take advantage of your unique strengths. Ultimately, your goal is to become an integral member of your team and your company, rather than just a high-performing solo operator. 

If you supplement your role-specific expertise with this team-first growth mindset, you’ll be on your way to your next promotion or at least be safe in the current turmoil.

Practice self-compassion. 

In the end, whatever happens…happens, you keep giving your bests. And be extra gentle with yourself. Reconnect with people you love outside of work. Spend quality time with them to brighten your mood, alleviate tension, and remind yourself how you deserve to be treated.