Asking questions? It does not hurt you (much).

Making mistakes is a normal step with respect to the growth of any professional. There are many examples of entrepreneurs that have begun with a career or business plan, but then they have changed their paths.   Making mistakes allows you to make experience and realizing that there is another way or opportunity.

When you work into a positive organizational environment, your mistakes are interpreted as the chances for improvement or just a sign of commitment; there are other contexts where a mistake is stigmatized and who made the mistake is punished in some way.

In both cases, making mistakes affects our self-esteem. In other words, a mistake brings us to feel embarrassed and it is accompanied by stress which is of course not pleasant. We can feel down and inadequate. As I said before it is essential to experiment and make mistakes.  However there’s something we can do in order to try to avoid mistakes if we are not sure about a task/situation.

 

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The self-esteem is the powerful psychological aspect which allows us creating our personality and our status within our organization. In order to defend our status we do not want to show weaknesses to other members of the organization (or even to our colleagues). If this is the case, especially into very competitive environments, we tend to do not ask advice or guidance. It happens because the psychological mechanisms related to our self-esteem stop us in a self-defensive process. Of course, it would be good to ask for help or support before making a mistake.

In other words, it would be better to lower our defensive mind-set (ask for advice) in order to avoid the “destruction” of those (making a mistake). The mistakes have a stronger effect on our psychological well-being than asking questions. Again, making mistakes helps our growth; however, sometimes, you can ask without thinking of being judged.

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This is not another post about time management!

Our behaviour at work is the result of the perceptions of the reality around us. For example,  the perceptions related to a particular work environment are different amongst the employees of the same organization. There are employees who find the work environment very enjoyable and other ones who hate it.

One important perception is the one related to “time”. Let’s start with a simple example. We usually feel that the time is flying while we’re doing something that we like. On the contrary, we have a completely different experience when we are part of something (task, project, activity) that does not stimulate us and/or does not boost our creativity. As a consequence,  it is difficult for a manager to interpret the individuals’ perception of time. Why? We interpret our roles/task/activities in a complete different ways.

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However, the managerial role is not tricky as for what I am going to describe now. Specifically, what is the perception of time with respect to success or failure?

Well, the whole thing becomes even more complicated and less generalizable than what said about the interesting (or not) tasks . The reaction towards the time spent to a complete an activity can be positive if you have completed something quickly; however, it can be perceived also positive if you have finally completed a task after a lot of time; why? you feel relieved.

 

Moreover, how much time we dedicate to the celebration of success or thinking about failures? Again, another perception and interpretation which depends on personality, attitude and also the work environment.

Yes. lt is very complicated. There are cases, such as in sales departments, where the achievements ( for example new deals) are celebrated. But, as the group celebrates, what is the achiever thinking? Is that celebration perceived as enough? Or is it needed more time for an individual (personal) self-reflection?  

Yes. It is complicated.  Your perception of the time is simply a fundamental dimension of your relationship with your job.

 

Job training should not be considered as going to the gym!

Job performances and goal achievement are among most discussed and analyzed subjects when it comes time to speak about work; in highly competitive environments it is crucial improving individual’s productivity and efficacy. There are several instruments aiming to support employees (such as training, coaching or performance improvements plans) which allow companies to work on performances; it is clear that if you have really tailored programs your ROI will be higher than having standardized ones. In any case, programs aim to work on daily tasks’ management and how everyday performance has impacts in the long run. However, these programs (not in all companies) are treated as they were “bootcamps” to achieve optimal levels of performance; in other words, internal or external programs are associated to athletes ‘ training (i.e. preparation for a marathon). But working on job performances is not similar to go to the gym! 

Diapositiva1In fact sports’ training is step by step preparation for a final goal, a finish line;  on the contrary, job supportive programs are run while employees are working on daily targets that need anyway to be achieved.  Additionally there is not judgement suspension on the job… something that happens during sport training.  It is definitely true that also for the marathon’s preparation you evaluate progresses, but your daily training performance evaluation doesn’t not impact the real visible result: the finish line; at work, every day you have one or more finish lines.  Shortly, between job and sport there is a different evaluation’s timeframe that sometimes is not considered.  I’m not writing something special , but is it your manager aware of that? 

Learning from a bad boss? it is possible

Having a good and caring boss means having someone focused on what happens during the day, ready to listen, competent and supportive. For many employees, this sounds like a dream.   With respect to the operational aspect of your job, a good boss manages and supports you to achieve your (daily) goals. A leader, at the right time in the right place. Additionally,  if your boss is a subject matter expert, she/he also legitimizes your team’s political and social presence (recognition, merit, exposure) towards your organization. Apart from the technical knowledge, employees look for a boss with an eye on personal development, training and ready to support (and protect) the team.

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But if your boss has nothing of what just described?  Probably, the relationship with your boss is not based on trust and mutual appreciation.  In these cases, what can you learn from your boss? Many could say : nothing. In my opinion, you learn something:  you see exactly what you do not want to become/be; in other words, a bad example could be a good example for your self improvement/development drive!

Are you sure that you want to write a cover letter for your application?

For those who are not familiar with HR matters, recruitment processes or human resources subjects are seen as mysterious and complicated topics; it is common thought that there is always something hidden, very difficult to understand. HR professionals are also seen as untold secrets’ holders!

Diapositiva1One of this mystery is related to the fact if when we apply for a job, a part from the CV, we have to add a cover letter. Many would respond with a “definitely, without any doubts, you have to do it”; and at question “why?”, what do they say? The answer comes from the idea that you can introduce yourself to a company in a personal manner, demonstrating motivation and will to join them (assumption more than true).  A part from that, in my opinion, preparing an interesting, well written, concise cover letter is quite complicated. As just said, your presentation has to be reliable but concise; in 10 lines is not exactly easy. In addition to this, the cover letter should be an added value to the curriculum and not a summary of that. Repeating many times helps, but in this case it is superfluous. It’s not over; it is important to underline that we need to be original to making a good impression and stand out from the crowd. A curriculum created with a personal style could easily replace a cover letter. The contact with a company is an opportunity and for this we must try to catch attention in the best way, without doing something “classic”. Now, are you sure to write a cover letter?