You work with colleagues who have different soft and technical skills than yours.Is it not the case? Think about the person who sits close to you. He or she could be better than you in running presentations, analysing data or in collaborating with other teams. The differences between professionals are the beauty and the secret of successful organisations. Many studies have proven that diverse teams work and perform much better than teams that are not diverse.
Do you work in a diverse team? No? Well, you should think whether your team it is the right one for you. You are also different from your manager. The backgrounds, the experiences, the skills and the competencies are (and should) not be the same.
What should you do if you do something better than your manager?
Simple. Keep working at your best even if you are showing better skills/experiences than your manager. Do not be afraid of being better. Your manager should sponsor, support and present you as a subject matter expert within the organisation. This is what happens in healthy and positive organisational cultures.
Is it not your case? It’s time to change team then.
There are many recruiters and hiring managers who still evaluate candidates for their number of years of experience. What do I think? It is time to stop this practice. The real focus needs to be on the quality of the years of experience, not the quantity.
One year of experience in a company is different from one year into another one. There are companies that give visibility and autonomy to their employees; other organisations do not. There are companies which constantly innovate and other companies do not. We need to evaluate the quality of the years of experience considering the better fit for our organisation. The amount of years of experience is a wrong perspective on talent, potential and core capabilities.
You can hear about digital transformation and innovation everywhere. Transformation and innovation: from the virtual reality to the blockchain technology, through the automation of processes. The digital transformation is a philosophical and technical movement that influences businesses, departments and teams… including HR. The technological innovation, the new methods of collaboration and ways of doing are at the centre of this change.
We need to talk about the change. Choosing an innovative technology does not equal starting an innovation/transformation change. To understand what you need to change or work on, you need to understand your values. The values are not the ones that were present at the creation of your organisation or your team. If you do not understand what are the current values and the current way of doing things, the change will never happen. Relying on rewriting values and creating power point presentations on the corporate mission does not mean working on change.
There are articles, blogs (like mine), presentations, and speakers that illustrate best practices or suggestions about certain topics. They talk about work, motivation, training etc. Really any kind of topic.
When we read these suggestions, we tend to copy exactly the “recipe” and adopt it as such. If we behave in this way, we make a mistake. Why are we mistaken? We read articles that come from personal experiences or events that happen in a specific context; they are therefore subjective. For this reason, you have to be able to step back, understand the proposed solution and try to adapt it to your context. Of course, you can also adopt the solution as it is; however, you should look at the results as an experiment and not give a final opinion on it. This is true for business or personal decisions; even about your career development. We need to treat the proposed solution as an experiment and then adopting or modifying it to make it ours.
I’m not saying that we should stop reading… otherwise this blog would not exist either. You have to take inspiration and look for your solution. Find your way.
I often write about the importance of collaboration. It has been said that companies should invest and have invested in technology, projects and programs (for example team building or mentorship) to improve collaboration between and within teams. Technology has changed the way we collaborate and exchange information. Conference calls and emails have completely revolutionised our way of working.
There is an aspect of your work that remains isolated and you should keep it isolated and personal.
What is it? Your career management. Receiving advice from colleagues or your manager is clearly important; however, your career path definition needs to be a personal investment and you cannot rely on collaboration. Managing your career path does not mean undermining colleagues or diminishing other people successes. Managing your career means creating your own path with your efforts. Take risks, join new teams, have different experiences and think about these experiences.
Being prepared for an interview is not always easy. You think about the possible questions, you make a research about the company, you review your resume and you decide how much time dedicate to these activities; I know, looking for a new role is a job.
In order to be well prepared, you have to think about how/what you are going to answer. For example, you need to decide the level of detail that you are going to provide. When the recruiter will ask you a question you need to decide which details you are going to present… and you need to do it in a few seconds. You need to be ready to present cases or activities that you’ve completed/achieved or that are part of your daily job.
In most cases, our achievements and activities imply teamwork and shared responsibilities. However, even if it is important to show that you are a good team player, you have to present what degree of command you have for your activities. Showing accountability does not mean that you are not a team player. Mentioning only the activities that you are doing with the team is not enough to present your role.
There will be new candidates to be interviewed, feedback to be delivered and you will surely have to organise (or reorganise) one or more recruiting processes.
You have to remember that your relationship with the hiring manager is very important. You have to work on it, you have to listen and you have to understand the recruitment needs; however, do not forget to have opinions. Being available and responsive with a manager does not mean always that you need to agree with her/him. If you do so, well, apart from creating problems in the recruiting process itself, you will always be considered as a support and never as a partner. A recruiting process is only successful if there is a true collaboration between the recruiter and the hiring manager. Remember that having opinions is a good thing; a recruiter without personality or opinions will be always an average recruiter.
Finally, what is the worst thing to tell to your hiring manager? This role is difficult.
What would the answer to the question if I was the manager? Well, what are you doing here then?
We often think that a great presenter is the one who always uses a specialised and technical language. On the contrary, when we use simple words we think that we are showing a lack of knowledge.
In order to impress the audience, we tend to overcomplicate our way of presenting. I did it too, of course. We want to impress the audience and we want to be perceived as subject matter experts. Are we sure that it is the right approach?
When we feel that we are losing the attention of the audience, we change our strategy. Completely. How? We try to simplify our messages using examples and speaking slowly. We need to keep in mind that when we explain a process, we present slides or when we are just telling a story we are appreciated only if understood.
When I interview candidates, it often happens that they try to impress. However, the result is not always great. Being specific and giving details is clearly good. Extremely good. Unfortunately, when we are under emotional and time pressure, we risk losing our focus. In these cases, the answers result too complicated and full of not relevant details. Answering in a simple way is often much more effective.
We often hear that there is a magical formula to be a great manager. There are managers who adopt a very sympathetic approach and other ones who are much more demanding. There are managers who prefer to delegate and empower their teams; there are other ones who prefer a direct and close supervision (the so-called micromanagement style).
Are we really sure that there is the magical formula for being great managers?Generalising is always difficult. Organisations are built by people, their relations s, the structures and processes. However, there is something that all people managers should pay attention to.
What is it? As a people manager, you need to adapt your managerial and leadership style considering the people of your team.
How can you do it? You need to know your team. Very well. It requires a lot of effort, time and energy; however, you need to discover more about your team members’ needs of supervision, coaching, freedom and collaboration. Your role as manager is understanding and listening to them before doing things. For example, if one person of your team is extremely process oriented, is it worth checking if she/he is following the processes? Probably it should not be your priority as a manager.
It is clear that each manager adopts one style or approach; however, people managers need to enable and empower their people following different and adaptive approaches. The secret? Before embracing a magical formula, you should know your team.
What is one of the most important value which create a positive organisational culture? Transparency. Having clarity about the organisational structure, the work streams, the career plans and the recruiting processes is fundamental. Considering that organisations are open systems built by their employees, the transparency is the result of the human interactions and the processes’ implementation.
You can create social links with your team members, external stakeholders, colleagues of other departments and your manager. Let’s talk about the importance of the relationship with your manager. We always expect a full transparency from our managers. We expect transparency; however, are we always direct with our managers? I do not think that it is always the case. If you do not have an open and direct relationship with your manager, I definitely advise having one. Why? It allows you to work with a greater confidence and it makes easier to discuss a mistake. Having an open dialogue enhances trust and empowerment for both sides. Creating this link allows you to manage and think about your career in a more responsible way.