Friday, October 30, 2009

A useful model-Mc Gregor's theory x and theory y

Mc Gregor is well known to HR types but not so much so to general managers and this is a shame cos it offers a simple and clever insight into two broad managerial styles.
Mc Gregor showed the effects of reactionary and controlling management practices in his two models: theory x and theory y.
Theory x assumes that as an employee you are resentful of having to be at work and will try to get away with as much as you can without getting caught. Therefore you need to be watched and monitored in order to get you to do what you're supposed to do and need to be reminded of the right way to do stuff.
This belief becomes self- fulfilling, because workers treated with such disdain will of course respond by becoming demovitated, show ittle interest in the organisation and will be unhappy at work.
Theory y assumes the opposite, that work is intriniscally satisfying and important to you and that if you are doing well at work it becomes a source of fulfilment and spurs you on to commit further to the organisational goals, with minimal supervision.
Of course you are going to do better and be more productive if you can manage your own day, control your own timetable and so on, because you become more responsible and better able than any one else to do your job. Management become your consultants, where you are comfortable asking for advice and help when you need it.

How do these two models impact on your own work situation?
Your boss is probably a mix of x and y. Like any work scenario, the onus is on you to get more out of your work by taking responsibility to explain to your boss how to best manage you.
This kind of action will probably seem audacious to some of you, but it's the only way I have observed how people can improve working relationships with their bosses. It's not going to happen in one conversation. taking the time to update your boss without being asked and seeking help before you mess up will demonstrate you are serious about taking on more responsibility. Mangers are people who tend to treat you the way you expect to be treated. Achieving results and greater communication with management isn't just about pleasing your boss to save your job, it's about improving your confidence and contributing to your greater well being.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

survivor sydnrome

If you lose your job, you live in a state of fear. If you remain in your job during a recession, you live in fear. Survivors of restructuring often report the same fear, anxiety and upset as those who had to go.
Imagine a family of two parens and four children. The kids have been raised in a loving home. The parents care for the children very well. But one morning at breakfast, the father announces that the family budget has been cut to the point that they don't have enough to make ends meet. As much as we want to keep you all, we have been forced to make the decision to let two of you go.
It's nothing personal, interjects the mother, just an economic decision. We've always been a caring family and hope you realise what a difficult time we've had to arrive at this decision.
At breakfast the next morning, the two remaining kids are greeted by a table with two chairs missing. All physical evidence of their siblings has been removed, no references are made about them by the parents. Mum and Dad make it clear that the two kids should be grateful for being allowed to stay, and must accept that they will have to help out more, whilst being 'reassured' that their efforts will be appreciated and will bring them closer as a family in these turbulent times..
This scenario obviously illustrates the folly of expecting commitment from survivors.
It also shows that management have a tough time having to choose who to let go.
But if management ignore the emotional impact of downsizing on survivors and acknowledge the distastefulness of the situation, by facilitating survivors to confront their anger, guilt and fear for their future in the organisation, there is a chance of regaining their commitment.
But how many companies think that 'survivor syndrome' is a malaise with the potential to turn into a pandemic? Too few, unfortunately.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

doubt and dread

Everyone suffers from powerful negative emotions that can bring you down for days at a time. There are ways to circumvent their clutches, if you take action to understand and explore what makes you doubt and dread certain events.
Self-doubt is one of the most debilitating forces that can impact on your esteem. Many people are unsure about their appearance, considering themselves unattractive, or not as attractive as others. They unfortunately associate this with not being of worth, not worth being loved.
They avoid interpersonal relationships because they believe they are not worth loving. This tragic scenario arises over any issue relating to self doubt, be that intelligence, creativity, talent, cooking skills and increasingly, job skills.
Dread is akin to anxiety in that it is a non specific emotion that arises in people, disenabling them to be all that they can be, instead becoming nervous, agitated and panicy.
Persistant feelings of dread are signs to change the messages that you send yourself, reduce the pressures and resolve the conflicts before darker symptoms take hold that could lead to depression.
Conflicts and pressures can be eased by talking them through with a trusted person. Others opinions and feedback can be encouraging and motivating. Just sharing a concern is as they say, a problem halved. Making a conscious decision not to dwell on your private feelings and assume that they are valid is half the battle to overcoming doubt and dread.
But it is through positive action that we banish dread and depression. Getting involved in others lives, listening more to their views and concerns helps us normalise our worries. It has been widely proven that by taking an interest in others lives we become better able to take an interest in our own, giving us some kind of yardstick or measure to motivate us to improve our situations. By minimising negative feelings, we open ourselves to psychological growth and in so doing, become better at taking charge of our life. Understanding, knowing, exploring. Make these three words part of your emotional vocabulary.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

10 tips: what NOT to do when you've been laid off

Please, please DON't do any of the following. It's career suicide.
1. Call all your friends and contacts upon hearing of your redundancy. You will be more emotional than you think. You are likely to bitch and whinge about your ex employer. You know that's never cool and you will regret it later. By all means tell your closest mates and go down the boozer and let off steam there. But don't...
2. Go drinking every night. You can fool yourself that you're networking and some hot job lead will pop up but I've yet to meet someone who actually got an interview and job offer through a recommendation from a kindly drunk.
3. Switch on your pc first thing and surf your mind away. It's so easy to spend hours on facebook/bebo/twitter. I should know. Social networking has its place but it eats into the most productive parts of the day 9-11 and 3-5.
4. Purchase track suit bottoms because they're so comfy. Slippery path....enough said.
5. Blame everyone else for your misfortune and take it out on your family. How you react to your redundancy will impact your nearest and dearest most who care for you and worry about you. I know it's cheesy and hard to do but remaining positive is the most powerful thing you can do. That's not to say that you shouldn't lose the rag occassionally...if you want to rant whilst swinging a hurley on O'Connell street, just make sure your disguise is pretty good.
6. Expect the offers to roll in. Nor expect friends to ring you with contacts and job opportunities. It's all legwork I hate to tell you.
7. Turn up for the interview on the basis that they should take you as they see you or if it's meant to be, it will happen....The amount of practice and roleplay you do, following the guidelines of top selling interview books, will really help. I
8.Don't go casual. If you are better dressed than the interviewer, that's actually a good sign.
9. Have a CV that exceeds 2 pages. It doesn't matter if you have 20 years director level experience. Even CEOs know this rule. Your CV should be an appetiser, so that they want to find out more...highlighting your key achievements. It is not an autobiography.
10. Accept the first offer. Really! All employers chance their arm and offer a bit less than they are willing to pay, especially in recession. In your joy at finally getting a job offer it's easy to rush in and accept. Thank them for the offer and politely state that you were expecting more for someone with your abilities. Ask them if there is room for manoevre. I guarantee you that they will not retract the offer but will instead offer you more.
Good luck!

Monday, October 19, 2009

10 tips: what to do when you've been laid off

1. The first thing is to get yourself a routine...on your terms of course.
2.Getting up at the same time each morning wards off angst and makes you feel more in charge of your life.
3.Aim to spend at least a third of your day doing jobsearch stuff. That does'nt include surfing the web reading jobsites.
4.Get out there. Meet people, lots of your mates have probably lost their jobs too and you can vent your frustration with them but stick to coffee and avoid hitting the bottle. Easier said than done of course. But it's the road to ruin, emotional and financial.
5. Become an expert in a topic you love. Blog about it. It gives you focus and a presence.
6. Commit an act of kindness. Volunteers report being happiest than the rest of us. Contributing in some way to your community is sociable, educational and uplifting. You never know where it may lead
7. Seek advice. Ask people continously for their opinion on your job search activity. From CVs to what type of jobs might suit you, everyone loves to give their viewpoint and you will get insights that didn't occur to you.
8. Never ask directly for a job, see above. By asking for advice people will tell you when they hear of something suitable.
9. Try your hand at things you've always wanted to do but put off due to lack of time and energy
10. Join as many associations and clubs as you can, get free invites to conferences,sometimes just asking the organisers works a treat. The more events you attend, the more people at work you meet, which translates to hearing about more openings.

Monday, October 12, 2009

making room for female leaders

Despite better educated women with higher expectations hitting the workforce, it seems that there's been hardly any improvement in women getting to the boardroom. There is only one female CEO of a Top 100 companies in Ireland and the same in the UK. Whilst many women are doing it for themselves and are setting up small businesses,they just aren't getting air-time at the highest levels.
Inspirational leadership talent is in short supply as it is. CEOs speak of leadership rather than management these days and espouse values such as emotional intelligence, collaboration over compliance and respecting people's values. These 'softer' qualities are more prevalent in women, whose nurturing skills enable them to want to hear others' views before making decisions. But in downturns, decisive leadership is preferred. Its a common mistake to view 'take charge' and tough decision making leadership styles as the optimum way to get things done. The taking care versus taking charge thing is a polarised view when it comes to appraising female vs male ways of leading. And in reality, you need both. You can't earn the right to tell people what to do unless they respect you. But its bad news for women in a recession because boards rush to appoint the no-nonsense take -charge types in the mistaken notion that a soft approach doesn't get results, Sadly this isn't the case,but with fewer women at higher levels, who's going to tell the boys they got it wrong?