The process of job searching has nearly turned upside-down over the past decade thanks to the Internet and changes that have accompanied newer technology. One of the major adjustments we've witnessed is the manner in which employers accept applications. RELATED: 5 Reasons Why Job Boards Aren’t As Effective Anymore Primarily, companies require candidates to submit applications via their online systems to improve convenience for all parties involved. But believe it or not, if you’re serious about getting a callback, applying online simply isn’t good enough.
Lately, I've been hearing heard a common theme among many of the senior leaders I coach. They are tired, frustrated, overwhelmed, and overworked. Maybe it’s the time of year, but many of these leaders feel they have little control over how they spend and manage their time since they are regularly responding to “urgent requests” from their executive leadership team. Related: Burned Out? How To Take A Vacation Without Taking A Vacation And, more often than not, these requests are not something they can delegate to their direct reports. As you may be able to understand, they are in fire-fighting mode more often than they want (or need) to be. So, what can you do to stop the feeling of overwhelm, which leads to the tiredness and frustration? Do you stand up to your boss?
How To Respectfully Stand Up To Your BossThere are two things you can do to alleviate this situation. First, you must prioritize. Clearly, there are only 24 hours in a day, so you have to be the leader who knows what the priorities are and decide what truly is urgent and what can wait for another time. Chances are you effectively prioritize for your team, so why not do this for yourself as well. Yes, I know… your boss called and has a new urgent priority that now sits with the four other urgent tasks you were already working on, right? Not everything can be top priority urgent and something must fall below the most urgent of all the urgent priorities. As the leader you must decide what must shift to make time for the new priority so everything can be done in a quality manner. This often means you need to pushback, which is the second thing you can do to alleviate the sense of overwhelm. Yes, I said you must pushback on your boss (or whomever is handing out the urgent requests). I know that pushing back on someone at a higher level is not always an easy thing to do. It’s not always easy to confront your boss (or anyone at a higher level than you) when they assign you additional work or a new project; however, continuous urgent requests not only impact your ability to get work completed but also complete it in a quality fashion. So pushing back is often a necessity. There are three things that you can do to effectively push back on your boss (or whomever is continuing to add urgent tasks to your list).
Choose Your Approach Based On The PersonAre they data-driven? Getting excessive pressures from their leadership? Dealing with their individual set of unrealistic requests? Knowing these things will help you know the best way to approach them.
Next, Use This Knowledge When You Approach ThemFor example, if your boss loves data, present him or her with data that supports your need to challenge what he or she is requesting. At the same time, if they are getting excessive pressures from their leadership, present an alternative solution. For example, perhaps your boss has given you the urgent task of investigating a customer issue. The time it will take for you or your team to handle this will remove resources from another strategic priority your team is working. While you share data that reinforces your limited resources, you can also present an alternative shift in your teams priorities that supports the latest request from your boss, or, ask your boss if the latest request can wait, based on the other urgent priorities your team is working. The idea is to continue to show support for what your boss needs while at the same time remaining true to what you and your team can realistically accomplish.
Finally, Get Their Perspective While Holding Your GroundAfter you present the facts to your boss, allow him or her to share their viewpoint on what you've presented. Often times it will take you pushing back a few times before they are able to see your perspective. Remember, they are also dealing with their own feelings of overwhelm so their initial reaction to your confrontation may simply be an acknowledgement but not a shift in the request. That’s why it’s important for you to hold your ground. If you don’t and continue to take on more and more, eventually something will give and slip through the cracks. Too many times, it’s you and your own physical or emotional health that suffers because you didn't pull in the reigns. As great a leader as you are, you are not supernatural (and neither is your boss). Keep things in perspective and remember that success does not happen if you are buried under a pile of folders feeling exhausted, frustrated, and overwhelmed. Prioritize and push back to prevent this situation. By consistently doing this, eventually you begin to see your way out from beneath that never-ending list of urgent priorities. This month’s development tip: Review the current “urgent priorities” on your “to do” list. Is this a manageable/doable list? If not, take the suggestions above and begin prioritizing and pushing back so you can regain control over your time and tasks. This post was originally published at an earlier date.
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Recently, someone asked me how to maintain an “alternative” work style. Like everything, your work life has yin and yang aspects. Maybe you have an alternative work style that involves flex hours or shifting from work to non-work tasks throughout the day and night. You must attain balance to be happy and fulfilled; without balance, your creativity and productivity will suffer. With balance, a flexible style takes productivity and ingenuity to higher levels. What works for some will not work for others. Some need that single-mindedness from 8 to 5 and then “turn the work switch off” when they step out of the workplace. Others, need little breaks mid-day for a jog, siesta, or to volunteer at a school. For some creative folks, the creativity ebbs and flows; you’ve got to access it when it’s flowing. So, how do you make alternative work styles work?
Alternative Work Styles Work When...If you choose an alternative work style, there are a few principles to follow. Otherwise, you might as well call your work style “chaos.”
Get It TogetherTo accomplish tasks, create plans with time frames. Determine what you must accomplish in the professional and personal aspects of your life. Work space relates to mind space. Organize your work space to achieve mental clarity. Set-up your work space to reduce distractions. For some a window view stimulates problem solving. Others spend hours staring out the window idling away the time. Only you know what shiny items distract you!
Time Waits For No OneYour work style is not an excuse for making others wait while you grab that latte on the way. Be punctual for meetings and calls. Being late is disrespectful to others. It means that you don’t care about their time. They all think it’s great that you are a new mom and juggling ten million things. But hey, everyone is juggling ten million things… so get over it!
Get Inside Your HeadCreative thought is critical in any job. If you do not schedule time in your day for reflection, you will lose opportunities to ponder new, better ways to function. Read blogs, articles, and news during your thinking time. Record your thoughts and ideas on a regular basis so you can learn from your professional and personal experiences.
MindfulnessBe mindful and respect all of your priorities. Sometimes major events in two aspects of your life collide and you must choose. Only you can weigh the importance and assess the consequences of your choices. I am not advocating you pull a Ferris Bueller on the day you are scheduled to lead a major presentation. However, bugging out every so often to see your daughter’s soccer game is a good thing. An alternative work style is the answer for so many. Balance is necessary for your personal productivity and growth. A balance of yin and yang leads to happiness and better health. Find a position and create a work style that is comfortable and that enables you to tend to all of your life’s priorities. Photo Credit: Shutterstock
You’ve always dreamed of quitting your boring job and starting your own business. You have the plan all mapped out in your head: you’ll work from home to finally bring your big idea to life. After all, life’s too short to forever stay invisible inside your cubicle! But did you know that home-based businesses are less likely to qualify for a bank loan? In this day and age, finding money to nourish a business can be a challenge. If you're a business owner or you’re thinking about starting a business, you might want to consider using an alternative lender.
What’s An Alternative Lender?According to Andrew Cravenho, founder and CEO of CBAC Funding, alternative lenders are lenders who lend to businesses that may not qualify for a bank loan. There are many reasons why a business may not qualify for a bank loan:
- Poor credit or no credit
- Home-based business
- Loan amount too small
- Prior bankruptcy
- New business