by Anne Fisher for Fortune:
What can you do if you’re bored with your job, but you’re kind of stuck with it (at least for now)? I arrived here about four years ago, when my husband’s employer moved him from its headquarters in a major city to a bigger position based in a smaller metro area. At first, I felt lucky to have landed in my current job, partly because I was excited about the opportunity to make some interesting changes here, and partly because and there really isn’t anywhere else nearby where I could find comparable work. Besides, I do like the company and the people I work with.
But the job itself has become so routine and unchallenging that lately I’m finding it harder and harder to drag myself in to the office every day. Granted, this isn’t the world’s worst problem, and I feel like a big whiner for even asking, but do you have any suggestions on how to get my mojo back? — The Thrill Is Gone
First of all, I don’t agree that you’re a big whiner — or, if you are, then so are more than half of all U.S. workers, according to a recent Conference Board poll. Slightly over 50% of employees surveyed told the researchers they’re dissatisfied with their work. (Dept. of Glass Half Full: That’s nevertheless the highest level of U.S. job satisfaction since 2005.)
Still, people often have practical reasons for staying put, notes Laura Berman Fortgang, a longtime executive coach best known for her terrific TED talk on how to change careers. She advises clients to approach re-inventing their jobs with what she calls “the three A’s: Assess, adjust, and advance.” See if these three steps work for you.
“Make a list of everything you don’t like about your job, or everything that bores you about it,” says Fortgang. Be as specific as you possibly can. Many people who feel restless suffer from a “vague malaise,” she adds. “But if you don’t name it, you can’t change it.” Even things that may seem like trivial details, such as an exasperating daily commute, belong on this list. Then, on the opposite side of the same page, write down what you do want. Pay special attention to any aspect of your job, however minor, where you still feel a spark of enthusiasm.
“One way to focus your thoughts about this is to ask yourself the question, ‘What do I want to be known for?’” Fortgang says. “Sometimes, when people really look hard at this, they realize they’re spending the smallest amount of time on the things that matter most to them.”
Once you have a clear mental picture of what you’d like to do more of (and less of), start making some changes. Fortgang says most of the managers she meets underestimate their employers’ willingness to let them renegotiate their job descriptions. “It’s a lot less expensive and disruptive to make you happier, within reasonable limits, than it would be to replace you,” she says.
In practical terms, that means that if, for example, one of the things that makes you dread going to work in the morning is dull meetings, “go to fewer of them, or change the way they’re run,” says Fortgang. Or let’s say your nerve-wracking commute means you start every day in a cranky mood. Can you work from home a couple of days a week? “It may take some time,” Fortgang says. “But the point is to start shifting closer to what you really want.”
This may mean learning to say “no” to time vampires that don’t get you any closer to your, or the company’s, goals. One of Fortgang’s coaching clients, for instance, was a manager in R&D at a big food company. “When he asked himself, ‘What do I want to be known for?’, the answer was creativity and innovation,” she recalls. “But he was spending a lot of time on things — like being fire marshal for his floor and organizing the annual department picnic — that didn’t contribute anything to that.” Once he reallocated more of his energy to what he really wanted to be doing, he enjoyed his job a lot more, and ended up with a promotion besides.
You mention that, when you started this job, you were excited about making some “interesting changes.” Have you looked around to see where else in the company that experience might be useful now? Fortgang notes that, “Sometimes people feel ‘stuck’ in their roles because they’re not meeting enough of the people who could connect them with more challenging assignments and projects.”
A proven way to raise your visibility inside your company: Make a name for yourself outside it. Fortgang often recommends to middle managers that they increase the odds of being noticed by higher-ups in their own companies by, for instance, networking at industry conferences and speaking at trade-association events. “It all comes down to exposure,” she says. Sometimes you can be tapped for bigger opportunities simply as a result of lunching with more people. Especially if you happen to be an extrovert, this can be fun, too.
One more thought: When was your last vacation? If you take as little real time off as most American managers do, a break might do wonders for your frame of mind. It’s not unusual for people to think they hate their jobs, says Fortgang, when they are really just burned out. “If it’s been a while since you got away from work, try it,” she says. “You might come back refreshed and recharged.”
Got a career question, or a workplace dilemma? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are in Zurich, Switzerland feel free to get in touch with Suzie Doscher, Life & Executive Coach focusing on Personal Development in Switzerland, also the only Faciliator for Laura Berman Fortgang's "NOW WHAT? How to Change Your Life in 90 Days" program, in Switzerland.
By the Coaching Group of Switzerland
It is not easy to break old patterns and try new things, but it is worth the effort! For example, maintaining work/life balance may not be easy, but it doesn’t mean that it is impossible. With coaching, you can live a rewarding personal life and also have a successful professional career. If you are already successful in running your business, there are still ways to improve the results you are getting. When you want to acquire new tools and methods, consider the benefits of working with an Executive Coach.
As quickly as the business environment changes these days, it is important that you stay focused on being ready for the challenges that you will face in the future. Remember that what worked for you before, may not give you success in the future. Many professionals get executive coaching when they want to gain an advantage over their competitors.
Having the right attitude is important when running a company or department. Your own outlook and behavior have a major impact on your staff. You simply cannot do everything alone; you need other people to help you. This means that you will become more successful when your staff is motivated to help you achieve success. Employees that feel neglected or have no idea about the company’s larger vision will take less pride in what they are doing. An Executive Coach can help you maximize your human resources and coach you about how to motivate your staff.
Whether you are getting executive coaching for the first time or you’ve had it in the past, you want to be open-minded. Your competitors are always looking for ways to gain an advantage and the company that can implement the best ideas is usually the one that gets the most profits. Many business owners only focus on the present, but keeping an eye on the future is also important when running a business. An Executive Coach can work with you and help you determine realistic long-term and short-term objectives.
But this is about more than your goals. You can also benefit personally from executive coaching. If you need a sounding board or you just need to find a bigger perspective, you can ask an Executive Coach to help you. Maybe you want to get new ideas to grow your business or you want to plan for the future. Both small and large business can benefit from new ideas and you should consider every possible option that can help your company grow. Look for a coach who can give you the support and assistance you need. With the right coach, you can achieve your goals with relative ease.
The Coaching Group of Switzerland
The Coaching Group of Switzerland’s team of professional coaches aim can help you resolve the concerns you have in your life and work. Whether you are looking for a Life Coach or an Executive Coach, the Coaching Group of Switzerland can help you. Contact us and talk to one of our professional coaches.
by Bill Gentry, Director, Leadership Insights & Analytics and Senior Research Scientist
A professional getting promoted into his or her first formal leadership position in an organization is one of the biggest and most difficult transitions for any leader.
Far too often, the leader and the organization take for granted just how difficult that transition is.
The numbers prove it:
Their ineffectiveness may be the result of not realizing what they are getting themselves into when it comes to leading others, not being supported in their new leadership role, and not being given the opportunity for training and development early enough in their careers as leaders.
Think of the time and money that has to be spent on replacing these ineffective leaders—not to mention dealing with the low morale and disengagement of employees working under these ineffective leaders.
This inevitably hurts your leadership pipeline and may eventually hurt your organization’s bottom line.
First-time managers have as much of a right for leadership development as others, but their voices, time and time again, go unheard. They want to do well but so often are struggling at making the transition from individual contributor or professional who does the work and does it well, to a leader who must continue to do the work and more importantly, leads others doing their work.
Many first-time managers feel that no one understands what they are going through.
So what can you do to help?
Understand the struggles first-time managers have and help them overcome the challenges relevant to their new leadership role.
For example, consider a first-time manager who now manages former peers, and who in some instances are friends inside and outside the workplace. How can they gain respect and authority while balancing the relationship they had before?
Organizations should encourage their first-time managers to:
The information from this white paper will help you understand the perspective of first-time managers and their struggles.
You can use the information to support first-time managers in the most difficult transition they have made so far in their careers--developing them as leaders, and ultimately, strengthening your leadership pipeline.
Never underestimate how effective one to one coaching with a qualified, experienced neutral outider is for first- time managers in conjunction with leadership development.
Self-Help Book / Personal Development