We all go through ups and downs at work. It’s normal to have unproductive days and days when you don’t seem to get anything done. But when does it become a problem? How can you turn things around?
getAbstract had the opportunity to talk to performance expert and Love It, Don’t Leave It author, Beverly Kaye, and ask a few performance questions every employee wants the answer to.
getAbstract: What are the top skills every employee should have to improve job performance?
Beverly: For starters, communication seems like common sense, but the truth is, common sense is not common. Verbal, written and listening (often not included) are key to building relationships and improving performance. Knowing what to say, when to say, and how to say is truly a science. Employees who take the time to learn the art of both public speaking, as well daily communication will find it helps dramatically to change the dynamic of a position. Due to technology, written communication has become the new first impression. Find programs that double check grammar! Employees should never fear to start over to retrain their written skills. The most important, and often forgotten form of communication, however, is listening. The old saying “We have two ears and only one mouth for a reason” has never been truer. Every employee should have the ability to listen…not just to what is said but to the words between the words.
Awareness is another rarely considered, but critical skill for employees. Employees should be aware of time, of areas for self-improvement and the changing climates of their industry.
Finally, patience is integral to employee success. Everyone succeeds on their own time schedule, and in unique ways. Employees need to plan for future success but be flexible to the reality that life does not always go as we planned.
getAbstract: Do you have any tips to stop procrastinating?
Beverly: I heard great advice recently that offered a new definition of the word. Procrastination is not laziness, but fear of failure or disinterest in the task. When you find yourself procrastinating, ask yourself what is preventing you from completing your task. Once you decide why you’re procrastinating, decide how you will get over it. I have found that keeping lists helps me, and it feels great to cross off those actions as you have finished them. I would recommend even scheduling tasks into your calendar with time blocks – alerts keep you on task! I also believe it is best to get the work you don’t want to do done first, then reward yourself with a treat (whether that is a piece of chocolate, an ice cream, or a walk) this frees you up to do the easy stuff. If necessary, talk to your peers about what you’re putting off. They may be able to help with a way to get it accomplished that you hadn’t considered or they may be able to do something even better: Pinpoint the real reason for your procrastination.
getAbstract: What would you recommend someone who is unsatisfied with their job? Is there a way to turn things around?
Beverly: There is an age-old technique in the world of organizational development called force field analysis. It was developed by Kurt Lewin in the 1940’s and, I think, it works to this very day.
It simply asks individuals to make a list of the contributing (positive) forces that are operating (what’s good about the job) and then asks them to list the restraining (negative) forces that makes the job so undesirable. It’s a way of giving an individual perspective and then providing a game plan on how to attack the problem. Here’s how it would work with this issue of job dissatisfaction.
- Make a list of all the forces that make the current job unsatisfying (restrainers).
- Give each of the restrainers a velocity or a force, 1 (not very strong) to 10 (super strong!)
- Now make a list of all the contributing forces; what are the positive things about the job.
- Give each of those a force of 1-10.
- Look at the difference in forces. If the contributing forces are stronger…maybe the job is not as bad as you think.
- If the restraining forces are stronger…take each one and jot down some ideas of how you can reduce their strength.
This will give you a game plan for how to turn those dissatisfiers around.
Finally, talk to your manager about those aspects that keep you from truly enjoying your job. And (very importantly) give your manager some “work-arounds” that you thought might help.
And, if this makes you uncomfortable, find a peer or a pal who you can test these ideas with – it never hurts to practice!
Are you ready to improve your job performance in 2017? Participate in the getAbstract Challenge 2017, enjoy our #30DaysOfSummaries and win a one-on-one coaching session with Beverly Kaye.