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Mindful : February 2014
February 2014 mindful 67 Two mindful business advisors answer your workplace questions Scared and Doing It Anyway Scenario: After 25 years working on my own researching and writing, I have been promoted into a leadership position. I’m scared. What’s important to re- member? Categorize under: Advancement Advisor: Jae Ellard Congratulations on this new opportunity. Undoubtedly you’re both excited and a little afraid. Take hear t. It’s common for anyone thrust into a leader- ship role—at any point in their career—to experience a feeling of being on shaky ground. This is a completely natural out- come, since new things will be expected of you and you most likely will be using skills you haven’t focused on in a while— or ever, if this is your first time managing people. If you’re not feeling a little shaky, you might be overconfident and unlikely to pay attention to what’s going on with you and around you. So your ner vousness is a good sign. Here are three things to keep in mind: It will help a lot if you can acknowledge you will feel uneasy and not let the impos- tor syndrome or little gremlin voices creep into your head. With your long experience, you have a lot to offer your company (and industry) as a member of the leadership team. Be confident in what you know and your ability to listen and learn. Your experience as a researcher will help you find the answers if you don’t already know them. Above all, trust yourself. Anyone with a 25-year commit- ment to their craft and their profession has the discipline to discover what’s necessar y to get the job done and a wealth of experience and value to offer the company. Jae Ellard is the president of WLB Consulting in Seattle. Scenario: I’m inter viewing for new positions at several places, and top of mind is find- ing a healthy work culture where I can fit in and contribute. How can I get a good read on that? Categorize under: Job search Advisor: Michael Carroll No matter what organization you join, you’ll end up navigating its strengths and weaknesses. Finding the perfect workplace is not the goal, but avoiding one that’s toxic is a good idea. Here are three things to keep your eyes open for during the inter view process: Look for coded words: If someone describes a CEO as “hard charging” or “Type A,” that could signal a lack of emotional intelligence. Another word that should set off alarms is “interesting,” as in “...Let’s just say he’s an interesting guy to work for.” If there is any way to get more details to flesh this out, do. You could ask what “interesting” means. On the flip side, if an organization’s shor tcomings and concerns are discussed maturely and matter-of-factly in an inter view situation, this bodes well. Read the workplace atmosphere: What does the place look like? Is the cafete- ria vibrant? Are there signs of outdoor recreation and pet friendliness? If these are values you share, you may be in the right place. But bells and whis- tles do not necessarily a healthy work environment make. Don’t make assumptions. Try to gath- er facts. In a relaxed place like that, is there also an expectation that work hours are regularly ex tended? Take note of the environments you’re seeing, ask questions, and read closely. Canyoufindawaytocut through formalities? A breez y and polite recruiting interview focused on employment history and job requirements can be a telling indicator of what’s to come. Politeness without sub- stance often masks a culture that places more value on “per- formers” than people. When an interview is authentic—when you’re invited to share a stor y, enjoy a laugh, and shared ex- periences arise naturally in the conversation—it’s possible that openness is valued within the firm as a whole. If you leave an interview feeling listened to and respected, chances are your instincts will say, “This is the place for me.” ● Michael Carroll is the author of Fearless at Work. Be confident in what you already know and your ability to listen and learn in practice at work