Show that you are upto the higher job

So One Job Isn’t Enough For You?
Tara Weiss, 01.08.08, 3:00 PM ET

Sometimes you’ve got to show the higher-ups you can do the job before they give it to you.

Forward-thinking employees know that and are taking on additional responsibility to prove they should get promoted or switch departments altogether. Yes, it takes additional planning–and lots of extra hours at the office–but the effort can pay off.

“It’s like having a business plan for yourself,” says Janet G. Lenz, an assistant professor and career counselor in Florida State University’s career center.

Take Greg Topalian. He started working at Reed Exhibitions 10 years ago as a salesman, and now he’s a senior vice president at the Norwalk, Conn., trade-show operator. His steady climb up the corporate ladder is a direct result of asking himself what it takes to get to the next level.

“This wasn’t about how I could steal my boss’ job,” says Topalian. “It was more, ‘What skills does he have that I don’t?’ When I started as a salesman I realized my sales director does things I don’t, so I’d offer to help. I’d say, ‘How can I make your life easier? Can you show me?'”

Prior to getting his current job, he served as group vice president at Reed. Once he had that job under control, he analyzed what it meant to be a senior vice president. One of the job’s main aspects is thinking globally. Topalian demonstrated that mode of thinking by creating a training model for all exhibitors on how to get the most out of their trade shows.

“It made our most senior management feel that I clearly grasp the nature of the senior vice president role,” says Topalian.

And that’s what all hiring managers want. As Karen Rohce, vice president of human resources at Sun Microsystems, puts it: “Experience is the best classroom.”

To get it, employees need to set up a supportive structure. First, explain to your boss that you greatly enjoy your job, but you want to take on new responsibilities. (It helps if you scout new projects or find a mentor to give you added tasks.) Employees should assure their supervisor that their current work won’t suffer and that these new responsibilities will make them a “value-added staffer.”

Once you find a mentor or supervisor to work with, set up the parameters of the additional projects, including its length of time, along with ways to measure success. Also, get feedback from your “part-time” boss. Was he or she happy with your work and are there skill sets you need to strengthen? It also helps to have your two managers communicate. Ask your part-time boss to send your regular manager periodic updates on your work. This is a great way to remind your supervisor that you’re working two jobs.

The biggest challenge is getting burnt out by the additional hours spent at the office. Avoid that by taking on small projects until you feel comfortable with the new workload and unfamiliar skills. But the bottom line is, if you want to make it to the next level, you’ll need to work more. “There are times when you’ll be doing a 10-plus hour day to get to the next level,” says Topalian. “That’s a reality.”

You can alleviate some of the workload by encouraging your subordinates to do the same thing. “They’re able to take on your lower-end work, which is high-end to them,” says Topalian “There’s a synergy there that’s very important.”

Rational thinkers will be Assertive communicators

Assertive communication is becoming very important in today’s world. We need to recognize how we respond to any situation, analyse if that is how we want to respond. Is our response in line with the goals we have for our future. When I think back after 10 years, would I feel proud of my today’s response?

There are three types of communication

1. Passive

2. Aggressive

3. Assertive

There is a fourth – “Passive Aggressive”

An example:

The boss requests an employee to do some extra work over the weekend. The employee has already planned a family trip on the weekend. How does the employee  communicate his concern to the boss.

1. Passive – “Yes, Sir. Sure Sir. No problem.”

                     Accepts whatever is told. The problems he might face at home he thinks he will deal with later.

2. Aggressive – “No. I have other plans. I just cannot work on the weekend”

                      There is no room for discussion left. Employee is angry. Boss is angry.

3. Assertive – “If it is urgent, I would definitely do it. I have a family trip planned for the weekend. If it can wait till monday, I shall do that first thing on monday.”

                      There is room for discussion. The boss might as well accept for his request. Or might consider an other person to do the work.

4. Passive-Aggressive – “Yes Sir, No problem”.

                      Employee then goes to the rest room or to the tea point and starts talking negative or shouting or crying or complain continuously with colleagues, based on the type of person he is.

So, we can see that if I think rationally, I talk assertively. Because, I understand the following:

1. The boss is also human.

2. I am human. And the boss knows that I have my personal obligations.

3. If I accept the work, and not able to do it. It would be a problem for the organization.

4. If I refuse the work, It might be damaging to the organization if it is really urgent.

5. Instead of assuming the work is urgent.  I can confirm with the boss if it is urgent and take the next step.

6. Moreover, my boss is my boss. So he might very well come up with an alternative if he knows that I have genuine reason.

We all are leaders irrespective of our job role. And an Effective Leader is Assertive.

Wikipedia definition for Assertiveness is   ” a form of behavior characterized by a confident declaration or affirmation of a statement without need of proof; this affirms the person’s rights or point of view without either aggressively threatening the rights of another (assuming a position of dominance) or submissively permitting another to ignore or deny one’s rights or point of view.”

It takes time to develop assertive behavior. Let us start it today.

The Extraordinary Boss

An interesting article by Geoffrey James on inc.com

A few years back, I interviewed some of the most successful CEOs in the world in order to discover their management secrets. I learned that the “best of the best” tend to share the following eight core beliefs.

1. Business is an ecosystem, not a battlefield.

Average bosses see business as a conflict between companies, departments and groups. They build huge armies of “troops” to order about, demonize competitors as “enemies,” and treat customers as “territory” to be conquered.

 Extraordinary bosses see business as a symbiosis where the most diverse firm is most likely to survive and thrive. They naturally create teams that adapt easily to new markets and can quickly form partnerships with other companies, customers … and even competitors.

2. A company is a community, not a machine.

Average bosses consider their company to be a machine with employees as cogs. They create rigid structures with rigid rules and then try to maintain control by “pulling levers” and “steering the ship.”

 Extraordinary bosses see their company as a collection of individual hopes and dreams, all connected to a higher purpose. They inspire employees to dedicate themselves to the success of their peers and therefore to the community–and company–at large.

3. Management is service, not control.

Average bosses want employees to do exactly what they’re told. They’re hyper-aware of anything that smacks of insubordination and create environments where individual initiative is squelched by the “wait and see what the boss says” mentality.

 Extraordinary bosses set a general direction and then commit themselves to obtaining the resources that their employees need to get the job done. They push decision making downward, allowing teams form their own rules and intervening only in emergencies.

 4. My employees are my peers, not my children.

Average bosses see employees as inferior, immature beings who simply can’t be trusted if not overseen by a patriarchal management. Employees take their cues from this attitude, expend energy on looking busy and covering their behinds.

Extraordinary bosses treat every employee as if he or she were the most important person in the firm. Excellence is expected everywhere, from the loading dock to the boardroom. As a result, employees at all levels take charge of their own destinies.

5. Motivation comes from vision, not from fear.

 Average bosses see fear–of getting fired, of ridicule, of loss of privilege–as a crucial way to motivate people. As a result, employees and managers alike become paralyzed and unable to make risky decisions.

Extraordinary bosses inspire people to see a better future and how they’ll be a part of it. As a result, employees work harder because they believe in the organization’s goals, truly enjoy what they’re doing and (of course) know they’ll share in the rewards.

6. Change equals growth, not pain.

Average bosses see change as both complicated and threatening, something to be endured only when a firm is in desperate shape. They subconsciously torpedo change … until it’s too late.

 Extraordinary bosses see change as an inevitable part of life. While they don’t value change for its own sake, they know that success is only possible if employees and organization embrace new ideas and new ways of doing business.

7. Technology offers empowerment, not automation.

 Average bosses adhere to the old IT-centric view that technology is primarily a way to strengthen management control and increase predictability. They install centralized computer systems that dehumanize and antagonize employees.

Extraordinary bosses see technology as a way to free human beings to be creative and to build better relationships. They adapt their back-office systems to the tools, like smartphones and tablets, that people actually want to use.

8. Work should be fun, not mere toil.

Average bosses buy into the notion that work is, at best, a necessary evil. They fully expect employees to resent having to work, and therefore tend to subconsciously define themselves as oppressors and their employees as victims. Everyone then behaves accordingly.

 Extraordinary bosses see work as something that should be inherently enjoyable–and believe therefore that the most important job of manager is,  as far as possible, to put people in jobs that can and will make them truly happy.