Posts Tagged “IT”

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We’re all looking for ways to improve ourselves—at least that’s what the thriving $10 billion self-help industry seems to imply.

But as popular and alluring as the principles of personal development may be, many of us still have only a fuzzy understanding of it. Even fuzzier: How to turn personal growth into professional gains.

At the same time, there’s an undeniable overlap between the two—after all, our personal strengths and weaknesses affect us at work, too. And there are ways in which growing personally and working on ourselves can make us more effective at work.

If that still feels a little murky, we get it. Read on to learn exactly what personal growth is and get concrete ways to leverage it in your career.

What Is Personal Growth Anyway?
Personal growth or development is difficult to define, in part because it’s, well, personal. Broadly speaking, personal development is an effort to improve yourself, the outcomes in your life, or how you experience life, explains Sumayya Essack, a career-change coach and founder and owner of Curate the Future.

“Personal growth is the process of growing stronger, more confident, and more effective as a person and an agent of change for your own life,” says Kathy Caprino, a career and personal growth coach. More specifically, it relates to “how you see and perceive yourself, interact with others, engage with the world, and envision your future and your possibilities.”

It affects you in both concrete and more abstract ways, including emotional regulation, communication abilities, well-defined boundaries, decision-making, and personal satisfaction and positivity.
Where Personal and Professional Development Meet

At first glance, personal growth can seem a little vague compared to professional development goals. “Career growth tends to focus on tangible performance-related goals, such as raises [and] promotions,” Essack explains. It may also emphasize hard skills, which depending on your field could include things like data analysis or proficiency in a certain language or type of software.

However, if you think of personal and professional growth as two circles of a Venn diagram, there’s a healthy overlap between them. “Your career success and enjoyment of your career aren’t just the result of domain-related skills and knowledge. It’s also a result of what you bring to the table as a person,” Essack says.

Things we think of as soft skills—such as communication style, self-motivation, and how you relate to other people—fall into the area of overlap. And these skills greatly impact our ability to get things done at work. Developing them can help you become more effective in your career, and maybe even nab a promotion.

4 Personal Development Goals That Can Help You Get Ahead at Work
Even if you’re sold on the benefits of personal growth for your career—where do you start? In large part, it’s up to you.

“At the root of all personal development is becoming aware of what’s happening in your own mind and becoming aware of how the thoughts you’re thinking affect your emotions, behaviors, and results,” Essack says. If you can identify a result you’re unhappy with or, conversely, one you want to achieve, you can work backwards from there to determine the underlying thoughts, emotions, and behaviors you should address to make the change you desire.

For example, are you constantly struggling to get tasks done? Maybe you need to work on focusing better on the task at hand in order to become more efficient. Eager for a promotion? Perhaps you need to build better relationships to get there. Whatever area you choose, work on it in small doses.

While there are many ways you might implement personal growth into your career development, here are four examples of areas to improve, as well as advice for tackling them:

1. Build Emotional Intelligence
Solid emotional intelligence can help you forge strong working relationships with colleagues and clients, which in turn promote productivity and strengthen your professional reputation.

The ability to deal with people and conflict is important in most any job, but perhaps especially so when you take on a management or leadership role. “Emotional intelligence means being able to understand where someone else is coming from,” Essack says. “People want to work for someone who understands them.”

How to tackle it: Focus on becoming a better active listener, which helps others feel heard and understood. “We get caught up in saying what we want to say, but communicating effectively is also about being a great listener,” Essack says.

First, show the speaker that you’re paying attention. “Put away your devices, make eye contact, and fully concentrate on them rather than mentally preparing what you will say next,” Essack says. “Then, show that you’re listening with verbal cues such as ‘uh huh’ and body language, such as nodding, smiling, and leaning forward.” Finally, ask clarifying questions or reflect back with paraphrasing. Try starting with: “So what you’re saying is…,” or “What do you mean by…?”

2. Feel Confident in Your Talents
Building confidence is a common goal of personal development, and one that has a clear line to career gains. Developing your confidence can help you land a better job, negotiate for a raise or promotion, earn credit for your contributions, and be seen as a leader, Caprino says. But confidence isn’t something that’s easy to just switch on.

Instead, look for a path to confidence by working on recognizing your talents. If you don’t fully grasp what you’re amazing at and aren’t able to speak confidently about these talents, you won’t be able to fully leverage your unique abilities, Caprino adds.

How to tackle it: Many people struggle to look inward to discover where they shine—especially if they grew up hearing that they shouldn’t brag. So instead, look outward to colleagues and mentors for help identifying your unique talents. Ask them to name any contributions that have stood out to them as well as elements of your approach to work they consider particularly effective.

3. Grow Your Motivation
Wouldn’t it be great if we could bottle up motivation and consume it like we do our morning coffee? Imagine the benefits! At work, being more motivated can of course make you more productive, but it can also help you be seen as more driven and ambitious.

How to tackle it: Until motivation is sold by the bottle, you can work on building it little by little, Essack says. Think of motivation not as a mindset or mood that randomly descends on you outside of your control, but as a behavior. We tend to assume that when we’re motivated, we’ll take action—but the reverse can be true. “First you do the behavior and have a mini success, and that’s what makes you feel motivated again. Success builds on itself,” Essack explains.

For example, if you’re intimidated by holding performance conversations with employees, you might be tempted to avoid them until the last minute. But when you successfully commit to a small action, such as holding shorter, less formal performance check-ins, you may find more motivation to improve your skills and take on longer talks.

So instead of waiting for motivation to strike, try structuring your big goals into small achievable tasks to build momentum. This way you’ll help yourself experience each one you complete as an invigorating success and feel motivated to take the next step toward where you want to be.

4. Become More Mindful
Mindfulness is a term that’s thrown around a lot today, and its meaning can be as blurry as the concept of personal growth as a whole. Essentially, mindfulness is the act of training your brain to focus on the present moment, rather than racing ahead to the future, or drifting to the past.

Research has linked mindfulness to reduced stress, improved focus, and better working memory. At work it could help you zero in on the task at hand and filter out some of the surrounding noise, allowing you to become more efficient.

Mindfulness has emotional benefits too. Mindfulness can help you respond more thoughtfully to someone instead of having a knee-jerk reaction or snapping, Essack says. “You become more aware of what’s happening in the moment, so you choose a conscious response.” Building this skill can help keep you from burning bridges with clients or colleagues when tension rises or tempers flare.

Let’s say you receive some criticism that you don’t agree with or that injures your ego. “The tendency is often to react automatically because we feel defensive, but when we cultivate mindfulness, we’re able to take a step back in the moment and respond intentionally,” Essack explains. In this instance, a more mindful approach could help to de-escalate conflict and make feedback discussions more productive.

How to tackle it: Develop a daily mindfulness meditation practice, which over time, can help you become more mindful throughout the day. Set aside five or 10 minutes a day to do a guided meditation, with help from an app like Calm or Headspace that will talk you through the process.

As difficult as personal development may be to define, investing in it can help lay the groundwork for professional success. As Caprino says, “If we don’t do the work to strengthen ourselves as people first, our careers will be a dismal disappointment.”
Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/personal-development-growth-goals-at-work-examples

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The first 90 days of your new job are crucial to set yourself up for long-term career success. It’s where you make good on the promises you touted during your interview and set the stage for how people perceive you.

That’s why asking for feedback during this time is so, so important. It quickly demonstrates to your new boss that you’re invested, you’re committed to excellence, and that you’re in this for the long haul.

Plus, if done well, you can earn major brownie points that may help you get recognized later for opportunities to work on interesting projects or even advance more quickly.

Easy enough, right? Now that you know just how important your first 90 days are, here are some guidelines for how to ask for feedback to ensure you’re on the right path (or how to get on it).

When Should You Ask?

Eliciting feedback in these crucial first few days is a balance between giving your new manager and co-workers enough time to form concrete thoughts and opinions of you, while also being proactive in prompting feedback that will help you as you get onboarded.

Rule of thumb: Don’t expect a formal review by the end of week one. After that, it’s all a judgement call. How much real work have you actually had a chance to do? If you’ve just completed a big project or finished a tougher assignment, now may be the perfect time to ask for some input on how you did. Regardless of the above, don’t let three weeks go by without making the big ask.

A good rhythm for how frequently you continue to check-in will hinge on the volume and involvement of your work. That said, a good best practice is no more than once a week, but no less than once a month.

How Should You Ask?

Don’t pounce at the water cooler or in the bathroom while your boss is washing her hands. Reach out to your manager via email or in person and request a meeting directly. Explain what the meeting is for—people will appreciate having a heads-up so they can prepare ideas ahead of time.

Try something like, “I’d like 15 minutes of your time to talk about how you think things are going so far with me. Are you satisfied with what I’m doing, and the work I’m producing? Is there anything I can be doing differently?”

What Should You Ask?

Give your manager suggestions on what you want to hear, such as, “How am I integrating within the team?” “Am I operating at the speed you need me to?” or “How is the quality of my work? Any development areas you have already identified that I can work on?”

This is also the time to coach your manager on what you need in terms of resources. Would you benefit from regular one-on-ones or additional training? Perhaps a tracking system that you and your manager have access to to share what you’re working on?

Who Should You Ask?

Besides your boss, co-workers are also a great resource for feedback. While it doesn’t need to be as formal as with a manager, try crafting an email along the lines of, Hey, I’m loving it here so far, and would love to get some feedback from you to make sure I’m setting myself up for long term success. It’s really important to me I’m doing a good job and making a good impression.

The reality of soliciting feedback is that it may not always be 100% positive. So, prepare yourself mentally. All your good intentions will immediately be nullified if you go into “defensive” mode. Keep your ego out of this conversation and stay open and non-judgmental.

Then, send a follow-up email thanking your manager or colleague for their time and candor, and briefly outline your takeaways and any next steps you plan to take. Implement any areas of improvement right away and follow-up with your boss to make sure the adjustments you’re making are correct and noticed.

We know there’s a lot to learn in your first 90 days. You’ve got new systems, technologies, faces, and names to remember, and so much more. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

Incorporating this advice displays maturity and commitment on your part, and will also give you a good indication of whether you’re doing well, or need to make some adjustments before its too late. Regardless of what you learn, it will empower you to excel in your new role.

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-ask-for-feedback-first-90-days-successful-new-job

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Knowing exactly what you’re doing at work is a great feeling. You’re confident, full of ideas, and ready to tackle anything.

Except—lately, you’ve noticed your co-workers seem to be avoiding you. They’re not extending invitations for group projects and you’re pretty sure you caught them rolling their eyes when you speak.

What gives?

The harsh answer is, to quote an old cliché: “nobody likes a know-it-all.” The more nuanced one is that they want to feel good at their jobs, too, and if you swoop in with the right answer all the time, they don’t have that chance.

So, it’s not enough to have the best ideas—you need to pay attention to how you deliver them, too.

On the bright side, a few simple shifts can help you salvage your reputation, and once you do, you’ll have the complete package of good ideas plus thoughtfulness.

Here are three changes you can start making today:

1. Be Patient

When you share your ideas first—especially if they’re strong—you eclipse your teammates’ ability to contribute. Yes, they can still build on what you’ve said or add something different, but your behavior sends a signal that you don’t really care what they have to say. After all, if everyone agreed to go with your plan, there’d be no reason (read: opportunity) to hear anyone else out.

Conversely, when you let others speak first, you’re giving them a chance. It shows that you think they have ideas worth listening to as well.

This strategy does run the risk that someone else will have the same brilliant thought as you, and he or she’ll get credit for it. But, that’s a good thing! If you agree, you can amplify it by saying, “I like Tina’s suggestion,” which’ll go a long way toward repairing the impression that you only value your opinions.

2. Be Open to Questions

One time you have to speak first is when you’re the one leading a discussion. But, as we all know, there are two ways to go about presenting an idea and asking for feedback.

The first is to share your idea and follow up with: “Can’t we all agree this is the best strategy?” Sure, this is a question—but the only answer you’re going for is a one-word “yes.”

The second option is to encourage your teammates to revise your work, by saying, “I’d love your thoughts on this: Do you see any areas for improvement?” Unlike a know-it-all who only looks for people to agree and execute their vision, you’re going out of your way to make a space for others to make valuable contributions. (If you want to dig into this a bit more, I lay out the right and wrong way to ask for feedback here.)

3. Be a Team Player

Truth talk: There’s usually more to being seen as a know-it-all than an excess of good ideas. It often comes with a side of arrogance.

It’s good to be ambitious and push yourself to contribute as meaningfully as possible, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of making your teammates feel like a bunch of runners-up.

So, ask yourself: Do you acknowledge when someone else has a good idea? Do you concede when you’re wrong, and back down when it doesn’t make a difference?

Where you’ve previously searched for holes in people’s ideas, challenge yourself to look for—and comment on—their strengths.

As someone who struggles to avoid coming off this way, I know the insecurities that come along with reining it in. You worry about downplaying all you know, and losing out on opportunities because of it. Or you don’t want to step back from a leadership role in a discussion—even once. Or you’d feel overlooked if someone else gets credit for an idea you were thinking and had forced yourself to hold in.

Here’s the thing: I’m not telling you to silence yourself or hide your genius. If you have an idea and you want to speak up and first, go for it. If you feel strongly about taking a project a certain direction, say so. Just realize you don’t have to operate at that speed all the time. If you pick your moments, you won’t just give others a chance—you’ll find they’ll be more supportive of you, too.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-share-your-brilliant-ideas-at-work-without-coming-off-like-a-knowitall?ref=carousel-slide-0

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The founders of two established local start-ups were the guest speakers at the launch of the Central Coast’s digital innovation industry group on May 2.
Women on Boards co-founder and Managing Director, Ms Claire Braund, and Central Telecoms co-founder, Mr Graeme Johnston, were to be interviewed by local innovation champion, Mr David Abrahams, to formally launch Central Coast Start IT.
Mr Edgar Adams, publisher of the Central Coast Business Review, gave a history of some of the innovative start-up businesses birthed on the Central Coast.
Around 80 people from a broad group of interests and industries attended the launch at the Central Coast Leagues Club.
Mr Abrahams said Gosford was perfectly placed to be the innovation capital of the nation.
“Gosford is the perfect place for innovation,” he said.
“Gosford is an affordable place for disruptive idea makers to live,” Mr Abrahams said, “and many innovators can enjoy the full force of fibre to premise NBN, which is an incredible advantage that Gosford has,” he said.

Source: http://coastcommunitynews.com.au/2017/05/central-coast-startit-innovation-industry-group-launched/