Lazy co-workers – is there one bugging you?

Over the last few weeks I have had a number of clients grumbling about lazy co-workers. Working alongside these people who clash with our work ethic and values can be extremely energy zapping and if you don’t have coping strategies it can result in damage to your own career reputation.

Some of the common traits of these co-workers are:

  • going to the gym during lunch break then returning 70-80 minutes later only to eat their lunch at their desk for another 20-30 minutes
  • whenever you walk past their desk they are either on Trade Me, Facebook or surfing the net
  • they have a continual stream of personal calls during core working hours.

It is also no surprise that these people are normally first in line to complain when the pressure comes on or if they think someone else is being overpaid for what they do.

It is a topic I could write pages and pages on but as this is a blog here are my top four strategies for coping with the lazy co-worker.

Don’t allow them to distract you. Try to stay focused on your own work. If you’re struggling find a quiet room, see if there is an opportunity to move out of their line of sight, or as a last resort invest in earphones and listen to music. Don’t spend your day focusing on the fact that your lazy co-worker is constantly checking Facebook, talking about non-work issues to other co-workers or popping to the Post Office to post off their Trade Me sales. This will only result in you having to work longer hours or missing deadlines yourself.

Don’t let them affect your career reputation. A lazy colleague can hinder your progress on your projects or deadlines. Manage your Manager by communicating there is a risk of the deadline being missed. This is your opportunity to speak up, if you haven’t done so already. Most importantly to keep your reputation in tack don’t get drawn in to office gossip or complain to other colleagues. It won’t stop them from being lazy and it’s not professional. If you waste your time and energy on being angry or annoyed about your lazy colleague, your work performance may start slipping and you may be less pleasant to be around. A hostile, grumpy or snappy colleague is just as bad as a lazy one.

Don’t allow yourself to get caught up in the issue of fairness. As we have all learnt “life isn’t fair”. As hard as it is focus on investing your energy on being the best that you can be.

So my challenge to you this week is if you are working alongside a Lazy Co-worker put the above strategies in place as at the end of the day it’s all about managing your career reputation. If you’re lucky enough not to be in this position, but know somebody who is, “lean in” and share this blog with them.

Nothing wrong with being a street walker!

I was struggling to come up with a title for this week’s blog without it sounding like I was making another suggestion!

One of the most effective and easiest ways to proactively undertake career networking is to get away from your desk (or home) at least a couple of times a week and head out for a walk around the business district.  It’s amazing who you can bump in to and I have countless examples when this strategy has paid off in an exciting job opportunity.   It’s so easy to slip off people’s radar when you spend too much time behind your desk or if you are between jobs limiting your visits in to the city.

I have experienced the value of this first hand numerous times since I have been running my own business..  One of the early occasions was when I bumped in to an old boss who had moved on to become CEO of a large organisation. Following the standard “hello, how are you” came “what are you doing these days”.  Here was me thinking everyone in my network knew what I was doing. The coolest thing that followed was him saying “you better give me your business card, we need people like you”.

Another example how this strategy can work is a client who had decided they wanted a new career challenge but told me they had a limited network. I suggested the increase their street walking and within three weeks had added 25 people to their LinkedIn network simply by reconnecting with them during their street walks.

Your challenge from me for next month is to schedule in a couple of street walk’s a week over the next month and see how many new people you can add to your LinkedIn network!

Everyone deserves their own Personal Advisory Board

Small, medium and large businesses all have them. Why shouldn’t you have your own Personal Advisory Board?

I am a big supporter of having a Personal Advisory Board to help ensure career resilience. In my coaching practice I see people struggling to bounce back when they have a career wobble. Wobbles can range from suddenly finding yourself with a difficult new boss, missing out on your dream promotion, needing a sounding board for an idea you want to pitch to your employer, or finding yourself unexpectedly in the job market.

Clients who bounce back quickly often already have in place a group of people that they draw on for support, use as a sounding board, and seek ideas and strategies from. They don’t always refer to this group as a Personal Advisory Board but once I share the concept with them they respond with “Yes that’s what they are, I never thought of them as that before”.

What exactly is a Personal Advisory Board? It’s simply a group of people who know you well, whose judgement and achievements you respect, and who will challenge you. It’s not people who will just tell you what you want to hear! I recommend keeping your Advisory Board to around 3-6 people, drawing on a range of backgrounds and personalities.

You would normally meet your Advisory Board members one-on-one. Although recently  a client had identified their dream role so got their Advisory Board together over a glass of wine to help develop a strategy to secure the role.

There is no golden rule on how often you should meet with your Advisory Board as this is largely driven by what’s happening in your own career. I highly recommend that you don’t just contact your Advisory Board when things are wobbling. Share your successes or  just catch up to treat them to a coffee.

I have my own Advisory Board both for denovo HQ and for Brand Jann. This group has changed over the last 14 years with two key people remaining and two others coming on board. They help keep me on track and provide a well-needed nudge every now and then. Most of all, I use them as my go-to group when something is niggling and I can’t break through on my own.

If you don’t already have an Advisory Board in place, take some time to identify who you would like to co-opt onto your Board. Get in touch with them and arrange a time to meet to float the idea. If you already have an Advisory Board (whether official or not), flick them a thank-you email for being on your team and update them on how things are going with your career. And perhaps offer to serve on their Personal Advisory Board!

Career Fitness Checkup

As we get older many of us commit to regular health and fitness checkups. We should take the same care with our own careers. I recommend conducting an annual “Career Check-up” where you take time out to reflect and seek feedback on how you career is tracking, are all your skills still relevant and what your employer wants and last but most importantly what is your career reputation. If you want to do a career check-up more frequently that’s even better.

Over the last couple of years I have worked with an increasing number of clients who haven’t undertaken regular Career Check-ups.  The result is when they  unexpectedly find  themselves out of work they  are unprepared and/or lack the resources or resilience needed to move quickly in to job search mode.

The results of this can be wide ranging but in general they struggling to move forward , they can remain in the  in the “poor me” phase, or lose confidence in their own abilities.  If they haven’t kept up regular contact with their networks they also find themselves having to  spend considerable time rebuilding these relationships  From a personal view  people who only reconnect with me when they are out of work go to the bottom of my list when prioritising my time.

Those clients who fall into the Career Fit group quickly get into the job search mode; remain upbeat and positive about what lies ahead. Their networks rally around them and help out with introductions and coffee chats. The Career Fit clients also find new career challenges quicker and often the new role is a step up from their last role.

So my question for you  is: If you  unexpectedly  found yourself out of a job or lost your career mojo and decided it was time for a change  are you  Career Fit or Career Unfit?   My simple checklist below will help you answer this question.

Career Fit People

  1. Have a  clear understanding of their strengths and attributes.
  2. Regularly check their career reputation by asking for feedback.
  3. Have a healthy network that can assist them during their career investigation and job search.
  4. Have all their communication tools ready;  up-to-date LinkedIn profile, CV, and an authentic, snappy elevator pitch.

Career Unfit People

  1. Struggle to articulate their strengths and attributes.
  2. Haven’t pro-actively sought feedback.
  3. Have neglected their networks for many months (sometimes years).
  4. Use outdated (or no) communications tools; CV is stale; not on LinkedIn or have a limited profile; and struggle to articulate their value proposition to a future employer.

If you find yourself in the Career Unfit group the good news is you can take control and get yourself into the Career Fit group.  All you need to do is set yourself some weekly goals over the next two months and make it happen. If there are areas you are struggling with call on your support team or invest in a Career Strategist.