A cherished colleague of mine, Bruce Hazen, has recently completed a brilliant book, Answering The Three Career Questions: Your Lifetime Career Management System which I am honored to share an excerpt from today. My kindred spirited friend Bruce and I both were professionally raised within the confines of the Cornell University community back in New York and both are recovering therapists turned management consultants now living in Portland. I love the process that Bruce has developed over his career to aid in his client’s process of determining the answer to three crucial career questions:
- When is it time to move up in work that you want to sustain? (Moving up means progressing, not necessarily getting a “promotion”.)
- When is it time to move out when the work or organization or your boss is no longer a fit with who you are becoming?
- When is it time to adapt my style to get more success in work and an organization that I like?
So without further adieu, here is an excerpt from his recently inked book:
“There are times when the clues about leaving are not just about your sense of fit with the work, but more about external factors that are changing and indicating that you may be in for an involuntary move-out. Let’s prime your radar to spot some classic indicators of when it’s time to get ready to leave because your boss may be about to invite you to do so.
Some classic pieces of evidence frequently show up in misfit or devolving work situations. Each of these fits in our criteria category of Behavioral/Activity. These are actions that may be done to you, or done throughout your organization, representing a more generalized threat to jobs of you and others.
Negative Changes or Conditions to Watch For:
1. You’re Not Consulted. Losing your chances for input in organizational matters is a signal that leaders are getting closer to running affairs without you.
2. You’re Being Scrutinized More Closely. You feel as if you’re not trusted. Micro-management and documentation of your work has begun.
3. Co-workers Are Not Conferring with You. You’re being left out of meetings you’ve usually been part of. It’s been a while since anyone’s discussed a future project with you.
4. You Got a Poor Performance Rating. You barely got a raise and perhaps even received a warning. You and your boss don’t share the same perspectives as to why this happened or even that it happened.
5. You’ve Had Frequent Run-ins With Your Boss. While people claim it’s not personal, security all comes down to relationships. Performance is subjective, and managers are more likely to let go of people who make them feel uncomfortable. Eventually the clashes stop, and you’ll find yourself ignored.
6. There’s a Lot of Talk About “Transition.” Your company is likely to merge, be acquired, or “reorganize,” and your company leader is not prominent in the messaging about the future. Change can represent new opportunities if you have positioned yourself and not let others over-define you. Beware of the viability of your product, service, and skill set at a time like this.
7. New-Hires Are the Salvation of the Organization’s Future. New folks are being hired who can do no wrong with the higher-ups. Your development plateaued. A merger or acquisition brought new talent to the company, and they seem to rule. Certain academic degrees or professional certifications (that you may not have) are suddenly very important.
8. Your New Boss From the Opposite Coast Isn’t House Hunting. Your old boss was suddenly replaced by an executive on loan from another area or region of the company, which could easily absorb your function rather than move to accommodate you.
9. Training or Development Activities Are No Longer Encouraged Nor Funded. Your performance reviews don’t include a meaningful development plan or discussion, and there is only a vague sense of what the future looks like in terms of products, markets, or specific work for you.
10. Leadership: Your Manager Is a Puzzle, Obstacle, or Entanglement
The surveys keep showing the same fact: people more frequently quit their bosses, not the jobs or organizations. Their resignation doesn’t have to be attributed to any terrible, evil, or overly negative traits in the boss. He or she is an expediter of your talent, and so you must make a judgment call about your chances of developing or being able to adapt under this person so as to work with him/her more comfortably. Next, we will explore some ways that a relationship with a boss can derail without malice or ill intent on anyone’s part.”
There is a great Chinese saying that suggests redefining a “problem” as a:
Puzzle: You are unable to get a clear or consistent reading as to your boss’s style and needs, and therefore unsure how to work with her. Other people aren’t able to help solve the puzzle either. Everyone is working around or avoiding this leader.
Obstacle: Your boss needs to be the smartest person involved with all work problems, issues, or needs. Your boss perceives you as a threat or distraction and needs to keep you assigned to less than critical work. Your boss perceives you as inadequate in your position or inadequate compared to himself and starts to side-line your development or assignment to crucial work.
Entanglement: Your boss unnecessarily inserts herself into people’s work and also has crucial political relationships within the company that she holds very close. Subsequently, you’ve become over-reliant on her ability to access these people, and since you’re discouraged (by her) from interacting with them to develop your own relationships, you’ve become pretty entangled with your boss.
For more information about Bruce Hazen’s work and to buy his book, go to Three Questions Consulting. I promise you won’t regret it!