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Category: Blog

Are you ignoring your B Players?

In many organisations, the vast majority of workers are B Players. This does not mean they are second rate, they just aren’t the Type A, ambitious, often over-achievers that many organisations consider their ‘stars’. Problem is the ‘stars’ will move on. They have a mission, a path and their main allegiance is to themselves and their careers, not your organisation or a return of goodwill and loyalty for what you have done for them.

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Reputations rise and fall on attitude

iStock_000013263064XSmallIn a recent workshop I facilitated, a woman I’ll call Mary walked in with a big frown on her face, plunked herself down in the chair and maintained a disengaged, angry countenance throughout the whole workshop. Her comments were like passive aggressive knives intended to ‘show us’ just how bad things really were. The sad thing is Mary had been a valued worker with a good reputation and many possible options for advancement-until a major decision was made that went against how Mary-‘with all her years of experience’- thought things should be done.

Instead of coming across as a valuable long term employee with golden corporate knowledge, she came across as a dinosaur who had become an impediment and burden to the organisation. Mary would be shocked to know how many senior people in the organisation were aware of her ‘crabby’ state and wanted little to do with her-and how many opportunities that would have come her way had been redirected to more constructive workers.

How do you handle the things that aren’t the way they should be in an organisation? Maybe it is a change process that is poorly handled. A decision that disadvantages you. Being overlooked for a promotion that is given to a lesser experienced and less competent person. All of these situations can lead to ‘Mary moments’ of (often justified) anger, disappointment and feeling betrayed or belittled. You may have a smaller sphere of influence than you should, but how will you use the influence you do have to enhance your reputation as a person who looks for constructive solutions?

It is not good for your health and wellbeing to just bottle up and suppress anger just like it is not good for your reputation to always be whining, frowning and complaining about a situation.

So where is the line drawn? I’ve come up with a few things that I have seen work for myself, clients and friends:

  • Find a trusted friend or colleague you can ‘vent to’ (venting is important) who won’t just chime in about ‘how bad things are’ but will help you move to a constructive response.
  • Check your perception of the situation with a few trusted peers. Once you’ve had the conversation, don’t keep repeating it.
  • If you and a few people find the frustration a recurring problem, use the ‘five minute’ rule. You agree that any one of you can ‘storm in to the others’ office’ and off load anger and frustration, but only for five minutes and then the discussion will change to constructive solutions and how you can use what leverage and influence you do have to try to improve the situation or at least improve your ability to cope.
  • Look for what you can influence, even if it is less than it should be and use the influence constructively.
  • Accept the things you can’t influence and develop strategies for managing them.
  • Take note of the things that are working, the positives of the situation and acknowledge them.
  • Know what your deal breakers are and consider moving on if those are regularly present.

How is your attitude enhancing your reputation? Are there areas for improvment in situations where a ‘Mary’ attitude may creep in? It is never too late to change an unconstructive attitude and people will notice the change.

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Are you living your true purpose?

Are you a painter who doesn’t paint? A writer who doesn’t write? A musician who doesn’t play your instrument often? A photographer whose camera has not seen the light of day for awhile? “What keeps so many of us from doing what we long to do?

Why is there a naysayer within? How can we avoid the roadblocks of any creative endeavor—be it starting up a dream business venture, writing a novel, or painting a masterpiece?” Stephen Pressfield

The-Artist-vs-The-AddictAre you trapped in a shadow career? The artist vs the addict and shares an extensive excerpt from Stephen Pressfield’s book Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work. It is written for the countless numbers of us who have creative projects or artistic passions that seem part of our DNA, purpose and path to fulfillment, yet remain unactivated. What’s holding us back? Self sabbotage? Fear of failure? Allowing ‘busyness’ to distract us? Working so hard to please (or impress) others that we are not nurturing the deepest core of who we are?

Pressfield says the addict is the amateur. The artist is the professional:the person that has broken the cycle of yearning, aspiration and inactivity. But, he says many of us “take the amateur route. Instead of composing our symphony, we create a ‘shadow symphony,’ of which we ourselves are the orchestra, the composer, and the audience. Our life becomes a shadow drama, a shadow start-up company, a shadow philanthropic venture.”

I have a number of friends who are artists-usually masters at more than one craft: musicians, painters, comedians, actresses, singers, writers and photographers. Our conversations centre around the move from the ‘shadow symphony’ to the real thing. Many of us have started to step out of the shadow but still have a way to go before we fully turn aspiration and yearning into a regular practice.

If this at all sounds familiar, do yourself a favour and read the blog that has both haunted me and propelled me into long procrastinated action in photography and writing. May your journey to artist remove any ‘shadow’, counterfeit activities that keep you from expressing your true self and gifts.

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Professional response to ‘deal breaking’ leadership

Recently I had an interesting experience with a person I’ve given extensive support to. They made a big mistake in an agreement we had relating to a project that I have a contract worker arrangement with. This had a range of serious implications for me, the project and others involved if not managed properly.

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