have an ambiguous work situation? be proactive!01 Feb 2017
last week, on the final coaching call i had with a friend, we discussed the importance of being proactive in unstructured/flexible work situations. the basic insight was that in work situations where your work is undefined, it’s super important to (proactively):
- define your own goals,
- define metrics of success and track them,
- regularly assess the quality of your work, and
- report on all of these things.
first of all, because i think doing these things will make your boss happy, keep you from overworking, and hopefully also move the needle on your goals. it also shows your supervisor that you take initiative and have the ability to self-manage. this is a huge benefit to people leading expanding teams.
second of all, i’ve noticed a trend among many of my friends in ambiguous work situations. they feel like they have little to no validation or support from their direct supervisor. they also usually feel like it’s easier to screw up their job than to be successful at it.
many of my friends in these situations are in a role that is new. the mistake is to expect the people who did the hiring to know exactly what it looks like for what they hired for to happen. this is why the proactivity is so important.
ok. so my primary point is made. the other thought i had during that call was this:
when defining your metrics, i think looking to secondary groups to validate your work is key. in fact, in these ambiguous/new positions, that is more important than direct validation from your boss. when secondary groups say that your work is high quality, this is good for your boss. not only does it make them look good for hiring the right person, it means that the energy they took from the organization to bring in a new person is paying off. those are pretty superficial reasons, but they’re important. also, it’s even better when those secondary groups speak highly of your work to your boss unprompted.
yikes! over time. gotta run.
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