Don't Be Your Best Kept Secret

Knowledge, skills and experience are often quoted (correctly) as what is most important for managing and advancing careers. Closely followed by attitude, enthusiasm and commitment (also correct!).

However, this leads many of us to focus on working harder and harder, to get better and better at what we do and neglect the skills needed to manage a career. For those of you who have worked away and waited to be noticed, you might agree this is not necessarily the most effective or efficient way to get ahead.

There is no doubt that to achieve your career ambitions it is essential to be good at what you do. But career success is not limited to what we do, but also how we do it.

Expertise in how to 'work at work' and how to work at managing a career are both areas where knowledge, skills and experience (not to mention attitude, enthusiasm and commitment) are also essential.

One of the key skills is to learn how to communicate in the business environment so that your messages are clearly understood. This allows you to be more effective when exactly what you mean is what is conveyed and it helps the value that you provide to be understood.

How you work, or your operating style, which is simply how you are known to work, builds your credibility and becomes your professional reputation. The skills that are important to learn are: how to operate in meetings and work with teams, how to negotiate, resolve conflict, lead and get back up when things don't go your way. Are you calm, cool and collected or manic, mayhem and misery to be around? How you act and react goes a long way to dictate whether others want to work with or for you.

And whilst you are communicating effectively, being cool, calm and collected (that is the preferred outcome to the question above) your current and future success will also depend on pro-actively managing your career. From having a career plan to networking, working with mentors and learning the skills to get-the-job-you want and then to negotiate your remuneration - there are a lot of areas to know about.

Which is why prioritising what is important to you and deciding what you have the capacity to actually do is also a crucial career management skill.

Being brilliant at something (anything, actually) is tremendous. But if no-one knows about it or appreciates who you are and what you do, it may be difficult for you to reap the rewards you deserve. The value that you bring to a role is not something you want to be your best-kept secret.

Golden girls (and guys) need to learn how to shine and stand out from the crowd.

If you are in Sydney I am holding a one-day Career Development Workshop where Kate Southam, Serena Beirne, Rebecca Sebastian and I will be sharing specific tips for how to develop many career skills.

We'd love to see you there! If not read, talk with your mentor, network, attend programs and seek out trusted advisers.

Learn how to share your best secret - YOU!


A good manager is a good manager!

Over the years I have found that a good manager is a good manager, and it doesn't really matter what their gender. It's about how they apply their leadership skills and the operating style that they choose to adopt.

But a recent survey in the UK showed that two-thirds of employees would rather work for a male rather than a female boss.

The findings are a bit contradictory given the survey by also found that of the people surveyed who had left a job because of a bad boss only 50% had left when they had a female boss.

When you ask people how they want women to manager you'll get the response "Women shouldn't try and act like men" and from others "Women should try and be more like a man'! Eeekkk...what are we to do?

It all comes down to having the leadership skills to do the role. These are skills you can learn, practise and improve no matter what role you're in.

When you become a manager there are lots of complexities in the role including the fact that people don't instantly want to do what you say because you are a manager. Ultimately it comes down to influencing the actions of others and the day-to-day decisions through what you do and say.

The ability to impact or influence others is called leadership and you can develop these skills in any role.

To be or become a good manager:

Career Chick Hot Tip: Recognize your ability to lead no matter what role you're in.


Flight Attendant Walks off the job; many others want to do the same

The Flight attendant who walked out of his job (well strictly speaking slid down the escape slide) in New York the other night, seems to have done what many others would like to do.

It is being reported that he is acquiring cult-hero status which is indicated by the more than 160,000 'Likes' on facebook and the numerous articles that are reporting that his popularity is connected with the frustration that many people feel about airline travel.

But there are lost of other comments out there that suggest that there may be another reason for the popular support. Including this one that the LA Times reported from the New York Times website, "I wish my office had an evacuation slide". It seems that there are plenty of people who admire this guy because he had the courage to walk out of a work situation that wasn't working for him.

Despite the popular support, the songs that have been written for him, and the notoriety of exiting stage left (with an alleged beer) this guy does face a possible prison term. There were probably a few indicators for him that this job was not what he wanted anymore, before the incident that prompted the walk-out. And there are a number of other ways he could have removed himself from the situation with a few less repercussions.

The Career Chick Hot Tip: Know When It's Time to Move On!


It's not just about the paycheck!

The Conference Board recently reported that U.S. Job Satisfaction levels are at the lowest level in two decades.

This is particularly telling in an economy where unemployment is so high you could expect people to just feel grateful that they have a job.

But the bottom line is if you are swapping 40 or 50 hours of your life each week for a paycheck alone and not receiving the other intrinsic rewards of working (being fulfilled, feeling valued etc.) the exchange can feel very one-sided.

Clearly money and sustaining a lifestyle is a priority when it comes to your job and career but when making decisions about HOW you want to make that money there are a number of other factors to take into consideration.

Learning the skill to "know when to move on" is a crucial area for managing a career.

Three key tips to help with this area are:

1. Learn how to recognize when the time is right to move roles or companies.

This may be to either take advantage of a new opportunity or when your current job is past it's 'best before' date.

2. Have a plan B

Don't wait until it's time to move before you develop alternatives. Actively manage your network so that you have people to call or on who may be looking for you for new opportunities.

3.Act when the time is right.

Don't let opportunities pass you by or 'settle' for less than you deserve in a role. Be prepared to act.

Working is about more than just the paycheck so make sure that you are in a position to be both paid and satisfied at work.

That's all for now!


P.S. More on this in Chapter 17 of Hot Tips For Career Chicks!

Are you offering rainbows or paint?

I spent a lovely few days in Yeppoon (central Queensland - warm, sunny and by the sea) with my brother, sister and their families last weekend.

One of the highlights was a visit to the "new" coffee shop in town and their carrot cake (absolutely sensational - picture attached!). As my 4 1/2 year old niece and I crossed the road in anticipation of the treats ahead of us, we were opposite the paint shop which is decked out with the logos of the major paint brands. Including one which has 5 stripes of the different color paint they supply.

"Ohhh", said little Miss Arabella in wonder, "I didn't know there was a rainbow shop!"

Which, apart from being cute, made me start and think about the importance, from a career perspective, of knowing not only what you do but what you are offering to a potential, or even current employer.

Are you offering your skills to process orders or a seamless experience for your companies customers because everything goes smoothly? Or are the sales you made a pile of order forms or securing the future of your company?

When you known if your offering is rainbow or paint, you are in a much stronger position in your career.

Something to ponder over a piece of carrot cake I think!