Today, let's talk about work dynamics and interactions between colleagues. Each company has its own culture and values, whether these are outlined in brand development or are simply understood within the company, these are always present in any working environment. Essentially, the culture and the values set the vision for the company as a whole and definitely set the tone and mood for hiring. The hiring process is crucial in selecting the talents that will not only fit into the company professionally but have something to bring to the table socially and cultivate the work dynamics set by the managers.
There will never be a perfect 100% fit and sadly, that is the reality, as we cannot expect someone to be both flexible, efficient and at the same time focus on every little detail. So, sometimes we have to assess what quality and skill should be prioritised and this is when we go back to the previously defined culture and select the quality that will fit right in the most.
Nonetheless, managing people and even simply working with human beings, there is no insurance policy on how one may react in a certain situation: what are they like when they are upset? what are they like when their project gets cancelled? what are they like when they experience a personal drawback? These are the things that we only find out once we get to know the person better and of course see how the interaction is then developed between the colleagues.
Often, it is overlooked, but for an individual to function in a group, they have to be rather confident and comfortable with themselves first, as personal insecurities can get in a way of a working environment. A few examples:
It is essential to ensure that at work, the employees do not feel undermined or underestimated by their superiors and that all the different types of personalities blend in together, as at the end of the day, you are all working. towards the same goal. The superiors often take advantage of their hierarchal position and at some companies employees may experience things like duress, manipulation or harassement; and the employees are scared to voice their concerns, as they are scared to lose their positions. Sad, isn't it?
At the end of the day, all of it goes back to personal values and being to respect each other.
Having read the Harvard Business Review book on self awareness, I have realised that there are certain uncomfortable questions and certain situations that should be handled by putting them into perspective. Indeed, we all enjoy a little self-reflection time and yet we never really know how to approach this and what questions should we be asking ourselves. Often, the self reflection journey will turn into self doubt, which would then result in display of insecurity and fear. However, these are just emotions floating in our heads based on neither any constructive feedback from external parties nor on any of our own personal values. So, this has prompted my evaluation of self awareness to begin.
First of all, I asked myself what are my core values and why.
So you are reading this and going like "hmm she knows her shit, why does she need to be self aware". Well, I tend to forget my values and act on momentary emotion. It can be anger, it can be excitement and it can mild or exaggerated and it definitely can be inappropriate. Being a sensitive and emotional person, it has definitely not easy to keep your focus on what matters. And sometimes because, I am a human, an emotion can slip by and it can be provoked or it can be genuine and if you are standing before in that moment, you probably do not know which is it.
This is a known issue that I am struggling to overcome and just like an alcoholic that is proud of one hour of not consuming, I take pride in small tiny moments where I am able to withhold the emotion and go back to the values, the guiding principles, that put into perspective the bigger picture beyond the emotion. This is not an easy challenge and I have been faced with it for the last 5 years of my career and personal life, no thanks to some people, and I have noticed a leap of growth in my own way of how I handle situations. It is not perfect, far from it and I am so eager to learn more and learn from people, But if you are reading this and you have known for a while, you may recognise the patterns that are changing.
I have also realised, once again, that whilst I love my current professional situation, my bigger dream is still to become a published author and to make a difference in someone's life. Leave a footprint in someone's soul that would heal them or inspire them and lead them to doing great things. Let there be no mistake, it is not a sacrifice of my life for the others - no no. I am choosing me every day, every second, my personal growth, my journey of life, career path - but I know for a fact I am not alone in being lost on where to go and I wish I could inspire people going through similar feelings to do great things and overcome this at their own speed and time.
You don't just become self aware in a day not even in a year. It is in baby steps - first comes recognition, the identified need to become a bit more aware of how you affect yourself but also what you are actions are to others. Do you hurt their feelings when you speak? Are you aware how your confidence projects onto them? The recognition is the hardest to come by. It will either be inspired by someone, an event or maybe you will hit the rock bottom and will be thinking that you need a change.
After the recognition comes the how. How do I make that change? That's when you start thinking of your values and your principles and you seek help from your friends. Friends that have seen you at your worst and been there for you at your best.
Then gradually, you find your own approach to becoming more self aware-because guess what? there is no right answer how to do this right. What worked for me may not suit you so you have to try and fail and pick up again and that's the beauty of this journey. Appreciate it. Make it count.
Having conducted a short research within my network of friends and professional acquaintances, I have finally come to a conclusion that there are behavioural patterns that are found in any working environment. Many companies have already integrated personality tests, as part of their human resources platform to better understand the dynamics at the office and to see whether someone is better suited for a different position within the company. However, this is not the case for all companies and sadly, there are companies, that are still struggling to recognise manipulation, bullying and passive aggressive behaviour that is happening right under their noses.
Why is this happening? Manipulation or passive aggressive behaviour is only visible and evident to the person who is being bullied and it is extremely tough to speak up and confront the bully, especially, if this person may be in a more senior position. Such people also are quick to say "but this is only your perception of what I said" or "you completely misunderstood the point I was making" thus seeding self doubt in the employee, trying to appear arrogantly more superior and if you look closely, they are most likely smirking. This is a toxic environment and the best solution is to distance yourself, if possible leave, and to make your main focus your job. What annoys the bully is probably your competence and ability to be resistant and resilient in various situations.
So having spoken with my network here are a few behaviours or personality types that you may find in a workplace:
If you have attended a business school, have an MBA or have studied management, then you know that we are taught the theory that we are expected to apply in real business world. Like anything theoretic, it is one thing on paper and a whole new world in practice. And sometimes instead of having to sit through Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, I wish there was someone who would guide me more with situations that you may encounter outside of the business school. Here are the 27 things I wish someone had taught me before I became a professional that I am today. Feel free to comment below if you recognise yourself or an experience we shared together.
In my lifetime, I have had a chance to work in different companies both in public and private sector, in hospitality environment, in a start up, as well as in a well established enterprise; and no matter where I went, I have identified the 13 types of colleagues that you are bound to meet no matter where you are.
It is tough and challenging to juggle around 10 super urgent things at the same time and yet we all do it on daily basis. The funny thing is, that by the time we complete one task, something even more urgent comes up and the circle never ends. So what do should we do to avoid burning out? How do we approach the endless circle of urgent events that at the end add up to a pay check that is, for some of us, not even as rewarding, as a better working environment would be?
Three years ago, I was interning at a private clinic, an internship which taught me patience, understanding of running a business, and mistakes not to repeat if one day I hold a senior position. It also brought my way a health issue, with which I am still dealing daily. My doctor explained that these are the consequences of a 24 hrs work schedule, where we give so much energy and effort to an employer, who does not care, or if he/she does, doesn't show any appreciation in return. His advice was to take a step back and learn how to break away from work when I get home. Easier said than done.
Some people, try out sports to get their mind off work once they are, well, off work. This is also something on my list starting tomorrow. Anyway, the point is that we try and find distractions, and for some people it may be sports, for others the comfort of being surrounded by the loved ones. The thing is that we underestimate how much work can influence our daily life, though. If you have an employer that does not really follow through with you or leaves you hanging out there, they may plant a seed of self-doubt, insecurity and heightened sense of self-awareness. This may then lead to bringing home added issues and irritation, frustration caused by what one may consider unsuccessful or productive work day. This then starts the ball rolling with all small issues that come to light due to previous irritation - further adding to the list of problems in the circle of issues.
Regretfully, many of us out there, end up burning out. The pressure of succeeding, going beyond the expectations is too high for one to handle. Everyone, and I mean literary everyone, family, friends, loved ones, expect you to grow and succeed; your employer expects you to be available always and be dedicated to the job and you expect yourself to be able to handle the stress - and when you do not handle it well - you break down.
There is no one person to blame for the circumstances, it is a feeling that comes from the attitude that surrounds us at work. How do our colleagues react to similar situations? Are we the only ones under pressure? Colleagues sooner or later, and whether we like it or not, become our fiends. Not all of them and not on the same level, but having spent 8 hours a week with each other, we do develop a connection that we share. We build alliances and we power through the work together. It is extremely important to have the support system that holds you together when you reach the bottom of the slump. And for that, I am thankful to be surrounded by the people that make a difference each day.
However, at the end of the day, all I keep thinking to myself is "Is this race really worth it?" Is it really worth spending so much energy on something with so little return? Or maybe it is worth it and I am just not seeing clearly. Anyone have guidelines or advice?
*I do not own any rights to the image below, used for blog purposes only
Hi, it is me again - and today I have been inspired to write another post on #wellbeing at work.
Wellbeing at work is often disregarded or more accurately not paid enough attention to. As one of my best friends wisely pointed out, the more early career we are - the more challenging it is for us to separate emotion from work. This is not because the early careers cannot accomplish or complete the projects, it is simply caused by the lack of professional experience, and the more we advance through our careers - the more we learn.
It is for this reason that it is crucial to have a professional HR practice in place to make early careers feel welcome at the start of their professional journeys and to give them the guidance and structure that is much needed. In fact, it does not matter whether you are an early career or a senior professional - we all need guidance and support.
Wellbeing at work is not created by the lack of respect nor by defensive attitude towards everything that is being said. The employees need to feel appreciated, respected and heard - and this is what makes employees loyal to the company in the long term. Of course, it happens so that the company is in high season of activity and there is a general stress all over the company - but it's important not to project the stress onto your employees by defusing only half of the information. Trust me, we'd rather hear the bitter truth than hear the sweet lies and then find ourselves tangles in impossible deadlines.
As a suggestion, it is a good practice to have weekly check ins with your employees, outline priorities for the week and set out a roadmap for the quarter/month/year. It is also important to ensure that your employees have the space and time for their personal activities.
Honestly, if it was not for my friends (a big shout out to you guys) or for my family, I would struggle in today's fast paced environment. For someone who is organised and responsible - it is a challenge to follow the pace of the company with little structure.
In any case, this is just a little reminder to all of us out there that work is just work and we have other matters that are more important in our lives and all is relative, and one should prioritise their own well being before anything else.
The dynamics of today's employee turnover is quite different to the one of a few years ago and it is time we start questioning this change. More and more employees opt to quit their jobs in a couple of years for the reasons that are not necessarily related to salary or maybe indirectly related to salary. In business schools students take classes like change management, Human Resources, and business management and in all of these courses, students are taught that the working conditions go beyond salary expectations. Working conditions refer to the team environment, respect of the others, appreciation, being able to express your ideas and have an opportunity to hang out with your colleagues after work at least once a month to get to to know each other better.
Sadly, many companies choose to ignore the soft skills or the intangible circumstances and turn the blind eye. As a result, this gives a rise to uncalled bullying at work, games of hierarchy, stress, as employees no longer want to go to work and eventually burnout. The rate of a burnout has been increasing in the last five years, and we are just standing by and watching this happen. So what can we do to try and change this and would would make our employees more comfortable and loyal to work without burning out?
Here's the list of my top 10 things that matter to employees at work:
The other thing is that you cannot be friends with your employees, and yes there should be mutual trust and friendly environment, but there should be a few rules and regulations in place, just to give employees at least some structure.
If you have any ideas or comments, or would like to share your experiences do not hesitate to get in touch.
*I do not own any rights to the picture below, it is just used for the blog post purposes
I was struggling with the post title and the post itself, to be honest, so just bare with me. As many of you may know I quit my job last December and was full of ideas for my next step: relocation, starting my own business, travelling. A few months later, I have found myself still in Switzerland at a new job, which is challenging in many ways and today, I wanted to share with you my experience of finding myself, finding the new job and also what it was like for me to be unemployed for a few weeks.
During this transition, I was unemployed for a few weeks and honestly, I enjoyed the time that I had for me. I finally had time to focus on myself and clear my head. It is important to have the time in between jobs to clear your head, simply because diving into a new job search without knowing clearly what you are looking for can be a struggle. So that is what I did the first two weeks out of job:
Before I launched my job seeking websites, I sat down with pen and paper and identified potential areas/industries that were interesting for me: Pharma, MedTech, Publishing, Fashion & Apparel
I then also identified countries, where I would like to work and live: Sweden, Netherlands, Russia, UK, Switzerland.
My search was then quickly narrowed to French/English speaking countries, for obvious reasons. My heart broke for a second there, but I know that sooner or later I will be living in Stockholm, or maybe at least dream about it. Anyway, the next few days were in research mode: researching companies, potential opportunities and where I fit in within these companies.
How to help you focus/narrow your search:
I have to admit what helped me immensely was my friend who works in HR and she was amazing in helping me structure my CV and give advice on what to look out for and how to get your CV noticed. Thank you Camille.
Websites that may help you in your job search:
Shortly after sending in various applications, I started receiving phone calls for interviews, and then the conflicting has begun. It was not easy on the phone to hear "sorry we selected someone else" or receive negative responses, but the key is to be motivated and never give up. I also kept the attitude that the right opportunity will knock on my door when I least expect it - and it did.
*I am happy to share more on my prep for interviews//CV in private, so do not hesitate to message me here or on LinkedIn.
I will soon do a separate post on integrating in the new company and share my experience with you. If you have any specific requests in this regards, PM me.
*I do not own any rights to the picture below, it is used for this blog post purpose only
When we talk about #Diversity in a workplace, we often refer to the cultural, racial, age, gender differences and we talk about embracing these to make an international and, well, diverse workplace. Whilst all of the above mentioned factors are extremely important factors that strengthen any cooperation, there are a few other things that are often overlooked when talking about diversity: background, culture, values.
One can argue that coming from different countries and cultures implies the background diversity, which is true. However, what I am talking about is background in terms of upbringing, education and experiences. No matter your age, race or gender, we have all been through different experiences and have received different education, which should only enrich our own perspectives of the world from socialising with each other.
Recently though, it has come to my attention that people tend to compete in terms of their backgrounds instead of embracing the differences and learning from each other. Diversity is not just build up of the visual, evident and obvious factors and it is disappointing to see that this is not being recognised. So how would I approach this rising issue?
* I do not own any rights to the picture below - it is simply used for this blog post