Tag Archives: RockMe!

I stood in the traffic jam at the entrance of Zurich. It was a Sunday night and a lot of people seem to either have returned from the holidays or from their weekend homes. I had been in Germany to see my family and I noticed that on the left lane cars were moving a lot faster but I did not dare to change lanes for a while. At least fifteen minutes I followed the masses in slow track.

After a while, I thought I’d give it a try and despite all the cars coming at the faster speed I found a hole and could change lanes. Then I noticed that the traffic jam was not for the cars moving into the city. All the cars on my lanes had a different direction and did not manage to enter the lane on the right side.

When I finally was in the flow again and reached my target a little later than expected and noticed that we often do exactly that in life and profession too. We stay in a lane because we are scared to change, we follow people who have a different target than us and while we think about what to do lifetime and quality runs through our fingers.

We get stuck in thinking about change, in being annoyed at ourselves for not changing until we have invested too much to quit the lane.

I realized yesterday that once I overcame my fear, an opportunity came up. Other drivers also needed a bit of encouragement to change lanes, so you let them in and support their choice. It took a truck driver about ten attempts before anyone would give him a chance, but he (or she) persisted.

You have choices every day and you can change lanes a lot easier than you might think. Start small and if you need a little encouragement you join our RockMeRetreat and see me for coaching.

RockMe! Retreat
RockMe! Retreat

So you got the job as the new manager. Congratulations! Scared? Of course, you are.

Entering a new company in a senior role is one of the most daunting experiences you can undergo during your career. You may experience feelings of intimidation and apprehension due to the heavy duties and relationship building coming your way. Knowing how to behave and getting your team on your side is one of the most crucial elements to surviving as the new manager in a new job. You also want to prove your skills in your chosen field. With our comprehensive guide – we’ll show you the skills and attributes you need to make joining as the new manager a breeze.

Common new manager mistakes

Making the leap to a managerial position (whether as a new employee at a firm or through progression) takes a whole new skill set to ensure your team and seniors trust you. Whilst most managers grasp not bragging about their skills quite easily there are still some subtle mistakes most new managers make which can lead you off to a bad start.

Here are the common mistakes a new manager needs to be aware of:

Leading from a position of power or ego

A new manager who feels the need to dominate all decision making and fellow employees is a manager who feels the need to lead by fear. This can encourage bad practice such as micromanagement – a management style that is often very autocratic and decreases morale. By constantly being the dominant character, especially in a self-promoting manner can come across arrogantly. You might be giving your team the impression you lack the ability to recognize the achievements of other people or let them make decisions of their own.

Not listening to your team and others

Listening isn’t just about hearing what others have to say, it’s being able to respond in the best way possible that takes their ideas into account. By not actively listening to your employees you encourage a lack of respect, which can come back around two-fold. By not listening to your team you decrease your approachability – which increases the likelihood of miscommunication amongst your team.

Not providing feedback

Feedback should be constant with every project you work on. Waiting for a bi-annual review can leave your team in the dark and discourage them if they’re told to improve in areas they assumed they were excelling at. It’s also worth noting that there’s a very fine line between criticism and actionable feedback. By telling your team what’s not working as opposed to how you can fix it is highly discouraging – the last thing you want your team to feel at the workplace.

Not making time for employees

You’ll be stretched thin trying to learn the ropes as the new manager, however, if one of your employees requires help then schedule a date and time you’re free to train them as opposed to refusing the offer to help. In terms of being approached for personal issues – it can be hard to relate to every single situation going on in someone’s personal life, but simply being there to listen and offering your time can help an employee feel listened to and will increase your approachability.

Skills and attributes needed to survive as a new manager

Build decent relationships with your seniors

Like any job you pursue – having a good relationship with your seniors is important for relationship building, career development, and job satisfaction. By setting a good impression earlier on you’ll be highly remembered for being a positive, hard worker and inspire trust amongst people within your workplace.

Get to know your team on a personal level

Dismantle the wall between employee and boss by asking your employees about their day, exciting things outside of work, friends, and family. When new managers take the time to do this it eliminates the strict persona that comes with being a manager and helps people feel at ease.

Clarify your expectations from your team (and your boss)

By setting expectations of your role and what you aim to achieve – you give your boss an idea of how to direct you and go about progressing in your new role. Your boss will understand how daunting managing people can be and can help diffuse your worries.

Adam Chapman

Adam Chapman is a Marketing Executive for Armstrong Appointments – a leading South African recruitment agency with over 10 years in the field. They recruit for roles ranging from Engineering to Mining and are passionate about placing the right talent with the right companies.

 

PS. Editor’s Note: If you are a new manager and struggle with your international team talk to us.

Digital Intercultural Coaching

I sat on the train from Switzerland to France and my stomach gave me a signal. The four border officers who checked passports and went through passenger’s luggage seemed odd. I was on a different continent. In a different setting. I was in a novel. I wondered if I could explain myself in French. But no one wanted to know about my travel habits. I look white. I look the part even though I travel like a bag packer sometimes.

What was going on? I did not want to turn around. Probably this was an uncomfortable situation for the person who was questioned. I assumed it was a refugee or someone who looked like one.

When I go to “Europe” now, there is often a slight anxiety and feeling of worry when I am traveling on public transportation. Switzerland is not part of the European Union even though it is in the middle of Europe. Many people travel through Switzerland to get to Italy for example. In Switzerland, public transportation is clean and effective. Everyone uses it. We don’t really need cars. In other European countries, public transportation is for the underprivileged and the regular commuters.

The grass seems greener in France

Early February I thought that the grass looked greener in France than in Switzerland. In the literal sense. It was an observation. In Switzerland, I felt a few small signs that spring was approaching but in hindsight, this was an illusion created by flower shops around Valentine’s day. Spring was in the air but we were still not there yet. One reason why I could have perceived the grass greener in France was that I did not have WiFi and in Switzerland, I tend to read emails or check my social media on the train. I am usually too busy to see the grass outside. Has that occurred to you lately? And it is such a shame that we run on our robotic mode, are in our head most of our days and do not see the beauty of the nature around us anymore. This morning I sat on lake Zurich, watched the mountains and a Swan family. It was magic. And even though I could go to the lake every day I hardly take the time to actually see.

Perception versus Reality

On another trip to Munich I saw police officers circling a man. I thought that maybe he was a refugee without papers but when I observed the scene a bit longer I noticed that he got up with the help of the policemen. They held him so he could walk properly. Maybe he attempted suicide or maybe he was just dizzy and unwell. What this experience reminded me of was that we tend to make fast judgment calls. We don’t take time to observe. We prepare to run. We are on hyper-alert most of the time. Like / Don’t like / Comment / Don’t comment / Buy / Don’t buy.

This is a sign of the times. And it is a trap. Be mindful when you notice it.

Constructivism and Confirmation Bias

Our perception is influenced by our inner landscape. If you are already alerted and if you are expecting a terrorist around the corner everything your experience will be tainted by this idea. You will suffer from confirmation bias.

When I was out of Zurich I experimented with perception. In Munich, I was nice to everyone I met and people were nice to me. They were supportive and understood my requests and wishes. Or I was under pressure and apologized for being pushy explaining that I was delayed and would get nervous around presenting. I noticed first resistance and I could have been in an egotistical complaint mode but then the receptionist softened when I explained that I tend to get nervous before a talk if I don’t have enough mental space.

Training my observation skills changed my perception over the last 10 years. Being able to communicate my needs and wants (and a fair bit of self-discovery, progressive muscle relaxation, and meditation) helped me to stay calm and friendly in formerly stressful situations. I learned those skills and methods during my coaching education and working with many clients over the last years.

Now, I would like to teach you those skills and methods in our RockMe! program and especially in the RockMe! Retreat.

The RockMe! Retreat 2018

The RockMe! Retreat helps to change your inner landscape. I will work with you towards broadening your perspective. I will teach you practices and methods to move out of the reactive mode. This will improve your leadership capability and also your relationships at work and at home.

Sign up here for receiving more insights about the RockMe! Retreat.

 

 


The Triggers

It was a grey October Sunday and I had just returned from a trip to Munich. Driving with the car had been a choice. It was not a good choice. The weekend in Munich had inspired me but driving there and back drained a lot of energy out of me. I realized that having a car made me a victim of possession. If I did not have a car I would force myself to take the train and I would be safer, arrive more relaxed and use my time better.

Yes, I know that we will have self-driving cars one day but by then our roads will be so full that we will stand most of the time anyway. My value as a citizen says that using public transportation, using a train in this case is a better option than driving a car. It is more sustainable and better for the environment. There was another reason though why I wanted to sell my car. I needed money to pay for a course. And this was probably the more urgent trigger. The reason that really made me go online and find a way to sell a used Audi with over 220k kilometers.

I know, don’t ask.

The Sale

Anyway, I found two websites and filled their forms and shortly after received a phone call of a potential buyer. We set up an appointment. The other potential buyer called me as well and I also set up an appointment with him. Both were supposed to look at the car, make an offer and then present me with a nice contract saying they will pay me 5k CHF.

When the first buyer came, I was surprised how fast he looked at the car, how little questions he asked and I was a little suspicious of him because he immediately wanted to pay me money. This seemed strange to me. Clearly, I have no clue about car selling as I should have known that you can sell a car on the spot if you bring enough cash. I did not trust the man’s competence, looks and I did not want his money in cash. He quoted the value at 4’300 CHF.

I told him that I wanted to have the second offer first before I could make a decision. He asked me to let him know as soon as I could and he told me that his uncle would call me. Seems his uncle was better at buying but he made me relax a bit and made me promise that I would call him if I received a higher offer. I said that I would only sell under certain conditions including a contract, advance payment into my company account and that my price was higher. I cancelled the second viewing and thought I could be saving time by just giving the second quote.

The Bargain

A few hours later, I called “the uncle” again and told him that the other buyer would be 5’200 CHF. Then the uncle offered 5’300 CHF and I agreed verbally. All normally business transactions work like this. At least this is how it used to be done pre-Internet. But I had gone online already and read about every scam that you can find in car sales and I was so worried that I could not think straight anymore.

The Sale

I was close to tears when I finally closed the transaction two weeks later. In the meantime I had stalked the buyer on LinkedIn, called a common contact about him, asked him to come to my house again with a copy of his passport, drafted a contract and made him sign it. When I picked up my tires from the garage I was so nervous that one of their staff members had to drive the car out for me. And for weeks after the sale I had been expecting someone telling me that I did something wrong. I was expecting that the money would be pulled back out of my account, the insurance company would call me to tell me that my insurance was abused.

And then?

Nothing happened.

Everything went well.

The Morale

The only one who suffered in this (apart from my man) was me and probably the buyer. Let’s call him Sam. Sam probably did not fully enjoy his client experience with me, because he could feel and I even told him that I did not trust him several times. I could have trusted him though if I had listened to my heart instead of my monkey brain.

We have processes and laws for reasons. We do not live in the Wild West. There are ways to get things done around here in Switzerland. Poor Sam, even had to show me his Swiss pass.

I should not claim that I know everything just because I have access to Twitter. I know quite a lot about contracts and while I was freaking out about a car sale, I negotiated a contract with a client in English, according to international law and without a big fuss for several months because I fully trusted the person behind the deal.

As I am not an expert in cars, I need to trust a car expert’s judgement. I cannot solely rely on hearsay and rumors. Do you notice that nowadays everyone mistrusts their doctor? Are we not taking this all a bit too far?

And just because I have a degree I am not entitled to treat others as if they are stupid just because they do not wear a suit to work. The guy who bought my car has a degree in business, is also a web designer, runs a company that sounds amazing and the only reason why he buys cars for his uncle is probably similar to my reason for selling the car. Sometimes we just need money, or the experience or we need to help our family members out.

I want to be careful not to judge someone based on looks. Our interactions were professional and even kind and because I told him that I was paranoid we built trust over the sale. I really wish Sam would come and see me as a client so I could show him that I have a kind heart. If you read this Sam please come in for a free coffee.

Do you still struggle to get up in the morning at your regular hour and have you noticed more kilos on your scale or are you already back in full swing? It’s another year and as usual, we are full of energy and hope. We think that this is our year of transformation, our year of success, our year when we finally meet Mr. Right. Correct?

New Year Resolutions do not equal Success

“Success” is different for everybody. How you define your success depends on what you struggle with the most. Success might not be to have an academic degree or an MBA. It might be to have a permanent relationship, where you are able to live a person for more than two years. Or maybe it is not wealth but an income which allows you to travel for four weeks a year. Maybe you define success as being able to maintain your family life to a high standard while having a career. Or maybe you define success as managing fifty employees. Maybe you think that if you manage all the projects that are on your plate you are successful.

Whatever success is for you in 2018: Write it down! Or paint it! Or take a photograph of it.

Break “success” down into three goals for next year

Stop being vague about what you would like to have in your life.

This is my wish for you for 2018. That you learn to write down, paint or visualize what “success” is for you.

For your professional life, it will be helpful if you write down your goals in a way that keeps you accountable. You could also check in with yourself on a weekly basis to see if you are still on track.

Stick to three goals and follow through with them before you set yourself new goals. You might need to learn stuff along the way. That’s why I also recommend you set yourself learning targets according to our global competency model.

Do you want to create habits through daily routines? Break down your goals into small junks you can do every day such as reading for 25 minutes or walking 5’000 steps?

If you want to create a successful life in business you need discipline and perseverance. In my experience, this only comes with routine. Talent is important but having routines and creating habits is key when you want to create sustainable success. Once a habit is formed it will cost you less energy to do it. You know this from sports. The inner couch potato is very strong. Once you have interrupted your gym or your running routine it is very hard to motivate yourself again to get up at 6 AM to run at 0 degrees Celcius.

It’s the same with active meditation, regular relaxation practices or even daily writing. If you follow a strict routine you will stick with those habits longer. You could now read numerous books on these topics and overwhelm yourself with resolutions and then feel frustrated and depressed in a few weeks when you did not achieve everything you wanted to achieve.

Based on my long experience working with clients, I would like to suggest that you get started with small steps of action. For example, if you would like to build a professional network start with meeting one person for lunch a week. Once this is easy for you, you can increase your target to one lunch and one coffee meeting. Or you can really challenge yourself and say you have to meet a stranger for lunch once a week.

Please do me a favor and don’t overwhelm yourself with New Year’s resolutions. Start with creating one habit and move on from there.

Baby steps, honey…baby steps”

If you are already on RockMe!, you have the option to track your success every week and tick off your weekly tasks.

If you would like to join RockMe! now please reply to this email so we can set your three main career goals for 2018 together. It will require you to pay for one regular coaching session at CHF 350 + VAT. 

If you are not a client yet, you will need to pay a fee of CHF 390 + VAT for the initial coaching session with me.  Included in this fee are also regular reviews and follow-ups online. You can purchase the full RockMe! program at CHF 2600 + VAT. Included in this price are 10 hours of 1:1 coaching with me exclusively and monthly RockMe! Inspirations. If you pay the initial fee first and then decide to buy the full program we will credit you with the amount paid already.

Please fill out the form here to become one of my private clients. Nothing goes without effort these days and you simplify my life by giving me your details upfront.

I will give a 20% discount to everyone who books and holds a 1:1 2018 goal setting session before Friday, 12 JANUARY 2018 5 PM. 

By then your New Year’s energy is probably already at 50% and you are ready to celebrate at least this one achievement for the year.

Am I too cynical?

*Cheers*

Angie Weinberger

PS: Speaking of baby steps…are you relocating this January or February?
I know that my brother from another mother will move so I just put this here for him: Baby Steps in Relocation – 7 small tips to keep sane in international relocation.