They have the power to promote you, pay you more and mentor you through massive advancements in your career, yet many professionals have no idea that they’re damaging their relationships with their bosses.
Without a positive relationship to build on, it’s doubtful that you and your superior will have any foundations to build on – without which, there’s little chance of you climbing the corporate ladder.
So what actions are sabotaging your chances of success in the office? Well, here are five of the main culprits in breaking down your professional relationships.
It may seem like a no-brainer, but no one else is going to have respect for you if you can’t find respect for yourself. Take a step back from your career and acknowledge your achievements. There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging your successes, and by diminishing your own hard work, you’re allowing others to discount you. If you get a chance to demonstrate your worth, don’t hesitate to take it. If you still can’t muster up some confidence in yourself, fake it ‘till you make it.
Sure, if you’ve messed up, then there’s no issue in you apologising, but no one has respect for a worker who constantly says sorry. There are ways of owning up to a mistake without saying sorry, but most of the time, people band it around without any need at all. If you’re not at fault, don’t apologise and try to seriously minimise your use of the word sorry. If you blame yourself unnecessarily for things, so will your boss.
Things go wrong in every job. Everyone has worked with someone who they don’t like. Some days we all feel ill, or don’t sleep properly. DON’T constantly mention these things in front of your boss. It’s unprofessional and it makes you look petty and deeply affected by small issues. Leaders put their trust and respect onto employees who they feel are strong pillars of their office. Unless the issue is truly affecting you, just don’t mention it.
You should be a hard worker. There’s no substitute for putting the effort into propelling your career and if you’re slacking, your manager is noticing. However, when working hard, remember that you’re paid to do so and as such, you shouldn’t be chasing praise for simply doing your job. A good manager will notice if you’re working hard, even if they don’t mention it. Keep your head down and carry on – you’ll gain a reputation as a hard worker without having to constantly push for it.
Pushing other employees under the bus
A bad employee will use those around them as fodder when the chips are down. It’s a temporary fix for those perpetuating toxic work culture, and those people are almost always caught out eventually. First and foremost, it’s inevitable that your manager will notice and mentally strike you off any future promotion lists, as someone who can’t see the failures or successes of their team as their own aren’t good at leading.
The richest man in the world and arguably the most successful and business savvy, Jeff Bezos, has shared some inciteful advice with everyone along his journey.
He’s definitely understanding of who succeeds in the business world and there are some clear values that Bezos believes will make you the best you can be in your job.
To be the best you can, you have to be prepared to fail. Learning the limits of what’s possible and what is not can’t be done by skirting the periphery of risk; you have to dive straight in. Bezos has taken these risks and has a somewhat radical view that if your failures aren’t getting bigger, neither will your successes. Bezos wrote in the company’s annual letter to shareholders last year, saying: “Amazon will be experimenting at the right scale for a company of our size if we occasionally have multibillion-dollar failures.”
It’s true, Amazon have had some pretty big failures in the past including restaurants and the infamous Fire phone. Bezos continues in the letter, saying:
“While the Fire phone was a failure, we were able to take our learnings and accelerate our efforts building Echo and Alexa.”
Bezos attributes the $2.5billion (£1.9billion) Amazon made in the second quarter of 2018 to the success of Alexa and the Echo product line.
In a 2001 interview with Academy of Achievement, Bezos discussed his early involvement with the internet, saying: “I knew that if I failed, I wouldn’t regret that. But I knew the one thing I might regret is not ever having tried.” It’s evident that success is spawned from risk.
Who cares, wins
At Amazon’s re:Mars conference in June, Bezos defined who he believes really sees success. He divided the two groups of people into “mercenaries”, those who are money-driven, and “missionaries” who are focused on seeing the company grow in its mission and keep achieving its core values.
“Missionaries build better products and services – they always win.”
But why? What makes money and profit focus so negative? Well, the CEO of Amazon said: “Mercenaries are just trying to make money, and paradoxically the missionaries always end up making more money.” Focus on the ideas and beliefs at your company and it will be reflected through your work.
A vision is meant to define what you do and believe as an organisation and the mission is all focused around the steps you take to achieve this. Despite what people say, Bezos is pushing you to follow your passion.
Be open and ready for change
By looking at things from other angles and through different business lenses, you can completely change the meaning behind some data. This isn’t advocating manipulation of it to say what you want, but Bezos encourages you to view every piece of information with an open mind and a new approach, saying: “What I have found is that people who are right change their mind even without getting new data…they wake up and they reanalyse things all the time.”
Listening to other opinions of a scenario or situation is known to build loyalty in your department, improve morale and generate newer ideas with the freedom and acceptance of any analysis.
Bezos is clearly against blindly following an idea, despite its significance to you. Blind faith in an idea will ultimately lead to your downfall even if that concept you had was your flagship product for decades.
What do you think about Bezos’ ideas about what makes people successful? Do you think he’s right? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below…
The philanthropist and co-founder of Microsoft Bill Gates is the 2nd richest man in the world, with a net-worth of $101.8billion (£80.4billion) as of the beginning of June. CEO of Berkshire Hathaway and business legend Warren Buffett has a staggering wealth of $86billion (£67.9billion) as of June and is the 3rd richest man alive.
These two men are not only two of the most successful people alive, but they’re also best friends of 27 years, and bridge buddies.
The pair met in July 1991, when Gates’ Mother invited the Washington Post Editor at the time, Meg Greenfield, to her home. She asked to bring Buffett with her. Neither man really cared about meeting the other; Buffett later said:
“While we’re driving down there, I said, ‘What the hell are we going to spend all day doing with these people? How long do we have to stay to be polite?’”
Little did they know, it was to be the beginning of a great friendship and mutual mentorship for the two business magnates.
What can we learn from the world’s sweetest and richest bromance?
After meeting and hitting it off so well, Bill asked Warren for any book recommendations. He was given Buffett’s copy of John Brooks’ Business Adventures. It remains both of their favourite books to date. Books are an amazing way to bond and also learn new information about a subject, in this case, business and how to avoid catastrophe. Why don’t you start recommending a book a month to your friends? It will keep you reading at least one book a month and provide a whole different conversation avenue for your group of mates.
Both men are known as philanthropists and care hugely about the world’s population and trying to give everyone a good start in life. The Gates couple started the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000 to focus on educating the world and healthcare including the eradication of malaria and polio in third world countries.
Buffett is a trustee of the foundation and has given $2.42billion (£1.9billion) of Berkshire Hathaway stock towards the foundations $50.7billion (£40.08billion) in assets.
In 2010, Gates and Buffett decided to team up and create The Giving Pledge, a campaign to encourage the wealthy to give a majority of their money to philanthropic causes. The pledges now total over $500billion (£395.2billion) …now that’s some good teamwork.
The two business giants have always been a formidable team, from playing tennis together to advising each other on what to invest in.
Gates and Buffett published an op-ed in the New York Times in 2014 pushing for immigration reform. Both have an open view of being world citizens and believe that healthcare and education are basic rights that all deserve.
In business teams, we all too often forget about the wider company or even just department vision. Focusing the team on this vision through a mission statement will encourage productivity, as you’re working towards a goal that makes a real difference to people or to the market you’re involved in. Let’s follow in the footsteps of Bill and Warren.
Learn and laugh
On the 8th June 2019, Bill Gates posted a video on his YouTube account, entitled: “Thank you for being a friend, Warren” which showed the two of them having fun and visiting a whole range of events and places together, just enjoying each other's company.
Focusing on work is brilliant, but it’s imperative that one takes time to talk to friends and appreciate them, as it will improve your mental-health and theirs. Looking after friends is a privilege and can teach us an incredible amount of things about ourselves and the wider world. This is, of course, still applicable to the businesses you work in too.
Making a success of your professional career is not without its sacrifices. Often, when concentrating on your upcoming projects, other areas of your life and even personal health and wellbeing suffer significantly.
In fact, the largest source of illness among c-suite level executives is heart attacks and strokes. And, such issues are by no means limited to top-level staff; a recent study by Perkbox found that just nine per cent of respondents claim to have never experienced issues due to work-related stress. In the same study, nearly 60% of respondents also claimed that work was the biggest cause of stress and anxiety in their lives – coming above family and even personal health.
As health declines among executives, so do personal relationships; according to the Financial Times, CEOs are increasingly becoming more isolated from their friends and loved ones due to the demands of the role. on Moulton, venture capitalist interviewed in the article, explains that chief executives have a higher than average divorce rate and that, based on his own research, chief executives who have had one divorce perform better than those who have had none. But he also explains that performance declines when the CEOs have had two or three divorces.
The article quotes Odgers Berndtson around the topic of CEO isolation and how the fact that ‘the work never stops’ makes it difficult for CEOs to have healthy personal lives.
And whilst finances may not be the number one concern on the mind on most professionals, earning enough money to support a family and ensure the welfare of those around them is still an extremely significant issue for many. Thisismoney recently reported that over half of all adults in the UK are worried about how their mental health is affected by concerns over money. A massive 61% of women experience regular anxiety due to money, whilst 49% of men felt the same way. What’s more, 72% of all respondents claim that at some point in their careers they have experienced severe mental health issues over their financial situation.
Unsurprisingly, workers are far more likely to be stressed, depressed and anxious when their workload is inflated. As a result, employee burnout is on the rise. A recent Gallup study of 7,500 full-time employees discovered that 23% of employees reported feeling burned out at work on a regular basis, whilst an additional 44% reported experiencing the medically recognised issue on a semi-regular basis.
It may seem trivial but believing that your boss is incompetent massively affects almost every aspect of a job. According to Inc, three out of four employees claim that their boss is the most stressful part of their job, whilst having a boss they didn’t respect makes men 60% more likely to suffer from high blood pressure. And, it doesn’t just affect individuals; the average organisation is just 50% as productive as it should be, thanks to a less-than-optimal leader.
The workplace is currently in a state of significant flux. Whilst previous generations may have been able to stay in a set profession for the entirety of their professional careers, most current employers admit that the function of a job within their company is likely to shift and that workers may well have to adapt to this. This means that whilst for older generations, the average time spent in a single position is currently 4.6 years, that number falls to just 3.2 for those between the ages of 25 and 34.
Last week, one recruitment campaign made headlines for all the wrong reasons. Attempting to hire ‘creatives’, it didn’t take long for the internet to realise that it was actually after chefs, bartenders and hotel staff.
The backlash wasn’t kind. However, giving perfectly normal roles absurdly wacky or mysterious titles isn’t unusual – many do it.
Especially those 'young creative’ companies who were buying up the world’s supply of beanbags and standing desks in 2003.
Whilst giving someone a particularly tongue-in-cheek title may seem like a fun move at the time, for those outside of the business it can be confusing – and can impact hiring when a job is posted on a jobs board with a weird title as it might suppress the role in key word searches.
There are, of course, some repeat offenders such as Facebook and Google, whilst others only utilise ridiculous titles for roles that they believe to be unique to them – although they almost always fall into a similar category to a standard job…
We’ve collated some of the most misleading job titles below. For recruiters, it might be best to stray away from these.
Paranoid in Chief – Yahoo
It’s an impressive sounding title, but really – what is a Paranoid In Chief? Well, according to Yahoo it’s someone tasked with overseeing a team known as ‘the Paranoids’, who handle everything to do with the company’s cybersecurity. Right, so that would be a Chief Information Security Officer, then, wouldn’t it?
Hacker in Residence – LinkedIn
Another repeat offender, LinkedIn, described the position of Matthew Shoup – also known as ‘The Swiss Army Knife’ as one tasked with ‘wearing a lot of hats’. “The common thread between all of the hats I wear is that I get to traverse multiple disciplines to solve business problems with creativity, and bring innovative ideas to life,” he tells Fast Company. “And I couldn’t think of anything I’d rather do with my time.” What does that mean exactly? We still don’t really know…
Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like. The job of the ‘Bacon Critic’ on Time Inc’s Extra Crispy title is to, quite literally, critique bacon for review purposes. It’s no surprise, then, that very little information about this position is currently available on the net, whilst bacon-related posts crawled to a standstill in mid-2018. In reality,the job of ‘Bacon Critic’ Scott Gold was the far less impressive-sounding Food Critic. Come on guys, this one is just absurd.
Chief Storyteller – Microsoft
As one of the first companies to perpetuate the classic ‘young creative’ image, it’s no surprise that Microsoft proudly employs a range of rather unique-sounding job titles. One such title is ‘Chief Storyteller’ – an individual who, according to the company, “is responsible for changing the perception of Microsoft through stories.” Sounds an awful lot like a pretty standard marketing position to us.
Dean of Pizza – Pizza Hut
What is it with food companies and silly titles? Anyway, the ‘Dean of Pizza’ is a position dreamed up by the kooky folks at Pizza Hut to make staff training sound creative and fun. Essentially, the role revolves around showing store managers how to properly cut and package the brand’s pizza. Training manager. Call it what it is, Pizza Hut.
The UK’s job market continues to demonstrate its ‘robust’ nature as new statistics reveal that the unemployment rate has maintained a figure of 3.8% for February to April 2019.
According to the Office of National Statistics’ (ONS) labour market figures for June 2019, this figure is the lowest since October to December 1974.
In addition, the employment rate also remained steady at 76.1%, the joint-highest figure since comparable estimates began in 1971. The employment rate for women also reached 72.0% – the highest on record.
The economic inactivity rate was 20.8%, lower than the same period one year earlier (21.0%) and close to the record low.
Elsewhere there was some good news regarding wages; average weekly earnings (excluding bonuses) for employees in Great Britain were estimated to have increased by 3.4% before adjusting for inflation, and by 1.5% after adjusting for inflation, compared with a year earlier.
“This morning’s figures show a familiar picture, with the UK labour market stuck in the same holding pattern that we have seen for the past few months,” said Tom Hadley, Director of Policy and Campaigns at the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC).
“Our jobs market continues to demonstrate how robust it is and continues to provide good work for more people than ever before with employment at a joint-record high and economic inactivity close to a record low. The overall picture remains positive, but with a few warning signs such as declining vacancies.”
In addition, the ONS revealed that the number of vacancies in the jobs market had now reached 837,000, 11,000 more than a year earlier but 12,000 lower than for December 2018 to February 2019.
Lee Biggins, Founder and CEO of CV-Library, added: "The fact that more people are in full-time work is certainly positive, especially as the employment rate for women is at its highest in nearly fifty years.
"At the same time, pay is up year-on-year and while this is good news for working professionals, the picture is less rosy for businesses."
“After all, we cannot ignore the fact that businesses are struggling to entice potential candidates out of their roles, in turn having no choice but to offer higher pay in order to remain competitive.
"In terms of the number of vacancies dropping between March and May, it's not overly unusual for us to have seen a dip in vacancies quarter-on-quarter, given that the first two months of the year are usually some of the busiest for hiring. However, we could also attribute it to the fact that Brexit uncertainty has left businesses with no choice but to hold off on their hiring efforts until the UK receives more clarity on our future in the EU."
It can be utterly infuriating to deal with a co-worker that isn’t pulling their weight. Companies work only if everyone is aiming in the same direction; just one employee impacting production flow can have catastrophic effects on a whole team – and even a whole company, for that matter.
Yet as suspicions grow and workload builds, other are left to pick up the slack and grumbles can grow within the team. However, simply dealing with the extra workload is completely unsustainable; to avoid burning out, it’s imperative that you take steps to rectify the issue – preferably without burning too many bridges or sacrificing your own productivity.
What can you do about it?
Obviously, the first step is to ensure that HR knows about the issue. Those who stay silent and do nothing will inevitably snap, and end up in a confrontation in which no one is in the right; informing HR will ensure that a case is built against the individual, whilst your wellbeing is taken into account.
And whilst it’s easy to assume that the co-worker is simply being lazy, it’s worth considering that they may simply need help with a certain area of their job. The compassionate thing to do in this circumstance is to ask if there’s anything you can do to help them carry out their job. If they refuse, or reply that they don’t need help, you’ll be more justified in drawing a negative conclusion to take to HR.
If HR’s already on the case, the next step is to discuss the issue with your team leader. Together, you can work out a plan to ensure that the immediate workload is handled as a team, and that you aren’t solely carrying the burden that your colleague is forcing onto you.
And whilst dealing with the increased workload, it’s essential that you keep a positive attitude. Your boss will pay more attention to your demeanour when the chips are down – as a worker that can thrive under pressure and maintain composure is far more likely to succeed in a more senior position. It’s perfectly possible to be honest and communicate the severity of the situation, without succumbing to anger or frustration.
Lastly, workers in tough situations often forget to do the one thing that backs up their arguments – collecting evidence. Note down the work you’ve completed each day, keep a log of who has handled what task and generally take notes on how your colleagues are performing. These may be redundant if HR and your management act fast, but if the case goes through mediation, all evidence is essential in getting the issue dealt with.
There’s a fantastic scene in the US edition of The Office in which bumbling-yet-loveable protagonist Michael Scott is rumbled whilst watching Netflix’s postal subscription service at work.
The audacity of getting rental DVDs delivered to your office is a toungue-in-cheek reminder that Scott is not only a poor leader – but a clueless one, too.
However, the days of going to Blockbuster and renting a video with a bag of popcorn, or having physical DVDs dropped through your door sporting the now-iconic ‘Netflix Red’ on the cover are well and truly behind us, and in an age in which nearly everyone has an almost infinite (and constantly curated) library of movies and binge-able TV at their fingertips, fitting in some easily-consumable content on your iPhone or work computer really doesn’t seem like that big of a deal.
But is it?
Research commissioned by the streaming giant earlier this year revealed that 37% of respondents claim to have watched the service at work. What’s more, around 12% of those polled claimed to have watched Netflix whilst in a work toilet – making policing almost entirely impossible.
However, this isn’t necessarily the disaster that you may assume it is; in fact, it may well actually be helping with productivity. For starters, employees that are spending time-consuming media from Netflix are generally doing so whilst continuing to work. Most workplaces currently allow workers to carry out tasks whilst listening to music or podcasts – those who watch Netflix in the office may argue that they are essentially doing the same thing.
There’s also a case to argue that younger generations are far more adapted to multitasking, due to growing up with streamable media. In fact, a study by Common Sense Media found that 60% of Millennials claim to multitask with no adverse effects whatsoever.
Additionally, various recent studies have proven that there’s a distinct correlation between frequent short breaks and sustained productivity – whilst keeping workers happy and staving off the effects of burnout. Therefore, taking time between tasks to clear your mind whilst watching Netflix may active increase productivity, believe it or not.
This week, Instagram hit a historic milestone in the company’s history. No, it wasn’t a financial milestone, nor was it a mass-user milestone.
Just as Twitter’s success can be gauged by what a vast and influential voice that the platform boasts, with vital information coming straight from the fingertips of Donald Trump, Barack Obama and Nicolas Sarkozy, Instagram’s latest member may well see the platform becoming one of the key voices for the British monarchy. Yes, The Queen has now added her very own post to Instagram.
Whilst the post, a simple message about a visit to the London Science Museum, many not itself be massively significant, the decision to represent the Royal on the platform shows massive investment in its longevity and market-leading prestige. Queen Elizabeth’s presence on Instagram follows registrations and regular updates from The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, with a combined following of over 9million, and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, with a combined following of just over 8million.
Why is this significant? Well, a 2017 article by Forbes claimed that the credibility and viewership that American President Donald Trump commands on Twitter equates to around $2billion (around £1,573,300,000) in market revenue for the company.
The number was calculated by Monness Crespi Hardt Analyst James Cakmak, who said that any defection by the POTUS could cause a mass exodus from the platform, wiping out millions of “monetizable” daily active users – all of whom were drawn by his presence.
“There is no better free advertising in the world than the president of the United States,” Cakmak told Fortune. Whilst Twitter neither confirmed nor denied the accuracy of Cakmak’s calculation, Trump has acquired 36million followers and tweeted more than 35,000 times since joining the service in 2009.
So, what does this mean for Instagram? Whilst the combined social power of the entire Royal Family currently pales in comparison to Trump’s influence, and therefore his monetary value to social media companies, since news broke that The Queen herself had created a post, the Royal Family account has seen a steep increase in followers.
Just as Twitter transformed from a youth-culture-oriented social media site to a more legitimised platform for debate (however childish general conversation may be – see the invention of ‘trolling’) with the help of politicians, world leaders and influential cultural figures, so it’s demographic shifted to include a far greater age range.
Unlike more fickle younger users, Twitter’s rise as a powerful social and political voice and the subsequent shift in users has no doubt secured its longevity, when compared to the downfall of sites such as Myspace and Bebo. Is the Royals’ presence in Instagram facilitating a similar shift? Whilst it’s user demographic still points to a majority of 18-34 year old users – under 35’s make up a massive 70% of its userbase – there is no doubt that its content is shifting toward a hefty historical longevity - and there’s no doubt that The Queen’s presence will aide that journey.
To excel in the business world, you must cultivate a strong corporate image. It’s sadly the case that many who believe themselves to be ‘stuck’ in a job are often completely unaware that they sabotage their own career prospects on a daily basis by undermining their own abilities and competency.
Yes, the transformation from newbie to business leader doesn’t happen overnight, but you can help yourself along the way by banishing certain words and phrases from your vocabulary – hopefully doing so will compel you to consider how you come across to others, and how to approach tasks.
“I don’t know”
It’s mistake number one, yet it encapsulates everything that’s wrong with a ‘can’t do’ attitude. No one is expecting you to know everything but tackling a question that you don’t know the answer to is a brilliant judge of character and skillset.
Instead of simply saying you don’t know, demonstrate that you’re keen to learn by saying something like “I don’t have that information to hand, but I can get it for you ASAP.” By doing so, you’re not shutting down the question, and you’re offering to rectify the issue by yourself.
“I had a rough night/ I’m hungover/ I didn’t sleep”
You get the idea; any of the above make you look unprofessional and, quite simply, a bit stupid. Remember, Mad Men is just a TV show and being a dishevelled mess in the workday isn’t endearing at all. If you’re ever letting your personal life interfere with your work life, your boss is going to both notice and disapprove.
Unless you’re an intern or a very junior member of staff, your initiative is one of the key reasons you’ll have landed the job. It’s not your boss’ job to constantly structure your days and present you with new work every time a job is done. Don’t know what you should be doing? You may not know enough about your position. Use your initiative and solve the issue yourself, without running off to your manager. If you genuinely need some help with direction, you need to be extremely conscious of your wording, because the above phrase should never be uttered by a business leader.
“That’s not a priority”
Like it or lump it, your boss is just that – your boss. Part of their responsibility is to decide what tasks take priority. Even if you disagree with them, it’s not your place to tell them what you see as a priority. If you really feel like a certain task should take precedence, you are by all means welcome to politely suggest it, but ultimately they have the final decision.
Literally any Googleable question
Nothing shows less initiative than asking a question that can be answered by simply googling the question. There’s nothing wrong with consulting your boss about a complex work-specific issue, but incessantly asking generic questions is a sure-fire way to irritate your superior and make yourself look lazy.