Productivity Lie #10 Moving up the ladder is a breeze

Having excelled in your previous role you've been pushed up another rung on the career ladder and nothing seems to fit anymore. Boost your productivity asap

It feels just flippin’ fantastic when your boss acknowledges you for your great work. Adding value has been something you’ve taken huge pride in for most of your work life and it’s stood your career in good stead. You’ve done your bit, worked your way up, been the star of your department and the apple of your company’s eye.

But now you’re just not hacking it; you’re becoming sluggish and for the first time in your career, you feel like a failure. Regardless of what you try, you simply can’t get it right; you’re out of your flow and everyone knows it.

What productivity lies are you telling yourself?

PRODUCTIVITY LIE #10: Just because you’re great in one position, you’ll be great in another

It is not uncommon for me to get a frazzled phone call from a newly appointed manager. Having excelled in their previous role, department or company, they have been pushed up another rung on the career ladder and yet nothing seems to fit anymore. Despite pressure to perform, there’s the additional meetings, the on-going email spiral and a team to look after and this new position requires creativity, which you lack, or number crunching, which drains you. The fact of the matter is, just because you were great in a previous position, you won’t automatically excel in your new one.

The three things you can do right now:

1. Be the black sheep

Just because your predecessors did things one way, don’t be bullied into believing it’s the only way. While as a newbie you might not feel you can rock the boat (yet), shaking things up a little could be just what the old department needs. I’d suggest you:

  • Second-guess everything; both the systems that don’t work and the ones that do.
  • Meet with your new team, one by one and then collectively. Learn about their family, what makes them tick, and why they come to work each day. Let them talk about their dreams, their fears and their strengths while you listen with intent. Learn about what they feel works, and what doesn’t, what they feel should change and why and how. The sooner you can do this the better … but it’s never too late, so if you haven’t done this yet, do it now!
  • Take some time to step into your head and reflect on what qualities your boss spotted in you to promote you to this post in the first place. If the new job requires stealth number crunching skills but your strength lies in out of the box thinking, learn what you need to know about the numbers, (just enough to get by) and then rely on your number loving team to make the magic happen while you spruce things up with your quirky flair.
  • Be honest: tell your new team you feel out of your depth, that you don’t have all the answers and that you need their help. Vulnerability builds trust.

 2. Play to the strength of your time style

Now it’s time to get back to basics by understanding your, and your team’s, time styles. There are a whole host of reasons why playing to your time style strengths is an advantage, but for now, it’s important to know that it will just make things easier, and less effort is more of what you need. There are 5 different time organisation styles:

You and your new team can take the Time Style Test here

  • Perfectionist: A linear style that works well with detail. Position the perfectionist in the middle of a project and partner them up with a Detail Dodger or Drop & Hop to get the very best from your team.
  • Last Minute Racer: Ideal project closers because they work well to deadlines and thrive under pressure. If this is you, look for the ‘closure’ loopholes in your team (Procrastinators, Perfectionists and Drop & Hops) and help plug them by offering your stealth-like high-energy focus when tasks are due.
  • Procrastinator: The thinkers of the team. Working well on pre-project research and post-project analysis. Partnering the Procrastinators up with the Detail Dodgers will keep things moving.
  • Drop & Hop: The super creative ‘hopper’ gets bored easily, so welcomes distraction and multitasking. Help them get focused by partnering them with the Detail Dodger or Last Minute Racer and position their desk away from main passageways to minimise distractions. Drop & Hops are at their peak when involved at the start of a project … they are the ones that get things going.
  • Detail Dodger:  If this is you, you likely thrive on the big picture. A creative does well being positioned at the start and middle of a project. Partner up with the Perfectionist in your team to help when the detail is needed.

3. Ask for change

Despite great intentions, sometimes experiences are best notched up to ‘school fees’. If you’ve tried everything, but still feel short of the winning line, then perhaps your new role is not the right role for you. It’s not a failure if you learn from the experience … What could you have done differently? Why hasn’t it worked? Where do your strengths lie? How much of your new job allows you to play to these strengths? These are questions you can ask to help prevent moving forward in the wrong direction again. Ego has a funny way of justifying things even when we know they aren’t exactly right, but instead of hanging around till there is too much lost and nothing left to salvage, step bravely forward, speak about your concerns and figure out an alternative so you can start feeling more amazing than amazing again.


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