No raise – bam! Cut in benefits – ping! Reduction in hours – boing!
But there is a way to stop being buffeted around until the ball goes down the chute. Connie Podesta, business consultant, speaker and author (www.conniepodesta.com), believes that even the least advantaged worker has the power to be proactive in protecting livelihood and career, even in the most trying of situations.
“There are two ways of looking at a crisis,” Podesta said. “We can become paralyzed and feel like a victim, or take the opportunity to take aggressive action to move in a different direction. When we look at the most successful people in just about any industry, they are people who have failed before, and reinvented themselves in order to re-emerge. Everyone who finds themselves unemployed or on the bubble has something in common with even the most successful people in their field. At some point or another, they were unemployed, too.”
Podesta’s real world tips include:
Take charge of your personal life – As one CEO said, “I want people working for me who come to work ready to get the job done – people whose personal life is stable and healthy enough that they can direct their attention and energy to their work, their customers and their colleagues.”
Demonstrate your added value – Employees have to recognize that every one of their decisions, ideas, actions, and plans must be linked to the long-term financial stability and growth of their company. According to a business owner, “We are looking for employees who not only understand the need for us to remain financially sound, but who are actively involved in finding ways to help us do that.”
Have a positive impact – Employers do not have the right to evaluate our inner attitudes, beliefs, and feelings, but they DO have the right to evaluate how we behave and perform on paid work time as a result of those attitudes, beliefs, and feelings. Employers expressed an overwhelming preference for employees who model a positive attitude through their performance and behavior.
Embrace and initiate change – Change can be frightening and change can be exhilarating. But one thing is certain: change has become a permanent and necessary fixture in today’s business environment. Employers will keep employees who can adapt to all the changes their organization is going through with professionalism, determination, and optimism. They need employees who are resilient enough to face change boldly without resorting to complaints, apathy, anger, or fear.
Work smarter, harder, faster and better – One manager stated, “Which employee would I keep? Why, of course, the one who can get a quality job done – on time. I need employees who aren’t afraid of hard work, who can be counted on to do the job right, and who don’t need constant reminders or supervision. They know what needs to be done and they do it – it’s as simple as that.”
Communicate openly and directly – Employers want people who can most effectively communicate their needs, preferences, ideas, and feelings to their customers, co-workers, and management team without manipulation and game playing. In order to achieve this level of assertive, open, and honest communication, however, a climate of trust and mutual respect must exist throughout the company.
Look for leadership opportunities – “Which employees would I keep?” One business owner replied, “The ones who are willing and able to assume a leadership role and take charge when necessary and appropriate, regardless of their job title.” Good leaders are positive role models and relationship builders who can be counted on to be trustworthy, resilient, optimistic, enthusiastic, and visionary.
For more than 25 years Connie Podesta is a business consultant, speaker and author (www.conniepodesta.com). With her blend of right-on-target advice and humor, she has helped thousands of groups and many more individuals find more health, wealth, success, and happiness in both their personal and professional lives.