Wouldn’t it be great if you had a web page dedicated to your profession that told you your job status in regards to security and performance? I mean, there is little doubt in the mind of an NFL coach if he needs to worry about his job or not. At any given moment, coaches can check out their performance and team stats, recruitment and retention results, as well as hear what the industry experts have to say.
It is no wonder these individuals perform at such high levels or depart rather quickly. There is rarely a doubt where they stand. They have an 360° view of every aspect of their performance and so does just about everyone else. And even though we as spectators may be unsure of a coach’s exact future, I am quite sure that “behind closed door” talks with the owners have made that perfectly clear.
So why would we as professionals not be clear on our status? Supervisors, our customers, our patients or our mentors and peers should be telling us frequently. And if they are not, we are either not asking or not listening.
This happened to me recently. Being one that is inside my head analyzing and thinking, it is not uncommon for me to forget to be social. I have even learned that my demeanor can be off-putting to some. No, seriously—even though I spent 20 years in the Army, was raised by angry southern men, have 5 kids and am on my third wife, I, at times, can be viewed as insensitive or even unapproachable.
A status check doesn't have to be formal--use it as a way to see where you stand.
Those who know me know that even the thought of that hurts me deeply. I would never want to hurt others or have others think ill of me. So that is why it is important for me to constantly seek feedback and nurture my relationships, at home and at work. It is even important for me to occasionally stop and ask my boss how she feels I am doing in my position and if there is anything I need to work on. That simple moment allows my boss and me to merge into a non-threatening moment for nothing more than improved performance and relations.
And as professionals, we are either a part of the solution or a part of the problem. So I encourage you to stop and ask your co-workers how they are doing, and then really listen. See if you can help them and then seek feedback to how you are doing. Are you a team player? Then give them a free open opportunity to heal any past hurts or answer any questions they have not had the opportunity to talk about. I like to say, “I wanted to ask you, is there anything that I can do to assist you or any question that you have about our work together that I can address?” It is in this moment that you will get a temperature check. Your coworker will either begin to discuss areas or they will not. Sometimes you will be able to clear the air, other times you will not. Sometimes you find out that you need to listen more or that they dropped the ball on a project due to an extreme situation and was not just a jerk about it.
All this helps you to know your status. Along with reports, feedback, reviews and seeking self-improvement in education and training, you will always know exactly where you stand.
How often are you asking for feedback from your peers or supervisors in your professional life?
Do you find it difficult to reach out, or does the conversation come naturally to you?
How comfortable are you giving feedback to others?