Do You Feel Like Youre Always Putting Out Fires

 

Nearly every professional faces off against the occasional workplace crisis. At times, problems are going to arise; that’s just the nature of life. And, usually, the situations themselves are short-lived, ultimately not being nearly as problematic as they appeared to be on the surface.

 

But, if you feel like you are constantly putting out fires at work or that every issue is an unmitigated disaster, then something else may be the source of your troubles: you. Whether it is how you perceive the situations or the ways your choices influence your day, your habits play a critical role in your experience.

 

If you spend your day moving from one crisis to the next, here are some potential causes and what to do about them.

 

Procrastination is Your Middle Name

Waiting until the last minute to handle a task without just cause is a recipe for panic. By the time the deadline draws near, you aren’t sufficiently prepared and have to get the work handled while under the additional stress you put on yourself.

 

If you have a project coming up or a due date you need to adhere to, avoid procrastinating by scheduling various steps as firm appointments in your calendar. Brainstorm the entire process and then give each milestone an appointment, dedicating enough time to ensure it is complete. Make sure that the final deadline is actually before the due date. That way, if you run into trouble, you have an extra day or two to work through it.

 

Lack of Focus (or a Lack of Notes)

When you’re in the middle of a meeting that doesn’t have much to do with you, tuning out is a common reaction. However, not being present may mean you miss vital details that do connect to your work, and that comes with consequences.

 

Similarly, even if you are paying attention, failing to record critical information is a mistake. In the future, you may remember that you heard something relevant, but can’t recall what it is. Then, you’re stuck scrambling to figure out exactly what slipped your mind.

 

Luckily, both of these situations can be avoided with ease. When you are in a meeting, give the speaker your full attention. Silence your smartphone, turn off notifications, and otherwise eliminate unnecessary distractions.

 

If valuable information is shared, make sure to record it. Whether you opt for handwritten notes, a file on your computer, or even capturing the audio can work as long as you can easily review it should the need arise.

 

The Inability to Say “No”

At times, people are overloaded at work because of poor time management. However, in others, genuinely being overtasked can happen.

 

When professionals end up with a bigger workload than they can handle, they usually place blame on someone else, like their manager. But, if you aren’t saying “no” when people ask if you can take the work on, you’re responsible too.

 

Now, most professionals can’t say “no” in every situation, and that’s okay. When circumstances allow, make sure to set proper boundaries. And, if you genuinely can’t fit the assignment into your schedule without sacrificing the quality of your work, say so. By focusing on the fact that the increase in your workload harms the results, others are more likely to accept your answer.

 

Ready to Build a Better Team? Call the Experts at The Armada Group!

Ultimately, any of the tendencies above can make you feel like you’re always putting out fires. Luckily, most are easy to remedy with a little effort and diligence. If you would like to learn more, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our staff members about your questions today and see how our workplace productivity and efficiency expertise can benefit you.

 

 

Published in Hiring Managers

Incompetent Boss

 

At some point, nearly everyone experiences stress related to their boss. However, when your manager is genuinely incompetent, dealing with the situation can be incredibly taxing.

 

While severe ineptitude is generally rare in the workplace, it does occur. Usually, it is the result of an individual receiving a promotion for the wrong reasons or being tasked to oversee positions when they aren’t overly familiar with the person’s specialty.

 

Luckily, it is possible to thrive at work, even if you have an incompetent boss, though it does require getting into the proper mindset. Here’s how to get started.

 

  1. Be Empathetic

What may initially appear to be incompetence may, in fact, be something quite different. If your boss is overtasked or under significant pressure, their missteps may be the result of those stresses and not a lack of understanding.

 

By assuming an empathetic mindset, you may be better equipped to discover the nature of the issue. This could lead to a revelation that they aren’t actually incompetent or at least make it easier to understand that bosses, like all people, are human and can make mistakes.

 

  1. Get Advice

Sometimes, your frustration can cloud your judgment, making it hard to find a reasonable approach to the situation. If this occurs, requesting advice from a trusted colleague or mentor may help you gain perspective and find workable solutions, giving you the tools necessary to cope with an incompetent boss.

 

 

  1. Identify Solutions

When you discuss an issue with your boss or have a request, don’t just approach them with the problem. Instead, also provide them with potential solutions that can help them fulfill your needs. For example, if you need their help, require their input, or need permission to go forward in a particular direction, make that clear. Then, if your boss can’t fulfill that need, present an alternative that allows you to get what you need.

 

This approach allows you to help your boss solve the problem, making the entire situation easier on everyone.

 

  1. Practice Self-Care

Prolonged periods of stress can be harmful to your health, so practicing self-care is a necessity while you navigate the situation. For example, resist the urge to victimize yourself or spend a significant amount of time complaining to others, an approach that typically doesn’t yield positive results.

 

Instead, focus on the positives of your job and use those points to stay motivated and happy, limiting the psychological impact of working for an incompetent boss.

 

  1. Move On

In some cases, looking for a new job may be the best solution if your manager is genuinely incompetent. It gives you the ability to find a boss and environment that better meets your needs, allowing you to obtain greater job satisfaction and reduce stress.

 

If you are interested in finding a new position, the skilled professionals at The Armada Group can connect you with leading employers throughout the area. Contact us to discuss your ideal role today and see how our services can benefit you.

 

 

Published in Staffing News

what if your boss isnt

A manager's job isn't the same as a worker's job, so it's no surprise they don't need to know the same things. In many occupations, that difference in knowledge bases isn’t a big deal, but technology projects and technical decisions require specialized knowledge. Managers who don't come from a technical background sometimes have a hard time understanding all the factors that affect a team's ability to meet project deadlines, and to deliver successfully. Here's how you can work effectively with a non-technical manager.

Recognize That Your Boss Isn't Stupid, Just Uninformed

Your boss got to their position because they're successful at making management decisions. That means they're smart. But making smart decisions means understanding problems and all the details that impact them. Help your boss make smarter decisions by helping them understand the technology and the choices you want to make. You'll need to support your opinions and proposals by providing lots of background information about the way the technology really works, where the problems come from, and why they can't be solved in a different, faster, cheaper way.

Keep Your Boss Out of the Code

At the same time that you're explaining details of the technology to your boss, you don't want to get so low-level that they're looking over your shoulder at the code. Encourage them to focus on managing the end users, budgets, and administrative issues – while you focus on solving the technical problems.

Document Your Discussions

For some technical problems, you may have to accept a non-technical manager's decision that it's not worth spending more time addressing issues before shipping; a report that lacks bolded headers may not look pretty, but isn't harmful. Other problems are more serious and can leave a company open to compliance problems or even cause real injury to users. In those cases, be sure you document your discussions with your manager to make it clear they were responsible for the decision.

Sometimes the frustrations of dealing with a non-technical manager are simply too much to put up with any longer. If you've reached that point of frustration and need to find a manager you'll be more compatible with, The Armada Group can help match you with a position where you'll thrive. Contact us to start your job search now.

3 Tips for First Time Managers

Moving from a hands-on role to a manager's role means a big change in what you do on a daily basis. It also means a big change in how you relate to co-workers, especially if you now manage former peers. Here are three tips to help you adapt and succeed in this new role.

Draw on Your Experience, but Continue to Learn

The most important thing to recognize as a new manager is that you don't actually know how to do everything the job requires. Your technical skills will help with some aspects of the job, like developing project schedules and deciding if an application is ready to release, but the management role requires other skills, like budgeting and conducting performance reviews, that may not have been needed previously. Plan to take the necessary training and find mentors to help you continue to develop.

Communicate Effectively

As an individual contributor, your success was evaluated solely based on your own performance. As a manager, your success depends on the success of your team. It's important to get team members to buy in to project priorities and deadlines, which means setting goals clearly and being open to feedback. Make sure the team knows you're open to their opinions by having an open-door policy. Some team members may hesitate to speak out in a group setting, so seek them out for one-to-one discussions.

When things aren't going well, get the team's perception of the problem and their input on ways to improve it, rather than dictating a solution or imposing a new process on them. Be sure to celebrate the team's success, too; you don't want them conditioned to expect bad news when you walk into the room.

Support Other's Development

Your success as a manager may inspire others to aspire to management roles. Encourage team members to grow and develop skills, technical and other. Take the annual goal-setting process seriously, and help team members set goals that are achievable, and will benefit them as well as the company. Create an environment that supports learning, by encouraging training. Mentor team members to help them develop. Helping your team develop their skills will make them stronger contributors, increase your team's success, and help you climb the management ladder.

Published in IT Infrastructure