There are more female managers than ever before, but is there still a glass ceiling? There sure is. Only now it has been raised higher, and it doesn’t only affect women. It separates middle managers from senior managers.
There are over 10 million middle managers in the labor force today, and at least 60% of them are unhappy, describing themselves as glorified babysitters or rats on a wheel. As the economy has shifted, many have endured lower salaries, fewer resources to work with, and being connected to their work 24/7 with laptops and Blackberries. They are not only getting burned out, their careers have stalled and they can’t seem to get ahead. So what can they do?
There are three choices to be made at this point.
1. Work hard to try to advance within your field,
2. Look for something different that will stimulate your interest. Instead of progressing up, progress laterally and expand your experience and knowledge base, or
3. Become comfortable as you are and find ways to keep yourself engaged and interested.
All these options are good, and all have their challenges. Whichever way you decide to go, there are basic principles that can help you to progress and thrive. The ultimate goal of each option is the same — to increase your effectiveness and level of satisfaction in your chosen job. Here’s how:
Explore your mindset... How do you think?
Anything is possible when you approach it with a positive frame of mind. Conversely, if you have negative thoughts about your job, your boss, your company, etc., these negative thoughts will become your reality. It is impossible to think them and act contrarily — with success. Certainly you can pretend to be a team player and may continue to perform your work functions, but without your head and your heart in the game, results will not be good or satisfying.
To counter this, you have to first become conscious of your negative thoughts. Second, transform them into positive thoughts. Change your focus to consider what you do like or what you can do. Look for the good in a given situation. Practice tolerance and patience. Change every waking thought to a positive one, and your world will open up in a whole new way. Not only do you see everything differently, but you are perceived by others much more favorably.
Change your thoughts, and you change your beliefs, actions, and results.
Once you change your thoughts, you will find that it changes your beliefs. What you might initially have to fake begins to feel and become real. When you think a situation is inherently good, then you believe it to be so, and you adapt your behaviors accordingly. Once you believe a person is good (has good intentions, good ideas, competence), then you act differently toward them. You are more considerate, collaborative, cooperative, and caring toward them. The actions you take with this positive mindset propel you and your results forward. You are now apt to take actions to improve your results versus going through the motions and having lukewarm or inconsistent results.
Be Yourself. Don’t be afraid to stand out, be different, have a personality, and foster the same in others.
No business will succeed long term if run by clones and yes men. You should not be expected to think and act exactly like your boss, or his boss. You should share the same goals, mission and standards, but you don’t have to do it in the exact same manner. When you try to copy someone else’s style, you never do it as well. Develop your own. Be your own person. Have your own thoughts, ideas, expressions and ways of accomplishing the shared goal. Yes, you will stand out — but your courage to stand out, backed by your belief in yourself and in what you are doing — will get you noticed in a positive way. You will also derive considerably more satisfaction with your life.
Everything you do should be geared toward adding value to your team, your business, and/or your customer.
The positive actions you take for the benefit of others have a compound effect because they will not only benefit you, but they’ll make your life infinitely more fulfilling. Whether your career progresses up, sideways, or right where you are, you will be successful, and you will be happy.
Don’t be part of the 60% of managers who are unhappy. Decide to be happy. Come on over to the positive side. We would love to have you.
Cindy Tansin is author of Lead With Your Heart and the Rest Will Follow.
Her expertise is in developing highly-engaged employees, strong sales forces, and strong leaders. Visit: www.cindytansin.com