This article comments on behaviours at work & how to manage it My Company is Trying to Kill Me! By: Mary Ann La Russa via Career Bliss who I follow on Twitter as they share some good tips and advice. My comments are in italic blue too.
When your manager says, “Jump,” you ask, “How high?” and then perform as requested. Once you’ve shown that you can accomplish everything that is thrown at you, count on the fact that more work will come your way.
Facing tough challenges and achieving impossible goals is fun for the self-esteem and will set you up as a valuable employer at your job, but can you keep doing that month after month?
Set yourself up for success and avoid feeling as if management is trying to suck the life out of you by being aware of your company’s big picture goals. Successful companies set aggressive goals because they want to maintain their edge. Understanding the importance of what you’re doing will help you prioritize your expanding workload.
Ridiculous expectations can lead to excessive stress and low morale. When your workload negatively affects your health or personal life, ask yourself why. Is it that you’re getting burned out, that the company’s goals are impossible, that you’re buying into other co-workers anxieties or that you need to focus and work more efficiently?
It’s easily done. I’ve done it, and do it but now I’m aware of it, recognise it and once drawn into it I then consciously make changes so that I don’t get negaatively stressed trying to achieve the impossible! If it’s not possible, I cannot quite understand companies or managers who still try to get it! They acknowledge it’s impossible …but pressure you to try! They know it’s unlikely – but promise it anyway! Why? Preferably, be realistic; set goals that you can achieve and you and they are more likely to achieve even more because of the approach and stress reduced to positive motivating stress! AND the achievement drives us on too!
Tick Tock – Time Management
To be a high achiever, time management and organization are crucial. You can’t spend every second of every day performing at 100% so be realistic about how you allot time. Get in the zone to do the heavy thinking then take a break. Most projects require some menial brainpower tasks, fit in those when you’re spent. Organize your workload to accommodate deadlines and your energy fluctuations throughout the day. Before you leave work, put together a realistic to-do list of what you need to accomplish the following day.
Good time management doesn’t mean staying at your desk until all hours (leading to stress because you’re family want and need you home, friends and interests are missed) – it means leaving things ready for tomorrow or next week because you’ve done all you can this today! There will ALWAYS be something left to do or something else to start and finish. That’s why you’re employed – to do a job regularly. But not 100% of the time – of your life! Finish at 5 pm and leave your workload ready to pick up tomorrow, at 8.30 am which will fill your next day.
Don’t Bottle It In – Communicate
Give up being a perfectionist and just do the best you can based on your talent and ability as well as the project’s deadline and resources. Communicate regularly with your manager; work as independently as you can, but alert your boss to obstacles and ask for help when needed.
Tell your boss in and outside of supervision meetings if you don’t feel it’s realistic to meet the demands you’ve been set (i.e. supervision is ongoing, hourly and daily not monthly or 6 monthly; objectives and goals need to be realistic as any coach will tell you – if you have no chance of achieving what you are set/asked to do, you will never achieve it and the company are setting THEMSELVES up to fail – using you as the scapegoat maybe?
If you have a team working with you, be the type of manager you would appreciate and motivate colleagues by keeping them informed about why the project is important and providing them with tools to get the job done.
If you aren’t heard or listened to, then do something yourself. Assert your needs once you identify them i.e. take a break – a day off or more; take your lunch break regardless of the looks and attitude; go home on time to a loving family and some nice treat. You DESERVE it, so take it.
Help Wanted! Evaluate Your Resources
Your company absolutely wants to squeeze all the productivity they can out of you, but you won’t be doing them any favors if you leave or self destruct. Be realistic about how hard you’re working and how much you can accomplish. Work on improving your skills and show your manager that you’re eager to perform. If the workload gets to be too much, ask about hiring more people, bringing in interns or putting the least important projects on junior members of the team or other departments.
If you need more advice or training, report this to your supervisor (not mention it, but tell them and have it on record. If you need to put it in an e-mail, in writing, as a follow up or introduction so it is on record ‘casually’. This isn’t about ‘you not being able to cope’ even if it is suggested or implied; it’s about them setting you impossible tasks, unachievable goals and unrealistic objectives even for them. If they have people (humans) working for them, there are limits to what they can have, what they really need and what they should ask for.
Even when you feel stress trying to keep your hamster wheel turning faster and faster, the only expectation you or anyone else should have of you is that you do your best.
And more often than not, that’s what most of us do. Our best!