How to stay positive when your boss is crazy AF

Ok, I know that ‘crazy’ is the most misused word against women but sometimes we do just have a CRAZY boss to deal with.  One of the biggest challenges in my career has been dealing with bosses that are unpredictable, irrational, angry and explosive.  This has crossed genders.  Almost all people who have come to me for coaching have been experiencing a ‘crazy’ boss. The impact is loss of confidence, feeling confused, dissatisfaction in job role and industry – leading to questioning everything career wise. Questions that came up for me at this point are:

–          Am I any good at my job anymore? I used to be but now I’m not so sure.
–          Do I want to stay in IT?
–          Is this company the right place for me?
–          How long can I put up with this stress for?

Other feelings are:  not wanting to go to work, closing down and becoming perpetually exhausted.  Negative thinking often took over as well further brining me down. I have seen this with friends, colleagues and coaching clients.   Having a boss that regularly puts you down is a confidence crusher.

So I thought I’d put together my top strategies that I use for managing my mindset during such a stressful period and keeping my energy levels up.  This has made it easier for me to move on, find a new role and get out of there.

  1. Tell someone about it
  2. Get Support
  3. Exercise
  4. Work out an exit plan
  5. Focus on what’s next

These tips could easily fall under an umbrella of stay positive but really having been through this, this is not always possible.  Taking positive action will create space to take a breath and maintain your perspective.  At least aim to buffer the negativity at work, so you can boost your energy enough to move on.

1. Tell Someone about it (who will believe you)

  • Reaching out and validating that you’re not the crazy one is important. Find a friend, partner, family member or mentor to talk through what you are experiencing.  Just being heard will make you feel better

2. Get Support

  • One of my big lessons is that no woman is an island and sometimes I am not my best guru (sadly).  Find a counsellor or some level of professional support to help you through it.  From my experience doing this, is that the recovery period afterwards is always quicker if I’ve had this support during the traumatic event.  Don’t downplay your experience.  Dreading getting out of bed every day is not normal.  There’s a reason you don’t want to go to work, don’t let it impact you years down the track.  Dealing with it as much as possible in the now will mean less of a stress hangover  once you’re in your new role.

3. Exercise

  • Now is the time to maintain or create rituals that keep you balanced. Cardio and resistance exercise is the best.   Commit to doing 30 minutes everyday (yoga, weights, gym, cycling, running, ballet.)
  • Add in or up your meditation practice if you can or something that helps your mental discipline (one of my friends loves running to clear her head). Work out an exit plan

4. Create an exit plan

  • Write down a plan of how you are going to get yourself out of this situation.  Create 2 or 3 options and start pursuing them.  Get out quickly.  Look for internal and external roles, network more, keep engaged in industry events.
  • In the exit plan, write down what you want to be happening in your career  and life in 12 months time. Frame your next step by this vision.
  • Accept that you may need to move laterally and find  a life raft out.  This can be hard if like me, you’re super ambition. Focus on safety first and then get back to climbing that career ladder.

5. Focus on what’s next

  • Focus on that 12 month goal.  If you’re looking at study, start investigating options.  If you want to travel, start subscribing to ticket price alerts and turn your desktop screen saver into a shrine for your dream destination.  Start listening to podcasts, music, tedtalks that will keep you focussed on NEXT.
  • Make NEXT your NOW.

Most of all remember, you don’t deserve crazy. It is not normal to be yelled at every day, to have your boss call you 15 times in 2 minutes at 11pm, to have your boss turn up at your front door on the weekend, to rate you down because they’re jealous of your looks, to publicly humiliate you in front of your team or threaten you in any way.  It is NOT NORMAL.  You deserve normal, to be liked, to look forward to work, to enjoy friendship at work, to be praised, to be rewarded and to feel appreciated.

You are WORTH it.
 
You are enough. 
 
Good luck!

 

Extra resources and  links
Previous Blog Posts
Getting support
Information on Employee Entitlements
Please follow and like us:

Lessons from a year running my own business as a career coach

Hi Fabulous!!

Today marks a year since I began my business as a career coach to women in IT, Science and Engineering.

Its been an awesome experience so far and I can’t wait to see what 2019 brings.  The learnings have been huge.  The sense of satisfaction with my life have been even huger.

If you’re wondering about whether you should go for it – I say GO FOR IT!!!

Just start now.  

There have been big learnings and even bigger growth.  Developing the communications skills necessary to just be with, sit with and be 100% present with a client is a constant work in progress.  To do this means also being able to 100% present with myself.  Its led to some big personal revelations that led me back to counselling and to create a close-out letter for my divorce.  This was a frustrating time because the divorce is 4 years ago and I thought I was ‘over it’.  Found out I wasn’t.   The old me would have denied the pain and got busy suppressing it (busy working, shopping, going out, going to yoga, travelling) but the new me welcomed the gift of truth.  It was scary to confront that I wasn’t ‘over it’, its an ego thing.  Instead I went back to counselling, creating a close-out letter to myself and read it out loud to my counsellor.  It was a very long letter – it was epic.  It was liberating.

The sense of release and energy was invigorating.  Pursuing your truth, your purpose and going for it doesn’t just open the doors you think you want it also helps you move forward with your life in ways you never knew you needed.  Living a whole year in my truth has given me this gift and it is what I hope to help my clients discover too.

The remainder of this blog post is dedicated to some of the bigger learnings I’ve had with clients. Learnings about working in IT, the pressure we place on ourselves and how ambition can drive and control us.  I’m sharing them today to help you with your own self-reflection.  If you like these learnings, please join the Facebook page  where I share prompts 2-3 days per week (mostly) on career, ambition, purpose and faith.

 

Lesson #1 

Smart, intelligent, driven people still need a cheer leader! 

It is easy to overlook the quiet achiever, the loud ambitious performer thinking they need little in the way of support and encouragement. They may even push back on receiving it.  Lessons from coaching is that working with strong, independent women is that we all still need that motivational support, an encouraging word and a review of achievements.  I know for myself I keep moving the goal posts and when I achieve something I already have a schedule of next achievements to focus on.  For some clients just repeating their achievements, booking in a celebration or breaking down how much has shifted through the coaching series can be their biggest take-away. No one is an island and we all need a hi-5 to know that we are on track and most importantly valued.

 

 

Lesson #2

Being heard is powerful

Some people need to speak at length through their ideas and goals, thinking through needs/wants and desires isn’t a quick 5-minute bullet list creation exercise.  Sometimes there are a lot of mindset and energy blocks that get in the way.  There are reasons why a determined ambitious person hasn’t shifted/changed or broken into something new.  These often appear in themes of commitment, loyalty, old stories, beliefs and judgement.  Financial commitments, not wanting to disappoint someone,  getting comfortable with their ambition, focusing on being a provider for their family, not wanting to let themselves down.  These themes can constrain thinking and switching into ‘what do you most want?’ mode isn’t always so easy.  There are a lot of BUTs that get in the way.  Sometimes I will ask: I give you permission to have everything you want – what does that look like?  Another approach is to shift into a a focus on the ‘WHY’ for change.   Both of these approaches allows a client to watch and observe their wants with less or no judgement, so they can safely begin an exploration that isn’t about blowing up their life and family and more of a shift into achieving their needs while maintaining their need to meet existing commitments.

 

 

Lesson #3

Emotions are hard work.

Actions are easy but sitting in an emotion and seeing/feeling can be really confronting. When these emotions overwhelm you remember:

You are blessed, you are important, your needs are valuable, be open to receive, be present and be kind to yourself.

 

Lesson #4

Understanding what we truly want is a skill.

Goals and actions can be set but the client may not truly get to understand  what they most want until session 3-4 – their need/want sometimes needs extra exploration and sometimes their first goal is masking a much deeper goal.  Letting goals evolve and refine through the series has enabled clients to achieve big wins and big shifts in mindset and career.

 

Lessons #5

Perfectionism can make us afraid. 

Perfectionism can be a big challenge amongst those of us who are senior, technical and scientific – fear of failure, letting ourselves down, not exploring our worth, not making a difference, not being valued. Together with my clients we explore what value is, what a true expression of their talent really means to them… this often leads to openness in finding satisfaction in different job roles and looking for opportunities not dependent on a single employer or role.  Often we explore their need for connection to their industry and hunger for knowledge and expertise (this can transmute into a variety of expressions from community work, finding the right meet up and experts to share stories with, to starting an MBA, to reading more broadly.)

 

I love to work with women who are wanting to get their next career move right.  Maybe you’ve got a boss that’s wearing your down, maybe you’ve reached the seniority you wanted to and  want to work out what’s next?

Would you love to work with me?   Find out more here

 

Please follow and like us:

Just Believe In Yourself

Annick Inna Interview – Book Doula

“Just believe in yourself.” Annick Ina is a Book Doula, Business Strategist and Project Catalyst. We met via Marie Forleo‘s B-School community and Annick gave me some amazing advice when I was in the early stages of writing my book ‘I’m Ready Now – A Guide To Getting a Promotion‘.

Annick is always generous with her time and I offer this interview to you as an insight into career flexibility, creativity, living a purposeful life and just going for it!

Just Believe in Yourself – I'm Ready Now! Interview with Beatrice Crocker and Annick Ina

"Just believe in yourself." Annick Ina is a Book Doula, Business Strategist and Project Catalyst. We met via Marie Forleo's B-School community and Annick gave me some amazing advice when I was in the early stages of writing my book 'I'm Ready Now – A Guide To Getting a Promotion'. Annick is always generous with her time and I offer this interview to you as an insight into career flexibility, creativity, living a purposeful life and just going for it!

Posted by I'm Ready Now Coaching on Friday, August 3, 2018

Now, I would love to hear from you by leaving a comment right here on this page.

What is you biggest takeaway from this interview?  

What would happen if you chose to believe in yourself everyday?

 

Please follow and like us:

Leading when you don’t have the direct status or power to lead

Being an influencer sounds cool but in a big organisation its easy to get lost and feel like you’re a nobody.

To thrive you will need to adopt a customer focus centred on relationships, build trust and credibility through small wins, practice patience and perseverance

I work in a role where I need to lead change, coach people in agile testing strategies and get agreement from very senior manager across business and technology teams. I have no direct power, no direct reports yet I’ve been successful by focussing on small wins, persistence and always being visible.  Its definitely tricky and not always good for the ego (especially when I’m used to running large team when that explicit power in just therein the role.)  I think its made me a better advocate for change though because I always need to be humble and demonstrate that I’ve heard what my stakeholders want, not just put my opinion over the top.  Its a style I hope to use whether I’m in an influencing role or manager role in future.

If you are in an influencer role, then this learning note is for you!  It will provide you with some great tips for helping you overcome the power dynamic and build indirect power through your relationships.

Key Learning Points

  • Accept that you don’t have direct power
  • Understand that your style will have to change to adapt to this
  • Relationships are now a focus
  • Be easy to deal with
  • Focus on being a positive and fun force for driving change
  • Build credibility
  • Patience is the key, along with being a consistent presence and contributor
  • Focus on goals not expectations
  • Ask, don’t tell

Be visible, approachable and easy to work with.

 

Prompts

Use the prompts to help ask great questions and find out more information when meeting with your team:

  • What relationships are key to getting decisions made?
  • Who are my key influencers?
  • What type of communication works best with my stakeholders?
  • Who are the best influencers in the organisation? What works for them? Can I pick up their style ?
  • What areas do I need to change in my style?
  • How quickly can I work on my projects when it is just me?
  • What will build credibility the easiest?
  • What is the the path of least resistance?
  • What small wins can I get quickly that will help build my credibility?
  • Who can best mentor and advise me?
  • What assumptions do I have?  How can I test these?
  • What can help me be more patient?

 

Where can you be more patient? What will you do today to create great relationships?

I’d love to hear from you, what will you do today to create great relationships? 

Please follow and like us:

Leading your team to feel super safe to super fail a lot

Is your team leading the way?

Is your team disrupting or being disrupted?

If yes, then this learning note is for you!  It will provide you with some great tips for inspiring your team to take more risks, disrupt more, be open to failure and learning?

Key Learning Points

  • nurture talent
  • nurture ideas and change
  • create safety nets
  • encourage
  • focus on learning and achievement
  • create a sense of purpose
  • let go of old stories of punishment
  • create new stories of how failure will be responded to

Fail, fail, fail and then learn!

Failure is the only option when first trying to create something truly awesome!

Learning Prompts

Ask yourself (and your team):

  • What would you like to brainstorm?
  • What other ideas do you have?
  • What does experience teach your about this change / new idea?
  • What does your inner wisdom say about it?
  • How you can unlock that learning?
  • What story are you telling that is holding your team back?
  • What could a new story look like?
  • What needs to change to make this story a reality?
  • What words would you like to use less of to describe your team? (i.e.: ‘dead wood’, ‘cut the fat’, ‘idiots’, ‘lazy’, etc)
  • What words could use more of? (i.e.: ‘untapped talent’, ‘hidden gems’, ‘stars in the making’, ‘genius’, ‘inspired’, ‘open’, ‘fun’, ‘energised’)
  • What would you like to be known for as a team?
  • What behaviours do you want to be known for?

What will you do today to make failure an option?
I’d love to hear from you, how do you encourage your team to take risks and deal with failure positively?

Let me know by commenting here. I love hearing your ideas and read every comment.

Please follow and like us:

Leading your team to be so much more creative

Is your team closed to new ideas?

Is your team resistant to change?

If yes, then this learning note is for you!  It will provide you with some great tips for inspiring your team to be more open, creative and welcoming of change.

Key Learning Points

  • create openness
  • encourage positive behaviours
  • lead with a clear purpose

Lead, inspire, lead some more.

Give it everything you have.

Learning Prompts

Ask yourself:

  • Can you listen more and speak less? 
  • If your team could choose anything, what would it be?
  • Can you see any gaps in your own thinking?
  • What is possible for your team now? 
  • What would give your team the most joy?
  • What is your vision?
  • What is the greater purpose behind your team’s journey?
  • How can you adopt a beginner’s mindset?
  • How can you support my team to do the same?

What will you do today to create openness? 


I’d love to hear from you, how do you encourage your team to be open?  What is your biggest takeaway?  What advice do you wish you had when you first became a leader to help your team be more open?

Let me know by commenting right here. I love to hear all of your comments, they inspire and motivate, so please share any thoughts you have 🙂

For extra reading, I recommend reading Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki.

Please follow and like us:

Tap into your super powers #4 – Introducing innovation into a creative desert

Is your organisation culture great at saying no to EVERYTHING?

Is your creativity and innovation being blocked, stifled or left to stagnate?

If yes, then this learning note is for you!  It will provide you with some great tips for tapping into that innovative spirit to inspire those around you and give you an outlet for those awesome ideas you keep having.

The key learning point here is to : Be the role model innovation leader.  Be what you want most at work.
Lead, inspire, lead some more. Give it everything you have. 

Learning Prompts

Innovation and getting new ideas accepted and introduced into any organisation is always tough.  Often people will perceive that you are asking them to take a risk, make a courageous decision or even put their own job on the line.   Some cultures are more stifling than others. Even innovative organisations can have a ‘their way’ of doing innovation.   At some point in an organisation’s maturing face certain ways of behaving, acting and agreeing new ways of work become expected ways of work OR even acceptable vs non-acceptable ways of working.

Ask yourself:

  • What idea can be tested without sponsorship, resources or funding?
  • Do you say yes to new ideas?
  • Are you setting the example for change or fitting in and supporting the status quo?
  • Can you start yes whenever you can? (start by having a YES day)
  • Can you prove out your ideas and make them real in anyway you can?
  • How can you help you boss feel safe to say Yes?
  • Is YES really a safe thing for your team to say? If not, why not?
  • What behaviours need to shift to get a Yes?
  • What past war stories exist that you need to respond to?
  • Start leading saying YES to the new today!

What you do next is up to you…..
I’d love to hear from you, what you did do next? What did you say YES?  What did you ask for a YES to? What happened? How did you make someone feel safe to say YES?

Did you say YES to everything today?

Let me know here.

For extra reading, I recommend  Influence – They Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini. 

Please follow and like us:

Tap into your super powers #2 – Turning frustration into your best work ever!

Are your best skills going to waste?

Are you a bit bored at work?

Are you under utilised and under appreciated?

If yes, then this learning note is for you! It will provide you with some great tips for turning that frustrated energy into a powerful tool to make you stand out at work, feel fulfilled and add more meaning to your job everyday, including: learning prompts, a case study example – going from frustrated to happy in exactly the same job and ideas on what steps to take next to get started.

The key learning point is to look at why and when you are frustrated and use that energy to design the role you want and started doing that role in your current job right now.  

Learning Prompts

To channel that frustration into something positive for yourself try to understand why you are frustrated, what triggers you and what type of work would ease that frustration.

Ask yourself:

  • What is the biggest problem facing your team, project or business?
  • What skills do you most want to use that could help solve this problem? And, how? 
  • What would this solution mean to your boss, customer, business?
  • Can you start working on this solution as part of your current role?
  • How can you get support for this idea?
  • Who could support to get this idea off the ground?
  • What would it take to make happen?
  • Do you need extra support or can you do this alone?
  • What would it mean to you to use these skill in this way?
  • How would you feel if you to used these skills everyday? 
  • What skills do you love using?
  • Could you integrate them in to HOW you do your job?

Case Study

As you know I love coaching but in my current role as a consultant I have very little opportunity for coaching as I don’t have direct reports.  This doesn’t stop me from taking on this role unofficially and people who are aware of my business regularly come to me for advice, coaching or to bounce ideas around.  One way I have incorporated my coaching skills into work is to use them to create really positive outcomes in workshops and meetings that I lead.  If you  have watched some of my facebook lives on managing meetings you will know that there have certainly been some ‘trials and tribulations’ with some ‘interesting’ behaviours in meetings.  This might sound a bit lateral and it is.  Using powerful listening techniques and skills to stay present and in the moment just makes meetings, workshops and how groups of humans functions so much better.

Some of the tools I use are questions (just like the prompts above).  Thoughtful and empathetic questions can be asked in 1:1 discussions or even to groups.  And, just sitting still with someone and really hearing them and not interrupting or making a judgement, really taking the time to respond to allow more silence in discussion creates a beautifully safe space for honesty, trust and empathy to build and grow.

Using these techniques has allowed me to create greater connection and also to be open to surprising compliments, advice or observations that I would have not been open to recieve otherwise.

What is the impact to me?

Work feels more meaningful.

I have a smile on my face as I head out of the station.

I come home feeling satisfied.

I sleep better.

Of course, I’d love to work full time as a coach and I’m building my business towards that goal (eventually.)  But I’m not in a rush and I love working in IT (what other profession could I spend my day talking Star Wars, Tesla, colonising Mars and robots, oh and strategising the adoption of the latest leading edge tech?).  By combining both passions and thinking laterally on how I can incorporate this skill set, I get the best of both worlds without feeling I have a passion and ‘real work’ in two different silos of my life.

Take Action

Next time you get super frustrated and think ‘If I only I could’….

Write down your thoughts!

And then?

Get planning, start testing out what you could do until you find something that just clicks day to day in your job. 

And then?

GO FOR IT!

Would you like to work more on developing this skill set?

Do you have career goals to work on that you would like support and coaching in?

Have you thought of getting your own career coach to help you take the next step in your career?

If yes, then find out more about the Tap into Your Power coaching series. 

Please follow and like us:

Tap into your super powers #1 – What to do when you keep getting told No

Key Learning point: The key learning point in this article is how to get a YES for your best ideas from your senior stakeholders (especially when you keep hearing a No to your good ideas).

To create this change you will need to create a compelling WHY to motivate a change of mind.  

And, we will also work through a case study on how do you get additional time and funding  approved.

Do your best ideas always get a no?

Do you find it hard to get endorsement for changes to scope, estimates, cost or resource hires?

If yes, then this post will help you do just that by providing you with:

  • learning prompts
  • case study example – going from a NO to a YES
  • ideas on next steps

Learning Prompts

To get a senior stakeholder to say yes (especially to anything involving a change in cost) you need to create a compelling why. A compelling WHY creates the motivation for someone to change their mind.

Ask yourself:

  • What is the biggest problem facing my stakeholder?
  • How does my idea help with this?
  • Can my idea help solve my stakeholder’s problem in someway?
  • What would it mean for this problem to be solved?
  • Who else will benefit?
  • How will it improve business outcomes (profit, strategy, financial, marketing, reputation etc) ?
  • Is my idea aligned to business strategy?
  • Has my idea been tried before?  (And, what happened?)
  • Are there quality reasons for pursuing something that has failed before?
  • What does this idea add or take away from my current role?

 

Case Study

In one Test Manager role I was in a few years ago, I had inherited an estimate that could be at best described as ‘optimistic’ but I would describe as ‘crazy’.

I decided to ask not for the 23 days (which had been approved) estimated but instead ask for approval of a 288 day estimate.

The Delivery Manager’s response: “You’d have to get the CIO to approve that’

My response: “Ok, I will get that!’

And… I did.

How?

  1. I researched what had happened in the past (the project had been tried and failed 3 times over 10 years due to a lack of or poor testing)
  2. I researched what a poor quality delivery would actually mean if implemented in production. The impact I found was : catastrophic business failure, regulatory breaches and huge (newspaper story worthy) customer financial loss
  3. I put a succinct options paper together – this was a 3 page slide pack with 3-4 bullet point per slide which succinctly stated option, risk, cost and recommendation (yes/no)
  4. I got the business sponsor to publicly back the best estimate to his General Manager  (this took some time to influence)
  5. I then presented the options paper to the steering committee which consisted of the CIO and the CEO’s direct reports
  6. And, the CIO approved the new estimate – in fact the whole committee did

How did I ‘win’ the argument?

I pitched every risk with a direct (yet implied) statement which if that risk came true would directly lead to the CIO losing his job. 

Because the risk that poor quality would create in a production environment was so great to the company, any realisation of this risk would mean business failure (or close too) and that would mean no more jobs for the CIO or the other members of the committee.

 

Extra context

For some context, I have well over 10 years technical estimation experience and I had the most experienced person on the programme run the numbers as well.  I knew the estimate was right.

I also knew to pursue the other estimate would lead to project failure or even (if the project actually got into production) potentially business failure. I had 100% faith in myself and my team that we were the best people to deliver this work and I had 100% belief that I could get the CIO’s approval with a fair argument for the new estimate.

 

Take Action

Next time you get a No, ask yourself – do I 100% believe in my proposal? And if the answer is yes, then ask the person who said No:

“What needs to happen to get a YES?”  

And then?

GO FOR IT!

Would you like to work more on developing this skill set?

Do you have career goals to work on that you would like support and coaching in?

Have you thought of getting your own career coach to help you take the next step in your career?

If yes, then find out more about my  Tap into Your Power coaching series. 

Please follow and like us:

Goal Setting Secret #3 Taking Action

Secret #3 – Keys to successfully taking action

How often do you say this:

“I keep going no matter what!”

Secrets to successfully taking action

1. Schedule it
2. Allow enough time for each action
3. Get Support
4. Keep it super positive.

Pro tip: Use your project management and organisational powers that you use everyday at work and apply them to your personal goals and projects.

  1. Schedule in time each week to work exclusively on your goal and actions
  2. Book in enough time to one action done at a time
  3. Use tools like a spreadsheet or project management tool like ASANA to prioritise your actions and work through them in a logical order
  4. Get Support – find a career coach to support you, find an accountability partner to check-in with weekly,join a mastermind or find a mentor. Get the right level of support for the goal you are progressing with to help create your own cheersquad that is always on your side and keeping you accountable to getting those actions done.
  5. Keep it super positive.Celebrate small wins and surround yourself with positive inspiration.
    • What is the first thing you see or hear in the morning?
    • What is the first thing you see when you walk in the door?
    • What is the first thing you do when you get to your desk?

Create a routine that incorporates positivity from podcasts to the music you listen to, the art work at your home, the inspirational quote on a sticky-note at your desk or the gratitude journal you write in every morning.  Find little ways to shift and support your mood and keep you in the best frame of mind to achieving your goal.

Want more on goal setting, watch this Facebook live to get more thoughts on how to progress your goal and close out those actions.

Please follow and like us: