I’ve had a cold for the last few days. You might think that is not a good start for a blog from Altris, but hang in there.Like most men when it comes to any form of ‘not being well’, I never know whether to pretend it isn’t happening or collapse in a pitiful heap at home.I chose the middle ground and decided to stay at home for a couple of days and not pass my bug on (unlike the client who passed it to me).
While at home I worked just as hard as I would if I’d been in the office and now I’m back in to things but not sure if I’m ‘fully rested’, and also not sure if I did myself any favours by continuing to work anyway.It got me wondering about how aware we are or aren’t about our performance in certain situations. In the case of my cold, was I really equipped mentally to make the decisions I made and do what I did? Maybe not, but what about other situations we find ourselves at work?Some of us know our ‘red light’ situations, where our skills don’t match our surroundings. Public speaking comes up for many for example, which they have learnt about from past experience.But what about less obvious situations, where we manage your way through and get out the other end relatively unscathed but actually we did not do as well as we could if we had gone in to them differently? The events are often blind-spots that only others will remember as a weakness.And therein lies the issue. How do we know? We could be thinking we did well and no-one tells us otherwise. How do we establish our ‘amber light list’ – those situations that require us to do something different before we get in to a poor performance scenario?
- How many of you review your performance after you’ve taken on a new activity? And by new I mean, a non-repetitive task? That could mean a meeting about something you are not an expert in, or a new client or any circumstances that are different?
- How many of you actively seek feedback on your performance in different situations, from someone who is prepared to give you the honest answer? And I don’t mean your annual appraisal, I mean walking away from something and turning to a colleague and saying ‘how did I do in there, be honest’?
- And lastly, how many of you think in advance about the ‘new’ things in your diary and consider how you might want to handle them given past similar experiences, recent feedback, your development plan or the insights that you’ve had from your coaching?
My guess is that the longer you’ve been around and the more jobs you’ve had the less likely you are to have any of those habits in your armory. It’s not that you’ve lost the interest in learning, it’s probably that you think ‘ by now I should know that stuff’ or ‘I’m a manager now. What will they think if I ask for that kind of feedback?’. Or maybe you’ve got out of the habit, or are too busy. There will be a reason I’m sure.
The question I would put to you is ‘Is it a good enough reason?’ and if you don’t check in on your performance then are you at risk of missing an amber light?
Now, would anyone like to point out anything I did wrong in those emails on Monday?