How to Support New Managers

I started this blog with the support of my then director after a few years of doing my own reading, research and thinking on my own because I didn’t feel especially well supported when I became a new manager.

The supports are better now – more consistently meted out and are comprised of a combo of technical knowledge (budget and HR) and competency driven supports.

This article is a good addition to the thinking on how to support new managers and includes the advice to pair new managers up with a mentor and have them attend stakeholder meetings.

The books suggested that I have read are good ones and include Radical Candor and Mindset.  I would add two others:


The bosses we remember

The bosses we remember

1 provided safe space to grow
2 opened career doors
3 defended us when we needed it
4 recognized and rewarded us
5 developed us as leaders
6 inspired us to stretch higher
7 led by example
8 told us our worked mattered
9 forgave us when we made mistakes

(via Farbod Saraf)

The 12 Signs: How to know when you’re slowly but surely becoming a bad manager

No one sets out to become a bad boss. Yet, slowly but surely, it’s easy to become the bad manager we all dread.

Source: The 12 Signs: How to know when you’re slowly but surely becoming a bad manager

This is a great list and it’s a refreshing perspective that you should examine if, after coming up to speed as a manager, you are becoming jaded in your role. I would have little to add to this strong list which includes:

– assuming employees will come to you with their problems
– assuming employees should know certain things already

The only other thing I’d add is to guard against assuming employees will be static performers in time or that their values will stay stable instead of them wanting to transition as confidence builds, family obligations change etc.

My reading journey this year


I’ve enjoyed a particularly rich crop of books this year and given how much I enjoy reading other”Best of 2017″ lists, I will share a version of my own.  My full list is available on goodreads.

At the end of last year, I began getting deep enjoyment from audiobooks either purchased from Audible or borrowed from the library.  Audio books (which can be put on sleep timers) are a source of great solace to me during chronic periods of insomnia.  Audible often has generous offers for new members and I have signed up for the “Audible daily deal” which has delivered me some inexpensive gems this year.

I read very little fiction but a book that will now live near the top of my favourites list for the incredible writing is Bel Canto by Ann Patchett.  The story’s focus on a hostage-taking was likely the main turn-off after years of persistent recommendations from friends but I am glad that I finally got around to it. This was an Audible purchase and well worth it for the first rate narration.  I also enjoyed Manhattan Beach on audiobook.  Set during WWII, I liked the strong female lead – a woman who becomes a diver while exploring the mystery of her father’s disappearance.

In the continuing work to improve my own writing and help others write well,  I get deep enjoyment from reading about writing.  The top of the list for this year was Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott.  I also found a documentary on Lamott at my library by the same title.   Even this clip from the documentary gave me a belly laugh – “I used to be unable to write with dirty dishes in the sink. I have now had a child.  I could now write with a cadaver in the sink”.   Another book which touches on the writing process is Ann Patchett’s collection of non-fiction writing covering the span of her career called This is the Story of a Happy Marriage.  Patchett’s book includes her beloved dog and training for a the LAPD.  The latter experience involved learning to go over a six foot wall.  She describes that as with most things you are trying to learn, she would have preferred to learn this in private.  Unfortunately there are no six foot brick walls in wide open fields.  I also stepped into reading about how specialized writers have mastered their craft.  Digging into Poking a Dead Frog: Conversations with Today’s Top Comedy writers was an unexpected delight.

I love memoirs and personal essays and had a banner year in this area. I listened to The Argonauts, read by the author Maggie Nelson.  This is an unconventional memoir which dances with philosophy.  It is principally about the author’s partner transitioning to a man.  Another unconventional but highly enjoyable read was The Art of Travel a book of essays on travel drawn from both the author’s own travel experiences and those of notable writers.  I listened to Roxane Gay read her memoir Hunger.  It was a moving but brutal read but a good empathy jolt for me.  I channelled my early life as a biology student by reading Lab Girl – a great memoir of a female scientist and some lovely meditations on the natural world.  Also in the science realm, I listened to  The Gene, a comprehensive history of a new science.  The Gene is not for the faint of heart  – it is a long haul at over 600 pages but it is a fascinating work.  In a slightly different vein, I adored reading an anthology of performance pieces by “The Moth” – a group in New York City where people perform monologues of stories of their lives.  The Moth presents All These Wonders: True Stories about Facing the Unknown.  There is a great variety of material, all well-drawn and very satisfying.  This anthology tuned me into the related podcast and it has become one of my favourites.  I also really enjoyed listening to Born a Crime on audio-book – brilliantly read by the author Trevor Noah.  It chronicles his childhood growing up on South Africa as a bi-racial person.  I found When Breath Becomes Air very thoughtful and moving book about a neurosurgeon facing his own imminent death.

I fulfilled a personal commitment by reading the summary report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  Reading the work had the desired effect of deepening my understanding of issues touching indigenous peoples. It also gave me nightmares.  It also spurred me on to make greater efforts to appreciate indigenous artists.  A concert highlight of the year was being introduced to William Prince.  William is getting some well deserved awards as an emerging artist.  As well, I went to hear an interview at the National Arts Centre with the new Director of Indigenous Theatre.  Though we are several months out from hearing the line-up, this new stream will be funded at the same level as the English and French streams.  We have lots to look forward to both in Ottawa and in the rest of Canada as there will be community based shows funded via the NAC as well.

I still read a lot of business books out of personal interest and I really enjoyed Radical Candor about being firm and compassionate at the same time.  The same authors present a podcast as well.  I was fascinated by the concepts introduced in Collaborating with the Enemy. This book challenges the idea that you need shared outcomes to advance a collaborative process.

I continued to wade into graphic novels though there were no huge standouts.  I did enjoy Smile, a memoir aimed and younger readers about a girl going through a series of dental surgeries. I also found the memoir of the father’s loss of a child, Roasalie Lightening very moving but wasn’t drawn to the artwork.

To close, books that I enjoyed that don’t fit as cleanly into the categories above but would fall into the general self-help genre: I enjoyed Rising Strong by Brene Brown about resetting after adversity and Happiness by Design which introduces various elements of design thinking to help you adopt good habits.

We always need good people…

(c) timothy via creative commons

It is telling to ask people what work they do for free.  I have a few things that fit into this category and one of them is giving people tips on how to get a job in the Federal government.  The reason is I am do devoted is pretty simple – it maddens me that people feel hopeless about cracking the government code.  While difficult, it is not impossible.

I give so much information out piecemeal that I decided that I should devote some time to putting some of my most often repeated information down in one place for easier access.

**Please understand that these are my opinions and I am not an HR expert in how the Federal government hires workers.  This is in intended to be general information only.**

My main message is that there are many things within your control as a job-seeker to improve your chances at landing work.

First, it may help you to know a bit about my world as a manager:

  • Government managers have a variety of hiring methods at their disposal – some can be deployed very quickly and some take considerable time.  The length of time to hire is, in general, proportional to the tenure of the employment. Short, 90 day casual contracts, can be set up very quickly.  As a casual you will not be a pensionable employee in the government nor have access to jobs reserved for those already in government but you will have a foot in the door for valuable experience.  You can (generally) work 90 days in a calendar year for one government department.  Flexibility in hiring has increased in recent years but you are still dealing with a bureaucracy so calibrate your expectations accordingly.
  • Government managers are generally trying to hire for a position which has a particular classification (which signals a particular professional designation and a pay range) with a particular language profile and security clearance.
  • Managers are really busy managing a variety of tasks and are still trying to advance hiring new talent as quickly as possible.
  • Putting up formal want ads or posters to find people, especially when posters are made available to the public, is a huge undertaking and sometimes a measure of last resort.  This will therefore happen rarely and posters will may be open for as little as 48 hours given that we can expect 200 applications a day.

How you can help managers try and place you:

Be on top of the formal hiring process and follow instructions to the letter:  If you are committed to making landing a government job as your top priority, you will have to visit the federal jobs website every single day and the meet the deadlines imposed for applications and online exams.  Some jobs may be posted once a year or even less often to a public audience.  Read the entire poster carefully to see if you are qualified for the position. Follow the instructions for the application closely.  This may sound like I am trying to insult you with common sense but after looking at hundreds of applications, it is frustrating and sometimes heartbreaking when you cannot continue consideration of an application because the person didn’t follow the rules.  As an example, if the poster asks you to list your courses in a certain specialization and you take a shortcut and say you have a Master’s degree in a general area, be prepared to be screened out of the hiring process to be fair to everyone who applied.

As you start the overall job hunt, I would apply for each position for which you are fully qualified. If you begin to get qualified for positions, it would  make sense to scale back your efforts and move more of your efforts to marketing yourself.

If you have qualified in a pool, please don’t sit by the phone hoping that managers will know of you and give you a call. Unfortunately, pools created in one department are not often shared in other departments.  That said, pool-qualified candidates (in any Department) are often easier to hire under hiring rules.  Be prepared to send a “cold” email prospective managers in areas where you’d like to work. It may be nerve-wracking but if you are professional in your approach you have nothing to lose and much to gain. Here are my tips about “cold emailing.”

  • Target yourself to managers who you’d like to work for making explicit links between your experience and the work you’d like to do for them.
    • Use a specific email title to get their attention –  what exactly are you seeking and when?
    • Write a short pitch email to hiring managers to explain why you think you are a good match for their team.
    • Create a short (2-3 pages max) cv for circulation  so managers can quickly decide if they should ask you in for an interview or save your CV for later consideration.
    • Do some of your own research on what it takes to be employed in the area that you want to work in and showcase what you have that fits the bill with respect to education, certifications, particular skills and knowledge.  Your best ally will be looking at government job posters for jobs to which you aspire and trying to find workers in your areas of interest to speak to about their jobs.
  • Create a polished product (no typos, clean format) and highlight these key bits in your cover email or CV so that they can easily be found:
    • Any government security clearance you have acquired and expiry date.
    • Your language profile (specific results if tested federally but in general otherwise) and expiry dates.
    • You government experience of any kind and specifying if you have been a student through a government program.
    • Your availability for work and what kinds of work you’d accept (part-time, shift).
    • Whether you are currently employed in government and at what level and tenure.
    • Whether you have qualified in any pools and if so, the details. (A pool is a group of qualified candidates who have been through some combination of screening experience and education, exams, interviews and reference checks as well as possibly language testing.  Inventories are not the same as pools.  They have candidates that have been screened less thoroughly).

How to keep our attention once you’ve gotten some interest:

  • Respond quickly to requests for further information.
  • Show up for our meetings or interviews or give good notice that it won’t be possible.
  • Do a bit of preparation online before you come meet with us so you know a bit about our work and we are not starting from scratch.  For the Department where you are seeking work, see what has been in the news, the Budget, the Speech from the Throne and read the “Mandate Letter” for the relevant Minister.  Look in the government directory (though not always up to date) to see how one part of the organization fits in the bigger picture.
  • Bring a recent CV to our meeting.
  • Bring your “A” game to every dealing with exchange with every member of our office.  Treat these interactions as your auditions for working on our team –  we sure do.

Other things you can do:

Update your Linkedin profile and say either explicitly or more subtly that you are looking for work.  Though there were many years when some of us were thinking “I don’t get it” with respect to Linkedin, friends and colleagues are mentioning of late that they are getting more calls from agencies and recruiters based on their Linkedin profiles.

Remember that your potential network extends to every person you have ever met – now is not the moment to be shy about saying you are looking for work.

If there is an area that you are particularly keen on working in, ask for a short “information meeting”  with a manager so that you can introduce yourself and learn more about the organization.

Think about upgrading your skills.  Remember that many courses of education are tax deductible.

  • Consider upgrading your French levels so that you will have a better shot at passing bilingualism exams. At a minimum you can use a free app like Duolingo to get on more solid footing.  You might also consider joining “Toastmasters” to learn how to present more confidently in your second language.
  • Consider investing in additional certification to increase your marketability for certain types of jobs.  As an example, Access to Information shops are sometimes hiring and the University of Alberta has an online certificate you can complete.

Don’t count yourself out too quickly

  • Government hiring takes a long time and regular contact with candidates is not ensured.  Consider doing a short check-in with the HR contact on a process after many months of hearing nothing.
  • Don’t assume you can’t get a job because you are not bilingual.  On job posters, read the fine print as it may indicate that a pool of qualified candidates will be created to include people with various language profiles.  This means that you might not need to be bilingual to be placed in a group of qualified candidate for future hiring.
  • If you cold call an employer that really appeals to you and hear nothing, there is no harm in circling back after a few months to say you are still interested and available.

Ask for help and be open to the feedback you are given

Many government workers or others well established in the job market will be willing to have a look at your CV and give you feedback on whether it is a good product and where they can see a fit with your skills in the bigger government context.  They may also have suggestions of where you could send your CV within their network.

Pay it forward 

You may feel that you have nothing to share when you are without paid work but you can still offer to help your fellow job seekers with access to your own network.  In the spirit of this magnificent book Give and Take,  workplace “givers” (versus “matchers” (who give only as much as they get) or “takers”) will succeed most in the workplace.

Keep your eggs in a few baskets

Don’t put all of your efforts into getting a government job – it can be a long process and in some cases, a long shot.

Start somewhere

Even if you have to start with an entry level position that does not well mirror your education and experience elsewhere, you are well advised to grab it.  It would be better to start getting experience and understanding the government context than to continue to sit at home.  As importantly, it will be useful to build your network and showcase your ability to be a good worker.

Do what you can to keep your spirits up

Though I am suggesting that you be diligent and persistent in your  efforts to seek government work, it is very hard to meet with discouraged job seekers.  You will want to pace yourself (apply only jobs for which you are qualified), and ensure that you strike a balance between a few hours a day of job hunting and an ongoing commitment to other activities that keep you healthy and nourish you.


Opposition is True Friendship

(c) Stéphanie Vé

There is a recent post making the rounds called “On Being a Bad Manager” reminding us that we are bad at most things by default and as a starting manager we are beginning again because the role draws little from the previous one as an analyst.  You need practice as a manager and when you practice you are already on stage.

Though many government workers will have experience in giving comments on written documents,  when I was promoted, I found I was really lacking in skills to review written work comprehensively.  I also lacked a clear path to training myself up and could see that the stakes were very high. I’ve taken the cue from other disciplines like editing, and ten years along as being a manager, I am now at the stage where giving feedback has been something I have been praised for and this has surprised me.

The surprise is not because this work is effortless but because this work is often enjoyable because my feedback from a place of genuine interest in the work people are doing.  I approach the exercise with the frame that I want to understand what the author is trying to express and to support them in crossing the finish line.  I chose the title of this post from a poem by William Blake which  I like it because it hints at the idea that a friend would invest in helping you improve a piece but would do it with an even hand.

The mindset is important given how feedback givers often come across:  Critics come onto the battle field after the battle is over and shoot the wounded.      Rather, you could come at truth and not as to conquer your opponent.   “You don’t always have to chop with the sword of truth. You can point with it too”.

I find specific feedback can often set at two uncomfortable extremes starting with people who believe they have nothing to say.  Sometimes when I delegate reviews, I am  met with the worrying reply “Looks good.”   Usually something gnaws at my stomach when I hear that and I dig deeper.  I am not the only one: “when editors breeze through I worry that they have not undergone the agonies requisite to launch one someone’s words into eternity.”

At the other end of the spectrum are people who have too much to say, believing the question “Any comments?” should be taken literally.  There is such a thing as adding too much value:

  • Using track changes to completely re-write a document without providing any cross-walks to higher level concepts that would help the writer understand what you are trying to do; or
  • Giving feedback to make a document “sound right” without asking yourself critically if you are just re-writing it into your own style (making the document different but not better).

There is also feedback given with such a devastating tone that it is difficult to receive in letter or in spirit. Too many times for comfort, reviewers at all levels do these things:

  • Use sarcasm (which is often mixed with hyperbole to devastating effect) to tear down people’s work if not people themselves; or
  • Frame feedback in a way that may feel like confrontation or accusation.

When I am delivering feedback, I have my feet in two very different spaces; one that I consider my essential work and the other that requires more nuancing. First, I am speaking from a subject matter area where I want (with my team) to fact check and support an accurate, well-reasoned product for the Department.  Second, I want to give feedback as a general reader from a gentle common sense perspective to advance a strong Departmental product.

What I am trying to do when I give feedback it is a tricky mix which starts with a huge gulp of humility before I embark, realizing that I am not the expert in this document (nor much else in my life on any given day including the answer to the sometimes vexing question “Where exactly is the can-opener?”):

  • I am generous in my assumptions and presume that people have worked hard and may have been limited by time or limited information.
  • I try to start with praising what is right with a document and what is worth protecting and preserving.  If you think that affirming what is working well is a waste of time, consider that letter carriers are more likely to get recognition than your colleagues. People who receive explicit thanks are more productive and expressing thanks makes you more relaxed and productive. Things that might be worth praising:
    • The facts are correct
    • The document is the appropriate length and tone for the audience
    • The options are credible
    • The document reads well and has a good flow
  • I approach with questions to support or replace direct feedback. I might say: “I don’t know if you realize that these two stats seem to contradict – you may with to clarify” “Did you mean X or Y when you used this technical term?” “I like this point. Do you think it merits more airtime with the audience?”  “All of the points in the background are valid but I think the key one is X and you might benefit from spending more time on the options than the other points in the background.”
  • I try to “show don’t tell” so that no one has to just guess what I am getting at.   I may suggest different phrasing or refer the authors to other documents to review or to true experts to get the information they need.
  • I look for elements that may confuse the reader and cloud the message understanding that:  Many good people write bad prose because: “Every human pastime […] devolves an argot to spare its enthusiasts from having to say or type a long winded explanation when they refer to a familiar concept in each others company.
  • If the document is an especially hard read (perhaps produced under tight time frames or perhaps hasn’t had sufficient circulation at the lower levels), I might give a few general comments and ask to see a next draft or offer to discuss further in a meeting.





Radical Candor


Though I read pretty widely in management literature, it is becoming more rare that I will jump into texts with much gusto.  I was therefore quite happy to be introduced by colleagues to the podcast related to the book Radical Candor about finding the right intersection between compassion and engaging employees with direct challenge.  Though some managers may naturally fall into the middle if this intersection, I’d reckon that most of us fall to one side of the equation and will benefit from strategies to help walk toward the other side of the equation a bit more.

I found the definition of challenging directly very useful: without calling into question your confidence that someone can do the job, leave little room for interpretation for how the work does not meet your expected standards.

The premise that we can find a happy medium between being obnoxiously candid and ruinously empathetic can seem simplistic but the author teases out the some key preconditions for success that I think are worthy of reflection.

The thing I found most useful is that we are able tap into the benefits of challenging people directly, only after we have taken the time to build a relationship with them.   As the author reminds us, the emotional labour of being a boss is often discounted.  The book offers good suggestions about how to do this which involve learning about each team member’s values and whether they see themselves on a slow growth trajectory (rock stars) or a superstar trajectory.

Rockstars love their work and have found their groove and unfortunately often don’t get fair ratings for being gurus.  It’s important not to take away their craft. In contrast, superstars who want to grow constantly.

Each team needs a mix of both types of employees and we should guard against building teams in which each team member mirrors our own outlook on career.  We should also be alert to employees who change their perspectives over time depending on their personal circumstances.  When kids are very young, you may want to be a rock star, as they age, you may be ready to move into a superstar role.

I also liked the amount of time spent on explaining why giving praise is a necessary part of the feedback loop. Specifically, praise is not about babysitting egos. It guides people in the right direction as to what they can continue to do and how to keep improving. I also really liked the passages suggesting that you should spend as much time getting your facts right when you praise as when you criticize. Think of the harm that is done when the wrong person is praised for the wrong thing or a single person is praised when an entire team carried a project across the line.

The book (especially the first half) and the podcasts are recommended.  I found them enjoyable given the stories (many cringe-worthy) that are used to illustrate  points.

There is enough to go around

credited to blackbrando on twitter

I like to be generous and am buoyed to be even more so as I read the research that supports that you can almost never be generous to a fault.  I don’t generally keep a mental scorecard on things I do, waiting for the return as a “matcher” might do and see more and more that being generous is truly generative and makes others more share and give more to you.

That said, I have work to do on overcoming some of my own remaining scarcity thinking as I reflect on why it persists in some areas and limit the growth and maintenance of a healthy work culture.

In a nutshell, scarcity thinking is the idea that there just isn’t enough to go around.  Not enough money, time, recognition.  The result is that anything you take, I lose.  Scarcity thinking can be especially damaging when paired with “downward spiral” thinking as discussed in “The Art of Possibility.”

Consider this scarcity thinking paired with downward spiral thinking.  I have a friend who is a creative, award-winning chef and is asked for her recipes and gives them freely.  I can hear some of your reactions to this.   That’s as bad as people stealing the recipes. They could then make the food and would stop coming to the restaurant.  They could open their own restaurant.  What if they do better than her restaurant and hers closes?  But what’s the reality? Having a recipe is nothing close to cooking the food yourself.  Once you see the ingredient list and the work involved, the odds of you cooking the dish may go down significantly.  You may realize that you are just curious as to how it’s done and grateful that someone with a well equipped kitchen bothered to think this up and create if for you.  What’s more, food tastes better when cooked by someone else. And there is no denying that a certain meal in a lovely restaurant with friends will not necessarily taste the same when you re-create the recipe at home.

In another recent experience of struggling with scarcity thinking, I was debating submitting my ideas in an exercise where we were asked to submit innovative ideas at work with the best/most popular ones getting resources allocated to see them realized (we don’t personally get money just help).   So I wanted to talk about the ideas and share the proposals to “kick the tires” but a nagging idea started in the back of my mind that maybe I shouldn’t share them because someone else would present the same idea but only better.  But, in end I knew I would need help to implement solid ideas so decided that the more people who considered these projects, the better.  And in government we don’t own ideas anyway.  So I shared my ideas with several colleagues and the ideas got more refined and I gave more strongly reasoned and more polished products as my final proposal (with a shout out to my brainy colleagues).

What about more objective things like time? That really is a scarce resource for most people so this should be an easier argument to make.  In the past few years I have challenged myself to really look at  how actual time unfolds to reality check my own hard-wired panic about lack of time and my hatred for being late for things.  While a certain percentage of the world wants to polish and perfect, I tend to continually stress about all the things I have to get done and would rather see progress and completion than break into a cold sweat because things are late.  I also hate being late because it disrupts the plans of others and seems to imply that my time is more important than the person left waiting.   That said, I have now concluded that, in general,  there is usually enough time if we wade in mindfully.

So how to embrace an abundance culture in the workplace?

Give more of what you need

I would start by saying, take a general leap of faith to believing that things often work out and prime yourself for that possibility. Some simple ideas that follow from this mindset: I like the idea from a recent piece which sounds counterintuitive but has the power to improve work cultures immensely – give more of what you need. You feel your work isn’t getting recognized enough? As an example of what I have experienced, I have tried to bend over backwards to be civilized/polite and friendly in many work emails and I can see language I used mirrored sometimes.  It costs no time to say “have a good evening” or “good morning” in an email though it sometimes appears that people have forgotten this is an option because they feel they don’t have time.

Remember to play the long game

Scarcity thinking has also be characterized as extreme short term thinking (with a focus only on the negative thing in the present moment). Though bumps and even significant losses can be devastating, avoiding risk and getting consumed when we get derailed can ignore the research that says that we are generally more resilient than we think we will be when confronted with bad events. The long term effects of most of our losses and worries are overblown in the present moment.

When researchers checked with both lottery winners and persons who had been through a catastrophic event (e.g. someone who lost both legs in an accident), they both returned to their original base levels of happiness with a year.

On a practical level, you might consider using the 10/10/10 rule.  Ask yourself if the issue you are fretting about will matter in ten minutes, ten months and ten years.  This has been a powerful one for me.  For a stretch I made a mental commitment to checking in with myself to really examine the long term outcomes after a period of great worry or actual loss either professionally or personally.  Leaving aside extremes (sudden deaths), I would be hard pressed to find more than a couple of examples of things that really really mattered even after the ten month period.

Be a “time stretcher”

One of the managerial styles that I most admire and have tried to emulate is “time stretching” bosses who have really do have limited time and may start meetings late but will make you feel as if they have time for you.  Result being that you are not rushed, you think clearly as you are making your points and the meeting actually takes less time than it would if you were getting cut off and panicked about your briefing.  Does that mean you won’t adapt ten minutes of presentation material to the five you have available? You absolutely will need to but you don’t need to have your words clipped to remind you that time is limited.

I apply this thinking when I am tutoring young kids to improve their reading. I have a deep interest and commitment to literacy but minimal training as a tutor.  And the greatest gift I can give a kid learning to master their letters or read better may just be time.  Puzzling out words is gruelling and though I can offer strategies, I probably offer more spaces to think and scan the page than actual talking.  I think that the quiet space may also function as a confidence giver to tell the seven year old that he already knows lots already to help puzzle this out without my continual commentary in the background.

And for the instances in my life when I really didn’t have enough time – sudden deaths in my immediate family would be the prime example – I still rely abundance thinking as my solace for these difficult passages.  I want to commit even more to reframing my mind to think abundance in the moment and be present for the time I have with people I care about including the people I love to work with.


Find the Reverse Leaders in Your Midst – Scott Edinger – Harvard Business Review

Find the Reverse Leaders in Your Midst – Scott Edinger – Harvard Business Review.

A good piece on identifying (growing) the leaders from any chair. Some of the elements to be nurtured in employees (who can also be groomed as future leaders) are encouraging those who:

  • Understand that they can influence through good interpersonal skills instead of waiting for a certain position.
  • Are results oriented and display high levels of integrity; and
  • Are well versed in an area important to the business.


Now for a completely different job…

This is a great piece on how you would go about securing a job in a completely different field. 

I am not a skilled career counsellor by any means but I do meet a fair number of people who are discouraged about where they have landed in their career and feel that they are too old or too poor or have too many responsibilities to significantly change their career paths for the better.

Though I have appreciated books that have helped me shift my perspective to one of seeing possibilities  and on the interplay between your identity of your search for meaningful work these are not for everyone.

In contrast, this piece is a practical, step-by-step analysis of how you might go about finding work in a field very different than the one you have trained in or worked in.  It is about seeing possibilities and looking at job posters as “resumes in reverse.”

The article gives clear tips on how to use LinkedIn to find experts who may be willing to grant you information interviews and how you can learn the basics of many jobs on your own steam. I like the explicit instruction that you’ll need to create time and keep yourself accountable to stay on track.  I often see people get discouraged after their efforts to land a job or make a change don’t bear fruit after a few months or a few interactions.

It’s a slog and I don’t have any metrics to help you understand how much and how long it is required but it is usually a longer journey than you’d initially hope.

If you really want to make a radical job move this piece is a good reminder that it could happen mostly on your own steam.