Tag Archives: job performance

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navigating job performance

Navigating Job Performance Within Boundaries

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Most people come to work expecting to succeed. They put a lot of effort into making a difference, fitting in, and navigating the culture. Navigating job performance often involves subjectivity and attaining successful performance can be tricky.

A member of the waitstaff team decides the menu needs some new choices. He pushes management hard continuously insisting the choices by management are poor.

A creative marketing designer decides the price is too high and she assertively expresses unhappiness when preparing new advertising materials.

The junior networking engineer repeatedly challenges the long-term CIO in departmental meetings insisting that data security infrastructure is below par.

Knowing Boundaries

Many people have an opportunity to somewhat shape their job and their career. Having open discussions, a voice in the process, and providing constructive suggestions is a great thing.

Doing it so assertively that it creates friction with the boss may not always be the best approach. Certainly, there may be a time to stand up, give a little nudge, and express opinions, but knowing the boundaries is important.

Pushing to the point that you are identified as having a bad attitude likely won’t win you the next rung on the corporate ladder.

Navigating Job Performance

You work hard because you care. Putting in extra effort increases your job satisfaction and makes you feel responsible, productive, and that your contributions matter. Great.

In some cases, you’ll be able to shape your own job. In other cases, there just isn’t the opportunity for another manager, leader, or C-suite executive.

It may be about timing, or it may be that you still need more skill building. Keep in mind that navigating the culture may be the most important non-technical skill you can build.

Your performance is observed and evaluated by your boss, peers, or even the board of directors.

Make sure you’re performing well in what they are measuring. In many cases, this is boils down to your awareness of how to get along with them.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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improve job performance

How To Improve Job Performance And Competence

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It often feels like you are doing everything. You do exactly what the boss suggests, you follow the rules, and work within the guidelines. Is it enough? Chances are good that you still have room to improve job performance.

Mechanics of the Job

Many employees connect mechanically. Which really means that they are in compliance with the characteristics of the job task. Many would suggest that they have the competence to do the work.

She enters the orders fast and with accuracy.

He always jumps right in and gets things done.

She can answer any question about our policies and procedures.

He is great with the computers.

She never leaves before wrapping up what needs done that day.

More Than Just A Task

What this really means is that they are competent with the job task. In today’s workplace, being competent mechanically is probably not all that is required. Putting the round peg in the round hole, the square peg in the square hole, and stuffing everything in a box to ship is really just mechanical.

Employees sometimes argue, “I can do everything required, why am I stuck in this position?” Often what they are missing is the ability to navigate the emotional labor requirements of the job.

She enters the orders fast and with accuracy, but don’t you dare interrupt her or she’ll snap.

He always jumps in and gets things done, but don’t ask for help in another department because that is not his problem.

She can answer any question, but you have to make sure she is in a good mood first.

He is great with computers but he always makes others feel bad by talking down to them when they don’t immediately understand.

She never leaves before finishing all her work, but she often makes mistakes in her rush to get things done.

Improve Job Performance

Being in compliance of what is required for the job task is important but today you have to put in the emotional labor too. Emotional labor may be having patience with others, the ability to navigate generational differences, or put the needs of the many in front of the needs of your own work.

Being able to dot the I’s and cross the T’s, is good. Skills to put the nut on the bolt, thread the needle, and hit the enter key are also important.

Today the best path to improve job performance isn’t always just about the mechanics, it is also about your emotional intelligence and the ability to put in the required amount of emotional labor.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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5 Reasons Attitude Will Improve Your Career

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Attitude might be more important than talent. Talent alone might be the car without wheels, or the train without a track, you can see the potential but they’re not going anywhere. Most experts will agree that having a great attitude will improve your career.

Improve your career appreciative strategies

Elements and Reasons

Attitude might consist of many elements. Each element might also serve as a reason.

Here are five of my favorites:

  1. Motivation. Motivation and attitude are closely connected. When you illustrate that you are motivated it pulls more people towards the goal. Pull is almost always better than push.
  2. Learning. When you have the right attitude you are always interested to learn more. Knowledge, skills, and abilities are critical for success. Always keep collecting more.
  3. Eager. Eager might be tricky to define, but most people know it when they see it or feel it. A willingness to jump in and get things started demonstrates the right attitude.
  4. Integrity. It’s important to care. When you care about quality and ethical standards of your product or service your customers will feel it. Just good enough is not enough, at least not for the person with high integrity.
  5. Honesty. Honesty has a unique way of instilling trust. It doesn’t hide and it doesn’t tell only half of the story. It isn’t only about the lie versus the truth, it is about team character. Honesty breeds trust.

Improve Your Career

An organization with the greatest talent, but poor attitude probably won’t accomplish much. Would you want to be on that team?

Having both talent and a positive attitude might be considered to be a choice. Potentially both can be developed. Who has more potential?

If having the right attitude includes an interest in learning, I would choose attitude every time.

You might see the potential in great talent, but great talent with a poor attitude is likely going nowhere.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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Becoming A Smart Investment

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Many employees hope for an annual raise, or dream of obtaining a job promotion, but sometimes you have to ask yourself, “Am I a smart investment?”

Smiling professional business man and woman

Recently I wrote about the concept of deserving a raise and one of the ideas I offered was related to being a smart investment for the organization. Later a reader asked me about how to become a smart investment and so from my experiences I’m offering a few additional thoughts on exactly how to do this.

  1. Become the go to person. In many organizations your job often becomes what you make it. Of course in unionized environments this sometimes becomes more challenging but in many other scenarios you might have some flexibility within your job role. Extend your hand, offer to help, be the person to fill in for someone else. All of these actions will help you to learn more about the organization and become more valuable. Often after some period of time of effective execution, you become the go to person for nearly everything, which makes you, a smart investment.
  2. Learn more first. There are at least two schools of thought. The first is that you don’t do anything until you’re paid for it, and while that might sound like a respected position to take it may be the beginning of the end for those who act on it. The other school of thought is to learn more and do more first, then once you’ve already demonstrated a higher value the only step that is needed to complete the process is to obtain the appropriate compensation for your knowledge, skills, and abilities. In today’s workplace the earlier mentioned pay first (don’t do anything until you’re paid for it) mentality often becomes a pay never reality and your opportunities for growth will significantly diminish. This will often leave you feeling angry and resentful. Learn more, do more, be more, and then you’ll be paid more, because you’re a smart investment.
  3. Show commitment. Employers have easily figured out that employee turnover is expensive. Once they’ve made a commitment to having you on the payroll you can return the favor by demonstrating your commitment to the team. Employees, who volunteer for extra assignments, are willing to give an extra effort during a tight deadline, and perhaps most importantly demonstrate continued support to the organization will be the most valued. Socially people sometimes have to take a position, it may be a position in life or it may be a position about the organization you work for. Stick up for the organization by developing the attitude of, “I care about this organization and I know they care about me.” This makes you a smart investment.

One important point to make, you may have noticed there is not any reference to playing organization politics, nor is there any reference to being well liked. While both of these concepts may have some validity I would never suggest either as a strategy. My belief is that you must stay true to who you are and while being liked is not a bad thing, in order to have a solid organizational culture we sometimes have to trade being well-liked for being well-respected.

Considering that multiple schools of thought exist on this issue it will always be up to you to decide your best choice of action. Everyone will quickly recognize that being a smart investment becomes a two-way street that requires reciprocity from the organization. I always urge people to give the benefit of the doubt to the organization and to consider that organizations would be foolish to turn their back on you, after all, you are a smart investment.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and coach that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is the author of the newly released book, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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Is There Anything Worse Than No Feedback?

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You’ve been waiting far too long, why haven’t you heard anything? In the scope of your workplace life some might believe that the subject of feedback is relatively unimportant, but others strongly disagree.


Have you ever been given a new job task or duty and waited for some feedback from your supervisor? Have you applied for a job and anxiously waited for some news only to hear nothing? Have you made a phone call or sent an email that was significant to you and waited for a response that never came?


It seems that much of our society today has grown accustom to the idea that if you don’t want to deal with something, you just let it go. You never say anything, you never respond, you just do nothing. Some believe that this is the socially accepted norm, and others want to jump out of their skin with frustration.

A lack of returned calls, return email messages, and very limited job performance feedback represent costs that are significantly underestimated in today’s workplace. Much of this could be categorized and labeled as poor communication, but what is worse than the communication aspect is that there is an enormous amount of anxiety and stress associated with organizational cultures that support this style. Of course, someone might suggest that it is only stressful if you allow it or if your expectations are too high, or with a bit of sarcasm, express that it only matters if you care.

Generational Challenges

Through people that I’ve coached or otherwise informally surveyed it would appear that the more recent workforce generations typically are not as anxious about a return telephone call or an email when compared with those generations that have been in the workforce longer. In fact, for the more recent generations we might have to dig deeper to the medium of text messaging or social media channels to find their preferred communication platform, but even there they likely don’t expect it. On the other hand, they might feel a little anxious about a lack of feedback concerning their job performance.

There is a workplace stereotype often associated with this issue suggests that baby boomer supervisor’s want a culture of no news is good news, but millennial direct reports want immediate gratification. Stereotype or not, if this is real, it signals a communication problem and when ignored or taken for granted this often leads to higher levels of anxiety, more absenteeism, and even employee turnover.

I Don’t Want Feedback

This topic wouldn’t be complete without addressing those who believe job performance feedback is their worst enemy. I’ve heard the arguments in seminars. Some believe that any feedback at all is counterproductive, but especially distasteful and unwanted is feedback that signals any kind of performance improvement. They often offer that they give their best effort to all of their work and if it isn’t good enough, then it just is-what-it-is. They offer the challenge that they would be much more motivated if people said nothing and just allowed them to continue with their work.

I challenge that if there is something wrong, incorrect, or that could be improved wouldn’t you want to know? Would you feel any embarrassment if you were producing poor or rejected work for weeks, months, or years and no one told you? Imagine everyone walking on egg shells while your ego is pleased because you’ve received no feedback. No one said you had to like it, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t necessary. And with that said, yes, there is a difference between constructive feedback and negative or mismanaged feedback. Feedback experts will insist that it is not constructive criticism, it is constructive feedback.

I would like to suggest that there should be more returned calls, more email responses, and more constructive feedback.

Is there anything worse than no feedback? Sure, it is feedback that is mismanaged, but that is a different topic.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and coach that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is the author of the newly released book, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+

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