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Turning It Around - What To Do When Things Go Wrong At Work

21 Aug 2014

Turning It Around When Things Go Wrong At Work

According to the book "Thanks for the Feedback", one in four employees dread their performance review more than anything else in their career. You may have experienced negative feedback yourself, or be concerned about your recent performance due to some mistakes you've made. Regardless of the issue, the situation can be turned round - before you think about moving on, consider these tactics and feel better about your career.


1. Find another answer

The perception of your performance could be subjective, depending on the type of work that you do. If you are managed by more than one person, it could be possible to request a second opinion. If you are able to, this will make it evident as to the consistency of your feedback and personal understanding of how you are doing.

If this will not be possible, make a plan to investigate the aspects of your performance that have been viewed negatively, and then schedule a meeting to discuss your individual findings and improvements. It's important to measure and report your own work, so that you are consistently aware of your performance and are not relying on others. It could be that your manager isn't measuring your performance in the way it needs to be, and this should be addressed going forward - if there is a misconception regarding your performance due to divisional changes or a lack of understanding of what is possible in set timeframes, clarification is key when it comes to turning things around.


2. Find definition

25% of employees need greater clarity

2/3 of today's workforce feel overwhelmed by their jobs, as revealed by a recent Forbes study, and it seems that for many this is due to a lack of role definition. Job roles have had to adapt quickly and frequently to changing technology and business needs, without officially redefining the position - this is especially true of jobs affected by the recession, where companies had to operate with less staff while maintaining the same output. At least 25% of employees feel that they would view their job more positively if they had greater clarity regarding what was needed of them, and so if you feel that things haven't been going great at work, make a list of all the tasks you have to complete in your job, from top level to daily administration, and compare this to what your management team believe your role involves. This will help you to map out your exact role, so that you can go forward feeling less overwhelmed, with greater confidence and ownership over your tasks.


3. Find your work style

There has been a lot of research in recent years regarding the lack of support in modern offices for introverted personality types. Open plan offices, loud city centre locations and a heavy focus on presentations and group meetings can all contribute to different personality types struggling to focus and thrive. If you feel that your office is holding you back from producing your best work, and that this could be a significant contributor to any difficulties you have recently felt, consider whether it is because it is not suited to your personality needs - if you have some spare time, this personality test by VisualDNA is an incredibly helpful guide.

Choose a day to document your working day and how you feel about your working abilities at various intervals. From this, it will become apparent what elements are most harmful to your performance - for example, your desk might be too close to reception and thus interrupted more frequently than other employees. While it might not be possible to address all issues, your management team should be respectful to your needs and willing to try some changes.


Although it may not feel like it at the time, when things go wrong at work it's the perfect opportunity to make improvements - try not to dwell on negativity, when you could so easily turn it around. Good luck!


What tactics have you tried to turn things around in your career? We would love to hear about them - tell us in the comments below.

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