- The Washington Times - Monday, May 10, 2004

Workstyles is more than just a working style. It is a combination of your career purpose mixed with your personal history and professional experiences. As an advisor and analyst of workforce trends, it is clear to me that everyone defines their own workstyles very differently. Most hourly and junior salaried employees describe their workstyle as “relaxed,” “intense,” “happy,” “scared,” “hurried.” Others, especially financial and engineering types, use mechanical phrases: “sequential,” “logical,” “measured.” Long-time corporate executives answer with corporate lingo like “appropriately circumspect,” “contemplative,” “cautiously optimistic,” “respectful of stakeholders.”

So each week, as we answer your emails and offer career advice to help you navigate through, around and up the corporate ladder, take stock of your own workstyle and the words you might use to describe your behaviors, choices, and purpose.

Dear Jay:

My situation is touchy because my co-workers say they want me to make the decisions for them, and when I don’t do it, they get mad. In our company, everyone is a co-worker, there are no bosses. That is how I like it. I would rather have other people choose for themselves. Why do people think that my answers are any better than theirs? What can I do to take away the burden of making every decision for everyone on my team?

Al Murphy

Washington DC

Dear Al:

First, be thankful. Keep in mind, you are what few people are and many wish they were: a born leader. As you have discovered, wearing the heavy mantle of leadership is tiring and a bit scary. Your co-workers have unanimous confidence in you which is the result of their own innate workstyles. Also, through your workstyle, you have effectively demonstrated decisiveness, strength, and a fairness in your interactions. So my advice would be to get comfortable with your natural leadership abilities and go for it because you are one of the lucky ones.

Dear Jay:

I have been at my company for over 20 years and my seniority has made me “well-connected” which leads to friends and family asking for my “help” in finding them jobs. I have always used my experience to offer advice to people in my life but I think putting their resumes on top of the stack, just because they know me, isn’t fair to the people who have worked hard and earned their way to that place. How do I handle the constant pressure?

Leanne — Arlington, VA

Dear Leanne: Your ethics are commendable and clearly appreciated which is why you have been with the same company for over 20 years. The old saying it’s not “what you know” but “who you know” has a place in business but not in recruitment. You are right to offer guidance but not actual placement. If filling positions were as easy as having contacts, then pre-employment personality and behavior testing would not be necessary, but it is. With all of the costs and employee time required for proper new hire training programs and intensive orientation, it is imperative that companies source candidates properly otherwise firing and re-hiring over and over again takes too great a toll on company morale and the financial bottom line.

Stick to your guns and your ethics. Not only are you helping your company and the shareholders but you are saving your friends and family from the embarrassment that can happen if they are carried to the finish line instead of doing their own walking or running.

Dear Jay:

I want to request a telecommute arrangement but I know my productivity will be questioned. How can I overcome that obstacle without a lot of hassle?

Marcy — Bowie, MD

Dear Marcy:

Telecommuting has become more available at companies, evening in some government offices, but not without lots of red tape. Documenting productivity has become important on all jobs but for telecommuters it is essential. Suggest timesheets for submission on a weekly basis or an activity report each week or month (depending on your skill-set, length of projects, etc.) Once you build the template, it won’t feel so much like a hassle and your accountability will keep your telecommuting status in good standing with your supervisor. Good luck.

Won on Won with Whitehead Quote of The Week:

Andrew Egber, First Vice President of Investments, UBS Financial Services in Rockville, M.D.

“When you begin a new business, job or sales career, it is more important to focus on your activities and efforts to “build your business” rather than your immediate results. Ultimately, if you are doing the right thing in terms of effort, then positive results will surely follow. Your goals should be the success of your efforts and the results will come.”

Jay Whitehead is America’s most-read, most-watched and most-listened-to expert on workstyles. Email your questions to [email protected]

Listen to Jay Whitehead on web-radio every Tuesday 5pm to 6pm EST when he hosts Won on Won with Whitehead on www.businessamericaradio.com . “If You Love What You Do, You’ll Never Work A Day In Your Life” is Jay’s topic for this week. Join Jay when he interviews performers, publicists, and fundraisers. Email questions in advance to Jay and his guests at [email protected]

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