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The 5 key points Harold makes are:

1. Assume good intent with your manager
2. There's give and take in a relationship
3. Teach people how to respect you
4. Show leadership
5. Talk to your manager about being promoted

Ask your question: http://www.drharoldhillman.com/ask-harold-show.html

YouTube Link: Do Flexible Work Arrangements Limit Advancement? | Episode 7

Ask Harold Episode 7 Transcript:

Hi everybody, Harold Hillman here. And thank you for joining me on episode 7 of Ask Harold. On this episode I will answer a question from Kylie who believes that flexible work arrangements are keeping her from advancing.

Today’s question for our seventh Ask Harold episode is from Kylie. Kylie faces a challenge that is pretty common, especially with millennials and working mothers making up a huge chunk of today’s workforce. Are companies’ policies on flexible work arrangements flexible enough? Here’s Kylie’s question:

“Hi Harold,

I work in a company that I have mixed feelings about. On the one hand, I really enjoy the work that I do: it’s fulfilling, challenging, and I get great satisfaction from seeing the end product. I work in the IT field if this helps.

On the other hand, I’m not really recognized for the work that I do for my managers. We have flexible work arrangements which let us work from home, which I really appreciate because I have a small child I look after on some days.

However, it seems that management only really recognizes and rewards people who work from the office and show some face time rather than output of work and being able to meet deadlines.

There seems to be a disconnect between encouraging flexible work arrangements, but then penalizing those who choose to work from home.

I think I may have missed a recent promotion because of this issue.

My question is: how can I make sure that I’m not getting the short end of the stick because I need more flexibility in my work arrangements?

Do I need to do more face time in the office even if it doesn’t have an effect on the quality and timeliness of my work?

Wow, that’s a great question Kylie. It’s a good example of what happens when you put a new policy or framework to the test, and that’s obviously what’s happening in your company right now.

So, look, you have got to really weight in – you’re putting the policy to the test, and I believe your feedback is important to make sure that it doesn’t work against you and it doesn’t work against the company, particularly if they lose somebody as valuable as you.

So Kylie, here are 5 things that I’d like for you to think about:

1. The first thing is: assume good intent. So new policies on paper don’t necessarily match the history of how things have been done for decades around there. That certainly is the case for older managers who grew up with more traditional models of how work gets done and where work gets done.

So, they only know one way – and their mental models are locked in like ice blocks. And the only way you unfreeze their mental models is through feedback on how the policy is working. That feeds into the second point, which is:

2. There’s give and take in a relationship. That’s an inherent part of any relationship between two people, or between you and the company.

So have you calibrated with your manager about what’s working and what’s not? Have they been flexible enough in terms of what you need, and have you been flexible enough around some things that the company may need? It requires a give and take on both parts which means that you do need to do more frequent calibrations with your manager, especially with a new policy that you are both trying to make work.

3. The third thing is related to that and that is: you teach people how to respect you. This is an old adage that a good friend of mine says all the time:

“People won’t know if they have to do a little bit more give and a little less take unless you give them some feedback”.

So don’t become a victim in this scenario, Kylie. Make sure that you’re helping your manager understand some things that he may not see unless you stop him and get his attention on that.

4. The fourth thing I’d like for you to do is: show some real leadership. You can add some clout to your effort to raise awareness about how flexible work arrangements can be improved. If you get the perspective, let’s say, of some other people who have tested the new policy as well. It just shows leadership to say that you want to help the company be successful – and that requires frequent and proactive conversations. And getting the prospective of other people might also stand out because it’s helping the company be more successful. And who knows, you may even be recognized more for doing something like this because it shows your scope is bigger than just your job.

5. Finally, Kylie, I really really suggest you talk to your manager about how you can best qualify for the next promotion. Rather than guessing why you didn’t get the last promotion, be proactive and ask how you can best qualify for the next promotion, taking flexible work arrangements into consideration.

So, is there a capability issue you need to address, or is there something about these roles that require you to have a stronger presence on-site? Have those conversations. Not in a confrontational way, but from a vantage of just trying to understand if a promotion is likely to put the policy, the flexible work arrangement policy, to a more rigorous test.

Companies won’t learn how to adjust good policies to meet the needs of real humans unless they hear from real people like yourself, Kylie.

Thanks for that fantastic question and thank you all for watching Ask Harold. On the next episode I’ll answer a question from a viewer who is struggling to work with a passive-aggressive co-worker. Can’t wait to dig in to that one!

Remember, if you like this video, tell others about it and subscribe to Sigmoid’s YouTube channel. And if you have a question of your own, or want to see my other videos and articles, go to my blog at www.drharoldhillman.com

Take good care, and see you all very soon.