Foreword Review — Fall 2012
After years of being a consultant and coach assisting employees in identifying blind spots and behaviors that may inadvertently be holding them back from reaching their career goals, Canaday shares her experience in a book that is part case study, part workbook, and entirely practical.
This valuable self-help book is geared specifically to employees who believe they are exhibiting a strong work ethic, yet are disillusioned by stalled career paths—particularly managers and mid-level employees who have been striving to advance to the next level in their fields but continually find themselves being passed over for those positions. Canaday seeks to identify these obstacles and suggest adjustments that will help readers reach their professional goals.
The author frames each chapter in terms of a potential perception gap: a positive way to look at a trait or behavior alongside a negative way the same action may be interpreted by coworkers and employers. Using actual case studies from her own consulting practice, she clearly illustrates the potential problems and offers concrete evidence to show how the employees successfully changed their behaviors.
Advising readers to conduct their own “perception analysis,” she notes, for example, how a highly educated employee can be perceived as both well qualified, and elitist. In another example, she shows that being high-energy and driven is not always considered a positive, especially when those employees are deemed to hold unrealistic expectations of others who work for or with them.
At the end of each chapter, a Perception 9-1-1 section summarizes the key points and offers realistic advice, followed by detailed exercises to assist readers in assessing their own strengths and weaknesses. Tips focus on developing “emotional intelligence,” or intangible leadership skills such as being more self-aware and being more tuned in to the reactions of others, including reading their body language and other nonverbal cues.
Rather than presenting weak spots as something employees should seek to conceal, a strong theme that runs throughout the book is the need to enlist the help of coworkers and friends who can provide needed feedback.
In this straightforward guide, Canaday empowers readers by encouraging them to identify their potential weaknesses in order to implement a plan to change. To achieve workplace success, she advises readers to engage in perception analysis not simply as a quick fix for a single problem or flaw, but as a constant, ongoing process.