December 22nd, 2014
No, we’re not going to tell you how to keep your New Year’s resolution to go to the gym, eat more vegetables, or spend more time with your kids.
We are going to suggest a dozen resolutions you can adopt that will make a difference to your career, your organization, and even your sense of personal satisfaction in your work.
These suggestions are all about your interactions with people – including yourself.
Ready? Let’s go! Repeat after us … Read the rest of this entry »
December 18th, 2014
Activity Time: 20 minutes
• Divide into small groups of 4 – 6
• Determine who will be Mary (bully) and who will be the victim
• Review and prep: 7 minutes
• Practice speaking up: 5 minutes
• Switch and review roles: 3 minutes
• Practice speaking up: 5 minutes
You are a senior-level employee, and you have been employed at your organization for over two years. As a result of a merger, a new Executive Director (Mary) has been named. On her first day, Mary sent out a memo highlighting her background and educational experience. Many of you noticed that although she had over 15 years of experience in management, she did not hold an advanced degree.
Ever since Mary has been assigned to oversee your department, she has consistently bullied most of the senior-level employees. Read the rest of this entry »
December 4th, 2014
It wasn’t that long ago when people at work greeted co-workers and customers with sayings like “How do you do?”, or “Good morning, Miss Jones”. In general, employees went to work knowing that they were expected to dress and act with a high degree of professional decorum.
The workplace certainly has changed from those days, and what was once considered proper business etiquette would now be thought ridiculously formal and stuffy. In fact, given how casual most offices are these days, you might wonder if “business etiquette” is even relevant any more.
We’d like to make the case that it is. Because etiquette is really just another name for courtesy, and courtesy is always relevant.
Last week, a delivery man came bursting into our office with music absolutely blasting from a player on his belt, shouting about needing a signature. Fortunately, our office manager was quick on the uptake and took him outside to sign for the package…but not before everyone within a 30-foot radius stopped their work to see what the ruckus was. Read the rest of this entry »
November 28th, 2014
You know those people in your organization who always have a smile and a cheerful word?
They’re showing you good customer service.
Do I hear you thinking, “But I’m not their customer!”?
Actually, you are.
If you work in an internal function within your company, fulfilling a role that has no external client contact, you might think that customer service isn’t relevant to you.
But we all have customers.
Every department within the company is called upon to assist other departments and make it possible for the people in those departments to do their job. Human Resources and IT are the most obvious examples. Here are a few more: marketing serves the sales department by generating leads, while the sales department serves the marketing department by providing feedback on what customers are saying. Read the rest of this entry »
November 20th, 2014
Some people find confrontation, disagreement, and opinionated discussion enjoyable. They thrive on the adrenaline rush and the opportunity to prove themselves.
Other people, though, prefer to avoid conflict and confrontation, especially in the workplace.
If you’re in the latter group, when you’re faced with a situation involving your values and ethics, it can seem as if doing what’s right and good is scary and hard.
So how can you take a stand for what you believe in, without getting embroiled in confrontations?
It’s easier than you might think, because doing what’s right starts with little things: giving credit to those who deserve it; keeping commitments to yourself and others; and demonstrating what you stand for through your everyday actions. Those around you will notice. You’ll gain a reputation for integrity. People will respect your principles.
And, in the event that standing up for what you believe in does mean challenging something another person is doing or saying:
1) Carefully prepare your thoughts.
2) Give your feedback tactfully and respectfully.
3) Link your feedback to outcomes the other person understands and is committed to.
4) Focus on the most critical issues. Read the rest of this entry »
November 18th, 2014
When it comes to leadership….how things have changed! Gone are the days when work got done simply because someone in a position of power “said so”.
Leadership today is about influence, not control; relationships, not hierarchy; and collaboration, not dictatorial pronouncement.
Today we talk about “servant leadership,” with definitions that include words such as flexibility, alignment, empathy, listening, and relationship.
And we also have a greater appreciation for the ways in which everyone is a leader, regardless of their role within an organization (or within their life). Read the rest of this entry »
November 13th, 2014
With the governor’s signature on the bill in early September, California added a requirement for anti-bullying education to the state’s existing harassment-prevention legislation; the law goes into effect on January 1st. Chances are, other states will soon follow. And regardless of whether your state adopts such a law or not, ensuring that your corporate culture actively discourages and prevents bullying is a smart move.
Here’s a short list of key steps you can take right now – whether or not you’re legally mandated to take action.
1. One of the primary challenges in preventing bullying is identifying when it’s happening. People won’t necessarily speak up when they’re being bullied. They may fear retaliation if the bully is their supervisor (which is the case about three times out of four); they may think no one will believe them; or they may simply not be sure if they’re dealing with a bully, or just someone short-tempered and stressed out. Read the rest of this entry »
November 8th, 2014
Whether or not we were one of the “cool kids” in school, we all remember the teenage angst and pain that came when we felt excluded by our peers.
Turns out that this pain and frustration isn’t just for teens.
A recent study from the University of Georgia’s School of Business shows that adults respond with “some pretty unsavory behaviors” when faced with the prospect of exclusion from their workgroup.
These behaviors aren’t driven only by the obvious exclusionary acts such as not being invited to a meeting or to join the crowd going for coffee. Apparently even uncertainty about the potential of being excluded from the group can cause enough anxiety that individuals start lying about their performance, undermining people outside the group, and cheating or taking risky short-cuts in order to prove to their colleagues that they’re worthy of being included. Read the rest of this entry »
November 4th, 2014
Are there things you know are good for you, but that you don’t always actually do?
Be honest! You know… flossing… exercising… eating more veggies… and creating SMART goals.
Yes, SMART goals: goals that are:
Specific: you know exactly what you’re going to do and why it’s important.
Measurable: you know how to tell when you’ve met the goal.
Achievable: you have (or can get) the resources needed to accomplish the goal on time
Relevant: the goal is directly related to the objectives of your job.
Timed: you know when you need to be finished.
We often assume the SMART goal process is only for big projects or for setting objectives during our annual performance review. But why not use the process even for small tasks? Read the rest of this entry »