Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Thinking Differently about Difficult People

Dealing with difficult people can cause us to lose focus, productivity, and increase stress levels. The ability to handle people we have negative feelings about can cause the office atmosphere to become unmanageable, stressful, and in some cases hostile. In order to effectively deal with the backstabbers, stubborn, mean-spirited, micromanagers, gossips, and the host of others that make the list, we must evaluate our own perceptions of these people. This means changing your attitude. When you change your attitude, you are able to focus on the issue and get the job done in a stress free environment. Get on the 'A' list. Here are three ways in which you can change your attitude:

1. Acknowledge that you cannot change other people’s attitudes.

This is an important factor. We are constantly trying to make people conform to our values/beliefs and this can be challenging, especially since people have their own morals and values. Also, by acknowledging we cannot change other people’s attitudes, this will allow us to keep our emotions balanced and in check.

2. Accept that people are different.

Everyone has different values, perceptions, and beliefs; these factors make up our personalities. Accepting that we are all unique and come from different backgrounds builds respect for that individual which gives us a different perspective of them.

3. Approach the individual(s) in a manner that is appropriate to meet your objectives and goals.
Now that you have acknowledged that you cannot change them and accepted their behavior as a part of who they are as a person, now is the time to develop a strategy on how you will approach them. Developing the approach starts by not taking their behavior personal. Most of the time it is not about you, unless you made a mistake or the person has become offended by your behavior, in this case, there needs to be conflict resolution - address the problem immediately. Second in developing the approach, practice active listening skills by clarifying and paraphrasing what you heard so that everyone is on the same page.

Prior to interacting with this person, you should have an agenda or objective and seek to accomplish the goal(s). This will give you satisfaction so that you can move on to the next task; hence, the increase in productivity.

When you get on the 'A' list you will begin to change your attitude which will cause you to 1) be less stressed, 2) be more productive, and 3) your professionalism remains in tact.

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Friday, July 16, 2010

10 Ways to Enhance Your Worklife

We will spend more time at work than we do at home. Enhancing your worklife will increase productivity, reduce stress, and maintain focus on job tasks. Here are 10 ways to enhance your worklife and feel more satisfied in your job.

1. Be proactive.
Look for ways to improve your professional development within your industry or field. Enroll in a class or attend a seminar. You are already on the right track by reading this blog – Thanks! Also, seek additional responsibilities and duties at work; show your employer that you are a team player and willing to go above and beyond the call of duty. Your employer will recognize your ambition and enthusiasm to help others and you will be awarded for your efforts.

2. Organize then Prioritize.

In order to effectively prioritize tasks, first you must organize your workspace. The ability to be organized allows you to focus and easily find documents and supplies you will need to complete projects. Organization means implementing an appropriate filing system (electronically and paper) and utilizing your task lists and calendar effectively so that you can locate items quickly when needed which increases productivity. Then you can properly prioritize your day and even the week (minus the mini crises).

3. Change your attitude.

We are always fighting battles we can’t win. The biggest problem is thinking we can change people, when in reality we cannot. Changing your attitude means changing the way you approach a situation or an individual. Put yourself in their shoes and develop a strategy on how interact with this individual. If your boss is a micromanager, give them what they want – facts, details, and frequent updates. Why? Micromanagers are people who are insecure and lack trust in their employees. If you provide frequent updates on your progress, they will develop trust in you and leave you alone (at least until the next project).

4. Learn something new.

Growing in the workplace is an ongoing process. You cannot expect to succeed if you don’t keep your skills up to date. Self teaching is easy via the internet. There are many websites that offer free online learning. HP offers free online courses in a variety of subjects. For more formal training, take a class or workshop. Then bring those skills back to the workplace and show your employer what you have learned and how you can apply those skills to your job. This adds to your performance review, resume, and skills.

If you can’t take a class, learn how to complete a new task or project at work. Shadow your supervisor or a tenured employee, and learn something new on the job. This will show your employer your interest in growth in the company and professional development. Again, the benefits will reflect positively on your performance review, resume, and add to your knowledge of skills.

5. Reward yourself.

Achievements are worth rewarding. When you complete a project, give yourself a treat. Did you handle a customer complaint effectively; buy something for your desk. You deserve rewards for accomplishments no matter how big or small. You will feel good about yourself and your work.

6. Conduct periodic self-evaluations.

Why wait for an annual review when you can be tracking your own progress? At performance review time, you can compare your self-evaluations with your supervisor’s version. Your supervisor will be impressed with your involvement in your own performance and you won’t be surprised by his evaluation.

7. Resolve stress related issues.

Stress causes us to loose focus and this is when mistakes are made. Health problems can occur, our attitude changes, and we become emotionally and mentally unstable in the workplace. Unfortunately, stress is unavoidable. When you are stressed, address the cause and resolve it. Rationalize the issue and think about solutions. Remain calm, if you need to remove yourself temporarily from the environment, leave the area for a few minutes, go for a walk to clear your head and focus on a solution. Take deep breaths, close your eyes and think of pleasantries. The main point is to resolve the issue before the stress and you become difficult to deal with.

8. Learn from mistakes.

If we don’t learn from our mistakes, how can we grow? The hard part is acknowledging that the mistake is a result of your own wrong doing, but this is the most important step in learning from mistakes. Own up to it! Apologize and devise ways in which the same mistake will not occur again.

You can learn from others mistakes as well. Take note of their errors and think of ways in which you would have acted differently. You may even be able to offer some advice.

9. Build positive relationships.
The workplace can become a stressful environment if you do not have positive relationships with the people who you spend a lot of time with – co-workers. Miscommunication becomes a factor and could make interactions unpleasant. Building positive relationships means thanking your co-workers for their help, giving them praise on a job well done, or just saying ‘good morning’ or ‘hello’ as you pass them in the hallway. When we have meetings and there is food left over, we invite people from the mailroom, reception areas, and maintenance staff to partake in the leftovers. This builds camaraderie, shows our appreciation, and they are willing to go the extra mile for you in your time of need or urgency.

10. Resolve conflicts.

Building positive relationships also means resolving the negative ones. If there is negativity in the workplace, fix it! Don’t let conflicts fester. Address the issue, sometimes the best place to resolve conflict is away from the workplace. Invite your co-worker to lunch or speak with them in the lunchroom or staff lounge. When resolving conflicts, the important thing to remember is to listen to what your co-worker and then create solutions to make the situation better. Be open-minded and do not accuse, point fingers, or assume the worse. Most conflicts are the result of miscommunication – so fix the problem by communicating.

Love what you do and you will never work a day in your life. Improving your worklife is essential to your growth and development. You will not only be more productive, you will be less stressed, and feel more fulfilled in your job.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Happy Anniversary to the Office Professionals Place - July 15

It was one year ago on July 15, that I decided to use my experience and expertise to empower and motivate office professionals all over the world. With consultation and proper mentorship, the Office Professionals Place was born!

This has been a great year, I have networked with many professionals, conducted presentations, started writing a book, hosted webinars, and provided advice to the people who matter the most in the workplace – YOU!

Come celebrate the Office Professionals Place one year anniversary by participating on the first teleconference call dedicated to providing “workplace wisdom” called The Worklife Line Chat.

Every Monday, beginning July 19, 7 p.m. CST
Topic: New Beginnings – Finding a New Focus

Dial-in #: 1-712-432-3030
Passcode: 346621

The teleconference is appropriately titled, New Beginnings – Finding a New Focus.

We will discuss the following:

• Preparing for new opportunities
• Developing a strategy or approach
• Changing our attitudes

The objective of Worklife Line Chat is to provide a perspective to view your worklife objectively. I invite you to attend and become enlightened!