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Archive for February, 2017


Dealing with People You Don’t Like

There will be times when you must work with people you don’t like and who may not like you in return. Despite your personal feelings, you need a way of building a productive working relationship with them. Here are some tips to help you work with people you don’t like.shutterstock_2927347

  • Accept the person as they are. Often, you don’t get along with someone because you have differing beliefs and values. This can be generational. For example, Baby Boomers believe that you should put in long hours and make your job the most important part of your life. Younger employees, like Millennials, believe that the job is just one aspect of their lives, not the most important one. You don’t have to agree with each other; just agree to disagree and get the job done. Check out my program Bridging the Generation Gap.
  • Always be polite and civil, no matter what you feel when you are with the person. There’s never a good reason to be rude. Even if someone has behaved rudely toward you, remain professional and positive. Focus on facts and observable data and set aside your emotional responses.
  • Know what pushes your buttons and gets under your skin and refuse to let it. This is easier than you might think. When you feel yourself getting angry or find a sharp retort on the tip of your tongue, just take a breath. Inhale and exhale once or twice, and release those negative responses. Starting a verbal battle won’t help and will only widen the divide between you. If necessary, excuse yourself and walk away for a time out.

If you find it increasingly difficult to work with someone, talk to a person you trust about what is going on. Explain how you think you are being treated as objectively as possible, focusing on what you have observed and experienced rather than your emotional reaction. Sometimes just talking about the situation can provide a new perspective. See my blog post How to Handle Office Bullies for more information.


Feeling Burnout?

Burnout is a symptom of stress and can be caused by a variety of issues. According to the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety, 26 percent of workers surveyed stated that they often or very often feel burned out or stressed by their work.

Not making time for yourself is a common factor in burnout. Are you working long hours, sacrificing personal time to get work done, not getting enough good sleep, eating a poor diet, and not exercising? If so, burnout is practically guaranteed. The harder you work, the harder it is to work.

Sometimes, the feeling of burnout is temporary, for example, if you’re working hard to meet a deadline. In this case, burnout should end when the deadline is reached. However, if you find yourself working like this most of the time, you need to act–even if you love your job. Prolonged burnout can lead to fatigue, mistakes, negativity, irritability, and health issues. If burnout is taking a toll on your life and performance, you must take charge of the situation and put yourself first.exhausted

  • Disconnect from everything work-related. This will likely feel uncomfortable, but unplug from all work for an evening, a day, a weekend, or even an entire week, depending on how stressed and burnt out you are. Don’t check e-mail, make or take phone calls, and lock work away in a drawer. Use this time to recharge and reconnect with what’s important.
  • Define what success means to you. Your feelings of burnout may come from not honoring your values and priorities. Take time for analysis and realignment. Set goals and identify specific actions that support what is most important to you. Talk with the important people in your life, so they understand your priorities and needs. Being with people who care about you helps you gain perspective and focus on what’s important.
  • Set boundaries for yourself and honor them.Do you always step in and help no matter what else is going on? If so, stop. Assess whether the request will require more than you want to give. If it places too much pressure on you, doesn’t support one of your values, or isn’t necessary for your major business goals, decline. It’s okay to say no if saying yes is not in your best interest. See my blog post Say No without Turning People Off for more information.

Prolonged feelings of burnout may need to be evaluated by a healthcare professional. If you have taken steps to mitigate what’s causing burnout, and you don’t experienced results, call your primary care physician for a checkup. See my blog post Take Action to Manage Stress for more information.


How to Ask for Referrals

Referrals are the lifeblood of long-term business growth and success, but some people find it hard to ask for them. Here are some tips to make it easier.Ladder of Success

  • Ask for referrals from clients who know your value and are pleased with your products and services. While referrals from long-term clients who have a solid history with you have more credibility than those from more recent clients, don’t overlook anyone who has done business with you and is happy with the result.
  • Face-to-face is best, but if this isn’t possible, I recommend a phone call over an e-mail. E-mail is a cold communication, and a request made by e-mail is more likely to be ignored.
  • Keep your request brief. Thank the customer for their business and ask if they would be willing to give your name/card to others who might be interested. Say something like, “I want to thank you for your business and am pleased that you are happy with [fill in]. I’d appreciate it if you would refer me to others who might need [fill in].” Give them some business cards to pass along.

Asking for referrals is a numbers game. The more you ask, the more you will get. Make sure you ask new clients who referred them to you and personally call that person to thank them.

Need help with customer service? Check out my new program Creating a Positive Customer Service Experience.


Never Say This to Your Manager!

Have you ever said something and instantly regretted it?

Everyone has.

What happens if your verbal slip-up was in front of your manager, or worse, directed to your manager?No

Negative comments, inappropriate suggestions, and blurting criticism can damage your relationship with your manager and may even harm your career. Here are some statements to avoid.

  • “That’s not my job.” No manager wants to hear this statement—even if it’s true. Demonstrate your ability to be flexible and a team player doing what needs to be done for the good of your team and department. If the request affects deadlines, describe possible negative consequences and suggest an alternative.
  • “I’ll try.” This statement shows a lack of confidence in your ability to accomplish something. It’s a “weasel” word used when someone thinks they might fail. It lets them say, “At least I tried” when they do. Ask questions about the scope of the request to reassure yourself that you can do it. As Master Yoda said, “Do or do not. There is no try.”
  • “I can’t work with [name].” This statement shows reluctance to be a team player. Your department’s success relies on your team’s ability to work together and get results. You won’t like everyone you work with, but you must find a way to get along with them by looking past any personal idiosyncrasies and dislike to forge a productive relationship with them.

Think before you speak. You’ve heard this before—usually after you’ve said something you shouldn’t have. The key is to take a breath before you open your mouth, especially when you want to jump in and comment. Just take a breath and consider the effect of what you are about to say. This pause can ensure that what you say won’t derail your career or damage your relationship with your manager.