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Archive for February, 2019


Don’t Let Someone Hold You Up!

No, this is not about crime prevention. When people you work with don’t give you what you need when you need it, they are holding you up. In many cases, you often don’t have authority over them and can’t control their behavior. What you need is their cooperation. So what can you do?

  • Never give people the actual date you need something. Even the most accountable people can forget what you need when you need it or be tied up juggling their own priorities. Always give people a deadline that is a day or two before you actually need the information.
  • Make more assertive requests. Frame requests in a way that requires commitment. For example, don’t say, “This is due by Friday.” Instead say, “This is due by Friday, can you get it to me by noon?” When someone commits to a specific time for a deliverable, they are more likely to do it.
  • Remind them when it’s due. A day or two before it’s due, send a quick email, make a call, or drop by their cube and say, “Are you still able to get [fill in] to me by noon, Friday?”
  • Thank them.When someone gives you what you need when you need it, say thanks even if it happens every month or week. A little appreciation goes a long way for cooperation. 

What if you don’t get it by noon Friday? If you followed tip 1, you have a couple days of room. Politely remind the person they agreed to get it to you and explain the impact it has by being late. If someone chronically fails to get you what you need, you may have to talk to your manager since this situation is affecting your ability to be positively productive.


When You’re Just Too Tired to Work…

Let’s face it, some days you’re just too tired to get anything done. Maybe you partied a bit too much the night before, or you were up with a sick child, or the neighbors kept you up with their loud music. Whatever the reason, you still have to drag yourself into the office.

How do you get anything done when all you want is a nap?

  • Kick off the day with a healthy breakfast.Avoid sugar, carbs, and the fast food drive-thru that can spike your blood sugar. The quick boost of energy you get right away won’t stay with you and when it’s gone, your energy will crash. Instead, power up with proteins and fiber, like oatmeal with milk or eggs and multi-grain toast.
  • Yes, I know, you’re tired!I’m not telling you to hit the gym, but a brisk ten-minute walk can boost your oxygen intake, get the blood flowing, and energize you. Also see my blog post Sitting Is Bad for Productivity and Your Health.
  • Drink water, not coffee.While you might reach for the coffee pot and down a few cups to pick you up, coffee dehydrates you and can make you feel more tired if you drink too much. Switch to water to for a better, more hydrating pick-me-up.

The best cure, of course, is a good night’s sleep. If you experience insomnia frequently, a trip to your doctor is probably a good idea.


How to Handle Office Bullies

Bullies aren’t found just in schools, on playgrounds, and online. There are bullies in offices everywhere. Adult bullies can be sneakier and less obvious than their child and teen counterparts, but their actions are just as harmful to people and productivity.

Bullying behavior in the workplace includes:

  • Withholding information or resources that people need.
  • Spreading hurtful and/or insulting rumors and gossip.
  • Humiliating and disrespecting people in public.
  • Being hypercritical and negative toward a specific person.
  • Undermining a person with management and their team.
  • Isolating and blatantly ignoring a person.

Bullying behavior must be addressed and handled because it can destroy a person’s self-esteem and confidence and will erode morale, motivation, and productivity in the office. Here are some tips to help you handle this challenge:

  • Take action as soon as you become aware of the bullying. Delay can make the situation worse.
  • Research the situation. You need facts to ensure that bullying is really occurring.
  • Consider the sources of anecdotal reports. The interests and agendas of the people who give you evidence can color their interpretations.
  • Be completely fair, reasonable, and objective!
  • Document the bullying behavior and its consequences to both the person being bullied and to the work environment.

If you discover that bullying is occurring, follow your company’s policies and procedures for taking corrective action and ask for assistance from your HR department.

See my blog post The Dangers of Office Gossip for more information.



Does Positivity at Work Really Make a Difference?

It does, according to Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology that Fuel Success and Performance at Work (Crown Business, 2010). Based on his research and the happiness course he helped design at Harvard University, your positive attitude as a manager is a critical factor in how positive, productive, and happy your team is. One easy way of demonstrating a positive attitude is to notice the little things people do and show gratitude for them.

Managers who have the attitude of “Why praise people who are doing what they are paid to do” often have teams that do the bare minimum required. Some employees, however, will not have an opportunity to go above and beyond their normal job duties and achieve something amazing, so they are often overlooked and overshadowed by the team stars. When managers notice small accomplishments that typically go unrecognized, they can create a motivating workplace where all team members are stars in their own way.

By focusing on small wins, like finishing a report with no errors, and giving the employee a quick “thank you for a good job well done,” you motivate them to continue to deliver quality results and bepositively productive. By spreading recognition and praise, your employees will be happier at work and will be more productive. Your entire team will benefit.