Archive for the ‘Work Ethics’ Category

In office, we meet diverse people; whether we like it or not, most of the times we have to deal them with grace- even the difficult ones. Back Stabbers. Know-it-all. Moaners. Procrastinators. Bullies. Negative. Quiet Ones. These are the common types of difficult people we encounter everyday. To maintain professionalism and uphold etiquette, we give you some helpful advice that you may consider when confronted by any of these people.

 1. Give them the benefit of the doubt.

Acceptance is the key word. They come in the office as they are so do not expect that because they have met you they will change the way you want them to become. If there are differences, recognise that each is unique on its own. In case of conflict, avoid thinking of fighting back too soon; give them the benefit of the doubt, instead. For example, as a boss,  you can do this by first listening on the story and understanding main points. Don’t put the blame easily. Remember your job is to mentor and not to judge. A good leader helps fixes the breakdown and not to fix the blame for the breakdown. With this in mind, conflict resolution comes with ease.

2. If you think you are right, assert but stay courteous.

How many relationships have been destroyed because both parties are thinking they were correct? Mostly, it is the battle of the egos that is the root cause of conflict. Everyone can avoid this by maintaining respect while asserting reasons. In the end, what will it bring you if you were indeed correct? Pride? No matter who is right is often not an issue; how to settle it without compromising healthy relationship is.

3. Show them genuine kindness but set boundaries.

They say, “Gentleness and self control, against these things there is no law.” If we show people kindness, compassion, gentleness, humility and patience, who would argue with that? The emphasis is on genuine kindness because people may easily recognise if it was fake. Setting boundaries is also important because others often take for granted this trait. The character of a wise person is to distinguish not only what’s, why’s and how’s but also when’s  and where’s of thinking, saying and doing things.

4. Spot the source of the conflict then try to resolve it in advance before it’s too late.   

In this tip, we will notice that the emphasis is on the source of the conflict and not on the product. This is because knowing it will result in many lessons we can derive from including avoiding the setback before damage could be done. For example, if the source of the conflict between two different people is topic about religion or politics, then avoid the conversation about these. Choose the light issues, instead. A funny joke or a leisure trip to Boracay or anything you both can relate to can be alternative subjects. Spotting the source from the very beginning can eliminate negative vibes in the end.

5. Choose the right words to say in a proper timing.

Again, a wise person knows what to say and when not to say it. If we choose the right words in a proper timing, we can avoid the worst scenario we can ever deal with. Do not compromise yourself; you are what you’ve got. So, the next time you have to deal with difficult people, breathe. Inhale. Exhale. This will relax your mind and allow you to be reasonable. In the end, you would not want to carry the burden of the consequences of not choosing the rights words during the right time, would you?

6. Don’t take criticisms personal; learn from it, instead.

The difference between the professionals from the non-pros is the attitude. If something not good about you is noticed and is criticised, consider their opinion. If you think they were fair and reasonable enough then improve. Avoid being defensive. Remember that it is OK to fail because it is the pathway to success. The most successful people in the world are those who have failed the most, so never be afraid of it. Professionals are risk takers, they don’t take criticisms personally and they learn from mistakes and failures for the better.

7. Stay calm in the eye of a storm.

Another character of a professional is patience. Sometimes, negative people want to trigger response from you immediately. When you react without thinking ahead of time, you will be giving them what they want. During the storm when thunder and lightning are most prevalent, you would want to go in the centre of it, instead so that you may experience peace. It is the same as in any conflict. You do not want to stoop on their level, do you? So, stay calm. You have the option to uphold the Miranda right in the first place, that is- To remain silent (when in doubt) since everything you say can be used against you.

8. Show humility by accepting your faults if you are wrong; then be accountable.

Try saying this magical words and you will be surprised how effective it is in resolving conflict.

“You’re right. It is my fault and here is what I will do about it.”

Or even if you are convinced that you are correct, the mere act of humility is great and people will appreciate it, no matter how rude or cruel they are.

9. Take the courage to confront the person when they become too offensive; learn when to step back as a defense strategy.

This is the last option when you try to apply the passive and giving-them-the-benefit-of-the-doubt strategy and these fail. Sometimes, difficult people need to be confronted with because they cannot measure what you can do and cannot do unless they see any actions from you. To confront does not mean you have to declare war. It is just to send them the message that you feel offended by their actions (or inactions) and you want justice to prevail. But sometimes, if you think you cannot handle anymore dealing with them, it is better to stop the fight and quit. You want to detox all that are causing you stress, choosing to get them away from you or you from them could be the best possible solution.

10. Internalise that conflict could be a blessing in disguise.

Bo Sanchez, a writer and a Roman Catholic preacher, writes about how to deal with difficult people in a Christian way. Whatever religion or ideology we have, recognising the special gifts that difficult people give us or teach us will somehow lighten the hurts and brighten up our day. These gifts are the following:

1. Gift of learning to love unconditionally. We can easily love nice people; and learning to love the unlovable  is a great trait. If we feel compassion towards difficult people and we recognise that they too, have needs to be understood and loved, then this world will be a better place to live in,

2. Gift of learning to protect yourself and say, “No” to abuse. Again, setting boundaries from right or wrong is the lesson here. When you think they were biased, unfair and unreasonable, then it is about time to protect your own face.

3. Gift of learning your weaknesses. Once you learn your weaknesses then you will develop your strengths; learn threats and see opportunities.

4. Gift of being closer to Divine Providence. During dire needs is the time we most cling to our God for His intervention. And during the times when our faith is tested, our endurance has a chance to grow and develop our strong character, keeping us ready for anything.

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How many careers, relationships and future job opportunities have been destroyed by office politics? Numbers are in question but the sad news is, this is present in every company whether small, medium or large enterprises, government or privately owned. We do not want to be a victim of politicking, so below are some tips on how to handle the situation that is inevitable such as this:

1.      Choose appropriately.

In everything, we must remember that we have a choice- the right words to say, right actions to push through, right message we want to deliver, right impressions we want to leave with the people around us and right timing, are decisions we usually have to make. So before we decide on anything, choose appropriately and always think the consequences.

2.      Avoid self-fulfilling prophesy.

This is a theory saying any positive or negative expectation about circumstances, events or people that may affect a person’s behaviour toward them in a manner that causes those expectations to be fulfilled. An employer who, for example expects the employees to be disloyal will likely to treat them in a way that will elicit the very response he or she expects (Source: http://www.businessdictionary.com).

If a superior thinks that a person is incompetent and told him about it, possibility is, he will think that the statement is true because his boss said so. Sad to say, this negative vibe is mostly present in office politics. We usually “gossip” about the weaknesses of other person we are not in good terms with. This practice must be stopped. Judging other people in a very limited scale is often scary and detrimental. We do not want to climb up the ladder of success having people stepped down, do we? Or do we want to be judged also by some other persons? To stop politicking is to stop finding faults of others and comparing ourselves to them. Most important, stopping the negative expectations in people within the four corners of the room.

3.      Be sincere in relationship-building efforts.

Not just because we want to establish our own “circle of friends” does not mean we have to compromise sincerity in relationship-building efforts. Yes, we may choose our chums and comrades but that is not an excuse to us meeting and befriending other individuals. Creating our own allied in the office does not mean we have to grumble people dissimilar with us. They say, office politics is a number’s game: the more connections, the better. Stop this mind set. Remember, we are in the office to do our job, so perform. Make friends instead of foes. Show sincerity in dealing with people.

4.      Stay positive.

Accept that flak is a normal part of life since we cannot please everybody. Never waste your time worrying over issues such as what other people are thinking or saying or doing against you. Relax. Let go all of the opposing views and don’t mind them if you think you are not in a defensive side. Breathe. Live your life as if no one really cares but be mindful that you stay on the right track.

5.      Take a stand.

Others advise to stay neutral when left to decide which side they have to choose. This is unhealthy; prefer taking stand, instead since we cannot serve two masters at one time. Life is two sided: it is white or black, left or right, good or evil. But choosing our side does not mean we have to always tell it in public. We can keep it a secret especially if we feel it is safer or it will resolve a conflict. Important is, we took a stand. To act is another issue.

6.      In case of conflict, remember the “good-nature” of people.

People may say or do bad things to us; that is something out of our control. The saying from Gandhi that says, “hate the sin, love the sinner”, seems difficult to do. In situations when we have to fight back, cursing and hitting below the belt are sometimes the best strategies to use. But again, avoid these things as possible. In case of conflict, we must remember the “good-nature” of people despite their flaws. If it appears that relationships will be seriously and permanently marred; re-evaluate and re-think. We don’t want to lose people about something that are usually irrelevant.

7.      Don’t forget your ethics.

Respect is the key word. We can be assertive but courteous and professional. When heat rise up, don’t add up coal and increase the flame. We may distance ourselves by going out of the room or not talking to the person at the moment we are very angry. Again, this is hard to do but practice helps. Remember, we spent years in mastering our courses so never allow a few show of disrespect to ruin everything we invested our time and effort in the past.

8.      Forgive and move on.

Humans err so we must forgive. But forgiving does not mean we have to forget. We should not forget because we need to learn from the experience. Only in this way we will prevent the mistake from re-occurring. Move on and let go of the hurts. Let the dead bury its own dead. Stop worrying over the things we can’t control. Life must continue, anyway.

 

Workplace politics is a fact of life but playing the game does not have to be dirty. Promote our talents, grow our personalities, and reach our goals but never at the expense of others. Remember the golden rule: Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.

1. Set goals.

Professionals are often faced with hitting targets and meeting deadlines. Accompli-shing these tasks will be difficult if the person lack the skill of time management. To be able to achieve loads of work in a very limited span of time, any professional must have a “task list” and use “calendar method” to monitor his use of time. We can write in a piece of paper our To Do’s list (or use application from phone, laptop or ipad). We may also use an alarm to remind us that by any specific time we should have accomplished specific task. 

2. Set priorities.

Yes, we have 24 hours a day but for sure, this is insufficient to accomplish everything we need to do. By setting our priorities according to importance and urgency, we will be able to know which task we will focus to.

The Eisenhower Method follows certain hierarchy that is the following:

 2.1. Important and urgent

2.2. Important but not so urgent

2.3. Not important and urgent

2.4. Not important but not so urgent

Also, following the Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (Family and finances; work and chores; pastimes and socialising; and social obligations) will also guide us to set our priorities in life.

3. Organise.

There is wisdom in the saying, “Orderliness is next to godliness. Order is prerequisite of beauty, justice and success. Being organised makes things easier. Try to work in a cluttered desk and we will find it difficult to make our job done well.

4. Learn to say, “No”.

According to Tony Blair, “The art of leadership is saying, No. Not saying Yes. Since it is easier to say Yes most at the time.”

Choose commitment wisely. Avoid to over commit. Learning to say, “No” on things that are not important and not urgent will not only save our time but also allow us to do other valuable things, thus, produces more positive results.

5. Allocate task.

One of the qualities of good leaders is to be able to inspire people to work for them. We cannot be jack of all trades. We have specific talents, gifts, skills and experiences. To be able to produce quality output, distribute task to people who are more capable of giving out better results. Not only we are unloading ourselves of work but also we are teaching people to be dependable and contribute for the betterment of the project, thus, uplifting their moral to excel in other future tasks.

6. Avoid procrastination.

The biggest killer of time is procrastination. If we have something to do, do it now and not later. If we allow time to pass doing nothing we will end up doing everything.

7. Focus. Avoid interruptions, if possible.

Your colleague wants to show you her newly bought gadget but you have to finish writing your paper. Tell this person you have a deadline today. Only after finishing the task should you see the gadget and spend more time with her. Interruptions every now and then will eat your ample time so it is really necessary to prioritise and focus on things that matters most.

8. Give time to thyself: reward after every accomplished task.

It is refreshing to unwind and relax after successfully completed every task. It will not only recharge energy for the next project but also will give time for one selves. Remember, we don’t just manage time for our work, family and other people. Learning to understand self will teach us to mature. To reward self means to provide satisfaction by indulgence in rest, food, social life, etc. So next time, we may shop for a new dress, delight in a yoghurt drink or leave for vacation after a week of long and stressful days of work.