I had a great time being interviewed on Heard TV. Here’s a link to the interview:
Archive for the ‘Resources’ Category
Recently, I felt like thinking outside of the box required too much energy. I fell into a thinking rut, and into writer’s block; not a good thing when your career centers on writing and speaking. I decided I needed a jolt to open my mind. I did some early spring cleaning and dusted the cobwebs out of my brain. Now I have a plan in place to help me keep my thinking habits fresh and creative.
If you need some inspiration and ideas to jolt yourself back into an open mind you might enjoy reading “Four Steps to Get Out of A Rut and Into An Open Mind.”
If you’ve got a crazy co-worker you might want to watch this:
My mother once told me that there is value in everyone, even the people you don’t like. I’ve had a few crazy co-workers and found it a challenge to take my mother’s advice to heart. I bet you’ve seen some challenging colleagues, too. In fact, with our current slow economy and high unemployment rates we’re probably seeing more annoying co-workers than usual. They won’t’ quit and move on, and most of us aren’t going anywhere for the time being either. So, what can we do to turn our crazy co-workers into valuable allies? Follow this link to Associated Content and get some “motherly advice” for “Coping With Crazy Co-Workers.”
It’s summertime, and I’ve been soaking in the sunshine and floating in my swimming pool! Here in Florida, it’s been Hot! Hot! Hot! In my book, summertime is not the time for serious studying. It is, however, time for skimming through something fun and fabulous while lounging by the pool or laying on the beach.
These ladies never let me down! They offered up all that’s good in their favorite magazines. I pulled it all together and created a list of magazines for working women. If you need a short, summertime, skimpy read, take a look here at Magazines For Working Women. Happy summer reading!
It’s summertime, and the reading is easy! I love to crack open a good book when I’m catching Florida sunshine by the pool or killing time in an airport. Recently, I reread some old classics that I read as a kid. Funny thing is, this time around I got way more out of Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged” than I did as a kid. I highly recommend them.
I’ve got a dozen books loaded up on my Sony Reader and waiting for me this summer. I’m like a kid in a candy store when I visit the online ebook store. Some of my books are just for fun, and others are selected to help me think outside the box or enlarge my skill base. James Bryce, a British politician said, “The worth of a book is to be measured by what you carry away from it.” I agree with his assessment; I like to carry a good message away with me after I close a book. (I love Any Rand’s books because they are fiction filled with romance, intrigue, plot twists, and philosophical and political messages that really make you think about your own values and beliefs.)
Because this is a business-related blog, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mentioned a few great reads for career women. So, click here and take a look at my post over at associated content. You’ll find a review of five fabulous, fun, and inspiring reads for women. Let me know what you think! Happy reading!
If we lack a fancy title or authority, can we really improve our company’s corporate culture? I think so. Our everyday workplace behavior has more impact on the corporate culture than we realize. Head over to Associated Content and read, “Ten Tips for Making a Positive Impact on Your Organization” if you’re office needs an corporate culture facelift. (And check out the photo of the pretty young lady…my daughter!)
Can gossip be a good thing? Absolutely! Remember, your professional reputation is based on what people say about you when you’re not within earshot. So, how can you make sure that your peers are keeping it positive when your back is turned? Focus on this list of Ten Things You Want Co-Workers to Say Behind Your Back over at Associated Content and you’ll pump up your professional reputation.
Recently, a friend complained to me about the enormous load of bad news, new rules, and tighter regulations that she was forced to share with her co-workers. Some of the information she had to share was sensitive, and some of the individuals she had to share the information with were considered, “over-sensitive.” Not only was she burdened with a terrible task, it bordered on explosive if she didn’t handle things just right. She asked for some tips on talking about touchy subjects at work. If you face the same challenges, you’ll find this article at Associated Content helpful: Five Simple Tips To Help You Tackle Touchy Subjects in the Workplace.
I’m often asked for tips on negotiating with difficult people. Recently, I’ve received several requests for this information, which makes me wonder, “Is it getting tougher out there with the current state of our economy? Are we more competitive with the high unemployment rate? More stressed with concerns about our employment status in the future? Or, are we just more in tune to the fact that we need more skills for getting along and working together in a do-more-with-less environment?” Whatever the case, I wrote a quick-to-read article over at Associated Content with some easy-to-apply Tips for Negotiating With Difficult People. http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2860396/tips_for_negotiating_with_difficult.html?cat=3
As a professional speaker and trainer, I’m often asked, “What’s the best way to handle difficult people and situations in the workplace?” I’ve spent two decades absorbing as many books and research reports as I could find on the topic. I’ve listened to speakers, teachers, leaders, managers, successful entrepreneurs, and anyone else that I think may have good advice about powerful communication. There’s a ton of great information out there for those of us with the time to study it.
However, most of the people I meet are busy with careers and families and don’t have time to study everything available. For you, I’ve streamlined what I’ve discovered about good communication skills for difficult situations down to four simple principles. Following these principles will keep workplace confrontations professional, productive, and relatively stress-free and I share them in detail in my new book, The Working Woman’s Rant & Rave Guidebook; Audacious Advice for Handling Everyday Workplace Challenges That Make You Want To Scream. Although my book is written for working women, these principles work for everyone so don’t be afraid to keep reading if you happen to be a gentleman. Here is an excerpt from The Working Woman’s Rant & Rave Guidebook; Audacious Advice for Handling Everyday Workplace Challenges That Make You Want To Scream:
When things go wrong in a workplace conversation, it’s a pretty good bet that someone has tossed good principles out the door and drug in disrespect, demands and denial. To avoid disaster use these four principles as your guide when you prepare to confront workplace challenges.
1. Be Diplomatic
Being diplomatic means that you use tact and finesse in order to obtain mutually beneficial solutions to common challenges. Search for ways to say what’s on your mind that will make both parties feel positive and optimistic about the solution. Simply changing the way you phrase a statement can turn a perceived attack or defense into a diplomatic resolution. Let me tell you about Lynn; she’s a great example of how subtle changes in the way you phrase a statement can transform your professional image from that of an excuse-making complainer to an appreciated diplomat.
Lynn had been in her new job for just two months when she was assigned a new boss. With a deadline looming, the new boss asked Lynn to complete a report. Still relatively new on the job, Lynn’s response was, “They didn’t teach me how to do that.” Lynn was willing to do the report but she didn’t know how. Her statement seems harmless enough but Lynn had a tendency to phrase all of her responses with the same directness and she quickly earned a reputation for being difficult to approach. Her statement began with “They” (“They didn’t teach me how to do that.”) and it conveyed a defensive posture to her new boss. It appeared that Lynn was blaming someone for not training her appropriately. With some coaching, Lynn began using more “I” statements. “I” statements, done right, don’t make the listener feel attacked and move into a defensive mode. Lynn’s response today would not be, “They didn’t teach me how to do that.” Instead she would say, “I haven’t had a chance to learn how to do that report but I’m ready to try.” It’s the same message but it’s phrased diplomatically, offering a mutually beneficial solution.
2. Be Assertive
Being assertive means that you are using language and an approach that is non-destructive to both parties involved in the conversation; you and them. Sometimes, we attack and use an aggressive approach which robs the other person of their dignity and pushes them into a defensive role. At other times, we use a passive approach that makes the other person happy but doesn’t always get us the result we need. Assertiveness gets both parties what they need without using attacks or defense statements. There are times when a passive or aggressive strategy is appropriate but for most common workplace challenges assertiveness is the best option. Focus your statements on two things: what you will get, and what you can offer of value to them. Never make statements meant to “score a point” and cut them down. It’s a huge temptation and when we succumb to it we damage the working relationship. I will wholeheartedly admit that I find it most challenging to control my aggressive tendencies and keep my statements assertive when I know I’ll never have to deal with that person again. The problem is that we create patterns of behavior that may get us in trouble later.
Practice assertiveness at every opportunity because even if you’ll never have to deal with that idiot again, people are always watching how you handle yourself; it’s about your personal reputation. On a business trip I watched a man in the first class section verbally attack a flight attendant; it was brutal. I was, to say the least, unimpressed with the man. I was shocked when I arrived at my client’s office the next morning and realized that the same man was an executive at the company. I’d been invited to teach communication skills because the employees were perceived by management to be defensive excuse-makers. I suggested that perhaps the problem needed to be addressed on both sides, maybe management could benefit from some training too. I never revealed my experience on the plane to anyone but the guilty executive recognized me and heartily endorsed the management training proposal. He attended the training and privately admitted that he’d developed some pretty bad communication habits over the years and was eager to break the bad habits.
3. Focus On Problem-Solving
Staying focused on problem-solving sounds easy but it’s not. We have a tendency to get pulled off track and that’s when the real train wreck occurs. Have you ever argued so much that you come to the conclusion that you can’t even remember what the original disagreement was about? We often have to re-focus on the real problem; the current problem.
Here is an example. I hate having last minute projects dumped on my desk. When it happens my initial reaction is to say to you, “I hate it when you surprise me with last minute stuff.” You may get defensive because what I’m focused on right now is YOU; you are surprising me with something I don’t want. Our conversation has already been pulled off track. It’s now all about you, you loser. Are you feeling defensive now? The truth is that YOU aren’t really the real problem, are you? The real problem is last minute projects. I don’t want anyone to dump last minute projects on me. I’m still not at the root of the problem though. I need to ask one critical question, “Why?” Why don’t I like last minute projects? Because I’m a perfectionist and I can’t do my very best work on last minute projects. Now we’re getting to the root of the problem. I need to re-focus my statement on the real problem. A better way for me to respond would be, “I’m uncomfortable working on last minute projects because they don’t allow me to do my best work and my professional reputation is important to me. I’ll need some additional time or help to get this one done right.” I might even take the opportunity to train you and let you know that, “In the future I’ll need a minimum of two hours notice to take on these projects.” I’ll ask for your agreement on a timeframe that will work for both of us. Using this approach I’ll stay focused on the actual problem and I’ll avoid making personal attacks. Try to keep your statements laser-focused on solving the actual problem.
4. Take Personal Responsibility For Your Success
Sometimes “they” make us crazy. They get in the way. They cause problems. They don’t get it. They are difficult. They are mean. They are wicked. They are evil. They are ignorant. They sabotage us. They don’t help us even when they can and should. They are unreasonable. They are demanding. They are irresponsible. They are unreliable. They are just plain awful.
But they are not responsible for our success or failure. It is our personal responsibility to discover how to deal with them, get around them, turn them away from the dark side, or move past them. Using them as an excuse for our failure is simply turning them into our personal alibi. When we begin to use other people or difficult circumstances as our alibi we cease to be in charge of our own lives; we surrender and become victims. We become ranting shrews with limited opportunities and disappearing dreams.
In the worst of the worst environments there are inspiring individuals who have shed the curse of “they” and “them” and risen to glorious heights. Need some inspiration? Just take a tour of the Biography section of your local library or bookstore. Read about Mother Teresa or Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas. Browse through a book about Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Elie Wiesel or South African President, Nelson Mandela. Get some inspiration and read about the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, Marie Curie, or political and spiritual leader of India, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Pick up a copy of The Travelers Gift by Andy Andrews (Thomas Nelson Publishers) or read A Child Called “It” by Dave Pelzer (HCI, 1995). And then, get off your whiney butt and take personal responsibility for your success.
These four simple principles are the foundation of Gina’s new book, The Working Woman’s Rant & Rave Guidebook: Audacious Advice For Handling Everyday Workplace Challenges That Make You Want To Scream.