Monday, November 22, 2010

Communication in the work place

Communication in the work place is something that happens every day, but does that mean we know how to communicate with co-workers?  There are several ways that we communicate at work and how many of us are great at these?

  1. Phone etiquette is important. This is normally the first line of communication. It is important to answer the phone professionally. “Stating your name and May I help you” gives the caller a warming reception. Do not answer the phone while chewing food, or taking a drink of something. Make sure you speak in a clear and concise voice. Do not answer the phone in a frustrated tone for that will come across to the caller.
  2. Email is the next line of communication. The problem with Email is that tone cannot be detected and often times words can be misunderstood.  As with the phone write emails professionally. It is difficult if not impossible to type humor into an email. Chain letters and other forwards are not professional at all and can begin to break down the communication between you and your fellow co-workers. It is difficult to write an email with the proper tone, but make sure before you hit send to look it over and see if it is something you would want to receive.
  3. Beware of how you talk to someone in person, knowing how they hear things is very important. If you have friends that you work with and feel that you can talk with on a less professional level you need to remember that you are at work not at home. Watch your tone and language in and around the office. Learn to censor yourself no matter who you are working with. It is also important to learn to speak to your boss in a professional manner. If you are the boss it is important that you speak to your employees with class and dignity.  No one likes to have a boss who yells, does not listen and put’s them down. Remember it is not what you say but how you say it.
  4. Most places of employment have meetings, some places have meetings on top of meetings. To have better communication in these meetings, I suggest having a typed agenda to follow. If it is going to be a “stressful” meeting then know this going in and remember to allow the person speaking to finish before jumping in. There is nothing worse than a meeting where everyone is talking over each other, no one is listening to anyone else and the agenda is not followed. Never verbally attack or put down something a co-worker has done in a meeting. Watch out that you do not get defensive during the meetings.
  5. The most important style of communication is Non-Verbal communication. We all have non verbal communication. Whether it is rolling of the eyes, looking away when someone is talking to you, or speaking to someone else when you are involved in a conversation. These are clues given to the other person that you are not interested in what they are saying. Watch what your body tells others in your day to day interactions.
 What do you say to others on a daily basis, do you communicate professionally or do you complain to other co-workers in a way that can be over heard. When you are frustrated do you show this with your body language, if you are stressed does this show? Make sure you pick up the phone as a professional, do not send “joke” emails, and make sure you give people talking to you the proper respect they deserve and if you do not have time, let them know that you will get back to them.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Toxicity in the work place

Toxicity in the work place is becoming more and more common. Personalities click and often times clash. How do you handle working with other employees, co-workers or even a boss who is a toxic part of the work place? When you wake up in the morning and think about going to work do you have a sense of dread because the next eight hours are going to be “horrible”? Can you picture the face or faces of those you hope call in sick just so you do not have to deal with them? Then you might be working in a toxic environment. Learning to deal with your own emotions and trying some tricks to not be effected by the toxicity can help you stress less in this environment. 

  1. The toxic boss can make everyday a horrible experience for some people. The boss who is never happy with the work, or the amount of time put into something can make a work day long. There are examples on blogs all over the world where people discuss the mean things that bosses say to them each day. One way of handling this type of boss is to try and find out where they are coming from with their demands. Take extra time to prepare before sitting down with them. Maybe they are under a lot of stress and the only outlet is you. Maybe they have something going on that you are not privy to because you are “just an employee”.  Maybe they are burned out of their job and might need to move on. No matter what or why if you work to reduce your stress then you can succeed even if the boss is never happy.  It is hard to do but toughen up the skin and try not to take things personally.
  2. The toxic employees are the ones who have been at the workplace for years or decades who feel that nothing is good or that there are a lot of different injustices that happen because they want their way to be the way. You run into them at the water cooler, outside in the smoking area, or in the next cube. You get to hear about all the “crappy” things that the upper echelon is doing to make their lives and jobs harder. These individuals are often hard to deal with because of the years they have with the company and you do not work directly with them. The best thing to do here is not join in on the workplace bashing but just sit quietly and let them rant. The last thing you want to happen is have you grouped in with these individuals and become a problem child like them. This makes a very toxic environment because it can drain the positive aspects of where you work right out of the company.
  3. The toxic co-worker is the hardest to deal with. Whether they are trying to sabotage you or others at the job, saying one thing to your boss and another thing to you, or flat out lying about things, this can make an unsafe and toxic environment. This kind of personality is very difficult to deal with because they are very good at manipulating the supervisor or manager, convincing others that they are great, but leaving others to deal with the aftermath. How does one deal with having a co-worker who is toxic especially if you are working closely with them and cannot get away. The first thing to do is “your job”, and not to allow them to get in the way of that. Do what you can to minimize the interactions with this individual and when they try and sabotage you, set boundaries and let them know it will not work. Even if they lie to the manager about you they will look like the fool in the end.
  4. The last of the toxic possibilities is the toxic self. If you have become frustrated and want to complain about work, you tell everyone who will listen, the horrible aspects of where you work, and have lost that dedication and excitement felt on the first day of work then you might be bringing the toxicity to your place of work. If you want to remain employed there you have to make sure that you change your attitude and do not act out while you are on the clock. Remember every job is not guaranteed to continue from the point you accepted it. If you get fired because of you then you only have you to blame.  Toxicity at work can also create a toxic home life. Be cautious…