Jackie Kellso

Archive for January, 2017|Monthly archive page

Coffee Talk with Colleagues: Loose Lips Sink Ships

In business, business relationships, career, coaching, communicating, communication, communication skills, executive coaching, executives, gossiping, leadership, office politics, people skills, professional behavior, professional development training, sales, training, Uncategorized on January 24, 2017 at 3:00 pm

“Let’s have cawfee, we’ll tawk!”  How many of us frequently grab that cup o’ Joe with a colleague, for that quick, yet productive meeting?  A good idea unless the jazz, low lights and chocolate-y cupcakes encourage the conversation to spin out of control.

Recently, at a mid-town Starbucks, I overheard a man and woman (both of whom were wearing expensive-looking suits, holding the very latest Smartphones, and sipping double espressos) talk about the utter hatred they had for their boss, about how they weren’t earning enough commission and how when the market got better they would both look for other jobs.  She said, “Bill, I can’t believe you feel this way, too!”  He said, “Oh yeah, I’ve felt this way for years.  Maybe it’s good to finally talk about it.” I thought, the only way either of them is going to be safe sharing this information with the other is if they are siblings or spouses. But they weren’t, because the woman discussed her plans to be with her family for Easter and the guy mentioned his fiance and their upcoming wedding. Before they got up, they agreed not to share each other’s feelings, and on terms for a client meeting for which they were teaming-up.  I felt for them because the tension and strain of the work environment was affecting their morale, leading to this discussion.

Without even knowing it, this inappropriate sharing of feelings is likely to become the undoing of any real trust between them, over time.  He could become her boss, she his. They could get a new boss whom she likes but he doesn’t.  You just never know how circumstances will change.

Having a cup of coffee with a colleague can enhance a good working relationship because those few moments away from the daily numbers-crunching grind to have a rich, aromatic daily grind, can inspire open communication, information sharing and improved negotiations.  That being said, the step out of the office can also loosen one’s inhibitions and potentially jeopardize work relations.

This is why conference rooms were built. People don’t typically conspire to blow-up the boss or talk about their job interviews or affairs after a meeting has ended.  No one can fault you for wanting to be the consummate professional.  So, here are some tips to keep yourself on track and in the mind-set of doing business when out of the office:

1. Be the listener.  In case your associate is mouthing off, you can nod your head to show understanding and sympathy without engaging in the negativity.  Tell your partner that you are sorry to hear about these problems, but that you don’t feel you are in a position to discuss the situation. Suggest that an impartial, third party be consulted for support.

2. Start talking about the business at hand. Gently drive your partner back to the thing you came to discuss by asking for input and suggestions.

3. Openly watch the time.  Say something to the effect of, “I only have another 10 minutes, what haven’t we covered?”

4. Confirm your neutrality. As you are leaving, wish your associate a peaceful resolution and reaffirm your interest in working on this and future projects together.

It is so tempting to gossip when you feel you have found someone who sides with you. But there is tremendous danger in engaging in conspired negativity, and from my experience, ALL gossip leaks, even among friends.  So, take the high road; you may even encourage the gossip to end.

Happy communicating,

Jackie

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Do Your Co-Workers Like You?

In arguments, avoiding arguments, being different at work, breakdown in communication, bullies at work, bullies in the office, bullies in the workplace, business relationships, career-related problems, communication skills, compassion, conflict resolution, feeling accepted, feeling safe at work, impress, Insults, keep negativity to yourself, Liked by coworkers, professional behavior, professional boundaries, Respect, respect by coworkers, self-worth, Uncategorized, work relationships, work-related problems, work-related stress on January 2, 2017 at 4:28 pm

Hey, who doesn’t want to be liked? The problem is we can’t be liked by everyone and that’s a hard concept to take in. In fact, some people get so stressed about how much they’re liked that they’ll go out of their way to be part of the group: hanging out after work even if they’d rather be alone; going along with someone else’s idea (even if they think it’s a bad one), and being ingratiating and over-complimentary (while being insincere). It’s all an attempt to feel accepted, included and made to feel a-okay. It’s so understandable.

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “People cannot make you feel inferior without your permission.” Think about that. Are you giving away your power to someone else’s judgment of you? True that it’s demoralizing to be ostracized by a colleague with a strong personality or by a team of followers. But, any act that undermines one’s self-worth to fit in is not the route to being liked, anyway.

So, are you actually liked? In truth, people generally think mostly about themselves and gauge others on how safe they are around them. When I say ‘safe’ I mean that the brain is checking every 12 seconds or so to see if we are safe. If you, for whatever reason, are not safe in another person’s mind, you are probably not liked. It may have nothing to do with anything you’ve done to that person, it could be because you are confident and assertive, or are generating more revenue than your colleague, or you’re thinner, or you’re up for a promotion…whatever the trigger is for that person, decides how safe you are. However, if you are not a trigger (meaning, not perceived as a threat) you are probably liked. It’s such a subjective thing. While being liked might feel safe to you, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are respected, especially if you are going out of your way to be liked!

My advice to you: go for being respected. Respect goes a lot further in helping you, your team and the company. Here’s how to gain respect:

  1. Always be sincere and diplomatic in your honesty. So, instead of saying, “No, I don’t like your idea,” you say, “I like your courage to change the program and think that the idea itself needs more flushing out.”
  2. Don’t get pulled down into others’ fear, anger, or jealousy. Say someone’s trying to undermine you; is talking behind your back and condemning you. Don’t Energize. Rise! Don’t try to mollify or ingratiate yourself. Don’t try to retaliate. Don’t gossip about it. Look within. What about you might be causing this reaction to you? What can you do to improve? What about him/her would create such jealousy or fear? Let your insights help you become stronger. Focus on being the best you. Yes, it’s unfair! But remember that you are being shown how to separate yourself from negativity – you are learning to set boundaries and keep your emotions in check. (Now, this is very different from hearing that a co-worker is upset and doesn’t know how to address you. In this case, you gently work to improve communication and ask that person what you may have done. Sincerely look to patch things up. Be accountable and work to compromise. That action gains respect.)
  3. Avoid being argumentative. State your opinion only after you’ve made sure that others feel heard and validated. You can even agree to a point of their opinion without actually agreeing to something that goes against your beliefs. Instead of “I don’t think we should just hike our fees next year by 35%.” You say, “I can agree that we should initiate a new fee structure; it protects our company. If we do this incrementally, clients will be more apt to go along with it. I hope we can figure this out together.”
  4. See things through others’ eyes. Judgment is being placed upon you, yes. But, you can stay above the negativity by not judging others. People are where they are in their level of conscious understanding and awareness. You be the one with the high awareness and objectivity. When you can free yourself from judging others, you can climb to a place of compassion.

With this compassion, you awaken to the point that you don’t NEED them to like you. You will stop seeking acceptance from people who can only project who they think you are through a lens that is foggy, at best. Instead, you will be liked – and admired – by people who see who you truly are; those who are self-contained, aware and compassionate, and not threatened by your greatness or your differences. The best news is that the more you become the detached, respected professional, the more you will find yourself surrounded by people just like you!

Do your co-workers respect you? That’s the real question and the thing most worthy of your focus.

Respectfully,

Jackie

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.