“Ask Leadership Coach Vickie” Answers Qu

“Ask Leadership Coach Vickie” Answers Question about Rude People at Work—people you “have to” talk to!

Dear Vickie: I realize it is important to be kind and polite to all employees from the janitor to the receptionist to the CEO. I just started a new job and the receptionist here is very condescending toward me. I think I might have gotten the job she had applied for. I suspect she’s jealous and that is why she is pushing my buttons. What do I do to have a more cordial relationship toward her?
-Trying to be Kind and Polite
Dear Kind and Polite,

You are so right… This is one of those “golden rules.” “Be nice to others and they will be nice to you.” Unfortunately, there are some who do not believe it. The receptionist could be feeling very insecure with herself for a number of reasons. It could be that the she is unhappy with being in what she perceives as a dead-end job. She could also be unhappy because she feels that life has been unkind to her–either personally or professionally. Lastly, and I do hate this one: the receptionist could be downright mean. Let’s discount this one because most of us believe that there is good in everyone. So what should we do? My suggestion would be to continue to be the person that you are. Even though the receptionist is condescending, continue to be kind and polite. Although there are some folks who try, it’s been my experience that no one can stay mad at you forever. In the meantime, it might not be a bad idea to get to know her by introducing a few niceties such as taking her out to lunch or talking about her day. A little “girl talk” can enhance her mood and show her the importance of her job. After all, receptionists are in powerful positions because they have access to key information, which is the real POWER. She can become an important ally to you. Make her your friend and you build loyalty, trust, and camaraderie. Enjoy your journey!

Best regards,
Vickie

Ask Leadership Coach Vickie your questions about work relationship problems via, vmccray@tp-rewards.com.

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How to build leadership skills as a new employee

“Ask Leadership Coach Vickie” Answers Question about New Employee Building Leadership Skills at Work

Dear Vickie,

I just started a new job after long-term underemployment. Because I am new at the office, I am just learning to “fit in,” and not making waves, just yet. But I do hope to take on a leadership role in the future. How do you suggest I get started? How does someone develop leadership skills when they are “low” on the totem pole?

– Wanting to Rise

Hello Wanting to Rise,

Starting a new job can be a bit unsettling because of the unknowns–being unfamiliar with the office environment; people; and work expectations. An initial suggestion would be to develop a career plan for yourself. Identifying a few short-term goals can also assist in keeping you on track and focused on the areas that you want to achieve. It’s nice to hear that you are learning to “fit in” because this is a key leadership skill to have and will always help you move forward in your career wherever you land. Fitting in will also help to build your listening and communication skills–critical for attaining leadership positions. Unfortunately, we all have some practice at starting low on the totem pole. The great news is with our career plan and established goals, we achieve win-win sooner than we think.

Best wishes to you,
Vickie

Ask Leadership Coach Vickie your questions about work relationship problems via, vmccray@tp-rewards.com.

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What to do about that gossipy co-worker

What to do about that gossipy co-worker

Dear Vickie,

Your book talks about socializing at work. However, what do you do about a coworker who constantly gossips, talks about her family problems and discusses her newest boyfriend? I wish I could avoid her, but I run into her every time I make copies or fax a document. She’s been at the law firm we both work at for a long time and she knows a lot of the managers and decision makers. So, telling her to “shut up” might cause more problems. What’s the best way to diplomatically get her to keep quiet and focus on work? FYI: I’m a paralegal and she’s a legal secretary.

Sincerely,
Lady with chatty co-worker

Dear Lady with chatty co-worker,
I’ve got a few of those types of co-workers around me too! It’s so hard to tell someone you really like that we need to focus on what pays the bills for us and that is W-O-R-K!! After all, I know from experience that the discussions can be “juicy” and can have you yearning for more, but there is a time and place for everything. Even with new inventions like Facebook and Twitter that blasts participant’s person business, I don’t think things have changed that much in the workforce. When it comes to gossipy employees, managers and decision makers tend to frown upon them because in their minds, the employee is not busy enough. Being the true friend that you are, at your next coffee break, why not take her out of the office to discuss some parameters like your career at the firm and goals you would like to achieve? It is a great idea to ask her how she would approach the (work-related) situations if she were in your shoes. I’ve also found that having lunch out of the office at different restaurants is a wonderful way to share all kinds of things and cry on one another’s shoulder, if needed. The main thing is to let her know in your own special way that you are there for her but for you, work is a priority.
Have fun!

Best,
Vickie

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Ask “Leadership Coach Vickie” Leadership

Ask “Leadership Coach Vickie”
Leadership Coach Vickie Gives Advice on Dealing with the Sharks We Work With

Every Tuesday, Leadership Coach Vickie L. McCray answers your questions about the challenges of working within a diverse group of people. Vickie is the author of How to Swim with the Sharks: A Survival Guide for Leadership in Diverse Environments.

This week’s question deals with someone who can’t stay in a job because it’s hard to get along with co-workers. See Leadership Coach’s answers below:

Dear Vickie:
I don’t know what it is, but wherever I go, the people I work with just don’t seem to be in sound mind. I started off at one federal agency, and the people there seemed to have no sense of logic. Our work flow had no logical pattern. I then switched to another federal agency, but over there, it was very bureaucratic and it was hard to get anything done. So, I left that job. Now, I am working at my third job in two years, and I find it hard to get along with people. What do you think I should do?
-Exhausted from co-workers

Dear Exhausted from Co-workers:

Having been in a few positions in several organizations in both the public and private sectors, I can definitely relate to meeting a few folk that could appear to be lacking in sound judgments. However, what may appear to be a logical response to you is not always easy for others to follow. It’s a wonderful gift to be able to see the logic in all that we do. Unfortunately, not everyone is on the same page or even the same planet with our own ways of thinking. In the meantime, there is a tried-and-proven solution. It’s not a bad idea to meet them where they are in their line of thinking in any given situation. An approach that I tend to take in most instances is to use my listening skills to provide positive or negative (when necessary) feedback on what is actually being communicated. In most cases, the barriers that each party may have will begin to break down and both parties will begin to understand the issue and share commonalities to gain a workable solution. Sometimes communications with others can be difficult at times, but a little patience and understanding can really grow on a person. Why not give it a try?

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Ask Leadership Coach Vickie your questions about work relationship problems via, vmccray@tp-rewards.com.

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