You don’t have to tolerate gossip

Gossip (The Office)

Gossip (The Office) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Office politics, back-stabbing, talking behind someone’s back or however you define it, you don’t have to put up with bad behavior.

It starts with a no-gossip culture, which you carefully cultivate. Best practices are these:

  • Talk about it with new hires.  The new hire signs an “agreement to values” form.
  • Managers speak to their people if needed. If they don’t stop they’re let go. “If you don’t confront, you condone.”
  • Managers give this message: It starts with you. If you don’t gossip and you let it be known you don’t tolerate it, others won’t gossip around you.
  • People call each other out with “You need to go to the source if you have a question.”
  • From business consultant, John Bassler: The best antidote to gossip is a leader with a thick skin and a well-advertised tolerance for candid feedback.
  • Make sure your employees get information from the source.  That means regular meetings. Stand-up meetings or sit down meetings, every meeting needs an agenda and a time limit. It can be the same agenda every week but you need an agenda. People need to, and want to know, what to expect. Circulate notes and action items in a follow up email.

It all comes down to communication. If you’ve done the work styles instrument with me you know your communication style. Consider having your team do it.

To facilitate effective communication make up a nameplate for each person’s desk with the color of their communication style on it. A person with a red bar appreciates when others are direct and state the facts quickly. Blue enjoys having all the details and time to process them. Yellow is spontaneous and likes a personal connection. Green is a sensitive person who likes to be approached as courteously as possible. Greens tend to be compassionate and supportive.

Don’t tolerate gossip. Rarely does everyone in a company like each other but half the battle is in their communication.

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Professionals Like Us

Is stepping up the professionalism in your workplace at the top of your list this year?
It is at a lot of companies I talk to.  Companies have standards.  You have standards.  How do you get those across to your employees?

To start the conversation you’re welcome to use this one-page survey I developed in response to a client’s need.  Professionals Like Us Survey

The goal is to have a conversation, there is no perfect score, only a workplace where there is employee pride and job satisfaction and where customers are impressed.

How to use the Professionals Like Us Survey

  1. Give it to your direct reports.  Go over it with each person in private.
  2. Use it as a 360 tool. Contact me for versions for a person’s manager and direct reports.  No cost.
  3. Have you given it your all and want some help from outside?  Call me for coaching and team workshops on “Professionals Like Us”.

Well, it’s happening again

I have a new vehicle and now I’m noticing all the CR-V’s there are on the road.  My goodness, everyone in Grand Junction has gone out bought one too.  Hmmm.  How odd.

Oh ya.  It’s the “new car phenomenon.  The number of CR-V’s hasn’t changed but my awareness of them changed.

What we notice tells us how we’re different.  Our differences are our strong points.

What do you notice?  I notice how people grow and succeed and make their lives fulfilling.  I use all that I’ve learned and am still learning about people to help you become successful and fulfilled.

Do you want to become more self-aware?

  1. Use a self-assessment.  That’s what they’re for, to learn your preferences.  The Myers-Briggs is the premier self-awareness instrument.  My client’s line, “It’s so me it’s almost scary”, is my favorite way to describe it.  Call me.
  2. Do your own self-assessment.  Whenever you see your car on the road think of one of your strengths and be your own coach.  Ask yourself How am I using this strength now?  What are other ways I could use it?  What’s one thing I can do to build on it?  Your cue words are:  Now, NewBuild.
  3. Have fun with Pinterest.  Pinterest is a giant tack board.  “An online bulletin board for you to organize and share things you love” is how they describe it.  Okay, it’s not for everyone, but it is cool. Find “pins” that describe you and pin them to a bulletin board. Before long you’ll know a lot about yourself from what you pick.

Notice your differences.  Value your differences.  Be grateful for your differences.

Now DO SOMETHING with what you know about yourself.

Sorry about the caps, but I’m “all caps” about this:  Don’t be held back by No messages in your head.  I can’t do it.  I’m not really that good.  I’m afraid to pursue it, I might get put down. Ignore them. Stifle them. Redirect them. Don’t think so much!

You only have one life. Don’t get stuck in procrastination, stuck in fear. Really, truly, you have nothing to fear, nothing to lose.  No, you won’t please everyone.  You will get rejected. You did put on your imaginary super hero suit under your clothes this morning didn’t you?  It will deflect those slings and barbs of the nay-sayers.  Add a get-it-done mindset and you’re ready to go for it.  I’m noticing.

You have brains in your head.  You have feet in your shoes.  You can steer yourself any direction you choose. — Dr. Seuss

What could you do with a day away to focus on your leadership and management skills? Build your career!

The Leadership Seminar, Wednesday, October 5.

Who Should Attend?
Managers, supervisors, team leaders, prospective managers and anyone who deals with people.

How You Will Benefit

  • Learn your strengths for leading and managing and how to leverage them.
  • Approach conflict with confidence.
  • Become the leader, motivator and coach you want to be.

What We Will Cover

  • How others see you.
  • Communication styles.
  • Holding the difficult conversations.
  • Team dynamics.
  • We’ll have opportunity to tackle your day-to-day challenges.

This is a seminar unlike others. It’s not a room full of people listening to a speaker (“drone on and on” is how we all want to finish that sentence.) It’s a small group where we can discuss your day to day leadership and management challenges in a confidential, helpful way. There’s a lot of sharing ideas and What Works!

From one participant: “The small group is amazing for sharing ideas. So much better than the crowds at the impersonal, canned workshops.”

For more information, click here

3 Easy Ways to Register

Do You Love Your Job?

Do you love your job?  Not a lot of people do right now, it turns out.

In an article about surveys done by the Conference Board and career-intelligence.com, 83 percent of respondents said they were considering a job change with 61 percent stating they would definitely seek a new position when the economy improves.

Mrs. Lynch and Jenna and Kelli

The little girls snuggling up to Mrs. Lynch and the big smiles on all three faces are pretty much proof it’s a mutual admiration society in this 2nd grade classroom.

Mrs. Lynch says, “No one wants to be around someone who doesn’t want to be there, even a child.  They know if you don’t like them or don’t like being with them. And if the teacher isn’t happy, the students positively are not.” 

Our Suggestions  
What can we suggest if you don’t like your job?  Jeanine would say you need more pictures drawn for you and more hugs.  Not a bad idea!

Dream and Prepare
I’d say if hugs don’t fit in your work day, dream and prepare for the future.  I think it’s good that people change jobs, it energizes people and companies.  But job change isn’t happening in this sluggish job market.  Get ready for times to change.  Get the training you need now.  Dream about what you can do and where you’d like to work (dreaming is a form of planning.)

Start think of what you’re doing now in terms of accomplishments so you’re ready to write the important resume. Give accomplishments this format: P-A-R. Problem, Action, Result. What was the situation?  What action did you take? What was the result in terms of money saved, work made more efficient, or profits generated?

“Optimists are right.  So are pessimists.  It’s up to you to choose which you will be.”
–Harvey Mackay

Where I (try to) reply to “What were the highlights?” And Pictures!

It’s a good question to ask of an almost 3-week in Europe traveler: “What were the highlights?” It’s hard to answer, but I’m going to try.

Links to pictures are below.

1. Of deepest, soul-searching, thoughtful impact to me were two museums we visited.

I wouldn’t expect museum visits would be a highlight at all, much less the first thing I think of, but they are.

The Neues Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery) in Berlin, in a beautiful Mies van der Rohe building, featured an exhibition of art from 1900 to 1945 Germany. The pain that the common people felt for what was happening in their country and the world as expressed by the artists’ work was staggering to me.

After an intense few hours looking at the art, that long because we couldn’t tear ourselves away, we went out to the tram stop to go to our next stop.  At the tram stop was a placard saying that close by had been a house where the infamous Action T4 project was planned. Gisela said the purpose is to always remind the German people, and visitors, about the evil of 60 years ago so it isn’t repeated.

The second meaningful museum we went to was the Museum of Communism in Prague. Gisela had told us about being in Prague in 1968 with a school group.  They woke up to Russian tanks rolling into the city.  The Czech team had beat the Russians in hockey, a huge victory for the Czechs, you may remember it yourself, and the next day the tanks rolled into Wenceslas Square.  Alexander Dubček was the Czech leader at the time and he had tried to institute reform.   The Soviets put a stop to it that day.   Gisela and her school class quickly left town and returned home.

So, at the Museum of Communism we could read more about that historic event and the Velvet Revolution, which was a non-violent overthrow of the Communist government in 1989 (the year that the wall fell also).  Just 22 years ago, the Czech Republic was communist.  

We learned about the daily life under communism, pollution of the land by the communists because they used so much fertilizer, the exploitation of athletes, how plain clothes police attended demonstrations (in Wenceslas Square) and pointed out demonstrators to be attacked or apprehended.  We saw a typical interrogation room.  We watched a documentary showing attempts by the people to dislodge the communists.

The museums’ displays enriched my knowledge and helped me understand. It was also disturbing — as it should be.  

2.  Food!

We typically ordered different dishes and tried each other’s dish.  Regional specialties include rabbit (very good), schnitzels (the favorite is veal, but also chicken and pork), ribs just like we enjoy here except not barbecued, pike, goulash, and a lot of pork cuts, including pork knuckles.  (No one wanted to waste a choice on pork knuckles.)

A cog au vin I had in Dresden was memorable. It came with a basket of very tasty bread to dredge in the juices and two, count ’em, 2 beers.  German and Czech local beers are so good.  I like pilsner, light beer (in color, not calories), but I hear dark beers are better.

Also memorable were a pork tenderloin stuffed with Gorgonzola and chesnuts, the leetle lamb chops Thies and Caroline served, and the pasta and salmon dish that Karl makes.

There’s just too much good food to be able to tell you all of it.  You have to go there.  Breakfast alone is worth it.

We usually at a big breakfast at our hotel as we did at the Knoll house, and then had a Kuchen and coffee in the afternoon, and dinner later.  (One night, after we’d been to a performance, we didn’t get to have dinner. I ate Goldfish crackers dipped in Nutella. Memorable, but only because it was so bad.)

Gisela would want me to tell you, and we agreed, Czech baked goods don’t come close to German Kuchen.  Dry, uncreative, don’t waste your calories. Everything bakery was good in Germany and there’s a usually a Bäckerei close.  I know what you’re thinking.  How much weight did they gain?  The walking seems to balance out the eating.

3.  Performances

We saw an opera in Bielefeld that was so shrill, dissonant, abrasive and senseless (it was Alice in Wonderland interpreted even funkier than Lewis Carroll had written it) that we had to stay for the second half just to make sure it wasn’t going to get any better.  It didn’t.  But we felt we had had “An Experience”. (You know, when somehow even hating it you were glad you saw it?) We’ll not forget it! The singers’ voices were excellent and it was a creative production that was interesting and pleasant to watch.  But it was meant to be surreal and it succeeded.  It was Jabberwocky alright, a play of nonsense.

We went to a modern dance production in Prague. Stunning. The next night we went to a ballet.  We all had the same reaction; this looks, well, silly compared to the muscularity and grace in the modern dance. But then the second act started and we were in awe of the beauty. It was “Giselle” at the State Opera House. Beautiful. Giselle Act 2 (This clip isn’t the production we saw.)

4. And here I have to stop! There are a lot more fun things but I’ll just list them:

  • Figuring out public transportation, always a challenge and there’s such a sense of accomplishment when we actually find what we want;
  • The escapades in using public transportation such as getting on the wrong tram and rectifying it, and not being able to remember the Czech names so we resorted to “Remember, we get off at the stop with the second M name”.
  • It’s fun to ask directions because it’s always nice to meet nice people and they seem so pleased I ask in German (when in Germany!);
  • Getting separated on the Charles Bridge.  (A famous landmark in Prague and it was a holiday weekend with lots of people in town.) Lessons from that are bring your phone IF it’s the European system as mine isn’t, and, if you’re with more than one other person and you’ll be in a crowd of people, decide ahead of time what your plan is to meet up.
  • Walking everywhere.  Miles and kilometers of walking.  Walking is such a pleasure;
  • Being with my traveling companions, Gisela, Lynn and Jenny, and laughing a lot;
  • Enjoying the wonderful hospitality of the Knoll family;
    And, last but not at all least,
  • Being home again!

Thanks for sharing the trip with me.  Now it’s back to work.

Pictures

Visit in Bielefeld

Day Trip to Holland

Berlin

Dresden

Prague