Archive for the ‘office diplomacy’ Category
TOT-taming for Beleaguered Office Workers
TOT-taming is reaching out to more beleaguered office workers this month with articles appearing in Forbes, CBS/MoneyWatch and Media Bistro. Forbes highlighted Seven Ways to Tame an Office Tyrant — don’t let them see you sweat, listen actively, be a role model, be a problem solver, harness strengths and weaknesses, use humor and show empathy. Of course, in my book, there are many more tips. Check them out!
At CBS/MoneyWatch you’ll find suggestions on what to do When Your Boss Acts like a Toddler, which included my favorite acronym: CALM—Communicate, Anticipate, Laugh and Manage. Communicate with your boss openly, honestly and frequently. Anticipate problems before they become larger problems and have solutions ready. Levity helps break tension, diffuses issues and punch through barriers. Managing up doesn’t mean kissing up. It means speaking the truth and setting expectations with your boss.
In Media Bistro’s Dealing with the Terrible Office Tyrant (TOT) I told public relations professionals that the onus was on them to spot a TOT and put some real teeth behind that great PR reputation. With some behind the scenes TOT-taming they can increase those moments of agency euphoria.
Try some TOT-taming techniques in November, as the holidays and a short month create a fertile environment for more stress!
The Art Of Quitting (Or Staying)
Jenna Goudreau, who runs a diverse and informative women-oriented column on Forbes.com touches upon a very important subject in her recent article, The Dos And Don’ts Before Leaving Your Job. A study by insurance provider MetLife shows that 36% of workers are planning a fresh start in 2011. If you are one of them, there is a warning for you from career experts, including yours truly: when heading for the exit, “watch your step” and don’t make mistakes that may trip you up in the future.
For example, you should make sure your bosses and co-workers don’t see your departure as a let-down for the company and make the transition as smooth as possible.
“Workplace expert Lynn Taylor, author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant, suggests employees consider their response to a counter offer before they resign,”– the article says. But don’t be lured by money if there are deeper problems with the business or its management.
Whatever the situation might be, I advise against letting negative emotions fly – biting your tongue will increase your chances of a positive recommendation.
Another vital issue is prepping your replacement and following up after you leave. This responsibility, while important, should certainly be limited, and the article quotes my recommendations in this regard.
As the final step, I recommend spending some extra time to look around and tie up loose ends, making sure your “clean break” is literally clean.
The article – that you should read in its entirety – will help you if you are leaving your job, but have you given enough thought to this important step? Is it absolutely the only thing to do? In my recent article for Psychology Today I advise to “look before you leap.” Do this before making your current job a “thing of the past”:
Examine practical risks associated with leaving.
Create a “Solutions” document, to examine what can be done to improve your situation.
Make your “Skills Inventory” and see what additional skills you can offer in your current position.
Revert negative thinking and examine what’s right with your current job, instead of focusing on “wrongs.”
For more, read the complete article here.
Of course, sometimes moving on is the only way to move ahead. That’s why my next blog will be on When It’s Time to Leave Your Job. But for now, let’s have another look at our “bird in the hand” that for some reason we don’t like anymore.
Holiday Season Separation Anxiety
Having tied all loose ends at work, you are about to take a well-deserved holiday vacation. But do you feel that your boss is uncomfortable letting you go, as if even more is expected of you in addition to all you’ve done?
Fear is a big driver, and when bosses – and kids – don’t have control, such as with matters of a vacation from work, a “terrible office tyrant” or “TOT” can emerge.
A needy boss wants constant assurance that you will take care of all needs and deadlines, holiday or not. Some ‘TOTs’ at the helm may be taking shorter vacations themselves, particularly at smaller companies, which can exacerbate the sense that you’re abandoning ship.
Don’t let this feeling follow you home and overshadow your holidays. Read more on how to take a stress-free vacation in my recent article for PsychologyToday.com.
Survey: Boss Behavior Causes Rampant Worrying
Workplace Expert, Author, Provides Career Tips for 2010 and Beyond
SANTA MONICA, Calif., Jan. 13 — According to a new survey released today by national workplace expert Lynn Taylor, author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant™ (TOT) (John Wiley & Sons), U.S. employees spend 19.2 hours a week (13 hours during the work week and 6.2 hours on the weekend) worrying about “what a boss says or does.”
The national study was conducted by an independent global research firm and commissioned by Taylor’s firm, Lynn Taylor Consulting, which offers workshops on how to humanize the workplace for increased productivity and profitability.
Taylor said, “The study illustrates the tremendous drain that a manager’s words and actions can have on the minds and work product of its most valued asset – people – at a time when companies can least afford the loss. Particularly during this period of high unemployment, bad boss behavior can go into overdrive – distracting employees from the work at hand.”
“Conversely, the survey suggests that greater interpersonal sensitivity can significantly boost morale and help a company thrive,” Taylor said. She advises managers to go the extra mile by showing interest in the team’s well-being. “Employees’ careers are not on hold, even if major corporate initiatives are,” she added. Taylor said that spillover anxiety on weekends of 3.1 hours a day further underscores how critical the boss/employee dynamic truly is.
“Employees should take the initiative in 2010 to build their own human relations skills,” Taylor said. She added, “Tackle issues early on with diplomacy and deploy good ‘parenting skills’ in the office – without patronizing. Use positive and negative reinforcement; provide positive role modeling; humor; and set limits to unreasonable demands with tact, showing the benefits of an alternative compromise.”
The U.S. study was based on telephone interviews conducted with 1,000 respondents 18 years of age or older. For more information, visit www.LynnTaylorConsulting.com and www.TameYourTOT.com or call 1-800-454-0083.
About Lynn Taylor Consulting
Lynn Taylor is the founder of Lynn Taylor Consulting, which advises companies on how to humanize the workplace. A nationally recognized workplace expert, dynamic speaker and acclaimed author, Taylor is the author of the book, Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant™ (TOT); How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job (John Wiley & Sons, July 2009).
Generation Unretired, Gen U™ Humanizes Offices
There’s been a lot of discussion in recent months about the “unretired” – seniors who are returning to the workforce for economic or personal reasons. I call this formidable group, “Gen U™” because they represent an astounding number of workers – a true generation with a different mindset from previous retired generations.
Because they have the maturity of experience, they are often more adept at “Humanizing the Workplace.” They have seen sandbox politics come and go and have witnessed that nice guys really don’t finish last. They are often the “anti-TOT (Terrible Office Tyrant)” That’s not to say that all of them make great bosses. But they can be a major asset to a more interpersonal, motivational workforce, especially once unemployment levels ratchet down and companies are in a hiring mode once again.
Let’s take a look at this fascinating shift in workplace demographics.
Now Generation U workers (those 65 and older, and even under, e.g., who thought they could retire early) are asking:
“Is this all there is?”
“Is this all I’ve got?”
Driven by a devastating financial crash, housing market or just plain restlessness, Gen U will make up almost all the growth of the U.S. labor market over the next seven years. According to AARP, eight out of 10 of the 80 million Baby Boomers will work part- or full-time rather than retire. Those 64 million unretiring Americans will constitute the biggest demographic shift in the American workforce since the emergence of Baby Boomers.
1) 93% of the growth in the American labor market from now until 2016 will be from workers 55 and older [because] new estimates show the average retired couple may need more than $300,000 in savings to live comfortably and pay off late-life health care costs. [Based on a recent study by the Pew Research Center].
2) Only 20% of retirees now feel very confident they have enough money to live comfortably throughout their retirement, down from 41% in 2007. [Employee Benefit Research Institute research].
3) Eight out of 10 baby boomers say that they plan to work at least part time after they reach official retirement age, according to the AARP, as noted earlier.
4) 36% of those 56 or older are still working – more than ever. That’s more than twice as many as in 1984 [2007 Bureau of Labor Statistics report].
5) 9.5 million Americans are considering at least a partial return to the workforce because of the economic downturn, according to a recent study by Charles Schwab.
OTHER INTERESTING FACTS
• Only about a quarter of employees 55 and older who were laid off during the past year have found jobs versus 71% of those 25 to 34.
• According to the Social Security Administration, if you are of full retirement age, the government will give you your full Social Security benefits no matter how much money you earn. (Note: If you return to work after you’re receiving Social Security benefits, but are not yet of “full retirement age” – usually 66 years of age – the government will deduct one dollar from your Social Security benefits for every two dollars you earn over $14,160 a year.)
• Baby Boomers are earning online degrees in record numbers to train for unretirement [http://www.allonlineschools.com/online-education-resource-center/adults-online-learning]
• Generational demographics: there are:
• 80 million baby boomers
• 46 million Generation Xers
• 78 million millennials (Gen Y)
THE IMPLICATIONS FOR BUSINESS AND GEN U
This presents an enormous opportunity for companies who wish to tap into this rich resource of skill and experience. While unemployment was at a 26-year high at 10.2 percent in October 2009, there are still a plethora of specialized skills available among Gen U. They laid the foundation for the high technology revolution and challenged the status quo of business in the 1960s. Now, interestingly, they are challenging the status quo of retirement.
Gen U’s contributions reside not only in their skills sets garnered over many years, which can be passed onto Gen X, Gen Y, and Baby Boomers. They have also learned a thing or two about people skills – something often lost on today’s frenzied, high-tech workplace.
Today’s need for a humanized workplace can be well served by such timeless, valued traditions as business etiquette and diplomacy – tenets of business practices applied more extensively in the heyday of the Gen Uers.
For Gen Uers themselves, this presents an opportunity to re-apply their knowledge, pay off expenses, “give back,” and feel a renewed sense of purpose. While a sense of community can be achieved in a yoga class or golf game, for many of the unretired I have counseled – building something directly impacts the livelihoods of others can be quite rewarding.
This is a truly Gen-U-ine shift that can help mitigate TOT behavior with a great people skills touch. There will need to be deft hiring practices, not to mention non-TOTs who are managing Gen Uers as well, but the opportunities are immense.