Professional Development

Recently, we reviewed a Blog by Cheryl Stein, A Monster Canada Personal Coach.  At the same time, we read this, we were teaching a Professional Development course, so timing was right.  Below is the entire article.

How to Get Along with a Coworker You Hate

By Cheryl Stein, Monster Canada Personal Coach

The reality of life is that sometimes we have to work with people we don’t like. Worse than that, sometimes we end up working with people we absolutely hate and wish we could vaporize into oblivion.  Although making people disappear is not a good (or viable!) option, these six ways can help you make the problem disappear.

 1. Be Brutally Honest with Your Coworker
Confronting the person who is making you sick and telling him really nicely what he’s doing to make your workday awful can sometimes get him to stop.  Much of the time, people are completely oblivious to how their behavior makes other people feel. Bringing their lousy behavior to their attention can be the wake-up call they need to change their ways.

2. Rise Above Bad Workplace Behavior
Is there any way to ignore or avoid the person who’s driving you crazy?  Like your mother taught you when you were little, pretending that you aren’t affected by the way someone is behaving can get him to stop — especially if he’s behaving in a way that is intentionally aimed at hurting you.

3. Reframe Your Perspective
A good coaching exercise is to focus on the good qualities this person possesses. This act of appreciation can get you to notice when she is being nice and help you ignore her when she’s being nasty. Try making a list of all the good things she does and intentionally notice those things during the day.

4. Use Honey
Try to connect with the person to develop a closer relationship. Sometimes getting to know someone a little better and extending a hand in friendship can make the person start to go out of his way for you.

5. Use the Opposite of Honey
Sometimes the only way to get someone to back off is to show her what she’s doing.  You’ve probably been told before not to sink to anyone’s level, but once in a while , a bully needs a good kick in the shins. Be careful, however, because if you end up having to go to a higher authority to get this person to stop (see next step), you don’t want her to have any ammunition against you.  If you try this approach, explain why you did it. For example, “I shot down your idea in the meeting because that’s how you always speak to me. If you don’t like how that feels, maybe you shouldn’t do it to others.”

6. Report as a Last Resort
You never want to be labeled the workplace tattletale, but some situations are just impossible to live with. If all else fails and you feel an intervention is needed to stop the behavior, tell your boss. If you go this route, make sure you speak in terms of how the behavior is impacting the organization.  Reducing creative thinking, impacting productivity and damaging team morale are all reasons for a boss to get involved because it will impact his bottom line.

It isn’t reasonable to expect to have only coworkers you like, but if you have to work with people you can’t stand, at least you have options to make your days a little better.

Thank you Ms. Stein:
We found this article interesting and very provocative in that Ms. Stein is very correct about everything she wrote.  We read this article about the same time that we were teaching a class to groups of graduating students regarding professionalism.  During our time with our students, we discuss several philosophies.  We call two of them, “G-Skills” and “K-Skills.”  G-Skills are Job-Getting Skills and K-Skills are Job-Keeping Skills.  For many people, they suffer from the lack of certain professional skills that make working with them, very difficult.  One may think that those from certain social economic circles would be more at risk of unprofessional behavior then others.  As true as that may be for some, we have found that knowledge of professional behavior as well as acting professionally escape many despite their socio-economic backgrounds or their upbringing. 

It is obvious to us that training, coaching, and sometimes continued coaching is required for many; and there is nothing wrong with that.  Moreover, we at M302 suggest that continuous training is a mark of a good Manager and Leader.  As an interviewer for many companies, we have found that hiring “The Smile and Training,” or better yet, hiring a Coachable candidate that has a Positive Attitude is so much more important than hiring one with only skill.

One note about teaching professionalism.  It is very difficult and uncomfortable to do.  Whether is one on one, or in a group, showing or telling people how they should act in particular situations is tough.  It take time, effort and training, to do it right.  Much more then we have time for here.  We will cover more techniques, but for now,…

Lesson One:

Keep it professional: at all times; especially during one-on-one discussions.  People do all sorts of ridiculous and or unprofessional things all the time, for many different reasons; so a Leader must discover why they are doing certain things.  We aren’t sure which ones are harder to fix, but discussing them in a professionally manner and at the right time and in the right place will go a long way towards teaching professional behavior successfully.

More Later:
We Wish You Peace,

The Dispensable Leader (An Excerpt)

Recently, we reviewed a Blog by Pete Ashby, leadership author and Director of ASALeader.Com.  He discusses some issues that relate to Humility, Candor and treating people with respect.  Obviously we not only agree with him, but M302 believes that’s it’s even more important than we all realize.  Below is an excerpt.   

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“…As a leader, how do you want others to view you?

For so many, the sign of success has been that they should be viewed as indispensable.  What a gift: indispensability.

In the midst of the “cultural revolution” that we’re all experiencing on the back of the 2008 financial crash and now for us in Europe the slow motion crash of the euro, this is one of many things that are now changing.

We need our leaders to see themselves as dispensable.  And the more dispensable they see themselves as being, the easier it is to trust them.

This is quite a profound shift that’s taking place.  In a way that has taken many of us by surprise, there’s something more important than ever now about the moral standing of a leader…

Three challenges for you as a leader:

1.  Be more relaxed about treating yourself as dispensable

Today you can’t trade on the deference of the general public and the passivity of your shareholders in ways that you could have done five years ago.

The trust and respect of others is more precious and precarious than before because our trust in the leadership class has taken one hell of a battering.

This isn’t to suggest that we want you to over-do humility.  We all like to see our leaders “walking tall”.

But it would be nice if when we see you walking tall we also pick up some signals that you’re not taking for granted those who invested in your business and buy the goods and services that you’re offering in the market place.

2.  If you have bad news for us, or a really tricky dilemma that you can’t solve in one fell swoop, tell us – and GIVE IT TO US STRAIGHT

Don’t pretend you have an answer if you don’t.

It’s so much better that you should offer us an accessible definition of the core problem that you’re trying to solve.  We’ll respect you for that.

We’d much rather that you honestly own up to differences of opinion.

Whatever you do,  DON’T act as if you have achieved a consensus and then offer us a form of words that could only be agreed because they mean different things to different people.

3.  Remember that we live in a world of ever-greater transparency and that’s here to stay

Your behaviors and personal and professional standards will be more open to the public eye, and, frankly, if you’re still in the game of wanting to take ever increasing bonuses from your business and live the high life, don’t be surprised when others want to compare how you treat yourself with how you treat those who work for you.

Personally, I believe that there should be a pretty direct link between the percentage pay increase that a Chief Executive takes and the % increase that you award your own people.

If you expect your staff to limit themselves to a 1% increase or – as is increasingly the case – accept a pay freeze and therefore a real cut in their living standards, how could you even contemplate trying to justify a huge pay increase for yourself?

Increased humility and ambition

A central part of the challenge for all leaders is to engage more with your own people and make it that much easier for them to trust you when you say “we’re all in this together”.

Millions of workers are having to embrace their own dispensability and adjust to it as best they can.

So for leaders who seek genuine engagement and sharing of ambition, it’s not unreasonable to ask that you act in a way that embraces your own dispensability as well.

After all, as large number of your people tell themselves every day, embracing one’s dispensability means that we need to fight that much harder to hang on to all that we have wanted to take for granted.

Increased humility and increased ambition.  There’s a powerful combination if ever there was one…”


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M302 thanks Mr. Ashby for his insight, as it continues to solidify the M302 philosophy.  One that believes respect for all, regardless of their position creates a win-win, no matter the situation.  Even in defeat or bad times, candor and respect remains the best way treat and communicate to your subordinates.

We wish you Peace…

2012, Pete Ashby,