Tag Archive for work conflict

Create a Different Filter for Workplace Interactions

If you’re someone who Is easily put-off, feels you’re being criticized, overwhelmed or picked-on at work, maybe it’s time for you to learn how to not take things so personally in the workplace.  To be blunt, it’s time to grow a thicker skin and grow up!  Put your big girl pants on!

I’ve seen this issue surface with coaching clients many times, and once you realize how to have a thicker skin, the benefits are huge.  When you can be pragmatic and less emotional, you will be seen as more of a professional, as someone who is tougher in the workplace and capable of playing with the big dogs.

A certain toughness will make you less vulnerable to the constant changes that can simply be part of everyday office politics and workplace changes.  For example, if you’re used to doing a project a certain way and parameters change, there’s less stress on you as the individual if you can roll with the changes.

Taking things too personally also takes a toll on your productivity.  For example, you are more creative and productive when you take things less personally.  The reality is, it takes mental and sometimes physical energy just to get through the day when you take things too personally.

And, the risks are too great, when you outwardly display your inability to put your big girl pants on.  When you respond to perceived slights and show that you’ve taken something personally, you’re seen as someone who is defensive at best and worst case, you’re perceived as a whiner.  Unfortunately, you can be seen as someone who is not willing and ready to grow in your professional development.

Bottom line, you live in intense fear and stress, maybe to the point of paranoia, when you take things personally in the workplace.  To help you learn how to deflect these unnecessary and sometimes harmful reactions in the workplace, remember some of these important realizations in your everyday dealings at work:

  • People want what they want and you may be an obstacle to what they want — this is not about you, you may simply be getting in the way
  • Workplace is the business of business and getting a good result — if you’re there to do a job and you’re not performing or producing, you’re obstructing business
  • It’s everywhere — you’re not going to move to a new position, a new job, a new state, a new country and find a place that’s different

When taking things personally, a common first instinct is to get a new job.  You need to manage that response and simply learn to own your behaviors and take things less personally.  I’m here to tell you this isn’t easy — we are who we are, flawed and growing all the time.

For example, I had a coaching client come to me, because she felt persecuted at work.  She reported crying about everything and left in tears every day.  One of the first things she said was, “I’m constantly being criticized by my boss.”  Her issues showed up right away in her interactions with me, making this criticism seem justified.

Unfortunately, she was late for coaching calls and didn’t complete her assessments.  She would agree to everything I suggested, then she didn’t have it done.  These were the exact same things she was hearing from her boss.  She was always late, didn’t get work done, and always had an excuse.  Yes, she would always agree and say, “Yes, I can get that done.”

When we uncovered what was happening, I think it was one of the longest pregnant pauses I’ve ever experienced.  She said, “You’re right, I’m taking things personally because these are personal problems.”  So, if this is you or you have some growing up to do, you’re not a bad person, just put your big girl pants on and move on!

Look at everything from a very pragmatic, business perspective.  Ask yourself, what will it take to do this?  If you’re making errors, do you need to slow down?  Maybe you need more technical skills to sharpen your performance.  Maybe there are areas where you actually need to say, okay fine, take the next step and don’t think about it too much.  Sometimes, it simply is what it is.

If you are struggling to have a more professional focus at work and know you need to take challenges less personally, coaching may be your answer.  Call Kay at 513-561-4288 or email kay@highheeledsuccess.com.

Sexual Harassment and Navigating Workplace Holiday Get-Togethers

Each week brings the announcement of another man or even multiple men who have taken advantage of their power and influence to sexually harass someone in the workplace.  While there have historically been times when this issue has been in the spotlight, many are hopeful that this will be a watershed moment for women’s claims to be taken seriously and men’s actions to have consequences.

From Hollywood to the boardroom and beyond, what’s happening is nothing new.  These stories about newsworthy men behaving badly represent everyday reality for some women in the workplace.  Clients share their struggles regularly during our coaching calls and, particularly during the holiday season, they share concerns about how to navigate the upcoming holiday work party.

The office party provides an extra layer of networking on the job – the key words are “on the job.”  Remember, you are at work, so be aware of your surroundings, watch what you say and how much you drink.  While sexual harassment is not the victim’s fault, you have the power to control circumstances that can keep you safe.  Unfortunately, the office holiday party can bring out the very worst of sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviors.

Then there’s the after party, which is like playing golf with your boss and can be the most advantageous networking opportunity, as long as you stay smart and stay safe.  Please do not buy into the conference syndrome where you’re offsite, so you rationalize an isolated incident.  This is work, not Las Vegas.

Regardless of whether you’re at the office or elsewhere with co-workers, you cannot control what others do.  If you are the victim of sexual harassment, inappropriate advances or worse, you need to feel empowered to speak up right away.

I always recommend that you speak up and say something to the perpetrator first and keep ongoing documentation of what’s happened.  Say something to the individual a maximum of three times before taking the situation to your superior or the human resources department.  If you’re not satisfied with action taken at this point, it’s time for you to engage an attorney.

Whatever you do, do not be silent.  I understand there’s a fear-factor with speaking up and speaking out against someone, most likely someone who is higher on the corporate ladder, in the workplace.  There’s a reason for the fear – women have been demoted, fired and passed over for promotions based on what they do or don’t do in these very unseemly circumstances.

With everything that’s been in the news lately, I’m hopeful that women will continue to feel empowered by the #MeToo movement.  So, please, go to your office holiday party, enjoy yourself and network.  If something happens there or any other time, speak up, because having no voice is the greatest risk of all.

In speaking up, you are joining with other women who also refuse to continue to permit such behaviors.  Further, your voice helps forge a new path for the younger generation of women who will hopefully one day be able to collaborate and work in environments free of fear and harassment.

If you are eager to make a greater impact in your career, it would be my honor to be part of that process with you.  Please give me a call at 513-561-4288 or connect with me via email at kay@highheeledsuccess.com, so we can empower you to achieve that goal.

©Copyright 2017.  Kay Fittes.  All Rights Reserved.

Get Conflict Under Control

Did you miss the High-Heeled Success® workshop, “Kick Conflict to the Curb” on November 1, 2014?  It was a power—packed, career-changing day for all the participants.

Here are just a few of the useful strategies you missed on coping with criticism:

  1. Weigh It!  How you respond should be based on the critic’s motivation.  Was the intent to assist your growth, or was the critic “out to get you,” or worse yet boost their own lagging ego?
  2. Delve Into It!  If they really had your best interest at heart, look for the kernel of truth and internalize it/act on it.
  3. Ditch It!  If you determine the intent was malicious, or just to boost the critic’s ego, ignore it and refuse to let it into your psyche.

Putting these three tips to use requires the discipline skills of listening objectively, being open to growth, and focusing on the positive or what’s important.

The ability to openly receive feedback begins with being a good listener.  Do you truly listen to advice, opinions and guidance from a co-worker/manager?  Spend some time really thing about that.  As the famed author Steven Covey once said, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”  Could this be you?  If so, remind yourself during a potential conflict to stop and truly listen.  Listening is a challenge for many people in our age of lightning fast news and social media.

Finally, look for that silver lining in any interaction.  Whether the words you receive from a co-worker are true feedback or criticism, they must be processed with a filter.  If after hearing someone’s input, you determine it to be useful feedback, look at is as an opportunity to refine your actions or work process.  If the intent was malicious, know that there are powerful prevention and coping skills to cope with saboteurs (some of my future events will reveal them.)

Actionable tips and techniques like the one’s I’ve shared here are takeaways from all my events.  If you didn’t make Kick Conflict to the Curb on November 1st, don’t miss out again!

The next High-Heeled Success® public workshop is on January 24, 2015.  Join us for “A Woman’s Guide to Powerful Presentations.”  One of the fastest career advancement catalysts is the ability to be a powerful presenter, and to have the ability to talk so people will listen, and more importantly:  powerful presenting is an essential skill for women in corporate America, female entrepreneurs and women in the non-profit arena.  Everyone can benefit from this exciting workshop.  Here is one short testimonial from a woman who previously attended my event in June this year:

“The program was very informative, fun and useful.  I came away with a great outline for an effective presentation for my direct sales business,” Amy Elberfeld.

If the thought of speaking in front of a group makes you weak in the knees, look beyond the event and concentrate on the positive outcomes of a powerful presentation instead.  Being a powerful presenter, will enhance your visibility with key individuals.  In some cases this could impact the course of your career by becoming more memorable to those who can directly influence its direction.  Enhanced presentation skills will open doors which were previously closed, so much so, you’ll be surprised to find yourself walking through them!

It is empowering to take control of your career direction versus being driven down an uncertain course because of fear.  Take charge of your career path and register today for “A Woman’s Guide to Powerful Presentations” on January 24, 2015.  I promise that you will walk away armed with tools and the confidence you need to be a Powerful Presenter.  Here are just a couple of tips to implement now, and a taste of the good things to expect at our next event:

Open with a bang!  That means, never start another presentation with, “Good Morning!”

Close memorably!  Make your last words so potent that they ring in your listener’s ears.

©Copyright 2014.  Kay Fittes.  All Rights Reserved.