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5 Ways to Manage Someone You Don’t Like

In a perfect world, we’d all like to manage people that we’d be as comfortable sharing a drink with them as working with them on a professional team. Going beyond the pleasantries and ability to find common ground, when there is general “likeableness,” work is just easier.

Unfortunately not everyone wants to be your friend when you’re the manager. Some are out for blood and want to take your job! Others just hate you for the fact that you’re the one in charge. I once had a direct report try to sabotage a project because he thought that if the job looked bad, then I’d look bad and be replaced.

The reasons why we don’t like someone can vary. What doesn’t vary is how we can effectively manage them. Here are 5 key lessons I’ve learned over the years:

1. Friendships Are Less Important At Work

Having a good friend at work can help the day go by much more quickly. Multiple studies have shown, in fact, that there are higher job satisfaction levels present when people have a best friend at work! When you’re in management, finding friendships is still important, but finding them outside of your team is usually a better idea. When you’re friends with a direct report, it becomes more difficult to discipline them should it become necessary… and if you do, that discipline can end up stopping a friendship cold anyway.

2. Stay Positive In All Things

Those sayings like “find the silver lining” or “look for the sunny side of things” grate on my nerves some days, but the truth in the message is clear. By staying positive in all circumstances, even when you’re around someone you’d rather avoid, you are leading by example as a manager. Every project at work will encounter some sort of difficulty. How you handle it will help show your direct reports where the silver lining can be found.

3. Everyone Contributes Something

I’ve found that the people I tend to dislike the most while working are the people who are the most like me. I find that this dislike stems from the fact that they have the potential to do what I do, only better. As the manager, you’re supposed to be the best right? Not necessarily. As the manager, your role is to be the team leader. That means making sure everyone contributes something based on their best strengths – even if those strengths are similar… or better than your own.

4. Work Closely Together

It’s not about keeping your enemies closer than your friends. It’s about learning what makes a person tick. You don’t have to like a person in order to understand them. Then, when you have managed to understand their perspective, that dislike you have for that person tends to start fading away. It also works in reverse – when those who don’t like you work more closely with you, their understanding of you helps to ease the discomfort.

5. Confront Fast, But Praise Faster

The most common reason to dislike someone is because they don’t contribute like they should. It could be because of laziness, brashness, or even arrogance. If you’re noticing the bad stuff as a manager, your team has known about it for weeks most likely! By fast to confront negative behaviors that could drop your team’s morale, but be faster to praise the good job a person does. Negativity is often brought about because of a lack of recognition, so put the emphasis there.

Just don’t be afraid to be proactive about the bad stuff too.

It’s not always easy to manage someone you don’t like, but it is very doable. Use these tips to work on your own interactions and you just may find that the working relationship is more about respect than it is about how much one is liked.

5 Tips To Be A Star At Work

Most people do not go to work solely for the paycheck. There are numerous reasons why work is important for our livlihood. Today, I want to talk about being recognized, appreciated and respected at your workplace. We all want to get recognized and noticed for our work. It makes us feel important and gives us a sense of purpose and accomplishment.

When we are not being appreciated at work, we feel demotivated and will work less enthusiastically for the organization. There are a few things you can do to get the attention of other people in a positive way.

1. Do a great job.

The best way to get the attention of others is to be excellent at your job no matter what you are doing. A strong work ethic means taking pride in your work, regardless of what job you hold. When you are good at what you do, you will get noticed by other people that can help you get ahead in your career. Your boss will give you more responsibility which can lead to promotions and raises.

2. Go the extra mile.

Going the extra mile is doing the unexpected.  It’s going above and beyond your job description. The best employees are those that go far above and beyond their job duties. They will volunteer for assignments and projects that few people are willing to do. They put in the long hours to get the job done. They are always asking their boss for more work.

3. Become an expert.

If you spend an hour each day learning and reading about your field of work, you will become an expert in 10 years. Expertise takes time and effort to acquire. Very few people will take the time to invest in themselves. When you become an expert, people will seek out your advice, knowledge and opinion. You will be asked to attend important meetings and conferences where your expertise will be valued.

4. Speak up at meetings.

Many of us spend hours in meeting each week. Instead of feeling that meetings are a waste of time, use it to get notice. Speaking up in meetings demonstrates to everyone that you are well suited for your role and ready for the next big job. Become fully engaged in the meeting by asking questions and offering solutions to problems.

5. Help others.

When you help other people at work, your good deeds will not go unnoticed. Everyone at work knows who the team players are. When you help a collegue, it creates a harmonious work environment, builds trusts and goodwill and the person you help will more likely want to give you a hand in the future.

7 Tips to Deal With Email

Email. What used to be one of the ‘best new inventions’ of the modern world has now become a monster that can eat up your time, frustrate you immensely and even infect your computer. Yes, it’s still an excellent way to communicate but with all the crap that comes through email these days it almost seems like it would be easier to just send smoke signals.

But there is help. Below you’ll find 7 ways to help you deal with your email and turn it back to the light side of the force. Use these tips and soon you’ll have your email monster tamed and maybe even look forward to looking in your ‘inbox’ again.

1) Don’t be a slave to your inbox.  If you check your mail every time you hear that ‘ding’ you’re going to kill your productivity. Unless you’re waiting for something extremely urgent checking once an hour is probably fine.

2) Responding immediately is not always a good idea. Again, unless it’s urgent responding within 2 hours is acceptable. Besides, if you always respond right away people will start to expect that.

3) Ask for and be clear in your email messages. If you know what people need and they know what you need you will spend a lot less time going back and forth with innumerable emails.

4) Know how your email program of choice works.  Most of them have excellent time-saving features that never get used because nobody takes the time to read about them.  D’oh!

5) Going away?  Set phasers to ‘kill email’. If you don’t want to return from vacation with a mountain of email use an auto-responder to let people know you’re away and when you’ll be back and delete their emails automatically.

6) Learn how to use your email program’s search function.  Let’s face it, wading through a shipload of emails trying to find one bit of info is for monkeys. Using the search option will save you a lot of valuable time.

7) Know how to use your email’s Spam controls. They’re different for every program but essential if you don’t want to waste half of your day looking at ads for penis enlargement pills.

There you go.  7 great tips for helping you break the email beast. If you even use half of them you will see an immediate difference in your inbox and a reduction in time wasted. Now if you’ll just stop playing Farmville all day on FaceBook you might even get some stuff done.

How to Increase Your Will Power

Willpower is one of the most important predictors of success in life. We all have willpower. Every morning we have a certain amount of willpower that we deplete by the end of the day. You can think of it as having money in your pocket that you spend throughout the day.

That is why after a long day at work or school, you just want to sit in front of the television or computer and zone out because you have spent most of your willpower during the day. Each decision and action you make during the day either increases or decreases your willpower.

Willpower is like a muscle that you can strengthen with use or get fatigued with use. Each person only has a certain amount of willpower throughout the day. I want to talk about how the practice of meditation increases your willpower.

1. Research has shown that a few minutes of meditation each day can boost willpower by building up gray matter in areas of the brain that regulate emotions and govern decision making. When you meditate everyday, you will be building your willpower muscle.

2. Meditation promotes better sleep. When you are well rested and have enough sleep, your  willpower naturally increases.

3. When we are under a lot of stress, our willpower will be diminished. Meditation will help minimize or eliminate the harmful stress in your life. Successful people conserve willpower by developing effective habits and routines to reduce stress.

4. Meditation improves a wide range of willpower skills including concentration and focus. Your ability to focus and concentration is one of the most important determinations of whether you’ll achieve success in life.

7 Proven Ways To Keep Yourself Relevant

You have a great idea. It’s selling well. You’re getting yourself in line for a promotion at work or seeing an uptick in sales with your business. As time goes on, however, the ideas you’ve offered become stale. They’re no longer exciting. People have moved on to the next great idea.

If that has happened to you, then here are 7 proven ways that will help you get relevant again and then stay relevant in the future.

#1. Be like a cat. Cats are famous for being curious. You’ve got to keep learning, striving, and growing to stay engaged. If you ride one great idea for months, eventually that rut will cause people to look for something that’s fresher and newer to enjoy.

#2. Read something different. Salespeople read sales books. Religious people read religious books. Marketers? They read marketing books. Don’t do this. Read something different and you’ll challenge yourself with a fresh perspective. As a bonus, the side effect of reading something new is that you’ll develop a deeper niche expertise in what you already do well.

#3. Use your ears. There are thousands of unique podcasts that are available for free on the internet today. Sometimes they focus on education. At other times, they just offer a fresh perspective. Either way, you’ll stay up to date with what is going on and be able to offer relevant advice from what you’ve learned.

#4. You can learn something new every day. There’s always a way to be a little better today when compared to yesterday. Tomorrow should be better than today. You can accomplish this by finding something new to learn. Think about joining a conference, making time for a webinar, or even giving your own seminar on what you do.

#5. Go back to school. You don’t have to pursue a degree to enjoy a good class. If you don’t want to pay a college for class materials, there are numerous free college courses that are published online today to further the learning curve. When you’re well-rounded, you will be more relevant.

#6. Have a mentor on standby. The most relevant people are always questioning, always testing, and never really satisfied unless 100% perfection has been achieved. By having a mentor available when the chips seem down, you’ll have the chance to process through difficult events and talk out some fresh ideas.

#7. Go out and meet someone. You don’t have to be a socialite or networking genius to benefit from meeting someone new. We’re like sponges. A little bit of everyone we meet is absorbed into our own perspectives. Positive people will keep you moving forward. Keep your network fresh with new faces and you’ll stay relevant.

It can be difficult to purposely create change. Sometimes, however, change is needed to stay relevant. Incorporate these ideas to get yourself out of that stale rut and you may just find opportunity knocking at your door.

How To Stay Focused At Work

If you’re finding it difficult to stay focused at work, you know just how problematic it can be. Sometimes it feels as though you’re running around in circles and not getting anything done. Not only is this frustrating, but it can also negatively affect your reputation within your company as well as hurt your productivity. The good thing is that you can make some improvements to your focus levels at your workplace. After you practice the following tips, you should be much more productive and have the ability to accomplish more goals than usual.

One of the most common mistakes that people make at work is improper management of time. This can come from a number of things, but one of the biggest reasons is being distracted. When you cut out things like using social media websites or watching YouTube, you can stay ahead and not worry about slipping into a time killer. I realize that you may want to take a break from time to time, and that’s okay, but you’re going to have to set aside certain intervals for leisure.

A great way to stay focused and sharp is by setting small goals and knocking them out. One of the reasons that this is beneficial is because it allows you to feel as though you’re making progress. Knocking out small goals while taking a breather in between can be much more effective than trying to tackle everything at once.

Don’t forget to reward yourself with a break! When you try to tackle a huge workload non-stop, you’re going to get burnt out eventually. By having small routine breaks you’re going to allow yourself to stay much more focused without getting frustrated with your work load.

 One of the best ways to keep on top of things is by starting early. When you arrive to work you should be well-rested and ready to take on your daily routine. Get some of the tasks that you find the most challenging finished at first and you will feel at ease throughout the rest of the day.

Now, this may seem obvious, but procrastination is a time vampire and it should be avoided at all costs. Rather than making up excuses to put off working, you should push yourself to get as much done as you can. This will be much easier when you follow the tip about taking small breaks.

Can You Actually Visualize Real Success Before It Happens?

Many athletes talk about seeing themselves win a big game before they go out to perform. Business professionals visualize seeing themselves closing a big deal before it happens. Study after study has shown that visualization can lead someone to more consistent success, but why? Can you actually visualize real success before it happens?

Some people might put faith in premonitions and dreams for this, but anyone who visualizes success before it happens will increase the chances of actually being successful. This is because the mind has a unique ability to gain skills from this exercise. When you run a visualization through your mind, you’re actually running a simulation where you can mentally practice how to get the best outcome.

If you haven’t tried visualization before, then here are some tips to help get you get started.

#1. Visualize the perfect scenario. Perfect practice is what leads to perfect results. Imagine what the perfect scenario will be so that you can achieve the best possible outcome for whatever upcoming event you have going on. Now run through the various tasks, conversations, sales pitches, and other work you’ll need to accomplish to achieve that best possible outcome.

#2. Treat this time as real work. Far too many people use visualization exercises after hours or right before they go to bed. Instead of fitting in visualization during your spare moments at the beginning or end of the day, schedule time during your work day to do it. A best practice here is to schedule visualization time somewhere in the first 2 hours of your day because your mind is the freshest at this point in the day. Even just 10 minutes to visualize how to achieve success can be a very worthwhile investment.

#3. Follow through like you would a business plan. When you create a business plan, you’re outlining specific goals that must be achieved to accomplish a specific end result. In visualization, the task is the same. You’ll need to progress through the different goals that you have, see how they can be accomplished perfectly, and then simulate how those results can translate into the overall plan in place that needs to be achieved.

#4. Think about roadblocks that may get in your way. Visualizing perfection is wonderful, but it cannot be truly successful unless you’re also willing to take a look at the various obstacles you may encounter. Think about the roadblocks that could get in your way and then visualize how you would get around that obstacle. Take several routes, see your success in each one, and then you’ll be prepared for virtually any scenario that may come your way. Do not allow the obstacle to win – ever.

#5. Make your visualization as detailed as possible. If you can include specific details within your visualization session, then you’ll be better prepared for the real life situation. Think about sights, smells, and even touch as you proceed through each task. Remember what each situation is like, how it makes you feel, and how you react to them.

How To Become An Expert In Your Field

People gravitate towards people who have the most knowledge within their field. It’s just simple common sense, right? If you’ve got a problem, you want the smartest person you can find to be able to help you find a solution that works. You don’t have to be a genius to be able to become a niche expert – you’ve just got to be willing to put in the work to truly understand your niche. When you can do that, you can provide a better value to people and that’s ultimately what people want: value.

Are you looking to become a niche expert in your field? Then you don’t need a doctoral degree and a bunch of initials after your name. Just follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to being seen as a world expert in your niche.

Tip #1: Start With a Higher Level of Discipline

It takes nearly 2,000 reading hours for someone to attain a doctoral agree. That equates to about one hour of reading per day about your particular subject. Increasing your knowledge base is critical to becoming a niche expert, which means you’ve got to do research! Putting time into your busy day to read will help you accomplish this. Even if you can’t set aside a full one-hour block, you could try setting aside four 15 minute blocks.

Tip #2: Make Learning a Habit

It takes about three weeks of doing the same thing every day in order to make an action become a habit. Whatever blocks of time you set aside to read, research, and study, make sure that you are setting aside the same blocks of time every day. This will help to develop your reading time as a habit! After the first couple weeks of doing this, it will actually become harder for a few days to make the time to study. If you can push through during the tough choices, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a niche expert.

Tip #3: Allow Yourself To Succeed

One of the biggest factors that prevent personal success is a personal viewpoint that has already pre-determined that there won’t be any success whatsoever! When people don’t feel like they can succeed, that viewpoint becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, even if that person has the skills and opportunity to find success!

Don’t let negative self-talk affect you as you work toward becoming a niche expert. It’s not about your intelligence: it’s about your inner strength and willpower. You must have the will to succeed! If you can maintain that strength, you’ll become a niche expert – plain and simple.

Are You Ready To Get Started?

All it takes to become a niche expert is a level of dedication and focus toward the goal of learning more about your chosen field than anyone else. If you’re willing to put in the work and can make positive decisions toward meeting your goal of becoming an expert, then you’ll be able to find that success you want. It might seem easy to do on paper… but unless you can drive yourself toward that goal, it’s much, much harder than people think.

Work hard, study hard, and you’ll find success!

Deciding On the Right Company To Work For

With the economy in the dump worldwide many people are desperately looking for work and will take almost anything that comes along, but the fact is that no matter what you do 40 hours (or more) of your week are going to be spent at your job. That’s a lot of hours, to be sure, and so if you can you should really make sure that your new job is the right ‘fit’ for you.

Let’s face it, even if you like what you do working at a place that you don’t like is akin to eating your favorite breakfast cereal with water instead of milk; sure you can do it but it’s not very satisfying and takes all the joy out of it. Plus it’s a soggy mess.

With that in mind, here are 5 key aspects you should keenly look at before starting any new job.

1) The Company culture. This is very important for a number of reasons. If, for example, you’re an outgoing and laid-back person but the company is buttoned-down and rigid you’re going to have problems fitting in. If you like casual Friday’s and they have a strict dress code you’ll soon find yourself resentful and unhappy.

2) Company Management.  If we’re being honest dealing with management is always a bit of a problem but some companies make it easier than others. For example, some have policies that make approaching management and voicing new ideas or grievances a lot easier. Some don’t however, and if you work for a company that puts management on a pedestal you better be prepared to sign yourself up for primal scream therapy pronto.

3) The Products and / or services you sell. Another deal breaker, if your new company sells products that you wouldn’t even give to your mother-in-law you may soon find yourself regretting your decision to work there.  Being able to take pride in what you do is an essential part of happiness on the job.

4) The Industry you work in. Similar to your products and services your company sells, if you work in an industry that is negative your work life will be negative also. If you’re a fervent non-smoker, for example, you probably won’t be happy working for a tobacco company. If, however, you do smoke and they have ‘free cigarette Fridays’ then by all means go for it!

5) The Size of the company. This depends on what role you see yourself playing in the overall scheme of things.  If you’re content being lost in the herd then working for a company that employs hundreds or even thousands of people may not be a problem, but if you want to make a difference (even if it’s small) you probably should work for a smaller company where your voice will be heard.

No matter where you work if you feel valuable and appreciated you will be happier and more satisfied no matter the product or service. If you don’t, even working for a teeth whitening company won’t keep a smile on your face.  Choose wisely and good luck.

Too Much Clutter? This Book Will Help You Get Organized!

When there is a clean surface, it is easy to make it become cluttered. “I’ll just put this away later,” you’ll think to yourself, but then later never comes. Clutter is like misery, it enjoys company, and pretty soon that clean surface has suddenly become a huge mess. Clutter is ultimately a sign of disorder. It robs everyone of time, cleanliness, and ultimately happiness.

Marie Kondo has written a book entitled The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing that offers a profound message. By simplifying, organizing, and storing proactively, you can eliminate clutter very effectively.

Much of the advice to avoid clutter involves one of three basic commitments. Have you been told to de-clutter your life by one of these methods in the past?

  1. Every time you enter a room, make sure to put one thing away.
  2. Always remove the clutter from a surface you have cleaned to avoid more clutter.
  3. Throw things away that do not have any value to them.

The problem is that these methods might help to remove the clutter from one room, but you’ll only have one room clean. The clutter will cycle from room to room, leaving you in an endless cycle of misery. Kondo changes the dynamic with this book by adjusting the perspective. Instead of looking at each room of the home, look at each category of clutter.

Your job isn’t to keep picking away at the piles of clutter that you have in an endless loop of time. Your job is to focus on one type of clutter, organize it, and then keep it organized. If you have paperwork for your business strewn about, take the time to file it and then file each additional bit of paperwork that comes your way. Once you’ve organized one category, you move onto the next category.

What Kondo suggests in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up really does work. Every client she has taken on is improving the clutter in their life. She claims a 0% lapse rate. In this book, she’s also ready to help you.

This book is ultimately about finding joy in the simple things of life. It’s all about the perspective of things. Are you keeping your socks all bundled up and tight, afraid of what lies ahead? Or are you keeping your socks folded and free, ready to happily embrace the changes that may be headed your way? When you care for your things, they’ll last longer and this will have more meaning to you.

The only problem is that we often care for things that have no meaning to us. There are things that we keep that don’t make us happy. These are the things that we must discard in order to choose happiness. Money won’t buy this happiness for us. It is a focus on real joy that can only come from being able to care for those things that hold the most meaning.

Initially intended for a Japanese audience, the zen of being free of clutter can apply to us all. There is a lot of good to take out of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Grab your copy today and choose happiness.

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