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Should You Be Friends With People At Work?

Are you the type of person who just goes to work to get the job done and nothing else? Do you look forward to a lonely lunch break? Being friends with co-workers isn’t a high priority for some people, but research is starting to show that it maybe should be. People who have friends at work tend to be happier while working, dread going to work less, and even have lower levels of stress!

There are four primary benefits that people get when they make friends at work:

1)      They are more productive.

Studies show that people who are grumpy and grouchy at work tend to stew in their negativity rather than try to get their work done in a timely fashion. Even just having one friend at work can change the overall focus that someone has! Not only can productivity improve, but so can the overall quality of the work being done as well.

2)      They are more engagement with their work projects.

People generally have to buy into what they’re doing in order to produce at the highest of qualities. With friends as co-workers, people are actually more invested in their job to do the best job possible. Part of this is because they don’t want to let down their friends with a poor performance, but much of it lies in the reduced levels of stress someone feels with friends at work. With friends at work, people are more content, know what’s expected of them, and work harder to meet those expectations.

3)      They are focused on the positive aspects of work more.

Misery loves company and people without friends at work get to swim in their negativity for hours upon hours every day. This gives them the ability to be very vocal with their negative views because they’ve sat at their desks throughout the day preparing their arguments. This allows them to be extremely vocal in their discontent, leading others to be discontent. With friends at work, there is the chance to vent frustrations without letting them cook into negativity stew.

4)      They have better communication.

Most people are less inclined to speak with someone if they don’t know them. It makes them feel uncomfortable to put themselves out there when there’s a need to communicate, so they shut down rather than say something. This hinders the whole workplace at times because of this social discomfort! With friends at work, it is much easier to communicate because you’re already communicating with the people who need the information you already have.

Could You Use Some Friends At Work?

No one is saying that you need to be a fully extroverted person who is the life of the office. Having a friend or two at the office, however, makes like a little bit easier because you’ve got companionship and joy even in difficult professional situations. If you’re looking for a way to improve your work and don’t have many friends in the office, then why not try to make a friend in the coming weeks? It could be your ticket to becoming a more productive you!

5 Reasons You Did Not Get That Promotion

It can be extremely discouraging to not get a promotion that you felt was deserved. You’ve worked hard, done everything that you’ve ever been asked to do, and maybe even sacrificed countless nights for work that you could’ve spent with your family. Unfortunately hard work, dedication, and loyalty just aren’t enough for many employers to grant a promotion in the modern workplace. They’re looking for something more.

Here are the five primary reasons why workers don’t get a promotion that they’re expecting to get. Take these reasons and apply them to your unique situation to see what you could improve so that the next time a promotion comes around, you can quickly secure it!

Reason #1: No Apparent Leadership Skills

Quality leadership comes in three forms and all three must be present:

  • You need to be able to inspire others to do an incredible job at every task they’re assigned.
  • You need to be willing to roll up your sleeves and work on a project at a moment’s notice.
  • You need to be ok with the fact that you might fail.

You might be a hard worker and do an incredible job, but that’s just one-third of what most employers want to see in their leaders. Are you scared to fail? Do you tend to just do your job and never help anyone else? Do you sit quietly at your desk instead of inspiring your co-workers onto bigger and better things? These traits could help you get your job done effectively, but won’t play well with a promotion attempt.

Reason #2: You’re Disorganized

To be fair, everyone has their own filing system that works well for them. Whether you organize in “piles” or “folders,” you’ve got to be able to find stuff at a moment’s notice. An employer doesn’t usually care if your filing system is messy or neat and tidy, but it does have to be organized. If you won’t organize your work, chances are you’re going to miss deadlines, and that’s not something an employer will offer a promotion for doing.

Reason #3: You Don’t Defend Yourself

It might seem a bit narcissistic, but you’ve got to make sure that your employer knows how much value you bring to the table. That doesn’t mean you go and try to solicit another offer from a similar employer and then blackmail yourself into a promotion! It means you vocally demonstrate how much work you do compared to your co-workers. You provide evidence that your work is always of the highest quality. If you provide the right data, the chances are better that you’ll get that promotion the next time around.

Reason #4: You Didn’t Declare Your Intentions

One of the biggest reasons why people are passed over for a promotion is because they never applied for one or vocalized their intent to step-up in the organization. You can’t just assume that your employer knows you want more responsibilities! Go in with the assumption that your employer knows nothing about you, tell them what you want, and then use Reason #3 and provide the evidence that you are a valuable commodity.

Reason #5: You’ve Burned Bridges

The attitude that you bring to work gets noticed every single day. If your attitude is consistently negative or viewed as negative, then you won’t get that promotion you want because employers want leaders with a positive outlook. If you throw managers or co-workers under the bus, this will work against you as well.

Having a positive reputation in your local office politics will go a long ways toward securing any promotion. Use this article to make any changes you might need to make so that you can get the promotion you want the next time around!

5 Common Mistakes People Make At Work

Even if we love our careers, going to work every day isn’t something that we generally look forward to doing all the time. Sometimes our actions at work can make the work that we do more difficult and we sometimes don’t even recognize that we’re causing ourselves more problems! By avoiding these 5 common mistakes that people make at work, your job can be much more enjoyable.

1. Engaging in the Politics of the Workplace

Sometimes you just can’t avoid office politics and that’s ok. The mistake that people sometimes make is that they seek out to engage in the politics of their workplace. This time and effort drags them away from the job that really needs to be done, meaning that when work can get accomplished, it is hurried and rushed. Rushed work generally creates poor results, and that can affect your long-term standing within the company.

2. You’re Multi-Tasking Too Much

The modern employee has to multi-task projects just about every day, but you can actually multi-task too much stuff. Your mind can only maintain its focus on so many things, so rather than try to do three things at once, try something else. Focus on one project for a few minutes. Then switch gears and focus on the next project that is due. Then move to the third project or back to the first one. By maintaining a singular focus, you’ll get more done in that short amount of time than you would doing two or three things at the same time.

3. Work Complaints

Misery loves company and there are usually a lot of miserable people at work! From the overall direction of the company to complaints about your co-worker’s latest hair style, there is undoubtedly someone who will stop by your little nook of the workplace with a cup of coffee and 30 minutes of complaining. Instead of sharing in these complaints, look for ways to improve the processes that are bothering you. This will help to solve the problem!

4. Over-Estimating Your Ability To Get Stuff Done

The idea of working well is to under-promise and over-deliver. The issue that many people have, however, is the reverse of this concept. They over-promise and then under-deliver. Then they wonder why the boss is calling them into the office! Don’t exaggerate what you can do or set unrealistic goals for yourself. Tell people what you can feasibly get done by a deadline, then do your best to provide the highest quality result possible.

5. Learn From Your Mistakes

There’s a common saying that goes something like this: “History is doomed to repeat itself because people haven’t learned the lessons that history has provided.” It is ok to make mistakes… as long as you’re willing to learn the lessons that a mistake teaches you. Humans are fallible creatures. Expecting perfection will always create disappointment! If you learn from each mistake, however, you’ll reduce the risks of making more mistakes, and that’s all anyone can ask of anyone else.

6 Tips To Help You Stay Focused At Work

Is it hard to stay focused at work? Many people, despite their best intentions, find that there are periods of time where it is nearly impossible to keep their focus throughout the day. If you’re having trouble getting through the day with your focus intact, these 6 tips can help you make sure you get everything done before the end of the day.

Tip #1: Find Inspiration

When the tasks that need to be completed aren’t very fun, you don’t feel too inspired to get the job done. Without that inspiration, it can be extremely difficult to find the motivation to finish that task. It is easier to procrastinate on it and find something a lot more engaged to do, isn’t it? Look for inspiration in every task that needs to be completed, find a fun way to work on it, and you’ll be able to better keep your focus.

Tip #2: Make a Daily Task List

It is difficult to stay focused on what needs to be completed for the day if there is no direction to how and when something may need to be completed. Created a daily list of tasks that need to be completed, include any deadlines you may need to meet, and then cross off items as they get completed. When you give yourself direction, you’ll give yourself focus!

Tip #3: Set Priorities

Some things at work just have to be done by a certain time. Other things can be set on the back burner because they have a later deadline. When there is a specific deadline that has to be met, it is much easier to keep a focus on the task at hand because the prevention of failure is a powerful motivator. Even if there isn’t a professional deadline time that needs to be met on any given day, give yourself personal deadlines to meet. You may just find that with the right priorities, your focus will be right too.

Tip #4: Be Invisible

Distractions may be the worst cause of a lack of focus in a professional environment. Distractions can come from anywhere too: it could be your co-worker with a cup of coffee and a conversation or it could be your e-mail account that keeps dinging at you. Turn the notification sounds off, close the office door if you can, and hang up the “Do Not Disturb” sign so that you can maintain your focus.

Tip #5: Ignore Social Media

If you have access to the internet at work or your smartphone has social media apps, you’re going to need to learn to ignore the temptation to explore what others are doing. Even with a goal of just 5 minutes, it is extremely common to find distractions from friends, interesting articles to read, and crazy cat pictures to see! By ignoring social media until the job is done, you’ll be able to stay better focused on the tasks at hand.

Tip #6: Keep Your E-mail Organized

E-mail is the worst contributor to a loss of focus. The best practice with your e-mail is to keep your personal e-mail separate from your professional e-mail first. From there, answer e-mails that must be responded to right away, then set aside everything else until you get a moment in time to respond. Delete everything else, unsubscribe to things you don’t need, and your e-mail will cost you less time overall.

By following these simple tips, it can be a lot easier to keep your focus at work! Make a plan to implement these tips in some way into your daily routines to see how much more you can get done with the right focus!

5 Ways to be a Better Listener

In the last conversation that you had with someone, did you feel like what you had to say was actually heard? In many modern conversations, instead of listening to the other person, what is actually going on is an effort to either add a personal viewpoint or to find a way to contradict the other’s opinion. By taking the time to develop the skill of active listening, more information can be effectively passed between two people because they are working together to be on the same page.

Here’s how you do it:

1. Be engaged in the conversation. There are plenty of distractions today in the modern world. Your smartphone can ding any time you get an e-mail or Facebook notification. Instead of allowing these distractions to interrupt a conversation, turn them off completely so that you can focus on what is being said instead of focusing on the anticipation of an interruption.

2. Maintain eye contact. One of the biggest reasons why people feel like another person is not engaged in a conversation is because they don’t maintain a level of eye contact. Now obviously you don’t want to stare someone down aggressively, but if you’re busy looking at your text messages, e-mails, or reading status updates on your social network, chances are you’re not really listening anyway.

3.Ask open-ended questions. Asking any question about the conversation is going to show that you’re at listening a little bit. If you can ask an open-ended question, or a question that requires more than a “yes” or a “no,” you can accomplish three very important things:

  • You can increase the amount of detailed information you receive from the other person.
  • You show the other person that you’re actively engaged in what you’re hearing.
  • You’re working on making sure that all parties are working to understand the information that is being conveyed in the same way.

4. Validate what that person is feeling. So what if the information being shared with you doesn’t mesh up with your opinion? Many conversations have “I feel” statements within them. This means that if you disagree with that person or tell them they shouldn’t actually be thinking the way they are about a particular subject, you’re invalidating their emotion. In a sense, you’re making yourself superior and the other person inferior. That stops a conversation dead in its tracks because no one wants to talk with someone who focuses on personal negatives or attacks.

5. Always repeat back what you’ve heard. The most powerful statement in any conversation is this: “Let me see if I heard you right…” and then you repeat back what you’ve heard from the other person in your own words. This allows people to bridge whatever communication gap there may be because both parties are working together to get onto the same page. When that happens, true communication occurs!

You may just find that the more you practice the skill of active listening, the more others around you may be willing to practice it as well. Take the opportunity to practice your active listening skills today and see how it might just change the way you have future conversations!

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