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Communicating Thankfulness at the Office: 5 Reasons Why You’ve Got To Do It

4 out of 5 American office workers say that when someone communicates thankfulness to them about a job well done, it makes them work harder. That same pool of workers also admits a 90% failure rate in communicating that thankfulness on a personal level. There is no denying the fact that the best kind of motivation comes from appreciation. The only problem is that we often assume others know we appreciate them, so we don’t communicate that thankfulness.

Maybe saying “Thank you” feels like a foreign concept, but there are some specific reasons why thankfulness needs to be communicated in the workplace that go beyond the need to feel appreciated. Here is why an emphasis on thankfulness is so important.

#1. Appreciation isn’t an extrinsic motivator. There comes a time for most workers when a raise, a promotion, and other intrinsic rewards just aren’t enough. There are nice titles and plenty of extra money, but that cash gets spent. Appreciation falls outside of these extrinsic rewards that often feel like they’re just dues for a job well done. It speaks to a greater importance in the work that is being accomplished.

#2. It places a point of emphasis on giving. There are three basic types of workers: givers, takers, and exchangers. Takers will try to get everyone else to do the job while they sit back and do nothing. Exchangers will do work if they receive something in return. Givers don’t care. They offer their experiences and skills freely upon asking. Givers don’t always wind up on top, but they do more often than the other two types of workers. Giving thankfulness, therefore, is a way to find yourself getting ahead.

#3. Thankfulness can double the response. Information flows fast and free in today’s modern working environment. What is interesting about the data we consume is that the final line of the content we read or the conversation we have is what sticks with us. If that last line is a note of thankfulness, the positive responses that can be received in return will actually double. This increases the likelihood that more help can be received in the future.

#4. A little time can take you a long way. Communicating thankfulness requires a time investment, but a rather small one. Just a simple note that tells people they are appreciated is all it takes to not only have them work harder, but encourage you to work harder as well. Our creativity tends to fade during times of stress and that thankfulness that gets communicated eliminates the stress that everyone – including you – is experiencing.

#5. Being specific makes the value increase. Relationships are built in the working environment and will either be positive or negative. Positive relationships form when others feel like you care for them. Negative relationships form when it seems like there is a selfish element in play. By being specific about what you’re thankful for, that specificity brings you closer to that other person because your observation has been about them instead of being about you.

Consider these 5 benefits and how you could apply them to your workplace. Communicating thankfulness only takes a few seconds, but the impact it leaves could last for a lifetime.

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.

Why Being Humble Is Your Most Important Trait

Leadership is a tricky skill to navigate. You’ve got to be forceful enough to take charge of a situation and dictate responsibilities, yet display enough humility that you encourage everyone to work together as a team. In order to accomplish this task so that everyone feels like they are unique and welcome, being humble will be your most important attribute. Humbleness puts the team before your own needs and allows for strengths to be recognized on a consistent basis.

Can You Take Being Humble Too Far?

One of the interesting aspects of a team environment is that people want to feel like they have an individualized input, but are still part of a “hive mind” when it comes to certain decisions. Being too humble and allowing too much uniqueness can actually reduce productivity more than being a dictator would.

It really begins by your ability to share your successes and your failures. By demonstrating your own personal growth, you’re actually encouraging others to follow a similar journey. Failure is the great human equalizer, which means everyone can relate to it in some way. This gives you the opportunity to connect with your team in a personal way that will encourage relationships to be built.

It’s About the Dialogue, Not the Debate

The elements of a team that makes them different is what will make that team stronger. You don’t have to win every argument to be an effective leader. You don’t even need to engage with people to convince them of the validity of your point. If you include all points of view and then make the best decision possible from those viewpoints, you’ll show your team that you’re willing to focus on their agenda instead of your own and that’s an effective way of being humble.

The ultimate goal of this journey is to encourage others to become leaders instead of being willing to just follow your own dynamic leadership. Sometimes that means you’ve got to reverse the roles in place and put others in charge. Placing yourself beneath someone else on the team automatically puts you into a humble position and it is reinforced if you follow the lead of the person you put in charge.

These changes can bring about a lot of uncertainty, however, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. If you are able to embrace uncertainty and turn it into a teaching moment, what you’re able to do is create a place where others are encouraged to step up to the plate and offer valuable solutions that they might normally hold back. It creates an environment of independence, but fueled by an underlying interdependence that brings everyone together.

Being humble doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to make the hard decisions when they come along. It just means that you’re giving your entire team the opportunity to learn from the experience in their own unique way instead of dictating the experience to them. That’s why it is one of the most important traits in all of today’s best leaders.

Ace Your New Job By Avoiding These Common Mistakes

It’s exciting to start the first day of your new job! Did you know, however, that how you start your new job could set the tone for the rest of your time at the organization?

You can ace your new job by avoiding these common mistakes:

Getting Involved With Office Politics

Every office has politics that go along with it and to some extent; you’re going to have to participate in those politics at some point so that you can be effective at your job. When you first start a job, however, the inclination we all have is to trust everyone as we’re training because these office veterans must know what they’re doing, right?

Unfortunately misery loves company and there are several office veterans out there that can be pretty cynical. Some will even send you in the wrong direction just to get a laugh at the fact that you got into trouble! Take instructions with a grain of salt and if something doesn’t make sense, don’t do it.

Being a Maverick From Day 1

Even if you’re hired to bring about change in the office, you’re not going to create change from the first day. In many offices, you need to evolve the office atmosphere instead of create a revolution because relationships will help to motivate people more than tyranny will. Being excited about a job is one thing. Being overeager to tell everyone why they’re wrong and you’re right will just create workplace enemies.

Refusing Help, Even When You Need It

It’s almost embarrassing to ask for help sometimes, especially if it feels like what you’re doing is one of the simplest tasks the office has. It’s always better to ask for help when you’re new, however, then to assume or guess that the way you choose to do something is the right way. You might guess right and come out looking like a star, sure… but you could completely miss and end up looking like a fool. Better to just ask and claim rookie status now.

You Don’t Communicate

If your new job has a probationary period associated with it, then times can really be tough because it feels like you’re being micro-managed, right? When that probationary period wears off and people aren’t breathing down your neck so much, it’s really easy to just start doing your own thing on a daily basis. You’ve still got to keep your team and your boss informed of what’s going on, however, because no one likes surprises – especially bad surprises.

There’s a Lack of Appreciation

Gratefulness goes a long way when you’re a new employee. There’s a good chance that your new co-workers were really good friends with the person you just replaced and they’re likely not too happy right now that you’re filling their friend’s shoes. Even if the job you got is a brand new position, you’ve likely beat out dozens of people for that job, some of whom may be your new co-workers! Be humble, be grateful, and you’ll win over your co-workers over time. Well… most of them, anyway.

Avoiding these common mistakes as your start your new job will help to put you on a path toward success. Start your journey today!

5 Ways To Shine At The Office Party This Year

 The holiday office party is often a place for you and your co-workers to unwind a little from a stressful year. How you behave at that party, however, can help to determine what your career path at that company will ultimately be. One more drink than you should have…

It sounds like common sense to stay in control, but there are other ways that you can dominate your office party and make an incredible impression on those executive managers. That way, when an opportunity does come up, they may just think about your ability to network and be professional, yet still have fun too! These 5 tips will help you find success:

1. It May Be a Party, But You’re Still At Work Too

Many people like to dress down for the holiday party and it seems like an informal occasion, but if you’re at work, the work rules still apply. For many professionals, this means a minimum of business casual attire. Adding in some holiday flair is certainly ok to add a level of festivity, but let’s face it – showing off your night club outfit at work isn’t going to score you long-term points.

2 – Have a Good Introduction Planned

The office party is the perfect time to network! In smaller offices, you probably know everyone already, but some companies employ 3,000 or more people and they bring all their employees together into one location for the party. If the latter applies to you, then in order to dominate, it makes sense to have a pre-planned introduction ready so you can communicate who you are and what you do. Include your name, your position, and how long you’ve worked with the company.

3 – Have Fun and Relax!

It’s really ok to have a drink or two at the holiday party, especially if the company is paying for it. It’s ok to have a good dinner and load up on the prime rib – again, especially if the company is paying for it! Smile, be friendly and open, and don’t carry those hors d’oeuvres around like a defensive weapon. That will show others that you’re relaxed, yet still looking to be professional, and that will help you dominate.

4 – Be Smart About Your Handshake

There are countless articles about what kind of handshake to use for a good reason – you will be judged on your first impression. A limp, cold, slimy handshake will convey a negative impression about who you are as a person. A firm handshake will leave a good, lasting impression on many people. Just be smart about your handshake – don’t hang onto it for too long or be that stalker who stays around someone because they’re trying to get something. Shake hands and then go… and that’s how you’ll shine.

5 – Be the Host/Hostess of the Party

It might not be your job to be the host/hostess, but make it your job! Mingle with everyone, have some light conversation, and don’t always talk about work. You’ll have fun, people will have fun talking with you, and you’ll create solid memories. That, in turn, will help you dominate when the time is right later on.

4 Etiquette Tips For Your Tech At Work

Having your smartphone at work can make any day go by a little faster, right? From a quick check of Facebook to exchanging messages with a loved one, it allows you to stay connected to your life while you’re covered in professional misery. Having your tech at work can cause you problems, however, if you aren’t following professional etiquette expectations, so here are 4 tips to help you stay out of trouble as you work for the weekend:

1. Keep your device silent. There’s nothing more annoying for a co-worker than to hear the constant beeping and buzzing of a phone. The noise interrupts thought patterns and let’s faces it – you get unwanted attention if it’s constantly going off. That alerts your boss and you don’t want to have that conversation! Besides – if you’re talking with someone, do you really want to have to silence your phone in the middle of a conversation?

2. Don’t text your co-workers. Being old enough to remember when texting didn’t exist, I can say that having texts available at work for quick messages from home is invaluable. Your co-workers, however, deserve the respect of a phone call when you need information from them. Not only is this the fastest way to get a question answered [because who knows when that text might be received], a text is still considered informal and impersonal.

3. Keep your conversations to the background. In the movie Office Space, the words from the woman across the cubicle hall still rings in my ears: “Corporate accounts payable, Nina speaking… just a moment.” No one is saying that you shouldn’t be having a conversation with someone [unless company policy says not to do so], but be polite about it. Keep your voice down and offer your co-workers the same respect you’d want if the roles were reversed. If nothing else, take an early break and have the conversation somewhere besides your desk.

4. Eliminate your tech as a distraction. The primary problem that people have with their tech at work is that it becomes a distraction. It’s more fun to check your phone and play games than it is to actually get those reports out on time, right? Add in the social networking notifications that need to be checked, your personal e-mail account that needs to be checked, and those texts you might be receiving and a workday can quickly become unproductive.

When you treat your tech at work as a secondary thing to do after you get your work done, then you’ll find the highest levels of success with it. Follow these etiquette tips and you’ll be able to stay under the radar and that’s ultimately where we all want to be, right?

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