[Lucrative Lookback] How to Work With Difficult People Who Make You Cringe

[Lucrative Lookback] How to Work With Difficult People Who Make You Cringe

We’ve all met our fair share of cringeworthy people - you know, the folks who never seem to know where the line is. Or, the ones who are blatantly hypocritical and don’t seem to know it. Or, the coworker you really wish would at least pretend not to be on their phone while they’re talking to you. Or…the list could go on for days! In this week’s Lucrative Lookback, we’ll consider how we can change our experience with these “difficult people” to preserve our sanity and create a work environment where we can do more than just survive. We may find that a little perspective goes a long way. What’s even better? We’ll explore how to work with these difficult personalities in 250 words, or less! Think about this… To date, we don’t have computers as sophisticated as the human brain. Each of your coworkers has potentially more computational power than any of the computers at your company! Perhaps you’re thinking, “Not my coworkers! Some of them just have difficult personalities. They could never be as sophisticated as a door knob, much less a computer!” Now, consider this quote by Albert Einstein: “Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” People have unique Strengths that act as their filter for how they think, act, and feel. If everyone had exactly the same Strengths and thought exactly the same way, life would be pretty boring and new ideas would be rare at best. There’s power in diversity and seeing it...
How to Work With Difficult Personalities That Make You Cringe

How to Work With Difficult Personalities That Make You Cringe

Think about this… To date, we don’t have computers as sophisticated as the human brain. Each of your coworkers has potentially more computational power than any of the computers at your company! Perhaps you’re thinking, “Not my coworkers! Some of them just have difficult personalities. They could never be as sophisticated as a door knob, much less a computer!” Now, consider this quote by Albert Einstein:  “Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” People have unique talents that act as their filter for how they think, act, and feel. If everyone had exactly the same talents and thought exactly the same way, life would be pretty boring and new ideas would be rare at best. There’s power in diversity and seeing it as an opportunity versus a barrier. Perhaps those slow, useless, dim coworkers aren’t so slow, useless or dim after all.  Often the problem is simple understanding. Instead of leveraging the distinct talents of individuals, our tendency is often to judge based on our own unique filter of talents. Tomorrow, when you sit at or log in to your staff meeting, project call, production meeting, etc.  consider how your team is showing up:  Who is competitive?  Who is impatient?  Who is deliberative in their thought process?  Who is best at communicating their points?  Who keeps the team focused?  Who includes everyone in the conversation?  Who commands the room when they speak? You might find you’re sitting with a team of rock stars full of untapped potential.  ______________________________________________________________________________________Ready...
5 Steps to Stop Gossip at Work

5 Steps to Stop Gossip at Work

Gossip has been around since the high school hallways. Just because we’ve grown up and entered the workplace, it hasn’t stopped. Sometimes it’s seemingly harmless and doesn’t get past the bathroom, other times it’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back.  If you’ve seen it start to cause trouble within your team, here’s how to stop it. 1. Have clear Team Values. Defining your values is like defining the behaviours that are okay and not okay for your team. It creates shared meaning. If you don’t have clear values, don’t expect to find it easy to simply hold people accountable to the moral principles your grandma taught you. Everyone has their own background, and it isn’t necessarily true that they naturally view “right” behaviour the same as you. 2. Address the Gossipper. If you are with someone who’s gossipping, address it immediately. You may feel uncomfortable in the moment, like you’re the bubble burster; do it anyway! You are being a leader, and whether it’s obvious or not in the moment, that person will trust you even more.  3. Make it about Workability rather than Morality. When you address a gossiper, don’t make it about being a good or bad person, make it about workability. By workability, I mean - gossip breeds distrust, which breeds dysfunction on a team, which makes the team lack workability. How are you supposed to execute on the next project if you don’t trust each other? Be a stand for a workable team rather than being a moral police officer. (Don’t turn it into a “he said, she said” and don’t forget kind candor!) 4. Decide on how...
“It’s Not You, It’s Me.” 4 Places You’re Stuck Without Crucial Conversations

“It’s Not You, It’s Me.” 4 Places You’re Stuck Without Crucial Conversations

It’s time to be brutally honest…with yourself. The issues and poor behavior we experience with coworkers is so easily dismissed as a character problem. We did our best, but they’re just not reasonable or worth the effort. There’s something inherently wrong with this person that is stopping the two of you from being accountable. Recently, someone sarcastically told me one of their coworker’s mothers must not have paid them enough attention as a child. That was his reasoning for his coworkers “undesirable” behavior. Talk about a clever story!The reality is that we don’t take responsibility for our roles in the current situation often enough. It’s hard to do. Everyone’s initial instinct is to protect themselves (thanks lizard brain), but at some point we need to take responsibility for our thoughts and consequent actions. As Ron McMillan, one of the authors of Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When the Stakes are High, so eloquently puts it: “The way you see others tells you less about who they are than about your own motives.” This is one of my all time favorite quotes because it reminds us that we, not others, play a much larger role in how we experience the world than we sometimes admit. Anytime I am feeling annoyed or frustrated with someone, I think about these words and start to explore what pieces of my story I am shirking reponsibility for. It’s not you, it’s me. In fact, according to recent VitalSmarts’ research, your experience of your coworkers is actually a reflection of you. They break down the data in a beautiful infographic (below) that pinpoints the 4...
[How-To] Effective Communication 101: Start with Heart

[How-To] Effective Communication 101: Start with Heart

Ever get or send an email like this? From: CustomerServiceRep Sent: Saturday, August 1, 2015 4:06 PM To: InspectionSupervisor, ShippingSupervisor, ShippingClerk, PackagingLead, QualityManager, QualityEngineer, ManufacturingEngineer1, OperationsManager, Salesperson1, Planner1 CC: Customer1, Customer2, VicePresident1, President Subject: URGENT!! – Read immediately! Part number A611 was supposed to ship yesterday! This is unacceptable! We cannot continue to miss deliveries! Part must be packaged and shipped immediately! Regards, CustomerServiceRep1 And then…chaos ensues. Saturday evening: Since the email was sent late on a Saturday, nobody sees it except the President of the company. She sends a text to the shipping manager who emails the inspection lead, who texts CustomerServiceRep1 who fired off the email and subsequently turned off their phone for the night. Sunday Morning: Half the people on the email have seen it, half of those are communicating on texts, and the rest are still unaware of the growing storm. The part still isn’t ready to ship. 2 People have driven in to work Sunday morning to find the part and determine what needs to be done. Sunday Afternoon: 10 “CYA” emails have been sent listing all the work a few of the people are doing to get the part moving. Note, the part hasn’t moved an inch. Everyone in the email and text communications is thoroughly ticked off! Monday Morning: VicePresident, OperationsManager, all managers, and all supervisors have been called to an emergency meeting for the first hour of the day. After 30 minutes of confusion and arguing, the Quality Inspector last working on the part is called to the meeting. Within 5 minutes he explains the part went on hold because of...
The Cost Potency of Ineffective Leadership

The Cost Potency of Ineffective Leadership

Employees leave managers. We’ve all heard the saying Employees don’t leave companies, they leave managers. Well, the fact is that a lot of the time, it’s true. A typical leader’s journey is a pretty common tale; they were high performers at the entry level and kept getting promoted until they couldn’t go anywhere but to management. Seeing it as the “next obvious step”, the organization promotes said employee into management, typically without making sure they have the skills and development necessary to be a successful leader. On paper, it might look like someone would be a great manager. And that may be true. What you can’t see on paper before you promote them is how great of a leader someone will be. Leadership takes a lot of finesse and skill. As we like to remind everyone, You don’t have to be a good manager to be a great leader. You do have to be a good leader to be a great manager. Let’s break down the dollars. If you’ve had an unskilled manager, then you know just how much that affects your work experience. If you haven’t, (lucky you!) maybe you’ve known someone who has. Understanding how poor leadership affects your organization’s bottom line is a lot harder to grasp. So, let’s math. (How fun!) 25% of employees leave due to lack of empowerment from their leader. Basically, poor leadership drives a quarter of your people out of the door. Think about it: your leaders are a direct representation of your company for MOST of your employees. Their experience of your organization is directly related to their experience of...