People Skills

If you could wave a wand and change things about your job, what would they be? In honor of Administrative Professionals’ Week, April 25-29, we’re sharing a list of the top three wishes that could make a difference in your workplace—and how to take the first steps toward change.
When a friend becomes the boss, the power shift can bring on strong emotions and conflict. To avert problems—and to save your friendship—keep emotions out of the way and focus on strengthening your new professional relationship:

Some coffee with your stress?

April 18, 2011 Categorized in: MeetingsNegotiating

You’re expecting an afternoon meeting to be stressful and charged with emotion. Should you provide coffee for your boss and the other meeting attendees? Or is all that caffeine likely to do more harm than good?
If a colleague tries to sabotage you in front of the group, here’s what you should do: 1. Don’t approach someone for a discussion until you can think rationally. 2. Immediately address issues. 3. Stand up for yourself in a professional manner. 4. Wrap up on a positive note. 5. Report back to your boss.
Is it wrong for the boss to ask an assistant to handle his water bill? Should a boss’s personal tasks be part of an administrative pro’s duties? Our readers weighed in on the topic, revealing a range of opinions on what’s fair to expect of an admin.
If Nina Zagat knows anything, it’s how to have a successful business dinner. The co-founder of the Zagat Survey restaurant guides says the main goal of any meal with business colleagues is to leave the meal knowing more about who she is as a person. Other rules for business meals:
Having good manners today is less about using the right fork, and more about showing consideration toward others. Why? Most people won’t notice if you use the wrong fork. But they will notice if you show disrespect toward their time or talent. Ways to show respect for others:
After 20 years of being a secretary, writes one administrative professional, she knows how to do the necessary work. That hasn’t kept her current supervisor or her supervisor’s boss—both women—from berating and intimidating her. The admin asks, “How can I learn to stand up for myself in a professional manner?”
“My boss is inundated with business cards,” writes an admin reader. “Some are in Rolodexes, others are loose. But he doesn’t want to weed through and toss old ones. Any ideas on how to organize them?”
Occasionally, your boss may ask you to do something that is against your better judgment. Admins must know how and when to push back on a boss. Scott Eblin, author of “The Next Level” blog, offers these suggestions:

How to push ideas past naysayers

February 7, 2011 Categorized in: Difficult People

Nearly every office has a person who shoots down ideas before they even get off the ground: the naysayer who always pinpoints the reason your idea won’t work. The only way to defeat a naysayer is to be ready for her. Know how to respond to every one of the blockades she puts in your way.
Streamliine email processing by having a single address for your boss and you.
Let your body language broadcast your confidence … Keep track of your “must read” pile with Delicious.com. It’s a particularly useful tool for longer-term storage of important articles, and you can access it from any device … On your résumé, list accomplishments, not just job duties.