People Skills

Evolving rules of politeness

December 10, 2010 Categorized in: Workplace Etiquette

In theory, the word “ma’am” is a courtesy extended to women. But many women say it makes them cringe. The best course of action? When in doubt, skip the courtesy term altogether.
A co-worker makes Donna feel uncomfortable by spewing judgmental comments about her life choices. Donna wonders what to do about it. Is the HR department obligated to fix the problem? Or does this situation call for a frank co-worker-to-co-worker conversation?

What’s your negotiating style?

December 6, 2010 Categorized in: Negotiating

Individual differences in our preferences for certain kinds of outcomes when we interact with other people strongly affect how we approach negotiation, according to Carnegie Mellon University professor Laurie Weingart. Weingart and other psychologists have pinpointed four basic negotiating personalities:
That colleague looking intently into your eyes as he answers your questions may be telling you a fib. Pamela Meyer, author of Liespotting: Proven Techniques to Detect Deception, says to look for these common tip-offs that someone is lying:

1-Minute Strategies: Dec. ’10

December 1, 2010 Categorized in: MeetingsWorkplace Etiquette

If you’ve received an invitation to a party at your boss’s home, yes, you do have to RSVP, attend, dress appropriately, mingle and send a thank-you note afterward, says Barbara Pachter, a leading expert in business etiquette and communications. And turn off your cell phone!

Challenged as a new supervisor?

November 25, 2010 Categorized in: Supervising

Linda recently wrote on our Admin Pro Forum, “I recently took a job where I supervise three administrative assistants. I work directly on a daily basis with one admin … but I don’t have daily contact with the other two admins, because they are in different parts of the building. How do I supervise the other two and complete their performance evaluations?”

Organizing a $408,000,000,000 CEO

November 18, 2010 Categorized in: Managing the BossOrganizing

Imagine the task of helping the CEO of a $408 billion business stay organized. Walmart CEO Mike Duke relies on his assistant, Paula, to help him track a business that spans 8,500-plus stores and employs 2.1 million people. What organizing principles keep the office humming?

Bringing a co-worker down a peg

November 17, 2010 Categorized in: Difficult PeopleSupervising

Question: “Our group has one person, ‘Cindy,’ who is called the team lead. This is not a supervisory position. Although she is just supposed to assist our supervisor and fill in when he’s away, Cindy constantly tells me what to do. Because our open-door policy says we can go straight to the vice president, I plan to discuss the situation with her. What do you think?” — Not a Pushover

Dealing with a hothead? Keep it cool

November 9, 2010 Categorized in: Difficult People

From the ranting heard at political protests and on reality TV, it’s clear these are angry times. The problem is that many of us don’t know how to effectively handle an angry ranter when confronted with one. We can learn much from customer service professionals, who have honed their skills in defusing a hothead—and not taking it personally.

Does your office need ‘creatonomy’?

November 1, 2010 Categorized in: Teamwork

Not everyone in the workplace needs to be innovative. Think about a movie set. For every director, there are hordes of people who must be technically proficient, patient and disciplined about their jobs. If everyone innovates, the project turns chaotic. What the workplace actually needs more of is creatonomy.

Pitch your big idea

October 28, 2010 Categorized in: Managing the BossRecognition

Jonah’s boss always tells employees to “think outside the box.” But when they do, top executives always turn them down. How can you convince the boss to try your ideas? Start by not selling an innovative big idea. Follow these steps:

My employees won’t stop squabbling

October 19, 2010 Categorized in: Supervising

Question: “I manage a group of four women who bicker constantly and ‘cop an attitude.’ To make it worse, I recently hired a young, inexperienced secretary who is very rude … I feel like I’m supervising a bunch of tattling 2-year-olds. Sometimes, I plan what I’m going to say about these issues, then I chicken out. I know I need a stronger backbone, but I don’t like dealing with conflict. What should I do?”
Moving on up can be thorny if you’re not prepared to make the transition from peer to supervisor. David Peck, aka “The Recovering Leader,” offers six points to consider during and after a promotion: